Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Life Lessons

I love learning, which I suppose is a good thing since we spend a lot of our lives learning. Learning from mistakes is a good one. Learning to adapt-especially in parenting. Those little buggers keep growing and changing and what worked yesterday won’t necessarily work tomorrow. We need to learn to adapt, to grow our parenting skills along with our growing kids. I’m not a great parent-I realize that. I see moms who are so patient, so smart in how they teach and treat their kids and I wish I could be more like them with Michael. He is my heart and my joy and I could have given him so much more…our relationship could be so much better…Maybe he wouldn’t be going through these struggles right now if I had been a better mom. And you can’t take back all those years that have passed, all those opportunities lost. But, I can learn and try to do better today.

I’ve set up a behavior chart for him that lists both responsibilities and chores. We made a morning priority list to hang in his room so I could stop the daily nagging of, “Get dressed, brush your teeth, wash your face, make your bed…are you ready yet? It’s almost time to go! MOVE!! Where are your SHOES??” Yeah, every day…for at least the last four years that he’s been in school. So, really, he KNOWS what he needs to do every morning and I certainly don’t need to remind him a hundred times every morning. It drains my patience and absolutely annoys him. So, here’s your list—it is now YOUR responsibility to do these things without me nagging you about it. Homework is also his responsibility. And he is responsible for being honest with us and for having a good attitude. He gets a star every day for each of these things, when he completes his morning routine on his own, finishes his homework and for not whining or arguing about doing what is expected.

Then he also has a few daily chores. I watch The World’s Strictest Parents sometimes and I see these kids who are cleaning houses from top to bottom, or doing serious, heavy farm work and Michael doesn’t realize how easy he has it! Maybe I’m too lenient on him but, being a stay at home mom, the housework is my job-not my kid’s. He can keep his room clean and set the table, feed the dogs and take out the trash. Maybe I can incorporate some of my least favorite chores into a consequence list for him…This could work! And he gets a star every day for each of these chores he does without my nagging or him whining, then at the end of the week accumulated stars can earn him some allowance and privileges—most of which he’s lost this month for bad behavior. I think he deserves some recognition for positive behavior if we expect him to improve at all right now.

And he likes the stars! I found some old encouragement stickers that say ‘Super!’, ‘Great job!’, and ‘Way to go!’ That sort of thing, like teachers use on school papers. I’ve put them on the days he’s done really well. He smiles at the chart when he sees he’s doing good and I think it’s helping. I get more “Yes Ma’am”’s now instead of “I don’t wanna!”’s.

I still need to sit down with Bill—if he’d ever be home long enough to have a discussion about all of this! We need to come up with a good consequence list that we can use rather than blurting out extreme punishments in the heat of the moment. That way we’ll all have some structure and a guideline of consistency to fall back on. We’ll all know what to expect when behavior gets out of control and maybe that will help Bill and I feel less frustrated and slower  to lose tempers as well as helping Michael to know what’s expected of him and what to expect when he doesn’t meet those expectations. It’s a start, anyway. We’re all learning here.
One of my spider plants blooming

My favorite purple mini-rose died this summer but now a spider plant and a christmas cactus have somehow started growing in the pot all on their own!

This is what happens if you leave your shoes laying around our don't...unless you don't like your shoes or you just wanna go shoe shopping...

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