Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Club Thursday | Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours

We are reading through the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman.  All direct quotes are in bold type.

Sometimes you have to pull the rug out and let the little buzzards fall.

To pull out the rug is the key to making Reality Discipline work.

Dr. Leman gave the example of Paul, a little boy whose family lived on a farm.  Without getting his parent's permission, he bought two little pigs with his own money.  This was behavior that was typical of him.  In essence, he was telling his parents that he did not respect their authority in the home and he was going to do what he wanted with or without their permission.  The parents told him that he could not keep the pigs and had to get rid of them.  For two weeks, he made no effort to obey his parents' wishes.  Finally, Dr. Leman suggested to them that they get rid of the pigs for him. At first the parents did not want to because they felt bad that their son would lose out on the money he had spent in getting the pigs to begin with.  But they followed through.  Later, the went back to Dr. Leman and told him that by pulling the rug out from under him, Paul had learned a valuable lesson and his behavior in the home and towards them had changed.

(Parents) have heard that psychologists believe a child's psyche is so very fragile that we shouldn't hurt or upset the child in any way.  I agree with Ephesians 6:4.  We shouldn't frustrate our kids or "provoke them to wrath".  But to say that they are too delicate from discipline based on love and reality is foolish.

As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, children will constantly test their parents.  They don't test us out of pure orneriness; what they really want to know is whether or not we care.

When parents take the time to lovingly discipline their children, they are telling their children that they are loved and cared about.  These actions speak far louder than words.  Loving discipline takes time and we live in a world where children learn at a young age that time is valuable.  When we give them the time it takes to lovingly discipline them, our children see that Mom and Dad have given them one of their most valuable commodities.  That speaks volumes to them.

Dr. Leman goes into the area of spanking in this next section. Because he is the expert and I am not, I am only going to give you his take on this area.  I personally like his approach to spanking, and we prefer his view to others that we have heard of.

Yes, I believe that spanking does fit into my rug pulling philosophy.  But spanking has to be used in the appropriate situation.  As swat on the bottom can be a very good disciplinary measure for a young child in the two-to-seven-tear-old range when he is being absolutely willful and rebellious.

There is a right and wrong way to spank.  The key to spanking a child is being in control of your own emotions.  The second key to principle to apply when spanking is "follow-up time."  I believe that when you spank a child, you have an obligation to tell the child exactly why he has been spanked.  You have the further obligation to listen to the child, and immediately after the spanking may be a good time to talk about his feelings.

The key to follow up , however, is physical contact. Hold the child and talk to him about your feelings.  Explain why you were upset.  Explain what made you angry and and why it as necessary to spank.  And explain what you expect from the child in the future.

I believe that spanking is particularly helpful with young children when their safety is involved.

I like the advice by Larry Tomczak in his book God, the Rod, and Your Child's Bod.
  1. Make sure you see your children as God sees them.
  2. Cultivate a childlike attitude.
  3. Give your children direct eye contact.
  4. Physically express your love- hugs, kisses, sitting together, tousling hair, and tickling.
  5. Train yourself to be a good listener.
  6. Spend time together.
Love is an investment into our children.  Time is an investment.  Listening is an investment- especially when you have heard the same story, song, phrase or question repeated more times than you can count.  When you make investments into a bank, occasional withdrawals do not leave huge voids in the account.  When you invest love, time, and a listening ear into your children, occasional withdrawals (spanking, loving discipline) do not leave permanent voids in their lives and hearts.  Invest the time and effort now. It will pay off dividends in the end.

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