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Family Parenting tips

Do you teach your kids to help mom? Parenting Tip #15

 

Do you teach your kids to help mom? {Mom of Many}When our kids were little we started the “special thing.”

Bedtimes were set in stone unless our kids found something special to do for mom. It could be sweeping the floor, picking up the baby’s toys, or folding a basket of laundry. BUT…it had to be something for mom and they had to think it up themselves.

Not only was it a help to me, the mom who’s job was never done, it taught them to think of others. Some days they would think all day long on what they could do to earn another half hour to stay up and play.

My kids know how to serve others.

They know how to work.

They know how to plan ahead.

Even when the teenage years came along, there were moments:

My son Levi and I liked to peel grapefruit right down to the little pillows of liquid. It was the most exquisite breakfast food ever. It took us about 15 minutes or more to do so but it was so worth the time and effort. The rest of the kids didn’t have the patience.

One day I was talking on the phone with my DH telling him about an exchange I had with someone that had caused me great distress. My son saw how upset I was and while on the phone, he brought me a peeled grapefruit.

Needless to say, I lost it. I started bawling my eyes out because of this impulsive act of kindness. He looked at me like, “What did I do?”

I have this thing; I can be very brave and weather the toughest storm…unless you are nice to me. That is when I lose it.

A mom can go through some tough moments and weather them just fine because they ALWAYS feel they must be the strong for others. But then someone shows a little kindness and that compassion breaks through the ice. That ice isn’t bad – sometimes it is necessary to get through the tough times.

Too often moms put themselves last because they think doing so is being a good example.

But let’s not forget that we are teaching future husbands and fathers. They must learn to respect and honor mom. Their future wives will thank you.

If there was one last piece of pie, my DH would always offer it to me first. He wanted to show our sons that mom was to be cared for. I have always told my boys that girls are delicate flowers and they should treat them as such.

Tomorrow we will talk about kids that don’t do as they are taught when they grow into adults – what does a mom do?

TTYT!

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips

Are meal times a fiasco? Parenting Tip #14

Mealtime bliss can be achieved…

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (not the thankfulness part, but the mom’s part in the dinner), I will give you a couple of tips on how to make it less stressful.

Meal time fiasco? {Mom of Many}

These are tips that will make your entire year better and less stressful.

Meal times should be a pleasant family experience but if you are constantly yelling at your kids to sit down and eat their food, they are anything but.

Easy fixes for kids who have food issues

  1. Teach them to stay in their seat during meal times. From early on you can accomplish this through consistency. Never allow them to get out of their seat and if they do repeatedly and a simple “stay in your seat” isn’t working, let them know that if they get out of their seat, meal time is over for them. Be sure to follow through – it will be hard, but they will learn quickly.
  2. Only give them the food you KNOW they will finish. If you have a picky eater, serve the most important food first and then the other foods as that is finished. Example: If your child tends to eat the fruit and pick at the sandwich, give them a half sandwich first and nothing else until that is gone. At that point you can decide if you will give the other half or the rest of the meal. Get to know their appetites and serve food accordingly. Serve the less desirable food first.
  3. Don’t serve milk or juice until meal time is over – or at least until they have eaten a balanced meal. The drinks take up valuable space.
  4. Never let fits or begging affect the decisions you have made regarding the nutritional needs of your child. You are the parent and YOU know best. I’ve heard so many moms say, “He won’t eat anything else, so I serve him what he wants just to get him to eat.” Fooooey.
  5. Supervise meal times. Don’t plop down their food and leave. Training requires presence. If one of your kids are disrupting the mealtime, either have them stand behind their chair or take their food away and have them sit there without anything in front of them. Be firm but kind – tell them it’s their choice to behave or sit there while everyone else finishes their meal.

Are your mealtimes a fiasco? Parenting Tip #14 {Mom of Many}

My ebook, Raising Real Kids, has a bunch more, but for now, I’ll stop there. Be strong. Be kind. Be brave. Be consistent. Your family will appreciate the end result. An obedient child is a happy child.

