Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to Teach Your Child Respect - Part 2

Much of my "regailing" is a result of learning the hard way. And while I credit the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and my parents for giving me wisdom in child rearing, I have also learned by making mistakes. I was realizing just how much I was letting my children call the shots and take center stage the day I took them to the eye doctor.

One of the kids was getting a check-up, but since all four were too young to leave at home I took all of them to the appointment. The five of us crowded in the examination room, and while the kids were very quiet, they immediately took to the only available chair in the room. The "patient" of course was seated in the exam chair, the doctor took the back-less doctor seat, and two of the kids sat in the guest chair. One just quietly sat on the floor. That left me standing. I didn't even give it a thought. I was just glad they were all so quiet!

The doctor, however, made a pointed comment. "Why do kids sit in the chair and don't think to give their mother the better seat?"

Ooo. I was convicted. He was right! I was inadvertently reinforcing selfishness. I guess I thought I was modeling selflessness by letting them take the seat, but I wasn't teaching them how to show respect. I began to examine other areas where I was letting them take center stage... and the dinner table was one of them.

Dinner was always a lively occasion. My husband and I were committed to having dinner together regularly. It would be an unusual circumstance for us to not have dinner together. But I realized that our conversations were driven by the kids' yackety yack. So after we read aloud the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie books, we implemented once-a-week "Little House on the Prarie" rule for dinner conversation. And if you haven't read those books I HIGHLY recommend you do. That rule is: KIDS DON'T TALK UNLESS SPOKEN TO. Now we didn't do this all the time - just once a week or occasionally. The experiment was golden! Steve and I could actually have a conversation! The noise level went waaaay down and I think everyone become more aware of what it means to respect your elders.

And now for a refashion...

I finished the T-shirt quilt! Or I should say, "quilts". I actually made 2 of them. After sewing the rows together (see precious posts for instructions on making the squares), I cut a piece of quilt batting to fit the quilt, as well as a piece of fabric for the back. I put the 3 layers together like a sandwich and began to stitch. I'm not a fancy quilter at all - I just sewed straight lines down the length, using the largest stitch size on my machine. Then I finished it off with quilt binding to hide the exposed edges.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How to Teach Your Children Respect - Part 1

You're having a conversation with another adult. Your daughter comes up and wants something. So she interrupts... rather loudly. You try to at least finish your sentence but the moment is gone because the interruptor is now jumping up and down and yelling. You can't ignore it and so you turn away from the conversation, giving in to the demands of Little Capone.

Little Capone learns that this technique is rather effective in getting what she wants. So she does it again the next time her brother takes away her toy and your attention is elsewhere. By barging in, she knows she has the upper hand. A few tears and a shrill voice are her weapons of threat. Very quickly you do whatever Little Capone requests so you can get back to whatever you were doing. You are unaware that Capone has just stolen respect from you. It was just a little demand. She'll eventually learn, you tell yourself. But over time, there is no respect left. The Character Bank Account is empty. You are left poor, with no inheritance to pass on to your kids. And they, in turn, have nothing to give their children.

Children must learn to respect their parents, and adults in general. They are not the center of the universe. Like a warm, inviting fire in the fireplace into which everyone sitting around it gazes, so a toddler takes center stage, with family members gazing in adoration. But soon that toddler learns he is the king of the household.

So how do you teach a child to respect his/her elders? First of all, children can be taught to not interrupt. A signal from you that you see them should be all that's necessary until you are done talking. They should quietly wait next to you, perhaps a touch on your arm, but should never say anything until you can politely and properly break away from your conversation. You tell them the rule before you head out the door. And then you reinforce their good behavior by turning to them and giving them your full attention when it is an appropriate moment. You also discourage bad behavior by ignoring the interruptor. You do not give her eye contact but hold up a finger to signal you see her and she must wait and then go ahead a finish your conversation. If Capone is ignoring your signal, then stop the conversation by politely excusing yourself, and then put her in time out. She must think about how to politely get her parent's attention. After a minute or two, you can ask her what she thought about, and only after she has verbally repeated the proper way to wait for your attention, can she tell you want she wanted to say.

And now for a refashion...

I am currently working on a T-shirt quilt. My last post showed the steps of cutting out the squares from old but favorite T-shirts and then ironing the fusible interfacing onto the backs. Next, I sewed the squares together, doing a row at a time. Then I'll sew the rows together.


Friday, November 13, 2015


Did your mom ever have proverbs or sayings that she would say in a sort of sing-song voice to get a repeated point across? My mom did. I still remember them. In fact I would say them to my own kids.

Everything has place.

Fork on the left, knife on the right.

Never talk back to your elders.

God loves you more than I do, which is a WHOLE WHOLE lot!

Mable, Mable, strong and able, get your elbows off the table!

Remember your please and thank you!

You know. Ditties stick in your head. Repeat them. Repeat them often. Your kids will remember their manners, and will remember how to behave because your voice sticks in their heads. And then they'll teach their children to do the same.

What are the ditties your mother told you?

And now for a refashion... or shall I say a refashion in progress.

I have saved some favorite T-shirts to make a quilt (I won't say for whom since that person might read this blog and have a surprise spoiled.)

Using a cardboard template I cut out 2 squares from each T-shirt.

 Arranging the squares as I go helps me to visualize the end product. I just don't have enough squares to make the quilt as big as I'd like so I will purchase some fabric (perhaps a flannel material) to add around these T-shirt squares as well as to be the backing.

The next step is to stabilize the T-shirt squares with iron-on interfacing.

To be continued...