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Family Parenting tips

Does your child sleep through the night? Parenting Tip #9

Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom of Many}

You CAN teach your kids to sleep.

I have often heard of parents who get up with their child several times a night because of crying or whining or just plain getting out of bed to play.

My heart goes out to them when I see their red eyes, short tempers and woebegone faces. I’m talking about the moms!

I truly want to help them but I seldom offer advice unless asked. I don’t want to be one of those “know it alls” who seem to have an answer for everything. So to those of you who know me…if you want advice, you will have to ask!

But peeps…I have the answer here.

Wanna know how to get your child to sleep through the night and to stay in bed until you tell them they can get up?

Here you go…

  1. Have a regular bed time. Don’t negotiate and don’t argue. State it. Stick to it. Don’t allow arguing or bargaining. This applies for babies all the way to teens. Someone recently commented on one of my parenting tips posts that if their kids argue about going to bed, the next day they have “practice” bedtimes during their favorite shows the next day. Get creative!
  2. Be sure to remind them just before bedtime. “Hey guys, in a half an hour it’s bedtime.” Nobody likes to quit what they are doing – this will help them to mentally prepare. Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom of Many}
  3. Have a routine. We always did jammies, brush teeth, prayer circle, hugs goodnight and then bed.
  4. Check on them regularly until there is no question that bed time is bed time. Let them see you checking on them. Be consistent. When our sibgroup of 3 girls moved in we took turns sitting outside their door until they went to sleep. If they knew we were out there, they didn’t move a muscle. Establish a habit.
  5. Put books at the end of their bed for morning. Tell them that if they wake up early, to just read quietly till you come to get them. If you hear them in the mornings talking or getting out of bed, go remind them and put them back in bed and tell them to stay until you get them up. Be consistent.
  6. If they wake in the night, go in their room and tell them you are there and to go back to sleep. If they continue fussing, go in every 15 minutes the first night. Reassure them by telling them you are there and to go back to sleep. Touch them to let the know you are there but DON’T pick them up or let them get out of bed.
  7. Within a few days if not sooner, your child will begin to sleep longer and eventually all night. Continue to require obedience in the mornings. Be consistent.

Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom o

I have taught all my babies to sleep through the night by 4 months.

Here are a few baby specific tips:

  1. When they are newborn, they need the nutrition, so don’t plan to teach them to sleep through the night early on.
  2. When you do get them up to feed them, don’t change their diaper unless it is messy or they are soaked. Changing them awakens them completely and you’ll have a wide awake baby ready to play if you do. Part of teaching them to sleep is wrapped up in what you do from the beginning.
  3. Never let little ones cry a long time without reassuring them. Those who call out for mom whether through crying or words and get no answer learn that adults will not care for them. This is how we get kids with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder).
  4. Always make sure that there are not extenuating circumstances. If you know they are fed, clean and dry, comfortable, not sick or afraid, then you know their waking is just a matter of habit. Work at teaching them to sleep. Work at getting to know your child so you will know.
  5. Always put them to bed in a reassuring way. Babies and kids in general need to go to sleep after a pleasant interaction with their care givers. I have known of moms who throw their kids in bed or yell at them to get them to obey. This is not what sweet dreams are  made of. Be kind but firm.
  6. If you put them to bed with a pacifier, bottle or nurse them to sleep you are asking for trouble. It may be easy to start with, but you will become a slave to the habit. I knew of a parent that several times a night would have to crawl around on the floor looking for the pacifier in the dark.

If you begin praying with them before bedtime early on, you and your child will get in the habit of pleasant bed time experiences and their mind will be on how God cares for them rather than thinking about being alone in the dark.

Some of my best memories are of our prayer circle.

We had a wide hallway just outside the kids’ bedrooms. We’d send them all in to get jammies on and brush their teeth. One by one they’d come to sit down with us, waiting for the others to finish.

Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom of Many}

There was a lot of chatting, tickling and hugging going on during the few minutes of waiting. Then when all were sitting down on the floor in a circle, one by one they would pray. It was precious.

This accomplished 5 things: No messing around or fighting while getting ready for bed. We made sure they brushed their teeth and put their clothes away. We were all together as a family at the close of the day. It was a happy time rather than the kids feeling like they were missing out on something by going to bed.

