Friday, February 16, 2007

A Child-Rearing Expert?

Since I've been posting about child-rearing, I thought I would share with you a bit of fun wit and wisdom from an article I read this week. Kevin Swanson, the author, is the executive director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) and has been a leader in the home school movement in this state for several years. I read the article in CHEC's Homeschool Update, but you can also access it online at Kevin's website here. Here are some excerpts.

I was an expert in child rearing for many years, until we had our first child. I think it was in 1991. Upon poking his head out of the womb, the boy promptly began screaming at me at the top of his lungs, and he didn’t take much of a breather for about two years. Most young parents quickly discover that when children emerge from the womb, they scream, they yell, they leak, and they do rude things to others. In short, there is some assembly required, and my son was no exception to the rule. He especially liked to scream . . . almost all of the time. Long trips were especially miserable, as he would scream for 3, 4, or 5 hours at a time. Eventually, we found that fitted ear plugs were quite handy to help us keep a sanctified composure during these torturous automobile rides. The first time we tried them out we were amazed at the special tranquility that would so quickly settle over the entire automobile, with the exception of the contorted red face of one small, still-screaming child straining against his car seat in the back seat.

Although I have yet to achieve the expert status in child-rearing that I held before we had children, here are a few lessons I have learned on the topic:
- Raising children is a shaping process and it takes time. Just because you didn’t see immediate improvement over ten weeks doesn’t mean you won’t see it after 10 years.
- Consistency always pays off.
- Some children are a factor of one hundred times more difficult than others.
- Every child will go through a different sequence of difficult times and easy times. There is no pattern that fits all children alike.
- The Bible (and specifically the book of Proverbs) is the best book on child rearing.

He also says:

I have seen young parents emerge from the latest set of seminars on child-rearing with a list of sure-fire methodologies from some homeschool guru, hoping that this will serve them well as a recipe for success. Some gurus call for timed feedings for babies and disciplined schedules, while others call for demand feedings and flexible schedules – each claiming that theirs is the best way to apply biblical principle. But sure as shootin’, the minute you get your list dialed in perfectly, God will give you a little child who will blow the paradigm all to shreds. For this reason, I recommend using multiple counselors and resources to find helpful suggestions in the child raising department.

One more:

For parents just starting out, I would recommend teaching your children to take their cues from you at home. If you have trained them to obey you on the first command (without complaining) at home, it will be easier to control your child with hand signals, facial expressions and simple commands when you’re away from the home. Obedience is the first, basic lesson; and if a child does not learn this lesson, God promises that things will go badly in every other part of life. (Eph. 6:1-2)

Good thoughts.

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