Posted in Children, Church, Home, LGBT, parenting, Sex change, Transgender

Why the Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill is a Very Bad Thing for Canada

In today’s news we read that the Conservative party is giving a reluctant nod to the Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill introduced by Liberals. Reluctant or not, this is extremely concerning. Some, by their agreement, hope for amendments to be made to a bill we do not need. Criminal behaviour and coercion is already prosecutable in courts.

The arguments for the bill of course are very forceful and emotional with statements on Twitter like this one by David Lametti, “It is a cruel practice, based on false beliefs, that has no place in our country.”

Are we supposed to believe that? What is cruel and what has no place in our society is the LGBT community interfering with how a mother and a father want to raise their children. The agenda here is none other than the extinction of the heteronormative family.

The bill “would criminalize the practice of forcing children or adults to undergo therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Some Conservatives have expressed fears the bill would outlaw conversations between parents and their children or counsel from religious leaders.”

It would also outlaw professional counselling as we read here:

“Under Bill S-202, it would be illegal to advertise conversion therapy services and to obtain a financial or other material benefit for the provision of conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18, and punishable by up to five years in prison.”

Note the reference to “under the age of 18.” These are our children and grandchildren we are talking about. We will not be able to seek counsel or give counsel to our own children.

Meanwhile, in Britain, “One woman is suing the British National Health Service for the decision to so quickly place her on puberty-blocking drugs, at age 16, after a “gender-affirming” clinic proclaimed she was a boy.”

If the bill is passed, as another article states, “those not wishing to transition and those wishing to “de-transition” one day will have nowhere to turn for professional help.”

This article in favor of the bill states: “Conversion therapy these days happens mostly informally in churches on a one-on-one basis rather than in larger, more organized groups, Hargreaves says, but he stresses that the impact on people is the same.” The bill targets any kind of intervention and makes it a criminal offense.

Freedom of speech is further eroded and now restrictions will apply to what we say in our homes and definitely in our churches, as we’ve just read.

The goal of the LGBT activists is control over our churches and our families. This is not about freedom of religion or parental rights. This is only about the Rights of the Child, as instituted by the U.N., and with ulterior motives, I might add. Continue reading.

The IGLA, an umbrella organization over 1200 plus LGBT organizations encourages advocates/lobbyists (in a 270 page document of recommendations to the United Nations) to show up at the United Nations Committees in Geneva in person and make a presentation for LGBTI children and adolescents. In their 2016 document of recommendations for the United Nations you will find this statement: “The Advocates are encouraged to focus on the right to identity within the Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to raise issues of gender identity and expression. CRC is also very experienced in discussing questions of children’s capacity to consent, as well as their right to health, which could be very useful in the context of accessing puberty blockers, for example.” The CRC refers to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. You will also read that enforcement through litigation is encouraged. I encourage you to take a look at this document.

Let’s be clear. Giving under-age children hormone blockers, with or without parental consent, is the real criminal offense. This article explains the impact of these medications: “More than 26,000 of the events associated with the two hormone blockers, Leuprolide acetate and triptorelin (which includes Lupron and similar drugs used by clinics), were classified by the federal agency as “serious,” including 6,370 deaths. The drugs, which dramatically lower testosterone and estrogen levels in the body, are linked to life-threatening blood clots and other complaints, include brittle bones and joint pain.”

We are incurring permanent, life-altering damage on our children. That’s because we’ve lost our common sense. Planned Parenthood has extensive information on their website as to why your birth gender is not your actual gender. Look under Learn/Gender Identity. Planned Parenthood has now influenced the United Nations to mandate this SOGI education in our schools where children are taught to stimulate themselves as young as the age of six. I kid you not. See this article.

Planned Parenthood makes no apologies for doing their utmost to influence society as you can read about in this piece articulating their influence on Hollywood. LIfeSiteNews summarizes and states that “The article quotes other pro-abortion figures, such as Planned Parenthood senior vice president for communications & culture Melanie Roussell, as hailing pop culture’s “power to challenge abortion stigma,” citing how shows such as Will & Grace helped normalize homosexuality.” The sexualization of our children by these two entities seems to know no bounds. The movie industry recently crossed the line by marketing a child’s Troll doll with what “may be perceived as inappropriate”–a tickle button between her legs. The doll was taken off the market.

We are told the following: The new offences would not apply to those who provide support to individuals questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, such as parents, friends, teachers, doctors, mental health professionals, school or pastoral counsellors and faith leaders.

If you read this carefully you will see that what is claimed to be a reassurance is no reassurance whatsoever. Assurances are only offered for those who PROVIDE SUPPORT. Who decides what is supportive and what is not supportive? And what are we supporting here, the child’s long-term wellbeing or their momentary inclination? Anyone who is a parent knows there is a serious difference.

Research shows that children, possibly as high as 80% of them, will change their mind about their gender as they age. Bill S-202 means we can’t even tell them this happens because the information could be considered as other than “supportive.” Can you imagine the Pandora’s box this will open? And the court cases that will ensue? Not to mention the trauma to well-meaning parents and support persons. See, that is the key here. Planned Parenthood and the LGBT activists along with their allies in our schools and social systems will be the ones to decide what is in the best interests of our children. And we will have no recourse because they are in the process of changing the laws of the land.

I, for one, have stood on the sidelines long enough. If we don’t speak up now, we can kiss our rights goodbye and give our children and grandchildren over to Child and Family Services who will take them from our homes under the guise of criminal child abuse because we affirm their biological birth gender. What can exceed this insanity?

This isn’t a one size fits all scenario. And in this case, this bill does not fit the family, although it fits the LGBT and Planned Parenthood agenda very well.

I know I will be labeled homophobic and transphobic. That is what anyone who objects to a portion of the LGBT ideology or their agenda is called. I ask, what do you call someone who objects to a mother and father raising their children to be mothers and fathers? What do you call someone who wants to help others feel comfortable with their biological sex? We cannot allow the rights of one segment of society to trespass any further and violate the rights of all others.

We will pay dearly if we don’t stop this insanity. We have allowed our compassion to be hijacked. I am just an ordinary concerned citizen who feels the distinct need to draw a line in the sand.

Posted in anxiety, Children, Coronavirus, COVID-19, faith, Health

Teachers Return to Work

Teachers are returning to work today in the province of British Columbia. They asked for more time before starting classes, in order to prepare, and were given two extra days before classes open on September 10.

