Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Delighting in our children March 30, 2009

Filed under: For moms,Parenting,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 12:19 am

This week was difficult with my 3 /12-yr old son.  More than just misbehaving, he was borderline malicious, seemingly looking for ways to antagonize our dog or his sister or to defy me.  None of my efforts – talking about the incidents, praying with him, consistent discipline – appeared to be making any difference. 

Finally, at the end of the week and after praying it through, I decided to try making some changes from my end.  I spent a day focusing on him, talking casually with him as much as possible, including him in everything I did, making time to play with him however he wanted.  And it worked – it seemed to break the logjam and alter the dynamics of his behavior and our negative weeklong dance. My concentrated attention, affirmation, and love had reached him in a way nothing else had. (more…)


Teaching kids to appreciate stillness March 27, 2009

Filed under: Culture,Routine — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 5:17 pm

337019When our son was about 18 months old, my mom (who’s wise and not at all overbearing) made a helpful suggestion.  She recommended we consider implementing a short “room time” for him into our regular routine so he could begin learning how to play contentedly by himself.  She’d followed this practice with her own firstborn, in whom she’d observed some similarities to our son, and found it to be a boon to both his life and her own.

So I tried it out, gating him in his room in the morning with ample toys, for about 8 – 10 minutes during which I’d shower and/or dress for the day.  He disliked it at first and protested for some or all of the time he was in there.  Before long he grew accustomed to the time and seemed even to enjoy it, and I gradually lengthened the duration to 12, then 16, and eventually 20 – 30 minutes per day.  It became quiet alone time we both could count on.  I’ve continued the practice since then and recently implemented it with my daughter too (hers is in a playpen) when she gave up her morning nap.



Some thoughts on discipline March 24, 2009

Filed under: Authority & obedience,Correction — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:35 pm

Quick word association: discipline.  What jumps to mind?  For me, like most moms – I think of correcting my children for misbehavior of some type.  Connotation usually – if not always – negative. 

Now think of the word “disciple,” which is derived from the same word.  “Disciple” elicits a picture in my mind of Jesus and his band of twelve inner-circle followers.  For three years Jesus taught, led, and instructed these guys, and served as their role model and mentor.  He corrected them too, of course, and not infrequently.  But that was just one component of the larger deal.  Wikipedia (that great, sage, trusted source throughout the ages) says this: “In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instruction given to a disciple.”  It goes on to say that the Latin origin includes the root discere,“to learn.”  So discipline is really an umbrella word that covers teaching, instructing, and leading our children – including but not limited to correction. 

All this to say, wouldn’t it help us moms to keep discipline, the Big Picture, in mind in our daily lives with kids?  Correction alone will certainly not produce what we’re after in our children – kids who love God and have his attributes (like wisdom, kindness, and self-control) growing in their hearts in increasing measure.  (more…)


Judging well without being judgmental March 22, 2009

Filed under: Blogging,For moms,Parenting — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:51 pm

imagesHere’s the thing about being a mom: you constantly have to make decisions.  From birth onward, it’s nonstop – feeding decisions, sleeping decisions, schedule decisions…  and before long, decisions about issues like discipline methods, potty-training, (pre)schooling.  Is there a realm of life besides parenting in which the decision-making quotient is as high and as consistent?  I can’t think of any.

Most moms, virtually all the moms I interact with, care inordinately about their kids and want to make good decisions in raising them.  We reflect, ask advice of those we respect, read (perhaps), and – for Christian moms – pray.  And we try things out with our kids and take some cues from them – their personality, styles, needs demand.   

My point is this: as parents, we are deciders in our households, making judgmental calls daily.  We are In-Home Judges.  This is part of our calling as moms and dads – to employ wisdom in the day-to-day living of our lives as we follow Christ.  But there’s a funny paradox here, because the reality of our being childrearing judges within our homes should not equate with becoming judgmental of other moms who parent differently. (more…)


War on whining March 20, 2009

Filed under: Behaviors,Communication and speech — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 3:10 am

swm01447To whine (v): “to utter a low, usually nasal, complaining cry or sound, as from uneasiness, discontent, peevishness, etc.: “

Any mom with a baby 18 months or older is familiar with whining…   Far, far too familiar, in fact.  It’s amazing the way virtually all kids pick up whining, as if they were all taught together at in-the-womb school.  Whining has been a major issue my husband and I have been working on with our three-year old son over the past three or four months.  It’s been perplexing to us, really.  Why, when we neverrespond positively to him when he speaks in a whiny tone and always have him to rephrase his words politely using his big-boy voice – why does the whining persist?  Shouldn’t the behavior be extinguished by now?



Milk to solids: our kids’ developmental phases March 18, 2009

Filed under: Emotions — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:26 pm

Twice in the New Testament, writers make reference to the maturity of believers’ faith (or lack thereof) by drawing an analogy to babies and their eating habits – milk for infants vs. solid food for older children (1 Cor 3:2 and Heb 5:12-13).  Such a clear cut example of a baby’s early developmental stage- the type of food he consumes.  Milk for infants, solid foods for older babies on up. Done.

If only it were always this easy to assess kids’ stages, maturity, and overall development.  I often get stuck continuing to interact with my children, or having expectations for them, that fit a prior stage of development rather than today’s.  My “Dealing with Drama” post covered one example – I was interacting with my daughter as if she were still a baby with baby emotions and capacities when in reality, willful toddler tendencies had come into play.  I was working with an outdated picture of her. (more…)


Dealing with drama March 15, 2009

Filed under: Emotions — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:12 pm

I’ve spent a fair amount of time bewildered by some of the behavior of my 18-month old daughter in recent months.  A few months after her first birthday, she cut molars, got a couple of consecutive ear infections, and rounded it out with a UTI in the span of about six weeks.  She was consequently cranky and unpredictable.

When her fussiness and emotionalism continued beyond the resolution of these issues, I was confused.  Did she feel unwell?  Was something bothering her?  Where was this coming from?  When would the calm and even demeanor that had characterized her previously return?  I was ready for my happy, low-key baby to come back.

Eventually it dawned on my husband and me: she felt fine.  She’d just developed a dramatic streak during those months.  When she didn’t get her way, she was beside herself.  When she became upset, she was really upset (floods of tears, clenched fists, occasional falling to the ground). When she banged her head against the sidewalk in a display of her dissatisfaction – this was the drama queen taking the stage.  (more…)