Friday, October 28, 2011

"Question Authority!"

I was just thinking...about teaching kids to "respect" elders...

This morning someone posted a video on Facebook of a setup where a 7-year old is being abducted by a guy (actor) who is not her dad and she's yelling, "Help! Help! You're not my dad!" and you see all the people on the street just passin' them by until finally a couple of guys run at the man and are ready to take him out.

(Here's the video: ATTENTION: Your kids need to know this <3)

It got me thinking about how we teach our kids to avoid abduction...

On the one hand...parents teach their kids to refer to all adults as "Miss" and "Mister" and to "mind" them and never question...questioning the parents or other grown-ups is rebellion and punishable. They do this because they believe they are teaching their children "respect". But, are they?

Imagine a kid who is taught to "respect" grown-ups and not question or else they're being naughty...The more you do something...the more you "practice" it the better you get at it, right? So, grown-ups tend to tell kids to do things they don't like or want to do all the time. Right? But, a child who is taught to "mind" and not question or challenge their parents or any adult's commands will have to do these things or else get punished. They practice this every time a grown up tells them things like to "go to bed" when they're not tired and they are not allowed to "complain" about it. Over and over they practice being told something they disagree with...not balking...and doing what they're told. This is how they're taught to respect their parents and the other adults around them.

So, what is a kid to do when a grown-up approaches them tells them something they don't like or don't want to do and it happens to be an order to "come with him" (as in the event of an abduction)? 

What if... one of the grown-up aides at the VBS that the child is trained to not "question" gets that kid alone and tells them to do something the kid would not like or not want to do with their body?

What if... a babysitter (whom they were instructed to respect the same as their parents when their parents are away) let her boyfriend come over and he got one of the children alone and told the child to do something the child didn't like or want to do to his body?

Are children who are taught to not complain...not argue...not "challenge" or "question" authority...being protected by their parents? Are they being taught to "respect"? 

Really...we need to think about what we are REALLY teaching our kids with the things we do with them...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kids are NOT better seen than heard

There is a big difference between studying a state driver's manual and driving. A big difference between what it is like to see the slides someone took on their mission trip and living in a Central American country. You know what I mean. Experience is the best teacher, right?

Well, I am one who keeps reading and learning about child development and child psychology and how I should be treating my children. I keep reading books and blogs and trying to get "better" at this whole parenting thing and really it seems that the key to being a better parent is "understanding" (also known as empathy).

Last night…I got an experiential understanding of how children feel when we shush them. I got to see how they feel when we want them to just be quiet and not to bother us.

I can be rather annoying to watch movies with, it's true. I see "metaphors" in everything and I tend to go, "Oh wow! This is just like…(whatever)" a few times during any movie. (It's that Romans 1 thing) So, we were watching, "Thor", right? And, there were all these cool "lessons" in it and I was actually being conscious to not have any "outbursts" of excitement during dialogue, nonetheless, there were 2 movie viewers (2 of my kids) who wanted me silenced. And, the way they went about it was by basically "shushing" me just like an irritated parent would shush a child and how it made me feel really hit me.

From the start of the movie I felt very "excited" and I had been totally enjoying the movie. My brain was alert and active and definitely in "learning mode". But, as soon as they negatively reacted to me I felt first like I just wanted to leave the room. Then, for the rest of the movie, something in my brain was definitely shut off. I was no longer really enjoying the movie, tho' I was still watching it. I was no longer alert and my brain was no longer in "learning mode". Their reaction really "crushed my spirit".

