Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

Why We Should Let Our Kids Fail

It was the night before a big science test for Chase and I asked him if he had studied. He told me that he didn’t need to study because he knew exactly how to do it (in reality he wanted to play video games). I asked him one more time if he was sure he didn’t need to study or need help and he assured me he was fine.

The next day he went off to school to take the science test without studying. As I picked him up he seemed pretty optimistic that he did quite well. I told him that was great and we drove home.

A few days later I received a grade notification in my email:

“Unit J Test-Science” 67.00%

Chase had failed the science test.

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Was I surprised he didn’t do well? NO, Not really; I mean let’s be honest he didn’t study, he probably didn’t apply himself during the test, and he didn’t know the material like he should have.

So at this point, you might be questioning Why I Didn’t Make Him Study because that’s what any RESPONSIBLE PARENT would do right?!

Well, the Reason I didn’t Make Him Study might Shock you, but I didn’t Make Him Because I am Okay with my Kids failing and here’s why!

Failing Helps Kids Learn BIG Lessons!

Mistakes Happen and Kids Need to Learn From Them

Failing Teaches our kids that mistakes happen and that we can learn from these mistakes. Chase made the choice to not study because he really wanted to play video games. His 11-year-old brain spoke to him and said, “this is a good idea,” when in reality it wasn’t. This was a mistake. If I would have told him that he is making a mistake by not studying and forced him too, he would not have believed me. He would have possibly gotten a better score on the test then he did, but then he would have continued to play video games every day when he came home from school. Since he failed, he now studies until 4:30 every day and then plays whatever he wants. He learned from his mistake!

Teaches Responsibility

Failing teaches responsibility. It teaches our kids to be accountable for their choices that they are making. When Chase failed that test he had to be responsible for it. He now had a grade he didn’t want in the class, so he ALL BY HIMSELF, had to make it better. He had to talk to the teacher about making it up or doing extra work. Then he had to study and retake the test for a better grade. If I would have forced him to study, to begin with, he would not have learned how to be responsible and have those conversations with his teacher.

It Builds Character

Failure builds character. It makes you become better. It teaches you patience, work ethic, dedication, and perseverance. When I got divorced it was hard. I had failed at something I never thought I would fail at. It was not a fun experience to go through, but because of that experience, it taught me so many life lessons. It built me into the person I am today. Letting our children fail builds their character and allows them to have growth that they wouldn’t have without it.

When We Carry Their Burdens, it Teaches them it is Too Hard For Them.

Do you remember teaching your kids to tie their shoes? Oh how badly we all just wanted to do it for them because it was way easier and faster! If we would have continued to do it for them it would have taught them that it was too hard to do. I remember teaching Chase to tie his shoes… Oh, my lanta it was painful, he would try and then start crying so then I would just do it for him until one day I stopped. I told him, “ Chase this is the last time I am going to tie your shoes for you. Next time you will do it by yourself.”

The next day there was wailing and gnashing of teeth about how he just couldn’t do it… He left the house with his shoelaces dragging, untied…

The next day the same thing happened. wailing and gnashing of teeth about how he just couldn’t do it… He left the house with his shoelaces dragging, untied…

Two days later I looked at his shoes while we were walking out the door and he had about 15 knots in his laces, but they were “tied” in his eyes.

Over time he learned to tie his shoes… In fact, he ties them in a way I can’t figure out, but it WORKS FOR HIM! If I would have never made him do it, I would still be tying his shoes at 11 years old I guarantee.

Helps Understand Priorities

Failing teaches kids priorities. Think about this, if your child goes out for the baseball team at school and they don’t make it, they will feel one of two ways, 1. They will be devastated and try even harder to make the team next year or 2. They will simply think, “that’s a bummer” and continue on with daily life. If they go on with life they will learn that wasn’t important to them. If they continue to try and work really hard they will learn that things that are a priority take effort and they will put the effort into those things.  

Real Life Does Not Protect You

We are headed in a direction in life where we are setting our kids up for big disappointments when they grow up. I mean let’s think about it for a minute, “participation trophies” “not keeping score at sporting events” “100% grades just as long as you turn it in” “A’s on major projects kids turn in 6 weeks late.”

These things are not teaching kids how the real world works. The bank doesn’t care that you were “too busy” to send the payment on time, they will slap you with late fees. Your boss won’t care if you were “too tired” this morning and showed up late, you will be fired.

It might be hard to compete all season and lose every game. It might be hard to get some wrong answers on last night’s homework, but these things teach you that success takes hard work and you can’t always win or have success.

Fail Now, Succeed Later

Failure now teaches them to be successful later. It teaches them to work hard and how to have patience. It teaches them how the real world works, shapes them into responsible humans and so much more! If I would not have let Chase fail on that Science test he would still be playing video games all day long after school, not studying.