How about you? What do you do to make bedtime stress free? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption My Kids Notable Acts Parenting tips

When God Blows You Away – Parenting Tip #8

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Today’s tip is very simple.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Never give up on your kids – no matter what.

Our only job as parents is to be faithful.

We are to provide for them, love them, teach them and point them to God. When our job is complete and they go out on their own, God will take over and do His work. We must let Him do it and trust His methods.

He knows. We don’t. We just have to trust.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Let me tell you about my son.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

We adopted our son when he was nearly four months old. He had been in an orphanage since birth.

When we went to the airport to pick him up, I took a little tuxedo sleeper to change him into to bring him home. When I dressed him I was shocked to see how weak his limbs were – I was scared to move him around for fear I would break him!

It took us months to get a handle on his health issues. He was allergic to formula so we had to switch to goat’s milk.

He came down with Pneumonia every few weeks, which eventually brought us an asthma diagnosis. For many years we treated his asthma attacks at home with a nebulizer. Asthma is scary.

He earned the title “interesting” kid early on in his life because of his strong will and headstong personality – but fortunately he was endearing. He drew people to him with his magnetic personality and loving heart.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Along came the teen years.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Let’s just say they were challenging. 🙂

He went to Bible college after high school – simply because we asked him to. He and I had many discussions about his future when he was a teen. He disliked my idea that he would be a great servant of God if he’s just surrender. He assumed I meant ministry, which he vehemently opposed. I tried to assure him not ministry but some sort of service to God with his life. I saw great potential in him but surrender has never been in his vocabulary.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Often folks will deny God’s call because of a fear of what God will ask them to do.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I knew this to be the case with our son. There was no way I could assure him that to follow God’s call is the safest and most rewarding place to be.

The summer after his first year at college he joined the Marines and went to boot camp. We had hoped he would wait until he was done with college – when he was older. The entire next year at college was a struggle and we feared for our son.

Not long after that he went to Iraq.  He knew I would be worried about him, so he called home often with a SAT phone while standing on the roof of his Humvee to get a signal. I lived for those calls!

Later he volunteered for an overseas mission. Military service can take its toll, but at the same time can be an experience that builds character and strengthens a man’s heart.

The influences in the military and the many losses he has endured over the past few years took its toll. We begged God to preserve him.

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I’ve never regretted adopting my kids.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I have feared for our kids over the years and wondered at times if they would ever make it to adulthood and be happy, well adjusted adults. It has been hard watching them go through the pain of loss, regret, rejection – and all of what this world can bring. Of course every mom is concerned for their kids, but when you adopt “interesting” kids, often they have a lot to overcome – much more than those who have had the advantage of a smooth and uneventful beginning.

Today I can assure you that our son has indeed not only survived but is thriving. He has reconciled all of his past and has built his character. He has come through his challenges and become an amazing man – one who defends our freedom and cares for others.

 

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

He has a new mission – one that most men would not consider EVER:

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Quote from his GoFundMe account on Facebook:

“I am returning to Iraq to help the Kurds. I was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps Infantry, and have a history with Iraq and that region of the world.

…My goal is to head there with a couple cameras/camcorders, Go Pro, laptop, SD cards, etc. This will allow me to upload everything stateside so that my liaisons in the US can connect the story and spread it to the public. 

For the past 3-4 years I have strongly thought about going back. The past year was not a pleasant one which led me to make my decision to go back. Some thought/think that I am running away from something, and so did I for a little. I’m actually running toward something, it took me a while to get grounded to my roots, the reason why I initially felt I needed to help the Kurds. 

My initial plan was to just head over and fight with the Kurds, but the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” is so very true. This mission is about fighting alongside the Kurds and telling their story, but it’s [also] about telling the story of the Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq who are back in Iraq volunteering with the Kurds. It’s about telling the story of the couple thousand people from all over the world banded together to fight for humanity. My goal is to tell a story of people who take no heed of race, religion, language, ethnicity, region of the world, but see each other as brothers and sisters of this world. 

The overall goal to tell this story, this documentary, is for global education on global awareness. If enough people can see that people are standing up to fight for humanity, we can get even more people to stand together. While the nations of the world can never agree on one thing, we as humans can all agree that the Kurds deserve the basic rights of humanity: Life. There is a hate out there that people are trying to extinguish. If we as humans of the world can band together to end this hate, maybe we can start to see each other as brothers and sisters of the planet we share. To give the next generation a chance of hope. The story just needs to be told.

