Speak To The Heart, Not The Hand

Why are we raising our grandchildren? Because we love them of course and want them to be safe and to know that love. This post is going to be very direct and to the point. Since we have these little ones because of love, we must show it and not stress, frustration, anger and a mean spirit. I hear grandparents say things like “I am giving my life to these kids and they are going to appreciate and respect me”, or “The only way I can get these boys to respect and listen to me is to use force”.

Methods like those do nothing to instill a sense of security, love and respect in a child. Frankly, they might be better off in a foster home than with a grandparent who resents what he/she is doing. Love what you do or don’t do it. I am not unrealistic here, I understand children get on one’s last nerve sometimes. Hey mine packed up and moved to parts unknown a long time ago, didn’t even leave a forwarding address. However we are the adults. We must restrain and control ourselves or the children certainly won’t. Then when they follow the example of screaming, hitting, yanking the arm and other violent actions they get in trouble.

Hitting, spanking, whipping, hurting in any manner just does not work to discipline a child. It will usually provide a few minutes respite because the child is in fear and shock. The adult has let out some stress so she feels momentarily better but oh when the guilt starts to weigh in, the heart gets very heavy. But if there is no remorse about hurting a little child, that brings up a whole other issue. Hopefully any Recycled Mom out here does indeed feel sad and sick about hitting, slapping, whipping and otherwise physically harming her child. If you don’t then it is time to take a long, honest look about your decision to raise the grandchildren and perhaps consider other options.

This is about love, not violence; joy not regret; trust not terror. Allow your precious grandchild to speak to your heart and return it to him or her. Heart over Hand wins every time! Hold out the hand of love, not pain to all children and reap a lifetime of joy in return.

Here is a great article about options to corporal punishment, written by a lovely lady who raised her grandson and is currently helping raise her new great granddaughter. http://mary615.hubpages.com/hub/Should-Corporal-Punishment-Be-Allowed-In-The-Home-And-In-Our-schools

Christmas Gifts For Your Child

Christmas is only two months away and already stores have decorations, signs and gifts out. The madness begins to see who can grab the best, brightest and most wanted gifts, especially for kids. More than 152 million dollars will be spent over Black Friday weekend alone. But the best gifts are free and our children will love them all year long, not growing tired and bored with them after only a few days. These precious gifts include:

  • Discipline-This does not mean punishment but correction and structure. Both of these create a sense of love and security. Proper discipline is positive and always consistent. It allows a child to know guidelines for behavior and choices exists for everyone and by following them, consequences are happy. Dreams are built and come to fruition through the power of loving discipline.
  • Integrity-Give your child the gift of total honesty. Never lie to a child, never beat around the bush and never deceive them in any way. Oh, I am not saying to give a child more information than he/she can handle. Usually a short yes or no will be sufficient and satisfy a child’s curiosity. There is no need to expound when giving an honest answer to your child. There is a great need for them to see your integrity and truthfulness. A child can trust truth and as he/she grows will absorb those same values, becoming an adult who is truthful and authentic.
  • Affection-Children are pressured to grow up fast. They are away from home and in school at four years old. That is still a baby! They need hugs, kisses, touches, from us. Put your arm around her little shoulders when passing by, ruffle the hair as you place his plate on the table. There are many ways to show affection to our grandchildren. Physical affection is a sign of love and brings us closer emotionally to our little ones.
  • Encourage Children-The Holy Bible tells us that words are very important and have power to create life or death (Proverbs 18:21). Give the gift of uplifting and encouraging words. One simple sentence can give a child the boost he needs after a difficult day at school or send him over the edge into discouragement and even despair.
  • Questions-Allow a child to wonder and learn. The why, why, why that drives parents mad is a child’s way of learning and exploring the world and her imagination.
  • Contentment-When is enough really enough? Americans are driven to buy and collect more and more stuff. Then we buy bigger houses and rent storage buildings to keep all that stuff. Teach children that contentment comes from knowing who we are and has nothing to do with what we have in the material sense. A job title, being on a sports team, top of the honor roll at school, does not bring a sense of well being. All those things are okay, just not the dream.
  • More than anything children needs the awesome gift of love. It redeems, heals, nurtures and causes everyone, especially the tender heart of a child, to know we are worthwhile. Let your child have the gist of unconditional love. Hug her when she has just done the most awful thing, bite your tongue when he just broke great grandmother’s china plate and help clean up the pieces while telling a story about great grandmother and letting him know she would have loved him as much as you do. Love is the greatest gift of all. Jesus said so and He was love personified and the ultimate Christmas present to mankind.

