Still working on my chapter on knowledge.
In the meantime, consider this…
Still working on my chapter on knowledge.
In the meantime, consider this…
I’ve had this thought;
We finally decided to not shame children anymore by calling them bastards & illegitimate or their mothers “unwed”.
So why are we shaming children of gay parents by calling their parents illegitimate & unwed?
It isn’t the gay parents hurting their children, it’s society’s labels of their parents union that hurts.
“Wrong, immoral, sin, evil, perverted, twisted, ungodly, bestial, comparable to the worse that humans can do.”
Think any of the children want to hear their parents called that?
Words mean things. They hurt people.
Stop saying hurtful things and hurting people.
I’m working on my next chapter about knowledge, but it’s taking some thinking.
Came across this today and thought it was a beautiful example of brothers obviously raised in a loving kind home.
Be prepared for a soul cleanse. The happy tears will be flowing.
How about some testimonials that the theories in this blog have been tried and tested.
Grandpa Doctor has some fans.
I started to write about knowledge being power but realized that before we could talk about it, we needed to talk about communication first. I have to remember I’m an old hat at this but together we are taking baby steps in learning to parent.
Let’s start with nonverbal communication. After all that’s how all of us began learning.
We start by feeling and sensing our way around things. Things and people made us feel happy, excited, bored, afraid, full, warm, and many other things. None of those feelings had a name. We just knew we were more or less comfortable. Our comfort zone as we now call it.
As you take care of your child you begin to start understanding what they are communicating to you. Trust me the more you pay attention to the subtle clues of what they need you to know, the less they will have to go to extraordinary means for you to “get it”.
If you were left helpless, alone in a foreign place you might start asking softly to strangers, “Excuse me, I’m lost” and shrug up your shoulders and try to look bewildered. If the strangers continued to bustle past you, you might wave your arms at someone and say “Help!” clasping your hands together with a pleading look. If they continued to leave you alone and it got dark, you might start screaming at the top of your lungs, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” and start to cry hysterically.
Your children are helpless foreigners in your world.
Suppose you were lost at sea on a Tropical Island. You’d hope the natives would see your sunburned sandy body and offer you a bath. You’d wish they would assume you were hungry and offer you a banquet of food to try. You’d probably start with the food that appealed to you by sight or smell. You’d take a bite and immediately know whether it was something you wanted more of. You’d point to your bowl and smile. Maybe make a hand motion showing you wanted more in your bowl. On the contrary if you didn’t like it, it might be hard to even hide the look on your face from your hosts. It takes time and practice to hold something you don’t like in your mouth and smile.
You’d be patient with yourself as you learned the language. You would want them to say the words they were trying to teach you over and over again. Clearly and slowly. There would be days you’d be really frustrated that they didn’t understand what you wanted or that you couldn’t understand what they were telling you.
You would become frightened if they kept telling you something louder and louder as if that would help your understanding. You’d make mistakes.
Your baby will have those days. It’s your job to never give up trying to understand what they need you to know and teaching them how to communicate with the rest of us on the island.
I’m a natural talker. It wasn’t hard for me to narrate life. I’m still wording the experience as we go. The more you talk around your children and describe what you are doing, the sooner they will have words to use. And the sooner they have words to use, the easier communication can become.
But there is still a lot of communication happening before that.
Touch might be the first language. Kisses and hugs and caresses feel good. It’s hardwired in us. Being held by someone you love never loses its appeal. We feel safe and protected and not alone!
One of my prouder teen moments was when I was working in my dad’s pediatric office. A new mother came in and her baby was inconsolable in her arms. I took the baby from her and holding it like I had been taught, the baby calmed down. The baby could sense that I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t trembling. I was holding it firmly and confidently. I rocked it in a soothing way that the baby might have been use to in the womb. I held it close. I didn’t have a worried look on my face. I was smiling and cooing.The new mother was amazed.
The more your baby feels safe, the more confident they become. The tone and words you use to describe new things and experiences can shape their view of them.
Be careful how you tease and laugh at your baby’s fits and starts at things. If you mock your child, they are going to shy away. Those words and tones you are using aren’t giving them much comfortable feedback. If you are smiling and praising even their smallest attempts they will try again! We are wired to enjoy praise.
