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Family Parenting tips

The Four Gift Giving Rule for Christmas – Parenting Tip #32

Do you shower your kids with gifts at Christmas time?

Four Gift Giving {Mom of Many}The Four Gift Giving Rule for Christmas

My daughter reminded me recently of a good parenting practice at Christmas time to teach gratefulness. We were very fortunate – our kids were always grateful Christmas morning. Every gift got a “thank you” and it seemed they were always content with whatever we gave them. They enjoyed giving gifts and never whined about not getting something. Pretty great, huh?

But we do hear griping and whining all around us during this time of year, don’t we? If you are concerned with attitudes this year or want to implement something new to ward off the gimmie-gots, take a look at this:

Give your kids four gifts:

  1. One gift they want.
  2. One gift they need.
  3. One gift they wear.
  4. One gift they read.

When it comes to those who we love and are precious to us, we want to give them the world. We like to see them light up with happiness and we enjoy being a blessing to them. BUT, we need to be careful not to overindulge our kids – the key is “balance.”

I think we have a good balance in our family. How about you. Are you seeking balance this year?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many community and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Adoption Family Parenting tips

Do you have a saboteur? When Kids Enjoy Trouble – Parenting Tip #31

Definition of SABOTAGE

1: destruction of an employer’s property (as tools or materials) or the hindering of manufacturing by discontented workers
2: destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort
3a: an act or process tending to hamper or hurt   b: deliberate subversion

 

Sound familiar? Do you have a saboteur in the house?

This is a very specific issue. A saboteur isn’t the child who is just struggling – it’s for the child who is deliberately choosing to inflict pain or daring his parents in a “see if I care” sort of way.

It can be very discouraging to a mom when a child seems to enjoy trouble, does the opposite of what they are told and repeats the cycle of disobedience in a way that makes you suspect they are purposely trying to hurt the family.

Hopefully they aren’t plotting a planning their own or your destruction (though some of mine tried).

Often this type of behavior is a response to some sort of painful memory or behavioral pattern established from trauma in the past. Self destructive behavior can affect the entire family. They often realize they are doing it – some want to quit but aren’t sure how and others enjoy inflicting pain because they think it makes them feel better – a sort of whacked, “pain loves company” mental state.

One of our kids was sure he would eventually be abandoned or kicked out so he set up scenarios where he would do something that he thought would ensure it or he would decide on his own that he was leaving. Even when we sat down and explored his options (running away meant no home, no food, no family and staying and working out problems meant family support, warm tasty meals, a warm bed, etc.) he still chose to run.

Of course we would veto such decisions but couldn’t always keep a close enough eye on him that he couldn’t slip out. We always got him to come back but eventually moved him into a children’s home. That’s a long story and I won’t go into that now. Just realize that sometimes reason doesn’t work.

Sometimes Discipline Will Work

BUT, in my experience practical parenting must coincide to form new habits and mindsets. In Parenting Tip #21, I talk about supervision. You start there. If you aren’t keeping a good eye on your kids there will be more room for sabotage. Idle hands and minds can get very creative in a short time!

Positive Reinforcement?

See Parenting Tip #22. A mind set of messing with you won’t be easily changed. You’ve got to show them it is in their best interest to follow your rules, be respectful of the family and compliant.

The Big Guns Come in Parenting Tip #6

I give you some practical steps to take with teenagers who bully Mom (usually doesn’t happen to Dad). Some of the bullying is natural growth done the wrong way and it’s up to others to step in and show them how to become a man without stepping all over mom. It’s hard when there’s one parent, especially if it’s a mom. At that point it would help to have the support of a male role model. It could be someone like an uncle, older brother, neighbor, friend, husband of a friend or your pastor.

Let me encourage you.

These kids can wear you down and even make you think the problem is YOU making you think:

  • You don’t love them enough
  • You aren’t meeting his needs
  • You are not patient enough…maybe you need to give them more space
  • You just don’t understand
  • You don’t do enough for them

Um. No. It’s not you. It’s them. Get a grip on these false feelings. Gather your courage around you like a flak jacket and arm yourself with some butt kicking confidence and attack this issue head on. The sooner you are confident, the sooner you will see progress.

