You know, I had meant to write about this last week or so. I was driving my kid to band practice, and she idly asked me
Mom, as you get older, do your opinions change? If so, why?
Ah, how time slammed to a stop at that moment (which was kinda sorta not optimal, as I was driving at the time. ). I glanced at my kid and thought for a second, gosh, if only I could fill her with the wisdom I have obtained over my 43 years of life! How can I tell her about discovering her own inner strength thru challenges that are often soul-searing and leave you crying on the ground…only to be raised up by your own spiritual strength as it emerges?
How can I instill in her how when it comes right down to it, the only person (besides her parents) she can utterly trust is herself? How can I teach her that strong people can stand by themselves…but aren’t afraid to reach out and help others?
How my own opinions have changed as I’ve grown….wow, I could write epic novels about that.
What struggles will my child go thru? And how will they affect her?
All I can hope is when she finally emerges as an adult from her cocooned world of teenagerness….she’ll have the strength of personality NOT to be afraid of learning new things and changing her opinions….when new knowledge comes to light.
While on the train yesterday, I read the cover story about you in People Magazine. Bravo for you and your beautiful son. Thank you. Anyone who is talking about autism and its very real effects on a family must be celebrated.
Your son is 5 years old, and as a fellow parent of a child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, I know the joy and relief that comes out of seeing your child make significant progress thanks to intensive early intervention. That is the message of your book…Act early. Be relentless. It makes a difference. But you scare me when you talk about your child as if he has recovered from autism. Even the title of your book, “Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism” makes me wince a bit…..MORE…..
Do check it out – it’s a brilliant read. Judith defines the phrase, ‘SuperMommy.’ I’m very much in awe of her.
One of my lists sent off this superb parenting tip:
“Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don’t put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.”
Love the ‘extremely nearsighted gaze’ comment!
ps – Parenting is a hero’s journey, worthy of the following rewards.
One of the best benefits for raising kids with an academic focus is how they approach carrot-and-stick thingees like ‘free homework passes’.
One of my kids came home from school today and told me:
“Mom, we’re given tokens for this done well or that done well….and if you save 10 of them, you can have lunch with the teacher! And 5, well, 5, you get a ‘free homework pass’. But Mom, if you don’t actually use that homework pass, if you gather 10 of those before the school year ends, Mom, you get a prize!!
So Mom, here’s my strategy – I’m going to save and save and save and you just wait and see!”
The idea of taking advantage of the pass and actually NOT doing the homework never occurred to her.
That’s me girl.
People have asked me in the past, how on earth do I manage to get my kids to listen to me, buckle down and do their work, and never whine about it to boot?
The answer is simple – back when they were younger, I figured that challenges would get greater and greater as opposed to shrinking down to nothing. So I made certain to set up rules and expectations…and then held the kids to them. Certainly, there were some power struggles back then…..but years later (ie today), they are very few and far between.
Kids. Boundaries. High expectations. Accountability. These go together like rainbows and unicorns. Math and beauty. Weight lifting and sleeveless gi’s!
Mighty proud mommy,
ps – did you know there are homework helpers available today? Check out:
One of the best things my kids and I do as a family is take karate together. Not only does it help speed/coordination/self-defense/etc., it also provides an atmosphere of calmness, respect and doing the very best you can.
Well, that is….generally it does. Last week, my single-digit young one decided to spiral into a snit. He had been appropriately reprimanded by the sensei for his attitude, and he chose to sink into an unhappy mass of nonverbal ‘nobody understands me!’
To his credit, he did manage to pull himself together about 10 minutes after the incident. But after the class, I had a very solemn, sincere talk with him about respecting one’s teachers and rising to the challenge…and then I walked him over to our senseis to apologize. Said senseis were wonderfully supportive to him, and my boy was all smiles afterwards (and during the car ride home, I heard ‘aren’t you proud of me mommy, I got my good attitude back! at least 17 times).
This brings me to today’s following topics. As parents, it’s our duty to ensure our kids behave well and treat their teachers with respect and obedience. If our kids choose to act out, they MUST have consequences for their behavior!
Our senseis have the patience of a master bonsai gardener! I really admire them for that… I would probably implode with the style and grace of a wounded wolverine if I had to endure what they do when unruly kids show up.
Remember, extracurricular activities like karate or sports or ballet or what have you, are a privilege. The people who teach our children are deserving of praise and respect – always make certain your kids honor them with good behavior.
Today is the day my karate dojo gives a performance for various communities. While neither I nor my kids are on the demo teams (yet!), we’ve been faithfully attending every Sunday rehearsal and looking forward to watching the show. I also had promised several of the parents I’d take pictures as well!
Enter today – some home improvement folk were scheduled to show up between 11am and 12pm. Thus, my husband took my kids…and I’m home with my ferocious pets, waiting by the telephone.
Now, I have been anticipating watching the demo for months! While I’m still quite incompetent in nunchaku and other weapons, I really enjoy watching my fellow classmates and thinking how great it will be when I’m at their level.
To miss this performance just plain makes me go ANGST ANGST ANGST! BUT!! I do firmly believe everything happens for a reason. My kids know how much I wanted to attend…and they also watched me calmly deal with the reality, set up everything so I didn’t need to be present, give them the camera to take pictures for me, give my husband the directions to the event, etc.
In other words, they witnessed how Mommy deals with disappointment when life happens. She makes provisions and “lets the emotion” go.
This will really come in handy in the future when they have to deal with crushing disappointments; I always believe in ‘walking the walk’ when raising my kids.
Personally speaking, of course, I’m really unhappy about how things turned out…for me, that is. But I can look beyond that if my kids took something positive out of the whole experience.
Back to writing,
ps – did you know that there are generic iPods available? I’ve heard you can download workout music to them too – I’ll have to research about and see. Here are some popular ones….
One of the problems with the computer age is motivating the kids to actually (gasp!) leave the computer screen and (dare I say it?) move their bodies in outdoors activities.
Heck, I’ll even forgo the word ‘outdoors and settle for ‘move the body!’. Sitting for hours on end in front of a computer, flexing only their mouse fingers, is a recipe for fossilized clam-ation (ie, becoming more and more lethargic and overweight).
I generally alleviate this with my kids by giving them a Dance Dance Revolution time – they love the music and consider bouncing about on the mat to be great fun. The exertion they accomplish is a side benefit for them….and a major benefit for me!
It took me awhile to finally accept the following (hey, I’m a nerd, okay?), but sports is also a great bonus for kids in which to participate. It doesn’t even have to be marching band!
What really frosts my petunias, however, are the kids who sign up for extracurricular activities (like karate) and then whine to their parents, I’m tooooo tired! I don’t wannnnnnnna go!
Actually, it’s the parents who do the megaFrosting. As parents, we are responsible for helping kids make the right choices…and if they balk, then simply enforcing said right choices even if the kid complains is the only solution. Tired? Welcome to the real world! Mommy gets tired too sometimes with everything she does, but she doesn’t shirk her responsibilities….and neither should the children.
High expectations are a must when raising kids! If we allow our kids to wimp their way out of exercise and physical exertion, we’re simply setting the stage for them to fail later on in life. And alas, that…..is not something the kids own….it’s something for we we have a direct responsibility.
Here are some helpful resources for kids and exercise: