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User Topic: Advice sought from parents of older kids
Member # 27325
Default  Posted: 6:31 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

what do you wish you'd known when you had younger kids... especially about trying to craft these perfect childhoods with great memories

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)]

Posts: 1401 | Registered: Jan 2010
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 7:10 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

we always took our kids on nature vacations - Alaska, remote places in the Caribbean - we never did Disney.

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."

his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.

Posts: 5262 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Member # 13447
Default  Posted: 7:34 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Keep the TV and electronic time to a minimum. I see so many people, MrH included, just handing their phones to bored kids. They don't learn how to entertain themselves or interact with people.

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.

"Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. *CS Lewis*

Posts: 11225 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: Just a fool in limbo
Member # 12041
Default  Posted: 7:42 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Talk. Talk openly, and often, about things that are uncomfortable. If you establish that rapport now while it's easier, it will carry you a long long way when they are teenagers.

We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.... Anais Nin

Posts: 44957 | Registered: Sep 2006
Member # 24518
Default  Posted: 7:54 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

spend time with your kids

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.

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out...honestly
I wanna see you be brave

Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect

Posts: 12164 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: DeepInTheHeartOf, TX
Member # 12802
Default  Posted: 8:03 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

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)]

From time to time, I do consider that I might be mad. Like any self-respecting lunatic, however, I am always quick to dismiss any doubts about my sanity. DK

Posts: 14861 | Registered: Nov 2006 | From: mercury's underboob
Member # 39169
Default  Posted: 8:23 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

I was emphatic about family dinner. To me it was more important than sports, friends, anything. Five or six nights a week we sat at the table as a family and discussed our day, current events, what they were studying in school, etc. It allowed us to stay very dialed in to what was going on with our kids. It also gave us an opportunity to arouse their interest in the world around them and help them develop their own opinions. I think family dinner is one of the things we really got right as parents.

We also had a rule no one could leave the table without being excused, and no one was ever left stranded while still eating.

40 somethings - me BW after 20 years
D Day April 2013
Divorced November 2013

Be happy with what you have while you work for what you want - Hellen Keller

Posts: 638 | Registered: May 2013
Member # 13447
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Can I erase my verbose answer and just ditto Meta?

"Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. *CS Lewis*

Posts: 11225 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: Just a fool in limbo
Member # 36134
Default  Posted: 8:43 AM, April 26th (Saturday)


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 trust you is a better compliment than I love you, because you may not trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. - Unknown
Relationships are like sharing a book, it doesn't work if you're not on the same page.

Posts: 5264 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: Florida
Member # 37089
Default  Posted: 8:58 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

What a great topic! I have younger kids. Oldest DS is 12, so this is priceless advice. I will say for me, the biggest STRUGGLE is motivating an ADHD kid with a very negative attitude about the value of school to care about it! He's super brilliant and recent meds have helped, but is smart to the point that he gets things and wants to move on much quicker than they actually do.

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...

Me:BW, 34/Him:BH, 34/ 3 boys, 5,8,12
4ddays, now Divorced
We are not in Kansas anymore

Posts: 304 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: NC
Member # 12050
Default  Posted: 9:37 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

I go along with the family dinner every night. I think it is very important that kids learn how to converse around a table, learn good manners and I was always amazed at how much information my girls shared around the dinner table. Teach them to budget but allow them to make choices within that budget. School clothes shopping was way easier when the girls knew exactly how much money they had to spend and what they were expected to get with that money. Give them household chores. Far too many young people have no idea how to manage a household when they leave home. I found 12 to 17 the busiest of my life with my children truthfully. They were encouraged strongly to volunteer at something in the community which they both still do to this day. That broadens the base of people that they will interact with beyond school friends. Enjoy the time with them. I still can't believe that my girls are 26 and 24.


Posts: 2710 | Registered: Sep 2006 | From: newfoundland
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 9:48 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Another thing that worked for us- we told them in first grade that they'd have to pay for half their college expenses.
So they went through the years knowing and planning and saving.
DS1- joined active army for three years, now using GI bill
DD1 and 2 - athletic scholarships
DS2 - first two years at community college

his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.

Posts: 5262 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Member # 3432
Default  Posted: 10:08 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

The thing that did wonders for my kids was the art bin.

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."

**The soul would have no rainbow
Had the eyes no tears.~J.Cheney
**Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey

Posts: 1650 | Registered: Feb 2004 | From: Michigan
Sad in AZ
Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 10:10 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Very seriously: Don't sweat the small stuff. Whenever something pushes one of your buttons, stop and ask yourself, "Is this the hill I want to die on?"

