Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG



I’m really lucky because I have the best friends *ever*.  A true friend is somebody you can, A) Count on telling you the truth, B) Have grace for you when you act like an idiot, and C) Help you train your kids in uniquely effective ways.


First, some background… I’m one of those over particular parents who took the Growing Kids God’s Way course when my oldest was five, and then used that as a standard of judging everybody else’s bratty children.  Scary, no?  We all have our struggles, that has always been one of mine, being judgmental and easily irritated with badly behaved children.


Ok, so, I have to admit, God really has done a work in me over the last 15 years, but I still always tell this story – which I’m about to tell you – about one of the most outrageously bad parenting techniques that I witnessed first hand.  There’s a reason why I’m telling it to you now… keep reading


When my kids were all still really little, there was this lady who came over with her monstrous two year old son.  This kid was a nightmare, but it wasn’t fully his fault.  His mom was training him to be a full blown self bloated tyrannical dictator.  Anyways, while she sat at the table sipping tea, her kid was running around shoving cookies into my VCR, jumping on my furniture, ripping up books, etc.  


When they FINALLY were about to leave, she started packing up her kid he suddenly grabbed hold of a toy and began shrieking, “This is mine! This is mine! I want it!”  SHREIKING, mind you, shrieking. You would have thought I would have happily offered the toy just to get them out of the house, but no, I was not going to reward that brat with my daughter’s toy.  But then… THEN, it’s MOTHER looked at me with this very pained expression and said, “Can I just let him keep it?  He really wants it”.  Gracious Heavens!  I couldn’t believe it.  She was literally training the kid to steal other people’s property.  


So at that point I just nodded and opened the door for them.


Fast forward 15 years.  The day before yesterday I was hanging out at one of my best friend’s house and my five year was playing close by.  I’ll pause to say I used to think I was a really superior parent.  Used to.  My five year old has taught me differently. He continually humbles me.  So anyways, all the kids were playing and I looked over and saw him holding up a little toy measuring tape, which belongs to Maria’s sweet little toddler, and says to her, “Um… I love this, can I have it?”  I was mortified.  I was hoping she didn’t hear him, and I pulled him over towards me and whispered, “You mustn’t ask for other people’s toys!”


I ended up leaving early, because I always leave early on account of being weird and missing my hermit-house, but Coie stayed longer (she had driven over from work) so Bo and Ryann could watch Mr. R shoot guns.


We beat Coie home by about an hour, but when she got home, guess what she had?  The very toy that my naughty five year old asked for!  Visions of that other tyrannical kid flashed thru my mind and I almost started to panic.


Later that evening, James was lying on my lap – holding his ill-gotten toy — and I was trying to figure out a way to get my kid to realize that his behavior was not acceptable.  


Finally, I looked down and said, “Poor little L-, he’s just a baby”.  And then a minute later I sighed, “Poor little L-, that was his favorite toy”. A minute later I said, “I feel so sad for poor little L-, he’s laying in bed crying for his little toy that he loves so much”.  James sort of looked at me and then looked at the toy and his CHIN actually started to quiver.  So then I drove it home and said in a real soft voice… “Poor little L-, he is wishing for his favorite toy but he doesn’t have it anymore because YOU asked his mother if you could steal it away from him.  Poor little L-“.  And then James bolted up, literally started crying, and said, “Mommy, mommy, please lets get in the car right now and take it to him”  


Triumph!  I put the toy in Coie’s car and told him she’d take it back for him.  The next morning he wrapped up his favorite yellow race car and said he wanted to take it to L-.  Hoooray, I got to his heart!


So see?  I told you I have the best friends in the whole world.  My friend was gracious enough to let my kid take away her kid’s toy and I was able impact my naughty five year old with a very important lesson that I don’t think he’ll forget.  It was worth being embarrassed over. 


Ok, in other news, my friend Lisa is hosting a neat contest — and it’s twice as neat because my friend Nancy is providing the prize.  Definitely one to check out!


September 19th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 25 Comments

25 Responses to ' How to Mortify Your Kids into Better Behavior '

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  1. Lisa said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for posting Jen! Nancy’s book is great, and we’re also doing other contests and free giveaways too, FUN FUN…….. 🙂


  2. Gwendolyn said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 8:54 am

    I love lessons like these! My youngest child is the one that is humbling me daily. Everything that I always said that my older children never did…Owen does. Sigh.

