Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My 2 cents as mamasita

I know, I am a novice.
I only have 2 kids, 2 little kids, so I don't really know what I am talking about.
But in my defense, before I had kids I finished my bachelors degree in Psychology and Marriage & Family Studies, took dozens of classes on parenting and read an equal amount of articles/books on parenting. 
I know, books don't equate experience.
But they sure help!

Anyways, with that disclaimer, I have been thinking lately about my main job: parenting
Somedays I feel like a failure, somedays I actually think it's going pretty good. 
I don't always know what I am doing, but who does?
You might think you always know what you are doing, but children are ever changing, their personalities fluid and so usually what seems to happen is the one thing that worked for awhile all of a sudden doesn't because of their ever changing, growing self. But thats life right? Once you get one thing figured out, it changes. But that is how we grow. 
Hopefully you as a parent realize this, and adapt to their fluid personalities. 
Cause that is also important.

 Anyways, in my 3 short years of parenting babies & toddlers I have learned some things that seem to  consistently work. I thought I would share them, just for kicks.
 I need something other than evicting having this baby to think entertain me...

1. I have debated on punishments. I know that they are important, because they teach our children boundaries and what is and isn't ok. But I think something else can work better (in certain situations), if done right. Praise. I remember reading somewhere (I am in no mind to find it, so you will just have to trust me) that praising your children when they do the desired thing works much better than punishing them when they don't do the desired thing. It can be tedious and require creativity. You might have to stretch really hard to think of how you can see positive things they are doing. It also requires a lot of time and attention from you as the parent to watch for the little things that are right. But, I know from experience that works so well. Obviously, you still need to punish/give consequences. But praising for appropriate behavior not only teaches them what they should do, but builds up their own self-esteem and self-respect. 

2. The next thing goes a long with this. The way you see/treat them, is the way they will see/treat themselves. It is called the "self fulfilling prophecy". If you treat them like a bad kid, they will think they are a bad kid and act like a bad kid. If you treat them like a good kid, they will think they are a good kid and act like a good kid. As simple as that. So if you are praising them for doing the right thing and telling them how proud you are of them for making the right decision and telling them what a good kid they are (make sure to say specifically why you think this aka: find a specific action/reason), they will think they are a good kid. Kids mirror the way they feel about themselves after the way adults think/act towards them. Be careful.

3. Children need choices. If they feel like they don't have choices, or control over their lives, they will fight anything. Try not to tell them to do something, but give them 2 choices on how to accomplish it. That way they don't feel forced, but they feel like they choose to do it. Some could see this as manipulative, but it's better than not teaching them to make decisions for themselves!

4. When it is appropriate, children need consequences/punishments. There are just some things that are not ok. But the key with this, is consistency. Children only learn through consistency. They test boundaries to find out where they are, and so if you are consistent in consequences they will quickly learn where the boundaries are, feel secure in the boundary and (most likely) leave it a lone. So I would say that the most important thing with this, is consistency. If you told them not to do something, you must follow through with the punishment. Children need this.

5. Try not to have too many rules. This could potentially take from them an opportunity for them to learn something themselves. You want them to learn how to manage themselves. Plus if all they hear from you is "no don't do that" or "stop that" or "please dont do..." etc. they will tune you out. I try to remember that if it isn't putting themselves or others in harm, or could create a serious problem/mess, or a potential bad habit, let them learn. This doesn't mean to put them at risk or not teach them something that needs to be taught. I am not advocating neglectful parenting. Just make sure you aren't always squishing them with "no", "dont" and "stop it". Children learn by doing things and seeing the consequence, so if it isn't dangerous or problematic, let them learn

Anyways, just a couple of thoughts.
Don't sacrifice me on the "you-dont-know-what-you-are-talking-about" alter.
I am not saying I know it all,
just a couple of things I have learned in my time as mamasita.
Yes, he came with shoes. He kicked them off minutes before.
I think we are going to buy this adorable little playhouse for the kids for the new house.
They played in it for a good hour at Costco today and only stopped when we pulled them away (literally) because we had to leave.
So cute.

Ok now I am breaking out the ice cream, getting into bed, watching something quick, going to sleep early (gotta love 6:45 kidlet bedtimes) and not moving until I have to...

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