When I became a mother I didn’t previously go to “Mother School”, I didn’t read books on what to do and what not to do either. The only thing I knew about being a mother and how things were done was that I had a mother and how she did things. As far as I am concerned she did a good job with her five kids. She was by no means perfect–nobody is, but she did the best she could and it was good. There are a lot of things she did a certain way that the minute I became a mother I knew that I didn’t want to do her way. The things I will describe here are in no way accusations and in no way am I criticizing the way anybody does things. They are simply the way I do them, how I see them and what makes sense to me. I am not looking for a debate and if you feel the need to debate then it’s obvious we differ in ways of teaching and that is totally OK with me as I am in no way using this blog to persuade. I simply want to once again post how I see things in my life from where I am standing.
Let me start with chores and paying a child to do them around the house.
I see no reason to give my kids money so that they can unload a dishwasher, empty out the garbage or walk the dog. I mean really, why should I pay? I believe in rewarding my kids for a job well done, for doing good at school and other things but I NEVER tell them it is payment for anything because then they would have room to negotiate with me. I am not here to negotiate with them. If that were the case then they would have to pay me to do their laundry, cook for them, the roof over their heads, the toilet paper they use, the water they shower and flush with… you get the point. Nobody pays me to do what I need to do in order to live in a clean home with them. There are things in life you don’t get paid to do but you have to do them anyway and I want them to learn that. And let me not even start on paying a child to clean their own room. Really? I’ve never had to offer money and I don’t plan to. They know that if a new book came out or a there is an activity they want to attend that I will most likely say yes or take them where they want to go without the thought that it is payment but more like “how can I say no when you are such a wonderful child?”
Consistency… If I promise or give a warning about something good or bad my child will get what I promised or warned about.
If I tell my kid that I am doing something special with them on Saturday… guess what. I will do something special with them on Saturday. If I tell them to do something and I warn them that if I have to repeat myself the result will be ______ (fill in the blank)… I follow through with that. I believe that keeping your word with a child whether it is for something good or a result is very important as it shows that child that they can trust you on your word and that you will do as you say. Again, this matter is not up for negotiation with a child.
I shouldn’t have to “pay” for my child to behave, at ANY age. I see this a lot especially at grocery stores. Negotiating for good behavior.
EXAMPLE: “Tommy, if you don’t cut it out mommy is not going to buy you the toy you are asking for.” “Tommy” continues to misbehave. Mom says, “Tommy, you are making mommy sad.” Tommy doesn’t give a crap and STILL gets the toy. HUH? No! If you told “Tommy” that his behavior was unacceptable and that you weren’t getting him the toy then you shouldn’t get him the toy. It’s not like you are depriving him of food or a necessity in life. Now Tommy thinks it is OK to do this any time and that he doesn’t have to listen because no matter what you will not follow through with your threat. This is not the time to negotiate.
My oldest is 12 and I have always told her that it is OK to get upset and OK not to like something I have said to her but it is NEVER and it will NEVER be OK for her to go slamming doors or yell out “I hate YOU!” even if at the moment she feels she does. That would probably bring out a monster in mom she does not want to see. That is NEVER how we deal with a situation or how we let anger get the best of us and NEVER the way to address a parent. I am the parent, she is the child and I was always taught to respect my elders and I believe that is the way to go. In this situation I have told her that if I say something she doesn’t like… let the air cool down, come to me and tell me. I am a reasonable person and if I find I was wrong, I have no problems apologizing to her, to a child as I think that will show her that she counts and that I respect her.
A tantrum, a fit, a little spectacle doesn’t make one a bad parent but if I don’t discipline my children, it will make menaces to society and I have nobody to blame but me. By discipline I am not speaking of spanking or anything that involves putting my hands on my children. I mean guiding them, not accepting unacceptable behavior, following through and giving a hoot.
*There has never been a Tommy, it was simply for example sake. I’m sure all the Tommy’s in the world respect their parents 😉