Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My biggest challenge in parenting.

Hi friends!

I've always wanted to blog about my biggest challenge in parenting.  Not because I want to complain about it, but because it happens to be the one thing I expected to be really good at as a mom... & I think it's pretty ironic that it's been my biggest battle yet:


Before I had kids, I literally remember telling people how firm I would be on my kids.  "I will not let my kids get away with acting out in public", "I will follow through with discipline", "I will always give tough love so that they turn out to be decent human beings!"

I still agree with those words, aspire to be like that mom, but now that I actually HAVE kids I can see that I had no idea what was coming my way.  It's easy to be an expert on parenting before you have kids of your own, isn't it?  Oh how humbling this great journey called parenthood can be.

Having 3 boys is a wild ride.  They are rambunctious, physical, loud little creatures.  Wrestling matches break out in the middle of nowhere, for no reason at all. Baby Jace is only 11 months & he's already trying to play fight with the boys.  Yeah, yeah... I hear you girl moms. "You're so lucky. Girls are drama. Boys are so much easier."  Maybe girls are harder to figure out mentally, but boys are physically exhausting. 

It takes a lot of work to make sure my kids don't hurt each other.  They're not mean, they're just wild boys, & if you're a mom with more than one boy in your household I'm sure you're nodding in agreement with me.  You just get it.  We have to step it up a notch as boy moms.

Unfortunately for me, this has been my weakness as a parent so far.  Following through & being tough on them when it's needed.  I never in a million years thought I would have an issue with this!  I've had to train myself to get better at it since it has not come as easily to me as I always thought it would.

A couple weeks ago I had a wake up call. My husband told me "Whatever you're doing to discipline them when I'm not around, it's not working."  I took offense to that because I felt like I was being told I'm not doing a good enough job as a parent.  But that's not what he meant, & I did take it the wrong way.  He was right.  My boys were getting a little too out of control & when he would come home he could tell that I wasn't always following through with my discipline.  I was letting things slide when I got too tired. I needed to step up my game.  If I don't follow through as a parent & earn their respect now, it'll only get worse as they get older.  Then I'll have 3 teenagers walking all over me!

Here are some ways I have buckled down to try & improve with following through on discipline:

1.  I give ONE warning.  ONE.  I make it clear to them.... "You are NOT allowed to bite your brother.  Do it ONE more time & you get a punishment.  This is your ONE warning.  Do you understand?"  I make sure they nod & say "yes" so we are in agreement that if they do whatever it is one more time, they know they have decided to be disciplined.  Now, I don't ALWAYS give warnings... if it's something REALLY bad that they have done in the past  & clearly KNOW they aren't supposed to... immediate discipline is necessary & they know it.  I make a decision based on the crime.

2.  Star rewards.  I created our own type of star chart that works for our family.  Chore charts don't work for them at this age.  (We tried that & it was too hard).  What works for us is rewarding them when they do something good.  One of those things can be chores, but it's easier for me to give them little jobs to help me with as I go, & think of things that are needed at that particular moment.  Also, when they help without being asked, or behave and say "yes ma'am" without complaining, I give them a star.  We have 7 days of the week on a mini dry erase board with a column for each boy.  At the end of the week they cash out their stars.  Every 5 stars earns them a dollar.  Usually they only end up with $2 or $3 but this gives them allowance to go buy a small toy, or save up to see a movie.  Also, when they're naughty, they lose stars.  They've made it into quite the competition between the two of them which really helps as well, they don't want to be the loser at the end of the week with the least amount of stars.  I know that some parents do not agree with rewarding our kids with stars, but this is working great for us so I'm sticking with it.  Hence why I'm sharing it with you now. ;)

3.  Smaller punishments for the smaller crimes, bigger punishments for the big crimes. (For us this is time out VS. spanking on the bottom.  Each parent/child is different so you choose which methods work for your family). Sometimes they get in trouble for something little, like me having to ask more than once to put away their mess, or when my oldest throws a fit under his breath because I tell him it's time for homework & he didn't listen the first time.  These types of things I feel like a bigger punishment is too harsh.  A time out (in Jace's room where they have no toys) for as many minutes as they are old, seems to help.  If they are violent with each other, lie to us, etc... that's when a spanking seems reasonable.  And like I said earlier, they usually always get a warning before that spanking has to happen.  (Unless it's a full blown bite to the arm or something, then a warning isn't really helpful.  They need immediate discipline in the more extreme situations, especially when they KNOW they aren't supposed to & have been told many times not to in the past).

4.  Reading our children's bible & having discussions about Jesus & his character.  We often choose to read out of the children's bible before bed & talk about what we read in each chapter.  I also like to talk about Jesus at the dinner table.  I try my hardest to instill in them what it means to have integrity, to treat others the way we want to be treated, & to have a good heart.  I can only pray that my children learn to love Jesus & who He is the way that we do.

So these are the things that have been working better for me, & I'm hoping they continue to!  What has worked for you with your kids?  Moms of older kids (especially boys), what have you had to change as they got older?  Any tips for me & other moms of young boys that will help shape our little guys into the decent & respectful little men we hope they will turn out to be?

Also, before I forget!  The $100 off code expires next month for a Tomorrow Sleep Mattress like the one we have (below) & that I've raved about in my previous blog posts!  It would make a GREAT Christmas gift!  To get the discount just use STEVIE100 at checkout (expires 12/31/17)!  As you can see below, my children love wrestling on our new mattress as well...shocker! ;)

Thanks again for reading! Good night!

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