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Do you stress over your “TO DO LIST”? Parenting Tip #39

TO DO LISTs Only Grow

Wash the clothes, sweep the floor, change the bedding, do the dishes, and on and on.

Moms are probably the busiest people in the world, and the most under appreciated. Unless you’re a mom, you have no clue. Seriously. Even after all the kids leave the nest, Momhood doesn’t end.

Though our nest is empty, I still interact with my kids. Being a mom cannot be described as a full-time job. It doesn’t end at 5:00pm nor does it end when they turn 18 when the world says our job is officially done.

Basically, by having kids, whether by birth or adoption, we are lifers.

Add to that church stuff, work stuff, home stuff…the list goes on – our TO DO LIST grows exponentially as we meet the needs of our family and interact with the world.

The TO DO LIST

For January, I put together MOMentum Calendar to encourage our M.O.M.s group. Each day there is something to do that we often put off because we are so busy. A surprising thing has happened for me as I have accomplished each daily challenge.

January MOMentum Goal Calendar {Mom of Many}

Halfway in I stopped stressing about my lengthy TO DO LIST. For about 2 years I’ve stressed every day because my list has gotten so long and my available time to squeeze in extra stuff has all but vanished. I have no margin and it has caught up with me.

Nearly everyone in our M.O.M. group felt the same way.

I created a January challenge to encourage my M.O.M.s and it ended up encouraging me. Because I accomplish something extra every day that isn’t on my list (like cleaning out a junk drawer), I feel accomplished, have stopped stressing about my TO DO LIST and have finally accepted that I can only do what I can do.

TO DO List Vs. Goal Setting

Have you ever set big goals and then not meet them?

How often have you thought: “I JUST NEED TO GET THROUGH THIS DAY”?

We assume the goals have to be big and life changing to really matter. But the big life changing goals often get set aside because life happens.

Instead of only setting huge goals, we need to set little daily goals too. As the month progresses, the feeling of accomplishment replaces defeat and we become hopeful and less stressed. By setting little daily goals, we work toward meeting our big goals. This is where our TO DO LIST and our goal setting meet. our TO DO LIST basically is really a daily goal planner.

I know. Weirdly simple, right?

Being Practical

So now, realizing that little written down goals are foundational to the larger, I’m designing a multi page M.O.M. planner. I am offering it free to our M.O.M.s FB group. I’m giving you a one page weekly planner sheet today to show you what I’m working on. Just click on it and I will send it to you via email. If you want to receive more pages as they are designed, join our M.O.M. Facebook group.

We need to realize that our TO DO LIST is a tool, not a prison of our own making. We manage IT – IT doesn’t manage us.

We are faithful. We do our best. We just need to see it – every single day.

So we start now. Step by step we move forward – not by beating ourselves up over what we didn’t get accomplished but to  celebrate each small success. We are not defined by how or if we complete our lists; we are defined by who we are and our part in bringing light to the world.

Just Click to Commit

Does your to do list control you? {Mom of Many}<<< Just “click the pic” if you want to do some mini personal goal setting and commit to de-stressing your TO DO LIST by looking at it in a new light. You can fill it out to set your own goals for the week. If you are interested in taking a look at our other M.O.M. planner sheets like a password log, weekly cleaning check list, etc., join our M.O.M. Facebook group. You will have access to all of my planner sheets as I make them – FREE because you are a part of our M.O.M. group.

If you would like to join us in using the monthly MOMentum calendars, click the one above and then watch for the February MOMentum calendar. If you’d like to suggest daily goals for our calendars, email me from the contact page above or join our M.O.M. group and post your ideas.

I looked for years for support and didn’t find it. Join us and find other moms just like you.

 

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38

I Don’t Have Time for Devotions!

I promise, this is practical. It’s not a sermon. It’s not a brow beating. If anyone knows how hard it is to be consistently in the Word, it’s me. I’ve struggled all my life to be consistent.

Too often we think we have to do things in a traditional way – but forget we have liberty. Not liberty to sin but liberty to obey God and His leading how we see fit and how He directs us.

What? We have freedom to listen to Him?