I am blessed to call him son and pray God will preserve him as he goes to help the helpless. He truly is a credit to his nation and is willing to put his life on the line to protect those in need. What a great work God has done – He has truly blown me away.

When God Blows You Away - the story of our son {Mom of Many}

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Not only am I proud of our son; he is MY HERO.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

There is hope moms – cling to it.

UPDATE: Due to the changing political scene, Andrew took up a different mission. Rather than going to fight, he went to save the refugees fleeing the war torn nations. Catch up on his mission here: AndrewFrania.com. He has found his calling.

Val @ Mom of Many

All photos by Charizma Photography, L.L.C. @ www.charizmaphotography.com. Katy Frey is an amazing photographer – check out her site. You will be blessed.

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Adoption Parenting tips

Are you waiting for your child to come home? Parenting Tip #7

Too often we dwell on the hard things in life – the difficult circumstance and bad memories.

I suppose it’s human nature to focus on the negative. But today I’m going to do something a bit different.

Let me encourage you to have hope. If you are a parent who has suffered discouragement, disappointment or a loss of the dream, then this one’s for you.

I’m here as proof that things will get better.

We have 15 children. Two by birth and 13 through adoption. I’d be lying if I said the journey has been easy. We had major struggles and have endured a lot of pain. But there also were great moments – watching our kids learn, grow, overcome and learn to enjoy life has been amazing.

For a long time I despaired of ever having my dream of a close loving family of 17 – with so much trauma and pain in my kids’ pasts, that mountain seems too high to climb most days. But I still hope. Every morning I awaken and every night I go to bed I wish our family was all together, enjoying being with each other.

Some day.

Are you waiting for your kids to come home? {Mom of Many}

Here are a few things you need to know.

  1. Never judge a family, a parent or child, based on one specific period of time – a snapshot. You cannot know the value of a person unless you know their heart and even that sometimes is hard to read. Too often people judged our kids during the teen years as being unsalvageable. At times I wondered myself because I had no one to tell me differently.
  2. Never lose hope. If your children chose a different path, don’t despair. Many of my children left our home and walked a path different from what we laid out for them. But one by one we are seeing them come back to us and forge a new relationship – an adult to adult relationship that is sweet and blessed.
  3. Let them go but don’t let them go. If your children walk away to live a life contrary to your belief system, you need to let them go. I don’t mean cut them off or ignore their calls or shun them. I do mean let them go and tell them, “If you decide to walk a different road, I won’t come with you, but I will be right here waiting for you to come back – any time day or night.” Always leave the light on. Always be looking out the window, watching for them to come home. Pray God will work in their lives and keep them safe.
  4. When they come back, lose the past. Remember it, learn from it, but don’t cling to it. Let it go. None of it matters any more. They were kids. Yes, they may have made bad choices, but they have grown and changed and need to know you still want them, still love them.
  5. Realize that the new relationship with your kids can be amazing. You no longer are responsible for their decisions, you don’t need to take care of them any more and you can sit back and just enjoy them (and your grandkids!). No judging. No advice giving. No pushing and prodding. Just let them be. Enjoy them as they are and let the rest go. Let them know they are accepted as they are and that they do not answer to you any more. Give them room to grow and freedom to live their lives without worrying about being criticized. You need to be “safe” in their eyes.

To bring it home…

In our family we have 7 daughters, 8 sons, 5 sons-in law, 4 moms, 2 Marines, 2 in the Navy, 13 beautiful grandkids, a programmer, a pastor, 3 nannies, 2 graphic designers, 2 teachers, a pilot, 3 company managers, 1 dispatcher, a bookkeeper, 1 limo driver, 3 CEOs, an animator,  6 college graduates, a CNA, 2 photographers, and some with other cool titles I can’t think of right now.

God has blessed our family and is not finished with us yet.

We have an amazing family and one day they all will know and appreciate that – ONE DAY.

Until then, I’ll keep the light on.

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 Things I've Learned

Do you have parenting goals? Parenting Tip #5

Give Yourself a Break

When my kids were still living at home, I often would fall asleep at night stressing over what I had not accomplished that day – it was very self-defeating. “Why did my kids act like terrors today? Why did my son bite my daughter? How is it that I never seem to get the house clean? I’m home all day. I need to do better…”

Parenting Tip #5 {Mom of Many)

It is very common to stress over what we didn’t get accomplished that day.

