Are you a Mom who is Crazy Busy? One Word to Simplify your Life.


 

Being a parent is a juggling act between needs, wants and absolutes.   One of the most common complaints I hear from parents is feeling overwhelmed and crazy busy.  Everyone is coming at you, wanting your time and energy, literally sucking the life from you.  Being overly busy is not good for you or your family.  There is no time to breathe, relax and enjoy each other.  Too much stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and health problems.

Well, I am going to put this to you lightly, if your life is out of control busy, it is because you have allowed it to get that way.  Let me explain.  It is our job as parents to raise and manage our children.  If their schedule is so busy that you are running around like a crazy woman, needing 5 cups of coffee to survive, that is because you have allowed this to happen.  You are in control, or at least supposed to be.

 

Just Say No!

The one word that will simplify your life is… (drum roll please),

No!

For example,

“Mom, can we get a hedgehog?”  No, we already have pets. (actually question I got this week)

“Mom, I want to be in the play, they practice everyday.”  No, sorry, we already are committed to other activities.

“Can you volunteer Saturday for a car wash?”  No, sorry, that is our family day.

“Mom, can you do my science fair project?”  No, I know you will do a great job at that.

“Mom, can I have six friends sleepover?”  No, mommy needs some downtime.

Saying no does not make you mean or a bad person.  It makes you a woman who prioritizes your sanity and family.  You are a woman who realizes that busy is not always a good condition.  Saying no, allows you to take charge of your time and not let others manipulate you.  Don’t get me wrong, helping others and being involved is great, but over-committing yourself is foolish.  Two very powerful letters.  N-O.

The Kid’s Perspective

Kids absolutely have to have food, water, and shelter.  They need love, safety, education, and some sore of enrichment.  They want everything.  They want to play soccer, volleyball, run track, be in the play, and be in the science and math fair, and also do Boy Scouts.  Multiple that by multiple kids and there you have it- absolute chaos.  And that is for a SAHM, God help you if you work!  This is why mom’s have become worn out, frustrated and frantic.

Just because you kid wants to play and do everything, you don’t have to allow it.  It is ok to say no, it doesn’t make you a bad parent, it actually strengthens you authority.   When a kid says they want to do something, like play soccer, they don’t realize all that goes into it.  For example, there is the sign-up day, shopping for shoes, all the practices, the games, the photo day, and the after season party.  Before you know it, you have invested  at least 24 hours of your life on soccer and your daughter just wanted to play because her best friend plays soccer.  Your daughter actually hates soccer but doesn’t want to admit it.  Your kids can run you ragged and they don’t even know it or like the sport!

You know your kid is in the right activity, when they don’t complain or cry about doing it.  When they look forward to it, and make goals towards it.  Parents often force children into an activity, which isn’t healthy.  Encouragement is on thing, but forcing is another.  How would you like it if someone forced you to do something you hated?  Yes, they are children and don’t “know” what they will like, but if your kids continue to cry, whine and stress out about doing an activity, you should re-think the motive.   If your child is naturally better at something, it will build their self-confidence when they are successful.  Kids are people too and they come out with their own agenda, desires and talents, regardless of how we steer them.   Trust me, you life will be so much easier if you listen to your children to find out what they truly want.

How We Manage 3 Athletic Kids

We started my oldest in gymnastics when she was 5, just for “fun”.  She was really good and moved up quickly.  They wanted her to join the team and practice more.  My husband and I talked about it and realized that gymnastics was not a good long-term sport for my daughter because she was estimated to be 6 feet tall and solid.  We decided to put her in diving next because it was a combination of gymnastics and swimming, which she was a natural at.  She did diving for a 6 months or so, then two things happened.  She hit the board during a back flip and the 2012 Summer Olympics.  I saw her hit the board and thought she broke her neck and the way her body ricocheted off the board.  Thank God, she wasn’t hurt, but it put a fear and doubt in me that maybe diving was not a sport I could handle.  My daughter watched the swimming in the Olympics with such intent, that she actualized memorized the strokes and how to swim them.  She said she wanted to swim and we put her on a team, and the rest is history.  She has a natural gift, and we were lucky enough to find it.  She has swam competitively for the last 8 years, and loved it.  Not only has she thrived, it has become part of her identity.   It allows her to set goals and think about the future.

