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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

can my kids really learn from me?

Growing up I never imagined myself as a parent.  It wasn't until I was about 25 I actually thought "Hey, might be fun to have some kids."

I love my parents, very much but as a kid I didn't listen to them.  What kid does, right?  I thought they were full of BS and hypocrites.  "Don't smoke, it's bad."  Yet they lit up every day and smoked in front of us.  "Don't drink, it's bad."  Okay mom, have another glass of Hoctoler and rub up against the neighbor lol.

All kids think their parents are full of crap.  No matter what we tell them, knowing it's for their own good, they choose to ignore us.  We've all heard the "I walked a mile in the snow, barefoot, never had friends, always did what I was told or got the strap for smiling..." stories.

That's why when I had my kids, I decided I was going to do things different.  Not better than my parents, just--different.

I used to hate it when I asked my parents why?  Never getting a response that was remotely honest, only the dreaded BECAUSE I TOLD YOU SO answer.  And growing up one of the things I missed out on the most was communication.  Not being treated like a kid who didn't understand anything, who had no feelings, but a smaller version of an adult learning, curious about life, questions that invaded me, and a safe place to bounce that stuff off of.

As a mom today that is what I try to do --be honest with my kids.  Is it better than the way my parents raised me?  No it's not.  My parents loved me and support and care is the fundamental recipe for having a successful relationship with any child.  Everyone wants to be loved.  But I feel closer to my kids than I ever felt to my parents and for that reason I am proud.

Gamer is ten turning eleven and we have a great relationship.  We still snuggle.  He will hold my hand while we walk, kiss me goodbye when he's leaving for school and will talk to me about what's on his mind, no matter the topic -- girls, hormones, how his body is changing and the fears he has about getting older and gaining more responsibility.

Is he ever bad?

Hell yes!  All kids are.  In fact all people are.

Sometimes I will catch him swearing, repeating a word he's heard, using it and I will cringe.  I'm a potty mouth by nature, not flattering I know, but there it is out in the open.  Mommies a trucker when she talks and gets nervous lol. 

My parenting to that: I simply tell him it's nt right I swear, it's setting a bad example and when he's older he can do what he wants, but for not nobody wants to hear a ten year old say naughty words.  I also remind him to remind me not to use naughty words, when my vocab is in the toilet he is allowed to tell me to watch my p's and q's.

Is that giving him too much power?

Should kids be allowed to remind their parents when they are acting wrongly?  Should they be allowed to speak out against their parents when they disagree with something?

I say yes, which I realize many parents do not agree with.  Kids should not be able to talk to their parents in such ways and should do what they are told -- all the time.

Children are human beings though, with their own thoughts and feelings which may not coincide with ours.  They are individuals.  As a kid I always felt I was misunderstood, unheard and my existence didn't mean anything because I felt my feelings were irrelevant.

I never wanted my own children to ever feel that way.  I wanted them to know that as a parent, yes I am in charge, I'm older, I know more but their feelings are just as important, what they feel and how they express themselves is something we can discuss and talk about.

Well today Gamer and I and FD sat down and talked about Gamer's grades in school.  He has fallen behind a bit and the first thing he said to me was... "Are you going to ground me?"

I was like... "No, why would I?"

That's when Gamer explained many of his classmates get grounded for having bad grades, not that Gamer's grades are horrible because they aren't.  I told him grounding isn't a solution to his drop in grades.  What grades he gets in school are his responsibility and that I shared some of the blame--for not checking his work properly, keeping up on him, because I trusted him to do his own homework and now we have to go back to a check situation where I sit down with him and he shows me everything.

Gamer agreed.

I looked at him and told him all I wanted was for him to trust me.  I realize soemtimes it might be confusing because I tell him things he shouldn't do like swear or smoke etc... because I do them.

Wanna know what he said?

He told me that he didn't think that.  He realized I only tell him those things because I've been there and I don't want him to make the same mistakes I have made.

I was totally blown away.  Maybe I am doing a better job than my folks after all.  But how they raised me has made me the mom I am - so maybe I learned more from them than I thought.



Babes Mami on April 6, 2010 at 3:03 PM said...

Sounds like they are learning something from you and your doing just fine. You are parenting in a way that I am hoping to do also. Truthful and honest and open. I didn't have that with my parents and I want that with my kids.

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