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Adoption Family Parenting tips

The Adopted Kids’ Internal Clocks – Parenting Tip #41

Parenting Adopted Kids {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Sibling Group of Four

When we adopted our sib group of four, the two youngers were together in one foster home and the two older ones were together in another home. This type of arrangement can be most difficult on the oldest because they feel a need to protect their younger siblings. How do they do that when they don’t live together and only see each other at weekly visits? This was the case with our kids.

The oldest was 9 years old and very aware of his family situation. Not only did it affect his outlook on life, but having three younger siblings also in a temporary family situation was a huge stressor for him.

It’s important to learn all you can about the time before you take them into your home because their prior experiences will affect how they adjust to your family. In our case, the younger two had spent most of their lives in foster care, so they had a predisposed thought process that would follow them for months.

Those two thought family was temporary.

They were 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 when they moved in – from foster care. The first time we went to visit them in the foster care workers meeting room, I came home totally freaked out because of their hyper, out of control behavior during the visit. I was wondering if we were biting  off more than we could chew. I was scared to death of a two and three year old!

Once they moved in we had bouts of screaming, fighting and hitting. BUT, they were also adorable, sweet and smart!

We were at a store just after they moved in and the three year old hit our 10 year old son in the stomach causing him to drop to his knees – he had knocked the wind out of him! We later found out the foster mom had taught the little boys to box because she feared they might one day have to move back home and she wanted them to be able to defend themselves. We had a three year old Muhammed Ali!

Understanding and coping with behavior.

Parenting Tip #41 {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Within a day or so we had to stand the three year old in the corner for a time out because he was being a bully to the other kids. He stood there and screamed “I’m so maaaad!” His 9 year old brother came out and stood there watching to see how I would respond – he was in big brother protection mode. If I had not known the 3 year old’s “therapist” had taught him to express himself in words, “I’m so maaaad!” I would have been concerned about his temper. But since I knew a bit about them and their past experiences, I knew hoped that eventually we’d win them over and be able to redirect them, teaching them self control, kindness and patience. We also realized that the older brother was exhibiting concern for how I might react – based on past experiences with the adults in his life. Once he was confident that I deal with his little bro fairly and kindly, he was able trust me enough to go on about his playing without concern for his younger siblings.

A Forever Family

These kids have had experiences very different from us and had developed a distrust and fear of adults. The two youngers had moved foster homes every six months so when our six month anniversary for their move in to our home came around, they asked for a suitcase and wanted to know where they would live next. No, they didn’t have a calendar that they checked off and counted the days, they just had an internal clock that told them to prepare to move on. I could not convince them that they were staying with us forever.

Parenting Adopted Kids {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

They didn’t understand the concept of staying with the same mom and dad more than 6 months. They hadn’t experienced what it meant to belong to a family. Their internal clock took them over and told them it was time to move on.

When dealing with kids who have had a background different from ours, we need to find out as much as possible and use that information to temper our expectations.

Where are all my forks?

The first week the four were in our home we discovered some of our silverware was missing. It took us a few days to figure out what happened to them. The two younger boys were throwing them away because they’d never had metal silverware – they always had plastic ware and threw them away after each meal. The smallest things can be a real eye opener.

We need to be the light in their darkness.

Every day living shapes kids’ minds – not every child has been fortunate enough to start out in a stable living situation. Can you imagine how abuse and neglect can plant negative thoughts into a kids’ mind growing up? How does a child understand, trust or even desire to have a mom and dad if they’ve never had one? To some, the adults that are in charge are their enemy.

It wasn’t until years after we adopted some of our kids that we found out about the abuse that went on prior to adoption. It’s no wonder they mistrusted and even hated us. Some still do because they never learned to love or trust. We tried our best to instill the love of family, but some never got it, though we hope that one day God will change their hearts.

It’s not that simple.

When dealing with their out of control behavior, it’s very difficult to win their hearts. When our sibship of 3 moved in at ages 1 1/2, 2 1/2, and 3 1/2 as foster kids, (adopted 3 years later) I kept a record one day of how often I had to intervene or correct them. It averaged out to every 3 minutes. It can be very challenging to insert warm, loving moments into a day like that!

Add eating disorders, learning difficulties, nightmares and fears, oppositional behavior, etc. and you have issues that can make bonding very difficult for the child AND parent.

Understand but Don’t Excuse

We tried to be understanding and adjust our expectations based on our kids’ experiences before adoption, but we never allowed that to be used as an excuse for misbehavior either. We taught them and insisted on a better way and even if they didn’t accept our way of thinking and were disobedient or oppositional, at least they knew what was right and would know where to find the light when they were tired of living in the darkness.

