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Consistent as a Parent? Ha!

From my book…The Absolute Quickest Way to Help Your Child Change I have a problem with being consistent, and sometimes it’s just because I am too tired. How can I overcome this problem?

Inconsistency and tiredness are usually a sign that your child or children are somewhat “out of control.” I don’t mean that we as parents don’t get tired, but if the state is constant exhaustion, then something surely is wrong. Consistency usually comes when both parents participate in the child training process. With both parents, you are able to keep one another encouraged and accountable. Usually, the problem of staying consistent comes from a parent who is too consumed with meeting the child’s needs and making sure the child “likes” him or her. One of my professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Howard Hendricks, has often said,“When you do something for someone when he can do it for himself, then you make an emotional cripple of him: Chances are, unfortunately, that if you are inconsistent, you are somehow being encouraged to be inconsistent and the real learning you (and they) need isn’t happening.

Remember, if you see it, it is encouraged. The best idea I have for consistency is for you to take the Four Magic Questions and apply them to your inconsistency. You may find a very simple solution such as telling your children that every time they get you to do something for them that they can do themselves, you will give them a dollar bill. I suspect, unless you think so little of money, that you will change your consistency problem rapidly.

So…what are your thoughts on Consistency?

Fred

 

 

The Danger and Goodness of the Internet for Your Children

Well, what do you think?  Is Rosemond overstating it?

“To me letting a child use the Internet unsupervised is akin to letting a child walk thru the red light district in Amsterdam without a guardian,” explained Rosemond.  “It’s a very, very dangerous thing.” -John Rosemond http://www.live5news.com/story/14685559/parenting-expert-talks-about-facebook

Well yes, it is dangerous.  There are lurking charlatans and obsessive addictions just waiting to happen.  And yet, a wealth of knowledge is also at our fingertips.  We can connect with old friends…or wind up rekindling an old romance into a destructive affair.  We can save money or lose a fortune.

In my years of pastoral counseling, I have seen it all (I really think so…from the psychotic to the sublime); consistently, there are people who have not found the simple fact that if you make no provision for the “flesh.”  They don’t know the power of avoiding a situation…the power of admitting you are not strong enough to resist.  For example, I’m not strong enough to resist chips in the home.  Yes, we have them, but Jody does not keep a constant supply on hand.  If they were here all the time, I’d eat them all the time.  Sorry, it’s just a fact (you know…the salt, the crunch, the dipping!!!).

Well, join the reality of the dangers of the internet.  The fact is that you just need to stay away from the stuff that isn’t good for you.  Get over the silliness of thinking you should be stronger.  You are not.

Now, doesn’t that turn out to be twice as true for the kids?  Yes, they need discernment and wisdom, but that will grow over time.  Our simple solution was to trust the least-tempted-by-the-internet soul in our home; Jody!  In researching it though, we concluded that an internet filter was the way to go.  We decided on SafeEyes and have found nothing but good things (speed is unaffected and the customer support has been exceptional).  Frankly, I don’t care which you use…but I do say, “Use something.”  Basically, with 5 men in the household, our answer became easy.  Jody is the only one who knows the “password.”  Yes, if I get a site blocked that I need, then I ask her to log me in to use it.  What an easy way for me to show some humility (and honesty) about the dangers.  What an easy way for me to not have to think about looking at something tantalizing.  Life is too short and the consequences are too lasting.

If you have gotten into trouble or need help, please check out my friend Jonathan Daugherty’s website @ www.bebroken.com

In the meantime, don’t run; use the internet for good.  Redeem it, but respect it.

 

Peace,

Fred Lybrand

Get Safe Eyes Parental Control Software – One price for three computers!

The God of Genetics: Can You Teach Right vs. Wrong?

So, the logic goes like this—

You can’t really influence your kids, it’s all genetics…so have more and enjoy them!

A new book by Bryan Caplan is well-intentioned; he wants parents to lighten up, have more kids and enjoy the ride (because you aren’t in control).

Here are a few excerpts from Caplan’s book:

All of those “life lessons” we teach our kids? Don’t really matter, says Bryan Caplan.

All those talks about morality, and right versus wrong? Again, Caplan says, doesn’t really swing the pendulum either way.

“The idea that it’s the way that we are raising our kids that causes them to resemble their parents is mostly an illusion. Again, if no child was adopted, it would be hard to tell this.”

Caplan believes we as parents spend too much time worrying, fretting, and picking apart our parenting styles. He advises us to relax, be selfish, have more kids, enjoy them, and enjoy the ride.

“I cannot responsibly offer any guarantees, but still, the odds are good that your child is going to turn out to be just like you when he grows up.”

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/parenting&id=8146447

Of course, it is a silly proposition that is simply fatalistic.  Genetics is an influence, but it isn’t a god.  Environment is an influence, but it isn’t a god either.  Caplan say that no one challenges him with data (he has flawed twin studies in his back pocket as proof.

