The Truth Behind The Blog

I always hear parents say they are screwing up their kids. I laugh and think, well that is job security for all the therapits out there. I share my parenting views on here as well as my frustrations and aggrevations. My goal will to be to look at parenting in my own unique way and share my experiences.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I was asked.... So I will tell....

QUESTION:  What is the hardest part of being a Mom?

I know a few people having babies.  In one of my proud parenting moments I said, "you think pregnancy is tough, wait until you have the kid."  There are two schools of thought depending on who you talk to about me as a parent.  Some say I suck ass and others think I am great, there seems to be no in between.

My family, says I yell too much and don't let them have fun.
My friends say I have great kids that obviously love me and I am patient. 

I run a daycare for goodness sakes, I have patience.  NOW!!!!  With my kids, a different story and that is because it is.  I am with them all day!

With my children if we go somewhere I give them a list of expectations with their behavior.  My son should know this by now and my daughter I remind.  For example I brought them to ChuckEChesse (hate that place by the way) and I told my daughter what I expected out of her behavior.  Now when she didn't follow directions I would say, "Alexanderia what did I say?"  She would turn her behavior around.  Now when we are with family I watch my kids like a hawk.  My sister has a trampoline with no net around it and a pool.  Do I yell at my children, hell yes, especially if they don't listen after I explained the rules.  I am not degrading them or calling them names I am reminding them rules and asking them to follow them.  I was told I shouldn't give my daughter a hard time about not being nice to everyone, I shouldn't force her to hug her family.  I am sorry we hug in this family and giving a hug to your Aunts who just gave you a gift for your birthday seems to be the least that needs to be done.  She needs to learn respect and consideration to others feelings.  I often threaten to take away privileges if she does not use her manners, you know, thank you, good bye, not whining, etc, it is the only thing to turn her behavior around.

I don't expect people to agree with my parenting styles and guess what EVERY KID is different and EVERY PARENT is too.  We should not judge another parenting style.

So what is the hardest part of being a Mom.  All of it.

Learning to temper love with discipline.
Learning to allow your child to develop their own personality, even if you don't like it.
Learning to let go of your child as they get older.
Learning to let them learn their own lessons, even if it is the hard way.
Learning to relinquish control to others.
Learning to trust others to care for your child as well as you do.
Learning to not want to beat every person that offers you freaking parenting advice.

There are more that I can not think of now but here is the deal.  It's all hard but the rewards are amazing.


See the thing is, I measure my ability as a parent by two things, do my children at their core love me.  Do my children still want to spend time with me.  The answer to these two things is yes.  My children are not afraid of me, they love me, enjoy spending time with me and accept how I am willing to say I am sorry if I am wrong.  How many parents have you ever heard going of on their children for an insignificant thing and never say, "I am sorry," we need to be human, it teaches our children to be human. 

So LOVE is the gift the rest is an uphill battle.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What no thank you?

So as I hurry and ruin my children's lives with rules and regulations.  I wonder why they don't thank me?  I mean if they understand the level of work that goes into setting rules and saying they would understand that it is done out out of love and kills us almost as much as it kills them.

So my friends husband posted that there 13 soon to be 14 year old daughter wants a belly button ring.  Oh my goodness, 13, when I was 13 I was singing along to music, writing and reading.  The most risky thing that I wanted was a second hole and my ear!  That was risque way back then, now kids are getting tattoos at 16 when their ability to think things out isn't even there yet. 

It is proven that until the world stops revolving around them they can not understand why we HATE them so much not allowing them to tattoo, "BITCH" on their ass.  I mean you don't understand how people will view you not today, but forever. 

I get yelled at all the time for saying this but when girls dress and show their body off they make themselves look loose.  Looking loose leads to sexual harrassment.  It becomes attention and they like it, they do not differentiate positive from negative.  Boys who walk around trying to look different,  earrings, black hair, get black listed by others, they don't realize that may happen.  It really comes down to asking questions.

