Wednesday, July 29, 2009

UPDATE: Training up a child

Heath and I are now proud parents to almost 7 month old Haven Norah. She has been the best baby I could have hoped for. Such a sweetie. Most of my days are consumed with feeding her, diapering her, training her, and loving her. I can't imagine my life without her. Getting her here was quite a journey, which I'm sure you'll hear about later.

As a parent, I am determined to have well-behaved, obedient children. I don't think that is too much to ask. I think, if I expect unruly children, that is what I will get! I am aiming much higher.

I mentioned "training" Haven and that may sound strange to most. How do you train a 7 month old baby? Well, I'm still working it out myself, but I will share what I have learned:

According to the Bible, a child must be trained. I have been quite worried about this in the past because, I had no idea how to "train up a child in the way he should go." I was sure to fail with no plan. I mean, I did have a plan kind of.... I knew that I would spank my kids if they disobeyed me. But that didn't give me peace. There must be more to know. I finally found a website
( ) written by the mother of 10 children that explains how to train children. It was such a revelation and relief to find!

She starts with the very basics - from day 1. This is just my paraphrasing:

0-about 6 months: Love, hold, cuddle, comfort your baby. No need to train, just make them feel secure and loved. Plus, you are still recovering from delivery and probably have no time to think about training.

About 6 - 12 months: Start teaching your baby the meaning of the word "no." It is time to start teaching your baby that you are the authority that must be obeyed. It is kinder to teach them now, rather than wait until they are older and more independent and resistant. This isn't full-time training, just a time to basically teach that when you say "no" they will not get their own way. In my opinion, there should be no painful spanking in this stage. Ultimately, according to the author, if you begin training early and consistently without painful spanking, you will rarely have to spank in the future.

This is about how all I have committed to memory, since Haven is still 7 months old. Let me share what I have done so far.

July28, 2009
11:15 am Haven was sleepy so I put her lying on her stomach in her crib. She lifted her head and I gently pushed it back down and said "No, no. Go night, night." After about 5 repeats of this, she started whining. after about 5 more repeats, she started crying. After about 10 more repeats she started sucking her thumb. After that, she only lifted her head about 5 more times before going to sleep. This whole process took about 15 minutes (although it SEEMED much longer to me!). I was so amazed and excited! Can you imagine? Your child is only 7 months old and you've already won your first battle of wills in just 15 minutes? (By the way, I do not HOLD the baby's head down. I want her to choose to keep it down on her own.)

11:30 pm Haven was sleepy so I laid her on her stomach in her crib. She lifted her head and I gently pushed it back down and said "No, no. Go night, night." There was barely a whimper of protest this time. She continued to try to raise her head for about 5 to 8 minutes before falling asleep. Another success!

July 29, 2009
11:30 am Haven was kind of fussy and I thought she might be sleepy so I laid her on her stomach in her crib. She lifted her head and I gently pushed it back down and said "No, no. Go night, night." She begin to fuss and continued to lift her head for about 5 minutes. Then she became calmer and I thought she was about to doze off. However, she suddenly begin crying more loudly than before and lifting her head more often. (I believe in psychology this is called spontaneous recovery.) This continued for about 15 more minutes, when I had to go finish Heath's Lunch. I was pretty upset that I had to stop the training before she went to sleep, since consistency is the key here. But I did wait until there was a pause in her crying before picking her up and putting her on the living room floor.

1:00 pm Haven was tired and sleepy so I laid her on her stomach in her crib. She lifted her head and I gently pushed it back down and said "No, no. Go night, night." She resisted MUCH less than before and was asleep in about 8 minutes. Progress!

The only other area that I am currently training Haven in is associated to her IPT (infant potty training). I have been noticing for a few weeks that she has become resistant to being held over the potty and arches her back a lot. Since learning more about child training I have started saying "No" and putting her back over the potty whenever she arches her back.

She's been really good about using the potty. She usually uses it about... 4 to 10 times a day. I NEVER get upset if she uses her diaper (maybe a bit discouraged, if she does it all day long), becuase I don't expect her to know how to hold it yet. I just praise her everytime she uses the potty instead of her diaper. People seem shocked when they find out I take her to the potty, but why not? I believe that children can learn things very early and I don't plan to wait around and let her "learn" that the diaper is the only place to go potty. In the same way, I don't want her to "learn" that she can do whatever she wants all the time and no one will ever make her do anything she doesn't want to do.

I will try to keep posting about this, mainly so I can look back to see what works and what doesn't.


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