Friday, August 5, 2016

Guest Post: Epic moment for a gently parented child

This is a story posted on Facebook by a friend who is committed to parenting his children with gentleness. It is an example of the marks that gentle parenting leave on a child and is shared here with permission.

- - -

Really cool story about Aizen from today. 

It's important to explain something first though -- for daily activities like going to school or in the summer going to the community centre for summer camp Aizen establishes a specific ritual of activities he has to complete going in to the building or coming out of the building. If this gets disrupted it can massively throw Aizen off -- think Obsessive Compulsive Disorder reaction. He needs to start and finish it without interruption. 

Also he will have layered in rituals with different people -- usually I'm picking him up or dropping him off places so he layers routines in with me. 

He gets so anxious to start them that in the summer Dee has to come to meet with his support worker so they can talk about his day -- with just me we wouldn't get much communication in because he wants to get going on his ritual. 

Swapping a person out mid ritual (switching from me to Dee for example) can result in a full blown meltdown. 

So currently this ritual revolves around doors -- he has to open and close specific doors in the stairwell in the parking garage on the way up to the car a certain number of times. 

As I mentioned it takes place with me -- I'm familiar with the rhythm of everything at this point so it goes smoothly and he can stabilize himself for what is coming up next. 

When we were leaving the community centre today we met up with a lady who needed an oxygen tank to breath -- this was fascinating to Aizen because he loves his helium balloons -- so he announced she had a helium tank with her and starting scripting about balloons. I explained it was an oxygen tank and she smiled and said it was a breathing machine. I tried to explain his balloon thing to her but she didn't really get it hehe -- however she was leaving the community centre at the same time an when we got out the door she asked me to help her to her car. She needed to switch apparatuses so that her oxygen tank was directly behind her and she needed help to do this. 

Keep in mind this is mid ritual -- we were about to get to the stairwell, and helping was a disruption. 

I decided to give it a try though -- I told Aizen *stop and wait* since he was about 20 feet in front of us hehe -- I explained to him what we were doing and that we were helping the lady. He stood patiently while I helped to retrieve the driving apparatus from the car, transfer the tank over, and put the walking apparatus in the back seat. 

By this time Dee was coming out after talking to his support worker and she called him over to her to go up to the car with her -- he protested in one sentence, but then went with her and only requested they didn't ride the elevator so he could do his doors. 

So two things -- First -- he stopped mid ritual, and waited while I was helping the lady -- he didn't touch her equipment and he waited patiently at a little post in the sidewalk. 

Second -- he switched out the primary person for this ritual and successfully got to the car without heightened anxiety. 

I know this may seem like such a little thing to many folks -- but trust me this is HUGE. Not even 6 months ago this would have triggered a pretty epic meltdown -- and just trying to get him to not touch the lady's equipment would have been nearly impossible. Wall of text -- but a pretty epic moment for the little guy

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dear Ezzo Mom

Dear Ezzo Mom,

Hi. I’m the wife of one of your little boys. I thought you might want to hear how all your hard work and commitment to training up your child turned out and what it was all for. Essentially, much of your sacrificing was for me, because now your little boy is my husband, the head of my household. He’s the rock to which I tether myself in storms. And he’s the father of my own little boys.

So many nights ago, all those years in the past, you sacrificed your heart. You laid in bed night after night, as he cried out to you. His screams piercing the air, and your heart. You laid there hoping and praying he would finally just stop and learn to sleep. It was even physically painful for you at times. Sometimes you cried. Sometimes you got up and went to his door, but you didn’t give in. You stood there, outside the door, silencing your own cries as you listened to his raspy tiny little voice, the volume and strength of the cries lessening and lessening. He had a lesson he needed to learn for his future, and you made it happen.

Even after he learned to sleep there were times you wanted to throw in the towel. Sometimes managing him by keeping to schedules seemed impossible. Waking him when he was sleeping soundly, or putting him down wide-awake so that he would learn to sleep on a schedule. Feeding him when he didn’t seem he wanted fed, and making him wait to eat when he acted like he was starving. He had a lesson he needed to learn for his future, and you made it happen.

And there was the invisible, yet vital barrier you erected around you and your husband. You and he on one side, inside the friendship circle, and your little boy, my husband, on the outside. Never allowing yourself to cross the “friendship” line, no matter how tempting, never making my husband your “buddy,” but making sure he observed you and your husband having this friendship, ensured he knew the proper structure of authority in your home, and felt secure. He had a lesson he needed to learn for his future, and you made it happen.

You taught him to say, “Please,” and “Thank-You,” and to be submissive to his parents in all things. You even taught him to quietly, and appreciatively, to accept his punishments.

