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Posts tagged ‘Training’

The last thing any expecting mom feels like doing while pregnant is hitting the gym, especially if it involves lifting weights. But, what every mom-to-be should know is that there is no need to go crazy in the gym to stay fit, maintain a healthy pregnancy weight, and keep your baby healthy. A simple weight training program and a healthy diet can do so much to make you look and feel great during pregnancy, and after your bundle of joy greets the world. Just make sure to consult your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program to find the best plan for you.

1. Speed Up Your Metabolism

Lifting weights is such a huge part of staying fit because it helps regulate your metabolism, and there is no better time to keep your metabolism even than during a pregnancy. Your metabolism is the clock in your body that decides whether to burn energy or store it as fat. If you maintain an active metabolism during pregnancy, it will be easier to lose the weight after your baby is born. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be, and the higher your metabolism, the easier it is to keep weight off.

2. Burn Fat for Free

Building muscle is, believe it or not, the best way to burn fat. Now, it’s very important to have enough fat on your body while pregnant, because both you and your baby need it to stay healthy. But, you can still burn fat in a natural way by building muscle. Just having muscle on your body actually burns calories, even when you’re not working out! You will naturally burn an extra 350-500 calories for every ten pounds of lean muscle. So, not only will lifting weights help you stay fit during the pregnancy, it will help you burn fat after.

3. Improve Stamina

Having muscle on your body will make you stronger, and being stronger just makes everything easier. Lift weights during pregnancy, and it will be easier to do things like walk up stairs, get up off the couch, bend down to grab the laundry, and everything else that suddenly becomes difficult as your tummy grows.

4. Stop Dreading the Elliptical

The best part about weight training? It’s so much better than cardio! Most doctors recommend some form of light exercise during pregnancy, but there are just those days when we don’t feel like walking on a treadmill or suffering through an even light setting on the elliptical. When you lift weights, though, you can sit down on resistance machines and lift a very light weight. Just take 30 minutes to lift weights three times a week and ditch that treadmill avoidance altogether.

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 [at]

Getting Fit

A few weeks ago I told you that I was going to get P90X and do it. I may not have mentioned it since then, but I have certainly been thinking about it, almost every day, in fact. I’ve also been working hard to get ready for it. Every week I have increased my average workout time by 10-15 minutes, so that this week I am doing 50-60 minute workouts.

There has not been a day in the last 2 1/2 weeks that I have not been sore somewhere. Near the beginning of the month, I got so sore from a half-hour cardio workout that I could barely walk up and down the stairs at church two days later! I haven’t been that sore anywhere since. However, I have been mildly sore in various places–legs, abs, arms, shoulders… the soreness just moves, never leaves. :) And I’m sure it’s only going to get worse starting next Sunday! LOL!

I’ve been watching some of the P90X videos to get an idea of what they will be doing, and I have learned some things from them and also from the videos I have been using on I noticed that the trainers would do circuits. They would pick 3 or more sets of exercises, and do either so many reps or so many seconds (30, 45, 60, etc) depending on the exercise, and whether it were strength training or aerobic. Well, I decided to apply that to my strength training at the gym.

Something else I learned was about working to failure, meaning you lift a weight heavy enough that at either 8-10 reps or 12-15 (depending on whether you want to build bulk or lean muscle respectively), you cannot life it one more time. Then you rest that muscle by doing other exercises, then come back and do it again.

This is the machine I was using.

So I took those two things to the gym last week. The first exercise I did was the machine bench press . I picked that and two other machines and did 1 set on each machine 3 times. Then I picked 3 more machines and did the same thing, for a total of 9 machines last Thursday. I was able to benchpress only 22 pounds with that machine.

Now, not only is 22 pounds a very small amount, but considering that when I started in late May, almost exactly 4 months ago, I started out at barely being able to do the 20-pound minimum, that’s really bad. I mean, gaining only 2 pounds in 4 months… But all summer whenever I would use that machine, I would do as many reps as I could, then rest for a minute, then do as many as I could again (usually about 12-14).

Tonight I went again. I started out at 22 pounds, but it was too easy. I got all the way to 15. So on the second round, I put it up to 24. That was still too easy, so I put it up to 26. I should have put it up to 28, because I still got up to 15 reps! So that’s a 4-6 pound gain in just 5 days! I worked the muscle to the max, let it rest, then did it again, and sure enough, I improved!

I also improved how much I could do with the bicep curl machine by a couple of pounds, so I was very happy. :)

That’s what P90X seems to be about. Only much more intense!

I can’t wait to get started. I’ll keep you all posted, probably with video posts. And I’ll post my modest before and after pictures (no guys except my husband will ever get to see the immodest ones I took yesterday) once I get them taken. And I’ll try to talk about other things on this blog other than just exercise. It’s just on my mind right now. Including my recipe for a homemade recovery drink. I need to actually make it first, though, and see how it turns out, before I post the recipe!

