Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

Category Archives: parenting

Enough, I am enough, you are enough. We can stop.

I’ve gotten myself into this frenzy of saving people from “wrong” choices.

It started with Yahoo Answers and it escalated to several Facebook groups.

People post something like

“My 18 month old is biting. Spanking and time outs aren’t working.”

And then I get annoyed, because spanking and time outs aren’t teaching tools. And I get anxiety about this person getting MY RIGHT answer and taking my advice.

I am making myself insane.

Also, I’ve taken to really being annoyed about the lack of tolerance shown by so many people in my personal non-writer Facebook. “God wants you to say Merry Christmas” and “Saying Happy Holidays is turning your back on Jesus.”

Tis the season for intolerance.

So, here is my plan. Block Yahoo Answers. Leave these crazy mom communities which seem so often to thrive on drama and infighting and the whole “mommy wars” thing and regain the energy I’m losing toward worrying about things that are not in my control. I will give up my good fight to someone else who has more energy and time than me.

What things are you losing energy to? Could you let go of some of those things and regain that energy?

 

 

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Things I’m obsessed with: Positive Parenting

We have two children. Our daughter is ten, I’ll spare you a lot of details, because I don’t want to broadcast her life on the internet, telling things that not even she knows.

She’s a naturally passive child. She’s quiet and she likes to please us with her behavior. And she is hard on herself, negating the need for us to be hard on her a lot of the time. (There are cons to that trait as well. It takes a long time to be perfect).

Our son is 2. He is loud, he is boisterous and he is rough. He doesn’t stop. He’s funny. He throws tantrums and kicks and hits and screams. he is challenging and high needs, which I think most two year olds are.

anyway, early on I would get very frustrated with him. he would throw tantrums and I didn’t know what to do. My mom said “ignore the tantrums” but it was really hard to just walk away. I would try to cuddle him but i found myself getting frustrated and losing my cool. Yelling, a slap on the butt happened more than once.

I really didn’t like MY behavior in response to him being a toddler.

I don’t really know the exact chain that lead me to http://www.positive-parents.org/ which after a couple months led me to http://www.ahaparenting.com/ which is a website written by a Dr. Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist and parent.

Advice like: time outs don’t help to do much besides make your child feel bad and ignoring our natural empathy for our children. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

And that you don’t have to ignore tantrums. In fact, ignoring them doesn’t teach children to regulate their emotions or help calm themselves. Tantrums are an overflow of emotion, we all have them, cry fit or need to rant and rave are ways that adults throw tantrums (at the worst end of the spectrum we have people with assault or murder charges because they never learned self-control). Children need a parent to help calm them and then they can learn to calm themselves. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

That punishment and consequences are not necessary to teach a child to behave. I have had several arguments about this one. A good parent-child connection is the basis for everything on the site. And then you set a limit. When the child is younger, you just end the behavior. Hitting means we go home, or have a time in. (Dr. Markham explains it better in the link than I’m doing in summary). As the child grows, he can help solve the problem with you. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Consequences_Punishment

So I am totally crazy about the idea.

What do you think?

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Does failing teach?

I shouldn’t read the comments on Huffington Post articles (or almost any other opinion “newspaper” for that matter). But I’m addicted to it, so I doubt I’ll stop.

Today we have Alfie Kohn‘s article on HuffPo titled “What Do Kids Really Learn from Failure?” is provocative. His ideas are. If you aren’t familiar with Kohn I’ll give a summary. He believes that we should get rid of imposed consequences, rewards and punishments. He dislikes the idea of grades, especially when what is being graded is subjective.

I agree with Kohn’s ideas. I tried reading a book of his, but it’s kind of dry, psychology stuff so I didn’t do very well. I will try again because he has ideas worth learning about.

If he had his way he’d revamp the entire school system. OH YES PLEASE. It is broken.

So there was a comment from a user who said he/she wanted his children to fail. because this commenter didn’t fail in school, they didn’t learn how to survive in the world. I, too, found school very easy and I never learned to study. I did learn about the world from my parents. My dad ran his own business, my mom did the basic accounting.

I think failure is the wrong word here. We shouldn’t want our children to fail. Failure generally teaches children they are dumb and not to bother trying.

The word we want is “challenge”. We should want our children to be challenged. One big problem with school is that it’s not individualized. One child who can read at a very high level is put in the same class with a child who struggles with basics, because they are the same age. Some teachers are better than others at changing things up to challenge children. In second grade my daughter picked two bonus words to learn to spell because the basics were too easy.

When we are challenged at just the right level, we get excited about the work. And occasionally we get frustrated. And if parents and teachers do their job correctly, a challenged child who reaches an obstacle or problem, we can teach them how to problem solve.

Do you challenge your children? Do you challenge yourself?

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The State of Children today

The first article I read was on HuffPost titled “The Benefits of Spoiling Children in America” which was full of comments about children being too spoiled, not having enough responsibilities and so on. It linked to an article in the New Yorker citing cases where children did not have any limits or expectations upon them and were allowed to do what they wanted or not told to do basic things themselves (get your own silverware).

I commented that a few separate incidents of lazy parenting do not mean that all children are this entitled.  Also I think that the assertion that children are “entitled and lazy” are a reflection of parents rather than children. Children who are entitled live with parents who shop as recreation and buy everything either parent or child wants (and probably have credit card debt to show for it). Children who are obese generally come from families who eat more unhealthy foods than you should.

I left this to go paint with shaving cream and food coloring on my shower wall with my 2 year old, which was fun after I got him over the “it feels weird”.

When I returned I came upon this article via Free Range Kids blog. Mom arrrested for letting her 13 year old babysit 3 other siblings until the “real” babysitter arrived. If you read further apparently the four-year-old wandered off, and it may not have been the first time (in the comments of the original New Canaan news site). And I went to the New Cannan newsite and there is a person there who is yelling that 13 year olds should not be responsible for 4!! other children.

At 13 I regularly baby-sat my brother and 3 cousins, ages 10, 9, 7 and 5 I think. It was a long time ago. I never lost any of them. I never burned the house down. Maybe this 4-year-old was particularly crafty or perhaps this 13 year old was not ready to be responsible for this set of children. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

Maybe this is not the best example of the opposite of spoiled children, but come on. Most 13 year olds can watch three other children. It’s not unreasonable.

Do children have too much or too little responsibility now days? Do/did you cater to your children? Do you have limits and expectations of behavior? Do you know any brats or lazy parents?

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