I’ll say I’m proof.  I come from generations of alcoholics on both sides of my family…but I am not an alcoholic.  Oh…it could be a recessive non-alcoholic gene!  We had 5 children who slept through the night from 6 weeks old and onward…5 in a row (what are the genetic odds?).  You see, this is called unfalsifiable position, which means there is no way to prove it wrong.  Of course, if you can’t prove it wrong, you can’t prove it right.  It is easy to find credible sources challenging the validity in the twin studies: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=A0BDE8276F7814C3B660A475D5CACCCA.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=31667 .

In a way it is like Skinnerism– You have no control, no real will, no influence, and no learning.  The Scriptures wouldn’t support it, nor does philosophy, or common sense.  It seems the nature of humankind is to seek out and find excuses.  If you are a victim then you must be a victim….but before you laugh at Caplan, how about what we do say about IQ and alcoholism, and ADHD.  Are we really without choice?

Caplan wants to let parents “off the hook” by realizing they have far less influence than they think (and can take less credit).  Of course, he is stripping credit from the individual for life choices.  Moreover, following his premise…not much you can do about people at work either (or your cell-mate in prison).  You get the point.

What a destructive idea in parenting…in one moment of deifying the human gene, we disempower both parents and children.  Not me.

The Bible puts it this way:
…a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.  (Proverbs 29:15b)

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. (Proverbs 29:17)

 

I’d love to here your thoughts…and share this…let’s have a conversation,

Dr. Fred Lybrand

 

Do You Have the Right Goal in Mind for Your Children?

What is your goal for schooling? For parenting? For your children?

Whether public, private, or home— everyone has some goal or goals in mind. Maybe you call them ‘hopes’, but it’s still the same idea. Frankly, getting clarity on your goal helps dramatically in your decision-making. Here are the options:

1. You want to help your child (children) be competitive and prepared for the world he/she/they will enter.

2. You want to help your child excel in the world he/she/they will enter.

Frankly, I think both of these are noble. The reason you might pick #1 over #2 is that you are on the cutting edge of generations of folks who were not ‘academic’. In my own family, my Dad and his brother were the first college graduates ever (I think…at least in the America part of the story). They were cutting a path for us in a new territory. Another reason you might choose #1 is that your child may have special challenges that simply make being at the ‘top of the class / business / organization’ very unlikely, so you are realistic.

And yet, we need a new generation of morally straight leaders who are in pursuit of excellence. The solution comes with one’s talents. No matter who or what…almost no one doesn’t do at least one thing better than 10,000 others. Find that thing as you watch and love your children. Their talent is their ticket (and it is, in part, the reason God put them on the planet).

So, academically, at least become sufficiently educated in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic (yes, that is what it takes)so they will know how to learn. But, personally, aspire to stretch them toward their strengths.

My friend Bob Tebow has a son (Timmy…Denver Broncos), who has embodied this in his pursuit of excellence. He is at practice earlier and stays later than anyone else. He isn’t trying to prove something, he is trying to accomplish something.

Get after it with your own children! Stretch and challenge those guys and girls…they will love you for it (maybe a long time from now). Here’s the easiest goal of all to have:

“I want my children to out-do me in every way”

Now, that is a goal of vision and humility! Of course, there is a final word of caution— it is their life to live, not your’s to be lived through them!

So…what are your thoughts about goals for your children?

God bless,

 

Fred Lybrand

www.advanced-writing-resources.com

P.S.  Nice video explaining what I mean about Tim Tebow: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/index.html?test=faces#/v/969875443001/tim-tebow-on-hannity/?playlist_id=86924

Why the Stork, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Dumb Down Our Children

Could harmless lies make our children dumber? Here are a couple of thoughts by Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller’s teacher) worth reflection:

I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think.

It’s a great mistake, I think, to put children off with falsehoods and nonsense, when their growing powers of observation and discrimination excite in them a desire to know about things.

I am no authority on Anne Sullivan, but she certainly hits the nail with her head on these two points. The whole notion that children must be taught to think is at the core of socialization theories, Rousseau, Dewey, and the Tabula Rasa (blank slate—see Ibn Sīnā the Islamic Scholar) silliness that has soaked deep into the concrete floor of modern educational thought and practice.

Did you know that about 20% of children can learn to read even if you don’t teach them? Have you noticed how kids usually know more about operating the computer than their parents? Did you know that ‘sign language’ was entirely invented by the kids who used it (not the parents who first learned to use the manual alphabet with there children)?

Children need to be challenged and fed…but that doesn’t mean coddled and spoon-served pablum for their entire lifetime. Children are first and foremost learners. If you will grasp this as a ‘given’ then the entire nature of how you might teach and interact with them is transformed.

