The following was my response to an enquiry about a child who doesn’t know what to write during the writing part of the homeschool day.
Even though we don’t yet know the exact details (always best to find them out because each situation is different), I will throw out some additional thoughts to the excellent stuff several of you have posted.
In The Writing Course we explain how we can always write because everything reminds us of something. When kids don’t write it is almost always an issue of fear or control…not an issue of writing. If a child knows that he is just trying to write OK, and he knows that he can’t really think up what he is going to write before he writes it (this is in the course too), then all that is left is to learn how to make use of his own mind’s ability to associate. I show them how to use their own name.
I’ll use my middle name RAY (yes, I am Fred Ray…hey…born in Alabama) and come up with three words:
R – rollercoaster
A – airplane
Y – yarn
So, all I’ll do is start writing something OK involving those things.
Petula was always scared of rollercoasters. Even when she flew over the County Fair in her uncle Ceadric’s airplane and the rollercoaster looked very small and safe, she just couldn’t remember that feeling when she got near the ticket booth. Today was different. She was going to conquer the rollercoaster! Maybe it was the way the kitten played with the yarn, she couldn’t really say. But, she did notice that the kitten fell off the counter three times. After each fall it just climbed up again to win the prize. “If Tinker can keep trying for a ball of yarn,” Petula said in a squinted whisper, “Then I can ride a silly rollercoaster.” With that she grabbed her uncle’s hand and walked toward the booth holding a paper dollar she had gotten from her Hannah Montana wallet.
Well, you get the point. At the very least (if a child doesn’t know what to write) have him:
1. Do copy work (that will eventually motivate him to make up something more fun)
2. Write a description of something outside the window or of a couple of items in the refrigerator.
3. Use some of the other ideas mentioned in this group
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?
Have you notice how traveling with children can have a few low points? In particular, we’ve all experienced “ARE WE THERE YET?” from the back seat! Well, we stumbled on a simply cure and thought you might find this to be a help!
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:
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.