Jezebel posted an article (click here to see it) about a new study showing it is harmful to yell at your children. So, here we go: Spanking is out, Yelling is out, What is left to do? They say "the look."
I say, let's talk ...
Oh the look schmook! Let me tell you - nothing stings worse than "Let's talk about what just happened." Think about it ... when women tell guys, "We need to talk," they run for the hills! When men tell women, "We need to talk," all we can think is "Oh shit, what do I need to forgive them for now?" There is nothing worse than the, "We need to talk ..." I use it on my kids.
Yesterday, my 3 year old threw a toy across the room because he was uspet. I walked over calmly and said, "That was dangerous. Let's talk about why you felt you needed to throw that pan (it was a stainless kid sized cooking pan)." He looked at me with terror in his eyes, said so sadly, "I don't want to talk." I said, "Ok, you don't have to talk, but I have to let you know throwing that toy is dangerous and could hurt someone. We don't throw things in the house, ok?" He nodded and as he was walking away sulked, "No mamma, don't talk to me!" Hilarious because his 3 year old vocabulary is limited ... but he didn't throw the toy again (and I got a chuckle out of his telling me not to talk to him). Will he do it again tomorrow? Maybe.
Whatever punishment you choose, you will probably have to correct them over and over and over again. And spanking/paddling/painful punishment doesn't work better than anything else. Neither does yelling. So why choose that route? Think about how many times you went to school with a burnt forehead from a curling iron - did you still use a curling iron again? Sure. Did you ever get burned again, sure! I probably burnt my forehead 5 times in eighth grade alone. It takes a while to correct behavior. (And for those of you who are wondering, I haven't burnt myself with a curling iron since I got out of high sc
As a parent we can let ourselves get worked up enough to yell or spank, or we can just realize whatever it is we do, we will have to do it a million times so let's model the behavior we expect from the kids while letting them know what to do.
Holiday time is coming up. Time for family, love, cheer otherwise known as time for stressing out and drinking ourselves to oblivion with spiked egg nog! But how is being stressed new to any mom? We deal with stress all day long, we got this covered.
Holidays aren’t just stressful for us adults, they are stressful for our kids too! Yes it is fun to see cousins their age and play with other kids, but don’t forget, they are bombarded with just as many different personalities as you are in having to deal with extended family visits. They will need just as much love and understanding to adjust to having cousin Bobby pull hair or great cousin Sally punching them when no one is looking. Even if the kids are perfectly behaved ...(C’mon, if you can’t expect your crazy Uncle to behave, how can you expect more from your kids than an adult?) ... they still have the stress of getting along with and learning how to interact with kids they normally aren’t around. Don’t get me wrong: socialization is GREAT for them and I am all for it! They need to learn how to get along with others. What our family does is make sure that we don’t put any extra stress on our kids … and what I am about to say a lot of people don’t like so brace yourself.
I do not make my kids hug or be loving to adult relatives. No they do not have to sit on Auntie’s lap or run give Great Grandma a hug.
Before you judge, think back to when you were a kid ... having these strange people who you rarely see, who are twice your size, reaching in to pinch your cheeks and squeeze you with a hug tighter than your parents give (not to mention when you are a kid, perfume and cologne make adults smell funny so even their very nearness offends your olfactory senses). Did you like it? Did it MAKE YOU LOVE THEM MORE? NO! In fact, it probably made you dread having to see them!
So here it is from an animal trainer standpoint. You want the kids to like and enjoy their family? Let them develop the relationship on their own. Don’t force them to hug or hang out with family who they don’t really know (this includes babies, if they cry when being held, take them away for God’s sake, that is their only way of telling you they are scared). All you will build is resentment, not excitement. If you allow your kids the space to take their time to build a bond, it will be a rewarding bond they appreciate and one where they get excited and enjoy seeing their family. If you make them uncomfortable, they will not want to do it again. That being uncomfortable is turning hainging out with that relative into a punishment, not a reward. It may be difficult to explain to Aunt Myrna who never gets to see the kids that it is better in the long run, but you are the parent, you don’t have to convince them, you make the rules for your kids and whether others agree or not, that is your choice to make. And for those of you who are wondering, yes, even my Dad was not able to hold my oldest kiddo until he was comfortable with it – and those two have developed a wonderfully close relationship.
