Friday, December 30, 2011

The 'What If' Child

We have a child that is a deep thinker.  He is always asking a 'what if' question.  In the photo above, he asking himself what is really going to happen when he fights Darth Vader, will my parents find me in this crowd when I am done, will I use a real light saber  . . . .   Really, all kids get the worries from time to time and want to know 'what if.'  For a deep thinker, the world can be a never ending place of fear.  They think too much for their own good.  Their heighten awareness spawn one scenario after another.  Our children should know that worries and fears are normal, that everyone has them, and we need to show them what we do with worries.

Our children's 'what ifs' are a great chance to make clear to them basic Biblical wisdom.  It is easy to forget when our minds start spinning.  I tell my child, simply and bluntly that,

  • "You can handle anything that happens to you WITH GOD."  
  • "Life will keep you busy enough with real things that happen to you, don't waste your time with 'what ifs'."
  • "Don't keep 'what if'ing your self because they never end.  They will just go on and on."
  • "What ever happens, you will just deal with it.  God has a plan, there is no need to worry.  He won't give you anymore then you can handle WITH Him."
  • "You need to deal with what is happening right now, at this moment."  
  • "No matter what happens, stay calm and pray to God for wisdom.  He will show you what to do."
Another exercise that is good to do is to ask them, "What are you afraid of happening?"  Or, "What is the worse that could happen?"  For example, if the child says they are afraid of the house catching on fire, you would help them see that they would leave the house and the fire department would come and put the fire out.  This exercise may be too hard for a child who lacks the ability to reason, meaning a child on the spectrum or with delays.  The point of the exercise is to show, what ever happens, you will just deal with the situation.  

Death may come up in your 'what if' conversation, but you need to deal with it honestly, while only giving them simple information that they need to know.  It is best to be calm, steady and sure of yourself in your delivery.  If you don't believe it completely, your children will see that, and they won't believe either.  As Christians, we have no fear of death.  If your child is persistent, but not yet mature enough, I tell them they will learn more as they get older, but now is not the time.  They need to grow more.  

Having an environment where your child can come and talk to you about what is on their heart plays a major role in providing that teachable moment.  If we have our child's heart, if they feel loved and safe with us, they will let us into their most personal thoughts.  Our children need us to talk to.  They need to be reassured by us.  During these talks with my children, I always remind them that it is our (their mother and father's) job to take care of them and help them though any events that might happen.  Even when they are by themselves, God is ALWAYS with them, watching over them. No worries.  It is a good reminder to the us as well, because where do you think their deep thinking brain came from?  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Newsletter 2011

We hope this letter finds you well. Our year has flown by. We had quite a busy year. Last spring we got to go to Walt Disney World with Karen's sister and fiance. It had been 3 years since a real vacation, so we really enjoyed every minute of it. The kids even fought Darth Vader. JP had his mouse ears on the whole time, I am sure Vader was quaking in his boots. They were given the opportunity to join forces with Vader, but we are proud to say none of them turned to the Dark Side.

Also in Spring, Karen's sister announced her wedding would be in November in Key West, Florida. So we got to go on another trip to Florida. We drove all the way down. How many keys could they possibly be? It is gorgeous there though, and the wedding was beautiful. G had the honor of being a flower girl and the boys ring bearers. On the way back, we stopped for a couple of days at Disney World, this time with Karen's brother and parents, who missed the trip in the spring due to a hospital stay.

This was a milestone year for Ed, he turned 40. He had a quiet, little party with his best friends. All else is the same, same job, same worship team. Just before Christmas, Ed got to go out to Arizona to see his family. His mom is fighting cancer, and we could not think of a better present for her then Ed.

Karen is snowed under with work. She is homeschooling the kids full time with a full load of students, John started Kindergarten this year. Homeschooling 3 kids is really not hard, it is all the rest of the stuff that is the problem, like sending out punctual cards and newsletters. She is enjoying nesting until we are placed with a baby.

G turned 10 this year. She still takes Irish Dancing lessons, and lots of homeschooling activities – homeschooling skating is her favorite. This year she has joined the chess club at the library, and really enjoys it. G's hot interests this year are video games, roller skating and crafts.

Z turns 8 next month. This year at our homeschool co-op he got to take a cooking class, he enjoys to help Karen cook. He recently joined a township wrestling team, and loves it! Ed wrestled when he was in middle school, and he has turned into quite a stage mom. Z is so excited on practice nights, he is too worked up to eat dinner, so that tells you how important this really is to him. This year Z's interests are cars, wrestling, and playing outside.

JP turned 5 this year, and started Kindergarten. At co-op he moved up to a new class, where he gets to go to different stations. He loves to do everything with Z, they even sleep together. Z keeps trying to get him to join the wrestling team, but JP says he will only join if they get a blue mat – his favorite color. JP knows what he wants. One of his favorite places to go is the zoo, he says he is going to live there when he grows up. JP's interests are animals, cars, and pretending to be a baby animal.

As for number 4, all our adoption paperwork is finished. We are a waiting family, which means we show our profile to birth parents and wait for them to pick us. So far we have not gotten picked, but it is exciting to receive opportunities. When we do get picked, it probably will happen very quickly. Adoption is a lot of waiting, and then instant baby! We look forward to sending out an adoption announcement. G and Z keep making JP act like a baby so they have a baby to play with. Hopefully we will not have to wait too long.

May God bless your New Year,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Tell if your Child is an Entitled Child

Here is a great article on childhood entitlement.  Click on the link to read it in full.  Here is a quick checklist to see if as a parent you have fallen into a the common modern plague of creating an entitled child.

An entitle child will:

  • immediately lash out "with accusations or insults" when they are told no
  • is shocked when told no
  • not take turns well
  • be impatient
  • generally put themselves first
  • throw a temper tantrums when they don't get what they want
  • not say "please" and "thank you"
Now, every child, especially a toddler or preschooler, will behave these ways from time to time.  This list is meant to reflect a consistent behavior over time.  

Not every child fits in the "box", some children actually have a social delay, which causes huge problems with flexibility.  This is not because of your parenting style, it is because of their delay.  The child is not trying to be bad to ruin your day, they just don't have the tools yet to deal with it.  If you are not sure wether of not your child has a delay, read the first few chapters in The Explosive Child by Ross W. Green, chapter 3 has the checklist.  I am sure your library has a copy.  Just would like to add, these children do things that all children do, but it is just on a whole other level.  You could also take your child to a councilor or psychologist who specializes in children.  Now, just because they have a delay, it does not mean the behavior is acceptable.  Occupational Therapy, play therapy with a councilor and other resources can help you get your child's behavior to be with in the proper boundaries.  It is not an excuse, but it is a very good reason to show them grace and not to think of them as a spoiled child and yourself as a bad parent!

Here are some things you can to to reverse an entitled child:
  • start saying no more often, but not always
  • make them do things for themselves
  • require a "no please" and a "yes, thank you"
  • make them wait
  • give them less 
  • if it is extended family giving too much, try to control that as much as possible
  • put some of their items away - less clothes, less toys ( you don't have to throw them out, just put them out of site)
  • requirer them to do some basic chores for no money and give them the opportunity to earn money doing jobs around for money
  • have many heart to heart talks with them about thinking of others, the universe does not revolve around them, and they have to work for what they want
  • if they lose a toy or brake one, don't buy them a new one
  • they do not always have to be happy, so lessons in life are painful, that is they only way we learn our lesson