Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Club | Child Wise

We are reading through the book On Becoming Child Wise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. Any direct quotes are printed in bold type.

This week's chapter title is "Overcoming Fear". I think that has to be the perfect title for chapter one on any book on parenting. Because, truth be told, parenting can be a little frightening at times.

Are we doing everything right?
Are we raising our children in a way that we will have no regrets in the future?
Are we traumatizing our children in any way even though we think we am doing a great job?
Are we training our children so that when the time comes for them to choose, they will choose to follow Christ for themselves?

Many of our questions are based on assumptions that we have.

We rarely evaluate our assumptions, yet we are driven by them. Worse yet, our children become the victims of our assumptions.

We live in a world where children are deemed to have feelings and thought processes far more mature than they actually have.

We live in a world where phones have video cameras and we assume that if we correct our children in public that we are going to become the next video to viral on YouTube, so we may let our children do what they please in public and then let our fury fly behind closed doors.

We also assume that those same people are thinking to themselves, "Why can't that mother control her child?" when a meltdown happens.

Rather than letting these assumptions control our parenting, we need to evaluate our assumptions and consider if our assumptions are fear based or have a legitimate basis.

Modern parents tend to want to create good feelings in their children at all costs. Getting children to feel good out ranks getting them to behave appropriately in the various contexts of life.

I know first hand how easy it would be to just melt into the scenery in order for Addie to "feel good" and enjoy an activity rather than expecting her to obey. But I know that by giving in to her in a public setting undermines my authority as her mother. If I back down in public once, I will always have to back down. Because I did not give in to her fussing and crying (we actually got up and left the activity right in the middle and drove back home), we have never had this issue again.

"If my child cries, people will think I'm a bad parent." With our collective backs against the wall, we go into survival parenting.

I have been there.

Babies cry.

Plain and simple.

It takes a moment for Mom to figure out which cry this is in order to be able to care for her baby. But while she is trying to figure it out, if there are people around, they may ask, "Why is he/she crying?"

Right after my newly born Addie was brought to me after my C-section recovery time, she began to fuss and cry.

And then came the question, "Suzette, why is she crying?"

Keep in mind, other than the doctor bringing the baby around the sheet right after delivery for me to see, this was my first interaction with my daughter.

I felt like a horrible mother!

I didn't know why she was crying. I had just been handed this brand new person and I felt like it was assumed I knew everything about her because I had carried her for the last 9 months.

And that is when I found myself going into survival parenting. Doing whatever it took to keep my daughter from crying because apparently hearing a baby cry was not to be tolerated.

Now that I am four and a half years away from the situation, I can say why she may have been crying. She had been in this nice dark, warm, cozy atmosphere for nine months and suddenly she was in this freezing cold hospital wrapped up tighter than a burrito, handed to a woman who had yet to brush her teeth, and she was hungry.

Another time parents go into survival parenting mode is when we have to correct our children in a public place, and we know that we will get "the look" from those around us.

Don't be one of the ones who gives the look.

Don't be one of the ones to discuss the child, the parent, or the situation as the parent is dealing with it.

Don't be the one who causes a parent to go into survival parenting mode.

If you don't have kids yet, one day it could be you.

If you were a parent a long time ago, it is easy to forget the times that you had to go into survival parenting.

In this day and age especially, parents need our support to correctly and effectively parent their children. And they need to know that if their child cries due to their good parenting in not allowing disobedience and wrong behavior to continue, they are doing something right.

Our society is filled with grown-ups who as children cried to get what they wanted because they knew that Mommy and Daddy didn't want them to cry.

Personally, I am not thrilled with our society.

I have only covered half of chapter one. Oops! This post went a little longer than I had planned. Next week will cover other fears that parents have in parenting.


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