Let me know how it goes.

It may be too late to train your child for this Thanksgiving, but put the training in place and you will have a better Christmas dinner – and every dinner thereafter. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your home. If you get started today then your tomorrows will be less stressful and much more enjoyable.

Our family was made up of a dozen other families with different experiences, disciplines and traditions. We adopted kids from 3 months old to 9 years old and we were able to train and teach each one of them to eat with dignity and appreciation. You can too. It’s not hard once you know what to do.

Feel free to ask me a question in the comments – I read every one.  I will do my best to answer with some ideas to help you overcome meal time issues.

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Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Educating Our Children Family Parenting tips

Does your child run away? Parenting Tip # 12

 

Running away from your problems is a race you will never win…

Recently a mom contacted me about her teenage son who has developed the habit of running away when he is upset.

We had a couple of kids try that a few times and it caused huge stress for our family. It’s a heart breaking moment when your child runs through the door when you are in the middle of a parenting moment. If you want to experience mind numbing F.E.A.R., just watch your child go out the door in a fit of defiance!

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}
To download this FREE full resolution JPG word art, click the picture above.

Running away:

  1. Exacerbates the problem because you can’t deal with it if they aren’t there!
  2. Disrupts the family and scares the other children.
  3. Puts them, you, and your family immediately at risk legally (you never know what they will do on the run).
  4. Is unsafe for the child to be running around unsupervised.
  5. Puts the public at risk because the child isn’t thinking clearly.
  6. Is an act of rebellion – it must be addressed.

This was what I told the M.O.M. – in a nut shell.

I never did this but found myself wishing I had. Live and learn, right?

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}

  1. If your child has developed a habit of running away, be sure to call 911 IMMEDIATELY to let them know your child is on the run.
  2. Be sure to let your child know ahead of time that if they run, you will call the police. Be clear that you love them and will do it to protect them, you, the rest of the family and the public.
  3. Keep a journal EVERY DAY if you have a child that acts out. This will give you credibility if you run into any legal issues. Because I had NO PAPER TRAIL, my word was disregarded in time of crisis.
  4. Get a good support system that will come to your aid day or night. Fill in at least one trusted friend and your pastor so there are others who will back you up in time of crisis and come to your house if you need them.

I had a good support system in place just weeks before our last incident, so between them and the Lord’s protection, we were fine. But it could have turned out disastrous!

If you need support join our M.O.M. group. We get it.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Educating Our Children Parenting tips

Does Your Teenage Son Bully You? Parenting Tip #6

When you have 5 teenage boys at once, you tend to feel like you are getting ready to go into battle. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

It seems like they don’t listen. It appears they don’t understand what you expect. They act like they don’t care what you say, want or feel.

Does your teenage son bully you? {Mom of Many}

All of my 8 sons are adopted so they each brought their own experiences, insecurities and mindset into our family – and it wasn’t always pleasant. OK. It was seldom pleasant.

At the time I lived in a constant state of panic and doubt. Self doubt can paralyze you and render you powerless. In a house full of boys that can be VERY BAD. Here are some things I learned along the way that hopefully will be a help to you.

#1 When you deal with your son in moments of opposition, leave your emotions out of it.

Picture a police officer when he’s issuing a ticket. He doesn’t rant and rave about how you were speeding or cry because he’s offended you broke the law. He is emotionless and wields the authority of his position because he can. You as the mom are the same. You are in charge and need to show that you are confident. Teen boys can smell fear and doubt – they will pounce on you like a wolf on a sheep if you waiver.

#2 You don’t know what is going on in that head of theirs, but most likely their behavior during their bullying has something to do with a man’s need to conquer.

When my boys were teens they had an almost obsessive desire to play computer war games. It really bugged me and I said so to my DH. He said, “Men have a need to conquer and this is just their way of delving into their manhood.  It’s natural. Don’t look at it like they are in love with violence, consider it a part of growing into manhood.” It made perfect sense!

