Monday, April 30, 2012

10 Rules for Peaceful Parenting

Making your home sing Mondays

Today I'm linking up with my friend Nan at Mom's The Word for Making Your Home Sing Monday! After you read here, head over there and give her some love!

As the parent of two teenagers, a preschooler, and a special-needs school-ager, I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes the term "peaceful parenting" seems like a bit of an oxymoron. I mean, let's face it, parenting is anything but peaceful. But over the years, I've learned that there a few things that we parents can do to ensure that the chaos is lessened to a minimum. So, without further ado, here is my list of 10 Rules for Peaceful Parenting:

1. Take care of yourself. You can't expect to chase your toddler or help your teen with homework if you're not well taken care of. This means eating right, exercise, regular check ups, and taking time out for yourself daily!

2. Do one special thing for each of your children every day. Making your children feel special and loved every day works wonders for their behavior.

3. Lower some of your expectations. Now, yes it should be expected that your child will do his or her homework, or follow the household rules, of course. But when it comes to some things, I've noticed that some parents expect more out of their children than they're physically able to achieve. For example, little Billy might not be able to hit that T-Ball no matter how hard he tries. Sally just might not ever be able turn a somersault. And lets face it, most teenagers aren't going to do the dishes or wash clothes to our specifications. Just relax and remember: THEY'RE ONLY CHILDREN.

4. Raise other expectations. Other problems that can arise come out of parents not expecting enough out of their children. As I said in number 3, they are just children, but they are far more capable than many adults give them credit for. For example, your toddler may not be able to do the dishes yet, but he can certainly learn to pick up his toys. Your teenager may not fold the towels right, but she can keep her room picked up and keep her grades up.

5. Keep a schedule. This is especially important for children with special needs. My daughter, for example, has ADHD. She works really well when we have a structured schedule and keep it. This way, your child knows what to expect and when, so it's no surprise when you tell Sallie "It's time to turn off the TV and brush your teeth!"

6. Set ground rules and don't sway from them. It's important that your children know exactly what's expected of them at all times. If we let Colton jump on the couch one day and the next day tell him it's a no-no, he's going to get very confused, and inevitably will act out. The rule has to be set right then and there "Colton, the couch is for sitting only." And BE CONSISTENT.

7. Pick your battles. Sometimes arguing over something is more fight than it's worth. Kids need to feel like they have some control over their lives - so if David wants to wear his PJ pants to school or Emma wants to wear her Cinderella Costume to bed, really consider if it's worth arguing over. Now, of course, if it is a household rule that's been previously established, by all means it is worth the "fight". But some small daily details are usually worth letting go.

8. Keep a sense of humor. Remember that this too shall pass, and it's probably going to be quite funny when you look back on it at Junior's wedding. And lets face it, sometimes what some of our children do is quite hilarious.

9. Support your children's other parent. If your married, that means supporting your spouse. If you're divorced or a single parent, that means supporting your ex (as hard as that may be sometimes). BOTH parents have to be on the same page about discipline. And if your child is not living with you, then it's important that your respect the custodial parents rules and guidelines, even if they're a little different from your own. This will show your child that you are a strong support team and they cannot turn one parent against the other.

10. Keep the Faith. God should come first in your household - Faith is the foundation of family, and will strengthen your relationships. Every morning, pray for your children and spouse. Every evening do the same. Read the bible with your family, listen to worship music together, go to church. Teach your children about grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. You'll be glad you did.

These rules are by no means set in stone. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a child psychologist. I'm just a mom that has been there. Try one. Try two. Try all ten. Then get back to me and let me know how your parenting has changed.

If you already have parenting rules, post them here!

God's Blessings,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes . . .

Wow, has it really been since JANUARY since I blogged last? Wow! Of course, it's really no surprise, what with everything that's been going on the last few months!

There have been a lot of changes going on in our lives. A. Lot.

First off, we have started some changes with my daughter. Little Miss has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD and dysgraphia. In a nutshell, she's hyper, has a hard time focusing, doesn't do well with authority, and has REALLY bad handwriting. In the complex, her mind doesn't work the way it should, and she knows it, so she gets frustrated and angry with the world. Her hyperactivity affects her handwriting, and her frustration with that causes her to lash out at those she's closest too - namely me and her teachers.

After much prayer and discussion, we decided (my husband, Little Miss, and I together) to try medication. Since spring break, Little Miss has been on Vyvanse. This was not a choice that we took lightly. It involved MONTHS of research and other interventions to come to that choice. And I am so glad we did. Little Miss has improved by leaps and bounds on this medication. In her words: "I don't feel like I have to jump up and down all the time". As a result, her frustration level has diminished, and as a result of THAT, her behavior has improved. My daughter went from a straight c report card (with one failing grade) to A's, B's and C's. Needless to say, I am now a complete advocate on medication when it's warranted (**NOTE: Medication is NOT right for EVERY child/family. PLEASE do extensive research on your available options and work directly with your pediatrician before making decisions on something like that**).

The next big change we made also involved Little Miss. Because of her problems with encopresis and constipation (even on an adult dose of Miralax a day) we decided to try some dietary changes. Specifically, we have gone low-gluten. While we did have tests run and Little Miss does NOT have Celiac Disease, it's possible that a gluten sensitivity could be causing her issues.

The final, and biggest change (for me, anyway) is that I started my own business. I am now a full-on Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant! It's an exciting change for me for many reasons, but the main reason for me is that I now am able to supplement my family's income while still being able to be at home with Little Man and being able to be available in case Little Miss and Big Guy need me. There's also the fact that I'm having a blast. I love skin care and makeup, so this is right up my ally!

With all the changes taking place, it's a wonder my head is on straight! But despite all the craziness, this is my life, and I wouldn't change it for the world!