Ma's Family

Ma's Family

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How do I teach discipline?

How do I teach discipline? It depends on the child and the circumstances. I'm a firm believer in expectations being the result. Children will do what you EXPECT them to do if you give them the means and knowledge to accomplish it. Why? Because it's in their nature and the natural consequences are more easily learned than punishments.

Now this doesn't mean that you can just EXPECT your children to behave like angels and have it be so! You teach them to follow expectations when they are little by allowing them to experience natural consequences. When you put a toy into a baby's hand and they drop it the toy disappears. That's a natural consequence. If you replace it before that baby realizes it's gone you may have eliminated the fussing to have it back but you've also eliminated the natural consequence. So give it a minute for your baby to realize it's gone, comment on the toy having fallen, and return it to within reach. Pretty simple right? Use the same concept as they grow.

A 2 year old who refuses to eat his meal will be hungry. There's no need to punish him or fight over food. If he doesn't eat he's hungry. Just don't undermine that natural consequence by offering different selections or giving snacks between meals.

She doesn't want to put her shoes on? Then she can't go out. Argued for 20 minutes about putting on shoes? Sorry, you missed the playground, it's time for lunch now. Didn't like your drink so you threw the cup? Here's a washcloth, let's clean it up together. Sorry, no, we won't be refilling it. Stuck a whole roll of stamps all over the wall? Wow, that will take you a long time to clean them all off! Best get started or you might miss snack time. You don't want to clean the stamps off the wall? Ok, mommy will do it but that means I don't have time to make a snack and you'll have to sit here and watch so you don't get into mischief.

Back to the expectations. This has a lot to do with YOUR actions and example. If you tell your child it's time to go then stand there watching him to see if he's going your WORDS say it's time to go but YOUR ACTIONS say he has options. You've just said with your actions that you do NOT expect him to follow you. If you say it's time to go and WALK OUT THE DOOR your actions say that you EXPECT him to also walk out the door... now... not in a few minutes.

Don't give options (or the appearance of options) if there are none. If you MUST go RIGHT NOW then do not ask your child if he wants to go. Tell him it's time to go. Don't ask him to please put on his shoes. Tell him it's time to put your shoes on. There will be plenty of more appropriate times to give them options and learn decision making. You can even provide some options that go with it without compromising your need for immediate action. It's time to eat now, would you like to sit in this chair or that one? It's time to put your shoes on, would you like to wear the pink sneakers or the blue ones? The time is not negotiable, the details are. EXPECT your child to comply immediately.

1-2-3 - I've heard so much about this book and all I have to say about this method is WHY would you teach your child that they have 3 chances to NOT listen before you expect them to actually comply? For those who will surely message me that it 'works wonders for us!' .... how many times have your kids actually counted it TO YOU? This is not cute... it's disrespectful and says your authority doesn't mean anything unless you say 3. And then requires you to punish them in some way. When your pre-schooler runs out in the road those '3 chances' could be 2 chances too many when you say STOP!

Some natural consequences of course you want to avoid. The natural consequences of running out in the road is not one any parent wants their child to experience! That will be the next topic.

Monday, July 5, 2010


I've been talking to some friends lately about discipline and how to start it so it seems a good time to blog about my thoughts on it. First you should understand that discipline is not the same as punishment. Discipline is learning to self-regulate your behavior and actions. A consequence is the result of an action and punishment is a consequence that is dealt by someone else.

Discipline really doesn't HAVE a starting place. From birth children learn discipline through experience. When a baby cries and receives a response they learn communication. From there they learn that your response to their cry leads to specific actions. When that same infant sees you unbuttoning your shirt and stops crying while waiting to breastfeed this is DISCIPLINE. (or sees you filling a bottle and waits for it). The infant has begun learning the must rudimentary form of patience (discipline) and attains the ability to control his/her actions.

