Cheering When Doing The Right Thing
We have consistently mentioned that one of the most important things in parenting is encouraging our children when they make the right choice. It is not enough to discipline when they do the wrong thing; we must show them that choosing to do the right thing is worth it. That way when they are older it will be instilled in them that making the right choices although hard sometimes is worth my time.
We do this by giving rewards for the right choice. It can even be as simple as verbal praise. In our house with our almost three year old this is something that, although sometimes hard to remember, is imperative to encouraging right behavior. It seems with this toddler and preschool phase it is easy to constantly be saying “no” or redirecting. I have to catch myself and make sure that I am going crazy with praise when he obeys, sometimes a happy dance or high fives are requested. It is important to get in the habit early of praising the right choice otherwise it is easy to get in the mentality of just expecting good behavior and not rewarding it.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.
From Conscience To Action
A great story that illustrates how we go from conscience to action can be found in the Bible.
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it? 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him. ”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Listen to today’s podcast for more on taking your children from conscience to action.
The Training Process
Conscience is knowing what’s right, then feeling the obligation to do what is right. That doesn’t come automatically, it must be taught or instilled. So the question is, how do I raise a kid of conscience? The training process has five parts.
First, we need to teach them that there is a right from wrong, or moral absolutes. Learning what is right and what is wrong comes from Truth. The Truth, it’s not situational. Right is right always. The same for wrong its wrong where ever it’s done, even if no one sees you.
Second, communicate with your child. Be there to be a sounding board and allow your child to process situations through with you.
Third, we need to set the example. Make sure to follow your conscience and express to your children when you do so.
Forth, give your child a framework in which to learn. A great way to start is teaching your child to say “I’m sorry” even if they don’t quite mean it. This teaches them when they do something wrong.
Fifth, we need to give them the experience of following their conscience. Even from a young age. Allow them to exercise their choice and then reward or consequence based on the outcome.
Listen to today’s podcast for more on the training process.
Start The Development In Your Child’s Heart
Webster’s Dictionary defines conscience as, “the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good.” The development of a consistent value system is the foundation for our decisions, for our sensitivity to what is right and what is wrong and for the feelings of those around us. The media has recently been barraging us with stories that show us why the development of a conscience is imperative. It seems scary that many of the children today are growing up with out a moral code. Simple things like cheating in school isn’t seen as wrong, to things like online bullying and even more horrific things like school shootings are all evidences of where are society is at.
Chuck Colson states, ““Most people believe the conscience is regulated by feelings. But it must be informed by objective moral truth. Our conscience needs to be trained, and failing to do so results in dire consequences. To see the cost open today’s newspapers.”
Those of us who have raise toddlers know that a conscience is not something that we are born with; it is something that is developed and nurtured. Check back this week for more on the training process.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.
Get Organized- Part 2
Here is a list of reminders for parents on how to consistently communicate positively to your child. It will also help you to maintain the balance of structure and relationship.
1. Listen to your child- make sure you are taking the time to listen to your child through the process of getting organized. Make sure to include them in the process. It is easy for many of us to get over excited about being about to take charge of our family and forget to listen to our child’s voice.
2. Be careful how you react. Stay calm.- Very important when your child is consistently hitting a wall. We need to remember that change is a gradual process. Remind yourself that it is about the process not the end result.
3. Be patient-A good reminder when you are feeling frustrated is to focus on the fact that they are children and not “mini adults”. They will make mistakes and have immature moments.
4. Give them active time-All children, but especially those with ADD/ADHD need time to blow of steam. Make sure that there is time allotted in your schedule for physical activity.
5. Find fun. There’s a huge need for laughter- Family should be about fun but it is especially important to choose fun when you are working through issues together. Make the time for crazy spontaneous fun.
6. The power of Touch and affection- The power of positive touch is amazing. It can communicate love and tenderness and is also vitally important when working through things as a family.
7. Find restorative time for you- Make sure as parents that you are finding time for yourself but also time to be together. Make sure to make your relationship with God as well as your marriage a priority.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on the topic of ADD/ADHD.
Get Organized- Part 1
A great list found on ADDitudemag.com for helping parents get organized and mobilized to help their child/family function with ADD/ADHD.
1. Give specific instructions. “Put away the toys on your carpet on the shelf in the closet.” Be consistent — if the toys are stored on the shelf one night, they should be put there every night. Children need to know precisely what you expect.