Many, if not all, are filled with trepidation. This is understandable, with their concern for their own safety and that of their students, not to mention the vulnerable people in all of their lives.

It is a great blessing that the coronavirus does not affect children and young people as severely as those who are older and have underlying health issues. But we are still afraid because children can be asymptomatic. They can have no symptoms and yet carry the virus and be capable of spreading it.

Many of us have a faith background and believe in the power of prayer in these times. Some do not. Some may have become cynical after years of unanswered prayer. The truth I have experienced is that my prayers will not always be answered and I will not always get what I pray for. God is not like some magic wish-granting genie in a bottle. We may pray and still not be assured that we will escape harm.

Last week I prayed fervently for someone in need and even asked others to pray. On the weekend I asked this person how their week had gone. It had gone very badly. Much worse than before. I was shocked, because, after all, we had prayed.

Yesterday as we drove along the road we encountered two accidents less than a mile apart. Emergency vehicles blocked portions of the road and first responders stood next to the damaged vehicles, assessing the situation and providing assistance. As we continued on I became anxious. What if we were the next accident victims? In quick succession a couple of drivers made dangerous and unexpected moves in front of us. I was on high alert. The sight of actual damage reminded me of my vulnerability.

We’ve probably all been on high alert for months now. Each day we make choices that we hope will reduce our vulnerability. We decide when we need to wear our masks. We avoid certain high traffic areas. We are conscious of maintaining distance between us and others. We hear of the virus at a place near us, or near our loved ones, or perhaps someone we know has the virus or has died of it and this makes us anxious because we wonder if we are going to be affected next.

As we drove along I had to calm myself and reassure myself that there was no reason to expect we would be accident victims. Yes, the possibility was there, but the probability was low. It was no higher than on any other day and I needed to remain calm.

Anxiety itself has health risks and although we cannot entirely control our anxious response, we can do something about it. I know, because I have tried, and it has worked.

I wish, for the teachers, that they could avoid the situations that are causing them anxiety. But this is not reality for any of us. For months we have cheered on medical staff, first responders and essential workers. They are our heroes. They have worked on our behalf. Maybe you have been one of them. We are intensely grateful for the work of these brave souls. Now it is the teachers’ turn to step up to the plate. And it’s a scary thing to do.

Stepping up to the plate requires bravery. It means taking risk. There is the risk of harm.

All of the essential workers we have acknowledged and thanked during the past months have taken risks. They have been brave in the face of adversity. Somehow they have moved beyond fear to serve the public.

Bravery is what we need in the face of adversity. It is not the absence of fear, but the control of our fear that we need, so that it does not paralyze us.

I don’t want to have the coronavirus and I pray that my loved ones don’t get it. I do the sensible things I know to do to protect myself and them, and I hope this is enough.

As teachers prepare their classes, they are doing the same. They plan how the students and staff will take measures to protect themselves. After preparation, all we can do is hope for the best. The outcome is out of our hands. We have been faithful to implement the protections we know to have in place. The rest is beyond our control.

It’s very difficult to live with a life-threatening virus. It is frightening indeed when we increase our exposure to risk by going back to work. Having studied cognitive behavioral therapy I understand that there are ways in which we can alter our thoughts and our behavior that can make us more calm as we face the things we fear. In other words, we can have rituals and we can talk to ourselves to allay our fears, even if we cannot rid ourselves of them entirely. There are also unhealthy ways of coping that we need to reduce or eliminate.

One unhealthy way of coping is to not be honest about the actual risk. In other words, pretend that the risk does not exist. It is actually healthier to be honest about the risk, but not be overwhelmed by this realization. The reason for this is that then we can prepare ourselves appropriately. This means we take responsibility for seeking out information and get as complete a picture as possible so that we know what to do and what not to do.

Some say that this increased knowledge will also increase fear. If we habitually avoid facing up to hard truths in order to feel safe, then this will be difficult to do, because it can initially increase our fear. Facing up to challenging facts can be very frightening. It is easier to shield ourselves and to live in a protective bubble. Knowledge of the bad things that are happening in the world can overwhelm us. But not knowing certain facts can be dangerous and can put us at risk.

Dealing with disturbing information requires a few basic skills. I’ve already mentioned one—honesty about the truth of the matter. And I’ve alluded to another—limiting how much time we spend thinking about the problem and also limiting how many times we allow the problem to enter our thoughts.

When I think about teachers returning to classes, I think to myself there are probably two groups of people among the teachers. There are the ones who rely entirely on their own understanding of the situation, without any consideration for faith, or prayer or a divine will. For them this is probably the safest way to be, because I don’t think they would willingly choose this path if they did not believe it was best. They don’t want to rely on something or someone they do not understand and cannot see.

The second group opens their minds and hearts to the possibility that there is indeed a divine power or person that operates in the universe, outside of human sight and beyond our understanding. Their belief is in the goodness of this divinity. They may have derived their understanding from teaching in a church, or it may have grown as a result of observing the intricate balance and beauty of all that surrounds us. How could this world exist by accident? It does not seem reasonable to think so. There must be something, someone who is wise, who is insightful behind its design. And it follows that the author of life might ultimately care about matters pertaining to life. Therefore it is reasonable to trust this entity, beyond our comprehension, to actually look out for the good of the earth and its inhabitants.

This thought has brought me comfort. I embrace words I read in my Bible, such as, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whole shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” And, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling.” And, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27)

I find that these messages anchor me. They help me face adversity with courage. I can choose to trust God with the outcome, even when my circumstance is challenging or unpleasant. In the face of sickness, or debilitation, or even death, I draw strength from this knowledge.

There are things in life that can cause us to lose faith. I’ve been tempted to abandon my faith in God when I have not understood how a loving Creator could allow evil, suffering, and decay. Although he allow this, he also promises a remedy that counters the difficulties of life and enables us to endure them. It is not his will for evil and suffering to prevail indefinitely. He is about the business of restoration and we can participate in this.

I prefer to live my life believing that the same God who looks after the intricacies of life and keeps nature in balance, who created the ecosystem, and the biome, whose wisdom is so infinite that we can spend a lifetime of study and still only scratch the surface in understanding the solar system, or microbiology, or human anatomy—this God is worthy of my trust.

