Tuesday, May 31, 2011
As for the swimming lesson comment--I didn't plan on giving them a consequence. I knew I wasn't going to waste my money by not letting them go, but I also thought they would be terrified enough at the thought of missing their lessons that they would snap to. And they did. Lucky me. That only works with REALLY awesome activities. However, they are sort of in the mode now, and every time I say, "It is time to get out the door," Cowen remembers to ask me what he can do to help. I need to go over the procedure with Miriam and Emeline a few more times.
Glad you liked the article. I'm off to read it again.
Anyway, the other thing I thought was that the idea of planning on your kids failing -and welcoming it as a learning opportunity-- was revolutionary. I mean, wasn't it? I haven't ever heard it put that way. And if you really follow the plan, how great is it that you really truly aren't getting frustrated when your kid does the same bad behavior over and over and over and OVER -- you just continue giving the consequence without having to get all emotional.
That's my opinion on the article. I told Brett to read it so that we could discuss it, implement it, never get angry with our children again, and basically become perfect parents. I'm not really counting on him reading it though, as it's 33 pages long. Perhaps I'll have to sum up for him. (I did take out some particularly good bits and copy them so that I have them. Now does anyone want to draw up a little basic outline for me so I can hang it on my wall and refer to it every day?)
New topic. Does anyone have any tips on how to help your child make friends? An 8-year-old?
p.s. the Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck is a great book. I loved it. But then, I pretty much love every Richard Peck. He's fabulous.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I really enjoyed this article. Kami--read it immediately and then call me.
The things I liked best: be consistent. My SIL Lindsay Ann is INCREDIBLY consistent and her girls are so well-behaved (and spastic). I know that is the bottom line of parenting, but it doesn't make it much easier.
I liked her four step approach, especially the don't reteach. I find that the more I lecture the more worked up I get and then the more likely I am to fly off the handle and beat the child. I think her "less is more" philosophy is a good one. No reteaching. No explaining.
I also like that she doesn't give extra chores until her kids are 8. I have been trying the extra chore approach because I have a good friend that does it and it works really well for her. So well that I was impressed and decided to do it myself. It doesn't work at my house. Emeline loves extra chores because it means I have to be right with her helping her (attention), plus she likes to do chores. Cowen doesn't mind chores but HATES getting sent away from me, so he thought the new system was peachy. Miriam would get 16 extra chores a day just for dawdling. She'd dawdle, get an extra chore, dawdle through that and yes, you guessed it, I'd end up a yelling freaky monster by the end of the day.
I think the quick, separate them from what they want to be doing right then is much simpler and doable with 5 small children.
I also love the "tap when dawdling" approach and the report in when done idea. Lately I told my children that I wasn't going to put so much effort in to create fun for them. For example, they love swim lessons but getting them to lessons was a nightmare the first day. The second day I explained to them that getting to lessons was their responsibility and when I said it was time to go, they had to come ask me what they could do to help, do it, return to ask if there was anything else they could do, and so forth until I said everything was ready and get buckled in the van.
It has worked a miracle. Today Cowen was already in the van and buckled before he remembered, but he came back out, found me and asked if there was anything he needed to do. I almost cried.
Basically I just really loved this article.
Now, to IMPLEMENT the ideas in the article. Always the harder part. :) At least now I know what I'm going to do the next time Emeline sticks out her tongue at me or calls me stupid. The child has attitude.
I guess I've never looked at the sometimes frequent frustrations with my children as resentment towards them or my life. Usually my frustrations with my kids are based on my own mood, temperment, tiredness, or feelings of inadequacies in myself . . . and none of those are based on "resentment."
However, I did have a similar realization several months ago with regards to my marriage. I found I was resentful of J. in many, many ways but mostly with the idea that he "needed" me. Why did a grown man need me?!?! Especially when he had to obviously see I had many little children needing me all the time. I first realized how poorly I was behaving and how I was harboring such harsh judgments while observing my own mother and how she treated my dad. I realized that some unhealthy patterns had been set. I noticed there was constant blame or resentment or the attitude of "I'm doing everything for his sake" rather than claiming her life as her own. Does that make sense?
What I'm trying to say is . . . I like what you wrote. I like the quotes. And I've had similar thoughts/feelings but not in regards to my children . . . more towards my husband. And once I realized the resentments I was harboring and let them go, our marriage took a 180 turn! It was amazing!!! (then I got pregnant again . . . but that soon shall pass). I literally fell in love with him all over again! No more holding things over his head as if it was his fault I wasn't completely happy. Anyway . . . those are my thoughts. And like I said, I haven't read the book, so maybe my thoughts don't match your thoughts . . . but this is what your thoughts made me think of. :-)
Pg. 129: ". . . in large measure our humanity consists in our ability to sense and respect and respond to the humanity of others."
