Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Friday, May 1, 2015

Good Books and Good Dishes

My brother Andrew, designed these, and I just love them. They are sold at Crate and Barrel, who contacted him after they saw some of his work on Facebook.  He is an artist and lives in Ireland with his wife and two little children.  I couldn't wait to buy them-it's just so neat.  I am a proponent of "do what you love".  My Abbey is planning on majoring in Fine Arts in college and has and will field the question, "But what you are going to DO with that degree?"  She will do what she loves passionately, and find a way to make a living from it-hard work, and financial sacrifice involved of course.  I am grateful to point out several examples of "do what you love" in my own family and Andy and Rose certainly fit that bill.

When it comes to good books, boy, I was on such a good roll.  And then I hit two bumps in the road with really really lame (best seller's list?  PLEASE, no way!) books that I finished (why?) but just rolled my eyes at and skimmed paragraphs towards the end, and thought, "Oh heck if this being on the best seller's list is a reflection of literary aptitude in our country, we are in trouble!" I will confess that as soon as I was finished with the last bad one, I threw it away in the garbage.  I felt it was my duty to not allow anyone else to kill their brain cells and fill their mind with ridiculousness by passing it on.

On to the good stuff...

My favorite ever, I read and reread, and every time, I cry at the stories and think how grateful I am that I live in this country.  I've turned down many corners of the stories that really strike a chord with me.  Some stories are just a long paragraph, others are a few pages long,they are divided by country.  I think this book should be a required read in every high school.  What generations before us went through to get to this country, the reasons they wanted to come, how they made it-hard hard work, close supportive family life, and a deep love and appreciation for the freedoms in this country-it is just a beautiful book that reminds of all of this, every time I read it.

"My parents were very happy. They never wanted to go back. They didn't always have a lot of money, they struggled. But everything here was paradise.  I lost a son two years ago, and my son always said that he worships his grandfather, my father. He was the most wonderful thing, to think that he had the foresight to come to America and that's how all of us felt. All us children, we always felt that way. No matter what hardships we go through here, you can complain about your presidents, it's still the best place in the world.-Esther Gidiwicz,emigrated in 1905 at age 5.

A friend whose son read this for a home school course, recommended it to me, and I loved it.  So much intelligence about mankind, and about education, and overcoming hardship.

"No, it was not luck.  Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work."

"I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him, and that this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done." 

(So easy as a parent to fall into a constant corrective habit, instead of acknowledgement and appreciation of all the good little things our children do every day-and when I remember to do that, those good things grow and grow.)

"I have found that the happiest people are those who do the most for others, and most miserable are those who do the least."  

Maybe I talked about this book already?  Beautiful, beautiful, piece of art.  Anthony Doerr is not just an author-he is an artist and words are his medium.  This will always be one of my favorite books.

I don't know how I came to buy this book, but I'm glad I did.  Miriam Grossman is not anonymous anymore-this is an old copy of her book.  It's eye-opening-she exposes the lies our teens and young adults-mostly women- are told about sexually transmitted diseases, "safe" sex, pregnancy, abortion, etc.-basically how our bodies and mind work as females. This book is not told from a political or religious bias, but straight up medical facts and her observations as a psychiatrist on a college campus led her to write this book.

Last but not least:

I describe this book as the Chinese version of "Unbroken"-just an incredible against-all-odds survival story where, just like in Unbroken, I thought, "How much more horror could one person live through?"  So so good and very intelligently written.  It makes me think of how much more I'd have learned about world history if I could have had the class taught, not from a boring textbook, but from reading memoirs and auto-biographies and even historical fiction.  This is another book I read that makes me feel so very patriotic and appreciative of our freedoms here.  I gleaned SO much from this book.

That's all folks.  If you have any good suggestions for me send them on!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Parenting With Grace-Book Study: Chapter Six

(Intro here, and Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five)
Everything in quotations can be directly attributed to the authors, unless otherwise noted.  These are my own very brief personal notes/interpretation/things I want to remember

Chapter Six: Parenting Your Toddler With Grace

More than any other stage but perhaps the adolescence, parents experience more intense positive and negative feelings toward their children.

The chief goals of self-donative parenting is to know your child's heart at each stage and age so that your child will come to your first for love, guidance and formation.

By being an attached parent in the infant years, you "poured" a foundation of trust in which to build love and responsibility.  Toddlerhood is the time for that foundation to "set up".

Infants whose attachment is secured have an easier time as toddlers-less belligerent, more peaceful.  

Fostering Healthy Will and Independence
1. Respect that the child's initiatives are not motivated out of destruction and evil, but God-given curiosity.

2. Nurture a way to stop inappropriate activity without child feeling constantly foiled and frustrated.

3. Discover ways to deal with toddler frustrations (tantrums sometimes) by recognizing that his will and initiative is greater then his communication skills and ability to deal with strong feelings.

Notes on Willfulness
Some parenting experts believe that infants are "inherently evil" and their will must be broken-by using means such as corporal punishment.

Catholics believe that the human will MUST BE RESPECTED.  We don not believe that the human will is "oppressed" by the devil.  We believe Jesus Christ raised humanity-the will must be channeled and trained by new disparaged and broken.

ex.  The same "no" that a toddler screams at a parent, needs to be properly cultivated to evolve into a no that one day, that older child will need to assert to others who try to lead her into drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, etc. You don't want to subvert that no.  Will must be respected!

Seven Great Tips For Parenting Toddlers With Grace

1. Be Aware of the Primary Mission of Toddlers 
Parenting with the Theology of the Body in mind, the primary mission of toddlers is to learn how to use their bodies in appropriate and respectful ways...acquiring mastery over limbs, bowels, language.

We need to encourage that mastery in healthy ways-with patience, gentleness, without yelling, losing temper or punishing mistakes!

All the other skills-emotional control, respect, obedience, etc. can come ONLY to the degree that the child has mastered his body and language.

Notes on Toilet Training
-should convey that the body is not something to be disgusted with, but rather something good that can be mastered. (Catholic Theology of the Body)
-book Toilet Training Without Tears by Dr. Charles Schaefer is good, also Dr. Sears methods.  (I've use this one, with my toddlers, my tips and thoughts here.)

2. Child-Proof!
It is unjust to take a child who because of his age has poor impulse control, and set him up for failure and punishment by dangling fascinating but forbidden fruit in front of him.

Don't smack hands!  That inhibits exploratory behavior, teaches hitting is OK, and ignores the development curiosity of the child!

Child-proofing the house (that means putting away knick-knacks, not just dealing with danger!) means less negativity dealing with the toddler (shouting No! constantly), but also less for us to clean, and more time with our toddlers.

3. Say "No Thank You"
From the day your child is born model the behavior you want to see!  Say "no thank you" when he/she does a behavior that is inappropriate (i.e. grabbing your nose to hard, biting while you are nursing, trying to feed the cat to the heat duct)-respond with a gentle but firm "No thank you!" while you interrupt the action.

You are modeling respect to a child who simply doesn't know better.  If you want politeness returned to you, you must model it first.

4. Give A Healthy Way To Express Autonomy and Initiative

Our children must be taught that the reason God gave us our body is it work for the good of others.

"Do By Self" often leads to tantrums and parental insanity when child can't find appropriate ways to assert his independence.

Our job is to find ways he can express this initiative appropriately.  Working-completing small jobs, feeling he can help while learning new skills is a healthy outlet for this initiative.

5. Use Redirection As Much As Possible
Instead of turning your house into the house of "no!"-toddlers yelling no's, parents yelling no's, use redirection.

Ask yourself  "What will my child be more interested in than the thing he or she is heading towards?"
Sales pitch is everything!

Always pair your "no thank you!" with a suggestion of what the child CAN do instead.

The tendency your toddler has to do what you just told him not to do is NOT an act of disobedience at this age, but a manifestation of your child's develomental inability to redirect himself or herself.

The complaint of using redirection is "I'll have to stay on top of him all the time"- That is an overstatement-you might get less done, but nothing is more important than teaching life lessons to your children.

6. Use "Do-Overs to Teach Self Mastery

For example, toddlers have a hard time "being gentle"-have them do over an activity in a gentle way.  "Please hand the toy, or touch your brother's cheek etc, gently."  Show them what that means.  SO much more effective than yelling "No!" and/or slapping a hand (which is not modeling gentle behavior at all.)

Encouraging gentle behavior will cultivate a gentle spirit in your child.

7. Educate Yourself About Gentle Tantrum Interventions

Two Types of Tantrums-Manipulative Tantrums tend to occur AFTER age five and Distress Tantrums, which can result at any age but are almost always the kind displayed in toddlerhood.

Manipulative tantrums occur when a child HAS the capacity for self-control but intentionally chooses to not use it as a conscious ply to wear out the parent.

Distress tantrums occur when a child's resources are OUTMATCHED by the child's environment.

Toddlers can become overwhelmed by frustration of knowing what they want to say/do, but are unable to get their body to do what their brain wants to do.

Put yourself in their place to fully understand-what if you knew what you wanted to say to someone, but couldn't get those words to come out of your mouth, or if you could visualize yourself doing certain activities with competence, but when you went to do them, your body would not cooperate.  Now imagine someone standing over you, saying, "Please stop.  Don't do that."  Frustration!  In toddler that frustration is often overwhelming and a distress tantrum can result.

Distress tantrums do lessen with age as abilities to speak and move body increase.

