Tag Archive | parenting

When Mom Gets Homeschooled

When Mom Gets Homeschooled

In my last article I looked at our cycles of self-doubt that will often hinder us. I wrote that article over two months ago, and God saw fit to make sure I had learned the lesson well. As He has often done in the last nine years (since I’ve become a parent) he used my children to teach me.

Through certain events, and sermons, and admonitions from concerned individuals (my husband), it was becoming increasingly obvious that there were some serious gaps in my parenting style and disciplinary practices with my kids. Some very bad habits were taking root in the hearts of my children and it was a direct result of my disciplinary style. My disciplinary style was based on emotion. If I was angry I might discipline you, but if I was in a really good mood you can get away with murder. As a result of it being based on emotion it was very inconsistent, because as we all know our emotions are very inconsistent.

The reason I had never set consistent rules with consistent consequences for my kids was ENTIRELY because of self-doubt. (If you have not read the article on self-doubt please do.) I doubted my ability to make the right choices for my kids, to set the right rules, to point them in the right path. That self-doubt led to a complete sense of apathy and helplessness resulting often in no discipline or threats.

There are a lot of details involved in parenting and those details confuse and scare me, because I am often convinced that one wrong move will turn them into Charles Manson. So as a result of that fear I would do nothing. However, through the encouraging words of good friends, I finally got a hold of a truth and that is this: Even if I cannot figure EVERYTHING out today I must pinpoint a few standards that I can confidently cling to. I was trying to look at the entire parenting experience as one giant mountain that I must conquer. That is not how parenting works. It is one moment at a time, one child at a time, one experience at a time, but there must be some underlying standards that never change and hopefully can be used to help direct the detailed decisions of the moment.

I know this may all seem very elementary to any of the “super moms” out there, who always stick your carefully outlined rules and schedules and who don’t have to make multiple ER visits in one week ;o) But I realized a long time ago, that I am not a super mom. I’m a very confused, nervous mom who wants to do this thing right so badly that sometimes the weight of that responsibility knocks me right on my butt, and I lock myself in the bathroom and cry for an hour. You see my kids are not accessories to me. My kids are not playthings. My kids are not consequences of a “no birth control policy.” My kids are not obstacles that stand in the way of what I am REALLY wanting to do. My kids are really, literally, completely my life and career. And I really, literally and completely feel responsible for what kind of people they turn out to be. And that is a huge frightening job if you are really taking it seriously.

So, after a very educational conversation the other night with several folks I love and admire and who know how to balance criticism with sincere edification, the Lord helped me outline four very simple little standards that I have begun using to guide my disciplinary action. Consistency being the key. The other morning my children woke up and each of them found a copy of this pinned beside their bed:

  1. I will respect my mother
  2. I will always obey quickly
  3. I will be kind and loving to everyone in my family
  4. I will not jump on the furniture

 

Now that fourth one may seem odd, but if you know my kids you understand that this is a HUGE issue for us, so don’t judge.

 

The consistency of consequences is showing an effect as well. I was very encouraged yesterday when my three year old began to stick her tongue out at me and then quickly covered her mouth with her own hand left the room! My husband pointed out to me yesterday as well that all the kids were answering me with “yes ma’am” when I gave an instruction, rather than a high pitched, whiny “WHY?” which had been the default response to everything I say to them.

 

So I am feeling really encouraged and confident this morning and desire your sincere prayers that I will simply be consistent and fight my own evil laziness (this article was supposed to be about laziness, hopefully next time.)

Books For Our Spirit


Today I want to share a book with you that had a huge impact on me as a new mother. “Susanna Mother of The Wesleys” by Rebecca Lamar Harmon. I can’t remember exactly where I got this book, I believe my dad ordered it for me when he owned a Christian book business. Many Christians are familiar with John and Charles Wesley, but few are as familiar with their amazing mother Susanna. This book explores Susanna’s life and the tremendous impact she had on her HUGE brood of children, most significantly on John and Charles who were so instrumental in the great revivals of England and colonial America. Harmon has used a lot of personal letters between Susanna and her famous sons to illustrate how influential she was in their walk with Christ. I was especially touched with how strong Susanna was in the face of tremendous tragedy throughout her life. A great lesson in being a “joyful mother of children.”

Night, Night, Sleep Tight!

Read Proverbs 3:23-24

Most mothers, most parents, have experienced the night time interruptions of frightened children. The insistent poke in the shoulder accompanied with, “Mommy, Mommy! Can I sleep with you?” Bad dreams and strange noises send most kids running for their parents’ bed. My youngest son, who seems to have particularly vivid dreams, has often come to me in the night physically trembling with fear, with no more explanation than just, “I’m scared!”

After eight and half years of sleep interruptions, I’ve learned the quickest way back to sleep is to simply scoot over (thank God for king sized beds) and cuddle the little guy (or girl) up. What has not ceased to amaze me though, is the instant change that comes over a little person when taken into their parents’ bed. My son who moments before was trembling, heart racing and on the verge of tears, will immediately relax, melting into the warmth of Mommy and within minutes fall fast asleep.

Why does our presence create such a transformation in our children when they are frightened? Is it because we are bigger and stronger? I’m sure that has something to do with it. But not just any bigger, stronger person would do in the middle of the night, would they?  There is something more. It is the solid, unshakeable conviction (though the child scarcely understands it themselves) that this bigger, stronger person loves me beyond all limits and will do everything in their power to protect me from anything threatening me.

How much more solid a conviction can we have in our Heavenly Father’s ability to protect us and make it all better? We do not have to remain in the dark, trembling in fear of what lies in the shadows of our lives. We do not have to face the dark nights alone. Our Father waits to wrap us in His arms, and let all the fear melt away. He wishes to cuddle us up until peace pervades our souls, just like the peace sweeping over a frightened child once he reaches his mother’s side.

Are you frightened or troubled by some shadowy phantom today? Not a boogey  man under the bed, but a marriage that just isn’t clicking, or money problems with no solution in sight, or loneliness, or disappointment or any number of grown up “boogey men” that just won’t go away? Don’t sit in the dark frightened and alone. Take it to your Father in prayer; leave it in His all-powerful hands. Let your sleep be sweet again.