What's the big deal about Young Living

On Forced Association

On Forced Association

Since I shared with you that I do not force my children to share, but instead encourage kindness and generosity and encourage them to share if they want to, I may as well also tell you that I do not force my children to play with one another.

By this, I mean that I do not believe in forced association.

As adults we are not forced to befriend anyone we find annoying, deceitful, boastful, manipulative, etc. If there is someone we do not care to befriend, we generally have that choice. I understand that there are situations where we tolerate behaviors we do not like, as in if someone works at a nearby desk in your cubicle at the office, but in general adults are not forced to associate with those they do not wish to.

No one makes you go to dinner and a movie with a friend who is a habitual liar, or a chronic complainer, or a manipulative jerk.

This is the same choice I give my children. This usually plays out quite well in our own home. Here is an example of how it might sound:

Child A: “Mommy, Child B won’t play with me!”

Mom: “Why not? Were you being annoying?”

Child A: “(hesitating) … no…”

Mom: “Child B, Why won’t you play with Child A?”

Child B: “She cries when we don’t play what she wants to play.”

Mom: “(to Child A) That is annoying. No one likes to play with a crybaby. Go play by yourself or stop being a crybaby and maybe they will decide to let you play with them.”

Do you see how this mirrors the real, adult world? If you encounter a new friend who is a liar/braggart/bully/constant complainer/etc, you have the choice whether you want to continue the friendship or not. No one forces you to associate with that person.

Here is another example of how this goes in our home:

Child A: “Mommy, Child B won’t stop bossing us around when we are playing house.”

Mom: “Then don’t play with her. Nobody likes to play with a Bossy Britches.”

Honestly, these scenarios rarely happen at our house because my children understand The Law of Natural Consequences. Nobody likes a bully/liar/cry baby/tattle tale/etc. If you act that way, no one will want to play with you.

This is not to say that I allow my children to be rude to others when they exhibit annoying behaviors, and I also expect them to greet new friends enthusiastically, regardless of gender, race, religion, or politics. It simply means that I do not require them to play with children who exhibit undesirable behaviors.

This freedom has worked quite well in our home. I can see in my own children that it has cultivated in them a propensity to be pleasant and get along when playing with others. They know that if they are an unpleasant playmate, they may not be a playmate at all before too long.

They understand the natural consequences of being unpleasant. 

I think this is important for my children to learn, not only so they will be pleasant playmates, but also so they will be and look for pleasant life mates.

It won’t be too much longer that I expect I will be seeing my own children marry. I hope that I have taught them that they need to choose someone who is pleasant, honest, upright, and amiable as a life-long mate.

They have the choice who they would like to spend their lives with. They have been practicing making good choices of who they would like to associate with all along, so I expect they will choose well.

What do you think about forced association? Do you make your children play with others when they don’t want to?

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More on Forced Sharing and What it Teaches

Is forcing kids to share teaching them to be easily manipulated

Do you force your kids to share their toys? I used to until I began to wonder what exactly this was teaching them.

I got quite a few comments in my original post on why I do not force my children to share, so I knew it struck a nerve. Here are some additional thoughts on my reasons for this.

Imagine your favorite uncle gives you a shiny, new riding lawn mower. Or for that matter, imagine that you save your money and buy a shiny, new riding lawn mower.

You can’t wait to use it and immediately crank it up and begin to mow your front yard.

Now, imagine that after only one round, your neighbor comes over and admires your new mower. He hints that he would like to try it out on his yard, too. When you don’t respond he says he would like to use it right now. When you look quizzically at him, he reminds you that sharing is kind. When you keep going and try to ignore him, he stamps his foot and says angrily, “SHARE! Jesus said share!”

Hopefully you cannot imagine a real, live adult behaving in such a way. Think for just a moment about what kind of neighbor would actually do this. A self-centered, demanding, manipulative neighbor?

And think about what message you would be sending to this neighbor if you got off of your brand new mower after only one round, even though you weren’t through mowing your yard, simply to give in to his manipulative tactics.

You would essentially be training your neighbor to make irrational demands of you and expect to be accommodated immediately.

Is this really what we want to train our children to be like? Do we want our children to expect to be accommodated when they demand a toy that someone else is playing with, simply because they stamp their foot and say, “SHARE!”?

You may be thinking, “But, my *Little Precious doesn’t stamp her foot! She says ‘please’ and reminds the owner of the toy that ‘sharing is nice’.”

That is all well and good, and Precious is certainly appearing to use her manners in the above scenario, but I would like to offer the suggestion that she is actually manipulating the owner of the toy to give it over for her own selfish desires.

Why should her own interests and desires take precedence over the child already playing with the toy?

Why should the neighbor’s desire to mow his yard “right now” be more important than your desire to use your own mower?

Selfishness, plain and simple.

Friends, if we are teaching our children that they should give in to selfish demands of others because the Bible says to share, or because the Bible says to treat others the way we want to be treated, we are setting them up for a lifetime of being manipulated.

Yes, the Bible does indeed say those things, but we also need to point out to our children when Jesus or the apostles chastised people because their thoughts were on their own selfish desires and not on furthering the kingdom of Christ. (See Matthew 16:23 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-2.)

Please, consider how easy it was for Doug Phillips, a former leader in the Christian homeschooling realm, to manipulate his victim into giving over what she did not want to give, but what he wanted for his own selfish desires.

Consider how Bill Gothard manipulated his victims into, not only doing what they did not wish, but remaining silent about it for years.

Consider how a popular preacher manipulated his many victims, his church, and his family for over 40 years to not recognize or report his sexual abuse of children.

In each of the above cases, the perpetrator counted on the victims being easily manipulated. They counted on the good, Christian consciences of the victims to make them feel compelled to give over what they did not want to give.

Is this what we are training our children to do? Do we want them to give over what is rightfully theirs, simply because someone selfishly demands it?

I say no. I say it is not unChristian to say no.

“No, I am using it.”

“No, it is mine.”

“No, I do not want to let you have it.”

There is nothing wrong with saying these things.

There are many ways to teach generosity and kindness without teaching our children to be easy targets for manipulators.

If you would like to know more about how manipulative people operate, about how they target those who are sensitive and kind, about how Christians can be loving, yet not be manipulated, you might find the following books helpful. (affiliate links)

*Little Precious is a fictional character. Any similarities to a real person are coincidental.

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I Need You to Pick Me Up When I Fall

I need you to pick me up when I fall

When I Fall Down

I took this little cutie pie ice skating for her 1/2 birthday treat.

She requested to go ice skating, and I’ll admit I was a little nervous about how much she would enjoy it because she had never been before. I warned her that she might not like it because it is tricky to get used to balancing on the ice, and I told her to expect to fall down.

Undeterred, she laced up her skates, and we hit the rink.

She stayed latched on to the rail the first few rounds, as her feet found their balance.

But then she started to get the hang of it and really did amazingly well for her first time. She ventured away from the railing and managed to stay upright most of the time.

At one point I asked her if she wanted me to let her go around by herself since she was doing so well, and she said something that I thought was very profound.

I want you to stay by me because when I fall, I know I’ll need your help getting up.

Did you notice she didn’t say “if I fall“?

Even in her childish innocence, she knew for certain that there was no way she was going to go around without falling. And she knew that after she fell, the ice would be slippery. Gravity would want her to stay down.

And she would need my help getting up.

I thought it was so insightful of her to accept the fact that she would indeed be falling down. She didn’t have any illusion that since she had been around the rink a couple of times she would now be mistake-free.

She also wasn’t afraid of falling. She accepted it as part of the process, and embraced it as part of the experience of ice skating. She was confident and excited about learning to ice skate, but she knew she would still fall occasionally.

She didn’t beg me to stay nearby to keep her from falling. She wasn’t expecting my experience and strength to prevent her from making mistakes.