You can’t always control a child’s actions or reactions, to always be obedient and respectful, but you can make them regret their choices. Each parent must get to know their child and tailor their teaching and discipline to meet their needs. They have a need to learn to respect authority, prefer others, and learn proper behavior. As parents, we do what is necessary to show them the light and be the example they can draw from when they do desire to live properly.

Parenting Adopted Kids {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not everyone will understand or agree.

You will find some who are critical and accuse you of not being fair to your kids, but you still must decide what is right and follow through. They won’t have to answer for your parenting, you will. So do your best to train them, meet their needs and tailor your discipline to their personality and abilities. You might even have children who think you were abusive or evil because you insisted on proper behavior and disciplined them for disobedience. They only remember the pain of the discipline, not what they did to warrant it.

Discipline anyway.

To be able to pillow your head at night and have no regrets, you need to decide what is best and follow through. Parenting isn’t a popularity contest – with others outside your family or your kids. Parenting is deciding what is best for your kids and insisting on it.

If you don’t, they will not learn how to live in society or hear God’s voice. Both are paramount to a successful life.

God calls us to be faithful and that is what we must do – regardless. Then we let Him deal with the rest.

 

Join Mom of Many to be invited to our secret/closed M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. If you need support, a strong shoulder or a listening ear – M.O.M. is here. If you’re interested, let me know!

I'm In-terested {Mom of Many}

 

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

Categories
Challenges

Do You Have the Urge to Purge? The M.O.M.s March Challenge!

 

A few months ago we had a church Urge to Purge FREE garage sale.

We all brought in stuff we didn’t want and everyone took home what they wanted from others’ donations – leftovers were donated to a local charity. It felt so good to get rid of stuff – and share with our church friends at the same time.

It was such a success that this month I’m challenging you to purge! Spring is around the corner and it’s a great time to get rid of STUFF. You know, that STUFF that we don’t need but is hard to get rid of?

  • Some have a hard time parting with stuff.
  • Some have a hard time finding the time to purge.
  • Some have no trouble getting rid of stuff – even to the point of getting purge crazy!

Which are you? I fit in the two first categories and I have some kids who fit into the last.

Here is a free PDF for you to help get you started:

March Urge to Purge Challenge {Mom of Many}

Just click on the checklist above and I’ll send a full size PDF to you via email – then print it and get started!

Those in our M.O.M.s Facebook Group are in a contest to see who can get the most boxes checked off by the end of March for a prize. To join us just click here and you can join our email list and get an invite to our SECRET/CLOSED FB GROUP where we support one another, get tips and ideas and swap stories and share prayer requests. Or, just click on the Urge to Purge checklist above and you’ll get an invite that way too.

We are here to help, so feel free to contact me (at the top) if you have any questions.

Now let’s purge!

Val @ Mom of ManyMomofMany.net

 

Categories
Adoption Family FAS Parenting tips

When Your Child Publicly Hates You – Parenting tip #40 (Part 2)

I ended Parenting Tip #40 (Part 1) like this…

Next I will tell you how we handle the publicly declared accusations and hate mail as siblings and parents. God speed and until next time…

Public hatred {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So how do we deal with public jabs, attacks and innuendos?

How should we react or address twisting of the truth, stretching, shading or outright lies? Should we react at all?

Should we counter lies with the truth? Should we acknowledge any accusations, stories or public defamation?

This is tough because such public attacks are not only hurtful, but they undermine the entire family dynamic. When a child publicly lashes out, other family members and friends who read it are affected. This type of bitterness damages relationships, casts shadows, and breaks down communication within a family and has no value.

Let’s first look at the WHY.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Why does the adult child publicize their hatred of the parent? Is there any benefit to them?

  • They have bitterness in their heart that must get out. Bitterness not only blackens the heart of those who carry it, but it must fling it’s slimy sludge all over anyone within arms length and with the Internet, it no longer is limited to arms length.
  • With the lack of maturity that is needed to deal with and eradicate bitterness, those wallowing in dark thoughts think it will make them feel better to lash out at those that they think are the cause. They are mistaken. It will only grow the more they feed it.
  • Bitter people don’t want to suffer alone – they must make everyone else suffer as well. Those who listen to and believe the bitter person’s irrational accusations have a propensity for the darkness as well. Misery loves company, so we should not be surprised when those we thought were friends pat the offender on the head and say, “You poor baby.” It speaks to their hidden darkness and draws it out.
  • Bitterness is poison that needs to grow and destroy by its very nature. Just like happy people who must share their good news, bitter people feel the compulsion to share their misery.
  • Those who are bitter often have a difficult time identifying the root cause because of pride. When there is mental or emotional damage, their pride (self protection and narcissism) takes over and common sense and understanding are not present. “I must feel rotten, and it can’t be anything I did, so it must be “such and such’s” fault. (which usually, MOM = Such and Such)
  • To publicize their bitter thoughts, they are seeking approval. Since there will always be others with emotional issues, they will always find someone to “like” their words. People who are immature, gullible, bitter themselves or given to gossip and disloyalty are their best allies.
  • Those who are hurt often want to hurt others. It is a tough cycle to break.

