Can Other People Correct Your Child?

Can Other People Correct Your Child?

Over the weekend my friend Connie asked on Facebook, “How do you feel about other people correcting your kids?”  I thought it was interesting, so I asked it on my page too.  It started me thinking, why do people get so upset about this?

Do you get upset when someone else corrects your child?

First I will say that I not only don’t mind, I appreciate it when other people correct my children.  It doesn’t happen very often because I am almost always right there and I am quick to correct my kids.  But they know that if someone else corrects them they are to show respect and heed the correction.  I also really appreciate if a friend tells me if she had to correct my kids (in case I didn’t hear) so I know how to deal with it later.

The most common response on FB was something like, “I don’t mind unless the other person is mean/grumpy/telling my kids not to do something I let them do.”  The problem with this thinking is it is arbitrary and impossible for other people to know.  Other responses were they get annoyed if someone does it while they are standing right there.  But there are times when this is acceptable.

This is about authority, not feelings.  There are clear times when someone else has authority to correct your child.  If you are in my home, I have authority over some areas, even if you are standing right there.  If your child is drinking his grape juice on my carpet, I have the right to tell him to stop and give him direction for where he can drink his juice.

I will generally tell children some of our house rules when they arrive so they know what is expected.  I understand that people have different sets of boundaries in their homes of course!  But I have actually had a woman tell me, after I just announced which rooms were off limits, “We let Johnny explore. I don’t want him to have boundaries.”  I asked her, “Are you planning to follow him around while he’s ‘exploring’?  If not, then he needs to stay where I told him.”  I have a right to make those kinds of rules in my home and to enforce them. (She later told me that she believes her children should never have to obey anyone but their parents and she has told her children that they don’t have to do what I say.  This woman has robbed her children of a God-given life lesson.  And you can imagine how unpleasant her children are to be around.)

If we are at the park and I tell my kids where they can go, I don’t have a right to expect other kids to follow that.  It’s not my area of authority.   If we are in the grocery store and a child is running their cart into things, I have authority to tell them to stop.  It is against the general rules of the store.  In the movie theater, I have the right to ask the child behind me to stop kicking my seat.

I have been in other people’s homes where their children were jumping on furniture, hanging off balconies and doing things I would never allow my children to do.  But I don’t have any authority to correct them, especially if the parents are right there.  It definitely makes me uncomfortable, but I stay quiet.

But that is not necessarily discipline.  If it’s just something they really didn’t know and not a discipline issue, I like to speak directly to the child.  I feel like it shows them respect and helps me build a relationship with them.  I see telling them not to drink on the carpet as a teaching situation, not necessarily correcting.  It is best if possible, when dealing with a discipline issue, to speak to the mom instead of the child.  This is especially if you don’t have a good relationship with their family.

This gets tricky because, as we all know, moms get really defensive about this.  Look, I get it.  The times I have had someone tell me something about my child or harshly corrected them in front of me I got my back up for a second.  It’s a natural, fleshly reaction.  But I almost immediately make myself stop and realize that I need to practice self-control and maturity.  It’s not an insult or a criticism, and even if it is I can handle that and I want my children to know how to handle that.  Their lives will be much better for it.

I have 2 ideas on this….first, I want my kids to learn respect for others over protecting their own feelings.  If they are corrected and it hurts their feelings in some way, they will get over it.  If they can be respectful and generous to the grumpy person, they have the satisfaction of knowing they are developing a wisdom that is pleasing to God.  Second, you can tell someone that you prefer they not correct your child without turning it into an offense.  Why do we have to get so upset about it?!  It is an opportunity to grow and learn and become better at dealing with problems.

I have, if I have a relationship with them, spoken to a child about a character issue.  But I try to do it in kindness and love with the goal of helping, not criticizing.  It is not always received that way, but then it’s just another opportunity for me to learn to forgive.  We can’t seek a perfect, trouble-free life and ever really grow.

In closing, I want to add that it is never OK to physically discipline someone else’s child.  Again, it’s a simple matter of authority.  Even if someone told me I could do that, I wouldn’t.  There are plenty of ways to teach a child in your care without touching them.

