The Christian Parenting Handbook – A Book Review

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Christian Parenting Handbook Review

We’ve reviewed this book here on the blog before, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s just one of those books that is an all-around great resource, and it’s set up in a way that makes it a pick and choose kind of book, since each chapter is a different strategy.

And, did you know that you can even use these strategies with your spouse? I do! That’s one of my favorite parts about this book – it’s for all ages!

The Christian Parenting Handbook

Here’s my favorite summary of the book from the back cover:

With these strategies you’ll be able to move from behavior modification to a heart-based approach to parenting. Instead of relying on rewards, incentives, threats, and punishment, you’ll learn how to identify heart lessons to teach your child and implement them in practical ways.

So, like Love & Logic, which I reviewed yesterday, you’re incorporating the heart (and empathy) into the mix. But, unlike Love & Logic, you don’t use punishment, and this isn’t about control, it’s about building character, which aligns more with the Positive Parenting approach that I decided to apply after not choosing to go with Love & Logic.

Here’s just a few of the chapter titles to give you an idea of the lessons:

  • Consistency is Overrated (didn’t expect that one, did you?)
  • Consequences Aren’t the Only Answer
  • Don’t Minimize Your Parenting Power Because Your Partner Does It Differently
  • It Takes Two to Argue, but Only One to Stop (this chapter was a great one for my marriage!)
  • Teach Kids to Be Solvers Instead of Whiners (my favorite chapter that I applied immediately with my son)
  • Fair Doesn’t Mean Equal (good sibling advice here)
  • Firmness Doesn’t Require Harshness
  • Children Who Play the Blame Game Lose
  • Don’t Give In to Manipulation
  • Discipline Kids Separately for Sibling Conflict (look, a chapter about siblings!!!)

Are you happy to see that they deal with siblings (multiples in our case) in this parenting book? I know I was! There are some great strategies on how to handle different situations you’ll encounter while disciplining more than one child, and I definitely appreciated that these were included in the book.

The book says it’s for ages 2-18, but I actually started using it when my survivors were 16 months old. My son was particularly difficult (well, normal for the age, but just more ‘curious’ and strong-willed) and I went straight to the chapter about teaching kids to be solvers instead of whiners. And you know what? It wasn’t really about him at all. It was about me and how I handled the situation. That was kind of humbling to realize, but when I changed my approach, things fell into place. You can read about that incident on my original review (scroll to the bottom half of the article where the review starts).

curious boy

As for the Christian aspect of the book, don’t let that turn you off if ‘Christian’ isn’t your thing. While the book does reference scripture, they don’t throw it in your face and you can still benefit from the lessons and suggestions in the book. And, like I mentioned before, it even works on your spouse!

If you’d like to check out The Christian Parenting Handbook, I highly recommend it. An added bonus of this book is that there’s even a workbook add-on you can purchase that helps you apply these principles through practice. This is especially helpful if you’re someone who needs to do more than read to really understand a concept.

See you on Friday, where I’ll share some great relationship building ideas for keeping the romance alive after kids!

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Is Parenting with Love & Logic Possible with Multiples?

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Parenting with Love & Logic

This is a book review of Parenting with Love & Logic. This post is not meant to be judgmental, I’m just sharing what has (and hasn’t) worked for me.

I don’t know about you, but getting my children to behave and do what I want them to do is not easy. Times two. We throw food, we pull hair, we say no, we ignore directions. It’s a ton of fun. So, how do I handle it?

Coming from a background where my mom and stepdad parented one way, and my dad and stepmom a completely different way, I was fortunate to see how I didn’t want to parent. While you’ll never see me spank my child, and I rarely yell at them (unless it’s a dangerous situation), I realize that every person parents differently.

My MOMs group recently had a parenting guru come out and talk to us about the Love & Logic approach and how to incorporate it. Initially, I loved the approach. It didn’t advocate spanking or yelling, and I thought I’d give it a try.

Love & Logic book

When reading Parenting With Love And Logic, I started to have some reservations about the book. It has some great points and talked about how to let kids make mistakes (I agree) and learn from them with natural consequences (I agree) but it kept using the word ‘control’. How by being calm and loving, and using logical consequences as punishment, we could control our kids and their behavior. The book even says it will help you “establish control over your kids.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not that into being controlled. And when I try and control what my child is doing, it usually ends in tantrums. 

I also had an issue with the fact that the book didn’t address how to handle multiples. When the coach was speaking to our group, she was asked several questions that she couldn’t answer. She did say that it would be like any sibling sets (yeah, right), but when one mom brought up what to do when one child throws a fit at McDonalds and the other is being good, her response was to leave McDonalds. Doesn’t that punish the other child, too? She then followed up with a solution to leave and just explain to the ‘good’ child that they will get some benefit by leaving that the ‘bad’ child wouldn’t. A lot of the moms scoffed at that. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that this might encourage more sibling rivalry, and it will certainly build up a heart of hatred between family members who feel wronged.

