Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Parenting

Well, I spent a lot of time this morning uploading some of our trip pictures. More will come eventually. That's the "good", now in the spirit of keeping it real here's some of my "bad and ugly". I've had a pretty stinky day. Jake was very mean to me because we didn't go out to lunch like I told him we might IF he helped clean up in the morning (he didn't help clean up). He can be so volitile, he actually packed a suitcase and was going to move into the backyard. When I stated crying, he backed down, but it's exhausting!

Then there was another issue in the family today that's got me questioning my reaction. I want to be able to keep it real, but I'm trying to avoid pointing fingers (except at Jake:)), so I'll attempt to speak in general terms. How, as a parent, do we know when we are doing the right thing? How much should we really expect from our kids? How much is too much? How much is not enough? I'm talking in terms of schoolwork, housework, out of the home commitments, politeness etc... At what point does the encouragement (pushing) backfire? I think I've blogged this before, but it's worth repeating...I've never been a fan of the "when they're little the problems are little, when they're big the problems are big" mantra. This is because when my firstborn was little (5 lbs 12 oz) we had big problems (seizures, a stoke, pediatric ICU)--today's problems are nothing like that. I just feel like I'm walking a tightrope between expecting too much and expecting too little. When will I know it's right? When should I push more? When should I holdback? Any advice?

8 comments:

DebiH. said...

I think as they get to a certain age, our expectations change and their abilities and maturity don't always keep up with our expectations. My expectations for my oldest child are always highest and I know that is unfair. When she was 8, I remember thinking how much she could do. Now that Abby is 8...I notice that I still see Abby as such a young child. That is probably why the youngest in a family always gets away with more :) We were just saying to each other yesterday that sometimes we just need to remember that they are ONLY 8 and 10 YEARS OLD! They are not little grown ups. They still forget manners, forget to brush teeth , (and hair) , over reacts to silly things, and do things that are just goofy! I feel like I nag a lot :) Scott says I should ignore more things! Hopefully we balance each other out!

Emily said...

I agree with Debi. I've been thinking a lot lately of how much I expected of Junebug when she was Spike's age. I still think it is important to have high expectations, but want to let more things go than I have in the past for her. It is so hard to know what to push and what to let go. Just wanted to let you know I'm right with you.

cdgantz said...

Julie--I think it goes back to the old adage (sp?) "Pick your battles. Don't try to win every battle, just to lose the war." Next time Jake says he's going to run away--let him. Just tell him he is not allowed to leave the yard. He will eventually come in. THe other thing you can do is "help" him pack. Give him his toothbrush and toothpaste, a picture of you in case he gets lonely, etc. And as he walks out the door, say "I love you Jake! You're my favorite little boy." I remember something my mom use to always do whenever I would act nasty/rebellious/mad at her. She would come to where I was-- throwing my fit--sit calmly down and just say "You know, Caryn, I love you. You are really important to me. You do such-n-such really well. I really do love how you...etc." It is amazing how difficult it is to stay mad at someone who is telling you how wonderful you are. I would try to leave the room, but I always came back to see if she was still there and would still think I was wonderful. After I calmed down, we would then discuss my behavior, the problem, the solution and any consequences that needed to come my way as a result of my behavior. But I knew, in my heart of hearts, she loved me and thought I was worthy.

Hang in there! We're all doing it by the seat of our pants. If it gets too bad, send him over the fence--or all three for that matter! But this offer is only good if I can send mine over to you on their bad days!

Melissa said...

Some very wise advice from Caryn who had a wonderful mom! You are doing a great job Julie - I know it's not easy - one day at a time, one moment at a time.

bfarmmom said...

my friend....I have no idea. Praying for grace and just winging it, one day at a time. Sorry I have no advice. By the way I LOVE your new header and am so enjoying the pictures from your trip. Aren't DC and NYC great? Two of my favorite places.

ann marie said...

OOh, Kirsten beat me to the punch...I was thinking pray, but other than that I got nothin'. And it also helps if we ask our friends to pray for us...no specifics, God knows what you need.

Cindy said...

Everyone else gave such great advice )for me, too! :) ) It is difficult to be a parent and think the questions that you asked are all something we struggle with everyday. Jake and tucker sound so much more alike than I would have mamnaged. I feel like I am constantly battling with him and then other days, I remmeber he is 7 and wonder if I expect too much of him? And of course, the good times make me feel bad about the bad times!

Leisa said...

Every one had wonderful advice and if anything I would add that every child and parent will have different expectations for that age. That is why God chose you to parent Maddy, Jonathan and Jake. He knew you were the perfect fit and he equipped you with all the skills you would need to raise his treasured children.

So I don't think we can ever "know" from moment to moment if we are doing okay, but the fact that you are wondering seems like a pretty good indicator. ;)

And I personally think your family rocks, so there you go!!