Warning: this is an honest post.
We have gotten off track with our kids. Neither one of us knows how it happened, but it has. Today was one of those days where we simply could not deny it any longer. The funny thing is, if you know us, you would say that our kids are very well behaved. And they are in public. But something has changed about the tone of our house-- you know, the "behind closed doors stuff" that no one else sees. Our loss of parental authority is evident in their lack of response to us, their rude, selfish behavior, and the disrespect that has grown rampant.
It is really bad when you find yourself not liking your very own children.
But undisciplined children will do that for ya. And so, we made some sweeping proclamations today, mainly out of desperation, but somewhat out of sheer resolve. Something has to change. As I have thought about how/why we got to this place I find some themes.
1. I have been WAY too busy. This goes back to my struggles at She Speaks. Even though talking to Gwen about priorities helped, seeing my kids' behavior today brought it all back to the forefront. A distracted mother can not be an effective disciplinarian. Plain and simple. I can dress it up and call it whatever I want, I can make excuses all day long-- but the effects on my kids when I take on too much are my own dang fault. Boy, I wish I could find someone else to pin it on!
2. I have been parenting out of fear too much. I wrote about this some time back on my old blog. If I had a lot of time to do so, I would find you the link. Parenting out of fear is when you say things to yourself like, "Well my gut is telling me this is wrong but if I don't let them, they might resent me some day." Or, "If I make them do too many chores, they might grow up and talk ugly about what a drill sergeant I was." Or, "Well, I want other kids to like them, so letting them do ________ will help them-- even though I don't really agree with it, per se." I am the world's worst about these type thoughts. And so, I have let this mentality creep back in, set up camp, and get pretty comfortable. And the results of this are obvious.
3. My husband challenged me to decide why I am doing what I am doing and begin to parent them from the standpoint of our longterm vision for them. This is such a perspective change from parenting out of fear. I need to decide what kind of adults I want them to turn out to be and begin to parent with that in mind, instead of being consumed with trying to make them happy in the here and now.
The next days and weeks might involve much weeping and gnashing of teeth-- for all of us. But it has to happen. Today we boldly unplugged the satellite, took the mouse off the computer they use, and declared their Ipods and personal dvd players to be only used in moderation. My husband also announced that from now on, they should get up each day expecting to work more than they loaf. Ooooh, I like that. This afternoon and evening, they have read, baked cookies and played with Knex. I can't say it isn't going to be tempting even for me to turn that tv on as a babysitter. But I know that, just like my children, I need to go cold turkey away from the things of this world that have tripped us up.
I'll keep you posted!