Monday, 12. April 2010 by Renee Ellison
In the absence of any high school or college course offered in “how to mother,” perhaps this motherhood tip can lend some help. Forward this to moms who are desperate to know MORE about what they are doing everyday with their young ones. (To see past tips visit www.homeschoolhowtos.com)
Home Management Tip
Parenting Tip: What IS immaturity in a child?
Parents are often irate with their children whenever they manifest immaturity. Child-rearing would go better if parents could but see, right from the get-go, that such a response to a child’s immaturity is like being angry with your child that his hand is only four inches big instead of six inches.
What a wise parent must learn to see is that no matter where the child is in his development, he is right on schedule, for who he is. Immaturity is where maturity STARTS! It is up to YOU to patiently and incrementally usher him into maturity from whatever point you find him, on any issue, every day. If he is not yet mature in an area, then he simply needs more hand holding work done right there, right next to you who patiently walk him through it all over again. Criticism never accomplishes anything. All it does is FREEZE the child’s mind, causing him to move BACKWARDS in relation to that recurring issue.
Immaturity is simply the result of a lack of ENOUGH exposure, both to circumstances and to the personal discipline of managing oneself in relation to those circumstances. The shortest route to maturity is for a child to have one hand in the hand of a mature adult, so that the child can see what maturity acts like. Thus, he can live through the situation multiple times while riding on someone else’s back for awhile.
People sometimes get upset at caring parents for helping their children with a science project, for example. But the point is, the child has never DONE a science project before. He learns how to do one by first doing one with you. In the beginning a child may have never done a workbook page before. He may have never before practiced several measures on an instrument, or learned how to navigate a tough patch with a disgruntled neighbor. Even if the child HAS done these things before, he may not have done ENOUGH of them.
In all instances, the child will push YOU away when maturity is finally reached—once he has caught on. Meanwhile, don’t be tempted to push him away or to delegate too soon, or to expect too much. Do the exact opposite. Stick in there like glue until he gains capability and internal equilibrium in each area.
A child simply cannot learn to do a workbook page by himself over in a corner. Neither does he know how to do all the complexities of appropriately relating to relatives or neighbors, or how to treat property, or how to eat a variety of foods. A child cannot develop the ability to INTERNALLY discipline himself without tons of experience doing the same thing with a source of EXTERNAL encouragement sitting right next to him, incrementally showing him how. The more you are together in and through everything, the faster and more securely he will progress. The principle is that in every area, if you will focus on spending a lot of time in the beginning stages of mastering anything, you’ll find that you have to spend almost no time later on. If you don’t do this initial full-out investment in training in every area, you’ll be FOREVER training, even the minutiae… maybe even when your child is 30 years old.
So we see that immaturity is best conquered by the “with you principle”—the discipleship principle. The LORD chose this technique as His highest and shortest route to training His timeless 12 disciples. Capitalizing on this principle, in record time He turned His vagabond buddies into trophies of spiritual dynamos and human architectural giants of re-civilizing the entire world. There was simply no other way for the LORD to train them so fast. It is evident, upon reflection, that the Messiah had full command of the power of this hobnobbing principle! He knew exactly where He was headed with His protégés and how to get them there. His disciples soaked up His influence like sponges to water, simply by logging in gigantic numbers of hours of being with Him.
In a word, immaturity is simply a factor of not yet having had enough exposure to find the overcoming elements in any challenge. So, how do you handle your child’s immaturity? Try switching from wasting energy on being alarmed and/or critical and/or short with your child, to spending it masterminding how to brilliantly, craftily, effectively scootch him along!!! Drop your expectations and simply begin again with what IS. Do re-runs together, until the area is mastered. Then try incrementally delegating the area. If it falls apart, then return to the companionship-thing again.
In all child training there is the potential for a disparity in perception. When a mom or dad says, “Go to your room and clean it up,” the parent sees an easy task ahead. But the young child may not think it is easy at all. He thinks, “There is a HUGE room in there with a HUGE amount of stuff and I’ll never be able to do this thing.” You’ve got to learn to see like he sees. Just try it, even on the physical level; crawl to his room on your knees and look at his room from two feet from the floor. It just looks overwhelming. Every new task or responsibility is overwhelming to a child, whether it is in the relational area, the physical area, or the conceptual area.
So what does the parent do to minimize this disparity? Splinter the task and/or repeat the experience. See to it that you repeat the morning’s defeating relational challenge with a sibling in a controlled rerun, later in the afternoon. Have him clean up/arrange his shoes again later in the day…with a BETTER attitude. Teach him how to clean up only a three foot square area of his room—line it with string if you have to—and do it WITH him a time or two MORE, then move to the next three foot square area, while you are still there, but only watch this time, etc.
Miniaturize every request when a child is yet immature in that area… and/or repeat the exposure to the problem relational area under your wise tutelage yet again. Go for tiny developments. “Only eat this one spoonful,” “Only practice this one measure,” “Only help your sister for five minutes,” “Only sweep the walk until the three minute timer rings,” “Only hoe this row,”” Practice staying quiet while your brother blows his top, just like you did this morning.”
