Saturday, May 25, 2019

Parenting by the Book (Part III)

This is the last of three posts on John Rosemond's book, Parenting by the Book. In this section he talks about proper discipline. By discipline, Rosemond does not mean talking, reasoning, and explaining but rather making disciples of your children to follow the right way, God's way.

Chapter Nine: The Bible Tells Me So

This chapter tells what the bible says about discipline. This is a list of section titles of this chapter.
  1. Discipline and love are two sides of the same coin. (Proverbs 3:12)
  2. Punishment is never pleasant but produces great benefit for the person punished. (Hebrews 12:11)
  3. Punishment is essential to proper discipline. (Hebrews 12:6)
  4. Proper discipline validates a child. (Hebrews 12:8)
  5. Obedient children are pleasing to their parents. (Proverbs 29:17)
  6. Children are to obey their parents. (Colossians 3:20)
  7. Obedience will bring blessings to children. (Proverbs 1:8-9)
  8. The most obedient children are also the happiest, most self-respecting children. (Proverbs 15:32)
  9. A lack of discipline contributes to death—in the everlasting sense. (Proverbs 19:18)
  10. Discipline is the way to life eternal. (Proverbs 6:23)
I appreciate how John Rosemond redeems the use of the word "punishment" in this chapter. I recall reading How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, and both authors frowned upon the word "punishment." They seemed to believe it meant a lashing out in anger rather than a consequence given for misbehavior. Faber and Mazlish seemed to think punishment meant an adult temper tantrum, which I don't think is accurate. The bible certainly doesn't use the word like that.

Chapter Ten: Leadership Discipline

In this rather long chapter, Rosemond reiterates the differences between postmodern parenting and the biblical way. Postmodern parents believe that manipulating rewards and consequences turns out good behavior in children. The biblical way is one of leadership, "the art of commanding" (Rosemond, 210). He states that leaders are distinguished by the following:
  • "They may disapprove of what you do, but they always approve of you (unconditional positive regard).
  • "They lead through example. They do not expect others to do what they have not themselves done or are unwilling to do.
  • "They are enthusiastic concerning their vision, and their enthusiasm is communicable.
  • "They motivate others to follow their lead through positive coaching and encouragement, by helping people reach down inside themselves and bring out the best in themselves. And because they help people become the very best they can be, those people look up to them.
  • "They are decisitve and willing to make unpopular decisions.
  • "They 'stay the course' when the going gets rough." (Rosemond, 207-8)
He spends a good portion of this chapter on spankings, which I don't intend to summarize here not because I disagree but because I wasn't particularly interested in it. 

Chapter Eleven: Command, Compel, Confirm

I appreciated this chapter the most. In fact, I think this chapter could stand on its own apart from the rest of the book as a great guide to parenting. Rosemond encourages parents:
  1. To communicate through commands
  2. To give compelling consequences
  3. To consistently confirm my best interest in my children
"Say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you are going to do" (Rosemond, 226). Basically, don't argue with your child. I, Abigail, think it would help if I asked myself, "Is my child asking 'Why not?' because they're confused or do they just not want to do what I've asked?"
  1. "When your child asks for something, and you say he can't have it or do it, and your child demands an explanation, as in, "Why not?!" give one of the only six reasons there are: (1) You're not old enough, (2) you might get hurt, (3) we don't have the money (or will not use it that way), (4) we don't have the time (or won't take the time) for that, (5) we don't believe in that (our values don't allow that), (6) we don't like those kids.
  2. "When you have given your chosen reason in five words or less, and your child stomps his foot and yells out that he doesn't agree with your reason, thinks it's dumb, or wants to tell you why you should change your mind, simply look at him with great compassion and say, 'If I was your age, I wouldn't like that decision either.'
  3. "Then turn around and walk away, leaving your child to—I'm going to steal one of Grandma's favorite lines—'stew in his own juices.'" (Rosemond, 231-2)
I recall Heidi Dehart suggesting that I say, "I need you to . . ." to my children when I command them. This has served me quite well for several years now. It's much more effective than what Rosemond calls "Milquetoast speeches," which are a combination of entreatments, enticements, explanations, and bribes. 

