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Posts tagged ‘cry’

I think I have finally figured out the secret to parenting.

Okay, when I say “figured it out,” I don’t mean that I have a 100% perfect understanding of it. But I think I have enough of a concept to apply it and to share it.

And it wasn’t my original discovery. It comes from the book Parenting Your Infant/Toddler by the Spirit by Sally Hohnberger. And “it” is the parenting pyramid.

In my own words, this pyramid means that God is at the top, desiring to communicate to my child and me. Because I am the parent, I need to open up the lines of communication–two-way communication. I need to make sure my heart is fully surrendered in the moment. And let me tell you, lack of surrender on our part is a big reason why we fail to bring our children to true obedience. Just try making a child obey cheerfully by yelling at them!

The second aspect is that God also wants to communicate directly to the child. However, the rebellious, tantrum-throwing two-year-old isn’t listening. So we as the parent, now surrendered to the Lord, will communicate to them, and direct them to listen to what God is saying to them. Then we lead them to surrender as well. Once they surrender, the lines of communication are open between both parent and child and God and child.

Now, that’s good in theory, but let me make this practical with some illustrations from my life today.

It was time to pick up the toys and get ready for worship. But neither of my children wanted to pick up the toys. Manny tried to throw a tantrum and Gislaine started to cry. Because I couldn’t deal with them both at once, I sent Gislaine to her room and told her to wait until I called her. Then I told Manny that he needed to surrender his heart to Jesus and put the toys away. I said, “Let’s pray,” but he jerked in defiance. So I took his hand and said, “We need to go for a run.” We ran the length of the house and back. Then I knelt again and asked him to pray with me. He knelt, folded his hands, and closed his eyes. Then he repeated after me. “Dear Jesus, please help me to put my toys away happy. Amen.” Then I showed him the toy, and repeated my instruction. He put it away. At first he was just compliant–putting it away under protest. But as I directed him to put more and more away, his heart softened until by the time he was done, he was a cheerful, happy little boy. And Daddy noticed later, after I had gone to the gym, that he was the happiest, most obedient, surrendered little boy that he had been for a long time, and commented on it to me when I got back.

Once he was busy putting his toys away, I called his sister out. We knelt and I led her in a similar prayer. Then I asked her, “What is Jesus saying to you?” She said, “To obey.” That just warmed my heart! Jesus was speaking to my precious daughter, and she recognized His voice! I said, “That’s right. Now please put the dolly’s bed away.” And she did. She also helped her brother put some things away. And she was happy when it was over.

And so was I!

Yes, it took extra time to do it, but the end result was happiness for everyone, and peace in the home.

Yes, this is the secret: a connection with God, listening for His direction, and following His guidance. Most of the time, we won’t know for sure if the ideas that come to our minds are from Him or not, but we are to test the spirits, and move forward in faith. But being surrendered ourselves–to take our toddler’s hand for the grizzly run (because they are too young to run by themselves), even when we don’t feel like running–makes all the difference. Because we certainly cannot bring our child to surrender if we are not surrendered ourselves!

I’m reading this book through for the second time. I can’t say I’ve read enough recently to do a proper review of it, but I would still highly recommend it. And all the other books in the series.

I think one of the most annoying things on earth is a screaming toddler when his will has been crossed. Kind of like a siren, only it’s right in your ear. People stop and stare at you. You just know they are thinking all kinds of judgmental thoughts about you, like, “Why can’t that mom get her kid under control.” (More than likely, they’re probably thinking, “I’m glad that’s not my kid!”–not that that is any better.) And all you can think is, “I just wish I could make my baby stop crying!!!”

But now there is hope! I have learned a method that, if used consistently, will help teach a child self-control so that you don’t have to make a spectacle of yourself every time you have deny him something he wants. It’s not an overnight fix, but it with consistency it can make your life much easier!

First, though, I want you to watch this video, where I describe the technique and give a few cautions. An outline is available below for those who prefer to have things written down–or in case you want to print it.

Here are the main points:

  • Don’t use on a tiny baby or on a child who is hurt or has a real need
    • Newborns cry for legitimate needs–meet their needs!
    • Use for older babies and toddlers who are crying because their will was crossed
    • Don’t use on children over 3 years old–time outs and reasoning are better for that age
  • Start using this method at home; don’t start in public
    • It will take longer initially, then shorter each time
    • Be consistent at home; that will make it easier to deal with away from home
    • Later, when child surrenders quickly, you could use this in public to avoid attracting so much attention
  • The method:
    • Hold them, restraining arms if necessary
    • Cover mouth with your hand as they cry out
    • Do NOT cover their nose
    • Remove hand when they breathe in
    • Repeat as needed
    • Remain calm throughout (frustration feeds the child’s negative emotions)
    • Talk soothingly to them
    • Continue until they surrender–never give up before they surrender!
  • This method teaches the child self control, laying the foundation of a very valuable character trait

Something I didn’t mention in the video is that if you asked the child to do something and he started screaming, you can use this method to calm him, but be sure to bring the first issue back around, repeating as needed until he submits.

With that introduction, here is the video demonstration of the method with my son. Please note that it is short because I had been using it frequently for 2 or 3 days prior to making the video. It will not be this short the first time you try it!

Works for me! Any questions?