Tonight I'll join 2 other ladies from church in a panel forum about mothering. We were asked to bring some thoughts on what we feel we did (or still are) doing well; and what we feel we did (and unfortunately still are) doing not so well. It is a humbling task to try to share with other moms some things that work well and things that do not work. Maybe someone out in internet land can benefit from what I've been mulling over the last 2 weeks.
First of all, I want to make sure all understand that I am still in knee deep in this mothering gig and do not want to assume I have it figured out. In fact, Hudson (age 6) is giving me a run for my money! What I say has worked well in the past very likely may be a big bomb later on. Carter has turned out super, all due to God's great grace...not our parenting skills! Oh, he did get a tattoo last week..rebel :)
Suggested Books---toss most and take all with a grain of salt. They are not the end all be all of mothering/parenting
A few I really like and cling to some of the truths are "Weird" by Craig Groeschell, "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours" by Dr. Leman Love is a Decision by Gary Smalley and John Trent.
Things that work well for us:
When a kid asks to do something, I respond with "I don't know, do you have the freedom to do that?" I totally stole this from Dr. Leman. It places the responsibility on the child. For example: kid wants to watch a movie. You say "I dont know, do you have the freedom to do that?" This basically ques the child to take a mental checklist of things he/she know deep down that they should have accomplished (maybe clean room, homework completed..etc)
Allow choices. My parents did this really well. I tried lots of activities, ugly fashion styles, and decorated my room hideously. All these things let me express and experiment without being unsafe or causing me to stumble. I try to do the same with my kids.
Have fun! Laugh, be silly
What doesn't work well for me and I have struggled with:
Controlling behaviors. Darn it! I want my kids to act the way I think they should. Sometimes (okay, often) I revert to controlling behaviors to manipulate them to act "right"
Imparting a critical spirit. UGGGGH, I had to go there didn't I?? It is so amazing how I hear my kids criticizing or making assumptions and I wonder why they are critical or negative? Umm, excuse me, pot calling the kettle black. Holy Spirit, please free my mind and tongue from a critical spirit and do the same with our children!
Spanking. Okay, simmer down out there. I am in agreement that there is a time and a place for spanking. It works very well to deter deliberate and defiant disobedience. But, we made mistakes as new parents with spanking. We expected way to much of our young and fairly wild little boy. I wish I could redo so many of those frustrating moments and use "time ins" instead of spanking.
And lastly, I want to acknowledge that something that works well for us is that mommy has an interesting life outside of the children. Our children understand that the entire universe does not revolve around mommy serving them and making their childhoods picture perfect.
And there you have it. This is what I plan on talking about in a few hours.