Archive for January, 2008

Theory of Discipline

There are untold numbers of books on the subject of discipline and no end to the variety of opinions. As for me, in theory, I am completely against spanking of any kind (even hitting on the hand, which I have done a few times) and all for raising kids with grace. This does not mean that I am permissive, but it basically follows the thought that I am under the new covenant in Christ’s blood (not under law) where God lavishes His grace on me in love. So, in turn I love those around me and treat them – including my children – with the grace that overflows from God.

Therefore, in theory, I respectfully offer reasonable choices to my kids that are appropriate to their level (as God does to me) and when they make a poor decision or blatantly disobey one of the house rules (to come in another post), I allow the natural consequences (when safe, even if upsetting) or logical consequences (appropriate to the problem) to teach the lesson (just as God does for me).

At times, I will have to discipline, in love, for my children’s best – even though it may be inconvenient or difficult or painful for me. I cannot see how spanking would be for my children’s best, as it wouldn’t teach them what is right only punish them for what was wrong. With grace as the foundation, Christ already died for my sins and theirs, so punishment is not needed – He took it all on the cross.

Training in righteousness, ie. helping my children learn to choose what is right in all situations at all times, whether that be sharing toys with others or speaking with respect or not having fits of rage when things don’t go as they hoped, also teaching what behaviors are socially acceptable, like wearing shirt and shoes in the store or having good manners, or protecting their safety are the goals in discipling my children. Along those lines, the Bible is useful for training in righteousness and teaching and correcting, so memorizing verses with signs and songs or just on their own is probably my first priority.

Also, being proactive is essential with grace. I can’t just wait until things get out of hand, I have to anticipate what might happen and try to keep the environment safe and secure for my kids. I need to think about what I say and when there is a problem on the horizon, I need to stop and immediately address it before the problem happens. This doesn’t mean that I don’t allow my children to solve their own problems, but that I am paying attention and when they are headed for something beyond their abilities, I help just enough. I really believe that it is important for kids to learn from the experiences, just like we adults do, so that sometimes means getting disappointed or failing. What I’m talking about would be times when discipline might be necessary and gently stepping in to help prevent that.

Here’s an example of Active or Proactive Parenting: Eila is taking cushions off so she can jump on the couch (which is a common and acceptable practice in our house), but Josiah is eating and starts getting down with his food. So, I quickly stop him and tell him that he can eat at the table or he can jump on the couch. He puts his food down and scurries away to safely jump on the couch. Discipline (being taken off the couch) was averted because he wasn’t jumping on the couch with food.

I could go on and on, obviously as this post is already far too long! Basically, I really like the grace-based approach to discipline. If you’d like to read more, here are some good resources that I’ve found:
Arm of Love family fellowship has a lot of great articles and has been really helpful for me.
I loved the book Grace-Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel and Clay Clarkson’s book Heartfelt Discipline is next on my list to read.
Gentle Christian Mothers

I’ll try to follow up with more practical info, but the whole theory of grace-based parenting is that we, as parents, are living each moment in the grace of God and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, so He will give us the wisdom and know-how as we seek Him for it!

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Friday’s Feast

What is your favorite beverage?

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
A large box of papers, picture of Josiah, several kid’s books

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
I’d change Phoenix to Fenix for ease of spelling.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?
Whining stresses me. Talking (with God, friends, husband, anyone who listens) calms me.


Bye Bye Pacifier

Eila’s third birthday was last week and she started ballet last Saturday since she is three years old now and a big girl. Part of the requirement of turning three and taking ballet was to give her pacifiers to a little baby who needed them, and so she did. I won’t say it has been easy, but it has been done. She is going to sleep mostly on her own and only wakes up a few times with a little moaning and crying. The only real change that came with this was that she is now sleeping in the pack and play (in the middle of their already very small and crowded room) because she just isn’t quite ready to fully be a big girl, yet.