If I was always dictating to him when it was time to study and to play video games when it was time for him to go off to college he would probably be spending the first semester hanging out in his dorm room playing Forte Night (video game) rather than sitting in class learning because he would not have learned these lessons on his own as a kid, when mistakes make less of an impact on your life.

Parents live in fear of their kids failing. They hover over everything their kids do to protect them from the world we live in. We are not teaching our kids to be responsible, we are in fact harming them for their future. If we continue to shelter them from failing when they are young, they will not be ready to venture away to college or to get jobs in the real world because we would have never shown them the great lessons they can learn by failing first. We need to let our kids fail so they learn how to succeed.

It is HARD to see our kids fail; I used to not let my kids fail either! I used to FORCE them to study and PRACTICE at home with things they didn’t really care about. I’ve since learned to let them fail teaches far greater lessons than I can teach pushing them to succeed. When we don’t let them fail we are actually not teaching them how the world really works. I know it is sad when they fail and I know we want to protect them from everything, but that is not life.

Do you agree that we should let our kids fail?

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5 Steps to a Blissful Baby Bedtime Routine

*This is an affiliate post.

My son did not enjoy sleeping AT ALL when he was a baby.  My husband and I literally tried everything to get him to go to sleep. We read every book we could get our hands on and searched far and wide for a solution that might help us in our struggle for some much-needed sleep. I personally had gotten to the point where I was so exhausted that I felt like giving up as a mom. When I was at my final breaking point, something amazing happened…

One day I was talking to my mom about my struggles and pretty much complaining about my lack of sleep and how hard it was to be a mom to a child who simply refuses to sleep! We have all been there with our moms right?! During this chat, she reminded me of her Fail-Proof way of getting babies to sleep with zero issues.  Her suggestion? Have a routine for the baby that works for you!  She went on to remind me not to try and implement some foreign unfamiliar tasks that I wouldn’t normally do. At this point, I was willing to try anything! And guess what?  IT WORKED! And I was FINALLY able to get some much-needed sleep!

I have used this tried and true method for all my kids since then and it has worked EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Ready to know What Bedtime Routine Worked For Us to Get the Kids to Sleep?

 

1. Take a Bath

Our son had awful eczema and allergies, so bathing was vital to our routine.  This gave us a scheduled time each day to care for his skin as well as get the wiggles out.  Because we bathed nightly, I bought some good bath toys that have lasted for 4 kiddos. Make bath time fun by giving them toys to play with like these cute little boats or some caterpillar stacking cups.  I also love to add my favorite baby bubble bath.  It’s always fun to hear those baby giggles!

2. Get a Fresh Diaper and Jammies

I don’t know too many kids who like getting dressed or putting new diapers on, but my husband and I made this fun! We would sing bedtime songs and give our son some extra special attention with conversation during this time.  As we lotioned him up we would implement baby massage to try and soothe him.

3. Read Books

We would always read a book or two as well.  All kids, even babies love to read and look at the bright colors of books. Our son always tried to grab the book, so we would always give him a different one to chew on. We would always read the same books in order to convey consistency and we would only read these particular books when it was bedtime. We called them “bedtime books.”

Some of our favorite books we would read at bedtime included Goodnight Gorilla, Spot Goes to the Library, Whose Baby Am I? and Brown Bear Brown Bear.

4. Cuddle and Feed

Once we got our son all settled, I would sit down with him in the rocking chair. I would cuddle and nurse him. Once he was sleepy but still awake, I would move him into his crib. He would get his pacifier and get zipped into a sleep sack. After he was all tucked in I would say goodnight to him.

I noticed with each one of my kids they all loved different comfort items. My oldest really loved his binkie and our daughter loved a stuffed animal. With our third, he loved a taggie, and we are still trying to figure out what our youngest likes, any ideas? Finding the right comfort item for your child is key to a successful restful night!

5. Sound Machine

Once he was all settled, I would gradually turn the sound soother on up to a volume that blocked out other noise and kept his bedroom quiet. We discovered that he had been restless and startled awake often because of random noises. Having a sound machine was a complete game changer for us and it helped him get into a deeper sleep much faster!

And there you have it! 5 Easy Steps for a normal routine without all of the crazy frills, so that you and your baby can start sleeping again!

~Written by Shiree.

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How to Prepare Your Family For Tornado Season

Do you know what to do during tornado season?

Last night was family date night, which included a trip to the bookstore and dinner. As we were in the bookstore looking around all of a sudden we heard it start to rain hard! It poured for a good five minutes. When the rain stopped (because you don’t run to the car in a Texas Rainstorm unless you have too) we checked out and headed outside. As we walked outside it was muggy and 80 degrees. It was gross, to say the least.

We got in the car and drove to dinner. The restaurant seemed a little crowded, so we dropped Ty off at the door to put our name down. The kids and I parked the car and started to get out. It was noticeably at least 10 degrees cooler than it was 10 minutes ago. The restaurant was an hour wait, so we decided to go someplace else.

