Tag Archives: attitude

Character foundations: respect, honor and honesty

I flipped open my Growing Kids God’s Way workbook just now and came upon a passage I had previously highlighted. I’ve been thinking a lot about my children’s character lately, so it’s fitting that the book opened to this page. Here’s the quote:

“The quality of your character and that of your children is best exemplified by the presence or absence of three attributes: respect, honor and honesty. … Respect, honor and honesty are critical fibers in the moral fabric of our being. To respect our fellow man is to honor him, and to honor him is to live honestly before him. The parent’s job is to take the intangible concepts of respect, honor and honesty and make them tangible—to take their abstract meanings and make them concrete. They must show their children what moral truth looks like,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 90-91).

With this in mind, I looked at the house rules I have displayed on my white board to see if they help accomplish this goal. I have had these rules on my board for quite a while and considered revising them simply because my kids are older, but ultimately I decided to leave them as they are. This tells me that these rules—founded on the basis of respect, honor and honesty—are constants in our lives. Following is a list of house rules you might consider as you expect these character traits in your children.

  • Obey mommy and daddy; say “yes, mommy” and “yes, daddy”
  • Be true in all things; never tell a lie
  • Always use nice words; nasty attitudes are never tolerated
  • Be polite; say “please” and “thank you”
  • Answer when spoken to; say “hello” and “goodbye”
  • Respect and obey adults; make eye contact and respond kindly

As I was writing this, I started to wonder what the real difference is between respect and honor. According to Microsoft Word, the words are synonymous. Yet, there is a wise quote from a 19-year-old girl in the GKGW workbook that distinguishes the two:

“I can never remember a time in my life when I was not required to show all those in positions of authority respect. It is second-nature for me to do so, although it is hard sometimes to respect a person who is in authority over you because of a lack of integrity in their personal life. It helped when my parents explained the difference between respecting the person and respecting the position. I can always respect a position of authority out of a sense of duty. When I respect someone in authority because of the way they conduct their life, I am honoring them out of a sense of devotion. Understanding the difference between ‘duty’ and ‘devotion’ helps me always respect authority figures,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 91).

I think of respect as being action-oriented while honor is more of an attitude or belief. While our children are young, we ought to expect actions that reflect respect. With such a foundation then, they are well equipped to develop a sense of honor for those things they have been taught to respect.

How well does your parenting teach your children to show respect, honor and honesty?

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Working moms: Postpartum depression

by Bethany Lynch

The most emotional aspect of my first pregnancy was the raw panic I felt when I thought about returning to work. I never thought I would panic. I thought I would love returning to my routine, my field of expertise, my adult world.

Almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started feeling a nibbling anxiousness. It continued throughout my pregnancy and heightened as my delivery approached. All through my maternity leave, I was distraught. It was always in the back of my mind, even when I was enjoying the most tender and sweetest of moments. I knew it was inevitable, so I put on my best game face as I got ready to leave my little one.

I did great the first two weeks back. I was tough. I was brave. Then I lost it. I sat in my office and bawled. I couldn’t talk to anyone about my son without tearing up. If I got stuck in traffic on my way to pick him up from daycare, I started to have a panic attack. If I saw his picture, I broke down. My husband took him to daycare and let me pick him up because he knew I was incapable of leaving him. I made an appointment with a counselor and my OB and could not even speak a word without starting to sob.

My OB suggested that I had a form of late postpartum depression (PPD). I never had thoughts of harming my child. But when I started sobbing and choking because I got off late from work and was missing time with my baby, I knew something had to change.

My OB prescribed me a very low dose antidepressant, but I just could not bring myself to take it. It was not the stigma. Goodness knows I probably should have gotten it filled. I am a pharmacist. I dispense those needed antidepressants. I still just thought I should be tougher, better, stronger than that.

I decided to work through it on my own. It took me a year to make my peace. PPD is scary. It is horrid. It is dark. It does not discriminate. It terrifies many stay-at-home moms, too. Nonetheless, it was leaving my little baby daily that sent me spiraling. Oddly, I was depressed and even anxious on the days that I did spend with him. It was unnerving to know that it was fleeting.

Staying at home or even changing my work schedule was not an option. Period. What changed? My acceptance. My attitude. I had to look for the positives, as badly as I did not want to. I learned that in that moment in time I would not have made a very good stay-at-home mom. I would not have appreciated or valued that time. I was such a nervous first-time mom.

I also had to appreciate the differences between myself and moms that worked part time. I had to realize that many of them were even more torn than I was. They felt like they were supposed to stay at home and work, too.

