Parenting Help

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Now that Mr.Boy has turned 6, I'm realizing that we're entering a whole new world of parenting. I want to show him that I trust him to do things on his own. He's pretty independent already, but since he's turned 6, I've wondered which freedoms should he have that he doesn't have yet?

So I asked him - "do you need more freedom?" and he answered "what's 'freedom' Mommy?" That was pretty funny. In the end, he suggested that he would like to order his own food at restaurants, walk to school on his own and ride his bike around the block alone. The first one is easy. I can accept that. The second one is fine as long as he waits for us at the crosswalk. As for riding his bike around the block without me, I'm just not ready for that. There are just too many people backing out of their driveways for me to feel safe. So I had to say 'no' to that one.

Lord knows I need all the parenting help I can get. Some days I really feel like I'm in over my head! Last winter, DH and I took a course called "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" I'd read the book already, but taking the course, especially as a couple was perfect. DH and I had some really intense conversations on the way to and from the class every week, for 6 weeks. I realized that we were doing a lot of things 'right' (whatever that means!) but we could still improve. Sometimes my head would hurt trying to override my instincts (which aren't perfect) and instead use the techniques in the book. When emotions are running high or it's a stressful situation, it's a pretty tough thing to do.

It's been about a year since we took the course and so many of the techniques in that class have worked so well. I really think our kids are turning out great. I flipped on the t.v. one day and saw a show called The Parenting Show on the local cable channel. After listening for just a few minutes, I kept thinking "boy, does she ever make a lot of sense!" I was referring to the parenting expert, Alyson Schafer. I went to her website and knew I wanted to read her book "Breaking the Good Mom Myth".

I read it and there were so many gasps of recognition as I went. The very first chapter is about self-care, and how this benefits you and your family. She talks about the importance of making time for your marriage. She introduces the idea of family meetings. She addresses sibling rivalry. One of the best parts was her showing how motherhood guilt is a self-serving emotion. What an eye-opener!

I've been able to see the behaviour of my children in a different light since this book. We've even introduced family meetings (well, we've had one anyway) and the kids loved it! They keep asking when the next one will be. So it seems like this will be a tool that could really help our family.

Up next is "Kids Have Stress Too" It seems to divide the advice based on the age of your child. It helps you teach your children how to deal with situations on their own. Have you read it?

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