Child Development, Jumping Frogs, and Evading Dinosaurs

We went camping earlier this year. You know, the lovely peaceful sort of camping at an out-of-the way campsite, with hikes, 'smores, and afternoon naps in the tent. Well. Sort of. One afternoon as we all lay down in the tent for a nap, three-year-old Bobby decided he was a frog. He had walked quite a bit on our hike that morning and ought to have been tired out, but kids are nothing if not unpredictable. Six-year-old Sally decided she would take a nap, but Bobby? Nothing doing!Sean and I … [Read more...]


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Why I Sometimes “Give In” to My Children

Growing up, my parents were very firm that "no" meant "no." If we begged or tried to get them to change their minds, we would get in trouble. That was disobedience. More than that, they thought that if they were to "give in" to begging after already saying no, they would be allowing us children to rule them and would lose control of the family. So not only were we not allowed to beg, they also didn't allow themselves to change their minds. That would have been showing weakness.I see this … [Read more...]


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Parenting Positively Means Much More than Not Hitting

Yesterday as Sally climbed into the car, she knocked over a can with flowers in it, something she'd brought home from school, and in the process spilled water on the seat. Sally began to fret about the water, but I didn't have a towel or other rag in the car. Since we were about to head home home, I suggested that she sit on the wet spot, soaking up some of the water with her dress, and that she could change when we get home. Sally responded that the water was in a corner of the seat, so she c … [Read more...]


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On Coming When You’re Called and Fear-Based Obedience

Yesterday I argued that we sometimes hold higher expectations for our children than we do for ourselves. One example I gave was when parents expect their children to jump up and come immediately when called while they themselves feel free to take a moment to finish something when someone else calls them.I grew up with parents who expected obedience to be "immediate, complete, cheerful, and without question." Anything short of this was considered disobedience. Half of my many siblings are … [Read more...]


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When We Expect More of Our Children than of Ourselves

Some months ago Sally left the family iPad in a store. She had been reading interactive storybooks when it ran out of batteries, so she put it on the rack under the cart and subsequently forgot about it. We didn't realize it was missing until we got home. Needless to say, I was not happy. Actually, I was really quite upset. Sean took Sally back to the store to look for it, but they couldn't find it. I'm afraid to say that I was more than a little stern with Sally. I didn't punish her (after al … [Read more...]


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Not All Days Are Easy Days

One day a few weeks ago, Sally completely lost it. I don't even remember what it was about, but she just let loose. She was crying and screaming and yelling---and knocking over furniture. Sally knows that being upset is okay, but that hitting people and throwing things or being otherwise destructive is not. It was the evening and Sean was home and I was in the kitchen working on supper with things on the stove, so when Sally began flipping chairs I called Sean in as backup.Sean picked Sally u … [Read more...]


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How Spanking Sounds to a Never-Spanked 5-Year-Old

Have you ever wondered how the idea of spanking comes across to a child who has never been spanked? I wondered, too, and given that I have a never-spanked five-year-old, I thought I'd find out. This conversation is the result."Sally, do you think mommies and daddies should be able to hit their children?""No.""But what if their children do something wrong? Should parents be able to hit their children then?""No!""Why not?""They should use words, they're not … [Read more...]


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