Now for the little extra lesson that your kids will learn: They have control over their body and are allowed to say NO!
Having to be forced to hug or show affection to people who they don’t want breaks a kiddo’s natural barriers and makes them feel like they can’t say no when they are uncomfortable. As much as I hate to think about these things, not all people are good. Not all teachers, not all coaches, not all family friends … not even all family members are safe, and many times abusers are someone a parent thought they could trust. If my child is uncomfortable, I want them to know that I will support them in standing up for themselves and that they are allowed to say NO!
So next time they don’t want to give scary Uncle Charlie a hug, do you really want to force them and teach them you expect them to have physical contact with adults even though they are uncomfortable? I expect my child to be polite and say, “Hi,” or “Hello,” but if they don’t want to be held or hugged by someone who they are not comfortable with, they don’t have to.
Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
What happened to old school Halloween costumes? You know the ones where you reach in your closet and come up with whatever you can to be something? Isn't that part of the fun?
Well according to those expensive Halloween stores, no! You must buy expensive.
Expensive costumes, we have those! Usually I purchase them second hand ... but you know what happened? We went to an early trick-or-treat event and my kid saw another boy in a garbage truck costume. He looked at me and said, "Mamma I want that one!" I went up to the mom and complimented her. I mentioned that my son told me he wanted one, her response, "Yeah, good luck!" Rude!
Anyway, I spent the next morning looking at garbage trucks online. My kiddo wanted a recycle truck so I found a picture he liked and went to work in my garage. The whole thing took me about 2 hours and it is made from boxes we had set to go in the recycle bin and some paint I had hanging around the house. So here goes:
2 Cardboard boxes
1. Paint the cardboard boxes in the desired base color.
2. Fold the side in and hot glue them down for extra strength.
3. Cut the second box to fit over the first box. This will create the front end of the truck. Hot glue that on to the main box.
4. With left over pieces from second box, cut 4 wheels and paint black. Hot glue these on to the truck.
5. Paint your final designs.
6. Let dry.
7. Use suspenders to attach truck to kiddo.
YAY! RECYCLING HOUSEHOLD ITEMS FOR RECYCLE TRUCK HALLOWEEN FUN!
Oh the dreaded giving up pacifiers and bottles. There is that magical age that our mothers, doctors, friends, and strangers on the street tell us we are supposed to get our kids off of bottles and pacifiers. I hear stories of poor kids screaming through the day and night and poor parents hearts wrenching for doing what they think they have to do to make their child give up a bottle or pacifier. Well I am not doing that to mine!
Look, every bit of research I have found shows that the only problem with the bottle is if you are giving it to them with juice or milk - you could rot those baby teeth (which are going to fall out anyway). My recently 3 year old drinks only water in his bottle ... that is all. Problem solved.
I remember in 3rd grade a couple of the "popular" kids brought bottles to school because they had a younger brother or sister. It actually started a bizarre 3rd grade bottle craze in my school, I was begging my mom to get one for me. Ok so I doubt that is normal and most likely my kid is not going to want other kids to see him drink from a bottle when he is 8 or 9, but it isn't like I would rat him out to other kids. And when he gets old enough to succumb to peer pressure or get made fun of for having a bottle we could switch him to this kind:
Wow! Can you believe there is a market for these weird bottles which look like replacement bottles for grown ups? So all you people sucking the nipples of these drink bottles to get your hydration … maybe your mom should have let you have a pacifier or bottle a little longer too!
Ok but back to being less snarky, why do we really care? Is it because people will judge us if we let our kid drink out of a bottle or suck on a pacifier longer than the “They” people out there tell us? I have so many more things on the top of my list, like teaching empathy and kindness to my kiddos … who cares about a bottle?
