Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Uncategorized

Respond Vs. React (or Why Are You So Dumb?–Part 3)

Welcome back, all. Between less structured summer days and a laptop that needs a li’l TLC, I’m feeling a bit disorganized and out of sorts. Please forgive my delay in getting this post up. As always, I’m hoping all is well with all of you.

happy garden spot
The sunflowers in my yard have morphed into perennials. No complaints from me. 😀

The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.— Ernest Dimnet…(from Don Charisma’s awesome blog–EVERYONE should take a minute and check it out. Just sayin’ 🙂 )

This is a great segue into where we left off last time. We were discussing shaming children in public, the possible consequences and a more positive way of responding (vs. reacting) to an incident I observed while standing in line at my supermarket. (Read Part 1 and Part 2, if you so desire, and please remember to come back! 🙂 )

The night before I wrote this post, I was doing a little cleaning on my enclosed front porch, killing some time while I waited to pick up Younger Son at a friend’s. Outside, the wind had picked up, strong enough to rattle the windows.

Behind me, I heard a loud thump. Attributing it to the wind, I turned toward the (glass) front door and startled BIG-TIME to a face behind the door.

Younger Son had gotten a ride home, saw me from outside and decided to have some fun.

“Please don’t do that again,” I heard myself say, in a calm voice that belied the heart beating and the short breaths going on underneath.

Okay, this didn’t take place in public, but I realized practicing my response over the years—with my guys, and with my school kids (lots of opportunities for practice there 😉 )—helped me to not react. (“Are you out of your ________ mind?” Are you stupid, crazy…?”)

I’m far from perfect, but it’s easier to lose one’s cool when one is behind closed doors–when no witnesses are around. If one has managed one’s behaviors under those circumstances, one can hope to have it even more together out in the world.

Here is an effective way to practice: next time your child does something outlandish that catches you off-guard…(drum roll, please…)

Do.

NOTHING.

What????

Okay, so do this instead: take a step back and then survey the situation.

Honestly, unless your child is in immediate and/or imminent physical danger….

Do. Nothing.

While you’re “doing nothing:”

Get your bearings.

Replay the scene in your head,

Imagine how you might handle the situation via more positive words, actions, etc.

If you need to, write down exactly what you want to say.

Rehearse it.

(Replaying the scene and scripting your response has its place—pinky-swear!)

Once you feel confident–or at least have an idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it, go to your child and address the issue.

“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Experience you’d like to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments, or by contacting me privately. You never know who you might help by putting your story out there.

Have a wonderful day and many thanks for your time,

Joanne

© Joanne C Timpano, content and images. All rights reserved. Continue reading “Respond Vs. React (or Why Are You So Dumb?–Part 3)”

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting

What’s My Motivation? (Part Two)

Welcome back and thank you again for your time and support.

Summary of Part One: Younger Son was two hours shy of his Saturday basketball league’s first game. His brand-new, unused sneakers didn’t fit. I had gotten him that new pair about two months prior, at his request. He wanted to go to the store to make an exchange, two hours prior to the start of his game.

Dad honored Younger Son’s request AFTER I turned him down.

As I stated in Part One, had I been the only available parent, Younger Son would not have made it to the store that Saturday—but not because I wanted to make a point or zing him with the lesson.

My main motivation for not taking him to the store was honest. At that moment in time, I wasn’t in a position to do so.

Mind you, I’m still not completely sure about Dad driving him, but that was Dad’s decision to make. (We both try to be highly supportive of all—appropriate—choices Younger Son makes relative to physical activity. He struggles with his weight and used to be much more of a sedentary kid.)

What I’m saying is, I didn’t want my decision to be made out of spite or resentfulness that my son hadn’t “listened to Mom” the first time. (That’s about my ego, which we can discuss another time.) More occasions for shoe-buying will come up, and I can use this experience/life lesson as a gentle reminder behind a (firm) decision on my part that we’ll wait before picking up that next pair too far ahead of time.

Here’s a flip-side to that coin: Kids are pretty savvy. Most of them get ‘the bigger picture,’ and can read into a parent’s actions. They’re also pretty good at picking up the vibe(s) underscoring them.

Chances are (there are no guarantees here), if Younger Son sees my decision was made out of honesty and not b/c I wanted to assert my authority out of the motivations I listed above, he will be less oppositional and/or resentful of not getting his way. Fingers crossed—he will be more willing to heed his parent’s advice next time.

If he wants something that badly though, he might still put up a fuss. He is human, and as far from perfect as the rest of us. But he—like each of us—is a work-in-progress. And a lot of those life lessons are beginning to add up to a pretty likable 16-year-old. (Well, most of the time, anyway!)

Any thoughts on how Dad and I handled this? Would you have taken your child to the store? How might you have reacted to his or her request in a similar situation? Have you ever taken the time to examine the motive(s) behind the choices you make where your child(ren) are concerned?

I so appreciate your feedback. Please post comments and experiences below. I love questions too! Let’s make this site a community gathering place where we help each other by not being shy. (For those who are shy, you can always send an email via my CONTACT ME page.)

Enjoy your weekend,

Joanne

© Joanne C Timpano. All rights reserved.

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Uncategorized

What’s My Motivation? (Part One)

Hello! Welcome to 2015 and its first installment. Hard to fathom that 2014 rolled full throttle to its close. How true is it that the older one gets the faster time seems to go?

Back to business!

