Archives for November 2013

Babywise Week: When Your Day Is Child-Centered

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

Today, we hear from Rachel at A Mother Far From Home. Rachel talks about how difficult it can be to keep the family focused on the family when our days are consumed with taking care of our children. With three kids under age three, Rachel is definitely in the season where her days are all about taking care of the little ones. As her kids age, as mine have (now 6 and 9), she’ll come to realize that it’s easier to avoid being child-centered since kids become more independent.

But no matter our kids’ ages, it can still be difficult to make the family a priority (over the child). Rachel offers a few tips on what we can do:

1) Know the season

2) Focus on the collective

3) Let the collective benefit the individual

4) Teach manners

And even when we’re focused on avoiding child-centered parenting, I think it’s okay to talk about the kids with our spouses. Date nights probably shouldn’t be consumed with a discussion about the kids, but certainly, at the end of the day, it’s fine to chat with our husbands about the kids. Here’s what Rachel has to say about this:

“I won’t lie, at the end of the day the only thing I really want to talk about with my husband is the kids. What they did. What they didn’t do. Why I wanted to squeeze the life out of them hug them really tight. It’s how I process.”

Head on over to A Mother Far From Home to read Rachel’s post.

Babywise Week: Babywise Helps the Marriage

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

Today’s spotlight is on Emily from Journey of ParenthoodAs many Babywise parents might agree, Emily reminds us that the Babywise principles are what help us to maintain a family-centered home. She says:

“This is why I’m so, so thankful for Babywise. I believe, fully, that Babywise principles have helped keep my love with my husband in tact! We keep our marriage at the core of our family.”

She also discusses the trap that many moms can fall into. When our babies need us and look up to us, it’s easy to want to be more of a mom than a wife. In our children’s eyes, we are perfect. It’s a different story with our spouses, who don’t always forgive our faults. Here’s how Emily phrased it:

“My children are so sweet. And cuddly. And they love me so completely and fully. They forgive my shortcomings in an instant. They race into my arms and shower me with praises. I am their hero. I can do no wrong.”

I know the feeling. Even now, my kids, who are 6 and 9, still do this with me. I’ll run to the store and be gone for 20 minutes, and when I get home, they run into my arms as if I’ve been gone for 20 days. It’s a nice feeling, but it can also be a trap that encourages us to make our kids the center of our world.

Check out Emily’s blog at Journey of Parenthood to read her post.

Babywise Week: More on the Family-Centered Home

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

If you haven’t noticed, the Babywise Friendly Blog Network is growing! We have two great bloggers to talk about today! Claire from My Devising and Elaine from Faithfully Infertile both offer more thoughts and tips on maintaining a family-centered home and avoiding child-centeredness.

I love what Elaine has to say about how Babywise and routines create order out of chaos and give us time to focus on our families. Here’s my favorite quote from her post:

“There is a time for everyone to eat, a time for everyone to sleep, a time for play, a time for learning and a time for exploring the great outdoors. There is a time for me to take care of household chores — to make sure the laundry is done, the dishes are washed and put away, the house is organized in way that creates order and peace to our days and not chaos and turmoil. There is a time for us to spend together as a family, there are times for us to spend one-on-one time with our children and there is a time for us to spend as a couple so we can make sure through it all we are staying connected as a couple.”

Claire has a great discussion on the transitions from single woman to wife and wife to mom. I like what she says about dads getting lost in the fog when baby arrives:

“And just when you think you’ve figured the new baby thing out, you remember something.  There’s a guy over there that’s helping me with stuff and I think I’m in love with him but I can’t quite remember.  Wife can easily get consumed with all things baby and husband can easily get lost in the fog of it all.  Working on your marriage while doing the baby thing is tricky.”

I think this can happen at any point in a child’s life. Mom may be nursing a newborn or shuttling her teenagers from soccer practice to piano lessons. But the idea is the same: there’s no place for dad. And when there’s no place for dad, he feels alienated and alone. We cannot let our kids take our spouse’s place.

Head on over to My Devising and Faithfully Infertile to read their great posts!

Babywise Week: Put Your Marriage First for the Child’s Sake

Does your child come between you and your spouse?

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

This week, many of us are writing on the topic of child-centered parenting. It’s a basic yet fundamentally important principle of the Ezzos’ parenting ideals. They tell us that we are to welcome children into the family without making them the center of it. The husband and wife relationship must stay intact, and we should remain husband and wife even as we become mom and dad. I wholeheartedly believe in this.