Eventually, I accepted that I was providing so much in so many ways to my child and my husband. During that very dark year of making and finding my peace, I came away with a few observations.

  • Counseling may not be able to change your situation, but it can help you reach acceptance.
  • Medication is okay and sometimes necessary. It’s also a faster and less painful road to recovery.
  • Balance can be achieved without medication but may take a long time.
  • Working mom forums are a great way to find companionship and share frustrations.
  • PPD can easily be serious. Seek help.
  • Know the power of your attitude. Look for the advantages of being a working mother.
  • Find ways to be happy for your children. They should not have to deal with displaced emotions.

If you ever find yourself struggling with depression, please know that others have been there. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need.

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

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Get some sleep!

Does your child get enough sleep? Do you? Many kids don’t get enough sleep, and it most certainly affects their behavior. As our kids get older, they need less sleep, and sometimes it’s easy to skip naps here and there when we want to be out having fun.

Does your child get enough sleep?

Here are some signs your child isn’t getting enough sleep:

  • He throws fits over insignificant events. Any little thing will send him over the edge.
  • His behavior is characteristically poor an hour or two before bed.
  • He wakes up in bad mood. (This is huge!)
  • He’d rather lie on the couch and watch TV than go outside to play.
  • He seems hyper before bed.
  • It takes him a long time to settle down for bed and naps.
  • It seems like he’s constantly trying to catch up on sleep.

Making sure our kids get enough sleep is one of the easiest and most important things we can do to ensure good behavior. Stay home for naps. Get him in bed early. Give him the gift of sleep. Your social life can wait a year or two.

Do you get enough sleep?

Sleep is just as important for mom and dad as it is for the child. I know first-hand how easy it is to stay up late to have some alone time while the kids are asleep. But when we don’t get enough sleep, we are much more likely to lose patience with our children. When we are well rested, we can react calmly and with authority when they misbehave. Plus, we are much more available to our kids when we have had enough sleep.

Here are some signs that you need more sleep:

  • You feel like you’re disciplining your child all day long. (Every little thing seems like a huge behavior issue.)
  • You know you should react calmly but can’t seem to manage your anger and frustration.
  • You feel like all your child does is need, need, need, want, want, want.
  • You know you should spend more time playing with your child, but you just don’t have the energy.
  • You realize you went through the day barely talking to your child.
  • All you want to do when you have a break from your child is rest.
  • You argue with your spouse about who gets to sleep in.

Now, if you’re up all night with a newborn and up all day with a toddler, you don’t have much opportunity to sleep. Just be aware of your need for sleep. Take a nap when you can and try your hardest to be more patient with your little ones.

But if your kids sleep through the night, you have no excuse. Allow yourself some “me” time, but don’t lose track of time. Go to bed and get up at a reasonable hour and you’ll all be better off.

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Filed under discipline, parenting, prevention

FTO Fundamentals: Without complaint

In my last two posts, I discussed the importance of your children coming immediately and completely when you call their names. Now we’ll discuss the issue of attitude. In many ways, making sure your child’s heart is in the right place is much more important than the mechanics of them coming completely and immediately. We want them to submit to our authority without complaint and without challenge.

Challenging your authority

For effective first-time obedience, your child must respond to you without challenging your authority as a parent. There are some subtle and not-so-subtle ways that children challenge our authority:

  • They say “yes, mommy” with a smart, sarcastic tone.
  • They mimic you.
  • They say anything but “yes, mommy” such as “what?”
  • They say nothing.
  • They say “yes, mommy” so quietly you can’t hear them.
  • They say “yes, mommy” appropriately but don’t give you eye contact.

In all of these examples, the child is refusing to submit to your authority. Do not allow your child to respond in this way. Make him repeat with the appropriate response and if he still refuses, send him to his bed to sit in isolation.

Complaining

There are some people in life who are more prone to complaining than others. I’ll admit that I’m one of them. But I’ll also admit that whining and complaining are done in habit. I’m starting to see it a bit more in my son. When I give an instruction or have to deny one of his many requests, I’ll often get a “but mom…” or “but why…” or “I was just…. If I don’t nip it in the bud, he’ll go on like that for several minutes.

Complaining doesn’t always mean they are challenging our authority, but it is definitely a habit we want to discourage. Even if the child doesn’t like what you have to say, they don’t have a choice in obeying. This is what first-time obedience is about. They must obey whether they want to or not.

So evaluate your child’s attitude when you strive for first-time obedience. Don’t forget that much of parenting is training our children’s hearts and that their outward attitude is the window to their hearts. If you do nothing else in your parenting, make sure your child has a submissive and obedient heart.

