Smelling The Roses

It is spring break for my two youngest children this week. My fourteen year old son is in Washington D.C. and New York for his eighth grade school trip. For the first couple of days he was gone I heard from him a lot. Lots of texts and two phone calls. It was cute. Then nothing for two days. I guess he got over missing us!

So that left my seventeen year old daughter and I together for the week. Next year she will be a senior in high school. She is my third daughter and I know from experience how fast the time goes between now and graduation and going off to college. Lightening fast, it feels like.

To make the most of our vacation I took her down to Carmel for a few days. She, like me, loves the beach. We went for a long walk and then ate burgers for lunch. (Mine was a bison burger, which was great!) Just a beautiful, chill day. No big talks or anything. I just wanted to drink her in, her at this age, cute and innocent, smart and funny. There are certain things in her that will change and go away in this next year. I know I will love the girl she becomes just as much but knowing how much she’ll change makes me want to stop and take a good long look at her.

Oh how I wish we could choose the things we remember. If only I could save memories like movies to a DVR. That would be awesome! I hope I always remember this day. I’ve done my best to sink it down deep in my mind and heart.

Just Give Me a Minute

I promise I won’t do this often but I need a minute . . . to rant.

People. You are in charge.

You are. Not your children, YOU!

When your two year old stamps his foot and yells at you, send him to his room. Tell him ” No, no, no you are not going to talk to mommy like that. Ever.”

When your eight year old makes a sassy, sarcastic remark to you, send her to her room. Explain that she will not treat you that way. Period.

With dignity and clear communication demand respect from your children.  Do not allow them to express themselves in word or deed disrespectfully. Teach them to express all their emotions, even anger, in the appropriate way.

If your child is behaving badly, discipline him or her. Every time. You will save yourself a world of trouble later on if you do.

Listen, you are in charge because you are the adult. So BE in charge! I know it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.

Talking Time-Out

We are all familiar with the concept of ‘Time-out’, right? Your child breaks a rule, or has some other behavior that is anti-social, so you remove them to some out-of-the-way place until they calm down and are ready to mend their ways.

Well sometimes it isn’t a broken rule situation. Often your child just wants to argue, with you or maybe a sibling. Maybe you are in heavy traffic and there is so much chatter you can’t think straight.

Talking time-out is perfect for these instances. It works like this: no talking until I say! If they do speak before I say they can, then they have to have a real time-out, either then or when you get home.

Years ago I had a bit of a commute for my children’s school carpool. There was a stretch of road that was a little dangerous so I had a talking time-out in place. It worked so well.

Here’s the thing. I really believe in controlling situations so that they don’t get out of hand. It’s better to nip things in the bud. Don’t wait until you are all out of patience before you act.

Another reason I used this tool is because children need to learn how to control their mouths. It is an aspect of self-control that is sorely overlooked. Not only are there things that should not be said, there is a time to be quiet. Quiet lets everyone have a chance to think their own thoughts. It’s nice!

One Less Regret

I read an article today about things people said they regretted at the end of their life. The usual things were listed but then I saw that many people felt that they were either too strict or too lax in disciplining their children. It really made me think.

You know most people are shy about giving advice. Probably because most of us are not very graceful when it comes to accepting it. When I thought back to my early parenting years, I remembered that on occasion someone would make a quiet, almost passing comment about my parenting style. Sometimes I dismissed it out of hand but other times I engaged in a little self-examination.

I don’t know anyone who is the same parent from start to finish. I surely am not. I feel that I was a little hard at the beginning and I worked on chilling a little bit. In my old age I work on keeping the high standards I know from experience are good and needed.

All this to say, let me encourage you to grow and change as a parent. Listen to those passing comments and give them some thought. If you have a trusted friend you might even ask them if they think you lean in one direction or another.

Remember. Perfection is not the goal, growth is the goal. May we all finish the job of parenting with as few regrets as possible!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Surprise!
I’m not going to talk about your children respecting you. Instead, I want to encourage you to respect your children.

First of all, let me just say that it is natural and necessary to talk about your kids. We need to share experiences with other parents and learn from each other. It’s a good thing, to a point, and that point is when your child realizes you talk about them and they become embarrassed. At a certain age you should stop talking about personal stuff in your kids lives to other people. You want your child to trust you with the intimate details of their life.

My Mother never learned this lesson. Anything I told my mom she would then tell her friends and even strangers. Nothing was sacred! Consequently I stopped sharing with her. Which was sad really.

While we are giving our children a safe and healthy physical life we also need to provide a safe emotional life. Show them how much you value their confidence by protecting their personal information. Respect should always be a two way street.