Are We Doing Our Kids A Disservice?

Sometimes we are doing our kids more harm then good. It's always said when someone gets power they will usually use it unrighteously or incorrectly. I guess Parenting is no different.

Good parenting is knowing what works with which child. Personally i was the kid that needed a swat on the butt to get the point.

Let's talk about those teenage years when kiddo get's mouthy and starts to push the boundaries with attitude and individuality. First let me start by saying this: Most parent think the teenage years are too late to begin instilling boundaries. You're right, but only to a point. As the parent you make the rules, you can change adjust and create new one's as you see fit. It's most important to stand by your intentions and make sure you can and will follow them through. I personally would have had a hard time respecting a parent who made the same idle threats over and over... and over and over... and over. I do appreciate that my parents pretty much followed through with what they said they were gonna do.

Lets go with an example:
Dear friend Alyce who lives down south has a Teenage son. I believe he's 16 years old. Doesn't do laundry. Doesn't Really cook. Wont help with the house cleaning. Have various Video Games, An electric guitar and all the gear that comes with it. Walks out on his mom in the middle of conversations, stays locked in his bedroom playing his video games all evening.
One day as she was speaking with him, he just got tired of the conversation turned his back and walked into his room while she was in Mid sentence.
I was in a state of disbelief. She just simply said.. "I hate when he does that." Again in shock I asked.. "he's done it more that once??" "Oh he does it all the time."


*AND ARE YOU OK WITH IT???" I asked rather loudy??? She wasn't ok with it but

"Really what can I do about it..?"

*blank stare* She was seriously.
K, well lets see... What in the "AYCH" is wrong with this situation?

First of all, there is no way in HECK I'm going to work all day, pay for bills, to provide clothes, food and a roof over some child's head and have them treat me this way. That's JUST not gonna happen.

One Mother's day my daughter and I got into pretty bad. I took away every privilage she had for a month and allowed her the basics: She could eat, she had her clothe her and whatever she paid for and gifts that were "owned" by her from other people. And she cold sleep in her bed. No TV, no computer, no bike, no scooter, no roller blades. She had to find a way to earn money to do her own laundry for the month. She had to cook her own food. The argument had something to do with me letter her know that someone needed help with something and I was sending her over that week to help. She started yelling at me in the car, saying she NEVER is able to do anything, have any fun, I'm alway making her help other people and I never think about what she wants to do.
Keep in mind, She's an only child rarely in trouble, always able to go out and play because she had good grades, and rarely got in trouble. But I'm not sure what happened this day, but she pissed me off And I said...

"Ok Since I never give you anything or let you do anything and never think about what you want, you get to live for one month of me really not giving you anything, doing anything for you and letting you have anything I've given you."
I believe she was about 12 or 13 at the time

My friends, was this an example of parenting gone wrong? Probably. I understand as parents we do the best we can with the knowledge we have. My reasoning was if she could see what life was like w/o me doing a thing for her, she would think more differently. I wanted her to learn how to help other people and serve others because soo many people had served and helped us out. She needed to realize that and to be honored to help pay it back to others.

This was such a HARD punishment! I missed her after the first 3 days. I wanted her to come and watch our favorite tv shows or go out and play basket ball or rollerblading with our blow in the dark puck and hockey sticks.

It was a good experience for both of us. She got the point I was making. She really didn't realize how much she is given and how much she has. I realize that there are times for EXTREME parenting and times for just a firm hand.

We need to find the balance. If you have a kid that isn't pulling his weight in the family.... take some weight off of them: Maybe they need not have all those video games, bicycles, and what not until they can show they deserve it.

Maybe they need not have a cell phone or a tv until they can be responsible enough to keep their chores done. MAKE THEM EARN IT!

Most parents have given their child a cell phone they say for their OWN well being?

I play the BullCrap card on that. Our parents and Grandparents were just as concerned about our well being and we didn't need cell phones. House phones still work. Gas station phones still work. Their friends all have phones that work.

My daughter got her phone at the age of 16. She started asking for one at the age of 13. She had to earn it. Parental respect should be a part of EVERYTHING they earn. Not just doing chores and getting good grades. Being a good family member is all factored into the Earning of privileges.

I have heard some kids speak to their parents in a way I can't even Imagine speaking to my parents. And what is up with kids just flat out disobeying. Refusing to clean and do anything asked of them? Or Bargaining. Yeah, My household is NOT a swapmeet.

On the other hand, Parents..... sometimes we Pawn our kids. Turn them into little slaves and house keepers. This is more for the single father. The one who doesn't clean up after himself so well but expects the kids to do the brunt of the housework that dad should be doing and maintaining.
Don't mean to call you out Papa's but I've seen this time and time again.

Another problem single Papa's have: Taking the children when it's convenient and not as regularly planned. Sadly I have seen kids pushed aside for a night of potential sexual enjoyment from an off again on again nowhere fling.

I have seen kids picked up to help clean house for company that may be staying for a week or so.

I have seen the latest wii or dsd game purchased instead of child support being sent.
I have seen money saved and scraped to go out the club or to visit someone of the opposite gender, but the same care and regard is dismissed to even go to a swim meet or basketball game of a son or daughter.

The sad thing of it all? The kids know. They ABSOLUTELY know when and why they are being pawned off or brushed off for the weekend. I have heard them voice it and I have seen it with my own eyes.