Now he is grown. Your labors have ceased. The fruits of the lessons he learned are no longer in the future, but are happening now, and you made it all happen.

What did he take into the future, into “now,” back when he was crying in his crib at night, all alone, calling out sometimes just to be held, to the primary woman in his world?

As his wife, I can say he learned the drives for closeness aren’t worth crying out about, because they change nothing. Now it is I who lay in bed at night, my body aching, as he lay silently next to me, crying out for me only on the inside, never the outside.

And did he learn to sleep? This vital skill for life? As I listen to him day after day, complaining about having headaches, not being able to remember things, and feeling so tired because, he says, he can’t sleep, I would say no. Life, after all, doesn’t operate on a neat schedule. His body was taught sleep was according to a clock, and had nothing to do with being tired or being ready to waken. So now that his life can’t allow him a perfectly silent room to sleep in from 8:00pm to 8:00am, his body seems to have no idea what to do.

And, worst of all for me, after living the first 18 years of his life on the outside of the invisible barrier of friendship between his mom and dad, he now seems not to know how to breach it, to be part of the friendship circle on the inside. He seems to always participate in our life together an observer, apart from me somehow, never fully connected.

He still says, “Please,” and “Thank-You,” sure. He’s quite polite, and never complains. But this is a marriage. Sometimes he has to feel quite irritated with me, yet, through it all he has remained submissive to the parents in his home, basically me, his wife. Never crossing me, because he learned “back-talk” is not acceptable, and that crying out or complaining when he feels the need doesn’t change the world, anyway. So he holds everything in, seeks solace in being alone, and falling asleep. He self-soothes, but is never comforted.

The lessons he learned as a helpless baby, when his cries never changed his world, never got him the closeness he needed have stuck. The lessons he learned where sleep and food were things that happened according to his body’s natural needs, but according to a clock, have stuck. By disregarding his natural needs to be fed, not fed, woken, laid down to sleep, and held when he signaled the need for it, you taught him those desires are not legitimate, and you failed to teach him the proper way to fulfill those needs, teaching him only to ignore them.

Today, he not only has no idea how to meet his own needs now, he has no idea what they even are. And all he knows is that he’s perfectly unhappy. Can’t sleep. Can’t connect with his wife or kids. Suffers headaches because he can’t sleep, or forgets to eat, because his stomach signaling "hunger" means nothing to him.

He learned all too well, that he is powerless and for his discomfort to go away he must submit, go to sleep, and wait for it all to be better. The relief of the drive for those things would be met by the woman in his life who would fulfil those needs according to her own timetable.

So, thanks, Ezzo Mom, for making sure my husband could never learn what his needs are, and how to fulfill them. Thanks for teaching him to submit to me, to never speak up for himself. And most of all, thank-you for teaching him he is powerless. It was always my dream to marry a quitter, because we all tend to love others the same way we love ourselves. And so not only has he no clue what to do about his own desires, he has no idea what to do with mine.


Your Son’s Unhappy Wife

Monday, June 6, 2016

Testing the Spirit of the Advice you Follow

Some of the most popular books in the bookstores are ones on how to raise children.

Christians, obviously, filter thru all the books out there to find the ones written by Christians. Christians want only godly advice, to raise up godly children. And when it comes to choosing the right books, we rely on this teaching...

1 John 4
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 

So, we check to see if whoever it is "confesses Christ" or not.
But Satan and his minions are what? Liars. Yes? So, if you ask him or his little worker-bees, “Are you Christian,” what will they say? Will they tell you the truth? Or will he twist God's word and toss it back to you like colorful beach ball and hope you catch it and play along?

When satan was attempting to take down Jesus, he tossed scripture at Him. But Jesus saw thru satan's attempt to manipulate Him thru quoting scripture, didn't He?

Eve, however...she wasn't so smart, was she?

So...if we can't rely on what people do we test those spirits then, to see if they really ARE from God or not?

1 John 1:6
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

We look at the walk...and...

Luke 6:43
For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.

Luke 6:44
For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.

Matthew 7:17
So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:18
A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

Matthew 7:19
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:20
So then, you will know them by their fruits.

You look at the fruit.

The walk, and the fruits tell all.

So when it comes to all the many child-rearing manuals out there...what could they be advising that would indicate that they are "confessing" that Christ has come in the flesh? What was Christ all about? Why'd He come?

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

Galatians 5:1
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.


One of the very foundational things we're told about why Christ died...was for freedom. It was for freedom He went to the cross and did all that suffering.

