Huh, Who Knew? You CAN Teach A (not so) Old Dog, New Tricks!

As you may have read on either my previous blogs or Facebook, or Twitter pages, parenting is tied with the most important definition of who I am (the other would be, Damary’s Husband). So I am always on the lookout on how to be a better parent. Reading any publications I can get my hands on, listening to other parents, etc. All the while, just taking bits and pieces for what I know would not only work on the girls, it would help our relationship, and them in the future.

So I was listening to a morning radio show the other day, and they had someone on the phone (completely missed the name), and he was talking about one of the things all us parents tend to do. We, in the haste of the day, tend to pass along our anxieties and stresses to our children, simply in our actions. One of the things that was talked about is he said, if you have a child who never cleans their room, and you are on them about it everyday, all of the time, odds are they will NEVER clean their room. And no, it isn’t because they are doing the opposite of what you tell them. But it is because, somewhere in their advanced-not-enough-credit-given brains, they have figured out something that you haven’t. They know that time and attention from you is scarce, but if they don’t clean their room, you will spend BOTH time and attention telling them to, and chastising them for not listening. PLUS they also realize, what is the point of cleaning it? It will never meet your blatant strict standards. Oh, y’all didn’t hear me on that one. Substitute anything your child does, repeatedly, that just rubs you the wrong way in what I was just describing.

Plus, he talked about when that cycle starts, then we are passing along our anxieties and stresses to our children, and we are also setting them up to fail later in life. Whether it is in school and how doing their best will NEVER be enough to please themselves, or in the people they choose in relationships. If we, as parents, have programmed them that negative attention equates to sufficient attention, then we can’t be surprised when they are dating people who we think don’t treat them with respect.

The other example that was talked about was waking your children (no matter what age) up for the day. Most of the times, the morning time is just full of frantic motions back and forth, and a tug of wills getting our children ready in time. Instead, and I challenge you as parents to try this, sit or lay next to them in bed and get very close to them as you calmly wish them Good Morning, and wrap it around a compliment. If you have older kids, they may think you need medication, but stick with it. For my daughters, ages 5 and 3, it worked like a charm on the first day I did it. I have made sure to give myself enough time to do it, and gone are the groggy days, now we have 2 bouncing, beautiful girls excited for the morning and asking if they can help me make breakfast (I make breakfast for everyone, since I get up to work out early).

This thought process has opened my mind. I am my own worst enemy/critic, like many of you are with yourselves. We are never satisfied with our effort and sometimes forget to slow down enough to tell ourselves we are okay. But then we turn around and enjoy the innocence and joy our children bring when they come into this world, but then we blame them when that joy and innocence starts to turn. I think it’s about time we start looking in the mirror for who is to blame, and for who can help them be better than us.

-Until the Wheels Fall Off
-Corey

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