You hear moms give first time moms advice like, "Expensive clothes and diapers aren't worth it" and "Just cuddle and spend time with baby... don't stress over infant music classes or infant gymnastics classes"
I'd like to hear moms of teens and adults with some info for me (mom of elementary age kids)
[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 6:35 AM, April 26th (Saturday)]
I wished we would have not had them in traveling sports but went on summer lake vacations where they didn't have to show up and perform.
Many times we had Holidays with just the 6 of us and I refused to have other family visit or go anywhere to visit relatives. That was priceless to us as we were always so busy, this was our time together.
Never have electronics in the car - just books.
1 hour of TV a day. And they had to negotiate between them what it would be.
Kid of the week - every week one kid got to run special errands with Mom or Dad, sit in the front seat - anytime there was a situation where we could only pick one kid it was the "kid of the week."
It's a small thing. But serve lots of water as a drink. My kids really don't drink soda or even juice. Our preferred drink is water. It's healthier and makes life easier. I wish I had done the same with food, especially for DS. I fell for the pediatrician telling me he needed to fatten up and to feed him fries. Now that's what he prefers...greasy foods. DD eats fruits and veggies first for the most part.
Teach them manners. Yes, it feels good when people tell me how well behaved and what nice manners my kids have compared to other kids, but my kids feel good about it too. In fact, I have to tell them not to hold the door open for people still in the parking lot...just the ones nearby! It will serve them well as they get older and their peers don't have the same skills they do.
Memorization. DD is the only one that has that experience in her schooling and I see such a difference. Her school has the younger kids memorize character traits, scripture and poems. She loves the challenge and I see it in her schoolwork. It's making academics so much easier for her. I wish I had done that for DS when we homeschooled. Heck, I wish I had that skill.
I'm not a perfect mom, but I have no regrets for all the time I spent holding (or wearing) our babies. We co-slept too. Our kids always felt loved and safe, even when things in our family were in a turmoil. There were those that told me the kids would be maladjusted. They're not. They are self sufficient. The biggest problems are DS and his academics, DD not cleaning up after herself.
I would say just understand their stages. What are their needs and what are their wants. Meet their needs...such as the cuddles when they are younger. They need that to feel secure and loved.
don't be afraid to goofy and silly sometimes
admit when you're wrong, and apologize
admit when you don't know something, then find out the answers together
teach your kids how to follow a recipe. Some of the best advice I gave my kids "if you want to eat well, learn to cook." DS22 now does as much cooking, if not more because he has more time, than I do. He rarely tries a "bad" recipe.
help them pursue a passion. if they're really interested in learning about something, even if it's something you know nothing about, support them. buy books or supplies. find lessons. show them that it's okay to pursue their dreams.
don't care if the house gets messy, but teach your kids to clean up after themselves. don't worry if it's not perfectly clean.
answer questions. ask questions that need more than a yes or no answer.
know who their friends are.
Talk. Talk openly, and often, about things that are uncomfortable.
teach them how to lose and fail as gracefully as they win and succeed.
read any and everything they can get their hands on. read TO them, let them see you reading.
be realistic with them about life in general. being prepared for real life and allowing them to experience it gives them the tools to do it on their own when the grow up.
teach and expose them to a variety of cultures, socioeconomic places and people. life isn't just the street you live on.
volunteer in your community with them.
I actually asked DD (24) what she wished I would have done differently when she was coming up.... one big one she said was:
organization. Learn it, be it, live it. She had to come by it the hard way and wished I would have pushed her to be more organized when she was younger.
[This message edited by unfound at 8:04 AM, April 26th (Saturday)]
We also had a rule no one could leave the table without being excused, and no one was ever left stranded while still eating.
Get them involved in some sort of team activity! Sports, band, odyssey of the mind competition... Something where the learn to work and trust others to do their job, and the inevitable mistakes that happen.
Talk about everything with them, even the uncomfortable stuff.
Treat them with respect, they learn it from you. They will learn to respect themselves too.
