I believe children are gifts from God, to give lots of love and support and to help them always feel secure to the best of our abilities. I believe we should honor and cherish our gifts, gently guiding them through life while teaching autonomy and self sufficiency.
That being said, I abhor, detest and about puke when I see the coddling of today’s children. Who the hell thought NOT keeping score in a game helped to teach better sportsmanship??? Not everyone got a trophy when I was growing up and I learned that you don’t always win in life.
I ESPECIALLY loathe coddling of children of high conflict divorced parents. Young children are given far too many choices when they have no clue the long term consequences of those choices. I will not lower my standards because I am afraid of them playing the ”child of divorce” card.
My kids receive different messages between Ted’s home and mine. Grant will spend most of his weekend time at Ted’s playing Playstation 4. At the age of 12, my brother was building radio controlled cars from tiny pieces and racing them and winning, against adults. Grant and Kristy couldn’t build something like that if their lives depended on it.
I hate seeing kids plugged in constantly because they LEARN NOTHING but to exercise their thumbs. It also creates laziness. I believe if it is nice outside, that’s where kids should be, and if they are “bored”, well then I will GIVE them something to do.
Kristy will now pitch in and just start helping whenever we are working on something at the farm. Grant AT LEAST is outside for a little while when told to do so, and grumbles through helping with anything. I don’t force them to work all day, but if we are having a “working” day at the farm, I do expect 1-2 hours of help.
When 2/3 of the time Grant and Kristy are pushed to be lazy and do nothing but be plugged in, that other 1/3 of the time they are with me can be a challenge. How do you instill good work ethic when only one parent has it, and that parent is pushed from her children’s lives at every turn? It’s frustrating to say the least.
Grant and Kristy are 14 and 12. This is the wonderful age of experiencing the wrath of insecure school mates. We have a LOT OF TALKS about insecurity and how others will do mean things to make themselves feel better. I never ever say it, but I want to say sooooooo bad “dad is the epitome of this!”
I have stood with my children, all three of us speechless, as we watched other children allowed to behave like jungle creatures in stores and restaurants, and treat their parents with filthy disrespect. If we, as parents do not care to teach our children boundaries as they grow, what kind of monsters are we creating for their future spouses?
Grant and Kristy have known from experience at a very early age, if they beg or throw a fit in a store for something, whatever we are doing stops that instant, we get in the car and go home. I will not yell or try to reason with unreasonable children. I will also not expect other people in a store to listen to my unreasonable children. My children know the softer my voice gets, the more serious and impatient I am becoming. Now, on the other hand, when they were very young and chose good behavior in a store, they were usually rewarded with something small at the end.
When I was married to Ted, he embraced pickiness when Grant and Kristy were eating, because he is a picky eater. I would work on dinner for one to two hours before he came home every night. If HE didn’t like what I made, he would tell the kids they didn’t have to eat it and make them all toast or bagels. He would tell me to make several different meals in order to make everyone happy.
That came to a screeching halt after I left him. I promised Grant and Kristy I wouldn’t make anything they absolutely hated, but their tastes were about to expand immensely, and as my parents told me growing up, they were going to eat whatever I fixed.
Grant has had the hardest time with this, because at dad’s, the short order cooking has continued. (More like short order something frozen from a box.)Now Ted has Betty, his new wife, microwaving boxed dinners for Grant, because Grant doesn’t like asian food.
I have kind of taken this as a personal challenge, and Dane has happily jumped in to help. We now tell Kristy and Bradley what they are actually eating, and tell Grant later what it really was. The first time we did this, Dane presented it as a “food challenge” at a restaurant, with a cash reward for trying whatever he ordered. Grant, Kristy, and Bradley all have stories about trying Rocky Mountain Oysters in Deadwood, South Dakota. Grant was ticked to put it lightly, after we told him. Kristy and Bradley thought it was the coolest thing to eat sliced, deep fried cow balls and finished off the basket. Since then, the kids have had alligator, frog legs, venison, all kinds of fish, and various exotic jerkies. Grant knows now, that he just needs to go with the flow. He actually laughed this week when I told him he had just eaten squirrel stew.
We laugh a lot at my home. I am always dropping something or in a rush, hitting my head on something. We also have four pets, and well, with pets come messes. Accidents happen and most of the time we will laugh or find a way to make each other laugh through it. I want my kids to be able to handle life, whatever is thrown at them. I want them to see life is not all serious and about getting worked up when something goes wrong. I want them to see that acting like entitled spoiled brats gets them nowhere.
Most of all, I want them to have respect and compassion for others, because we don’t always know other’s circumstances….and lastly, I don‘t want little picky farts turning up their noses at food. (You are welcome, future spouses.)
I am trying my hardest to do all of this, even though the message is only there 1/3 of the time. I can’t control what choices they will make when they get older, all I can do is show them ways to be better human beings, show them lots of love, consistency…and hope the good choices will fall into place.