Here are some things I learned along the way:

  1. Exude confidence. You must leave off all emotion when dealing with saboteurs. Act like a cop. No crying, begging or upset faces allowed, mom. A matter-of-face face is scary to teens. Scare them with your courage.
  2. Decide ahead of time what consequences will be for each particular behavior, write it down and post it on the fridge. A heads up for the transgressor will squelch many a misdeed. These kids are smart and very much into self protection.
  3. Find their hot button. Do they like computer games, have a fave show or does money speak to them? Get creative and remove or reward behavior. Sometimes rewarding others and leaving the offender out speaks volumes. “Hey kids, let’s stop for fries on the way home! Sorry, Joe, not you this time. Maybe you can reconsider the attitude while we eat our fries.”
  4. Research food allergies – sometimes in extreme instances allergies can create manic behavior. We had a son who went bonkers if he ate corn or in a corn field. Go figure.
  5. Provide a united front. Explain the issues. Clue everyone in. Let the whole family know what you plan to do and ask who is on board. We occasionally had family meetings where we asked for a show of hands. Draw the line in the sand and ask who wants to be on your side. This is serious stuff and you need to let everyone know “I GOT THIS.”
  6. Try to get a handle on their issues. When I discovered one of my sons had Asperger’s all made sense and I totally changed my approach. Do research. RAD is a serious issue that you might be dealing with.
  7. Don’t deal with this alone. We had little support and had to find our way with little help. Find a friend and share your issues – it always helps to have someone who knows and will support you if something goes wrong.
  8. Keep a journal of all happenings – EVERY DAY. You must protect yourself and journals help establish a timeline and important information that might be needed later. See Tip #12.
  9. There may come a time where their behavior is too intense for your family and you must separate them for the safety of all, including them. There are children’s homes and residential facilities equipped for the most difficult cases. This was always our last resort, but we did find the need for some of our kids. Safety is a common issue with RAD kids.

I’m sure there are tons more ideas that would help – let me know if you have any tips to add. We are in this together and no one should ever feel alone or abandoned.

YOU GOT THIS! {Mom of Many}

NOTE: I am happy to say that all my kids have grown to adulthood and have carved out a life for themselves. I am proud of all of them and have a good relationship with most of them. We are hopeful that the others will come around and come back – for they all are valued, no matter what. Our kids have grown tremendously. When you consider how much some of them have had to overcome, you are in awe of their strength. Never give up on them. They are worth every effort.

Leave a comment if you have any to add. If you need support join our M.O.M. group. We get it.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips

Rewarding Kids by Celebrating Baby Steps – Parenting Tip #30

Celebrate in Small Ways

Life is full of little accomplishments and when our kids make progress in small ways, we want to celebrate it – but how do we do that without overdoing it? If we celebrate everything then our celebrations get watered down and no longer will be special. Rewarding kids doesn’t have to be a big celebration.

Create Mini Celebrations

  • Buy a “special plate.” We bought a clear decorative glass plate from the dollar store and put it in a child’s place at the table. The others kids’ Ooo’s and Ahh’s were enough to make a child feel special. COST: $1.00.
  • Play a game like Hide and Go Seek – it’s very special to our kids when we take time out of our busy schedules to play this type of game. COST: FREE

Play games with your kids {Mom of Many}

  • Make up coupons and give out as a reward for an accomplishment – 1/2 hour of a computer game play time, stay up an extra half hour past bedtime, a free pass on chores for that day. COST: FREE
  • Let the honored child choose what the family will watch on movie night. COST: FREE
  • Put a note in their lunch box thanking them for being helpful/working hard/kind, etc. COST: FREE
  • Decorate your daughter’s nails with your fave nail polish or let her wear your perfume for the day. COST: FREE
  • Sit down and play cars, dollies or blocks – this takes some kid-like imagination. Last time I sat down to play with a child’s toys it took a real effort! COST: FREE

Play games with your kids {Mom of Many}

  • Tell a friend in front of your child about something that your child did that was special. COST: FREE

A Little Goes a Long Way

Our daughter was very sick and I was working all day, so I couldn’t go over to help her. Her ten year old son spent the day helping her by bringing the baby to her when she needed to be nursed, dressed her, and changed her, etc. He also helped his little brothers and made sure things ran smoothly till his dad got home.