As we go forward in the coming months, we can also draw courage from those who serve us daily, those whose services, we are reminded, are essential to our wellbeing. Today I specifically want to acknowledge the significance of the role of teachers in the training and care of our children. Parents need you. We need to work together and support one another as we train the future generation. Thank you for stepping forward in these incredibly challenging times. We wish you well as we entrust our children into your care.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Posted in Children, Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, Music

Surviving the Pandemic – First Day Back in Classes

3 puppets

My husband teaches music and has many daycare and preschool classes. Today was his first day back, teaching in class. Only one center has opened at this time. He returned just as I finished my previous post, so I thought I’d share how his class went.

“I haven’t seen you for a very long time,” Mr. Sheldon told the class.

“No, but we saw you on the video. And you were talking on there.”

The class watched his videos during the past weeks when he was unable to go in.

“Mr. Sheldon, why are you wearing those garbage bags on your feet?”

He was wearing the blue slippers worn by surgical teams.

“Well, those turn my outside shoes into inside shoes.”

“Cause of the coronavirus?”

Yes, that’s it. Kids understand a lot.

The supervisor exclaimed that they were going to tell him about the slippers before he came but they were just so excited that Mr. Sheldon was coming back that they forgot.

Mr. Sheldon explained that he couldn’t give stamps today.

“We’re not supposed to have stamps because they touch one child’s hand and then another child’s.” He pointed to his hand and demonstrated. “I will keep the stamps for when we can do that again. But I’m not going to tell you which one it will be. It’s going to be a secret.” They never know what the next stamp will be.

“OK. But don’t lose it.”

“No, I’m not going to lose it. I will know exactly where it is for when we can do that again.”

He couldn’t “high five” the children at the end of the class, so he had them hold up one hand with the other and shake it as they said “Good-bye Mr. Sheldon.”

They were so excited to have him back today. Music day is the highlight of the children’s week. Many parents tell Mr. Sheldon that music day is the one day they never have a problem getting their children to go to school.

Posted in Abuse, Children, Coronavirus, COVID-19, parenting

Is the Coronavirus Judgment?

clinicOn March 24 LifeSite News reported Pope Francis saying, in a March 22 interview, that the coronavirus pandemic is nature throwing a tantrum ‘so that we will take care of nature’. Coincidentally, I just read the headline of an article in which Joe Biden similarly called the coronavirus panic “a wake-up call to climate change.” Have they heard from the same prophet?

Melanie Phillips’ responded to the Pope’s statement with incredulity. She said he was essentially, “investing the earth with the capacity to make moral judgments.” Phillips explains that, “At a philosophical level, environmentalism anthropomorphizes the earth as ‘Gaia’, investing the natural world with supernatural qualities as some kind of goddess to be worshipped.”

We run into a problem when the earth becomes a goddess. What sort of obeisance or sacrifice does this goddess require? What will satisfy her?

Al Gore, a prominent climate change proponent, endorsed Biden on Earth Day, April 22. One of the core tenets of climate change, according to Gore, is population control. The whole premise behind climate control is control of human behavior based on the belief that humans damage the environment. Hence, population control through any number of means.

Reducing the population of the earth through human controls sounds sinister, to say the least.

Patricia MacCormack, a professor of continental philosophy at Angelia Ruskin University, has written a book The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene, in which, according to the Cambridge News, she “argues that due to the damage done to other living creatures on Earth, we should start gradually phasing out reproduction.” A LifeSite News article reads,

Mainstream radio programs regularly host long discussion with people who have decided not to have children to preserve the planet for the children, and MacCormack is just a bit ahead of the curve.

The article also contributes the following:

Not so very long ago, the term “death cult” was considered to be a sinister term, not an aspirational description of the human race. MacCormack may be fringe for the moment, but she is the future of climate change activism: Actively hostile to the human race, and an advocate of “phasing out reproduction.”

I think, if anything, the coronavirus is judgment directed at our moral bankruptcy and hostility towards the human race.

Remove purpose and morality and population control can spin out of control. Existential nihilism is the belief that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. It is logically followed by moral nihilism, the assertion that morality does not exist at all. Nihilism will make monsters of us all when we have nothing to live for and no compass for right or wrong.

An example of this is the callous controversy we witnessed this past year over care for live births after failed abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood has been in court on charges of profiting from sales of fetal tissue for fetal cell research. In 2016 there were 186 abortions in the US for every 1000 live births with over 1% happening after 18 weeks. In Sweden midwives failed to gain the right to refuse to perform abortions.

We are losing our moral compass. Take, for example, the cutting of provincial funding for a hospice centre in BC that will not provide assisted dying.

Around the world children are at home with their parents as schools are closed due to the pandemic. Here is an article about action parents recently took in the UK to protect their children in schools. If you want to read more of what is happening in our schools you can go here, here and here.

Another matter of concern we saw recently was the movie Unplanned being called “propaganda.” Theaters refused to show it or severely limited showings. It received an R rating, which is ironic, since a girl of 15 can have an abortion without adult consent, but she cannot watch the true story, sensitively presented, of Abby Johnson who was once the Executive Director of a Planned Parenthood clinic and turned pro-life.

Two other, specifically Canadian issues have stood out for me as well. Trinity Western University in the province of British Columbia fought a court battle to open a law school and lost because their student handbook indicates that students are to “adhere to a covenant allowing sexual intimacy only between a married man and woman.” The other involved an attestation supporting abortion and homosexuality that had to be signed by applicants for summer student jobs, including charitable organizations and churches. An opinion article describes how our religious protections are deteriorating.

We have seen inhumane backlash against Professor Jordan Peterson author of Maps of Meaning and Twelve Rules for Life, and Lindsay Shepherd a T.A. who was disciplined in November of 2017 for showing a clip of Peterson for discussion in a Wilfrid Laurier University class. Peterson objected to Bill C-16 as an infringement on free speech. We were told that the bill would not “criminalize pronoun misuse” however this is now being disproved by our courts.

Canadian leaders have turned a blind eye to blatant human rights abuses and the pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate, in the interest of trade agreements. Government interference with justice in the case SNC Lavalin bribery scandal was unprecedented.

Our liberal prime minister can do no wrong. He can accuse others of racism but be excused for black-face, and groping. He refuses to show his face when a convoy of truckers from Alberta arrive at his doorstep and yet he can easily fly to Vancouver to march in a Pride Parade. Truckers who wanted to draw attention to job losses in the oil industry due to government decisions were maligned as giving a platform for hate.

There is no end of individuals and groups being accused of hate and de-platformed for their conservative views. Even I was threatened by Facebook when I posted an alternate view on Climate Change and a link to a letter sent to the UN by 500 scientists. Facebook warned that they would “reduce my distribution” if I posted the link. This to me was a huge red flag regarding the powers behind the climate change message. I have since left Facebook.

fb re climate

The bias of “Sensitivity readers” is now determining what can and cannot be published in Canada. Read this revealing article about what is happening as our institutions of learning censor publication.