She was our oldest, so when my other 2 kids came of age, we put them in swimming too.  They wanted to be like their big sister who was winning trophies and my husband and I felt that it was a sport that we could go as a family, instead of splitting out time on baseball fields, soccer fields and tennis courts.  My other two children also had a natural talent for swimming and a desire to work hard and succeed.  All three of them are successful.  They actually use each other for motivation and inspiration.  It has made them stronger as a sibling group because they share the love of the game, the same game, together.  It has made our life’s as parents and a family much easier because there is a common ground and goal.   My husband and I volunteer and have gotten involved as well.

 

Instead of being stressed and overwhelmed, we are unified and bonded.  But, looking back, we have made that way.  We said “no” to many other activities and distractions.  We honestly accessed our children and noticed their strengths and weakness.  (For example, if you child is short maybe basketball is not sport to invest your time.)  We said no to trying out baseball and dance.  Does that make us bad parents?  Absolutely not!  We have guided our children into a sport that aligns their hearts and talent and that works for our family.  We told our children, swimming is your “sport” that we are going to invest our time.  Funny thing is, they never complain.  They know what is expected.  They know when they have practice and meets.   There is consistency.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a basketball hoop, golf clubs, soccer balls, bowling shoes, footballs, skateboards, tennis rackets, art supplies, musical instruments  and archery stuff at our house which our kids play with freely in the down time.  I am just not driving them around to every activity.  

There is a difference between being competitive at an activity and just playing.  Today’s parents have lost site of that difference.

 

I realize we got lucky that all 3 kids like and are good at the same sport. But there is something to be said about finding your kids talent and love and sticking to it.  Let all other activities be just for fun and keep the focus on that one sport.  Helping your kids focus on their talent and stay committed is a life-skill that they won’t forget.

Kids should be well-rounded.  But as the saying goes…

 You will never be good at anything, if you do everything.

God’s advice for us busy parents.

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive. 1 Timothy 3:4.

As parents we are instructed by God to manage our households well.  That means putting God first.  We are not to let our children overtake our life with activities, sports and busyness.  Saying no to excess activity will simplify your life and reduce stress.  Knowing your children’s desires and talent will help them focus on one activity and stay committed and build self-confidence.

Happy parenting!

#Seriously1975

Comments?

 

Struggling with Addiction? The 8 F’s of Addiction and What The Bible has to Say.

Real life Struggles

Addiction This could be alcohol, drugs, sex, computers, work, exercise or food.  (Or anything else that disrupts your daily life).   When you are addicted, you have obsessive thoughts about doing or seeing something and when you complete that action, your brain releases chemicals that make you want to do it again, and the cycle continues.  That is why long running addictions are harder to break than newer ones, because the brain has been hard-wired for a longer period of time.  Addiction is not a weakness, but the brain’s chemical dependence to a feeling.

But the question to ask yourself if what started the addictive behavior.  Addiction is self-destruction.  You are basically killing yourself slowly, in the least you are damaging your well-being.  But why would anyone want to hurt their own body?  Here is a list of some of the most common reasons addictions start.

The 8 F’s of Addiction 

Fear-  Is something making your excessively fearful?  Fear of death?  The health of your loved ones?  Being alone?

Fault-  Did you do something that your feel is your fault that dramatically altered your life or someone else’s?  Do you keep beating yourself up from something you did in the past?

Freedom-  Are you trying to escape?  Has the stress of everyday life got to you?  Do you just need a break?

Forget-  What are you trying to forget?  Something from your childhood?  Something you did?

Forgive-  Cannot forgive someone?  Yourself possibly?  Are you mad at God because you feel like He has abandoned you?

Fraud- Trying to be someone you aren’t?  Pretending?  Are you hiding a deep dark secret?

Fun- Did the addiction start out as something fun and end up consuming you?

Failure- Did you fail at something?  Do you feel like you cannot get anything right?

What Addiction Looks Like

Let me put these all into perspective.  My husband and I went on cruise a few years ago.  I like to people watch so I came to notice this one man on the first day of cruise.  He was a man in his mid-late 40’s who was drinking hard around the pool and being playful and flirty with the others that were partying around the pool.  The second day, he was seen again around the pool, drinking very early and hard, being loud and obnoxious.  He seems to be on the cruise by himself.  As the week went on and most other “normal” people started to calm down as far as the partying goes, he never did.  In the beginning of the week he was one in the crowd, by the end, he was alone at the bar with his hand on a drink, head down, looking quite somber, not sober.

