A Parental Test of the Tween and Four Year Old

God forbid I want to wear my own dang boots in the middle of the snow storm we got hit with yesterday. God Forbid that I do not allow my daughter to wear said boots because they are 1) mine and 2) not hers. Good point, right? Not clearly enough for this tween.

Friday Night Play Time

I was all impressed, got up on time with my alarm clock. Boys both got dressed when I asked them to. Both boys got their shoes on. Their coats on. They ate breakfast. They did their mouth rinse. They listened very well and even had extra time to watch a video on the Kindle Fire while waiting for their tween sister.

Yes. Tween. Between the age of 4 with K-man and this tween crap with Kiara, I am going to be looking more salt and pepper grey, if not grey this Summer season. Seriously.

I rarely can win. If I say where the other boots, they are bad and don’t work all of a sudden and it’s the end of the freaking world. If I say you are not wearing your pajamas, well then I am discouraging her independent be different personality that I only have encouraged ALL of her life.

Sigh.

Breath.

Take a sip of coffee……. that is all I can do.

Close mouth while ahead in conversation. Laugh. Drink more coffee.

And then get your son to school late. The same son you are trying like hell to get to school before 1st bell rings to encourage independence because your tween daughter decided to take forever to get ready for school when she ended up going to school in her pajama pants and a sweatshirt anyways.

I give. I give. I do not get this. I have lost understanding of the tween brain.

Kids Only Care about How you Made/Make Them Feel #parents

There is this saying somewhere and I cannot quite recall the exact wording, but it’s lesson to be learned within the quote is that of which many parents need to realize; children will not remember everything you bought or gave to them but rather how you made them feel growing up. This is so true because in all honesty I do not recall much of anything my parents purchased for me growing up, I remember how each of them made me feel when I was a child. In all honesty, to this day I care more about how my parents make me feel than what they say or do for or to me. To feel as if your parents care, listen attentively {even if they disagree with you} and to make you feel as if they love you unconditionally is the best feeling in the world.

Loving Mother with her sonI was one of those people who always said, as most people do find themselves saying “I will never be like my parents, ever!” I can honestly say that a lot of my decisions as a parent are based on the opposite of what either of my parents would do but then there are other situations that come up where I handle them in the exact way one or both of my parents would have handled it. Just like me having the perfect friend/parent blend of a relationship with my kiddos, I also have that perfect blend of my own parenting/my parents parenting styles mixed together so that indeed I have not “become” my parents, but built on things I learned through memories of how they parented.

Mother Daughter and pugAs my oldest nears that wonderful age of teenager she is now in those tween years, the years where everything becomes a drama fest and being that she is super sensitive like her Mama was {and still sometimes can be}, there are these tiny situations that come up for discussion with me. You see, no matter how small I feel the battle my daughter is facing with classmates, parents, friends, siblings or what have you, I always inventively listened, provided positive productive feedback and also at times played devils advocate on situations. I am often found talking in a calm, matter of fact, sweet voice to her when she needs to be calmed down from some drama fest and no matter how I handle whatever topic she is stressing over, one thing remains the same - my daughter knows that I am holding whatever she is venting to me about or talking to me about with the utmost importance. 

Sleepless SonsI do not care if my daughter is telling me about another girl rolling her eyes. Another kid calling her a cripple. I do not care if she came home to tell me that she broke a nail and it was the most embarrassing thing in the world and I feel that urge to giggle – I hold back giggles, I do not laugh at her. I listen and give her a big ole Mama hug, if I feel she is seeking advice – I give it. If I feel she just needs me to listen and make her feel loved and important – I listen.  You know, in all of the books I have read, I see that most mothers and daughters have this lapse in their closeness during the hormonal changes the girl goes through as a teen, I have to wonder if I have built such a great relationship with my daughter that our paths won’t cross as much of a dramatic, monster-ish teen years as most books portray between mother and daughter during the teen years?!

One thing I do know is that I am 100% confident my children feel important, unconditionally loved and valid. I can only hope that every other child in this world is able to feel that much love and happiness too!

 

Mother and Daughter Always Have to be Friends

My daughter and I read every night before bed, well I read to her. I love that no matter how much older she gets, she still enjoys time with her Mama at end of day after the boys have been put to sleep. We read, play a card game and talk for fifteen minutes, then I sing to her and always give her kisses and hug goodnight. It’s our routine and hasn’t changed since as far back as I can remember. Our current book we are reading is Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers & Daughters: 101 Inspirational and Entertaining Stories about That Special Bond.

We recently read a story within this book about a mother & daughter who was having such difficulties during the teen years and I turned to Ki after the story was done to let her know that we have some rough years ahead. I don’t expect her to always think of me as her friend and there will be times where our relationship is challenged, much like that within the story we read. Ki smiled and said to me:

Mama we have to be friends, we are mother and daughter and that’s just how it is. We will always be friends because of our mother/daughter relationship.