Honey going further than vinegar is true of children too.
Your children are born little body language readers. They are reading every grimace, sideways glance, and sigh of dismay and disappointment you make. When you are obviously upset and you tell your child, “Nothing’s wrong” they get confused. They KNOW something is wrong. They will learn one of two things; that you are supposed to lie about your feelings or their gut feeling about the truth of things is wrong.
You don’t want that. We are trying to teach our children the truth of all things.
If you are upset, you tell them you are upset. Then you might say how much better you’d feel with a hug. They’ll hug you and you WILL feel better.
Let your children comfort you back when you need it. Sometimes we feel alone and we can tell them that. “I was feeling alone and discouraged. Thank you for that hug. Mommy feels stronger now.”
We are in this together. We want our children to be compassionate and comfort those they perceive are hurting. If you rebuff them and their ability to comfort you , you are robbing them of practice in comforting people. You teach them their natural instinct to comfort is awkward and wrong and that’s it’s shameful to need help and be vulnerable.
As they grow, their vocabulary grows. You’ll be able to ask them more and more to use their words. “I know you are upset, I see you crying. But can you help me understand why? Tell me with your words what’s wrong.”
You will also have been using the words please and thank you. Especially if you care what society and grandma will think of your children.
Although we may think please comes first, it doesn’t. Please is a request. We don’t have much we can actually request from them at this point. It’s about being grateful for what they do.
“Thank you for putting your toys away” “Thank you for being soft with the kitty” “Thank you for using your words to help mommy understand”
Please comes in a lot of tones and is harder to learn. Asking isn’t a privilege between us and our children. They may need to ask the shop owner politely, but they should just have to ask us. Holding anything they need above them saying, “Say please.” is wrong and degrading.
“Mommy I’m hungry, I need some food” isn’t a rude request. Eventually as they hear us say it, it will become second nature don’t worry, but I’m more concerned how WE say please.
“PLEASE stop that!” Can’t screech or yell please.
“Pul-eeze, are you kidding me?” Can’t be sarcastic.
“Please, please, pleeeeese!” It’s supposed to be a polite word, not a grating nag or whine. We aren’t teaching begging. In a perfect world no one would have to beg for their needs.
Please and thank you are some of our first words that represent ideas. You can’t point to a please and thank you. That’s why we use words and don’t just continue to grunt and gesticulate. Words have power to communicate invisible things and feelings.
They have creative power.
According to Judeo/Christian tradition the world was made by the WORD of God. He just said it and it was so. He said “Let there be light” and there was light.
He created with his words. He chose the right words. He was specific. He never said things he didn’t mean.
Mormon theology holds that we may someday in the afterlife be creators of worlds with our words too. Like the best things we learn in all religions, it doesn’t matter whether it happens in the afterlife or not. Truth works NOW. We already do create worlds with our words.
Maybe that IS what all this practice is for. Perhaps before we have the power to truly create our own worlds we need to get all our bad and impulsive writing out-of-the-way! There are many worlds I’ve entered in books and films that I am grateful stay there.
The Bible has much to say about choosing your words wisely and of their power.
Matt 12 :36 reads,
“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”
The softer revised version simple states, “Man will be judged for every careless word he utters.”
No wonder I’ve been nervous to start a blog! I took that to heart. I truly believe in what I’m saying and why I called this KT’s Kind Words. We CAN hurt people with what we say. Even if we don’t intend too. If we pass on words to others that we don’t know to be true we could harm someone.
Matt 5:11 says,
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
Read that one over again. Not the pork, the wine, or the marijuana. It’s the words coming out of your mouth past your heart that make you dirty and not fit for a peaceable kingdom.
My children were taught early on that their words had power. I was teaching them with the assumption that they might be gods one day. If you are God and you say “Damn this hammer!” after you hit your thumb with it, there goes your hammer. Off to freeze in hell.
If they said “Damn you, mother” I’d be gone. Better watch who and what you are damning. And be careful who you ask your God to damn too!
There is a lot of contention in homes about the language our teenagers use. We don’t want them using profanity. But do we really know what profanity is?
characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious
We have to be careful when we call things profane that aren’t.