When I heard of it, I was quite impressed.  I went out and bought him a bag of snacks as a reward and dropped it by after work, letting him know how I appreciated his efforts. The funny thing is, his aunt did the same thing after she heard about it – sending him a package from Virginia.

Can you imagine how that might have made quite an impression on him? Whenever a child gets kuddos from someone other than their parents, you can bet that goes much farther. A child expects Mom and Dad to think he’s amazing, but when others do?  That is huge.

What do you do when your child does something worthy of mention? A little can go a long way.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Educating Our Children Family FAS Parenting tips

“He will never learn to tell time.” Parenting Tip #29

 

There is Always Hope

When you parent special needs kids and take them to doctors, psychologists and Neurologists, often you will hear discouraging news.

  • He will never learn to tell time because of his low IQ.
  • Get him velcro shoes because he’ll never learn to tie.
  • He will always be behind a year or two.
  • With his limited abilities you won’t be able to teach him like other kids.
  • He will never be capable of living on his own.
  • He will never hold down a job.
  • He will never see you as his parents, attach to you, or feel a part of your family.

I always accepted those statements as a challenge.

I walked out of evaluations with the attitude, “Bet me.” You guessed it – they did learn to do those things, and went on to learn all the basics.

All kids have potential {Mom of Many}

Be careful of IQ (It doesn’t mean I Quit)

Another one of my kids who was assigned a very low IQ during their younger years  has his own apartment and job at a grocery store. Others who had a rough start have jobs, drive cars, have relationships and speak intelligently – so much so that you need to get to know them before you know they have any disabilities.

Over-educated?

A few years after a depressing evaluation, I took one child to be evaluated at a children’s health center because I wanted to know if there were any programs that would help me with some specific issues. They had a great reputation in our county.

All kids have potential {Mom of Many}

He was in in fourth grade and tested at a 6th grade level with a Kindergarten ability. They couldn’t explain how he knew more than he was “able to learn.” When I explained that I taught him at home, they told me that I had “over-educated” him and that there were no programs for a kids like him.

Hmm. So I took him home and continued teaching him until I knew he had all the basics.

Another one of my kids desired to live on his own when he turned 18. It was hard for him to watch his siblings go off to college and talk about their futures. Since I was concerned about him being out on his own, we found a supervised living program. After a few months he lost a lot of what I had taught him (personal care, housekeeping, etc.) so he moved into the dorms where he could be closely monitored.

He graduated from their college three years later and is doing fabulously.

FASD and Other Labels

Some who live with after shocks of maternal drugs and alcohol use (they are adopted, BTW) have learned to compensate using other skills to fill in the gaps.

  • Those who had trouble remembering information in subjects like grammar and history relied on memorization to get them through the tough subjects.
  • Homework folders and assignment pads helped with daily assignments and teacher communication.
  • The younger kids had older kids as partners to help with daily activities like chores and outside activities.
  • They used check lists, sticky notes and had accountability partners.
  • Our home was structured with a consistent schedule, rules and expectations.
  • We were always nearby and consistent in supervision and follow through.

We have taught our kids to live in spite of “labels”. FASD, OCD, ODD, ADHD, ADD, PTSD, TMI, EMI, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyslexia, Asperger’s, APD, PCE, RAD, etc.

Never, ever give up on your kids, accept doomsday predictions on their future abilities, or let numbers set the bar. It is good to seek evaluations but use the information as a tool, not as fact that limits your reach.

Shoot for the moon, but be content if you only reach the stars. It’s an amazing place to live.

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many community and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Adoption Family

Do you ever ask big families, “Are they all yours?” Parenting Tip #28

When you see a big family, do you ask, “Are they all yours?”

We have 15 kids – 2 homemade and 13 adopted. We are a mix of different races and backgrounds.

