Tag Archives: Relationships

Wave Goodbye

Chapters Of Passions

I’ve always been aware that “change” is a part of life. Life changes and we can either roll with it or not. The gradual change is the different “chapters” in our lives, starting with childhood, young adult, adult, mature adult, and then there’s the elderly that has so much life experience to share. I have noticed my passions have changed with my chapters so far, and its cool to look back and revisit. Continue reading

amyl_mothersonhug

Kids Will Tell You How You’re Doing as a Parent

The Mercenary hugged me today. In fact, he’s done it twice in the past few days.

I don’t mean the expected hugs like the ones we get at bedtime. He actually walked over to me and put his arms around my shoulders and hung on me for a few minutes. When I reached around and squeezed his middle, he squeezed me back. How cool is that??

He’s 12, by the way.

He hasn’t been volunteering hugs much lately. Even the bedtime hugs have been rather perfunctory.

I’ve been working super hard lately at being more positive, especially with the boys. The concept is simple really: listen to chatter and respond, praise successes, and handle problems with an calm exterior.

If it’s just a case of correcting a mistake or even dealing with actual disobedience, maintaining my desired parental behavior is pretty easy. When things get heated between the boys and arguments swell up and tempers flare faster than I can get anyone’s attention, then it’s a lot harder to not get frustrated.

The realization that it’s easier to switch from a correcting tone to a praising one with the dog than the boys was a sobering moment. In my defense, I can talk to the dog the way I would with a two-year-old child. If I did that with the boys they’d be offended. And yes, I know this after performing an experiment to find out, purely for scientific research; no humor was involved ;)

Both Hubby and I have been trying to show the boys that we’re treating them with the respect we want to see in return. As the older ones move closer and closer to adulthood I think they’re starting to see how much we truly do enjoy them. It’s nice to feel like we’re on the right track for now.

by AmyL


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Photo graciously provided by horizontal.integration , through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Are We Too Busy?

front face of a watch that shows its inner worksWhen the older boys were just toddlers we were friends with a family that had three pre-teen children. The one message we heard from them constantly revolved around how busy they were keeping up with the kids’ schedules.

They quickly became the anti-example for our family. Hubby and I looked at each other and nodded sagely that we’d NEVER allow life to get so busy that it was constantly stressful. What they were doing, running from one activity to the next, was just crazy.

Now we have pre-teen children. And now we are awfully busy with sports and Scouting and church and 4H and volunteering, all on top of school requirements. Oh, and piano. They’re all learning to play the piano.

So are we too busy? We strive for balance. Keeping boys occupied tends to keep them out of trouble, but we don’t want to be overwhelming. Right now the younger boys have evening commitments once or twice a week, while the older boys have two or three evening commitments weekly. It is working out that the adults have something to do 4 nights a week to make it to all the boy stuff, and frequently activities overlap so we’re having to do some interesting juggling to make it all work.

Because they’re homeschooled, the boys usually have time every afternoon to play. In addition they usually take a healthy recess at lunch time and go outside to jump around and blow off some energy. Piano is done during the schoolday. 4H is only once a month.

This is the first year that we’ve encouraged the boys to branch out and choose the sport or activity they want. Up until now, keeping up with different choices was more than Hubby and I could mentally manage. Now, it doesn’t seem too hard. Tiring. Occasionally confusing. But not too hard.

Have we turned into the anti-example for someone else? It’s interesting how much I want to support the boys in their pursuits. Going to a practice or a game when I could be at home getting my own todo list done doesn’t seem nearly as much of an imposition as it did when our friends were describing it. I know that while the days seem long, the years are going to be short. We only get to do this once.

Keeping life balanced is a huge value around here, and I hope that we look back someday and think, “Yea, that worked out well.”

by AmyL


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Mom Politics: When Kids Trash Talk

a boy with a look of hope is shown standing against a treeThe family went to a soccer game today; TechnoBoy is on the team and we all went to watch him play. Naturally the younger boys drifted away, about halfway through, and played in a tree just behind us with some other boys and girls. At the end of the game, they ran over and told my mother-in-law that another boy had said some mean things to them. Those mean things included “Your dad is weak” and “Your dad is stupid.”

