Children

Eliminate 'But that's not fair' from your house

Oh the number of times I have heard this in my house, “But Mom, that’s not fair!” Once my children started saying this statement on a regular basis, I turned that phrase into a “Bad Word!” Therefore, if you say it, you get in trouble!

The question is why is this such a bad statement that causes negative consequences in my house, especially if my child’s assertion is true that the action was NOT fair?! Because the statement in itself is the attempt to change the course of circumstances and alter the scales of inequality, which is promoting a distorted view of reality! Because lets face it, LIFE IS NOT FAIR, and enabling our children to believe otherwise is teaching them entitlement and handicapping their future!

People today believe that they are entitled to such luxuries from technology to the basics of daily living like clean water and available food! There is an ignorance in our American society that we are ingraining in our children. Hence, when a circumstance happens and our child feels his rights have been violated they become bitter and resentful; stuck in the mind-set that they deserved something that was not given to them. This type of circumstances happen frequently, and unless we as parents not only model, but also educate our children on real expectations and coping with disappointment, they will become stunted developmentally and remain a spoiled child.

Educating our children on the realities that bad things happen, life is not fair, good may never be returned to us, and we can not control the actions of others, will be a paradigm shift in their existential perspective. Help them move out of the bitterness that can build up when they feel injustice has prevailed, and empower them to control their own reactions and behaviors.

Let us all deem “fairness” a bad word, and work instead in teaching our kids to cope with disappointment and to be leaders in their own lives!

Re-living childhood

My second child and second daughter has a lot of the same personality traits as I do. She’s loud, she’s sensitive, she’s a born leader, she’s all or nothing, and she loves to laugh! I’m both excited and fearful for her. Because frequently when she tells me how she is having a relational problem, overwhelmed or fearful I can distinctly remember how it felt when I was a kid. Not only do I remember the feeling, I can usually associate it with a life experience that I have had.

Being around kids transports us back to our own childhood, good and bad. We want so badly to prevent the trials and heartaches. So we offer advice, we implement structure, and are swift with discipline; all with the hope that our kids will be stronger, wiser, and happier than we were growing up. But do we as parents cross the line from teaching to dictating?

With my daughter I know that with our personality we can come across as bossy. So I help to direct her natural leadership by encouraging certain phrases to use instead. But in that process I am certain that I have discouraged her and her personality. It was no longer about teaching her, but instead stifling her natural bend given at birth because I did not want her to experience the pain that I did. Though my intentions were noble, my implementation was flawed.

I’ve been challenged to reconsider the moments I deem as instructional. I instead now take a moment and determine if my intervention is even necessary. I realized that there are some battles and experiences she needs to have on her own. If after this thought process I determine this is a time when I can educate, I will intervene privately. Otherwise I will watch, listen, and be available if she wants to talk about it.

What are some areas that you find in your own kids that reflect an attribute that you share? How have you responded to them, have you been a teacher or dictator? What actions will you change to assist them instead of controlling them?

We as parents can relate, we just want them to NOT experience the pain we have. We want them to avoid the pitfalls and temptation. We want them to be scar free when they become an adult. But instead of focusing so much on trying to prevent, we should listen, have empathy for their concerns, and have courage to allow them to make their own choices!

'Why do you love me?'

Why do you love me?

Micah, my 3 year old at that time, has been asking this question recently. I will say I love you, and he will look at me with head tilted and say, why do you love me? The first time he did this I laughed and said, “because your my baby!” But when he continued to ask I decided I would be more specific. So I started by saying things like, I love you because you are funny, because you are sweet to your sisters, you help mommy take care of baby carter, etc.

This question from little man reminded me that we all need to not only hear that we are loved, but told why we are loved. Yes, we intrinsically love our children because they are a part of us. But we also love aspects of the person they are. We need to start praising those aspects, mentioning them to others besides our child, and to encourage them in areas that they may not be as strong. We need to start praising their efforts instead of just the completion of something. We need to praise their honesty even when it’s not initially forthcoming. We should start talking about our children and spouses in positive ways to others instead of just focusing on the struggles. And we should hug, kiss, fist bump every day to maintain our physical bond that we developed at their birth.

This exercise challenges us to be intentional with our words, and to act out what we are saying. Let us make the words “I love you” have the impact it is suppose to make when said. Today, write out 4 things that you LOVE about your kids, your spouse, your friends, and whoever else means something to you. So when you have a moment to share how much you care you can be specific, and plant seeds of encouragement.