Have any of you all let your little one keep a bottle or paci longer than “They” say you should?
Alright I might be a little late in my post here ... did everyone hear the buzz about that mom who doesn't teach her kids to share?
Well I am thinking about her article as I sit here at my doctor's office. Just like any doctor's office, the tables are brimming with old magazines speckled with a very few new issues. I must admit, I have a terrible weakness at doctor's offices, I must confess, I have a weakness for People magazine. Really. I am not the mom who reads in the aisle at the grocery store (though I have no judgment if you are), my guilty pleasure is to look at all the pictures of stars in dresses and check out the latest trends. And I love the "who wore it best?" page.
Anyway, I noticed right when I walked in that someone was reading the new issue. I filled my time with flipping through old ones (when you are a new mamma and have a 2 year old and infant, you spend a lot of time at Dr.'s offices) but I had already seen them. I really wanted that new issue. That guy had the issue for what seemed like forever ... and I swear he already looked through it and was just flipping pages again for no reason ... no reason except to flaunt in my face he had the magazine I wanted to read. But the magazine isn't mine; I have no claim to it. It is owned by the office and if they have a problem with people reading zines for too long, they would probably put a time limit sign, right (like the cardio machines in the gym)? So, choose your own adventure, what would you do?
For me, I just waited until he was done. Patience. We don't teach it. What we do teach is the second option. We teach our children that because we want, it means it is our turn. That isn’t sharing, that is entitlement.
When our children are on the playground, especially if my kiddo brings his own toy, guess what, yours is not entitled to use it just because they ask. And if my child is swinging, he doesn’t have to get off just because your kid decides that he wants to use that very swing. Just in the same way if your kiddo brings a toy to the park, my kid needs to learn that he does not have a right to it just because he wants it, nor can he push your kid off the swing just because he decided he wants to swing too.
I haven’t MADE my 2 year old share. If he is playing with a toy and the baby wants to play but my older one does not want that, I ask, “Is there something he can play with?” and then he goes and picks out a toy for him. My problem has actually become that my 2 year old wants to share too much … really! He offers up toys that aren’t really fun for a baby and I even catch him trying to share candy and food with him. Let’s talk about a sticky problem there – I want to encourage the sharing so I praise him for doing so, but I gently remind him that his baby brother is not old enough for candy or carrots.
I haven’t gotten to the struggles where both kids want one toy and aren’t willing to budge, but for that situation I did have a friend suggest a timer. They each get to play with it for a certain amount of time, sounds like a reasonable solution and we will get there soon, I am sure.
Sharing should come from a good place in your heart, right? It shouldn’t be done out of obligation or being told to do so, that just builds resentment for the sharer and entitlement for the one who gets to take something away. My aim is always to try to foster the best relationship between my two boys. It isn’t the easiest method, for sure! It is much easier to dictate what kid gets what when, but I really am aiming to teach them to respect each other’s boundaries, have patience and respect for each other and anyone else they encounter. It may be harder for me as a parent, but better for them in the long run.
What are your thoughts?
If you want to read the article that got this whole thing started and publicized on GMA -- click here!
I am approaching the birth of my second little boy and I am so elated that I don't have to buy diapers! Why? I chose cloth! Maybe you know for sure that cloth is not right for you, but if you are on the fence like I once was, here are a few things I have shared with mom's who have asked me why I chose cloth:
1. I don't have to buy new diapers! None - zip - zero - zilch! I can re-use the diapers I used for my first boy. And the best part is that with more washing, the cloth diapers become more absorbent. Oh and those late night runs to go pick up diapers because someone forgot to get some ... well that just turns into doing a load of laundry, how easy is that? (And when camping, we washed and hung them to dry.)
2. No diaper smell! Seriously. I remember being single and having friends with kids. One thing that always grossed me out is the smell of stinky dirty diapers. Blech. The great thing about cloth is I just shake off the #2's in the toilet and toss the diapers in the wash at the end of the night. Every day those dirty diapers are washed clean and I am ready to go for the next morning. There is no stinky dirty diaper trash in my house making us gag every time we open it. You know what else I found? Baby pee doesn't smell that bad. Really! There is something about the chemicals in the diapers that make pee smell so stinky. When I take the diapers off my kiddo, there is no funny pee smell.