Praise this! Foster it! That's where you begin to nourish your child's discipline. Then you continuously raise the bar as they achieve each new level of discipline to build on the last. When you feed a hungry child that child is learning the cues that tell him/her that she is hungry and that child naturally knows when he/she is full. An infant knows when they are full and will stop eating. If you stop feeding the infant when he shows cues that he is full he will carry the lesson through life and DISCIPLINE takes over when he learns to stop himself at that point. However, if you over-ride that cue and continue to feed after he is full you are teaching him to eat everything available and not to self-discipline his eating habits. It begins at birth.

As parents our goal is not only to keep our children safe and healthy through childhood but to prepare them for adulthood. This requires self-discipline, independence,strength and stability. They don't magically attain this at age 18 and they certainly don't teach it at school. That's YOUR job and you can't do it with a pretty speech at a sweet 16 party.

So now that we understand it's our job and it starts at birth the next question is HOW?? How do I teach discipline? If you've started at birth you teach by example. If you want your children to behave a certain way then YOU must show them what that behavior is. So your first step is to discuss between you and your spouse the things you feel are important behavior and habit wise for your children. Some things may seem illogical to discuss in regards to an infant who hasn't even found her fingers yet but it IS something that you should both be on equal terms about. Here are some common discipline issues that tend to evade parents' thoughts until you actually realize your child doesn't possess the discipline required for them.

Table manners - will you expect your children to eat at a table with the family? In a restaurant? What are your expectations? Will your children be expected to finish their plates, try two bites of everything offered, or eat whatever they want? Will your children be expected to remain at the table through the meal or free to go at any time? Will you expect them to say grace before meals or eat as soon as it's on the table? Ask to be excused or just leave when finished? Eat what's served or short order cook in the house?

Self-care - Will you expect your children to do age appropriate self-care tasks themselves? Or will you do it for them as long as they want you to? (for example: your teen is capable of washing laundry, will you expect them to do at least some of it or will you do it all? or If your 5 year old is capable of taking his supper plate to the sink will you expect him to do it every time or will you do it for him and only expect him to do it when specifically asked?)

Address - How will you expect your children to address other people? Mr and Mrs? Sir and Ma'am? Helen and Bob? buttmunch? Will their friend's parents be addressed as Tom and Martha or Mr and Mrs Doe or Jimmy's Mom and Dad? How about the cashier at the gas station? Addressed by the name on the tag, sir, ma'am, miss, lady with the funny hair?

Sex - Yes, I said it. Sure your baby is innocent. But eventually they all grow up and my how the time flies! Before you know it your child is in need of some answers. What will yours be? Discuss it now so you aren't caught off guard. What exactly do you want the final result to be? How much are you ready to discuss with a 5 yr old who asks why she's different from her brother? How about a 2 yr old who wants to shower with Daddy? Are you ok with that? Things to think about.

Chores - Let kids play and be kids right to age 18 and then tell them to grow up? Choose a set time to start teaching it? When will that time be? Age appropriate chores as deemed ready?

Gender roles - Will you encourage gender roles? dolls for girls, cars for boys.... girls in the kitchen, boys in the garage? Gender neutral everything until they 'find themselves'? Will your 2 yr old boys be allowed to have a pink doll and buggy if they ask for one? Will your little girls be invited to help change the car tire?

respect - for both people and possessions. What are your expectations for home? Home is where you let loose and it's ok to use the sofa as a launchpad? Ok to use the tv as a toy too? How about mom's make-up? Ok to climb on people? (Maybe your family is active and sports are common enough that this IS ok, or maybe someone in the family needs a more gentle approach so it won't be ok)

tv - Set time? Anytime? Only when a parent needs a breather? Anything they want or limited?

schooling - if they will go to school then is your view on discipline at school that it's the SCHOOL'S responsibility to ensure proper discipline while at school? or will you take an active part in it? (I know parents who think both ways)

These are a few of the many disciplines that begin being learned as infants. We'll spend the coming week discussing some of the HOW for these. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Special Wish for Father's Missing Their Sons and Daughters

For all the fathers out there who will wake up this morning to wishes they only hear in their heart. Who will eat their quiet breakfast and dream of days past when the sweet silence was broken by squeals of glee and lopsided toast. Long after the sounds have gone the memories remain. May you spend the day remembering the good times before the silence. Happy Father's Day - Always and Forever in your heart

Friday, June 18, 2010

Excalibur Giveaway

Shameless blog entry to get myself into a giveaway for an excalibur dehydrator! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I SOOOOO want one for my own! I currently use an older dehydrator and it works round the clock so much that I don't even bother putting it away. It lives on my island and my husband hooked up an extra outlet JUST for my dehydrator at the island. All my bits and pieces leftover when I cook go in the dehydrator instead of the fridge and I never have to worry about what leftover bits and pieces I need to use up before they go bad. They just go right into a jar and are ready for use as needed!

So here's my excalibur dehydrator giveaway blog! My family would be in HEAVEN if I had one because a happy ma means a happy family! And check out the site it comes from! LOTS and LOTS of tips and great suggestions!

I'm entered to win a $220 Deluxe 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from @KeeperHome and @SavingNaturally. Get entered here:
So good morning all! It's a beautiful day out today! Just browsing through the news this morning and see Spaghettios have been recalled. KUDOS to campbell! We understand mistakes happen. They watched, they saw, they dealt with it. And didn't even need Nannybama to hold their hands. I wonder at our changing world sometimes. And applaud the companies who do right just because it's right. And mourn the nanny state that has trained people that they can't think for themselves. Every action must have a law or order from the government to make it necessary.

So check your campbells everyone! Just in case.

I was also grabbed by a news article about the oil on the banks and local efforts to minimize damage. Here again is a story of a HUGE problem. The locals watched, they saw, they dealt with it.... and the coast guard stopped them.?! Don't clean up that mess! You can't possibly decide on your own if the danger to yourself is worth the results of not acting. And we can't possibly pass out fire extinguishers and life vests to clean up crews without the proper permits and studies first!

How can you hold people accountable for the cleanup when a governor aquires materials in their local efforts only to have them confiscated and moved somewhere else by the coast guard deemed more in need? Who's the boss? And do they have the right to destroy efforts of local areas working hard to protect their homes and livelihoods?

I pray that my children grow up to be responsible for their own actions and that they still have the opportunity to be so. And even more than wishing I'm starting NOW when the children are young. Train them up in the way they should go and they will never stray. This is the one single parenting RULE to remember. When we're taking a walk and see a wrapper on the ground we PICK IT UP. When you see someone have an accident you don't point and blame - you ask if they're ok and if you can do anything to help. THIS is being responsible and THIS should be the future for our children. And THIS should be what's taught in school. It should take priority yet sadly is trained out of children who are told 'that's not your job' and 'leave it to those who are trained'.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meet the family

Hi again! Come meet my family! They're the droopy looking bunch hanging out at the top of my blog page. That's a picture of my crew after a long day at Disney

My husband Den and my 7 kids Jon (14), Josh (10), Rose (8), Andy (5), David (5), Catherine (4), Robin (2) My life, my heart, and my soul. After God nothing else can compare to my devotion to my family.

I have the perfect life. My husband and I have a perfect marriage and are always in exact agreement on everything. He picks up his dirty socks without asking and I've never left hanging hose on the shower rod. My house is spotless, meals are full course, always on time, healthy. The kids do chores and schoolwork with a smile and beg me to put my feet up after dinner........ NOT!!!...

Ok, so life here is hectic. But we still call it perfection!

We live on 5 acres on a hill at the edge of state forest lands. Just far enough away from town to be rural but not so far that we couldn't run in for ice cream if we really wanted to. We have a nice neighbor on one side who we get along great with. (Hi Nette!) She teaches my kids the finer social aspects of life. Such as all the different ways to describe your trips to the restroom and lyrics to some songs that people are sure home-school kids miss out on. Rest assured she's got that covered! We love her! I'd trust her with my kids any day and the kids would surely miss her if she ever decided she no longer wanted to live next to us unruly weirdos.