Let me tell you all what, that brought instant tears to my eyes! That daughter of mine is the sweetest little girl, ever. No joke. I smiled and said, that is a very interesting way of looking at it, let’s hope you still feel that way during your teen years and gave her a big hug!

The Parental Community Needs to Realize Verbal Abuse HURTS

Children are and have always been important to me, think about it; children are our future. Why would we not rank them of high importance? Children are loving, honest and kind, born into this world with such a curiosity about the world around them and the ability to have no filter on their mouths.  I admit, the truthful nature of children can certainly take you back, make your jaw drop and sometimes make you giggle, with that being said, children are a true blessing. They come in all shapes and sizes with brain power in that little baby head beyond our understanding.

What happens when you insert the children of this world into the real world and they start to hear other people’s views? These children who are sweet and innocent by birth end up being influenced by their environment, heck even kids who haven’t yet walked outside of their family unit on their own yet have a lot of environmental factors inside of their own home that change the way they handle other people and view their own self.

I am a firm believer in genetics playing a key role in who we are, but I am also a firm believer that no matter what genetics have instilled within our own self, that we can truly become whom ever we wish to be.  During the tween and teen years it’s extremely difficult for a child to do more than just follow their peers. Peer pressure plays a key role during this time of a child’s life and it’s up to the adults in this child’s life to have already formed a special bond with their child to ensure that peers are not able to fully affect this child in a negative way.

One thing that happens all too often and is overlooked more than I care to get into is verbal & emotional abuse. Having been a victim of said crime, I can tell you from experience that verbal & emotional abuse will hurt you far longer than the bruise placed on you from physical abuse. Yes, physical abuse leaves major scars, both inside & outside, which is probably why physical abuse is reported & addressed more often than emotional & verbal abuse.

What can we do to stop children from being emotionally & verbally abused by their loved ones? I don’t wish to have the government raise our children, we don’t need “laws” from government to tell us how to parent, what we do need is to remember that it takes a village to raise a child and whether you are related to this child & fear that speaking up will cause damage to the relationship you have with the abuser or you have learned what society says is acceptable “to mind your own parental business”, you need to speak up. You need to follow your gut instinct, listen to the child who is telling you about this verbal & emotional abuse and by all means do not let emotional & verbal abusers get off the hook so easy.

Someone who is abusing a child emotionally & verbally clearly has their own deep dark scars and demons that they have to address. We can not force a verbally & emotionally abusive person to change, but what we can do is save that child from the pain & suffering that will forever hold them back from being able to grow into a well rounded, happy adult. We, as a community, need to spread knowledge, speak up about verbal and emotional abuse. Get the word out that we, as a community, will no longer sit back and allow agencies to toss emotional & verbal abuse out the back window but rather face it, solve it and save a child from having to face their own demons & scars forced upon them by their abuser later in life in order to have a fully well balanced life.

Speak up, Speak out against abuse of children both physically & emotionally. We, the people, have the power to help our future adults enjoy their childhood fully.

Cyberbullying is Real, Have you Experienced It?

I recently watched a TV movie about cyberbullying and it opened my eyes to a lot of parental subjects that need to be discussed with my children when they become a bit older. As of this moment my children are not online via social media sites or other communities therefore cyberbullying does not come into play .. yet.

The movie I watched was about a girl who was being cyberbullied to the point where she felt she had nothing better to do than to attempt to commit suicide. The sad fact is, this happens all of the time. It’s somewhat easy for adults to tell our children that this is just mean kids, kids who have never been taught how to treat others nicely or we can reassure our children that what the bully is saying is not true. Honestly, words do hurt. The old saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” can be considered tossed out of the window for too many teens are being verbally abused and too many adults are simply making excuses for this bullying, citing verbal abuse isn’t as devastating as let’s say, physical abuse.

Words can be just as hurtful as physical abuse, and we need to be putting up parental monitoring units on our computers to ensure we are being proactive to cyberbullying with our teens. Maybe your teen is guilty of being a cyber bully, you never know unless you are heavily monitoring your teens online experience. I get that we want our children to learn they are trusted and that they have privacy but sometimes monitors are simply a way for us to continue to protect our children, let’s face it, our children are not adults until they are 18 years old and moved out on their own. It is a parents job to teach trust and privacy as well as protect and if that means putting up parental monitoring on your computer .. so be it!

One of the girls on the movie I watched stated “I don’t know why I did what I did, but it just didn’t seem real when I was typing things on the computer”, too many teens are not being shown that words online, things we put out there are not easily taken back and can spin through the world wide web faster than a rumor in a small town. Be proactive parents, be aware that words do hurt and establish a communication with your children at a young age so that they trust to confide in you about anything that happens in their lives; that is the best way to ensure your child does not fall victim to cyberbullying, or worse yet, become the bully themselves!

 

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