If a child doesn't heed a command, a consequence comes next. The difference between a compelling and non-compelling consequence is whom it affects. A child should be the one suffering the consequences for his behavior, not the parent. And the consequence should be something the child remembers next time they're tempted to disobey again.

Lastly, being a consistent parent doesn't mean to have a consistent set of consequences, those can change, but rather to have a consistent set of values in the house. Parents who value what the Bibles values will always have consistent values. Their aim is the same if they are raising strong-willed or compliant children, boys or girls, handicapped or autistic kids.

Rosemond, John. Parenting by the Book. New York: Howard Books, 2007. Print.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Parenting by the Book (Part II)

This is the second post on Parenting by the Book by John Rosemond. The first post was merely a collection of poignant quotes from the first part of his book. I'm still processing those quotes and deciding what to take and what to leave. He seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater in regards to psychology's influence on parenting. He also seems to believe that Grandma's way of parenting was The Way. In speaking with different people on this topic, I've come to learn that there are many unhealthy and bad examples of Grandma's right way. However, I think he also has many good points about what modern parenting has lost by buying into many psychological theories.

This is now a summary of part two of his book.

Chapter 5: Parenting as One Flesh

Be a husband or wife first and a father or mother second. "For a family to work according to God's design, the husband-wife relationship must be far more active than either parent's relationship with any child" (Rosemond, 121).

This is not the first time I've heard this, but a reminder is always welcome. For me, this means that I need to spend more mental energy figuring out how to best operate with my husband. It's far to easy to allow parenting to be the subject of all my conversations, my free-time reading, and my night-time worrying. 

Chapter 6: Character First

Rosemond argues that parents need to discipline not only a child's actions but their thinking about others and themselves, the way they express themselves emotionally, and their responses to instruction. He encourages parents to be the number one influencer in their child's lives.

"The lower our expectations concerning children, the more we tolerate behavior that should not be tolerated, and the more undisciplined children will become" (Rosemond, 137).

This means to not give a child's self-expression free reign; a child's words and actions all must come under the laws of respect for others.

Chapter 7: Farsighted Parenting

"Parents should aim their child rearing at a target that lies some distance off in the future" (Rosemond, 146). Parents need to think about what kind of adult they'd like their child to be and not necessarily about how to alleviate their children's temporary discomforts. 

In this chapter, Rosemond stresses that teaching children respect is more important than playing soccer or earning A's. That is, values are more important than skills. 

Chapter 8: To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn . . .

Taken from Parenting by the Book by John Rosemond pg. 175
Everything has a season, and a parents' role to their child is no exception. 

I found this chapter very helpful. Everything hitherto I didn't think applied to parents of very young children, and this chapter confirmed this. 

Parents, and most usually the mother, is to be a servant to their child from birth to about age 2 when a child is unable to do things for his or herself. During this time, a woman's relationship with her husband is somewhat on hold because baby's needs trump just about everything. 

However, it is very important for this season to come to an end in the next year of a toddler's life, about ages 2-3. In this year of transition the child comes to understand that mom is not his servant, and that he, in fact, must center his life around mom and dad's agenda and not the other way around. This means learning to do for himself what mom previously did for him, waiting for mom's attention, and seeing that mom and dad's relationship comes before a child's wants.

The next transition is between leadership and mentoring, when mom and dad become more like advisors to the child in helping him or her navigate life and prepare to fly the nest. Lastly comes friendship, the most rewarding of the relationships because now the parent and child are like friends with a common respect for one another. Here guidance is usually only given when requested by the adult-child.

Rosemond, John. Parenting by the Book. New York: Howard Books, 2007. Print.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Camping Sycamore Campground

Hurrah! A successful camping trip to Sycamore Campground, Point Mugu: the first of many I hope. We saw dolphins in the green-gray ocean and a mother and father bird feeding insects to their brood in a tree hole just above our eating area. We bushwhacked our way through a jungle of mustard to find an overgrown trail that took us to an ocean vista. We wet our feet, or in the case of the children their entire bodies, in the frigid pacific, and built sand castles. We ate the simplest of meals and had great fellowship with all the families that went. We're definitely doing this again.