Sing/whistle/hum while you work right next to your child. Give him a happy environment in which to develop. Then in the afternoon do it again, and stretch the time a wee bit more, or give him a similar encounter with a person where he repeats his more elegant greeting, looking the stranger in the eye this time. In fact, if you occupy him with happy thoughts and warm companionship, the time factor and the perceived HUGENESS factor will completely disappear.
I’ve known parents who KNEW their child had an assignment due in four weeks, who exploded when the hour finally arrived and the child had done nothing. In the preceding month the parents had been involved in their own preoccupations and had assumed that their immature child would tackle the job, though he had had no prior experience in planning and completing such a project. This is NOT parenting; this is using your child as a venting station. Where were the parents on that first night when they should have been hovering over the first tiny piece of the child’s assignment?
I heard of another parent who was irate that her child didn’t know the alphabet when first grade was over. It was now May. Where was the mother in September? Why didn’t she hover over the introduction of the letter “A” during that first week? Long vacations from vigilance over our children produce chaos and anger. Negligence followed by explosions can result in severe chronic depression for a child. Tons of teenagers are suicidal for this very reason. Their parents were so preoccupied, they didn’t incrementally help them. Such emotionally abandoned children see life as one huge REQUEST / DEMAND / BARK from their parents. Instead they need to see mitigating softness, ennobling companionship and widely praised progress in their own young personal development. Parents need to be conscious of progress for the child’s sake, not just to ease the parent’s agenda, or their own adult irritations.
Once upon a time there were two very different piano teachers. The first teacher routinely asked his young boy student upon arrival, “How much did you practice this week?” Every week, the young boy replied, “Never an hour, sir…’cause we were so busy.” At this point each week, the piano tutor (whose rigidly high expectations were dashed once again), began to fume and steam and criticize the boy. The routine was always the same. As to be expected, the fear in the boy at the tutor’s tirade clouded his ability to think and advance, even during his lesson. After three of four months of such sessions the young boy was so inoculated against musical training that he never willingly touched the subject again throughout the remainder of his life.
The second piano teacher always assumed the worst, and functioned with a perpetual twinkle in his eye. He didn’t even ask the “How much did you practice” question. Instead, he asked the boy about his dog. He knew that soon enough, he would OBSERVE how much the boy had practiced…no matter how many verbal assertions his young student made to the contrary. The seasoned teacher simply took the boy where he was, and made a happy experience of the CURRENT hour. The boy advanced so much during each lesson that soon he was practicing without a single reminder from his parents. He was happily hooked on the love of classical music and all its deeply satisfying and personally affirming warm associations.
So, match your child’s immaturity with a twinkle in your eye and a seasoned, deep maturity of your own, and see to it that you make the most of every hour, AS IT UNFOLDS. Work patiently with what IS, and maturity WILL SET IT in as surely as the coming dawn.
Home Management Tip: Domestic biological warfare
Here’s a look at some germ management strategies. For most of us, even after we’ve cleaned the house, we’ve missed the most important spots: the handles and the doorknobs! Millions of germs live there, unnoticed. Therefore, you may want to occasionally wash all your door handles with hydrogen peroxide, or use a mixture of vinegar and water. Wash your bathroom doors up and down a foot or two from the handles, on the wood itself, where people fling doors open and shut them without even using the handles. Wash the handles on your front and back doors. All manner of guests (big and little) touch them, and who knows WHAT they’ve done with their hands shortly before entering your home.
Teach all your family members to wash their hands thoroughly with soap, each and every time they arrive home. Shopping carts, public doors and public restrooms are filled with germs that then get carted home via the hands. When we touch our hands to our faces, we spread germs into our bodies through all those holes… veritable open gates! These days, you can never wash your hands too much.
Also, by the way, teach your children to cough into the crook of their elbows, NOT into their hands… which THEN go on doorknobs.
Kitchen Tip: Lunch in a flash (healthy, filling and tasty)
Defrost a bag or two of frozen veggies (plain, no added preservatives and sauces) all morning on the counter. Take them out as soon as you get up, or the night before. At noon, toss thawed veggies in blender, add boiling water and/or rice milk, and add all-purpose seasoning. Presto… you’ll now have instant healthy soup, without any GMO nonsense and other chemicals. Serve the sandwich or crackers and cheese AFTER everyone has downed their healthy delicious soup.
Sewing Tip: Driver’s Ed
Teach your children how to DRIVE the sewing machine first, before attempting to start on any sewing projects. Put their pedal to the metal. Can they drive it SMOOTHLY? No lurching!
Take an old scrap of fabric and use a marking pen to draw large five-inch geometric shapes on it: a square, a triangle, a circle, a rectangle, a star, a diamond, and perhaps animal shapes and happy faces. Take all the thread out of the machine, both from the top spool and the bobbin case below, and have your students practice stitching around these shapes, using no thread. Teach them to plant their needle, lift the presser foot and pivot accurately. Teach them how to go in reverse and back-tack. Teach your guys these simple basics, too, in case they need to mend something in an army barracks or a workshop someday.