True Christmas Gifts Are About Love, Not Material Presents

The Power of Praise

Life is hard with a thousand things to do and accomplish every day. We feel burdened by the mistakes we make along the way. Our grandchildren do too. From the moment they wake up in  the morning, they are pressured to perform. Getup-get showered-get dressed-get to school-listen to the teacher–pass a test, etc. They hear No, No, No all day long. A child who begins the morning with joy in his eyes can be slump shouldered with weariness and discouragement by day’s end. What can we Recycled Moms do to help?

We can pour heaps of praise on our kids so they know we think they are wonderful and successful. The old adage about every cloud having a silver lining is apropos in this case. If a child makes a poor grade on a test, find the bright spot. They learned what to focus on. Praise her for working hard and doing her best. A best friend was chosen to be on the debate team but our child was not. Point out that everyone has certain gifts and talents while another person may excel in something altogether different.

Opportunities abound to praise children. Set up a situation so you can give them a much needed pat on the back. Even very young children can accomplish something worthwhile such as picking up toys. When you exclaim proudly “What a great job you did! This room looks fantastic!”, the child will feel good about that accomplishment and most likely will afterward pick up toys on his own.

God created every person to be unique. Pick out the specialness in every child and highlight it. Do not stroke the ego, be honest about choices and consequences. But honestly, these are kids we are dealing with and they are not making earth shattering mistakes. A spilled cup of juice will be forgotten in an hour. How a Recycle Mom reacts to that spilled juice can become a lifelong memory of comfort, gentleness and help. Laugh it off. Praise the child for grabbing paper towels so quickly,  “fast as a super hero”.

These are our kids that we have been given to raise. We want them to have self confidence and to know who they are; to realize the small things are small and the big things are big. Choices abound for every human being. Let us intentionally choose to increase joy in children by exercising the power of praise!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Proverbs 139:14

That footprint will last a lifetime and steady a child as he/she grows and faces a tough, negative world outside the arms of a loving Recycled Mom.

Footprints in sand wash away at the first drop of water. But ones etched in the heart remain forever.


How Can We Help Our Kids Cope With Learning Disorders?

Our grandchildren have lots of stress. They have lost one or both parents and must handle that along with the pressure of school. When a child has some sort of additional challenge such as a learning disorder, the burden is magnifies for them and for us. It is sometimes hard to recognize the difference between a disorder and a kid who just is not doing well. So how can we know when to intervene and get help?

When the gap between your child and others is small, there most likely is no reason for concern. As the child grows and falls farther behind, the gap becomes a chasm. This should be eye opening for a recycled mom. No one ever wants to admit something is wrong with her child and often the child desires secrecy to prevent embarrassment. But a learning disorder should be viewed as any other health concern.

If you suspect your child has an issue with ADHD, Dylexia, Dysgraphia or any other disorder that might cause him or her problems, act on it. Get help as soon as possible. The pediatrician is the first resource. He can refer your child for evaluation to the right professional. Get a diagnosis because the school will probably require one.

Then schedule a meeting with teachers, principals, counselors and other school personnel that may need to be involved. Be the advocate for your child and insist on the right plan being written. This might be an IEP (individual education plan), a 504 or both. Be involved in the process. Know what is happening every step of the way.

Only you know your child inside and out. Teachers only see them for hours a day. We see them day and night, in good times and bad, happy and sad, strong and weak. Do not be afraid to force the issue and get help for your child.  A learning disorder is not the end of the world, it is only a tiny  bump in the road to success.