Five families from church all decided back in November to reserve spots for camping this May, and none of us had ever attempted tent camping with our children. Between the five of us, there were thirteen kids, so the little ones all ran around like wild squirrels. The Villas set up a "play tent" where much giggling and rough-housing occurred. Sometimes the children rode each other's bikes. Sometimes they climbed in the trees or tromped through the understory. Sometimes they played hide and seek. And sometimes they mooched food off others.

Sycamore Canyon is aptly named because of the massive sycamore trees surrounding the campground. These served as a playground. Several boys, including Lee & Dietrich, climbed high enough to make their mamas nervous.

Kanon, Rose, Zion, Lee, Addie, and Levi on our natural jungle gym.
So many kids!
We were very appreciative of Richard Villa's bike-fixing-air-mattress-filling-skills as we set up camp. Most of the first day was spent figuring out our tents and deciding how to cook our dinners. Powerful gusts of wind made this particularly tricky. In the later evening the wind died down, and around 9 pm the campground quieted for the night. The adults chatted for a bit around the fire before we retiring to sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Phil and I had the best night's sleep we've ever had camping because of the air mattress he borrowed from a co-worker. I think we'll have to invest in one of these. And Benny only woke once for his usual feeding.

Rose and Lee climbing
The next morning was our hike: an almost two mile loop on a small footpath to a beautiful view. The hills were green and fresh and blooming with lupin and California daisies and mustard and monkey flowers and wild roses. Phil carried Benny who slept in the carrier and I carried the map to lead the way. 

Rose, Lee, Richard, Addie, Phil, Benny, Tai, Eric, Max, and myself at our lookout location.
Rose said her highlight was running in the waves with her friend, NaYoung. They chased and were chased by the waves while Phil and Lee made sand castles. I sat on the sand with Benny and chatted with Josie Oldenburg about psychology. Benny squeezed the sand in his little fists and practiced cruising on our beach chairs.

Phil and Lee build a city of sand. Rose chases the waves in the background.
We ate well and brought plenty of yummy, easy food including sugary cereals, hot dogs,  avocado tacos, cliff bars, cans of soup put right on the grill, and smores made with dark chocolate. We enjoyed the soft strum of the guitar from the Villa's camp in the quiet of our afternoon. And almost everyone doted on Benny. 
Rose, NaYoung, Addie & Lucy gathering around Benny because he was so cute.
Benny was so content during the trip and loved all the people doting on him.
The weather report for Sunday said rain was imminent, so we packed under a light sprinkle. Phil proudly showed me the artful knots he'd made to secure our tarp bundle to the car's roof rack. We ate our dinners together around the fire and after smores, we headed out about 6:30 pm. We tucked the little sleepers into their beds by 8:30 before hopping into the shower ourselves. I enjoyed scrubbing all three children in their baths the next day.

Other highlights included: coming through the tunnel where the 10 freeway meets the 1 and seeing the ocean for the first time, LA's sparkling lights on the drive home, Dietrich enjoying holding Benny, Jewish Nation hot dogs, heating our kettle on Phil's Biolite stove, the Oldenburg's sharing their fire logs with us, Benny learned to whistle, Benny eating his applesauce while entertaining a small crowd of onlookers with his funny baby noises, tall towers of Yucca blooms, little rabbits that look like Bigwig, kids eating their entire candy supplies on the car ride there, perfect weather on Saturday, cups of hot tea, feeling sun-baked and wind-blown and gritty but happy.

I'm putting my packing list here for future reference.

-2 Tents
-4 sleeping bags 
-4 insulate pads
- pillows

-diapers, cream, powder, changing pad
-baby carrier
-Pack and Play with sheet and safety pins
-High Chair w/ bib
-Sun hat
-nursing cover
-bottle & formula
-Umbrella Stroller

Eating: put items in a box
-kitchen towels
-prep table 
-Big water Jug
-Water Bottles
-Paper plates
-Hot items mugs
-Utensils and sharp knives
-Hot water kettle
-table cloth
-cutting mat
-dish soap
-Aluminum foil
-Trash bags
-Ice Chest w/ Dry Ice 

-Fire Tongs
-Camp Chairs
-Bio-lite stove
-Lantern Fuel & Mantels
-AAA batteries

Personal items
-bug repellent 
-baby powder to get sand off
-Cash for showers
-Phones and chargers

-Kids bikes
-Tire pump
-Beach towels
-Beach toys
-First Aid Kit
-Beach Blanket
-Playing cards

-Rain boots
-Bathroom Bags
-Stick Sunscreen 
-kid’s markers & Chalk

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Parenting by The Book (Part 1)

I am in the process of reading Parenting By the Book by John Rosemond, and the book makes some serious claims. I needed a place to gather the books' thought-provoking quotes, so I've dumped them all here. Everything has been taken from John Rosemond's Parenting by the Book with the page number in parenthesis at the end of each quote. FYI: I'm still trying to decide what I think about all this. I certainly don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but many of his claims definitely address some of my parenting problems.