And that should be it but it's not.... there is a creepy old man (come on, everyone has one somewhere!) who lives a couple miles up the road who I won't go into detail about right now. But rest assured it won't be long before he's front and center.

We started a chicken raising project for homeschooling a few years ago and decided we like it so now we raise our own chickens and this year added a couple turkeys.

We do grow a garden and harvest what we can which is then preserved by whatever method I find convenient at the time. But on our rocky hill some stuff just doesn't grow well, chickens like to eat young garden plants, and sometimes I'm just so busy tending kids I don't have time to do the gardening properly so I also get produce other places as it's available and welcome any GIFTS of garden leftovers that someone decides to drop on our doorstep. God will provide! And he really does through many ways. There's nothing more blessed than returning a jar of fresh salsa to a local neighbor who passed on their extra tomatoes!

We homeschool because I believe God gave us that responsibility. There are many things I could say to 'reasons to homeschool' but that is my primary reason. God said it's my job to teach the children. And so I do.

We don't do vaccinations for many reasons. My main one again is God. But there are other reasons and I choose to not argue them. As long as decisions are made for the best interest of our family I don't need to defend them.

You can see the trend here where my values and thoughts run for the guiding of my family. I believe God will guide if I only listen. So I try to stay as close to God as possible.

Some people like to label things so if you wanted to give me a label I suppose you'd be hard pressed to find one who would accept me!

I'm Godly - but I don't follow a specific religion - I read the Bible, pray, and believe God is my savior and my only path to heaven. My husband is catholic so we go to catholic mass for him but I'm just as happy sitting in a circle in the garden with the kids and reading from the Bible and I might often be caught just gazing into nowhere just to be laughed at for daydreaming..... (I was probably just asking God in my head for some extra flowers to bloom on tuesday morning when my friend comes to visit because she'd really like them) He's my friend and I talk to him often.

MOVEMENTS don't fit either - quiverful, crunchy, tree hugger, modern, anti-school - you could find a bit of everything here I suppose but I don't think anyone would really claim me. My beliefs are long-standing and I believed in God led family planning long before the word quiverful ever lashed out as a 'movement'.

Health nut... not really - just following what God said to do. "Eat what I give. It's the only food you'll ever hunger for." Maybe it's a parable... or maybe it's literal... at my table it means eating the tomatoes God grew in my garden instead of licopene supplements made in some secret lab.

anti-vaccine brings to mind the people who are against all medical intervention... I'm not that either. We get checkups as needed, keep up to date on medical break throughs, and my son gets daily asthma treatments. But I'll exhaust every option to reduce a fever before I give an infant reducer or a pill for colic.

home-school doesn't equal anti-public school - it just means we teach at home. I'd love to be invited to participate in the school's science fair or share some text books and I have some questions I'd love to chat with the teachers about. The school has it's benefits, so does homeschool. It would be great to have a peaceful co-existence.

law - It has it's place and serves it's purpose. Every area should have local ordinance to reflect the needs of the area. It should be a guideline though. Not the nosey neighbor's entertainment to see how many things he can dream up to 'catch' illegal neighbors unlawfully allowing rain to wash out a driveway on a stormy night. Some people should be banned from complaining.

So now you know a little about me and who I'm NOT feel free to ask questions! I love to answer questions! Anything at all... really! Want to know what kind of socks I wear or my thoughts on the lady who called 911 on burger king for getting her order wrong? Go ahead and ask! I'll write a whole blog just for your answer.


Ma's New Blog

Hi there! I decided on a whim (seriously, I was bored and read someone else's blog and thought to myself how silly is it to post daily about random stuff that makes absolutely no sense to anyone but yourself and who would possibly care what 1 unknown person's opinion is about the color of fruit loops) and decided it sounds FUN! A place I can randomly post my opinions about anything and everything that hops in my mind ?

I like to talk to myself! Now I can do it without anyone looking at me funny HAHHAHA

So here I go! Getting started and figuring this out should be interesting! Wish me luck!