We have heard it all. My answers to some of the questions are in red:

  • Are they all yours? Yes
  • No, I mean how many belong to you? All of them.
  • Which ones are adopted? I forget.
  • How many are of which race? I don’t remember, I’ll have to figure it out.
  • Is this your Sunday School Class? Sometimes.
  • Who did she get her eyes from? (asked about our Asian daughter) Her mom and dad. (Neither of us are Asian)
  • Are you going to teach her English when she grows up? (also asked about our 3 mo. old Asian daughter) Too stunned to answer this one.
  • Are any of them brothers and sisters? They all are.
  • Are any of them related? They all are.
  • Do you keep in contact with their families. Yes, we see each other every day.
  • Are you going to tell them they are adopted? Um, I think they will probably figure it out by looking in the mirror.

And here is one that many adoptive families hear:

  • Which ones are your real children? (Unfortunately, asked in from of my kids, this was very hurtful.) Yes, of course they are all real.

We were very open with our kids – they weren’t the ones who were confused.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

We have gotten so many funny comments.

For the most part people have been in awe of our family and quite often are very personable, thanking us for adopting them. Our best responses have come from people of color. They are very appreciative of our family claiming kids of all races as our own. That always came as a surprise to me because we never saw it as a big deal. They are just kids. Who cares about color?

Big Families {Mom of Many}Our kids are color blind.

One of our kids asked, “What color was grandpa?” We knew no racial boundaries and saw no color in our home.

If someone was genuinely interested in our family and asked how many were adopted, I told them, “We have two homemade and 13 adopted.”

Our youngest “homemade” daughter wondered when she was going to have her visit to the judge to get adopted too. It wasn’t my adopted kids that felt left out.

When our Asian daughter went to a new school, we asked her if there were any other kids like her in her classroom. She said, “No, they are all just plain white.” We still laugh about that one and it was MANY years ago.

Different is good. Different is fun.

We had one son that always wore long sleeve shirts because he didn’t want to get darker. Another one preferred sleeveless because he wanted to be the blackest man alive.

Families are Forever {Mom of Many}

Every time someone complimented one of my sons as being handsome, I always, always said, “Thanks, he gets his good looks from me.” The fact that we were a “family of many colors” brought interest to our family and I feel sorry for families who are all the same race. It seems awfully boring to me.

We are unique and I love how our family is so diverse (I really don’t like that word, but it describes us well).  We are different but the same. I like it that way.

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many community and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Adoption Family Parenting tips

When You are Criticized as a Parent – Parenting Tip #27

Have you ever been criticized as a parent?

This is a tough subject to deal with because I have all sorts of readers – some are mature and tested, others are inexperienced or clueless.  Everyone else is in-between – mostly just trying to figure out this parenting thing as they go along. We are all different with varying levels of expertise.

Criticism can be valid, but the way it’s delivered matters.

Some never really get a handle on parenting, feeling responsible for everything that goes wrong. Some judge other parents because they think they had all the answers and did everything perfectly when in reality they just had children who were easy to raise.

Others are supportive and compassionate knowing it’s a hard job and nobody is perfect or has all the answers. They just feel blessed when their kids enter adulthood ready and able in spite of all their parenting mistakes.

Some had easy children who respected their position as parents and complied throughout. Others had strong willed children who required patience and creative parenting.

Parental Criticism {Mom of Many}

Regardless of your parenting situation – we ALL had criticism.

Here are a few that we heard throughout the years:

  • You are too easy on them.
  • You are too hard on them.
  • You need to trust them more – they will never learn responsibility if you don’t let them go.
  • You should never trust them – they are little wicked sinners looking for trouble.
  • Give them space to make mistakes – they learn from their mistakes.
  • Don’t give them an inch – they will take a mile.
  • You should never treat them all the same – they are individuals.
  • You should treat them all the same – parenting favoritism will cause bitterness.
  • You should spank them.
  • Never spank them.
  • Establish your authority early on through rules and consequences.
  • Authoritarian parental figures cause children to rebel.
  • Always address rebellion from the git-go or you will have trouble when they are teens.
  • Teenage rebellion is natural – don’t stress over it, they will grow out of it.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – pick your battles.
  • Don’t let anything go – be consistent and address everything.

Parental Criticism {Mom of Many}I could go on, but you get the picture. You will never find anyone who agrees 100% with your parenting. Goodness, there are a lot of parents who don’t agree with each other.