Upon arriving at the next restaurant we got out. It had dropped another 10 degrees in a matter of 5 minutes. My husband looked up and then he saw the clouds spinning above us.

Yes! It was the start of a Tornado!

We went into the restaurant to eat dinner. As soon as we sat down the tornado alarms started going off throughout the town and then the lights started flickering… Outside it sounded like a train was right there.

Welcome to Tornado Season!

Our family stayed cam and ate dinner, but many families were panicked! So why did we stay calm and others panicked?

Because we had taught our Kids what to look for and how to be prepared for Tornadoes!

So What Do You Do to Teach Your Kids about Tornados and

How Do You Keep Your Family Safe?

Preparing Ahead of Time

There are things that you can do to prepare for a tornado before you are in danger. In fact, these things you need to do to help keep your family safe!

As my Family learned in 2015, in Texas with the Rowlett Tornado, you can prepare, but this doesn’t 100% protect you. Being Prepared helps you stay calm and prepare for the worst.

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Develop a Plan

Tornadoes can be scary. In a moments notice a funnel can begin and does not give your family time to prepare. This is why you need to have a plan already in place so you can act in a moment’s notice.

Your plan should lay out exactly what each member of the family should do as soon as the tornado alarms go off. It needs to include where each member of the family will go. Develop a plan for each member of the family to have a buddy to get where they need to go.

Find A Shelter Within Your Home

When finding a tornado shelter you want it to be in the center of your home. You don’t want it to include any outside walls or windows. We use the pantry because it is the very center of our house. We all don’t fit there, so there is one closet and few sturdy nooks we also use.

Make a Checklist

Make a checklist of the things you Need to Grab on the way to your shelter. This way in the heat of the moment you don’t forget things like cell phone chargers, cash, purse, shoes for each member of the family, important documents, etc.

Talking about tornado safety with the kids ahead of time is a key to success so that they are not as scared when the alarms go off.

Have 72-Hour Kits Ready

Have 72-hour kits ready to go to your shelter with you. A 72-hour kit is a kit that you have ready and available with supplies and food for each member of your family. This includes flashlights, batteries, diapers, medication, etc. Anything each member of the family needs to survive for three days. Backpacks work great to hold your supplies. These kits will go into your shelter with you that way if you get stuck in your shelter you have the things you need. If you will also take these kits with you should you need to evacuate to a different shelter.

Have the Car Ready

If you are like me, there are many times where you are low on gas. During tornado season always have at least a half a tank of gas in case you need to drive somewhere quickly without stopping. As well as gas in the tank, have first aid kit ready in the car.

Practice Tornado Drills With the Kids

I remember the Rowlett tornado. It was my first tornado experience. I was so unprepared. I was running around trying to get everything ready and make sure everyone was where they needed to be.

It is important to practice tornado drills with the kids in a variety of situations. Know the school’s tornado plan. Talk about what to do if your kids are at a friend’s house when the tornado strikes. What will your kids do if you are running errands and they are at home? Where will you go if you are not home? All these things need to be talked about.

Practice the plan you put in place. Pretend the tornado alarm is going off when the kids least expect it. How do they react? Do they remember to grab their buddy? Did you remember the 72-hour kits? How long did it take each member of the family to get there? Make sure everyone can get to the shelter quickly!

Watch the Skies

When the weather is changing be aware of the skies. Be aware if the clouds are starting to turn. Don’t wait for you to really know that a tornado is here. Start to recognize what bad weather looks like. When the skies start to change, start watching for weather alerts on your phone, on the TV or listening for them on the radio. Keep your cell phones with you and be sure to charge them.

Once the Alarm Sounds

When the alarm sounds go to your pre-designated tornado shelter quickly!

Take the Warning Seriously

The first time we ever were under tornado warnings my husband went outside with one of our kids and watched the storm brewing for a bit. I do not recommend this! Do not ignore the warnings they are there for a reason. Get to your shelter quickly!

Communications

Once in your shelter listen through your phones or weather radio for news as to what is happening. Be sure to have a weather radio just in case you lose power or internet connection. Once you are in your shelter, be sure to let your family know that you are out of the storm and safe in your shelter. Continue to keep in contact with them throughout the storm.

Flashlights

Keep flashlights in your shelter that way if the power goes out you will be able to see. We keep flashlights in each bedroom and several in our tornado shelter. You want to be prepared in case you need to be in your shelter without power for several days.

Stay Calm

It is our job as parents to stay calm. This is a scary time for you, but especially for your kids. Sing songs with them, play games. Help them not think about what is happening. The calmer you are the calmer they will be.

