Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Teachable Parenting Opposition

I'll be closing up this series in the next couple days, but before I do I would like to close up some holes that might be potentially lingering. You see, everyday that I have written on teachable parenting something comes up that says “oh yeah, well how are they supposed to cope in the real world when they are just being bossed around?" Or “what about what the Bible has to say about cheap grace huh?” Every time I take action there is an equal and opposite reaction! But here are just a couple little rebuttals to some of the questions or concerns that pop into my head about this Teachable Parenting stuff and I hope to diffuse some of the confusion for anyone else that might be ready to shut this whole concept down due to a misunderstanding.

1.     What about spare the rod spoil the child?

This is the biggest hot button of all when it comes to new covenant Biblical parenting. First of all when it comes to questions you may have about this parenting style feel free to ask me, but also there are a lot of things that are covered in the books that I haven’t mentioned. This series isn’t a synopsis of all three books, but I do draw from them a lot. My series is 31 days, The books that I am referring to are over 600 pages combined. So I am not going to be able to expound on nearly as much ground on this blog. EVEN THEN I didn’t agree with everything in those books. I really loved them and gleaned so much from them, but all three books had at least one thing that I disagreed with or that I knew wouldn’t work for my family. Take everything with a grain of salt, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, and any other idioms you think might apply. As for the verses about the rod I think of Psalm 93 "Your rod and your staff comfort me" I believe the rod is correction and authority, but I am not a scholar. I think people need to use their own discretion and seek the Lord on the matter, but all three books deal with the spanking topic so I don’t want to pretend like that isn’t a big question in this teachable parenting thing.

2.     What about when reality hits? Who can really keep up with all this stuff?

It’s easy to talk about gentle parenting or dream about being the perfect role model, but it’s like one of my favorite meme’s says “You are making it difficult for me to be the parent I always imagined I would be”.

The truth is we aren’t going to be the perfect parent and I talkedabout this earlier in the series, but even more so it’s healthy to be real and candid with your children. Just as we can turn their mistakes into opportunities to make deposits into their wisdom accounts we can turn our mistakes into opportunities to make deposits into their wisdom accounts too.  Sometimes we are the ugliest (emotionally) with the ones we love the most. At first glance this can be disheartening because it looks like you are respecting others outside of the home more than you do your own family, but I’ve always been flattered when my kids seem like angels with the babysitter or at school, but act up at home. I know that means that they feel safe and comfortable with me, like they can air out their dirty laundry per se. There are certainly extremes to this, but don’t be too worried if you feel like you are giving or receiving  your true colors at home in a way that isn’t appealing. Chances are your also seeing a lot more intimacy and camaraderie than all those strangers that see the cleaned up version.

3.     What happened to the good old fashioned winging it technique?

As much as I wish I didn’t pigeon hole my parenting philosophy it’s kind of something I have fallen into naturally. I can tell you that I never TRY to fit in a certain group. If I do then it usually lasts less than a week.  So, while I envy moms that don’t read parenting books or essays on Pinterest I feel empowered by the research I’ve found and I consider it a guide. Just when you think you’ve got someone that fits in a box you learn something about them that blows that stereotype, so let’s not label everyone and call it a day. When I suggest Teachable Parenting it doesn’t have to be this rigid thing that you try to follow to a T.  It’s more of an idea that you follow with your heart. Take what you will if it jumps out at you. See if it works for you, or as Dr. Sears says, if you resent it change it. Parenting is personal and it’s fluid. There is no one size, one method fits all.

4.     Doesn’t some of this seem a little extreme?

I have worried that some of the ideas of Teachable Parenting are going to brainwash my child. Are they always going to expect empathy with their authorities? My answer to that which was covered in the books I read, is that there are plenty of lessons on the harshness of the world that they will learn naturally. Our job is to show them the love of Christ. My other worry was that kids would learn to always expect choices.  However, if you read the books you would find that you aren’t supposed to ALWAYS give choices. The main point I want to make right here though goes hand and hand with question number 3. This does not have to be an all or nothing approach. We aren’t going to come up with the perfect formula to produce these robotic kids and that is what teachable parenting is actually all about. I don’t think I am going to brain wash my kids ESPECIALLY considering I am never going to follow this thing line by line because I am human. I look at it like dieting. If I were morbidly obese and chose not to try to diet or exercise because I worried that I would be anorexic that would be illogical and unhelpful. So until further notice I am not going to worry that I am overly obsessed with a certain parenting style, because I still have plenty of off the cuff tendencies to prevent me from coming anywhere near overkill!