One word of caution here: if you and your spouse don’t agree on parenting issues, you still need to present a united front. ALWAYS support each other. That doesn’t mean you cover up or encourage abuse, that “ALWAYS support each other” comes with an asterisk.

YOU GOT THIS! {Mom of Many}

So what do you do when you or your parenting are criticized?

I have a couple of come backs that you need to memorize and apply at the proper time (or you can just smile and walk away):

  • Thanks for your suggestion – I will consider it.
  • I appreciate that you want to help, I’ll take it from here.
  • I will deal with it at home, but thanks for your concern.
  • I’m sure you mean to be helpful but your comments sound critical.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I have a couple of snarky responses that I got from my survey today.

Sometimes people step in and don’t handle your kids correctly. A well placed few words can drive home a point where a generic response would just leave you looking incompetent. Some people just don’t get it and will continue to pick at you and your kids unless you make it clear they are to back off.

  • How’s that working out for you?
  • Was that for your benefit or theirs?
  • And you have experience in this area how?
  • Your point is?
  • Aaaannnnndddd???? (This puts them in the hot seat) Just keep saying it till they walk away.

Before you judge me to be insensitive or  accuse me of not having a Christ-like attitude, realize this: The kids are more important than the adults and sometimes people can abuse you and your children with their words. Some just don’t understand a polite, “Thank you I’ve got this covered.”

If you’ve never experienced someone lashing you with their parenting advice tongue, then I’m glad for you. But I have and it ain’t pretty. Often I let them verbally abuse me because I never gave myself permission to go into a verbal battle for my kids.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I don’t agree thaParental Criticism {Mom of Many}t you must always be polite, though that should be our first rule of Christian conduct. When raising my kids, my rule was “always be polite no matter what” and I think that was a mistake. Sometimes the mama bear needs to come out!

I was quite beat up by the time all my kids were raised – and I’m not referring to my kids. Adults who thought they knew everything (but were very deceived in their own minds) caused a lot of bitterness and anger in my kids and left me feeling defeated.

I did get some funny responses to my survey – please don’t use these, but read them anyway. They will give you a laugh:

  • If I throw a stick will you go chase it?
  • Look at them and smile and start waving at them. And then mutter (so they can hear) “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.” (From the Penguins of Madagascar)
  • I’m busy now, can I ignore you later?
  • Shush, the adults are talking.
  • How very Ghandi of you…

These comments came from friends of mine who has raised special needs kids:

  • Most times I am pleasant and say thank you and walk away. If the people are persistent I tell them they have no clue and depending on the situation I might explain. I have told people if they think they can do better, go adopt a child with baggage and special needs and do a better job then me. I wonder if anyone ever has. If they have I would like to see them today and see if they are now more understanding or on the psych ward recovering.
  • There are those that truly think they are being helpful and then you have inconsiderate clods that probably should mind their own business. To the latter, I would be respectful but firm in my response. Don’t be bullied by rude people.

I will leave you with this one thought.

If you are criticized, listen to what they say and if what they say is true, then change. If it isn’t, then ignore it and move on. Only you can know for sure what your kids need. Trust your instincts and if you have any questions, find someone you trust and is wise and ask for help. Read parenting books, but don’t raise your kids by them. Godly friends and God’s Word were our most trusted sources back when we couldn’t find any one with answers.

Now go out and be amazing.

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. Support is important during times of criticism. (The servers are temporarily down, so if you are interested, try later.)

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Adoption Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

5 Steps to Keeping a Clear Head When Life Stinks – Parenting Tip #26

Keep a clear head in crisis {Mom of Many)Don’t dwell. Dwelling is bad.

There will be times where your days and nights will be consumed with the pain and disappointment of life.

I’ve seen many families torn apart because the pain was too great – that every waking moment dwelling on the bad stuff consumed them.

We all will experience serious trials in life. We must choose how we will respond and that choice will affect every area of our lives.

I have some advice for you – a practice that I have adopted has changed my way of dealing with the hard days.

I went to the Women Counseling Women week long training with Debi Pryde and in one of her sessions she dealt with dwelling on the bad stuff.