 

How Should We Respond?

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

So what do we do as parents of these kids? Should we do anything?

It is very hard on a parent when they love a bitter child who is caught up in their own foolishness. Unrequited love is painful but when you add foolish behavior a desire hurt others, the whole enchilada is difficult to digest.

Have you ever read the verses, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” (Prov. 26:4)

Uh huh. With foolishness, you CAN.NOT.WIN. God said so.

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

But we are to warn the unruly, and comfort those who struggle mentally, being as patient as possible. It is our responsibility as friends or family to warn or loved ones when they are on a destructive path, but not to be surprised if our warnings go unheeded. It’s the combination of pride, foolishness and bitterness that builds the impenetrable wall.

Lose the Old Habits

I used to think that if I could just talk to them, explain, make them remember what really happened, remind them of what they were like to live with, what they did, why we did what we did…that it would all be better. Um. No. It doesn’t work. You can talk all day until you are blue in the face and you will NEVER change them.

Now I only give advice when asked and don’t spend a lot of time doing it – that way I know that I have taken care of my responsibility (but I don’t expect change).

Dump Them into God’s Lap

Only life’s consequences and God’s hand can change them. Period.

I used to spend hours on the phone with some of my kids trying to talk sense into them. They would hang up and go right back to the same behavior, belief system and bitter living. I would stress over our conversation for hours or even days – long after they had already forgotten about everything that I said.

It was a waste of time and only caused me to be emotionally drained and sometimes even discouraged.

I don’t do it any more.

I sleep much better.

Dealing with Hate {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learn to Ignore

I do my best to ignore it all (once the kids grow and go) and focus on the kids who are good to me – the kids who love me and bring me joy.

And I wait. I wait for the others to come around. I wait for life to throw them enough curve balls that they finally remember, that they finally realize that all the things that drive their bitterness are not real or at least had nothing to do with us, those of us who tried their best to do what was best for them (and were trying to survive). I wait for God to get a hold of their heart.

Guard Your Heart

Does it hurt? Yes. But I do my best to set it aside. I’m getting pretty good at it after years of practice.

The fact that I’ve seen radical changes in many of my kids makes all the difference – I’m seriously blessed to see the maturity and loving nature of most of my kids who have had so much to overcome. This progress has filled in the holes created by past and present hate and bitterness.

Find Your Happy Place

The fact that I’ve had an armful of kids and grandkids (and a DH) that have ALWAYS loved me has carried me along and kept me whole (kept me from the depths of despair and maintained my sanity, for the most part).

Family Selfie {Mom of Many}

  1. We know God has endured pain and hurt from His people and still has remained faithful and loving, giving us a great example of what his power can do to help us achieve or endure.
  2. We need to cling to the good things/people in our life. To feel fortunate gives us the fuel to get through the tough times.
  3. The children who know and express the love of God make it worth enduring the ones who do not.
  4. To not go on the defensive and counter the attacks allows the door to our home to stay open – we need to maintain our hope that they will one day walk through it. Hope goes a long way.

Hang tight. Patiently wait. Pray God will work. Watch out the window. Keep the door open. Accept them when they do finally walk through. Reassure them you love them. Keep the lines of communication open. If they make things right, start new. Remember we are all imperfect and forgiveness should be immediate when asked for. Hope. Always hope.

SUGGESTIONS:

  1. Buy the book Boundaries by Townsend. Learn to set boundaries that set you free of the pain.
  2. 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. If you need support, a strong shoulder or a listening ear – M.O.M. is here.

Have you ever been hurt by your kids? What did you do about it? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

 

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

Categories
Adoption Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

When Your Child Publicly Hates You – Parenting Tip #40 (Part 1)

 

Time to address a very sensitive subject…

For many, this type of conversation is painful – and will possibly elicit anger and a lashing out, but there are so many suffering parents out there that need you to know their reality and be reminded that they are not alone that I must speak out.