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FTO Fundamentals: Completely

In my last post, I discussed the three fundamentals of first-time obedience training. They are immediately, completely and without challenge or complaint. The first, which I discussed before, is having your child respond to the call of his name immediately. Today, we’ll discuss the “completely” component of FTO training.

The requirements for you are the same as they are for getting immediate FTO:

1)    You call your child’s name (call him only once and say nothing more)
2)    You wait
3)    You expect him to respond with “yes, mommy” and give you eye contact

In addition to making sure your child responds immediately, you must make sure he responds completely.

To come or not to come

In the Mom’s Notes, Carla Link says that your child should come to you when you call his name but that the need for it varies by age.

“For an older child, completely means that she responds “yes mom” with a cheerful spirit, and she promptly comes to find out why I called her in the first place. We strongly suggest that you do not accept anything less from your child!” (Understanding First-Time Obedience, Mom’s Notes).

If you have a preschooler or younger, your child is likely in the room with you at all times during waking hours (except for roomtime). If not, I recommend you stay near your child more often. If you are in the same room as your child when you call his name, then getting your “yes, mommy” and eye contact are probably enough. If you need to give a lengthy instruction, then ask your child to come to you.

If your child is older (6+) or for some other reason is in another room when you call, then you might want to get into the habit of having him come to you when you call. But note that I don’t recommend you call from another room when you first begin your FTO training. Be near him when you call so you can be absolutely sure that he hears you.

Whichever route you go, whether you require him to come to you or not, make sure your child understands your requirement. If you do require that he come to you, perhaps you have him put a hand on your knee to indicate that he is responding completely.

How “completely” plays out in everyday life

As I mentioned in my previous post, if you work on FTO training regularly, its benefits will extend into your everyday life. As with getting an immediate response in your first-time obedience training, you must make sure your child responds completely.

Here are a few examples of how a child might not be responding completely:

  • You tell your child to put the book on the bookshelf, and he sets it on the table next to it.
  • You tell your child to stop the nasty attitude, and he stops talking but makes sassy faces.
  • You tell your child to stop running in the house, and he starts skipping instead.

Each of these examples is a subtle form of disobedience, but it is disobedience nonetheless. When you get incomplete obedience like this, there are usually heart issues that you need to address. You are missing that all-important attitude of submission.

How to discipline for incomplete obedience

If you are getting incomplete obedience such as in the examples above, I recommend you really focus on your FTO training. Spend a solid 4-5 days at home and make it your focus. Call your child’s name and require your “yes mommy” and eye contact 30 times a day. (No, I’m not exaggerating.)

If you are dealing with an attitude problem, do NOT accept it. Whether your child makes nasty faces at you or starts skipping instead of running, discipline him immediately. Even if your child puts the book next to the bookcase, he knows he is disobeying. In either example, I would have him sit on his bed until he shows a submissive heart. See my posts on Timeout Tips and Timeouts the Ezzo Way for more on this.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the final component of FTO which is responding without challenge or complaint.

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Timeout tips

In my last post, I compared the cultural perception of timeouts with timeouts the Ezzo way. Here I’ll offer some tips on how to implement this form of timeout.

Briefly, here is what you don’t want to do:

  • Have him sit for the sake of sitting
  • Have him sit in or near the main area of the house
  • Chase after him to make him sit when he won’t
  • Issue a set time limit of one minute per year of age
  • Tell your child what he did wrong
  • Require a simple “sorry” by way of apology
  • Ignore the state of the child’s heart
  • Give hugs and kisses and assume all is right

When you do timeouts the Ezzo way, you want to:

  • Isolate him by sending him to his room or some other spot away from the main activity of the house
  • Seek a happy and repentant heart
  • Determine the length of the time out based on how long it takes for your child’s heart to be in the right place
  • Allow your child to determine how long he needs to sit
  • Rely on first-time obedience to keep your child in his timeout
  • Have your child tell you want he did wrong, not the other way around
  • Have your child offer a sincere apology
  • Have him apologize to others he offended or have him right the wrong in some other way
  • Follow these tips whether you’re at home or at the store, a friend’s house, in the car, at the park, etc.

Putting these ideas into practice will vary depending on your child’s age. Here is how timeouts work in my home:

My 5-year-old

When William does something wrong, I will immediately send him to his room to sit on his bed. I don’t issue warnings (he’s old enough to know what he’s doing), yell or repeat myself. He’s not allowed to do anything while sitting (play with a toy, read a book or listen to music). If he goes reluctantly, that’s my indication that I will likely need to set a time limit, and I will tell him he will sit twice as long if he doesn’t go right away. I don’t chase after him, drag him by the hand or even follow him upstairs. (Here is where all your work in achieving first-time obedience pays off.)