I don’t know this man, but I can make some assumptions.   He obviously was an alcoholic.  I know this because of the amount of alcohol he could consume and still stay functional.  There were also clues from his body, red bloated face and distended abdomen.  This man possibly started to drink because it was fun.  His body liked the feeling of being drunk and then it became a crutch in his life possibly causing him to get divorced.  Now he has failure at marriage and that makes him fearful of being alone.  He also cannot forgive himself for ruining his life, so he drinks to forget all that he has done and how he is continuing the family tradition of alcoholism .  He continues to drink because that is all he knows, and would feel like a fraud if he did anything else.  He is angry at God for cannot forgive.  And the cycle continues.

Why Addiction Sucks So Bad

Addiction is a complicated struggle because most of us deny it or hide it from others, so it doesn’t feel real or apparent.  There is shame.  For instance, alcoholics tend to hide their drinking, and families tend to cover for other alcoholic members.  Binge eaters eat in secret, ect. ect.  Denial is part of the disease.  You lose touch with what is normal and healthy and the disease lies and tells you “it’s not that bad.”  The reality is God sees everything.  No addiction can be truly hidden.

The cycle of addiction is so tight that a single mere human find it very hard to break.  That is why people need support systems, rehabilitation, groups, and sponsors.  The first national rehabilitation group was Alcoholics anonymous, AA, has been around since 1935.  Their goal is to help people stay sober and to help other achieve sobriety.  AA started a twelve-step program as their foundation for success.  The twelve-step process is based on the addict admitting he is powerless to his addiction and need a “high power” to get them out of addiction.  Hmmm.  Sounds familiar.  Kind of like the Gospel.  We are all sinners, we are separated from God based on our sinfulness, they only way to God is to surrender our self to God, believe He sent his Son to pay for our sins, and to dedicate our life to Him.

Addiction can be beat.  With God anything is possible.

No matter what your view on God was before you became and addict, you absolutely need God now.  Every human being will eventually let your down, and you yourself have let yourself down.  But God’s love and grace is perfect and never ending.  God wants you to be holy, joyful and full of His love.

You matter to God!

Everyone else maybe mad or fed up with your addiction, but God isn’t.  He will never leave or forsake you.  You matter to Him and He has a plan for you, and He is the creator of the universe, so that is awesome!

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11.

Let’s see what the bible says about the 8 F’s of Addiction.

Fear-

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.   John 14:27

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.    Psalms 23:4         

Fault-

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.  Isaiah 53:6

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.  Psalm 51:3-4

Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.  Psalm 19:12

Freedom-

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed.  Luke 4:18

But now you have been set free for sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  Romans 6:22

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, a complete life full of purpose. John 10:10

Forget-

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.   Isaiah 43:18

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17

Forgive-

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.  Daniel 9:9

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.   Psalm 103:12  

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Fraud-                               

Whoever hates, disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart.  Proverbs 26:24

Wouldn’t God find out, since he knows the secrets in our hearts?   Psalms 44:21.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.  Mark 4:22.

Fun-

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.   Proverbs 20:1               

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 8:15

Failure-             

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.  Proverbs 3:5-6 

Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us. We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light.  Micah 7:8 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

What now?

Hopefully if you have read this far, you feel a connection to what has been written.  Think about the 8 F’s of addiction and what caused you to become an addict.  Find the verses written about them and let them soak into your soul.

When you are ready to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, repeat this prayer:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.  -Amen.”

Now, go get a bible and start reading.  Start going to a Christian Chuch.  Pray continually.  Listen to Amazing Grace.  Talk to other Godly people who can guide you and start living your new life with God.

Please share this post if you know someone struggling.  God Bess!

#Seriously1975

Comments?

                  

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How I Earned $0 My First 6 Months Blogging – The Blogging Misconceptions


Continue reading “How I Earned $0 My First 6 Months Blogging – The Blogging Misconceptions”

How to Live a Long Life – Advice from a 107-year-old


Most people would agree that living a long life, with good health, would be desirable.  Personally, I would love to be able to see my kids and grandkids grow-up.  Also, living in future times, to see what it brings, seems interesting.  Meeting people who have already lived long lives is inspiring.  Well, the other day, I met the oldest person ever.  107!  She was born in 1909.  It boggles my mind to think of all the changes in her lifetime.  I have met thousands of people in my 20 years of nursing, but she was the oldest.   She is from on of my favorite generations, (see my blog post on generations), and she definitely fit the stereotype of a tough cookie.  Of course I had to ask her, “what is your secret to living so long?”

