I’ll be very honest… this is the hardest lesson, at least I think so! (Next lesson is tough, too — but then we’ll be on the home stretch.)
First, this is a hard lesson to write because
- There are a gazillion different parenting philosophies! I’m sure you’re as opinionated about yours as I am about mine. 🙂
- There are a gazillion variables that affect practical how-to’s. In other words, I can give you theories, but it’s really tough to tell you exactly what to do… just because no two families are exactly the same.
That’s why today is the first day that I’ll be asking you to add a book to read to your to-do list. Remember how I asked you to carve out some time for reading each day?
If you’re having any trouble at all in your family, I’m going to guess that your children are affected by it. We moms are certainly aware of this! But what do we do about it?
Well, let me start with Anne-opinions, then I’ll wrap up with God-opinions straight from His Word. So take these Anne-opinions with the large grain of salt they’re worth:
I think kids handle stress and change better when they know what’s next in their days. Mom is a little grumpy this week; when’s lunch? Dad seems worried about something; but our bedtime routine is still normal.
I recommend that you pull out the time schedule you made in Step Two. Have you included the following?
- Naps for each of your preschool children?
- Three nutritious meals a day, plus snacks as needed?
- Time for regular baths and getting kids’ teeth brushed?
- Time for playing outside and getting necessary exercise?
- A time to play with them, read books to them and snuggle?
- Time to teach them necessary life skills, such as chores?
In my opinion, when naps, bedtimes, and meals are on a schedule, with some sort of loose routine running for the rest of their “awake” time, children can cope with life a lot better. (As can mothers…)
Now let’s talk about parenting strategies…
If you have children, you already know the chaos and confusion that can reign in your home! Parenting is tough work, and many times, I’ve been ready to call it quits.
However, if your children have learned to be obedient and respectful, much of the chaos goes away.
I have three reading assignments for you:
- SHORT – Read “Five Pointers for Disciplining Children” by Harold S. Martin.
- MEDIUM – I would also like to encourage you to take some time in the next few days to read completely through this website… www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com. Start with the links on the LEFT side of the page, reading one at a time. It’s a large website, so it may take you a few days to complete this assignment.
- LONG – My absolute favorite book on parenting is called Don’t Make Me Count to Three: A Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline, by Ginger Plowman. I like it because it’s funny and practical, but most all, she really sticks to God’s Word. I was super impressed! Seriously, if you need any help in the parenting department, get this book!
So what does God’s Word say?
I’m sure you’ll find, as you work through these “Family First Aid” lessons and as your marriage improves, your house gets cleaner, and you feel more organized, it will become easier to focus on your parenting abilities. But over the long haul, even though I love websites and books, only God’s Word can provide the answers you need.
So I have one final, long-term assignment for this lesson:
- If you need help in your parenting, I’d like you to read one chapter a day from the book of Proverbs. (I would call this “Bible study” time, and maybe you could carve out 15 minutes for it later in the day, even doing it with your children. Just a thought.)
- Each day, as you read one chapter of Proverbs, begin making a list of any parenting ideas God speaks to you about from His Word. Keep this on-going list in your notebook.
For instance, after reading “A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1), I might write this in my notebook:
If I notice my child has a stiff neck after I have rebuked her several times, I need to take action right away! God says this could be a serious problem, with terrible consequences for her in the future! A stiff neck reveals my child’s heart.
- A handy strategy, since Proverbs has 31 chapters, is to read the 18th chapter on the 18th day of the month… the 19th chapter on the 19th day of the month… etc.
- Over time, you’ll build up a custom-made parenting manual, made just for you by the Holy Spirit. Cool, huh?
Okay, let’s review your assignments for today:
- Have you made a predictable routine for your children? Have you thought about why this helps them, even when your own life is a little chaotic at times?
- Have you read the short, medium, and long reading assignments listed above?
- Have you planned for a time to read a chapter from Proverbs each day, taking notes in your notebook?
Wow… we’re halfway through this course! I’m so thrilled that you’ve come this far without giving up. I still praying for you!