Hugs are great for high schoolers- make them quick and run away I had DDs friends forming lines behind her wanting hugs! (All 4 DDs) she'd go all "mo-om" on me and the 'adopted' kids would be "mom". Lol no one is to big for a hug!
Know their friends, keep your pantry stocked and they'll find your house.
I loved each 'stage' my kids hit. I especially love the one their in now ( I said that about all of the stages, and I mean(t) it). They are young adults in college (1 graduated last year) I'm enjoying hearing their plans, adventures, and watching them grow.
Enjoy them! Best advice I ever got.
I will say, I totally second the talk openly. Especially with boys. I always have and I can see in him especially that he is completely comfortable allowing me to "see" his friendships and relationships and has no problem talking to me about life, stress, whatever...
The other day he and a friend were facetiming this little girl who is a friend from school. I think she has a crush on my son. They talked in the backseat of the car for 40 minutes with her and at one point I hear him ask her to repeat something funny she asked her mom as a little girl (it was, when will I grow a penis ) and she was embarrassed to say because she knew I was there and told him that. He responded with, "oh, lol, its fine! My mom's totally cool". His friends also seem to talk to me about stuff that's going on and I try to give them some good motherly advice... usually followed with, "you should really sit down and talk with mom/dad about how you are feeling", but I like that I "know" who my kids are hanging with...
I took a big plastic bin and filled it with paper, fun shaped scissors (deckle edge, scalloped edge, etc..) glue, tape, crayons, paint, glitter, air dry clay, sequins, markers, you name it, it was in there.
On rainy days, or "nothing to do" days, we'd pull out that bin and the things that came from it are amazing!
We also had the little plastic jugs that held marbles. Each time one of the kids completed a chore, or was caught being good, they would get a marble (or two depending on the chore) and at the end of the week, I exchanged the marbles for quarters. This worked VERY well for my son who has ADHD/bipolar disorder. He would get the instant gratification he needed and also still have something to work towards.
By the same token, if they were caught doing something they weren't supposed to, they lost a marble.
Those two things are the things the kids still talk about and have said they will use with their own kids one day.
*I* loved the family days spent at the park, or camping. The kids did, too. They still will hear a song and say, "Oh that reminds me of driving down to see Mawmaw and Pawpaw."
Enjoy them for who they are. Don't try to mold them into 'mini-mes'. Foster their interests, even if it's something you couldn't care less about.
Perfect the art of active nonlistening DS loved (and still loves) technology that I could only barely fathom. When he'd launch into an enthusiastic description of something he was into, I had to learn to nod in the right places, ask salient (but somewhat vague ) questions and just be present.
Never let them see you sweat. When things are going sideways, act like it's normal. Don't ever apologize for not giving them a fabulous life--it is what it is.
DO apologize when you're wrong. If you blow up over something that turns out to be not what you thought it was, say your sorry. Don't grovel, but do be sincere.
One more thing: Don't be too quick to 'save' them from difficult situations. They have to learn to get along with all kinds of people in the world. So, if they don't like a teacher--or the teacher doesn't like them--don't request a change unless the child is in physical or emotional danger. This is a great life skill to learn.
[This message edited by Sad in AZ at 10:18 AM, April 26th (Saturday)]
This reminds me. Know your kid. We know there's no cookie cutter approach but sometimes as a parent it's easier to fall into that habit.
With my kids...telling them they have to pay for half of college here's what would happen:
DS- shrug, say fine, I'll just not go to college. Yup, he's had that attitude since first grade.
DD- she's already saving all her birthday and Christmas money to do three things with it: donate to an orphanage, buy a horse and pay for her college. She's 9yo and has been doing this for at least two years. She's stressed about paying for college when we tell her to go ahead and buy herself a treat. So I've told her we will work it out and her education shouldn't be a burden to her...even in worrying about us.