After the Storm

Have a plan as to what you will do after the storm hits. This can be an emotional time for your family depending on the damage that has just occurred. It is highly possible that communication will be at a minimum because of downed telephone poles. There will probably lots of traffic trying to get people where they are trying to go. Debris and rubble could be all over the roads.

If your kids are not with you when the storm hits, it is important that they know that you will get them as soon as you can.

They will know this because you would have already have talked about it in preparing for the storm.

If you are stuck because of the storm, rest easy that rescue crews are on their way to help you! Remind the kids that help is coming. So sit tight and wait for them. Don’t try to get it out if you can’t.

Check for Injuries

Check with each member of the family and make sure they are okay. Does anyone need medical attention? Handle small wounds with your first aid kit. Other injuries might need medical attention.

When Leaving Your Shelter

When leaving your shelter, be careful! There can be debris all around you. Your home’s structure might not be sound any longer. There could be loose boards, broken glass, and nails. Safely get your family out.

Tornadoes can be scary. You can never be too prepared for the storm. Practice your plan with the kids a few times a year. Take each warning seriously and stay safe!

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Kids, Mom Life, parenting

How to Recognize Over the Counter Drug Abuse in Teens

One of my very dear friends is so strong and so amazing. She is going through something so difficult right now with her son, Over the counter drug abuse, but wants to share it with all of us because if it helps just one other person her joy will be so full… This is raw and this is real, about the struggles of having a teen addicted to drugs. Please be supportive in your comments to her for sharing her struggle that they are currently going through.

My Nightmare: Dealing with a Teenager’s Over-the-Counter Drug Addiction

About a year ago, I decided to be a loving mother and clean my 15-year-old son’s room for him.  To be honest, I was tired of looking at it and for once wanted my entire house to be clean. I quickly started picking up trash such as sandwich size empty Ziploc bags pieces of straws, and dirty spoons that had a weird “sugar residue” on it. As I was picking up I thought how disgusting all this was.  

The week passed by, and I found myself heading into his room again the following week to clean it because obviously, he had forgotten those great life skills such as cleaning that I taught him before he became a teenager. As I cleaned his room I again found the same things, Ziploc bags, spoons, and pieces of straws. I again threw them all away kind of questioning the situation a little bit more this time. I continued to clean his room for the next few weeks, each time finding the same items, each time throwing them away, and each time being a little more confused as to how they appeared again.

Then it happened….Finding the Drug Supplies

One day I saw, my son came out of the bathroom with a weird look on his face. I knew right away something was wrong. As he staggered into his bedroom I went to retrieve his backpack.I found the same items, but also found an empty bottle of over-the-counter pills, a razor blade, and a lighter.  My worst fears have come true my son was abusing over-the-counter medication and the items I was finding in his room were signs this has been going on for some time.

I admit that my first reaction was not fear for his life but it was anger, anger that he could bring this into my home and expose his younger brother to drugs. They shared the same room, the room I was finding all these things in!

I knew that I would have to be in control of my emotions before I approached him concerning this issue, and I had time to cool off and figure out what was happening because it was going to take a few hours before the “high” he was experiencing wore off.

At that moment, I took the time to educate myself.  I mean let’s be honest, I was in shock! I never had to deal with this before, and I had always prayed that I would never have too!I mean I thought this would have been avoided after all the conversations we had about the dangers of drugs when they were younger.  

Yet, this is the road he chose…

I was forced to walk down the path of parenting a teen addicted to prescription drugs.

It scared me!

How Do You Talk to Your Teen Who is Addicted to Drugs and How Do You Get Through It?

1.Gather Evidence

I have learned through many conversations with other parents who have dealt with this type of situation that evidence is everything. Without evidence, your child will deny everything you have to say.  I personally have found out even with having evidence, he tries to deny his actions. My son has even gone so far to blame his younger brother.

Below is a list of items teenagers will use to hide or consume drugs. The most common places to find these items are in their backpacks, jacket pockets, or drawers under their clothes.  

What to Look for when you Suspect Your Child is Using Drugs:

  •     Plastic baggies (like the Ziploc bags I kept finding)
  •     Lighter
  •     Cigarette remains
  •     Small glass vials
  •     Pill bottles
  •     Candy or gum wrappers
  •     Razor blade (single edge)
  •     Straws (usually cut into smaller sections)
  •     Broken pen (only the tube case will usually be found)
  •     Empty water bottles

You will also see a change in their appearance.  I am not talking about changing from dressing like a jock to a more gothic look. What I noticed in my son was a physical change like bloodshot eyes, flushed cheeks, high energy but unable to concentrate or sit still, unusual smell on his clothing, and he chewed gum or mints more often than before.  

He also became extremely secretive about everything in his life.

Teenage drug abuse is a real problem. In 2015 the following was reported concerning high school seniors: 58% of used alcohol, 36% used marijuana, and 12.9% abused prescription drugs.  

My son is currently a Freshman. His odds are not great if he continues down this path.

