It isn’t always pretty but I think I take sort of a training stance on parenting. Yes, I do talk with my kids (sometimes too much) but there always seems to be tasks waiting my attention and theirs, whether it is school, eating, cleaning, washing etc, and I think my obsession is taking care of these details with the kids. I guess that is obvious as I am the mom here.
There are a few rules of thumb that I learned a long time ago that still hold true in my parenting style. I worked at a camp and they hired a lawyer who was also a ‘child crowd control’ expert and he shared with us that every child has a score card on the adults they deal with. One adult’s score could be a three. It takes three times for the adult to say something before they mean business. Some adults are ones (I’m not yet – maybe a two) and some adults are 15 to 20’s. He emphasized to be a one you had to take action immediately. I liked what he said then. It wasn’t to go and beat the kids but for us to get off our fannies and go right to the child, put a hand on their shoulder and say clearly what is expected. If that fails then it was time to hold their cute little shoulder and arm and help them get to their destination. He explained the shock on kid’s faces used to 10’s, when they run into adults who are ones. They know who ones are right away and it is obvious in how they respond to them. It hasn’t always worked beautifully for me in that sometimes in life I am stuck in a chair with a nursing baby and getting up is the last thing I want to do but overall it has proved effective. He also encouraged us to use proactive words and not to coerce our children. “Son, you will go get ready for bed now” The word ‘will’ is pretty effective too. Using phrases like “won’t you get ready for bed now honey?” are of little use with the little buzzards. I shared this little score card scenario with my dh years ago (probably 20 year ago) and he is a quick learn and it stuck. This lawyer person also encouraged us to not give in when we have made a decision and then the kiddos would know we meant it. I was reminded of this theory of parenting when we had the discussion of law and gospel in Monday’s class. There also seems to be a lot of parenting conversations going on amongst my friends so it made me stop to think about how and why I decided to parent the way I do. If I seem like an ogre, well I am.
The other little tidbit that I have found helpful is the old assertive discipline “You have two choices honey, go to the table or get ready for bed – your choice honey, not mine”. That is just an extreme example but it did help me narrow my dealings with my kids. No, I don’t always do this but……it helps.
Removing the audience – Kevin Leman’s, put the little buzzards far away from you, in a safe but boring place, and let them know that they can scream all they want, but they aren’t going to scream around you. Charley is a professional at this one. He could give seminars.
So……..if this sounds like Dobson it is just parenting according to Horner’s. I have seen parents seem shocked when I say things like they are in public “Martin, stop drowning your brother!” as I leap into the pool to stop the behavior now. Or……the benefit of attempting to be a one “Benjamin, it is time to go”, “ok” says Benjamin, as he steps out of the pool and heads for the door.
Boy, this is getting long (sort of like some other bloggers I know), but this is my parenting style and I do think I could afford to let the gospel creep into my parenting more than it does. I had the opportunity this afternoon when one dc whopped another dc with a tonka truck to act swiftly (law), send child to room to think (remove child far far away from me!) and then later go and talk to dc about what happened. Thanks for the timely blog on expressing love and forgiveness. That helped.
Watch out for flying tonka trucks and have fun parenting.
***This blogger will not be held responsible for any other bloggers musings that this blog is directed at them. This blog is my personal musings on what sort of parent I am in relationship to law and gospel and has been good for my system. Thanks and come again soon.