Her answer “having daily conversations with God, not just prayer, but a conversation.”  Wow.   Has this woman cracked the code to the fountain of youth?  Maybe.  Just maybe, daily conversations with God, steer our life for clean and holy living.  Keeping us away from toxic substances like alcohol, drugs and smoking.  Possibly talking to God lowers your stress level, lowering cortisol.  Could conversations with God make us happier and give us more drive to live?  Is God the answer?

I don’t know.  But I do know that knowing God will make your life superior, giving you joy and peace so when your life does end, you won’t question whether you got gypped by a short life.  I do know that having a God-focused life will give you a purpose, so your life, no matter how long, will have meaning.   I do know, that having a relationship with God will make you grateful for every single day of life you are given.

So, how do you have conversations with God?  I know this is different for everyone but it is letting God into your thoughts.  It is letting Him guide your decision making process.  For example, if you are driving and start to get frustrated at traffic, but then your take a breath and are filled with peace and just patience.  This is the way of God telling you to chill out.  Another example, when you have a decision to make, you talk to God, either out loud or in your head, and wait for answers.   His answers come in many ways, and at His time.  Sometimes through opening doors and closing others, sometimes through other people, and sometimes you just get a feeling of overwhelming confirmation.  You also know when you are going against God’s will because you get a feeling of angst mixed with disappointment.

For non believers, this sounds like craziness, I know.  How can you possibly have a relationship with someone you never met?  How can you rely on feelings and assume they are answers for God?  How can the creator of the universe care about your daily life?   Once again, I don’t have all the answers.   I do know that faith and trusting God will put your heart in place where it will make sense.   The bible puts it perfectly in Jeremiah 33:3, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Something else to think about, how is your life going so far without God?  The fact that you have read this post this far makes me think you might need some answers and help.   People are great at pretending to be happy, yet they are miserable inside.  Yes, you can “fake life till you make it”, but you are missing out on all the peace and grace that a relationship with God offers.  Not to mention eternal life in Heaven, also a perk.

So, think about what the 107-year-old had to say…

Questions or comments?

#Seriously1975

5 Types of Friends and the Only One You Need – A Letter to My Daughters


Learning how decipher friends, (by that I mean finding those you can trust and those you can’t), is hard for adults to do.  For a middle schooler, it can be daughting.  The middle school years, ages 11-14, are critical years in child development.  These are the years of intense growth, mentally and physically, and independence.  They can make or break a tween/teen.   Having healthy friendships and good role models can help foster self-esteem and productivity.  Having troubled friends can lead down a path of drugs, apathy and rebellion.  Either way, the decisions you make in middle school can affect the rest of your life.

Having two tween daughters myself, I hear the stories about their “friends”.  It makes me realize how hard it is to figure out who’s who.  Who to avoid, and who to embrace.

Here is a letter to my daughters during their tween years.

Dear Daughters,

I love you more than I can say and I only want the best and easy route for you.  I know you have to figure things out and make your own mistakes, but I want to give you some guidance in the friend department.

 

There are 5 different types of friends.  I will explain each.

The Frienenemy. This is someone you know, are cordial with, but you don’t trust.  They may talk about you behind your back, be jealous or compete with you. Friendenemies are not someone you look up to as a role model.  They can live on the edge and can be rebellious.  Be kind to them, but do not choose them as a friend.

The acquaintance.  This is someone you kind-of know, maybe a social media friend.  You maybe never talked with them.  You really don’t have much in common, just a similar circle of friends.  The acquaintance will always be, just that, an acquaintance.  Neither of you have any interest in getting to know each other, so just leave it at that.

A situational friend.  This is someone you have a class with or maybe ride the bus with, and you talk during that time, but that is pretty much it.  You like this person and they respect you, but outside the class, you don’t have much in common.  It’s ok, situation friends are essential in getting through the day.  As an adult, these are known as “work friends”.

A good friend.  This is someone you like and can trust, maybe someone you sit with at lunch.  You probably have known them a while and your friendship has grown.  This is the kind of friend you invite to birthday parties.  You know their family.  They make you laugh and they support you.

A Bestie                                    This is someone who knows your heart and your secrets.  They support and encourage you.  You fully trust this friend.  This is the friend you spend the weekend with.  Everyone in the family likes this friend and our families get along.  They are your cheerleader and linebacker, and vice versa.  This is the most important friend for you to have.  Everyone needs a bestie, and you only need just one.  I have been blessed with several bestie’s throughout my life (Carla, Ann, Ellen, Jess, Stauss and several Heathers)  Even though our lives are in different places,  these besties helped shape my life.  Forever, I am grateful.

 

But, my daughters, the bad news is that every human being will eventually let you down.  Your bestie, your siblings, even your parents.  We are all fallen people.  You must not rely on us for happiness or fulfillment.

The good news is, Jesus Christ, will never let you down.  He loves you perfectly and unconditionally.  He is not a “friend”, but a Lord, so you must treat him as such, but you can have open communication with him through prayer.  He can fulfill you and give you joy.  He gives you a promise and a purpose.  He is the one you need.

So, my advice to you, my daughters, it to rely on Jesus, trust him with your heart, and he will lead the way.  He will help you throughout your life and help you make the right choices.

 

 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11.

Love, Mom

#Seriously1975

Comments?  What advice do you have for your daughter?

The Power of a Positive Pregnancy Test


 

Finding out you are pregnant is one of those moments that you will never forget, especially the first pregnancy.  I have been a mom over 12 years but I can still remember the time I saw two pink lines and the power of the positive pregnancy test!

Often us seasoned moms forget about that time when our life forever changed.  We find it east to complain about the daily struggles of mom life…making lunches for years on end, potty training, not sleeping, sibling rivalry…the list goes on.  We often forget that heart wrenching moment when we found out we were going to be a mom.

I got a reminder of that time recently when a few women at work were talking about our periods (I know kind of weird), and one states that her period is 4 days late and she is trying to get pregnant.  She also stated that she is 32 years old and was told she would never be able to get pregnant because she had endometriosis.  She hadn’t taken a test yet, because she didn’t want to jinx it.  Needless to say, we talked her in to taking a test at work (we work in a hospital, so they are readily available).   We got busy and forget about it but when we all got to sit again, we were like “so?…”  And she just burst into a huge smile and starts to well up with tears.  Two pink lines!  She said her heart was pounding, she felt so excited that she didn’t know what to do.  She threw out the Pepsi she was drinking and started asking us moms what she needs to do.  She wanted to call her husband and mom, but we told her probably not recommended since it was 2 am.  She also went on to doubt if she should tell anyone at all.  What if something happened?   Her reactions, emotions and questions took me right back to the day when I saw two pink lines.

I was 27 years old, and at work too, in Newport Beach, California.  It was the first month we tried to get pregnant and because I thought it was going to take months, I didn’t really think about it.  Something felt different so I decided to just take a test.   I remember standing there staring faint pink line started to form, my heart started to pound.  I could not believe it!  How could it have been so easy?  I was working at the time in a surgery center and saw women going under in vitro everyday, that getting pregnant the natural way, seemed impossible.  I could barely think straight.  I was so happy, so shocked.

We did everything we thought was right that pregnancy. I went to the doctor, ate healthy, and took care of myself.  We didn’t tell anyone till after the 12 week mark because we thought we were out of the danger zone.  I had two normal ultrasounds and had a healthy baby growing.   I’ll never forget the day it all changed.  I had the worst PMS attack ever, I remember sitting in the closet crying over nothing.  I didn’t know it then, but that was the day my baby died, sending my hormones into a nosedive.  I was 18 weeks along.  A few days later, to be confirmed by my doctor.  Cystic hygroma they said.  My life was forever changed.

The next pregnancy, I was extremely nervous.  I was still excited to be pregnant but very cautious.  I did not want the heartbreak again.  I did things differently the second time around.  I told people right away I was pregnancy.  I felt like a life was created and even though it may not survive,  it needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.  I also knew that I needed the support.  I needed people to encourage and love on me.  That is my advice for people, don’t feel like you have to wait to tell people.  There are never any guarantees, even after the first trimester, even after birth, even after kindergarten.  Life is very fragile, always.  New life should always be celebrated for it is a gift from God.

Happy ending to that story, I went on to have three beautiful, healthy, smart and wonderful kids, all with in 4 years!  It brought my husband I closer together an it forever changed my life.  I would not take it away for anything.   God has a plan and a reason.   For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11.

