Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Art of Child Rearing

 
Sister Lucille Erickson is a dedicated wife and mother to her family. She has graciously answered some questions about raising children that I thought might be helpful to me and those who, like me, want to be Godly moms someday. Enjoy! (And leave a her a comment, if you please!)
I know that creating a Godly atmosphere in your home is incredibly important with how the children act, etc. How do you go about that?
The life living through us at all times is the greatest way to keep an atmosphere, also keeping godly music playing, listening to a Message, praying/singing with the children, or by yourself...just keeping God in mind throughout the day in all you do...it just happens. Sometimes when I listen to a Message and It speaks to me, I just can tell the atmosphere around me is different...the quickening of that Word in my life.
When I have guests in or we are talking and visiting as a family, I like to have music/instrumentals playing softly in background because it is easier to visit and talk with. If I want to create an atmosphere of worship, I love to have singing of songs that create worship to sing along with as you go about your daily duties. If we need to cheer up the household, I have lighter, happier, faster songs singing to sing along with or uplift our spirits. Nowadays, with the electronic devices we have, we can make our own playlists of the songs we have for the different occasions you need of them.
How do you deal with fussing/how does one go about preventing it? That is hard to cover as a blanket because it comes about in many different ways. With young children is it impossible to keep it from happening...or totally preventing it, but the person in charge has to keep positive in all situations. Like when sharing becomes a problem, everyone wants life to be fair...sometimes you can make things fair without making a big deal about it and other times you have to teach them that life isn't always fair to us, but we have to be tough and make the most of it. Finding something to teach in every situation is very important. We want to plant all the seeds we can.
When they had a disagreement, sometimes I would make them sit across the room from each other in the living room and see if they could figure out a way to fix the problem before they could get up and go play. They soon tired of not being able to play so they quickly try and figure something out, making it fair for each other. Once they figured it out, they would tell me their solution and it was usually a good one and I'd praise them for figuring it out on their own and let them back to playing again. It helped them learn that they could sometimes figure out solutions to their own problems and being fair to others, rather than needing Mom to be their judge and jury all the time. After all, they won't always have me around when trouble comes later on with their friends. By figuring how to get along with their siblings on their own, and with their friends later on. It also helped with less tatter telling. I never liked tatter telling.
Make sure we don't teach them to whine by whining ourselves over loss of sleep, too much housework and chores to do, or whatever else we don't like in our own daily life. We don't always enjoy our duties, but we can keep our thoughts to ourselves if we can't be "sunny" about them.
Sometimes little girls get whiny when they just need their hair done and feel like they don't look nice. I learned this early with my daughter. If I fixed her hair cute and yet out of her way for the day, and dressed her decently, not just putting on oldies of outfits she didn't like, it would change how she acted immediately. As an adult, I am still like this today. If I don't take time to redo hair or have an outfit on that I don't like or feel like I look good in, it effects everything about me, how I can focus, be organized, take pressure, etc. Strange, but that's how most of us are wired.
When they fuss from boredom, give them something to do. Teach them that working together as a family, makes a happy family. I wish I would have started even younger in having them help in all things...be an everyday event not just when it was mine/or their idea. Letting them help makes everything take much longer, doesn't get done as good, but when they are young and want to please and get used to being at your side with all chores, it makes them more responsible and less fussing over chores later on because they become used to working as part of daily routine. Always make them feel like they are doing a big part and being a great help. I always fixed the things they would do ONLY if I could do it without them knowing or seeing because I remember a lady telling me she grew up thinking she could never do anything right because her mother would fix/redo everything she tried to do.
Some children are more task oriented naturally and they are easy to teach to work but for those who are not, it is important from very young to get them used to working along side of you as part of life...even if you have to redo everything (when they are not looking) it is still teaching them and keeping them occupied as well. Sometimes when I was working in the kitchen and I was working on something that they couldn't help, I'd let them sweep the floor even if there was nothing to sweep or I knew it had to be redone later (when they weren't looking) or peel something (even if didn't need right away) fold clothes or something. If you think hard enough you can think of something that makes them feel like they are helping even if they are not. Sometimes if you know you are going to be working on something that they won't be able to help or need out of the way, you could pull some type of dishes out and put on the counter so there'd be something for them to wash when they'd come in asking to help. They'll usually end up playing awhile in the water, but you are together and "working". Ha!
How do you go about training your children? (Giving them a choice, giving them discipline, leaving them to work it out?)
That's a tall order and so much ground to cover...praying for daily wisdom is best school I know. I don't believe in giving kids choices all the time. Sometimes it comes in handy to say...you can have "this" or "that"...but not...what do you want, do you want to do your chores, do you want to ___ ?? What I mean is that a child is not wise enough or have experience enough to make wise decisions and they need the parent to be in control most of the time...however, the balancing factor of that is giving them some choices so they can learn to think things through, decide some things, or even learn consequences to bad choices. All our parenting has to be balanced...too much of anything, even if it's good could have a bad side too. Also, all work and no play is not good, however too much play and not work is not good either and making work fun teaches them that they have a choice in how they go about their tasks...they can make it fun or make it a drudgery...the later only makes them feel worse, rather than getting it done so they could move on to more delightful things.
The time for discipline is when they do something that they know is wrong, or disobeyed, disrespect, etc...sometimes allowing a consequence for wrong choices, etc is good too so they can learn that following rules and obeying are important and also the Bible rule of you reap what you sow. The balancing factor to that though is occasionally when felt needed, showing them grace...explaining to them that God gives us grace too when He knows we made a mistake and it wasn't in our hearts to do so.
How do you build a good relationship with your children? This is very important because you can punish, correct, etc and if have no relationship then you are creating rebellion sometimes in their heart. You can look at it like a bank, if you don't deposit anything, you have nothing to withdraw. We go through times where it seems more than at other times, like we are having to be constantly on them about something. Make sure during those times, you are going the extra mile to deposit into their bank "their" language of love so that they know you are working with them in love when it comes time to reprove them again.
They also need to know that they are more important to you than your work/fun or other people. There were times when we had lots of guests and busy days and eventually they would be fussy or grumpy because of previous lack of attention and when would ask for me to read or play with them...I would remember how they had been put on back burner. I would tell them that I had a lot of work to do, but they were more important to me than that work...I didn't mind losing a little sleep to finish up the work later and play with them for now instead. It was a way to remind them that though life got busy for a little while, they were still more important and I loved knowing that they knew that.
When it was crazy and I had so much to do, I would try and warn them ahead of time and see if I could incorporate them into being my big helper to get ready...sometimes just giving them a useless job to make them feel important and needed, but mainly to keep them busy and out of the way so I could speedily get things ready. Whenever I could in between, I would hug, reaffirm...whatever I could manage to do until I could focus on them again. It definitely isn't easy and some days you feel sick or no energy, but if you know they need it, you just go ahead and be there for them, read, hug, watch play, fix a snack (if one of their love language is food) etc. One of my kids was my reader/talker, so after the other two younger ones were in bed, we would stay up awhile longer and read/talk. One child loved to be held and read to or just spend time with in any way, so I would have to leave my work and see what they made or sit on floor and play a little while...just spending that quality time would make the world wonderful again. One loved eating and hugs or watching or doing things for them when they were little. It would make the world right again. You learn what they need to feel special to you as they grow and that is creating a relationship with them...something you share with them after learning their love language.
Do you believe it's important to play with your children, or do you feel that working with/training/teaching them in the every-day setting is enough? Oh I think it's just as important to play with them as teaching and training, though we must always keep a balance in all areas. You can't be successful at the work and training part of it if you don't have the play time (creating relationship) too...that doesn't mean it has to be given the same amount of time as work...just that you do it, share laughs, games, life, wonders...etc. For fun I would create treasure hunts, or go into woods and we'd try to learn about something. Sometimes sitting close by and just watching them play was enough for them. Making crafts of some kind was an evening fun or when started home schooling, making that part of art work. I always tried ways to make work more fun too, because I wanted them to learn that work makes you feel good about yourself and what you accomplished, and there are ways to make it more fun or make a game out of it. Then they also need to know that sometimes we are on time limits and must put our all into the task at hand.
When they grow up, life really is hard work, keeping a home, or going out and providing for a family. You have to do the daily life tasks daily whether you feel like it or not. If they are accustomed to working everyday, (though we don't have to point out that it's work), having daily chores, helping you throughout the day and making it fun when they join you, it becomes a way of life.
Do you think it is necessary to teach children patience by not giving them what they ask for immediately, or do you feel that it better to meet their needs as soon as they are voiced? That depends...I think there are plenty of times to teach them patience in many different ways, but there is definitely a danger in giving to them each and every time they have a desire. There's a time to say no and have a reason and there are times that they have to learn to trust you and except your no without an explanation. I think you just keep all ways of teaching and training in mind to keep it BALANCED. To much of anything is not good. There's a time to show grace...let them know they deserve a spanking, but you are going to give them grace like God does for us sometimes, and then the next time there is punishment showing them they reap what they sow. There is a time to give to them right away when there is a need and other times to teach them a little patience.