For the remainder of the movie, I was very "well behaved"…but something was shut off and the lost inside me. And, it just really made me go, "Wow…" at how often I "shush" my kids because they're too exuberant about whatever…and so now I learned that children are definitely not better seen than heard… :)

(And, still below...some things are better not seen, either...hehehe)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drawing the line between "spanking" and "abuse"

I was just thinking...if you were to talk to your "average" pro-life Christian about abortion...and you would discuss with them the topic of "when does a baby become a baby?" They would agree that the  pro-choice mentality of choosing when they think that babies become babies is very arbitrary and based on opinion and not fact. They would find this type of reasoning offensive. to those same Christians about when "spanking" becomes "abuse" and interestingly...they begin to sound an awful lot like the people they believe have faulty reasoning... order to eliminate the "arbitrary" nature of some pro-spanking reasoning and to take the "opinion" out of the argument...let's define that line for everyone.
Let's...draw it out...and make it all clear. Just the way we'd like to get the pro-choice camp to clearly define (and support scientifically) when a baby becomes a baby...let us clearly define (and support scientifically) when spanking becomes abuse...and prove that spanking is good for children...

I feel the best way to define it is to answer some questions definitively...questions that can be answered without exception in all cases...
And, since the Bible tells us to be prepared to have an answer for your beliefs I feel it is important for Christians who do spank (in the name of God) to have answers (or at least some reasonable idea if not the actual answer) for all of these questions:

When is it proper to strike your children?
When would Jesus strike a child?
What types of offenses are worthy of a spanking?
For what offenses would Jesus strike a child?
At what age should spanking begin?
At what age should spanking cease?
Should a child's intelligence be factored in? (For example, would you begin spanking a very intelligent child sooner than a child with Down's Syndrome?)
The children referred to in the Bible as those to be struck with a rod were "teenagers". In what way has it changed that we now do not strike teenagers and only little kids? When did this change and why?
How "hard" (how much force) is acceptable (non-abusive) when spanking Biblically?
How many pounds per square inch of force are acceptable to strike a child with and at what point do they change to "unacceptable"?
Should the pounds per square inch of force be lessened if more strikes are necessary?
How many strikes at what force are non-abusive?
If fewer strikes are going to be applied, should greater force be used?
Does it make a difference if the spanking is done on the buttocks, back of legs, or back?
Which parts of the body are considered "OK" to strike in a non-abusive situation? Are all parts of the same body considered the same?
If there are some parts of the body which are not considered non-abusive, why or why not?
If some parts of the body are considered non-abusive to a "certain degree" please define.
How do we choose which part of the body to "spank" for different offenses?
At what age is it appropriate/inappropriate for a child to pull their pants down and bend over for a spanking?
Is spanking on the bare bottom an acceptable position for non-parents to use on a child?
Is it appropriate to use a hand when spanking on the bare bottom?
Is it appropriate for anyone but the child's parent to use a hand on their bare bottom?
Which part of the body is the preferred by God for non-abusive spanking?
Which parts of the body are considered by God to be abusive for spanking?
What verses in the Bible substantiate these beliefs?
Do we take into account the material the striking tool is made of when calculating the strike force of non-abusive spanking?
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for rubber spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"?
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for plastic spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for wooden spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for mixed-material spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for a "switch" made from a tree?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for whatever type of "rod" a parent prefers?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How does a parent choose a "rod"?
Which rod would Jesus most likely use?
Would Jesus choose different rods for different age children?
Where in the Bible would we look to find answers to this?
What about using the hand?
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for using a hand?
How does one take into account the thickness of the skin of the spank-ee when calculating the correct amount of force to use? (ie: smaller children have thinner skin...)
How does one take into account the material the skin is covered with? If it is a diaper, underpants only, skirt and underpants, jeans and underpants, jeans and diaper, etc.
How does a parent calculate the correct amount of force considering the material of the spanking tool and the child's skin and the materials covering the child's skin to apply the correct non-abusive force?
Where is the "line" that distinguishes between "abuse" and "non-abusive" spanking considering all the factors involved?
How many times is acceptable to strike a child within each different set of variables (rod material, strength of the striker, child's skin, clothing, etc.) before it becomes abuse?
How do we properly calculate how many strikes at what force for each variable is non-abuse and where is the line that crosses into "abuse"?
The 39 lashes that the Romans dished out to Jesus were considered a "death penalty" at 40 lashes because people often died from it. Should there then be a limited number of strikes for each "offense" that a child is to receive?
The number of lashes chosen by the Romans was based on the "rod" they used and it's destructive calculating the amount of hits a child should receive for each type of offense should include factors such as the chosen "rod" and it's "destructive force" (if it leaves marks or not) and the child's skin, clothing, and strength of the spanker?
How many strikes/lashes/hits/licks would Jesus choose for lying?
How many would Jesus choose for lying for the "umpteenth time"?
How many strikes would a child receive for general disobedience?
Would the number of strikes change based on age? (as with time-outs being 1 minute per year of age)
And, again, would the number of strikes be based on the child's age, skin thickness, clothing, "rod" material and the strength of the striker/spanker?
Also, certain times of the day the human body is more sensitive to pain than others, should this become a factor when calculating force and number of strikes?
What types of "marks" are acceptable?
At what point do "marks" become signs of "abuse"?
Do all "rods" leave marks?
If spanking on a bare bottom it is more likely to leave a mark than if it is thru a diaper or jeans, so, how should this be factored?
Should a "rod" be chosen which does not leave a mark?
Should a "rod" be chosen which does leave a mark to make sure the child has a reminder of the disciplining for a few hours to better make the point?
Why would leaving a mark matter?
How does one judge marks as a determination of abuse/non-abuse on a dark skinned child as opposed to a pale blonde haired child? (As the white child would redden quite quickly)
Does bruising constitute "abuse"?
What if your child "bruises easily" even in non-abusive situations?
If some bruising is acceptable, how do we measure "abusive" bruising? What is the size of a bruise which is "abuse" and what is the size of a bruise which is "non-abusive"?
What are the psychological benefits of being spanked?
What are the psychological problems with being abused?
Where would be the line and how would we know we've gotten close to that line based on our child's mental state?
Where is the line between being benefited and being detriment-ed in the spanking procedure and how would one tell that they've reached that limit?
In what way does being struck and caused pain by a parent draw the child closer to God?

