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Parenting Mistakes I’ve Made

Parenting Mistakes

Regrets.

I’ve had a few in my parenting journey.

So, what if we talk about those? What if we bring them to light so that you might avoid the mistakes I’ve made? I believe I have made enough to make this a series, so grab some popcorn, sit back, and don’t do what I did.

Thinking I Could be the Perfect Parent

I know this one seems like a no-brainer, and intellectually, I knew I couldn’t be absolutely perfect, but part of me thought if I tried hard enough and followed all the right experts, then I could pull off making no major mistakes.

I mean, sure, I figured I would occasionally make the standards. ”Oops! Sorry Sally. I called you Suzie again didn’t I?”

No, by major mistakes, I mean the type that your grown or nearly grown children still cry bitter tears over years later. The kind where you would do anything if you could turn back time and get a do-over.

If you are a new parent, still thinking you might be able to pull off perfect, like I did in those years, I am truly sorry if this news is coming as a shock to you.

You will make mistakes.

You will not be perfect.

You will be so far from perfect, you will wonder what God was thinking when he let you reproduce.

The beauty in this, for me, the only redeeming factor in screwing up so royally, is that God’s merciful grace became crystal clear. I had known before, because I had been told and I had read it, that Jesus came to save me because I couldn’t save myself. I could recite, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But until I knew, really knew because I lived and breathed it, that no matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I was still messing everything up, and not just messing it up for me, but for little people who trusted me to do the right things for them, until that time, I didn’t really know grace.

And once I began to realize how pathetic my feeble attempts at perfect parenting were, only then could I understand what a precious gift the redeeming work of Christ is.

So, I’ll say my first mistake in my parenting journey was thinking that by being an intentional parent I wouldn’t make any big mistakes. In the coming weeks, I’ll add to this series and we’ll see if this can be a kind of Land Mine Map. A warning of sorts. A “Do It Any Way But This Way” manual.

What do you think? Is this something that would be of interest to you?

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25 Ways to Teach Your Child to Have an Attitude of Entitlement

Would you like your child to feel that he is more revered than everyone else in the universe? Would you like him to demand preferential treatment? To believe he is a speshul snowflake, deserving of speshul status?

Easy! Follow these simple tips!

1. Give him his own present whenever anyone else gets one.

Brother’s birthday? He gets a present too. Best friend’s baby shower? He gets a present too. No one is ever more special than Li’l Junior!

2. Fix him a special meal when he doesn’t like what you prepared for the family.

You prepared spaghetti for dinner, but it makes him whine? Make him his own plate of food. Be sure to ask what he would like instead.

3. Encourage false talent.

Your kid can’t carry a tune in a bucket? Disregard that and demand that he is the lead in the Christmas musical.

4. Buy him a small gift or token whenever you go to the store.

He must feel that he is always deserving of gifts.

5. Allow him to attend the birthday party that the older sibling was invited to.

Be sure to ask for a party favor for him too.

6. When throwing a tantrum, the best way to stop it is giving him the candy he wanted but you originally denied.

Curtail this behavior by not denying his requests. Ever.

7. Blame everyone and everything else for a fault or failure.

Didn’t finish homework? The teacher gave too much and brother was too loud so she couldn’t focus. Lost a friend? Wasn’t worth having if they couldn’t see past the rude/arrogant/unfair behavior to the wonderful person she REALLY is.

8. Always do for him what he can do for himself.

If he asks for a drink while you are cooking dinner, stop what you are doing to get it for him, even though he is perfectly capable of getting it himself.

9. Never make her clean up her own messes.

She tires easily, you know.

10. Don’t follow through on consequences, and often make idle threats.

11. Force other children to give over their toys to him.

Whether they were playing with it at the time is irrelevant.

12. Acknowledge him when he interrupts a conversation to show him that what he says is more important than what you were listening to.

13. Always take his side when any other adult calls him out for a disciplinary issue.

Alternately, hand him excuse after excuse as to why he “can’t help” his behavior.

14. Don’t allow him to face disappointment.

He missed the deadline for turning in the extra credit that qualifies him for a special prize? Put the finishing touches on it, and drive it up to the school yourself.

15. Make sure everyone on his team gets a trophy the same size as the team who won first place.

16. Don’t ever make him wait to be served.

You don’t want him to become hungry. That makes him cranky.

17. Don’t make him serve others.

This will only make him feel that others could possibly be more deserving than he is.

18. Always say “please” in a begging tone when requesting anything of him.

If he refuses, let it go immediately.

19. Whenever a classmate or friend gets a new toy, run right out and get your child one too.

Make sure it is the newest model.

20. Never, ever criticize his efforts or let him know you expect him to try harder at something.

Pretending not to notice half-hearted attempts is best.

