Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Self Control, again!

This is one of those posts I wrote several years ago but am re-posting to share. Self-control hands has become standard operating procedure at our house through out the years. I even use it when I need to keep my mouth quiet, if I have my hands together it means I am working hard to control my tongue and it works - mostly. All those years I was told, "teach them when they are little or you'll have to teach it in the teen years" is now upon us and I am SOOOOOO glad we listened, cause now they are SOOOOO big and it would be way harder to put a pre-teen who's throwing a tantrum in time out. No, my kids aren't perfect and neither are Scott and I but we have a basis of training and moral (Biblical) reason why's to fall back on when times get tough. I'm sure it's going to get even more rough but I love the character and decisions I am beginning to see in my kids.

Self-control is one of those fruits of the spirit that touches everything in our life. It touches what we say, what we do and how we do it. Webster's defines self-control as “restraint excercised over one's own implulses, emotions or desires.” Learning self-control is a life long exercise but we can begin introducing the topic while our children are young. Self-control techniques can really help during those tumultuous pre-school years. My four year old daughter gets told to exercise self-control daily if not hourly over the dramatics she presents us with. This is a very practical lesson to teach to your young (or old) ones that will serve them well all the days of their life.

Idea one: Titus 2:6 says, “... encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity and seriousness.” Many times as parents we dismiss behaviour's that are 'out of control' because they are too young to understand or because that's what two year olds do. I believe that we need to set a standard for our children and even though they might not always achieve it, the standard needs to stay the same. As parents, sit down and dicuss what standards you have for your children, particularly in self-control. For instance, we don't allow temper tantrums. They have the choice of either gaining self-control or going to their rooms. Once your standards are set, sit down with your children and tell them what your home standard's are. With young children you might say, “Mommy and Daddy will not allow you to yell, kick or scream, do you understand? If you choose to do that you may go to room.” Your child (you may have to prompt them) needs to be able to repeat back to you what you just said, so that you know they understand. As a side note, be sure you are not treating frustration tantrums (“I know this block tower goes together, but I can't do it.”) and temper tantrums (“I'm not going to bed and you can't make me!”) the same. In both situations, the child needs to gain self-control but their motives are different.

In a parenting class my husband and I attended we were introduced to “self-control hands”. This is a great technique for little one's, actually it works for older kids as well. They simply place their hands in their lap and hold them together. For many children this helps them to focus and it direct much of their energy and wiggliness to their hands. To introduce this, you might play a game of 'who can hold their hands together and not talk, the longest.' This is a fun game because it doesn't take long for someone to erupt into giggles. As your children become more adept at this, offer a prize for everyone who can have self-control hands and quiet mouths for 30 seconds, then 60 seconds and so on. My children (even my very busy, very wiggly, outspoken little girl) have mastered the three minute mark. In situations where I can see they are about to lose control, I have them practice self-control hands and it has saved us much trouble. Make sure and practice in calm times so that you can use it in turbulent ones.

Remember to praise, prase, praise! Children thrive on praise so point out specific moments when they have used self-control. For instance, “I saw that you were about to get mad when your friend cut in line but I was really proud of the way you used self-control.” Also be sure to praise them when they are about to touch something or do something they shouldn't and use self-control instead.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Eye Bounce

I wrote this particular blog item several years ago but I wanted to re-visit it as my kids have become older. The eye bounce has been a great tool as my boys, especially, have gotten older. Connor often tells Collin to eye bounce even before I can now. I love that they are watching over each other's purity, although I wish it wasn't quite as necessary as it is. We can't hardly watch a commercial without needing the eye bounce. Anyway, here's the original blog.

Little eyes sometimes seem to notice everything that you don't want them to notice. At the mall, they notice the store with scary items in the front window or the store with the beautiful woman posing in underwear. There are so many things these days that are inappropriate for little eyes to see that it gets exhausting having to tell them," Don't look at that!". Isaiah 33 :14 & 15 says,

"He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil- 16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him."

We need to teach our little ones to shut their eyes from contemplating evil. At this year's homeschool convention I heard a speaker talk about how she taught her children an "eye bounce". An eye bounce is simply bouncing your eye from the inappropriate sight to something else, quickly. This is an easy way to teach your kids ( especially useful for boys as they get older) to eye bounce away from things that God doesn't want in our mind's eye and our heart. I also taught my children the little song " Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little eyes what you see, For the Father up above is looking down in love so be careful little eyes what you see." This helps them to remembe that God does care what they see and what they put into their little innocent hearts.

Use the eye bounce this week as you go to the mall or anywhere in public that you can quietly remind them to "eye bounce" away from things that are not appropriate. Make it a game and have fun with it, just beware of funny looks as your children (if they're anything like mine) yell "Eye bounce" in chorus.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Meanest Mom Ever

Remember? I let them off for 3 weeks at Christmas.

I am proudly claiming the title of "The Meanest Mom Ever". Not that my kids would ever say that. They happen to like life.

It is -10 and the ps have called for snow days for the past two days. Piano is cancelled, karate is cancelled, the roads are slick and icy. Daddy is working from home.

Are we having a snow day? Please? No, we are not. I have a schedule to keep and stuff to do. I am even sick and we are still doing school.

So, hand me over the title. I accept it proudly. The kids will thank me someday, maybe.