Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category
Possibly the worst parenting book ever written, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, might also be the easiest way for unsuspecting Christian parents to find themselves facing prison time. That is what is happening in Washington state to Larry and Carri Williams who were sentenced to maximum sentences for murder after being found guilty of starving and beating their adopted daughter.
Ignore the happy child smiling and playing carefree on that cover of To Train Up A Child. Contained within the covers of that horrific tome are the following parenting tips like these (taken from the article quoted above):
- Using plastic tubing to beat children, since it is “too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone”
- Wearing the plastic tubing around the parent’s neck as a constant reminder to obey
- “Swatting” babies as young as six months old with instruments such as “a 12-inch willowy branch,” thinner plastic tubing or a wooden spoon
- “Blanket training” babies by hitting them with an instrument if they try to crawl off a blanket on the floor
- Beating older children with rulers, paddles, belts and larger tree branches
- “Training” children with pain before they even disobey, in order to teach total obedience
- Giving cold water baths, putting children outside in cold weather and withholding meals as discipline
- Hosing off children who have potty training accidents
- Inflicting punishment until a child is “without breath to complain
I’m not going to tell you whether you should spank your child or not. But I am going to strongly suggest that sitting your six-month old baby on a blanket and smacking him if he moves off it is a big red sign of a sadistic and abusive personality. That is not normal parenting. That is abnormal control.
Parenting means we get our children to behave well at home and in public and come into adulthood as reasonably well-functioning adults. It is not to create meek and submissive creatures who respond to our every command and bidding. How would they exist? How would they leave? How would they function on their own?
Baths with cold water on purpose, withholding food, and putting kids outside in the cold are methods of torture, not parenting. If you find yourself doing any of these things, seek help immediately. There are people and places who will help you.
The sad thing is that the Pearls are making millions of dollars selling this “Christian” parenting book that advocates child abuse. If we’ve learned nothing of late, it is that “Christian” is often just another adjective meant to deceive us into believing that something bad is really good. Maybe true and good Christians should put an end to this book once and for all, just to save their good name.
What can you do right now? Sign this petition, asking Amazon to stop carrying books of this type, cutting out one source of income for the Pearls. Maybe other sales venues will follow!
It’s hard being a fat parent. Because people automatically assume you have no idea how to feed your kid a healthy diet. They assume you’re constantly getting dinner at the drive thrus of the local fast food restaurants and tossing candy bars into the back seat while driving for ice cream. Of course, the food at home is no better with chips and soda being the norm, natch. I know, it’s happened to me. More than once.
Which has turned me into The Good Fatty. The Good Fatty is the fat person who does her best to let everyone around her know that while she might be fat, she does her best to be healthy. Very few processed foods in my house! Chips and soda are rare treats! Vegetables at every meal! Nothing deep fried ever!
It’s exhausting. That’s why I was so relieved to read the Fat Nutritionist’s post about Real Food. We sure can be judgy about food. And we need to stop. Because there are very real reasons why people choose the foods they choose and it’s none of our business. It’s really not.
Every day I have a McDonald’s iced tea. I love their iced tea. Another confession: I love egg McMuffins too. But every day I carry that McDonald’s cup into my house, I imagine the neighbors are looking out their windows wondering why the fat lady is eating at McDonald’s so much. Even though, logically, I know they are worried about a million other things than me.
We’ve just gone a little crazy in this country about our food judgments. Friends, family, strangers, restaurant personnel…no one feels exempt from commenting on another person’s food choices. It’s got to stop. Food has become a moral barometer and it shouldn’t be.
Our lives are stressful enough. We don’t need to add another facet with food stress. Food should be enjoyed. It should be easy when we need it to be and complicated when we have the time. We should have what we want to eat when we want it. Yup, even McDonald’s.
Let’s all take a vow, especially with the holidays coming: we’ll worry about the things on our own plates and the plates of our kids without passing judgement on anyone else. And we won’t stress if we need to take a short cut. Frozen pizzas and boxed macaroni and cheese are just the antidote to life’s stress, right?!
I went to a baby shower for a soon-to-be-mother of twin girls this weekend. I oohed and aahed myself into a cute coma because she got some incredibly cute clothes. Seriously, girl children are way better dressed than boy children. There, I’ve said it. Now we can move on.
The parents-to-be also got some practical gifts. But I noticed that no one got them The One Gift That They Really Need For Their Entire Parental Career: A Tape Recorder.