But what about the things we DID accomplish? Were there any wins? Did the kids learn anything? Were they happy and healthy? If they were sick, or got hurt did we help them?

I was fortunate enough to have a DH that would come home and greet me without expectations.

I’d say, “I have NOTHING planned for dinner tonight, so sorry.” or, “The living room is strewn with toys, sorry, watch your step.” You know his response?

He’d come back with, “Are the kids still alive?”

And of course I would reply, “Yes.”

“Then you did great today,” was always his answer.

 

We moms are hard enough on ourselves.

We don’t need others defining us or telling us what we should or should not do or accomplish in a day’s time.

I distinctly remember one day looking at the clock at 2:00 in the afternoon feeling guilty that I was still in my fuzzy pink bathrobe, crying because I couldn’t seem to get anything done that day because the kids ran me ragged that day.

 

Uh, uh. Nope. Never again.

Since then I’ve learned that my best is good enough – good enough for my family and good enough for God. God only expects us to be faithful. If we are then we’re good. End of story.

Do Your Have Parenting Goals? {Mom of Many}

Let’s talk about goals – parenting goals.

While I encourage you not to stress, it’s always good to have goals to shoot for. I’m very goal oriented and tend to analyze EVERYTHING in my life, from how I present myself to what I’ve accomplished in my life. I analyze my relationships and hobbies – how could I do better? How is what I’m doing affecting others?

So I’ve made up a goal sheet for you – a PDF with some spots that you can enter your goals to keep track of your progress and to think through what it is you hope for, dream of and shoot for.

It’s good to have goals.

I’ve made a Parenting Goals Chart for you.

Just click on the picture and I will send you an 8×10 JPG that you can either print in your office with an edge to edge printer or get printed as an 8×10 photo and then cut to the 8×8 square goal chart. Suggestion… Get it printed, cut it and frame it in an 8×8 frame with glass you can write on with a dry erase marker – that way you can write/meet your goal/erase/write again.

 

Parenting Goal Chart {Mom of Many)

If you make progress then you are successful.

Be realistic, but shoot for the stars. We all need goals.

A friend told me of an app that I downloaded on my phone as an encouragement – to keep track of my wins every day. Its’ called WinStreak. Put some things in your life today that encourage you and keep you on track.

Ask yourself, “Are the kids growing, learning and loved?” If you say, “Yes,” Then you are on the right track.

Find friends who are encouragers. Find a good church. Find out who you are and enjoy being who God made you to be.

Now go be amazing – because you are.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Family Events Parenting tips

Are You a Disappointed Adoptive Parent? Parenting Tip #4

October 16, 2015

When I realized today’s date, my thoughts turned to my kids, but not in the usual way. One year ago today Jillian and I took my 86 year old mom to the hospital for a quadruple bypass and valve replacement. Just nine weeks later we lost her to a stroke. You can find the first in the series on my other site, Love My DIY Home. But my main topic isn’t my mom today.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I want to talk to you about your adopted kids.

(The rest of you can just go ahead and read along. I’m sure you will be able to find something that applies to you as well).

I have 15 kids. 2 are homemade. 13 are adopted. When I thought about the day I took Mom to the hospital, I remembered how much I appreciated the support I got from some of my kids when she passed…and I also remembered how much I have tried to forget that some were strangely silent.

To sum it up…

  • 6 of my daughters and 2 of my sons came to visit Mom during her last days, 1 son wanted to but couldn’t, 1 son kept in contact by frequent texts and calls. 1 son didn’t understand or become involved, but he did come to our family reunion. Those 11 helped me survive those weeks and coupled a difficult time with blessing.
  • 1 daughter and 3 sons never called, came to visit, or in any way acknowledged the fact their g’ma was gone.
  • The ones who were supportive were brought closer together. The ones who were silent and absent drifted farther away.

So what happened?

Why out of 15 kids did 4 not care their g’ma was gone or that I’d lost my mom? They all grew up with her around. She lived with us for 12 years. She babysat them, joined us for Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and even the not so special, average days. She went to church with us. She laughed with them, yelled at them, told them stories and gave them presents. She was a huge part of their lives.

She was at each hospital homecoming and adoption day. Some didn’t like her because she was difficult at times. Some loved her even though she was difficult at times.

How is it that only 11 out of the 15 rallied during our family tragedy?