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}

 

Let’s Get Creative

Years ago when we had a bunch of little ones at home it was easy to have family devotions and prayer time. It was a family event that I often reflect back on – and it always brings a smile. They were such cute little buggers back then! (Kids, what happened? VBG)

Maybe one day I’ll show you a video of them while in prayer circle if I can transfer it from VHS to digital.

Prayer Circle

Our house had a little spot down by the kids’ rooms where all of us fit very well when we sat on the floor in a circle – we called it our prayer circle. When they kids would get ready for bed – pjs, teeth brushing, etc. Mark and I would go sit down on the floor outside their rooms and their bathroom waiting for them to finish. This accomplished three things:

  1. We could supervise – there were not problems getting ready for bed because Mom and Dad saw everything.
  2. As each of the kids finished, they came out and formed a circle. We hugged, talked, wrestled, laughed, etc.
  3. Because fun stuff was going on, the kids hurried!

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}

When everyone was done, we would talk Bible and then pray together, one at a time. Not only was it fun to listen to them, but it was also fun watching them peek, rock back and forth, giggle at some of the prayers, etc. It was also a good way as parents to find out what they were concerned about, what happened in their day, and to give a little extra attention.

Then when the last little one prayed we hugged and said, “I love you,” and shooed them off to bed.

One of us would sit by their doors until they were asleep to ward off any naughtiness. If they knew we were there, they behaved. Mark and I along with our oldest, April took turns. It was a pain, but much more painful when later we didn’t do that and they got out of bed for shenanigans!

Fast forward a few years…

When they were older and we moved to a different home, the tradition fell by the wayside and they became responsible for personal devotions. We made the rule, “No Bible, no breakfast.” We had gone into full-time ministry and it became harder for both of us to sit down with the all kids at a specific time of day.

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}At that time it also became harder for me to eek out alone time for my own personal devotions. Getting ready for the day, b’fast, lunches, get them out the door, drive to school, put in 9 or 10 hours, home, dinner, homework, correcting papers (I was their teacher), yearbook (I was the yearbook advisor), school stuff (school photograhper) church work (church photographer, publications, SS teacher, discipler) on and on. You get the idea. I got up at 6:00 AM and went to bed sometimes at 2:00 AM.

Isn’t that the way? You do more for God and it’s harder to get alone with Him?

Getting Creative

Many months I tried to get up and have personal devotions in the morning, but something always happened to interrupt me. A kid was sick, or couldn’t find his socks or somebody was picking on somebody. Then I tried at night and I was just too tired to pay attention to what I was reading. Forget trying in the middle of the day. No way.

So my DH bought me an MP3 player because I found the Bible on MP3. I had grown up listening to Alexander Scourby and found an MP3 of him reading the KJV. I was in business! For years now I have listened to the Bible in the morning while I am getting ready.

Got Bible? Parenting Tip #38 {Mom of Many}

The kids knew I had to have that 40 minutes to get ready in the morning and Mark was in charge running the show until I could take over. I had to multi task or I would never get it all done, so as I dressed, did my makeup and hair, and was able to listen to several chapters every morning.

I found a solution. Happy dance!

I had a little notebook handy to write down notes if something struck me. I also learned to L.O.V.E. the Old Testament, unlike before, because I heard it and imagined it as if it were happening right then. There is something about hearing the Word – the pictures just came. It became real and sank in – embedded into my brain like a video on a blog!

God Was Silent

There was a time while in one of our ministries that we fell on hard times. I had so many questions as to why things were going south but couldn’t seem to find an answer. I was in the Word. I was faithful. I was doing my best and keeping my heart open. Nothing.

It wasn’t until we left that situation that God started answering each one of my questions – perfectly, one at a time as if He had my list in His hands. It was a palm hitting forehead two years as He unraveled it all for me to understand. For some reason, while I was going through it He was silent on the matter. Apparently He was waiting until I was ready to take it all in. Fortunately I was still “listening.” I have each one of them written down on this blog on a separate page at the top of this site underministry.”

Challenge Yourself

There was a time when the subject of personal devotions came up in a sermon and I challenged myself to not miss a single day for a year. That year turned into 4 – once you establish a habit, it’s so much easier to continue! I cannot say I never miss a day now, for I put that challenge behind me and eased off on myself a bit. Those were the days that I was very structured and harder on myself than I should have been because of all the pressure and stress I endured in that ministry.

