helping our children (1)

We often get fixated on the idea that our job is to train our children. I believe that it is the role of a parent to teach and train, and for those who have read my newsletter for a while, know that I talk about training a lot. But sometimes it is useful to look at something from a different perspective. This week I’ve been struck with the idea that another way to describe parenting is that we are to help our children.

  • Could we exchange the word train with the word help?
  • Could they be the same thing, just the other side of the coin?

Thought his may take some thinking about to get over some preconceived ideas, I do think it is worth considering. If we started to help our children instead of always training our children we may be gentler, more understanding and offer more grace.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we are not to train – but if we can expand our understanding of what that means we may meet our children’s needs differently, and sometimes that is necessary. We may also change our own heart which will change our actions towards our children, and sometimes that is necessary too!

Let’s look at some definitions:
To train:  it means to learn or teach skills and we use synonyms such as teach, coach, educate, instruct, and guide.* All of these words help us understand what it means to ‘train’.

To help: it means to assist somebody, or advise somebody, to be useful, to make things better, to provide for somebody’s needs, to advance something, to serve somebody, to keep somebody from doing something, to prevent something. *

When I look at that definition, I certainly want that word help to be a part of my parenting, don’t you?

Unfortunately when we consider our children we tend to focus on the word train – and that often means we switch to military mode – we have this code of conduct, we are strict, we give the instructions and we expect immediate response. At the same time, when we consider helping our children we tend to think in terms of enabling them to continue as they are. Culturally we now see the word ‘enabler’ (an offshoot of being a helper) as being someone who helps people continue to do a bad habit; being an enabler is a negative thing and it promotes negative responses in a relationship. Of course we don’t want that in our parenting.

In a sense here, I’m just playing with words. I want to change my thinking, as well as yours. I want to break the paradigms that we get caught up in that we have to always train with a heavy hand, that we are removed from our children in this process – there is a them and us, that we go through a sequence of happenings and our kids will get it. That is how we subconsciously deal with the word train.

To help someone though is to assist them –

to make it easier or possible for someone to do something that they cannot do alone. 

Let’s say:

  • My toddler has no self control at the grocery store. We can be strict and demanding or we can be helpful and assist our toddler to do something that they, at this stage, can’t do by themselves.
  • My child has no sense or orderliness and always loses his shoes. We can be strict and demanding or we can be helpful and assist our child to do something that they, at this stage, can’t do by themselves.
  • My teen is struggling with making wise choices. We can be strict and demanding or we can be helpful and assist our teen to do something that they, at this stage, can’t do by themselves.

To help them, doesn’t mean we do everything for our children. We don’t stop taking them to the grocery store because they touch everything, we don’t put our kids’ shoes away for them, and we don’t limit our teens freedom to make choices. We won’t be assisting them for the rest of their lives (that is the idea of being an enabler) but by assisting them, supporting them, to do the right thing they will learn. Our helping can be a part of the training.

I think a key here is to see help as assist rather than do it for them.

If help is to be a part of our training it must come from knowing what our children need, and as they grow older it will be about helping them meet their own goals for their own life.

Our toddlers need self-control – We don’t want them to touch everything, move price tags around, and drop fruit at the grocery store. We can help them learn self-control by putting them in a trolley, by going shopping when they are functioning not over-tired, by talking to them and engaging them as we do the shop. By limiting their availability to touch stuff, we are helping them have self control.

Our children need to be orderly – we can get frustrated that they lose their shoes, or we can develop a system to develop the habit of walking in the door and putting their shoes in the right place. We can initially remind them or prompt them – this is helping them. As they do the right thing over and over a habit of putting their shoes away is established. We have helped them do something they didn’t have the ability to do before (either morally or physically!)

And the same goes with our teens – as they make unwise choices, we can get along side of them, and help them, not by taking over, but by being there for them, by talking about principles to think about when they have to make a choice, by encouraging them to make a choice, by being forgiving when they stuff up. Remember to be a help we are assisting them – they may be able to do most of it, but not all of it on their own.

There is a lot to think about when we start helping our children do the right thing.

  • What can they already do
  • What are they struggling with
  • What can I do to help them

Remember, to help someone is to assist them to do something they cannot do on their own.
What is it your children need help with today?

*Encarta Dictionary

 

Also sharing and linking with others:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful SpotHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),  Capture your Journey,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, A Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool Linkup, Weekly Wrap-up, Collage  Fridays

Download your worksheet and start working on your family vision statement.

Get the Family Vision Worksheet

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

Get a copy of the Jelly Bean Story

I will email you a download link.  You can print and share this story with your kids and their friends.

The download link is on it's way.

This parent guide helps parents plan family bible study and use discussion techniques to teach the important lessons.

Bible study Guide for Parents

Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts. I will email you a download link.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Obedience looks a bit different as our kids grow older. Download this parent/teen discussion guide to understand this issue of obedience in teen years.

Download your Free Discussion Guide

Don't assume your kids are rebelling - instead talk to them about what Obedience looks like now they are older.  I will email you a download link.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Over 20 different verbal expressions divided into heart or self control to help parents discern these behaviours.

Download your Cheat Sheet

I will send you the link to download this cheat sheet that will help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Free email course -

6 days straight to your inbox!

 

 

Plan a Christmas that touches the heart of your family.

Thank you for being here - you will receive an email shortly.

Make your Christmas a Heart Focus Christmas

Make your Christmas a Heart Focus Christmas

6 Day free email course 

Success! You will receive an email shortly. (You never know which folder emails will land in so keep an eye out for my "Thank you" email.) Stay in touch... Belinda - Live life with your Kids!

Pin It on Pinterest