HONESTLY couldn't I go on and on and on and on with questions???

Give examples from the Bible of times Jesus spanked people.
Picture Jesus in your mind with a small child looking frightened...over His knee...spanking them.
That's messed up.
All of this is messed up.
It's all sick.

Just as we know that when the pro-choice camp cannot answer the questions about when a baby becomes a baby means that they're in the wrong, then the ability or inability to answer these questions should indicate to us the same thing.

1 Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

Really, if any position a Christian holds to can't stand up to a barrage of questions like needs to be re-evaluated. 

Personally...I believe the easiest and most clear line which can be drawn and is 100% defensible and supported by science....between what is "abuse" and what is "non-abuse" hitting or not hitting. You just do not hit your children. Simple.

And, I can tell you that I not only have Jesus and science behind me...but I have personal experience as well...I have not ever hit my 3 year old...and she is not...a brat. She is not...out of control. She is not...ungodly. And, if I were to decide to ever hit her...something huge would have to change inside me...that would be a very bad...

Don't be afraid to have been wrong.
The worst thing about being wrong is when you choose to keep being wrong...

Below is a photo of an ancient shepherd's rod...
THIS is what the Bible is referring to when it says if you fail to use hate your child.
Clearly...this is not for use ON your children.
Clearly...this is not = to a spatula or spoon...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Strength of Your Child's Will!

A discussion recently about the book, "Breaking Their Will," has had me thinking. Someone asked me what would be my idea of where the line would be between "breaking their will" and "breaking their spirit". Thinking about it, I feel that they're the same thing. And, I thought then, "Why would you want to break their will at all?"

Really, if you think about it…what gets you outta' your comfy warm bed in the morning?
Your will.

What keeps you from eating that slice of chocolate cake when you're on a diet?
Your will.

What keeps you from blowing all your money at the mall on stuff you don't need?
Your will.

What keeps you from flippin' the bird to that person who just pulled out in front of you and almost caused an accident?
Your will.

What keeps you from trying drugs?
Your will.

What is it that keeps you from picking up your phone and reading/replying to that text while you're driving?
Your will.

What is it we all wish when we have issues with our weight? 

Everything in life that makes us into productive contributors to society involves our will.