Caveat- I'm not saying that the quoted above is bad advice. It's very good advice. As a child, it would've helped me to understand my parents actually expected me to have a future. As a teen, it would've helped me have goals. Instead I was told how much I failed their expectations and how my dreams were unattainable. So if your kid isn't like either of mine, it's excellent advice. I just pulled it out to share my own- know your kid and what drives them.
One more thing: Don't be too quick to 'save' them from difficult situations.
That's good advice. My kids' guidance counselor had a course she taught based on Love and Logic. Basically, the parents would guide the kids in coming up with their own solutions.
[This message edited by Holly-Isis at 10:46 AM, April 26th (Saturday)]
All kids should have the chance to learn an instrument. Countries that do this have virtually NO illiteracy. If they play in a group they learn listening skills, teamwork, and the satisfaction of creating something beautiful together.
Expose them to many types of music rock, country,classical. Sing with them. The voice is an instrument, too.
Some of the things that happened at Papa's house:
1. Baking- My stepmother baked with them. My father made homemade pizzas with them or taught them to make old family recipes.
2. Gardening- My stepmother loves to garden and let them help.
3. Unusual outdoor activities- My father loves tractors and stuff like that and there usually is at least a tractor ride when we visit.
4. Fires- My dad keeps a burn pit and we usually sit around the fire laughing and talking into the late night.
5. Music- My dad plays guitar, gave my son a guitar, and we all listen to them play and sing together.
6. Stories- We have always talked a lot. When I was a kid, sometimes we would stay up until 2 or 3am just talking and listening to Dad tell stories from childhood. He does the same with my kids.
7. Taking time out for the interesting and new stuff- My dad would pull the car over if he saw something he thought we'd be interested in (or he was).
My mother and mother-in-law couldn't understand why the kids didn't really warm up to them and didn't want to spend time at their house. There was a lot of jealousy over the amount of time spent with my father and stepmother. My kids didn't want to go sit and watch TV- they could do that at home and when they got to be teenagers, there were a lot of other more fun things they could be doing with friends. Not only did my kids change plans with friends for my father and stepmother but their friends often came with us or showed up at our house if they were here.
So, I guess what I took from that is to talk with them, laugh with them, and make time for the interesting stuff. At least once a month, try to do something new that they wouldn't normally do (plant a garden, bake something unusual, get out some paints and do a group project without caring about perfection). If you see something cool on the side of the road and you aren't on a schedule, pull over and check it out. Tell them stories from your childhood and tell them stories from their childhood. Turn on the music and sing and dance. I never had the same issues with my teenagers that a lot of other mom's I knew had. Maybe it's because I paid attention to the lessons I learned from my father and stepmother.
Oh, and one more thing. Earth, Wind, & Fire. We listened to Earth, Wind, & Fire every morning and if I didn't turn it on, my kids asked for "that 70's music". You can't have a bad day if you start it out with Earth, Wind, & Fire.
[This message edited by Tearsoflove at 11:48 AM, April 26th (Saturday)]
Instill good homework habits at a young age. I HATE homework, especially the busy work, but it is a reality and if kids do not do the homework it can really hurt their grades. Instill the habits when they are young and it will pay off when they are in HS.
Also, don't react to every situation as it's happening. Take a breather, process, and then act if necessary.
And...as hard as it is you have to let go sometimes, let them fail, let them take risks. My daughter once said to me that she felt like we thought she was dumb and incapable because we were so protective and smothering. What we thought was a loving message was really telling our daughter was that she was incapable and we had no faith in her. (I wrote her a long letter of apology for that one!)
Mostly, enjoy the moments because they really fly by quickly!
Just thought of something else. From when they were very young I always had my kids volunteer. We'd deliver meals to seniors on the holidays, visit with them, work at a program for developmentally delayed adults. I feel like it helped them develop a lot of compassion and humility. They know there are people out there whose worlds aren't as easy or full as theirs, that people struggle, get lonely, and are hungry at times. I am always proud of the compassion that my kids show to others who aren't as blessed as they are and I really feel like their exposure to this at a young age helped foster that.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 12:08 PM, April 26th (Saturday)]