2. Remember before talking with your teenager: Be United as Parents

Talk to your teen together.  Make sure you are both on the same page on drug and alcohol use before raising the subject with your teen. Even if you disagree, commit to present as a united front. This way you are not trying to figure it out in front of him and he knows that both of you are serious about drug use And remember, before approaching your teen, remind each other to come from a place of love.

I know it is hard to love someone who lies, cheats, and steals from you. I know It hurts! It makes you mad that the one person who you have dedicated the last 15 years of your life raising has treated you with disdain and called you nasty vial names.  I know It is so hard to love them when you have to stop feeling anything so you wouldn’t hate them. Love doesn’t conquer all, but if you really want to help them, they have to know you love them and you do this by showing them an increase in love even though this is so difficult, I know because I am right there with you!

You may hate what they are doing, but you love them enough to go through hell to get them back.  And that is what you need to prepare for. This is why you need the support of your spouse.

I have cried so many times but I am thankful for my husband, his strength and how we are working together to help our son.  It is comforting to know I am not alone. If you are a single parent, I urge you get get a support system in place. This will give you the strength you need to endure.

3. Expect Anger: Resolve to Remain Calm

You need to think about how you are going to react so you can be prepared for the worst.

Be prepared for your teen to say things to shock you, watch them deny even the most convincing evidence, accuse you of distrust, and then imagine even worse because it will probably happen.

Personally, I could not believe what came out of my son’s mouth.  We raised our children in a loving home. We go to church every Sunday, I am a stay at home mom, I homeschooled him since second grade (because of problems he was having in school), and did weekly family activities.

After the first conversation, I was in shock. I honestly had no idea my son could be so cruel.  With many conversations behind us, I know how hurtful my precious little boy can be. I have learned to put up a wall when we are talking so the darts of his venom do not penetrate until later when I am alone and allow the wall to come down, it’s the only way I can stay calm through conversations with him.

4. Be Prepared to be Bullied

I have learned that my teenager will grab at anything to call me a hypocrite.  To tell me I am a liar. He will push every button to get me to become an emotional wreck.  I have learned to stay strong when the words pierce my heart and cry when my house is empty.

Remember the point is not to allow your response to become a justification for your teen’s drug use. Keep the focus on the issue at hand – your teenager’s decision to use drugs, regardless that they are over-the-counter medications or illegal drugs, abusing drugs is dangerous.

5. Stay Strong: Spell Out Rules and Consequences

We are now in what I consider the final stage of communication with our son.  My husband and I have spelled out the rules and consequences.

When I say final stage, that does not mean we have stopped listening or are unwilling to work with our teenager if he is willing to change his behavior, but if there is no progress we need to make sure that he understands how life will be.  

This step helps clarify the point of your conversation.  Remember, you need to help him understand that you are trying to help him.  

He won’t believe you.  So make sure to say it multiple times as you talk.  

Remember to not set rules you will have no way of enforcing.  

My husband has to travel during the week so I am left to enforce consequences while he is gone.  With that in mind, we set rules and consequences that I can enforce. My relationship is different with my son than my husband’s.  So, trying to enforce yard work doesn’t work when it is just me. Therefore we look at other options such as taking away screens (tv, cell phones, gaming systems, etc), things I can do.  I stopped enforcing dishes after he broke too many. Remember, this does not make one spouse better than the other but allows each one to support the other in uniques situations such as ours.

What Are The Options for Help

There are teen boot camps or summer camps that are available to help at-risk youth. I have not contacted them because our son’s counselor recommended a local organization if things did not improve.  Local organizations don’t allow children with drug addictions.  The only local option we had was to enroll our son in a drug rehabilitation program.  When we called them, we were told that over-the-counter drug abuse was not “real drug abuse” and to find our son counseling (which he is already in) or wait until he was on illegal drugs and give them a call back (they don’t know how to detox what my son is taking). Since our local options are looking dim, my husband and I have talked about the other boot camps or summer camps available.

The is a Light at the End of the Tunnel

I have been dealing with this issue for over a year.

Over a year!

A year of anger.

Of stress.

Fervent prayers.

Over a year of not knowing what is next.  

Having a teenager who has decided to experiment with drugs is an emotional rollercoaster. When teenagers have an addiction to drugs it hurts everyone in the family; It’s like you’re living in your own personal hell. Over-the-Counter drug abuse is no different than street drugs on the addiction side of things. Over the counter, drug use is a gateway drug to harder drug use. I don’t even want to think about what will happen if he gets to that point in his life.

Taking the steps to prepare yourself, working together with your spouse as a team, and talking with your teenager will help open the pathway for help and hopefully will stop the behavior.

One thing I do know is that things get so much worse before they get better, but hold on, The Light Will Come. I know it is hard, you are not alone and your teenager needs you, he needs your support, and your love to overcome his addiction. I know it is hard, but I promise helping them through it is worth it!  