I am not saying that if your son wants to color his hair blue, black and purple you should say no but ask why, talk about what the consequences might be.  All things have pros and cons, just saying no isn't enough, we need to understand the why for them and explain the why from us.  I am personally not a fan of tattoos of young people.  When you are 18 a lot of times you get something silly, wait until you are passionate about something.  So lets say you are a cheerleader all your life and when you are eighteen and can afford it yourself, you go get a tattoo of pom poms, that's fine.  I don't think that kids are ready to make those decisions.

That being said, we know how far saying no goes.  They go ahead and do things behind our backs when there is little to nothing we can do, other then perhaps ground them until they are a hundred.  If they are old enough to save up for something they want and can sit down and understand the short and long term consequences and how they would make them feel, then go for it.  Wow that was the best run on ever. 

Remember, being a parent is the abilty to say NO.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Therapy and the cost of learning that life sucks ass!

I often wonder why we spend money on therapy.  I mean unless you know what is going on in those appointments with your kids, how can you be sure they are getting anything out of it?  So my son has been going to therapy for about two months now.  I was tired of trying to figure him out myself.  The first thing I said to the therapist is, "I am not a perfect mother, but I love him perfectly."

It's true, I am not a perfect mother, I grew up in a household where I was never going to be good enough.  I occasionally resort to name calling.  "What are you stupid?"  Of course he is not stupid, he is being eleven.  Kids have this limited knowledge of how the world runs and an even more limited understanding of how to use common sense.  They are great at not hearing you also.  It is like this switch exists that they turn on and off depending on who is talking to them.  Should it be a parental figure, it turns off. 

So therapy, what am I paying for?  I am paying for someone to tell my son the world isn't fair and he needs to learn to communicate his feelings in some way.  I could have told him that and in fact I have.  So with that being said, what is it that therapy offers our kids?  Objectivity, they get someone that they consider not connected to their family that has an opinion.  My son is stubborn, he is strong willed and he hasn't got a clue about the world.  So until the day he gets married, has kids and realize I was right about something, I will continue to let him have that objective opinion and person to talk to, well at least until he is 18.  Then he has to figure it out on his own.

As I tell my son, every time I do something that upsets him, "Well I need to give you something to talk to the therapist about." 

Truth is, my kid is pretty lucky.  We talk about sex, drugs, and well, Andy's horrible choice in music.  We have honest conversations about real life issues.  Truth is, life sucks, and therapy costs, so make sure you give them something to talk about.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Depression and the 11 year old

So my son has been sobbing and depressed.  He has a lot in his life to deal with, watching his grandmother die from Lou Gherigs, ALS, watching his father become homeless, watching his Grandfather struggle, loosing a beloved pet, stress of school, bullies, etc. 

He is 11, he is at the beginning of emotional unrest.  I lack of balance and the inability to truly explain why he is upset.  So what do we do for our children when they suffer this level of depression.

It seems like I am a pusher, I tell him he needs to talk, I tell him I want him to not hold it inside.  Other parents believe the child should come to them, but what if they don't?  A fine line that is hard because if you go too far one way with your child you can loose them.

He was mad at me the other day and told me how horrible I am for caring and getting too involved in his life.  (I saved him from getting a bunch of C's on his report card mind you but I am the evil one.)  In the end I thought, what am I doing and how much should I do.  At what point do I put trust in the fact that I have raised him well enough and taught him enough coping mechanisms that he will be okay.

Truth is, when bipolar and suicide runs high in a family, when can we trust?  I don't know when the next suicide attempt will be by a family member, I don't know when the next depression will occur in myself or anyone else in the family.  Truth is, I just don't know and so I tend to be in his face over everything and I do need to back down at least a little.

I just don't ever want to say, "I didn't know."  I want to know, I want to be there, I want to be dialed in with my son but how can I do that and not upset the flow.  After all, this is a critical time he has to learn coping methods and self awareness, self promotion, but when is he still a kid and when do I give him the responsibility of self ownership of problem resolution. 

So yeah, we all screw up our kids somehow, I have never met a kid who said their parents were perfect.  Maybe as they get older they realize why their parents did certain things, but in the end, it's hard to be a parent and the only satisfaction we get as parents is when they become kids and we can say, "Yah, I know, I went through that with you."  he he

So remember, being a parent isn't easy, and we never have all the answers, no matter how hard we try.  Just remember, no matter how hard they are being, hug them, tell them you love them no matter what, we have no guarantees for tomorrow.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Parenting Battles 101 (I may be failing)

So I think this is true for most, we all want to raise a respectable child who has their own drives and ambitions.  A child who becomes independent, confident and freaking AWESOME.

