Monday, March 17, 2008

Reflections on "Making Children Mind without Losing Yours" by Dr. Kevin Leman: Part 1

Chapter 1
Notes: It's not just physical dangers, "kids are being held hostage by coarse T.V. shows, violent video games, and valueless schools." "Is it possible to bring up good children in such a crazy age?" The author says it's possible, but still scary. Many parents end up too afraid to do anything, for fear of being too lineant, too attached, too distant, or too demanding, and instead do nothing! We are al going to make mistakes, but we need to learn from them, not fear them. We can still raise good kids while making mistakes. "And we don't need the community to raise our kids, we don't need the schools to do it, we don't need the government telling us how, we don't even need churches to do our childrearing for us...we need parents to step up and do it." Everyone else needs to support parents in there efforts though. So that's the challenge...step up and be a parent. Make your family the most important and commit to it.

The time has come for reality discipline. "It's a consistent, decisive, and respectful way for parents to love and discipline their children." Discipline, not punish, love, but not smother in love. Lot's of parents are asking questions like...How do I really love my children? How do i respect my children? How can I hold them accountable for their actions? How do I get them to do what I think they ought to do, without resorting to physical or verbal violence? What about spanking? Is it necessary? How much? How often? Reality discipline will answer these questions and is inspired by scripture. It is based on Ephesians 6:1-4. The author believes that when we discipline children we do not damage their psyches, and I agree with him. Many children don't feel loved in their homes. "For discipline to work, the first thing that has to happen is that they child must feel genuinely loved."

The Seven Principles of Reality Discipline

1. Establish a healthy authority over your children.
"A family is not a democracy. The parents need to be in charge." Children should be valued family members, just not the complete center of attention.

2. Hold your children accountable for their actions.

3. Let reality be the teacher.
Goldfish as pets are good...if you don't feed them, they die. "Too many parents worry that failure will damage their childs self-esteem." Kids need to be able to fail, but then be love unconditionally when they do so.

4. Use action more than words.
The action of letting a child get away with something wins out every time. Hold them accountable and let them know their responsibilities affect others.

5. Stick to your guns, but don't shoot yourself in the foot.
Kids will try to whine to get you to change your mind, but don't give in! "Outlast them, and they'll learn it's pointless to whine." If you get the idea that you feel you need to change your mind though, you can...only God's authority is final.

6. Relationships come before rules.
These principles are not set in concrete. There are no hard and fast rules for raising children, like some people sometimes wish there were...sometimes you just have to go with your gut. "the goal is always the same: teaching your children to love others, to put others first, to be givers and not takers, and to realize that it makes a difference how they conduct themselves."

7. Live by your values.
"...for all to many kids today, cheating and lying are fine as long as you don't get caught-and then the response is merely a shrug and "Whatever." " Your children learn from watching you. The prerequisites for practicing reality discipline are 1. the desire to love as unconditionally as possible, and 2. you must be willing to take the time to practice it.

Make a difference in your childrens lives...don't fall for the modern doctrine that you are insignificant and don't matter, b/c you do and you can have a tremendous impact on your childrens lives. "Every rebellious act is a cry to Parent me! Treat me like I matter to you!" "Kids want guidelines. They need parameters." I love that he adressed that some soccer and t-ball leagues are no longer keeping score b/c then someone might lose, and that would damage their self-esteem. I think this is the biggest load of crap! If children aren't allowed to fail, they essentially aren't allowed to excel! You can't strive to be the best if you're always the best, and is there even any "best" is everyone's the best? Children need to learn that sometimes losing is a part of life, and that's o.k.


Q: What aspects of our modern world make it difficult for you to raise your children?

A: I think there are so many aspects that make it difficult. Cartoons that set poor examples, use toliet humor, and are offensive. One of the biggest one's for me is other peoples children who behave pooryly, who my two year old learns from . I think that an overall busier schedule contributes as well. Pushing our children to excel earlier and earlier is also a problem...we are so focused on getting our 4 year olds to be computer literate that we're not making sure that they know how to play nice, share, and use there manners! Really, it's o.k. if they don't use a computer or spell perfect until second grade!

I skipped the next queestion b/c i didn't think any of them were hard to understand.


* Talk through the principles of reality discipline with your spouse. Decide together whether you'll put these principles into practice or not. Or do you want to read the rest of the book to see how they work?

Jason and I think this approach sounds good, so I will continue to read the book and share the key points with Jason.

I hope that these reviews can help you if you as well, if you don't have access to the book, or maybe it will even inspire you to go get it...either from your library or from the store! =)

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