Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Parenting Resources I Need

Most of the time I review things that are geared towards homeschooling and the kids.  This review is different thanks to Parenting Made Practical!  This one is just for parents.  And because being Product Manager of the Homeschool Review Crew has its privileges, I received several products this time, two that I want to share with you today- Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (DVD and book) and Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, WHAT WORKS?

For the record and in case you are new to Family, Faith and Fridays, I am the mom of four kiddos: two older kids (college and up) and two boys still at home, ages 16 and 10.  I have been parenting with my cute hubby for 24 years now and yet sometimes I feel it is still our first rodeo.

You know what I mean?   Just when you think you have it down, someone, or some child, changes the rules.  And on top of that, each child is different and often requires an additional set of rules.  Or two!

Which takes me to Taming The Lecture Bug.  I wasn't going to read this initially, I mean, I am a pro at parenting after all.  Ha- NOT!  But I have done it for a while now and have my methods down pat.

Including some maybe not so good methods, if I am judging by my recent rants.

I admit it.  I am a lecturer.  And quite honestly, I am just now realizing the extent of it.  This book sat on my desk and stared me down for a week.  Each day I would look at the title and think hmmm, that is not for me, I am sure.  And then one day after a particularly hard day with my youngest, I decided to pick it up and take a look.  Then I did not put it down.

Well, I did put it down after about chapter 4, because I could not read it fast enough for my liking.  Instead, I popped in the video for more instant gratification, via an hour of viewing.  And then I picked up the book and finished reading throughout that week.

What did I learn?

I am a lecturer!  Have I mentioned that already?

According to Joey and Carla Link, founders of Parenting Made Practical and authors of Taming the Lecture Bug, we as parents lecture because we do not know what to do.  Our kids misbehave, SIN, and we somehow think our amazing words of wisdom are going to change their ways.

Guess what?  It doesn't happen.  No surprise there, right?

So what should we do instead?

According to the Links, and I totally agree, instead of focusing on the behavior, or the WHAT, we need to focus more on the whys, the REASON behind what has taken place.  When we reach the heart and fix the heart issues, often pride or stubbornness, we are more likely to be able to change the behavior.

In the book and again in the video, the Links walk you through better approaches to misbehavior, giving specific scenarios and how they think they should be handled.  They even act out a scene with their now grown daughter, Amy.  One of the techniques they use and teach is the art of asking questions.  "Why did you do that?"  "How do you think that made me feel?" and  "What could you do differently next time?"  are just a few.

Here are some things that have really stuck with me-

  • First make sure your child's attitude is right!  If they are closed minded and have a closed heart, you need to wait.  Send them to a quiet spot to regroup and then come back and try again.  This drove my youngest crazy but it did work.  If nothing else, it diffused the tension or just plain wore him out with multiple trips to the steps to regroup.  He may have a hatred of steps by the time he is 18, just saying.
  • By lecturing, I am taking responsibility of the situation, while still not solving anything.  As the Links stated, it is not like the rules are new and unknown.  They really do not need to be restated, no matter how eloquent I think I am.  They just need to be obeyed.  
  • My son may not love lecturing, but he loved the questions even less.  :)  At one point he even asked me, "Why do you keep asking me questions?"  It almost made me laugh.  But it DID make him stop and think about what he was doing and why!
  • "I don't know" is not an appropriate response.  Neither is "maybe", or "sort of" or "probably".  When you ask a yes or no question, require a yes or no response.  This, too, drove my son batty a few times.  If he started to argue or give excuses I would remind him it was a yes or no question.  I won't tell you exactly how many times I had to repeat that in a row one day.
  • Disobedience IS sin.  Not a whoops or an uh oh, but a sin and needs to be treated as such.  Just by adding the name sin to a behavior added more weight to it in my son's eyes.
  •  I am not responsible for my child's actions, he is.  Lecturing takes that ownership away from them, asking questions gives it back to them. 

Final thoughts-
If you are not a book person, watch the DVD!  It is perfect for auditory learners and it is fun to see the humor and interaction the Links have.  If DVDs are not your thing, read the book instead.  The information is pretty much the same in both, although the book does have a few additional examples and each chapter ends with a letter from parents who have learned and used this system with success, which I greatly appreciate!  It encouraged me to hear I was not alone in a few of my struggles and that other parents have seen changes, even after years of parenting.  Also at the back of the book is a great chart for kids to use for retraining a stubborn heart, that is for them to fill in.  We have not used it yet, but I have made copies.  Just in case.

It is never too late to start something new and have it work.

And about that Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...WHAT WORKS? video and workbook-

As I mentioned, my oldest two are girls, ages 20 and 24.  We had pretty strict dating rules when they were in highschool- as in, NO!  Times change, people change- you know the drill.

Right now we honestly float in the "we have no idea what we are doing" pool.  They are older now and make their own decisions, but quite honestly after walking through a few bad dating experiences with them we have thrown up our hands in defeat.

No, we do not want our kids to casually date every random person that crosses their path, nor do believe that "courting" in the old fashioned sense of the word works either.  It's a tough road and one that I dread being on again with our boys.

In Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, WHAT WORKS?, Joey and Carla Link introduce a concept called friendship dating that is closer to a middle of the road compromise I am more comfortable with.  Instead of focusing on dating rules, they focus on the concept of getting to know someone without too much emotional attachment at first.  The Links talk about four stages of a relationship leading to marriage-
  • potential
  • possible
  • probably
  • and proposal
With each of these stages they encourage asking a lot of questions specific to that stage.  (yes, more questions)  It's about setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them.

So let me tell you my 2 biggest takeaways from this workbook and accompanying 2 hour video.

Kids must eventually take ownership of their own relationships.  If we are so involved with their relationships and the decisions they make, when do they or will they ever learn to make decisions on their own?  Yes, I know one must take age into account here, but I would argue that if you are afraid they are not old enough to make decisions, they are probably not old enough to be in a relationship either!

The second thing that really struck me was the concept of a girl's father becoming THE mentor in her suitor's life.  This is a HUGE deal in the courtship community, this idea that you must take a young man your daughter might be interested in and "mold" him and "train" him.  While not bashing the courtship model, the Link's shared their opinion that while all of us need and can benefit from mentors, there is NO man that should ever take the place of a young man's father, if he has one in place.  When our sons are interested in a relationship with a girl, we do not simply hand over the reins to someone else to guide them.  That is a job given to us by God, not to someone else.

I will admit, this is still a muddy pool to me, but one I am at least a little less fearful to swim in.  After watching the video myself, I am hoping to now sit down and watch it with my older son and allow him to complete the workbook pages.  It is my prayer that it will help facilitate much discussion and maybe help us come up with a more clearly defined plan for our family.

You can find many more Biblical based parent resources from the Links and their Parenting Made Practical website.  Next on my list is the one entitled Mom's Notes, with 40 teaching presentations in 5 volumes of parenting advice and training.

Again, it is never to late to learn!

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