Parenting

Being a parent was something that was always in the back of my head as something that I wanted to accomplish some day but not something that I would ever be ready for. Being a parent to Ty has been one of the most difficult things I have had to do in my life. While it does have its rewards, it is a hard job and probably the biggest responsibility that I have ever carried in my life. Every single action that I take around him has consequences, and at times it feels like I don’t have a clue, it makes me feel very powerless.

Sometimes I also feel too strict, but I end up not thinking is a bad thing. Now that I have to be a parent to a child I can get on a high horse and while it only has been for the past year I can start calling myself a parent. At least I feel a little more comfortable with the title.

I am very old fashion when it comes to a child’s upbringing. I believe that they should never be involved in adult conversation. I believe that they should never talk back and that they should always listen the first time. I also believe that children crave discipline and are in a never ending struggle with boundaries and trying to push them. It is our nature as humans to find our identity. Granted not all of us are leaders and some of us take identities given by society or others, but in the search of it we create a personality and become “ourselves.” I believe parents are a huge influence on what a child becomes, while still knowing that each person will become what they chose.

I believe that rules are important; I also believe that rules should never be broken. Rule breaking becomes a vicious cycle. If we tell a kid not to do something, but for whatever reason we allow it, we are losing credibility by making rules flexible to situations. Kids are smart and will try to see what other situations allow for rules to be broken. At times I really become too much of a disciplinarian and I am trying to balance it out with love. Giving and showing and much love as I can. I hope that it will reach a happy medium.

I recently read an article that I believe has excellent advice…

Jacobsen’s tough-love solution clarifies the difference between rights and privileges. Rights include an abuse-free environment; adequate shelter, clothing and food; and access to education and basic health.

To your child’s horror, everything else is a privilege. That includes television and phone time, computers, in-line skates, dinner at McDonald’s, laundry service, $150 athletic shoes and copious amounts of soda per week. “Control over your child’s privileges is key to better behavior,” writes Jacobsen, an expert in child guidance and developmental psychology.

Her system teaches parents to allocate privileges on a contingency basis. Good behavior means privileges are “on”; bad behavior means they’re “off.” The all-or-nothing approach will have a dramatic effect on your youngster, she promises.

We have actually tried a similar approach and it has had some positive effects. Like anything else it is about consistency. Another approach that works if used correctly is timeouts. They have to be done as a form of cooling and not punishment. To have the child stand in the time out spot until they are ready to discuss the behavior that needs to be corrected. They pretty much stay in the time out until they get to the right frame of mind.

I know I don’t have all the answers, I know that I need to learn a lot more. All I know is that being a parent is a hard job and people need to take it seriously.

3 Responses to Parenting

  1. Some parents I know need to read this. I often wonder if I would feel differently if I had kids of my own, but I doubt it. One of my pet peeves is when my friends will allow their children to butt into our conversation and interrupt.

  2. The time-out is what we do with Shaq when he gets out of line, and he’s 13! I’ll admit though, his little butt will get spanked if he does something REALLY awful. The ass-whoopin’ is really not painful per se, but it is more about embarassment. Some times my little brother is extremely rude, but in the end, discipline is what that boy craves. Let me tell you — I could not agree more to what you are saying. Children are always trying to flex the boundaries between childhood and adulthood.

    The only part I would disagree with you on slightly is the thing about having adult conversations around children. I think that depending on what the situation is, as they get older, children should be allowed permission to certain adult conversations. For the most part, I always stayed quiet until I got a little older and my family let me join conversations if I was mature enough and understood a concept enough to participate in an adult chat.

    I don’t know if you knew this or not, but Kris and I will be taking care of my little brother the entire summer! Yeah, it’s going to be a pain-in-the-butt, but it’s also going to be rewarding and a great learning experience for Kris. As for me . . . I already know how to deal with the boy, ha!

  3. Contact me if you want to be a parent for couple of months or one year to a high school student….

    I recently became an International Exchange Coordinator for a great non-profit organization—the EF foundation–Foundation for Foreign Study. My volunteer job is to find host families for our bright, curious, eager, young world-travelers from all over the world.

    Any family can be a host family, singles, couples, couples with kids, gay/lesbian family etc. –as long as you can provide a room, meals and love. In exchange, you open up yourself to a whole different culture and you helped a kid to experience what is called “American life”.

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