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)]

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 20284 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
Member # 13447
Default  Posted: 10:42 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Another thing that worked for us- we told them in first grade that they'd have to pay for half their college expenses.

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)]

"Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. *CS Lewis*

Posts: 11225 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: Just a fool in limbo
Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 11:15 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.

Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3653 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
Member # 8271
Default  Posted: 11:43 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

My children are all adults. What I learned was that time spent together is more important than money spent and gifts. My mother-in-law was fairly well off. She gave my kids money, bought them things, had a Christmas that filled the living room. My mother bought cheap gifts and we spent visits sitting in her smoke filled apartment watching tv with little conversation. My father and stepmother rarely ever gave them a gift (I'm not kidding- they don't do gifts) but spent a lot of time with them doing things they wouldn't have done otherwise. My kids couldn't wait to go see "Papa" and hated going to either Grandma's house. To this day, my kids will drop whatever they are doing if Papa is coming to visit or will make time to go with us if we are going to see him.

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)]

"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand." ~Homer Simpson

Posts: 4145 | Registered: Sep 2005
Member # 11176
Default  Posted: 11:51 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Teach them how to have fun.


BS: 56
WS: 53
Betrayed: 23 years
Affairs: 14 (2 lasted 3 months. Rest were ONS)
WS died: 16 May 2011
Do not stay in your hurt forever. Choose to move out of it.

Posts: 6580 | Registered: Jul 2006 | From: Wisconsin
Member # 10506
Default  Posted: 11:52 AM, April 26th (Saturday)

Expose them to as many different activities as possible, but don't over schedule. Music, art, dance, sports, etc. Let them try a lot of different things and they will find their passion.

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.

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off
-- Shake It Out, Florence And The Machine

Posts: 17684 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: A better place :)
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 12:01 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

As they grow, realize that they may not fit into the mold of what you think they ought to be like. Always make them feel accepted for who they are and don't expect the kid to be like you are, or what you thought your kid would be like. Let them feel loved and accepted for who they are.

Also, don't react to every situation as it's happening. Take a breather, process, and then act if necessary. 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)]

Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."

Posts: 38013 | Registered: Sep 2007
Member # 8354
Default  Posted: 3:20 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

a) Dont forget the golden rule: Its your job to their parent being their friend is optional although it might make the prime job easier.
b) I too strongly support the family dinner. Make sure everyone gets a chance to participate.
c) Expose them to culture. Make sure they know how to behave and eat at a good restaurant, how to go through an art gallery and how to sit through a play.
d) Teach them that courtesy is free but can open doors (an example: My daughter was offered a weekend job at a local grocery store because the manager noticed how polite she was in dealing with the staff. He told me that this is fast becoming a unique feature in our society).
e) Never expect more from them than they are capable of delivering.
f) Never underestimate what they can deliver.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

Posts: 5565 | Registered: Sep 2005
Member # 34146
Default  Posted: 7:02 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

Not a parent, but I was spending the night at my parents' house last month and thanking them for being such fabulous parents (there may have been a bit of wine involved...)

My dad said, "I think that the best thing we did as parents..."

(I am expecting something profound, like always being supportive, saying no, expecting you to go to college...)

"...was to introduce you to movie musicals."

I am still laughing about this! But, one of my fondest memories is of my 3 siblings and parents crammed into a Ford Crown Victoria to travel 1,000 miles away to see our favorite baseball team and singing the songs to "1776" as a family.

I've told this to some of my coworkers with kids my age, and all of them say that the best things they did was spend time with their kids -- vacations, etc.

I had amazing parents. People always say that every has FOO issues, and I don't think that I do. Mine were amazing. They were accepting, fun, parents with high expectations. They weren't friends with us when we were growing up, but they are friends with all 4 of us now.

Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

Character is destiny

Posts: 3406 | Registered: Dec 2011
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 7:11 PM, April 26th (Saturday)


Your post made me smile, and reminded me---

Always, always, always sing loudly to old tunes (whether it be musicals, or Elvis, or 70s music, or even......disco!!!) with your kids while on long car rides (or not so long).

Also some of my fondest memories with my kids .

It's cool because now DD and I have similar taste in music. We blast DMB and Jack Johnson and John Mayer and belt it out . (sorry for the t/j)

Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."

Posts: 38013 | Registered: Sep 2007
New Member
Member # 42456
Default  Posted: 7:15 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

What has worked for me:

Start teaching when they are tiny.

