Friday, June 24, 2011

Parenting Tips (from a Highly Imperfect Mom)


I make parenting mistakes on a daily (if not hourly) basis, but today I'm sharing a few of the minor victories I've scored in the "us vs. them" department.

Give them things they love…so you can take them away. The most valuable thing we can have as parents is ammunition. I'm more excited than they are when they get a new Wii, cell phone, iPod, because when they smart off to me or don't clean their room (for the umpteenth time), I can threaten them with no Wii, cell phone, iPod, and they'll straighten up, toot-sweet.

Make their bad behavior work for you. Putting kids in a time out chair can be effective, but how is it benefiting you? In our house, there are always things on the floor, on the counter, in the playroom, in the yard, that need to be put away. For nearly every minor infraction, our rule is "pick up 10 things." That means find ten things and put them where they belong. If there are Legos on the floor, it's easy. If it means picking ten weeds, it's a little harder. This punishment has a side benefit--you don't get as infuriated at the same old frustrating behaviors when it means a shiny clean living room for you.


Envision the long-term. It may not be a huge deal that they call you a name now, but what happens down the road may not be so innocuous. When Sean called me a dumb stupidhead at age 4, my brain fast-forwarded 13 years, and I pictured him calling me something much worse, then grabbing the car keys and heading out the door. So instead of laughing at his insult (I mean really, can't he do any better than "dumb stupidhead?" That's something a 3-year-old would say), I made him pick up 10 things.


Take all advice with a grain of salt, aka trust your gut. My first son did not crawl. He was on target in every other way except this, but instead of being happy that he was developing normally, I listened to all the people who advised me that not crawling is directly tied to reading ability, and Sean would certainly flunk out of Happy Times Preschool. Nearly 15 years later, I am happy to say that he reads normally--which means at 10 p.m. the night before his essay is due.

And in the "saving the best for last" department: Don't ever say, "My child would never..." I promise it will come back to haunt you on your very next baby.


What are your best parenting tips?

17 comments:

  1. This cracked me up! Great post... a very wise older mom once told me to say YES to as many small things as possible so that when you have to say NO to something, they will take you seriously. Now that I have a teen and a tween, I'm finding that was great advice... when I say no they know there is usually a reason behind it and not just because "mom ALWAYS says no".

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  2. Great post, great advice and all so true. Each child is unique and different and is bound to surprise you in a way that only he or she can. :)

    My kids are now grown and my daughter, who is now a mother with 4 children of her own, calls me frequently saying; "Mom I now see where you were coming from as a mother. I so get it now."

    Yay ! It is true "pay back time". :D

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  3. Very nice. We take away the video games for the boys and facebook for Kate. And much lIke your 10 things rule, ours is an extra chore. Or two. Or three. They can add up fast.

    On the positive side, we try not to micromanage. It's tempting to say "do it this way", but we try to let them make as many decisions as they can, and figure out how to do things on their own. Decision-making is a skill not many adults are good at.

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  4. I always used to say "My child will never..." of course, that was BEFORE I had kids. I agree, it comes back tenfold!

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  5. I'm not a parent, but these are great, Janet!

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  6. No kids for me too, but this was fun reading:):)

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  7. Thanks for the great post! I LOVE the 10 things idea, and when mine gets old enough to understand what that means, I think we'll be trying it. :)

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  8. I laughed out loud at these, especially the one about your son "reading normally, which means at 10 p.m. the night before the essay is due." Oh, that brings back memories. Hahaha. I don't have kids but will definitely be keeping these wise tips in mind if I ever do!

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  9. I agree with all of it - one of my four lost his DS for six months after he decided to be non cooperative in class. If I don't take their nonsense now perhaps at some point they will realize it's easier just to do what your supposed to do! If they are not made to listen at four the won't listen at 14 for sure!!! I also don't allow email/facebook or cell phones - just more nonsense and temptation they don't need and serve no purpose! You go mama!

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  10. The taking away of the beloved DS games always do it for me. So true!

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  11. Very clever and so true. Especially the "My kid would never..." part.

    We all learn as we go, and we are to make mistakes, it is inevitable. But if love leads us, we will find a way.

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  12. Thanks for the post- and the laugh :)

    Your newest follower,
    -Laurie

    createdbylaurie.blogspot.com/

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  13. It's been a long time since I've had kids in the house but as I remember it, taking away anything that requires electricity or batteries worked quite well!

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  14. I'm definitely going to try the "pick up 10 things" I love that idea. Thank you!

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  15. I found your blog very informative. It really gives insight to the readers especially to all parents there and gives idea on how to have a successful parenting.
    ________
    Ann
    Parenting Philippines

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