Imagine: your twins share a room. You have to punish one by taking out all the books because they are tearing them up, but the other twin hasn’t done anything wrong and loves to read. So, you are now punishing both of them, when only one did something wrong. You’re also still punishing, and the child who is getting punished is going to feel controlled and angry. Even when you approach it with love and logic. Have you taught them to treat the books right? Have you asked them why they tore the book, gotten to the heart of the matter (although, some examples do have you do this in the book, not all do)? Have you taught them to manage their frustrations and cope so that they know what’s normal and acceptable? Or that’s it’s okay to be angry, but this is how you handle it? No. If you’re using the Love & Logic method, you’ve just taken the books away and tried again the next night to put them back, repeating this until they no longer tear books. AND you’ve also punished the ‘good’ twin, who is now probably angry at the ‘bad’ twin and maybe even you.

I realize that we can’t always be ‘fair’ in parenting, and I do think there are some benefits to the Love & Logic method (like the empathy, logical consequences, and responsibility aspects), but I don’t think that consequences have to equal punishments.

So, I moved on. Looked for another angle – one that would meet the needs of my preferences and family. I became very interested in the Positive Parenting method (this is NOT the same as attachment parenting). I am a huge fan of Aha, Parenting! and have linked to her article about what positive parenting is, but the basic definition is this:

Positive parenting is parenting without punishment. It’s parenting that teaches the child to want to behave, to be considerate, to recognize and regulate their emotions, and eventually, to self-discipline.

Now, you do still discipline your kids, but did you know that discipline comes from the word disciple, which means, ‘to teach’? It’s not the same as punishment. That was important to me.

Another great resource for positive parenting comes from the Positive Parenting Connection. I love how she explains that kids respond better to guidance vs. control. How many times have you given your child milk, but they didn’t want it and it became a battle of wills? Guide them, instead. Help them feel a tiny bit in control and give them choices. Teach them to tap into their feelings and understand their emotions.

That article I just linked to above? Here’s a great excerpt from it:

Punishments and disconnected consequences like standing in a corner do not help with any of that. Like when my daughter ripped the picture, sitting in the corner was not going to make the picture whole again. It also was not going to teach her how to manage her frustrations or how to make amends with her brother.

So, this solves one of my issues with Love & Logic, but what about the multiples issue? Well, when you aren’t using punishment, you don’t run into as many fairness issues or anger issues from either party. When you use methods of guidance, you’re teaching everyone at the same time, and even fairly most of the time.

This method has worked significantly better for me with my surviving triplets than the Love & Logic method, and I’m happier too – I feel more connected to my children and like I’m helping develop them, not just control them. And I especially love that I am starting to really see the benefits and the learning set in. I have some really loving, helpful, considerate children. Well, most of the time.

Instead of being selfish, we’re caring for others and helping (she wanted to wear the hat, but couldn’t figure out how to put it on).

kids helping

Instead of fighting, we’re sharing (even stuff that’s exclusively ours!).

kids sharing

Instead of getting ‘in the way’, we’re learning expectations and life lessons (like cooking, cooperating, helping – and patience).

kids cooperating

And, ultimately, we’re able to be this:

happy mom and kids

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about another book I use that comes from a Christian perspective and mixes in some of the principles of each of these two methods.

What about you? What type of parent are you? Do you punish? Give choices? Use consequences? I truly believe there is no one right or wrong way, and that only you can decide what works best for your family.

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Sadia’s Parenting Manual: The Overview

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Parenting manual from hdydi.comI attended a parenting lecture at our church last weekend. I only learned a couple of new things, but the points covered in the 2.5 hours pretty much encapsulated my entire parenting approach. There were only a couple of things I felt like they didn’t touch on. What I did realize was that, despite my tendency to be long-winded, I could probably condense my parenting approach into a few words.

This is the outline of the parenting manual I live by. It has been refined by research, advice from extraordinary parents whom I am fortunate to call my friends, and my experience both as the mother of my amazing daughters and as a child in a less than stable home. I hereby present to you the 10,000 foot view of my approach to parenting.

  • Celebrate the individual.
    • Focus on nurturing your children’s characters, not (only) their talents.
    • Be true to temperament: Your own and each child’s.
    • Let your children see you make and recover from mistakes.
    • Talk to your children; your early time together builds a foundation for the teenage years and beyond.
  • Be a role model.
    • Be consistent: Say what you mean and mean what you say.
    • Live the Golden Rule: Treat others, including your children, as you wish to be treated.
  • Work as a family.
    • Work with your co-parent as a partner.
    • Mealtime is family time.
    • Re-evaluate often: Are your priorities, whatever they may be, getting the time and attention they need?
  • Build your village.
    • Talk to other parents about parenting.
    • Encourage meaningful relationships between your children and other adults.
    • Permit trusted adults to discipline your children.
    • Encourage meaningful relationships between your children and other children.
    • Mentor children other than your own.
    • Ask for help; offer help.
  • Be a just disciplinarian.
    • Discipline is correction born of love; do not punish in anger.
    • Use a consistent set of consequences, adjusted as your children grow older.
    • Reward good behaviour. Do not reward bad behaviour. Attention is a reward.
    • Punish only bad choices: Mistakes need to be explained and subsequent infractions can be punished. Accidents happen.

I’ll explore each point in more depth in future posts.

What is your approach to raising children? What basic principles did I miss?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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