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Archive for July, 2008

Some people call it discipline, some call it child rearing, some call it parenting.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  No matter what you call it or how you go about it, every parent  has the same responsibility…..to train their children.  Our job as parents is to teach our children to be good citizens, to respect authority, to follow rules and laws, and to teach them acceptable social behavior.  As parents, we are accountable to society and ultimately to God for our child’s behavior.  This is a daunting task.  Every child is different, every family has different circumstances, every parent has different resources.

Grace was a VERY good and easy baby to care for.  She transitioned very easily to everything, most things she transitioned from before I even tried to transition her (nursing, table food, giving up bottles, binky’s, sleeping in her own room, etc.)  One of my friends told me that this is because Grace is strong willed.  “Strong Willed?”  I thought, she was going to be a very obedient child……well, my friend was right.  She has raised 3 strong willed children.  She told me that she could tell that Grace was strong willed because she was so easy and so good as a baby.  She started sleeping through the night when she was 5 weeks old, and when iit came time for her to sleep in her own bed, she didn’t have any problems transitioning, no problems using a cup, giving up her bottle and so many other transitions in life.  She told me that strong willed babies are easy to take care of until they are about 15 months and then you wake up one day and you don’t know who they are, their behavior changes drastically. 

When she was telling me this information, I thought to myself….”we’ll just see about that.”  Well the day came when Grace turned 15 months and she was still as sweet and as easy to care for as ever.  “See” I thought to myself, “she’s not strong willed, this is going to be a breeze.”  Then God laughed……a week after Grace turned 2, she was a different child.  Crying about EVERYTHING,  throwing a fit, wanting to do EVERYTHING herself and when things she wanted to do were not safe for her to do, and I wouldn’t let her do them, she SCREAMED her head off.  She’d take off running in public places and scare me to death.  She’d be sassy and then laugh about it…….”WHERE did this child come from?  This is not MY little Gracie.  What happened to my little sweetie?”  Some kids go through the 2’s stage when they’re 2, some when they’re 3, well Grace decided to go through the 2’s in FULL FORCE a week after her birthday.  She caught me totally off guard and I was at a loss for what to do.  She didn’t listen for one, so I could tell her to stop and she wouldn’t stop running. (She thought it was funny, well it was EMBARASSING to take her out in public is what it was.)  I had to figure out what to do and FAST.

After much prayer about her behavior, I came up with a few ideas, and most of them have helped us through this stage, so I hope that some of them will help you as you and your 2 year old go through this journey together. 

  • I had to find what works for Grace.  She is VERY social, so time outs work very well for her.  When she’s on a time out, she has to go sit on her bed with only her juice cup, and she has to stay on her bed until the timer rings (we set it for 2min,30 sec.  If she gets up before the timer rings, I reset the timer back to the original time and we start the time out over.)
  • When she’s done with her time out, she has to come out and apologize to whomever it was that she did something against.  Her friend, Grandma, Myself, etc.
  • I target a behavior to tame and we work on it until she gets it and then we move on to the next one that needs to be worked on.  I started doing this because when we first hit the 2’s, it was SO overwhelming, so I decided to choose my battles wisely, and what I found is that working on one behavior at a time works well for Grace and usually by working on that behavior, some of the other behaviors that aren’t so emergent go away too.
  • I use a positive parenting approach. I say “Grace can you please put this towel in the laundry for me?”  when she does it, I say “Thank you for being such a good helper!”  (If she tells me “No”, then I take her by the hand and make her do the task anyway.  Because of this reinforcement, she usually does it the first time that I ASK her to do it, again if she doesn’t do it after I ASK her to do it, I tell her to do it and assist her in doing the task.)
  • Instead of saying “stop jumping on the bed”  I say, “Grace, I need you to sit down for me.”  (so instead of giving her a negative command, I say it in a positive way and the end result is still the same, she stops jumping on the bed.  I just don’t want it to always be “stop this, don’t do that.” etc.
  • Our “Keyword” is “Obey”  I don’t say, you need to listen, you need to mind, etc.  I say “Grace, you need to obey mommy.”  By using the same word consistently, she knows that when I say that she needs to “Obey” that she needs to do it or there will be a consequence.
  • We also sing a song called “O-B-E-Y” to help her learn what it means to obey.
  • I also use losing priviledges when she doesn’t obey.  She likes gum now, so if she’s not listening and obeying, I tell her that if she doesn’t obey, she will need to spit her gum out.  She’s pretty quick to obey once tell her that she’ll have to spit her gum out if she’s not obeying.
  • I use rewards when she does obey.  Sometimes it’s a hug& kiss, high five, or a “Thank you for obeying mommy.  It makes mommy VERY happy when you obey.”

A few things that I’ve learned are:

Pick your battles, not everything is worth it, and at this age, not everything is an issue of obedience, some things are just because she’s a baby.  I’ve had to figure out how to seperate that out.  For example, she went through a phase not long ago where she’d take her pony tails out in the car.  I was getting very frustrated about it and then I realized that she’s not taking them out to be naughty, she’s being a baby, so now we wait to put her pony tails in her hair until we get where we’re going.

Be consistent.  If screaming= a time out this time, screaming has to =a time out EVERY time, other wise she’ll scream because she knows that it’s worth the risk because sometimes she doesn’t get in trouble for it.  If you’re consistent, the behavior will go away.

The punishment has to = the offense.  That means that if she’s picking her nose and I give her a time out for it but then when she’s screaming her head off, I let her scream and just leave the room, she will learn quickly that she’ll get in trouble for the little stuff and that she may or may not get in trouble for the big things, so she may as well push her limits and see what she can get away with.

If mom says it, IT’S THE LAW.  That means that if it comes out of my mouth, I HAVE to follow through with it whether it’s something positive or negative.  So, if I say that we’re going to the zoo……..we HAVE to go to the zoo, no if’s, ands, or buts.  I said it, we’re doing it.  Same thing if I say “Grace, stop screaming or I’ll turn off your movie.”  Once I say it, I HAVE to do it, so if she doesn’t stop screaming, I HAVE to follow through with what I said, and turn the movie off, otherwise she’ll do whatever she wants because she’ll know that I’m just giving her empty threats and that I wont’ turn her movie off.

In the end, YOU are the parent, the boss, and YOU are in charge.  You have to do what is best for you and your child.  Especially as a single parent, MANY people will give you their 2 cents about how you should raise and parent your child.  Remember that YOU are the one who accounts to God and to society for how your child is raised, you are not accountable to that person who approves or disapproves of your parenting methods.  You have to do what is right for your family and what works for your child.

WOW, it’s a lot of hard work being a parent.  I better head to bed so I have energy to be a great mom tomorrow!  I hope some of these ideas work for you.  Please share what you’ve found that works for your family!

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As moms, (single or not) we know it’s tough to find time for ourselves.  We’d all LOVE to spend a day at the spa, but if you’re like me, you’ve never even set foot in a spa, and you can’t afford it (or don’t want to spend your money that way.)  We give and give of ourselves.  We give 110% at work, at home, and in our communities (whether at your church or other organizations that you volunteer for, even if it’s bringing brownies for you t-ball team.) We concentrate on the demads of our boss, co-workers, and customers.  We focus on the needs of our children, we focus on how we can give back to our communities or those who support and encourage us.  If we’re not careful, we’ll burn ourselves out, cause health issues because we’re not getting enough rest and relaxation (Headaches, stomach aches, colds, flu,etc.)

For the longest time, I struggled with this area.  If I don’t spend time on me, then I’ll be too burnt out or too sick to focus on others, but if I spend time on myself, I don’t have time for others.  How do you balance everything?  I finally realized that finding time for myself is not as difficult as it sounds.  I never have large portions of time for “me time”, but I found that even if it’s 15 minutes a few times a week, it helps me feel better about myself, and have more energy to focus on the other people in my world.  Here are a few ideas for you to make finding time for yourself a reality.

