Parenting - What is the Ultimate Goal?
Oh the joys of parenting. Or not. Honestly, it's okay to once in awhile say, "this job sucks!" in regards to parenting right? We're back on the Preston Whirl-Around roller coaster ride and I'm never sure from one day to the next what is going to happen. I guess it's like that damn box of chocolates that Forest Gump emblazoned into our brains - I never know what I'm going to get. I try and try to be patient but like the 'Sound-O-Meter' they put on the jumbo-tron at basketball games, that's what my patience level looks like in a week, or a day, or an hour. Try as I may, it isn't always possible to have my game face on or kept the wrath of mom bagged. The point is that I try and I don't beat myself up anymore when I'm not June Cleaver. I do take note when those moments happen and with a shake of my head recognize that I didn't handle that the right way and review what would have been a better way to go about that issue. I think that's healthy - if we can recognize it, make note of it and then try to do better the next time around, that's progress. It's totally become all about progress for me. And I'm posting below a fabulous little read that was recently going around facebook. It is a MUST READ.
Moving along, so yes, Preston has been difficult. I had to put my war paint back on and yesterday decided to pick him up from school and stop-by our favorite cookie joint, Kneader's. He told me all about the book that he is loving (the child who never reads read for 200 minutes last night - tracking it on the most fabulous invention ever, a bookmark-timer) and I asked him how school was and what was going to be happening for Valentine's. It was delightful. We looked at some of their little boutique items and I asked him if he would be my Valentine. It was good to have that 30 minutes of one-on-one time and he had a great night. He went to bed happy, I went to bed happy. Yay! A moment of awesomeness.
As far as my continued New Year's resolutions efforts, parenting was the other big piece of the puzzle for me. This is the biggest nugget of wisdom I have in regard to parenting: In every instance, ask yourself what the ultimate goal is. If the goal is to get the dishwasher loaded, it doesn't matter how it is done - praise for the effort and be happy it got loaded. If the goal is to stop a fight, time the kids out to their rooms to stop the fighting; go back to life when they emerge (hopefully calmer). If the goal is to get out the door on time, it doesn't matter if his room should be reported to the local HAZMAT team, get out the door and praise him for his effort. If the goal is to get the dinner table set, it doesn't matter if the toddler got the adult plate and Sparky the dog got a plate too - praise for the effort (and you can make the quick 5-second fix). If the goal is to get the kids dressed and out the door, it doesn't matter if Timmy threw on his cowboy boots with his church clothes; praise him for getting ready on his own.
Here's my thing - kids learn from example and from modeling. I love what Jim Fay of Love and Logic says, "Decide how you want your kids to be and model it. If I want my kid to grow up behaving a certain way they had better see it in action." They will learn from consistency, routine, praise and seeing it in action. I can attest to the fact that the biggest lessons I learned I still recall from what my parents DID and from what they DIDN'T say. I do remember some lectures, but not many. If they would have done differently than they said, I would have remembered that too. I also know that when we get angry and lecture, the kid is focused on us whereas when we let consequences do the talking for us, the focus has to be on them.
Good luck parents. May the force be with you.
And here is the link to the MUST READ, Drops-of-Awesome: