Monday, June 4, 2012

Parenting Advice, Yep, I Went There

I am often told when we are out and about in public that our boys are so well-behaved.  I smile and thank the nice, half-blind folks while in my mind I am thinking "sweet mercy, they have to be, I am with them ALL THE TIME!"  

It is all about mom sanity people. Alright, I joke, but as a homeschool mom I have found that  there are times I go into survival mode parenting, but if I tip the scale with most of the time trying to actively, intentionally parent, the results are much better.

I have had young mothers call me and after telling me their latest kiddo predicament they ask what I think they should do. Parenting advice, oh, a slippery slope my friends.

I really do not like to give mom advice for several reasons:
1- It is always in the back of my mind that as soon as I do, our boys will lose their minds and start a UFC fight in the toy isle of Walmart that ends up on YouTube.  
2- They think my advice is a great idea in theory, but the follow through and diligence to be consistent is just too hard, and
3- When it does not work for them, I turn into the bad guy, yep, I will be judged, yes ma'am, you know how it works, mom judgment helps to make us feel better about ourselves.  

But, after much persistence on their part, I give in (I know, I know, I should know better), and try in my nicest way to give them advice and encouragement knowing that what I am telling them is the hard thing to do, but will yield best results.  

Yes, I know that sometimes letting them watch Star Wars for the 3rd time that week is easier than playing one more game of Scrabble with a first grader who has limited spelling skills, oh and don't get me started on Candyland. But, I do know that easy does not equal the best in life, that mentality results in a generation that has a deeply embedded sense of entitlement and narcissism .

So, here I go, on my blog, for the world to see and judge, some The Park Wife parenting advice (oh, help you now if it is that bad).

I think that teaching our children is about relationship building, spending time with them so we can learn about them and guide them. Oh, sounds easy, right?  I had one very honest mother tell me "I really do not want to be around my kids, they drive me crazy whining, complaining, and fighting all the time." Another who I just met has completely overscheduled her kids and her commitments in an effort to "expose" them to life and make sure they are appropriately socialized, but her home and marriage are falling apart because she spends her days in her car. Her kids are very disrespectful and often make comments about how they are so tired of going from here to there all day long.

A few tips on building a relationship:
Pray, Pray, Pray: I ask for wisdom and guidance regularly, like 342 times a day.

Consistent parenting: That means you have to be reliable, dependable, and constant. That is hard in any part of life, but you only get one chance raising your children.  DO NOT beat yourself up when you don't get it right, just try to do better the next day.

Light up: Every morning when we see each other for the first time, I make sure my eyes light up (even if I have not had my first cup of coffee), tell them good morning, and how happy I am to see them. I try hard to stop and listen, really listen to them, even when it is the third time they tell me a story about dinosaurs.

Family Time: We eat dinner together every night. That might not be feasible for everyone, but make a goal of how many times this week you can sit and regroup over a meal together and make it happen.

Be silly and have fun: Dance in the kitchen, make up silly songs, play freeze tag, make a tent in the living room with sheets and get in it with them and color, make wonderful memories, this is what they will remember about their childhood (I hope). The greatest sound in our home is our children laughing, we do what we can to make them do that as much as possible.

Marriage Focus: We put our boys to bed at 8:00 every night. They can read or draw for a while, but at that point it is Big Buckaroo and my time. The greatest gift we can give our kids (and ourselves) is to become citizens of honor and loyalty in our own marriages. That way, our kids can grow up with a model of what marriage can be. And that no, they are not the center of the universe.

We want a relationship with our boys that makes it easy for them to come to us with questions and concerns. We need a relationship where there's not just respect, but also love. This kind of parent-child bond doesn't just happen; it takes wisdom and intentional effort.  I am not perfect with this, I fail often, but I get up, dust myself off, and try to do the best I can for much is at stake.

Good luck, and if it does not work, just blame me,
The Park Wife

1 comment:

Sweety Darlin said...

I stopped trying to pass judgement a long time ago. The only thing that I can't get over is the oblivious mother walking through Wal-Mart with a screaming child. DO SOMETHING LADY! The rest of us do not want to hear that catterwalling crap! I know you need groceries too, but bribe them something anything just shut the kid up!

Outside of those it is all just a free for all!