Dealing with Distress Tantrums:
This will depend on age

Remove your child from the environment and try to comfort him.  Hold him gently but firmly if you need to and show him how to take deep breaths to calm down.  Remind him to use his words and try to give him words if needed to talk him through his strong feelings.  Reassure him that he'll be OK and be calm yourself-staying calm helps stimulate the child's vagus nerve (nerve resents bodily mechanisms to pre-stress level) and teaches him to regain a sense of composure.

If holding child makes things dramatically worse, (usually this might be an older toddler), let him know he can rejoin family when he or she is calmer.  If this escalates things, it is usually because the child has worked himself into such a state that he has too much adrenaline running through his system.  He needs your help-take him to a quiet darker place, hold him or rock him, nurse him if still nursing, talk to him, sing to him.  Try a bath.  Usually toddler will fall asleep after this.  (Baths are miraculous!:)

After it's over with, instruct and rehearse how to handle similar problems in the future.

My notes:
 Here is a favorite article I just love titled "If I Could Only Offer One Piece of Advice to Young Mothers".  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parenting With Grace-Book Study: Chapter Five

(Intro here, and Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four)
Everything in quotations can be directly attributed to the authors, unless otherwise noted.  These are my own very brief personal notes/interpretation/things I want to remember

Part II
The Five Fabulous Phases of Childhood
Infant, Toddler, Early Childhood, School-aged, Teen


Some parents find a way to dislike every stage of their children's lives-infants are so "demanding", toddlers are "terrible", school-age kids "never do what I tell them to do", and teenagers...."don't even get me started."

We can do better, and should have higher expectations to enjoy each stage:
"we are empowered by grace to experience truly joyful, intimate relationships with our children; to find real meaning and fulfillment in their joy and heartaches inherent in parenting; to thank God every day for another opportunity to share both life and faith with our 'closest neighbors'-our children.

*Special section from authors briefly, there is no one way to parent, but these methods are offered as an invitation to enter a "fullness of family life".

Chapter Five 
Parenting Your Infant With Grace
-Point of self-donative parenting is to know your child's heart at every age and stage, so the child will come to you first for love, guidance, and formation.  This kind of intimate knowledge is called attachment.

-Attachment is established in infancy and toddlerhood.  To a parent of an infant and toddler this means:

"I am here to meet your needs.  You can count on me."

Three ways to foster this trust:
1. Staying physically close to your baby.
2. Responding promptly to cries.
3. Self-donative feeding.

Staying physically close:
-Babies are born "too early"-entrainment is the invisible but very real umbilical cord that exists between a mother and baby after the first year of birth-extraordinarily important for health and well-being of the infant.

-Toddlers hold their parents hands to learn to walk, babies use their mothers bodies to learn how to breathe and regulate systems properly.

-When a mother stays physically close, carries infant close to body, and sleeps close to infant, the babies body is "trained" (breathe properly, cope with stress and other systems) "sync up".

Benefits of Sleep-Sharing or at least Room-Sharing:
-Sleep-sharing is often frowned upon in American culture, but not for scientific reasons, more for philosophical reasons ("my mom didn't do that")...90% of babies around the globe sleep with an adult.  SIDS is most prevalent in Western cultures, where mothers don't sleep with babies.

-Sleep-sharing can be done safely (list of "rules" here.)

-Facilitates breastfeeding. 

-If don't feel comfortable with baby in bed there are many co-sleeper cribs that attach right to mom's bed, so baby can be responded to promptly.

What is "bonding"?  It is not just a warm-fuzzy psychological phenomenon, it is MUCH MORE-a physiological process also!  A baby needs security to develop as healthy and efficiently as possible.

"Babywearing"-Downloading the Music of Your Life:
-During pregnancy, baby was in security of mother's womb and perceived consistent rhythms of heart and respiration.  

-After birth, baby needs to continue to listen to same "music" from his mother.  In other arms that very young infant's music soundtrack would sound like it was "skipping"-the rhythm is off.  We can all tolerate "skipping" in short bursts, but for long period of times, it becomes stressful.

On "Crying It Out":

-Babies left alone to cry are experiencing a real trauma-the music has died.

"God didn't design babies to be alone, 
and their crying is a natural God-given response to this unnatural state."

-Many parents hear that the best thing for babies is to let them "cry it out" (at night or other times) to teach them independence.

-But that flies in the face of science and reason-independence can not develop if trust is not developed first.

-Trust is developed by attentively and generously responding to baby's cues.

Responding to baby's cues for feeding, sleeping, cuddling, playing and changing is the singe most important factor in laying the foundation for a proper parent-child relationship and good mental healthy for your baby.

-Whether to let baby cry it out has been a matter of debate between many parents, grandparents and moms and dads (and doctors!)

-But new developments in scientifically understanding baby's developing brains allow an assertion of definite answers-shouldn't be debate-able anymore!

