Thursday, May 8, 2008

Childwise Goals of Parenting

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There are a few thoughts from Childwise I wanted to emphasize before I move on to elaborating on the principles of Childwise. These are also applicable to those with babies. As I have read it, I have seen how the principles behind these thoughts are just as important with Kaitlyn (12 months) as for Brayden (almost 3).
  • Your goal needs to be more than simply getting through another day (page 10). I love this thought. I think this is the goal of many modern parents. They want to simply make it through the day in one piece with minimal conflict. They don't take initiative to teach and lead their children. They let their children wander from activity to activity, and so long as the children aren't causing problems, that is good enough. I am not saying all parents are this way, but I definitely know parents with this mentality. We need to remember that we have a short time with our children when our influence reigns supreme. We need to take advantage of this teaching period in their life when we are the coolest, smartest, greatest people in the world. Before we know it, their friends will start to replace us. Treat each day as a day for learning and training opportunities.
  • When it comes to discipline, think prevention first. You don't want to create situations that foster conflict and bad behavior (page 11). How do you do this? There will be more to come on the topic, but one way to start is in your child's schedule. An over-tired or hungry child isn't going to be as well behaved as a well-rested, well-fed one. You also do this by monitoring the freedoms you allow. When it comes to discipline, you want to train your child to behave correctly, not simply punish for misbehaving.
  • Along that line of thought, the more effort you give, the more you will get (page 11). We all know this to be a true principle in life. It is also true with the training of our children. Remember, we have them for a relatively short time.
  • Parent your child, not your childhood (page 22). In the book they address this in the idea of fearful parenting. If your childhood was pleasant, you will likely parent pretty much the same way you were parented. If your childhood was stressful, you will likely parent differently than you were parented. If your parents were strict and you didn't like that, you will likely be too lenient. If your parents were really lenient and you feel that caused you unhappiness, you will likely compensate by being overly strict. You need to first be aware of these possible tendencies, and then monitor yourself. Parent your child, not your childhood. When I read that I also thought of something else. I think many modern parents have the desire to give their children everything, and especially toys they wanted but couldn't have. Up until a few months ago, we have lived basically in really good economic times. We end up spoiling our children. The other day I was buying shoes for Brayden. There was a mom and daughter who was between 18-22 months, I would guess, who were also buying shoes. The mom had obviously walked into the shoe store with the desire to buy some good, pink summer shoes. The daughter had spotted some Dora shoes. The mom was begging her daughter to try on some pink shoes. The daughter was whining and crying and refusing to do so because she wanted Dora. The mom told her daughter that was fine, she could get two pairs of shoes, Dora and the pink ones, so please try on the pink ones now. More crying. The daughter wanted flip-flops and Dora shoes. So mom changed the number to three pairs of shoes. The daughter was suddenly very happy. I was both amused and feeling sorry at the same time. From afar, it was kind of funny to see this girl so opinionated about her shoes at such a young age. But analyzing the situation of mom buying three instead of one pair of shoes just so she could get her daughter to try on the shoes mom wanted. I can hypothesize many possible reasons this situation came to this, but overindulgence is certainly one of them.
If you only have a young baby, really pay attention to these principles and try to apply them now and always. I believe parenting can be much more successful if you can have foresight and try to avoid future problems by applying principles in the present. That is likely one reason the oldest child is the hardest in terms of knowing what to do. You have never done any of it before.
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Reader Comments/Thank Yous:
  • Emily said...
    It is amazing how God leads us to find what it is we are needing. I found your blog through a link my sister listed and was going to simply "check it out." Where I have a 4 and 6 year old, I often feel like I am beyond the "Babywise" years (we used it with both children.) I had forgotten that at one time I owned a copy of the book you are talking about. Your discussion on being present every day, every moment really spoke to me this morning as my kids tend to be so well behaved and play so nicely together, I often forget that they need me as well. Thank you for the reminder that I needed.
    May 8, 2008 11:17 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    I whole-heartedly agree, Emily. The Lord really does lead us to what we need. And I hear you. Now that my kids are old enough to really enjoy playing with each other, it is easy to just let them play together and not take my one year old off to independent playtime or have learning time. It takes discipline on my part :)
    May 9, 2008 10:33 AM
  • IzzysMama said...
    This idea of proactive vs. reactive parenting/training has really helped me to pay attention to what I allow my lo to do and I think it really pays off. For example, from day one I have not allowed my daughter to put her hands in her mouth while she eats and she is now starting to stop herself from doing it...and she's only 6 months! Thanks for sharing this advice!
    May 8, 2008 11:39 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    You are welcome Izzy'sMama!
    May 9, 2008 10:34 AM

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