I have 3 girls concerned about the love their father's have for them. They are very aware of the many women daddy "dates." So many they say and I quote... "I think one day he's going to throw me away just like he throws them way. There are so many. I love my daddy but he's WRONG." (out of the mouth of a 12 year old)

I have a son concerned that his mom is going to come home pregnant one day. "she goes out all the time with different men. I got in trouble for calling some guy by the wrong name... how am I supposed to keep them straight?" (this was a 10 year old)


Being a single parent is already difficult for parent and child. It is not necessary for your kids to come in contact with or even really know every single person you go out with. If you don't know if they're going to be around for the long haul why introduce your child to a revolving door of people in and out of their lives? I teaches them that the opposite gender is Expendable, disposable and it really does play on their self esteem.

As a parent, you want to be loved and respected. Not feared or respected out of fear.

I want them to obey because they love me and because it's the right thing to do. As parents we have to create that atmosphere in our homes. We also need to be the example of it.
There are obviously things as a parent that you will be able to do that your child wont. And they will play that card...."how come you can do this and I cant? How come you can have this but I cant?" As a parent you have learned how to handle things wildly that a child doesn't know about. As a parent you are paying bills for things that your children are not yet able to. We all have to wait in our lives. We have to learn, work and earn certain things. Through that come the wisdom, experience, and gaining of responsibility that allow us to have those things.
My daughter and I had this discussion many times over the years.

The best way for us to teach is by example. Most of us think so highly of ourselves that we figure if our kid is just like us they will do well. That's just not so. I'm not a bad person and I'm not a great person but the world doesn't need another me.

I don't think I ever said Don't do as I do, do as I say. However if my bedroom was a mess i did expect my daughter to clean hers. I wanted to teach her to be better than I was at it. I also realized, when I did chores, she did them too. When I neglected mine, she sort of did too. So that puts it on US as parents to be the visual example of what we are asking of our children.

In closing I want to put in the air the HOME LIFE is where our children learn to deal with the world. We learn how to love, fight, compromise, clean, communicate, share, cook, be responsible at home first. We learn how to be a community in our homes first.
When I don't get along with a co-worker or neigbor, I remember how I got around it with a sibling or a cousin. I remember learning how to negotiate sharing the TV with my siblings. We gain these skills in the home. Homes these days have forgotten how to teach these kinds of skills. Family members not knowing how to tolerate and be patient and share with each other. Everyone has their own tv, computer, cell phones, ps2's etc. There is no need for them to learn how to share, compromise, negotiate, communicate or even be social and civil with one another. Which in reality sounds ALOT like the world around us if you ask me.

A breakdown in the family is the first breaking down of the community.

This ought not to be. Think long and hard about what you would like your kids to learn and then realize what you really are and are not teaching them.


Single Parent Raising Teen Agers in Today's World.

I'm amazed and honored each time I'm asked to give a lecture or be on a panal or to be a guest speaker with anything regarding the youth and young adults of today. I've always been a pretty creative and fun loving person. So when I found I was having a child and was unwed I new some changes needed to happen. Even when one of my cousins realized I was going to have a baby she cried because she thought it would change me and my crazy ways. Not so much, I just incorporated them into parenthood.
I thought I would d the mature thing and put her up for adoption. Long story short, some last minute medical complication cause me to realize that I was going to be a mom. I ended up keeping my daughter.
Throughout her life I was very careful of who I associated with and who she even had knowledge of. There's no point in bringing temporary people into her life. She did not meet or even know who I dated most of the time. Even when she was older I didn't think it a good idea. I made sure the men and women I subjected her too were upstanding, christian men and women who exemplified christian values in their talk, speech and actions. I wanted her to realize and know what a good man looks like, this would be important to her when she makes a choice for a husband and for good friends.

We talk about EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING. And although many people have a hard time recognizing us as mom and daughter... she knows the boundaries and when I put the smack down... I PUT IT DOWN! No that doesn't mean I beat her. But she got disciplined when she needed it. And it was consistant. Sometimes it was OLD SCHOOL and sometimes I had to get creative in my disciplining. Not every child responds to being spanked or yelled at.
The other thing I did was I started young in letter her know what was appropriate and what wasn't. I've been asked to come into homes and sit down with parents and teenagers and help them find ways to communicate with each other and establish a system of checks and balances that creates a more peaceful atmosphere. Let's face it... teenagers are rough sometimes. And some parent's are so blind to their own child's ways they can't see where discipline is needed. It is easier to establish house rules when their younger than to try and come up with them when they're unruly teenagers.

Proverbs 22:6 "train up a child in the way should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I'll say one of the big differences between myself and my daughter is that she learned better than I did. I'm not going to say that I was a better teacher than my parents because I did many things against what I was taught and it was at no fault of theirs. I had to learn most of my lessons the hard way. I was blessed with a child not so hard headed for the most part. But we've had our times when things got rough.

From very early on I would read and sing to her and pray with her. She's a reader and a singer and a prayer to this day. When I went to bed at night, I'd hold her in my arms and thank the Lord and ask for help and guidance. Each morning I'd do the same. I needed it she didn't know it but so did she. I needed wisdom and she needed patience (mostly to have to deal with a crazy mama)

One thing I did that was sort of handed down by my parents was visit her school often. I can remember sitting in 3rd grade and looking up and seeing my dad talking to my teachers. Fear struck me... "what was I just doing? was I behaving or cuttin up? Am I in trouble? HAS HE DONE THIS BEFORE??"
Well this is when I found out that my parents did this on a regular basis. They would visit the schools unannounced and make sure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing in classes.

