Parenting Advice That I Love
Let’s face it, when we announce that we are expecting, parenting advice comes flooding in. Sometimes it is sought-out, others it is not.
We can blow off all the advice that we receive, raise our children however we want, yet, there can be great wisdom in contemplating and doing our own research on what we are told.
Titus 2 says that older women are to instruct the younger women, that implies that younger women should remain teachable and open to at least hearing advice, and weighing it against the Word.
The Bible makes it clear that counsel is important.
Consider the Source
Taking the source of the advice given is important.
Firstly, is it Scriptural? Does it go against God’s word? Has the Scripture been taken out of context?
Secondly, is this from an experienced parent or someone that has a lot of experience in the field?
Thirdly, what is the outcome for that person? How have their children turned out? Yes, despite the best parents, some children turn away, but overall, does their parenting advice bear out good results that you can see?
These bits of advice are ones that I have loved and have implemented with success in our family.
Let Them Let Go First
When hugging your child, let them let go first. It might surprise you how long they would like to hug for.
Unfortunately, many new moms just go with the flow and do not look into a lot of things that have a very real impact on their children. When I was pregnant with my first I had a friend that told me to research everything.
Do it. From diapering options (cloth has come a long way), to inserts for anything given to your child, to the function of the foreskin and circumcision, to car seat safety, all things labor and birth, baby wearing, breastfeeding, interviewing doctors for your baby..
It can be overwhelming, but pick a topic and go for it. Baby steps in parenting. You could do a brain dump of things you want to research and tick them off one by one.
You will be your child’s advocate, and one that is well informed is so important and best equipped to fight for them and their needs.
Let Them See You Cry Sometimes
I still hate this one, but it offers a great opportunity to talk about emotions, how to held big emotions, build empathy, and teach them that it is okay to be sad (even Jesus wept) sometimes, we just should not wallow in it.
Apologize When You Mess Up Parenting
We all love to say that we have messed up, or were wrong, right?
Apologizing to our children when we have made a mistake is hugely important in teaching them about humility, owning your mistakes, and forgiveness.
There is a school of thought that says you should never apologize to your children when you make a mistake as it projects weakness and undermines your authority.
I think it is a mark of a great leader to admit when they have been wrong, and would feel much better about following a leader that was honest instead of letting their pride keep them from owning their mistakes.
The what the Bible says about pride is not a favorable. In fact, it is downright sinful. And, it did not usually end well when a leader was prideful. [Proverbs 16:18-19, 1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6, Luke 14:11]
We are modeling the behaviors we want our children to emulate.
The Love Test for Parenting
Open your Bible to 1 Corinthians 13. Now, when you read it, substitute your name for ‘love’.
Would my children say mama is patient and kind? Is mama arrogant or rude to them? Does mama seek her own benefit over others? Is mama irritable or resentful? ? Does mama keep count of wrongs suffered? Does mama rejoice in the truth? Does she bear all things? Does she believe the best in me? Does she endure all things?
Some other great Scriptures to meditate on in light of our parenting and how our children view us:
- Ephesians 4:29-32
- Ephesians 5:1-4, 15-21
Faith At Home Parenting
When parenting, it can be tempting to allow church to become a faith warehouse. A place we go once or twice a week to stock up on, and feed our faith.
This is not a sustainable system. Young people that have grown up with this system are leaving the church at an alarming rate.
Relationship with Christ is not about a building, and while meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ is important (and commanded[), it is the day-to-day living that will have the greatest impact on our children’s faith.
It is our responsibility to teach our children about the Lord. [Deuteronomy 6:5-9, 4:9-10, 11:18-19, 31:12-13, 32:45-46]
I shared more about this at LoTanner.com last year
Pray With Them
We both set aside intentional prayer time and use prompts (sirens, workers, boo-boos, etc).
Physical Connection is Just As Much a Need As Food And A Clean Diaper
There is a lot of new research indicating that physical touch and connection are just as much a need as a clean diaper and being fed.
New mothers are often told that once they’ve fed, burped, and changed their baby they should leave their baby alone to self-soothe if they cry because all of their needs have been met. One day I hope all new mothers will smile confidently and say, “I gave birth to a baby, not just a digestive system. My baby as a brain that needs to learn trust and a heart that needs love. I will meet all of my baby’s needs, emotional, mental, and physical, and I’ll respond to every cry because crying is communication, not manipulation.L.R. Knost
Do Not Judge a Habit on the First Day/Time/Week
I have recently shared about how important routines and expectations are with children.
A huge part of that is not judging a habit on the first try/time/week. Keep at it until it truly becomes a habit or routine.
