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    Childrearing #6

    June 30, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Avoid premature discussions.

    I spent a lot of time on that first sentence, because this concept {introduced to me by my sister} is somewhat difficult to condense! The idea, though, is priceless, and I believe it can help a family with small children avoid some unnecessary troubles.

    There are many books/videos/other media out there that are didactic in nature and intend to help a parent deal with a specific topic. For instance, consider the heaping mounds of books dealing with the fact that there are not monsters under a child’s bed. There are also lessons on moral issues, such as telling the truth. These books can instigate what I would call a premature discussion.

    My sister once told me that she didn’t want to read her son a book I was telling her about because it talked about monsters under the bed, and her son hadn’t yet conceived that there could be monsters under his bed. She feared that reading such a book to him could actually cause him to dream up monsters.

    After hearing this thought, I went home and hid a book about lying because our son had never tried to lie {yet}. Perhaps such a book would give him ideas? I wasn’t going to take the chance.

    I think there is a place for didactic children’s tales. They can help illustrate and reinforce necessary correction. They can give encouragement {along with prayer and hugs}, like a book we read when E. was having regular nightmares. But a child who hasn’t yet lied doesn’t need to be thinking about lying. A child who hasn’t invented imaginary monsters doesn’t need to be told they aren’t real. It is, to my mind, much more fruitful to spend most days reading the child a story about Pooh and Rabbit and Piglet, and utilize didactic tales only when they are timely.


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  • Reply Kimbrah July 4, 2006 at 3:23 pm


    I don’t have your email or # so I wanted to let you know that we found out yesterday that we are having another boy! I posted about it on my blog, but if you want to email, my address is felicitasblog[at]sbcglobal[dot]net. I realized after this post and subsequent comments that I have no way to contact you privately. Have a great holiday!

  • Reply Brandy June 30, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    That must be really hard! I must say that right now, we are very strict about who the children are alone with. I totally assume that this will loosen up as the years go by until they are, of course, adults who entirely choose their own group of friends.

    I actually quit attending a Mommy and Me group for a similar reason–a number of the children were wild, and I had to spend so much time unteaching bad behaviors after a play day, that it seemed like it wasn’t worth it.

    With that said, you obviously can’t leave church! Mommy and Me was extracurricular. 🙂

    We tend to keep E. with us (in the same room, and right next to us if needed) unless we know and trust the other children. He does go to Sunday School once a week, but so far we haven’t noticed a problem. We are anticipating pulling him around the age of five, because many of the other children will be attending public school, and we have heard too many teacher-friends discuss the suprisingly sexual content of today’s kindergarten conversations. Talk about premature knowledge of a subject!

    Sorry. I’m rambling! 🙂 In all, our plan of action is just to keep him with us when there are such children around. We don’t run away from the other children (unless they are dangerous), but we find that when they are in our presence we can control things better.

    I know that in the past, my sister’s husband has actually talked to one father in our group of friends when the son was causing problems repeatedly. It caused some tension, I think, but on the whole I think it improved the situation long-term. I suppose your husband could consider a sit-down conversation if it is starting to get too frequent.

    By the way, we also have to be careful about letting E. be around other chidren certain times of year because he can be the one introducing ideas to others! For instance, we don’t do the Santa thing. We don’t make a big deal out of it, but we have to be careful because he could potentially ruin it for a family that values that sort of tradition. So I suppose it cuts both ways! 🙂

  • Reply Kimbrah June 30, 2006 at 8:39 pm


    One of the things that’s really hard about this one is when other children introduce these ideas to your kids. We have a family in our church who we love dearly, but that have extremely different ideas of parenting than we do. I can’t count how many discussions with Karlos have been prompted after some idea like monsters were introduced by these children. It’s very frustrating, but we don’t feel like withdrawing our family from fellowshipping with them is the right thing to do. What do you guys do in those situations, or do you do anything at all? This is an issue we have been struggling with for awhile now, I’d appreciate any input you had on the matter.

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