Monday, 29 July 2013

Grumble Grumble Whine

Do all things without grumbling or complaining. 
Philippians 2:14

 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Whining has never been something that we have allowed in our home.  

I know that it sounds harsh and some would even say that it is developmentally inappropriate to not allow some whining, but honestly I would disagree with you. I think, developmentally, that all children will attempt to whine to get their way, that they will whine when they aren't happy with the outcome of a situation. But as parents I think that it is our job to teach them that whining doesn't get them what they want and it isn't what God has called us to. 

When Little A first reached the "developmental stage" where she started whining to manipulate situations (around 14 months I think) , there were 3 main things that we did to counteract the whining:

1. Tell her to stop and that whining is not how we ask or how we try to get what we want. 

2. When she didn't stop we told her that by whining she was choosing to go to bed, and we would take her to her crib and sit her down.  Then we would tell her that when she was ready to stop she could call for us and we would come and get her.   Then we would leave the room. 

3. After she was done her tantrum, (they were normally over pretty quickly because there was no one there to be sympathetic and she knew she wasn't getting her way) we would come back into the room but would not cuddle her to make her feel better (this is key, kids learn that at they end of a tantrum they get cuddles and thats not a lesson we want to teach them). We would take her out of the bed and allow her to sit on our lap so she could look in our eyes while we talked with her about what she did that was wrong and how she needs to use her words or signs to tell us how she is feeling and what she wants. ( Little A used American Sign Language as an infant and toddler and she was speaking full sentences by the time she was 1 year old, so it was not "developmentally inappropriate" to ask her to speak to us)

Little A has been very good at speaking her feelings and sharing her emotions with us. It didn't take her long to figure out that her tantrums didn't work on us though, she did try them every now and again just to be sure.  That is normal though, kids often test the boundaries when they are in a new environment or situation, that's part of why traveling with kids can be so frustrating, they test their boundaries just in case there is more or less wiggle room for them in the new place or with the new people around. 

In the last few months things have regressed a bit and she has started whining again. And I am not talking about a little bit of whining here and there, I am talking,  make you crazy, every 10 minutes of the day, about anything and everything kind of whining.  

At first I blamed it on myself, because I was throwing off her routine a little because of having kids here for babysitting. But as we all got more used to the schedule and having extra kids around to play with, things didn't improve. Then when we were done for the summer things seemed to get even worse.  Of course then being up at my Hubby's parents place for 3 weeks didn't help since the whole routine is out of whack and there are different standards of parenting and it's always a little awkward being the strict daughter in law. 

But now that we are home we have been working on it more seriously again.  The first day back started out okay but by the end of the third day I felt like I had been disciplining and getting frustrated with her whining all day long. 

Little A, like most children, does really well with positive reinforcement. But the problem with what has been going on is that there hasn't been opportunity for positive reinforcement, because everything makes her loose it.  

For about twenty minutes we had tears and whining because her brother was standing near her, she wanted to open the door to the bathroom and I did it before her, she wanted macaroni for lunch (it had already been told to her that I was making it and yet she still cried because she wanted it) , then  she didn't want macaroni for lunch, she wanted milk in a big cup..... and it goes on. 
She was taken up to her room and told that she could come down and eat lunch once she was ready to be happy and stop whining.  
She stayed upstairs sobbing and screaming for another 25 minutes. 
Then came downstairs and cried because she was upset about the food again. 

Needless to say I have been feeling frazzled and things had to change. 

So here is the basics of what we have been doing this time around:
(This is a super simple reward system and can be used for curbing anything, so far we have only had to use it for whining though)

1. Set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes.  

2. Allow Little one to choose the ring tone. ( Little A picked the ducks so every 15 minutes I have had ducks quacking and two very excited kids quacking along as they run around trying to find my phone) 

3. Every time the timer goes off talk with the Little one about their behaviour over the last 15 minutes.  Ask them if they where happy or if they were whiny and grumbly and complaining. 

4. If they were whiney talk to them about how they should behave and what God asks of us. ( Now is also a good time to insert Philippians 2:14 into the conversation)

5. If they were not whiney, get excited!  Cheer them on, give them some love, hugs, and cuddles (whatever works best as positive reinforcement for your child)  And then give them something tangible.  

We have been giving Little A a large PomPom every fifteen minutes. She then puts it into a jar (ours is covered in star stickers)Once that Jar is full, she gets one (very small) candy. It takes 6 pompoms to fill our small jar.  So she gets a candy about every hour and a half. 

6. As Little one continues to succeed and there are less and less episodes of whining or tantrums. Begin to add more and more time to your timer.  Do it slowly. You don't want to jump up to an hour interval right away because the goal here is to have them succeed. You want to be able to praise them as much as possible. 

 A word spoken at the right time is like fruit of gold set in silver. 
Proverbs 25:11

The whole point of what we are trying to do is to make whining be something that does not come naturally anymore. We want to help engrain the other positive behaviours into our children.  We want to change their hearts, we want them to develop an attitude of thanks and joy even when they are not pleased with the outcome of a situation.  We want to help them become more like Jesus. 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

Things are starting to be a lot more pleasant in my house because of this.  Not only is it saving me from pulling out all of my hair, its helping me to speak kindly to my children and my husband, all day long! Instead of my niceness making it until noon and then giving up. 

