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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

1…….2………2½ …….. 2 ¾ …….. 2 7/8 ……..look, knock it off, already.

Does that sound familiar?

How about: “You are grounded until you are 30!” Two days later, “Mom, can I go to so-and-so’s house” “Yeah, sure, have a good time.”

Or perhaps: “The reason you can’t do that, is……..**Twenty minutes later**….do you understand?”

We all have our parenting issues…whether learned from our parents, from well meaning parenting classes or even the University of Hard Knocks. Regardless of the differences, there is one thing that I hear from almost every parent: “I wish there was a manual that came with this kid.” The closest thing I have ever found is 1-2-3 Magic.

The 1-2-3 Magic concept is actually pretty easy to understand and implement. The biggest problems I can see with implementation is using it too much, not using it enough and following through with whatever discipline is chosen. It will also probably work best if whomever is caring for the children on a regular basis, also uses the program….or at the very least doesn’t undermine your use of it. There are books and movies available to illustrate the concepts much better than I could ever describe in a quick blog post. While I suggest trying to find a more frugal method of reading the books or watching the movies, you can certainly purchase the entire set of books/DVD’s/CD’s from the website: http://www.parentmagic.com/

According to the book by Dr. Phelan, you will use the 1-2-3, or counting method to deal with obnoxious behavior (like arguing, fighting, whining, etc.) not things like getting a child up in the morning, doing homework or practicing an instrument. The “magic” is not in the counting, but in the “No-Talking and No-Emotion Rules,” which makes the kids think and take responsibility for their own behaviors. The other main ingredient is short and sweet punishments. For example: If you choose to use the ‘time out’ method, you may want to use the formula: 1 minute for each of the child’s years on Earth (a 10 yr. Old gets 10 minutes of time out). So, when you count, you would say “Junior, that’s one.” Wait five seconds to see if he has taken control of his behavior….if not, you say, “Junior, that’s two.” In many cases, this is all you need; however, if your child continues, you say, “Junior, that’s three…take ten” (Meaning take ten minutes in the designated ‘time out’ location.) Dr. Phelan describes some tough situations like discipline in public and dealing with testing and manipulation.

As a veteran parent, I could see (even just in my own family) some of the problems that may come up. My husband, in wanting to remember to use this program may use it too much and it won’t be as effective…..or he might forget and not use it enough. He is also a “people pleaser” and might have a hard time following through with the punishment. All of that, though, can’t hold a candle to the offenses that I would do to make it ineffective, namely showing WAY too much emotion AND talking too damn much!

If you are able to work through the possible problems in your own parenting/home situation, the program itself is really much easier to implement/follow than all of the other parenting programs I have been a part of, thus far….particularly Love and Logic. This program will work best if it is used as consistently as possible….which shouldn’t be a shocker; however, it may be tough to get all of the folks who co-parent or care for the children on board….not to worry, though, it will still be effective if you are the only person who chooses to use it. 🙂

I borrowed the DVD and book from CASA. When I checked them out, the only reason I was interested in watching/reading about the program was to get in-service credit; however, within minutes of watching the DVD, I was hooked….and interestingly enough, so were the kids. (I was watching it while we were eating dinner.) I think they liked it ’cause it promised that Mom wouldn’t lecture AND that the punishments would be over with very quickly!! James watched it with me the next night and he liked it as well. We have only “counted the kids” three times (two of which were the night we watched the movie….I think, ’cause they wanted to “try it out.”) and not once did it require time out!! We also avoided all of the other unpleasantries!! All-in-all, I think it is a fantastic program…it is easy to use, easy to implement and easy to maintain….what more can you ask for?

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My Hubby’s side “thing” is mowing lawns.  Last year, he took the kids with him and was teaching them the ropes.  Boo was 8 and pretty small – – so he didn’t put her on the rider he bought last year.  (In order to make it stop, you had to push – – HARD – – into the clutch and move this other switch.)  This year, he bought a John Deere that stops when you let off the pedal….SO much easier!! 

Hubby decided it was time to teach Boo the ropes and let her drive the rider alone. 

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Since I did the parenting blog, I thought I would elaborate on why parenting is not always my favorite thing in the world. Almost all parents, before they actually become parents, just tell themselves that all they want is a “healthy baby with ten fingers and ten toes.” The truth is, they have no REAL idea what to wish for…….

