Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's Hard

If you get the impression from reading my blog that I am pretty laid-back, not a worrier, and fairly even-keeled, you would be correct. Even when I was a first-time mom, nine years ago, one of my neighbors who was years ahead of me in the parenting journey commented that I was so relaxed for a first-time mom. Pacifier fell on the floor? That's okay--use the five second rule and pop it back in. Want to go out with my husband? Find a babysitter for the easy-to-care-for Amanda, and let's go.

By nature, I'm not worrier. I'm so laid-back in some areas (ahem, housekeeping), that I probably cross the line into laziness. I generally think that this is not something to worry about, but in my parenting responsibilities I have been a bit lax. At nine, Amanda is definitely cruising towards adolescence. While she does love me, share worries with me, and generally still thinks I'm wise, there are other times when she is sure that she is right and I am wrong and has no qualms sharing this with me. At three, Kyle is still heavily into the testing-limits stage. He will try to get away with anything that I allow.

In catching up on several of my daily podcasts and doing some reading this week, several ideas are merging into one. Perhaps as a parent, I don't need to worry about doing more. I need to do less:
  • screaming
  • reminding
  • justifying
  • doubting
I am always convicted when behavior gets a bit out of control that it generally comes back to me. When I've let some things slide, there's a snowball effect. Now that I have two children, I end up with two snowballs careening down the mountain and gathering momentum. So I'm going to make a move back to zero-tolerance around here. That removes the emotional edge on my side of the equation, which generally equals less screaming, which is most definitely a good thing. When one of them disobeys or breaks a ground rule, I remove them from the situation. In spite of his testing, Kyle has not entered the questioning stage, so when I say, "Go to the stairs," he goes right away. Getting him to stay there for more than 30 seconds is difficult, but he knows that he's been banished for some misdeed, and usually comes right back and apologizes for the offense, even though I didn't lecture or explain why he had to go. Amanda is definitely smack-dab in the questioning and justifying stage, so I have to frequently remind myself that I am the parent and I don't have to justify or explain, specifically with issues that we've covered. I've told her that if I send her to her room, it's best for her to go then. If she has a question or something that she feels justifies her behavior, she can explain it in a few minutes when I come to talk with her.

Parenting is hard stuff. Not only is it hard, but the stakes are high. That's why I'm thankful to have friends and fellow bloggers who remind me to stay the course.


Andrea said...

It sounds like you are *on* the right course: failing, re-assessing, and changing. That's the stuff of parenting. :) I should know "Thy mercies are new every morning" is my mantra. *grin*

Stephanie said...

Amen, Amen, and Amen!

Org Junkie said...

I am so right there with you. It is tough no doubt and some days I mess up bad. My daughter is so much like me and we tend to clash terribly. The zero-tolerence works for us too. They know the consequences if they choose the wrong behaviour. It just is so frustrating that they keep doing it over and over again. At what point do they learn the lesson?? Uggg.

Melissa said...

Just found your blog yesterday! I've enjoyed reading it too! This post really hits home for me!

Brandon and Jenny said...

It IS hard! We have an almost 2 year old in the screaming phase. No one told us about that!

But we're seeing a little bit of improvement each day.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Lori said...

Oh my - this is so relevant! Perry questions and justifies so much that we always say he's gonna be the best attorney when he grows up.

Parenting is hard - I can't go it alone.

HipWriterMama said...

Parenting is harder than I ever imagined. This totally gives me a totally different view of my parents.

Latte-n-Libre said...

Great points and something I am always reminding myself.

btw... I love podcasts. DO you think you could share some of your favorites? I think I will do a post with some of mine as well.

Susanne said...

I think I need to pull zero tolerance on a few attitudes around here. And I'm with you being thankful for having friends and fellow bloggers to help out.

Katrina said...

Oh, I completely agree. Parenting IS hard, and it is so good to have a community to give us accountability, encouragement, examples, etc. Camden, too, loves to question and justify. And Logan...well, he's all about seeing where those lines in the sand really are. So often, I'd just like to crawl back in bed and ignore it all... but staying the course is critical.