Babywise Week: A Parent’s Best Instruction Manual

Babywise Instruction ManualEverything we buy these days comes with an instruction manual. These manuals include specific instructions on everything from how to toast bread to how to install a car seat (diagrams included). I was washing William’s coat the other day, I looked to the tag to find out what the manufacturer suggested. There were six “pages” of washing instructions sewn into his coat, all in about four or five languages. It was maddening to find simple instructions in English!

I can toast bread or wash a coat without an instruction manual. But raising a child? I need an instruction manual for that! Didn’t you feel this way when you left the hospital with your first baby? You go in with nothing but a few forms filled out, and they let you leave with a precious, fragile human being.

Some people take the advice of their parents. Others fumble their way through it. But we Babywise moms read! Babywise is our instruction manual.

Prepping for stages to come

Whenever I’m approaching a new phase with my kids, I prep and give myself a refresher course on where we’ve been and then look ahead to where we need to be going. The Ezzos have written books for every age range, and it’s best to be ready for changes before they happen.

I’m currently making my way through the videos for “Parenting Through the Middle Years.” It’s for kids ages 9-12. My oldest is 9.5 right now, so we’re definitely in the middle years. In fact, I’m probably a little behind and should have those videos finished by now.

Getting back on track when things go awry

In addition to prepping myself for stages to come, I love that the Babywise books keep us on track when we veer off course. I’m experiencing some attitude from my youngest, Lucas, these days. It’s really thrown me off. What do I do about it?

I know, first of all, that I don’t need to accept it. In fact, I shouldn’t accept it. Second, I know that I can open my worn, dog-eared copy of Childwise to figure out what’s going on and what I can do to fix it. Kids crave structure, and usually, any misbehavior we see stems from a lack of structure.

Our world has turned upside down lately. My husband is working a lot. I’m working a lot. And we have a new nanny who brings her toddler son with her. Lucas is not happy about the whole arrangement and has been very vocal with his discontent. So when I step back and examine his attitude issues, I can see that they’re just an expression of the insecurity he’s feeling from all of the changes in his life.

Knowing I have the power to effect change

Understanding our problem is one thing. Making the changes to fix it is another thing altogether. Without Childwise, I might feel defeated with no power to change our situation. But with Childwise, I know I can always turn to my book for the answers to our problems.

If I can see that Lucas is unhappy with all of the changes in our lives and the lack of structure that may stem from it, I know that if I create more order and structure in his life wherever I can, he will likely come around. He’s just asking for stability and structure. It’s unfortunate that it comes out with a bad attitude, but at least I can see it for what it is.

Having the power to effect change in our lives is amazing. I know that if I hadn’t been introduced to Babywise before my kids were born, I would have muddled my way through. I would be parenting from the hip, with little plan or structure. Babywise gives me power.

True, my kids are human beings, but rather than blaming them for their misbehavior and throwing my hands up in the air, I can stop and truly examine what’s going on and make the changes to fix any issues we may have. If creating more structure doesn’t resolve our issues, then maybe my kids need more sleep or maybe they need independent playtime. Whatever it may be, I know I have the tools in my parenting toolbox to create the change we need.

And it’s all thanks to my trusty instruction manual.

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