Friday, August 31, 2012

Acceptance -- Tolerance -- Patience!

Why is everything to a teenager such an emergency?
I have to talk to this person! I have to resolve this conflict! I have to save the world from chaos!
No, really. You don't.

The friend-drama via texting is something that can propel the parent to find the nearest bottle of wine. But fear not, young child! It may feel like the end of the world as you know it, but I can assure you that it is not.

There are those times that it is unbelievably necessary to turn the cell phone off.
It is met with damned strong opposition, but don't give up! I have threatened (and they know I would be more than willing) to call the cell phone provider to cut the service to that line. The protests will continue, and the level of anguish will be great, but it will subside. I've seen it and know this to be true!

Like a toddler, redirection is very necessary. It won't be easy but the efforts are worth it. That redirection can be, for example vacuuming! Pushing around a heavy appliance can be therapeutic! Then there's mowing the lawn, going for a walk, taking a shower, or some type of family activity. The key word here is 'activity'. Television or reading a book can be an escape, but I have found that doing something that incorporates physical activity is more effective.

They won't forget about the precious device waiting for them, but a small break in the action can help them gain a little needed perspective.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hiatus? Hardly.

So upon the encouragement of friends, and the ever-present thoughts on topics for this forum (aka the voices in my head), I am going to work to keep this blog in motion! I wish I could say that I've been too busy, but that would be far from the truth. The girls are getting older, and that is creating a little more free time! I have a great need to be more productive than I've been, so instead of a New Year's resolution, this more of a Labor Day resolution. Well, almost.

Today's topic: 'So Many Misunderstandings, So Little Time'.
As toddlers, their world is about as big as the circumference of the living room. Teenagers' worlds are getting bigger and bigger every millisecond. The television, internet, texting, heck - even middle school and high school broadens those horizons more than we'd like to know! Some of the stuff we honestly don't need to know. Think about when you were a kid and the shenanigans you'd get in to that your parents never knew about. Those shenanigans still exist. With social networking, they have the real potential for getting out of hand. It's not easy to interpret the 'tone' of a text message, and God-forbid they should actually use the telephone feature of the cellular device. Perhaps it would help ease up on the drama. But they don't and, as such it doesn't.

So what do you do? I listen if they talk about the friend issues. Offering suggestions to 'let it go' typically don't go over well. Talking about similar dealings - even present day ones - with friends and how to overcome difficulties may work also. But I think the most helpful has been patience and reassurance that once they're face to face and hopefully NOT talking about the issue at hand may help ease them into the resolution to the problem. Either way, they're either going to work it out, or they're not. Unless there are some serious words being thrown about, it's prudent to step aside and let them learn to deal with it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We all get moody. But there are days when you wonder what the ‘H-E-double hockey sticks’ is wrong with your child? Sometimes the answers are fairly easy. Hunger, fatigue, growth spurt, PMS, or ‘D’ all of the above. It’s an effort not to put the little darlings out on the front sidewalk, run back in the house and close and lock the door. But to avoid a visit from Social Services, keeping perspective can help the nerves and add to the patience.

I’ve found that getting irritated with a kid (teen/toddler, take your pick) who is irrational is pointless. It’s like arguing with someone who’s drunk. That’s going to go nowhere. There was one Sunday when the fatigue from a couple of very late nights caught up with one of the girls and she was reduced to tears at the slightest frustration. I tried to redirect her, I tried to feed her. She wasn’t screaming crying – it was the tired cry. So I calmly helped her into the shower to get cleaned up (she sobbed the entire time). Then I helped her upstairs to her room (still sobbing) and calmly put her in her bed. She didn’t want to take a nap but I gave her a kiss and told her to just rest. She slept for 2 hours.  Then got up, had dinner, did her homework and went back to bed.

I think about the time the kids were little and a bad mood would hit one of them in the middle of a shopping trip to Target. I think about when these would occur and I was the one who was tired. How easy would it be to ‘cross the line’ simply out of sheer frustration? That’s the point of keeping perspective. It's not easy. In fact it's damned hard sometimes.

As the kids have gotten older, they can comprehend this a little more. So on the days that I’m the one having the bad day, I make sure they are aware of it, as well as aware that it’s not because of anything they said or did. But I do ask them to be considerate of my situation and how much help it would be if they too, would keep perspective and to help by simply doing what they’re told. It can be very enlightening for the child as they grow to discover that the world does not actually revolve around them!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let's give this a whirl!

I don’t claim to be a certified expert. You know, the people with at least one or two acronyms behind their name, and quoted in a parent’s magazine. What I know is what worked for my husband, Pete and me. I feel I can speak primarily to the girl variety of teenager. We’ve got boys around, but none that live here.

What I’ve learned is that a toddler needs good nutrition and a lot of sleep. Well, come to think of it, so does a teenager. Toddlers need rules and consistency, and as tough as it may be, so does a teenager. The protest of a toddler can be exhausting. Tantrums at Target; struggles at bedtime; distractions when told to do something. There's a distinct parallel here.

So what works and what doesn’t?
Yelling rarely works. Don't you just love the blank look of a child who's "checked out" when you're trying to get your point across? I think we’ve had to resort to spanking one time for each of the girls and that’s been a long, long time. Nose to the wall in the corner was fairly effective too.  That, however, isn't going to fly with a 12 year old.

Consistency works (this can be exhausting). A sense of contributing to the household works. We tell the girls that yes, the chores that need to get done aren't what you actually want to be doing (us either), but it needs to get done. When they get done, we appreciate the help. It may sound patronizing but in the proper context, they feel like (and are) making a contribution to this household! Don't think that this works every time, but it does much of the time.

I've got a few other ideas to write about. Gonna get right on that after I call out for yet another reminder to get their laundry collected and sorted!

Hope you have a good day!