Tag Archives: children

The Undisclosed Cost of Spanking

After lots of Facebook discussion, I think I have decided that spanking your child is a lot like charging an undisclosed amount to your relational credit card. Credit can be used as a tool. Some people use it all the time and pay it off monthly, others choose to forgo credit completely and others use it for everything and only pay the minimum balance, or worse, don’t make any payments at all.

In my experience, I often accidentally make withdrawals. Failing to plan ahead, I put Dillin in a position where he is more likely to have a meltdown, and in those moments it can be to forget that I’m the adult and I need to stay calm even if my son can’t. Thankfully, I have made a concerted effort to improve in this area and I feel that it is really paying off. Still there are times when I get flustered, forgetting that he is nearby, and he thinks that I am upset with him. Or if I laugh because he is being cute and he thinks I am laughing AT him, which causes him to stop whatever he is doing and sob. Because of these accidental withdrawals, I try to make hourly deposits. Even spare change deposits add up when withdrawals are few and far between.

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Some kids have low interest rates, so to speak, so having a line of credit isn’t as big of a deal. They aren’t emotionally fragile, don’t hold grudges, have good attitudes even when things don’t go the way they had hoped. Even so, a line of credit with an undisclosed balance is potentially very dangerous.

At this point, my son has a very high interest rate. This doesn’t worry me because he’s only one. And because I try to make an obscene amount of deposits on a daily basis.

In closing, I would caution any parent who is convinced they know exactly how much damage they are doing when they frequently use spanking. Kids have variable interest rates and that kind of arrogance is exactly what precedes the discovery that your credit card balance is actually the size of a small mortgage.

If you have run up a monstrous amount of relational debt due to yelling, hitting, neglecting or abuse I sincerely hope you’ll choose to apologize to your children and seek out peaceful parenting solutions that work for your specific family. Don’t expect your children to automatically take your word for it, after all, they’ve been hiding their naughty behavior as best they can because they DON’T trust you. But eventually, when they see that you mean it, they will come around. And, unlike actual credit cards, kids don’t require bankruptcy in order to forgive a debt. :)

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This website has a lot of very helpful information on positive parenting ideas, especially for strong willed children.

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Things I Wonder About

Why is it that for so many, a child staying at home with their parents being homeschooled is tantamount to brainwashing yet sending a child to a government run, government funded school 8 hours a day for 12+ years is not indoctrination? Obviously not all homeschool scenarios are created equal and neither are all public school scenarios. It still seems logically inconsistent to take this particular stance.

I suppose anyone who believes their government is a completely unbiased and moral source of information A) is the product of a government school and B) cannot be reasoned with because (see A).
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Photo found here.

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blessed to be a blessing

I love love love when I see parents bless their kids. I’m not talking about routine, socially-obligated gifts, although those are also nice!

A friend of mine has parents who constantly bless her despite the fact that she has not been “perfect” in her performance as a daughter. She always gets encouraging text, little presents, free childcare, groceries… Her parents LOVE to bless her. I think this is huge. It’s huge because if my child screwed up in a way that I considered life-changing or exceedingly serious, I don’t think my first thoughts would be bless, encourage, cheer for, defend. And I have a tendency to respond to people base on their performance, a hard habit to break although I KNOW that way of thinking is wholly antithetical to the Gospel. I believe “looking for the best in others” is also antithetical to the Gospel because we are all sinners that God in his mercy chose to save from our depravity. “The best” in a sinner is probably just less sin.

So what are you supposed to do when your child makes a major mistake? Or how about one major mistake after another after another after another…? What do you do when they live on the edge and are just lucky enough to not get caught? How often are we like this with the Lord? Yet his thoughts and action regarding us does not change based on our current position or present stupidity. He is always the same. He lets us suffer the natural consequences of our actions, and will correct us but his attitude and opinion toward us never changes. As disappointing as it is for me to admit it, that is incredibly challenging for me. I hope I’m able to act like God the father when my son is less than upright in his thoughts, words, deeds. Lord, please help me remember…

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My Former Life

In April our church had a women’s training day to help train and disciple women to be godly wives, mothers, employees, friends. It was amazing – super encouraging and insightful. It was definitely a long day being five months pregnant but worth every minute. The last session was a Q&A time with a panel of women who had spoken during the day. One question resonated with me and I still think about it.

The questions were all asked via text so there was anonymity on behalf of the questioner. One of the last questions to come through was a mom who essentially said “I do not want to tell my sexual sin to my children, what do I do?” The gal who had taught the breakout session on sex was chosen to answer, and she was really a good choice since she has four kids of her own. After telling a story about how her second child asked her point blank in the car with all three other kiddos whether she was a virgin when she got married (to which mom replied with a condescending look, “What do you think?”), she told how she then had to go back to her daughter and repent and tell her the truth.