#3 They need concise rules that are laid out in front of them and must know they will be held accountable – preferably by the father.

There were days when I felt I was beating my head up against the wall when it came to getting my boys to obey the little rules (big ones too, but for now we’ll deal with the little ones) – rules that made our days run smoothly. It felt like all day long I’d be correcting them over ridiculously obvious rules that had been in our home since the dawn of time.

Examples: Tuck your shirt in. Wear a belt. Don’t dress sloppy. Do your chores. Brush your teeth.

Does your teenage son bully you? {Mom of Many}

I felt like a broken record and often it would turn into a grumbling session if I’d mention any of it.

They were disrespectful, obstinate and oppositional. It was ridiculous how petty they would become but always seemed to turn it around and try to make me feel like I was the one at fault. We had always been told that to say, “Just wait till your father gets home,” was very bad and the mom should never put the dad in the position of having to deal with stuff when he gets home from work. Fortunately we went to our pastor/friend for advice. He told me the exact opposite of what I expected, and it all had to do with their quest for manhood (see #1).

So our pastor/friend told me to make a chart and put a check by each infraction whenever I saw they hadn’t obeyed my “little rules.”

Don’t say anything and don’t show emotion.

Just walk over to the fridge and put a check mark.

I added one thing to his advice. I added a smile whenever I put up a check mark. It demonstrated to my boys that it was their choice to disobey, to choose rebellion over obedience. We made it very clear that when Dad got home he would go look at the chart to see if they had chosen to disobey. For every check mark, they were charged a dollar.

Each week when it was allowance time, we’d go to the chart, add it up and the boys would have to lay that many bills in my hand – and endure the smile on my face!

I saw a 90% increase in obedience to my “little rules!” No fussing. No head butting. No emotion. Only their choice and I didn’t care one way or other if they obeyed (outwardly if not inwardly). I bought some pretty nice things for myself with that little change in our discipline! We had better days and I saw that they were more content. Win Win.

Does your teenage son bully you? {Mom of Many}

Pastor explained that some teen boys are not mature enough to advance into manhood without leaving havoc in their wake. The chart allowed them to be a man (make their own choices) and save face at the same time (not feel like a little boy when dealing with Mom).

Later one of my DDs told me that one of those sons purposely tried to break up Dad and Mom by causing grief between us. Like I said, you never now what is going on in their heads. Fortunately we provided a united front and never allowed them to pit us against one another. Often teens are self-destructive and you just have to be stronger than them, showing then family security even when they appear to not desire it.

#4 Be confident and consistent – this is the most important factor.

Even though it appears your boys want you to slack off or make exceptions, it is not in their best interest. Security comes in knowing your parents are consistent and will inspect EVERYTHING. It’s one thing to tell them to clean their room, it’s another to inspect it when they say they are done. Plus if they know there will be a penalty for disobedience, they will think twice before lying or trying to fool you.

Make sure the discipline fits. You treat a messy room differently than direct disobedience and lying. Decide your discipline before hand and make it clear to your boys what will happen for each situation. Never blind side them, waiver or change with the wind. They need your consistency to prove your love and protection – even at age 17 when they are all big and bad, self confident and manly.

Moms of teen boys – work on making your rules clear, enlist the help for your husband or a father figure, be confident in your discipline plan and follow through – every single time.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

NOTE: If you would like a sample chore chart to reference as you make your own CLICK HERE and I will send it to you – it’s just a simple chart that I made in Excel to give you an example of what I am talking about. Sometimes it’s just easier if you can see it.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Val @ Mom of Many

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Parenting tips

Why do your kids disobey? Parenting Tip #2

Why do kids disobey? {MomofMany.net}

Have you ever asked your child why they did something and get an, “I don’t know”? Do you know why they always say, “I don’t know”?

It’s because they really don’t know. Seriously. Kids don’t know why they do things. They just do them. Impetuously. Without thinking. In the spur of the moment.

So what’s a mom to do?

In the long run we need to work on their character.