Sometimes I think it would have been easier if I had a child that had 9 fingers but no behavior disorder. My oldest two children both have “issues.” One has a diagnosis and the other does not. Sometimes it is easier with a behavioral diagnosis, as you are able to receive assistance that you otherwise would not. The problem is, MOST of those services – – even though they are SPECIFICALLY for kids with behavior issues – – will have rules that are almost guaranteed to be broken by those same kids that they are suppose to be helping – – and your kid gets kicked out. Then, your kid who has this behavior issue has burned a bridge that was built specifically for her/him. What the hell? It feels like you are a mouse on that wheel – – running in circles, getting no where.

My middle child, Bubba, was born premature, via emergency cesarean, as a result of my placenta separating. From the time of his birth, actually, truth be told, from the MOMENT I found out I was pregnant, I KNEW there was something wrong – – but, even after he was born, the problems continued. I took him to the doctor over and over – – finally being labeled as a “crazy mom” because I was so hyper-sensitive with my kid. Yeah, that all changed when he stopped breathing. Then, I was abusive mom. In order to save myself, my oldest and get my son out of the “system” I agreed to send him to his bio-dad. (Yes, I knew that it was a big mistake – – but, I hoped to combat that with a court order that ensured regular visitation with my other family members. (Oh, at the time, I was living in Germany and his bio-dad was in Kansas.) His bio-dad had custody for 3 years and then, Bubba was back in the system (my ex-left him alone and he was found walking the streets at about 2am). While I fought for custody, he was in foster care – – thanks to his foster parents, I KNOW that they had a HUGE influence on his behavior – – and went from a wild child whose vocabulary was proficient in all terms nasty and his temper was intense to a calmer version. In the last eight years, I have made LOTS of mistakes – – but, I have also made LOTS of headway. Although, he still has issues, he is not verbally abusive nor does he have the violent outbursts, as he did when he was 4.

Now, my oldest, Sassy Sissy, she has also been a hand-full since day one – – the difference is that she was raised with me. Now, her bio-dad (same as Bubba’s) and I were together for two years after she was born – – and there were times that I wonder if there are residual issues from him.

She has always been head strong and smart as a whip. I would say gifted, but since her grades have never been “good” no one would test her – – but, the consensus from all of the people who have since worked with her: they also believe she is gifted. I mention the giftedness only because I think it has bearing on her behavior issues. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming her behavioral issues on the school’s lack of assistance – – ’cause I know that her issues are far deeper than just academic.

In elementary school, she knew all the answers….and actually did all of the work….she just didn’t turn in the completed papers. Yeah, I know…….I would ask her, “Why don’t you just turn in the papers? Your grades will be higher?”

In our house, the rule for grades is: If you have anything lower than a “C,” you are grounded. Now, it use to be until the next report card – – but, in time, I changed the rule to weekly updates. Not that it mattered – – it seemed that Sassy was grounded ALL the time. As she got older, her behavioral issues were more intense. Interestingly, her behaviors would go TO THE LINE – – sometimes cross it – – but, her “moral” codes keep many of her behavioral issues in check.

Many of the decisions I made NOT to get her outside professional help were related to my fear of losing her – – that she would end up in “the system,” too. However, when she left the house one afternoon and did not return for 6 hours – – and then when she did, she was obviously under the influence, I got her “help.” Interestingly, it was not helpful – – actually, it was more hurtful, in many ways. From that night, her behaviors SNOWBALLED – – and shortly thereafter, my biggest fears were realized.

We are told that as parents, we have to call the police when our children run away. (Granted, it makes sense.) But, then after that happens, we don’t realize what consequences will (or can) result. I was absolutely naive in the ways of the system – – even thought I had already done it twice. After “running away” several times (at this point, the cops knew her by sight and if they saw her out, they brought her home), she finally mouthed off to one of the cops and he put her into “Police Protective Custody.” (Scare tactic, he told me. Yeah, and I found out a couple days later, that it was a scare tactic for ME.)

She was taken to a large city and placed in a ‘group home’ for the weekend – – hoping to straighten her out – – the day before she was to come home, she ran, again. But, this time, it wasn’t in our smaller town, it was in KANSAS CITY. HELLO???? She was missing for 48 hours. My husband, her adopted father, James and I went to KC to help locate her. (I had NO idea that the police really just don’t care about run aways. We did get lucky with the detective that was assigned her case – – he was a parent and he did give us the time of day – – but, more importantly, he investigated her disappearance.) She was picked up 48 hours later, arrested for giving a false identity and evading the police (she tried to run). She spent the next three months in detention – – locked. You’da thunk that it woulda made a difference? Nope. She was released to us and came home. It didn’t last long – – a month later, she was running again. This time, the state decided that it was time to take her out of my custody. (Although she has been a “Child in Need of Care” since April of 2005, she was not taken out of my custody until September 2005.) She went to live with my parents – – it lasted until December (2005), when she was suspended from school for providing cigarettes to younger kids – – BOTH violations of her probation. She was then placed in several group homes (she kept “disrupting” and getting moved) – – ending with one in Lawrence – – where she ran and was missing for 9 weeks. When she was found, the location she was staying at was raided for drugs and prostitution. She wasn’t arrested because it was in KC, MISSOURI – – and MO didn’t want to keep her.