Of course, Anne Sullivan’s second point is quite telling as well. How often do we season our children with falsehoods and nonsense. Seriously, just think of some of the things we all do? Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Stork, and the Tooth Fairy are all such falsehoods.  Now, before you get upset (or overly happy), please know that I see nothing wrong with pretending and playing games with our kids. Pretending, however, means everyone gets what we are playing (like a tea party without tea).  We play along, but we are also in on the gag.

The Lybrand “Tooth Fairy” was kind of crazy!  We never wanted to make our kids feel bizarre compared to their friends, but we also didn’t want to treat them as though they were mindless simpletons who could not think for themselves. So, our Tooth Fairy would always give a little money along with a variety of other items (jacks, small toys, a plastic lizard, etc.). They were always more interested in the stuff than the money! Also, they ‘knew’ the game, and had loads of fun getting rid of their baby teeth.

There just isn’t much of a reason to ever lie to our children…even about death, sex, and taxes. HOWEVER, you don’t have to tell them everything you know about the subject. Especially in your home, you are going to have many opportunities to clarify and expound on things (especially sex).

But why does promoting Santa and the Stork make our children dumber? Why could telling falsehoods hurt? The answer is found in Sullivan’s phrase, “when their growing powers of observation and discrimination excite in them a desire to know about things.”  Teaching is in part about cultivating this desire to know though observation and discrimination.  Imagine a child having a worldview built on falsehoods that don’t match reality (Santa funding all the toys and getting to every house in one evening…quite and economic & time-space-continuum issue) knocked down again and again. You may not think it is much, but we know how lives get distorted (denial) through the pain of growing up in a dysfunctional, especially alcoholic, home. Why would we ever surmise teaching our children anything other than understanding the truth of things is a good idea?

If I had time here I’d speculate on the current economic crisis and how we keep looking for Santa to save the day.  Sometimes, fairly, the political world needs to be called out on there own fairytale rhetoric. A few encouraged kids could grow up to observe, discern, and offer some leadership with the jacket of Truth smartly tailored and worn well— ready for work.

In the meantime with your own children and students, please consider aiming for the truth. They are smart and know it anyway (or will find out soon) that you have been fibbing. When need a brave generation that is hard to trick. I’m guessing this training could begin at home.

Blessings,

 

Fred Lybrand

P.S. By the way, we did direct our children NOT to tell their friends ‘the truth’ about various things other families practiced. It isn’t our business to straighten out other families ;-)…and it shouldn’t be yours either!

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Shock News: Permissive Parenting Can be Harmful

Well, it really is shock news to some folks out there.  What an amazing world we live in where we have to be reminded that children both need, and appreciate, boundaries.  Stacy Hawkins Adams give us some good thoughts about this very point concerning teens (youth) and the s__ topic.  Here’s her article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Permissive Parenting Can be Harmful

Of course, you don’t have to read the article to start making sense of the issue [the original article has disappeared, but I liked this one as well. Point #10 talks about being your child’s ‘best friend’ as it relates to permissiveness & is pretty much spot on!].  How often have we found folks in our own anecdotal experience to have simply yielded-to-and-indulged to a point that the child grows up to demand the entire world indulge him or her?

The truth is, we can be spoiled as human beings (we can also be horrible over-controlled as well…but a counter-excess isn’t the answer to an excess).  In fact, this is a nice way to think about it:

How would you go about spoiling a person?

Hyper-permissive theories actually have no way to deal with the notion of spoiling a child; they sort of think you ‘can’t really spoil’ a child.  And yet, haven’t we seen children who are simply rude and disrespectful toward others… awfully demanding their own way in the moment?  Is this your child?

Life, as it turns out, takes you on a field trip for what you don’t learn at home.  As a result, not mentoring your child to interact properly with others is actually a kind of abuse (in my way of thinking).  How will it be someday when an employer tells the little darling, “No.”  Will your child pitch a fit?  Will he plot against the boss?

It is clear that human beings are naturally self-interested, but there is something misguided when we become self-absorbed.  The culture these days (and the parenting mistakes it escorts) is largely against the use of the word NO.  And yet, the studies are relentless in showing the importance of developing self-restraint and health when NO is a part of the conversation.  Children have to learn lots of things…sharing, waiting, and cooperating are all a part of the material.  Especially waiting (in many ways) for the commitment of marriage is strategic for healthy families.

Here’s a simple exercise that could make a difference:

1.  Think about how you would intentionally TRY to spoil a child.

2.  Ask yourself if you are doing any of these things…

3.  Courageously ask your friends and family their opinions of your parenting.

These things will give you feedback (they may be wrong 🙂 that you can use to consider in improving your own approach to parenting.

Remember…the goal is to grow up a happy adult…it isn’t to try to make a child happy all the time.

As one comment says in the article above… “I’m tired of parents not parenting, but instead trying to be their child’s best friend.”  Oddly enough, that turns out to be a serious issue.  Perhaps will look at it in more detail soon.

Blessings,

 

Fred Lybrand