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Things All Happy Families Have In Common

*This is a collaboration post.

If you want to make sure your family is happy more often than not, it’s important to take the steps that will help you to get to where you want to be. When looking at a high number of happy families, it becomes clear that they all have a few things in common. Take a look at the following things and see what you can do to become more like the happiest families out there:

 

Weekly Family Meetings

Hold a family meeting once a week for 20 minutes. That’s all it takes to get everybody on the same page. Talk about what you all did great that week, and what could have been better. If you haven’t had much time together, for example, see if you can schedule some quality time somewhere like PDPlay. Of course, holding family meetings to discuss what could have been better may lead to arguments. This is why you also need to learn how to argue the right way. Make sure everyone can take a step back from the situation and figure out what’s really going on.

 

 

A Family Mission Statement

It might seem strange, coming up with a family mission statement, but it will help all members of the family stay focused on what is truly important. Take some time to sit down together and discuss what it means to be a part of your family. This can be a transformative experience for families. Do you want to be a family that values quality time without technology and spends time in the outdoors? A family that takes the time to understand one another and communicate without shouting? Write it out when you’ve got it, and include about 10 values. This isn’t really any more serious than setting goals for your family, so don’t put it off!

 

Sharing Family History

The happiest families usually have a good idea of their family history. Tell your family about the tough times your family faced, what challenges they overcame, and give them the confidence and inspiration to know they can do it too. Studies have shown that talking about your family history is key to emotional well being.

 

Agreed Parenting Techniques

Parenting with your partner means you both have to be on the same page. You don’t want your kids to ask one of you for something after having failing asked the other one. You may need to compromise, but this will make you seem united to your kids – arguing in front of them about what you should do is a definite no-no.

 

Eating A Meal Together Every Day

Many families have mad schedules, which makes it a little tough to eat meals together. However, you don’t have to have dinner together, if that’s too tough. Have breakfast together if that’s easier. Eating together will forge a stronger bond and encourage more quality time spent together.

 

Do you have anything in common with these happy families? What are you going to change? Leave your thoughts below!

 

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Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

Is it that Hard to Aim?

Life UnEdited #7

Is it that Hard to Aim?

What is up with the boys in our lives? Is everything the urinal? I have even caught one of them, who shall remain nameless actually peeing on the side of my house like a dog… (Mad face) But seriously everything is their own personal toilet. Is it that hard to go inside to the bathroom and aim?

And then once they get there is it that hard to aim in the toilet? We don’t need pee on the shower curtain, or the toilet seat (it moves up and down in case you didn’t know) or the floor. Aim for the water, certainly, it isn’t that complicated. I mean really I shouldn’t have to check to make sure I don’t sit in pee, should I? And then you know that lever on the side… Well, it moves up and down and flushes what’s in there ESPECIALLY your stinky poo… Is this ALL BOYS? Or are mine just that lazy?

 

This is life UnEdited. It is raw and real and the true happenings of life! IS your Life Unedited like mine? Share your experience in the comments to give other moms a good laugh!

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Kids, Mom Life, My Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

The Honest Truth about Motherhood

In my 14 years of raising kids, I have realized a few things about Motherhood!

The Honest Truth About Motherhood

You can’t please everyone, there will always be someone who will complain about what’s for dinner.

Your kids will never match no matter how many times you buy them matching clothes.

On the days you are most tired just happen to be on the days your kids can’t sleep. 

The floors will never be clean, even right after you just cleaned them.

Boys don’t aim, it’s in their DNA, so you just learn to look before you sit.

On at least one occasion with each child, you will be peed on. Embrace it!

You will never ever be able to find a pacifier in the middle of the night for the screaming baby. The funny thing is your toddler will find one in no time flat when they aren’t supposed to have it!

You won’t actually get to use the bathroom by yourself for at least the next 18 years.

Your kids won’t hear you when you tell them to turn off the video games. They will, however, hear you opening the candy bar and come running wanting you to share.

The laundry will never be all done.

Your food and drinks are community property, but don’t you dare think about having a single M&M or swig of their soda.

A child will need to go to the bathroom REALLY BAD when there isn’t a single bathroom in sight.

You will probably run out of diapers or wipes at some point while you are out and about. You will beg for one from a stranger you met in the bathroom and in turn meet a new friend.

Sippy cups always leak no matter what, so your diaper bag will always smell like sour milk.

Wearing white is an invitation for your kids to hug you with Jelly on their hands, so find a really good stain remover!

You will give up a perfectly decorated living room to become “kid land” filled with toys just to make them happy.

Your kids will always remember the things that you wish they would forget like the time forgot them somewhere.

You will always be needed and your to-do list is always long, but you always figure out a way to get it all done.

Sleep will become a luxury at times, and you will realize why your mom drank Diet Coke because it’s the only way to stay awake all day.

