Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Your Terms...Your Turf

Elizabeth was in third or fourth grade when she asked if she could invite a new friend to come over after school to play. “Sure,” I said. “No problem.” So on the day that was chosen I picked the girls up from school and headed home thinking things be like any other play date. 

It didn’t take long, however, for me to pick up some negative vibes about this little girl. She was rude to Olivia when Olivia walked into the bedroom Elizabeth and her friend were playing in—the bedroom Olivia shared with Elizabeth. When she didn’t stop, I poked my head in and reminded everyone to be nice.

My reminder went in one ear and out the other, though, and pretty soon Elizabeth’s new friend was at it again. I called to Olivia and told her to give the girls some space, but before she had time to leave the room, both Elizabeth and her new friend were being rude and unkind to Olivia. I issued another warning and reminded Elizabeth that this was not the way she was to treat her sister. Both my warning and comment was met with the infamous eye roll from the little girl who was a guest in our home, and an argument from Elizabeth.

That was it. I simply announced that the play date was over and that it was time for me to take our guest home. The girls knew how to tell time. They knew it really wasn’t time, but Elizabeth was also smart enough to not argue, so they gathered her friend’s things, we got into the car, took her home, and she was not invited back. And just in case you are wondering, Elizabeth was not allowed to go to her house to play, either. In fact, the friendship didn't last very long after that day.

Your child’s friendships are one of the most difficult aspects of parenting to do well or right. And just so you’ll know upfront, you are probably going to mess it up a time or two, but you still have to be proactive and vigilant. How? Glad you asked.

First, teach your children to be nice to everyone. Being nice means being polite, not speaking unkindly, or being a bully. Even the most disruptive and naughty children deserve to be treated with kindness.But being nice to everyone doesn't mean your child should be friends with everyone. 

Secondly, know your child’s friends. You can do this by following my ‘rule’ of your terms…your turf. In other words, get to know your child’s friends by having them in your home or supervising/chaperoning events in other places. This allows you to see who your children are playing with, how disciplined these children are, and how well their family’s core values line up with yours. The your terms…your turf rule also gives your child the opportunity to have friends from both similar and different backgrounds without worrying whether or not they will be negatively influenced; like in the case of Elizabeth’s playdate-gone-bad. 

Once you know a child, then you can be more comfortable with letting your children spend time in the care and supervision of other parents.Teaching children to follow this rule can also help when they get to be teens by providing them with a way to handle peer pressure in a positive manner.

Let’s face it, though. There are some kids you don’t want your children hanging out (and for justifiable reasons). Just remember that the way a child dresses, where he/she lives, what his/her folks do for a living, and the color of someone’s skin aren’t ‘justifiable reasons’.  Dishonesty, rudeness, defiance, and treating others unkindly…those are justifiable reasons for steering your children away from a relationship.

Momma D

                             Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Grandpa Is In The Building...NOT!

The other day my son in-law, Matthew, bought an electric razor similar to the one my husband uses. Matthew was standing in the bathroom the next morning trying it out when 2 ½ year-old Reuben woke up.

When Reuben heard the buzzzzzz of the razor, he hopped out of bed and went running into the bathroom calling “Grandpa!” “Grandpa!”

Rueben adores his daddy, but I’m told he was very disappointed to find Daddy standing in front of the mirror instead of Grandpa. After all, to our sweet little grandson, the sound of the electric razor was a ‘Grandpa is in the building’ kind of sound, and to Reuben, having Grandpa around is like syrup on pancakes, butter on popcorn, snow on Christmas morning….

For me, the taste of roast beef and fresh bread reminds me of the love Granny poured into every meal she cooked.

The smell of lavender reminds me of the love between Zach and his great-grandma Ruth.

The sounds of farm animals take me back to the life I loved so much during the years we were raising our family.

Using a beat-up old aluminum dishpan that once belonged to Granny gives me comfort and reminds me to love my husband and children the same way she loved me—unconditionally.

So what parenting wisdom am I trying to impart by sharing these memories with you? I actually want you to take two things from what I've shared...

1. The atmosphere or surroundings you raise your children in matters…a lot.

2. Your children are making memories and forming associations between you and the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, they experience with you. 

This leaves me to ask only one question:

What sounds, smells, sights, and tastes are your children associating with you and are they the memories and associations you want to impress on their hearts and minds?

Momma D

                                Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What Have You Learned From Your Children?

Elizabeth is both my first and my second. She is my first daughter, but my second child. She is also a child who has shown me that:

* Sleep is not nice, but not essential. Hey, I’m still here aren’t I?
* A mother’s heart only feels like it will burst with joy at the sound of your child’s tiny voice singing about Jesus at the top of her lungs.
* You can never have too much of your favorite color—in her case it was purple.
* There is no limit to the number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a child should be allowed to eat.
* Tiny little girls can dream big dreams AND make them come true.
* What you say and how you say it are equally important.
* The t-shirt that says, “I’m a nurse…what’s your superpower?” was made with her in mind.

And finally, she, along with her sisters has shown me that raising your daughters to be Godly women, wives, and moms is the best kind of mother/daughter relationship there is.

The question to you, now, is this: what lessons are you learning from your children?



Momma D

                            Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Un-parenting is NOT Parenting

I’m not going to go into any details, but it’s safe to say that all four of my amazing and wonderful children went through stages of thinking they were wiser and more capable of making choices and decisions than they actually were. Once upon a time I did the same thing. But hey, that’s the nature of a teenager, isn’t it? Of course it is! That’s why the article I read yesterday was so troubling to me…and I hope to you, as well.

The article was about ‘unschooling’ your children—a supposedly up-and-coming method of education. So what is unschooling? Unschooling is letting your children discover the world on their own terms by following their instincts and doing what they feel passionate about. Oh, and if they happen to learn how to spell, construct a proper sentence, and know the significance of December  7, 1941 and October 29, 1929, well then, that’s just the icing on the cake!

Please, oh, please, tell me you see how ridiculous…how wrong this is! If I had taken that approach to my children’s education, two of them wouldn’t know how to read a price tag because for a few years they were convinced math was from the devil, another one of my kids would most likely have stopped reading once they got past the Dr. Seuss stage, two or possibly three of them would have spent most of their waking hours in the barn or playing outside, and I’m almost certain none of them would have bothered learning about the table of elements or how and why your heart beats and your food digests.

In case there’s any doubt about how I feel about unschooling, let me just say this: unschooling is poor parenting. You may as well call it “unparenting”. Unschooling cheats your child out of learning things they are incapable of accessing on their own. Unschooling puts your child in danger because they don’t always have the ability to make sound, rational decisions. Unschooling removes boundaries from children; boundaries they will test, but boundaries they want and need to feel secure and loved. But most of all, unschooling sends the message that you don’t feel your children are worth the effort it takes to invest yourself in them and to give them every opportunity to learn all they can about a variety of different things. 

Instead of turning your children out to fend for themselves, provide structured education, clearly defined boundaries and expectations, and give them the opportunity to discover and use what they are passionate about and explore the world on their terms by giving them play time. Did I just say playtime? Yes, I did. I said it because raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children is all about that balance…all about that balance….


Momma D

                              Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.