In my previous posts* we talked about taking that step back and letting kids deal with the consequences of their actions. Sometimes, that means allowing them to fail, especially when they poo-poo every parent effort to keep them from doing so.

Taking that step back is not easy. Yet, when we least expect it, life hands our kid(s) another lesson, better than we can ever teach.

Yep, here’s another Younger Son episode. (Being my challenge child, he will most likely command the leading role in many of my posts. 😉 )

Last time we talked about his love of football. Sometimes, I think he has a greater affection for basketball, which he plays recreationally. (Remember that Saturday league he joined that led to his commitment to football? He signed up again this year, played–and won–his first three games. Better than his sophomore football team did, anyway.)

IMG_0994 ©Joanne C Timpano

Being a fairly organized young man, on the day of his first game during the first or second weekend in December, he pulled out the brand new b-ball shoes he had asked me to purchase back in October. This 16-year-old seems to keep growing, and although skeptical he was buying them too soon, we picked them up on a trek for another pair of sneakers. (Sales were kind of too good to pass up—and we had coupons too. )

Big Boy tried those shoes on about two hours before his game.

Big Boy had grown some more. The shoes didn’t fit, and he asked me if I would take him to the store to exchange them. (I’m pretty good about keeping receipts.)

We’re up to that ‘take a step back’ part. Rather than get into the “I told you so’s” or a lecture or yelling at him, I told him the truth: there was no way I could stop everything I was doing and get him to the store. He had other shoes that fit and would have to make do.

He took his case to Dad, prefacing his request with, “I should have listened to Mom, but…” One could hope he learned from this experience. (I figure he’s also good at schmoozing—er, saying the right thing when he wants something ;).)

Dad was not tied up and offered to take him.

At this point, you’re probably saying, “I wouldn’t have taken him. That way he would learn his lesson for next time.”

I don’t disagree with that thinking, and had I been the only parent available, there would have been no trip to the store that Saturday.

In the interest of brevity, I will pick this up again later this week.

What are your thoughts so far? Would you have taken your child to the store? How might you have reacted to his or her request in a similar situation? Feel free to post comments, experiences and/or questions below. Let’s make this site a community gathering place where we help each other by not being shy. (For those who are shy, you can always send an email via my CONTACT ME page.)

*Here are the links to Part One and Part Two, for those want to catch up. (Don’t want to miss a post? Click the FOLLOW button at the top of your screen for auto-delivery of each post to your inbox. Rest assured, emails are NEVER shared or sold.)

As always, I thank you for your time.

Have a wonderful day,

Joanne

 

©Joanne C Timpano, content and images. All rights reserved.

 

Posted in Commitment, Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, School-related, Uncategorized

When You Take That Step Back…(Part One)

A solution often shows.

Welcome to my first “official” post on my new blog/website! (Please feel free to take a few minutes and peruse my other pages too!) I hope you know your time is greatly appreciated. As a working parent myself, I understand how precious it is. In the interest of time, I promise to keep the articles I share as short and to the point as I can make them. (That’s why I broke this one up and spread it over two days. 🙂 )

I also know–firsthand–the challenges parenting entails. Here is an episode–and some resolution–direct from my experience:

Younger Son is a great kid, my challenge-child and a definite work-in-progress. Although not diagnosed, my inner occupational therapist notes a touch of each of the following: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); anxiety; cognitive inflexibility and decreased frustration tolerance. (Translation for the latter two terms: being able to conjure and/or implement Plan A, B, C, etc as needed, and staying cool when the going gets tough. Neither skill is among this almost 16-year-old’s strong points. He’s also true to his ADD in that if something isn’t of high interest or motivation, he probably won’t be bothered with it. Avoidance is king.)

Did I mention when he gets an idea in his head—as in, my-Xbox-isn’t-working-at-9PM-Friday-night-so-we-have-to-go-buy-one-now—redirecting him is next to impossible?

A little background: The kid loves football. He played in a recreational league at age 10 (?) and maybe picked up an allergy to commitment sometime after that. He quit after a second season. During middle school, he came home with papers for wrestling and decided last minute he wasn’t joining. Talked about football too, but never took active steps to join his school’s team or any league, for that matter.

Last November, he asked me, “If I join a Saturday basketball league, do you think I’ll commit to football?”

Awesome question! (Showed insight into his issue.) My suggestion: “Try and see where that takes you.”

That small commitment has so far resulted in having joined—and stuck to—training for football for the 2014-15 school year. He has been doing weight workouts regularly at home for about a year and added short spurts of biking or riding his skateboard to most of his days. (We’re working on finding him substitute cardio activities. It’s getting a tad cold for biking in our area.) He and his friends also get together for basketball or football games whenever the weather allows.

Hubby and I constantly express praise for how committed he has been to his decision.

He keeps coming up short in one place: commitment to his grades in school.

I promised to keep posts short and will pick up from here next time. Look for Part Two on Thursday of this week (Dec 11). In the meantime, thoughts, questions, insight and feedback are welcome. Please note that any comment you leave below might be helpful to someone else. You can also reach out to me privately via my CONTACT ME page. (Also, be assured only I will be able to view your email, and I NEVER share it.)

Remember to check in later this week for Part Two. (Afraid you’ll forget? Click the FOLLOW button at the top of the page. You’ll never miss a future post. It will automatically be delivered to your inbox every time one goes live.)

Have a great day,

Joanne

 

Copyright © 2014 Joanne C Timpano. All Rights Reserved.