By the way, at the same time, you can also teach your girls and your guys how to use a stud finder, how to hammer nails or mollies into studs, or to use a power tool to screw screws into studs to hang pictures. They will use these skills over and over later in life.
Marriage Tip: Study your man
Ever see two children wrapped up in a sheet, tumbling all over the living room floor? All you see is elbows and knees sticking out in different places as they tumble over and over again. During the tumble, the two children know only each other’s hot breath, the strength of their arms as they wrestle, and their clipped strained sentences to each other. The parent on the couch, however, sees everything calmly with 20/20 perception, and is wisely quiet.
Marriage is kind of like that tumble: it’s a continuous fray at times, a free-for-all of just trying to cope with each other amidst the daily stresses of life. But if, in some way you could get a part of yourself up and out of the fray to ALSO, at the same time, sit on the couch (like the parent) and observe your own marriage-tumble from outside yourself, you might gain some valuable objectivity.
Have you ever sought to just deliberately study your man for awhile, noting how he relates to others and what he does subconsciously; watching what he DOES, not necessarily what he says? Why not try deliberately studying your man with the end in view of relating more easily with him?
What IS your husband like? What does he gravitate toward, and why? What are his knee-jerk responses? What makes him happy? sad? fulfilled? frustrated? Where is he weak? strong? different? Is he a bit of a laggard? a speedy sort? deliberating? impulsive? overly scrupulous? a wee bit reckless? Is there any way for you to respond to these behaviors more sweetly?
Understanding your husband totally apart from personally interfacing with him is eye-opening. It softens the marital wrestle… adds humor… wizens your coping strategies… and oils the hinges of relating.
What would your marriage be like if you enlarged your desire for just simple peace/ harmony/ just-getting-along casualness as your goal, relaxing your hold and grip on your husband a bit more? What if you increased the number of times you tell yourself: “You know, a year from now this detail is not going to really matter one way or the other,” giving each irritating moment the “one-year-from-now-test!”
Marriage is an adventure in adjustment. Women have a particular knack for going with the flow (on a good day). Feminine mystique is all about functioning on multiple cylinders at once. Women, in particular, can have all the windows of their minds open at once (just like on a computer), responding optimally to all of it at once, whereas most men tend to open only one window at a time. Women have the gift of accommodation, beveling, the gift of turn-it-on-charm, the gift of making lemonade out of lemons at any moment they desire to. What would happen if we used those gifts MORE? Maybe that is what they are FOR?!!!
Just look at the funny things that MAY be discovered by developing some deliberate objectivity about your husband. Your husband may say: “I’m tired; I think I’ll take a nap,” but immediately he starts in on a large project! Or he may do the reverse, saying, “I think I’ll conquer such and such,” and then he goes over and sits in an easy chair and drift off to sleep! Your spouse may habitually respond to all your suggestions with a “No,” which you discover with a bit more objectivity, isn’t actually what he means…all he means is “I’m occupied right now and that’ll have to wait.” Or he may say he doesn’t care how he looks, and yet he works at it meticulously. Or he is against gaining weight but takes donuts to his workout room. He loves gardening but he never actually gets down to planting the seedlings. He may tell you he is uncomfortable relating to strangers, yet he relates to them endlessly, seizing every opportunity. It can be funny to know your husband, but more seriously, in addition it gives you an edge in ANTICIPATING and providing for softer relating… based on what you KNOW, not just what he tells you!
Harmony in the home, even if largely carried out only by the woman, especially in extremely difficult cases, is an incredible gift to a child. It colors a childhood, from conception to graduation. Sing the “harmony-hymn” quietly in your heart and it’ll be heard in your home.
Devotions Tip: Hunt for hidden tremors
Read the Bible for what it doesn’t say. Try hunting for implications, reasons, cause and effect…picture the details that are left out. And frequently try to imagine doing any event in scripture YOURSELF, what would it take to get your heart into that state? He is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seek Him. So, work at understanding scripture way past the obvious. Following are some head turners. See how many perplexities you and your older children can find of your own!
Read Zechariah 14:21, again. Why will we still be doing sacrifices in the coming millennium? What’s going on there? What kind of sacrifices? What for?
In Exodus, how come Moses had to still pray for the plagues to come, even though God had said they would come? What is the point of his prayer?
Consider this seemingly upside-down verse, Exodus 8:13: “And the LORD did what Moses asked.” How far would/could THAT possibly extend—that the almighty God would respond to a mere man? And how ‘bout just a human command? Joshua commanded the sun to stand still; this wasn’t even in the form of a prayer; it was his own command! Huh?
Revelation 22: 15: “Blessed are those who go through the gates into the city…outside are the dogs, the murderers.” Huh? We thought all these wicked people were done away with! Are they right outside the heavenly City? Can you see them still?
Revelation 22:2b: “The leaves of the tree [of life] were for the healing of the nations.” If there is no disease in Heaven, why would we need healing?
On and on the mysteries go. Saturate yourself with them. Wallow in them. Get your feet wet. Learn to love the nearly constant pursuit, and the just-beyond-you-answers. Many implications may come to you, bit by bit, eventually, like earthquakes right under your feet.