I know this is long and if you are still reading, I really just want to say that my goal in sharing this is that we all become a little less sensitive about letting other people speak into our child’s life.  It is good for them to understand that other adults have wisdom and authority over them in some areas.  And if it’s a gray area then they should be kind and generous no matter what it makes them feel like.

Thanks for hanging in there with me for this LONG post.  :)

How to Always Find the Scissors

How to Always Find the Scissors

Do you spend too much time looking for a pair of scissors?!

If I told you to go get a pair of scissor right now, how long would it take you?  Or how much time do you think you spend going to the junk drawer for the scissors when you need them from another room then putting them back again, or worse….not being able to find them because you didn’t put them away?!

I have solved that problem in my house.  It was so simple that I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out.  Now you, my brilliant friends, have probable already done this and will be feeling sorry for not telling me sooner.  It’s OK.  I won’t hold it against you.

I went to the store, bought a bunch of cheap scissors (even some of those kid scissors that are on sale right now will work!).  Then I came home and put them in every spot in the house where I might need scissors.  I no longer look for scissors or hurt my teeth trying to avoid going to get scissors or spend any time fussing at people for taking my scissors.  I am sure if I counted up the amount of time I have saved through the end of my life I would have enough to take a nice long vacation.

Here are the places we now keep a pair of scissors:

1. In a kitchen drawer

scissors03
2. In my makeup drawer
3. With my first aid supplies
4. In my sewing/ironing area

scissors02

5. In my purse
6. In the car
7. With my essential oils/mailing supplies

scissors01

8. By my computer
9. With my school tools
10. In my workshop/garage

Sometimes I keep them in a drawer, sometimes I can hang them (like in the workshop).  But they are right at arm’s length in every room.

The key to the success of this plan is to leave the scissors where they belong.  Just use them and put them right back.  No need to carry them off anywhere.  You could even use tape around the handles to label where they belong.

Happy time saving!

 Are you following me on Instagram?!

5 Tips for Handling Lying

5 Tips for Handling Lying

Lying can be a hard thing to conquer.  These 5 tips are a great place to start! -- The Pennington Point

My husband and I have always felt that most important thing to focus on in raising our kids is building godly character.  Integrity, strength of courage and trustworthiness are missing in so many people these days.  What is more valuable than teaching our children to be truthful in all things?

All 9 of our children have struggled with lying at one point or another.  It is difficult to break once it has become a habit.  I want to share with you some of the things we do to help them break the habit.

1. Talk with them about honesty

Not a lecture, but a simple talk.  Give them Bible verses about truthfulness and help them understand how important it is to be honest at all cost.  Above all, don’t show frustration.  Let them know that they are loved and you are confident they can work to regain your trust.

When I say talk, I mean really dig deep.  Read some verses about truth and memorize them together.  Discuss what they think about the verses.

2. Listen

Ask them what they think about lying and if they have ideas that will help them stop.  Listen to their heart, it is your key to understanding their struggle.  The clues you get from listening can help you figure out why they feel compelled to lie in the first place.  Sometimes it’s just become a habit, but sometimes it’s a deeper issue.

3. Pray

Ask God to show you ways to help your child stop lying.  Also, let them know that you pray for them and make sure they see you praying.  When you see them struggling, take their hand and pray together.

God has given me the most creative ideas when I ask Him.  Once, I was inspired to have one of the boys write down his lies each day.  He had a little pad of paper and teeny pen that were just for that.  I never looked at it or asked him about it, but it made him aware of how often he was doing it and it really helped him stop.  That idea came to me through prayer.

God is ready with His infinite wisdom to help you with your parenting struggles.

4. Pay close attention

Keep them close and spend extra time with your struggling child.  They need you to help them through and hold them accountable.  Don’t let them be in their room all afternoon without any accountability for what they are doing.  Try to find ways to stay close either by working together or by having some down time (games, reading aloud, watching a DVD together, etc.) together.