(Great article on this science here.)

1. High levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) are found in systems of children who are left to cry it out.  If cortisol remains in system over long period, it damages brains ability to recover from stress.

2. Vagus nerve resets all body systems affected by stress-long-term exposure to cortisol damages vagus nerve and impairs body's ability to calm body after stress.  Physical comfort, affection, and affirmation (even in adults) stimulate the vagus nerve when human is crying and upset and helps the body get rid of cortisol more effectively.

3. Studies have shown that even when babies are forced to cry-it-out, they maintain high cortisol evels in their system for hours.

-Crying-it-out promotes learned helplessness' "When I cry, nothing happens, so why bother?" NOT  mentally, emotionally, or physically healthy for a baby.

"...if we believe that God's intention for human relationships is revealed in the design and function of the human body, than we cannot dispute what science tells us about how the practice of crying it out does serious violence to that design and how responding promptly to a baby's cries makes for a healthy baby."

" anticipating a child's needs through keeping him close, feeding him on request, and protecting the invisible umbilical cord that regulates bonding and neurological development, the child does not learn to cry-or at least does not cry as much-in order to get his needs met.  He learns to trust.  First in his parents...and then in God."

Breastfeeding Is Fascinating:
-Greatly benefits process of entrainment as nature intended.
-Babies who are breastfed tend to be more alert, because their bodies don't have to work so hard to digest formula.
-Mother's body will automatically produce antibodies to combat infection
-Breastfed babies are :
-60 percent less likely to develop ear-infections
-3 to 4 times less likely to have diarrheal diseases
-80 percent decreased risk of lower respiratory infection
-400 percent less likely to contract infections that lead to meningitis
-Recent studies indicate that breast milk combined with enzymes in baby's stomach creates a chemical that actually kills cancer cells! 

Nursing mothers:
-Risk of breast cancer is dramatically less.
-Improves bone strength.
-Burns up to 800 calories per day.
-Oxytocin "hormone of love" from mother's milk helps BOTH mother and child to feel sense of calmness, attachment and love.

Unfortunately, many American hospitals do not meet standard set by WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative (14,000 participate in the world, only 84 in the US!), which strongly endorse attachment parenting practices.  Poor education, lack of support, and psychological factors lead women to believe they "can't" breastfeed-a problem that hardly exists in the most impoverished, undernourished countries.  Most physicians have little if any training.  

Self-Donative Parenting: A Lifelong Relationship, NOT a Technique-they lay a foundation for a way of life.

Two smaller sections of this chapter (brief outline once again):
Self-Donative Fathering and the Infant
1. Take the initiative in baby care that you can do.  
2. Appreciate the differences that you bring to the table.
3. Dads are the number one prevention tool for post-partum depression.
4. Take charge of your relationship (be present to your wife as much as possible).
5. Pick up slack around the house during this intense time.

FAQ'S About Self-Donative Parenting in Infancy
(There are 12 questions...I am just going through the first three.)

1. "Won't We Spoil Kids If We Raise Them This Way?"
"Children are like fruit.  They spoil when they are left to sit."
"God is the one who created the infant to be wholly dependent upon its parents.  And God is the one who gives parents the resources to respond to those needs."
God created babies to be dependent, to be touched, to be fed with the food He created for them, Western culture is not supportive of this plan and we are paying the price for this.

2. "Won't Self-Donative Parenting Practices Inhibit Our Infant's Capacity for Independence?"
Children naturally want to be with their parents-not with other caregivers.  "When children feel like they are being pushed out the door, they tend to hold on that much harder.  It is secure attachment that allows a child to have the solid platform he needs in order to spring into the world."
True independence can NOT be given, it MUST be taken.

3. "We Don't Want To Be Manipulated by Our Baby"
Certain so-called Christian parenting authors warn parents against infant manipulation.
"The ability to manipulate requires intellect and conscious will and the completely dependent infant has little of either."
This thought of manipulation springs not from Christianity but for Jansenism.  One example of a Jansenist parenting author is the Ezzos of Babywise, who teaches that infants are inherently evil from birth and promote deprivation and corporal punishment.  It is an unscientific, uncharitable, un-Christian, warped view of children.  (For an in-depth evaluation of Ezzo go here.)
The infant has strong drives for hunger and physical affection-he has been given a voice to cry out for a reason-so that we meet his needs.

My extra note:
Besides all of Dr. Sears books, an excellent book (really, this is the manual that we should all be handed along with that baby! :) is called The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland.  It explains (in an easy format to read, apply and understand) the science behind infant, baby, and toddler needs.  It's fascinating and one of my favorite books.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Parenting With Grace-Book Study: Chapter Four

(Intro here, and Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three)
Everything in quotations can be directly attributed to the authors, unless otherwise noted.  These are my own very brief personal notes/interpretation/things I want to remember

Chapter Four: Mutiny on the Bounty! Corrective Discipline for Stormy Seas

The more consistently parents employ Everyday Discipline (see last chapter), the less they will ever have to use Corrective Discipline!!!

