I've just finished reading a fantastic parenting book called Don't Make Me Count to Three. It was so good, I have to share. Trust me, you will appreciate this post.
My whole life I've been around a lot of young kids -- babysitting, cousins, church... I've seen a lot of different types of kids, and a lot of different parenting styles. I've seen some parents discipline in ways that really seemed to work, and others... not so much. I don't believe that this book is the only way to discipline, but there are so many profound truths that I think we, as parents, need to be teaching our kids. And, I am sorry to say that if I hadn't read this book, I would probably not have thought to use these tools.
There are so many aspects that I love about this book, and so I'll only share a few. But the main point the author makes is that the Bible tells us to "discipline and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord." As parents, we can't just discipline our kids without instructing them -- without telling them what they should be doing. If your child hits another kid out of anger, instead of just telling them that they shouldn't have struck out in physical violence, we should be teaching them how they ought to have handled their frustration. Kids - young kids especially - don't understand their own hearts half of the time. They know that what they did was wrong, but they don't know why they did it. It is up to us as their parents to help them understand their own hearts.
The author uses an analogy in the book that really resonated with me. She explains that when you are potty-training your dog, you might smack him on the leg and tell him that he did a bad thing when he does his business on the carpet in your house. So, the next time he has to go, he goes in the corner of the room - a less visible spot. But when you find it, you bring him over and rub his nose in it, telling him he is a bad dog. So the next time your dog has to go, he does it in a very private spot and then hides under the bed as he waits for you to find it.
The problem here is that you are telling your dog that he should not be going to the bathroom inside, but you are not teaching him where he should go. In the same way, without that instruction (the second part in the verse), a child will likely struggle with understanding the heart of the discipline.
The author mentions several worldly methods that many parents, even with the best of intentions, have fallen prey to. Tactics such as bribing, threatening, scolding, etc. The author makes the argument that our children should obey us because God tells them it is right. Not to get a lollipop, to avoid time-out, or any other reason. It is our job as parents to help shape and mold their hearts to be receptive to God's word, even at a young age -- especially at a young age.
Trust me when I say there is so much more to this book. Simply too much to write in a blog post without making it entirely too lengthy.
I'm not speaking from experience yet so don't think that I am preaching from a pedestal. But I think there are a lot of truths exposed in this book that we ought to be learning/remembering, so that we can be intentional in our parenting and disciplining.
I'll come back later to share how this all works on Nora. That journey will be interesting, I can already tell. My little peanut is already learning to exert her will. When seven laps around the kitchen table just isn't enough and she wants to keep practicing her walking, she crumples to the ground and throws a mighty fit. Right now, it's pretty darn cute actually. But I try very hard not to laugh (quite the task), because I know in just a little bit those tantrums will not be quite as darling.
Hence, I ordered a walker for her today to give mommy's back a break. :)
Here is the link to the book if you're interested: Don't Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman.
- ▼ October (7)