This week’s 4 Moms topic is Q&A. Specifically, that means your Q’s, and my A’s, although it might be fun to reverse that every now and then.
I asked on Facebook Wednesday afternoon what you wanted to know, and here are the questions I received:
Q. I want to know about your kids and the Bible…not sure exactly what, but wondering about them and reading/understanding/applying.
Most of our children who can read well have read the Bible at least once on their own. The teens have all read it several times. While we don’t always read together, the Bible is a constant foundation in how we see the world, analyze issues, and develop our own opinions and positions. It is a part of nearly any discussion that arises, from firearms to family, parenting to politics, history to health, books to birth control, discipline to demographics.
I apologize for the abundance of alliteration, but when the Bible is connected to everything, the possibilities are positively panoptic.
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We’ve come up with a creative solution for those who already bought the ebook but wish they had waited for the Kindle, and we have a treat for those who
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Now we return to our regularly scheduled 4 Moms post.
Q. Courtship! What model of dating/courtship did you and your husband follow and what do y’all desire for your children.
I shared the story of how Perry and I met in Boy Meets Girl. While it was far from traditional dating, I don’t think it was exactly courtship either although it was our parents’ idea long before we thought of it. We learned much from our own experience and hope to do things a little differently with our children, but we’ll have to see what situations and possibilities God lays before us.
Our greatest desire is to protect them from temptation as they seek to live their lives for God’s glory. We want to help them find spouses without “practicing divorce” by having a series of romantic interests or relationships.
In our ideal scenario, a family friend whom we have known over time will express an interest in one of our daughters. Because we know him and possibly his family very well, we will know whether this is a good idea and will have a good idea of whether he is ready for marriage, how his strengths and weaknesses might complement those of the daughter in question, etc. If he is ready and we consider our daughter to be ready, we would present the idea to our daughter. If she liked the possibility, we would encourage him to spend more time in our home, her in his family’s home, and our two families together. We would make an active effort to get know him more and let them get to know each other on a more personal level. Soon, we would hope to know if the two are compatible and want to get married. This would be something of a joint decision that we hope both sets of parents and both young people and even their pastor(s) would all agree upon. If so, engagement would be short and sweet – just long enough to plan a wedding. Then they would live happily ever after.
Of course we can’t count on everything fitting neatly into our ideal scenario and there are endless possible variations that could work just as nicely, but it’s good to have a plan from which to start, don’t you think?
Q. How do you cover the dental bills?
We have a group policy with United Healthcare through Perry’s employer, but I just got an online quote and it looks like our policy only costs about 25% more when you purchase as an individual. Unlike medical insurance, dental insurance is quite affordable and an excellent investment if you’re the type to have regular cleanings, x-rays, etc. The price of the policy we use doesn’t change for a big family even though there are proportionately more claims, and I feel confident that UH is losing money on us. From our side, that’s good.
Since I have had a propensity to cavities all my life (and a couple of the kids seem to have inherited my weak enamel) we do regular cleanings, sealants, etc. for the entire family and it all costs very little out of pocket aside from our monthly premium.
Recently we’ve become aware of the idea that teeth, like the rest of the body, may be capable of healing, but this is entirely new territory and we’re far from giving up our semiannual cleanings. We haven’t really even begun to look into it, although I know that the name Weston A. Price comes up a lot when people are discussing these things. What do you think of the theory? Sensible, quackery, or are you withholding judgment until you know more?
Q. How do you deal with squabbles between the older kids and the younger kids. There’s 10 years between my 2 and big brother gets fed up with little brother following him around and talking so much.
I would be really curious to hear my kids’ view of this and see how it matches up with my view of what I do.
I think I try to stay out as much as possible, encouraging them to settle disputes peacefully and patiently, especially when it’s older ones complaining about younger ones. They all remember being the little ones who wanted to tag along with older children, and I try to remind them while little ones may sometimes seem like an annoyance, the best way to help them become less annoying is to include them and give them every possible chance to hone their immature social skills. Too often “annoying” little kids are simply little kids left to their own foolishness and immaturity, instead of being influenced by the older people in their lives.
I also remind them to treat the little ones as they would want to be treated. Would they like it if I just told them to go away and leave me alone? Wouldn’t it hurt their feelings if I acted as if I didn’t enjoy or appreciate their company, or if I had no interest in what they wanted to tell me?