I mean isn't that the goal of every parent, I can't have a goal to raise an intelligent child because intelligent is too broad a term.  I want them to love to learn, that is what I want, to love to learn, even if it's just all the names of the smurfs.

So here I am with my son having entered Middle School.  I am of course a nervous wreck because not only did he enter Middle School this year, he entered a new school system with NO friends.  So here is the dilemma, ready, set, go.....

My son is normally an A, B student with little to NO studying on his part.  He is a highly intelligent boy who learns quickly and bores just as quickly as he learns.  Last report card he went from A to some B's and from B's to some As.  My son is funny because he always points out if it is an A+, A, A-, B+, B, B- because those two or three points matter so much.  (Insert eye roll and I do so because I was that kid.)  So moving forward with the story, so as not to bore the crud out of people reading! 

There are people reading right....  (crickets)

Anywhoooo, his grades are slipping, and not just a little, I am talking going from a B to a C in one semester in reading and falling fast in his History Class.  The most surprising is the History Class because they are working on Ancient Greece and my son loves all that stuff.  The last two tests he got a 70 and then a 60.  I asked the teacher about this right away and she said he seems to be loosing interest.  She wrote all the questions to the test on the board with all the answers, well how the heck can you screw that up?  Well he can, that's who. 

So what is going on with this prepubescent boy?

Truth is, I don't know.  Is it just a phase?  Maybe....

How do you get a kid to care about his grades, and care about them in a way that isn't obsessive where he puts so much stress on himself he becomes depressed and in a way that is healthy and he wants to strive to do a little better next time?

I ask you this because my parents never focused on our education.  It was never stressed a lot.  Occasionally they would say things like, "I want you to have a better life than this so school is important."  So as I watch my son's grades slip I wonder, how do I stress things to him.  When I was a kid, I didn't really study, well, I read my notes if you call that studying.  I had a teacher that told us that if you didn't learn it during school and your homework cramming over your books isn't going to teach it to you.  I am also the kid that never read her book because I have narcoleptic tendencies when I read.  I will literally fall asleep while reading anything school related with in two seconds.  Actually, anything longer than a page that is non fiction will usually induce bouts of sleeping. 

So anyway, he is acting like a weirdo at school, trying to find his place, and that's okay, but now I have to get him to care.  You know what class he ended up loving?  Sewing, he was so proud to show what he made, now he is in Shop class and he is doing the same thing.  So how do I get him to be passionate and stick with things?  To focus and find drive?  I am baffled and willing to take suggestions? 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oops I did it again

Yesterday my son said I was so mean.

I hear that a lot as we enter the pre-teens.

I am mean because I won't let him get pretzel bites, so mean I won't buy him a new video game, I am so mean because I yell at him in the morning to get ready.  (Mind you yelling only comes into play after he lays back down in his bed and goes back to sleep.) 

Truth is, to be a parent you have to be mean.  If we let our children run around doing whatever they want who would they become?

Truth is we need to find a balance and any parent will tell you how hard that is.  How hard it is to allow them to develop their own personality and still being a well structured child.  My son won't play sports, was really good at guitar but quit, could have a great voice but doesn't want to take voice lessons, could be a great actor but refuses to take classes, could be a model but doesn't want to be the center of attention but as soon as he isn't the center of attention he gets loud.

So as a parent I am telling him to tone things down or he looses his video games, please clean his room or else he looses his video games, please, wait, I AM THE PARENT!  As soon as you start the, if you don't do it you loose....  You become the briber....  How is that a strong relationship?

I am at the point now that I am rethinking of how to create a quieter home with an easier transition into responsibility.  So we tried charts and loss and gain and everything.  Now it comes down to, you are 11 this is what is expected of you.  You are 12 this is what is expected of you.