So are you planning a workout to get ready for the holidays? Why not share it?

I was listening to Revive our Hearts yesterday, and the speaker quoted from the book The Life of Helen Keller. After describing the scene where Anne Sullivan taught Helen to eat like a civilized creature (if you’ve seen either of the “Miracle Worker” movies, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; if not, either watch one or read the book!), Anne goes on to say something very profound:

I saw clearly that it was useless to try to teach Helen language or anything else until she learned to obey me. I thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child.

I don’t know how to improve on that, so I’ll just recommend that you read it again, 2 or 3 times, and let its meaning really sink in.

Yesterday I had a battle with Manny. Not near as big as Anne had with Helen, but it was something. Lately he has not wanted to eat any cereal except the chocolate-covered “Koala Crisps” (which are gluten-free and actually have nothing he is allergic to in them, which is why I buy them and give them to him occasionally). Trying to get him to eat anything else for supper is a battle. So last night I decided to try something different.

When I offered him the food, I told him clearly that he had a choice to make. He could either choose to eat cheerfully, or he could stand in the corner. He hates standing in the corner, by the way. But he chose not to eat, so by default he chose the corner. I put him there and worked nearby, watching him closely. If he turned around and looked at me, I would remind him to put his nose in the corner. Of course this made him cry again, but I persisted. I started him out at 2 minutes, then offered to let him eat. When he said no, I went 2 1/2 minutes. Then 3 minutes. Then 3 1/2. Each time I offered him the food, showing it to him, and letting him choose between eating and the corner. He tried to interject other options, like “nigh nigh” (going to bed), but I would not allow those options.

I am not sure how long it took, but we were up to 5 minutes between choices, and finally he chose to eat. He said, “Eat, eat,” so I put him in his chair, poured hemp milk on the puffed millet that I had coated with carob powder, and offered him the spoon. He ate the whole thing cheerfully, and was delighted to get some grapes afterwards!

Not only was this a great victory, but Daddy noticed later that evening that he was more compliant and less demanding. I think I have hit on something here.

The truth is, I have been very neglecting of my child training lately. But I have also neglected my walk with the Lord. In the past few weeks, I have been going through a period of revival, which always results in reformation if it is genuine. And this week the Lord convicted me that it was time to start working on my child training. I have been praying for wisdom, because Manny has some serious issues, and he’s too young to reason with, and I let some things get too far. But thanks to this victory yesterday, I am beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But it’s a very long tunnel! At least, it feels like it! But God is my guide, and I know I will win as long as I remain with Him.

What is my purpose in life? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. So let me muse aloud here just a little.

Right now it looks like my purpose is to raise Godly children. And to please my husband. And to keep the house tidy and running smoothly. But is that really my purpose in life? Is that what God made me to do?

Let’s backtrack about six years. I was single—in love, but still single. I had a very determined goal in mind: I was going to study to be a Bible worker. I had just finished a summer of selling Christian books door to door—canvassing, we called it—and had been accepted for the winter/spring term in the Amazing Facts College of Evangelism. If you had asked me at that time what I felt my purpose in life was, I would have said it was to win souls for Jesus, to do outreach. I knew two languages and was working on a third, and I wanted to be equipped as a Bible worker with the training that would make me an effective soul winner.

I went to that college. After I finished, I did some more canvassing, then got married. After a blissful honeymoon, we moved down to the bottom of Texas to start our first assignment as Bible workers for the Texas Conference.

But things didn’t work out like we had thought. My health declined for some unknown reason (I still don’t know what it was). I was tired all the time and didn’t have the stamina to go out looking for Bible studies. Even though I was the one with the training, my husband ended up being the one who did the work, while I stayed home or went with him half of the time. Then our different personalities began to rub each other in the middle of doing God’s work. I was raised to be very punctual, and it bothered me to be late for appointments. On the other hand, my husband is much more relaxed—Hispanics tend to be that way, and we were in an area of Texas that has a very high Hispanic population, so I really had no reason to fret. But we decided that we just couldn’t continue as Bible workers. The pay was barely enough to make ends meet, and we had absolutely no savings to fall back on for emergencies. It’s easy to talk about making sacrifices, but reality is a while other thing, and we weren’t ready for it yet, at least, not as a couple.

So we told the evangelist we were working for that we would finish our term with this church and then we weren’t going to continue. He tried to talk us out of it, but we felt it was the best thing for us in our marriage, so we stood our ground.

The month that our term ended, I got pregnant. That put a new perspective on everything. I now was to be a wife and mother. I took a part-time job during my pregnancy, but have not worked outside the home since my daughter was born.

