Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I am constantly puzzled by parents who think of their children as mini-adults. I see this idea reinforced when I see children receiving beauty services at salons, queuing up at Starbucks, dressed in adult themed Halloween costumes in preschool (like Lady Gaga), being worked out by personal trainers, and attending concerts to see performers that are not targeted to children.
Why can't we stop this madness and let children enjoy being children. Why can't we protect their childhood and revel in activities that they would enjoy more than "spa time" with mommy. "Spa time" is not about spending quality time with your child, it is about justifying what you want under the guise of time with your child.
Children like sledding and swimming and skating and playing on playgrounds. Children like when you read books to them, play board games or card games with them. Children like when you sit down and draw a picture or build a blanket fort, or play house or school. Children like when you cook with them, or take them to a museum or for train ride.
Why is modern culture so obsessed with treating little children like mini-adults? This only causes future problems. Stealing a childhood away to treat your child as a mini-adult only leads to children who grow up feeling bored and not too keen on what adulthood has to offer. They have already been there and done that. Don't make this mistake. Go to great lengths to protect your children from growing up too fast. Childhood is precious. Childhood is fleeting. And it is your job, as a parent to guard it for your child.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I must admit, this parenting move left me speechless! I have often written about trying to protect your child from growing up too fast by protecting them from inappropriate movies, unfettered internet access or burdening them with adult problems. Childhood deserves to be protected. But the conversation I had with my teenage daughter this week tops the all time list of CRAZY Parenting!
She told me that a sophomore boy in one of her classes (keep in mind that sophomore boys are 15-16 years old) recently took a trip to Las Vegas with his dad and another high school boy. While they were in Vegas, the dad took the two boys to a Strip Club to see a show. The two boys came back to high school and were talking about it in her class. I simply cannot fathom this.
This is where the speechless part comes in...
Can someone else weigh in on this one for me?
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
1. Spoiling out of Guilt:
Probably the most common reason we Overgive to our kids. Why? Because parental guilt is present in epic proportions. We feel guilty that we are single parents. We feel guilty that we work. We feel guilty about everything! So we make ourselves feel better by giving everything to our kids. This method is not about what is truly best for the children. It is about us.
2. Competitive Spoiling:
When parents feel the need to show through material possessions that we love our kids more because we give them the latest and greatest of everything. This is competitive parenting. It's not keeping up with the Joneses anymore, it is surpassing the Joneses because it allows parents to feel superior to the Joneses and everyone else. Again, not best for the children, but fuels our desire to feel good about ourselves.
3. I want to be your Friend Spoiling:
This spoiling is rooted in the desire of the parent to be loved by the child and the misguided idea that if we give them everything or permit them to do everything and anything they want, our children will love us more and want us as their best friend. This needy type of parenting really shows it's ugly head as our children get older. These are the parents start out by buying the kegs for high school parties and often end up hitting the bars in later years with their only BFF's -their own kids. Your kids don't want you for a friend, they want you to be their parent!
These three reasons seem to alone or in combination with one another motivate us to Overgive to our children and put ourselves at the bottom of the list. These types of parenting don't deliver the results we are looking for. Instead of resulting in children who worship us for our generosity and recognize the sacrifices we have made on their behalf, we end up having children who don't respect us or appreciate our efforts.
So here is my plea. Stop handing everything to your kids and placing yourself at the bottom of the list. Take care of yourself. Realize that your kids won't respect you if you don't respect yourself. Remember your kids want you to act as a parent. They can make their own friends. They only have two or possibly one parent. Don't shirk your responsibility to be their parent-a loving authority in their lives. And develop a life for yourself that gives you and your children something to be proud of.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
In our society, "self control" has fallen out of favor. We seem to glorify it's opposing quality "immediate gratification". But the reality is that people who possess the former have an easier time navigating complicated thing called life, and over time find more success.
Some people believe we are either born with self control tendencies or we are not. And depending on where you land, that is where you will stay. This is a fallacy. So what does this have to do with parenting? It really is quite simple:
If you want your children to have an easier life, teach them self control. It can be taught. It can be developed within them through experiences. And who better to teach it to them, than you. Don't you want the best for them? Then set them on the right path, through thoughtful parenting that establishes goals and expectations. Help them grow their self control, whether or not they were born with it. It can be taught!
In the long term, people with self control have lower rates of risky behaviors, have less debt, lead more healthy lifestyles, and on and on and on. This all is common sense when you consider that self control means the ability to WAIT. Self control means being able to delay gratification for a future goal.
The easiest ways to derail efforts to teach self control to you children are to play the blame game or the give up strategy. When your children find things to be difficult, do you immediately look for a scape goat? "You don't like soccer? Oh, I know your coach is a jerk!" "You don't want to go to school? Your teacher doesn't seem to like you." Blaming outsiders to justify giving up, is a surefire way to derail learning self control. And parents do it all the time. Look at your behavior and make sure that you are doing everything in your power to strengthen your child's self control, by modeling it yourself and refusing to play the blame game. In the long run, this will greatly benefit the development of your children.
Friday, February 7, 2014
What went on during the service was their downfall. Their little girl grabbed mom's cell phone out of her purse and was playing on it for quite some time. The mom decided that it had been long enough and she started to attempt to get the phone back. And in her attempt, she put on quite a show. She could not get the child to give her the phone. The two year old kept saying "My phone!" as two year old's like to do. This went on for a prolonged period of time. Then the dad, suddenly took notice and trying to "solve the problem" lifted the little girl into his arms, as she triumphantly gripped the phone and snuggled into her daddy's arms.
My husband's comment after church summed the scene up, "If you can't get a phone away from her now, what will happen in the future!". In actuality, the husband in his attempt to help, reinforced the little girl disobeying her mother.
Please know that I am not judging this darling young family. The situation merely illustrates how easy it is to react to our children's behavior and ultimately encourage the behavior we DON'T want. I know all parents have found themselves in similar situations. You want your child to behave in a certain way, but you are more afraid of the conflict that will arise if you "put your foot down" and establish authority over your child.
My message is simple. Stay the course. Be the parent. Establish authority, even if it means removing your child from church, or a restaurant, or a party. If you let them know that you are "the boss of them" while they are little, you will have much more success guiding them when the parenting struggles become more difficult. Take charge while they are young, but balance your authority with a kind and nurturing spirit of love and communication. That is truly the winning combination for successful parenting.