Family values are trodden underfoot every day and every form of deviation is allowed and encouraged in the media. There is a consorted effort to socially condition our children in schools, beginning in kindergarten. Parental opposition is not welcome. Sex education in schools is suddenly funded and controlled by the ARC Foundation without parental knowledge or consultation (in a pilot project in BC in 2017) and those who have questions or objections are vilified in the media.

In Canada we face the introduction of Bill S-202 banning conversion therapy and making it “illegal to advertise conversion therapy services and to obtain a financial or other material benefit for the provision of conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18, and punishable by up to five years in prison.” In other words, if a trans person wants to change back to their biological gender, anyone offering counsel could be imprisoned for doing so. In the meantime a father has been told in court, regarding his daughter, that “referring to AB as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties; shall be considered to be family violence.” Medical doctors have to change the way they practice because the view they once held of what it is to be male and female was “incompatible with human dignity.” 

Of all of these, my greatest concern is for children and the fact that Planned Parenthood and LGBT lobbyists have more say over what children are taught in schools than parents. Even the courts are no longer making judgments in the interests of the family. Weaponizing “progressive” gender ideology against parents and families is of paramount concern. Check out the IGLA (International Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, and Intersex Association) website to see the level of organization and aggressive action being taken, using the United Nations as the instrument of implementation world-wide. These are the bodies of influence behind Bill S-202 which can result in parents being imprisoned for any attempt “to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or to eliminate or reduce sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex.” See the Canadian government website as this bill had its first reading on December 10, 2019.

Yes, it could be that the coronavirus is judgment. Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” I hear that dying of the the coronavirus can be like choking and drowning. Judgment happens when God’s wrath is incurred. It could be that the cup of his wrath has steadily filled up and has begun to overflow. The spread of this virus, world-wide, may be what judgment looks like. If it is, then things could get much worse. The only antidote is repentance, turning from our wicked ways and returning to God’s righteous standard.

Note: Scripture is sourced from biblegateway.com and found in Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:12

Posted in Children, Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, COVID-19, De-stressing, Home

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 5 at Home

tree with green blossoms

Saw this lovely tree during a walk in the park on Sunday.

I read recently that this is a good time to analyze your life strategyThis assumes we have a strategy. I haven’t really thought of a life strategy, in those exact words. Now I’ve been looking at my life to see what sort of strategy I have and it’s caused a bit of a shift because a strategy involves a plan and an objective–how to get the thing we want.

When I think of strategy I imagine scrambling to the top of the heap and I’ve never been that kind of a person. I like to come alongside. I like to help others. I’ve worked under people who clearly had a life strategy and I was part of their success plan. I actually didn’t want to be like them. My life has been guided by principles like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Give and it shall be given unto you,” and be “faithful in the little things.”

Yesterday my husband explained to me why I am having a difficult time with this isolation. It is because I want to help everyone. This morning I checked a few sites I follow to see what others are doing, what “strategies” they have, or words of encouragement. Here are samples of what I found.

Tim’s Blog “We are wandering, perhaps, but we are not lost. And we are not without opportunities.” Taken from his audio recording while he walked in the early morning. This is a great time to look for opportunities.

Another Slice writes with a beautiful pathos and optimism about an 18 year old son who is missing out on all the celebrations around graduation that we have always taken for granted.

Harsh Reality ‘s ten year old daughter set up a google classroom and was discouraged when no one showed up. Her father told her something I needed to hear today, too, that “if she wanted people to interact she needed to really take the reins of destiny and put herself out there.” Sometimes I wait when I need to take action.

Diane Reed is going through her house and reflecting and organizing, as many of us are doing these days. She ran across cards she made years ago and writes about the Early Diane. I encourage you to check out her lovely artwork and maybe buy something from her Etsy site Diane on a Whim.

Patrick Ross shares some insights for creative types who may wonder why they are not able to seize this opportunity for creativity as well as expected.

What I know from my past experience interviewing creatives about their process…suggests this isn’t a great time for many of them. A key element found in most creatives is empathy.

Empathy is what allows creatives to produce works that move the reader/viewer/listener. It also makes them more vulnerable to experiencing the pain of others, in ways that can at times be debilitating to the creative spirit.

I love these glimpses into the lives and thoughts of others at this time. They are so relatable.

This week I heard about one of the many amazing new things that have come out of this isolation. On Sunday friends and family celebrated two very special women by doing a drive-by “birthday parade” for one, and an encouragement “parade” for the other who will be having cancer surgery shortly. I was moved to tears by this show of love and support, even though I wasn’t there to witness it. There were cards and signs and balloons and gifts left at the end of the driveway. Both of these women are very giving and social. This isolation is particularly difficult on them. Maybe it is not a coincidence that the birthday girl is also a cancer survivor in the same family.

On a somber note, I’ve heard this week about a nurse whose ears are raw from wearing a mask as she sometimes works back to back shifts covering for others who are sick. Isolating may be difficult. Wondering how we will pay the bills may be difficult. Looking after young children 24/7 may be difficult. Not getting out to see the people we love may be difficult. But I could think of worse things, like being on the front lines without relief.

These days I draw encouragement from whatever sources I can, and try to give support in return, without beating myself up over how little I feel I can do. I remind myself, everything counts. This is my short term survival strategy (as I keep looking for ways to serve). Smile.

After four weeks of solitude, I broke out of jail for a few hours this week. I bought flowers at Superstore, making a swift ‘in and out’ of the store, from the outdoor, fenced, gardening area. We did our first take-out meal in five weeks – burgers at DQ. We took the burgers to the home of a senior friend and sat outside on the patio and shared them with her. It was lovely. Chilly, cloudy, but lovely. Human contact is suddenly so precious. (I know the admonitions to not meet with anyone outside your family, but let’s be reasonable.)

Once again, we recorded an episode of Music with Mr. Sheldon for the children. I’ve discovered a new gift. I simply love editing and producing video! This is not work for me. It is pleasure!

Now I have started a new prayer for wisdom for those who are deciding how to open up the economy again. I pray for creative ideas, things that may not have been considered, which can be implemented to help keep people well and make things work out better than expected. I also pray for the right timing. I’m leaning towards sooner, like two months, maximum, of isolating before beginning to loosen restrictions.