-Corrective discipline works best when there is good rapport between parent and child

Reserve these techniques for serious problems when simple relational discipline fails-they withdrawal more "currency" for emotional bank account.

(remember this is just my brief outline/notes, the book goes into more explanation and uses real-life examples)

1. Cool-Down Time 
(For occasions when emotions are beginning to run high in discussion between parent and child.)

-Not "time-out"-it isn't something you do to a child to get him to calm down, the intention is to help both parent and child regain control of yourselves and come up with respectful solution.

-Measure emotional temperature on scale 1-10, 1 being heavy tranquilizers, 4 being you as read book, 10 being you scaling clock tower with AK-47 on back.  Anything over 6.5=INEFFECTIVE problem-solving.

-Interrupt discussion, take a break, (this is not a punishment!), regain composure, and return to solve problem when calm.

2. Time-Outs
(To calm child down enough for him/her to be taught what to do.)

-A time-out does nothing, NOTHING, to change behavior on its own.

-The point of time-out is NOT to punish, but to give them opportunity to calm down enough "for you to teach them what to do."

-Should be used sparingly.

Steps of Proper, Effective, Time-Out: 
1. Select a safe place with no distraction.
2. Begin only when the child is quiet and calm-no back-and-forth arguing.
3. Use a time (one minute per year of age).
4. Most important step-child must do FOUR things:
-Tell you what he did wrong.
-Give sincere apology.
-Tell you what he should have done instead.
-Role-play the situation.  (Act out what he should have done.)

+If child cannot do this, start again (one minute per year of child.)

(More explanation in book.)

3. Logical Consequences
(Teach a child what to do, instead of simple correction.  Logical consequences are a short-circuit to enforce compliance.)

-Word "consequence" means "with order".

-Don't think -'what can I do to him/her to make him never do this again?' but 'what must my child do to clean up the mess (literally and figuratively) and learn what to do instead?'

-Effective Christian parent-Love the child, leave him to experience and overcome sad consequences of behavior, and give him opportunity to try again.

-A logical consequence is not something parent adds on to "tech my kid a lesson" but what child must do to
a. correct the immediate effects of action or choice
b. learn what to do instead
c. practice virtue he was lacking in first place

Examples (lots more in book):
-child who breaks something must practice responsibility by be given a way to fix it, replace it, or work off debt.

-a child who talks back disrespectfully must practice respect by restating himself respectfully.

-a child who does not complete homework/chores must practice self-discipline by being given structure that teaches him to manage time (must be required to complete chores/homework before eating, sleeping, playing, going anywhere.)

-Remember discipline requires justice-doing no more and less to effect the change -make sure consequence makes sense and are fair.

Three steps to compliance:
1. Tell child what request, limit, rule is.  (See previous chapter for posting clear rules.)
2. Tell child what consequence for not obeying is.
3. Leave him alone.  If child doesn't comply, let the consequence do the talking.

4. Positive Inventions
(when behavior is resistant to change get to the heart of the problem)

-Children sometimes misbehave because they don't know how to get needs met, or most important wants.

-Child lacks the skills to do anything different-if don't have skill to complete homework, teach healthy study skills, or gets in fights-teach how to resolve conflicts etc.
(book contains worksheet-what is child "getting out" of their behavior-maybe attention of parents, etc.)

5. Solution Focused Questions
(Ask ?'s to Find Solution to Problem)
-Take time to talk and listen-ask solution-focused questions instead of problem-focused questions.  i.e.-"How many times have I told you..." vs. "What can I do to help you remember?  Let's come up with a plan."

"Why doesn't he ever listen/do his homework?"  vs. "What is different about the times he fulfills his responsibilites?  How can we take advantage of that difference to increase his compliance?"

-Parents are figuring out (by conversation and observation) what is at the heart of the problem-find possibilities for better behavior such as-"on the days Johnny behaves better he eats less sugar, gets a full eight hours of sleep, does his homework immediately after school and Mom and Dad as opposed to a sitter supervises all of this."  "kids fight less when we get one on one time with them during the week" etc.

6. A New Twist on Grounding
(When child is abusing privilege or unable to resist peer pressure, grounding or restrictions can be opportunity to teach)

-Stop using grounding as "prison"-use it as acknowledgement that child needs to be "grounded" in love of the family.

-"Summer school" for developing life skills not serving time in family pokey.

-"You are obviously having a hard time handling the responsibility I am giving you.  I am going to spend the next few weeks working with you to learn how to handle yourself better."

-Then break down task into two to four steps to "ease" off grounding.  If child show competence each week, then child gets to portion of his privileges restored and then works on next step...until he has mastered development of skills.