But I still find the Bible intriguing and have kept it as my standard all these years. I could not be happy, confident or balanced if I didn’t have it. It is my foundation. I love listening to it while I get ready in the morning.

So I challenge you, Mom. Stop being so hard on yourself. Yes, we should be in the Word. But life is what happens when you have other plans. I get it. So, if you have a hard time staying in the Word – give the MP3 thing a try. It changed my life and I know it can yours.

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Fostering Your Kids’ Gift Gratitude – Parenting Tip #37

 

Look at all those gifts!

Your tree has your opened gifts still under it. You pass by and feel grateful for the family and friends who remembered you this Christmas, showing their love with a gift. This attitude of gratitude has grown over the years because of your experiences and matured sense of appreciation and it is a blessing.

But what about your kids’ gift gratitude?

Do they get that warm fuzzy feeling when they play with their new toy from Meemaw or wear that glittery jeans jacket from Auntie Em? How do you foster your kid’s gratitude?

Instilling Gratitude Tips

  • At gift opening, teach them to open the card first. It’s is at that time that you have them thank the giver by looking them in the eye and smiling a “thanks.” I learned this from attending baby showers. When the new mom opened the card, she searched the crowd for the gift giver to make sure they knew she was opening their gift – it’s a way of pre-thanking them and letting them know they are a part of an intimate moment.
  • As they open the gift and get that sparkly look in their eyes that every gift giver looks for, teach them to thank the giver again (those sparkles go a long way!) Gift givers want to know that they have made a difference in people’s lives. One moment of eye contact with a grateful eye will float their boat – and you definitely want their boat to float!
Fostering Kids' Gratitude Parenting Tip #37 {Mom of Many}
This is the face that won my gift giving heart back in 2007.

  • When the gift giver leaves, have your child thank them again and if appropriate, give them a hug. This is the fuel the gift givers need and will strengthen the bond between the two. Every child needs to know that others besides Mom and Dad love them. Mom and Dad are required and expected to love them. Others are the gravy on their potatoes.
  • When the child plays with the toy or wears the gift the first few times, ask them if they remember who gifted it to them. Not only does this create an attitude of gratitude, it also strengthens the bond between your child and the gifter. (Only do this if a bond IS what you want to create!) When ever I go over to my grandkids house and see them playing with a toy that I gave them or wearing something gifted to them from me, I ask them, “What wonderful person gave you that?” They’ve heard it so much that they know enough to say, “You, Grammie!” This is my way of not only getting them to remember that I love them enough to give them things, but to implant in their minds that I am a permanent fixture in their lives (as long as God allows).

Toys and such come and go, but to realize that these things are gifts of love will last a life time.

I tend to attach sentimental value to “things” because they invoke good memories. I constantly fight the “hoarder mentality” because many of my things bring those I love to mind. I want them around me to remind me I have value. Of course, because I belong to God, I have value. But to know someone with skin on values me brings it very close to home.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

To value those around us is the greatest gift.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do your kids know they are valuable? We can foster this by teaching some creative gift receiving habits that will last a lifetime. We realize this grateful gift receiving benefits the gift giver, but realize too that it benefits the receiver much more.

The delight on a child’s face is priceless.
Doesn’t it just make you want to experience it over and over and be the reason for the delight?

Fostering Kids' Gratitude Parenting Tip #37 {Mom of Many}This is my grandson, Isaac at age 2. His grateful heart has grown even more these past 8 years.
I love giving him and his siblings gifts! Their delight is my delight.

What do you do to teach gratefulness?

Val @ Mom of Many

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Do you make your kids share? Parenting Tip #36

Sharing a Different Perspective

If you practice the typical parental sharing rule among your children, you may be creating bitterness, a selfish heart and a self centered mindset.

I know. Parenting can be a scary thing when you consider you might be causing the very behavior you are trying to avoid.

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}A Parenting Mistake

Little Johnny gets a new Lego Bug Obliterater set and he spends hours putting it together. He sits back on his heels and admires his work as his little brother comes from behind and grabs the mega bug and rips off the wings and runs off with his Lego guy.

