Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Children Mind...The Super Parent

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One of my favorite concepts discussed by Dr. Kevin Leman in Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours is the idea of the Super Parent. The Super Parent is the parent who reads all the books. Super Parents want their parents to work. They want to be perfect parents with perfect children. Leman says he finds Christian parents to be more likely to be Super Parents, and honestly when I read about the Super Parent, I can see that many Babywise parents could fall into this problem. Here is Leman's list of faulty reasoning by a Super Parent (page 89):

  • I own my children
  • I am judge and jury
  • My children can't fail
  • I am boss--what I say goes

I want to touch on a couple of these thoughts.

My Children Can't Fail
As I was reading this chapter, I saw myself in the "My children can't fail" category. I don't want my children to fail an any area. Leman says we should allow our children to fail. "I'm not saying that a child should be a failure by habit or that he should learn to be a loser in life. I am saying that we learn through failure. We learn through making our own decisions, and some of those decisions turn out to be mistakes which lead to failure" (page 93).

We shouldn't rescue our children from their mistakes. Natural consequences will come. We can try to shield them from the pain of this reality, but at some point in life, it will catch up with them. Natural consequences will meet our children at some point. For me, the difficulty is not in allowing natural consequences to happen once a bad choice has been made. It is in allowing my children to make those decisions in the first place.

I will stand guard and remind my children to be careful, they might get hurt doing XYZ. I remind them to do things they really don't need reminders for. I don't allow them to try things for themselves, and I don't give them the chance to remember things on their own. I am not saying I should be letting my two year old wander out to the busy road and "remember" it isn't a safe place to be or learn through the natural consequence of getting hit by a car. But when my children are playing with something age appropriate and have been told the potential dangers, I need to let them remember things on their own.

I found myself reminding Brayden to do things like pull his pants up after he went to the bathroom--every single time. At the time, he was not quite four. A child that age does not need to be reminded to pull his pants up. If he didn't remember for some reason, he could simply take a few steps and then realize his pants were down. I don't want to create a child who takes no care to remember to do things himself because he has a constant reminder of Mom in his ear telling him every step--down to the pants.

Brayden also feels good about himself when he remembers to do these things on his own. He will ask me to not tell him what to do because he wants to be responsible. He knows what he needs to do and doesn't want to be told. He wants that feeling of accomplishment that comes from remembering and being responsible. I wasn't giving him the chance to even forget. So I have worked on it and have tried to do better.

I have a good friend who has a personality similar to mine. Her oldest is now 12, and my friend recently shared some things she should have done differently, in retrospect. One was to not warn her daughter constantly. Another was to not remind her to do things constantly. My friend says she feels like she has taught her daughter to not trust her own judgement and she has taught her she doesn't need to remember to do things on her own. Mom will remember. Mom will keep track of what test she needs to study for and what worksheet is due in science class. She said her daughter also will become frozen often times because she is unsure of what to do.

I Am Boss--What I Say Goes
This is a common feeling of parents. We want our children to obey because we are the parents and they should obey us! This isn't really a weakness of mine. I remember growing up and asking my Mom why I couldn't do something. "Because I said so." I hated that answer! I wasn't asking in order to be difficult or to argue; I wanted to know why. I wanted to apply meaning to my world.

My husband would like to have Brayden do what he is told simply because he was told without every questioning why. That is how he was raised. I like to offer reasons. I know when Brayden asks why, it is so he can apply meaning to the reason. Why can't he climb the apple tree? Because he could fall out and get hurt. He is not yet old enough to be climbing the apple tree. Knowing the reasons for things helps him to be able to judge activities for himself.

Encourage and Enhance Your Child's Individuality
A final thought of Leman's that I like from this chapter is that your child is going to become and individual anyway. Do what you can to encourage and enhance it. Your home should be a place you allow your child to make decisions, and then deal with the consequences, whether good or bad. You have no choice but to offer more freedoms to your child as he grows up. "...at the base of the child-parent relationship should be the parent's desire to train the child, guide him, and set him free to become his own person" (page 106). Of course, as you do this, you need to keep in mind age appropriate freedoms. The fact that you need to allow freedoms as he gets older doesn't mean that you need to allow all freedoms at the age of three.



Sarah said...