  • Take a bubble bath, and then paint your toes 🙂 (one of my personal favorites.  I do this one once or twice a month.)
  • Read for 15 minutes before you go to bed.
  • Use your drive time as “Me Time”  During my drive time, I listen to CD’s of my favorite music, and relax on my way home.
  • Be where you are.  When you’re at work, don’t think about the challenges you have at home, focus on your job.  When you’re at home, DO NOT even think about work.  Focus on your family and making memories together.  (This one makes me a MUCH happier mom.  I don’t think about work until I get there at 8:00am and I stop thinking about it when I get in the car at 5pm…..I don’t even think about it on my way home, I relax and listen to my music.)
  • Turn off the TV.  This one sounds simple, but few people do it.   I found out that there’s so much more time in your day when you don’t watch TV.  We rarely watch TV in our house, there’s so much more to do in life!
  • Wake up 30 minutes or an hour earlier than your sweeties, drink your coffee on the back porch, and enjoy the start of the day.  (while this one sounds like fun to me, I’ve NEVER done this.  I don’t drink coffee, and I treasure every moment of sleep I can get, but maybe some day I’ll start waking up early 🙂 )
  • Stay up a half an hour or an hour later than your little ones. (another one of my favorites, I’m a night owl, so staying up later is no problem for me.)  Read, answer emails, write a letter, work on a project you’ve been wanting to do, paint your nails, listen to some music, exercise.

You don’t have to spend hours of time on yourself each week, but finding a few minutes here and there to re-energize yourself will help you reduce your stress, and be a better mom, employee, co-worker, and friend. 

What works best for you?

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I’m looking for blogs to add to my blogroll.  If you know of some great blogs that are an inspiration or encouragement to you, please let me know so I can add them as a resource for all of my readers, and if you would like to be added to my blogroll, please email me with your link at neverforsaked@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you’re having a great weekend!

-Beth

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Grace and I don’t have very much time together right now.  The only time that we really get to be together is from 6-10pm and that includes dinner, bath and getting ready for bed.  We’re also together all day Saturday and Sunday (my personal favorite days of the week…can you guess why? 🙂 ) So, I like to make every moment we’re together profitable.  When I’m not at work, we do EVERYTHING together and have lots of fun along the way.  Since children learn the majority of everything from their parent(s), I feel it’s important for ME to use every opportunity I can to teach Grace the basics.  Here are some of the fun things we do to help us learn while we’re having fun.

  • I taught Grace to count by counting the stairs everytime we go up and down them (she can count to 15 on her own now.)
  • Singing the ABC’s in the car or in the tub.
  • When I dress her I say “It’s time to put your LEFT arm in”  or “Let’s put on your RIGHT shoe.” (she’s pretty good at Left and Right now.)
  • When she’s getting dressed I talk about the color her pants, shirt, shoes are.
  • We also talk about colors when playing with toys “can you hand me the YELLOW block?”  “Where is the RED ball?”
  • We play DORA Dominos together, this helps her learn to match things.
  • In the grocery store, we talk about the fruit and veggies we are seeing as we go through the produce section.
  • When we’re reading books about animals, we talk about the sounds they make.
  • We mix up cookie dough from scratch (once in awhile, not every day 🙂 ) and Grace helps measure and pour things in.  I also have her “stir” the dry ingredients.

I am amazed at how much she knows just by using every day things as teaching opportunities.  We’re also working on spelling her name to the tune of BINGO.  We sing…..

“There was a mommy had a babe and Gracie was her name-o,
 G-R-A-C-E, 
 G-R-A-C-E, 
 G-R-A-C-E,
And Gracie was her name-o!”

What are some ideas that your family does to make learning fun and effortless?