Insight into what it is to be a family like ours – to parent children with a difficult past, to invite into our family those who carry around emotional baggage and painful memories will not only help those of you who are on the outside looking in, but it will also help the children and families that that will be represented here. Bringing issues to light is needed.

This is not intended to paint a picture of pain and suffering to gain sympathy but to garner some understanding and support for families like ours who bear the brunt of disgruntled children.

Like many, we are still waiting for part of our family to establish a foundation, to reconcile their past and discover the value of family and reconnect with us. It’s not easy for some, though it may seem easy to us. “Just come home!” we want to shout at them. But it must be their decision. There must be a change of perspective and change of direction.

So we wait… and hope.

Public Hate {Mom of Many}

Do you have a child that publicly hates you?

Do they tell everyone around them stories of cruelty, abuse or favoritism? Do they post nasty comments about their upbringing on Facebook to try to garner sympathy and the “Aww, you poor thing, no wonder your life is a mess.” comments? Do they paint you as a monster that got joy from making their lives miserable? Do they desire to hurt you because their bitterness drives them to it?

In case you are one of many parents experiencing the hate that children who have become adults often dish out, I want to offer you hope. This is a temporary situation and one day they will, with God’s help, have their eyes opened and reconcile those deep seated conflicting emotions.

It’s Not Just an Adoptive Family Issue

Though our story centers around adoption, this issue doesn’t just affect adoptive families. Families are struggling all around us. They need our compassion and support…not our judgement, criticism and too often offered advice.

I ask you to give a little latitude while reading about our personal experiences and the conclusions we have drawn because of them. Unless you were there, and even if you were, you cannot 100% understand or know what it is like to raise “interesting” children.

Do You Think You Have the Right to Judge?

Families are complex entities that cannot be easily measured or evaluated by onlookers. As the heart can only be known by God and is so often misunderstood even by its own flesh and blood owner – families are too intricate and complex to be judged easily or even fairly by anyone but the One who in His infinite wisdom brought them together in the first place.

And if we do, and we realize that God brought the family together, are we not criticizing the One who in His sovereignty deemed it so? Do we in our own eyes and heart assign wisdom to our Maker and then show our lack of belief when we criticize or judge the actions of those who are doing what we are unwilling to do ourselves?

This will be a series…for there is  much to talk about.

Let me make a few statements and lay some groundwork before we begin…

  • We adopted many special needs kids, so some of them at the time of adoption were a bit behind in many areas (socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically, educationally etc.). They ranged from 3 months to 9 years old at adoption. Some came to us individually, some by groups of 3 and 4. Some were easy to raise. Some were not with a capital NOT.
  • We were as their adoptive parents in a precarious position – living down what other adults had done or not done to them and being the brunt of their preconceived ideas and experiences. We dealt with severe fear, distrust, anger, confusion, and bitterness that were firmly planted in their heads and affected their behavior long before we came into the picture.

Do Your Children Publicly Hate You? {Mom of Many}

  • Their prior history and/or disabilities ALWAYS colored their perspective and reactions.
  • Normal discipline seldom worked with the “interesting” kids, so we had to get creative or deal with mutiny. Our feeling of responsibility to craft them into loving, responsible human beings was at times overwhelming. Needless to say, we were not successful with many and had to give them to God to complete the work. Who, by the way, has been wildly successful with most of our kids.
  • It is common for those who are trying to cope, mature, and find their way to blame others with their failings: “Oh no, it couldn’t be MY fault.” It is too painful to accept responsibility and much easier to blame the siblings or parents.
  • We parented the best we knew how without much help from others. No one knew what advice to give when we asked, but many onlookers were critical and judgmental when they had no personal experience or knew all the facts.

Do Your Children Publicly Hate You? {Mom of Many}

  • We adopted most of our children at age 3 1/2 or older. The ability to form emotional bonds usually develops somewhere between ages 1 and 3. Many would say we were doomed to fail. We were determined to be the exception. We knew God could make all the difference and hoped it would be so.

I could probably spend 20 minutes listing all of the conditions/syndromes we dealt with.

I’ll just list the few right off the top of my head: ADHD, FASD, OCD, ODD, PTSD, LD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, TMI, EMI, RAD, Asthma, Allergies, Asperger’s, DD, BEH, CCD, ED, TS, APD.

If that’s not enough, add in prior abuse and neglect combined with abandonment issues.