So do I spoil my son, oh yah and through that I send mixed messages at time.  I love him so much and he loves me, even if I am MEAN to him.  We are working towards a more responsible young man, and each day is a challenge.

I fear for him that he will develop depression like I did as a teen or become distant from me and sometimes I try to hard to be fun.  So in the end, how do you balance that?  Truth is, each child is different, very different and you need to find what works for them. 

Screwing up our kids, one day at a time.  Yes I have started saving for the therapy bill.

Oh and there is no shame in going to therapy to make a more cohesive family relationship. 

The biggest thing I can say to all parents, always admit when you are wrong to your children because in the end they will have an easier time to admit their faults.  "I am sorry I yelled at you for spilling your milk, I know it wasn't your fault.  I had asked you to stop playing with the cup and so I was feeling frustrated." 

Be honest, be loving and talk to your children.  Make sure they can tell you when they feel like there is something broken in the family.  You may not be able to change it but you give them the strength to express themselves and you get the chance to explain why you have that rule.  You never know you may be in a position of saying, "I don't know why that is a rule, we just did that in my household growing up."  Just remember as a parent, the most important thing you can do for your children is teach them to deal with their emotions, deal with loss and cope with the changes in life they have to face.  You get to teach them the things many of us were never taught to do, "deal with it." 

The perpetually mean mother

Friday, February 17, 2012

Where have I been?

I have been busy screwing up my children of course. 

So I get the Scientific American Mind Magazine because I am a psychology lover.  So imagine my delight when there is an article about children having Mental Health Disorders and that it isn't all us.  I will be talking about the March/April 2012 issue if you want to run out and buy it.

Funny thing that comes along with this issue is the fact that it talks about possible signs your child is "prone" to mental health disorders and events in their lives that can "trigger" them becoming active disorders.  The focus in the journal article is mostly focused on Schizophrenia. 

So the odd thing is, hmmm, part of the issue talks about the predisposition for some children to have disorders.  I mean for example if there is a history of depression in your family, maybe not even close, maybe aunts and uncles, etc.  The next thing they state is, "We've gone too far in the direction of blaming bio-chemistry and not taking responsibility for shaping our children's brains."  So it isn't all our faults right?  I mean really, we can't be responsible for biochemical reactions to the things we say, do or even feed them?  How far can we go blaming the parents?  It isn't like when we conceive our children we can tell if the have a predisposition for depression, schizophrenia or mania right.  Well we can if we know the family history on both sides of the family. 
So here, in this article it blames things like, giving birth in the winter (man a huge part of our population is destined to have mental health disorders), maternal malnutrition, chaotic household, or disease agents like having the flu.  I mean seriously, wouldn't that change things biochemically?  Can we take blame if we get the flu, is it our fault?  What if we like the idea of having a winter baby?  OH and parents, just so you know, if you have any mental health illness in the family, PLAN your babies or you are going to ruin them having them in the winter.  (Insert eye roll)

Truth is, there is no real proof of how children end up with the different ailments, these mental health breaks but the fact is there are some signs we can spot when they are young.  Things to look for are social deficits, trouble interacting with others, a strong belief in imaginary friends that cause fear or distrust, or children who are highly needy, I am talking beyond colic, I am talking if you put me down I am going to scream my head off and even a child who has very limited affect at all.

What is the point, if we see that the children have certain signs and symptoms can we protect them with a loving environment?  Not always, not always would be the answer.  I mean the article was great, but the truth is, it is super easy to end up doing more harm to our children than good, it isn't because we want to, but we are all born with a different sensitivity level and a different genetic make up.  We all process and react to situations in our lives differently.  That is why two or three children living in the same household will describe their growing experience very differently. 

If I was to take this article in a very literal sense I would tell you it is of the utmost importance to tell parents to take some time, watch your children from birth on very closely.  EVEN THEN, if you watch your children 24/7, you still might not see the signs.

FYI Suicide is the Silent Killer.  I am sad to report that many children that do kill themselves are children who never showed outward signs of illness.  They often don't even realize how sick they are inside and many times, it's chemical.  Remember the most important thing we can give our children, to help balance out their lives is LOVE and our TIME.

Be blessed and love your children today.