What's your view on letting babies cry through the night vs. getting up to feed/change/etc. them? Bro. Branham mentioned about mothers letting their babies cry and cry, and how it would create neurotics. That comforted me when people got on my case for not letting my babies cry like putting them to bed for the night and letting them cry away forever. However, I did learn when they were crying or just fussing it out. Some I was able to teach to go to sleep by themselves, others I was not able...maybe I didn't do something right, but I couldn't handle them crying hard or that broken hearted cry. One just needed to hold my hand and would go right to sleep. I don't know whether that was right or not, but I couldn't handle the scared cry of going to sleep in a room by themselves even though I tried to get them use to that room by 4-5 months old. I think it's safe to let them fuss it out if that is all they do and usually doesn't last long. We want to be aware and make sure our babies are fed, warm or cool enough, dry diapers, etc and then there is no need for them to fuss except when tired and we can tend to them in such a way that we don't spoil them and teach them to cry for everything. If we tend to their needs right away and stay on top of things then maybe they won't need to cry for things as much and don't associate crying with getting everything they want. I also think keeping their diaper dry and changed regularly helps them in potty training down the road because they are used to feeling dry and comfortable.
As for getting up and feeding them in the night, that is a given when they are newborns...as for later on, I would still change them if wet or dirty, maybe give some water, but avoided rewarding them with milk/food at night unless very young and knew they were going through a growing spurt and still only nursing. Some mothers start feeding foods sooner, rather than later, but for me I think it's best to give them our own natural breast milk until 6 months if can. Each mother has to decide for herself, but for me I figured God knew what He was doing and also breastfeeding longer helps get rid of built up fat from pregnancy, bonds you and the child all the more, etc and nothing can harm or cause allergies like we see so much of today. At six months their immune system kicks in and they tend to get sick easily which builds immune system up.
Now there are occasions when some mothers didn't produce enough milk, even when taking natural remedys to help produce more milk. That is rare but has been known to happen. I never had that happen to me, but if your baby never seems satisfied, have it checked out. There are times they go through growing spells and never seem satisfied, but it should never go longer than a week or two. Your milk glands start producing more, the more frequent you nurse during those growing spell times.
For the food subject, I always tried to do as much naturally in feeding them as could, staying away from sugars ('cept natural sugar in fruit), much salt, other ingredients...but each baby is different and some are very sensitive in their taste buds and you have to put a bit of salt or something to help them eat it. I would use just a touch of natural sea salt. I liked cooking my own and blending their food myself, however, you have to be realistic when traveling and take along some jars or something.
With my first one, I had time to make my own, freeze or whatever I needed for travel as well as freeze up extra breast milk for times it was needed for being around people. When they are between growing spells and not nursing as frequently it was a good time to pump and stock up and freeze. With each child I had less time and so I did what was necessary for functioning better with ease of taking care of my kiddies.
This is me, however, and I know a lot of people out there just want convenience. Each for their own, but for me, I was hoping they would start out their lives with as healthy foods as possible. Giving them my best was my way of showing love.
Do you have anything in particular that would really help future mothers with raising their children? Anything imperative that we need to know?
Here are some guidelines that I thought was important based on my observance, experience, etc. I decided that when my boys turned 5, I was going to tell them they were big boys and too old to wear shorts anymore. That got them used to wearing long pants in the heat of the sun at a young age when they weren't thinking on their own to ask "why". It made them feel big to change over, start school, etc. I thought it was a good age to start that and get them to think that way.
For my girls, I felt it very important to work with them and breed into them to sit like a lady, keep dress down, as soon as I knew they could understand (18 mo's +). I even came up with code words, so that in the midst of company I didn't have to embarrass her but get the reminder across. I also feel very strongly that you don't change their undies or dress girls for bed in front of people (even relations)...how are they to develop a sense of being conscious of their nakedness and realize the importance of keeping dress down if you change them in front of people. I have seen that over and over and then the mother wonders why her daughter won't get the idea of keeping dress down and sitting like a lady.
I do know that some girls are harder than others to teach. But we have such a lack for real ladies, even around the ranks of the Message churches. I also don't care for girls wearing pants under dresses...especially after they are 2. To me it doesn't look right for one thing, not girly and I think thick tights are just as warm. If they know they have pants on they feel comfortable to sit any ol' way and we don't notice so easily to remind them. I realize if they aren't getting message at first and are going to be playing with boys, I would think shorts underneath might be ok, but I wouldn't do it unless necessary as we don't want them to rely on them.
I remember going to school in just knee highs when cold out. I usually don't get cold if legs are bare when outside for awhile. I wonder if it's because I got used to the cold on my legs at a young age. I don't know, but that was something I always felt strong about because we lack real ladies like these days. I did have some girly outfits that had blousey pants when my little girl was crawling. I wasn't crazy about them as outfits, but they were given to me so for everyday I decided to use them. At least they were girly, protected her knees/tights when crawling, so served a purpose for everyday clothing and she was still very little.

2 comments:

Gracie said...

Lovely post :) I've awarded you for the Brilliant Blog Bouquet Award at my blog. Check it out if you want! :)

Leah Nicolette said...

So well written Anna! Thank you, thank you for sharing!

Blessings,
Leah Nicolette