Now here I am with two precious children, considering my purpose in life. Why did God make me? Was I born here to gratify my desires and those of my husband and children? Is life just about keeping the house clean, cooking delicious meals, and raising godly children?

God made us as His children. He wanted us to be His special people on this planet, worshiping Him and making the universe a better place for our presence. But Adam ate the fruit, and everything changed. Or did it? Did God’s purpose for us change? In some ways it did. But ultimately it didn’t. When sin has been dealt with and is eradicated from this planet, God’s original purpose for us will be realized every moment for the rest of eternity.

Looking at the big picture helps me to see that it isn’t about me at all. It’s about God. God’s purpose for me is much more far reaching than simply my doing right. He wants me to live with Him forever. And He wants me to bring as many with me as I can.

So this morning after church I went to the pastor and asked if I could talk to him. I told him what I had been hiding: that I had gone to the Amazing Facts school and been trained as a Bible worker. He was naturally a little surprised, but he reminded me that now as a mother of young children it wasn’t necessarily practical for me to do active outreach, that I had a mission field right at home. I told him that I realized that, but I felt I could do more. He was already late to an appointment, so he just said a prayer and left, but he said he would talk to the lay outreach coordinator (personal ministries director, I think she would be called) and have her contact me.

I still don’t know what this will look like. I don’t have transportation during the week, so on weekends I have to get my shopping done, and that uses up all my time. If someone wanted Bible studies and could come to my house, I would be glad to help. But maybe there’s something else I can do. Maybe I could help with correspondence Bible studies. Maybe I could just witness to the neighbors. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I’m praying about it every day.

So what is my purpose in life? It is to glorify God in everything I do. Whether that means giving a Bible study to the lady down the hill, or passing out tracts on a Sabbath afternoon, or making sure the house is tidy and the children so that my husband is refreshed and not stressed when he comes into the home—whatever it means, I must do it to God’s glory. And I must learn to avoid anything that would hinder my walk with God. Even good things. Christ must be my all in all.

This article is taken from the Raising Godly Tomatoes website, written by L. Elizabeth Krueger. It is not part of the book. You can find the full article here. Here is what she says about involving the children in your day. That way they won’t have time to think about being bored (see yesterday’s post).

By laurelbethyw on Flickr

Rather than trying to keep my children entertained all day, I believe that I should be training them on a minute-by-minute basis toward the goal of becoming godly adults. What better way than to include them as much as is possible in whatever I am doing, so they will learn to live as I do? I try to find ways so that even the little ones can help me, but it is also good for them to learn to just watch and listen, as well.

Sewing is a good example. I often sew or type with a baby on my lap and a toddler playing with my button box on the floor next to me. Slightly older children can help by cutting out patterns or they can play with my scraps. At eleven years old, my daughter could do much of the actual sewing and ironing, and we would be able to finish a dress in half the time by working as a team. It was also a lot more fun than trying to give her a “sewing lesson”. We just treat sewing like any other chore we need to get done, and we try to enjoy all our chores.

I try to treat everything else similarly. As I go about my day, I try to especially include the younger children in the things I am doing. If I’m in the kitchen, I will call the six year old to unload the dishwasher and the eight year old to help with the actual cooking and clean up. The two and three year olds climb up on the stools at the counter and watch (I never have to call them). They love to lick bowls and munch on scraps of things I am making.

Same thing when I’m working in the yard. I might give the younger ones a garden tool to dig with, or I’ll set them to work collecting the weeds I’m pulling, and throwing them out for me. Of course there’s always lots the older ones can do.

Dad does the same thing. He includes the children in his office work by giving them any job they can handle, often with the older ones teaching the younger. All except the babies are taught to run the fax machine, make copies on the copier, work the computers and calculators, type, file, etc. ( Our oldest, Shane, at thirteen, handled all the computer support work for our in-home office as well as our out-of-home, five-person business office.) This is all done informally by simply including them in Dad’s work. The children take turns accompanying Dad to business meetings whenever possible. If Dad is not home all day, as is the case in most families, he can include them in what he does when he is home; mowing the lawn, taking care of the car, fixing things, handling the family finances, etc. In everything we do, it is an opportunity to teach godliness to our children.

BEWARE of doing all the work yourselves and letting your kids play all day so they can “enjoy their childhood.” This will only result in a adult who is self-centered and lazy, and has a “the world owes me a living” attitude. When people hear the term “spoiled” in regard to a child, they often laugh and think of it as a temporary thing that can be sort of cute at times. Nothing could be more backward. When I used to own and ride horses, I often heard the term “spoiled” in regard to a particular type of animal. In the horse world, this was never cute. A spoiled horse was one whom BAD TRAINING HAD RUINED PERMANENTLY!

Deuteronomy 6:7   –  “And you shall teach them (God’s laws) diligently to your sons, 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 up.”