Please use a bit of understanding when you try to form an opinion about families like ours:

  • If a child cannot reconcile the things that happened before they came to the adopted family, those feelings will spill over into their new family. There is a saying about special needs adopted kids, “If they can’t hate the one who hurt them, they will hate one they’re with.” We found this to be very true. You could say, “we resemble that remark.”
  • Special needs adults (special needs kids do eventually grow up, though they don’t necessarily mature) seldom remember what they did as children to warrant discipline or sanctions. They only remember the pain of embarrassment, the painful discipline or loss of freedom. Accusations of abuse roll off their tongue without much consideration of the facts or reality.
  • It is common for the hard to raise kids, the ones with behavioral issues, to compare themselves to the other kids in the family who earned freedoms through trustworthy behavior. Jealousy creates bitterness and clouded memories.
  • Children who have a warped view of love will often cause dissension in the family and disrupt or sabotage family events and outings. It is common for them to target the kids already in the family when they first come (and along the way) and the ones who appear to them to be favored.

Are Your Kids Fighting? {Mom of Many}

  • Interesting children tend to be self-centered and narcissistic because of the pre-adoption days when they felt the need to protect themselves, felt unloved or not valued. Their reality usually isn’t the same as ours.
  • The lack of bonding children experience in their first 3 years will affect their ability to form healthy relationships in the future. You will see issues develop with these kids and those they live with and work around. We as parents are not the only ones who experience their less than adorable nature – we just happen to be the ones they blame for it, even thought they brought it with them when they moved in.
  • Kids with immature impulse control, poor reasoning skills, and trouble coping with disappointment will carry that into adulthood. If they have difficulty adjusting to adulthood (which is more common than not) their out of control lifestyle will breed discontentment, guilt, discouragement or depression. ALL of their failures will be blamed on the parents and how they were raised. “If they weren’t so hard on me,” “If they’d only let me do what I wanted,” “If they’d been fair/reasonable/less demanding/accepting/less controlling,” the list goes on in their head. The alternative would be to take responsibility and change – which would require a change of mind. Pride does not allow them to evaluate themselves or their home life properly.
  • Spiritual maturity is key to turning the “interesting” kid into a mature, responsible, loving adult. When you meet an adopted kid that grew to be gracious and compassionate out of a past of turmoil and upset, realize it was the power of God that brought them through.
  • When you hear hateful comments and accusations publicly, realize that a spirit filled mature child would never malign their family or parents. If the accusations were true, they would forgive. If they were not, a spiritually mature child wouldn’t lie to make themselves feel or look better. Consider the source.

Side note: The kids who were raised right along with the “interesting” ones have had issues of their own to overcome –  their family was changed through adoption – which brought uncommon drama into their life. Few stop to think about them and what they had to live through.

Most of the focus by onlookers is on the adopted child and their perceptions, needs and challenges. This only adds to the prideful arrogance of the troubled child who cries foul and adds to the bitterness that the non-troubled child often deals with. It’s the prodigal child/faithful son story all over again. Be careful how you support these struggling kids and adults. Treading on parental authority is dangerous business.

I’ll leave you with that to chew on for a while. Please realize that there is more to the story than what you have been told or think you have witnessed. If you could only have walked a mile in our shoes…you would have run screaming to the next town and cried, “Mercy!”

I’ve said it before and so now I’ll say it again. I love all of my kids and am grateful for those who do love us and desire a relationship. I am blessed. And for those who do not – I still love them too and will always watch out the window for when they decide to come home. Some will scoff, but they must realize that I will still continue to hope they come back home.

 If you are a parent in need of support, please join us and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. it’s a safe place to share your concerns and seek advice.

Next I will tell you how we handle the publicly declared accusations and hate mail as siblings and parents. God speed and until next time…

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

Categories
Challenges

MOMentum Challenge Calendar

Let’s keep the MOMentum going with a February challenge.

Just click on the picture below to download it, print it, and then post it where you can see it. At the end of the month those in our Facebook M.O.M.s group who have accomplished each challenge, will have their name entered into a drawing for a prize – TBA!

I benefited so much last month that I just had to do another one!

February MOMentum Challenge {Love My DIY Home}If you are not yet in our FB M.O.M.s group, you will get an invitation in an email after you request the above calendar PDF.

  1. Join our challenge – download the calendar.
  2. Join our Facebook group M.O.M. (Your invite comes via email)
  3. Complete all the weekly goals.
  4. At the end of February, post your success on our M.O.M. Facebook group page.
  5. Be entered in our drawing and wait to see if you won!

 

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

I LINK TO THESE GREAT PARTIES

Categories
Challenges Family Parenting tips

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.

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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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Parenting Tips {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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