Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Love your kids!

As my loyal readers know, my kids are all but grown.  Only my lonely 17 year old remains in the nest.  Which is quite a change from a few short years ago.  I am so grateful for my big (by today's standards) family.  My husband and I are blessed with four amazing children who I am convinced will make their mark on the world in a positive way.  I love that they have each other as well as their dad and I to support and love them.  Don't grow complacent about loving the people in your life. 

This week, I was once again reminded of how quickly things can change, as the father of one of my child's friends passed away suddenly of a heart attack.

So this parenting post is simple.
Love your kids.
Be the voice in their head that echos encouragement and praise.
Lift them up when life is hard or unfair.
Teach them to love you and their other extended family members by making family a priority in their lives.
Be your best self for them-so they can face the world with love on their side.

Love your kids.
Today and everyday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Childhood is Precious!

Yesterday at the preschool lunch table, my little ones were discussing Duck Dynasty and the "F" Word.  Now parents, I am sharing this without judging as I stand in the knowledge that my four children had moments in their schooling where I am SURE that their teachers heard questionable things coming from their little mouths.

I clearly remember sharing with a "friend" the fact that her son had been discussing that very word with my daughter in their first grade class, and the woman never spoke to me again! I was not sharing the message with her for any other reason than to let her know and possibly have a conversation with her son.  Just like I had to do with my daughter.  But her defensiveness ran deep, as it does with many of us when issues concern out kids.  But here is my non-judgmental plea.

Please don't use bad language around your kids, or allow your older children to.  Please don't leave it for the teachers to teach what language is appropriate.  And please don't allow your young children unfettered access to any and every TV program that is found on cable.  Just because you find something entertaining doesn't mean it should be shown in front of your little ones.

Preserve and protect your children.  There will be plenty of time for them in the future to watch what ever they like or speak however they choose.  But for now, during this brief time when they are little and innocent and naive, strive to protect them from adult messages, themes and language.  Childhood is fleeting.  Childhood is temporary.  Don't push your little ones into the adult world before they are ready.  Allow them to revel in childhood, with it's simple joys of playtime and discovery.  They will be grown in the blink of an eye.  So today, resolve to honor who they are at this most precious time and protect their childhood.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Does Your Parenting Partner Do Everything Wrong?

In speaking to parents, I often hear the complaint that the other parent does everything wrong.  This my friends, is a lie you like to tell yourself.  Just like the lie that you only ate one of the cookies in the cookie jar.  We have an amazing ability to create untruths and convince ourselves of their merit.  Your child's other parent does NOT do everything wrong, just like you do NOT do everything right.  We all make parenting mistakes.  The key is to learn and grow from them, and also navigate the parenting path with the other parent in the BEST interest of your child.

So here a few tips to help you make this happen, remember it is for your child.  That makes it worthwhile.

1.  Set the Stage:  Have an adult conversation about your parenting efforts at a non emotional, relaxed time.  Hire a sitter and go to dinner.  Examine together what you think you are doing well, and where you might need to tighten up.

2.  Agree on the Basics:   Find common ground about where you want to set limits for your child and how you will reenforce good behavior, and what you will do when your child's behavior is falling short.  The more united you are, the better for your child.  Mixed signals from parents are confusing and also grant your child a license to manipulate you, and play you against each other.  You need to be in agreement.

3.  Look in the Rear View Mirror:  Examine the type of parenting you were exposed to as a child, and have a conversation with your spouse or co-parent about how he/she was raised.  What did your parents do well, and what were their shortcomings.  This exercise can help you both understand why you react the way you do to your own child.  Usually we either mimic how we were raised or we swing way to the opposite side of how we were raised, in order to "make up" to our kids for any hurt we felt as a child.

4.  Don't Fight In Front Of Your Child:  This kind of behavior is damaging to your kid.  Promise each other that when you disagree, (which is bound to happen) you will relocate to a different room and hash it out.  Remember that you are the adults!

5.  Model Respect:  Respecting each other is key to having your children respect you in the future.  If you call each other names and carry on like preteens, your child will grow up lacking respect for either of you...and that is NOT what you want.

These 5 tips can help your child.  So put your ego aside.  Stop blaming your spouse or co-parent for all of his/her shortcomings and unite to become better parents.  Seek out parenting support if you need it from parenting classes or books or blogs.  Working on your parenting skills will bring a closer bond between you and your child, and a brighter future for all of you.