If you’re busy and can’t do that, then have them stay close by.  While you check emails, for example, have them do schoolwork in the same room.

5. Discipline

Whatever method of discipline you choose, the key is to be consistent.  It’s important that they get caught anytime they are lying.  If you suspect a lie, don’t spend too much time pressing for the truth.  Trust your instincts and deal with the issue directly.

Occasionally it will happen that you discipline for lying when they were telling the truth.  I tell my kids that when that happens, they should remember that there were times they lied and didn’t get caught.  This is a good opportunity for them to reflect on the real consequences of lying which is that after a few lies, people won’t believe you even if you’re being honest.  I assure them that they can work toward being believed again by telling the truth and earning our trust.

And remember Mom and Dad, this is not a quick fix.  It takes time to break a habit and regain trust.  Keep working together, be patient and above all let your child know they are loved no matter what!

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight”  Proverbs 12:22

 

The Easter Bunny’s Job is Safe

The Easter Bunny’s Job is Safe

How do you sum up Easter weekend in one blog post?  There was traveling, Jesus’ resurrection, finding the boys’ lost church pants and hiding plastic eggs all over the house.  Spectacular.

On Friday I drove to Austin to visit my parents.  I took four of my kids with me, including my 22 year old son who I rarely get to spend time with.  He’s not a big conversationalist, so I brought some theology books to spark ideas.  He likes to discuss deep thoughts and God’s Word.  Me, I am more of a shallow thought girl, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  If I want him to talk with me I have to crank the doctrine dial up to 10.  It hurt my brain after about an hour, so we stopped and turned on some Mandisa.

We spent the night at my parent’s house, which is in a large retirement community.  I went for a jog early Saturday morning and was surrounded by dog walkers and golfers over age 55.  At one point there was a man on the trail behind me that had to be at least 80 years old.  He was small and a little frail looking and he was just walking along in his velour sweatsuit.  I decided to put some distance between us so I picked up the pace and jogged for a while.  When I slowed down I heard a noise behind me and there he was, right behind me still walking.  I think he had actually closed the gap.  In a minute he was passing me and I said to him, “You’re fast!”  He just kept walking as he muttered, “Nah, I’m moving kinda slow today since I’m wearing ankle weights.”

Great.  I am officially the slowest human being on the planet.

We arrived home Saturday afternoon in time for James to inform me that he wanted to do a little Easter egg hunt for the kids.  So we drove to Walmart and dug through what Easter supplies they had left.  We found some plastic eggs and got some dried fruit and candy.  I know.  Dud.

All of our kids have different tastes in snacks and some have dietary restrictions, so we always code the eggs by color.  Each child (even the adult kids) has their own color of eggs which makes it easy to be sure we know what they get and then if they find someone else’s color they just pass by and don’t say anything.

After church James filled all of the eggs and brought them to me ready to hide.  We had to do it inside since it was raining, so we sent the kids onto the porch to wait while we hid the eggs.  We had 7 eggs per child and, I am not even exaggerating here, it took us TWO HOURS.

We got so confused about the colors and where we hid them and we kept trying to go back and find the ones we had already hidden and oh my goodness it was a mess.  I asked him, “Please don’t make me do this when we have 45 grandchildren.  Let’s just hand them each $5 and leave it at that.”  James agreed.

Easter Bunnying is not our strong suit.

We actually gave up at some point and just let the chips fall where they may.  If some of the kids got less eggs than others then – oh well.  Let it be an opportunity for character development.

Then, to make it even more fun the kids could not find the eggs.  We tried to make it hard, but we may have gone a little overboard in that department.  All in all the whole egg hunt took about 4 hours and went well past dinner time.  Thankfully the kids had Reese’s Pieces and raisins to snack on.

This week begins my big round of conference travel.  I am heading to Salt Lake City this weekend to the SNAP conference.  I’m going to represent my peeps at HomeRight because I love them so.  Then next weekend I go to Chicago for the 2:1 Conference and to spread the word about my friends at Engaging Education.  Y’all know we big puffy heart their classes!