7. Restricting Privileges
(Provides motivation for practicing a skill of virtue.)

-Suspending a privilege for a period of time will NOT magically produce good behavior.

-Privileges and cherished items (cell phones, toys, video games, etc.) should only be taken away if children are abusing those things, not as punishment for something else-remember-LOGICAL consequences.

-The passage of time should be determined by meeting the requirement that shows he is capable of displaying the qualities of virtues necessary to handle the object or privilege before getting it back.

-Give child several days to struggle, fail, learn and succeed before his progress is evaluated.

8. Token Economics
(Reinforce positive behavior and virtues.)

-Authors not huge fan of star charts and reward based systems because they tend to cultivate a "what's in it for me" attitude.

-They can be a good way to "catch children being good"-do it to build a virtue instead of just a specific behavior.

-Let reward be special time with you rather than a toy or privilege.

-This is good for 3 reasons:
1. Gives parent opportunity to reinforce good behavior (5 to 1 ratio!)
2. Practices virtues.
3. Leads child to closer relationship with parent.

9. Practicing
(When a child is capable of exhibiting a particular behavior but repeatedly chooses not to and is resistant to all other attempts to change behavior.)

-Technique should be used rarely, last resort method, try everything else first, should not be used in a spiteful way, but a positive way to practice desired behavior, expends a large amount of emotional "dollars", but has powerful effect on behavior.  Most effective 10 and under, but could be used with younger teens.

-Uses example of a boy who refused to get ready in timely manner in morning in spite of all other methods.
Mom decides to practice on Saturday morning, using a timer, she knew from observation that he could get ready in 20 minutes on good days.  Told him they were going to have a "getting-ready-for-school practice." He had to do it four times in a row in 20 minutes to be successful.  She acted like an excited coach, not a mean drill sergeant.

10. Physical Redirection
(Technique used with younger children to assure compliance and decrease arguing over certain tasks when all over methods fail.)

-Physically "help" the child do a task that he refuses to do-gently but firmly take his/her hands and guide them to pick up the blocks, put his clothes in dresser, etc.  Should be used super rarely.

-Not to be used in an aggressive or threatening way-you are going to lead the reluctant child through the task.  Ask him if he wants to do it on his own now, or if he wants you to lead him again.

Making A Change, An Exercise:
1. Identify behavior you want to change.
2. Have you addressed the problem by using everyday discipline? (Be consistent, and give it time.)
3. Circle the corrective-discipline techniques you think might help. (Those above.)
4. Write how you will specifically use these techniques.
5. Talk to your child about what you are gong to do...write your plan down.
6. Give it two weeks, being consistent.
"...good discipline is less about what you DO to a child to MAKE him behave than it is what you SHARE with a child that increases his desire to make a gift of his good behavior."

Books recommended:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Parenting With Grace-Book Study: Chapter Three

(Intro here, and Chapter One, Chapter Two)
Everything in quotations can be directly attributed to the authors, unless otherwise noted.  These are my own very brief personal notes/interpretation/things I want to remember

Chapter Three:-Tools of the Trade: Everyday Discipline That Makes a Difference

Everyday discipline is what keeps homes running smoothly vs. Corrective discipline (next chapter) which gets things back on track-if you use everyday discipline correctly and consistently the less you will have to use corrective discipline.

-Authors stress that every parent wants to know what they can do to their kids to make them behave, but this book is about "how to disciple your children through a loving relationship so that they actually want to behave."

-Nothing will "work" if you don't have a plan to help one another as a family become more virtuous-first three chapters most important!  (which is all about showing your love and giving your time!)

Everyday Discipline goals: strengthen relationship parents have with children, and proactively teach values and virtues

-They rank high on the self-donative scale.

-They teach us how to use ourselves as parents to nurture growth and change in our kids.

Four parenting "musts" represented by acronym: C.A.R.E.:

-If everything is negotiable, from homework to chores to bath time, you will be giving your children the chance to drive you insane with arguments.
-If consequences aren't enforced consistently they will never know when/if to take you seriously

Consistency is helped tremendously by:

ESTABLISHING FAIRLY REGULATED ROUTINES!   (I've been thinking so much about this lately  This is so important I think for every age, I only know that because it has kept me sane when I enforce it, and makes me bonkers when I'm not consistent (darn!) with it.  I think my generation has taken this for granted and have lost the art of routine which keeps the sanity of family life, especially the mother's!,  in tact.  It gives less chance for those arguments, rebellion, but why? whining I think.  It's so much harder to go back and reestablish than just to be consistent all the time!  Kids crave routines-they thrive in routine. 

i.e.-going to Mass as much as possible at the same time every week, Saturday chores every Saturday, getting homework finished after school every day, Sunday is always family day, etc. (and there are many etc.'s!)