Teach by example, children learn as much by what they see as what they hear.

Let them know you.


Imagine a world where the words you speak appear on your skin. Would you be more careful of what you say?

Posts: 32 | Registered: Feb 2014 | From: Australia
Member # 34146
Default  Posted: 7:16 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

I agree that there is something great about music! Now, my parents and I listen to Johnny Cash while playing cards, and we dance when we go out together. It's great fun, and music is so cathartic!

Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

Character is destiny

Posts: 3406 | Registered: Dec 2011
Member # 34697
Default  Posted: 7:34 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

My parents did an awesome job raising my siblings and me. They had high expectations of us but let us be who we were. We travelled to a lot of strange civil war battlefields. Name a battlefield, chances are I've been there:)
They let us fight our own battles...if something went wrong in school, they'd talk to us about it, help us troubleshoot and then ask if we wanted them to step in. They believed we should be involved in something after school. They didn't care what it was so long as it was structured. We all had summer jobs starting at age 13. They let us fail but were always there to dust us off, give us a hug, then shove us back out there.
As we grew, they treated us more and more like equals. I have an excellent relationship with my folks. I enjoy their company. I can only hope to replicate what they did with me with Teslet.

"Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch." --King Lear

Posts: 4684 | Registered: Jan 2012 | From: Indiana
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 7:40 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

The musical thing is important! We didn't do this, but every time we were in the car listening to the radio it was the oldies station. I took a glance at what my then 20 year old had on her iPod. That's right- the Bay City Rollers!! Saturday night. I thought to myself, mission complete!

his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.

Posts: 5262 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Member # 36445
Default  Posted: 10:14 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

This is a bugbear for me. So many parents do everything for their kids. Teach them how to be self sufficient. So they don't have to rely on anyone to do stuff for them.

This means all the boring stuff, like ironing, washing, dishes, cooking, banking, how the tax system works, credit cards.

Teach them how to manage their time.

Make them get a part time job outside of school hours it teaches them independence and money managing skills.

Don't buy everything for them. Make sure they know the value of money and time.

It's ok for kids to be bored. Don't fill up all their time with extras like a million sports etc.

Make sure they still have fun!

"Loving someone should not mean losing you. Love empowers you. It shouldn't erase you. - Thelma Davis.

Posts: 1360 | Registered: Aug 2012 | From: Australia
Member # 27325
Default  Posted: 11:05 PM, April 26th (Saturday)

Love the advice!

I also have to comment... I remember about 15 years ago my dad and I were driving to the store and a CCR song came on (Down on the Corner). We were parking, and I thought, "Man, I wish we could just sit and listen to the song." I didn't even think of asking to do that, though, since my dad was practical, and would probably say, "no, we have to go to the store..." Wouldn't you know, Dad turns to me and says, "This is a great song, do you mind if we just sit here and listen to it for a few minutes"

We sat in the parking lot, maybe for two minutes, and listened to that song. Dad died a few years later and when ever I hear a CCR song I KNOW he's with me. It took two minutes for him to leave me with a fantastic memory that I remember every time I hear a CCR song

Love you, Dad!

Posts: 1401 | Registered: Jan 2010
New Member
Member # 41696
Default  Posted: 1:01 AM, April 27th (Sunday)

Remember to take pictures of the ordinary events too. I have lots of pictures of baseball games, holidays, etc. but I don't have a lot of pictures when the kids were just being kids at home.

When your kids are talking to you - listen. Put down the dish towel. Forget the laundry.

Finally, remember that no matter how hard you try, you will mess up once in awhile. Forgive yourself and move on.

Posts: 24 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: US
Member # 40229
Default  Posted: 2:31 AM, April 27th (Sunday)

Many say discipline. I say equal parts discipline (i.e. tough love sometimes) and love. A child can never have too much love, albeit coddling and overlooking indiscretions isn't healthy for them either.
Also, hang on until the ride is over when they hit the rebellious stage. What I didn't know with the first DS but learned in time for the second DS is that "this too shall pass". Both were basically good boys, but both hit the rebellious stage later. It caught me off guard and broke my heart with first DS. I was ready with youngest DS.
They will say and do some hurtful stuff. They are just confused but they eventually get it. So strap in and wait it out.

I don't need further confirmation of what a fuckwit he is. I already have plenty, thanks very much. -SBB
D: 7/2/2014

Posts: 2334 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: AZ
Member # 23437
Default  Posted: 2:46 PM, April 27th (Sunday)

I tried to teach my children to think for themselves and to do what they believed to be right, even if it annoyed other people or broke the rules.

