"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Treat a Child

This is part of a continuing series~read How to Treat a Woman here, and How to Treat a Man here.

No matter how the world spins things, the next generation is by far our greatest gift to mankind.  We aspire to do great deeds, and some actually do so, and perhaps gain recognition, fame, and wealth.  The rest of us are most likely known in our little corner of the world.  That is nothing to feel bad about or think you have failed because the world doesn't bow at your feet.  What you do in your little corner has monumental impact on those around you.  The choice in how you behave is yours and yours alone.  Through the  next generation is how you can impact the world without gaining those accolades I listed above.  Nope, you will not gain money or fame through a child. BUT you will receive something far more valuable.  You will receive their love, their smiles, and the knowledge that a bit of you lives on through them.

On to How to Treat a Child.

1.  Love them.  Seriously.  Work at this every day.  Think often about them. Think about the moment you held the child first in your arms on days when they are testing the fences (Jurassic Park reference). 

2.  Remove all of your expectations for the child and instead give them the expectation of being the best that they can be.  If you were a football player or an artist or a doctor~this does not mean your child will be.  Allow them to become...think about this.  We are all in progressing of becoming.  Some of us are new to the path, others are midway, and others are nearing the end of their trail of becoming, but in different periods in our lives we become different things. (for example-someday I will become a grandmother)

3. Be consistent and have a schedule.  It is terrible never knowing what the day will bring and sets adults nerves on edge.  Imagine the children who may not understand what is going on, and then never giving them a constant to expect.  Feed them at the same times.  Put them to bed at the same time.  Be consistent and you will all be happier and more functional.

4.  Treat the child with respect.  Once again, I am going to say~seriously.  Do not dismiss the efforts made by a child in their drawings, the way they clean, or even in their speech.  If you mock them when they are small, they will become a person you cannot stand as an adult.  Children are learning.  They need to be taught by you through example. Then do not expect a standard that you have for something that you have been doing for 20 to 30 more years. Praise them when they do well. 

5.  Treat others around you with respect.  Your child mimics EVERYTHING you do.  If you are a foul mouthed rude person, your child will be too.  If you want to ensure your child is respectful of others you need to begin with you first.  

6. Remember your child is not tainted or scarred by horrific images and thoughts yet.  DO NOT taint your child.  As they age they will learn about evil events, horrible people, and things that we adults should not have to deal with.  STOP polluting their minds now.  Much of this comes from television and movies.  Innocence is something precious and should be guarded by those that are guardians~Parents!

7.  Do not think that a child must do more than you do in a week.  A child is learning how to become a functional member of society and to remind you most will be unknown functional members of society.  Do not fill their schedule with so much CRAP that you, the child, and the family setting is disrupted.  If you are running to and fro for a 6 year old to be in sports, music, clubs, and school...then it is time to reassess.  Let the child be 6.  Pockets should be loaded with things found outside or that they find some significance in, faces should have a milk or juice mustache,  and they should have crayons and books to fill their extra time at home.  If you have a child that has a gift, promote the gift...but be sure it is this instead of your dreams being placed on the child.

8. Read to your child.  For our family, the Bible first, then books, books, books.  If you cannot afford books, libraries are loaded down.  Thrift stores sell books for about a dime. Read good stories, heartfelt stories, uplifting stories, adventurous stories, and inspire the child to anticipate then next night and reading again.  For our home I read poetry during lunch time.  Oh and it was Shel Silverstein over and over.  They loved it.  Eric Carle has some fantastic books as well.  The Little House on the Prairie and the Great Brain series are incredible also.  I love what Bill says to the kids(well our grown up kiddos), he tells them all the time, good input in, good input out.  Why spoil their minds when they are so young? 

9.  Establish a chore chart.  Oh and no income, no allowance, no perks for this. Being part of a family is being part of a unit that works together for the good of the family.  This is a lesson in adulthood as well as in the work place many people have to work together or things go down hill fast.   In your chore chart have age appropriate chores and follow through.  Do not expect perfection. Expect obeying your rules with joy and doing the best that the child can do. 

10. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN.  If you have children, put the phone down.  It is so crazy to go to stores and see parents texting while with their children.  Be with your children when you are with them.  Having established bedtimes gives you time, but the child needs your time when he or she is awake.  They are that important, they are that worth it.  Texting someone LOL is not in the realm of reality with a child.

That is my beginning list.  Here are some thoughts with my goof troop that made all the difference.

* When our oldest was about 6, he was reading everything and anything.  He would read to the younger three.  One time we were at a park and someone had in graffiti written the f-word.  My oldest read the plaque on the military statue as well as the f-word.  I blinked a bit and looked at him, but he had no idea what he read, so I continued to walk and never~NEVER~said anything to him.  If you spotlight the negative~the child will know it, and then they will repeat it over and over again.   We had a kind word standard in our home.  I did not even allow the word hate when they were small.

*In our home we taught the children to always knock before entering someone's room.  The boys shared a room and then Fourth had her room, but the boys room was the hang out room. Even if Fourth ran to her room to get another toy, when she returned she would knock. 

*At the dinner table, we would say, "please pass the____,"  or "thank you." 

* When Bill came home from work, we all stopped what we were doing and greeted him. 

*We did have rules about the front seat.  The oldest that was going on the trip was allowed to have the front seat if only one parent was going, BUT we do have two that for two months of the year are the same age.  We allowed that window to be the break for the younger of the two to have the front seat~if he called it.

* We played with our children.  Whether soccer, basketball, or board games we set an established time each week and played as a family together.  This continued until about two years ago when the middle two both moved out and took full time jobs.  Now we play a game such as Apples to Apples or the like with the group when we all get together. It is as fun now as it was when they were small.  Snacks are provided, and laughter occurs naturally.

* Bill and I loved the kids.  We snuggled them, we hugged them, we let them know that they were and still are the most important things in our lives.  The other day, First needed something from me.  It required a trip to town and only was for about ten minutes but I went.  He is my son.  My legacy is through them as much as my mom's is through me.  I take that very serious.  My kids know I am an emotional nutcase when I see them succeed.  My craft room has several areas of things the kids made...I love them, and I do have blinders on with a good dose of reality.

* Oh a biggie- we taught the kids competition.  This is a serious one.  The world is a competition whether it is for the next promotion or the parking spot near your workplace.  Learning how to win is easy, but learning how to compete is more important.  We had yo-yo contests, hulu hoop contest, grasshopper catching contest, pogo stick contest, races, dart throwing, ball tossing, and such.  Learning how to dust off and congratulate the winner is as important as learning that if there is a next time you can try harder.

The Goof Troop 1996
L-R Second First Third

The Goof Troop  November 2013*
L-R First Third Fourth Second
*Time for the annual photo!!
How to treat a child or a man or woman is a reflection upon yourself.  I will address a comment I received in How to Treat a Man in an upcoming post. 


Mrs.Rabe said...

I agree with you on this whole post, Jen!

We never let the kids call each other names, ever! We outlawed "shut up!" too. Kindness and respect for each other was the rule of the day. From all of us to each other.


Humble wife said...

Deanna, exactly! No name calling is very important!!

Kindness honesty and love in all that you do!

sidetracksusie said...

This is a beautiful post of love. One of my biggest heartaches when my kids were little was my being busy and task oriented. I am so thankful I was raising my three youngest in a time where a cell phone was for those with very deep pockets. Now I see young families, even the younger generation of my own, with their phones always present. I think of how much money they could be using to be debt free and how much more time and attention their little could get. I wasn't perfect, but I did give attention...and had a bedtime of 20:00!
My heart breaks when I see littles pretending to be on the phone all the time. It's a red flag warning. My parents would not even answer the wall phone if it rang during a meal and there certainly was no answering machine.
It's a strange world and it's up to us to make it a sane world for our littles. Thank you for this post! God Bless you.

Humble wife said...

STS-I am happy as well, as who knows if the cell phone would get me as well? Thank you so much for stopping by, and by the way my kiddos had graduated bedtimes, beginning at 7;30pm. 10 pm until they turned 18. Yep I am that mom!