Affection Impacts Children

I heard the other day from a young woman who was thrilled to report on the affection shared by her mum and dad. Her delight reminded me how much lovely positive impact comes on children when their parents show affection to each other.

I recall in my own childhood the delight I felt when my dad teased my mum. He would come up behind her while she was doing the dishes or busy at the kitchen bench and he would begin to tickle her or kiss her neck. She would tell him to go away and leave her alone, since she had work to do, but he would persist. A mock fight would result, with them both laughing as he persisted in showing affection to her. My brothers and I would rush into the room, laughing and delighting to see this sport between our parents.

I had not thought about those happy memories for a long time, until I heard the recent report. The young lady who greeted me with her happy news told me with obvious joy in her voice, that her parents had recently enjoyed a mini-date. They had been left with time to kill while running an errand and so they had gone for a walk holding hands.

It’s a simple enough thing for them to do and could easily be passed as of no real significance. The daughter’s delight signalled the true significance of the event. The parents’ affection represented a refreshing of their relationship. The simple action of strolling hand in hand attested to renewed happiness in their being together and a refreshing of their fellowship one with the other.

I know that in some homes parents go out of their way to hide any affection between themselves. They may think affection is inappropriate. Take it from me that wholesome happy affection being displayed between the parents is nourishing to the soul of the children. Affection impacts children in a wonderfully positive way.

Sensuality is not for public display, nor is argument and pain. But wholesome affection, where husband and wife affirm their devotion to each other, feeds the soul of the family and genders security within the children.

Bless your children today – give your spouse a hug when and where the children can see and be encouraged.

Baby Wise – A Good Start

Getting off to a good start with a new baby will make all the difference in the months and years to follow. A contented baby in a good routine will make life so much easier for both mum and dad. If the baby is settled the whole household is able to get on with its various routines. If a baby is distressed and unsettled then the family is under constant pressure to settle the baby. That robs the parents of time they would otherwise apply to the house and family needs.

I recommend the book, Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo. Having met the Ezzo’s in Australia, and been impressed by their practical application of Biblical wisdom I happily bought their Baby Wise book to share with friends. When my daughter-in-law, Ruth, presented me with my first grand-child I presented her with Baby Wise. She found it wonderfully helpful and has since ensured that her friends have the book to assist them.

I spoke with Ruth today, asking her thoughts about the book, now that she has five children. She advised that each of her friends who have used the book have all been happy with it and found it very helpful. She pointed out, however, that young mums can tend to be insecure. They then take up a principle and turn it into a rigid practice. This may account for some poeple who have not benefited as much from the book.

One of the key principles in the book is that of the Parents, not the Child, setting the tone and program within the home. The baby is welcomed into the parents’ world, rather than the parents becoming servants in the child’s world. The first practical expression of this principle is applied in the feeding routine of the baby. Wise parents set the feeding routine and settle the child into a rhythm that flows with the overall function of the home. As the child adapts and fits in, the first major hurdle in accommodating the baby has been crossed.

For a new-born baby a three-hour feeding pattern is common. Ruth applied the practical guidelines from the book with her first baby, Grace, and all worked well. Her second baby, however, ended up having colic. Upon investigation she discovered, after six weeks of an unhappy baby, that her son, Justus, only needed a feed every four hours. The principle had been confused with the practical guideline. The principle is that of parent-directed feeding. The guideline is that of a three-hour feed, since that is most common. However, in her case the practice of the principle needed to be four-hourly feeds.

Her third baby was also quite happy to operate by a four-hour feeding routine. Ruth by this time was quite relaxed about applying the principle and quickly adapted to the baby’s personal needs, yet maintaining her own overall control of the feeding routine. Her fourth baby was a hungry baby, and the three-hour feeds were back in full-swing again.

There’s an observation to be made there about learning principles, needing practical guidelines, then being able to separate the principle from the guidelines and act in wisdom about how the principle is applied. I might reflect on that further in a few days, since I think it is wise for husbands to help their wife in maintaining an effective distinction between the two – so look out for a post for Husbands some time soon.

So, if you are struggling with a baby, or have a friend or relative who is soon to have a baby, I suggest that you bless them with a copy of Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo. The rest of the series, Child Wise books, etc, will also assist parents in the maturing challenge.