Romans 1 says anything you want to know is evident in the Creation, and the life-robbing qualities of freedom's opposite are evident all over Creation. One sure-fire way to make any animal develop bad and even dangerous to cage them. And all around the world, universally, we see that "slavery" and "captivity" are the worst states a human can be in. People of every religion and philosophy will fight to the be free.

So here's one question to start with: Does the child-rearing advice you're reading...focus on freedom...or on control? 

And what is the fruit in your child? Does your following of that author's advice lead to your child working on keeping watch over their every step? Does your book lead your children to feeling led, guided, safe, and free? Or...controlled, managed, and afraid? Do your children feel free, or like they are in a cage of rules and regulations?

Caging in Creation leads to bad fruit.

Freedom leads to good fruit.

So, would you think advice that focuses on teaching parents to manage, control and monitor their children is "confessing that Christ has come in the die to set us free"? This is crucial because it is, "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God."

"But my children are good and obedient!" Yes! But are they free? Do they obey freely? Do they obey out of love, with the freedom to disobey? Or do they obey out of fear?

I'm not talking about letting kids "run wild." Boundaries are good and necessary for freedom.

The lines in the highway which "confine" me to my lane make me safe and free to drive. Without the lines, I'm controlled by fear and am not free. But it's one thing to put lines in the road to show me where to drive, and another thing entirely to sit in the car with me and tell me what to do, where to go, and keep one hand on the steering wheel while I drive. 

Defining the boundary leaves me free to drive.
Keeping one hand on the steering wheel makes my act of driving "slavery".

It was for freedom that Christ died. His sacrifice defines the boundary.
There is no fear in love.
God is love.

By advising you to manage, control, and monitor your children's every move...not only are both you and your children not free...they are sending you backwards, out of the New Testament into the Old...

Galatians 2:21
I do not nullify the grace of God, 
for if righteousness comes through the Law, 
then Christ died needlessly.” matter what those authors say about themselves and their matter what pastors and "the Church" at large says about those authors...the Bible has one place for their advice...

Matthew 7:19
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ditch those books!

What's one thing these popular books all have in common???

They're all written by men.

So what? 

What's that have to do with anything?

Have you ever considered whether or not God has given these men authority to give you this advice? Women, especially. Do you listen to these men? Does God really care if you use these books to go to these men for advice on how to care for your children?

1 Corinthians 14:35
If they [women] desire to learn anything, 
let them ask their own husbands 

Are those authors your own husband?

They're someone else's husband, aren't they?

In fact...

1 Timothy 3:12
Deacons must be husbands of only one wife
and good managers of their children 
and their own households.

The men who write these books are to be husbands to only one wife and managers of children in their own households.

Is he your husband? 
Are your children in that author's household?

Then has God given that man...the husband of another woman...the authority to manage your children?


But it's not like that? You're not really letting that man manage your household?

If you obey the words of God in His book, the Bible...are you not being the hands and feet of Jesus...allowing Him to work through you?

Then if you are diligently obeying advice of Michael Pearl, James Dobson, Ted Tripp, or Gary Ezzo though that man's books...then are you not being that man's hands and feet, and allowing him to manage your household through you?

I know you want to say no but if you can be honest...this is what you're doing.

And, have you ever stopped to wonder why God would tell you not to ask other men what to do with your household?

Another common factor of the books shown above is the attitude toward and treatment of children. Is it possible God knows taking advice from men who are not your life partner, your husband, could be bad for your household?

Just look at Creation...

Romans 1:20
...since the creation of the world, His [God's] invisible attributes, 
His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,
 being understood through what has been made...

In most cases in Creation, the females innately know how to care for their young, and often end up needing to protect the young...from the father.

Another common factor of the books shown above is the cold attitude toward and harsh punitive treatment of children. All those men are in favor of leaving a baby to cry alone in the middle of the night, and all insist on spanking.

Romans 1:19-20
...that which is known about God is evident within them; 
for God made it evident to them...
so that they are without excuse.

For the most part...women cannot sleep through the sound of a crying baby the way a man can. And women...very often...will turn spanking over to the man, "Just wait till your father gets home!" because women are not wired to harm their children.

If women listened to their instincts...and to the men who they chose to be partners in life with...about the well-being of the children in their own households...and had no input from these other men via their books...most women would hold their children close, respond to them, cuddle them, sleep with them, and never hit them.

In other words...most women would never do the things advised in any of those books...and would exactly what they are supposed to do with their children...

The things that have been happening in this last century to children have resulted in the world we see around us right now.

This is why God said...

Titus 2:3
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior,
 not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, 
teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women 
to love their husbands, to love their children, 
to be sensible...