Finally, when the older ones have company or a special reason that it might be best for the little ones to be scarce (a new calligraphy set, for example), I simply tell the little ones that it’s time to let the older one(s) have some private time. When an older one wants to be left alone constantly and wants nothing to do with younger ones, that can signal a problem, but as long as a person is kind about it and uses the privilege sparingly, there’s nothing wrong with a little private time.
Q. How much do you step in when your kids bicker?
When it comes to bickering among peers, again trying to stay out of the dispute and encourage them to settle it peacefully. This time, though, my line is a little different:
“Are you sure you want me to help settle this?” Imagine me saying that in a slow, ominous voice.
If 2 older children can’t settle a dispute over a piece of clothing or whose turn it is to use the computer or who should clean up the lotion that somebody left out and the toddler spilled on somebody else’s bed, I’m creative. I can always come up with a quick and easy solution that will encourage them to seek a peaceful resolution next time.
Q. Have you ever had a child who didn’t want to be homeschooled? If so how did you address it?
As 2nd generation homeschoolers with a wide circle of homeschooling friends and acquaintances, we managed to thoroughly indoctrinate our children against institutionalized government schooling from a very young age.
We teach our children from an early age to understand that there is no such thing as neutrality in education. All education is intrinsically religious, because in order to impart knowledge we must first decide what we know and how we know it. The source of that definition tells who your god is – or who an institution’s god is. There may be Christian teachers inside the system, but they do not have the freedom to change the nature of the system itself.
If this seems harsh, I recommend watching Indoctrination: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America.
Q. How many kids have you had in diapers at once? The DHM has shared she once had 3. I have had 3 for a while, as well, but 2 full-time, and 1 at night.
I’ve had it easy. If you count nighttime, I almost had 3 in diapers at one point, but have never actually had more than 2. I’ve also never had one baby potty trained before the next came along, so I’ve been doing diapers constantly for almost 19 years – not to mention helping with my siblings’ diapers for about 11 years before that.
My older children help a lot with diapers now, but nevertheless I estimate that I have personally changed well over 40,000 diapers on my own children. That’s most or all of the first 6 children, plus half of the last 4 children, based on potty training at 28 months, nighttime dryness at 3yo, and a very conservative estimate of 6 diapers/day – accurate for a toddler or an older baby, but very low for a younger baby. We could probably bump the guess to 50,000 and still be in safe territory.
Q. How do you handle a child screaming/yelling NO! after being disciplined?! (spanked) Spank more or wait for “sincere” restitution?
The 4 Moms have posted in the past about parenting styles, and you might find it helpful to have several viewpoints on the subject, but here is my reaction to the specific situation you described: Yelling “NO!” sounds like outright rebellion and a sure indication that you are not done disciplining yet. That doesn’t necessarily mean more swats (though it certainly could) but the goal of discipline is repentance and reconciliation, and it’s clear that we aren’t there yet if our children are angry.
But anger can have more than one cause, and it helps to get at the root of it.
If a child is angry, often they feel that the discipline was unwarranted or undeserved. It may be helpful to review their sin and why they are being corrected. Do they understand how they violated God’s law, and a parent’s duty to raise up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? Do they understand that they didn’t simply make you mad; they disobeyed God when He said, “Honor thy parents” (or whatever commandment they broke)?
They also need to understand forgiveness. Depending on the circumstances, hardness often disappears when they are required to go to the one they offended and ask forgiveness. Sometimes an angry attitude comes from believing that others are angry at them.
If you are dealing with a very young one, the rules are still the same though the reasoning may need to be taken down a level. I might tell a recalcitrant toddler, “Don’t be mad at Mom. You obey.” Then I might follow up with another swat if I still see a bad attitude.
Every child is different, and I can’t begin to tell you how to discipline yours, of course – and again, not all discipline is spanking. The goal is to shepherd their hearts, not just achieve outward compliance, and for that they must be on the same page with you. Anger means they are not.
Here’s what the other 3 moms say:
Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:
- April 26 - Homeschooling through chronic illness and pregnancy
- April 12 - 4 Moms: Tithing and saving on one income
- April 5 - 4 Moms: finding time/ideas for blogging
- March 29 - 4 Moms: Making Time to Manage the Budget
- March 22 - 4 Moms Q&A: Shoes for 12, snack rules, doing it all