Parenting Insights from Baking !

There IS a flip-side to flops.   I re-learned this lesson during our annual family fundraiser where our boys bake LOTS of cakes.  Catch a whiff of the parenting lessons learned through our baking fiascos.  They’re delicious!

Beat Too Fast Leads To Messy Clean Up

Baking Scene:   The boys are adding flour to the batter.  On our three speed beater, the boys only know of “High.”  The flour flies all over the kitchen :(. 

Cooking Tip:  Moistened flour stays low.  Before switching on the electric beater, manually swirl the beater through the batter and flour to start incorporating the dry ingredients.  Then, when you turn on the electric beater, the mixture blends smoothly and tamely.

Parenting Insights:  Next time you learn bad news about your child’s behavior, refrain from rushing into his presence and whirling in on him.  Chances are emotions will sour and you’ll be stuck picking up scattered sentimental debris.  Besides, is he the real opponent? Give yourself a chance to find out.  Prepare the way for a discussion that won’t fly off the handle.  Think wet.  Invite him to have a glass of milk while you sip tea.  “We need to talk.  Let’s do it comfortably.” Be prepared to cry…to be sorrowful (i.e. not angry) about the bad behavior and its impact on your child.   Challenges are chances in disguise.  I pray that my children will get caught when they are doing something out of line SO THAT we can address vital issues like respect of oneself and others, authority and (yes) submission and its compliment—appropriate ways to question those in charge.

Heat Too Hot Makes the Cake Fall

Baking Scene:  The recipe instructs to bake at 180°C but since our oven is unique (yours too, n’est ce pas? J), we baked at 200°C!  The cake looked splendid coming out of the oven.  Five minutes later, it fell flat.

Cooking Tip:  Baking is a process where liquids (batter) are changed into solid (cake) releasing gases (think airy & light).  When was the last time you savored a divine, holey (crater filled) cake?  An eternity ago.  Light and airy cakes have a multitude of tiny air pockets evenly distributed throughout the cake.  Too high cooking temperature over stimulates the gas formation and the size of the air pockets…which empty out leaving the cake flat.

Parenting Insights:  Too much too fast.  The plant grows tall and we’re delighted.  It flowers.  Hooray!  The thin stalk cannot support the weight of the blossom, and the stem breaks.  No flower, measly plant.

In our desire to grant happiness (immediately visible benefits), we parents may be undercutting the root structure (Big Rules).  In our home, this approach created mini-monsters.  Let them have a late curfew one night (“Mom, you’re SOOOO nice!”), then when it’s earlier the next time I become Mrs. Mean.  The same goes for chocolate at whatever time of the day, the latest electronic game, friends over, the clothes budget….
The absolute, utmost, primordially effective way to help the children build strong roots through ground rules is….to know them.  No kidding.  If they aren’t slipping off your tongue in a jiffy, they surely won’t be top of mind for your child.  Click to find out about our favorite family grooves (rules to dance to the same tune).

Heat Too Long Burns

Baking Scene:  “Did you get the cake out when the timer went off?” “What buzzer?”…”Did we have an order for burnt cake?!”

Cooking Tip:  It’s more effective to add increments of cooking time than to subtract them!

Parenting Insights:  It’s not just for Solomon and the Byrds.  There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.  That includes discipline.   There is a time to give the children a break…and for them to give moms and dads one too.  Easier said than done!  At Home Is Fun we aim to create fun and easy-to-use tools to help communicate delicate yet vital messages such as “Lay off.”  Check out the Gift of Respect and download it for free. Alternatively, try these tips to cool down.

Heat All Around Bakes Beautifully

Baking Scene:  The recipe reads to cook for 45 minutes but your cakes take over one hour!

Cooking Tip:  It’s called a convection oven.  The hot air is circulated throughout the oven and the evenly diffused heat reduces cooking time.

Parenting Insights:  How do you and I distribute love?  Is it always in the same targeted fashion?  What if your child understood love better if it were expressed differently?  Find out about love languages and how they can change your relationship. 

Lick Beaters While You Can

Parenting InsightMake time to enjoy the kids.   My eldest son taught me this when he was six years old.  He had been badgering his younger brother which created havoc.   I took him aside, and asked not too kindly, “What do you want?!”  “Maybe a Rendez-Vous…” he whimpered.  A Rendez-Vous is our term for a one-on-one time together often reserved for play. His words stopped me short.  Of course!  Personalized attention does not automagically happen; it is purposefully carved out of the day.  Read up about including one-on-one time in the bedtime routine.

Still hungry for ideas?  Home Is Fun devised 101 ways to tell your kids “I love YOU.”  Go satisfy those cravings!
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