New Beginnings

Lenten tidings to you all, dear readers!

Lent is this sobering, quieting time of new beginnings.  It becomes the time and space for confession and for asking forgiveness, both in public and in private.  It becomes the time of setting forth priorities and laying forth new inroads of habits.  A time of using less resources, both of food and of our planet’s energy.  A time of new prayer and much reading.  And a time of doing.

I think many people do not associate Lent with doing.  But I do.  The website Full Homely Divinity says, “The Celtic saints who laid the foundations for our Anglican traditions were an extreme lot.  One might say that their practice of the faith was homely in the extreme.  They lived in harsh times and seemed to exult in taking on harsh challenges, physically and spiritually.  Thus, they challenge us in the softer times in which we live and in the softer ways in which we choose to live as Christians.” You can see the full article here, including a summary of the wonderful Lenten book about St. Kevin and the blackbird here:  http://fullhomelydivinity.org/articles/full%20homely%20lent.htm

Now is the time – what are your priorities for your family? Are you willing to step out and live that?  What is your place and your mark to make to help your community?  Are you doing it?

And your parenting:  it is not enough to just read blogs or books and toddle on the way you always have.  Now is the time to do.  Be present with your children by taking an electronic fast.  Play with your children.  Do real work in front of them.  Show them how to live!

In the spirit of Lent, I offer you several links that are my favorite for this season:

Carbonfast for Lent:  http://carbonfast.blogspot.com/

Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan: http://www.churchyear.net/lentfathers.html

A Lenten Calendar for children:   http://thesefortydays.blogspot.com/2008/02/project-lenten-calendar.html

We will also be coming back to the oldie but goodie series  “Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother” with updated versions of these classic posts that will also include a strong component of real, practical work – the doing piece that is the balance to inner work.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Discipline: Eight Facets Of A Healthy Family Culture

 

Discipline is our seventh facet of a healthy family culture.  Discipline, to me, boils down to nothing less than how you guide your child or children toward becoming a mature and healthy adult. Discipline requires authenticity, yes, but also a steadiness and platform of patience and evenness, and an understanding of children’s development and the best tools to use when.  The tools of discipline, to me, differ based on the developmental stage of the child.

 

 Being An Authentic Leader – This is one of the very first posts I ever wrote on this blog:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/16/gentle-discipline-as-authentic-leadership/

 

The first ingredient is of course, you.  Your views, your steadiness, and yes, your family culture obviously influence things.  And no, I don’t think you need to be this completely calm mother who walks around like she in a valium-induced haze.  I know loads of mothers who have incredible energy!  I do think, though, that there has to be a steadiness of not being completely overwhelmed and frustrated.  And that, to be honest, can be really difficult when children are very small.  And teenagers also take a lot of energy!

 

The qualities I think about most in my own mothering were the ones I described in the series “20 Days Toward More Mindful Mothering”.  Some of my long-term readers might remember that series.  Cultivating these qualities is what inner work and personal development is all about.  You can see those posts here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/category/general-wisdom/20-days-toward-more-mindful-mothering/

 

How Do You View Children and Childhood?  Much of this boils down to what you think about children. Do you think they are miniature adults with less experience just waiting to be filled up with knowledge?  Do you think the consciousness of the child and the rationality of the child is the same as the adult?  Many times we would point to teenagers, and laugh, and say, oh no of course a teenager is not as rational as an adult, but yet we parent them by talking them to death and expecting them to come to the same conclusions that a forty-three year old adult would in the same situation.  They might, but they might not!  Smile

 

I often think of the ages of birth through seven being a time of doing, the time of age seven through age fourteen of being the time of strong feelings, and the time of age fourteen through age twenty-one being when rational thought is being developed.  To me, childhood ends around the age of twenty-one.

 

If we concur that development does take time, that children of different ages actually are different in the way that they think and respond to things, then we can look at tools and expectations based upon development.

 

However, the one thing that remains steady through all of these ages is CONNECTION and ATTACHMENT.  You cannot parent without this.  Please do go back and read the posts that summarize the wonderful book “Hold On To Your Kids:  Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers”.  Connection is the number one way to discipline a child. 