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

And then how does mom respond? “Johnny, share with your brother!”

What??? Really?

Johnny’s Emotional Response

  1. He now KNOWS his mom won’t protect his things from others. (fear)
  2. His brother becomes the enemy. He decides he must watch for invaders in his personal space. (self protection)
  3. He decides that if mom isn’t his ally, then he must look within and only trust himself. (feelings of abandonment)
  4. Things become more important than the people around him because he begins to fear loss. (materialism)
  5. A little seed of bitterness and resentment begins to grow. (anger)

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}

A Better Parental Response

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

Mom responds: “Buster, you know that belongs to Johnny. You are free to watch him play and maybe he’ll invite you to play with him. But it’s up to him. Johnny, maybe you can build him something to play with?”

Johnny now believes:

  1. His mom respects him and what belongs to him. (security)
  2. Mom considers him to be as important as Buster. (value)
  3. Family can play and work together and be considerate. (courtesy)
  4. Boundaries foster good relationships. (respect)
  5. Buster will learn to play nice or he won’t get what he wants. (cause and effect)
  6. He can share with Buster out of love, not obligation. (love)

“Teach your kids to share,” is not a mandate to make them give up their things. Evaluate each situation and guage your parental response according to what is best.

Do we not protect our possessions? As adults, we hate taxes. We’d much rather give out of a heart of love or concern for others than have things taken from us without our consent. Remember the Boston Tea Party?  Are you against socialism? Do we not lock our doors to protect what is ours?

If your children fear loss, they will put up barriers and self protect. Rather than teaching them to fear, teach them to prefer others and learn to love in practical ways. Lead by example. Let them see you are a giving person. Let giving and sharing be by their choice.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

You don’t teach your kids to GIVE by TAKING AWAY from them.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do you make your kids share?

Val @ Mom of Many

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Are you an overprotective mama? 10 Ways to Know for Sure – Parenting Tip #35

Are you an overprotective mom? {Mom of Many}Let’s take the umbrella test…

  1. Do you know your child WELL?
  2. Do you have their best interests at heart – are they your priority?
  3. Do you take the time to get to know your kids’ friends?
  4. Are you a good example?
  5. Are you involved in EVERY part of your kids’ lives – school, faith (church), home, outside activities, hobbies, friends, etc.?
  6. Do you know the adults WELL that are responsible for supervision when you are not around?
  7. Do you pay attention to what is going on in your family, with your kids, and those they spend time with?
  8. Do you talk to your kids – and listen?
  9. Do you supervise well and watch for issues that need to be addressed?
  10. Are you consistent, available and faithful?

If you answer “Yes” to these questions then I’d say you can trust your mama instincts. Too many times I let others’ opinions influence my decisions negatively. It took me years to shut out the whisperings and follow my own mama bear instincts. If you have no one to support you, and you believe your are doing the best you can, then go find someone that you respect, has experience, and can get in your corner.

Stick to your guns.

We don’t like it when people criticize our parenting. But then we stress over their “advice”. We know that if others criticize us then we must be doing something wrong – um, no. Not necessarily. We need to confidently hold our own if we truly feel we are doing what God has appointed us to do. We need to reek of confidence when we deal with our kids too. Why do we cave when our kids throw a fit over our parenting? We need to drip of confidence in order to get our kids to take us seriously and have reason to trust us.

You are not your kids’ friend.

Make it clear that you are the Mom and you will make hard decisions when needed. Let them know that no matter what, you will always look out for them and choose what is best, ALWAYS – even when they don’t agree. If you are a good mom, and if you are reading this I’ll bet you are a stellar mom, then trust your intuition. Ask God for guidance and then do what you think is best – even if others disagree – even if your kids throw a fit.

Learn, grow, ask questions, seek advice.

Keep your eyes peeled, consider, evaluate, follow through. Your kids are counting on you and if they don’t agree, do your mama thing anyway. I do believe we ought to listen to them and consider their wishes, if they present it properly. But remember: they need your guidance even if they don’t want it or appreciate it.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)God is your umbrella and you are theirs.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.”
~Erma Bombeck

Val @ Mom of Many

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Do you ever wake up discouraged, Mom? Parenting Tip #34

Keep a clear head in crisis {Mom of Many)There was a time about 10 years ago that I couldn’t shake the morning blues.