So the start of each school year, I would visit with each of my child's teachers and explain to them that they are partners with me in helping my child recieve the best possible education. I let them know I was a willing parent ready to be active and proactive in her learning. I let them know I expected to hear from them immediately if she was causing problems in class. You know a disruptive child messes up EVERYBODY'S learning, not just their own. I also let them know from time to time I would be dropping in unannounced to make sure she was listening and giving her teachers the respect they deserved and not causing any behavioral problems. I didn't want any suprises come Parent Teacher Conferences. I also let them know it was to make sure my child was being treated fairly as well. Not one of her teachers had a problem with this. I strongly encourage it as a parent.
Also can I say this...? KNOW YOUR CHILD! Children tell tales. They do. If you think your child has not told a lie, you are only fooling yourself and setting yourself up to be a fool. Also knoyour child's attitude. If your child is not doing what they're supposed to be doing at home, talking back to you, and being smart mouthed and disrespectful to you, why on earth would you not believe it when it happens in school with a teacher, councelor or principle? We don't do our children any services with we condone it. The best thing we can do for our children is to confront them in their mistakes, teach them to take responsibility and make the needed corrections. Do we do this in public? NO. It is important to maintain their self-esteem.

I had a couple of situation when my daughter was younger. I believe it was 2nd grade. A little friend of her's came home from with her. It was a nice sunny day so I sat them on the balcony with a little table and chairs and a snack while they were out doing their homework. I looked out the window to check on them and saw that my daughters friend was doing my daughter's math homework. I was shocked! I'm not sure what another mother would do, but let me tell ya what this one did. I panicked at first. Then I took a minute and let them be. When my daughter's friend went home and asked my daughter if I could check her math homework. I told her there were 4 problems wrong out of 15. She looked horrified. I then told her that I watched her friend do her homework for her. And that I wasn't going to allow her to make any corrections on her math paper. I handed her a note and asked her to read it:

"Dear Mrs Sanders. Here is Alieshia's homework all completed. Unfortunately she didn't do it herself she allowed a friend to do it for her. 4 of the problems are incorrect. If you like you can give Alieshia the grade this work deserves or you can send home more homework equal to what you gave her so she can complete it herself and then give her the deserving grade. Thank your for helping teach my daughter a valuable lesson or two."
She didn't even get through the whole letter before she broke down crying. She got to the part that said.. "she didn't do it herself..." and started crying... "mommy nooooo!"

I sat her down and explained how important it was for her to learn how to do her own work and to make sure it was done properly. If people do it for her, she won't learn. The flip side is my daughter is good in math. She was horrified the paper was wrong because she know the correct answers when she looked at the paper. Lesson number two, if you know what you're doing, don't let someone else come along and mess you up! My daughter was lucky, she came home with new math homework and I recieved a note back from the teacher stating she was so impressed with Alieshia and the way I handled things. She thanks me for being a great partner in my own child's education. Now some of my friends tell me that was cold blooded. But to tell the truth, I was actually a scared and desperate mom trying to nip things in the bud. I often found myself thinking things like.. "man if she's pulling this in the 3rd grade, what's it going to be like in 6 years?" I was all for nipping things in the bud. My methods seemed harsh compared to other parents who felt I was being too hard on her. But it is a hard and cruel world out there. Everyone is the exception and everyone is the rule. So guess what? If you think your child(ren) is exceptional. He/She is! Just like mine and all the others.

In her Jr high school days it was difficult to keep up with finding her classes. So I would go to parent's night and meet with her teachers and give them the same speech. I would do it with her councelors as well. The one Jr High incident we had was at parent teacher conferences... her teacher started out with.. "I love having your daughter, she's an excellent student and well liked, but she sits with about 5 of her other buddies and they are very loud and disturb the class quite a bit."

I was floored. You know the first thing that comes to mind for MOST parents is...
"NUH UH... NOT MY CHILD" Guess what? Yeah, your child does it too. So I thought for a moment and looked at my daughter. You know how you have that "mama" look that lets them know, they're in trouble? I thanked the teacher for letting me know and assured her my daughter would no longer be a disturbance to the class. Remember earlier how I said a disruptive child messes up everyones learning? I feel if my child disrupts the class, then the class needs an apology. Doesn't matter if other people's kids are disrupting it, what matters is they take responsibility for their part in it. Anyway before leaving, I sent my daughter into the hallway because I wanted to speak to the teacher alone.
I apologized to the teacher and then I said to her....
"I know you have to put up with babysitting while you are trying to educate kids but
you need to handle your class"
She was shocked. I was serious though.
I asked her if she had a seating chart? She didn't. And then I asked
" how much sense does it make for you to allow my daughter and her friends to sit together everyday and be loud and disruptive? Move my child. Put her in the front row and don't allow her to sit with her friends anymore."
She was still in shock.
I told her.
" again I apologize for her behavior and participation in disrupting but you need to handle your class, make a chart, split the friends up so they and the others can learn."

I shook her hand and left the class room. The reason I send my daughter out of the room was she still needed to gain respect for the teacher. I didn't want any of this.. "my mama told you off" kind of stuff. But I thought it was important feedback for her teacher. Nor did I want to condone my daughters actions. It didn't matter that she was getting the highest grade out of the class. Most parents use that as justification for their children's bad behavior. At home I let my daughter know she would no longer be allowed to sit with her friends in that class. And that she was to apologize to the class for her part in being disruptive. She was NOT happy about having to apologize to the class. Hopefully not happy enough to think twice about doing it anymore.

We are responsible for our children's behavior until they are of legal age. And we have an obligation to correct them when they make mistakes. And if we do it properly the community can be an aide in this, and not a hinderance. It really does take a family and villiage to raise a child. Now I've heard some parents come back and comment on "I don't want the villiage idiot teaching my child nothin!" Well the fact of the matter is... there are villiage idiots in the world. Your child if going to come in contact with them. And if you aren't doing your job as a parent at home the villiage idiots WILL take over their minds.
There are many wonderful community program to guide our children and keep them on the straight and narrow: boys and girls clubs, YMCA's, Boy Scouts, Girl's Scouts, Campfire girls. Church youth groups, and other such programs that have given our young men and women opportunities they may not have otherwise had.

HOWEVER... is our duty as parents and a family to teach them moral values and things of faith. They should be learning how to set and reach goals in the home. Things like compassion, faith, good works, being a good neigbor or a good citizen in the community. Moral strength and values should be an everyday part of our children's learning. Do they spend as much time in our bibles as we do in our math books? Quite truthfully, probably not. We feed them physcially and mentally each day, When do we feed them spiritually?
Want to blow your child's mind..... Try this....:

"Hey Jason, I bet that Noah went CRAZY on that arc having to be shut up with his family and all them animals for so long, don't you think so?"

Not quite the reverent sermon most would expect, but this kind of conversation happened in my home all...the... time.

It would be nothing for my daughter to say to me.... "you know In the book of Numbers when balaam struck his donkey (ass) and the donkey was like... hey? have I ever steered you wrong before? OBVIOUSLY, there's a problem...man, quit hittin me or Im gonna tell this angel in front of me with his sword to start hitting on YOU"

Ok... ok. not exact biblical wording, but you get the picture. Typically the evening would end up in some sort of discussion on bible stories and what they mean and how we can relate them to our lives in the world today. I find great joy in talking about religious things with the youth. And not of JUST my religion. We are all God's children. And we can all learn and respect and appreciate each other. Finding that common ground in those around us is a key to being united. If it's God, then EVEN BETTER.

There were a couple times when my discipline was extreme. My daughter and I got into it on one Mother's day. I'm not sure why but alot of kids and moms go at it on mother's day. I remember one evening befor mother's day inparticular when 3 young women ended up at my home about 8pm. The next day was mother's day. They were crying they had fought with their mothers. I was thinking Something was in the air for these 3 girls from different ends of the neigbhorhood , situation all seperate to end up at my home.
I brought them in and calmed then down and listened to what happened. Each of them had a fight with their mothers. I was a church young women's advisor at the time and had a great repore with the girls and their parents. So the first thing I did was call their mother's let them know they were safe and asked if they minded if the girls spent the night, and we'd all be at church in the morning. They said it was fine.
I spent the majority of the night listening and speaking with them on how difficult it is to be a parent. I also told them that as parents, we will make mistakes, just like they do. We do the best we can. I told them that parents have the right to make decisions about things, and then change their minds about it if they feel it's needed. Parents are trying to make money and make sure they have heat and water. We have to make sure there's a roof over their heads, clothes on their butt , shoes on their feet and food in their stomachs. On top of that they have to get you to choir, basketball and cheerleading practice and make sure they're done grocery shopping by the end of it so you don't get stranded waiting to come home. Then we have to come home and cook and clean and make sure your homework is done, and worry about you having sex and doing drugs and not being depressed. And if you have brothers and sisters ,they have to worry about all that for them too. Is it any wonder that sometimes mom and dad might stress out and blow up? And all they ask you to do is be obedient to them without the lip. There are tons of kids out there in foster homes and living in the street that would LOVE to have a parent yell at them to do some dishes, because that would mean they had a meal and dishes to eat off of.
Oh, I listened to them as well, it's tough being a kid these days. Pressures from school, to look cute and do things you don't wanna do and the homework is hard and it all looks like greek to mom and dad so half the time they can't help you. By morning all the young women were felling better about themselves and their parents.
We went to church the next morning and I sent them to sit with their families. All 3 of the girls hugged their mom and appologized. 2 moms hugged back in tears. One mom layed into her daughter again right in front of everyone. MY MOUTH DROPPED. And thats what we do as parents sometimes... in our effort to maintain authority and control we use unrighteous dominion over our children and get them to obey from fear and anger instead of love and respect. I hurt for this 15 year old girl. But again, as a parent, her mama reserved the right to do whatever she felt was proper. All I could do was reinforce that her mother loves her and sometimes it's why we get so upset with them.

I've not just spent time with young women. I've had time to speak with young men as well. Some of the teenage boys I know have the weight of the world on them. Most of them are the "men of the house" or have taken upon that roll. Several have absent fathers or fathers who work hard to provide and find very little time to spend with their sons. I've heard it said that "Only a man can teach a boy how to be be a man." I BEG TO DIFFER. A man knows a lady when he see's one. This is why father/daughter relationships are so necessary. A woman knows a man when she sees one. This is why mother/son relationships are so necessary. I'll be darned if one can't teach the other. I've heard many older men claim they've become the man they are today because of the strong women in their lives that raised them. I've heard many women say the same about their fathers.
Young men know they have a responsibility as provider. This hits them at a younger age then we expect. I've talked to 14 and 15 year old young men who are stressed about this. Normally these young men are being brought up by their mothers. They feel that struggle and have concern not being able to help take care of their own needs and relieve some of that burdon from them. They worry about politics. I was shocked to be part of a discussion with boys 12-16 years old worried that not enough men are joining the military. They worry about being able to go to college, or to get out of a rough neigborhood alive.
It is good for us to let them know they will need to know enough to be able to provide for at least themselves. But it's even better for them to know our purpose is to prepare them for it.

The one thing a child should always be able to count on is his/her parents.