And, why does this verse say older women are to do these things? 

" that the word of God will not be dishonored."

If you care about what the Bible says about raising will ditch every one of those books written by men...and at least start listening to the advice of your heart...

1 John 3
...if our heart does not condemn us, 
we have confidence before God.

If the book you're reading, written by some other woman's husband...has you aching and crying...standing outside your crying baby's door, not responding...your heart is condemning you. 

If the book you're reading, written by some other woman's husband...has you brandishing a kitchen tool against your child's body and doing so makes you feel unpleasant...your heart is condemning you.

Stop reading books by other women's husbands.

Stop letting other women's husbands manage your households and children.

Listen to your hearts.
Consult older women who have happy, successful children.
Discuss things with your own husbands.
And most of all...imitate how your Heavenly Father has parented you.

Start doing that the Word of God will stop being dishonored in the church...and by extension...we will begin to see the Word of God honored in the world...

After you ditch the books written by other women's husbands, you could give one of these a try...and if you log onto Amazon and check any of these out...there are plenty of trails to other books written by women...that will not lead your heart to condemn you...

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Meanest Mom in the World?"

Recently a post by a mom, calling herself, "The Meanest Mom in the World" was making the rounds on social media. 

The story went...

She'd taken her kids out for ice cream. She watched as her children, ages somewhere around 8, 5, and 4, received their sweet treasures and began eating them happily. Then as they exited the ice cream place, she stopped and snatched those ice creams from the children mid-bite and threw them in the trash...because the children had failed to say, "thanks" to the person who'd handed them the ice creams. She then gave them a lecture on how someday they should be happy to have a job like that, handing out ice creams to children, and they need to show these people respect.

Her post went viral and had piles of comments telling her she was far from the meanest mom...but a great mom with children sure to grow up polite and respectful!

But is that what she's really teaching them?

I think an experience I had at Sam's Club a few days ago can shed some light on that...

So I was at Sam's Club...hungry (you know you should never do that...go to the grocery store hungry!) with my 18- and 12- and 8-year-old daughters...and we rounded a corner and there on the end cap...was a man in a "Free Samples" booth.

I peeked at what he had before him on his counter and saw rectangular Club Crackers with some delish-looking spread of what looked like flaky chicken mixed with a bit of mayo and something red, like berries or something.

I looked the crackers over quickly, sizing them up. There were about 5 on little square white napkins, and as I grabbed one I thought, a little guiltily, This one has like 2x's more spread on it than those others! I got the one with the most stuff on it, I'm so selfish! 

I held it up to my face and could smell it now. Mmmm.

"What is this?" I asked the man.

"Chicken..." he said and didn't elaborate on what was in the chicken.

It didn't matter, though. My mind was back on this tasty treat before me. I was afraid the cracker might break in half when I bit it and send the stuff all crumbling onto the floor, so I held my other hand up under it with the napkin. If I did drop some I was going to drop it onto the napkin and still be able to eat it.

And, Mmmm... Oh it was heaven. So good. (Seriously...just don't go to the grocery store hungry!)

As I chewed, feeling quite pleased with my mouthful of food, wishing there was a way to get more of these samples, and if I had a problem with buying the canned factory-farmed chicken meat, I pushed the cart out of the way with one free hand and my other elbow. I got half-way down the aisle...and pulled over to finish my snack when my 12-y/o quietly leans in to me and says, "You didn't even thank him."

I'm a 47 y/o grown-up with a fully mature brain, and I was so wrapped up in my delight over my treat that I failed Etiquette 101. 

And because I'm this soon as this hit me...I realized that I was in the middle of living the post by the Ice Cream in the Trash Mom...except I was the kid, and my 12-y/o was the mom!

The internet has declared her a hero! Everyone's so happy she's teaching her kids manners! More parents should be like her! about me and my manners?

What if Ice Cream in the Trash Mom had been shopping with me?

What if she'd taken my cracker, lectured me, and marched me back over to the Sam's Club employee, my head hung in shame and still wanting that cracker...and made me apologize for not thanking him?

Would she be hero of manners enforcement then...or would you all be telling me to find another friend to shop with?

Or what if my 12-y/o had, instead of quietly coming to me, had done as Ice Cream in the Trash Mom had done to her children?

Then what?

Or how about...what if one of Ice Cream in the Trash Mom's kids had been shopping with me...and seeing me fail to thank the guy had grabbed my cracker, threw it in the trash, scolded me, and marched me over to the employee and made me apologize to would you see the behavior then? Would you see Ice Cream in the Trash Mom's kids imitating her behavior and turn to her and congratulate her on teaching her kids well?