You will laugh when your kids laugh, cry when they cry, and celebrate when they have success. You will pray for them, worry about them, and love them every single day no matter what. And no matter how hard or messy motherhood is we would not trade it for anything in the world because motherhood is joyful.

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Kids, parenting, Parenting is hard

Talking with Teens About Drugs and Alcohol

It is never too early to start talking about Drugs and Alcohol with your kids especially your teens.  

The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking to Your Teens about Drugs and Alcohol

I think most parents worry more about their kids when they start to become a little bit more independent and going off and doing things with friends. I remember a few weeks back when Colby asked to go to dinner and the movies with a group of friends, I said that he could go, but inside I was cringing… We had finally hit the age where he was going off on his own doing things without any adult supervision.


My mind started racing a million miles a minute wondering what he was doing and if he was being good and if he was “really at the movies.” Now, I will have to say that he has NEVER done anything for me to question if he was really there or not, he has ALWAYS been such a good kid. But I think every parent wonders and PRAYS that your child is minding their P’s and Q’s while they are gone.

I began to think about if I had taught him all that I could have and if I had done enough to influence him for good. I started to question if I had talked to him enough about the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol. My parents taught me right from wrong and I still wasn’t always perfect, which made me worry even more. Now that I have a teenager, I understand why my parents had so many gray hairs by the time I was a teenager (I was 4/4).

Raising teenagers is no walk in the park that’s for sure , but we must do everything we can to protect our teens and one of the ways of protecting them is making sure they understand that drugs and alcohol are to be avoided at all costs, which to some might be the hardest conversation they might ever have with their kids, so we are here to provide some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to talking to your teens about drugs and alcohol. By no means am I an expert, I am just sharing what has worked for us so far.

Here are the Do’s and Dont’s of Talking to Your Teens about Drugs and Alcohol

Do:  Start young.

Do:  Start with questions about what they know. Avoid yes and no questions. Ask them if they are aware of the different types of drugs and what the effects are. Ask them what their friends say about drugs or alcohol.

Do:  Listen. If you listen to your child, they are more likely to listen to you.

Don’t: React harshly to what they share. Keep the doors open for talking. Establish a good relationship so they will come to you for help or with questions.

Do:  Give them reasons to say no. Give them information that includes consequences. Tell them Immediate consequences as well as long-term consequences. Show pictures of how drugs and alcohol have changed people. Talk to them about how taking drugs can limit their ability to do the things they love.

Don’t: Forget to talk about prescription drugs as well as over the counter drugs because these are the most accessible drugs to any child because they are in all of our homes.

Do:  Use real-life stories and pictures from the news/media to make your points.

Don’t: Share your own past experiences with drugs and alcohol.

Do:  Help them create a plan for when they are in a pressured situation. Discuss scenarios and how they will handle them. Roleplay. Help them practice how they will turn their peers down. “My mom will kill me if I smoke.” or “No thanks, I don’t do drugs.”

Do: Model good behavior. Set a good example with your own actions regarding drugs and alcohol.

Don’t: Just talk once. Look for opportunities to talk about the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol in everyday life.

Talking to your teens about drugs and alcohol is one of the most difficult conversations that you will ever have with your kids, but one of the most important conversations you will ever have because you never know, this conversation could save their life.

If you are looking for more help and guidance with your kids here are two great resources:
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: https://responsibility.org/

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: http://www.drugfree.org/

Did you find this helpful? Please share so other parents can have the help they are looking for when talking to their kids!

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Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

One of My Greatest Fears Came True

LifeUnEdited Week #6

Mom Fail, Again!

I got up this morning like I get up every day and stumbled out to the kitchen to make lunches before the bus arrives. I packed all the lunches and put them on/in everyone’s backpacks. Yes, I know I let my kids be a little lazy with this because one of my greatest fears is them forgetting their lunch at home and not having a lunch at school and starving.my-greatest-fears-came-true
The bus comes and I begin the rest of my day…

My Fears Are About to Come True

My phone rings at 1:35 pm. I look down, it’s Colby, “Mom, where’s my lunch?”

“In your backpack.”

No, it’s not… I have my lunchbox, but no lunch…”

And then I walk to the kitchen and I realize his pile of lunch is still right there on the counter.my-greatest-fears-came-true-2.jpg

I felt like the worst mom in the world. I totally had failed at #momlife. How could I have forgotten the actual lunch? I tried to take him something, he said there is no time…I felt horrible.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has failed at the lunch actually making it to the lunchbox?

After school, I, of course, took him to his favorite place to make it up to him and then the next day I snuck in a few pieces of candy so that I was no longer worst mom in the world!

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Kids, parenting

What is the Difference Between our Home and Alcatraz?