"Psychology holds that the individual is fundamentally good . . . Psychology's central doctrine is one of nonresponsibility—fundamentally, the individual is the product of his upbringing; therefore, his vices are reflections of psychic conflicts engendered by his parents' inadequacies." (4)

"Christianity holds that we are solely and fully responsible for our sinful behavior and that only by accepting that responsibility can we receive forgiveness." (5)

"Psychology holds that a person can be "saved" through the process of therapy as mediated by another human being, that coming to grips with the corruption suffered at the hands of one's parents will set one free. Christianity holds that salvation is attained only through faith in Jesus Christ, that he is the Truth, and that only his truth can set one free." (5)

Part One: The Great Deception

Chapter One: The Walls Come Crumblin' Down

"Understanding what Grandma was talking about did not require a college degree. She did not say things like, 'In talking with you, I get the distinct impression that you are still trying to resolve childhood issues of your own, and I think we should give some time to exploring those issues and discovering how they relate to the problems you are currently having with your child.'" (19)

"Grandma talked like this: 'You know, it occurs to me that your uncle Charlie, when he was about Billy's age, did something similar to what Billy has done. Here's how I handled it . . . You've no doubt noticed that Charlie is working for the bank today, not robbing banks. Maybe you'd like to consider going home and doing with Billy what I did with Charlie.'" (19)

"The term most often used today is 'bad choices'—mistakes, in effect, as if a child's rebellious misbehavior is no more egregious than choosing the wrong answer on a television quiz show. Because malevolent motive is absent, punishment is not warranted. Besides, punishment damages self-esteem, or so the new parenting elite warns." (24)

Chapter Two: Postmodern Psychological Parenting

"Grandma knew that the most powerful shaping force in a person's life was the force of the person's own free will. She understood that the choices people, including children, made were influenced by early childhood experiences, socioeconomic factors, cultural expectations, peer pressure, and so on. But Grandma also understood that when all was said and done, people were fully responsible for the choices they made." (35)

" . . . the power of their choosing was more powerful than the power of her parenting." (35)

"Proverbs 22:15 tells us that 'Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.' The Hebrew word that is here translated 'folly' is used in other contexts to mean moral depravity. This means that in any given situation, a child is inclined to do the wrong thing, the self-serving WORD, to consider his own interests before anyone else's." (38)

"Authority, legitimately exercised, slowly liberates the human spirit, which is creative and loving, from the prison of human nature, which is anything but." (45)

"Humanistic psychology's second contribution to Postmodern Psychological Parenting is the idea that high self-esteem is desirable—essential in fact, to personal happiness—and parents should do everything in their power to help their children acquire it." (49)

". . . it's not the person with high self-confidence who is most likely to succeed in life; it's the person who possesses a realistic appraisal of his or her strengths and weaknesses." (59)

"Grandma understood that respect for others, not high self-esteem, defines the emotionally healthy, prosocial individual . . . As respect is given away, self-respect grows within." (73)

"America's kids were a whole lot happier before parents began listening to psychologists (and remember, I am one!) and other mental health professionals. Am I saying that my profession is the problem? Yes, I most certainly am." (67)

Chapter Three: The Serpent's Currency

"In Grandma's Day, home and family were a character-education classroom in which parents were the teachers and children, students. Within this classroom, parents developed and delivered a curriculum designed to teach children a set of values essential to good citizenship. The core of this curriculum was composed of the following 'Three R's:

  • "Respect for the fundamental dignity of every human being, which children develop by first learning respect for people in positions of legitimate authority, beginning with their parents.
  • "Responsibility in two equally important senses of the term: first, accountability for one's own actions, second, a willingness to carry out tasks assigned by authority figures (as well as those that are simply due the family/community by virtue of one's membership within it).
  • "Resourcefulness—a hang in there, tough it out, try-and-try-again attitude brought to the challenges of life." (71)