I was a mother that would correct even visiting children to say, “Oh, my gosh”. I’d explain to my children that we respected His name. And as for using it in vain I explained, just like the boy crying wolf, it was important to mean it when you called on the name of the Lord. Just like calling your mother’s name. You better really want something if you’d made her come running.
But those other words we call profane? The word s%*t and a#%hole I would explain are just ugly words. I don’t want to picture either of them. Please find a prettier word. But if they wanted to say it to themselves in their room? Go ahead. You are going to ask them to not do a lot of things. Words in their room alone is not a necessary battle.
I believe in teaching them those words none of us should use. Hateful words. I explained why they are hateful and why they hurt.
And of course there is the F word.
That word puts up a wall between so many people. I just never let it bother me. I may have enjoyed it on an occasion to be honest. When you hear someone say that word, they are expressing emotion. It’s almost a nonverbal word. It’s a grunt.
But I don’t find it profane. I don’t think people are disparaging God when they use it. They are more often expressing incredulity about the actions of their fellow-man.
Don’t let that word stop the communication between you and your children.
Have a talk about the words we use in mixed company and polite society. You may explain there are different languages people speak in different arenas. But the word isn’t evil and saying it doesn’t make you evil.
And you continue to teach them other words. The more words they know, the more clearly they can express themselves. The more they will understand what people are saying to them.
My oldest son and I love talking about words. Even in the midst of an argument.
“You just said something. I take that word to mean that. Is that what you meant?”
“No, I meant this”
“Well, that word doesn’t mean that, this word does.”
“Oh. Maybe we don’t disagree after all”
Then we high five to mutual understanding and clear communication.
The point of words.
Once they know the words we can teach them what we know.
That knowledge is creative power.
And that’s the next post!
Ps. I would kindly suggest if you like what you read and haven’t read the rest of my blog that you start with the post https://ktskindwords.com/2013/12/28/begin/. I’m writing a book backwards.
To start, I’ve had five kids that are now 13 to 28 years old and I can’t remember punishing them in the old fashion sense ever.
Did I sing around them? Talk to their friends? Hug them in public?
Did I slug my 9 year old son in the arm (he remembers an upper cut to the face) when he tried to interrupt mother while the Scattergories game clock was ticking?
But did I spank them, humiliate them, ground them for days on end, take away their things?
Well, I did take away things sometimes. But not the way my mother did. My mother told me,”If you can’t keep your room clean you’ll live in a cell”
And at 9 years old she threw away most of my toys, breaking things over her knee in a rage as she did it. She ripped up my favorite “dress-up” dress, which SHE had actually painstakingly created for me out of an old light blue prom dress. She had hemmed each layer of tulle to graze the ground when I walked and she ripped it to shreds in front of me.
Ask me how long it took for me to keep a clean bedroom?
I know there are a lot of parents out there, who like me, are push overs and know they should be harder on their kids. Or parents that are drill sergeants and tiger mothers. But it’s not the kids we have to be harder on, it’s us.
If you take the time to be with your children as they learn there isn’t much punishment necessary.
When they are toddlers you have to be prepared to physically correct their course. If they are going somewhere they shouldn’t, you have to literally go pick them up. You say, “NO” and REDIRECT them to something positive.
It helps to have a kid friendly environment. Don’t put your child in a place that he’s set up to fail in.
I remember babysitting a child before I even had children. He was a 1 year old. He’d scooch around the room and everything he could touch I’d say,”Yes, yes, yes!” and everything he couldn’t touch I said,”No, no, no.”
HE thought it was the best game. No one had ever said yes before!
One of my more practical mothering tips is to make sure you give your child back 90% of what you ask them for.
Ever hear a parent say, “GIVE THAT TO ME!”
If you have taken away everything you ever asked your child for, there may be a time the baby is holding scissors and you say,”Give me that!” and he RUNS away because he REALLY wants them and you NEVER give anything back!
SO, when he’s holding a ball, a stuffed bunny, a book, a spoon you ask politely, “May I see that? Oh, that’s a big ball, a soft bunny, an interesting book. Here you go, you can have it back”
Now you are creating trust. And you are expanding their descriptive language.
When your child is pre-verbal you are in charge of how they might learn to express themselves and how they view the world.
