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Surprising Benefits to Being Totally Desperate

totally desperate

We were totally desperate. My husband got his paycheck and we hoped that this week there would be money in his boss’s account to be able to cash it.

We had just started raising support for our plans to move to Brasil as missionaries.  In fact, our first presentation at our first church was that next Sunday, one hour away. 

By that Sunday the only money we had was for gas for our vehicle to travel the hour, and gas for my husband to work during the week.  

We had run completely out of milk.  We simply explained to our kids that we didn’t have any milk and that they would just have to wait a few days until we had money to buy some.  Oh…and we ate the last of our bread for breakfast too. Continue reading “Surprising Benefits to Being Totally Desperate”

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A Great Rainy Day Activity- Peanut Butter Playdough

peanut butter playdough

 

Our kids were raised playing with Peanut Butter Playdough.  It’s a great rainy day activity.  If you’re from Western Oregon…..you know we have rainy days nearly 9 months out of the year!  

Peanut Butter Playdough is a fun and inexpensive activity and treat, that help make those endless rainy days just a bit more bearable .

Recently when I was talking with a couple of younger moms, I was surprised to hear they had never heard of it.  So I thought I’d give the secret away!

I taught my girls, who babysit, how to make it.  They’ve had opportunities to make Peanut Butter Playdough for the kids they babysit and we’re making it for kids coming over tonight. 

If you’ve never made Peanut Butter Playdough for your kids, or even if you have….here’s our recipe.  Try it Continue reading “A Great Rainy Day Activity- Peanut Butter Playdough”

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Do This When You Don’t Like Your Own Child

 when you don't like your own child

Ok, so this article is one that may be somewhat controversial, but stick with me through the end.  If you have differing views on raising your child, I completely respect that and hope you can do the same with my point of view.  

What I’m about to write I wrote about a little more in detail.  You can read it here; Plug In to Your Child, Ages 4-9: Connect to Your Child’s Heart and Motivate Great Behavior.

 Our parenting journey began with elation.  Birth is such an amazing experience.  And then there’s those early days where you replace dates with friends for just sitting on the couch to stare and giggle at your new little child as he makes squinty faces, stretches and makes goaty noises, and then farts like an adult.

 This is the only thing I had really prepared for.  I honestly hadn’t given much thought to how we would train our son as he grew.

 The fact is, I didn’t train him at all.  Well, I should qualify that….. I didn’t intentionally train him.  I had trained him in plenty of ways that in retrospect I hadn’t intended to; like mommy is only serious when she speaks loudly, gets a mean look on her face, and begins to count to 3.

 So, when he was a  4, 5, 6 year old child and angry as all get out, threw fits on the floor, freaked out and ripped posters off of his walls after I disciplined him…..I remember thinking, “I love my son, but I don’t like him!”

 I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. My husband and I got along great, not so much with my son and I.

And the thing is, it was all me.  I needed to understand some things about raising my child in order for that to change.

Most likely, if this hits close to home, you’re not much different than me; You love your child, but there are times that you don’t like your him or her.

I’ll often see a child acting out in the supermarket with exasperated frustrated parents trying to control them.  I don’t judge because I have been there.  Just remembering brings up the helpless feelings that I felt in public situations when behavior went south.

 In two weeks this all changed.  Literally two weeks.  Don’t despair mama! It can for you too.

 BUT, it requires work. Hard consistent work.  This may be one thing that you haven’t felt like doing consistently up to this point.  Your relationship with your child is at risk if you don’t decide to put in all the hard work that it takes.

 The first thing is that I recognized was that I had made parenting mostly about me.  I grew frustrated at my son when he didn’t listen to me and it irritated me.  I grew angry at him for not obeying because I wanted the convenience of not having to work hard to make him obey. I didn’t like him at times because he was disrespectful and I was his mom and deserved respect.

Do you see the common theme I and me??

I had a friend who was frustrated with her 2 year old son.  She and her husband loved being around people, playing games, and visiting.  But her son ran them ragged.  He required total supervision, and they would argue over whose turn it was to watch him because they each would rather be playing games or visiting.