Have a good one!

The Last Cold Front and Cheesecake

The Last Cold Front and Cheesecake

Here in Texas we are having some kind of cold front, which I am loving.  I know that in a month I will be wishing for the days to be cooler so I am pretending it’s May and enjoying the crisp breeze.  I am also enjoying my last few opportunities to wear my cold weather clothing.  Long sleeves will cause me to sweat profusely in a matter of weeks and I am having a love affair with the anthropolgie shirt I bought myself in February.  We don’t want to part.  We are soul mates.

On Saturday we cleaned the house all morning like a little army.  I barked orders and handed out supplies while the kids scrubbed and swept.  I didn’t make them wear a uniform or anything, but after each task was complete I would inspect the work.  It sounds kind of  miserable, but it was actually kind of fun.  It’s nice to work hard together to take care of our home.  In the afternoon we rested, except for two of the boys who had a Lego disaster in their room and took the whole day to get it straightened out.  Legos are the bane of my existence.

This morning I am in Houston for a quick, fun, visit with my aunt.  She had a couple of spare days and I couldn’t resist driving the 4 hours to see her.  She pampers me and tells me I’m pretty and let’s face it….I’m not getting much of that at home since we are just over a week from tax season being over.

On the good side….we are just over a week from tax season being over!  See?  I can be an optimist when pressed, although it’s not my natural gift.

Tonight my aunt and I are going to eat at The Cheesecake Factory, my favorite restaurant to which I don’t have easy access back home.  I have been saving all of my calories for this meal and, while it will probably make me ill, I plan to eat a few bites of cheesecake.  This will be my first rich food in months so I don’t know how my tummy will take it.  I may have to settle for eating just a teeny bit.

This makes me wonder if we weren’t really meant to eat 1200 calories for dessert.  Food for thought.

In the meantime my kids are home eating scrambled eggs or spaghetti, which only makes me feel 1/100th guilty.  But not enough to skip the cheesecake.

I will go home tomorrow and go back to normal old grilled chicken salads and non rich foods and probably warm weather.

The word for the week is: EMBRACE

Follow me on Instagram!

Love Your Brother

Love Your Brother

With 9 kids we have many different personalities.  Different interests.  Lots of moods…..

Despite all of that, our children have very loving, caring relationships.  We have almost no arguing or fussing and there is never physical fighting.  Our children really enjoy each other.  This brings such delight to my mother’s heart!

That led me to decide to write a series about building godly sibling relationships.  I want you to have that same joy!  I’ll be sharing each week what is happening in our home and how we manage problems.  We will open up and answer questions as we go along.  It’s gonna be great!

So let’s not waste any time getting started……

The first thing we always do when we are figuring out how to manage anything is look to God’s Word.  It has a LOT to say about how we should treat one another.  We should be kind, merciful, put others first….I could go on and on.  So this is what we teach our children.  And we make sure they know where these ideas come from.  Knowing God said it holds a lot more weight than if it’s just Mom’s crazy idea.

You may have noticed that the Bible never says, “Be kind, unless you’re three and haven’t had a nap.”  Nope.  We must treat each other well and set ourselves aside no matter how old we are and no matter how we feel.  Of course, a three year old hasn’t learned how to be selfless and that’s why you need to teach her.  Be patient, be understanding, but do not be lenient about proper behavior.  Kids can’t be perfect…..no one can.  I am still trying to figure this out and I am 48 years old!  Perfection in NOT the goal.  Learning and growing to be more Christlike is the goal.  And glorifying God instead of ourselves is the BIG goal.

Begin to teach God’s principles for how we are to treat one another.  It’s a good place to start.  Write out a few verses and start memorizing them together.  We will work build on this through the series.

1 John 3:16-18 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

 

Ringing in the New Year

Ringing in the New Year

The past week is a bit of a blur.  I’d like to say it’s because Christmas was so magical that I can’t describe the joy.  But instead I must report a terrible bout of flu that has hit all 11 of us, starting on December 23 and still hanging on.

