Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Club | Childwise

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 we are looking at the first part of chapter 3, "Who's Running the Show?" We will take two weeks to go through this chapter.

Parents, let's get this authority thing understood right from the start. You have it. Use it. Don't be afraid of it.

Our society has changed so much in the last 50 years. We enjoy watching Leave It to Beaver in the evening with the kids (Addie has the theme song stuck in her head, and both kids "conduct" during the opening song) and it is amazing to see how different parenting and society's view of parenting was. Parents had the authority in the home. They were the authority in the home. And others respected the parent's authority over their children.

Now, if your child misbehaves in a public setting (where they instinctively know we are least likely to dole out correction), you have to be so careful about how you approach the situation, because someone might pull out their phone to record you as you parent your child. But those are the same people who will shake their heads and "tsk-tsk" if you do nothing about it.

We cannot be afraid to use the parental authority that God has given us. We muse be "gentle as doves and wise as serpents" as we deal with our children whether we be at home or in public, but we cannot allow fear to stop us from being the parents that our children need us to be.

For many people, authority has taken on a derogatory flavor. We almost feel like we have to apologize when we use it.

Have you ever felt like you were a bad parent for using the authority that we have as parents. I know I have. Because people look at your crying child and feel so sad for the poor little darling, and then their gaze turns to you and you feel all of the judgement behind their eyes being thrown at you like darts.

I have learned something. Look at their kids. Usually the ones who give you the hardest time about how you are raising your children are the ones who are having a difficult time with theirs because they chose not to use their parental authority over their children.

Parental authority is not a bad thing. It is absolutely necessary in order to maintain the balance between personal freedom, responsibility, and obligation.

Parental authority is necessary to officiate a child's morality. By your moral authority you bring about moral outcomes.

We are all born with a sin nature, a bent towards doing what is wrong. I'll bet you have never had to teach your child how to say "no" or throw a fit when he doesn't get his own way. Right now, we are teaching Ian that it is not okay to shriek when he doesn't get what he wants. We have to teach him right behavior. He learned the wrong behavior on his own. So many siblings naturally do not get along with each other. We had to teach Addie to love her brother (sometimes she loves him a little too much!). We need to use our parental authority in order to teach our children right moral behavior.

Parental authority represents your right to insist on conformity and compliance for the sake of your child and the benefit of the neighborhood.

Yes, personal choice plays a factor, but think of how many atrocities could have been avoided if parents had spent the time being parents and teaching and modeling right behavior in front of their children. Children need to be shown and told and taught what is socially acceptable behavior and what is not. Children need to be taught respect for others, proper behavior at church, in a restaurant or in someone else's home.

Have you heard of the restaurants that have posted signs that if a child is loud the family will be asked to leave? I am totally on board with that! It is a parent's responsibility to teach their children how to behave at the dinner table whether they are at home or at a restaurant. By the grace of God, we are able to go anywhere with our kids (4 and 1 year olds). And not only does Addie know what kind of behavior is expected of her, but she is helping to teach Ian what is expected of him. Yesterday, we took a trip to Publix, and the kids got to ride in the "car" shopping cart. Ian was having a blast and started getting excited and squealing. Addie turned to him and said, "Bud, you're being too loud." We have to remember that our little blessings need to also be a blessing in and to the society they live in, as well.

The most important thing about parental authority is that you could be moving toward using it less and less.

I am finding that with Addie, I am having to say "We don't....." less and less and "Addie, you were awesome!" more and more. It's a good thing, because we are having to start all over with Ian. :)


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