Pg. 130: "What does it take to achieve such emotional intimacy? The fundamental ingredient is an awakening of each individual to others and a willing effort to respond without any personal agenda in exactly the way that seems most right, considerate, and helpful."
Pg. 139: "This is the moral skepticism of a corrupted conscience, which experiences doing right by others as a drudge, a sacrifice, a favoring of others' needs over one's own--or else a self-righteous project for 'goody-goodies.' As we have seen, doing the right thing is never an easy, natural, welcomed opportunity for a corrupted conscience."
Pg. 146: ". . . When we abandon our resentments, we no longer live in a resented world. Others become real to us. We have a sense of how they feel and what will please them. and pleasing them is what we desire to do, because we have put away our resentment. That's precisely what happened to both Glen and Becky, each responding with more sensitivity and care to the other's growing sensitivity and care."
This chapter reminded me of the commandment to love others like we love ourselves--or, in this author's lexicon--be aware of other people's needs and meet them without feeling proud of ourselves for doing so or resentful because we had to. I'm trying to wrap my brain around what it would feel like to serve my children without feeling resentful of things like poopy underwear or a certain chatterbox being glued to my elbow. It seems so hard to take care of them because they ALWAYS need me. This isn't a friend needing a cup of sugar type deal--or even giving a kidney. This is an every day, energy sucking, demands-making, 110% commitment to other people. Mothers of young children have to CAREFULLY STRATEGIZE TO TAKE A SHOWER. In reading this book, I have the sense of truth as I read, but it is hard to imagine actually serving my family day in and day out without resenting any of it.
Yes, I recognize I chose to be a mom. Yes, I recognize I decided to have 5 children. Yes, I understand that the most important commandments have to do with serving others. It is the putting it into practice that I'm struggling with.
Anyway, this book has really made me step back and think about myself and my interactions with other people. I do remember a time when I wasn't so guarded in my personal interactions. I remember feeling so much happier then. I want that person back.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Pg. 54: "Thus life's being hard does not force us to adopt a resentful attitude. Life becomes hard to bear only when we, as self-betrayers, cast ourselves in a victim's role by regarding others as our victimizers and nurse our misfortunes as if they were badges of honor. I think of self-betrayal as a form of subtle self-destruction because it obliterates the open and generous individuals we can and ought to be--and all for this paltry mess of pottage, the unsteady and impermanent feeling of justification in wrongdoing."
What I gather from that is when I blame my children for my being a stressed-out basket-case all the time, I am hugging my "victimhood" close and not accepting responsibility for my response to the demands of small children. So I shouldn't mutter "You make my life so hard!" in my head anymore, but change that statement to, "This too shall pass" or something. Also, I shouldn't say, "Lindsay Ann is the best mother I know--she should raise my children so they turn out decent," and instead I should think, "Lindsay Ann is the best mother I know--I should take responsibility for myself and try to do the things she does that I admire."
Here's another favorite passage on page 94: "We have seen that our accusations give those we accuse good reason to do the very thing we are blaming them for. This fact has a most astounding implication: Generally speaking, we share responsibility for the way we are treated. If we want to know what impact we are having on others, we need only to examine their responses to us. . .. I am talking about the treatment we get from people we live or work with day to day. In general, the more closely we are involved with someone, the more the principle applies. To see ourselves, we need only to look at others' reactions to us.
So it is our attitude and feeling toward others that gives them provocation and excuse for doing what we are blaming them for. This principle can be expressed in this brief maxim: Seeing other people as the problem is the problem."
I've been thinking a lot about the above statement. I see how it applies very well to a marital relationship. When I am flirty and fun, Timothy responds positively--when I am willing to be vulnerable, we have better discussions about issues. When I am grouchy and try to "protect myself," invariably Timothy gets grumpier.
An example of this. I've been struggling with hormones this post-partum period, so I've been grumpy A LOT lately. A day or so ago, Timothy put the kids to bed and very gently patted my shoulder and suggested I take Mr. Wilson on a walk so I could be out in the sunshine. A day or so after that he reminded me, when I was on the computer, that I had asked him to help me make better decisions about going to bed at a reasonable hour (my rational decision making ability is pretty much nil right now). He was so kind. I immediately WANTED to be happier, just for him. I was reflecting the way he was treating me.
So, I really do believe the author has a point. I've really started to think about my relationship with my in-laws through this lens. I love my in-laws, they are great and try super hard to show us how much they love us. However, we communicate in very different ways and I have often been guilty of thinking "Why don't they just communicate!!!" Maybe I'm not communicating with them--or maybe I am responding negatively when they do communicate and so now they feel they have to protect themselves. I have to think about this more because, as the author stated, when you are acting in a self-betraying manner, you don't have a good perception of reality.