Also it is helping Little A feel happier, make better choices, use her words to share her emotions and frustrations.  It is also helping her play nicer with her brother and her mommy.   

Thursday, 11 July 2013


 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Exodus 14:14

I have been struggling lately with feeling really frustrated.  I have been feeling tired and sick during the beginning of this pregnancy and I am praying that it will stop soon. But I feel like my frustration is not stemming from being tired. 

I am frustrated with many things that are out of my control. 

I cannot change how other people behave. I cannot change how people treat me or my children. I cannot force my kids to act in a certain way. 

I am really trying to remember throughout the days, despite the tiredness and sickness, that I can only change myself and the rest is up to the other person(people) and God. 

There are so many times in my life when God taps me on the shoulder and asks to cut in. When I have taken over and am trying to control everyone and everything around me and it is all just falling apart and not looking even a speck like I want things to look. That is when God reminds me that I am trying to do what only He can. 

And really He does a million times better than I ever could, so why do I always let myself sneak back in and try to take over again. I am daily having to lay it back down at His feet and take a step or five back so that I am not getting in the way. 

Today, God filled me up so much and spoke to my soul. His words are like honey to my lips and water to my soul. There is nothing I can do better than Him, but He loves me enough to let me try and fail. And that is the best way to learn. 

I pray that any of you who are feeling frustrated about the little things lately, that you could stop and take a step back and look at what it is that you are holding onto or trying to change. I believe that most likely it will be something that is not yours to change. Give it over to God today and watch as He does more than you ever imagined and soothes your spirit. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Practicing Modesty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:30-31

A while back I talked a little bit about modesty. About how I am trying to figure out how to go about teaching Little A about the importance of modesty and about her body being a temple. 

Thinking about all of that stuff and about how important it is, I started to try to think of ways to teach it. How to build great self esteem into my kids and how to teach them that every part of them has a purpose and was designed by God.  

But then of course when my brain starts jumping a million steps forward to how things may look when my little girl is not so little anymore, I start to worry.  I start to wonder if I will push things too far the other way.   

I dont want to raise a child that thinks that they are better than anyone else because I am constantly trying to build their self esteem. 
My goal is to have a child that sees value in themselves but also in others. That they will see Gods design in everything and will find ways to appreciate those amazing and vastly different designs. 

I dont want to raise a child that feels ashamed of their body because I try to teach them to cover up and respect themselves.  
I want to teach that modesty is important and that there is value in saving themselves for marriage.  But that their body is prefect how God made it. That woman is designed to be appealing to men, (and vice versa). That God made us with hips and breasts and everything else, to stir desires in the hearts of man. But that wearing skimpy clothing attracts desires of most men and can cause them to stumble.
There is a time and place for everything, and someday our kids will need to be able to feel attractive and sexy in their own skin, and that is a good thing. 

So whats the plan you ask...

1.  Teach her biblical modesty and that we should be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. 

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Timothy 2:9-10

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4

I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

2. Teach them that they themselves and all people were created by God and have a purpose and plan for their lives. 

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
Exodus 9:16

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Timothy 1:9

3. Teach them that they should not cause others to stumble. 

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?  So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
Luke 17:1-4

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Matthew 5:27-30

4. Teach them to not awaken love before it is time. 

This is something my dad has told me a million or more times in my life.  
It always drove me crazy to hear him say it but looking back I understand. 
Once you are in love there are desires and passions that awaken that it is hard to avoid and tame as a young person.  The best thing to do is to not awaken love, to just wait, to be friends with the opposite sex without dating.  

I had so many friends growing up that dated and broke up over and over again with more people than I could count.  They got their hearts broken over and over and were left with scars that have changed them. 

Because of what my parents taught me, I learned to be a friend first. I learned that I could get to know someone without dating them and easily figure out if they would be the kind of person I would want to marry.  Most people I know use the reasoning of wanting to learn what they want in a spouse by dating many people, how else would you know if you could marry them. But I have been friends with many guys over the years and I have only ever dated one man, and I married him. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Song of Songs 2:7

5. I will model modesty and righteousness to the best of my abilities. 

My mom was a great example of how to behave as a God fearing woman. She dressed appropriately, spoke kindly and lovingly of everyone, and she wasn't sheepish about telling us what was appropriate or not. 

I am not saying that my kids will never see my belly for fear of teaching them to be immodest. I am just saying that I will try to speak highly of myself instead of tearing myself apart. I will appreciate the way that my God made me and the plans he has for me. I will wear clothing that is not flashy or skimpy, or that costs a lot.

 I will be happy in the basics because God has not blessed us with money to waste on fancy clothes, he has given us money so that we can bless others. We will not be wasteful or excessive in how we live, modesty is not just in how we dress, but how we live.  We do not need a fancy house or an expensive car, there are people who live with much less than we have and they are happy.