The boys were naturally rattled. We were in the middle of packing up and clearing out, so we walked them to the car. The mother of the trash-talker was nearby but I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything.

Later, Hubby talked to our boys, reminding them that what they’d been told wasn’t nice. More importantly, he emphasized that they shouldn’t retaliate in kind. We suggested that if the boy says mean things again, (this isn’t the first time he’s been challenging, just the first time he was mean), that they tell him it’s not nice and to stop or that they’ll tell on him.

So do I tell the mother what her boy said? I’ve only talked to her a couple of times, and I don’t know her very well. Do you just walk up to someone and announce, “Your kid says my husband is weak and stupid?” How would you work that into a casual conversation game-side?

Or do we stick with the course we’re already on: say nothing and wait to see what happens? Assuming we do that, what if he says that kind of thing again? What if he says more?

Neither Hubby or I really care about the verbal antics of a 7 year-old boy; insults from him just don’t make any difference personally. That’s not true for our sons though. They care very much, and we’re concerned that they’d get into a one-upmanship situation (what boy wouldn’t?) and start saying mean things back.

Maybe they already have said some inappropriate things to him. Would there be wisdom in asking her that first?

When the older boys were little, any and all squabbles were between them and the neighbor. It was easy to walk down and talk to my neighbor about any problems that cropped up. This situation is less clear.

What would you do?

by AmyL


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Forgiveness

young boy has confession with Catholic priestLast week, I attended the parents information session at my son’s school on an upcoming sacrament he and his class will be receiving. My son is attending a Catholic grade school, and this year he will be making his first Reconciliation. When I was young, we called it first confession or pennance. Either way, it’s the first time young Catholic children confess their “sins” and ask God’s forgiveness.

I listened as the priest told a long-winding story, and started to think about forgiveness and grace and how we teach them to our children. Whatever I might think about the Catholic Church (which is left as another column for another time), I do believe the act of forgiveness, divine or otherwise, is one of the most loving things we can do for one another.

To teach children how to really be sorry, you also need to teach them how to forgive. It’s ok to say we are sorry to our children, and admit when we make a mistake or aren’t being our best self. We parents don’t have to pretend we’re perfect. In fact, I believe that admitting that even we can make a mistake and then learn from it is another way we set an example for our children.

I certainly know I am not perfect. but I have made it one of my personal goals to always say I am sorry when I have acted as less than my best self, and through my action or inaction, have hurt another person. I think it’s important to show my children that there’s nothing I’d ask of them that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. If I want them to be capable of saying they are sorry and admitting mistakes, then I have to show them that I can and will do the same.

The night before this parent meeting, I was home with the kids from another rough day at work. My husband was staying late at work. I was trying to get dinner made quickly so we would have time for bath and shower before bedtime and also trying to help my son with his homework at the same time. There was a lot going on and I was barely keeping all my figurative balls up in the air. My son started to get distracted with his reading assignment and was having a hard time concentrating. Instead of stopping what I was doing after the fourth (or was it fifth) time he asked me the same question and the fourth (or fifth) time he didn’t listen to my answer, I raised my voice. I didn’t yell, but I didn’t continue to speak in a normal volume. I loudly gave him the answer to get his attention.

I was immediately sorry I’d done it. I wouldn’t want someone to raise their voice with me just because they were frazzled, and I shouldn’t allow myself to do it either. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I stopped what I was doing, knelt down so that I was eye level with my son, and told him I was sorry I had raised my voice, and asked him to forgive me. I didn’t try to explain why I was frazzled or what my state of mind was. I simply told him that I shouldn’t have raised my voice and I understood he was having trouble with his homework. He forgave me and we moved on.

I wish I could say that I am always the best parent I can be. I am human, and sometimes I fall short. I am, however, always trying. Hopefully, it is the always trying and the constant working to reach my best that matters in the end. Hopefully, in teaching my son that I can seek forgiveness as well as grant it, he will understand that saying “I forgive you” is even more important than saying “I am sorry.”

Every day we teach our children through the example we set. They watch how we react to life, to our mistakes, to everything. I hope that even my examples of being human and making human mistakes help my children to be the best people that they can be.


by Rocket Science Mom


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Photo graciously provided by Jim Forest, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved