I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Teaching Child Training to Others

Last week in church we had an incident I have never encountered before. A single mom of two small children was sitting two rows ahead of me. Now remember, all the people in our church are Deaf, and this mom had no way of knowing her son was antagonizing her daughter to the point of screaming.

She would look down occasionally, take away whatever he was using to poke, bother, and disturb his sister, then go back to listening to the sermon. Well, some of the Deaf people near her were getting tired of his walking back and forth. Visual distractions make them miss the sermon, you know.

Three different people told him to sit and be quiet, and he smiled back at them with what I would describe as an "impudent" face. We all know that's not a good thing. People were looking at me to make him stop, but he isn't my son. However, I am the one to give an example to the others, and I was tired of it too, so I snapped my fingers at him to get his attention and then told him to sit down. He refused.

So what did I do? What should I have done? I wasn't angry, just very frustrated that this mother had no clue how to handle her son. I did the only thing I could think to do, and that was to grab him gently, pull him into my lap, and hold him with me.

Now, I would like to tell you he sat quietly and sang himself little songs, but that was not the case. He immediately bent at the waist and bit me. Then I restrained him by holding his arms (much like a straight jacket would have done), pressing him against my chest, and keeping him still.

He then decided to kick my shins. Hard. Repeatedly. So I wrapped my leg around his legs and held him still. Then he was REALLY mad. He didn't like being held still. He didn't like not doing what he wanted to do, and he didn't like it that his mom was letting me do this to him.

I held him for probably ten minutes before he was ready to calm down. During that time he head-butted me twice, after I let up the pressure to test if he was ready to sit still. He obviously was not. He screamed, shouted, cried the whole time. I gently rocked him and said "Shhh, shhh, shhh..." to help him regain control.

When he finally settled, I let him go. He went straight to his mom who comforted him, then she told him to sit down. And what do you know? He sat down! And he looked back at me. I winked at him. Then his mother told him to put his feet front and he did! Then he glanced back at me. Everything he did, he would look back at me to make sure I wasn't going to snatch him again for being naughty.

After the service his mother wanted to talk to me, and she accepted Christ as her Savior! The little boy who had been a terror sat quietly while I showed his mom Bible verses, asked her questions, and made sure she understood. Every one in a while I would smile, stroke his back and pat him, letting him know I appreciated his being still.

Afterward it was time for me to teach Women's Sunday School class. I felt I needed to address what I'd done, because I didn't want them to think I had hit him or pinched him to get him to behave. I explained calmly that children need to obey their parents. They need to sit still when they're told, and not distract people in church. They need to be kind to one another.

Then I asked how many of them wanted me to teach a lesson (or fifty!) on child training. They ALL raised their hands. So, that is what I will attempt to do. And I have been looking on the internet for good resources. Here is one that I've found.

Christian Moms of Many Blessings

Maybe you've already seen this site. There are more things than just child training there, and I plan on having a good look around later. It was a great encouragement to me, and I have changed a little the way I handle my own kids. Just a few tweakings and things have improved already! Both with my attitude and theirs.

So, what are your best resources (other than the Bible- I've got that one, lol) for child training strategies and hints? I know the Proverbs are full of great encouragement and challenge, and obviously they will be the focus of much of my teaching.

And what would you have done in the same situation with that boy? Did I overstep my bounds? Should I have let him do what he wanted and then spoken to his mother after the service? Would love your thoughts!


  • Rhonda in Chile

    This is a biggy here! Unfortunately, most of our people aren't deaf, so when kids act up we can see and hear them!

    We usually let visitors misbehave any way they want to, although I would have done exactly as you did if I thought I could get away with it! Here in Chile, the unwritten child-rearing rule is 2Let the child do whatever he wants!"

    I would love to learn about how to deal with parents needing to learn some basic child trainng

  • Brenda

    Sounds like him mom didn't mind the help of someone stepping in! In America, you probably would be over-stepping b/c we are all crazed and stupid and think everything is child abuse. But I think it was good. I love that he kept looking back at you. :) He probably didn't know such a threat existed! HA! :)

  • Giovanna

    Oh I'm so glad you posted this! I quickly realized that being the mother of a deaf child makes some people act and accept differently from him than they would other children. I have even heard some in the church say regarding my child, "oh leave him, he's deaf, he doesn't know any better" when he misbehaves.

    I mean really, he's deaf, not dumb!
    I have to quickly remind him that despite the fact he is deaf, he MUST obey all adults and remind them he is only deaf in one ear, not both! If you want him to behave, speak into his good ear! He understands what you are saying even without sign language!

    I think it's up to the congregation and mother whether you crossed the line or not, it worked in your church but may not work in another.
    We've experienced both sides of the fence on this one and it's not an easy road to walk, there is such a fine line here.

    I hope you post about your lessons with them

  • karly

    Will you come "straight jacket" my children every once in awhile? Sometimes I can't get to them in a timely manner and they need to be still! :)

    I don't think you overstepped your bounds. Obviously the Lord orchestrated the whole scene (including nudging you to intervene) because had the boy behaved, quite possibly the mom would not have accepted Christ! And that's the best part of this post, that your friend accepted Christ! Just imagine what that will do for that young boy! Praise be to God!

  • Suzanne - Daughter of the King

    Wow - what a great post. I totally know that what you did was what God does to us when we are out of control. I know in my own life He has had to grab ahold of me and restrain me until I would submit to His will. Well done! And then I know while he felt the restriction - he also surely felt the love and prayers washing over him! I know I so often fail in my parenting skills - and I so look forward to learning with you as you teach and hope you will share via your blog too!

  • Janice

    I think you did a very good job of handling the whole thing! The mom obviously was waging a spiritual battle, and the wicked one wanted to use that little guy to stop that! and while I agree with Brenda that in America we are all crazed, there should be more of example training like that!

    I also applaud you for using what ever methods that would work without removing him! What a lesson to us all! Perhaps all parents with young children should attend the deaf class while the kids are young so they can teach them to be quiet where they wont be a complete distraction to all the ADD hearing people! Then when the child learn to listen and obey, they family can go to the hearing class :) just a thought!

  • Great-Granny Grandma

    Wow! I think what you did was admirable. I don't know if I could have stayed so calm and loving if he was biting and kicking and head butting me.

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