3. Never purchase diaper rash cream again! This was one of the biggest sellers for me. At the hospital with my first boy, I was provided with tons of disposable diapers. I figured why not use them; I am technically paying for them with my hospital stay anyway? Well, my newborn started to get little red patches down there on his second day in this world. He had terribly sensitive skin and the chemicals in the diapers were doing him no good! I started wrapping hospital towels around him instead of using diapers and found that by the third day his little rash was gone! When I got home it was nothing but cloth from then on ... until my husband protested. So we used cloth at home and disposable for going out. Guess who got diaper rash again? Yup, the little one. This time my husband begrudgingly agreed to use the cloth. After a few weeks he got used to carrying a bigger diaper bag with me to fit cloth. And then it came: He looked at me one day and said, "You know, I think the cloth is actually easier than the disposable!" Since then, I have recommended switching to cloth for many friends who have kiddos with diaper rash issues and it seems to work beautifully for them too!
4. They are cheaper in the long run. We invested about 400 dollars total in cloth diapers. WOW, RIGHT? Well my first one was running about ten diapers a day. Pick your favorite diaper brand. Check to see how many diapers you use daily. Multiply it out for at least 2 years. I promise, even considering laundry cost of running your washing machine, the cloth diapers are way cheaper.
5. So cute! I live in Texas where it gets HOT! In the summer I hate putting too much clothing on my baby, it gets hot for them too. But cloth diapers are so cute, in lots of colors and styles; they look like cute little bottoms. I have no reservations about taking my kiddo out in a cloth diaper and tee shirt (but the disposables and tee shirt, that somehow looks kinda, well, trashy).
6. Soft, soft, soft. Ok mom's the cloth diapers out there are not the same as your mom used. These have snaps and velcro and are so soft inside. Ever wear a maxi pad? Yeah, those aren't so comfy are they? I don't care what the ads on TV say! Babies just can't say that they don't like it. But imagine two years with no break and a maxi pad stuck in your drawers ... ugh. The cloth diapers are so soft; I wish they made something like that for periods!
7. Potty training! Who likes it? Me! Really. Well that is kind of cheating. I never potty trained my kiddo. He trained himself. People warned me that boys train late and to be happy if he is potty trained by 4. He was trained by 18 months (ok not fully, we still had night time diapers), but he was fully trained for daytime. I am convinced it was because of the cloth diapers. All the disposable diapers advertize the amazing absorbency and wick away to keep baby feeling dry. Cloth diapers let you know when you kiddo is wet. And guess what? Most kids aren't a big fan of wet diapers. So my kiddo let me know when he needed a change. It helped him to actually learn and associate the body sensation of going to the bathroom with being wet. He recognized that sensation early and took it upon himself to go to the toilet! I think to myself, if he never felt being wet, would he have trained as quickly - I don't think so.
8. Last (but, of course, not least) it is better for the environment. I know, I know, maybe it should be first on the list, but when you are a busy mom, sometimes the immediate takes precedence over the concern about future generations. Luckily, I found cloth to actually be easier, so it made it easy for me to be better to the environment. I am not going to list the specific toxins, hundreds of years it takes for diapers to decompose or stats on percent of landfills that are diapers, all of those can be found easily on the internet if you are interested. It was just a nice thing to know that in addition to all the benefits for me and my family, using cloth also helped the world too.
What kind of cloth do you use Mommy McD?
I really like fuzzi bunz. I also love that it was a mom who invented the diapers and started small. I do know other people who have been happy with other brands too. Size was also a consideration for me: My 2 year old was 40 lbs and 41" tall. I needed a diaper that would fit him for overnight. Below are some links to diapers that I and other friends have used with success:
See homepage to find out more about Mommy McD!