Stop Explaining Yourself. Just Stop.

The real story of your life doesn’t need to be explained. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to explain nor get anyone else to understand the decisions you make in life. Sure people may shake their heads. Sure some may feel that you keep making the same mistakes. Who cares? I am sure every one of us makes similar mistakes over and over again in our lives, we are human.

You Make your Own ChoicesIt’s difficult for me, as a writer and avid talker, to not get caught up in explaining myself or my decisions. I have been raised in a way that I always felt the need to explain in detail why I have made decisions that I have made. Finally, one day it dawned on me that no matter how much I explain my scenario, no one else, aside from those walking in my shoes will fully comprehend the place I am coming from. The only people I take fully into consideration when I make decisions in life are my children.

That means when I have to move or spend money on something, or find more work; the ultimate goal is to ensure I am making a decision that benefits my children. I am not always perfect, occasionally I may make a decision that I feel isn’t bad for my children but may not be the best decision in the long run for my complete happiness. Yet, when faced with the scenario of having to make a choice again, I get caught up in the whole “what will people think” mindset. I need to just stop!

Those who are true to me, those who truly love me and care for me as a person will realize that they don’t need to accept, understand or comprehend my decisions; they simply need to be there to support me in all areas of my life. I have a few close people in my world and while I know full well they don’t always agree with my choices, they will support me and let me know that this is my life; at the end of the day I am the one who has to decide what’s best, not them. They respect that and I admire them for that choice they make, for those types of people are the ones I will go to time and time again for insight on my thoughts. 

Having my middle child recently diagnosed high functioning autistic, made me step back and realize even more so that I don’t need to explain anything. My son may look at people with a serious face that comes off as a glare, he isn’t trying to be mean; he is simply a very serious child who smiles at home in his comfort zone but overall doesn’t show emotions in the way everyone else expects him to. I want to raise all of my children through example that they, too, will never have to feel as though they must explain themselves to anyone!

So the next time you find yourself sitting down with someone and trying to explain to them why you made the decisions you made, remember that it doesn’t matter why to any outsiders. No one but you and maybe those who reside with you need to hear your reasoning, but even then, at the end of the day, you are your own person and must ensure that you are following your path in life. A happy person makes a happy environment.

Find that voice in your head that says “JUST STOP” each time you find yourself over analyzing, over explaining or feeling as if the world may shake their head at you. The world doesn’t matter, you matter most! Take care of you.

My Kids Work For Incentives and I’m not Talking Bribes

Bribing is an emergency parental tool in my opinion. I am sure to use it when I need a quick outcome to something, but it’s not a parental strategy that should be used all of the time. The best way to gain your child’s respect and teach them responsibility is to setup some sort of incentive program to get them to be 1) more independent and 2) responsible. As a parent we must teach our child, rather guide them, into the world of adulthood by setting up healthy boundaries, sticking with clear cut consequences and giving a bit of responsibility to them. Teaching a lot of the normal skills in the way I am used to parenting doesn’t work for all of my children, the first born and last born take kindly to my normal parental approach but my middle child has been the challenge.

My middle child is unique and thinks differently, my normal parenting techniques haven’t ever really worked for him. This is why I am always trying to be creative in addressing any issues that come from his medication being off or his changes as he gets older. Incentives is the way to go and I’m talking incentives to do every day normal things that he is capable of doing but can prove to be extremely difficult to get him to do. My middle child is more sensitive, his mood disorder plays a toll on him and he is a very literal child who is routine driven. I, on the other hand, am a fly by the moment person who loves surprises and just “wings” it. I have to train my brain to properly react to my middle child to ensure the best growth for him as a person.

During the Summer we had a schedule, this schedule was written up on a poster board, if there were to be any changes to that routine I had to let my middle child know ahead of time to avoid any major frustrations. The schedule worked amazingly to keep him on track and make our Summer full of fun. When school went back into session, the schedule no longer applied and was taken down. As my middle child’s medication stopped working fully I watched him withdraw from doing every day normal tasks such as brushing teeth, getting dressed on his own, wanting to do anything on his own, constantly needing someone there by him. It was rough and that’s when I decided to nip it in the butt with an incentive chart.

Incentive Chart

I decided to choose some tasks that I knew my middle child had to work on being encouraged to do on his own, providing him with more confidence in his own self and giving an incentive for his tally mark on the chart. Since my youngest and middle child are 1) both boys and 2) only 2 years 6 days apart, the incentive chart was created for both of them to work off of.

