Four Seasons of Child Rearing: The Season of Service

This article is Part 2 of a discussion of the four seasons of child rearing.  For more information see Chapter 8 of Parenting by the Book, by John Rosemond.

The first season of child rearing is the ‘Season of Service.’  Children are born into this season and parents adopt the roles of ‘servant’ to their child quite easily, with the goal of providing a safe, secure and loving environment for their child.  Changing diapers, nightly feedings, baby-proofing the house — all are responsibilities of parents during this season.
Instead of a service bell, children at this stage usually let their parents know of a need by another method:  They cry, scream or have a temper tantrum.

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Its also a season where a mother is typically the primary caregiver and the dad is the ‘teachers assistant’ to his wife. Children in this season see the world revolving around themselves.  However, from age 2 to 3, its generally time to transition the child to the next season.   John Rosemond says of the transition from servant season, “its the most significant and precedent-setting of all times in the parent-child relationship, the future of which hangs in the balance.”

Sad to say, many children and parents get stuck in the ‘Season of Service,’ and parents find themselves serving their 5 or 6 year old whom still sees herself as the center of the universe.  Parents in our study groups have said that recognition of this one truth — that there are seasons of child rearing — may be one of the most helpful lessons in the whole book!According to John Rosemond, there are three steps parents (mostly mothers)  can take to help their child make this transition:
  1. Teach your child to do things for himself what was previously done for him  — toilet training, drinking from a cup, pick up toys, etc.
  2. Create a boundary between yourself and your child.  A child begins to learn to wait if his mother is on the phone or learns to play alone for a few minutes if his mother is tending to another activity.
  3.  Take a step back from the highly involved mother’s role and spend more time with your husband, who now can begin to take on more responsibility in the parenting relationship.
All this is easy to say, harder to do.  Our children seemed to have a good transition from this stage to the next but we found it tempting to fall back into the ‘servant role’ every now and then after our children had moved on.   We’ll share more about our experiences in the next posts where we’ll discuss Season 2, ‘The Season of Leadership and Authority.’
Question:  What ways have you found most successful transitioning from the Season of Service and how do you avoid falling back into the ‘servant’ role with your older children?  Please share your comments here

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