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Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are?

My daughter is just starting elementary school now in Pre-K. I am again besieged by notifications and permission slips galore just like back when Eamon was in Kindergarten and there was “homework”. See my recent repost of my piece Kindergarten Homework here. All sorts of good intentions being bantered back and forth between educator and parent about how to best raise/educate our kids.

Within a hunk of papers distributed by the school this week, a subscription newsletter from a parents-institute, I read this headline:

“Parents Must Encourage their Children to Develop Self-respect”

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

( I immediately thought, Well yes, and what about those parents who already see educators as bossy jackasses thinking, “you can’t tell me what I must do with my kids because I’m not going to be bossed by smartass educational type people”. Shut that down.)

Of course I knew it was well-meant and read further. Essentially, children who are disrespectful don’t have any self-respect. Sometimes that’s what hides behind lack of respect for authorities. If we don’t value ourselves, we’re certainly not valuing others. And eventually the justice system needs to show us our worth. This is what the article said self-respect came down to being composed of.

Self-respect comes from:

Competence – Being good at things makes your kid feel good. Children need lots of opportunities to master skills and feel good about themselves while they do. New skills from sports to art to chores can give them a chance to like themselves while they master those skills. And no one standing over them telling what a bad job they did either.

Accomplishments – They need their progress seen and noted.By everyone but mostly by parents. See above.

Confidence – This can be about pointing out how all the work paid off and acceptance that sometimes we falter to succeed. Mistakes can be learned from and we need to know we can rely on ourselves to make things happen.

Freedom – Allow kids to be independent and make their own age-appropriate choices. Let them chose when things can be done and how sometimes. Showing them you trust them makes them trust them.

Support – Accept your children for who and what they are. Let them belong to the family instead of having to fit into your vision of what they should be. Ask them about their day. Listen and witness their answers and help solve their problems if they ask for it.

Imitation – Be the person you want them to model themselves after. They will do as you do. So if you have low self-esteem and anxiety issues, they will too. Be kind to yourself and stand firm for them with their demands as well so that they may see what standing firm looks like.

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

Invisible sword fighting

If you paid attention to even most of these, you’d have a pretty great kid. Personally, I got lost between the family cracks and did not have most of these attentions paid me but yes, I’m paying them to my kids. And then I thought, what kind of parents are we to ourselves? I feel like I can tend to be on the side of almost abusive self-parenting if I allow me to continue to berate and judge myself for the myriad of things I seem to do “wrong”.

What if we took these steps above and applied them to ourselves, which is truly necessary if we are actually parents because our kids do as we do, not as we say. What kind of parents do we want to be to ourselves? Compassionate and kind or judgemental and punitive?  Just like these children, we go out into the society and make our own contributions based on our self-worth and respect so shouldn’t we give ourselves these gifts as well to give us an edge up on our lives? I could use with a little more self-respect in my world, couldn’t you?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Feeling Your Pain Versus Being Your Pain

Since being a mother, I’ve had many “growth opportunities” to rethink how I express how I’m feeling about myself or my children. These are called AFGOs (another fabulous growth opportunity). Today, instead of yelling at and being impatient with my daughter for crying again for the umpteenth time about her pain which I perceived as nothing , I chose compassion instead.

Honestly, I tend to shut her down sometimes in expressing her feelings because I’m not allowed to. I am often blindly uncompassionate for myself. And her pity parties are so exhausting but she’s four and that’s what it is.Feeling Your Pain Versus Being Your Pain on Shalavee.com

When Fiona takes it to the next annoying level where she seems to draw her real identity from her “boo-boo”, it’s worse. She’ll milk injuries for drama-filled days and it’s truly annoying. Baths are miserable as even the thought of getting the boo-boo wet will throw her into shrieking fits of anticipated pain. My bathing duties are just too hard then.

So the other day, when I saw we were headed into a series of fits and drama over a perceived boo-boo, and that my usual tactics of “knock it off or else” were again not going to work, I shifted. I asked her if she thought her boo-boo made her more special and she said “Yes”. And then I slyly refuted that theory by explaining that her boo-boo wasn’t as exciting as how good she could write her name and set the table and make up cool songs. Feeling Your Pain Versus Being Your Pain on Shalavee.com

And I probably went on to say how all the people who loved her knew she had these marvelous talents too. And you wanna know how quickly that boo-boo didn’t hurt anymore? I shifted from fearing she might be someone who’d cut herself just to prove she was alive to gladly seeing her back as a normal little 4-year-old whose boo-boo suddenly wasn’t so bad after all. I just had to out think myself.

It seems a cautionary tale too about how we can be so used to an injury or a mental trauma from our childhood, that it becomes who we are. I recently outed myself for this very scenario using the past as an excuse to keep me from fulfilling my potential. If we over-identify with our pain, we become the pain. And I’d like to be a person who’s mending from my injuries, not someone who’s stuck a victim state for which nothing will ever make it better.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

A Real Day

I lived another real day. Nothing “exciting” like a grocery store run. Just waiting on a service man, cleaning up a pee puddle or two from a stubborn 4-year-old daughter. Stasis. Stillness. Stupid brain.

