It’s a good thing I have this blog

Because there are things my husband doesn’t really care one whit about and yet I can go on and on and on. Picture him: Eyes glazed over, mouth slightly slack, mind wandering, not at all engaged. I only get this look some of the time, because I have learned to let him off the hook. He is my bestest best friend. I love him so much sometimes I just have to squeeze him.

I also do him the favor of not carrying him with me on every little spiel and thought process which often gets me to point B from point A and all the points in between. (I’m a girl. There are points between A and B.)

So here’s what’s been on my mind lately.

I’ve been working on Aviana’s preschool curriculum. I found a wonderful website that totally helps me to not reinvent the wheel. I’m almost exclusively using the Bible and Rhyme (a chronological study of Bible stories, rhyming, and letters for 3-5 year olds). I’m coupling it with seasonal activities across the learning spectrum mostly from The Best of Totline. We start officially Monday, but Aviana has been wanting to do preschool since I started getting the binder together. It’s so fun to watch her be so excited.

The other thing I’ve been spending a lot of time on is research in the area of discipline. I feel like we do a pretty good job with her in that regard. We don’t allow her to be disrespectful or disobedient at all, but we allow her freedom to be frustrated and upset. Our overarching goals are to teach her how much God loves her and to obey Him. It’s a challenge. A big challenge, especially given the high-needs of her innate God-given personality.

As I mentioned in another post, I feel we have really turned a corner with her, but she still tests the limits. Tonight for example, we were invited to a friend of Kevin’s mom’s house. Kevin grew up with this friend, and I’ve gotten to know him and his wife fairly well but I don’t have the same level of comfortable-ness with his parents. Kevin’s friends were in town from Chicago, and their girls are almost exactly the same age as our own. Anyway, it was important to me to make a good impression on these people, and I think Aviana knew it. When it was time to leave, I requested she tell our hostess “Thank you for a nice time.”

She would not do it. I asked and explained seven ways to Sunday and she wouldn’t do it. I took her outside to have a serious chat with her. We came back in. Nope, still wouldn’t do it. I took her back outside and administered two sharp swats to her bummie, she cried for about 15 seconds, I prayed with her. Told her we would do it again with three swats if she still refused my request. No one was mad. She was not shamed or afraid.

Took her back in and she complied. Well, she mumbled “Thank you” while looking at the hostess.

This is so embarrassing for me, and for the person I’m trying to get her to thank. She seems to pull this a lot when we’re someplace public, like thanking the guy at the pet store for getting animals out for us to pet, or thanking the Kindermusik lady for giving us a nice class. This is the first time I have had to swat her for this infraction, because the other times she has responded to a ‘talking-to’.

I’m feeling so conflicted about it, not because I feel like I handled this situation–and generally my whole parenting self–poorly. It’s mostly because I found this message board which has so many beliefs IN GENERAL that coincide with my style–they are extended breastfeeders, baby wearers, co-sleepers, homeschoolers, non-vaccinaters; BUT they also promote this thing called Grace Based Discipline–“Fear and purposely-inflicted pain have no place in gentle, loving, Biblical discipline, and children should be disciplined from birth with an appropriate mixture of kindness and firmness in a manner that respects their feelings and their developmental, emotional, and daily needs.”

It sounds good in theory–and there are some techniques that I already implement that fall under the GBD umbrella–but I have a serious problem with some aspects of it. I’ve been on the boards for two days and I’ve already been called on the carpet a bit for posting this:
I quote the Bible to her Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. And I tell her that God has put me in this place as her mama for a reason, she needs to respect me & talking to me like that (bossy, arguing, whatever) is disobeying God. Plus I tell her she isn’t fun to be with when she acts like that.

One person said this: I would honestly encourage you to drop this bit out of the middle of the rest of what you said those verses are important to learn but they are addressing adults (what? Paul says Children, but he means Adults?) and in doing what she’s doing she’s being a child, not disobeying God. I find it very problematic to set up an adversarial relationship between a child and God–for them to think they are disappointing Him can lead to huge challenges in their faith.

