Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right???? (Part 3)

Hello, everyone. Told ya I’d be spotty with posting regularly at this time of the school year. I’ve never hoped to make a liar of myself, but it might have been nice to be proven wrong when it comes to being overly busy with paperwork. At least I can say I’m writing something–yes??? 😁

So…

We’re still talking the parenting thing. In case you missed them, here are links to preceding posts one and two.

Here is where we left off: Teaching/modeling responsibility (and EXPECTING my children to BE responsible) are probably the most effective foundation-building things parents, caregivers, educators—anyone involved with kids—can do.

I like to think Hubby and I started when the boys were very young, as in, old enough to put away toys, throw a juice box in the trash–you know, the heavy work. 😉

Teaching responsibility doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping chores and/or tasks age-appropriate, simple and few facilitates success, along with a sense of pride/accomplishment for being independent. It also helps minimize frustration and/or resentment (for kids AND parents).

Here are some of the things I expected my kids to do. Feel free to try the examples or come up with your own:

Make their beds daily. (BTW, I do too, or Hubby does—as always, leading by example is powerful.) I kept the job easy: all they had to do was straighten/fluff their pillows and pull up a comforter. (I’ve never used a flat top sheet. It’s a bit much for kids to handle, and the the bed would never get done the way this mamma likes.  I skip it to this day, and the 20-year old still makes his bed. How cool is that? 😎)

They also dressed themselves. Can’t remember who picked out their outfits—knowing my controlling self I’m sure I ‘guided’ them to ensembles I liked 😉. If morning is just too rushed, I offer two suggestions:

(1) Help really little ones on days when it’s not feasible to wait, but expect them to dress at an age-appropriate level of independence on weekends, or whenever things are a bit more relaxed at your house. (Try to be consistent with days in which the onus is on them.) This can also apply to kids who are physically capable to dress themselves, but have special needs that interfere with doing so in a timely manner. BTW, at around 12 months, even babies can “help” with dressing. Wait for them to push an arm through a sleeve or leg into pants. I like to make a game of looking for a hand at the end of a long sleeve when putting a jacket on toddlers and preschoolers—makes the task more fun for both of us!

(2) Let the older ones fend for themselves or deal with the consequences. These don’t have to be dire, mean or horrible; consequences should be a naturally occurring  (or logically-related) result of one’s choices. (More on that in my next post.)

Give up the backpack! This is a biggie  for me, and I stand by it to this day. Each of my boys carried his backpack from the day he got one. (Yes, even in nursery and preschools. Every now and again one or both would ask me to hold them while they ran a race with other kids walking home. No problem! I did, but handed them back immediately upon completing the race. (There’s that subtext again. What I didn’t say but showed through my actions. Speaks way louder than words, folks.)

Here are some more illustrations of subtext—what say you?

One after-school episode stands clear in my mind pictures: that of a mom—I’m sure a very kind-hearted and compassionate one—leaving the playground after school ended for the day. THREE backpacks hung off her shoulders while she simultaneously balanced a very wide box of cupcakes with both hands. Three girls walked in front of her twirling umbrellas. (I’ll assume they were her daughters.) ‘Nough said.

Another neighbor once said something about her kids not being responsible about the dog. “I told Freddelina to take out the dog, but she didn’t so now I have to…”

Another day, a neighbor stopped to chat. She’d just picked up her then-kindergarten-aged twin boys from school. She was carrying two backpacks.

I bit my tongue and chatted about how big the boys were getting.

Next time: Don’t be afraid to do what you have to do.

back-view-backpack-bag-207697
Image from Pexels

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving. Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! YOUR experiences can be of benefit to others and questions can be a springboard for the answer(s) you might be seeking.

Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. I made it to Instagram (joanne.timpano) and am learning my way around there.  As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below, or share on Instagram! (I don’t believe there is a button I can add, but I know it’s a biggie. Thank you!!