She expressed to me how utterly exhausted she was and asked advice.  I asked some probing questions to gauge how willing she honestly was to receive some fairly tough advice. After a few questions, I knew that she was more interested in emotional support than advice for change when she admitted that she was lazy and just couldn’t be consistent.

Mamas, raising our children is not all about us.  We HAVE to be willing to do the hard work it requires in order to reap the benefits of toddlers that know how to listen and obey and can be trusted not to throw a fit at the supermarket, children who are happy and likable and eager to please, tweens who are emotionally stable and helpful, and teens who are loyal, friendly, and caring people.

After I recognized this, I had to figure out how I was going to change me.  You can read about that in these two articles here. Part 1 and Part 2.

Secondly, after I changed myself, I had to work on retraining my son.

This started out as a conversation between my husband, our son, and I. We asked his forgiveness for not being the parents that God wanted us to be.  We asked him if he wanted to get rid of the anger and conflict in our home and have less discipline.  What kid wouldn’t??  Of course he forgave us and said yes.

(In my opinion, the methods used for disciple are not the most important focus, so much as your consistency with whatever method of discipline that you use. Obviously the method you use has to be pleasing the the Lord, within the law, applied in a calm reasonable manner, and for the sole benefit of correcting the child to effect change in behavior—not to blow off steam because your kid ticked you off.)

At first he didn’t really know what he was getting himself into.  But as the week went on, I could not believe the transformation some simple adjustments to our parenting would make.

We began to address heart issues, not only behavior issues.

Before the new us and our new parenting style, bad attitudes were acceptable as long as his complied.  NOW, bad attitudes were no longer acceptable….no part of a bad attitude….at all.

We taught him that God had placed us as his parents and that when he had a bad attitude about when we told him no, or when he didn’t want to obey, this meant that he thought he should be his own boss and knew what was best for himself.  It was a rebellious attitude.

We called him on it every.single.time, and believe me, it took a lot of work in the first few days.

 I can’t even explain to you how stressful it was.  Our parenting habits were totally changing and we were acting in ways we never had before.  I had previously been relieved just to get him to comply even if it was after a long drawn out battle of wills.  Now I disciplined even his eye rolls. We had explained to him how we expected him to act when he was disciplined.  If he reacted angrily or rebellious to discipline, there would be further consequences.

But along with the increased discipline was a bunch of training.  This training was to teach him how we wanted him to act.

While we were setting clear limits and expectations for him we watched this angry young boy transform into a secure loving submissive little guy who was beginning to thrive under new leadership that helped him know how to we wanted him to act.  

He had been confused before with our mixed messages and inconsistencies.  Poor guy was just frustrated and angry with us because he wanted to please us, but he just didn’t know what we wanted.

After he had to be disciplined, he would come and sit with either my husband or I, whoever it was that did the disciplining and cuddle with us.  He was so secure now.  We hadn’t even realized how our inconsistency in what we expected from him had caused him to be so insecure.

This hard work that I’m talking about took us about 2 weeks.  Then it was something we had to maintain.  It wasn’t this intense his entire childhood.  But if we wouldn’t have maintained it, then it would have been to our son’s detriment.

With the Lord’s help we succeeded in connecting stronger with our son and saving our relationship with him before we had caused permanent damage to it.

There is so much more that I could say.  In fact I have said more on this very subject in my book Plug In to Your Child, Ages 4-9: Connect to Your Child’s Heart and Motivate Great Behavior by Mendi Everett 

Get your copy and be encouraged.  You can connect to your child’s heart and learn to like him as well as love him.

 

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How to Teach Your Children to Get Along

 

Summertime is arriving, and with it comes fun activities in the warm weather, late relaxing evenings around a backyard campfire……. And then all the in between times. It’s those in between times where boredom pops its head up and my kids begin to bicker and squabble more than normal; they don’t get along. I don’t view conflict as a negative thing. Kids need to learn healthy ways of resolving conflict, but bickering and squabbling is not what I consider healthy. Continue reading “How to Teach Your Children to Get Along”

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How to Plan a Family Purity Retreat

 Family Purity Retreat

He ran in from playing outside and shouted, “Mommy? How did Daddy get his seed in you?”  Oh boy! That’s a doozie of a question!  I’m sure my eyebrows shot straight up.  