While the babies are still babies they can record themselves making soothing sounds, maybe singing a few lullabies. This will help when they are to damn exhausted to speak a single word more. How convenient it would be to just press a button and let the tape recorder do the talking.
But the baby years are the easy years. When the terrible twos, threes, fours, sixes, tens, and twelves come into play, the parents can just create an endless loop of “no.” A ninety-minute recording of “no” should suffice, with a few rewinds morning, afternoon, and night.
“Can I go outside?” “No.”
“Can I cut my hair?” “No.”
“Can I cut my sister’s hair?” “No.”
“Can I get a tattoo?” “No.”
“Can I eat this bug?” “No.”
Of course, some children will repeat each question an infinite amount of times, making the “no” recordings even more appreciated!
Teenagers might require multiple recording devices. Perhaps one hidden in the car and activated by bad driving, texting while driving, or other dangerous activities. The parents can choose their own message, I suggest something like, “Get your damn hands back on the wheel!”
A hidden recording device in a purse or backpack for dates can keep amorous young men from getting…well, to amorous! “Get your hands off my daughter!” screamed in the father’s voice needs no further explanation!
I’m sure your heads are now swimming with ideas now also! Isn’t this a great idea! Babies R Us will be stocking these soon!
Last week I addressed a letter that may or may not have been intended for the neighborhood children. I’ve heard rumors that the letter was done as a “joke” by a radio station. Yeah. Real Funny.
Honestly, I thought calling the neighborhood kids moderately obese was dastardly. I mean, who does something like that on a holiday that is built on consuming treats? No one’s advertising bananas and apples as the ideal Halloween treat! Kit Kats. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Candy, candy, candy!
How would you feel if your kid came home with candy, but attached to a graphic anti-abortion pamphlet? That happened in New Mexico. I would be furious if this happened in my neighborhood. Halloween is not the time to share your beliefs about reproductive rights. Do that with your adult peers. Kids want treats, not political rantings.
(Although if this did happen in my neighborhood I might be forced to counter it with condoms and the morning after pill going out with the candy.)
What if you attended the Halloween costume parade and saw a child from the school dressed as a klansman? Yes, as a member of the KKK. It happened in Virginia. Lordy, kids at the neighborhood school nearby aren’t even allowed to wear masks, much less hoods. Klansman hoods.
Originally I was hoping the child had no idea why he was dressing up as a white witch. But after reading quotes made by his mother, I’m sure he’s aware of what his costume represents. I imagine he’s a bully. Here’s what Mom has to say, according to the referenced article:
Jessica Black of Craigsville told WHSV in Virginia that there’s nothing wrong with the costume or the Ku Klux Klan. “It’s suppose to be white with white. Black with black. Man with woman and all of that.”
That’s one little boy I don’t want coming over for a play date!
I say it over and over again that adults are ruining childhood for our kids. These things just further fuel my argument.
I grabbed this image from the new tumbler, We Don’t Need An Excuse. Read this. Process this.
Do you know what a total and complete asshat douche canoe someone has to be to pass this out at Halloween?!
For god’s sake, turn off your porch light and hide in the dark. But don’t be a jerk to the neighbor kids. Yeah, you’re probably the one who keeps the balls when they roll into your yard and yells when someone steps on your grass. So it’s not like you’ll be missed or anything at the block party.
If you are someone who feels that this is the right thing to do I have a few questions:
1) What, exactly, is moderate obesity? Do you have a scale hidden under the welcome mat? Is this something that can be seen with the naked eye?
2) When did sugar and treats become completely off limits? Are you so sure that I, as a parent, need your input into my child’s diet?
3) Who appointed you king or queen of this neighborhood?
4) What happens if my kid is fat? Maybe it’s not as terrible as you’ve been led to believe.
I’m not linking to the links that answer some of these questions. Check out these bloggers, who do some great work with the science behind the madness instead.
And eat a Snickers…you’re not acting right!
I am so excited! You know how things just happen in this inter-connected world? That happened for me and I am pumped!
On Facebook, I have created a group called Body Positive Parenting, combining two of my passions: parenting and practicing Health At Every Size. It’s hard to raise our kids in this appearance/thin obsessed world. In this day and age when eating disorders among children are on the rise, we need all the resources we can get to help out kids survive childhood.
I’ll be doing research. We’ll be having conversations. Hopefully the end result will be raising healthy, happy young people with a greater appreciation for themselves.
