Thursday, February 27, 2014

Each Child is an Individual

While we're on the subject of children being people, I'd like to also talk about the fact that each child is an individual, completely unique. As such we will face completely unique challenges in parenting each of them. 

We have to deal with the people our children are, with their particular strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. It can be comforting to talk with other parents about their experiences with their children, but we have to keep in mind that no one's situation will ever be exactly like ours. What works for one parent-child relationship will not always work for another (and vice versa).

There really isn't such thing as 'normal'. In research there are averages or majorities but those NEVER represent any specific child (meaning no one child will fall into every average and majority on everything). So again we have to take what other kids can/can't do with a grain of salt and focus on parenting the child/ren we have for exactly who they are.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On Compromise and Negotiation

I hear chatter in parenting groups. Frustration that kids won't cooperate or comply with a request unless it's on "their terms". 

I think it's important to remember we are living with OTHER PEOPLE. Children aren't pets or robots, they are people. How much of their lives have they been living according to OUR TERMS? How would you feel if your roommate, partner, or spouse wanted everything done on their terms and didn't take your needs, wants, or preferences into consideration?

I think it is easy to feel like if we, as parents, aren't getting 100% our way we are "losing" or "giving in" or doing things "on the kids' terms". That's a lose-lose mentality. When living with our kids, just as living with any other person, there needs to be give and take, compromise and negotiation, in all situations.

And we need to remember they are learning how to compromise, negotiate, and take others' needs, wants, and feelings into consideration from the example we set with them.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Being Polite vs Saying Please

We had some people over for Papa's birthday over the weekend. A few people were sitting 

outside. One of the men was holding a football.

Bug (3y)- Hey Dad, can I play that football?

Papa- It's not my football. You can go ask him if you can play with his football.

Bug, very timidly, walks over to the man whom he's only met once before.

Bug- Um, can I ask you if I can play with your football?

Man- Can you say 'please'?

Bug- *silence*

Man- Say 'please'.

Bug- *silence*

Man- (to Papa) What, you guys don't teach your kids to say please?

Papa- He is extremely shy. I don't think you understand what a big deal it is for him to 


have walked over to you and asked in the first place.

If I had been out there I would have said, "We teach our children to be polite, not to beg." 

But I think Papa handled it nicely as well.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Are You Alright?"

An illustration of how important word choice can be-

Bug (3y) somehow hurt himself, is crying, and looking for someone to console him.

Josh (9y) runs up to Bug. Full of empathy he asks, "What happened?" Bug pushes him away.

Papa comes up to Bug, his voice full of concern asking, "What happened?" Bug pushes him away.

I walk up to Bug and ask, "Are you alright?" Bug melts into my arms.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Synonym Roll

Josh (9y) made up a new game for us to play while we're driving in the car. He calls it "Synonym Roll" (like cinnamon roll, nommmm). One person picks a word and then everyone thinks of synonyms for that word, until you can't think of any more. Then you pick a new word. Fun, and challenging!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Simple Question

You may remember last week Josh (9y) had a bit of a breakdown because he didn't feel I spent enough time with him. Since then I've started checking in with him throughout the day and asking, "Did I spend enough time with you so far today?"

We're staying with friends right now, who have 2 older kids. After lunch I checked in with Josh and our friends' daughter said, "You do that?! Mom why don't you do that?"

Again before bed I asked Josh if I'd spent enough time with him today. Our friends' teenage son looked over at us, shocked. "Whoa! You do that? That's awesome!"

So apparently this is important to more kids than just mine.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Reaction to Mean Parents in Public

We were hanging out with some friends last night and got talking on the subject of seeing other parents being downright mean to their kids in public. I think we've all done it ourselves, not been our best while out, and I've written about positive parenting peer pressure before (when I was out with a fellow peacefully parenting friend and her presence really helped me keep my cool in a tough situation).

One of our friends last night said that she will make a point to go up the the parent and child and complement them on something. "Your son is just adorable! Reminds me of my grandson." She said every time she's done this, the situation immediately diffused and the parents calmed down.

What do you think? How do you react when you see parents being over-the-top mean or rude to their children in public?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sometimes I'm Way Off Mark

Parenting: sometimes you think you're doing it right, but you're way off mark.

Yesterday my grandparents, who live in another state and we've haven't seen in 2-3 years, came over to visit for lunch. Josh (9y) was just waking up as they arrived. There were hugs all around, the "Good to see you!" and all that. They gave Josh a little grief for sleeping so late, lightheartedly, and then asked him, "So what do you do with your day? You know, the half when you're not sleeping?"

He answered, "Well I play legos in my room. Alone. Because my mom and dad never want to spend time with me." and he breaks down and cries right there in the middle of the living room.

I have never felt like such a jerk in my entire life. And my reaction was even worse. "We just went on a date and I built the lego set you bought with you on Saturday!" I didn't validate his feelings or rush to comfort him. My immediate reaction was focused on me, saving face in front of my grandparents.

It doesn't matter that I thought we were spending plenty of quality time together. What matters is that he does not feel we spend enough quality time together. I need to make sure I am expressing love to him in such a way that he feels loved. I need to be attentive in such a way that he feels he is receiving the attention he needs.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

NVC's immediate payoff

Last night Papa and I took advantage of the boys being occupied to go in the bedroom and.... watch some more of the non-violent communication video on youtube.  It's something we're really working on lately.

Coincidentally, Bug (3y) chose to use this time to express his inner artist in the form of marker on the walls. And the tv. And the floor. And the furniture. He came running back to the bedroom and said, "Hey Mom! You wanna see my picture I drew on the ground?!"

THANK YOU Marshal Rosenberg! I was able to say "Sure."
After I took in the full artistry I was able to say, "Bug, that is a lovely drawing, but I would appreciate if you kept your drawings on the easel."

"Oh, okay Mom."

"Would you help me clean up the floor now?"


(For those of you wondering about the tv- yes we'd put it away in December. No, it didn't stay put away.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thanks to The Libertarian Homeschooler

A little over two years ago Josh (9y) was having trouble at school. He was in first grade at our local public school. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew I had to do something. I could not handle putting my son, our family, through the same stresses any longer. The thought of enduring 11 more years of it made my stomach turn and my head spin.

At the time I was one of those people who thought homeschoolers were weird. I thought homeschooling was this highly organized strategy with curricula, books, schedules, tests, calendars, planned trips, etc. I did not think it would be for us. At all.

I lost sleep fretting over the situation. During one such night of restlessness, I pulled out my phone, got on facebook, and searched for homeschooling groups/pages. The first one I looked at was The Libertarian Homeschooler. I sat in the dark under my covers reading her page for hours. She was the reassurance I needed that homeschooling was not the meticulously planned, socially awkward image I held in my mind.

I've followed her page since. She has been a mentor and friend in our home education journey and the creation of this page. Her posts are always thought provoking. She's funny. She loves chocolate, so you know she's trustworthy. She's real, accessible, and respectful. I love her for all the time and effort she has put into her publications. And now she's starting a blog. I can't wait to see what is to come.

Thank you TLH! Your work has made a positive change in the world, and a world of change for our family. 

60 Dollar Dress

Every first weekend of the month, Josh (9y) and I go out for a date. This month we went to the mall to eat and visit the Lego store. We left through a department store and I stopped to check out a dress. Keep in mind, I can't remember the last time I bought new clothes for myself.

Me- Sixty dollars!?! Sheesh.
Josh- Well mom, they have to pay for the material, the people who made the dress, the people who work here, rent on the building, the electricity, and all that. If they didn't charge enough they wouldn't make any money and they'd go out of business.
Me- *beaming smile*

He makes me so proud!