Consider this thought:

One precious lesson which the mother will need to repeat again and again is that the child is not to rule; he is not the master, but her will and her wishes are to be supreme. Thus she is teaching them self-control. Give them nothing for which they cry, even if your tender heart desires ever so much to do this; for if they gain the victory once by crying they will expect to do it again. The second time the battle will be more vehement.

Child Guidance, 92

Following this bit of logic does make a difference. I have been working on my 3-year-old in this area. She has developed a habit of whining for things. I have been telling her that she must ask in a nice voice if she wants to get it. At first it made her mad, but then she realized I was serious. Now she changes her tone as soon as I remind her, and–wonder of wonders–I don’t have to remind her every time. She has started asking right the first time!

So try it! God’s principles work!

Every Thursday I want to have a guest post. It might be a post someone wrote specifically for my blog, or it might be a post that I found on another blog. Today it’s the latter. I found this post a week ago on a blog I’ve been following, and I found it very interesting.

Why nagging doesn’t work

Growing up I was homeschooled using the Charlotte Mason method. Now that I’m starting to homeschool my own children, I have explored all the different curriculum out there, and much to my Mother’s delight I’m coming back to Charlotte Mason. :-) Recently I have been pouring over the Simply Charlotte Mason website, there is way to much good information there! This is a free e-book entitled “Smooth and Easy Days” that they put out. I have copied just one chapter of it, but I would encourage you to go and download all of it and read it! You can do so here.

Why Nagging Doesn’t Work

I nag them and I nag them, but it does no good.” Most of us can testify to the truth of that statement. But I never understood why nagging doesn’t work until I started to study Charlotte’s habit-training principles. Now it makes sense. Let’s say that you’re trying to teach your child to hang up her coat when she takes it off. In order to make that action a habit, she needs to repeatedly and consciously think through the hang-up- my-coat-when-I-take-it-off neuron route. (Remember the neuron routes we talked about in chapter 6?) Now, let’s say you come into the room and trip over her coat.

The easiest thing to do is to call her into the room and say, “I’ve told you before, hang up your coat when you take it off!” She obediently picks it up and hangs it in the closet, but . . . and here’s the key . . . her brain didn’t initiate the idea, so you just reinforced the wrong neuron route.

You just reinforced the do-what-mom-says-to-do neuron route. That’s a completely different route from the one you want her to mentally travel. And that explains why once we start nagging, we find that we’re always having to nag in order to make something happen. We are reinforcing the do-what-mom-says-to- do route, which means the child will constantly wait until mom says what to do!

” ‘I’m sure I am always telling her’––to keep her drawers neat, or to hold up her head and speak nicely, or to be quick and careful about an errand, says the poor mother, with tears in her eyes; and indeed this, of ‘always telling’ him or her is a weary process for the mother; dull, because hopeless” (Vol. 2, p. 1734).

So, let’s say you just came into the room and tripped over your daughter’s coat . . . again. You call your child into the room, and you say something like this: “I promised I would help you remember.” That’s all. If she still doesn’t understand, you can pointedly look at the coat on the floor. Little hints might be needed at first. But you wait until the mental lightbulb goes off in her head and that will start those neurons traveling the hang-up-my-coat- when-I-take-it-off route. Do you see the difference? She thought of it. She made the mental effort.

Yes, it might be faster to nag. Yes, it sometimes seems easier to nag. But think of the long-term effects. You will have to continue to nag whenever you want something done.

“But, perhaps, even his mother does not know how unutterably dreary is this ‘always telling,’ which produces nothing, to the child. . . . As for any impression on his character, any habit really formed, all this labour is without result” (Vol. 2, p. 174).

Nagging doesn’t work. Stop nagging and start forming habits.

I really liked that. But I thought, “What if the child is young and totally clueless?” That can happen sometimes, you know. So I thought if they don’t get it, that you could always do something like this: Tell them to put their coat back on, then remind them what they are supposed to do when they take it off, and have them do it. You could practice two or three times in a row, just to reinforce it. This could really help, I think, and you can make it fun for the kids, so that by the end of the third time they are laughing, which would help deepen the impression.

So tell me about how this helps you, or share your own ideas!

If you didn’t read about Sunday’s outlasting session, you should. Here’s the rest of the story.

I may have won the battle that I posted about, but I was nowhere near winning the war. Manny was determined not to give up his power over me, and even if he had to surrender a little here and there, he was still making up for it by defiant body language, and even swearing (well, toddler version, which sounds like “da da da da da” in a clipped, very angry tone). He would admit defeat when he had to, but he was holding out for the next time.

The simplest way I know how to do this is to share some of my slightly-edited posts on the Raising Godly Tomatoes forum. This one was posted Sunday evening.