It was our intention to get rid of Josiah’s pacifiers at the same time, but as they were waking each other up at different times, we decided that we’d let Eila adjust to breaking the habit before we force it on Josiah, who should take it pretty easily after a few nights. Seeing as he has pneumonia now, though, I want to wait until he isn’t sleep deprived from coughing and difficulty breathing before throwing another wrench in there.


Friday’s Feast

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?

Michelle. No, but as a kid I wanted to change my name to something much shorter – I think I was just lazy…

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?

Probably bright silk colors for going out type of attire. This would assume I was creative and could sew, which are not the case.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?

I hate cleaning, that includes vacuuming, laundry, dishes, bathroom, dusting, mopping, sweeping, etc.

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

I am terrified of being abandoned by my husband – traced back to my dad leaving when I was 5 years old.

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.

I’m at the computer (go figure) and I can see the large box of papers next to me waiting to be filed, a cute french board book, and a map of Paris from 1615 that Brian and I bought on our honeymoon.


Cloth vs. Disposable

I feel like there should be more choices in diapering than just cloth or disposable. I know that there are some out there who don’t diaper at all, but that isn’t really a diapering choice although in some ways I can understand the idea of not training a kid to go in a diaper only to untrain them later. It’s the Baby Whisperer‘s mantra of: Start as you intend to go on…

I can’t decide which diapering choice is better. I like the cloth because I feel like it must be more comfortable (when not wet) and lends itself to easier and quicker potty training. I also like the reduction in garbage as well as the cute designs offered in cloth. I didn’t know it before, but I really appreciate not having a scented diaper with cloth diapers. I don’t really like doing laundry at all, so cloth diapering only adds to this chore. I also feel a little bit badly for leaving Joe in his diaper far too long at times as it must be very uncomfortable all wet.

Pros in disposable diapers include being able to hold more liquid waste than anyone would imagine a diaper could possibly hold (but not solid…). So, I like being able to use only one diaper at night and how that diaper is relatively slim. I also like the small size of disposables for traveling and not having to bring them back with me. On the flip side, I can’t stand the smell of disposables and the cost is outrageous!

So, I cloth diaper mostly at home except overnight. When we are out and a diaper change is needed (rarely), I have disposables in the diaper bag, so that’s what I use. At home, Brian usually uses disposables. Since I’m often the one at home; the balance is toward cloth, for now.

I’m curious. What do you use? And why?

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Eila’s preschool curriculum has a large portion devoted to teaching her about stewardship. When I started looking at it, I really liked it but didn’t think it was so important to start with that principle when being kind and respectful are so lacking in the average preschooler. However, the more I think about the idea of stewardship and with what I’ve been learning as I teach her and study on my own, I realize that it is very important. In fact, it was one of the first commandments really. God told Adam and Eve to name the animals and care for them and the garden (and to be fruitful and subdue the earth) – that is what stewardship is all about – taking care of what God has given us.

Until recently, being a good steward for me meant being smart/thoughtful about how I spend money. It might include how I use the gifts God has given me, like organization skills to help out with needs at church along those lines, but it didn’t involve being environmentally conscious at all. Now, that seems like a tragic misunderstanding of this term as well as a horrid undervaluing of all that God has created and entrusted to us. I often thought that those who were interested in taking care of planet earth didn’t have their priorities right (and sometimes those folks do not, but it’s not for me to judge…) because they must care more about this world than the people in it or God. Lately, though, I am beginning to see that caring for God’s creation in nature is not separate from caring for God’s creation in people or loving Him, but really an extension of that and obedience and respect to Him.

I am glad that the preschool curriculum has stewardship has the first character trait being taught and learned. It is exciting to understand that stewardship conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care I still have a long way to go toward being a good steward (with money or anything else) and I’m taking little steps each week, sometimes being pushed into it and sometimes dragging others along.


Friday’s Feast (on Saturday)

Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.
Saving money and investing it wisely.

With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?
Bob the Tomato.

What time of day (or night) were you born?
I am not sure, but I think it was around 7am.

Main Course
Tell us something special about your hometown.
It used to be one of the safest places to live in the US (or at least Michigan).

If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?
My husband – a really long letter.