Many of us grew up with negative messages about appearance, weight, and popularity. It’s hard not to repeat the patterns we learned from that. But we will work together to re-learn ways to talk to our kids about being healthy, without dragging a number (aka weight) into the mix.
I’d love your thoughts, ideas, suggestions about this! Feel free to contact me!
And don’t forget to join the group! It’s closed to keep out spammers and trolls, but I’m checking it often.
There’s a new television show coming to TVLand in December called Kirstie, starring Kirstie Alley. They are showing trailers repeatedly now, trying to pull in viewers. In it a young man approaches Alley’s character on the street and says he thinks he might be the son she gave up for adoption 26 years earlier. Her response? To pepper spray him.
The people at TVLand and those associated with this show–which I refuse to link to because it offends me that much–think pepper spraying an adoptee is high comedy.
You can’t fault TVLand for thinking adoption is some fun game. Adoption has been comedy fodder for ages. Of course, all birth mothers are portrayed as slutty idiots who pee in sinks, clearly incapable of caring for a house plant, much less a child. And adoptees are presented as bungling fools who barely existed before discovering their birth mother.
This is a cop out. It’s easy to make a joke out of something that is hard and heart-wrenching for people.
Birth moms are women just like you. Or like your mother, sister, aunt… They struggle with the idea of giving up a child. And once they do, they never stop thinking about them. Wondering if their child is well-loved, taken care of, adored. Of course there are birth moms who don’t want to be reunited with their child, but I highly doubt many are carrying mace in their purses in case their child shows up.
Adoptees also struggle with the idea of reuniting. Will it be a good idea? Will I be rejected? Who will I look like? This is something an adoptee has struggled with since they day they learned they were adopted. Being pepper sprayed by a diva would be a crushing blow.
I watch TVLand a lot because of reruns of shows I do like. But I’ve gotten leery of the shows they are creating. Last season I was appalled during an episode of The Soul Man (another original show) when they used every ethnic stereotype in a show dealing with a family’s Asian foster child. I guess I expected a show about black preachers to be less offensive.
I know I can’t change the entertainment world. But I can control what is viewed in my home. Right now Kirstie is off the air.
You know what a Mom Quest is, right? It’s where you hit the streets looking for The One Perfect Thing that will make your child happy. It might be a popular Christmas gift. It might be something for a last-minute school project. But it’s something that they need.
And moms (dads too) hit the streets looking for the last impediment to a perfect life. Of course, this is subject to change.
Aaron recently had surgery on his foot to correct a birth defect. He’s been in a cast for almost two weeks. He has been complaining about being on crutches for the entire two weeks. His leg (the good one) hurts. His under arms hurt (the nurse told him not to lean on the crutches). His hands hurt (from holding the crutches).
Aaron’s not big on suffering in silence. I don’t think he has a single thought that isn’t expressed.
Initially, he requested a wheel chair. I laughed. You might think that’s mean, but my house is small! What’s he going to do, wheel around the first floor open floor plan? He needs a way to get upstairs. And in and out of the house–which isn’t handicap accessible!
Jim and I did discuss getting a knee scooter. That’s a picture of one over there. I’ve never seen a kid use one. Frankly, I thought kids would be naturals on crutches. Aaron isn’t. The first place we went to had them for rent, but for an outrageous price. We probably could have bought one for what they wanted. So we dropped it.
But today I got a voice mail from Aaron’s teacher suggesting he get a knee scooter. Another student in the past had had one and it helped tremendously. Thus began the quest.
I let my fingers do the walking. It was impossible to find locally. I tried national rental places–but they wanted to sell me one instead.
There was a local pharmacy that had been recommended. When I tried calling, their number had been taken over by a chain pharmacy. Still, I thought I would drive over. (I knew there was a health food store in the same strip mall and I needed some coconut oil.)
And I found the pharmacy–it’s open for business until the end of October–with a sign in the window advertising medical equipment rentals. I ran in there, rented that darn knee scooter, and did a happy dance as I carried it to the turbo mini van. (Yes, I also tried it out and it’s pretty fun to use!)
Cell phones and the internet have cut down on the actual street time of the Mom Quest. I can’t imagine being a parent when I was a kid and I needed something! Fondling the yellow pages looking for the item. Driving all over town.
For now my Mom Quest has been performed and all is happy in KlineLand. Aaron’s happy, although concerned about getting the knee scooter on the bus. I hate to break it to him…he’s using the scooter and I am not driving him to school!
