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Adoption Family Parenting tips

Are you afraid of failure? Parenting Tip #24

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

It’s not what you think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I hate to burst your bubble.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

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

To be happy and have peace as parents, realize:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember He loves your kids more than you do.

He’s got this.

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

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Family Parenting tips

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

Navigating the Foster Care System

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

My answer? V.E.R.Y.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The worker needs a plan.

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know in the comments.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips

Positive Reinforcement – Parenting Tip #22

Positive Reinforcement - Is your child a super sleeper? {Mom of Many}

It is always advantageous if our kids’ obedience is a choice on their part:

4 year old Susie: “I don’t want to eat the rest of my sandwich.”

Mom: “OK. You can finish your sandwich or eat it later and go take you nap right now. Your choice.”

4 year old Susie: “But I wanted you to read to me before nap.”

Mom: “I want to read to you too. You decide. Sandwich or bed?”

4 year old Susie: “Yes, I want to finish my sandwich.”

We all make choices and we appreciate our lives so much more if the life we are living is by our choice. As parents, we can get submission by force or by their choice. It’s so much sweeter if our kids obey by choice. If we can encourage them to do so, the better.

Mom: “Get back in bed.”

6 year old Charlie: “I want a drink of water.”

Mom: “Go to sleep, you already had water.”

6 year old Charlie: “Mom, Johnny is snoooorrrring!”

Mom: “Be quiet or you will wake your brother!”

(Morning) 6 year old Charlie: “Mom, why does Johnny get to watch cartoons and I don’t?”

Mom: “Johnny is in the Super Sleeper club. He went to bed, stayed in bed and went to sleep last night like he was told. You didn’t.”

(Night) 6 year old Charlie: “Mom, I’m going to bed tonight and I will stay in bed and go to sleep so I can be in the Super Sleeper club.”

Get Creative.

Get to know your child. Consider their sleep schedule. Know how much sleep your child needs and keep a consistent bed time. Don’t use this to keep your kids in bed out of convenience. Use it to meet their needs, establish your authority, and teach them good habits of obedience.

Use Positive Reinforcement

To help you along, I’ve made a Super Sleeper Club poster for your fridge.

Click on the Super Sleeper poster below and I will send you a full resolution JPG that you can get printed and laminated. Use a wipe off marker to write your kids’ name on it when they are a super sleeper – when they choose to be obedient at bed time.

Positive Reinforcement - Is your child a super sleeper? {Mom of Many}

When Positive Reinforcement Doesn’t Work

Some parents whether by birth or adoption will have children who do not respond to positive reinforcement. There will be times you must allow consequences to teach them or use discipline to correct bad behaviors.

Difficulties ≠ Bad Parenting

I wish I could say I always got results with positive reinforcement. But the reality is all kids are different. Some have had past experiences that color their responses. Some have learning difficulties. Some are stubborn and difficult. There is a marked difference in children’s learning styles and abilities. Do your best to learn them and go from there.

God only expects us to be faithful – to do our best. He alone can change their hearts. It’s our job to present situations to our kids to help them choose correctly. Click here to download the FREE poster.

YOU GOT THIS! {Mom of Many}

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This month’s giveaway is two pair of earrings – one for you and one to give as a Christmas gift. To enter your name in the drawing, watch your inbox (if you have joined our M.O.M. group).

Val @ Mom of Many

 

 

 

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Adoption Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

How well do you supervise your older kids? Parenting Tip #21

 

I hear comments occasionally from parents who think they are obligated to give their kids complete privacy…um no, I never did.

 

How well do you supervise your older kids? {Mom of Many}

They don’t:

  • look through their kids’ stuff.
  • check up on them to make sure they are where they are supposed to be.
  • find out who their friends are or who they hang with.
  • talk often with teachers and coaches.
  • require accountability with schoolwork, school and church activities or how they spend their free time.

Adding to that they:

  • give their kids phones without any accountability.
  • let them go to homes of people they don’t know.
  • allow dating at an early age.
  • allow unsupervised internet browsing.
  • allow unlimited gaming or other “fun” that could turn into time wasting or obsession.

Moms! One way we protect our kids is by supervision.

  • I knew all of my kids’ friends.
  • I knew where they were at all times (unless of course, they were sneaky about it – but I eventually found out).
  • We didn’t allow sleep overs at other homes (We learned that lesson quickly).
  • We didn’t allow them to own cell phones.
  • We often looked through their rooms.
  • There was never any Internet browsing and any computer time was limited and supervised (out in the open, never in their rooms).

Granted, I had some “interesting children” but I only went to extremes when necessary. Otherwise, we made it clear to all of our kids that as long as they were living under our roof during the years we are responsible for them, there was to be no expected privacy. (Except for obvious personal time).