I’d wake up discouraged even before the day started.

Before I explain how I overcame them, you need to know something. My foundation is not made of concrete or brick – rather, it’s made of rock – The Rock. Since I claim Christ as my Rock, everything that happens to me, in me, and around me is in His control.

Existing. Discouraged. Defeated.

Just trying to get through the day? Yep. That was me.

For believers, there is a solution.

Every night before I went to bed for about two weeks I prayed that in the morning, God would give me an uplifted spirit ready for the day’s challenges – no more dreading the day – no more morning blues.

The fog was lifted the first morning.

The dark clouds that hung over my head were completely gone. Whoa. Months of sadness gone just like that. I didn’t do anything different other than ask God to do it for me.

Are you a discouraged Mom? {Mom of Many}

Duh. Why didn’t I ask Him before?

The cloud was gone. No more morning blues. I’d never thought of it. I had just prayed that things would get better, but they didn’t and I was stuck in discouragement because I’d not thought to ask him to change ME. My thoughts. My outlook.

We can’t always control our circumstances, especially when you’re a mom and all of your circumstances revolve around little sinners who are not led by the Spirit and have no concept of tomorrow, or have any idea of the effects of their actions on others.

I’ve since asked for help in other type of circumstances with 100% success. Good stuff.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Do your kids believe in Santa? Parenting Tip #33

Do your kids believe in Santa? {Mom of Many}This has been a debate forever.

Some say it’s hurting the cause of Christ to allow Santa into our homes. Others say Santa is a harmless fantasy that makes Christmas fun.

Here is my take on this debate. (Read to the end, please.)

  1. We didn’t teach our kids Santa is real.
  2. When they saw plastic Santa’s in stores, they asked, “Who is that?”
  3. We emphasized the Christmas story of Luke 2 every year.
  4. We had a bunch of adopted kids that we needed to trust us – we didn’t see lying to them even for fun being an option.

Let me explain why we nixed Santa.

Besides the fact that Christmas is a time of celebration of Christ’s birth, I had a negative experience when I was little. That formed my opinion on how I would parent my kids. My brother told me Santa wasn’t real when I was around 6 or 7 and I remember distinctly that moment when I realized I’d been lied to.

Now, don’t get all in a huff, hear me out.

Up to that point everyone had upheld the Santa story and I faithfully filled out my Christmas list every year. It was a fun time. But when my brother spilled the beans I was embarrassed and felt betrayed. I remember I was in my closet playing around on the pole…doing chin-ups.

My brother came in with a friend and told me with a smile on his face. Apparently it gave him pleasure to reveal the secret – little kids…what are we to do with them? That moment is forever burned into my memory – 50 years later I can still picture it.

Yet, I know other families who teach the Christmas story as well AND include Santa in the festivities.

Who is right?

I’m here to tell you that it’s up to each parent how they will handle this issue. If they never had any issues and can keep it a fun little fantasy then what’s it to us? Seriously. Why debate and point fingers? Every family is different and every family must decide for themselves what they will and will not do with their kids.

I honestly don’t think Christ cares AT ALL.

As long as those of us that name the name of Christ give Him the preeminence in our lives and give Him the proper respect and devotion then I don’t think He really cares what silly little fantasies we play around with. If He has His rightful place in our hearts then everything else just pales in comparison.

Really. Do you think God cares one whit about Santa?

Let’s focus on the right things. Forget the debate. Forget about judging other families and just enjoy the season and all it brings to us. There is too much fun stuff out there to waste time considering this issue. Just decide what is best for your family and go with it. If the Lord has a problem with it, He’ll tell you – if you are listening. If you’re not, then how much chance do I have that you’d listen to me?

Christmas time is amazing. Focus on family, the beauty of the decorations, the fun of the gifting and leave the rest to God. I would say focus on the beauty of the “snow” too but we’ve not seen any yet!

I’m pretty sure Christ would prefer we all focus on Him rather than being bothered by the Jolly ol’ Soul.

Tell me what you do in your family – do you do the ho ho ho holidays? Leave me a comment, I’d like to hear what you think.

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Val @ Mom of Many

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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

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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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