Years ago I visited the historic island of Alcatraz with my sister. From 1934-1963 it was used as a maximum security Federal prison. It was fascinating to see the actual cells where some of the most ruthless and notorious criminals had lived. As each prisoner arrived at the facility, they were given a copy of Alcatraz’s rules and regulations. It is the only penitentiary I’ve ever visited, but the feeling was cold and eerie.

Upon finishing our tour there was the usual gift shop to grab a memento of the visit. Typically we choose a magnet to add to our collection.  To my surprise, I found some of the rules and regulations had been made into magnets. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw this:

Alcatraz Regulation #5: “You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege.”

Alcatraz Regulation 5.2

How often have you felt like reminding your kids of this very thing?

“Entitlement is the attitude of children who think they can have, should have, and deserve whatever they want, whatever their friends have – and they should have it now, and not have to earn or give anything for it.” Richard and Linda Eyre

entitlement

The world of entitlement easily sneaks into our homes. I’ve been thinking about the difference between a privilege and what our family is entitled to. What privileges will make the most difference in the long run? How do we create homes where our families will flourish because of the privileges rather than become entitled by them?

After a little bit of study and brainstorming, I’ve come up with 7 privileges every child should be entitled to. As we create environments centered around these values, we are also improving our family’s ability to thrive and survive in today’s world.

  1. A Mother and Father who Love each other. When we honor our marital vows, we teach our children what a loving commitment looks like. Our example shows them how to work through difficult situations and not give up when things get tough. Everything isn’t always perfect, and they need to understand perfection is an unrealistic expectation. I learned about commitment from watching my parents.
  2. Spiritual Life. I’m not talking about religion, but religion can be part of it. There is a difference between being spiritual and being religious. Teaching our family how to connect with a being greater than any of us helps create a deeper sense of who they are and why they are here in this life. The value of teaching our families about the importance of a spiritual life has benefits to their overall mental health. Dr. Ryan T. Howell sites how spirituality can promote hope, optimism, and self-esteem to name a few. Our faith has played a huge role in teaching our family strong fundamental values. A spiritual life can be a powerful privilege.
  3. Forgiveness. Desmond Tutu said: “There is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one un-deserving of forgiveness.” At some point, we will have all been on one side of the forgiveness pendulum. The golden rule seems to apply here. When we teach our families about the value of forgiving others we empower them with the ability to heal from difficult situations. Forgiveness is a tool they need to navigate the trying world we live in. It is a privilege to know how to forgive and to be forgiven.
  4. Respect. The foundation to strong and healthy relationships lies in respect.  Our family learns about respect through our example and the expectations we place on showing respect for others.  Respect breeds kindness, a positive self-esteem, and peace in our homes. It is one privilege worth working toward.
  5. Love and Compassion. I’m sure most inmates don’t feel a ton of love or compassion from their providers. Love goes beyond loyalty and respect. We learn to love by being loved unconditionally and we learn to love by serving others. Allowing for opportunities where you can express your love independent of behavior teaches our family how love feels. Looking for ways to participate in service projects teaches them how to love others.
  6. Work.  I’m not talking about a 9-5 job.  This is about teaching our children what a work ethic looks like and helping them develop it. Our kids took age-appropriate responsibility and ownership for various tasks and needs. Some people cringe when they hear my kids were doing their own laundry by the age of 12. Others think it is inhumane they were expected to earn money for their own clothes. In our efforts to give our children what they want, we deprive them of what they need. How can you help your children recognize their privilege to work?
  7. Time. Schedule time TODAY to spend with your family. Enjoy who they are, play with them, plan one-on-one dates to teach them they are important. There is something we gain in leaving the cares and stresses of work behind while we make our family feel important. There is no other way to accomplish what time together can do. I’ve often heard it said, “The family who prays together, stays together.” I would alter the wording and say “The family who plays together, stays together.”

Our most important work is what we do in our homes. It is where the future generation lives, learns and grows. When we parent with a purpose our motives reflect the love we have for them. Unlike Alcatraz, we offer privileges beyond the basics of food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention.

It is foolish to believe they are entitled to the same privileges their friends might have. As parents, we have to be sure to provide those things which are most important in their journey to becoming responsible adults and human beings.

What privileges do you feel are essential to your family?

Lori

Written by Lori Jackson, at Choosing Wisdom. Lori is a wife, mother, friend, and storyteller. She has a love for learning, giggling with her grandson and tandem biking with her husband. She believes wisdom goes beyond being smart or having basic knowledge. “It is the culmination of experiences that help us become. While each of our challenges may be unique, we have the opportunity to choose how we will react, learn and grow.” Her journey has taught her that she doesn’t have all the answers, but she does have a voice to share what she’s learned:

“Life can either teach us or defeat us – the choice is ours.” Lori Jackson

You can find Lori on Facebook/ Pinterest/ Instagram/ Twitter/ LinkedIn as well as on her blog, Choosing Wisdom.

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