It doesn't serve them at all to over protect and underdisipline them. It doesn't serve them to under protect and over discipline them. And ya wanna know the most fabulous joke on all of us parents? It doesn't work the same for each kid! Isn't that WONDERFUL? Just as unique and individual as each child is... what works for one child may not work for another. Each child is not the same. My sister could get grounded for 2 weeks and cry just as hard and I did when I got a whippin. Oh, and let me tell you, I deserved whippins. Grounding for me, didn't work. I was the child that responded to pain. And to distinguish I wasn't beat in a child abuse kind of way. The world was a different place back then and a swat on the behind was appropriate and how things were... AND IT WORKED. And you better believe when my daughter needed it, she got a swat on the backside as well. You find what your child responds to and discipline them accordingly to your beliefs.

Also there were times when the only person my child had to play with was me. I raised and old school child, meaning she was trained to go out side and play on bikes, roller blades, scooters and such. I wanted her to be phsically fit and active. She had basketballs, tennis raquets, frisbys and other kind of gear. Her biggest problem? Finding friends to play with. They were usuallyl grounded or wanted to play game boys for nintendo and those types of things. There were times when I'd get home from working an 8 hour day and then a couple hours later I've strapped on rollerblades helmet and pads and playing hockey in the parking lot with my daughter. I can't tell you how tired I would be. But it was so worth it. Also in when she started JR, High school I told her she was required to play an instrument, study a language and play a sport all through Jr high and High School. Her instrument is Violin. (she also has near perfect pitch and an amazing singing voice) Her language, Spanish. ( no habla blah blah blah) Her sport changed. She started in basketball and ended up throwing discuss on the track team. I wanted her to be well rounded, to have some activities to keep her from getting bored and to be interested in things that would benefit her and keep he culturally rounded. IT WORKED, who knew?
I'm pleased with the fact that she is also a reader. The girl loves to read. When all else fails, pick up a book, kiddo and have a world of adventures in them.

I'm very pleased with the fact that my daughter comes and talks to me. Even when she's afraid I wont like what she says. I like that she can tell me when she thinks I'm being unreasonable, or treating her unfairly. She's let me know when I was spending too much time on a book or game or whatever. I needed to check myself and come to a realization I may have been spending too much time on the wrong things. Sometimes at parents we jump on our kids for them letting us know things we need to hear. All that does is cause them to bottle things up and only let you think you can talk to them. I know this because these are the things they tell me. And also my own daughter has told me once or twice as well. I like when she feels she can do that and KNOW that I won't get upset with her because of it. Because what happens when our kids tell us what we need from them, and we jump all over them? They stop communicating and resign themselves. I'm in no way suggesting that your child should be allowed to battle and question your authority. What I am suggesting is we take the time to HEAR what they're saying and more importantly what they aren't saying. Notice the look on their faces and in their eyes, their demeanor.
There was a time when my daughter was in grade school and they were learning about slavery. The teacher was showing slides in the class and got called out of the room for about 5 minutes. The particular slide showing was of an older black slave in a field. One of my daughters classmates said.. "it's Ali's Grandpa" and a few of the students laughed. When it came to that part of our day when we talked about how things in school went I could tell by her demeanor everything wasn't "good" as she was telling me. I sat her down and with a little prodding she told me what happened. I asked her how it made her feel. She said she was ok about it, but again, I could tell she was not happy about it, but she said it was no big deal. I then told her if she was really ok with the situation I would drop it. she said she was ok. Now a mama's instinct is to call the school and lay into the teacher and the parent's of the kid and the kid. I had to take a moment... and DISCERN instead of react to the situation. Remember we're dealing with kids and a teacher who was unaware of the situation and no one is at fault. And then I thought what a wonderful opportunity to turn this into and educational experience. So that morning I spoke with her again and gave her a this suggestion. I told her if she wanted I could call her teacher and see if he would do a lesson in class about respecting and appreciating different cultures and their histories and the importance of respecting them. She liked the ideah and said it would make her feel better. So I did call her teacher and explained to him what happened. He practically broke down in tears over the phone. This teacher was particularly fond if my daughter and appologized over and over profusely about what happend in class. I asked if he wouldn't mind addressing the situation and then taking a few days to speak and teach his class the beauty of cultural diversity and the importance of respecting our differences and recognizing what is and what isn't appropriate to say regarding different cultures. I also let him know that I would be willing to come in and help him in anyway possibly and perhaps other parents of his culturally diverse students might appreciate the opportunity.

As parents we need to be WILLING to be part of the solution and not just criticize the problem. Sometimes we are quick to call and chew out the teachers about a problem instead of helping to come up with a solution.

One thing I learned as a parent is to know when to appologize. Being a parent doesn't give us the right to knocked down the self esteem of or abuse a child. We need to recognize that quite often we should apologize for hurt feelings, yelling and not having the patience that perhaps we need to have. We are parents, we do our best. But we aren't always right and even letting our child know that doesn't give way to disrespect from them. There were many times I'd day to my child, "well, I'm learning and trying to figure this parenting thing out, too." In my case it worked to my benefit to be able to say.. "you know, I know I'm the parent, but it's my first time, I mess up, Im gonna mess up but I'm never gonna stop trying to figure out what's in your best interest."

