“Mommy, You Have Two Options”

preschool

When Sally wants something that is not an option at the moment---say, going out for ice cream---the first thing I do is explain why it's not an option. I explain that we had already made other plans, or that we don't have money in the budget to go for ice cream every day, or that we need to make sure we're eating a healthy diet and ice cream should be a special treat not something we eat constantly, etc.Sometimes, however, that's not enough. Sally doesn't always understand the concept of … [Read more...]

Gentle Discipline and Shades of Formula Parenting

still

There appears to be a growing trend in some Christian homeschooling circles away from corporal punishment. The term generally used instead is "gentle discipline," and it sounds in many ways quite similar to what I call "positive parenting." I hesitate to make the critique I'm about to make, because I truly am glad that these parents are deciding not to spank.The thing is, when I read blog posts by mothers into gentle discipline, I am sometimes afraid that they have simply exchanged one … [Read more...]

That Time I Put Myself in a Timeout

tantrum girl

Sometime last year, shortly after Bobby was born, Sally had the worst temper tantrum she has ever had. Sean was working late and I had the kids. Bobby was fussy and I was trying to cook supper and I don't even remember what set Sally off. But she wasn't the only one who got mad---I got mad too. Really angry, and not just at her. My evening was not going as planned. Sally was lying on the ground, screaming and kicking things. So I chose a course of action and took it. I turned off the stove, … [Read more...]

Sally’s Emotions Are Hers, Not Mine

defiant kid

"I'm really angry with you, mom! I don't like you right now! I don't like you!"I don't even remember what I'd done. I think maybe I told her that no, we weren't going to get ice cream while we were out, or maybe I told her we really did have to go inside because I had to make dinner. Whatever it was, my preschool-aged daughter Sally was very upset with me.But you know what? I didn't try to stop it. I can't control Sally's emotions, and I'm not going to try to. I can't force Sally to feel … [Read more...]

Dear Pearls: Crying Is How Babies Communicate

tantrum

I spent an hour this evening at the park with Sally and Bobby. I put Bobby in a swing, and gave him a good push, and you should have seen his face---it was like he'd just realized he had wings! After he'd been in the swing for about fifteen minutes, I took Bobby out to take him to play with something else. He immediately stiffened and started screaming, bucking and thrashing until it was all I could do to hold onto him (he's getting big!). So I put him down and watched him crumple, collapsing on … [Read more...]

When “I’m Sorry” Means “Please Don’t Hit Me”

2011-08-13-human-trafficking-page3-child-crying

Yesterday I finally brought a Christmas mug I was given a couple months ago home from the office. Sally was playing with it in the car, and when I opened the car door it fell out onto the pavement and broke."Oh, I'm sorry, mommy!"Sally was heartfelt and genuine, and that took me aback, because I realized something in that moment. I realized something that hit me in the gut.When I was a child, "I'm sorry" meant "please don't hit me."Reeling from this realization, I queried Sally about … [Read more...]

Why Sally Doesn’t Have a Bedtime

Bedtime

Would you believe that Sally doesn't have a bedtime? Well, she doesn't. She used to. We tried to put her to bed at 8:30 each night, and each night turned into a battle. "If you don't go to bed when it's your bedtime, you will be tired in the morning," we told her. "No I won't!" she insisted. So we would let her stay up, figuring that the next day she'd be tired and learn her lesson, and then she'd finally understand why she needed to go to bed at 8:30 each night. Except that it … [Read more...]


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