We didn’t allow dating – at all.

Supervise your kids! {Mom of Many}

We did encourage good friendships. I told them you can’t necessarily control your feelings but you can control what you do about them.

One year we had a child in our home for a Christmas visit that would call our boys into the bathroom and shut the door to whisper ideas of badness. Oh boy did we had trouble with a capital “T”. It led to some pretty bad behavior and attitudes. We squelched the activity, but a little too late.

Don’t make the same mistake we did. By the time we knew something was up, it was too late.

Supervise. Supervise. S.U.P.E.R.V.I.S.E.

  1. Do your best to limit your kids’ exposure to troubled kids. Ever heard of “rebel radar?”
  2. Watch for whisperings and plotting if you have “interesting kids.”
  3. Keep a good line of communication open to get a feel for your kids’ attitude and experiences.
  4. You want your kids to know you are watching them – be ever present. Be around. Be present.
  5. Watch. See. Ponder. Ask. Be involved. Be present. Be wise. Be open and obvious.
  6. Listen to that small still inner voice – If you are a believer, it’s the Holy Spirit warning you!

This is what my DD said about our supervision during her growing up years: “Paying attention to who your kids hang out with… It annoyed me when I was younger – you paying attention to who I hung out with so much…(now she says) but good job!”

Do you supervise? Do you get criticized by others about how much you supervise? We were criticized by some saying we didn’t criticize enough (though I can’t imagine anyone supervising more than I did) and we were criticized that we supervised too much. Only you know your child best and only you can decide how much is needed. Each child is different and you have to parent differently for each child – yep, you guessed it. We were criticized for that too.

The thing is…I have complete confidence that I did all I could to bring them up right. I don’t stress over my part, don’t doubt or even look back and wish I had done more. You too can be that confident!

Until next time,

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips

Grammie dates are the bomb! Parenting Tip #20

I have four local grandkids and love love L.O.V.E. every minute I have with them. I find that I enjoy having them individually as well as in different combinations.

Grammie dates are the bomb! {Mom of Many}To have them separately helps me get to know them individually rather than how they are in a “group.”

It helps them get to know me better. The third and fourth, etc. don’t get the advantages of alone time with Grammie like the first and second did.

Here are some ideas for one-on-ones:

  • Invite just one to spend the night and have them keep track of who’s turn is next. It’s good time to watch an extra long movie, snuggle, and share munchies.
  • Plan a time to take them out on a date and let them choose where you go. Just dropping by without planning in advance (ask their mom first, secretly) and inviting them out is fun. I usually ask where they want to go eat and what stores or activities they want to do. A typical date is lunch at a restaurant, off to Walmart to pick out a dollar or two toy and then over to look at the pets at Petsmart.
  • Hire them to help you at your house do a job like landscaping or cleaning out the basement (with you). They learn to help Grammie (preparing for the older years) and can gain the satisfaction of earning some pocket change (don’t pay them a lot, just enough to give them a taste of earning $).
  • Have them over to learn to cook or work out in the garden.
  • Revive some of the lost arts like crocheting or sewing.
  • Do some DIY together. My grandson and I love to create. Our  next project is a fairy garden.
  • Take them out Christmas shopping for their mom and dad. How often do little ones have a gift for their parents that one of the parents didn’t have to plan? Our DD gives each of them a dollar or two and we go to the dollar store to pick out gifts. That way they can practice gift giving without much financial loss if their gifts are goofy! Let them choose what they want to give for a gift (with a little guidance).
  • If they are older, try movies, trips to the mall and even church or school activities. Take a granddaughter to get a manicure or change up her hairstyle.

You will be amazed how a little one-on-one will improve your relationship.

They feel special and you get to talk and interact with them alone. It creates a desire to be with you. This is the greatest benefit. To be loved is one thing. To be wanted is even better.

It’s the bomb.

Do you have any ideas to add? Leave me a comment!

 

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Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Family Parenting tips

Abandonment Issues – Parenting Tip #18

Fear of Abandonment

This is a huge issue. It affects so many of us – kids and adults alike.

I’ve known so many who are affected in every area of their lives because they felt abandoned by those who were suppose to care for them.

It affects their future relationships with:

  • parents & grandparents
  • peers & friends
  • spouses & children
  • co-workers/business partners/employees

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~Frederick Douglass

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Please. Please. Please. Put your kids first and always be there for them.