21. Overpraise everything she does, whether it is excellent or not.

You can barely read the essay she wrote for English class? Tell her how creative she is at spelling!

22. Always stop what you are doing whenever she addresses you.

Never make her wait until you are through with a task.

23. Always excuse bad behavior.

“He was probably hungry. The low blood sugar makes him cranky,” is a good standby.

24. Never make him answer for his own poor choices.

Step in to explain for him.

25. Go into debt buying a new car when he turns 16.

Make sure it is the model with the usb port for charging his iPhone.

By following these simple steps consistently you will soon have a child who believes his needs and wishes are superior to the needs and wishes of those around him!

Now, go give your little narcissist a hug. And a prize. Preferably a toy.

If you liked this post, you may also like “10 Signs Your Child is Spoiled and What to do About it.”

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Why Do My Kids Have to be So Much Like ME?

Why do my have to be so much like me?

It’s an hour before Sunday School begins. Everyone is busily brushing hair, putting on shoes, and finishing up their breakfast cereal.

Suddenly, my 8yo claps her hand over her mouth and frantically announces that she has GOT to memorize the books of the Bible, PLUS the 12 apostles for Sunday School.

Today’s Sunday School? Like the one that starts in under an hour?

Yes, she tells me. Today. She needs to recite the books of the Bible and the 12 apostles aloud in class that starts in 45 MINUTES.

How long have you known about this??? Never mind. Get the Bible and let’s start singing the song together.

It turns out she did fine and got the promised reward, but I can’t help feeling that familiar pang of regret.

Why do my kids have to be so much like me?

I know exactly where she gets it. It’s the same scenario that plays out when I remember at the last minute that I am supposed to demonstrate a complicated science experiment today at co-op, and HURRY, jump in the van kids because we have to run by the store to get the supplies.

Or when I put off deep cleaning the house for that big Memorial Day party we always have. No use cleaning it too far in advance because it will just get messy again, right? And then the morning of the party, I’m cleaning like a whirling dervish on fast speed.

Or when I have to make a 10pm trip to the grocery store so I can make the homemade cookies I signed up to bring to the bake sale in the morning.

Really, it defies the laws of logic, but I have always hoped beyond the realm of the probable that my children would somehow, miraculously have inherited traits that are nowhere in my DNA.

Traits like being patient and naturally organized and tidy and whatever the opposite of a procrastinator is called.

But, alas, they did not get these traits because I had no way of passing them down, since I don’t even possess them myself.

No, they got the messy, impatient, procrastinating line of traits right from me.

It seems so unfair that I didn’t even have to spend hours teaching them these things, like I did with their multiplication facts. It’s almost like they were preset to inherit them.

Why do my kids have to be so much like me?

I want to tell them I’m sorry. I really am. I wish I could be the mom who is organized and tidy and patient so that they could see that modeled each day, and they would learn those things first hand. And sometimes I try to pretend I am that mom, although I can never really pull it off for more than part of a day.

Instead, they got the mom who is a procrastinator and impetuous and immature enough to laugh and dance along with them to 80′s rock songs.

And like me, they will have to rely on God’s grace to cover for their weaknesses. The weaknesses that will be all the more apparent when they have children of their own.

And if my kids are anything like me, that grace will be even more precious because of their shortcomings. It will be a balm for their wounded pride at not being able to will themselves to achieve perfection.

A lifesaving, precious, soothing balm.

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Target For Back to College Basics {GIVEAWAY}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s that time of year again. Time to get my college girl packed up to move back into the dorm.

Brita at Target

We headed to Target to pick up a few essentials, which I was thrilled to find were on sale! Since she likes to drink plain water to stay hydrated, I wanted to get her a water filtration pitcher, to keep in her dorm room.

photo 4

I also got her a Brita® hard-sided water bottle available at Target to carry with her to classes.

photo 3

Of course, we had to get a few other essentials, like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Burt’s Bees facial towelettes.

photo 5

It’s thrilling and depressing all at the same time to send a kid off to college. If you have done it yourself, you know what I mean.

On the one hand you see your child as the adult they are growing into.

Competent, confident, and ready to take the world by storm.

On the other hand, you see your child as the baby you were holding in your lap just the other day. I mean, I can distinctly remember scooping her up and reading about the three little kittens who lost their mittens.

And now, here she is not needing me to read anything to her anymore.

She can read it herself. She can buckle her own self in, and drive her own self right out of the driveway and down the road to her own life.

Sniff.

She’s not the small child who sits in my lap saying, “Read it again, Mama,” anymore.

But she’ll always be my little girl.

And now, for the fun part! A $25 Target card giveaway so you can pick up some Brita® back to college items for yourself!

Leave a comment below telling me what you would like to get if you win the Target gift card!