Wishing I’d grabbed those few valuable moments of peace when she was sulking and half-naked in her room upstairs. But instead, I just wasted a half hour looking for that perfect rug online again. A real Day on Shalavee.com

The waiting has gotten me so much more than I’d credit it for. The waiting has made me catch up and slow down with my real purpose. Catch sight of who I really want to be : Me. I am a professional pusher and waiter. I got good at expecting way more from myself than I knew I could do deliver so that I would feel anxious and bad. And then I embraced stopping and listening to myself too.

I am good at waiting. I waited on you long ago at that restaurant. Now I am just awaiting my antibiotic to kick in and vanquish the umpteenth sinus infection, mother natures way of humbling my ambitious self out every time. The truth and the trick is? You aren’t ready until you are. What you do when you do it is proof of that. And using your expectations that are above and beyond your current capacity to torture yourself will only irritate and irk you in unnecessary ways. A real Day on Shalavee.com

Sometimes the time while you are awaiting the shift is torturous. It feels like spending long long days with a toddler trapped inside waiting for a delivery man. Because that’s what it is. And it is what it is until it isn’t anymore. Knowing this too shall pass, that soon this will all be a memory (nightmare) is how you live through it to tell another better story. Wait for it. You’re worth it.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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My Children are the Bully and the Terrorist

It’s conflicting to be a parent. They are of me but not mine. I need to be open and honest for them to trust me. But I need to keep a safe distance when they have to work out who they are because sometimes, that work is at my expense. Frankly, my children will bully me to get their needs met. They’ll be disrespectful but only to me. It’s business, not personal. They’re working themselves out and I’ve got the bruises to prove it.

My son’s a bully when he wants more screen time or when he needs food because he’s suddenly starving. And my daughter is a terrorist. It may be emotional terrorism but its exhausting just the same. I wrote about suffering from post traumatic toddler disorder here. She actually cries at me when she has a need. It can be manipulative and it’s part of her survival arsenal.

For me, there’s such a fine balance between being available for them constantly and being vulnerable to burn out. Unless my children are physically not in the house with me, I am never off duty. And they are very entitled to have their needs met. I do draw a line when their needs are encroaching on my needs. But even Miss Sassafras still busts in the bathroom while I’m on the potty despite my protests.

Last week I made a new “chores, expectations, and rewards” chart for my son. The holidays had him spoiled with the amount of screen time he was getting. And without boundaries, he had begun to come at me, pestering me and continually asking me for more time like a true junkie until he hoped I relented.

These new boundaries are now on paper and not up to me. He has an allotted amount of time and if he runs over, it eats into the next play time. He can earn more time by additional chores. But currently the only option for more screen time is raking and he hates that.My Children are the bully and the terrorist on Shalavee.com

Dinner prep in the kitchen is often the worst time for me to be bullied and terrorized. My son, after unplugging, suddenly found himself excruciatingly hungry and badgered me so badly that he was banned from the kitchen. And the rest of the night, my husband had to do negotiations to get my son to apologize to me. Fiona has been known to come at me while my hands are covered with dinner prep badgering me for fruit roll-ups and then crying at me when I deny her. Hunger can make people do crazy mean things.

I understand our collective humanity and how our inner toddlers have needs that they need fulfilled right freaking now. It is survival in process. But I also know that I am the last boundary standing between them and those needs sometimes. I try very hard to not take their disrespect personally but I would do myself and them an injustice if I didn’t stand my ground on what methods are acceptable to get your needs met. The battle will continue I fear but hopefully, in the end, I’ll win the war of raising nice children.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Parenting On the Edge of the Middle

My fellow Mom and I were standing there watching our children do laps at the Christmas train show. And I mused how it was hard to find that middle ground in between that place where everything your child does is all about you and that place where you’re completely disengaged. But to choose to stand on the ground in between. It’s hard to be there.

If I make everything they do about me, as in making me happy, making me look bad, etc., then how can I expect them to not think everything and everyone doesn’t revolve around them. After all, that’s what their mind reading mother showed them. How do we mothers disengage from our children’s choices and allow them to know they’re just not all that. Some of that but not all that.

If you read a little child psych 101 then you know that your child chooses much of what he/she does based on how you’ll respond. Your mirror lets them gauge their worthiness. And understanding their worthiness is tantamount to growing up. But if you make their life about you and not them, not only do they miss the opportunity to learn the lessons about who they are, but they will go on to have children and make their children’s lives about them. I can tell you, I refuse to do this to my kids. Industrial Overfocused is my coping strategy on Shalavee.com

Sitting on the library floor waiting for storytime to begin, I mentioned to the two other mothers of toddler girls next to me that I could see how women would want to escape from this task of the constant struggle to mirror correctly by going to a job. But unless you make geegobs of money, it just pays for the childcare. And that child still needs to work those issues out with you. They’re going to try to do it in the little amount of time they have with you but what if it doesn’t get worked out? Then the teen years will be worse. Their need to feel safe and separate has a time limit.

I want to live in the realm where my children’s every single action has little to do with the quality of my parenting. Where I’m not so tired that I overreact to every spill and act of rudeness my children inevitably will have. I want to feel a tolerant bubble around me and make intelligent choices for correcting my children and guiding them to make better decisions. But that all sounds really too good to be true. So I’ll just do my best, let go of the rest. And ask that they respect me always. The best I can do for now. Living on the edge of the middle.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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