If you are an adoptive parent, listen up because I’m here to set the record straight.

No matter how hard we worked at raising our kids, no matter how many hours, what we sacrificed, or how much we prayed for guidance or hoped for success, our kids are who they are and we cannot change them. But I’m not here to talk about them. I’m here to talk about you, the adoptive parent.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

When you adopt, you get kids from all walks of life (usually not so great a path), with different genes, experiences and views of what life is all about. Some have been traumatized. Some have seen and experienced things most adults have never even heard of that gives them a skewed take on life.

There are no guarantees in raising children.

Let me say that again. There are no guarantees.

You can do your best and still not have a child love and care for you.

I have one daughter that doesn’t even acknowledge that we are her family. I was told not long ago one of our sons feels the same way.

How is it that some claim their family and some don’t?

I know of two absolutely wonderful adoptive moms (and dads) that have the same situation in their family. These ladies are two of the most sweet and godly women I know. Both of them have adopted kids that haven’t communicated with them in years.

One adopted kid is sweet and kind but doesn’t acknowledge her as mom any more. One is mean and hateful. Two are indifferent. I KNOW it wasn’t bad parenting. I KNOW these were great families that did the best they could. Both are Christian parents that were stable, faithful and consistent.

So what gives?

If you are an adoptive parent who has experienced disappointment in either how your kids are living, how they treat you or you have not heard from your kids in months or years, realize your are not alone. Unfortunately it is common.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I know an adoptive mom who had her skull bashed in with a hammer by her son. Another had to send her biological kids to a separate school because their adopted siblings attacked them whenever they saw them in public when mom wasn’t around. I once met a mom who drove to a gas station and left when her teenage son was in the bathroom, calling protective services to pick him up. She was afraid her son was going to kill her and didn’t know what else to do.

I slept with a bat next to my bed for two years out of fear of one of my son’s mood swings. I just didn’t know from one day to the next what he was going to do.

I could go on but you get the picture.

Before this gets too depressing, I do have adopted kids that love me and sometimes I forget they are adopted. They are a blessing to me and we enjoy each others company. Yes, it can happen and it did. Many have grown to be responsible young ladies and young men that are a credit to God’s grace and unfailing love. They are a blessing to us and feel blessed that they are in our lives. It is our hope that all of our kids will one day love us and want to be in our lives. Until then, I wait and pray.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Adoption is risky. When you adopt, you put yourself out there.

If you have adopted, stop feeling guilty, disappointed or abandoned if your child has not met your expectations. You are the top 1% of humanity! You chose to step out of your comfort zone to share your family with a child that was not originally your own. How many of your family or friends have sacrificed the peace and safety of a “normal” family and reached out to a child that was without?

Even if you made mistakes, you still showed up every day. Even if you weren’t perfect (who is?), you deserve a gold star. You did more than the other 99% who stayed in their comfort zone and watched you do what they would never consider doing.

Stop feeling responsible for your child’s bad choices. They have their own mind, their own heart and their own agenda. I have seen kids turn out great even though they had crummy parents. I’ve seen kids blow it in life who had fabulous parents.

God alone is responsible for the outcome of your efforts. Your only responsibility was to be faithful.

You went above and beyond. You are blessed. You are amazing.

Now go live like you know that.  ~Val (Mom of Many)

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

 

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Parenting tips

Do your kids constantly fight with each other? Parenting Tip #3

Are Your Kids Fighting? {Mom of Many}

Do you find yourself constantly breaking up fights, or refereeing arguments between your kids?

Having had 15 kids from all different biological families, we found quite an array of personalities that affected behavior – especially when it came to relationships. Some of our kids came from abusive and neglectful situations, so their frame of reference was skewed. Enter madness and mayhem!

Some people felt bad for my easy going kids, the ones without a traumatic background. Others felt bad for the ones that came from difficult family situations. Unfortunately no one thought to feel bad for the mom who had to coordinate all the personalities and frames of mind. Ha! (That would be me, in case you didn’t know.)

But regardless of the raw material we had to work with, it was up to me to weave peace and contentment into our family. No one wants to be a part of a poorly run family where there is constant bickering and fighting. Well, no one I know of any way. So I had to devise creative ways to keep the peace. I’ll share a few of my secrets with you now:

Identify the Spark That Starts the Fire

  1. If you have one child in particular that tends to start arguments or likes to fight, keep an eye on them when they enter the room. Does the room turn into stir fry when they enter?
  2. What does that person do or say that causes problems?
  3. Are they a constant complainer?
  4. Do they enjoy baiting others?