In fact, I’m pretty sure I immediately picked up the phone and called a friend for help.  

Up to this point we had  been able to answer questions that fit with his age, but my son wanted to know more and since he was our first, I had absolutely NO experience in talking with kids about this topic. We were pregnant with son #2 and our first had a need to try and make some sense of it. Continue reading “How to Plan a Family Purity Retreat”

Creative Mind

The Struggle of Raising a Creative Mind Child

My husband and I are raising the last 2 of our 5 kids.  We have immensely enjoyed raising them.  That doesn’t mean that it has always been easy, in fact, most of the time it hasn’t been. Our second son presented some unique challenges with his creative mind, but we don’t choose to look at hard as equal to bad or something not enjoyable.

One of our particular challenges in raising our second son was his wildly creative mind. While my husband and I have windows of creativity that open and close….more often closed than open, The Lord blessed us with this incredibly gifted son who challenged our parenting in a way our first hadn’t. Continue reading “The Struggle of Raising a Creative Mind Child”

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How to Train Your Toddler to Listen to Your ‘No’

*This post is a follow up to one I wrote just a few days ago. if you’d like to read the first one click here. I want to encourage you in getting an early start on training your children, especially in seeing the importance to train your toddler, in order to reduce struggles later on.

A fundamental training session is to train your toddler to listen to your, “no.” I remember studying in Early Childhood Ed in college, working in a preschool later on and seeing how diversion was the “in” thing. I remember thinking on several occasions that diversion only delayed poor behavior. I didn’t even have kids yet, but I knew that this didn’t seem very productive. The child is being diverted away from issues that will always come back because nothing was learned. This thought was half right. Poor behavior is not only delayed, but the part I didn’t realize until later is that  the child doesn’t learn the desired behavior. If my child hits another, first I want to find out why, and then teach him the right way. I don’t want to simply remove him from the situation. Continue reading “How to Train Your Toddler to Listen to Your ‘No’”

one more left nest

One More Flew The Nest- Parenting Struggles

I have a love/hate relationship with a certain part of my life right now; parenting.

 I really do love where my kids are at (although to be honest, I almost always have) I love raising them, seeing them learn and grow.  

Our relationship transitions into one of mentor/coach as they reach a certain level of maturity and as we relinquish some of our authority. They  transitioning into learning to listen to the voice of God in their lives.

Then they are ready, (waaaaayyy before I am ready), to leave and find the purpose God has for them now and for their future.  

I don’t hate it because I want to hang on and delay giving up my active parenting.  I dislike their leaving because  we have grown into friends and I just plain miss them.  I like them and miss each of my sons and the enhancement they bring into my life when we are together.  

I swell up with pride as I think of them now and the admiration I have for the men they are.  It’s not always coffee and roses, but we challenge each other and we learn to relate to each other as members as the body of Christ.  

We are growing in our abilities to change as our role in parenting diminishes even more and we rise up and become more like advisers and peers, but with a bit more wisdom than them in their seasons of life. 

How and when we should give advice to our adult children is still something we’re learning.  It is not so cut and dry.  They are learning to speak up when they feel we’ve crossed a line.  It can be tough, but our relationship has been built on mutual respect and we will continue to reap the sweetness that comes from the hard work in earlier years.

For us to have relationships built on mutual respect, and to be able to reap the sweetness that comes from hard work in the earlier years, there had to have been a plan and a direction in those earlier years.  

It didn’t necessarily start out that way in our parenting journey, but we had help.  

I’d like to offer help through a book that I wrote about our experience that includes tips and examples that point you in a direction that leads to this type of sweet relationship later.  My book is Plug In to Your Child, Ages 4-9: Connect to Your Child’s Heart and Motivate Great Behavior by Mendi Everett.  Continue reading “One More Flew The Nest- Parenting Struggles”