Well… everything was fine today… until I asked him to give me something he was holding, as a test. It was about two hours ago–maybe a little less, but probably not much. I was just about to sit down to lunch. He refused to give me the thing (I think it was a small plastic bottle), and I went through the same process, except that I was so hungry (late, you know) that I decided to put him in the corner to see if his rebellion would calm down, and give me a chance to eat (within arm’s reach). It didn’t do much. He seemed to cheer up, if I smiled at him, but as soon as I asked for the item, his rebellion welled up again and he positively refused to comply, complete with full body language (like trying to stomp both feet at once, except he can’t jump yet) and angry grunts. The only thing I can seem to do successfully is to make him stop crying with the hand over mouth on/off thing.

He alternates between either refusing to let something go, or throwing it deliberately over my hand. If I hold it while he’s holding it, he won’t throw it, just pulls back, so I know it’s deliberate.

So, after almost 2 hours, Daddy (who had come by to back me up from time to time, but who had mostly been doing other things) figured that he must be tired (it was about this time yesterday that he went down for a nap), so when his hand kind of went limp and he dropped the item that we were working with at this point (several items away from the original one–because he won’t have anything to do with something once he starts throwing it), we laid him down, made him stop protesting that, and I imagine he’s asleep by now (5 minutes later), because I can’t hear a peep from his room.

So… I thought I had had a very thorough victory yesterday. Why can’t I make it again?

Also, no one really answered me about the not cuddling thing during the battle. He won’t look me in the eye, but he wants to just lay his head down on my chest and rest. I kind of assume that I shouldn’t allow that until he surrenders… am I right about that? I will hold him on my lap, either facing me or sitting on one leg facing kind of forward and to the side (this latter position allows me to put my hand over his mouth easily to stop angry cries).

That was my Sunday afternoon. And he woke from the nap just as defiant as when he went down. I tried working with him before supper, but I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. During this process, he added a new word to his vocabulary: Uh uh. And he meant it! Aaaarrrrggg!

Well, after venting my frustration in several posts on the forum, Elizabeth wrote again. I always feel so excited when I see her post, because I know she will have some wisdom for me, packaged in concise, easy-to-understand language. Here’s what she wrote:

Basically you need to have a good outlasting session with him. NO cuddling, NO smiling at him. Forget everything except outlasting him until he obeys. Sit him on your lap and hand him something, then tell him to give it to you. If he won’t, keep telling him to (pause and wait between each command) and occasionally give him a swat and tell him again to give it to you. Outlast him even if it takes 3 hours. If he throws it deliberately, carry him over to it, then tell him to pick it up. OUTLAST him (with commands and occasional swats) until he obeys. Once he obeys, tell him matter-of-factly, “Good.” Then sit him back on your lap and go back to telling him to hand it to you. Even after he does it, test him a few times. Do NOT get happy and smiley with him until you are all done and he has respect for you.

Tall orders, for sure. But simple. She posted that during the wee hours Monday morning, and here’s my response after breakfast:

Okay, that is what I figured. I’m worn out right now though. This is one of those days I wished I wasn’t against caffeine! LOL! Mornings are hard. I had to feed my husband and children (not to mention myself), then I had to bathe the kids, and do the breakfast dishes (so that I will have some motivation to make lunch so my husband will have something to eat when he gets home. That is all done now and it’s about half an hour until I put the little guy down. Then I’m going to take a nap! Then I’ll make lunch (he’ll probably sleep through that), and then once lunch is out of the way, I will give him my afternoon. I need more energy than I have now if I’m going to outlast like that. Because right now all I feel like doing is curling up on my bead with a nice warm blanket and trying to sleep! Hopefully I’ll still feel like that when he’s ready to go down for a nap!

Looking back at how my daughter was at this age (I got serious with training her at 11 months), I remember how happy and compliant she was with nearly everything I asked. She would look at me before opening a cupboard door to see if it was okay with me. She would come grinning when I called. Whenever #3 shows up, I’m going to get serious with training sooner than later!

That morning, I mostly avoided conflict at all costs. Didn’t request anything of him that I thought he might resist, but I didn’t interact much with him either. Got him down for a nap (thankfully that is relatively easy), and rested a little, though I didn’t actually sleep. But my energy did go up in the afternoon, so after lunch I challenged him to a battle. Just before I did, I posted this on the forum (and something similar in my Facebook status):

All right. I’m declaring war. If you read this post, pray for me, that I will have wisdom and endurance, and for my son that he will submit. I’ll post a follow-up when it’s over.

I got a bottle of baby lotion that he had a fancy for, gave it to him, let him play with it for a few seconds, then asked for it. He threw it. I put him down on the floor beside it and told him to pick it up. He refused. It took almost half an hour before he would pick it up, but then he would throw it. Another half hour later, he finally would hand it to me nicely, but he wouldn’t take it back. When I moved him to my lap, he wouldn’t pick it up at all. And he was still quite angry and defiant. Kind of like, “Okay, I’ll do it because I have to, but I don’t have to like it!”

