Monday, September 14, 2009

Parenting 101

Don't you wish they had a class? Well, I guess they do. There are probably tons of classes, not to mention TV shows, books and movies on the subject. What most of these Parenting 101 venues fail to mention is that each and every kid, each and every parent, and therefore each and every family is different. Unfortunately for me, I love to study and read. In my childhood and growing up, I learned a lot about how NOT to raise children and how NOT to create a loving home. I am not mentioning this to be disrespectful or dishonoring to my mother, as she has admitted such and has asked to be forgiven for it. Granting her forgiveness may have been a whole lot harder to do if I hadn't already been a mother myself. Having a small outline of things NOT to do is a world away from having a small outline of things to do. So, my studious self decided to set out to finding the secret of parenting. No one resource had the answers I sought. Surprised? Believe it or not, I was. Even my beloved guide to life left me with more questions than answers. This weekend, we had the mother of all meltdowns at my house. The crying and screaming was atrociously embarrassing and the children were really misbehaving, too. They had us completely undone and pitted against one another. Not acceptable. We finally calmed down and held a family meeting. Mom and Dad are in charge by order of God Almighty Himself. We must discipline by order of His Holy Word. It may not be pretty, and we may not be making any friends in the process, but there is nothing to lead us to believe that being our child's friend is of any importance in the kingdom of God. Needless to say, we dropped the proverbial hammer. We started to bless the goodness and restrict the garbage. Right now, we are using money (dimes to be precise). This is very similar to the sticker system; good behavior earns stickers and when a specified amount is acquired, the child will receive a reward. We tried this, but my kids always ended up sticking the stickers to the floor or wherever and fighting over whose was prettier... So money it is. The children never actually receive the money, as I don't think they should be paid for good behavior, but they can use the money to 'buy' TV, computer or movie time. They can also share their dimes with their sibling in order to make a shared decision for something they couldn't afford separately. We're only 3 days deep, but with this system in addition to our scripture based "naughty wall", life has been totally bearable, dare I say enjoyable. This is what is working for us right now, in a month or two it could be different. I have faith that God will iron out all the details and when my children are old enough they, too, will be able to forgive their parents for not knowing exactly how to do it right. With God's refining power, by the time Jesus comes back, maybe someone in my lineage will have this parenting thing nailed.

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