First, let me grab a quote from Growing Kids God’s Way that tells you what the Ezzos say:

“We know the tragedy that can befall a family when basic principles of parenting are violated. We have counseled mothers and fathers who, with the best of intentions, started their parenting with love and nurturing only to see their dreams of a beautiful family reduced to a nightmare of survival…. There are two related evils that threaten successful parenting and lead to the demise of the family. The first is downplaying the significance of the husband-wife relationship in the parenting process, and the second is falling into the trap of child-centered parenting,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 31).

I don’t think any parent would tell you that parenting is a piece of cake. Sure there are kids who sleep well as babies and are innately obedient as toddlers, but even those kids require that parents change their way of life. And since parenting can be so difficult, it is bound to put a strain on the marriage. In fact, many times, parents believe that divorce is what is best for the child.

Let me insert a disclaimer: I believe there are many times when divorce is the only option. This is typically in the case of abuse, yet abuse takes on many disguises. If a parent is so beaten down, physically or emotionally, that he or she cannot live a healthy life, happy and secure in their own skin, then divorce may be the right choice. Even in this case, however, I believe every attempt should be made to improve the health of the marriage before seeking divorce.

Now, back to those of us who are happily married, there are many reasons why it’s important to put the marriage first. As already mentioned, chief among the risks of child-centered parenting is the damage it could do to the marriage. Another risk is that it can lead to self-centeredness. The Ezzos say, “The result [of putting the child first] is a society consumed with child-centeredness which is the precursor to self-centeredness,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 31). What’s more, by putting the child first, we aren’t modeling a healthy, happy marriage. It’s important for kids to see how two happily married people show their love for each other.

But beyond this, the main thought that I want to get across in this post is that putting the marriage first is for the child’s benefit. It may seem backwards, but putting the child second is actually putting him first.

I have a few Facebook friends who post inspirational quotes from notable people. I usually enjoy these quotes until they broach the subject of parenting. Often, these quotes say something like, “everything I do I do for my child,” or “my child is my universe.” These quotes get to the core of what it means to be child-centered. And though the people who post these quotes are well intentioned, I don’t think they understand that making their child the reason for their existence is actually detrimental to the child.

What a child needs most–in addition to love, care, and devotion–is a stable foundation. For all the reasons that we put our babies on routines, stability is comforting to a child. When two parents make their marriage the priority, the child knows that the foundation upon which his family rests is solid and secure. On the other hand, when the child is made to be the foundation of the family, life is on shaky ground. It’s anything but comforting for a child to be the ground on which the family rests.

The Ezzos explain it well. This is a lengthy quote, but it’s good, so bear with me.

“As professionals, we cannot overstate how necessary a healthy husband-wife relationship is to the emotional well-being of a child…. Strong marriages create a sense of certainty. When there is harmony in the husband-wife relationship, there is an infused stability within the family. A strong marriage provides a haven of security for children as they grow…. Children know intuitively, just as you and I knew when we were growing up, that if something happens to Mom and Dad, their whole world will collapse. If the parents’ relationship is always in question in the mind of a child, then that child tends to live his life on the brink of emotional collapse. In contrast, when a child has confidence in his parents’ relationship, he is emotionally free to get on with his life,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 37).

Now, I’m not saying that making the marriage top priority is easy, especially when our kids are little and demand so much of our attention. Plus, it’s fun to live life through our children’s eyes and give them all that we can. But it’s so important to keep this in check. Do whatever you can to promote the health of your marriage. Practice couch time, go on dates, and frequently tell your child that his request will have to wait while you tend to your spouse. Find opportunities in your day to make sure your child understands that Mommy or Daddy comes first. As you do so, remind yourself that it’s all in the name of stability and security for the child.

 

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Babywise Week: Baby Joins a Family

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

We begin the week with a post from Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise MomAll week, we’re discussing the principle of child-centered parenting which is so vital to parenting the Babywise way. And although the idea is basic, there are many facets of child-centered parenting–or the lack thereof–that we should fully understand as we attempt to make our marriages the priority.

Valerie talks about the fact that the baby joins the family. Although bringing a new baby home also brings many changes, especially with our first, it doesn’t mean that we should completely change the basic structure of our families. The Ezzos have been heard to say that our children are welcome members of the family, but they are not the center of it.

I like what Valerie has to say about this:

“The point of the idea behind ‘baby joins a family’ is so people don’t become baby-centered. You don’t want to make every decision based solely on what is absolutely best for the baby. Sometimes, baby can give a little. Sometimes you can do what is good enough for the baby rather than best so that ‘best’ can go to someone else in the family for a bit. A family is about give and take. The family should not revolve around the baby–that isn’t healthy.”

Head on over to Chronicles of a Babywise Mom to read Valerie’s post in its entirety.