Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Micah and I had a very interesting conversation this morning! I had him help me make breakfast since he's learning how to cook, so he cut up the hot dogs for the scrambled eggs and then cooked the eggs and toasted the biscuits. I guess working together gives great opportunities to talk about stuff!

So Micah says, Hey, Mom, there is one good thing about having a friend who is a tomboy (he's been learning what that means since Mom was quite the tomboy in her time...). He said, it's because then a boy doesn't have to do all that "girl stuff"! :) Micah said that a boy who does girl stuff is a "sissy". That boy sissies get made fun of by other boys. And that was a great time to talk about how God made boys and girls to be different and what roles each should play, especially in marriage...because it would follow that sometimes boy sissies grow up to be man sissies and then they might marry a wife that's too bossy and tells him what to do all the time. :o Micah didn't think that was a good idea, because he's been taught that Papi is the boss, then Mommy, and then the kids, with God having the final authority over all of us.

Once again, a good time for me to examine myself...am I being a good example of a godly wife to my children? Am I teaching them to honor and reverence their father? Am I encouraging them to submit to Miguel's authority so that they can learn to submit to God's authority? Good questions...


Gracia has been really needy lately! And I don't always respond so well to neediness in people...something I think I need to work on, especially in regards to my children.

Gracia has been asking me if I can "sleep with her" but since her bed is currently in a closet, that's kind of hard for me to do! Or she wants to sleep with Miguel and I in our bed, which doesn't work too well, either. I think I finally realized that what she wants is just some more attention from Mom. Miguel usually puts the kids to bed, so for the last few nights, I've gone in to tuck Gracia and Jojo into bed to give them just a bit more attention at bedtime.

So a couple of nights ago I was laying on the floor by Gracia's bed and she said that she wished she were still a baby. Oh? Why? I said. She said that then she could nurse on me...I asked her if maybe it was because she wanted Mama to hold her more and she said yes, that was it (I didn't think that she actually wanted to nurse!). Then she said that she wanted Mama to hold her, rock her to sleep, and then put her in her bed after she was asleep. So we got up, went to the rocking chair and I rocked her in my arms. After a while, she lifted up her head and said, I'm not going to sleep! :) So I sang her a lullaby and then I put her back to bed and that was enough.

Last night, we had a conversation about when Gracia was still in Mommy's tummy and I could feel her jumping around. Gracia is convinced that babies come out of their mommy's tummy through the belly button, but has questions about how that works since obviously belly buttons are too small! :) It was an interesting conversation...

I have been actively including Gracia more in my daily chores and cooking, she seems to need more of my time and attention than the boys do...or maybe it's that she needs a different kind of attention? Now that she's five, she is old enough to understand some deeper concepts, even to begin learning how to grow up to be a godly woman. It has made me examine myself even more to see whether I'm being a good example of a godly wife and mother for my little girl!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Words of Encouragement for Weary Parents

"Jojo called me stupid!" Gracia said as she came crying to the office where I was trying to work on the computer. I sighed as I stopped what I was doing yet AGAIN to deal with the squabbling kids. Frankly, I get really TIRED of the tattling, squabbling, fighting, bugging, and provoking that goes on between them. And with three kids of squabbling age around (Jkaile's still a bit young to join in, but the day is coming!!!), there is bound to be a LOT of tattling going on.

Ironically, I was logging on to Focus on the Family's website and happened to click on the Parenting link. Lo and behold, there were a couple of articles on tattling! So here's what I have learned today:

I learned that I usually don't deal correctly with tattling because either I am not sure WHAT to do or I end up rewarding the tattler by getting the "offender" in trouble. I vaguely realize that I may not be dealing with the situation correctly, but I have had trouble knowing how to approach the situation.

Tattling is usually motivated by one sibling taking pleasure in getting the other in trouble, which can cause problems for that relationship as well as disrupt the entire household (in our house, this has certainly been the case!).

Parents can address the tattling situation and encourage peace by taking the following steps:
1. Help the tattler understand his/her motivation
2. Help the tattler understand the damaging effects of the tattling
3. Help the tattler replace tale-bearing with encouragement
4. Teach the tattler to practice what he/she has learned

Helping the tattler to understand the motives behind the tale-bearing by asking thought-provoking questions will take the focus off of the wrong that someone else has done and place it on their own motives. And by helping our kids think through their motives, we will be helping them learn how to make good decisions.

"Could it be that you are taking pleasure in getting your brother in trouble?"
"What are you hoping will happen to your brother by getting him in trouble?"
"How do you think your brother/sister feels when you tattle on them?"
"Will tattling bring you closer to your brother/sister or tear you apart?"

Sometimes there ARE good reasons for tattling, such as if a sibling is not listening to another child's encouragement to do the right thing, if a child is endangering themselves or someone else, or if a child is causing damage to toys or other property.

Then, it's good to replace wrong behavior for right...
"Rather than tattling, what could you have said to encourage your brother/sister?"
"How do you think it makes your brother/sister feel when you encourage them instead of trying to get them in trouble?"

A good way to teach children is by role-play...I know this, but I don't always remember to actually put it in action! It's good to immediately take the children back to the original situation and then walk them through how they COULD have acted in a loving way and avoided the tattling. It's good to make the original "offender" pay attention to the encouragement and thank their brother/sister for caring enough about them to talk to them.

Okay, GREAT ADVICE but here's the problem...this takes a LOT OF WORK! To do this means that I continually have to stop what I'm doing, get down on their level, and work it through with them. I know that it's what I need to do, but I find that I get really tired of the daily struggle for consistency in teaching and discipline. It's easier to just let something slide than to deal with it right away. It's hard to keep the long-range parenting goals in mind and remember the steps I need to take daily to get there. So I thought it was really neat that at the end of the article on tattling, the author included this verse:

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will
reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I am so thankful that God led me to this article today! I needed some words of encouragement and I'm happy to say that my kids are now playing together rather nicely! I know that won't always be the case, but it's nice for now! :) And I pray that God will give me the wisdom and patience that I need to consistently teach my kids.
BTW: I found this article on the Focus on the Family website and it was written by Ginger Plowman, author and found of Preparing the Way Ministries which focuses on biblical parenting. Her website is www.gingerplowman.com.