In a series of posts that may or may not be consecutive and that may or may not be finished before next month, I will attempt to share some of my notes from the homeschool convention in an effort to allow my brain to mull over the concepts again and, prayerfully, to be a blessing to any other parents who may be able to glean some nuggets of wisdom and encouragement on any of these topics.
Ted and I both attended two sessions with Dr. Rosemond as the speaker. If you are unfamiliar with this man, I highly recommend checking out his books. I started reading his weekly columns in the Dayton Daily News when we first lived in Ohio and was impressed by his no-nonsense approach to parenting. I wasn't sure at the time but wondered if he might be a Christian. He mentioned during one of the sessions that he became a Bible-believing Christian 10 years ago, so his words as a Christian psychologist carry more weight with me, especially since he says he retains his credentials as a psychologist in order to obtain credibility with parents--he pretty much feels that psychology is a bunch of hooey. :-)
Rather than try to reproduce his talks in written form, I'll just bullet my notes.
* "High self-esteem seizure" - This was his phrase for a temper tantrum. I just thought it was funny. :-)
* Children need love and leadership. Leadership is acting like you know what you're doing!
* Discipline is typically all about behavior, though it should be a process of teaching. Values and character are what it should be about.
* As parents, you MUST have a vision for what you want your children to be in the future. Are your energies spent investing in your children's secular achievements?? [Side note from me: This encouraged Ted and me as we evaluate what activities we want our kids to be involved in. Is it wrong for them to be in sports? No. But is it the BEST use of our time and money? At this point, probably not. Our job is training disciples for God's kingdom, not shuffling kids to and from practices. Since we do not feel a call in this area for any of our children, why make our lives busier and more stressful?]
* Children need to learn not all their problems can be solved. Let them take responsibility for their own problems--don't accept "I need help." As his mother told Dr. Rosemond as a child, "I figured this out; so can you."
* What percent of your time is spent in the role of father or mother? What percent of your time is spent in the role of husband or wife? Remember Genesis 2:24!! Set boundaries and make sure kids know your marriage is priority. They will be much happier, and so will you.
* Leadership parenting is a role, a matter of presentation. Claim the legitimacy of your authority. Act like you know what you're doing, where you're going, what you want, and what you expect it to happen!
* The mind of a child cannot understand the mind of an adult. We plant SEEDS of understanding, not understanding. Therefore...STOP EXPLAINING!!
* Kids are not going to suddenly say, "Oh, I see your point now, and I agree with you." There are only 6 explanations for saying no (listed below), and kids aren't going to like any of them. So just say, "If I were your age, I wouldn't agree with me either," and walk away! Here are the "explanations:"
1. You're not old enough.
2. You might get hurt.
3. There's not enough money.
4. There's not enough time.
5. We don't like those kids.
6. We don't believe in that.
Dr. Rosemond recommended putting each one on a slip of paper and sticking it in a jar, and when kids want an answer for why you're saying no to something, pick a slip of paper and read it! Soon enough they'll stop asking! (Yes, he was being facetious somewhat, but you have to know his personality and style to truly appreciate this. I personally loved it.)
So what do you do when you tell a child to do something and he doesn't do it? Here are his basic Rules for Consequences...or, Plan B.
1. Tell them ONCE. No nagging, no threatening, no repeating, no constant stream of talk. Tell them once, and walk away.
2. Do what you can when you can. Often immediate circumstances will not be optimal for giving a consequence, but you can bring it down later by describing the precipitating event. By age 3 kids can understand this, so consequences CAN be delayed.
3. Punishment should NEVER fit the crime. Nip it in the bud--don't tolerate it!
So, the example for these 3 rules: Mom tells Billy to pick up his toys because someone is coming over to meet with her and they need to use the room where Billy is playing. Mom says, "Billy, please pick up these toys. I'll be back in a few minutes to see that it's done." She leaves. Billy ignores her. Mom says nothing when she comes back and sees the toys aren't picked up. She calmly picks up the toys herself, has her meeting, and goes on with her day.
As Billy finishes eating later on at dinner time, Mom tells Billy, "Son, it's time to get ready for bed."
"What?!" Billy gasps. "It's only 6:30!"
"That's right. Your bedtime tonight is 6:30. In fact, your bedtime for the next 3 weeks is 6:30."
By now Billy is in utter shock.
Mom continues. "Earlier today I asked you to pick up your toys so the room would be clean for my meeting. You did not obey. Instead, I picked up your toys. As my reward for doing this work, I will enjoy 3 weeks of child-free evenings!"
So there you can see all 3 rules in action. :-)
Very Kevin Lehman, if you're familiar with any of his parenting books. Good stuff! It's always good to be reminded of how we should use our God-given authority!