Finally I realized he was worn out and put him down for a nap. First I changed his diaper, and in the time it took me to wash out the diaper, he fell asleep! Poor little guy! He really was tired! I think he gets more stubborn when he’s tired. I know I do. And irrational.

After he got down for the nap, I posted about my battle, and got this encouragement from Elizabeth:

You are doing GREAT! It doesn’t really matter what you do when you get him up as long as you outlast him again if he refuses to obey you. It’s not about picking something up, or handing something to you, or coming to you, etc. It’s about OBEDIENCE. If you get that point across to him – that he must always obey you – then he will in anything.

So, that said, pick something he doesn’t want to do, that YOU can control. For example, if he wants to stand and you want him to sit, it’s pretty easy for you to outlast him because he will eventually get tired of standing. However, if he is sitting and you are trying to make him stand, you may get tired before he does. As you get better at this you’ll be able to read his mind better and think of ways to motivate him to obey sooner, but don’t worry about that right now, just win no matter how long it takes. He thinks he’s your boss and you need to correct that thinking.

Okay, so if he seems to have forgotten all about everything when he wakes up and is cooperative, it’s okay to feed and change him first before going back to asking him to do something he doesn’t want to do (and going back to the same thing is fine). So you can manipulate WHEN you do this a little, but if he rebels on something else, then you MUST stop and deal with it, so pick your timing without overlooking any rebellion.

That was all just a hint. You can go right back to the battle the second he wakes up if you want to.

Isn’t that first paragraph so full of wisdom? “It’s about obedience.” Really, that’s true. If we train our kids to obey everything we say, then we don’t have to teach them a long list of rules that they couldn’t remember anyway; we just have to tell them what to do. Of course, this is for small children. Older children learn the rules and learn to obey for different reasons, but with small children, they need to learn to obey.

Anyhow, back to the story.

I got him up and he seemed cheerful, so I didn’t start testing the same thing. I got him supper, he was fine. Fed him, fed his sister and myself, everything was great. Then this evening I decided to try again, to see how he was doing. His sister’s jacket was laying on the floor, and I was about to ask him to pick it up, when he saw Daddy go into Sissy’s room, or come out of it. My memory is a bit fuzzy. Anyhow, he smiled and ran to see Daddy (he’s a real Daddy’s boy). That was fine, but then I asked him to come to me. He balked, got a swat or two, then came. Maybe I should have settled for that, and repeated the coming to Mommy. But instead I asked him to please pick up the jacket. He refused. It’s been over an hour, and he still won’t. I know he knows what I want. When I ask him, he jerks and sometimes he cries. Funny thing is, he doesn’t cry for every swat, even when they really sting. It’s like he’s determined to win. It’s past his bedtime and I don’t know what I should do!

Well, that evening was a nightmare. Daddy came and helped too. Finally towards the end of the evening, Daddy took over, so I could pick up, do dishes, and generally make the house ready for the next day. The little guy seemed more determined to resist when both of us were present, even though we both were just as firm with him. Finally, about an hour after his bedtime, he came to Daddy several times in a row, so we changed him and put him to bed. He fell asleep almost instantly.

Tuesday morning dawned. And with it, the battle resumed:

I greeted him with his usual sippy of milk and a big smile. He was fine until the milk was gone, then he threw the cup (normal, actually). I told him to pick it up, he refused. I said to myself, “I really didn’t want a battle so early in the morning! I need to get my husband breakfast so he can go to work!” But I spent a few minutes with him; then when I realized he wasn’t about to surrender, I parked him in a corner of the kitchen floor with the cup in front of him, and went about my work, pausing now and then to remind him of my expectations (pick it up and hand it to me nicely, not throwing). If I saw him moving or doing anything other than just sitting there, I would stop what I was doing and say, “Pick it up and give it to Mommy.” He refused for a while, but surrendered before breakfast was finished! But then before I could get him in the high chair, he refused to come to me and I ended up getting most of my breakfast down (or all of?) before he got around to coming. I fed him, changed him, and put him in the play pen so I could get some work done. But then I saw him with his sister’s lip gloss. Not good. I asked him for it, and as of now, he’s sitting on my lap resisting. Sigh…

I’m wondering, it seems that he is in 100% full rebellion, and is determined to resist me at almost every turn. Sometimes he will be happy and cheerful, then he will flip a switch and be nasty and resisting, even refusing to do things he normally would do. I’m not sure how to reach his heart. This is getting frustrating!