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Ever since Grace could walk, she has been my little helper.  Right away, I started asking her to help me put papers in the trash can, towels in the hamper and her sippy cups in the sink.  She is SO happy to help.  When I ask her to put a towel in the laundry, she runs into the room and says “SURE MOM!” and is so excited to get to take it to the hamper for me.  (I can only hope that her enthusiasm for chores continues through her teen years 🙂 )

She is such a willing little helper.  Now she’s to the point that she asks if she can put the spoons in the dishwasher for me. (YEA!)  I plan to keep encouraging her to do more little tasks around the house to help out.  Tonight as we were heading out to the back yard, I was filling up her juice cup and I said “Grace, Mommy’s helping you by filling up your juice before we go out.  Can you help me by putting my shoes by the front door in my room?”  “SURE MOM!”  came her usual reply.  (I had 3 pairs of shoes by the front door, all of them were worn at some point today 🙂 )  Since there were 3 pairs by the door, and she is only 2, I guessed that she would put 1 pair or even 1 shoe away and of course I would be thanking her for being a good helper no matter how many she put away.  She came in the kitchen and said “I put them away mom.”  I looked by the front door and she had put ALL 3 PAIRS away for me…….my heart was singing! 

There are days when I can’t tell if we’re making any progress through her 2 year old journey (what some people call the terrible two’s.)  There are times when she embarrasses me in public with her bold 2 year old behavior.  There are times when I get “the look” from perfect strangers or from people I know who disapprove with my parenting methods and style……. and then there are times like tonight, that she does something that just makes me smile big and makes my heart sing…….so, I think we’ll make it through the 2’s together after all.

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I mentioned earlier about the link on my page to Abundant Lives Life Coaching and that they do live teleseminars to get single moms together to share and support each other.  Here is the link to the next teleseminar: http://www.abundantlivescoaching.com/ts2807

Below is some information about the seminar.  Please join in if you are able to!

Free Tele-Seminar for Single Moms.

Single moms can now come together and participate in each other’s life.  Come and share of your current  challenges and learnings in a safe, supportive and portable group coaching environment and walk away with action steps.

 Date: Monday, July 28th
Time: 8am Eastern Time

Venue: Your Home  

 

Single moms, tap into a safe and portable support group in the comfort of your home while taking care of your family responsibilities: 

Get connected with others who are going through the similiar situations as you: 

  • Your identity is secured
  • Your real life current challenges are addressed
  • You get understanding and support
  • You can learn form others
  • You can encourage others

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I’ve shared with you some of my favorite songs that I like to sing at Church or sing along with in the car, here is one of my favorite hymns.

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here,
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best.
Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour.
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Power.
The protection of HIs child and
treasure,
Is a charge that on Himself He laid,
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy Holy Word.
Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’re to take, as from a father’s hand.
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the Promised Land.

I underlined the phrases that I especially love in this song.  In the first verse, it says “Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment.”  -wow.  Sometimes it is so hard to trust.  The Bible tells us that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.  We know that, but still sometimes it’s hard when we don’t understand why things are happening to be able to call it our “Father’s wise bestowment.”

This next phrase is my favorite in the song: He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, Gives unto each day what He deems best.   This phrase runs through my head A LOT when things happen that make me feel like everything is out of control or I can’t see God’s hand in what is happening.  I remember this phrase coming to my head the first time on 9/11.  I kept thinking “God, how could this be what you’ve deemed best for our entire nation today?”  I still don’t understand that day, but I know that no matter what, God is in control.  Even on 9/11, when it felt like everything was out of control, God was in control.

There have been many days on this journey where I’ve had to remind myself that God’s heart is kinder than anyone here on this earth and He only wants good things for His children, even though sometimes I don’t understand or I don’t LIKE what is going on, I have to remind myself that He gives me every day (no exceptions) what He knows is best for me.  That’s very hard sometimes to accept. 

Through this whole mess, God has stretched me, He’s given me wisdom and understanding.  He’s drawn me closer to Him.  I’ve learned so much about faith, prayer, trusting, and believing His Word.  Do I wish my circumstances on anyone? Absoluetly not.  Would  I ever want to go through it all again?  NO WAY.  But would I trade the lessons I’ve learned and who I am now?  NEVER…..so in the end, I can see how Joseph could say to his brothers…..”you meant it unto me for evil, but God meant it to me for good.”

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