  1. The basic fact is that they are operating under a prideful, disobedient or unloving spirit, so they must identify it and change that part of their thinking. We need to address it. Sometimes we need to get creative.
  2. Self control is a big issue with children, so we must teach them to think things through. This is harder with some than others. With some, just a conversation about right and wrong will suffice. With others there may need to be some role playing or techniques taught tailored to the child like counting to ten before reacting to give their brain time to catch up in order to think the situation through before reacting. Some have processing problems and need to train themselves to not react quickly. But for the most part, children are impetuous and only through maturity and training will impulsive behavior diminish.

But in the meantime…

  1. Depending on the child, discipline needs to be administered. Notice I didn’t say “punishment.” I much prefer the word discipline because it implies training. We want change along with genuine remorse. Consistent consequences plainly laid out is helpful to both the parent and child.
  2. Discipline should be a well thought out, emotionless act that is consistent and predictable. If one day you yell at a child for mouthing off and another you laugh it off (which by the way neither are acceptable), you can expect the behavior to continue.

*Funny story (though I didn’t think it was funny at the time…a couple of my “interesting children” would complain in anger that I yelled at them about something they had done. Looking back I knew I had not yelled, yet that is how they termed that moment when I called them on their behavior after they were caught disobeying. It took me a couple of times of being accused of this to realize that they processed my stern look and verbal chastising as “yelling at them”.

Why do kids disobey? {MomofMany.net}

In reality, they were describing the feeling they got when they were being called on the carpet for their wrong doing. I knew I had not yelled, yet it translated in their brains as “yelling.” This was amusing to me because I had made a concerted effort NOT to raise my voice. Years later I also realized that some children who have emotional issues have a hard time processing the emotions that are running through them in times of stress (especially when caught doing wrong), so they mislabel them and often accuse others rather than looking inward. Sadly, some are still doing this as adults.

It really doesn’t matter too much in the moment why they do what they do anyway. It is your job to make them wish they hadn’t (properly).

We need to approach the wrong doing with logic.

“A” happened. Now “B” will happen to help you not do “A” any more. Learning cause and affect is imperative for their futures. Look around you. The world is filled with offending adults with no sense of consequences. Patterning plays a huge role in training a child. More on that later…

Do keep the long run in mind; work on the heart through daily exercises, personal example, discussions and hopefully instruction in faith and who God is. An understanding of who God is will affect our child’s every action, thought and perception.

Don’t lose hope. They eventually will grow up. Hopefully my tips will help you survive till then.

Val @ Mom of Many

For  more ideas and practical solutions, get my FREE ebook, Raising Real Kids. There is no reason to parent alone – get help from someone who’s been there, done that, and wants to help you in your parenting journey.

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Parenting tips

Do you have a bed wetter? Parenting Tip #1

Bed Wetting Parenting Tip #1 {Mom of Many}

I had 8 bed wetters at one time, so this is a subject I am all too familiar with. Want some tips to help you survive this annoying parenting experience?

It kind of goes along with potty training – which was my least favorite part of parenting!

I learned that…

  1. You can’t reason your child out of wetting their bed.
  2. Punishing, shaming or pleading doesn’t work either.
  3. They hate the wet sheets and clothes as much as you do (maybe more).
  4. You must patiently wait till they grow out of it (some don’t for many years!)
  5. Getting them up in the middle of the night doesn’t help them (or you).

BUT, there are things you can do to help your child (and yourself).

  1. Explain to your child that you are going to help them deal with the bed wetting. Make sure they know they can go to you for help (though often they do not!)
  2. You can discipline the bed wetter (not punish). Teach them how to take care of the wet clothes and sheets by themselves, taking responsibility for their own issues.
  3. Keep tabs. Kids don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect.
  4. Teach them to limit the amount of water they drink close to bed time.
  5. Don’t let the other children tease them – it will only add to the problem.
  6. Make a chart (for the younger ones) and give them a star each time they are dry or are conscientious about taking care of their wet sheets and clothes.

