Thursday, October 7, 2010
If you have young children, be assured that the decisions you make today in your parenting (to be in control or let the child be in control) have a huge impact on your child’s future behavior. Bad behavior does not change on its own. The child does not “grow out of it.” Look around at peers with kids older than yours. If these moms and dads began with this permissive, child-controlled parenting, have their children “outgrown” it and started to obey and respect for some odd reason?
Starting out with the boundaries established for your little one, with parents who truly believe their children were given to them to raise for God’s glory, makes a world of difference in every aspect of a child’s life. After all, if we genuinely believe that our children were given specifically to us to raise in a Christian manner for the Lord, we would never let our children be disrespectful, mean, hateful, etc. We would constantly have the awareness that I need to parent as the Lord would have me parent—and He would not want me to allow my child to grow up behaving like that.
We all want our children to be happy, of course. Unfortunately, the desire to have our children be “comfortable and happy” has trumped the desire to raise our children in a biblical, Christ-centered way, in many cases. This is sad because allowing our children to have their own way all the time is so counter-productive—and does not result in children who desire to please their parents, or eventually, to please other authorities, including God Himself.
I write about this so much because I want you to enjoy your kids, love parenting, develop good habits, and create a strong, Christian family. It starts right here. Our kids were never perfect. However, I can honestly say that this approach to parenting has made all the difference in our enjoyment of parenting—and even the enjoyment of our children, to a large extent. Our toddlers and preschoolers (even our strong-willed child, eventually!) were joys to us and everybody around them. (Most of the time!) It’s truly about having the proper person in control in the toddler years—and widening the boundaries (more on that to come in the next few days) as the child is ready. Oh, and tons of love, hugs, kisses, snuggles, stories, playtime, and more!
Tomorrow and beyond: benchmarks for knowing when the boundaries have been widened too much too soon, how to bring the boundaries back in, and “is it too late?”
Note: The scenarios in today and yesterday’s posts with eight, ten, and twelve month old children include controlling the child through holding him until his fit subsides, removing the child from the situation, and making the toddler stay in his crib until he quits screaming. We did not spank toddlers at those young ages; thus, we used these techniques to train the child to submit to our authority. Seldom would an eight month old make the connection between a spanking and screaming during nap time. We do not recommend spanking at those early ages.