While he’s sitting, I will walk by his room or peek in on him with the video monitor to check the look on his face. If he’s still angry, I’ll keep him there. If he seems peaceful and ready to repent, I will go in to talk to him.

When I talk to him, I don’t tell him what he did wrong. I have him look me in the eye and tell me. At five years old, he knows what he did wrong. There are times when he won’t look me in the eye, or he will say he doesn’t know or that he forgets. When I hear this, I will walk away and tell him I will come back when he can tell me what he did wrong. I know he knows. When this happens, it’s usually something serious that he did that he really doesn’t want to own up to or say out loud.

When he’s ready and willing to tell me what he did wrong, I will ask him why it was wrong. This is where your moral training pays off. You want a true reason. Something along the lines of “I disrespected you” or “My unkindness hurts my brother’s feelings” is acceptable. You need more than just “It’s wrong” or “It’s bad.”

When I can tell that he’s sincerely repented his actions and knows why they were wrong, we will talk about what he can do to make it right. Usually, this involves looking me in the eye and saying, “I’m sorry for ____.” If he hurt his brother, I will require him to offer his brother a sincere apology while looking him in the eye. There is more to this idea of restoration, which I will discuss in a future post.

Once he has apologized, I will offer my forgiveness by giving him a hug. This allows us to wipe the slate clean and not hold any grudges, which is a huge motivation in disciplining your child.

My 2-year-old

Timeouts are very different for Lucas, who is just 2. His timeouts happen in his crib upstairs or in the playpen we have set up downstairs. When he is old enough to be out of a crib, we will start having timeouts on his bed. Obviously, first-time obedience is not as much of a concern here because I simply pick him up and put him in.

With Lucas, I react just as quickly and swiftly as I do with William. Again, he knows what he did wrong. His offenses are different, but if he deserves a timeout, it means he knows better.

I won’t set a time limit for Lucas either. I will peek in on him or check the video monitor to see the look on his face. With Lucas, I can often check the status of his heart just by listening to him. If he’s crying or screaming, he’s not giving me a happy and repentant heart. In this case, I will go to him the minute he quiets down.

As I get ready to discuss his offense, I double-check his heart. When I bend down to look him in the eye, he will either look me in the eye or he will turn away or even lie down in the crib. If he looks me in the eye, I know he’s ready. If he turns away, I know he needs more time. If this is the case, I will walk away, telling him I will come back when he’s happy.

Since Lucas isn’t very verbal, I will tell him what he did wrong and why it was wrong. I will ask him if what he did was wrong, expecting him to nod his head. I will ask him if he understands, upon which I always get a “yes, mommy.” I will then tell him to tell me he’s sorry, which he says in his own toddler way. If there is more that needs to be done (like pick up the food he threw on the floor or tell his brother he’s sorry), I have him do that as soon as I take him out of the crib. (Again, here’s where your work on first-time obedience pays off.) Then we do hugs and kisses.

As you can imagine, getting his heart in the right place is what’s most important for Lucas. There is less to discuss simply because he’s not as verbal as William. The discussion is more one-way, which is fine. As he gets older, I will require him to tell me what he did wrong, why it was wrong and make it right.

To conclude, make sure you follow every step of the timeout process to ensure your child learns from it. If his behaviors aren’t improving, it’s possible you’re missing a step and need to reevaluate your timeouts. Above all, stay calm. Your child will obey and respect you more readily if you react swiftly and calmly. And don’t forget those hugs and kisses. Your child needs to know that you love and forgive him and that the end of a timeout means a fresh start.

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Supernanny timeout

Supernanny's Timeout Technique

In case you haven’t seen the show, here’s a clip from Supernanny that shows her timeout methods. Ignore the horrible audio. But make note of the father chasing the child down and telling her what she did wrong and how it was “naughty.” Note the child’s utter defiance, kicking her dad and with her hands over her ears. And take a look at the girl’s face when the timeout is over. It’s as if she’s surprised that it was over and that’s all it took. Now, I’m not saying to “use the belt” as this father would have, but there are definitely a few things you can do differently.

I do agree with Supernanny about the importance of staying calm. But the Ezzos would have us require the child to tell us what they did wrong and why it was wrong. And we certainly shouldn’t accept a cursory response of “It was naughty.” Most of all, we need our children to show a happy and repentant heart, which I don’t see in this little girl. I’ll discuss this in greater depth in a few days.

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