Yes, we spent Christmas with 4 of the kids lying on the couch opening presents like it was about the last thing they wanted to do.  One was so sick she could barely lift her head and Levi pulled things out of his stocking and without even looking at them would drop them on the floor and close his eyes….tortured by the whole, terrible gift opening requirement.  The 5 kids that were well enough to enjoy it were falling down sick by the evening.

No decking the halls around here.

I, myself, made it through Christmas and didn’t get sick until the weekend.  I don’t seem to be as bad as the rest of the bunch, which is a blessing since someone has to be making soup and washing sheets.

I am pretty sure I have washed more sheets than your average person washes over the holiday week, including hotel maids and hospital janitors.

But you know what?  It still been a sweet time and we are all together and I think it will go down in all of our memories as a very special Christmas.  It’s oddly relaxing.  To me it will always be known as the “Great Flu of 2013″.

While it will probably dampen our usual New Year’s Eve festivities of drinking sparkling cider and falling asleep by 10:00 even though we want to stay awake until midnight, we will carry on.  We may not see the ball drop, but the celebratory coughing will ring in the new year with gusto!

Who needs fireworks anyway?

Our Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas Traditions

I have gotten several questions about how we celebrate Christmas.  It’s pretty simple around here.  Just the 11 of us on Christmas morning (+ some years my parents join us).

We get up early and I set out treats on the coffee table.  Cookies and sausage balls and punch.  This year, since I’m off sugar, we will also have tea and fruit.  I got some nuts and gluten free treats too….we will graze on it all morning while we open gifts.

James will read the Christmas story from the Bible and we will talk about Christ being the focus of our time together.  That usually turns into a spontaneous conversation about gratitude or something sweet.

We don’t do Santa here.  Never have.  James and I always felt it was not best for the children’s character to have the focus be so much on their gifts or some mysterious stranger.  Our goal in parenting is to teach them to focus on others and love the Lord.  Christmas is no exception to that.  So we buy each child one gift and they each get a stocking with small things in it.  I go a little overboard on the stockings some tears, but I am working on it.  It’s getting to be too expensive now that I can’t just pour goldfish crackers and Target dollar spot toys in there.

Also, the kids draw names each year and keep it a secret.  We call it “Secret Buddies” and they spend $20-25 of their own money to buy this one gift.  Once I have all of the secret buddy gifts I wrap them and place them under the tree all at the same time so they won’t be able to guess who their buddy is (they know who has been shopping already so if I put them out as they were purchased they would be able to guess).

That means on Christmas morning each child has 2 gifts, one from Mom & Dad and the other from their secret buddy.  That is plenty for our family considering we don’t need a thing and we have so much already that it’s shameful.  James and I also give each other a gift and the kids usually chip in to get us something.  I know a lot of people skip Mom and Dad, but we believe that sends the wrong message to the kids.  Mom and Dad are just as special as the kids in God’s eyes and the gifts communicate that.  It doesn’t have to be something huge, but there needs to be something for everyone under the tree.

We unwrap gifts one at a time.  No chaotic, wild time of everyone ripping into their own presents.  We like to enjoy seeing what everyone else gets and it teaches us to all be interested in each other and not just ourselves.  Also, we expect all of the kids to pay attention to the others while they open.  It can be hard for the little ones since they’re so excited, so we may let them play a little with something new while they watch, but they can’t be distracting or completely self-focused.

Once the gifts under the tree are opened we take a little break.  I usually get lunch started and we clean up all of the trash then we gather together again and start emptying the stockings.  One at a time while we all watch and enjoy.

Once we finish, we eat and settle into playing with new toys and checking out our presents.  I love just mulling around watching the kids and being with them while they enjoy their things.  We eat a late lunch (this year I’m making roast) then just hang out together.

It’s a simple, love filled day.

How about you?  What’s your favorite family Christmas tradition?

Sweet Christmas Book Giveaway!

Sweet Christmas Book Giveaway!

This post contains affiliate links.