Wow! This is great! I just found your blog tonight for the first time! I am so excited to look through it. I have a 7 month old and we have been using babywise since he was born. I actually didn't do super well with a perfect schedule from the beginning and I will say his nap times are still a bit iffy, but I agree with the books and we do follow almost all of it.

My son sleeps about 11 hours a night every night now and has slept through the night since about 7 weeks. He has nursed on a schedule since he was born and my life is now so simple with him! He eats four times a day now at 7 months. 8,12,4 and 8. You can't get any simpler than that!

The reason I came accross your blog is because I was searching for a picture to add to my most recent post. Here is the post: http://123vests.blogspot.com/2009/06/are-your-baby-wise.html

I am done reading the first book ( though I may refer to it again on occasion) and am on my fourth or fifth time reading the second book and have also purchased the third book. This is our first child and I know I will end up with all of the books in the series and I am sure I will love them all as much as I love the first two!


Lisa Middleton said...

I love Dr. Leman's books, but this is one I haven't picked up yet! I just finished First Time Mom again right before my little one was born. I also highly recommend his marriage books...Sheet Music and Sex Begins in the Kitchen were very good reads!

Lisa Middleton said...

Also, I have been voraciously devouring your posts since I found your blog yesterday. I also joined the private group on babycenter, and look forward to chatting with other BW moms! Keep up the good work. =D

Stacey M said...

hi there...i have been following your blog for quite some time now and LOVE it! i have a question regarding discipline. i have a soon to be 2 year old son who has always been a bit needy. probably because i too hovered over him way too much when he was an infant (just in the past few months came across your blog, the babywise book and the info about independent play). the problem is that he does not want to do anything on his own. he walks around the house saying "mommy do it," handing me toy after toy and wanting me to play. now i don't mind sitting in the floor playing and i do it fairly often, but it seems that my son has become very whiny if i'm not by his side playing just how he wants me to play. how do i begin to break this behavior? he is overall very whiny and demanding. i try not to do as he asks, unless he asks nicely, which he will say "please" when i remind him to, but he ALWAYS fusses first. should i just keep being consistent in reminding him to ask nicely? how do i help him learn some confidence that he can play by himself and does not need me ALL the time. he won't sit in a room by himself for more than a few minutes before whining and looking for me.
also, the other major discipline issue we have come across is that he has an EXTREMELY hard time around other kids. he has been home with me most of his life (besides attending church nursery for bible study or church), but whenever another kid comes near him, he screams at the top of his lungs and starts to cry. now to his defense, he has played with a little boy for most of his life who is extremely aggressive and has taken things from my son, hit him, etc time and time again. my son does not realize that he can take things back...instead he just hands it to other kids and then starts screaming once the toy is out of his hand. and the worst like i said is that if any kid comes near anything he has played with recently or even wants to play with, he just goes crazy yelling and crying. play groups are VERY stressful for me b/c he is so overly fussy when other kids are around. any suggestions? we have tried time out but it doesn't work, he just returns and does the same thing all over again. also, time out in public is pointless b/c he just gets up and walks off and if i put him back he throws a tremendous tantrum and makes such a huge scene that i don't know what to do. if i tell him we will leave, i think he would honestly be happy about it b/c he doesn't love being around other kids and being among peers is just part of reality so i want to teach him to cope instead of crying to me for help and to rescue him. please, please help me...i am so desperate to figure this out and am prego with #2 and am just exhausted. thanks again.

Plowmanators said...

Hi Sarah! I am glad you found the blog! Thanks for sharing your happy success. It is always great to hear.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Lisa! I enjoy his writing. He is very relaxed and funny. It is easy reading.

I am glad you like the blog!

Plowmanators said...

Stacey, this will take some time, but you are right in assuming it requires consistency.

Independent play will go a long way to teach him to play on his own. I am guessing you have read how I started roomtime late with Brayden? Try that approach and take things slowly. They will come.

Be sure he is well rested and well fed. Have a regular naptime and regular meals.

For playgroups, try having him play with just one or two other children at a time at first. Set it up with kids who are not aggressive. Wait until he is comfortable with that before doing large playgroups. Also, don't do them too often. He isn't at an age where they really play with other kids. It is playing around other kids. As he gets older, he will desire and enjoy peer interaction more. Be mindful of his personality and respect his needs :)


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