This book was recommended by a friend, and oh, I am so thankful. I have been in love with No Greater Joy ministries for a long time and have effectively used it for training my rugrats. But there was still some small thing missing and I found it in this book.
She presents the idea behind the name of the book like this: with a tomato vine/plant/whatever you call it (I am not a gardener if you can’t tell!) you stake it or cage it so that it grows up straight. While she doesn’t recommend caging your child (even if you may want to!), it is in your best interest to stake them. Keep them next to you at all times while they are learning how to obey. Once they are sufficiently trained, they may travel more than 3 feet from you. But until then, they must stay right next to you so that you may catch every act they are doing either right before they do it, or while they are in the act. This is helpful and I have been using it with great success. Keep in mind, you will have to keep your phone calls short and have to do some things at night or naps, rearranging your life for a while so that you can make this your highest priority.
I have a few small things I dislike in this book. One, there are typos. The English student in me is bothered by this. Plus, when I recommend the book, I feel that I have to apologize to the potential reader for the ghetto-ness of it. Secondly, she recommends swatting your child with your hand, which I try very hard not to do. We teach our children that hands are for hugs. I don’t want them to be afraid of my hands when I reach out to wipe something off their face or pull them in to hug them. Also, for me personally, I have found that it is too easy to lash out in anger when you use your hands. When you have to go find a spanker, it gives you a moment to calm down, so as not to discipline when you are mad. That never helps anyone and I actually recommend not spanking at all if you are going to do it in anger. Third, she recommends swatting on a covered, diapered bottom, to get their attention. I can see her rationale in this, however, I do not find it as effective as pulling down the pants or pulling up the pant legs and just putting a little sting on the skin. I am not talking about welts or bruises. Spank the inside of your arm first and you’ll know how hard you need to swat their sensitive skin. Hint: It’s not that hard at all. A little sting on the skin does more to help them remember to obey your words than a harder-than-necessary swat on a padded butt that they only feel because it moved them a few inches from where they were standing.
This is not necessarily a book on training your child’s heart to love and obey Jesus or to repent from their sin. It does have a little of that in there, but largely this is a book with intentions to teach a child, any child, to obey your voice. When you say, “No whining, no fits, no arguing, no hitting your sister, no throwing balls in the house, no poking people in the eye with your sword” (maybe that’s just me?!?!?!) you should be able to train to and expect an obedient end.
With those caveats, if you are a parent, read this book! (And it’s free here, so you have no excuses!)
Rating: A. Highly recommended!
Title: Raising Godly Tomatoes: Loving Parenting With Only Occasional Trips to the Woodshed
Author: L. Elizabeth Krueger
Publication Info: L. Elizabeth Krueger 2007