Remember, it takes two to fight, but you can’t assume both are at fault, nor is it fair to punish both just because it’s easier than sorting it out. We can work at teaching our kids not to take the bait, but sometimes a person just has to stand up for themselves. It is not fair to discipline both involved if one is the key to it all. It took us years to discover that one of our kids was the culprit of most family fights. Once you identify 1-4, you can begin to deal with the core issue – it only takes one spark to cause a fire. Deal with that child, help them see what they are doing and watch for teachable moments.

Are Your Kids Fighting? {Mom of Many}

Is There a Recurring Theme?

  1. If there is a point of contention that keeps coming up among your kids that leads to fighting, step in and try to correct it. Sometimes all it takes is a person pointing out the root cause of the fight.
  2. Figure out if one of the combatants is stepping over the line of courtesy or decent behavior. The Bible teaches that we should put others first. Is it an issue that one or both are being selfish and not considering others in their plans or choices?
  3. Are they fighting just to fight? Yes, believe it or not we had kids who loved to argue and bait others.

Is the Fighting Attention Seeking Behavior?

  1. Sometimes all they want is a little attention. Back when my daughter (try to guess which one) was a toddler, she was bugging the fire out of her older siblings. They would be playing cards or building with legos and she would go up and pull on them or swipe at their toys. I had a hard time figuring her out because she was always easy going and a very enjoyable child. Then it hit me. She wanted their attention and saw they were always busy, so she got their attention by annoying them. SO… I told them that when she comes around to stop what they were doing and give her a quick hug. The behavior immediately stopped and we had a happy household again. There just might be a hot button that if you can find it, you can push and all will be right with the world again (for about 5 minutes until the next thing comes up!).
  2. Some children will crave attention so badly that they don’t care whether it is positive or negative attention – as long as they get it. One of our daughters was getting in trouble at school in the first part of the day. I knew she was a very social child, so I asked the teacher to take a few minutes at the beginning of the day to chat with her. A note came home from the teacher that same week telling me the behavior improved drastically.
  3. If your child has come from a traumatic background, you may never get a handle on the attention seeking behavior, but you do your best to minimize the affects and protect those who are affected by it. Look for positives and point them out as much as possible, watch for problem areas and try to nip it in the bud before it develops into a full blown fight.

Are Your Kids Fighting? {Mom of Many}

When they were little…

  1. When our kids were little I never allowed bickering. I’m not a “let them work it out themselves” kind of parent because I never felt it fair for one child to bully another – and there was a lot of that going on simply because we fostered and adopted kids out of the foster care system and abusive/neglectful families where they had to learn to stick up for themselves and fight to stay safe. One of their foster moms taught our little boys (age 2 1/2 and 3 1/2) to fist fight because she thought one day they would go home and have to defend themselves. (SAD) So we even had to watch for physical attacks. The first day we went to visit those little boys before we adopted them I went home totally freaked out after I saw their behavior in the social services visiting room!
  2. If we found a couple of our kids bickering off and on, we implemented the hand holding consequence. You can’t stop fighting? Hold hands for 20 minutes! Oh how they hated it and it worked beautifully!
  3. I knew a parent who had an XXL sweatshirt that she would make both of her kids wear (together, one in the left sleeve and the other in the right sleeve). She then took a picture. It never hurts to get creative!
  4. Sometimes just removing the “bicker sister” and having them sit on their beds alone to think about what they said or did is sufficient. Get to know your kids and know what works. They are all different. Some easy. Some not. All are mold-able. Some more. Some less.

When they were older…

  1. I had a list of verses that dealt with all sorts of behavior at the ready – to have my kids memorize or write. This will immediately diffuse the situation if they had to quit what they were doing to go write or memorize. Assign just enough that can be done by dinner time and be sure to enforce it.
  2. Always require restitution if necessary. This will help with possible resentment from the offended party.

Do you have any creative parenting tips? Leave them in the comments. It never hurts to share!

For more of my tips, download my FREE ebook below.

Val @ Mom of Many

Raising Real Kids Ebook {Love My DIY Home}

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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.

Raising Real Kids Ebook {Love My DIY Home}