By Rikki Beth Poindexter
**This blog includes tips and advice given from a Christian mother of five children! Share with a new mom or mom of young children.**
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
I do not want to be brought to shame when it comes to raising my children for Christ! I would like to share with you some things the Lord has laid on my heart for this particular topic of biblical child training.
Before the Babies Come
Desire enhancement. I wanted kids to enhance our marriage and home. We currently have children who are 21, 20, 18, 17, and 15 years old. I knew that it would take a lot of work, and most of it would be on me. I can say that the Poindexter five have definitely enhanced our home and marriage. I am extremely thankful the Lord allowed me to be a mother.
Never say never. I have been privileged to stay home with our children all of their lives. If you do not yet have any children, have an idea of what you plan to allow and not allow. Never say never! "As soon as we say 'my kid would never,' here they come nevering like they never nevered before." Unknown
Plan ahead if you can. Have some ideas before you begin having kids. We wanted for me to stay home with our children. We set our life up (before kids) to live on one income. If you start off on two incomes, it can make your dream of being a stay-at-home mom more challenging and difficult.
Read and study. There are issues you need to research before the baby gets here. If you intend to breastfeed, read up. Educate yourself. I am so thankful I did this. Our first child was born with some health complications that caused him to go to the NICU. Had I not read up prior to giving birth, I am not sure that I could have successfully handled exclusively pumping. We educate and study the things that are important to us. One of my children recently said they were going to quit saying, "I didn't have time.” Instead, they say, "I didn't MAKE time."
Have discussions with your husband. Ask questions. Talk about concerns before the baby comes. How does he feel about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, discipline, the number of children desired, and so on? Get his input. Be on the same page! Children can bring you closer to each other or drive you apart (which should never be the case). Do not put your kid(s) above your husband. Make time for him! Do not neglect him.
Be settled and disciplined in devotional time. Be consistent before you have kids. When kids begin to come along, you will have to fight even harder for that special time with the Lord. Keep having that quiet time, even on difficult days. Staying in your Bible will give you the strength you need to be a biblical mother.
You can get your infant on a schedule. You must want to and put the work into it to succeed. Some mothers do not care about a schedule during this time. Do what works for you.
Child Training— Particularly with Toddlers:
Spanking is biblical. It is not intended to be “abuse.” If done properly and consistently, it will yield an obedient child. A parent who loves their child spanks them when needed. (More info on this to come in Part II next week.)
Please do not do your child the injustice of telling them, “If you do that again, I am going to spank you.” Let your “No” mean no. End of discussion.
If they do not obey, they should be disciplined. You are training them to obey and respect your words. If you tell them “no” five times for the same thing or tell them you are going to spank them and do not, you are training them that your words carry no value—that you do not mean what you say.
Do not tell them, “When your dad gets home, he will spank you.” You, Mother, should handle all disciplinary issues when the kids are in your care. Sometimes, extremely poor behavior may warrant Dad disciplining too when he comes home, but do not make Dad the bad guy. Handle it, and handle it swiftly.
When a parent gives a command, the children should obey and obey swiftly. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
Be consistent! If I can stress anything, it is consistency in child training.
Teach them the word “no” at a young age—when they pull your hair; when they bow their back up while you are trying to lay them down; when they try to roll around during a diaper change; when they bite while nursing (I also gently pulled hair for this displeasing event).
If a behavior is "no" at 1:00 pm, it must be "no" at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm—and tomorrow and the next day and so on. If something is "no" today, it must be "no" EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! If it is not, your kids will be so confused, as well as, disobedient.
Think about how the Lord deals with us… He is very clear about what He expects from us. (See Hebrews 12:7, “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”) From my experience, you can teach a five-month-old the word “no” and get a positive response.
Be clear with your kids early on. You are teaching them to respect you as a mother. I detest using someone else (namely the pastor) as the "bad guy.” When a child misbehaves at church, I have heard parents say, "The pastor is going to get you." Please do not do this. You, as parents, train your children. Do not threaten them by telling them that someone else will do the “dirty work.”
It is hard work. I wanted kids that I enjoyed being around as their mother. But I wanted others to enjoy being around my kids too. Training well-behaved kids—THIS TAKES WORK! What a shame it would be for me as a mother to hear that someone does not want to invite our family over or out to eat because my children are unruly. I am the one with my kids all day! Consistent child training is the hardest job I have ever done.
Have a set bedtime. Because it is so tiresome, I would encourage this to mothers of young children and babies. You are the parent. You are in charge.
Get rest. You, mom, go to bed at night. Put your phone down. Go to sleep. If you and your husband like to spend some time alone in the evening, have the children's bedtime set and executed to allow you both some time together, while also allowing enough time for you to sleep well and be rested.
Enjoy a nap. Take a nap during the day if you are privileged to stay home. Rest up so that you have the energy to do the work that training your child requires from you. Being a true stay-at-home mom is tiring!
Consider exercising. This also helps with tiredness and lack of energy.
Remember the goal. If we keep in the front of our minds how much work it is to train our kids, it will help us to not let up. It will help us continue to be consistent. The days are long but the fruit from proper training is so sweet.
Child training is one of the most rewarding things a mother will do.
Come back next week for more tips in Train Up a Child—Part II