Chapter Four: The Tower of Parent-Babble

"Postmodern Psychological Parenting postulated that when a child misbehaves, the feelings that supposedly lie behind and drive the behavior are more significant than was the behavior itself. One of the mantras my graduate school professors drummed into me was that misbehavior on the part of a child was nothing more than a sign of underlying emotional distress, an indication that the child was struggling with an 'issue' or 'conflict' that was preventing him from behaving properly. (Note that this presumes that the child does not possess free will; he is a leaf being blown through life by psychological winds over which he as no control.)" (100-101)

"Unfortunately, all too many of today's parents are doing what I learned to do in graduate school. They engage in what I call "psychological thinking" concerning their children's misbehavior. Instead of viewing a given misbehavior as simply an error that needs to be corrected through the application of proper discipline, today's parents interpret it. 'What does it mean?' they ask, and go on to ascribe some psychological significance to it." (103)

"She (a mother) needed to act, not understand. The only thing this mother needed to understand was that by trying to understand the psychology behind her son's hitting, she was transferring responsibility from her son to herself." (104)

"Every single time—not some of the time, but every single time—parents assign some theoretical psychological cause to a child's misbehavior, several consequences become inevitable:

  1. "The child is no longer responsible for what he is going. A parent, both parents, or some other agency—teacher, peer group, or some circumstance in the child's life (the parents' divorce, the death of a favorite grandparent) is responsible. More often than not, the responsible party is the parent—in the parent's own mind, at least. More often than not, the child's mother ends up feeling most, if not solely, responsible as in guilty.
  2. "The child is transformed from someone who is misbehaving into a victim of circumstances that are beyond his or her control. Instead of disciple, he warrants compassion.
  3. "The child's behavior is justified by the circumstance in question. Suddenly, he is innocent of wrongdoing. He doesn't really mean to do what he is doing. His behavior is being driven by psychological forces that are beyond his ability to comprehend or cope with.
  4. "The parent's ability to disciple is paralyzed. How can a parent punish a child for doing what he can't help doing?" (105)

"They (mothers) began to believe that whether their children turned out well was completely up to them—that a positive parenting outcome was a matter of their efforts, their energy, their dedication, their devotion. There was furthermore, a new aspect to the job: to wit, doing everything possible to ensure that their children's feelings were not disturbed, and when they were, to do everything possible to set things right again." (107)

"For the first time in history, women began to feel that the terrain of child rearing was filled with psychological landmines that one untoward move on their part could set off, causing potentially irreparable damage." (108)

"Obsessive, worrisome moms began micromanaging their children, doing what micromanagers, wherever they are found, do: hovering over and racing around, checking on this and checking on that, fixing this and fixing that, making sure of this and making sure of that, helping with this and helping with that, arranging this and arranging that. Moms also began looking over the shoulder of anyone and everyone who had anything to do with their children, including their husbands making sure these people were doing the 'right' things." (108)

"When Grandma disciplines, she was trying to hurt her child's feelings; she was trying to make her child feel guilty. Grandma understood that unless emotional pain was associated with misbehavior, misbehavior would continue unchecked. But then, in Grandma's day, misbehavior was not a psychological phenomenon. It was a sin, and one could not afford to fool around where sin was concerned." (111)

Rosemond, John. Parenting by the Book. New York: Howard Books, 2007. Print.

Monday, May 13, 2019

It's Not My Fault

If every little flaw in me sends me back
to spankings
for sliding down the carpeted stairs in footed pajamas,
And to teachers' scoldings
for giggling in the back of Spanish . . .

If my every misgiving
compels me to ask why,
what does it mean,
and who has done this to me . . .

Then I lose myself 
in conjecture,
constructed from vivid memories and sentiment and anger.

And when I find a source
for my scruples
then you must understand
that it's not my fault.
I am innocent.
I am doing the best I can
with what's been given me.
No one can demand any more.

And I need not ask myself
if what I do is right and good
or good enough.
I need not discover 
that it is not,
or that my faith is misplaced.

I've found proof
that I'm blameless.
And that proof
is not the blood of the lamb.

The devil wins.