There are concerns about which I am not writing here in the interest of being mostly uplifting in my conversation. Our words make a difference. During this pandemic I am paying more attention to how I use my words.

tree curved branches

I saw this unusual tree on our walk. A good root system helps this tree to survive. If I think about my life strategy, I would say it boils down to learning to draw sustenance from my Source.

Trust in the Lord, with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

 

Posted in Children, Disciplining Children, Home, Love, Marriage & Family, parenting

Can “Time-Out” and Other Disciplines Be Bad for Your Child?

baby-boys-childhood-160946

Some time ago I wanted to know what the research said about the effect of spanking on children. Naturally, I did a Google search, and discovered that there were literally dozens of articles that all said the same thing. When we read the same thing over and over, we tend to think it is true. We are inclined to go with the “consensus.”

The wording of the articles I read was so similar, that they aroused my suspicion. It looked to me like all these writers were drawing from the same source. That would be alright, as long as it was the actual research. But what if one writer misinterpreted the research, or conveniently omitted important relevant information, and everybody copied this person as an authority on the subject?

It turned out that was exactly what happened. After a long search I finally tracked down material from the original research and found that it read nothing like the popular articles posted on virtually every parenting site.

There may be a “consensus” or agreement from many sources about some form of parenting, but we need to apply our own understanding and observations and determine if what we read is really helpful.

If you have a parenting style that is working well for you and your child, then read no further. But if you’ve ever wondered about the effectiveness of two popular discipline techniques–“time-out” and withholding privileges–then hear me out.

“Go to your room.” We’ve probably all heard it and maybe we’ve said it. What is the purpose of this order? Think about it. I suggest it is multiple. 1) It indicates to the child that there has been an ‘incident’ or some misbehavior. 2) It separates the child from the setting where the incident occurred, and maybe from others involved. 3) It gives the child a “cooling off” period. 4) It gives the child a quiet space for reflection. 5) It offers a parent the same–time to cool off and time to reflect on what happened and to decide if there will be further consequences.

There is an age where this is appropriate. We wouldn’t tell a toddler to go to their room, for instance. They wouldn’t understand, and the separation anxiety would not be healthy for them.

“Time-out” says to the child, “You are being punished because you did something bad.” You may ask, what is wrong with that?

There is a slight difference between being sentenced to “time-out” and being told to “go to your room.” The difference I observe is that “time-out” can be used as a threat, whereas sending a child to their room is what happens immediately after an incident.

I managed without using “time-out” in my parenting and here is the reason why I resisted it. Ask yourself, what is a child doing when they are in “time-out”? They are thinking. You don’t want them to think too long without your guidance and comfort. I think “time-out” can be helpful if done the right way.

When a child has misbehaved it is particularly important for them to know what their parent is thinking and what the next step will be. This is a need they have, like the need for food.

If you send a child to their room it means something happened. The thing that happened has to be addressed. “You and your brother were fighting. Now I want you to apologize and then (fill in the blank, e.g. read quietly in your room) for the next half hour.”

After an incident there needs to be a brief discussion about the impact of the child’s actions or words, as well as talk about future prevention. This can happen at the beginning or after the cooling down period.

Make these uncomfortable conversations relatively short. I once overheard a father “lecture” his son in public for half an hour. I saw the compliance on the child’s face and felt there was no need for this kind of extreme parental intervention. I admit I became afraid for the father/son relationship. Cover all the necessary ground, but don’t go on and on. Kids get it.

“Time-out” is the removal of a privilege–the privilege of being able to roam freely and interact with others. It is “confinement.” The sooner you can get your child out of confinement, the better. For a young child of four, giving them five or six minutes alone is plenty of time before the parent comes and talks to them and then allows them to go and play. For an older child, half an hour is a reasonable time to be required to stay in their room. After the first few minutes it is good for the parent to return to the room and make contact. You don’t want your child to see this as rejection or alienation. It is simply a time to change course and momentum. You may look into the room and say something like, “You can read in your room for half an hour.”

I don’t think it is a good plan to send a child to their room without any input about how to use their time. Say, “You can play quietly for awhile in your room.” This will connect your child to you, and the child will find comfort in knowing you know what they are doing. To an older child you may say, “I want you to work on your homework for at least an hour.” This has now gone beyond discipline to a productive use of the next hour. If they come out and get a drink of water, that is allowed but they are expected to return to their room for the duration of the time. Don’t shout at them and tell them to go back. Watch them. If they dawdle, then remind them in an even tone by saying, “An hour isn’t up yet.”

Once again, ‘room time’ is to be a quiet, reflective time. I discourage music, movies or video games. The brain is to calm down and have limited stimulation. It needs to “work” in a constructive way by coming up with play, reading, doing homework or some other calming activity. In this way “time-out” can be a positive experience. You want your child to emerge from their room a happier person.

“Time-out” is the removal of a privilege. There are other privileges that parents tend to remove and I want to touch on taking away video games or electronics. Many times I’ve heard parents tell me they have removed a privilege for “two weeks” or longer, even for very young children who don’t have a sense of the length of this time period. When I see this, one question that pops into my mind is, what happens if there is another incident two days into the two weeks?

Not only is there the problem of what to do if another incident occurs, but there is also the problem of the child being left without an activity. If the activity is not a good thing for them, then by all means cut it out, but not as a discipline.

In my opinion, two days/two nights or three days/three nights without electronics is plenty of time as a discipline before the privilege is restored. This is a time span even a younger child can perceive, when you talk in terms of “two sleeps.” It also means there is more frequent optimism about having the privilege restored.

Children start out wanting to believe that their parents are being fair. But if they perceive that a punishment is extreme, they start to lose hope. Sometimes they even become more angry. You don’t want your child to lose hope. They need to see that the punishment is reasonable.

I come from the old school where spanking was also part of discipline. Yes, it was abused by some, but three swats on the bottom–after a clear understanding was reached about the error of a child’s way–was sometimes the best “attitude adjuster.” Spanking should only ever be done for misbehavior and defiance about which a child has been warned, and then, after other methods have proved ineffective. Some children never need this degree of correction. The research shows, however, that corporal punishment when infrequently administered, without excess, is actually beneficial to a child’s development.

Discipline is for the purpose of correction. If the outcome is not positive, the problem is very likely not your child. It could be that correction needs to be applied differently. Correction is meant to have a good outcome for you child. Watch for this with any form of discipline you use.

-Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Posted in Children, Communication, Home, Marriage & Family, parenting

What I Would Change if I Could Parent My Children Again

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Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

If I had the chance to go back and parent my children again, what I would change?

When thinking about what I would change, I have to look at my values. What is most important to me? What was most important to me when I was raising my children? What mattered most and why was that so important? Was I true to what was important to me? And were my methods effective?

We tend to follow the model set by our own parents. It is all we know, as children, but later we begin to examine other models. We watch other families, we read books, listen to podcasts or sermons, watch videos, and attend parenting seminars. Some of the input I gleaned from these sources was very helpful to me.

Here are the things that I wanted and were important to me as a parent.

  1. I wanted my children to like me.
  2. I wanted my children to respect me.
  3. I wanted my children to be happy.
  4. I wanted other children and adults to like my children.
  5. I wanted my children to like and respect other children and adults.
  6. I wanted my children to be healthy and safe from harm and injury.
  7. I wanted to train my children in such a way that they would have a successful future as adults.
  8. I wanted to train my children in such a way that we would have a good relationship as adults.
  9. I wanted to pass on my values to my children.

I look back, now, and ask myself if I accomplished my objectives. How well did I do? Were the methods I chose the best ones I could have used? Could I have done some things differently and possibly had a better outcome?

With any responsibility there is daily opportunity for success and failure. Each day requires an evaluation of what went right and what went wrong and from these evaluations we can determine how to make more suitable choices and how to carry out a more effective plan the next day or the next week. As someone has said, the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. For a different outcome, there must be a new input. A change—large or small—is necessary.

Wanting my children to like me and respect me

The first and most important thing I realized in parenting was that who I was would determine how I would act, as a mother, and whether my children would like me and respect me. They were watching me. They would see my flaws. They would benefit from my strengths.

I saw that these little people needed me to be a strong and wise and consistent person in their lives. If I was this kind of person then they would feel confident in my leadership. They would like me, and they would respect me.

Parenting is about leadership. We show our children a pattern of behavior that we want them to follow. We care for them. We plan activities. We play with them. All this time we are teaching them how to respond to life. From our approach to life they determine how to engage with life and even whether life itself is worth living. They pick up our hope for the future, and, conversely, our hopelessness.

Wanting my children to be happy

There are discussions going on these days about whether or not it is a wise thing to pursue happiness. I wanted happiness for my children. I don’ t think it was a bad thing to want for them. I wanted each day to be happy. I made a point of being cheerful in the morning when I awoke them. I tried to maintain my cheerfulness and optimism throughout the day. Bedtime needed to be a happy time as I put them to rest with sweet thoughts and feelings. The reason I did this was because I heard from someone that as adults our happy childhood memories will sustain us through the difficult times. We had regular “happy family times” that we looked forward to when we would do fun things as a family, such as play a game or have popcorn with a movie in the living room. We took pleasure in simple, ordinary things like a good meal or snack, or a family walk in the neighborhood, or camping, or gardening in our small backyard. I tried to model enthusiasm and instill wonder and curiosity–traits that contribute to happiness.

Wanting my children to respect others and have others like them

I wanted others to like our children, so I treated other adults with respect and spoke respectfully about them. I especially treated their father with respect and required that they did the same, even in times when I disagreed with him.

We were delighted to host other families and have them over for meals. This was a highlight for me and for our children. My culinary skills were put to the test and honed. Our children saw this. They shared my pleasure. Children are encouraged by the risks we take and the competence we show. It gives them confidence that they can do the same, and confident, adventurous children are more likable.

Wanting my children to have a successful future

I knew that work would always be an important part of our children’s lives. If they could hold a job and be good employees that would greatly impact their success as adults. So I started giving them small responsibilities early and I modeled a positive attitude towards work. They might do the dishes grudgingly some days, but it was required. They might not clean up their rooms as regularly as I wished, but I modeled tidiness in the home. They learned personal discipline through weekly chores like cleaning bathrooms. When we were offered the job of vacuuming the hallways in our small apartment building, we realized that our sons were old enough to do this and we gave them the job, along with the income. They saved the money to buy bikes and had their first sense of the power of work to give them what they wanted. This was a lesson in responsibility. They each held part time jobs while they were still in school. Work would not always be fun, but it was an unavoidable fact and a means to an important end, that end being to put food on the table and pay the bills. Growing up, my parents required that I give 90% of my income to them. We did not expect this of our sons because we wanted them to learn to be responsible with their money and see that they could accomplish their goals. We did, however, incorporate a very realistic aspect into their financial responsibility training. Once they had full time jobs they contributed to the expenses of the family by paying a minimal amount in rent which essentially covered their food costs.

We encouraged our children to explore music and art and technology, anything that might round out their skills and better equip them as adults.

WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY

So, what would I change in how I raised my family, if I could do it again? I think my values are still very much the same, but I know I would pay attention to a few areas where I could have done better.

I would reach out more

If I had it to do over again, I would still focus on a happy childhood. But I would reach out more to others and teach my children to observe needs and meet them. I was so focused on meeting their needs that I did not teach this very well.

In a small family of two children my sons missed out on the opportunity of caring for infants and small children under my supervision. I was the eldest of seven siblings and gained a lot of experience as a result. I did not see that my sons were not benefiting from the same experience.

I also did not teach them the value of visiting and looking after the elderly or the infirm because I was so caught up with my job and volunteer responsibilities.

I would speak more openly about suffering and injustice and our response

Although it is important to have a happy home, I would be more realistic with my children and talk more openly about the pain and suffering and evil in the world, at an appropriate age. I would share coping skills with them, and possible ways of thinking about and responding to what happens in the world.

I would include warnings about abusive behavior and train them in assertiveness

In teaching our children about respect for others, I would also include warnings about when blind respect can go wrong. I would be more open, once again, at an appropriate age, about signs of abuse. I would teach them about discernment and what emotional abuse looks and feels like. I would teach them how to say no and set boundaries.

I would be involved in talking about sex

I left the sex talks to my husband and I would be involved in this important area if I had it to do over again. A wife and mother has much to contribute and I missed my chance.

I would emphasize the importance of good communication skills

All of our lives we are going to be communicating with people and our success will depend to a great degree on our relational skills. We must model good communication skills to our children and I fell short in this area. Our sons turned out to be fairly good communicators, however, I notice areas where they could have benefited from skills such as negotiation and conflict resolution. Later in life I took helpful training in these areas. I wish this training would have been available to me much earlier because then my family might have enjoyed the long term benefits.

