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Monday, October 25, 2010

Mom-iversity Week Three: Parents Don't Need Permission!

You're back!
Thanks for stopping by.
As a re-cap:

I am reading the book
I got the digital copy at:

Here are the nuggets:
(there weren't as many because
a lot of the subject matter
didn't pertain to my circumstances...)

Children should wake up to an alarm clock, not a parent

The reason for this IS partly for responsibility reasons.  I mean, are you going to wake up your 20 year old son for work every day?  I don't think so.  But also to avoid YOU being the one to drag them from their warm, cozy nest and sweet dreams right away in the morning.  Then you are the bad guy and FIGHTING ENSUES!  Tsk. Tsk.

"When children are hurried, they take their time"

I have been whining about this one for 13 years!  The faster you need them to go, the slower they move.  It is not your imagination!  It's good old passive-aggressiveness at work, people.

"It's important not to let a child decide the parent's response or mood"

Yeah. I have a tough time with that one.  It makes sense, it's just hard for me.  I let EVERYONE determine my mood...my kids, my husband, the postman... Now I know better and I will do better, right? 

Respond to complaints by acknowledging the child's complaint.
I guess it bears repeating here:  DO NOT ARGUE! (I repeat this only because I personally need to remember it!) If you try to "fix" or even offer your opinion, it will likely end in an argument.  If you acknowledge, you leave the impression that you understand...and leave it up to the child whether to enter into a discussion.  Plus I wonder if you just keep acknowledging and mirroring...the child will probably figure out her own solution to the complaint...maybe even while thinking YOU did all the work!!

Here's an example of acknowledging the complaint:

Child: you NEVER buy me anything
Parent:  There is something you would like me to buy you.

To be honest, I sometimes wonder if this is going to come off sounding a little FAKE and maybe a little INSULTING to the child...but I am willing to give it a try as an experiment.

It is not realistic to expect a child to put cleanliness ahead of playfulness.

This was already a no-brainer in my observation...but I was maybe a little bit disappointed by this statement. It burst my bubble.  I've always suspected that I'd have to wait until the children were 18 before I got to have a nice, neat house with everything in it's place...and everything coordinating and beautiful.  Now my hopes are dashed.  Now I just want to remove the furniture, buy cushions and bean-bag chairs and embrace ugly once and for all. Plus, it makes me really angry when I see another mother's house looking worthy of a spread in Better Homes, while I'm still trying to work the "Hand-me-down-chic" look because I don't dare buy anything lest it get ruined, pronto.

Helping is better than haranguing.

Uh-huh.  I'm guilty of this.  My instinct is to say: "I didn't get the blocks out or play with them.  Why should I help you clean them up?"  That unfortunately turns into my children saying that to each other...and then me having to play the detective game to find out who got them out so I could harass the correct child to pick them up...fighting and arguing ensues...and I go to bed with a migraine.  That was really draining - and the detective stuff was just too much work.

It's just easier to pick up the stupid blocks...WITH the child of course.  And don't keep track of how many you pick up versus how many they pick up.  I'm pretty sure that won't end well either.

After school, instead of asking "How was your day, dear", make statements that convey your understanding of the trials and tribulations at school.

For example:  "You look like you had a hard day" or "You seem glad to be home"

Those were the two I thought sounded most plausible for me to say.  There were more examples, but I just couldn't see them sounding genuine coming out of my mouth. 

 Again, these chapters challenged my acting skills a little bit.  I want to be comfortable in my home.  I do not want to be one of those mothers (and I know you've seen them) who are constantly "ON". You know what I mean.  They are the sing-song-y mothers who always operate in a perpetual excited state...as if everything they do is SO MUCH FUN!  Come and join me!  

"C'mon!  Let's scoop the dog doo from the back yard!  Yay!" 
"Whoo-hoo!  It's laundry time!  Who wants to sort the underwear!?" 

 I half expect them to bust out with a cheer or do a back flip.  I am not one of those.  I was BARELY one of those when my children were babies...when it's just natural to talk that way to your kids.  So, some of the things they suggested were a little bit "ON" for my taste.  I couldn't even bring myself to pass them on to you.

In case you haven't figured this out yet:

"In most situations, making statements is preferable to asking questions"

Questions make children feel as if you are interrogating rather than trying to understand.  This is a good  example of how it is different talking to children than to adults. 

"It hurts to share a parent"

Because:  "in a child's experience, sharing means getting less, like sharing an apple or a piece of gum."

Really?  It's that simple?  Who would have thought?

When a child's desire for our undivided love is acknowledged, the child is reassured.

That is about the only "technique" offered in the fight against sibling rivalry.  There either weren't a lot of examples here or I need to go back and read it again. 

It seems simplistic.

It is important that a child's life not be ruled by the adult's need for efficiency.  It drains the child's resources, prevents growth, stifles interests, and may lead to emotional meltdowns.

This is another area I would like to go back to read again.  I'm not an ultra-efficient person by nature, so I think I skipped over most of this thinking it didn't apply to me, and now I have questions. 

This last statement I really thought was a gem.  Especially now, in this parenting culture.  I actually have issues with today's parenting culture...but I'll save that for another post.  I just think that the line is blurred a lot between parent and child these days.  Parents are trying so hard to be EVERYTHING to their children...and I think sometimes children are permitted to make decisions they have no business making...whether overtly or inadvertently.  So here it is.  Feel free to write it on a post-it and carry it around with you when you need back up.  And remember, don't talk too much.  it shows weakness. 

"Parents do not need permission or agreement from children on how to live their lives!"
So there you have it.
I will probably go back and read
these three chapters again.
It was very challenging and
overly simplistic to me...
on subjects that aren't simple.
On to next week's assignment...

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