 A=Acquire a Firm but Gentle Style

"You shouldn't hunt bunnies with an elephant gun".-address children's misdeeds in the least offensive, most respectful, but also most efficient manner.
"Good discipline is a balancing act."
(The book contains a quiz that lists traits of each style-firm and gentle.)

R=Remember Not To Lead Your Children into Temptation

-We need to understand, respect, and compensate for developmental abilities.
-Don't give them more than they can handle (i.e. a toddler in a room full of knick-knacks) then punish them for accepting the temptation invitation.  (I have found this to be a sanity lifesaver-we should have high expectations, but not completely unrealistic expectations also!)

E=Expect the Best from Yourself and Your Children

-We have a responsibility to expect our children to be the best they can be at each stage and age (keeping in mind what is developmentally appropriate)
-To parent well, we must parent deliberately

Useful Technique Ideas for Everyday Discipline
(remember this is just a brief outline, the book explain much better and uses real life examples)
1. Build Rapport
(Help children want to behave and respond quickly to correction)
-What previous chapter was all about.

-Physical affection is more attention getting than yelling...taking a younger child on lap and correcting him quietly or sitting down to a calm conversation with adolescent has much more power than yelling ever will.

-Uses an example of a mom of eleven who, every day, makes an intention of planning one small thing to do for each child (with her husbands help) to say, "I was thinking about you."

-Building relationship and rapport is not about being children's "buddy"-they will have plenty of those, it's about being a teacher-a wise, lovably affectionate, even fun teacher.

2. Write It Down
(Never repeat yourself again!)

-State clear parental expectations! 

-Uses example of a mom who was having a hard time with children who were constantly breaking house rules, mom spending too much time yelling and arguing with them. (Did they look in my windows? :) She realized that the younger kids didn't really know what the house rules were.

-Sit down with children, have a family meeting, review and write down rules on paper, sign names, and post on fridge.  (exs: speak respectfully, do house chores without being asked twice, food only in kitchen, etc.)  (I will add, have as few as possible, too many I think would be overwhelming and easily forgotten)

-Instead of constantly correcting children say "Please go look at the rules list."  or "Please go look at the list and tell me what you forgot"-for a routine/chore list.  Instead of having to nag and lecture they can figure out themselves.

-For little children use pictures instead of words!

3. Redirection
(Stop kids from returning to the thing you said no to!)

-It isn't enough to tell a child to stop doing something-suggest something else.  "If you want to use your outside voice, please go outside-or if you'd prefer not to go outside, what could you do that would let you use an inner voice?"

-Substitute this for yelling 'no!' again and again.

-Kids learn to channel their energy into productive, respectful, appropriate channels.

-There are times when you must say no period, but most times it's possible to find the context to do the thing the child wants to do or help child find something he would enjoy doing more.

-Takes more effort than yelling no, but teaches a child to practice internal control and make good choices.

4. Restating
(Stop disrespect in its track!)

"Child: "Give me that toy!"
Parent: "Let's try that again."
Child: "I want that!"
Parent: "How about, "May I have that, please?"
Child: "My I have that, please?"
Parent: "Thank you. Much better.""

-I remember reading about this in Linda and Richard Eyre's parenting books also-they said, "Start over again please", when the child/teen began request/answer with a disrespectful tone.  

-For whining someone taught me this gem-"I can't understand your words when you whine, can you please use your normal voice?"  Works wonders.

5. Do-Overs
(Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks!)
-Just like restating but action
-Ex. if child throws a toy at his brother, "please go pick that up and hand it gently to him. Thank you.  Now please say, "I'm sorry."

A good Do-Over has two steps:
1. Tell child what to do and how to do it (for younger ones show them what you mean.) ex. gently, more slowly, carefully.

2. Supervise till he fulfills request to your satisfaction, as many times as necessary (not being super picky, just sincere.)  Be gentle. Be firm.

-To change some behavior, you must have him practice the more appropriate alternative every time. 

-My note: for little ones especially, be pleased when they do it the right way, so they are encouraged to keep up change.

6. Choices
(Banish whining for good.)

-Extremely important to teach children they are responsible for the both the choices they make and the consequences of those choices.

Uses example:
"If you choose not to eat your meal, you will not have dessert."  "But I want dessert!"  "Then you should choose to eat your meal.  It's your decision."

-Use technique when it appears child is making poor behavior choices.
-It reminds child of the consequences he is facing, and he has complete power over the choices he makes and then consequences he experiences
-Helps increase internal control

You can say, "I'm very sorry you made this choice, if you are unhappy with your decision, please choose differently next time."

-Instead of consequences coming out of nowhere, this teaches that consequences are what they are, and a person has the power of choice to choose pleasant consequences.  This is the essence of internal control.  