On the chart are tasks I want them doing on a regular and on their own, such as reading a book, cleaning up after themselves and getting their own self dressed both in morning and after bath for bedtime. I also wanted to get them brushing their teeth on a regular, as they were really getting frustrated with the idea of teeth cleaning again.

Since I started this chart, where they put one tally mark for each time they complete a task, I have seen amazing changes. My sons get themselves dressed in the morning before school, they brush their teeth on their own without me even asking, they have a love for books again and they love feeling accomplished in doing these things on their own.

At end of week, each tally mark counts as ONE PENNY, yes, they work for ONE PENNY each without complaint. Last week my middle child earn 23 cents and since he followed the chart so well, I gave him a quarter instead of 23 cents. While you may see this as a small amount, even my daughter will work for such small amounts because for my three children it isn’t about the money they are getting, it’s about the positive response from me beaming with pride and hugging them telling them how pride I am of them.

So you see, my kids work for incentives but it’s more emotional incentives than it is money based.

GradSave’s Fallen Heroes Program – Helping Children of Fallen Hereos

KevinVGradSave wanted me to take a moment to share some information with you all about their Fallen Heroes program which is a program started in partnership with the Children of Fallen Soldiers Organization. GradSave wants to remind you all this 4th of July holiday season that it is important to them to help children who have lost a parent in the Armed Forces get a discount on college costs.

Here is how you can help:

  • Share this post on social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Write an article of your own about this wonderful program to help children of Fallen Heroes.
  • Leave a comment in support of this great cause.
  • Donate money to the children of Fallen Heroes.

You can visit the Fallen Heroes website to see each child’s story as they have a few children featured right on the home page. Whether you choose to donate to all of the children or just some, you will be helping make a child’s future education a larger possibility and to me it would be an excellent thank you to the children of those who fought for our freedoms.  You can choose to donate one time, once every 3 months or once every 6 months even up to once every year. Every little bit helps, so even just visiting to learn more and sharing GradSave’s Fallen Heroes program with those you know will help spread the word all over.

Let’s give back to the children who lost their parent or parents who were serving their country to fight for our freedoms!

GradSave is a also great way to save for your child’s college by involving friends and family to contribute to their college fund. Check them out here and register today or give a gift card to someone you love.

What I have Learned by Watching My Children

There are so many things that my children have taught me and they are only 10, 6 and 4 years of age. I know that my Dad has told me many a times that I have taught him more than he could or has ever taught me. I presume that is the way it is with many parents, as our children grow, we grow & learn from them as well.  Today I thought I would share a few things I have learned from my own children…

Learning from our Children

Children Have no Filter & It’s not All that Bad – There are times as an adult that I have issues speaking up for my own thoughts, opinions and what not but my children do not hesitate. My children are ready & willing to tell you if they are not okay with whatever it is you have going on. My children are also not afraid to tell you if you have sat in something brown that looks like poop, have spinach in your teeth or now have a new pimple on your face.  Children truly have no fear of the world and therefore they have very little filters on their mouths, I have learned that it’s okay to speak up more as long as you are being respectful and polite in the process. My children have mastered that skill and are teaching me daily how to utilize it.

Being Quick Witted aka a Smart Aleck is Okay- My four year old son is a super smart aleck, he has this crazy sense of humor that borderlines not-appropriate-to-say-or-laugh-at-that situations. For instance a couple of years ago my then two year old son felt the need to yell out the window to a bicycle rider and say “what’s the big hurry?”. That was only the beginning of his quick witted outbursts to a stranger. Since then we have had many instances where I wished Karter had a muzzle, but they are funny and he has taught me that people can be uptight at times if not given a bit of sarcasm or quick wit in their day.

Live Each Day to the Fullest – My three children live for today. They don’t usually worry or fear tomorrow. Today they will run in the sprinkler, dance around in circles. Run around naked, well that is usually the four year old when he escapes from the bath tub, my other two don’t run around naked any longer. My children really don’t seem to worry about anything except for the moment they are in and that is something I thrive to do daily because of them. While it may be me who taught them their free spirit nature, happiness within and such, it is them who reminds me to keep the happy and free spirit within me alive each day!

 

Six Year old has Case of Sillies

My six year old son is usually the serious one of my three kids, he is the middle child and often is found simply being a bit more rigid and right to the point. This is the child that you better say yes and mean it or else you will pay for it. Aj remembers every single thing you say and will hold you accountable for taking bad your word. Mean what you say and do what you say with this child or else….

With that being said, there have been some funny moments with him lately where he just does silly things and here is my son being a goof speaking in some ominous type tone. Sorry about the little guy, you can’t take a camera out without him having to be in caught on cam too!

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