 

Discipline Tools – So, for me, the methods and tools of discipline looks a bit different dependent upon the child’s age.  I have written many, many, many posts on this.

 

In a brief nutshell, for  the ages birth to seven, your discipline techniques really involves slowing down.  Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm, and slowing down really sets the tone for what happens. Small children should be involved in meaningful work, and plenty of  indoor and outdoor play.   Physically moving with your child into what needs to be done whilst you are singing and helping them is most helpful.  Children of this age imitate what you are doing, so making sure you are doing something worthy of imitation is very important.  Words and talking the child to death is the least important part of this picture. 

 

For children ages seven to fourteen, this is a time to be a loving authority in your child’s life because there will be many instances of your child discovering what the boundaries of your home life truly are, and they are searching to see  if you yourself walk the walk of what you are telling your child.  Criticism of the parent seems to start in our times around ages nine or ten, not in the same way that a teenager criticizes, but children of this age certainly do notice if you tell them one thing and then do another!  Calm, sure, steady and warm are hallmarks in discipline of this age.

 

For children fourteen to twenty-one, the parent is moving into more of an age of being the expert guide on life’s issues and the child is of course taking increasing responsibility.  Here is an interesting blog post from over at Christopherus regarding parenting teenagers and talking specifically about dealing with friends:  http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2005/07/keeping_one_ste.html

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

9/11 And The Atmosphere of Homeschooling

I think one thing that a mother brand new to homeschooling can hear, but not really wrap their arms around until they do it themselves, is that homeschooling is not school and that in homeschooling, the family life provides learning all the time.  Everything is an opportunity, and learning continues to happen during “school time” or not school time.

Much is being made around the Internet right now regarding the atmosphere of homeschooling – should it be an environment of learning opportunities?  grace? prayer?  Probably all of the above, correct?

But I have another idea rarely mentioned: I  suggest it be an atmosphere of love.  Love for your child and your family. Love for your Creator and a willingness to give the life of your family back to Him.    Love for your neighbors and your community.  Love for the way you homeschool and your way of living. Continue reading

Angry- Yell- Cry-Repeat

Have you all ever been in that sort of cycle with a child?  Maybe the child gets really angry, you get angry and  yell, the child yells, it all comes to a head, you both cry, but the cycle repeats.  So many mothers I talk to feel sad, feel guilty, and can’t understand why things have to “come to that “ in order to really communicate with their child.  Mothers also feel most guilty when they have things going on within their families, adult things, and the stress of what is going on comes out in the way they deal with their child’s behavior. Continue reading

“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter 9: “Eight Weapons In The War On Anger” Part Two

So, picking up where we left off:

5.  Stay short and to the point.  I like this point on page 196, Kids have endless time to play point-counterpoint, in an effort to wear you down.  I know many parents whose children are ready for law school by age five!  They are the ones whose parents often overdo reasoning and explaining, in hopes that if only they give their children enough explanations, the kids will stop wanting what they wanted in the first place.

They point out it is okay to stay short and sweet, repeating the same phrase, being very specific as to what is needed, and the use of one word to communicate what you want (which can work well with those over seven in my opinion).

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“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter 8: “Mad Is Not Bad”

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is to acknowledge a child’s intense expressions of anger – and to validate that anger as real.”

Have you ever struggled with that? Or with helping your child manage what behavior is acceptable when they are angry?

The authors validate in this chapter that as parents we can be very uncomfortable with anger as an emotion coming from our children.  And mothers in the audience, we can be even more uncomfortable at times because many women are peacemakers by nature and by conditioning.  The authors relate many stories within this chapter where parents recount how they were not allowed to express anger.

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“Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter 7: “An Unthinkable Rage”

Was this chapter hard for anyone else to read?  Parts of it were so hard, to see the deep pain (I think the authors call it that at one point) of these mothers with their small children.

And didn’t this chapter just make you mad?

Continue reading