Category Archives: Growing up years

I Tried To Raise My Kids Without Being Harsh

I Tried To Raise My Kids Without Being Harsh

As my husband and I sat at Red Lobster last night with friends waiting on our meal, I over heard a father at the next table talking to his child. It seemed to be a birthday meal for the teenager and the family was dining out for that. There was about a five year old little brother and he squirmed and wiggled and didn’t eat very well and was distracted.

The father was very irritated across from the boys and he began to scold. The birthday boy seemed embarrassed and withdrawn. I saw no sparkle in his eye; except he was enjoying the food he was eating. No conversation of worth, not even any good small talk and certainly the five year old was bored to the hilt. The father told the child to eat, he cuddled against his brother and smiled at his dad, and then he was told ok do you want time out when you get home?

The teenager looked like he would like to be anywhere but there right then and he smiled down at his little brother. The mom sat there trying to eat as the dad focused on every little action that irritated him. I thought stuff like this happens to the best of us, but I love to avoid messing up a nice occasion with irrational uncontrolled tension.

How often do we destroy good occasions with no moderation of handling our way of handling things? We could still get a good atmosphere by just keeping our own actions to irritations at a moderate minimum and still be in charge with a good out-come. I really don’t enjoy witnessing these things even though I have gone through it myself. I watched as the family filed out and the family left and I still was worried about the style of home they might have and how bmuch the kids love being there. (I am in no way implying that that our family is the best conversationalists, but let the record show I believe it is important to work at it.)

With all that still in my mind I am writing today about what I have been  involved with the most in my life. Babies and Teenagers have made me want to be a social worker, I have wanted to run a orphanage and adopt, and I have kept other kids in my home for a while and made bedrooms in the church next door to the parsonage so I could do what I could to help out. It is my passion, and I might have made mistakes with my own children, and I could tell you where and when and have still been learning what works and doesn’t without being ashamed that I don’t know it all, but I want the best out of whatever happens and needs to be handled. We are not going to get through life without many troublesome worries and situations that come our way from within our own homes. How we teach and how we ourselves learn equals the out-come of both love and closeness or distant and estranged.

So, you really do want a perfectly well behaved child or teenager that is happy, making good grades, full of zeal like you were, and so easy to live with. I hope some day to have an answer that will help other parents through easily.

What I am really trying to say is this is something we as parents all have to deal with.  I don’t have all the answers even though I have always had such a desire to know what kind of techniques of training work best. I do know what doesn’t work in a small way because I have raised five and tried to do it with a little dignity left for both my kids and me.

I am now watching my grandchildren grow up. Now our own kids are having the joy of raising their own children, and my grandchildren. I have been very proud of how they love their children and delight in them. If I don’t agree with something I try to sneak up on my kids blind side and tell them. Our parents sure didn’t stay completely out of our business in raising our children and I somehow felt like our mom’s knew a better way at times and I listened and asked.  I know it sounds like I am trying to mother the whole world, but well that is just me.

I will say this much, I had to learn to care and be sure that I wasn’t too hasty to measure out quick disciplines and not think them out first, as to how they really would remedy or affect the problem at hand. Love and kind moderate treatment works best in most situations to correct and still keep a tender willingness to repent and go on without bitterness and misunderstanding.

Going overboard seems to only drive the problems or aggravations deeper into the skin of the kid. If you always seem to go for the harshest words or longest groundings it doesn’t produce the tender feelings inside the heart and mind that you might hope it would.  I have seen this over and over and had to correct myself before. They made me disturbed, and I was going to punish them. Not just because it was all that important for them growing up nice, but I got irritated and they were going to pay.

So, I will take a church function away from them and keep them away from other church young people and they will learn.  Most of your nit picking problems with young people is just nice chances for you to just warn and teach in a moderate kind way how to act and what is acceptable or not acceptable. Every problem doesn’t need to be major creating quietly angry feelings growing inside. Herein, lies the problem you want them to learn and grow and become a good citizen and be able to mingle with people and feel confidence and a part of the church and your family.

