Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Gentle Discipline Reminder and a Book Recommendation

I find as I watch three toddlers (one my own) day in and day out that I need more reminders to be gentle. I picked up one of my books that I've been reading, "Biblical Parenting" by Pastor Crystal Lutton. It was exactly the reminder that I needed. I was suprised at how practical some of the information in the book is. I was expecting more of a theological type discussion - which there is much of. But she gives some practical steps of positive discipline. I'm not done reading yet, so I don't claim to know all of her methods yet. But she talked about telling toddlers to "listen to my words" when giving them an instruction. And then asking them if they're able to "listen to my words" and then helping them "listen to my words" when they're not. Actually, this method is not new to me and in fact it's one that I like and try to use a lot. However, reading this came at the right time because I needed a reminder. It's definitely not a lazy person's method of discipline. One can holler "no blah blah blah" or "stop blah blah blah" from across the room. But to physically go over and help a child listen, well, it requires lots of getting up and down. I really liked one point she made about helping. It's not meant to be a punishment to help. Children at the age of toddlerhood are not developed in their ability to stop doing something they're enjoying in order to do something that they don't want to do or isn't as fun. So, when an adult helps, they're doing just that. Teaching a child how to stop fun behavior and do what needs to be done. It's nothing to get upset over. Now the toddler may whine and cry, throw themself on the ground, or whatever. But it's because of their immature development and lack of ability to transition from a fun activity in order to do something that needs to be done. So as a parent, my role is to help my child accomplish this without shaming him or making him feel bad about something that he is not developmentally able to do. I'm probably not explaining this nearly as well as the author did, but I think this book is worth a read. I would especially recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the idea of christian or biblical parenting. The author goes a lot into passages in the bible that are often used to support spanking. I think she does a great job of putting the passages in their context and explaining true meaning.

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