A friend shared a post on Facebook yesterday that I absolutely loved. These are the types of posts that I truly live for on social media- it felt insightful, relevant, valuable and it spoke to me.
I clicked “save!” “save!” as fast as I could. 😉
The main point I took away was that parenting is hard. (It is always a nice reminder to know that other people find this to be true, too. I’ve found parenting to be rather hard this week myself.)
And, that it’s extra hard to know how to walk that fine line between smothering our children with rules and “have to’s” and running a total free-for-all show/ letting our kids rule the roost.
As a kind of self-admitting control freak (in some ways), I also admit I’m not always super great at just letting certain things go. (As in, sometimes I pick all the battles, all the time.)
However, I’m not saying that I’m overly strict, because I definitely don’t think that I am, either. But there are many areas of parenting (especially lately, as the boys are getting older), where I’m not really sure what the heck I should be doing. I’m an “indecisive control freak”, which is a very confusing personality trait. 😂
Sometimes I worry that I’m too permissive. (Argh, I’m totally lax! I let them sit on their phones all day! We have no rules!!!!)
Other days I think maybe I’m expecting too much. (So-and-so didn’t need to do all these chores today. It’s Saturday. Is this overkill? He’s only 12. He’s so busy all the time. I don’t know…)
It all kind of…ebbs and flows, depending on the day. Honestly, I am just not always sure. Trial and error at it’s best, with big stakes. 😆
This list of “8 Fights Worth Picking With Your Kids” seemed spot on to me.
These are 8 areas that the modern world and/or our children might sometimes argue that we should just “let go”, but this argues these are worth fighting for! (I’m summarizing this Twitter post/ adding my own commentary, but I did not come up with these 8 points. I love them, though. If they aren’t right for you, that’s okay, too.)
1. The Reading fight. Make your kids read! It is important, and worth it. Even if they don’t like it, make them read, at least sometimes. It’s proven to provide many benefits, cognitively and beyond. Not everyone will grow up to be a bookworm; that’s okay. But while they live under my roof, I’m going to force this one. (Luckily, my kids generally do really like to read, but it definitely has fallen to the wayside more often now as other interests (aka glowing boxes with screens) have moved in…).
2. The Outside fight. Make them go outside. Learning to appreciate nature, explore the world, exercise and get fresh air are okay things to be non-negotiables in your house.
3. The Work fight. It is okay to expect your kids to work. Many life lessons come from learning to do good work and be held to high standards. “Making” kids do chores and contribute to the household is absolutely okay. More than okay. We are also 100% planning to have our kids get actual jobs in some capacity as teenagers. There is SO much to be learned from those early working years.
4. The Meal fight. It is also okay to require people in your family to eat together. I personally think this does not need to look the same in every household- maybe it means a take-out pizza around the kitchen island some nights. Doesn’t have to be a sit down meal with linen napkins. Doesn’t have to be every day! Maybe it means sitting in a booth at McDonald’s. Whatever! But find time to connect regularly. I’ll add on: teaching the kids about balanced meals, nutrition and how to cook should also be non-negotiables, in my opinion. (Need to work more on this around here.)
5. The Boredom fight. Make the kids have some times in their life when they are not being entertained. This seems to be a major problem even for adults these days in our high tech world. Our attention spans can be pretty pathetic. “Forcing” kids to endure some boredom will serve them very, very well. We shouldn’t feel guilty about this. We do not want to give constant external stimuli and “raise an activity addict”, as the original author stated.
6. The “Me First” fight. For the love of God, teach the kids the world does not revolve around them. They don’t always get to go first. In fact, in many cases, they shouldn’t go first! This is huge for us at our house, especially for Ivan. He’s not perfect, but he is an absolute gentleman in this regard. The Mexican culture tends to be very generous, and manners are a very, very big deal. Teach them to put others first. Hold the door. Don’t take the biggest slice of pizza from the box. Don’t reach for the cake first at the party. WAIT. Let someone else pick the TV show sometimes. Oh, this is such a fight worth having, IMO. Always a work in progress with kids, but sooooo important.
7. The Awkward Conversation fight. We are in the thick of this at our house. The boys are fully entering the “teen” years, and there’s lots of fun stuff to be talked about. 🙃 Ya-hoo. LOL. But seriously, this needs to be non-negotiable. If we do not talk about the hard stuff, someone else (likely another…teenager) or some internet page will.
8. The Limitation fight. To quote the original page: “Learning to live within limits is a valuable life skill.” YES. Another quote: “Screen time limits, dietary limits, activity limits, and schedule limits are all good.” They NEED to learn how to self-limit, too. This is a big ongoing lesson at our house. It’s one thing for me to shut down the internet; but I won’t be there in college to do that! So we need to work on learning self-imposed limits, too. Self-management. Also, I’d like to add: MONEY limits! Learning that things are not free, and you cannot have all/ do all/ buy everything that someone else might be able to. Learning to be content with what they have now (and learning to make smart choices) will pay off massively down the road. And, maybe prevent serious credit card debt one day. 😅
I just loved this topic so much. Anyone have anything to add? Or subtract?
I am grateful that the birds are back out chirping bright and early. In the winter I guess they sleep in (or have smartly left for Mexico, perhaps). But I love that in spring/ summer, even if I wake up really early, they are always up first.