We have to show love to get the right outcome of a major problem.  Discipline without a sign of love and concern will set things up for more deep-rooted problems. That is why communication and calmer ways of talking out problems works better for opening up and getting through with more understanding and repentance and forgiveness from the heart. This way you both can get through in good shape. God is not as mean as we are. I don’t feel I have a right to treat people worse than God does. He loves always and forgives and gives us hope.  One time my husband made a quick ruling to our children. Soon after he came to me and felt it was too strong. He was feeling so bad and wondered what he could do to retract that and the kids not lose respect for him. What came to his mind was they would respect you more and feel like you love them more even if you agree you made a mistake in your judgment. He called a family meeting and sat them all down and with tears he apologized for making a ruling that was so hurtful to them and ask their forgiveness. He withdrew that restriction. There were lots of tears and all the kids hugged their daddy and said thank you and I love you. As parents we learned an important lesson that day about over reacting in discipline. There have been no problems of respect because of that from our children I felt the respect increases.

The hardest cases in the world of kids to work with are the ones that have been treated harsh from a baby on. Some folks seem to resent their little ones from the start and all the work they are. I have had many a frustrating moment with my own when they didn’t seem to want to sleep or had a crying jag going and I have tried a few tricks to see if it all would go away and leave me alone. After a little of that I would have to tell myself this is a baby and I need to govern my own ideas and not make this a pattern that will stay too long. Sometimes we nourish and make passing actions permanent and speak it into existence because we take it all too hard. Some things are just a baby and some babies are more fussy than others and when they grow up they are just as wonderful as the quiet easy baby.

Some teenagers have a harder time as they enter their teens and I see parents say wrong things to slow down the process and walls go up . I tried to put myself in their shoes and think when things weren’t just right what would help me want to do better.  You can force a child to pray, you can force a child to say I am sorry, you can force a child to give up what he likes and enjoys most, you can stay irritated and see if that works,  but what has made hard uncomfortable times go away quicker is when we could find a reason to smile again together and laugh even about silly things.

Once when life seemed tense and not real fun I was looking for answers to have more fun at home. I went to the Family Book Store and my eyes fell on the book, “Laugh With Your Teenager.” I thought that is just what I want so I will buy this and find out how you do this.  I don’t remember reading it all but the title has stuck with me and I have tried to find reasons to laugh more than grouch. My mom and dad used to find down to earth things like life to laugh about and that all came back to my mind.  How fun it was to laugh and I even realize in sad times one of the most healing things is to be able to laugh no matter how silly it seems to others.  I love to be around family when it is easy to laugh. Many a tense moment has been relaxed and all tension has left with a smile. Laughter lightens the crunch of life .  There are plenty of times to be serious , and we could use laughter even when we are serious. I have been blessed to be in a family that enjoyed so many smiles and doesn’t mind saying sweet nothings, or complimenting good things or beauty. We can express it in words and deeds, but smiles and laughs are simple and easy and what a blessing through it all to even out everything.

Sometimes when our kids disappoint us with their actions we could either worry more about how we look or feel or we can think of the most important one we have in our possession our child. Mom used to say do  as much of your correcting in private and without harsh action as you can.  No one likes to witness a bad acting child, but don’t become the child out of control by losing control yourself. However you handle your children could determine how you see your kids handle theirs. Grandparents suffer because they didn’t treat their children with tenderness so their children don’t treat their children better.

The thing that means so much to me now that I am older is those visits with my family. I thank the Lord that Mom taught me to remember that what means most when you grow old is the close connection from your children. I always want them to want to come back home, and think I was mostly a loving mom and enjoyed all of them I could when they were young.  I want the good days to out way the bad days. Be unafraid when you make a mistake or go farther than you meant to to say I am sorry, I Love You and I want you to be safe and stay close to me.

Raising Marcia – Part 1 “Little Miss Mischief”

Me at 4 months old

Well, I just feel like I had such a calm, fun childhood. I vaguely remember early years maybe two or three things about me that stood out in my mind. I would probably have to start maybe around five years old and remember what stands out to me at times.

Mom, me and Dad

I do remember Cold Water, Michigan we lived there in my early years and I will guess I was  around four or five. Mom and Dad started a church in Albion, Michigan about 25 miles away and used the VFW Hall in Albion for services. Very important people started coming to the church like Bro. and Sis.  Shaffer and their daughter Linda.  The Shaffers helped our family all they could , they became like family to us . I could walk down to their house at the end of our block on Cass street and visit them.
Before we moved to Albion and we were living in Coldwater at the time I was the only child for over five years. I was the first Grandchild on dad’s side and they made me think I was something special.