Back to the present day, a thought crossed my mind when I was thinking about this woman and the new life she had growing in her.  I was never going to feel that again.  I am 41 and not trying to get pregnant, nor do I want more children, even if it was feasible.  But that feeling of knowing you are pregnant, it just the best.  It is like of all the things that are wrong with this world, somethings are so right.  But, that chapter in my life is over.  I cannot say that I don’t feel a little jealous when I see a glowing pregnant woman but I am ok with never getting pregnant again.  I am so grateful for all God has done for us, blessing us with three children.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So when you are feeling worn down from being a parent.  Feeling like it is groundhogs day, every single day. Take a moment to remember the day you found out you were pregnant.  The joy, the excitement, the anticipation.  And relish that feeling.  God is good.

Now, go do some laundry!

What is your pregnancy story?

#Seriously1975

 

 

 

 

 

Empower, Encourage and Teach Your Kids to Be Independent – 3 Easy Phrases


 

One of the hardest parts of having kids is letting go.  Giving them freedom and encouragement to make decisions and mistakes.  This is a scary world with abductions, bullying and teen suicide, but hovering over them is not the answer.  We must empower, encourage and teach them how to be independent and the earlier they learn this the better the outcome.

The opposite of teaching independence is helicopter parenting, which is prevalent in today’s society.  Basically, the parents micro-manage their kids in all aspects of life, leaving them void and with low self-esteem.  I witnessed it the other day and it broke my heart. I had a 28-year-old “man”, come into the ER after his dog bit his face. No big deal, not life threatening, just needed sutures. So his parents, who he lives with, are there with him. His mommy, asked me for juice and crackers for him, them proceeded to open the crackers and feed it to him. He is 28-years-old!  She still treated him like he was 2!  The young man, barely spoke and looked defeated.  Yeah, because he had not been allowed to grow-up.  How is he ever going to be independent, when his mom is still opening his crackers for him at 28?  True story!

Another downfall of helicpoter parenting is it leaves the parents exhausted and worn down,  because all you do all day is take care kids, who are whiny and demanding?  Do your kids treat you like their personal assistant?  You are in control and can stop this behavior.  Teaching children independence will make parenting more enjoyable.

Here are 3 easy phrased to teach independence

  1. “Well I know you can figure that out”.  This is the empowerment key.  Moms and dads get hundreds of questions a day.  Where are my socks?  How do I do this puzzle?  My first response when ever possible is “well I know you can figure that out”.  Kids are used to doing everything for them, dressing, bathing, homework, projects, making food, that literally we need to teach them to think for themselves.   You do not have to do everything for your child when they are capable of doing it themselves.  We must give them opportunity to problem solve, fail and press on.  We are their biggest obstacle when it comes to independence because we feel like we need to do everything for them.
  2. “Make good choices”.  This is the encouragement key.  Kids need to be thinking about options, choices and outcomes.  Kids naturally are reactive and don’t think before acting or speaking (adults too have this problem).  If they are about to hit a sibling, if you interject with “make a good choice”, instead of “NO or STOP”, it puts the decision-making process on them.  If they make the right decision, praise them.  If they wack the sibling, pull them aside, talk to them, ask them what decision would have been better.  Tell them that this bad decision effected the sibling and yourself, and encourage them that next time, they can make a better choice.  Then squeeze in a hug to let them know you are still supportive.  Some kids are have problems with impulse control, so this is not easy but persistence is key.  When they are away at school, ask them when they come home, “what good choices and what not so good choices did you make today and how is tomorrow going to be better?  Kids have to start owning their reactions before the can alter them.
  3. “I know you will do a good job at…”  This is the teaching key.  This is more teaching them what you expect, but giving them the option to do it.  Say you tween wants to bake cookies.  You can say “I know you will do a good at being safe around the stove and cleaning up everything when it’s done.”  For little kids, say they want to play with leggos.   You say “I know you will do a good job at playing with them, sharing with your sister, and then cleaning them up afterwards.”   The kids think they made this brilliant choice and pleased you, (and they did), but you were the one that set the expectations in the beginning.  How are kids supposed to know what is expected if we don’t teach them?  Say your kid wants to play outside.  You say “Ok, I know you will do a good job at sharing, playing nice and not talking to strangers”.  And if they don’t meet your expectations, (which is going to happen a lot), then you resort back to statement two and ask them “what better choice could you have made?”  Let them figure out what mistakes they made.

Children are a gift from God and a command from God is to raise them right.  Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6.

Repeating the steps of empowering, encouraging and teaching are ways to let your child learn independence and as a result make parenting more enjoyable.

Hope this is helpful.  Questions or comments?

Happy Parenting!

#Seriously1975