Some people look at me and scoff that I'm not much of a parent. I KNOW I'm not what most 40 year old mom's look and act like. My daughter and I laugh like we're sisters or roomates. And why shouldn't we enjoy each other? I like that I could relate to her on whatever level she was going through. I like being a fun mom. And I like being a tough mom... it is possible to do both. There were childish things I did with her for the benefit of bonding and being close.
One of my favorite memories were we were experience an obnoxious amount of rainy days in our city. So one day she and I bundled up into some old clothes and we went out and walked the city and jumped into every mud puddle we could find. Yes the purpose of the walk was to have fun and get dirty. (Now keep mind, My daughter is 18 now and I'm 4o. this was only about 5 or six years ago) We splashed and kicked and jumped in puddle getting ourselve and each other dirty. When we finally got home about 2 hours later, I omitted a few details. We have light tan carpet in our apartment and we came home absolutely filthy and soaked. And we lived on the 2nd floor of the apt complex. So when we got home, I opened the door... she got in front of me on the porch and spread her coat out like a flasher. I quickly hid behind her and took off everything but my underclothes ran into the house, got on a robe and grabbed a bunch of towels. Then I stood infront of her while she got out of her muddy wet clothes and put on the towels. She jumped into a nice hot shower while I cooked a hot meal, then I jumped into the shower and then we laughed the rest of the night about our playing and jumping in the mud.
You know how you see those public service announcements on tv urging you to talk to your kids about Smoking, drugs, sex, drinking and driving and other things? How many of us actually do it, or just assume our kids know better or know where we stand on these things?
Yeah I had those conversations often. One time is never enough. What makes us think we can tell our kids not to drink or smoke 1 time, yet we must tell them to clean their room and pick up their shoes on a continual basis? Now it's to the point where I can call up my daughter at college and say to her... "hey! Do NOT Drink and drive, got it??" And we'll laugh about it. Yes it is a serious situation but who says there cannot be joy and fun in parenting? My favorite thing to would be while taking some of my daughters friends home from some activity or practice I could turn to her and say.. " Oh, I got you a pregnancy test today. Cuz I know there are pressured out there for you and all." And she would simply laugh and respond... "Ok, mom, I'll get right to it when I get home." I know darn well there's no need for her to take a pregnancy test. But I'm always shocked when I come across a couple of youth in trouble because their parents avoided speaking to them about these things.

A couple of years ago after Michael Jackson got in trouble with the law again for sexual misconduct with minors. I Burst into my sixteen year old's bedroom and said... "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE YOU EVER ALLOWED TO GO TO MICHAEL JACKSON'S HOUSE AND PLAY OR HANG OUT!" She looked at me with a worried look and said.. "ok mom, I understand, I never will." And we both busted out laughing. Ok you think that's a silly thing to do? SERIOUSLY do you think that the kids who ended up in ol Jacko's house thought any child of theirs could would end up there in that situation? I bet not. I just wanted to make it clear to her, she's not allowed.

My daughter is now in her first semester of college. She's got a 4 year tuition scholarship, couple of grants, her grades are commendable. Im so please with her and so blessed she has the patience to put up with a crazy mama like me. She is well liked and well recieved by those around her. The biggest question I got on parenting this last year was

"how are you going to handle it when she leaves for college."

I look at them and I can tell the answer I give them is not one hey expect at all.

"Oh, I'm glad to see her go! I have worked hard to teach her the best that I can. She is well prepared to leave the next. I'm excited to see what she can bring to this world and to see how well I did as a parent. MY success and a parent can only be measured by her success in no longer depending on me. Im ready to watch my eagle fly. Oh, and I'll probably miss her, too"

I know this has been a some what lengthly blog. If you made it this far.... you must be having a boring day with not much else to do.

I know most of you dont know me from Adam. And those that do, dont hold it against me.
Im simply a single mom who, through the grace of God is good at working with teenagers and their parents and who lucked out on figuring out some parenting skills that have worked. I don't have all the answers. But know one thing that has been my guiding force.

The bible says. in Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth the rod hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes

Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

How different would the world be if we could all come to understand the Rod which is spoken of to be THE WORD OF GOD? (Guiding Force)

I'm just saying.


Whatever Happened to Consequences and Follow Through?

Remember back in the day there were consequences for disobedience and follow through of those consequences?

Where did it go? I really never left my house, but sometimes I think I'm the only house in Utah that has instated this method of parenting. I have seen kids yell, hit, back talk and even spit on their parents only to watch the parent say.. "now billy we don't act that way...." Only to have billy slug her in the face or yell in her face NOOOOOOOOOOO, go away!" one more time. True back in the day Billy probably would have gotten "Knocked out!" and had bike taken away for 2 weeks by the parent of the 70's. The parent of the 80's would have just counted to 10 and be very proud that he at least used his words. The parent of the 90's would have put him in time out 1 minute for however many years he was lucky to get away with living while being so disrespectful. What is with the parent of the 00's?

I fear at some point it's just more cool to be a friend than a parent. That sounds all nice and cozy and stuff, but SOMEONE needs to be the parent.

yeah, and someone explain to me the counting thing? I never understood why parent's would ask their kids over and over to do something 3, 5 or 10 times and then count another 3, 5, or 10 times after they STILL haven't done it. This is how it rolled in our home. My father felt he should only have to ask us to do something 1 time. If he asked us to do something a 2nd time, it wasn't with his voice, if ya know what I mean. I DO NOT Suggest that this day and age. However, I also do not suggest asking... and having to keep asking and then counting and counting only to have it result in nothing being done. STOP COUNTING! Give your child their task, let them know you expect it done without having to ask them again, communicate the consequences of it not being done and just follow through with those consequences.

I was speaking with a friend who was having a hard time getting the kids to do chores. As I heard how the events of their day went and how upset he was with how the kids didn't do much of anything that needed to be done, I couldn't help but realize some really easy steps that would have helped the situation. And MOST of them happened to me when I was the kid not getting my stuff done, and it worked.