Self discipline is far more effective than imposed discipline. If children only do the right thing because they will be rewarded or fear punishment, there's little to stop them doing the right thing when there is no reward or punishment.

Of course, by teaching your children to think and that rules don't have to be obeyed, you will need to be prepared to defend your position logically and well when it comes to adolescent disagreements. Inevitably, there will come the day when you cry exasperatedly: "Because I say so!"

But if you take the time to explain the reasons for any rules to your children (whether yours or those of school and society) and discuss them, and occasionally to justify your own constraints, I believe that in challenging situations they will be more likely to make good decisions themselves. Thus they will not necessarily follow the crowd into stupidity or cruelty; will be better prepared to stand up for what is right or just, even when it is difficult to do so; will be less naive and thus better able to protect themselves from danger; and so on.

In those difficult, exploratory, teenage years, my children tended to make good decisions for themselves, for which I am very thankful.

Coincidentally, I was thinking about this philosophy in hearing the reports on the heart-rending Korean ferry disaster. The passengers were told to stay below deck. It seems that most of the children who survived were those who thought for themselves and disobeyed.

[This message edited by Cally60 at 2:49 PM, April 27th (Sunday)]

Posts: 2116 | Registered: Mar 2009
Member # 15300
Default  Posted: 3:25 PM, April 27th (Sunday)

If I had to pinpoint one thing that made my life as a parent easier, I'd have to say it was my university course in developmental psychology. My kids always said Mum always knew what phase they were in before it happened! It's comforting to know that these phases are completely normal, that they occur for a valid reason, and that they will not last forever. If you haven't taken this course, seek one out. Or buy the text book and devour it.

Other than that, I guess my best advice would be:

Choose your battles carefully. If the outcome won't matter 20 years from now, it probably doesn't matter now. If it will, then it does, but you don't need to win just to prove you're the parent.

Hold them very close then let them go. Protect them when they're too young to make good decisions for themselves, but gradually give them the freedom to become their own persons. Helicopter parenting isn't doing the kids any favours. They need to learn how to navigate the world.

Don't negate their feelings. Allow them to experience sadness or defeat. Let their feelings wash over them, without saying, "Don't be sad" or "It didn't matter that you didn't get that trophy" or "She wasn't worth it anyway". They have to learn to trust their own feelings. Commiserate with them, though. "I'm so sorry you feel sad" or "Honey, I'm sorry your team lost" acknowledges their feelings without negating them.

Teach them manners. You may not think they're "getting it" but they are, and it will show in time. Every time my son pulls out my chair for me, I thank myself! LOL.

Use humour to sugar-coat your parental rules. It helps the medicine go down. "Oh, go ahead. Humour the old bag" and "Because I'm bigger than you are and I can beat you up" were two of my go-to remarks when my kids questioned my requests. The latter, I should add, was a big joke because I never even once spanked my kids!

Make chores a game when they're younger. I was reminded of this on Easter weekend with my granddaughters. I asked them to pick up the straw from their Easter baskets. They ignored the request. After a few minutes, I got a couple of empty baskets and said to them, "Can you see how much straw you can collect?" Then it became a game. When they brought their baskets back (and every single bit of mess was gone from the floors!!!!), I rewarded each of them with an extra Easter egg. This is an example of what my own kids now call "sneaky Mumsy".

And above all, touch them. Human touch is therapeutic. Hug them a lot; one can NEVER have too many hugs. Smooth their hair. Rub their little backs when they're going to sleep. My daughter still sometimes asks me to rub her back when she's nodding off!

Age: 64..ummmmmmm,, hell born in 1947. You figure it out!

"I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance." Garth Brooks

Posts: 7281 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Toronto, Canada
Member # 7767
Default  Posted: 9:37 AM, April 28th (Monday)

Let them make mistakes - they are the best learning tools of youth.

Encourage them to problem solve on their own. You can and should be their backup and step in if it is something too serious. But they will eventually have to deal with real life on their own and doing it with the safety net of living at home will give them invaluable experience.

Eat together when you can - at the table. This is a perfect time to teach manners, have conversation, and bond.

Go on trips together whenever you can squeeze out the money. We took car trips every 3 or 4 years and those are some of the best memories for my sons.

There is no one right way to parent. You learn as you go and you WILL make mistakes. But somehow the human race keeps going. Don't sweat the small stuff.


Even if you can't control the world around you, you are still the master of your own soul.

Posts: 7739 | Registered: Aug 2005
Topic Posts: 34