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Kids: Sleep, Crazytown and Eye Contact

Parenting is hard.  I don’t know of any task that causes us to realize our helplessness more while focusing on ourselves less.  It can be rewarding and defeating in the same breath.  I love being a parent!  I think kids are hilarious, but I have so many questions in the back of my mind.  I continually have to look to the Sovereignty of God.

It seems we all have things we do well and things not so well.  It also seems we may be better parents in some life stages than others.  I had a friend tell me she was a wonderful mother when her children were little but that she has been terrible with adult children.  There is grace for all of this, thankfully.

I haven’t read much on parenting.  Maybe that makes me a bad parent.  Chris and I play it by ear most of the time.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Our worst parenting skill?  Consequences!  We can never come up with consequences!  We usually tell the culprit we need to consult with one another, leave the room, sit behind a closed-door for too long and come up with something really dumb.  Take away a toy?  No, she doesn’t play with toys.  Take away T.V.?  No, he doesn’t watch T.V.  No friends over to play?  No, she doesn’t have friends.  Early bedtime?  Sure.  We always land on early bedtime.  You would think we’re pulling our kids’ toenails out with pliers.  They hate early bedtime!  When it stops working, we’ve got nothing left.

There are a few things we believe in when it comes to kids.  We don’t always do them well, but they seem to work when we’re being consistent.

1.  Sleep

Kids need sleep.  They just do.  Their behavior often hinges on the amount of sleep they have had.  If they are not getting enough sleep, it’s not their fault.  We set their bedtime.

We’ve been at the beach this week, so our kids have been up a lot later.  By Thursday, Crazytown hit.  Two of our kids started crying unrecognizable cries and saying outlandish phrases — you know the routine.  Finally, one announced “I just want to go to bed!”

We believe in sleep at our house, even with a 10, 8 and 5-year-old, we will inconvenience you to accommodate the much-needed-rest of our children’s bodies.

2.  Eye Contact

Eye contact is an essential skill we are teaching our kids.  We want them to look us in the eye as well as others when communicating.  But, when correcting our children from a very early age, we have made eye contact.  When they are small, squat down to their level.  (Don’t lean over or look down on them).  When they are a little bigger, have them sit in a chair, facing but near you.  Do not begin your conversation until they are looking at you, and do not continue unless they are continuing to look at you.

The results of eye contact are amazing.  There is a great amount of respect between both parties, and your child will know you are serious.  But, you are also teaching them a life skill.

3.  Remember Who You Are

You said I could go outside.  No, I didn’t.  Yes you did.  No, I…  You just lost.  If you argue with your children or take their disobedience as a personal attack, you have become one of them.  When our kids push our buttons, it is easy to let anger get the best of us, say words we shouldn’t say, jerk an arm we shouldn’t jerk. Remember you are the adult, maintaining control of the situation and setting the rules.

We believe in “remembering who we are” at our house.  It’s not as easy as sleep and eye contact, but in actuality, they are contingent on the former.

What are some practical things you believe in when it comes to kids?

In what life stage have you really “had your game on” and why?

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