Another this: which is one of the reasons I think so many adults in our society have turned away from religion. Because they have been told this as children. I do not think these quotes were meant for young children.

And on a different topic someone said this to me: farmerswife (that’s me!) –it’s very difficult to answer the questions you are asking because they are more hypothetical. The answer depends on a lot of things. Basically, i’d parent them. They need me to parent them whether they are listening or not–i don’t get to decide I’m done because they are having a hard time. But, also, children raised with GBD from birth don’t usually (barring extreme circumstances) have the problems you’re talking about (at least not long term because they try and realize it’s not worth the effort )

I was very offended by this last one especially. But maybe I’m just sensitive because I am doing something wrong. Or not “parenting.” Or maybe I’m just insecure because they think their way is SO RIGHT.

I’m not even sure what I think.

This is exactly the train of thought Kevin didn’t have the patience to follow. If you’re still reading though, you must have, so I really would love some feedback on this. If you don’t want to put your interpretation… ideas… advice… insight… thoughtful reply in the comments, please please email me.

4 thoughts on “It’s a good thing I have this blog

  1. I loved how you started this post, I feel the exact same way, and laughed in your other post at Kevin’s comment: “A blogging moment!” So funny… Our dh’s are so glad we’re sparing them the details, right?

    I really enjoyed all your details, and knowing where you are coming from in asking about the discipline question. I’ve been running everywhere this week and had other blogging commitments, but I really do want to address your question at my blog asap.

    I’ve heard of grace based discipline, and it sure sounds good on the surface. I think as a parent we need to know when to exercise grace and when to exercise “law”. Look at all the verses in Proverbs on training up a child, and not sparing the rod, etc. I think you did fabulous to stick with Aviana in getting her to say thank-you to your friends. It’s so humbling, isn’t it? But she hopefully learned something in the process. Believe me, you don’t want her growing to be 8-11 years old and at that point be “playing shy” when she could have moved beyond it at a much younger age. People aren’t so forgiving once children reach those more responsible ages.

    I personally think if you train consistently and carefully in the very early years, you’ll be able to operate under all or mostly grace by the time your child hits 7-9 years old. It’s worked that way for us. I have a blog post called “The Funnel Theory Of Parenting”

    I am also an extended breastfeeder, homeschooler, non-vaccinator…:) Just try to weigh everything external with what the Bible tells us to do. I think, really, consistency is the biggest key of all. It’s so frustrating to a toddler to have mommy let you get away with something one day, and then draw a line in the sand the next. That’s where tantrums come from!

    Hey, good on you with all the preschool fun! I have such fun when they’re that age! Love the pics at this blog!

  2. Aunt Barb says:

    Jessica, do you hear me whispering in your ear, ‘Don’t be so hard on
    yourself; you are doing a good job! I love you.’ And so does God. I
    can just see Him up there, smiling gently and being so pleased that you
    are trying so hard with your girls. You are constantly evaluating and
    seeing what works and what doesn’t, all the while continuing to teach
    your faith to them and loving them.

    Listen for God’s Voice; I can hear Him whispering to you, ‘Jessica,
    don’t be so hard on yourself; you are doing a good job! I love you.’

    Love, AB

  3. Hi Jessica! I found your blog through the feature you wrote for Country magazine, and I’ve really been entertained by it. I related to this post (though I know it’s been quite some time since it was written), as I did extended breastfeeding, plan to homeschool, and I also do elimination communication, which lines up with a lot of the stuff on and other such websites; however, I have had a big problem with this idea that it somehow harms kids to get spanked. It really made me worry at first that what I planned on doing (I was pregnant with my first at the time) was wrong, but what I’ve found with my DS is that spankings are the quickest and most effective way to get him to behave. He seems to be able to go back to being happy a lot quicker than when I try to do timeouts or other things. I suspect in atleast some cases these people had parents who beat them instead of spanking them, because they seem to really lump it all together, when really the two are so far apart. Keep up the awesome work (as a mother and a blogger!)

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