  3. jenig said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Did the 2 y/o take Coie’s toy or mine…was I even born then?

  4. Crystal said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    That is hilarious, and I too would’ve been horrified. I am so thankful the Lord uses my kiddos to humble me, even though it makes me cringe or vomit.

  5. Charley said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I love it: cookies in the VCR really made me laugh!!

    Maybe L R has some of his daddy’s sawzalls or chainsaws James could borrow too?? Daddy’s always have the best toys. hehe 🙂

  6. jenig said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    It was your toy, Ryann. You were one.

  7. jenig said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Did I totally freak? Or was I a sweet little sugar plum ambiumbiempkin? And is he the one that gave me the two scars on my face?

  8. Charley said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I love the conversation jenig is having with herself: the alter-ego.

  9. jenig said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    ROFL… that’s what I get when I let Ryann get on my computer. She is too lazy to sign off and re-sign in. Knock it off, Ryann!

    PS the other day James saw a picture of a young couple on an advertisement and he told me, “Mommy, that’s Jessie and Charley! I want them to come to my house”.

    I want them to come to my house, too…

  10. jenig said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    So do I and I do, too.

  11. Kathy P said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    This is awesome parenting, Jen! It truly is and I think I will use this if we have an issue of either stealing or asking for a toy. I am glad you shared this.

    Kat in TN

  12. on September 19th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I thought the punch-line was going to be that Coie had bought one of the same toys from the store. 😎

  13. Kim W said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Great lesson! I’m w/you…I can’t STAND it when little kids act so terribly. I was very particular w/my girls and how they act in public…I never wanted to think that as I was on my way w/my girls in tow (when they were little) that the people I was about to visit were thinking, “Oh, they’re bringing THOSE kids!” I’ve even had friends – those whose children are grown or who don’t have children yet – tell me that they din’t mind our girls b/c they didn’t whine, beg or break anything. PTL.

    When our girls were old enough to recognize really bad behavior in other kids they would stare at them, stunned. They would ask, “Mommy, did WE act like that?” I would say, “No…b/c I wouldn’t LET you.”

    By-the-way…this is for you Jen, courtesy of Bill Murray in “What About Bob?”:
    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    I’m a schizophrenic
    And so am I! 😛

    Blessings from Ohio…

  14. Karen said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Good job, Mama! You did a good job!

    Did you know I’m going to be a grandma?!

  15. Maria said,

    on September 19th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    James is so sweet. You didn’t hear everything he said.. “Can I have it? I will bring it back.” To which I thought..kid you can keep that I am tired of picking it up!

    I’m glad there was a lesson in it. I suppose I can continue to pick it and now I will smile thinking of you and James and this lovely lesson.


  16. Ryann said,

    on September 20th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Ohhhhh. Cool. It works on my computer. And I didn’t even have to sign in.

    Can you get me some grapes? Tomorrow can we go to Sam’s club and get me some grapes? PURPLE grapes?

    That piano guy was cool. I wish I could play like that. Working on it…slowly. Slow and steady (that was such a dumb movie).

    I bet nobody understood this comment but you.


  17. Mrs A said,

    on September 20th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Please may I comment? As I read this post it reminded me of my children when they were little. All 3 of them knew they were never to ask for a toy that belonged to another. Ever. But they did. We’ve even left a lovely time of visiting b/c of it. Not easy to do when Mom is desperate for adult conversation.

    Here’s something to ponder: Was this the best victory? If your 5 y/o was told he musn’t ask for a toy and his sister unknowingly brought it home later, then why was he holding it? You had told him no; surely it should never reached his little hands? Then later, did he cry b/c he knew he’d sinned: coveted and obtained? Or did he cry simply b/c this caused a negative reaction–someone’s sad w/o her toy. See what I’m saying? Many times we unintentionally teach our children that it’s others’ reactions that are the issue. That’s secondary. Foremost is the heart before God. Did my child disobey overtly or slyly and did I allow or encourage it?

    I hope you receive this as it’s intended–from one who’s been there, and desires pure hearts, then actions, in children’s lives, just like you and your readers do. Keep up the good work!