However, I am not sure how this applies to the parent-child relationship. I see the obvious connections--like how my yelling makes it okay for them to yell and my treating them in certain ways causes them to have to protect themselves, thereby shutting down our relationship in some aspects.
But some things are just kid things--like Emeline sticking out her tongue at me when I sent her to the corner. Every single interaction doesn't have to be evaluated through this lens, does it? Or does it? If I have to scrutinize every interaction I have with my children to see if I acted according to my conscience, I'll give up inside a day because the REASON I am reading this book is because I stink at motherhood and I do the wrong thing 98% of the time. How do you change so radically in your interactions with your kids that you become the generous, kind person that the author describes?
Okay--sorry. I haven't read the rest of the book and the author says he gives some ideas on how to become more true to yourself. I'm off to read the next chapter. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Monday, May 23, 2011
After reading the article on parenting I was struck by one main principle: You only need to TEACH once. The rest of the time you simply need to reinforce with consistent consequences. It seems so simple, but it's so dang hard for me! I'm such a talker. I nag, preach, teach over and over. I like how the author signified that all the re-teaching does is tell the kids they can't think for themselves, like they're too unintelligent to remember the first time.
The other thing I liked about the article was that we can/need to expect our kids to fail. I think for me, when I see my kids fail at doing something I taught them, it's somehow a reflection on my lack of teaching (even though I know I taught them). Does that make sense? And so I express frustration towards them when they fail, when in reality I'm frustrated partly with myself for not teaching them properly. Again, I just expect them to do it and to do it perfectly when I ask them to do something .. . forgetting that there needs to be a training process first. I forget that I had to learn things line upon line . . . and even then I still don't do everything right.
So, I now have two main goals: 1) Stop nagging & start teaching more effectively with consequences; 2) Focus on the smaller habits rather than trying to tackle all of the bigger lessons (for now).
p.s. this is all going to start after the baby comes...because right now I'm too tired! :-)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I don't know how many of you read the Headgates article a year or so ago, written by Kerri Tibbets. Well, she just came out with another article on Parenting. I read it. It's got some good stuff in it. Nothing really "new" to me, but there were some things in there I have been chewing on for the last couple of days. It's just good to read some reminder stuff. Anyway, here's the link for both articles. Take a look. We can discuss.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Also, Miriam is 7 and already knows how to make several breakfasts, sew on a button, has made a tablecloth and napkins and is making two receiving blankets this year. So I am doing sewing a little earlier. There was a girl featured in the Friend this month who is 9 who made a bunch of skirts to donate to Haiti. So again, I think your sewing could be moved to a younger age IF you want to deal with it at a younger age. Won't really hurt them to start later--they'll just have better coordination.
Miriam is just starting to get brushing down, so I don't think that taking care of her own hair at 8 is really that reasonable. Maybe I'm underestimating her. What is Faith in God??????
I'm having my kids memorize the Articles of Faith during their Baptism Prep year (age 7) and then they have to re-memorize them every year during their birthday month. I figure if I do it that way, by the time they are 12 they will know them cold.
I also think you are underestimating food prep. Miriam can already cook a bag of frozen corn and she cuts up mushrooms and zucs and other soft veggies for me. She can peel a carrot or cucumber, so I don't know if "cook a veggie" needs to wait until 9. However, it is a lot of when YOU want to deal with it.
I agree with Kelly that mow lawn is too young. All my kids can already fold clothes (tho they hate it more than any other chore), so you might want to move that to a little younger. (What am I saying, my oldest is 7 and you have a 10 year old--ignore everything I say.)
I like the idea of shopping for own clothes at 12, so I think I would make age 11 a Shopper-in-Training, and do some intensive preparation for the responsibility. You know, lessons on sales and fashion and marketing and modesty.
How DO you check the fluids in your vehicles????
I reiterate that I think you are teaching cooking too late. Remember what Mom said when I told her my grand plan--that by age 12 they are already getting snarky. It might be a LOT more work to teach them cooking later. Then again, maybe not. Depends on the kid. But I was planning on turning over bread-making to Miriam when she turned 10 and she would be in charge of it until Cowen turned 10. That will give them two years of practice (I'm sure I'll help out sometimes) because break-making is a bit of an art and practice with mom around is a good idea.
At 12 I was thinking of letting them learn fancy stuff, like take a cake decorating class, or teach them how to do some fun Asian wok cooking.
Also, I would say laundry could be younger. Miriam already puts the laundry in the dryer for me and can do the separating. She has a hard time with the soap for the washer because it doesn't come out easily, but when I make my own she'll be in charge. Yes!! Plus, at this age, it is a huge treat to do laundry.
I would move menu planning to a younger age. By 15 I was always in a play plus three choirs plus school work--I was already too busy to be doing much at home. I think critical things like menu planning and learning how to shop sales has to be taught before they hit the really busy high school years. Okay, I just saw that you wrote "in the summer" but I still think it should be when they are 13 and that kind of responsibility would thrill them.