We are rounding the corner to Christmas around here!  The tree is up, but not decorated.  The porch pumpkins have been replaced by poinsettias.  And the Christmas story books have made their way to the coffee table.

I like to add a new book every year.  This year it’s a sweet little story of Itsy and Bitsy, two mice trying to find their way to see the King in Bethlehem. This book, Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You’re Never Too Little for His Love, by Max Lucado is a darling story and we have already read it to the boys about 10 times.

A sweet Christmas book to add to your collection

There’s nothing more precious to this mother’s heart than to hear her older children reading to her younger ones.

And here’s the best part…..I get to give this darling book away to one of you to add to your own collection!  Just enter below.

A darling Christmas book giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 Random Topics in One Post (or Something for Everyone)

10 Random Topics in One Post (or Something for Everyone)

Our weekend was a smattering of activity.  I did everything from going to an open house at my friend Sara’s to sleeping for 2.5 hours in the middle of the day.  That’s a long nap, even for me, the nap princess.

Saturday we did our usual cleaning jobs in the morning.  While the girls did the bathrooms, the boys straightened the game cabinet and I worked on a new verse for the chalkboard in the living room.  I like to change it every month or so, but it takes me about an hour so I try to have the boys doing something in the same room.  That way I can keep them moving.  They would otherwise tend to forget they are supposed to be organizing and start actually playing the games.

Here’s a look at my chalkboard now.  I’m not great at it, but I do like doing it.  It will probably stay this way until the end of the summer since I have a few other projects up my sleeve that I want to get started.

After that was done we worked on the pool, which has been getting increasingly green and we can’t figure out why.  I had no idea when we got this pool that maintaining it would require a master’s degree in chemistry.  We test the water and take notes and study the calculations.  We spend hundreds of dollars on chemicals to try to keep it all pretty and clear, but to no avail.  We may have to call in an expert. I’m not sure what that would involve, but I am tired of feeling like I’m in the swamp.

But don’t worry about us, my boys couldn’t care less how green the water is as long as they can have epic water battles and splash each other like their life depends on it.  The girls and I don’t care to swim with them because it is impossible not to end up, at some point, in the middle of their water war.  I’m more of a casual floater, minding my own business on my side of the pool.  But once I get squirted in the ear with a water pistol it’s hard to relax.

Saturday afternoon I worked on my book edits and ate Sonic ice, which I have now been keeping in my freezer for my crunching pleasure.  It’s been my snack substitute and a surprisingly good one.  It’s soft and cold and lasts a good long time.  I’m not saying it’s better than ice cream, but at zero calories I am happy with it.

On Sunday I decided to do the unthinkable and not turn on my computer for the whole day.  I may do it every week.  It could be my Gilligan’s Island day…no phones, no lights, no Facebook.  If that happened now, do you think the Professor would be able to email someone on a submarine using 2 coconuts and a bicycle powered battery?  I wonder things.

Yesterday, after church (where my son Jacob sang a beee-utiful song that made me cry) and before my extreme nap, we went out for Mexican food with my parents.  It’s a adventure, going out to eat with us.  First we have to get a table for 12 or more, which no restaurant hostess is ever thrilled about.  Then you have look at the poor waiter’s face as he goes around getting orders and we ask things like, “Is there gluten in that?” and, “Can we get that without tomatoes?”  I am pretty sure at least half of us made a special request.  I will be sending him a letter of apology.

And let’s not even start on how many times the bus boy had to refill our chips.  My boys alone ate about 4 baskets full.  I’m surprised they didn’t just haul the chip truck up to our table and dump them in the middle.

And forget talking.  It was so loud and we were so far apart that we had to yell across the table to one another.  My dad finally suggested we all just text each other instead.  Great idea.  Next time we could just stay home with 5 bags of Tostitos and have pretty much the same experience.

Now, looking back I count at least 10 topics in this one post.  If you’re still here, hanging onto the hope that I will find a way to sum it all up, this isn’t your lucky day.  I will add you to my list of people to send letters of apology to.  After the waiter, my parents and the guy at the pool chemical store.

Have a great week!