If they fall and are startled, you can calmly say,
“Oh, that must have startled you. It’s ok, see?”
You wouldn’t scream as you jumped from your chair,
“OMG. ARE YOU HURT? ARE YOU BLEEDING?”
Because that’s not what happened. They are reading your emotions. They follow your lead.
Even if they are bleeding you still stay as calm as you can. Luckily with blood flow, first aid calls for you to cover it with pressure immediately. By the time the blood clots most wounds look a lot less life threatening.
Children are SO aware of everything, SO early.
I remember my daughter under three telling me she wanted a gun.
I said, “A gun? You don’t mean that?”
Yes, she did. “I want a gun that hurts the peeples.”
Gah! I had thrown away my cowboy cap gun with the simulated ivory handle with Texas Longhorns on it, because I was going to be a peaceful mother.
And my precious two-year old was asking for one! I had no idea where she saw or heard it. But she did.
They will get to the age when their brain is full of other things and other people but at the start it’s ALL about you.
Remember I said we are the universe to our children?
In Mormon theology, which is what I was practicing as a new mother, I learned that we are here to practice to live with God. We are learning his rules and if we want to be near him we have to follow his rules.
He can visit us wherever we are but he can’t have us coming in screaming profanity and mucking up his streets of gold.
My children learned very early on if they wanted to be with ME, they followed my rules.
No jumping on momma’s bed when she asks you to stop.No whining, no screaming, no biting, no hitting. Use your words. Or go be alone.
If you can’t play nice with other children. Go be alone.
I WAS a big intervener in my children’s fights. Not to pull them away or cast blame on the other, but to facilitate an understanding between them.
They are young. They don’t have all the words. Help them with words.
“Are you feeling left out?”
“Did you want to play another game?”
“Are you cold?”
“Are you hungry?”
My 13 year old told me recently that, “A lot of people feel annoyed and are grumpy at others when really what they are feeling is “pee stress.” Just go the bathroom and you’ll feel better!”
Can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve told someone, “I’m sorry! I have pee stress! Give me a minute.” I added that because it may take a few probing questions to find the answer.
“Are you scared?”
“Are you homesick?”
“Can I make you feel more at home so we don’t have to wake up your mother at midnight?”
But back to course correction, which is what we should be doing rather than laying out stiff punishments. Think about it. Our children are like defendants with no representation. Some of us mete out punishments harden criminals aren’t receiving.
“NO TALKING TO YOUR FRIENDS FOR A MONTH!”
I think prisoner’s get a daily/weekly phone call or visit. They also get an advocate. In an ideal world that is what two parents are for. Keeps them from getting the hanging judge all the time.When you are at your angriest at your kids, that’s when you,
Go be alone.
Scary monster parent doesn’t live with God either. Call your partner, a friend. Ask them, “Am I crazy to be this mad? Is this my hormones? Am I projecting on them?”
And a good partner will usually tell you, that you aren’t crazy to be that mad, but maybe you are being scary. And they calm you down and back you up, that you are both disappointed. Which is why you were really mad in the first place.
We feel very strongly our children are reflections of us and how well we parent. But they aren’t our reflections. They are fellow travelers who need to know the ropes.
I don’t believe in humiliating my kids. I don’t call them names in front of their friends. I usually don’t even get mad enough to send their friend home. Might as well teach them both a lesson. I’ll call them out. I’ll use peer pressure.
“You allowed to talk to YOUR mother that way, friend of son?”
“Do YOU feel sorry for my son?”
“Please share. You know we have more cookies where that came from.”
I have found if you show your child even by humor how silly what they are doing is, they usually stop.
It works both ways. My oldest son can impersonate me so well that it makes me cringe and laugh out loud because he has captured some weakness I have. We can both laugh and I change MY behavior.
My mother once followed me around my high school track on her hands and knees (really long story) crying in the dark, “I can’t change.”
I vowed then and there not to be that kind of mother. I can change, I have changed and I will continue to change. And so will your child. Grandpa Dr. used to say, “No stage lasts more than 6 months. By the time you are used to it. They have changed.”
I’ve often said if we could grow spiritually as much as a baby grows physically in a year we’d ALL be enlightened by now.
Above all else I believe in mercy.
