Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hitting, kicking, & biting

If that is something that is frustrating you as well, here are a few ideas and resources.

First, we can do a variety of things to try to prevent hitting.

  • We can provide lots of positive attention when the child is behaving appropriately.
  • We can spend periods of the day giving the child our full attention (that usually means NO CELL PHONES OR TELEVISIONS!). Set a timer if that helps you.
  • We can identify what we are trying to teach, so that we know what our goal is. We can use 5 positives for every one negative. We can say what we DO want more than what we DON'T want.
  • We can distract. Redirect. Ignore the little things. Give lots of specific praise for the good things.

    Secondly, when a child hits we can provide natural consequences with sadness and very few words. Even though it's hard, it's better to let our calm actions (such as simply removing the child from the room) speak louder than our words. Take a deep breath. Yelling or punishment may help the adults to feel better for a moment, but in the long room we need to ask ourselves if we are teaching what we want to be teaching. If children learn by example and we are hitting them in our anger, what are we teaching?

    When I searched the Love & Logic site (another one of my favorite sources for behavior help) to see what they had to say about hitting, here's what I found:
    Handling Sibling Rivalry
    Just about every family with more than one child experiences sibling rivalry. If your kids ever argue with each other, complain about each other, or tussle a bit, it means that they are normal. Listed below are some tips for saving your sanity and turning sibling rivalry into a wonderful learning opportunity for your kids:

  • Stay out of the problem whenever possible. Avoid teaching your children that fighting with each other is a good way to get your attention.
  • Say to them, “It looks like you guys have a problem that you need to solve. I’ll be happy to give you some suggestions about solving this problem when both of you are calm."
  • Separate them if necessary.
  • If your kids continue to hassle your eyes and ears with fighting, say, “I’m going to have to do something about this. We’ll talk when everyone is calm.”
  • Expect them to replace the energy they drained out of you by doing extra chores, hiring a babysitter so that you can go out and relax, staying home instead of being driven to their friend’s houses, etc.

  • Next, we want to remember that emotions are something that we all have. Every one of us sometimes is happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes frustrated. And we all need to remember to identify our emotions and to think of appropriate ways to deal with them. We can practice saying, "I feel sad because I miss my friend. When I feel sad it helps me if I ask for a hug or take a break or drink some tea/coffee (or for a child, if I get my favorite teddy bear or blanket)." For our children, we can read books about emotions and social skills. We can look at faces in books or magazines and talk about what emotions the people are showing. I also love a song called "When I Feel Mad" that talks about different things that we can do when we feel mad.

    Lastly, we want to remember that just because our children have tantrums does not mean that we are bad parents.
    “You could be totally committed to your child from the moment of birth. You could read all the best parenting books. You could take parenting classes. You could do absolutely everything right. In fact, you could be a truly magnificent, spectacular, utterly faultless saint, and your child would still misbehave. The truth is all children misbehave. All children make mistakes. All children will whine, fuss, and have temper tantrums. This is true because all children are human beings - young, inexperienced, naive human beings. And to be human is to be fallible - to make mistakes, to make poor decisions, and, hopefully, to learn from these....

    “It is our duty and privilege to love our children and to guide and direct them, to be committed to them, and to be devoted to parenting them in the best way we can. And it is our duty to understand that our children are perfect - a realistic, human perfection that allows for mistakes and misbehavior along the way to growth and development. These mistakes are necessary to ensure that learning and growth take place, and that is the beauty of parenting. Our children to not have to be flawless to receive our unconditional love and support” (Pantley, 2007, p. 9).

    For more information:

  • Elizabeth Pantley has a great article about strategies to use when a child hits, bites, etc.
  • Elizabeth Pantley also has an article discussing the issue of spanking.
  • Love & Logic
  • Pantley, E. (2007). The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Monday, September 3, 2012


    I just wanted to post a list of resources that have made a difference to me

    in my life

  • for reducing chaos
  • for reducing perfectionism (iTunes)

    in my healing
  • for learning to deal with my imperfections and flaws
  • for continuing to have hope even when evil wins out in the short term (iTunes)
  • for remembering that God is good all the time—even when He lets bad things happen to us (Beth Moore study—see session 3) - This was a huge difficulty for me, because I really previously thought that if I just loved God enough and behaved good enough, then He would protect me and things would always go my way. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
  • for seeing the good in the pain (iTunes) - Wait. Good in pain? Isn't that a contradiction?
  • for reminding me that I can be thankful IN all things even if I can't be thankful FOR all things
  • for helping me to have hope for salvation for our son, even though he was just an infant when he died
  • for helping me to consider that heaven really IS for real... and what it might be like

    in my marriage
  • for learning to see my husband as he is - my lover who needs my unconditional respect, as well as my love
  • Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    On the anniversary of Timmy's passing...

    Today our son has been gone from this life for 3 years. If he were still alive, he would be almost 4.5 years old.

    In honor of this anniversary, I wanted to re-post the letter that we sent out to friends when Timmy got his diagnosis. I think that it is just as true today as it was back then. This letter was first sent out on June 20, 2008. Timmy passed away on January 10, 2009.

    Dear friends,

    Thank you for your prayers for our son. Timmy has been diagnosed with a genetic condition called Leigh's Disease or Leigh's Syndrome. In the short term Timmy is a healthy, growing boy. However, if the doctors are correct in their diagnosis, the long-term outlook is pretty bad. It's a progressive disorder, and while there are rare cases of kids living to be teenagers, most do not live longer than a few years.

    We have been hesitating to talk about the diagnosis very much because as we move forward, it will be very important for Timmy's sake that we all focus on loving him and showing him Jesus' love and helping him to be healthy, rather than focusing on the stress and the difficulty and the potential that he might not make it. Those little ears are listening and the little eyes are observing all that is going on around him. He may be delayed, but he is not dumb. He knows that there is something going on, and we need to do our best to encourage faith, hope, and love rather than fear, uncertainty and doubt. Otherwise, his eating and his sleeping just really decline and that makes Mama stressed, which makes the eating and the sleeping even worse! And if he's not eating and sleeping well, that puts his health in more danger. I acknowledge that this is a horrible, awful thing to go through and our hearts are broken, but he's still our Timmy and for right now, he's still very healthy.

    Also, please keep in mind that this disease is unpredictable and our God is All Powerful. As I spoke with some of the nurses about my grief, a couple of them shared some very poignant stories with me.

    The nurse who was with Timmy throughout the second MRI test shared with me about a patient he had been caring for who had a very bad lung condition. It got to the end and the family decided on a date to pull the plug. When that day came, they did a lung scan and found that his lungs were completely clean. They thought that there must have been a mistake and that the charts had somehow been switched. But when they re-tested him, it was really true that his lungs were clean! So this nurse encouraged me that sometimes Jesus does miracles.

    Another nurse friend of mine shared that sometimes as she has been with her patients when they died, she believes that Jesus personally came to escort them to the Father. She said that one of her patients screamed the way that she did when she saw an unknown person in the room, even though no one was physically there. And with other patients, my nurse friend noticed a real sense of peace in the room.

    So for my Timmy I think that Jesus is either going to heal his little body either directly or by helping scientists find a cure for this awful disease, or else He will come to escort my little boy into the presence of the Father. And either way, there is hope.

    Lately there is a song that keeps going through my head, so I finally looked up the lyrics. The chorus goes like this:

    One day at a time sweet Jesus
    That's all I'm asking from you
    Just give me the strength
    To do everyday what I have to do
    Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
    And tomorrow may never be mine
    Lord help me today, show me the way
    One day at a time

    With hope,
    Lara for the Elfstrands