I was reading Woman's Day Magazine the other day while sitting on the porch watching the boys play the other day. I came across an article that I loved, and as I read it it screamed.... BLOG POSTS!
The title of the article is The 6 things kids really need, and one they don't. Just the title made me say... ok what is this all about? One thing I liked was the fact that all of the points were backed up with statements from doctors, be in PhDs of MDs it was people who are in a field working with children. I decided to take each of these 6 items that kids need, and the one they don't and blog about it and how I feel it plays a role in my life. I will post these for the next 7 Saturdays... read along if you want or even better read the article yourself and reflect on your own blog.
#1 I love you's.
#2 Structure and Limits
After being a teacher I can tell you that structure and limits is something I strongly believe in as a parent. I saw so many parents over the years that wanted to be their child's friend and not their parent. In my opinion some of this comes from "parent guilt" and some comes from the fact that it is easier to just let them do what they want. But, just cause it's easier doesn't make it right.
I have a flexible routine in our house. This allows the boys, and me, to know what is next, but allows for the unexpected.... cause you know the unexpected NEVER happens with little kids.... yeah right! Routines are important to provide children control over their environment. When children know what is coming next, they are ready for the transitions from one activity to the next. If you think about a lot of behavior issues, they often happen during these transitions. Structure and warnings of change can help with these transitional difficulties.
Children are learning how the world works. How they fit into the bigger picture. I want my boys to make choices. I want them to make and learn from their mistakes. But, at the same time I set up the parameters of those choices. I set up the circumstances in which those mistakes can be made. It is with this gentle guidance that they feel in control of themselves, but know that when push comes to shove Richard and I are in charge.
Growing up my mother often told me she was proud to be a mean mother. I can say that my boys will probably say that I'm a mean mother when I don't always let them do what they want to do, go where they want to go, and all those fun things that "everyone is doing". It is with these limits that we set foundation of choice making later in life.
The other big piece of structure and limits that doesn't always get talked about is consistence between parents. Richard and I often talk about parenting and parenting choices. We feel it is important to be on the "same page" in terms of the structure and limits and discipline in the house. Now don't get me wrong we do not do the same things with the boys, what works for me with the boys may not work with him. But, they also know that if they can't get away with things with mommy they won't get away with it with daddy either. So often parents do not see things the same way and this provides a mixed message about acceptable behaviors.
My favorite quotes from this section: "The Rules you make when your child is young ultimately become the ones he or she will live by," by Dr. Steinberg MD (psychology professor at Temple University)
"Think of discipline as the strength of parenting.", by Lenore Skenszy, author of Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)