She merely asked for my help in getting up after she was down.

It struck me that this is the attitude we should take in life.

Whether it is in the realm of parenting, homeschooling, leading a group, teaching, blogging, or whatever new endeavor we undertake. What if we accepted the fact that we would make mistakes and need help getting back up?

I think this is why it is so important to have a support system in place for when The Falling Time comes. Your local homeschool support group, MOPS group, ladies bible study, online support group all can be your lifeline when you fall down.

Even if your support system is one or two family members or close friends, you need someone to be nearby because you’ll need their help when you fall down.

Make it your mission to find a support system and keep them nearby so when you fall down they can help you get back up.

My girlie did pretty well for her first time on the ice. And when she fell down, I was right there to help her get up.

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.” (Eccl. 4:9-10)

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Fun Kids’ Activities For Summer

Now that school is out, parents are bound to hear that all too familiar, “What are we going to do today?” or maybe even the dreaded, “I’m bored.”

(Although, my kids know not to pull out the “bored” statement, because I usually hand them a toilet brush. Clears the boredom right up.)

Here are some fun kids’ activities for summer. 

1. Make your own bug viewer and send everyone outside for a friendly bug collecting competition.

2. Plan a scavenger hunt. (<-Click for free printable!)

3. Make your own books.

4. Make Sharpie tie dye t-shirts.

5. Make your own bubbles.

6. Sidewalk chalk picture races.

7. Study fireflies with these firefly activities.

How to Manage Your Mouth for Kids {eBook}

8. Have a daily Bible study.

9. Read some books. (<– Our favorite read alouds.)

10. Your turn! What are your favorite summer activities? Please, share in the comments!

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Why I Make Sure Things Aren’t Fair For My Kids

Why I make sure things aren't fair for my kids


Why I make sure things aren't fair for my kids

Recently I took these 2 for a full day of fun at Six Flags Over Texas.

Smockity Kids

The rest of my 8 children stayed home.

It wasn’t a special occasion. And the other 6 kids didn’t whine or question me about why I wasn’t taking everyone.

Here is the WHY and HOW of what I do.

Why I Make Sure Things Aren’t Fair For My Kids

  • I want my children to have time with me when they aren’t with all the other siblings.
  • I want my children to know that sometimes it is their turn to get special attention and sometimes it is someone else’s turn.
  • I want my children to understand that every single situation in life will not always work in their favor.
  • I want my children to practice postponing gratification.
  • I want my children to practice being happy when others are the center of attention.

How I Make Sure Things Aren’t Fair For My Kids

  • When it is a child’s birthday month and half-birthday month, he or she gets a special day with Mom. One sibling may be invited if the birthday child chooses. The birthday child may choose up to 3 activities (within reason) for our special day.
  • Occasionally when the whole family is out, I may buy one child new shoes, or a new backpack, or another needed item.
  • I take a different child with me each time I go on errands.

Do your children understand and accept that sometimes things aren’t “fair”? You will be doing them (and their future families) a huge favor if they come to grips with this before adulthood!

See also my thoughts on “10 Signs Your Child Might Be Spoiled And What To Do About It.”

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Chat With Smockity!

Positive Parenting Webinar

Tired of the yelling? Tired of the whining? Tired of being tired?

You’re not alone. From toddler temper tantrums to teenage talking back, parents wonder what it takes to get kids to cooperate. If you’re tired of nagging, reminding and yelling to get kids to listen this session is for you!

I am excited to partner with Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions & TODAY Show contributor to offer a FREE LIVE training webinar on Tuesday, May 13th at 9PM EST. Discover proven tools for your most frustrating discipline dilemmas including the 5 R’s of Fair & Effective Consequences.

This hour-long investment will lead to a lifetime of peace in your home!

Be sure to RSVP to this webinar. I’ll be there with Amy to chat with you about your most common discipline problems and how to solve them.
See you Tuesday night!
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What's the big deal about Young Living