Those are a few of the things I would change. There is little point in living with remorse, as a parent. I know I did the best I knew to do at the time and I was aware that I wouldn’t be a perfect parent. None of us are. But we can still learn, even later in life, and become more effective in our various leadership roles. Maybe others can even learn from the areas where we failed. I’m hopeful that in some way what I have gleaned will be helpful to others. I have a undying admiration for those who take on the life-long responsibility of parenting.

Posted in Abuse, Children, Sex change, Sexual mutilation, Transgender

Sex Change Mutilation

alone-anxious-black-and-white-568027.jpgI have to speak out on a subject that is of very grave concern. In the name of gender change, doctors and medical teams are cutting off body parts of young teens and even pre-teens.

What shocks me is that these youngsters are not legally allowed to drink, or drive a car, yet they can make permanent, life-altering decisions about their bodies that require serious surgeries, hormone treatment, and puberty blockers, when there is no medical assurance of successful long term outcomes. In fact, the opposite has been documented.

We are seeing penises cut off, breasts cut off, hysterectomies being done. These children will be mutilated adults. They will never fit in society except as a class of their own. A class of misfits.

It is time we teach people to be comfortable in their own skin.

It is time that we recognize the true danger of the “choice” ideology and acknowledge that it has gone too far. It probably crossed the line a long time ago, but this is more serious than anything I have seen so far.

There is no changing back once such a radical surgery has been performed. Choice will no longer be an option. Think about that. There could be serious remorse.

It is a cruel trick for adults, who know better, to play along with a choice that literally, physically injures a child. These surgeries require undergoing the risk of anesthesia and infection. There may be a need for skin grafting and future surgeries. Surgery is always traumatic to the body. Usually the risk of surgery is weighed against the benefits. But in this case the outcome is not even desirable.

No matter how badly a child wants a “sex change” it should not be allowed and doctors should not consent to performing these surgeries. It is unethical.

Major alterations to a child’s body will most certainly result in long term emotional pain, depression, anxiety and confusion. The idea that a person can have an actual sex change is a blatant lie. There is change in appearance, but not a sex change.

A body will continue to have the same chromosomes it was born with and will be subject to these dictates regardless of interventions. A lifetime of suppressive medications will not change the sex of a body. These children are being set up for a lifetime of medicating themselves and fighting against the natural course of their bodies. Think of the toll that will take.

Do we love our children and want the best outcomes for them? Because if we do, we will not allow them to be deceived by the current ideology that they can have whatever they want, including sex change. It is just not a believable narrative.

Let’s take off the politically correct blinders and see this for what it really is. Child mutilation. It may be performed by “professionals” in a “medical facility” but that very fact shows a lack of professional insight and makes this picture all the more haunting.

Posted in Children, Food, Health, Home

Are You Getting Enough Vegetables?

veggies for breakfastIt’s always been a challenge for me to incorporate enough vegetables into the family diet. I tell myself things like, There’s Tomato in the Pizza. My A&W Buddy Burger has Onions in it. I had Sweet Potato Fries.

I once served a homemade lasagna to a mother and her family and she asked me at the table, Where are the vegetables? Well, clearly there was tomato in the lasagna, and my homemade recipe has a whole package of spinach in it. But she was looking for a salad, I imagine. I didn’t serve the customary Caesar salad with the lasagna.

A friend of mine has a salad for lunch every day. I can’t seem to force myself to do that. I guess I’m still a picky eater, like when I was a kid. I know my mom worried about getting enough food into my stomach.

Back when I was a child there was not so much emphasis on a balanced diet. I had “Tomato Soup” out of a can and “Noodle Soup” out of a box for lunch regularly. Sometimes we had my favorite, “Campbell’s Vegetable Soup.” I didn’t mind the few vegetables floating around the alphabet noodles, which I loved–the bits of carrot, a couple of peas and the occasional lima bean.

I remember two things I liked when I was a kid, besides Alphabet Soup. Macaroni and cheese, and corn. That was until the day I ate too much of it.

I have to confess to having a constant level of anxiety over providing the right diet for my children when they were growing up. I tried a lot of things. For instance, I insisted on nutrients in my bread and refused to buy “white” bread. When I baked I used unbleached flour, and I added wholesome ingredients like raisins, or nuts, or oatmeal to cookies and cakes. I also made carrot cake or zucchini loaf for dessert. The kids loved these and never complained about the vegetables. When we had pizza, I sometimes sprinkled extra chopped red or green peppers and cheese on top. They never minded. And later I began to serve pizza with vegetables and dip…or no dip, just carrot and celery sticks, maybe broccoli or cucumber slices and peppers. I also made the obligatory Caesar salad with my lasagna!

We had a two spoon rule at our house. When the kids turned their noses up at a food, we would say they had to eat two spoonfuls. That way I was sure that at least they were ingesting some nutrition on a regular basis. I was always conscious of needing to get something substantial into their little tummies.

I know there are women out there who have got this, but I am not one of them. I am still very aware of the need to serve vegetables more regularly in our home. A green salad every day would be my ideal but here I sympathize with the children. Please, don’t force me.

One mother I knew when my children were little would certainly have aced the vegetable exam. She and her family had the rosy cheeks and bright eyes and clear skin to show for it. She religiously incorporated fresh vegetable salads into every lunch and dinner. From her I learned how easy it is to mix cucumbers, tomatoes and onions and add a bit of balsamic vinegar and oil, and, voila! A salad! This was a regular staple of hers.

When I go to my mom’s home the salad is often missing from the table. And this is true of my house too. But I’m doing something about it. Maybe not as regularly as I would like. I reassure myself by telling myself that everything counts. Today I cooked Butternut Squash Soup. The other week I made a Turkey Vegetable Soup. I recently added broccoli to my rice casserole which also has onions. It was delicious! Sometimes I even make a salad.

Breakfast can be another opportunity to sneak in vegetables. Mostly on weekends, I add sliced avocado or a grilled tomato to my breakfast of eggs and sausage or bacon, or fry a vegetable hash of potatoes (pre-cooked in the microwave), red and/or green peppers and of course onion. During the week I will sometimes eat leftovers for breakfast that contain vegetables.

There are days when I just start to fry an onion and then throw in some chopped vegetables, whatever I have in the house, to create a main or side dish. It always seems to turn out alright, whether I add celery and carrots, or broccoli and mushrooms, or zucchini. Eggplant, ochra and bitter melon don’t lend themselves quite so well to this method. But even shredded cabbage works!