2. Assign tasks that your child is capable of doing on his own. Success builds confidence. The goal is to teach your child to do things independently.
3. Involve your child in discussions about rules and routines. It will help him understand goals and teach him to accept responsibility.
4. Write down routines as sequences of tasks (two to five items only), and post where easily visible (refrigerator, bathroom mirror). Review lists regularly with your child.
5. Be realistic about time. Make sure you’ve set aside enough time for the child to complete his homework, clear the dishes, and get out the door in the morning. If the original time frame is leaving you five minutes shy, add five minutes.
6. Expect gradual improvement. It takes time to change old habits and form new ones.
7. Praise effort — not just results. If your child set the table but forgot napkins, acknowledge that she’s trying. Reward good behavior more often than you punish bad.
8. Allow for free time in daily routines. Kids — and adults — need downtime.
9. If your child isn’t taking to the routine, seek help from a counselor who specializes in ADHD. A pro can help get you on track.
10. Stay focused on the long-term goals. Above all, don’t give up!
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on ADD/ADHD.
Isn’t ADHD Just An Excuse For A Lack Of Discipline?
A great response to this question was found in ADDitudeMag.com, by Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, M.D., who is a psychiatrist and a father of an ADHD child….
“The idea that willpower can solve all problems is as American as apple pie, but so are compassion, tolerance, and wisdom. Some people with diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can organize their lives to limit the effects of their disabilities. But some, no matter how hard they try, need insulin to break down sugar or medication to lower their blood pressure. We offer them support, and we do not blame them for their failure to “fix” themselves.
The same goes for ADHD.
Unfortunately, when it comes to brain disorders, such as ADHD, depression, or other neurological conditions, a harmful attitude creeps in: the belief that attention deficit disorder, and other disorders originating in the mind, reflect “bad character” and that all it takes is more willpower to overcome them.
As a psychiatrist, and also as the father of an ADHD child, I know how destructive this view is. Many people with depression suffer for years because they’ve tried to make themselves feel better, and they still can’t function. Coworkers and spouses become frustrated and blame the sufferer when attempts to “jolly” a person out of a depression don’t work. Their lack of understanding adds guilt and shame to the long list of problems that depressed people cope with.
My son could not will himself to not have ADHD. Trying to get him to change his ADHD behaviors didn’t work. And had we stopped at that, his life would have been marked by frustration and failure. Without proper medical, psychological, and educational interventions, no amount of willpower could have helped. Fortunately, our continued interventions have enabled our son to shape his own destiny and experience many successes.
Challenges remain, and he’s needed our support—not our demands—to overcome them. We didn’t want our son to experience the fate of earlier generations of ADHD kids who didn’t have the benefits of new knowledge and better science.”
For more insight on the topic of ADD/ADHD listen to today’s podcast.
Mom Is Key
Children with ADD/ADHD have a very difficult time maintaining focus on things that do not interest them. This can become very frustrating to parents when they see their child get very focused for a long period of time over a video game or some other hobby but are unable to maintain that focus when it comes to homework or chores. Parents need to keep in mind for a child who is truly ADD/ADHD it is not willful disobedience.
Where parents can come in to help is by providing consistent rewards for an area that may be difficult for a child to self motivate. Something such as homework is a good area to start. Something like offering a small reward such as a snack for a subject completed or an allotted amount of time worked is all that may be needed to motivate the child to focus. Start with small chunks of time worked and slowly work to more as your child does better focusing.
For more on this topic listen to today’s podcast.
ADD/ADHD seems to be something that many parents have questions about because it is so prevalent in today’s society, to the point where many parents worry about their children unnecessarily. It appears that currently only 3-5% of children truly suffer from ADD/ADHD. The characteristics of ADD/ADHD are impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. The problem is many parents with toddlers can attest to theses characteristics showing up frequently. So we must ask when does it become a problem? There are several factors that can cause this in young children, everything from lack of sleep, diet, or even over stimulation. So we as parents need to ask ourselves a few questions to determine whether or not this is something that we need to take more seriously.
Is the behavior I observe in my child similar to that of other children he encounters?
Is the behavior I expect of my child developmentally appropriate?
Do I see a pattern of behavior when my child engages in various activities?
Do I see a pattern of behavior in various settings?
It may even help to ask the perspective of another objective adult such as a teacher.
For more on this topic listen to today’s podcast.