After thinking about it a little, I realized that I was never coming to a full resolution with him, or at least not every time. When he surrendered in one thing, the ideal would be to test him immediately in something else that he wouldn’t like, to see if the surrender was genuine or just an escape tactic. But there was always something to hinder that–his meals and naps, cooking for the family, dealing with his sister (who, thankfully, can keep herself occupied outside a good deal lately). I posted about that, and Elizabeth responded,

It sounds like you doing fine. KEEP IT UP. You do need to come all the way to a conclusion a few time, not “almost” all the way, but it sounds like he might be caving a little.

And it was true. After that major, two-hour ordeal with Daddy the night before, his surrenders were coming quicker (less than half an hour). So bolstered by this encouragement, I made it a point to outlast every little defiance, even a simple jerk of his body when I picked him up or put him down or whatever. Later in the afternoon I posted this:

I think he is “caving,” finally! woohoo

After a few battles at lunch time, in which I outlasted every little tiny show of rebellion (including some I had been more or less ignoring in the past, like arching when I tried to pick him up), he is suddenly a very happy, compliant boy. I’m not holding my breath, but … just as I typed that, I heard him going down the hall, and I called him to come to me; he grinned and came toddling down at top speed toward me. So I think I may have just cracked the case! Like I said, I’m not holding my breath, but I think this is real progress. Now my consistency over the next few days is going to be crucial, I think.

Elizabeth responded,

Don’t overlook anything now, because if you do you’ll be right back at square one and it will be HARDER because he’ll think that if he “just holds out a little longer” you will cave.

And he was a joy the rest of the day. Still took almost every opportunity to test me, but would surrender in 2 or 3 minutes–or less. No more half-hour to 2-hour outlasting sessions! The course of the war has turned, and I have a happy little guy again!

And he’s truly such a joy! I can ask for his hand, and he’ll grab my finger and walk down the hall with me. I can ask for what he’s holding, and he’ll give it to me. If it’s safe, I usually give it back, praising him for his obedience. He still balks at coming when I call, but a swat or two usually reverses that in short order, and actually cheers him up! I can handle a two-minute battle any day! I’m so glad I persisted.

Now, I know that was a long post. But perhaps it will help someone out there who is struggling with a strong-willed child and doesn’t know what to do.

Just a note: According to Elizabeth, the outlasting will work without swats (given one at a time, and only stinging the surface, not hurting deep),  but it will take longer. I don’t think I would have been able to last long enough if I hadn’t had swats as a back-up. And when you see how happy and loving he is now, you would have to agree that the approach I used was worth it. For everyone. Especially him.

This will be my first post in the parenting section. Not that I have it divided up just yet. That will come. And just for the record, I don’t consider myself an expert on parenting. I think I did before I had kids. I learned very fast how much I don’t know. And each child I have teaches me more of what I thought I knew but don’t. So this section is NOT for me to give parenting advice, but rather to share my experiences in parenting, good and bad, for what it’s worth. Maybe someone else will learn something. Maybe someone will have advice to give me. Either way, it’s all good.

First off, I must state that I am a very strong believer in the methods laid out in the book Raising Godly Tomatoes. This book is very biblically based and when I read Child Guidance, I remember things I read in RGT, and vice versa. I highly recommend that everyone read it. The basic tenants are these: Keep your children with you. Don’t let them go further than you can trust them. This is so you can deal with attitudes and heart issues easily. When a child challenges you to a battle, outlast and win. In between battles, enjoy your children, involve them in what you are doing as much as possible, and teach them the ways of the Lord.

That’s the book in a nutshell. So today is about a major outlasting session (two, actually) that I had with my 15-month-old son Emmanuel.

I had recently begun to get tough with Manny, because he was getting older and I had decided I had delayed training him long enough. He had been learning pretty well. He was coming to me when called most of the time—and when he didn’t, it usually only took a few minutes to convince him to come cheerfully. He was learning to give things to Mommy, and in general was a happier baby now that he realized who was the boss.

But there was one area that I had never really worked with. That was when he would get something in his hand that I didn’t want him to have, and I would ask for it, and he would refuse. Each time that had come up lately, it was never convenient to outlast. Either it was bedtime, or we had to go somewhere, or something on the stove was about to burn. . . you get the picture.

Well, today he got into the drawers in the bathroom again (I really need to remember to shut the door—we’re moving in a few weeks, so no reason to put locks on the doors) and got out a pen-shaped eyebrow trimmer (which, btw, had no battery because I never use it). Daddy decided it wasn’t a good idea, because the lid came off easily and it looked like it could make a nasty scratch if he fell wrong with it. So I asked for it. He refused, defiantly.