Moms are under a lot of pressure. I imagine it’s always been like that, but it seems like moms are especially judgy and catty today. Add the internet and the inundation of faux-experts on any and all subjects, and it’s no wonder most moms feel they are lacking in the parenting realm.
If you ever wonder if you might be a bad parent, you are a good parent. It’s the parents who know everything and will let you know how good they are that suck at parenting. Watch and learn. While they tell you the right things to do, their child is the one terrorizing the sand box or jacking your kid’s hot wheels.
Every parents takes the easy way out sometimes. Do you cook a gourmet meal every night? Of course not! That’s what boxes of macaroni and cheese are for. Some days, the television is the mac and cheese of parenting. When you’re feeling sick, have a headache, are tired, or just need a moment of quiet time, the television is perfect. Assuming you haven’t turned on the Playboy channel, you’re doing alright.
Every parents lets their kids eat crap food. It happens. We can’t be the food police every minute of every day. Plus, your kids are going to grow older and have access to food on their own. In re-thinking my food handling, I wish I had kept pop and chips on hand so the kids didn’t end up thinking they were such forbidden treats. There’s something about learning moderation at a young age.
Every parent yells at their child. I think we all start out with good intentions. But there comes a day when you hear yourself yelling and wonder, “when did I become my mother?!” For me, it was a half-hour car ride with Aaron and the worm he took for show and tell. Question after question about worms drove me to finally beg for silence. In the form of a yelled, “shut up!” It happens. The same way you snap at your husband. The same way you snap at a friend or a sister or a mother. If you’re spending every day with your child, you will snap. Better to yell than do something worse.
You’ll know you’re a bad mom when you’re neglecting your child. You’ll know you’re a bad mom if you look for ways to hurt your child. You’ll know you’re a bad mom when you enjoy yelling at your child and making him cry.
Other than that, you’re a good mom. Full of doubts and angst, but also full of love and great intentions.
Just like I offered William and Kate some marital advice, I want to offer some parenting tips. Here are a few things to help them through the years ahead.
Hold your baby as much as you want.
Your son is relying on you to care and protect him for several years. Build up that trust by being there for him. Trust me, you cannot hold a baby to much. He won’t get spoiled. What he will learn is you are reliable.
Don’t forget about each other.
The will be hard when he’s really little. But try to remember how you were a couple before you became parents. Your son needs parents who create a united front. Don’t let him manipulate you or play you against each other. Also, he will learn how to treat other people from the way you treat each other. William, treat Kate with respect and honor so your son will one day treat women in the same way.
Keep a pad and paper on hand.
Seriously, get a notebook and start making notes. Things will be happening so fast and you want to record the funnier ones. Sure he’ll be embarrassed when you pull out a phrase he used as a toddler at his 16th birthday party, but you two can enjoy the laugh. It also helps when he’s an annoying teenager to review how adorable he was as a toddler.
Don’t make every moment a teach-able moment.
Honestly, when did parenting become a formal teaching career? Let him play with the toys he chooses. Let him wander where it’s safe. He doesn’t need you to guide his play. He just needs supervision to keep him safe. Toys are for fun. So he can do anything with them that he wants. Cars sound like tigers? Maybe in his world they do on that day. Dolls double as guns–don’t be shocked when he manages to turn any toy into a weapon. But let him be a kid when he can. He’s under pressure most children will never experience.
Read to him.
Even as an infant, he wants to hear your voice. If you’ve run out of things to talk about, read a book. Keep reading books as he grows. A love of reading will make him a better person. It’s cheap and easy entertainment. It’s a way to travel and experience things. Being well-read makes learning easier.
Talk to him.
Related to the above, but taken a little further. While you bathe him or change him, talk. Talk baby talk. Talk nonsense. Talk about the weather. Just talk, talk, talk. When you’re out for a walk, point out the bugs, trees, and birds. Tell him the names of things.
Turn off the electronics.
Your baby wants to be with you. When he’s older, pull out the phone at the endless polo matches. But for now, enjoy him.
Take care of yourselves.
Give each other a break from the parenting. Take showers. Sleep. A tired, exhausted parent is a short-tempered parent. If you accept early on that you will be lacking sleep for the next 18 years, it will be easier. Even if you manage to get sleep, it will never again be the sleep of the childless.
Look for the humor in everything.
Life is so much more enjoyable when you can laugh at it and yourselves. You might not laugh at the moment, but later on you can.
That’s enough for now. Go, enjoy the baby. Take a nap. I’ll be here when you need advice when he starts school. And becomes a teenager. The baby years are the easy years.