She explained that after Jesus redeems us, our stories are no longer ours and we have no right to keep them to ourselves. In my mind it sort of came down to basically telling my son, “Yes, Jesus saved me from my sin but I saved myself from lust.” That’s a flat out lie. Our pride often leads us to protect our sin instead of being honest about them, as Paul was in Galatians 1, which leads to God being glorified. We were saved from our sins by our Savior not by ourselves and our own efforts, so we really have no right to “hide” our sins from others, because by doing so we diminish the glory of God who saved us from them. If we truly believe that we aren’t saved by our attempts at being good and “walking the straight and narrow”, then not declaring what the Lord saved us from isn’t even an option.

I immediately had to correct my way of thinking – not that I thought I was going to try and hide sins from my son in order to try and keep him believing that I was perfect – to what that looked like practically. Dillinger (sorry if you read this 10 years from now, buddy. Love you!) will probably be hearing The Talk by kindergarten, in hopes that we can try to preempt the kids who bring their daddies’ porn to school on their iPhones, sexting, experimenting and the like. That’s about five years from now. Heh. WISH US LUCK. But seriously, if we can show Dillinger that if Jesus can save us, his parents, from our sin and depravity, he can save anybody, maybe he’ll be inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit to choose to obey and follow Jesus at a much younger age than his parents did.

Either way, Jesus gets the glory in our stories because he’s the hero and we’re the bad guy. Pretending that it is any other way is pride and self-deception. I’m quite sure I’ll have to repent of this a thousand times (to Dillin and Jesus!) but the goal is never to hide our sins but to proclaim that though our sin is great, Jesus is greater still. And that is something we should be excited to share with our children, not ashamed of!

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thoughts on parenting, religion and failure.

What happens as a parent when you realize you’ve failed on some level? I have been wondering this (and freaking myself out) lately. For some parents, the very idea must be personally mortifying because it’s never been considered a real possibility. A child is a total wild card and you have to be prepared for the best and the worst and (mostly) everything in between.

Recently, I’ve been tallying up my childhood companions and putting them on an untitled list, divvied up according to who is still involved in a local church, loves the Lord and their family and those who don’t. Of course, people change all the time and will continue to change. Sadly, I only have one larger family in mind (and I didn’t grow up with them so they aren’t even on the list!) where all four adult children love and serve their parents, their communities and their local churches.

Is that weird? It seems really low to me. From the people I grew up with, I think it was about 1 out of every 3 who was still on the “good kid” side of the page. Like I said, everyone changes. I was on the bad kid side and frankly a lot of people still count me there even though I’ve since reformed and have settled down. I only counted homeschooling families who raised their kids in church which throws an even bigger wrench in the whole thing. There is no way around it – those are really bad odds.

I can already hear people shouting “If you mess up as an adult, you can’t blame your parents for anything! You can’t blame anyone but yourself!” While I don’t disagree, the incredibly dense people who are shouting consistently fail to distinguish between blame and effect.

If I say “I can’t keep a steady job, I blame my parents,” that’s nonsense. What is fact is to say “My parents did everything for me so I don’t have a very good work ethic.” It sounds like blame, and again the dense and hardheaded among us will not make any distinction in the attitude behind the two statements. Yet (ask anyone who has tried) a good work ethic is difficult to instill in yourself, especially when you’re in your 20s or older.

The thing is, the stubborn people don’t even believe what they are saying. They just don’t know it. Religious folks freak out at the idea of a child being raised by a single mother. They will regale you with dozens of statistics about the effects that single parenthood has on a child, continuing for their entire lives. But simultaneously they preach that regardless of the situation, if a child has two parents yet struggles to adjust as an adult, those struggles are 100% the fault of the child. It doesn’t matter the quality of the childhood, the parents can do no wrong simply because they are together.

It’s preposterous to say that adulthood is affected only by the number of parents involved but not the quality of the job performed. I have friends who were raised by single moms who contribute more to society than people I know with two parents whose parents did terrible jobs. Some of the most amazing people are terrible parents – it’s not a whole sale condemnation of anyone. (I don’t associate with the types who are both terrible parents and terrible people. That is just too much.)

I can’t help but wonder what will happen if my child decides they hate my lifestyle and want nothing to do with me. I might very well be an ass of a parent in which case I can’t say I will blame them for their sentiment. But I’m trying to plan ahead to some extent… in the hopes that my husband and I will somehow beat the odds.

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