So, in practice, we all know that to have a "strong will" is a good thing. It's a desirable thing. It's a thing that will help us succeed in life. So, why when we see it being expressed in our children do we want to snuff it out? I believe it is a misunderstanding...

If you have a "strong willed child"…what is the REAL problem when there is conflict? Their will? Is it the fact that they believe they're in the right and are willing to fight for that? No. That's not a problem. An annoyance, yes. But, if they think they're in the right and are willing to fight even a giant (mom or dad) because they're right that's actually awesome, don't you think?

Their "problem" is not their will at is simply…the wrong belief that they are right which is based in their lack of maturity and reasoning skills. That's it. It's not their will that is the problem it is that their will is being used to fight a wrong battle. Our job is to teach them to fight the right battles, and taking the "fight" out of them isn't the way to do it.

When your child is stubbornly sticking to their guns about something…it is because they believe they are right. They believe in their cause. They believe they should be allowed to have that toy! They believe they should be allowed to eat that cookie right now because it looks good and they are hungry! From THEIR perspective, their reasons are right! They are not trying to "push your buttons" or make you mad. The last thing any of us want, even as adults, is for our parents to be mad at us! So, if your child is insisting on having their own way…the problem is not their "will"…the child's "problem" is immaturity and lack of reasoning skills which has led them to a wrong conclusion that they are right.

And, so how do we encourage maturity and proper reasoning skills? Can a person learn to become more mature by being "controlled"? Can a person learn to become more mature by being "punished?"

In order to learn to reason…they must be reasoned with. They must learn the process of comparing two choices and looking at the potential effects of each…and they can't do that on their own. You have to show them how to do it.

Does it take more time to do this than to give them a whack on the hiney and tell them to "not do that again or else"? Sure. Controlling someone is always the quickest way for someone to get a behavior to stop. But, stopping your child from making CERTAIN bad choices (like the things which you forbid and punish for) doesn't teach them the broader picture of what is a good choice and what is a bad choice and how to decide between the two.

So, you lay down the law with punishments and rules about things that are issues for little kids…you teach them that when they do "X" they get a butt-whacking. OK. So, what happens when they get too old and they don't even want to do "X" anymore…what then? If you have not spent the time to teach them how to reason…once they no longer feel the urge to hit their sister or to run out into the street…what now when the temptation is to try drugs? To go to 2nd base with their boyfriend? To drink at a party? To text while driving? What then?

You cannot think that you can simply stop your children from making bad choices by punishment and threats and control when they are 1, 2, 3, 4 yrs old…then then expect that somehow that they now learned how to REASON and make good choices now that they're older.

This is why it is common for teens to "rebel". The only thing that's really happened is that they've gotten too old for parents to punish and "control" and now parents are simply seeing the "reasoning abilities" that their child has learned up until that age.

So, back to having a "strong willed child". It is not a curse. It's those with "strong wills" in life who have been the trail-blazers thru history. Your "strong willed child" may have a fantastic future ahead! Don't break that will! Harness it!

Something else to consider is how protective a "strong will" can be.
Are you infallible? When it comes to conflict with your child are you really, always right? You know that there are occasions that you are actually the one in the wrong. Do you think your child notices this? In the case of the spanking/controlling parent, what does a child learn of reasoning when their parent will hit them and punish them even when the parent is clearly in the wrong? What does the child learn of reason from a parent who does not reason but makes sure that kid knows who's boss and only controls and punishes?

What does a child learn when they are challenged by an adult when they know they are "in the right?" but are forced to comply with the adult anyway…and even suffer pain/punishment for pushing their side? Would a child who is trained this way respond in a healthy self-protective way when approached by a pedophile? Would a child who has been trained that no matter what the adult is "right" be able to stand up and say, "NO! Your'e NOT touching me there and I AM telling my mom!"

You want to train your child that if they are right and they know they are, that it's right for them to stand up and fight for that even if it is an adult they are fighting. You need to teach them how to know they are right, and the right way to fight...

Your child's will is also what makes them like God…
Don't squash it…harness it!

Our wills can make us into super heroes... :)

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