Normally when we show kids to do stuff and they mimic it perfectly, we're proud! But would watching her kids treating me this way be something to applaud?

Unfortunately for are little parrots. It's like they're born with this, "Show me!" circuitry in their brain. It's evident as early as day one when they'll stick their tongue out to imitate the parent doing it. Imitation is how kids learn to talk, walk, eat...everything.

I've spent a lot of time in the last few years watching parents with their own kids at sports practices and you can see more similarities between them than their physical appearances. You can see similar attitudes and hear the same accents in their speech...because kids mimic their parents.

This means if the parent makes a conscious point of BEING polite...always saying, "Please!" and "Thank you!" their children...will mimic them because that's how kids come wired. It's that easy to teach etiquette and polite behavior.

It also means that when a parent...stands aside watching their children in the middle of a learning opportunity...a mistake of etiquette...and reacting by judging them...then pouncing on them harshly because they make a mistake...instead of teaching them...guess what? The children will do the same.

Kids imitate how the parent acts more than they will do what the parents says. It's how they're wired.

This means...if you start smacking the hand of a baby, once they start to crawl, explore, and grab things, scolding them with a harsh, "No!" They will learn they get smacked for touching certain things...AND they will smack to stop others (usually other children) from doing what they don't want them to do.

They're wired to imitate us.

If you swat the bottom of your toddler, to make them do what you want...they will learn to swat other children to get them to do what they want.

If you yell at them and scold them when they don't do what you want...they will learn to yell and scold to get other kids to do what they want.

Just listen to them when they're playing and doing these things...just listen and you hear yourself...

If you call your child, "naughty!" and "bad!" when they do something you don't like...they will learn to call other children names when they do what they don't like.

If you take their toys when they're in the middle of playing with them because you've decided it's time to go or time to go to bed and you don't take into account their feelings and desire to "finish playing"...they will learn to take toys from other children without taking into account the other children's feelings or desire to finish playing with them.

And if you have a habit of physically moving your child when they don't wish to be moved...picking them up when they're not done with their toys, pulling their hands and tugging them away from something they're not ready to be moved away from...they will "push" other get others to move their bodies when they don't like where they are.

If you're the type of parent to disregard what children want because you feel it's important to "make sure they know who's boss," so you never, "give in and give them what they want lest you spoil them," they will not listen to the desires of others. They'll learn to stand their ground and not give in and give the other person (often the parent) "their own way."

Children are learning from the parents' every action and they will mimic those behaviors. They are going to smack, yell, take toys, and push others.

They're wired to watch us and imitate what we do.

Sadly, it seems society is blind to this. Even today's highly educated doctors will diagnose children who imitate unpleasant behavior with acronyms, and parents think these children need a "firmer hand." The kids end up punished, spanked, and medicated...for imitating their parents.

But you can tell your children 1000 times...that smacking, yelling, taking toys, refusing to be obedient, and pushing is can punish them for it and give them pills...but as long as you are doing those things in order to teach them...they will continue to mimic you.


Some seem to feel rude behavior isn't rude if it's done to a child. But if it would be rude for Ice Cream in the Trash Mom to take MY cracker and toss it in the trash, lecture me, and march me over and make me apologize...then it's rude. Period. Even when done to small children.

And if we want to look at what's rude and Ice Cream in the Trash Mom's children's childish forgetfulness with her adult calculated and planned behavior.

Which behavior was actually rude?

Ice Cream in the Trash Mom's kids might learn to say, "Thanks," via their mother's teaching they don't get in trouble with Mom again, but the irony of it all is that in her attempt to teach her kids to be polite, she did the exact opposite.

Through her behavior, Ice Cream in the Trash Mom's kids have learned a lot about how to treat people who make mistakes in front of them. In time, she will see it, as they become older and start treating her and others the way she's taught them to treat people...but she will likely misperceive it and label it as "teenage rebellion."

That's how it works.

So, is Ice Cream in the Trash Mom the "Meanest Mom in the World?" No. Actively demonstrating to children on a daily basis what it looks like to speak politely while treating people disrespectfully, is actually quite common for US parents.

Even Christians.

If you ask most Christians, or look at most of the books Christians normally consult for advice on how to deal with situations with their children, you'll see the default respose to children's mistakes seems to be to punish/spank/inflict pain of some type. But didn't the Christ Christians are following...tell us to get the log our of our own eyes, first?

Why would He tell us that?

He is the one who made children wired to imitate parents. And if we parents all spent more time looking in the mirror and focusing on our own behavior, we'd see our children's behavior changing for the better...right along with our own.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

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