Wising you all a wonderful day and rest of the weekend,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right???? (Part 2)

Hello all! Nothing like a snow day to help one get a little more caught up. (Who are we kidding? Is being caught up ever really possible?)

“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”

That’s where I left off next-to-last post. If you missed it, you might want to check it out. (Pinky swear: it ain’t all that long. )

My coworker’s question really struck me; to this day I often wonder about it. (That question also inspired the name of my parenting workshop , come to think of it. 😉 ) Those of you who have been hanging around the blog for a while might remember a series of posts I did about Discipline vs. Control. (I’ve linked you to the first. Feel free to take it from there, for a total of five essays on the topic, and maybe a bit more insight into groundwork laid.)

Not that he didn’t help before, but since Hubby took on the role of stay-at-home-dad, he’s taken on many of the responsibilities involved in keeping a house running. He often refers to the house as “his job”. So, he models by doing a lot of the cleaning, along with showing consideration. (That’s an important component, folks. Kind of like the subtext in a story: what’s not written but inherent and working on your psyche as one reads.)

Example: We usually all pitch in after dinner, but on many occasions, when Hubby knows I still have paperwork to do, or errands to run after work, he’ll offer to clean up on his own. Most of the time though, I try to move a little faster and make sure to employ everyone present. If every person does a small part of the bigger job, we all get done more quickly and one person isn’t stuck with all the work, right?

And here’s a bit of an aside, but it ties in: Years ago a friend and I were chatting. Something came up about her husband offering to “help” her do something home- or kid-related. My friend took the offer; she also jumped on the opportunity to point out that whatever had to be done was their responsibility—not hers alone with him jumping in to assist because he thought it was kind, or his duty, or whatever other reason spurred him to offer his time and efforts.

Back to subtext: This was a big shift in perspective for me! Being a doer, I tend to initiate and ask others to take on parts of the job. I quickly grasped the concept my friend illustrated and passed it on to Hubby. Little by little, could it be the sons got this too?

And one more take on this before I get back to the point: When my full-timers were small and my part-timers (a.k.a., stepsons) were still children and spent time here regularly (i.e., weekends, overnighters, etc), the bulk of my time outside the day job—which never lacked for work to bring home—was taken up with two to five boys at any given time. One day, Hubby got a little annoyed with my availability for him being pretty limited. He told me, “I feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole.”

My reply came quick (thanks to that chat with my friend 🙂 ).  “Actually, I’m at the bottom. You’re probably the next step up. Since, however, we’re supposed to be equal in this relationship and family situation, I’m thinking you should be at bottom next to me.” (Chances are, Hubby wasn’t too thrilled with me at that moment. 😇)

IMHO, this brings me back to a single word: RESPONSIBILITY. Perhaps that is the “key” to the “foundation” Hubby and I might have laid for “something like this to happen,” as my coworker put it.

If nothing else, I’ve always been responsible. Not that it was necessarily a choice: as the first-generation-American (and only) daughter of Italian immigrants, I was groomed for being so from the first English words that came out of my mouth. My work as a health care provider is responsibility after responsibility. And dealing with the ramifications of not fully understanding my part of my responsibilities in my first work setting led to growth (which, I promise, wasn’t without pain).

So, teaching responsibility, and EXPECTING my kids to BE responsible, are probably the two most foundation-building things I hope to have done along the way. (BTW, this applies to my students too, and something I sort-of drill, especially as kids vie for increased independence, which is typical as they grow. I’m also big on pushing the idea that freedom/privilege is WROUGHT with responsibility–think driving.)

We’ll talk about this more next week.

adorable-adult-boys-341378

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving through the hiccups and rough spots, or inspiring us with jaw-dropping moments of whaa….?

Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. As soon as I get that danged Instagram thing together—setting it up has only been annoying with nothing to show for it to date—you’ll be able to post there too. (To the chagrin of my kids—Younger Son, in particular–who are not thrilled with mom sharing their platform, lol–which is why, I’m told, kids left Facebook. 😀 ) As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below!

Enjoy the (snow) day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.