Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let the games begin!

I find myself feeling this way often now. I feel like I can handle keeping a baby's schedule, feeding, diaper changes, analyzing cries and rashes...for the most part. But this discipline thing has got my head spinning a bit.

Honestly, I think I'm further into it than I thought I'd be at this point. I wanted to have read several books by now and had long conversations with every mother I could throw a rock at. My little boy is smart, determined, curious and sinful. I knew all of those things early on, but I didn't know how much they would demand my response at just one year (er, 12 months).

I'm constantly wondering, "should I discipline for that," "does he even understand me," "that's not a big deal now, but will it be later," "what things should always be a no-no," "when I have to discipine how should I go about it (esp. in public or at other people's houses)," etc. etc. etc... (And if you're from Crossway...yes, I did take the parenting class. Perhaps I was sleepy).

So, at the advice of several, I'm reading "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman. I read the first 3 chapters as soon as I got it home, and so far she's laid a great foundation for my thinking...addressing the heart issues in your child and not only the behavior....which is definitely my tendency after teaching middle school where you don't have much time or authority to get at the heart. She's written about working from the inside to the outside and training your little one to reflect on their own motives and sinful hearts so that they might truly repent and think like a Christian.

However, I'm struggling with how to apply that to Isaiah at this age. I looking for practical "this is what you do" kind of answers. I know there's not a manual (or mine got lost in the mail). I know that this is a season of training for us so what are the important things to begin instilling in him?

So moms....please respond and tell me what your manual says :)


Jeanie said...

Dana- I hear you! I felt (and still sometimes feel) the same way. There isn't a manuel or even a book about disciplining really little ones. One thing that helped me a lot was a two-part message by Kenneth Moresco on training kids under 5. I can pass it along if you want. He talks about "training" before disciplining them, and looking to see when they are at a developmental level that understands what you are asking of them. I've found that Alathea almost always understands more than I give her credit for. So I have heeded the advice that was most helpful to me: to pray to the Lord for wisdom, and to have an ongoing conversation with my husband for his wisdom. Joe seems to always have a much more realistic view on what Alathea understands (I tend to be more emotional about it). His wisdom & guidence in it all has been so important. Also, its been very helpful to ask other more experienced parents who have observed her behavior. They have great wisdom too! Even if there isn't a manuel per se, the Lord hears our prayers & will guide us- even if in ourselves we have NO idea what we are doing :)

Advice Joe & I got in the very beginning was to choose one or two things to make discipline issues & to be faithful in those (we chose not touching a particular potted plant she loved to get into, as well as her laying still when we changed her). This made the whole training & disciplining seem less overwhelming.

I also found that the older Alathea has gotten, the clearer it has been on what to make a disciple issue. No more quessing- her sin is clearly on display :)

Sorry to write so much! I'm looking forward to seeing what the more experienced Momma's say!!

Josh and Dana said...

That's great, Jeanie. Thanks for writing so much! It's exactly what I was asking for!

meghann said...

I second jeanie's advise! I REALLY benefited from kenneth moresco messages on training...it was VERY practical. I am right there with ya girl as jake's sin seems to on display more these days. Some days i have to ask God why trying to eat dogfood is soooooo tempting for my little man! :)

Melanie said...

Dana - I know you like to do things "by the book", which is my tendancy too. But, I think you REALLY need to pray, ask God for wisdom, and discipline biblically according to what you and Josh agree on. One thing that Ginger Plowman pointed out was that you should't spank a child for being childish (like unrolling the entire roll of toiletpaper). But, if you tell them NOT to do that childish act and they still do it KNOWING they shouldn't (and they should know if they understand "no no"), then they should be disciplined. Now, "disciplined" doesn't necessarily mean spanking in certain instances. Like with the toilet paper thing, if Mallory starts unrolling the toilet paper, I tell her "Mommy said no no. If you can't obey mommy, then we'll leave the room".

You will question yourself constantly about whether or not you should spank here or there and you may change your mind on the decisions, but that's OK! Seek God's wisdom, pray that Isaiah will see His authority over you as a parent and in your obedience to God, you must discipline him.

My main advice - don't bombard yourself with manuals. Use a few respected authors, but mainly the Bible and the final authority. Discuss it with Josh, come to an agreement and stick to it. Isaiah will understand...eventually!

Melanie said...

...the last paragraph was supposed to say "use the Bible AS the final authority". Woops!