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Quit Judging Me For Judging You!

train tracks

Occasionally when people find out we homeschool, they begin to rattle off all the reasons they would homeschool, really they would, if only they had the time/patience/money/whatever.

And sometimes when people find out we have 8 children, I see them get antsy, and they tell me, somewhat sheepishly, all the reasons they don’t have a large family.

The same thing used to happen when I would breastfeed my babies.

I usually just listen and smile, but what I really want to say is this:

Relax. I’m not judging you.

I don’t have the spare time to find out about all the many decisions and all the many reasons you made the decisions you have made for your children and your family.

And even if I did have the time to learn about those, I wouldn’t have the mental energy to invest in figuring out whether those are good choices or bad choices for you and your family and your particular set of circumstances.

If you think I looked at you funny, it’s probably because I was trying to remember whether or not I turned on the CrockPot before I left home. And how much longer we can last with that one roll of toilet paper. And should I risk hoping it lasts through the night until tomorrow? Or go ahead and drag all the kids into the store to get some more?

Because frankly just trying to keep my own family from going off the rails is all-consuming for me.

Plus, at this point in my parenting journey, I realize that sometimes God has lessons to teach us regardless of whether we have made all the “right” decisions or not.

And I am fully aware that breastfed, homeschooled, children from large families succumb to diseases and drugs and teen pregnancy and divorce and a myriad of other problems none of us wants to face.

See, I don’t believe that making all the “right” choices inoculates me or my children from the hardships of this world. Neither do I believe that different choices are the path to doom.

And I’m not judging you for making different choices.

I’m just trying to keep my own Crazy Train on the tracks.

I bet you are, too.

Let’s do it together, sister.

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On Story Time and Interrupting Children

Children asking questions

Well, it seems I touched a nerve when I posted on my Smockity Facebook about not allowing my children to interrupt when I am reading aloud.

Here’s what I said to my Facebook audience about the way I handled the problem:

I used to struggle with constant interrupters during bedtime story time…

Now, I remind everyone that if anyone interrupts me, the story is over until the next bedtime. Occasionally, someone interrupts, and I quietly close the book and say my “good nights.”

Interrupting problem solved!

Let’s picture the scene, shall we?

Scenario: Bed time

Audience: Children, ages 2-8

Mom: (Opens book) “Once upon a time there were three little pigs. The first…”

Kid 1: “Is this the story with the big, bad wolf?”

Mom: “Yes, you can see a wolf on the cover.”

Kid 1: “Oh.”

Mom: “The first little pig…”

Kid 2: “Is he the one who built the stick house?”

Mom: “If you will listen, I am about to get to that. The first little pig built…”

Kid 3: “Is this a true story?”

Mom: “Do pigs build things in real life?”

Kid 3: “No…”

Mom: “The first little pig built his house of straw.”

Kid 3: “So, is it a true story or not?”

Mom: (Gives up and runs away from home with her belongings wrapped in a bandana on the end of a stick.)

Now, this little reenactment is slightly exaggerated for the sake of humor, but if you know children, or have taught children, or ever read aloud a story to them, you probably know this very much represents their nature.

I have taught Sunday school, public school, and homeschool for more than 20 years, and if there’s one thing I know it is this: Kids are impatient and impulsive.

But they don’t have to stay that way. They can be taught self control.

Yes, it is good to have a curiosity about the world around us. Yes, it is good to question things we do not understand. Yes, it is good to discuss stories that are read aloud.

But there is a time and a place for everything. (This is the same thing I tell my kids about booger picking, by the way.)

Imagine, if you will, a child who likes to draw. Not hard to imagine, right? Now, imagine a child who likes to draw on walls. This might be something that would be age-appropriate for a toddler, which a parent would work on eliminating.

Imagine that same child at age 8, drawing on the walls at the local library with a Sharpie.

Not cool, right? The library staff would likely be upset, and maybe even ask you to make restitution and/or leave the library.

There is a time and place for everything. Drawing = fine. Drawing on walls at the library with a Sharpie = Not fine.

This is how I approach questions during story time. There is a time and a place for questions. Asking questions at the end of the chapter or book = Fine. Interrupting me during the story = Not fine.

Very often, the questions the children have will be answered if they will just be patient and listen to the story. Sometimes the answer becomes clear through clues in the story. Sometimes the pictures I show them reveal the answers. Occasionally, the answers are found only at the end of the story during our discussion of it.

The bottom line is children must be taught self control, patience, and delayed gratification.

I am in no way suggesting that children not be allowed to ask questions about that which they do not understand.

I am suggesting they absolutely can be taught to wait and do that at an appropriate time, instead of interrupting.

Careful Mother vs. Assertive Mother

If you like this post, you might also like “Careful Mother vs. Assertive Mother

spoiled-child

Or “10 Signs Your Child is Spoiled and What to do About it.”

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