Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kid Musings

I have had several kid-related issues bopping around in my brain as of late and decided to sock them all into one post, asking for your input along the way.
Kid Musing #1 : Things I Find While Cleaning

A few weeks ago, I did a deeper cleaning.  What I find always amazes me.  Recently, I've come across dried up banana peels (our kids receive them as gifts since we don't buy them), cracker wrappers, brown sugar in a plastic container (complete with playmobil shovel, a.k.a. spoon), way too may unused tissues, funnels (I wondered where they had gotten to), and of course, pens and markers in off limit places.

The sheer amount of things stuffed under and in couches and furniture pieces is incredible.  It's surprising they have anything left to play with.  What's the strangest thing you've found while cleaning?  My inquiring mind really wants to know.

Kid Musing #2 : The Kid/Sweets Philosophy

I'm sure you noticed that one of the things I found hidden was sugar.  One of our children hides brown sugar and eats it in secret.  I know some of you out there may be thinking that if we didn't limit our kids' sugar intake so much, maybe they wouldn't sneak it.  But, let me tell you that from personal experience, that isn't always true.

There were plenty of yummy homemade sweets in my house growing up.  I was far from deprived of them and yet I snuck (or sneaked) them, too. That said, Jamey's previous boss (a very intelligent and dynamic woman) once told us over dinner that her and her husband always had a bowl of M&Ms or other sweets set out on a table and their two kids grew up not caring much for sweets.

What is your kids/sweets philosophy and how is it working out?  Those of you who have grown children, I'd love to hear your stories, too.

Kid Musing #4 : 101 Things for Your Kids to do this Summer

Check out this link (it's on a homeschooling site, but applies to all kids) for really great ideas of what your children can do this summer.  Some ideas are pure fun, some are educational, some build character- and they don't require a lot of resources.

Kid Musings #3 & #4 : A Couple Reader Questions and my Answers

The Rakows asked a couple questions in the comments of a post awhile back (I didn't forget about you!).  Here are the questions and my answers.

1. Explain your philosophy on disciplining your children...especially from a biblical standpoint. do you spank? time out? firm talkin' to? how do you and your husband deal with misbehaviors?

We mostly use time out or take away privileges when our kids behavior requires more than just redirection.  Sometimes one works better than the other.  For example, if they're complaining too much at dinner, a time out would give them what they want- a break from having to eat what they don't like.  So, if there is misbehavior or complaining at dinner, they get a 10 minute earlier bedtime for each offense.  This has worked especially well.  Stern talking-tos are also common.  We also try to help the kids think about some of their bad behaviors as habits (you can read more about this here).

It is safe to say that some of our parenting ideas have changed a bit over time.  I was spanked and did not like it, so I vowed not to spank my kids.  I totally understand those who choose not to.  How is spanking setting an example, especially when what they did wrong was hitting a sibling?  "I'm going to spank you to teach you not to hit your sister."  It just doesn't make complete sense.

That said, there are rare occasions when one of our children is having repeated problems with misbehavior and repeated time-outs and the removal of privileges is not effective in breaking the pattern.  When that happens, Jamey spanks.  I don't do the spanking because I get angry and I do not want to spank in anger.  Jamey is able to keep his cool and calmly talk to the child about why they will get one and carries it out in control, complete with a hug afterward.  For our one child in particular (only one requires spankings these days), this seems to hit a reset button for them where behavior is concerned and has proven effective.

This is just what we've worked out for us- each family has to figure out what works best for them and for their children.  As far as the Biblical perspective, of course the verse Proverbs 13:24 comes to mind, "Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them." (NRSV)  I tend to gravitate toward the second half of the verse and consider discipline to mean so much more that just using "the rod".  I think it helps to consider other verses that include issues relating to children as well...

"Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6 King James Version

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Matthew 18:2-6 New King James Version

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your father and mother,  that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-4 ESV

2. How did you potty train your kids? can you give your advice about potty training :) steps, process, how you knew the kids were ready, etc.

I start potty training when *I* am ready for them to potty train (between ages 2 and 3).  I've tried going with their signals, but their signals can change and then I'm left back to square one.  What worked for Sam and Sadie was me putting them in real underwear and setting the timer for every 5 minutes and then sitting them on the potty.  This is very intensive- you can have NOTHING ELSE planned for your day(s).  I do it this often because I started out at 15 minute intervals with Sam, but he would just wait until he got off the potty from "trying" and go pee in the playroom.

I leave diapers on during nap and bed time until they were able to keep them dry- this can take quite awhile, but it eventually happens.  Once again, this is what has worked for us, through trial and error.


Miriam showed signs of being ready at 18 months and it flopped.  I should have given her more time.  I knew that, but the temptation to be done with diapering was too strong.

So, what are your best tips for dealing with misbehaviors and potty-training (you know, since we all have these things totally figured out)? Pin It


  1. I once found a petrified waffle inside the pages of a picture album. YUCK!!

  2. Sugar... We've always had a bowl of candy sitting out on a coffee table... and because of that... I think my kids don't really seem to care about candy...

    Potty Training... straight to underwear... My daughter was trained over night... my son took 5 days... and I agree... it's intense and you have to have NO plans and plan on staying home for the week.

    Spanking... I don't believe in hitting kids.
    If they are in big trouble for something... We call them into "The Office" and sit down and talk sternly to them. It seems to do the trick :)

    I love kids... I think you can be both firm and fun at the same time... and if your'e consistent... it really helps.

    P.S. I think all kids "sneak" something :)

  3. #1 Cleaning? What's that??

    #2 We limited our first's sweets pretty well until he was 3 or 4, and then allowed them in moderation. Our second had more sweets earlier - just really hard to limit her when he was having some. He is very good at self-limiting sweets, and has even commented that various things are too sweet (a comment that NEVER came out of my mouth as a child!), while his sister is much more inclined to over-indulge. I have no idea if it is just genetics ( my hubby is not a big sweet eater, either), or if it has to do with the early restriction for him and not her . . .

    #3 &4 - We don't spank - I just don't like the inconsistency of the message, as you said "I'm going to hit you to show you that hitting (or whatever) is wrong." I do know that it can be useful when used well, but I have not felt the need and have no desire to use this technique if possible. I like your approach to it, though, and I also like that you don't JUST go for the "spare the rod" quote - I'm not hugely religious, but I do think that there is a LOT of wisdom in the Bible that many people overlook for the "popular" quotes. And as for potty training, I have no major wisdom. Our boy was easy and quick, our girl took at bit more work, but both came out fine in the end!

    I always enjoy your blog, dearie! Wish I could actually hang out with you from time to time, but this is nice to keep up with you. :0)

  4. I have heard the "rod" described in Proverbs as not a physical stick for hitting but as the "standard" by which the child's behavior is measured. If you don't have a standard that you hold the child to regarding behavior, then you have indeed "spoiled" them.

    Patty B.

  5. so much to think about here! I'll say one thing because I really need to go to bed.

    Kids/sweets: we have some candy at home, but it is consumed rarely and the kids know it's because it's not really healthy. We say it's fine to eat a little bit, but not a lot - and then we talk about food that our bodies really need. We have dessert sometimes, but never seconds on dessert and it's always a dairy or fruit or whole grain based dessert anyway. Our approach is moderation, moderation, moderation.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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