5.    I don't want to be a helicopter mom, but what if the learning process involves physical injury?

When it comes to natural consequences or freedom the keys is to be age appropriate. Do you want your 2 year old to learn how to cut vegetables with a sharp knife? Do you think it’s appropriate to ask your 6 year old to find their own ride home from soccer practice? Of course not, Some of these things only make sense when they are applied at the appropriate ages. What ages are appropriate? I would poll my friends and google it, but that’s just me.

6. Does this method spoil kids and turn them into brats with push over parents?

Wow, that is a really specific question I just made up. My guess is though, that some of you are thinking Teachable Parenting is a little too laid back for you. I can see why emphasizing grace, empathy, and gentle correction probably sounds like "namby pamby" parenting without a backbone. It’s really not though. These alternative discipline solutions are actually more challenging both to implement and to be a recipient of. When you allow your children to have more ownership and responsibility you are also going to have to watch them experience some real life consequences which are not always sweet and flowery.

All of the Love and Logic books that I have read have a heavy focus on limits, boundaries, routine, replacing warnings with immediate consequence, and not rescuing them out of the tough spots. So even though I talk about focusing on relationship over behavior that does not mean we have pajama parties and eat donuts all day. Quite the contrary. 

7. If your children are allowed to push your buttons without any "push back" how do they learn respect? 

One important thing I did not have time to get into with this relationship based parenting style is that relationships go both ways. Loving Our Kids On Purpose teaches that “you want your child to learn early on that there are two people in this relationship.” That means that there are two sets of needs. You need respect, honor, power and all of that just as much as they do.  The book teaches that we should not put up with disrespect and misbehavior. We just don't tolerate in a way that bulldozes a child over to prove a point. So just to be clear Teachable Parenting is NOT about being a door mat.

Whew. That's a lot of disclaimers and I don't even feel like I addressed everything. As I worked my way through the past 29 days I began to wonder if maybe I should have picked a topic that was less controversial. Then again, who am I kidding? These days everything topic can become a political minefield. I could have done 31 days of kitten calendars and someone would have come up with an objection and that's what makes us unique independent thinkers.

I do hope that some of these explanations have been helpful. What it boils down to in the end is that I am just a crazy mom trying to make sense of all of this parenting business. For me personally Teachable Parenting has made a world of difference in how I operate. That’s all I can say.

This is day 29 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE


Anonymous said...

Great explanations!

A comment about #1 - The words "spare the rod and spoil the child" are not in the Bible. I don't know why this verse is misquoted as such (I'm not saying you are misquoting it in this post, I think you are using it as an example of what people say in regards to corporal punishment). Proverbs 13:24 actually says :
"Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them."

That's NIV, but no translation says anything about "spoiling" a child. And I agree with you that this verse is discussing discipline in and of itself.

Not to get in a big discussion, I just want to say I like your serious and this explanation of teachable parenting. :-)

Lauren said...

I have loved this series, even though I'm afraid it's a little too late for mine! I like what you said about parenting being personal... and you have to look at each child individually, I think. Thanks for your wonderful series!

Bethany Boring said...

Oh wow...I love the graphics you included! I did save a few on my computer. As a mom of three boys, I need a dose of reality some days! Thanks!

Charlotte Cornes said...

What a great post! I am visiting from 31 days Facebook page, and I am so going to read through frtokm beginning to end!

Natalie Busch said...

Thank you warrior hippie for that clarification. I was familiar with both versions, but I never knew that spoil is just a phrase, or a saying (I guess). Yet I think it is one that a lot of people are familiar with. I just assumed it was two different translations! That is helpful though. I appreciate you chiming in.

Zohary Ross said...

Such a good post, as a mom of 4 I've had to adjust my parenting with each child and individual circumstances. Great insights and I love your images :)

Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

I have found your series to be most helpful, thank you. As parents, it's easy to get into a rut sometimes but your series has reminded me that the journey takes strength, determination and insight.