I allowed my children go to special events even if I had grounded them. Life is very short and many things only happen once. Didn’t want them to miss the good things in life or punish the birthday boy or girl by denying them the company of my entertaining children!
Your children will recall when you were merciful as well as when you weren’t. We’re teaching by example remember.
I guess the biggest weapon I’ve had as a mother is my ability to talk through awkward and uncomfortable moments. I believe that there is little we can’t talk about. It’s been a lie perpetuated that we can’t talk about sex, money or politics in polite society. We need more talking in polite society. Knowledge is power. My next post.
I haven’t been afraid to tell my child the truth about all things as I knew them to be. Not believed them to be, but knew them to be. As for the mysteries I didn’t know, I shared what I thought and what I hoped for. But they knew I didn’t know everything.
One of the most rewarding parts of parenthood is when your children teach you something you didn’t know.
And then you realize how equal as humans you are. You aren’t their God really. You only know a little bit more in the scope of things than your children do. You don’t have all the answers.
And that’s a discussion that comes up around four years old, when your child learns you don’t know everything, life isn’t magic and it’s a one way street. And even though they have wanted to be a big boy or girl since they started on life’s path they now realize there is no going back to being a baby. And that’s a scary thing.
We’ve been encouraging them all along,
“What a big boy you are! Look what you can do.”
“Eat like a big girl. Don’t be a baby.”
But they are babies. So let them act like babies occasionally while they can. Don’t be surprised when your four year old suddenly wants to be held like a baby. Or suck from a bottle “to pretend”. We all feel better in the fetal position sometimes.
Lastly let me opine on the “being a parent not a friend” controversy. We hear a lot of the strictest parents saying, “It’s not my job to be his friend!”Really?
Check, check, check .
I am my children’s first friend, most loyal friend and everlasting friend.
The world punishes us all.
Be ME kind,
We all have expectations of our children.
Many people have children that they hope will help them farm or carry on a family business. Maybe be the first one to go to college or to follow in their footsteps to their Alma-mater. We hope they will give us grandchildren. Take care of us in old age.
I had MY kids because I was determined to grow a people that understood and loved me. The “I Hate Katie Club” from 3rd grade still chanted in the back of my head. My relationship with my mother and been very strained. I set out to prove if you treated children with love and respect they’d love you. A “We Love KT Club”.
I got the love I expected but I failed to account for the fact that if you do your job right, your children grow up and go away. The new “We Love KT Club” wasn’t going to be living with me forever.
I also realized that even though MY needs for love were met, I’d put five individuals on their own path to find love and fulfillment in a sometimes cold, scary world and they’d have to do it on their own.
My good friend in elementary school had a developmentally challenged sister. She was older than we were but still wore diapers. The effort her mother had to go through changing her made a real impression on me.
I began to think, if I had a special needs child I’d be SO grateful if they could wipe their bottom and feed themselves.Those two tiny things would make my work as a mother so much easier.
So, I began to have the attitude that my job really was to prepare my children to feed themselves and clean up after themselves. If they could do that EVERYTHING else was a bonus.
The metaphor worked because in the big picture all their growth was towards these goals. If they got an education or developed and extraordinary talent it meant they would be feeding themselves better and perhaps could pay others to clean up after them!
But those were the basic responsibilities we had as citizens. Feed yourself and don’t make a mess.
So, the next time you find yourself asking more and more from your children, reflect on what they have ALREADY accomplished.
Count your blessings if they walk, talk, smile. Don’t wait until your child has received the good grades before you love them for all they are NOW.
Appreciate your children the way a special needs mother does. Appreciate that you aren’t changing diapers. That they CAN carry their plates to the sink.
As my children grew, there have been times when I thought,”Whoa I’ve taken this too far and I haven’t expected enough.”
But It’s not their job to be here to please me. I forced them into this world, it’s MY job to give them every help and encouragement I can to find their way.
Do I still feel blessed to have my Mars Rovers out there reporting back to me what they have learned and observed? Yes, but that’s a bonus not a right.
My children are everything I could hope for and expect.
Loving, compassionate, curious souls that delight me everyday.
And they are clean and fed. 🙂
Proof that I’ve been thinking on these things for awhile, Circa: May 2007
Before that I was having children.
Matt 25:44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.