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Parenting Pre-school girls

April 25, 2013

It has been a couple months since my posts on the purpose of parenting and parenting a pre-school boy, and now I will (finally) return to the topic and write the companion post. We have two daughters, Rachel 3 and Anna 1, though this post focuses on how we are trying to help our very verbal and equally strong-willed “precious little lamb” come to know The Lamb.

  • Gospel-Powered parenting – As mentioned before, we have found William P Farley’s book with this title somewhat helpful. Specifically, it was helpful to constantly ensure a child understand the “full” Gospel, especially in discipline. Namely, each person is a sinner, God hates sin, punishing sin is both required and loving, that God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin and that God forgives sin when we confess to Him. While a pre-school child can certainly understand the core of the Gospel message and genuinely accept Jesus into his/her heart, going through this review of the Gospel sometimes seems a time-wasting exercise. Cognitively, children learn through repetition and so even if at times it seems futile, I believe it is wise. Randomly, a child may give you a response that indicates the information is connecting, though you cannot expect the full theological explanation or logical sequence to form in a pre-schoolers developing mind.
    A common phrase right now (for both Caleb & Rachel) is “but I don’t want to obey.” It seems appropriate to agree with them that this statement is understandable, even correct, because all of us want to do things our own way. Nonetheless, God’s way is the best way that leads to the most meaningful and satisfying life (admittedly “happy” is the word that fits a child’s vocabulary best) and when a child disobey’s mommy and daddy, God has asked us to help them remember their are consequences for disobeying and choosing our own way.
  • When Rachel was two years old, we began to go for monthly “daddy-dates.” I got the idea from Pastor Perry Noble’s blog. Rachel loves having tea party’s and so for the first date we went to the Nilgiris Tea House (here in Three Hills) and had pink tea and a cinnamon bun. She told “everyone” – grandmas & grandpas as well as whoever visited our home over the next week – that she and daddy went for pink tea at the Tea House with such pride, I was actually getting embarassed. For the past year, it has been almost a monthly event of great anticipation – to the point that our Saturday date should not be mentioned until Thursday night at the earliest because explaining the sequence of the in-between days is difficult, bordering on torturous!
  • “Have I told you I love you today?” – This development began more recently (later than January 2013) and has again become one of those Rachel & daddy conversations that she checks-up on. I asked her the question one afternoon, and she said “no” (which may have been true) and so I said “I love you.” Then when I asked her later after supper, she again replied “no” – which I knew was not accurate – and then it became a game. Not that we want to encourage her to answer wrongly, but it probably points to the fact that a girl, even pre-schooler, needs and wants to be told the words “I love you” often from the man in her life.
    More recently, she has started asking me the question “Have you told me you love me today?” Regardless of my response, she wants to hear those words again.

Especially in this last development, though also in the monthly daddy-date times, I have seen God’s amazing design of the earthly father as an example, though always flawed, of the character and love of the Heavenly Father. While it amazes me that He would entrust me with this privilege and responsibility, it also puts the fear of God into me.

  • The final phrase important for any child to hear (perhaps especially a little girl) from the very beginning of life is “You are of infinite value and worth because you are made in the image of God.” This came from Josh McDowell and reminds the child  and the parent that a child’s value is not in how good they look (or make a parent look), how well they behave, or what they do well, but is based upon their divinely designed origin.

Thoughts? Ideas? How do you (did you) try to communicate the Heavenly Father’s example to your daughters while they are pre-school age? school age? teenagers?

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