Okay I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged and I have a very good reason…life. I know, I know…excuses….we all have them and they are like everyone elses…lame and boring so I won’t go into them for you. I will however tell you that I have had ample time to think about lots of topics since I have been absent and am full of myself and have many subjects on which to thrill and amaze you all….I hope.
I have decided that I am definitely conflicted in my parenting style. Having been raised in the very deep south, Mississippi, to be exact, with a very firm autocratic “because I told you so” attitude, it is very easy to slip into that manner of parenting. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” are words that are spoken in almost every home down there, along with all of those other adages that they love to use to be harsh and reinforce their shared ideas. “What they need is a trip to the woodshed.” “Children should be seen and not heard.” “Go and break a switch for me.” “A good old-fashioned whipping will beat that idea right outta you!” I am sad to say that when I started my parenting career that I actually thought that corporal punishment was the most effective way to go and employed it quite freely. Now that is not to say that there are not some moments in your kids lives that you just have to put your foot down. and do just that…it is called for in some rare instances, like when they are trying to insert something into the light socket or drive drunk. Most other times they are just being kids, learning life lessons, and getting on parental nerves. It is how you deal with it that teaches them how to deal with the world. I was doing fine with the “Mississippi mindset” until I had my bipolar 13-year-old beauty because all of the typical parenting tricks that you employ on your erring offspring didn’t work with this little munchkin. To be totally honest, I had noticed cracks in the old system…that is, wasn’t as effective as I would have like it to be, but what else is there to do???
We moved to California when my girl, was just a baby. AH HA! my world began to grow and so did my brain…thank goodness! I am sure that my kids are happy for the change! I watched as Cali parents actually gave their kids time outs…What were these things? How did they work? I started to buy parenting books to see why what I was doing wasn’t working out for me. Here is a brief list of the main thing that I learned.
- I win by default because I am the parent so I don’t have to get riled up by my kids. That idea really gets them confused and me amused. I stay super calm and they don’t…ha ha ha…points for me.
- Swearing at some point becomes an issue, they are only words people…don’t give them weight…I refuse to be offended by letters strung together to make sounds…it is ridiculous . (However, there is a price to pay…in our house it is a dollar in the swear jar per offense…and I have to admit I am the largest donor to the jar, dammit! Some times I actually prepay when I am grumpy or PMSing.)
- Respect is key in our home, but it isn’t a one way street. I respect my children also. I respect that they know what they are doing wrong and don’t lecture and keep my instructions as short and sweet as possible because I know they are smart and will ask follow-up questions if they have any.
- Logical consequences are usually the best punishment and you have to find out what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are. If you take a football away from a ballerina it doesn’t bother them.