What kid won't watch TV or play video games instead of chores if mom and dad keep letting them get away with it? I can remember after days and days of my mother yelling at me and my siblings for not getting our chores done during the summer while she was working all day to support us on a small budget, mom had finally had enough. She typically was gone when we woke up in the summer time. And we'd spend the day playing or watching TV. She'd come home and the chores would still not be done.

One day we woke up and the TV was gone. Yup, that's right mom packed it in the back of her car and went to work. Without the tv and not being allowed to go outside until our chores were done, guess what started getting done right quick?

If there's no Tv to watch or no video or computer cames to play then that's not an excuse for them not getting their work done.

Mom did leave us a radio. Even today when I get in that cleaning zone, I have on the radio or my earphones in listening to SOMETHING. It really does help. What also helps is doing chores together. I notice my daughter doesn't really clean unless I'm cleaning. I hate that. I think her chores should be done by the time I get home from work. I STILL think that. I told her one day... "the purpose of you doing your chores before i get home from work is so I can relax after an 8 hour day at the office. If you're vacuuming and banging about dishes and gathering garbage around the house, I can't relax. After that discussion she somewhat took pity on me and started having a bit of her things done before I got home. But I have noticed she is most effective at doing her chores when I'm doing mine own. As much as I hate to admit it T.E.A.M:

Together Everyone Achieves More. We get twice as much done when it's done as a family.

There should be certain times for chores and there should be a time set when they're all done. There should be consequences for not getting them done and not getting them done on time. We must also make sure the the consequences aren't so out of line that it punishes those not involved.
For example: If the child is on a sports team or part of a team event where their absence effects the seam or ensemble as a whole, this punishes more than just themselves. I appreciate that if I got in trouble, I was never held back from a team, orchestra, choir or other event that would effect them. It was usually in the form lack of entertainment, social time and additional chores around the home and yard. There were about 3 years when my daughter missed having a birthday party because she was grounded and didn't get her chores done. The first year she didn't believe I would not throw her a party. The 2nd year she did it out of spite, no skin off my back that was one less thing I had to do. The 3rd year she "didn't want one anyway." Again cool with me, she stayed home and got an ice cream bar and cupcake and I had a girls night out a couple days later.
There needs to be some discomfort and displeasure about discipline and consequences to wrong doing and disobedience. Notice I didn't say pain? That helps, but with todays' abuse laws that decisions is strictly up to the individual families.

Some things are a matter of common sense. If your kids are playing on the computer or video games and other things instead of chores the answer to that is simple.... Take them away. Have a place for them out of site and make it understood they only come out at certain times under certain circumstances. Same with the TV and Cell phones. On thing that I oppose is TV's in the bedrooms, and each child having their own so there's no fighting. Well with no fighting there is also no compromising or learning to share. Each child is selfishly indulged and expecting to have those selfish indulgences fed.
Have we forgotten our homes are our basic training? My sister and I have this joke when we see basic things being ignorantly discarded: "po thang. They didn't get any home training." Or "The parents should be spanked or put in time out for not teaching them."

Some things I'm grateful for:
I'm glad there were only 2 tv's in the house. We had to learn to share the TV time. There were certain days and times I was able to watch the shows I liked and certain days and time my siblings were able to watch the shows they like. There were even times when we negotiated and switched days and time. We learned how to share and compromise none of us had our own TV/VCR/DVD player in our room. Alot of those times we were assembled as a family as well and not each to their own bedrooms like hermits. Our generations behind us are quickly losing basic social and human skills. They're being raised by machines.

What about home responsibilities. It astounds me that there are teenagers out there who's mommy's are still doing their laundry for them. I guess that's ok but, it's what mom's do. But I can remember at the age of 8... or maybe it was 10 being taught how to do my laundry by my father. And he gave each of us a Laundry day. So when Thursday rolled around It was my day to make sure my laundry for the week was done. This freed mom up and taught me how to do laundry. Each of my 3 siblings had their laundry day as well. If I hadn't taken the time needed to wash my clothes, and I had dirty clothes to wear, then it was my fault. This worked especially well when my parent divorced and mom sometimes had to work 12 - 16 hour days. We each has a week of cleaning dishes and kitchen Including the fridge and mopping at the end of the week. There was a week spent in the bathrooms, Dining area, Living/rec Rooms and so on. The boys did dishes as well and my sister and I learned to cut grass and trim hedges. All chores were unisex.

I fear we are doing a disservice to our children by not teaching them well enough the consequences of disobedience. Discipline is out the window and disrespect has flown in like the move "THE BIRDS."

Singles parents should work together to enforce chores, discipline and consequences in both homes. It's still a partnership. Team work is still needed with both parents. Kids should not be able to think they can not do chores at dad's house and then go out to the movies at mom's house. If this sounds familiar and you allow this to happen this would be your kids playing you for suckers.

Alot of parenting is common sense. I'm amazed and when some self declared DR or Therapist come along tooting about some common sense thing that grandma taught 40 years ago. The sad thing is we spend our money making them rich so they can tell us things we already know.

Let's be proactive in our parenting. Kids appreciate discipline and consistency and structure. It serves them well as kids and even more importantly as adults.
Let's get back to basics, parents. It really is time


Every Shut Eye Ain't Sleep!