I would move a lot of your 16 year stuff to 15 year stuff.
But again, I know nothing about anything. Love you though, and your list, and that you got out of doing other work to make your list so I could postpone my dishes to read through your list. You rock.
I need chocolate. Just FYI. Sigh.
Three Years Old
Pick up toys
Help fold towels
Help unload silverware from dishwasher
Help set table
Four Years Old
Help unload dishes from dishwasher
Set the table
Help clear the table
Five Years Old
Start earning money
Help with Saturday’s chores
Six Years Old
Begin Piano lessons
Make and answer phone calls
Wash dishes except pans
Seven Years Old
Memorize phone and address
Eight Years Old
Grooming hair and nails
Read scriptures daily
Wash all dishes
Start Faith in God
Maintain personal journal
Nine Years Old
Ten Years Old
Set personal goals
Make several salads
Place a collect call
Use a payphone
Vacuum interior of car
Eleven Years Old
Arrange for own haircuts
Clean refrigerator inside
First Aid training
Cook breakfast during summer (3x’s weekly)
Know Articles of Faith
Complete Faith in God
Practice creative writing during summer
Learn countries and capitals
Twelve Years Old
Shop for own clothing
Basic fashion awareness
Current events during summer
Practice public speaking during summer
Make/keep dentist appts.
Make/keep doctor appts.
Keep personal calender
Understand basic filing
Order something by phone
Order something by mail
Order something by internet
Read Book of Mormon through
Start Priesthood or YW’s programs
Check fluids in car
Learn basic mending
Bake rolls, bread, cake
Learn how to do laundry
Thirteen Years Old
Sew simple items
Shopping and sales
Start own recipe files
Certify for CPR
Go to movies w/o parent
Learn meat-handling rules
Learn etiquette rules
Musical intrument of choice
Make dinner during summer (3x’s weekly)
Fourteen Years Old
Decorate room-learn to paint etc.
Basic interior decorating
Memorize S.S. number
Understand and use debit card
Learn interest, debt, securities
Learn about make-up (girls)
Learn basic civics and politics
Accompany parent to vote
Structural household repair
Sell items on internet
Memorize Seminary scriptures
May go to dances
May purchase Ipod
Fifteen Years Old
Pay household bills
Grocery shopping during summer
Plan menus during summer
Finish Eagle Scout (boys)
Change flat tire
Basic car operation
Learn to fill car with gas
Sixteen Years Old
Get driver’s license
Understand credit cards
Learn retirement plans
Arrange for car insurance
Assist in purchasing car
File tax return
May have cell phone (must pay for it yourself)
Get a job!
May date in a group
Seventeen Years Old
Finish Young Women in Excellence
Apply for University
Finish Duty to God
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
So I just started reading a book that I wanted to share with you. It's called "Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House" by Cheryl Mendelson. The book is basically an encyclopedic reference for how to do all those little things - proper table setting, fabric care, bill paying, etc. Everything that anyone might need to know about keeping house. But the first chapter explains why it is a good thing to keep house. Talk about validation for (what feels like) my main existence on this planet right now! It was wonderful. The author is a non-LDS lawyer so you're not getting the eternal perspective like we often get in RS Meeting - but that almost made it better for me. I had to share some things that I particularly enjoyed:
"Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety,...it is your housekeeping that makes your home alive, that turns it into a small society in its own right, a vital place with its own ways and rhythms, the place where you can be yourself."
"No one is too superior or intelligent to care for hearth and home." (Regarding modern feminist views)
Routines bring satisfaction. Routines echo the rhythm of life and body.
Housekeeping requires knowledge and intelligence as well, the kind that is complex, not simple, and combines intellect, intuition, and feelings.
Our homes are the center of our lives, and we should allow time and resources to make the most of them that we can...we should avoid thinking that time spent on our homes is wasted time, or that our goal should always be to reduce the time and effort we spend on them.
"The act of taking care of our homes brings comfort and consolation both in the enjoyment of the fruits of our labor and in the increasingly rare freedom to engage in worthwhile, unalienated, honorable work."
"Good housekeepers are listmakers."
This is not a book about decorating or being overly neat. It's not a book about organizing. It's a book of knowledge. The proper care of a home whether you stay home with kids or work a full-time job.
I have been cleaning and straightening today and enjoying the feel of a clean space. If you're needing some motivation and validation - I recommend chapter one. If you just think knowing more about the job would make it run smoother - I recommend the rest of the book. I haven't gotten very far through that part yet. Just skimming bits and pieces and looking for the things that I find necessary to my life. So I skipped the sections on hosting a formal dinner (table-setting) because not only do I do that rarely, but my mom did a pretty good job of teaching me how to do it if I ever wanted to.