If you had one tip to add, what would it be? Let me know in the comments – yours might just be the one that makes a difference in someone’s life!

 

FREE Downloadable PDF - Bed Wetting {Mom of Many}

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption FAS

A Three Day Snapshot – Day 1

I have a long time friend who recently found me on Facebook. We reconnected after about ten or so years. We originally met during our old adoption advocacy days when we lived in Flushing. Our adoption support group was instrumental in bringing her and her first son together by adoption. I will call her Linda. This is day one of three days in the life of her newly adopted son, Matt. She currently has four sons.

 Monday, August 24, 2009

Today I had no choice but to take all the kids to Sam’s. I had to pick up a prescription that could not wait. Matt wanted me to let them wait in the car, which I have allowed if I am just running in somewhere for a minute or two. But today I knew it would be longer, so I said “No,” and that they would have to come in with me. First, Matt ran away in the parking lot and Allen ran and got him for me, which set him off against Allen now, too. We went in, and by the time we got back to the meat coolers he was working himself up deliberately. You can actually see him doing it; he clenches his fists and starts breathing harder and faster to work up a good rage. I ended up having to hold him against the cart with one arm while pushing/steering the cart with the other, because he’d started running up and kicking Allen as hard as he could. So he started kicking me, in between pressing his foot on the wheel so I couldn’t move the cart. I ended up having to hold him against the cooler to stop him trying to hurt me, Allen, or himself.

We made it to the pharmacy counter and had to wait a few minutes for it to open back up from lunch break. A lady, who’d been shopping back by the meat dept. and tried to speak with him when he was doing all this, followed us. I saw her come around the corner and duck back when I saw her but didn’t think anything of it at the time. She apparently followed us out and took down my plate number and called 911. Not 10 minutes after we got home a county sheriff’s deputy was at the door with a worker from FOC. To avoid speaking with them, Matt ran to the back of the house and out the back door, but they got him to stop. I told her what happened, and Matt admitted all. She came down squarely on my side, and told him he has to obey me, that I have the right to discipline him, and that she thought he was very lucky to be where he is (she had already asked about his background).


He told her he knew he was lucky, but that being told, “No,” makes him “want to get mad and hit people.” So, I’ve joined the ranks of parents who will need to document, document, document, I guess. She said this was NOT going to CPS; she saw no reason for it. It looked to her like that lady who called 911 was a nosy woman who had no idea of the actual situation or circumstances, and apologized for having to come here especially when it was very clear I’d done nothing wrong. The whole cops at the door for what he had done scared him though, I think. After that, he apologized to me and then to Allen and couldn’t do enough for either of us for several hours. He and Manny have an appointment tomorrow at CMH to get them services. Here’s hoping for at least respite time, huh?

Linda

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Musings

The “Wright” Kind of Correction

Over the years we’ve seen different reactions to some of our children’s behavior. I always hesitate to say such things as “my children’s behavior” because it conjures up in your mind a picture that all of my children have been difficult. That is by no means the truth. I have had children who have been compliant and respectful of our parental authority trying their best to be a blessing. So when I start out a posting like I did above, please understand I am not referring to all of my children. Also do not assume we do not love our “difficult” children, or wish them ill in any way. I am just stating the facts so that I may bring across a truth that I have learned or because I wish to encourage others to remain faithful and not lose heart if they are in the midst of trial with one or more of their children.

It’s pretty typical to get a reaction of, “Oh, you have such a nice family.” That’s a reaction of someone who sees us for the first time. They haven’t gotten to know us or had much interaction with us. Of course the statement is true, for we have had many wonderful times together as a family.

After they get to know us a little better and see some of our difficulties, we’ll hear something like, “Oh, but what you are doing is such a great thing, don’t get discouraged over the tough times, you are doing this for the Lord and He is pleased.” These are the ones who have seen some difficulties and give us encouragement because they see we’re doing something they’d never consider doing.  These people get misty when thinking about what could have happened to our kids if we hadn’t pulled them out of the world’s system.