Grandma Eleanor Starr

Grandma Starr would do the unthinkable and try to not allow me to be spanked. She would say , “Oh no,  she didn’t mean to be bad.” Sometimes she put me behind her and kept  talking on my behalf.  It is funny now to me because I can remember a few instances when she did that and I did get protection and no one got too mad at Grandma. I used to love going to Grandma’s house in Lansing and going through her dresser drawers especially, because it was so interesting. I can remember going over old curlers, and whatever I could find whether it be a snapshot, old bobbie pins, curlers, well, I was just a nosey little girl.

In Coldwater we had about a thirty minute ride to church in the beginning of starting the Albion Church. One Sunday morning they got me ready for church and I went outside and suddenly got a brain storm. I looked at the gas cap on the car and took it off. I remember getting crab apples and putting them in the gas tank along with handfuls of sand. Dad came out to the car to get ready to leave for church. I was standing looking feeling so proud that I filled the tank up for them. Dad got in and started the car and it just made a grinding sound. Dad bounced back out of the car ran in and told mom he would have to hitch hike the car wouldn’t start. Mom came out and discovered what I had done. I really don’t remember getting spanked but I do remember a commotion.

Another time Dad was gone to work and mom did not have a car. I was walking around the yard and decided to go to the neighbor’s yard and open the rabbit cage and I got a little rabbit out and kept walking with it. I ended up downtown standing in front of the Theater looking at the pictures in the windows. A policeman came to me and said little girl are you lost. I said No I am not lost I am walking and looking. He asked me about the rabbit and I just said,” I wanted to take a walk with this rabbit.” Well, little girl your momma is really worried about you and I need to take you home. I didn’t want to go home so quick but I went and got in his car. I turned the rabbit loose and it ran all around his feet. He said, ” If you will hold that rabbit till I get you home I will give you a nickel”. I grabbed the rabbit with it kicking and squirming.    Mom didn’t whip me when the policeman took me to her but I remember that incident well.

Me at 3 years old

For some of my years before five I remember mom going to work at night.  Dad took care of me and I was very lonely for mom.  She worked as a Practical Nurse.   The three of us lived in an upstairs apartment at this time and I was very bored , as I recall it now.  I remember saying and doing many interesting things.  I don’t remember being spanked so much , but maybe I should have been.

Me at 5yrs old

I could tell some big stories that seemed so real to me.  My audience was very important to me.  I wasn’t all that outgoing,  but if I was made over it brought much confidence and  joy to me.  I had a keen idea who really liked me and who tolerated me and who disliked me as I studied people.  I was told your beautiful a lot by Grandma and family.  I remember looking into the mirror and wondering why they said that as I grew older.  I really didn’t think I was as pretty as they made me feel.  That was maybe a good thing.  I realize now how much that might have given me an easier feeling knowing I was cherished and expressions of Love and adoration was mentioned often by family and sometimes friends.   It has helped me express myself to my own children and acquaintances words of affirmation.  It is necessary.

While living in the upstairs apartment with mom at work and Dad watching me,  one day while mom slept a bit I got a brainstorm, I guess, and I whacked my hair off uneven on one side of my head.   Mom had to try hard to work with that till it grew back out.   I never knew if she had to even some of it out or not but somehow my hair is not my issue now.  I just found a pair of scissors and tried them out….really didn’t mean to sin.   No spanking but mom did have a look of dismay .  Near the same time I had a new doll.   The doll had the rubber stuff body.  I cut all the fingers off……a bit of a quietly busy child that was going to grow up and get her own busy kids that would turn out good after all…..whether spanked or not.  You know somethings are not intentional basically they just happen in an inquisitive moment.  Around the same time I got upset about something and told mom I was going to run away.   She got a suitcase and packed it for me and put my snowsuit and boots and hat on and took me down the long stair way.    She said goodbye to me and probably kissed me and put me and the suitcase outside and closed the door.   I remember looking around the big area and I started banging on the door and crying for her to let me back in.   Of course she did.