  • Be available – in the good times and in bad.
  • Meet their needs
  • Give them structure and clear expectations.
  • Hold them accountable.
  • Follow through – be consistent.
  • Consider what is best for them in every decision.
  • Be involved in every area of their lives.
  • If they tell you to back off or leave them alone – don’t. They need you even if they don’t know it.
  • If there is a problem, care enough about them to address it.
  • Keep the light on.

 

Kids, especially teenagers sometimes will think you don’t care about them if you discipline them.

They may even hate you in the moment. But if you don’t correct them they will assume you don’t care. You can’t win for losin’. Go figure.

 

Kids want you to go the extra mile to make sure they are secure and cared for.

Sometimes that is inconvenient. Yep. Parenting isn’t always easy or fun. You have to do things you don’t like, they don’t like and others don’t like. You will be criticized, misjudged and disliked. Oh, well. Your kids come before your popularity or comfort.

We had people tell us we were too soft on our kids and others tell us we were too hard. You can’t please everyone!

They are worth your effort. They are worth your time.

 

A SIDE NOTE: I have kids who love me. I have kids who don’t. Regardless of which category they fit in – I still love them all. I want them in my life and the door will always be open to ALL of them. It was hard to teach some of my adopted kids to trust us because of their past experiences, but we worked at it every day and still do. Sometimes only God can heal the hurt. We wait and watch.

The ones who love me are amazing and I cherish EVERY moment I’m with them. I always hope the ones who don’t will pick up the phone or text me and let me know they are coming by for a visit – it has happened!

I’ve seen God do amazing things. 

I pray every day that He will do a tremendous work in our family. We did our part. Now we wait and watch for Him to work.

If you have abandonment issues in your family or personally – ask God for healing. He can and will. I have been so impressed with my kids who have allowed God to work in their lives and bring them to the other side. It takes time and effort to sort it all out. They are amazing.

 

For a free word art high resolution word art click here or on the picture below:

Abandonment {Mom of Many}

Val @ Mom of ManyMomofMany.net

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Family Parenting tips

5 Things You SHOULD Say to Your Adult Kids – Parenting Tip #17

Adult Kids {Mom of Many.net}

Having a new, adult relationship with your kids is such a wonderful change.

No responsibility.

No conflict.

No pressure.

You can just enjoy them! You look forward to them coming for a visit, enjoy them when they are in your home and then they go home to their own home, their own lives, and their own plans.

If you do it right, you can have a great relationship – it is so amazing to have adult kids that you can spend time with, share things, talk things over with, dream with, laugh with, cry with, complain to, listen to, plan, party, and pursue…

You get the idea.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Here are the 5 things you should say to your adult kids:

  1. I can’t wait till you guys come visit.
  2. You’re doing a great job!
  3. When are you bringing the kids over?
  4. No matter what, we will always love you.
  5. We are only a phone call away.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Keep that door open. Make sure they know you want them – no matter what.

I always told my kids, “If you decide to walk down a different road than what we mapped out for you, we won’t go with you but we will be right here when you decide to come back, waiting.”

It is not our job to correct our kids once they are adults. It is our job to be available when they need us.

Adult to adult is our reward for raising them.

That doesn’t mean we follow them into the darkness if they choose to walk there. It does mean we stay in the light so they can find it when they come looking.

Val @ Mom of Many

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5 Things NOT to Say to Your Adult Kids – Parenting Tip #16

Adult Kids {Mom of Many.net}We were blessed with lots of family this Thanksgiving weekend. We have babies!

I’ll keep this quick since I have family in this weekend…

As your kids grow and go, your ability to influence changes.

Let’s explore what NOT to say to your adult kids.

  1. Unless asked, don’t offer advice.
  2. Never criticize or jab your kids with little irritating comments.
  3. If you have a problem with their lifestyle, keep it to yourself.
  4. Never intervene during your kid’s and their spouse’s disagreements.
  5. Never tell them they are raising their kids wrong. N.E.V.E.R.

There are a ton more, but you get the picture.

Our job now that our kids are grown and establishing their own family is to enjoy them. We are here if they need us. Our relationships now as adults do not require us to take responsibility for any of their choices, so we are free to step back and just let them be who they are.

If they want our advice, they will ask.

If they need our help, we need to be available, judgement free, and supportive.

Is this difficult? Yes, sometimes. But to be free of responsibility is very liberating. We work hard at it and try to keep the lines of communication open.

We are in the process of developing new relationships with our kids – some are there, some need work some are non-existent, but we are hopeful. When they are ready, they will come.

The main thing to remember is to watch, wait and hope – and be ready.

 

Val @ Mom of Many

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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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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.

If you would like immediate access to me and our group of M.O.M.s, join the Mom of Many mailing list. You will not only receive information on parenting and free stuff like word art and giveaways, but you will also get invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Val @ Mom of Many

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