-Teaches them that the power of their choices affect their happiness throughout life!

7. Reviewing/Rehearsing
(Stop having to correct the same behavior over and over again!)

-My notes: this has worked SO well for me when I remember to do it-something my smart mom told me

-Kids need to have review for clear understand of expectations of behavior especially in situation where they will be "tested" (i.e. friends house, Mass, wedding, ceremony, party, etc.)

-Practice if you have to-going out to eat-"restaurant manners", sitting still at library time, but it could also just be reminders  "I expect you to sit still and not talk, this is an important event", or, "I expect you to remember there is no running in the aisles, or you could hurt someone, or knock down boxes.", or "Remember when you open your gifts, thank each person, and never say, "I already have this!"...

8. Manage Transitions
(Prevent many tantrums and increase cheerful compliance!)

-Children have ability to get lost in their own worlds and do not do well moving from one thing into another without warning. (And either do adults!)

-By walking in on your children and saying "Time to go!", or "Time for bed!" or "Say goodbye to your friends!" is like the mental equivalent of tying a rope around your kid's neck and yanking really hard....a recipe for disaster.

-Give warnings!  Five minutes, two minutes, one minute reminders.

 9. Be a Supermodel
(Establish yourself as the expert in your child's eye!)

-The power and importance of modeling cannot be underestimated!

-If you want your child to be more polite, more respectful, more responsible, or more anything, you have to do it FIRST on a daily basis.  They see and hear and watch everything you do and say!

-If you kick toys out of the way, call someone an unkind name, sit around watching TV when you should be doing something else, talk in a nasty tone to your child,  remember! they are watching.

-We are not perfect, we all have slip-ups and mistakes, use these experiences as teaching moments about making choices and responsible ways to live life in general.

-The personality traits we most dislike in our children are often the same traits we despise in ourselves.

-"Partnering with your children to overcome shared flaws reinforces that each person in the family is responsible to help the others grow in holiness, and it respects the God-given authority you have over your children without neglecting the fact that you, too, are a child of God who struggles with imperfection."

10. Use Your Emotions
(Respectfully remind children that their actions affect your relationship with them.)

-It is OK to show our children grateful and approving feelings but also sad and angry feelings when they disappoint us.

-It is not inappropriate to show your angry, sad, hurt feelings to a child, if done sparingly and respectfully and intentionally-it can be important part of teaching child the relationship-consequences and also model emotional control.

-Remember ratio of at least five times as warm and affectionate as compared to "negative" emotions such as disappointment and anger.

11. Labeling
(Teach children the real meaning of specific virtues.)

-Make sure kids know what virtues mean in "real life".  What does responsibility or irresponsibility look like? 

-Use example of real life, example of others, TV programs, or movies, pointing out virtues as you see them.

-Cute idea for younger kids: write down virtues on stones, bingo chips, etc.  Put in jar and have child pull one out a day, that is the virtue for the day that everyone works hard at.

12. Rituals and Routines
(Give your child a strong sense of family identity.)

-So many studies show the incredible power of (simple!) family rituals and routines for well-behaved, mentally healthy families.

-Rituals and routines are like an "anti-biotic" that helps keep families safe and create peace, happiness and harmony.

-The more a family does together, the more a family will stay together and be happy about it-create a team

-Doesn't matter if all the children agree on an activity, just do them.  Walks, meals, games...

13. Storytelling
(Improve your child's capacity for insight and awareness.)

-I love the lesson of a good old-fashioned story!  We went to Mass during a Level 3 snow emergency the other weekend, and my kids were coming up with a million and one ways to get out of it, praying (ha!) that the church was closed, saying we'd be arrested, etc.  I remember my Uncle Joe telling me a story about my Grandpa making him and another uncle-his brother-walk to Mass one morning because the storm was so bad the roads were closed-for miles of course :). They thought they would get out of getting up early, but learned a lesson about obligation!  (Although my kids do roll their eyes a little when I start in on "back in my day..." it never stops me, and I could be wrong, but I think the kids like hearing them...and I and Jeff both like telling them.)

-Author's suggestions of good resources besides the Bible itself (especially Parables):Veggie Tales, The Nancy Rue series of historical fiction (4th grade to junior high read-alone level, but excellent for read-aloud), Gladys Hunt's classic books-Honey for a Child's Heart, Honey for a Teen's Heart. 

"..stable families with consistent rituals and routines, intentional discipline, and orderly, affectionate homes encourage children's brains to be very resilient to stress, generally happier, more intelligent, more peaceful, and more well-behaved."

"Parents too, as they become more experienced learn how to put away all the creative punishments, all the star charts, the token economics, the spanking, the bribing, the cajoling, and all the other more "techniquey" ways to "make" their children change, and become more skilled in how to use their relationship with a child to nurture change on a daily basis in the simple interactions of every moment.