Her advice to us?

Don’t dwell. When you have a serious situation that you need to deal with, take 5 minutes, think about it, decide what you are going to do about it or plan your next step and then let it go and get on with your day.

The dwelling is what takes control of your life. We need to leave off the dwelling and choose to live our life – not defined by our pain but defined by who we are and who we serve.

God isn’t punishing us.

God doesn’t put pain and suffering in our life to hurt or punish us. He allows trials in our life to hone us, to grow and strengthen us…though it certainly doesn’t feel like it sometimes.

If we allow the pain and stressors in life to envelope us, we will  let the pain win. We are too valuable for that. We have a job to do and we can’t do it with our two hands tied behind our back. We must be free to move forward and accomplish life – to be there for our families.

5 steps to keeping a clear head when life stinks:

  • Think over your situation for 5 minutes.
  • Decide on your next move and then put the thoughts away.
  • Purposely think on something else.
  • Follow through on your decision and once you do – take another 5 minutes to consider it.
  • Then put it behind you again.

You will be amazed how your life will improve.

Your day to day activities will be easier. You will find hope again. You will have a clearer view of your situation and feel more in control of your life.

That one truth will set you free in a way you never expected.

You all have heard the expression “Give it to God.”Keep a clear head in crisis {Mom of Many)

This is the best way to do it. When you dwell, you keep it close to you. Not only is this not healthy, it throws you in the middle of the trees where you can’t see the forest. You need to see the forest.

Now go to the mirror and say:

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips

Christmas Traditions – Parenting Tip #25

Christmas Traditions {Mom of Many}

Some of my best memories of growing up are of our family Christmases.

Upon waking I ran to the top of our basement steps and could see the glow of our tree. I knew I would be the last one to go down because I was the youngest – the anticipation was overwhelming!

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

For my family we had many traditions that we stuck to every year – even when they were grown up.

  • The kids would decorate the tree – I’d hand them one bulb at a time so they could hang it. We played Christmas music. After they went to bed I would always straighten the bulbs (don’t tell them!). Putting on tinsel was the fun part.
  • Christmas Eve we had the kids open one gift while we sat around the Christmas tree.
  • My DH and I would get up first and I’d get ready for the day and get some coffee. We would exchange before the kids got up.
  • When ready, I turned on Christmas music. That was the kids’ cue to come sit around the Christmas tree.
  • We would go get G’ma and she would join us with her coffee and gifts.
  • We didn’t eat breakfast right away – we would open a few gifts, one at a time. No ripping into the gifts – I wanted to see each one opened!
  • Some time during the gifting we read the Christmas story in Luke 2.
  • In an hour or so we’d break and go eat breakfast. We would have a huge bowl filled with fruit and snacks that they could grab all through the day.
  • After b’fast, we’d go back to the gifts. We took hours opening since we had so many kids. But that OK. It was fun to see each face with each gift opening.
  • We didn’t have a formal dinner because we wanted the day to be a “no work” day. The kids would enjoy their gifts throughout the day as they had free reign on the snacks.
  • Later in the day the kids “opened” their stockings.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Christmas Traditions {Mom of Many}The whole day was devoted to family. It was the one day of the year that was relaxing with few hiccups (stressful moments). I have thousands of pictures of those days. The past few years I’ve made a Christmas photo book. It truly is the best time of the year – but you have to do some prep work to make it so.

If you haven’t yet, begin your own family traditions.

It is very worth it to give your kids great memories of their growing up years.

What are your family traditions?

Do you let your kids rip into the gifts or do you open the one at a time? Let me know in the comments.

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Christmas gift image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Adoption Family Parenting tips

Are you afraid of failure? Parenting Tip #24

Don't fear your kids' futures - God's God This {Mom of Many}

It’s not what you think.

I’m not about to talk about parental failure. I’m talking about our kids and their choices in life.

They might turn your world upside down – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

Considering all the work we put into our kids, it’s natural to think that they might consider us when making their choices.

Six months before we were married, I considered moving out into an apartment that I found in the want ads. My dad found the ad and confronted me. He said that it would “kill Mom” if I moved out. I didn’t really understand, because to me it wasn’t a big deal. I just wanted to experience life out on my own before I committed to a forever home with my future DH.

But being the dutiful daughter that I was, I nixed my plan and stayed home until our wedding day, never to mention it again. To this day I don’t even know if my dad told my mom.

That was only one of many decisions that was influenced by my concern for my parents and their opinion of me.

Silly me. I thought all my kids would be the same way.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I hate to burst your bubble.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

If you are like me, you have this pie in the sky expectations of what you think raising a family would be like.  Come on down from those clouds and visit the real world. I live there now and it’s not so bad.

To be happy and have peace as parents, realize:

  • Our happiness does not hinge on others.
  • Our adult children have their own minds – we can’t control them nor should we.
  • We should not take our kids choices personally.
  • The worst could happen and we (with the Lord’s help) will still be OK.

And…this is the biggest bullet I can give you:

  • God can use EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that happens to grow and mature our kids.

MomofMany.netDon’t be afraid of the future for your kids. Do your best to raise them properly and then when they go out on their own, give yourself permission to let go.

They may choose a completely out of the box path, pursuing a crazy life opposite of your dreams and goals, but don’t despair.

You’ve heard that saying, “Let go and let God?” It sounds so trite. But it is true in this case.

There is a time in your kids’ lives that they will step out and become their own person. There will be mistakes. They may disappoint you, hurt you, or even ditch you. They might turn your world upside down. But don’t lose hope.

I have seen the worst situations in my kids’ lives change them in a way that I never could. Real life can make such a huge impact – so don’t fear. Give yourself a break, sit back and watch God work.

As parents we think we know the road our children should travel, but God may have other plans. Trust Him.

Remember He loves your kids more than you do.

He’s got this.

God isn’t finished with them. Or you. And that’s the truth.

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Adoption Family Parenting tips

Do you attend court proceedings of your foster kids? Parenting Tip #23

Navigating the Foster Care System

Someone asked me lately how involved we got in our foster kids’ court proceedings.

My answer? V.E.R.Y.

Little lying joyful girl with ponytails and risen foots on white background

Every three months there was a court hearing for the kids.

  • We attended ALL court hearings.
  • I wrote a letter to the judge a week before updating him on the kids.
  • We talked with their court appointed lawyer before every hearing.
  • We kept in contact with the social worker asking for all updates and plans.
  • We sat with the birth parent and talked with them while we waited.
  • We contacted the Guardian Ad Litem if needed

The judge always asked if we were present and read my letter during the proceedings. He often asked for our input to clarify some of the issues.

In addition, this shows the court that the kids are being properly cared for and fulfills one of the parental duties that are missing  if they are not with their birth parents. It is amazing how much you will learn about their birth family, the foster care system and the legal system.

Advocate for the Children {Mom of Many}The case worker needs support.

The case worker most likely has a heavy case load. By attending court you are showing the worker that you are willing to put in effort and support them. One of our workers was so burned out that he actually told us he wasn’t planning to do anything for our foster kids – that court was just a formality.

He had good reason to be discouraged. He had recently fought to terminate the parents rights of a boy in foster care because he knew the birth home was dangerous.  He lost the case and the boy returned home immediately – he died that same week by parental abuse.

When we talked, we told him we would support him and even hire a lawyer if he felt the kids needed one. He accepted right away and started being more proactive.

Though we did not agree with much of the methods of the foster care agency, we remained involved through out the 2.5 years our last set of kids were in foster care. Since we were so involved, the judge felt comfortable granting the termination of parental rights.

The worker needs a plan.

Judges often won’t grant termination of parental rights if the foster care worker has no plan. 

For the most part, the courts’ goal is to reunite families – which is the proper goal. But if that is not possible, judges need to know the child will have a forever family once termination is granted.

They don’t see the point of freeing a child that will only float around in the system. There are so many kids lost in the system, waiting for a family.

If you are a foster family that would be willing to adopt your foster child if they are ever in need, get involved in every area. It’s what parents do.

What do you find to be the greatest challenge in fostering? Is it the day-to-day caring for the child, or the emotional stress?

Let me know in the comments.

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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