Some of you are older moms who have grown children, and I'm only writing this for you to do with it what you want- send to younger moms you know, but also to tell me if I'm way off track!
You younger moms just need to tell me if I am encouraging or helping, and if NOT, please let me know what it is that you didn't "like" so that you won't be bothered by this occasional email!
I am sorry it has been such a long time since I last wrote! Moving and finishing the book (which I thought was done, but my editor has given me a couple more small assignments) took all of my attention from April through now. .
I hear moms say "she doesn't like it," or "he won't do it" and then they may roll their eyes or shrug their shoulders as if there's absolutely nothing to be done about it. Indulge me in my being as earnest and serious as I can when I say, "Something CAN be done!"
Here's what I suggest:
For an example, when you are offering food to a baby who is beginning to eat table food, and they try one bite and then spit it out, don't say a word, but simply put the idea of trying that food to wait till 2 months later. Children's tastes change with every month almost, so any food you really want them to learn to like, keep trying it on them until they are at the age where you can say, you will eat 2 bites of it even if you don't like it because I know it will help your body to be healthy!" I would NOT say, "Oh you don't like that, do you!?" Just smile cheerfully and don't say anything! Give the next food option and keep trying it at least 2x in one meal. As long as a baby or toddler continues to hear her mother or dad or caregiver say "Oh you don't like that!" it will become ingrained in that child's head that Yes, she certainly doesn't, and it if appears again, she/he won't like it! Beware of what you say to your child or even to another person with you because they pick up on everything and especially when you talk about them in front of them, it lodges in their little brains that what their mother says about them is Truth! What comes out of your mouth to your children should be wise and truthful, but also sparing, and the more words you use, the more tendency to say too much (which may be just your frustration) which will become the truth to them, and depending on their age, they will be saying the same things to others about themselves!
So, you can take this example and apply it to anything you have to deal with in your children. "A wise woman builds her house but a foolish woman tears it down." The teaching of kindness is on your tongues, but the teaching of the world (whatever the child wants he/she gets) has to be carefully watched for in your own words. There are a lot of parenting tips on the internet that are not Biblical, so be careful what you are reading or listening to. I was often "scolded gently" by my husband if I talked about my children when they were within earshot, because they do pick up on anything, and if you are disappointed or frustrated with them, they will begin to be insecure and frustrated with themselves. Even when we are holding a baby that doesn't talk yet, we should not talk about them in front of them- they will sense your focus on them and it will encourage more self-centered-ness, and more self-consciousness. It may encourage worry and fearfulness too.
What CAN be done? Train them with your loving voice from the time they are tiny, so that they hear your voice as their authority, and when you say good, kind, loving things, and expect obedience, they will want to follow what you say....of course there are some children who are more wilful and recalcitrant than others, and I have 4 out of 8! But I had to learn that persistence in training with consequences to disobedience or disrespect will pay off, and you will be grateful later on that they learned your voice meant exactly what you said! ONLY by depending on the Lord for wisdom, patience, and self-discipline, can anyone train their children in righteousness. So, my last bit to say is, Walt and I didn't do it perfectly or consistently, but we both agreed that respect and obedience were the two necessary areas we had to constantly be on top of. God's grace covered and still covers all our sins and mistakes....it REALLY DOES!!
May God give you the grace, persistence, and faith to raise up your children to glorify HIM, not themselves, which is the way of the world. Only the Holy Spirit can help you be godly in your reactions to them and in training your children....I hope to only give hints on how the Lord helped me. Please talk and pray with your husbands in this process.
Only By His Grace,
And here's an older mom's tips after reading mine to you all. This is a grandma who has taken care of her 2 grands since they were babies, (and they are about 6 and 4 now) while going through uterine cancer treatment.
"Your example in offering food to a child, works well if the mom and dad both agree. But in today’s world there are nannies and multiple caretakers of young children. My thought when that is the case with a working parent, that all caretakers even grandparents do what the parent requests. They are to follow and not talk about the child in front of them.
Communicate to the parent via text, or phone later.
Secondly when you are with the child eating, sit at the table together- no multitasking. And TURN OFF ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Focus on the meal."