I’ve also learned that it is relatively easy to grill vegetables. Simply brush them with oil and put them in the oven. I like to use my toaster oven. A few weeks ago I did this with brussel sprouts and they were amazing. Zucchini and asparagus work well too.

When I go to a restaurant I try and incorporate a salad into my meal. This is a time when I take advantage of having selection. Or, at the least, I will choose steamed vegetables with my main course. There is a place that serves an amazing grilled salmon salad with roasted asparagus and almonds. I have this regularly. Another thing we do is always order a vegetable dish when we have Chinese food.

I know how much better I feel if half of my food intake consists of vegetables, according to current dietary recommendations. I have not reached my ideal and I don’t know if I ever will. But, as I said, every bit counts. Even just two bites per meal.

 

Posted in Children, Home, Love, Marriage & Family

When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go to Bed

What do you do when the bedroom becomes a battleground where unpleasant scenes are reenacted nightly between you and your child? As you look at the clock and see the time approaching you begin to feel tense and anxious just thinking about the struggle ahead.

You have tried bribes. You have tried threats. You have made promises and you have withheld privileges. You have commanded and ordered, or maybe you have pleaded. You may even have resorted to some forms of physical punishment. Sometimes your methods work, but more often they don’t. You long for your child to simply go quietly and peacefully to bed every night at bedtime. It doesn’t seem that it should be such a difficult thing.

I wish I had a magic wand that I could use to sprinkle some sleep dust in the air and children would close their eyes and fall asleep with a smile on their faces. But alas, there is no such wand.ID-10057423

This is not an easy problem to solve or parents would have solved it. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I would like to share a few thoughts about what was helpful to me when I used to put our young children to bed.

When our children were young I would watch them very carefully and try and understand what was going on in their heads. Their little minds fascinated me. Often they surprised me by how insightful they were. They frequently expressed intelligence and understanding beyond their age. I saw that I could reason with them and they liked it when I explained things to them, like my reasons for wanting a certain kind of behaviour.

I treated them like little adults because I knew that one day they would be adults and I wanted to have a good relationship with them when that time came. But at the same time I was aware that they were little children with the specific needs of children, one of which was that they needed to be secure in my love for them.

The other day I was in a store where a little boy of about three touched something and it fell and made a clattering noise. The mother scolded him and when he started to cry she tried to console him by telling him she loved him. Something seemed incongruent to me about this and I have wondered about it since. I have concluded that our children do not need to be told so much as showed that we love them. It seemed to me it would have been better if the mother would have recognized all the emotions her son was experiencing and then addressed those. For one, he was startled. Secondly, he was afraid of the possible repercussions. Thirdly, he was sad that he had disappointed his mother. She might have said, “It’s alright darling. I know it was an accident. Let’s pick it up and put it back. Be a bit more careful next time.” This would have done a couple of things. It would have given him a way to “fix” his blunder and it would have assured him of his mother’s love because she was there to comfort him and help him in his time of distress.

When our children don’t go to bed easily, it can be helpful to understand what they are thinking and feeling. Going to bed means being away from mom and dad. It means being shut up alone in a room. It means missing out on things. Maybe the child even suspects that the parents want him out of the way so that they can do something fun without him around. There are a lot of reasons, maybe more than these, why they don’t want to go to bed.

My husband tells me about being put to bed at 6:00pm and being wide awake for hours in his room. To me there does not seem to be much point in putting a child to bed when he is not tired.

When our children were little I watched them to determine when they were tired enough to put to bed. Usually it was around 8:00 or 9:00pm. I could tell because they looked and acted tired–drooping eyes, more sluggish movements. Sometimes they became a bit cranky as well and then I’d say, “It looks like it’s bedtime. You sound like you’re tired.” They might try and impress me with their good behaviour a bit longer, but it didn’t last.

We had a bedtime routine. Some people have snacks and teeth brushing. I wasn’t big on either. We dressed them in their jammies, sometimes after a bath, and then sang a song or read a story and prayed with them and tucked them in. We might answer a few questions, linger at the door a little, then turn out the light.

I realized that there had to be a certain amount of willingness on my part to “linger.” It’s like they had an appetite that needed to be satisfied with my presence. If you know your child well, you will know when they are extending this time beyond reason. Sometimes I would lie down with them and chat a little bit. I might explain that I would stay with them for a little while. I did everything I could to make bedtime a pleasant experience.

If they came out of the room I would tell them firmly that it was bedtime and they needed to go back to sleep. I would let them get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom, whatever their excuse was, but in the back of my mind they were going to bed, after their particular routine. I knew where the line was and they eventually did too. We never bribed or made promises. We just laid out our reasonable expectations.

Bedtime is such a precious bonding time that I always tried to preserve the feeling of closeness as I put the children to bed. At the door I’d say, “Sleep well. See you in the morning. I love you.” They would snuggle in, their eyes sleepy, and I would smile at them and close the door, but not all the way. I wanted to be able to hear them and they still liked to feel connected.

Although the time of day that I put the children to bed might not always be consistent, depending on whether we had company or were doing something special, the routine was consistent, as well as the goal of making bedtime pleasant. A few extra snuggles, another story. A bit of conversation, until they felt secure. That was our way of helping our children make the adjustment at bedtime.

This is not a formula that will work for everyone. There were ingredients in my relationship with our children that made this effective in our home. The children were already trained to understand my boundaries. They were secure in my love. My husband and I were consistent in our parenting and they knew that we would stick together and stick by our word. I believe it was our word, and our love and understanding of them, that motivated them, not the anticipation of rewards or the fear of punishment.

Training a child for bedtime probably involves some parental training too. I had to ask myself, “Is it really so important that this child goes to bed now?” “Is he sleepy?” “How much sleep does he need to be rested in the morning?” If I just want him to go to bed so that I can do my thing, he will know this and I should not be surprised if he resists. Wouldn’t you?

I always wanted my children to feel that they were first in my life, but they had to recognize that I had a life as well. I could say, “Mommy needs some time to read now,” or, “I’m going to do some sewing.” That way they could picture what mommy was doing. My husband and I did quiet things after the children were in bed, so as not to distract them while they were falling asleep.

Parenting is challenging, but I believe the key is taking time and understanding your child so that you can appropriately meet their needs. Bedtime does not need to be a dreaded occurrence. With a little insight and planning it can be a very natural and pleasant closing to a day.

 

Photo credits: David Costillo Dominica/FreeDigitalPhotos