The second week of Growing Kids focused on the husband/wife relationship and how important this relationship is in parenting children.
-In a marriage, the woman completes the man and the man completes the woman. Children do not make the family, the expand the family. You can not be a better parent than you are spouse. (*wow* - interesting to think about!)
-The husband-wife relationship should be viewed as the priority relationship in the family. This helps the children feel secure and loved. Knowing that Mom and Dad love one another allows a child to enjoy being a child.
-Child centered parenting too often produces a "me-ism" attitude. (i.e. selfish)
-Healthy families produce children with a "we-ism" attitude. (i.e. others centered - we are a team and we play for the success of the team.
-There are 3 basic emotional needs of early childhood.
- A child has a need to know that he is loved by Mom and Dad - a sense of belonging.
- Every child has a need to know where he fits in Mom and Dad's world.
- A child has a need to know that Mom and Dad love each other. Children learn through concrete visual illustrations of love, not abstract words - Mommy loves Daddy.
Which brings me to "couch time". In this lesson, they stress the importance of children getting a visual sense of your togetherness. They give a practical tool "couch time" to help illustrate it. For example, when Daddy walks through the door in the evening, he says hello to the children, but makes it a priority to sit down with Mommy and talk alone on the couch while the kids play around them, not on them. This tells the children that Mommy is important to Daddy and that they love each other. THEN, Dad can go play outside, or play with the children.
If you have never heard of this concept before, I dare you to try it. Children DEFINITELY notice and sometimes they have curious little reactions. This has also been proven to aid in helping with behavior issues such as not sleeping through the night - older children of course. (The idea that the child keeps waking up to get in bed with Mom and Dad because that's the only time the child sees them together). And I have personally known "couch time" to be successful with several parents who are having children with sleep issues!
It's also great to just sit with the hubby and catch up on things and "get on the same page" as I like to say.
While Robert and I are not great at couch time - it's hard to commit 15 minutes a day alone on the couch with no distractions! We do it occasionally, and it's nice.
So, I think I can say that not everyone will agree with what I'm putting out there - I'm certainly not here to stir the pot or say this is the ONLY way to raise a child. This is a total "cliff's notes" version of the course. They manual is filled with many references and notes and scripture to back up their teachings. It also gives tips on how to be successful with some of the ideas that they give. But I'm not here to plagiarize the whole book. :)
I have just found many principles from this material that when we've applied correctly, have had a very positive influence on our family and marriage. And I hope it will encourage anyone out there!
BUT, if you do have any other thoughts or questions on what I've said, please feel free to email me! :)