Monday, July 26, 2010

Parenting- Still Thinking

I have been looking around a lot today and want to clarify where I am on this.

I do not hate James Dobson's methods. I do not think that Michael and Debi Pearl are responsible for those people beating their 2 year old little girl to death, and I don't think there is anything morally wrong with scheduling the sleep patterns of an infant or training them to sleep through the night early on. I do not find any scriptures which prohibit spanking in letter or in spirit. Rather I find that the spirit of the scriptures leans toward strict, albeit richly loving, parenting. I do not think it is wrong to let your child cry on occasion.

On the other hand:

While I did not lose trust in my Dobson style parents, I never felt like they trusted me. Although it is clear that Michael and Debi Pearl have a wonderful living relationship with their adult children, I wonder what this relationship was like when the children were 2 or 3.
I tried Babywise and my first son fought being scheduled in any shape or form tooth and nail, did not sleep through the night until he was 7 mos old, and still will not sit still/stay awake for a full feeding.

The children whose behavior I find pleasing have very strict, yet mostly very loving parents. The children whom I cannot stand to be around have parents who do not believe in spanking, or letting their children cry.

I believe that you can spank your children without what many Gentle Christian Mothering Forum users call a combative or us vs. them mentality. I believe that you can occasionally let a small child cry, especially when they are throwing a fit, without losing their trust. I do not agree with those who do not think a child has any reasoning capabilities until he is 8 or 9 months old. I have seen a ten month old intentionally manipulate his mother with my own eyes. While it may be nonsense to strictly "schedule" an infant, I certainly agree with the Ezzos that babies are happier when their parents show that they are in control of the situation, and are insecure and miserable when they are expected to set their own routines and anticipate their own needs. Again, I have seen it.

I know that God is a very strict God, with very particular rules and high standards for our behavior. I also know that he is infinitely loving and tender; never breaking our spirits or breaking our wills, and forgiving to the point of suffering our punishment in our stead.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I pretty much fall exactly with what you've described here.

We have to guard against being harsh, and exasperating our children... but we also cannot settle for not teaching and training our children in obedience and wisdom. It is not pleasant to be around children whose parents are constantly making excuses for their behaviors, whether it's a phase, a label, "this age", or whatever.

One distinctive I read this week that was helpful to clarify this in my mind was to parent in a way that is authoritative but not authoritarian. To not lord over our children, but rather to lead, guide, and help them along the way of wisdom.

I can identify with what you've written here... I've been in this parenting state-of-mind now for over 8 years (not that long compared to some, but it feels long to me!), but I still feel like I'm learning, growing, and try to stay in that place of pliability so that God can continue to teach and train me on how to raise up these kiddos he's blessed us with.

:) Blessings to you...