As you all know, I am blessed with three beautiful daughters. What you don't know is that these girls are almost perfect in every way. I'm not trying to brag. I just speak the truth.
Look at this, even their profiles are perfect.
What a great Mother's Day gift from the primary, huh?
People notice the goodness of my children and they are always asking me, "Why are they so good? What are your tricks? What are your rules?" I could write a book, really, but wish to share a really good trick here. Rules have to be easily maintained.
First, I have to give credit to the kids, God sent us the best.
Second, I think LG and I learned early that following through is very important in discipline. If you do lay down a rule, you must follow through with enforcing it.
Third, we give our kids room to just be. Therefore, in return, they give us room to just be.
These three "tricks" go together. First, you have to believe, truly believe with everything you are that your children are great, and that they want to be great. This ideal in your children really affects your attitudes when parenting.
Second, you have to be in charge. You can't let your kids run the roost. They need leadership. They are just waiting to be taught the consequences of their actions. You must follow through so that they understand that there are real and consistent consequences. Lord of the Flies taught me this in 9th grade.
Third, and this is a very important key. You have to give enough room to your children, and more importantly to YOU, so that following through is actually do-able. If you have so many rules, being in charge is way too hard. And NOT fun! And nobody wants a mom or dad who is always nagging them. Look at the federal government. They are a prime example of screwing things up with too many restrictions to enforce.
I am not going to take credit for my parenting wisdom. I got my parenting style from my parents. They had seven kids. People with lots of kids usually adapt to a "survival" method of parenting. I think that this "survival" method is best. Do ONLY what is absolutely necessary.
The words of a surviving friend to her children suit this style perfectly, " I am on the phone, come and get me ONLY if someone is bleeding or the house is on fire."
LeGrand and I were laughing at ourselves the other day. Whenever we have a higher maintenance kid visit, we are always relieved to see them go back home. For the most part our girls are so easy and don't require much but the food I prepare and a good hug from time to time. We just don't "get" kids who want to be constantly in our face. They exhaust us.
Yes, we know, we've raised our kids to be low maintenance. We aren't sure if it is a good thing. Not that we are going to change it. We like our kids the way that they are. They make our life easy. Someday because of our parenting style we may be able to handle some more, and make them low maintenance kids too. We pray for that.
Some of you may think that this sounds heartless. I can hear you now, "What kind of mother are you? You don't want to interact with your kids?" You may think that we are horrible parents who don't spend time with our kids. You are dead wrong. We still spend a lot of time with them.
Our time is quality though and it is full of great conversations, laughing, learning, fun, and love. Quantity is important and I think too many parents justify their own absence by saying "When you have quality time, you don't need as much quantity." But, this justification will be used by me only in reference to the energy that is passed between my children and I. When I don't have to spend my whole day breaking up fights, telling my kids what to do, or disciplining them for what rule they broke, my time is freed up for such better interactions.
We have very little negative interaction. Most of our communication is positive. Our children are independent. They are problem solvers. They work out a lot on their own. They are confident. They are also creative.
Here is some food art that they come up with. It's a pond with goldfish, and yes, they ate every one. Some of those freaky moms out there would be upset by something like this. There were only compliments from this mother, "Wow you guys, that is pretty cool. Let me take a picture." "Ahh mom, why do you have to put everything on your blog?"
I was just reading this and it got me thinking about what Do NOT's I have as a mother.
How do my do not's affect my kids.
A friend and I were talking the other day. She has a rule that her children like to break, "Thou shalt not play in my room." Where seems to be the favorite place for her kids to play? Her bedroom, of course.
I've been pondering, "What are my rules?" Do my kids like to break them?
I have come to the conclusion that I don't have very many, therefore they don't need to break them.
Some of the only ones that I can think of are:
No screaming unless you are being kidnapped.
No eating after you brush your teeth at night.
If I count, you better come. (and they always do to the total delight of any onlooker)
Here is what hangs on our fridge. These rules are all it takes at our house.
Sophia added the last one all by herself.
We aren't sure when she did it. She didn't have to tell us. She was happy to let us find her addition on our own time. (It goes back to that giving each other space thing)
And, she's right. When you only have seven written rules, and three unwritten ones it's easy for everyone to be happy.
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." ~Henry David Thoreau