3 Reasons My Children Aren’t Listening

3 Reasons My Children Aren't ListeningDo you ever get the feeling you sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? All your children hear is, “Wa-wa, wa-wa-wa-wa-wa.” Over the years I’ve discovered this to be true in my own home. When this happens, I know three things have occurred.

In order for my children to obey, fulfilling the responsibilities given to them, I must first ensure they have heard my command. It helps to have my children not only look at me when giving them instructions, but for them to confirm they have heard the request. A simple “Yes, mom” will usually suffice. This ensures they have heard the command and have no one but themselves to blame when consequences arise from lack of obedience. In my instructions I am very clear to state what I expect of them, how much time they have to accomplish said task, and the consequences for their lack of obedience.

The second key is putting in place solid consequences for lack of obedience. When our children understand we are serious about them obeying, they will be more likely to listen and act. I discuss appropriate measures with my husband, and determine which consequences we are willing to put into place. Then, start using them.

Lastly, be consistent. Our children will not take us seriously if we do not follow through on our word. If we say they will not get dessert if they don’t clean their room, they need to not get dessert. It doesn’t matter if they whine, moan, or pout. Giving in, especially to whining, only ensures our children will not obey us in the future. Instead, they’ve learned they can get away with lack of obedience by worming their way out by nagging us. Once a consequence has been chosen, we stick with it. Every time. All the time.

It may take the children a few tries before they finally catch on to the new routine, but the sooner we start the better. When we are clear about what we expect, when disobedience is followed up by consequences, and we are consistent in our word, our children will have greater respect for our authority.

Bye-bye Charlie Brown’s teacher!

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
~ Matthew 11:15

Your Turn!: How often do your children claim not to hear when you speak?

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March Parenting Weekends – Mom, Trust Me; I Can Do It

March Parenting WeekendsJoin us in sharing March Parenting Weekends! Come read, be encouraged, and share your thoughts relating to all things parent. Today’s topic: Mom, Trust Me; I Can Do It

I could just kick myself for allowing my children more responsibility then what they are ready for. I forget that there are certain skills they must learn before moving to bigger things.

I made the mistake of allowing my kids to have too many toys at once and way too much space to play in.

After five years of parenting I decided that I want my floor, couch, coffee table, kitchen and basement free from kid’s clutter.

I just had it on one tiresome day. And we all know what those days feel like, don’t we?

I had to make some changes.

No more kids allowed or toys in basement. I boxed up 80% of all their things and put it in storage.

My six year old and five year old beg me to let them play downstairs.   Angry eyes stare me down when I don’t let them.

I tell them that when they show me that they can pick up their toys in their room and put them where they belong, we will talk about having a play room in the basement.

My kids rooms are disasters, nothing is in its place, toys under bed, and clothes stuffed under dressers.

A matter of fact, my six year old son is mad at me, because I will not let him make a tent in our kitchen. He can make a tent in his room, but he has no place to set up chairs.

Continue to read at Community Moms.

Parenting can be a bit rough at times. With a little encouragement, we can all become better parents to the glory of God!

March Parenting Weekends – Honey, Can We Hire Someone To Pick Up After Our Kids?

March Parenting WeekendsJoin us in sharing March Parenting Weekends! Come read, be encouraged, and share your thoughts relating to all things parent. Today’s topic: Honey, Can We Hire Someone to Pick Up After Our Kids?

Sometimes I just want to give up and pay someone to follow my kids around all day and pick up their stuff. But I don’t, I want my kids to be responsible and do it themselves. It takes practice and self-realization to be responsible. It’s my job as a parent to guide my children through life showing them and providing them opportunities that will challenge them to make good choices and do great things.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill   It’s in the everyday things we do that teach us who we are.   We learn what motivates us, what we are good at, what we need to work on, and what we inspire to change.

“Character provides the foundation of spiritual and moral strength that rule our decisions, commitments, and faithfulness.” Sally Clarkson from Own Your Life pg. 163

Justin, my six year old son doesn’t like chores but, he does it anyway because we don’t let him move on to what he wants to do until he does.  He will find the least resistant way to accomplish a task. He is too busy creating adventures in his head. Not a bad thing. Quit admirable to be an inventor with great imagination. The problem Justin runs into is that he never knows where anything is… 

Continue to read at Community Moms

Parenting can be a bit rough at times. With a little encouragement, we can all become better parents to the glory of God!

Stepping Down to Step Up

I could feel it, the anxiety welling up within me. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to break the news to her. It wasn’t that we weren’t having a good time; we were. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle it anymore; I could, if that is what the Lord wanted. The plain and simple truth was that it was time to move on. I needed to step down in this area of ministry, in order to step up elsewhere.

When you sign up to be involved in ministry, you do so never knowing how long the Lord is going to keep you there. Sometimes He has you there momentarily and others for years. No matter what, you need to be prepared to serve as long as He needs you. Just as importantly, it’s also time to recognize when He’s asking you to leave.

Recently, the Lord made it very clear to me that there was a specific area of ministry that we were being removed from. At first, I thought it was just me. Perhaps I was tired or being overworked; a break was just the thing to fix this momentary setback. But no, the Lord quickly straightened me out and made it known that this was from Him.

Stairwell

While the idea of leaving this particular ministry is saddening, we know this is the right move for our family. This was a big part of our weekly routine and a part of my girls’ learning experience, but we also know there is a world of possibilities waiting for us.

In order to step up in new areas of learning and exploration, it was necessary to step down from this one.

In what areas are we being asked to ‘step up’? In our own home! Sometimes it can be so easy to get over involved in outside activities, that we fail to reach full potential at home. Now, we aren’t talking day-to-day activities here; our house gets cleaned daily, laundry isn’t piling up, nor is our fridge empty.  The Lord is prompting us to ‘step up’ our learning in more creative ways.

Our kiddos are going to be doing more extracurricular activities which they are expressing interest in and exploring various creative endeavors at home. Instead of spending a bulk of our week planning group gatherings and outside responsibilities, we are centralizing our interests, resources, and time; making the most of our day.

With the beginning of our summer right around the corner, comes a change in the right direction. We are excited to see what the Lord is going to do in the coming year and how He is going to direct this new aspect to our learning.

What new changes in learning is the Lord directing in your home?

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
– Proverbs 16:9

Taking Responsibility

I want my children to enjoy their childhood, I do! Unfortunately, childhood only lasts so long and adulthood creeps up on us. All too soon, it becomes important for our kids to develop good work ethic and a strong sense of responsibility.

At what age do we start teaching responsibility? Honestly, I think it begins at birth. Our children start learning to be responsible by seeing their parents be responsible. As they learn to walk, talk, and play with toys, we teach them.

Teaching Responsibility

While the children grow up, their responsibilities increase. Instead of merely putting their craft supplies away, they now also sweep and vacuum; they set the table for dinner and help clean the house as well.

I think these are basics which help establish responsibility, but there also comes a time to start putting their responsibility to the test; letting our children make decisions on their own and learning the consequences of poorly made choices.

Before my child has to “sink or swim” in adulthood, what are some practical ways in which I can help my child learn responsibility?

  • Make Them Accountable – Chores, learning assignments, and more can be designated to our children. Make them aware of the “deadline” and allow them to rise to the occasion.
  • Decisions, Decisions – On occasion, we let our kids decide for themselves how they would like to spend birthday money, use their time, or help out someone in need. This will teach them to think critically and learn from their mistakes.
  • Encourage Independence – Instead of immediately rushing to help out, we allow the kids to struggle through and learn things on their own. The sense of accomplishment from dressing, bathing, and cleaning for themselves is wonderful.
  • Let Them Make Mistakes – This is by far the hardest area for me, but necessary. I would rather have them learn from little mistakes in my house than big ones in their own. Even if I think a decision might be wrong, I need to let them go through with it and learn a valuable lesson. This will encourage them to ask for advice and be more careful next time.
  • Praise Good Choices  When our children succeed in being responsible, I give them due credit; a “high-five”, a hug, or anything else which will affirm their good choices.
  • Be an Example – While out on errands, instead of just bringing them along, I want to explain why we are doing what we’re doing. Why do I have a budget? Why do we clean our house on a regular routine? How do I organize events and still make sure our household needs are met? Through our lead, our children see responsibility in action.

We have been teaching responsibility since our children were born. They learned to put their toys away, clean their rooms, and do their chores. Now we are in the process of teaching them to be responsible with their time and money.

As I mentioned, I am thoroughly enjoying my babies; I have no desire for them to grow up quickly. Grow up they must, however. In order to ensure adulthood isn’t a shock, we are slowly helping them adapt to the world of responsibility.

Veteran Parents: What helped your children the most, when it came to learning responsibility?

“For each will have to bear his own load.” – Galatians 6:5

The Line Forms on the Left

Fair Line?One interesting phenomena that seems to plague homeschoolers, is the inability to form a straight line! (Laughing)

No matter how hard we try, no matter our intention, five minutes into any field trip, our wonderfully organized students become a mess. I wonder if this is something that is only a bother for us or if other groups also deal with the same complication.

Now I know that some would argue lines are unnecessary in the world of home education, but I am not so sure. If part of our children’s education is to prepare them for adult life, lines should definitely be included.

How often do we find ourselves standing in line? Off the top of my head I can come up with at least ten lines I have to stand in weekly (as much as I would love to avoid them); the library, the bank, the grocery store, the ice cream shop, the DMV, and more!

It seems this simple principle is indeed a necessity for us adults, but for children? I would insist that it is.

When we are attending a field trip with a large group, wouldn’t it be more polite and respectful if our children learned to be organized? It would be unthoughtful if we crowded every walkway or available space wherever we went.

I would also reason that standing in line teaches children more than conformity (which isn’t always bad), it also teaches them patience and order.

Our homeschool group is definitely making an effort to master this skill during the current year. We recognize that people see us and therefore will make a judgement of homeschooling based on how we present ourselves.

While we do not live our lives to please others or justify what we do, we do wish to leave them thinking well of us. We would hate to give more fuel to an already burning fire.

Do you notice other homeschooling groups with this same problem? How do you help your students learn the art of a well formed line?