She went to another locked facility – – this time for four months. Came home and within a month “disrupted” again. Went to foster care for four months. Came home for four months. Then, (because of some additional behavior issues: she broke our front window), she was placed in a “behavior modification” program. She ran three times and they refused to keep her – – this time, they pressed charges for a hole she left in the wall. Between the behavior mod program and court for the hole in the wall, she was placed in several group homes. She pled guilty and the case was transferred to the county where her CINC case is held. More group homes – – and then she ran again. This time for 13 weeks. (Thankfully, after the 9 week run, I was able to convince her to call in and let us know she was okay!!) I was finally able to convince her to turn herself in on the morning of her court date for sentencing. Amazingly, all the court did was put her back on probation. More group homes……more running….and right now….as of 4/19, she has been missing for almost 3 weeks.

Sassy has been diagnosed with “Conduct Disorder” and as I understand it, once she turns 18, if the diagnosis is not rescinded, it turns into “Anti-Social Personality Disorder” – – which will follow her throughout her adult life. Several of the people working on her case feel like she should not be diagnosed with “Conduct Disorder” but, that “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” is more appropriate.

Now, as I said, having a diagnosis CAN be helpful – – but, it can also be VERY destructive for not only the child, but also the parents. It’s kinda a catch 22. IF you child is NOT diagnosed, you aren’t “required” to seek outside assistance (that may or may not be helpful). For example: When I took Sassy to a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, she LIED about her drug usage (made herself appear to be a 40 years addict having tried every substance known to man) – – once that happened, her REQUIREMENTS for services were intense – – and if I did NOT take her, I would be turned into SRS for neglect. With the diagnosis, she WAS able to qualify for summer day-program for those with “Severe Behavior/Emotional Disorders.” (She did not end up going to the day-camp, she ran before it started – – but, the “rules” were pretty intense – – and for kids with Behavioral issues, kicking them out of the program for having a melt-down is kinda moronic, I think.)

As a parent, I am sometimes MAXED out emotionally!! I have tried SO many different “parenting” techniques – – but, what I am learning is that I KNOW my kids better than anyone else in this world – – and MY parenting style with MY children is effective (and it is okay). I know that I made (and continue to make) MANY, MANY mistakes – – but, I also know that my motivations are pure. What I am working on now, is a network of like-minded people who will be there for me – – and whom I can be there for.

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 I am reading this great book: “I was a Really Good Mom before I had Kids.”

How many of you feel like you were a good Mom before you had kids, too? (Or for those non-parents out there: do you think you are a great parent now?)

It’s amazing how much crap we give ourselves for being a “not so perfect parent.” We are so hard on ourselves for not being a “good Mom.”

So, what IS a “Good Mom,” anyway? And where do we get our comparisons that we use against ourselves? Oh, and why aren’t some of us honest about Motherhood? And for those who ARE honest, why do others give try to make them feel like horrible people for talking about the things that THEY don’t want to admit?

One of the things I am really missing is some place to vent all of my feelings without feeling judged. I am pretty sure that many of you do, too. So, how do you handle living the “I love everything there is to being a Mom,” lie?

Being a parent is THE hardest job I have EVER had. I wish I had REALLY known what being a parent was like BEFORE I became a parent. Sometimes I LOVE being a parent – – but, most of the time, I don’t like it. I don’t like having responsibility of other people’s lives in my hand. I don’t like when I am judged as a bad parent by people who aren’t parents themselves – – ’cause they THINK they could do a better job. I don’t like that I have pretty much lost my identity – – well, except for being so-and-so’s Mom. I DO like the crap my kids come up with – – they are funny creatures!! One of the quotes in the book says, “I love being a Mom; I just hate doing it.” That pretty much sums it up.

How about the rest of you. How do you REALLY feel about being a parent?

I’m sure I will have more to blog about as I go through this book. Stay Tuned!!

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