Then when people are affected in one way or another by a misdeed of one of our children, we’ll see one of two different reactions. I’ll give you an example of something we experienced about two or three years ago.  I was out of town for a missionary event and someone took over my classroom. One of my boys was called a “girl” by the substitute in jest. She didn’t know it was a sore spot in his life because his brothers had been unkindly taunting him in that way for years. This had been something  we’d dealt with over and over in our family but hadn’t gotten victory over yet. This boy ran down the hall in anger and bumped into one of our teachers, Mrs. Wright, without apologizing. Of course then she called him back and corrected him, but she didn’t receive a proper repentant attitude from him. She decided to pray with him because she was disappointed in his wrong spirit. When I came back, she discussed it with me and I looked into it. When I discovered the story behind the behavior, Mrs. Wright understood and then felt bad for him. She called him back into her room and talked to him about it and acknowledged that she understood and then instructed him on what a proper behavior ought to have been, removing the demerit she had given him earlier (which had been his third one, leading to a detention). She had expressed her love in her correction. 

Her loving heart administered correction and even though it wasn’t received right away, she still cared enough to check into it and amended her correction later when she found out the source. In our experience, most people administer the “punishment” without care over the catalyst that caused the behavior. After all, we all ought to respond correctly even when we have been wronged. Yes, this true, but compassion added to the mix will bring the child closer to God. Harshness and an unloving attitude in correction will only drive a child’s heart away. To this day all my sons love and respect this lady because they saw her good heart.

I just asked my son if he remembered the incident and he said “Yes,” with a smile on his face. My boys love Mrs. Wright to this day and consider her one of the kindest adults in their life. Comments we get from this type of person are usually like, “God will bless you for being faithful, don’t get discouraged.”

Here is the next example. This one represents a lack of love when dealing with my children. One of my sons was kicking a ball in the gym that was hitting the ceiling. He was told not to do it but did it again anyway. He was told to stand by the wall and that he would be taken to his parents. When he started to walk out with the other kids at the end of the activity, he was picked up and thrown against the wall and chewed out for being disobedient. That was years ago and everyone who witnessed the scene remember it very well to this day.

I just asked my son if he rememberd the incident I described above and he said “Yes,” and then said with a less than cheerful face, “I never did know why he was so mad.” Comments from this type of person would be like “Those kids are so bad, I wish the parents would train them better.”

Romans 12:14-20 “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

A vengeful attitude of, “I’ll make them pay,” will not bring God glory or benefit the one being corrected. It will only cause bitterness and hatred, especially in a child. But a loving attitude of, “I want you to see that what you are doing is wrong so you can become better through it,” is a way of showing God’s love and bringing them closer to a better understanding of that love. I call that the “Wright” way to correct. Of course we can make that statement with our mouth, but too often our actions do not match our words. We need to be careful that we execute judgment in a way that shows we desire restoration.

God has given me many such incidents to learn from and has changed my perspective through the years. I often struggled to have a proper spirit when correcting a child who would repeatedly choose to defy the rules and purposely sin against others. It’s been a hard road to travel and I have not always been successful in reacting as I should. It is true that hindsight is so much easier to learn from.  I shutter to think of all the opportunities I missed to show God’s love to others around me. But I have also determined to look for those who need encouragement and to be the one to give it. Of course I cannot justify sin or walk down the road of destruction with others, but if they step off that road and need assistance, I want to be the one God used to offer it. There will be many who don’t want help, but there will also be many who need it and would greatly appreciate a helping hand. Too many years I walked around wishing someone would see my pain and heartache and offer the healing balm of acceptance or support. If we truly are beloved of God because we have chosen to be a part of His church, then we need to make it a safe place where others can find rest. I have never received one unkind comment from anyone “in the world” about my children. Unfortunately that has not been the case in the Christian realm. I want to be like Mrs. Wright who was so kind to my erring son that day a long time ago. I want to be remembered with a smile by a child that happened upon me while in he was distress.  That’s what we call the love of Christ.