Grandma used to say it aaalllll the time: "Every shut eye ain't sleep." And she would say it in regards to children knowing more than we think they know. Grandma is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!
Parents your children know more of what's going on than you think they know and that can be a scary thing. It is so very important that we live our lives so they'll want to emulate us instead of having to make excuses and protect us. In an atmosphere of hypocrisy, half truths, and serving our temporal and immediate desires instead of focusing on those eternal desires, this can be very damaging to our children and THEIR eternal goals. I remember reading my father's patriarchal blessing, it has a warning in it. And from his warning I have seen in many families that children fall into very thing that his warning entails:
"Your children will follow in what paths you travel."
This is not true of all families but in those I have counseled with and fellowshipped with regarding the gospel and their children, its been very true for the most part. You simply cannot teach one way in your home and live another way. Children become angry at the double standard they're being asked to see and live.They become frustrated and confused. Some spend years in this resentment while trying to sort out and strengthen their testimonies. Many fall away from the church and some never return. It's sad and a shame. I'm grateful that when my parents divorced, my mother never waivered in her church service or activity. She never allowed my sister and I to either. My father also remained active in church as well. So for me to associate divorce with church inactivity was something I'd never witnessed until moving out west. I saw a trend... "get divorced and go inactive" as if it was part of a 12 step program. It didn't occurred to me to stop going just because of separation or divorce. I think I would be clinging on to the church for dear life would have been step 2 in that 12 step program.

Back to our kids.
The children should have the opportunity to go to church with each parent. IT IS IMPORTANT for them to share those spiritual times and experiences with both parent. It keeps the family unit secure in the gospel and it lets them see and experience the Lords hand in healing and repairing family situations. I like that, It lets them experience the Lord hand in the healing. They should also be experiencing FHE, Family Prayer, Scripture reading and gospel discussions with each parent. This will not only keep building that foundation of Jesus Christ within the family, it will heal and help create a healthy partnership with the other parent.

As both parents are trying to keep their lives worthy of the Lord's blessings he will compensate for those difficult struggles we go through. Our part is to live worthily and teach our children to do the same. It is crazy to expect blessings for disobedience & slackness. The Lord gives our children certain protections for certain times because he is merciful. But he is also just. At some point as parents we need to take personal inventory of our lives, our actions and what messages good and bad, right and wrong we are giving our children. We are accountable for what we FAIL to do, our lack of acton, just as we are accountable for what we actually do. We have to look at ourselves and say ]
"What am I actually teaching my children and how is this going to effect them throughout the eternities? What am I failing to do at the expense of my children's spirituality and testimony? Am i being selfish and greedy? Are my goals eternal or temporal? Am I giving in to temporal desires at the expense of Eternal blessings? Am I teaching my children to do the same?"

Chances are your children know what you should and shouldn't be doing just as you know. Regardless of their confusion and anger and resentment about it, they love you. They will protect you. They don't want to disappoint you, make you angry or sad by ruffling feathers about it. Not too many kids will call their parents on their actions.

Parent's, Every shut eye ain't sleep. Children know. And most children follow in the paths of their parents. Remember whatever you're doing, it is either at the benefit or expense of your children


Props To My Parents

I would be very ungrateful if I didn't give props to my parents. They did the best they could with what knowledge they had. When you know better you do better. They weren't perfect,and made plenty of mistakes as we all will, but for me, they created an atmosphere where I can talk to them about any and everything. I'm not sure if my siblings feel the same way, but that's how I roll.

My parents were old school. They expected us to do what we were told when we were told to do it. They didn't waste their time asking us to do something 3 &4 times nor did they count to 5 or 10 after asking 3 or 4 times. They were consistant with their discipline and their threats were NOT idle. I think what I admire most about them was that they knew us. You would never hear them say "not my child...." if indeed it sounded like something we could have possibly done. I think my biggest pet peeve are parents who tolerate disrespect and are disrespected by their kids, but blow a gasket when someone informs them they're kids was disrespectful. My mother would often say "I've seen badley you can act when I am around. I don't doubt that you aren't that way when I'm not around." Thos were powerful words to me.

I'm gateful for the way my parents taught us. Some of their methods were extreme however it's an extreme world we're living in and some cases need extreme measures. I appreciate them encouraging our independance. Each of us were taugh and maintain a household before we left home. They did not coddle us or baby us into dependance on another person for survival. I appreciate that if I did something wrong at the neigbors house, or out in the streets that they would call me on it, and then the famous phrase..
"I'ma call yo mama and daddy and let them know too. They don't work hard all the time for you to be disrespecting their name with your actions" or " isn't Pearl your Grandmother? Now you know she didn't teach you to act like that! What would she do if she was you acting this way?" That's the one that would hurt. My grandparents were so well known in the community that you didn't want ANYTHING getting back to them. Not from fear, but from disappointment and disrespect to the family name.
yeah, that's how it rolled growing round my corner.

That's how I've tried to raise my daughter.. .old school. No lippy back talk. She knows where the line between Mama and friend is and when to cross it or stay away from it.
My Parents divorced when I was about 12 or 13. They didn't follow the typical pattern of most people in the church I've seen get divorced. One parent or the other goes inactive. Neither of my parents did. In fact they became greater members. We met in the same building, just different wards. I still have a hard time with why people go inactive when they get divorced, its not like it's the Lord's fault. I do believe that them staying strong in the church by being active members, taking us and being their with us instead of dropping us off and struggling through those difficult times that were ackward has taught me to do the same. there were times of struggle, but I'm so grateful they got through it. I draw back on those times when I want to give up or when things aren't going right.

I'm not perfect. I'm not some great successful famous woman well known to the world. I'm just me, a mama with a child trying to "get it done." If I've taught my daughter to live successfully and happily and reach all her goals without my constant supervision, I have been successful as a mother.

Thanks Mom & Dad, you did a good job!