  18. on September 20th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    That just totally cracked me up – and I so needed it! I can just picture that chin….awww. Now I feel guilty for finding it funny. lol

  19. Latte said,

    on September 21st, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Okay I am sorry but I am not going with the popular vote on this. I think that every child who has come into my home has asked for a toy, and both of my children have asked to take other kids toys home knowing it’s a no no. No biggie for me the best time to be a Christian example is right then infront of the friend, say to the child, I am so glad you asked but I am sorry that is so and so’s toy and we must leave it here. If the child cry’s go privatly take care of it. The parent involved knows that overall your child is sweet and nice and not a VCR cookie shoving tiarnt and will be glad you are not sub-human with perfect kids because her’s are not perfect either and she will glean from the lesson you teach your kids in her home.

    Also the lesson you taught your child, sounds like a guilt trip, not a lesson. What if next time he ask’s for a toy that he knows L- does not really care for. Then what? Would it not be better to re-teach him what you already have then to enlist guilt.

    I would only freak, if the child pulls that toy out of the pocket after you have gotten home, that would be what would get me!


  20. jenig said,

    on September 21st, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    guilt trip? ok, sure, that’ll work, too, if that’s what you want to call it. : ) The bottom line is this… I want my children to learn the most important things in life: Loving God / Loving Others.

    At just *barely* five years old, the concept of God is still rather abstract. My job, as momsie, is to show him that we are to be ‘others minded’ from the get-go. My goal is for them to practice valuing other people (and their feelings) as more valuable than their own. This is derived directly from Philippians chapter two. The best thing I can teach my child, at this early stage, is the realization that the world is bigger than him and that it most certainly does not *revolve* around him. If I am able to reach his heart, and show that his actions – even at his young age — have the ability to hurt (or bless) others, then that is HUGE.

    As James gets older he should be able to better understand exactly who God is, what He’s done for us, and how that should motivate our responses towards others. And God-willing, those lessons will build upon the ones he is learning now… which is to be aware that other people’s feelings / circumstances / needs should come before his own. There is no greater love than this. For him to feel sorrow that he deprived his little friend is a very very good thing. I will continue to build on this theme as opportunities present themselves, with the hope that James will eventually understand the huge sacrifice God has made for him, and in turn, that reason will be the chief motivation for him to care / sacrifice for others.

    Hope I was able to make that understandable!

  21. jess said,

    on September 21st, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    This story sounded like something Mom would do. 🙂

    I miss you. Come visit me!

  22. Maggie said,

    on September 21st, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks for the comment.:) I was so excited to get it from you because I enjoy reading your blog, and I was jumpy for about a whole five minutes…

    Yes, we finally were excited to get the pears into cans and store them on a shelf until winter, and then we will have delicious juicy pears when the winter wind is blowing outside. Now I can not wait for Winter so we can break into them…

    Well, Have a Great Day!

  23. Latte said,

    on September 21st, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    okay first, I kept reading ‘quick trip’ instead of guilt trip…I think my eyes are crossed cuz I re-read it 4 times trying to figure out ‘what does she mean by quick trip’ duh =) Well anyways let me first say that the words guilt trip might have been a bit harsh, and a lot presumptuous of me, it’s was hard to tell with type what you meant. Second I feel you about a child understanding the full concept of God, my 3 year old said something the other day about running faster than a car and that he would show daddy tomorrow. So after daddy lost it he said no because then you might get killed and have to go be with God and you need to wait until you get old. So my son started crying and saying “but I want to be with God” So cute but big lack of understanding. We of course told him that he needed to stay on earth to teach others about God and that racing against cars is a super bad idea. I will be holding his hand outside for some time to make sure he does not go chasing cars!

    So long story short “OH I getcha” as my 3 year old loves to put it.

    Frinz, Latte

  24. Jo said,

    on September 22nd, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. Sometimes I don’t get over the embarrassment to see the trainable moment. I love how you decided that the embarrassment was worth it because he learned. I’m going to try to remember that with my littles.


  25. Cori said,

    on September 23rd, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Hi Jen,
    I read your column all the time and really enjoy how you simply share your life with others. It is a very subtle Titus 2 approach. Thank you. I also did the “Growing Kids” and loved it for many reasons but it did breed a lot of judgementalness and pride. To this day( I have 4 boys from 10-15)I thank God for some of the principles I learned but I also enjoy seeing boys act like boys. Those firecracker kids can grow up to be very motivated and energetic servants of God. I thank God for his Grace in my life and I thank God for women like you that disciple others in such an unsuspecting and gentle way. Love in Jesus, Cori

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