I started outlasting. After a while, I got on the RGT forum and posted this:

I’ve been at it for about half an hour and took a break to let him calm down and for me to write this. It goes like this:

Me: Give it to me.
Him: Stiffen and jerk hand away. *Swat*
Me: Give it to me.
Him: Do nothing. *Swat*
Me: Give it to me.
Him: Kick legs. *Swat*

Etc. Now, I don’t swat EVERY time, but I’m trying to convey that he shouldn’t get to enjoy not giving it to Mommy. I know he knows what “Give it to me” means. He does it all the time–even helps me empty the dishwasher by handing me spoons and forks one by one. He’ll be playing with a toy and I’ll put my hand out and say “Give it to me,” and he’ll hand it over. But sometimes–ironically it’s usually something I really don’t want him to have–he’ll get the prisoner-of-war attitude that “I don’t care what she does to me, I’m not going to give it” and simply won’t comply. He also tried coming to me for comfort while I was asking for it, and I wouldn’t let him until he complied. Once he surrenders, I’ll cuddle him, but not while he’s in defiance. Am I doing the right thing? Any advice?

A mom encouraged me to just outlast, saying, “You can do this. Just win! Don’t give up” and such. That was helpful, believe it or not. Sometimes it seems like toddlers are going to hold out forever, and let me tell you, 10 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever can really feel like forever in the moment!

Not long after I wrote that post, I wrote this one:

Now he has decided he doesn’t want it. He threw it. I gave it back and asked him to *give* it to me, not just throw it. He took it and threw it again. Did it several times. I swatted each time. Now he wants nothing to do with it. Won’t take it at all–just pushes it away. I know I haven’t won, but how can I outlast if he won’t take it? Any ideas?

One lady suggested trying something else. But by that time I already had. Here is what I wrote:

I’ve also tried other things, because he now wants nothing to do with trimmer. A toilet paper roll, an old printer cartridge… he’ll play with it a minute, then I ask for it. He throws it. Won’t take it back.

Well, I took a break, didn’t let him hold anything but made him sit quietly on my lap for a bit, from time to time trying again with other things, since he decided he didn’t want anything to do with the trimmer. He sat quietly for a while, then tried to play with my hair. I told him no and enforced that. Then I tried again with the toilet paper roll. He took it, all happy. I asked for it, he gave it. I gave it back and repeated a few times, then gave him the trimmer. He took it. I asked for it back. He gave it to me cheerfully. Then I gave it back and asked for it back. He complied cheerfully.


After that, he was quite cheerful. I let him down to play a bit. Then he ndered down the hall and wouldn’t come when I called him. Uh oh. Here we go again. I described the experience on the same thread in the forum:

He kind of bounced defiantly (he was kneeling), challenging me to make him. I grabbed my paddle and stepped up to the challenge. I refused to let him sit or lay down (he’s been walking for a month and a half and prefers walking to crawling, and laying down is kind of like a mini tantrum for him, whether or not he kicks, so I decided he must stand up). Outlasted every time he would sit or lay down. Swatted occasionally. He finally came. Then daddy, who had been taking a nap earlier and was listening through the closed door, came out. Now, Manny is definitely a Daddy’s boy, so instead of coming to me again (I was in reinforce mode, putting him back at start and calling him again), he went to Daddy, as if to be rescued. Daddy helped me with some more outlasting, and finally left, because it seemed that his presence was making things take longer. Not sure why. He obeys Daddy pretty well most of the time (Daddy cracked down and got strict recently also). So finally I got him to come to me several times, but he was crying each time. I would hold him a moment, while he laid his head on my shoulder, then carry him back down to the end of the hall and try again. I couldn’t get back to the other end before he’d be tearfully following me. I decided after 3 or 4 of these that he was really truly tired (he doesn’t take a second nap every day, and it was already almost 5:00), so I laid him down for a nap. I think I’ll try the coming-to-mommy thing again once he wakes up. Just thought I’d check and see if I did the right thing. I mean, I know ultimately I want him to obey cheerfully, but maybe he was too tired to obey cheerfully, and I should accept his repeated obedience for now and continue when he’s fresher?

When I checked back later, I found that I had a comment from the author of the book. Whoo hoo! Here’s what she said:

Overall, you are doing very well. You are both learning so as long as you can see that he has given his will over to you, I wouldn’t be too concerned about details that don’t change that. If you see any rebellion or resistant, then yes, you must keep going. But I’d probably overlook some sniffing and sobbing from weariness.

Now even that can be corrected, but right now just make sure he feels he has submitted himself to you.

Looking back, I remember that he was tired, but not defiant. I’m so glad.

Later I came up with the same issue again. This time I incorporated what is known as the hand on/off the mouth to stop crying. Basically, you hold your hand over the child’s mouth when they cry out and release so they can breathe in (very briefly). Continue until they stop crying. Believe it or not, it works. I wish I had tried it sooner. (Note: The link to this is in the forum, which you cannot access unless you are a member of the forum, which is why I didn’t post one.)

So that was my afternoon. Oh, I took advantage of his nap to take one myself! Yay!