Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Habits and Hard Discussions

If I haven't been posting much lately its because I've found myself in an unusually busy season.  I knew this year would be more challenging than previous ones, but I didn't expect it to take off at Mach 2. 

Then, like many parents, I found that we needed to address some character issues before they got any more out of control.  And, I'm not just talking about the children here.  I have my own share of faults that have come to a point where I can no longer live an obedient life to Christ and still behave the way I do.  Change is hard.  And sometimes painful.  And a lot of work.

I recently read this article that talks about yelling as a discipline.  Yes, I yell.  Its been the way that my frustrations seem to surface and vent out when I feel my kids aren't listening to me.  Can anyone relate?  I'm not proud of my behavior and have been consciously trying to change.  The article just seems to say what I've been feeling on this subject for some time now.  Some days are much easier than others - like when the kids actually listen and aren't bickering constantly at such a volume that necessitates yelling to get their attention.

*sigh*

And, yes, I consider this a bad habit I have to break.  I need to replace it with a better, more loving and effective response that becomes my new and improved habit. 

Can you tell I've been reading some Charlotte Mason teachings lately?  I have been skimming through my book Laying Down The Rails lately and realize that some of my frustrations with the non-workings around my house come from not developing good habits.  (For a free look at the concepts in the book, go here.)

More work.

The kids aren't off the hook, though.  There is at least one habit I'm training my girls in right now.  So far, so good.  It'll be interesting to see if my persistence pays off in the way of new habits later on.  I hope so.  I'm hoping I'm helping them develop habits that will help them on through to adulthood.

Speaking of which, I had a sudden revelation the other day.  I only have about 5 more years with my son before he'll go off to college.  At one time that seemed like for.ev.er.  Now, it seems like not enough time.  Can I get an extension?

It now seems all the more urgent to get some training and character development addressed sooner rather than later.  One disturbing thing I've been reading lately is the average age of a child's exposure to p*rn - 11.   Given how my kids are exposed to media and are online for school and other various activities, this concerns me.  We do have an Internet filter on our computer, but sometimes that's not enough.  It was time to have a conversation.

This article from WORLD magazine got me into action.  Porn is destructive; It's destructive to an individual, their interpersonal relationships, their health, even their employment.  It was an uncomfortable conversation - probably because my son thought I was going to yell at him for something.  I kept the topic simple yet clear and discussed what I was concerned about as well as the implications of such behavior (which go way beyond Mom and Dad getting mad). 

Are you having these hard discussions with your kids? 

I run into many parents who say things like "I'm not going to talk about "that" right now to little Johnny.  I want to protect his innocence."  My soapbox on this:  as a former child, teen, adult, nurse, and current mom, I can tell you without any doubt that the fact that you haven't discussed sex or development or even what porn is with your child in no way protects their innocence.  Kids figure it out.  And, don't blame it on TV, movies, video games, or other bad kids.  Curiosity will lead kids to find out all kinds of things.  How will they get curious?  Simple.  By their own feelings and urges that come upon them (and these feelings and urges probably happen a LOT earlier than you think).  The simple fact that you don't talk with your kids about it simply makes it more likely a subject not to be discussed with Mom or Dad. 

I  talk to my own kids about such subjects, and as early as they are able to understand with information that is just enough to answer questions and open discussion.  Why?  So they have the tools and understanding to combat sinfulness, temptation, and misinformation.  Just fair warning - I recently had a developmental talk with my daughter along with giving her The Care and Keeping of You book.  The floodwaters were released!  I think I spent an hour answering all her questions and then I finally had to plead mercy.  My head couldn't comprehend my little girl growing up any more that day.

All this to say, I've been a bit busy lately.  I hope to post more in the coming months.  But, there are other priorities that sometimes devour my time.  Thank you for understanding.

-A

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