It is a Mental Game
If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.1940 July 24, Alpine Sul Ross Skyline, (Published by the Students of Sul Ross State Teachers College), (Set of miscellaneous adages), Quote Page 2, Column 2, Alpine, Texas. (NewspaperArchive)
You mental attitude determines a lot with children and parenting. Your determination, your aiming will greatly impact your parenting.
If you are constantly focused on the negative, they will become focused on that as well.
If you have a can do attitude, it rubs off as well.
Treat Your Children Like People
I do not tell my children “You’re alright.” when they cry because they have gotten hurt. I would not tell my adult friend that, nor my husband. How are my children not deserving of the same consideration.
It is also important to remember that I have bad days too. I have days I do not want to be around people, or I am extra tired, or hangry, or down. Children have off days, just like any other person. Do we down play our friend’s crying on our shoulders if they are struggling with something? Do we send our husbands to their room if they are having an off day?
One of the game changer pieces of advice that I have read is to remember that my child is not trying to give me a hard time, but rather they are having a hard time dealing with big emotions and ideas that they do not know how to express.
When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.L.R. Knost
When you see a dandelion do you see a wish or a weed? When you hear a child cry do you hear a need or a demand? When you wash a sticky face do you feel blessed or burdened? As parents, our perspective determines our response, and our response determines our children’s reality. So let’s wish wishes, meet needs, and count blessings to make childhood a magical, peaceful, joy-filled reality for both our children and ourselves.L.R. Knost
Help Other Mamas
This is so important. I have been blessed to have had others come along side me when I needed a hand.
If you see a mama, give her some encouragement.
Her child struggling? A kind stranger is usually a great distraction.
Is her child melting down? Ask her if you can help her in any way, or look for a specific way to offer help (hold bags at the store, load her car, etc). Let her know it happens and she’s not a bad mom.
Get to the Root Cause
There are many things that can affect a child’s behavior. Unfortunately, many moms are told that their children are unruly when many of their issues can be traced to diet, lack of good sleep, lack of vestibular stimulation, and other environmental factors that have a serious impact on a child. Remember, you are your child’s advocate.
Oral ties can can a whole host of issues in children, and adults if left untreated.
Many parents have no idea the impact chiropractic care can have on a child’ system, and that it is not just for major accidents.
I plan to write on how these things in a child’s diet can cause issues, but we have removed artificial colors, nitrites, gluten, and corn from our diets and have seen a huge change in behavior issues.
Junk is easy to give kids, and if they are not used to trying healthy foods they will resist, but as parents it is our job to provide nourishing food. Junk in, junk out.
This goes along into…
Setting Up Healthy Relationships With Food
I find myself trying to unlearn many unhealth food habits.
To this day I feel guilty leaving food on my plate because I am full. While I have shared with our children that they are fortunate to have access to healthy food, we do not force finishing food.
If they do not finish the food on their plate I save it for when they get hungry or even the next meal. The do not get snacks if they do not eat the food provided.
Eating when we are not hungry is a huge trap that many struggle with. Allowing children to listen to their body’s cues is important.
I am really trying to stop using food as treats. It has a lot to do with brain wiring when we set up treats to feel good. If we associate feeling good with food it can lead to using foods to feel good and not for how they can nourish the body.
Again, we do not force eating, it can take exposing a child to a new food something like 30 times to get them to try a new food, so we expose them to a lot of foods. We encouraging trying new foods, prepared different ways sometimes.
Talk to Them
This sounds like a no-brainer, but talking to your children is huge.
I got a lot of strange looks in the grocery store narrating what I was buying and how it would use it when I was just talking to a baby.
Something on the same lines, but reading to children is huge too.
Don’t feel like you have to dumb it down either, children can catch on to things much quicker than we often give them credit for. Yes, there are time we need to explain things but that is how they learn.
Also understand that auditory processing is not fully developed until around age 15. Sometimes when they say “huh?” it is because they truly did not catch what was said. That is why I often get on their level, look them in the eye, and then deliver the important message that I was trying to communicate.
Do Not Talk Badly About Your Children
Especially in front of them! Words are powerful! You have the choice to build up or tear down. To speak life or speak death.
That sounds dramatic, but how would you feel if you overheard someone talking about you the way that you talk about your children? Even jesting can wear away at a person over time. They begin to believe what is said is how that person truly feels about them.
Remember They are Watching You
Scary, right? But, when parenting, we must remember that they are watching us. Absorbing from us. We set the tone of our homes. The way we conduct ourselves, how we walk with the Lord, what we allow in our homes.