Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Good Parenting Commandments

After saying that I was back almost a month ago and then not actually coming back, I can now say that I am officially, officially back. Just as I was getting back into the swing of things, one of my son's best friends died in a car accident. This really rocked my teenagers and I just needed to be there for them. I am in the middle of compiling a blog post about the whole thing, but in the mean time go and read Stefanie from Ooph's three fabulous posts about teen drivers.

As a matter of fact, check out Whatever Nation. There is hardly any content out there for parents with teens. So freakin' excited about it. There are some fantastic posts - some have me rolling on the floor and others have me in tears.

My daughter takes a class called 'Family and Life'. I have previously mentioned that in this course she had to bring home a virtual baby. Oh. My. God. Hell! My son recently made a joke that he wants to take the class because he would love to bring the baby home again. I was so scared that I fell off my chair before I realised he was joking.

One of her latest assignments was titled:

What makes a good parent?

As she was researching for this assignment, we came across a site which listed the '10 Commandments For Good Parenting'. In an effort to make myself feel better (or worse, I'm not sure yet) I decided to see whether I follow the parenting bible or if I am a parenting sinner.

1. What you do matters

Hmmm. I can't say that I am the best role model. Especially when I am yelling at the children to stop yelling because the baby is asleep. Or when I tell my kids that they can't have any chocolate while I am finishing my 50th piece. Or when I tell them that I will not allow them to get married until they are over 30, when me, myself got married at 19. Or that time when I tried to give my teens a no alcohol speel while sipping on a glass of wine. I could go on, but for your sake, I won't.

2. You cannot be too loving

I try to spoil my kids with love and not material things. I want them to look back on their childhood and think "wow. I really had it all" and not mean their Xbox 360 or iPhone. I have this little thing where when one of my kids says "Muuuuum. I really need a new iPod", I make them wait three months. I write it down in my little calender and in three months time, I remind them. Nine times out of ten, they're like "Aw, nah." Except for this one time when my daughter wanted this My Little Pony playset and asked me everyday for about six months to buy it for her.

My boys even told me once that they enjoy hanging out as a family more than playing Call of Duty. Uhm, yeah riiiight. I wonder what they wanted that day...

3. Be involved in your child's life

This one is easy for little children. Particuarly because they want you to be involved in their life as much as possible. Not so easy for older kids. I try to be as involved as I can without being too over the top and in their faces. By involved I don't mean commenting on their Facebook statuses about how they are sooooo cool, dude.

I am so very lucky that my older kids and I have great relationships. They are very open and honest with me and I love it. Every night (well, the nights when someone isn't at footy training, or netball training, or hockey training) we all sit down in our family room and just hang out. Watch television, read books, laugh, sing, whatever. We have a desk in the corner for my older kids to do a bit of homework, but they're usually hanging out with the rest of us. Once my littlies go to bed, the teens and I stay up (sometimes waaaaay too late) and talk and laugh about our day. Hands down, favourite part of my day!

Sidenote: I get up at 5am, have about 15 minutes of peace before the rest of my children get up. YES, WE GET UP AT 5:15 ON SCHOOL MORNINGS. It takes my children about 30 minutes to get ready and then for the rest of the time we do homework. I don't know of anyone else who has their homework routines in the mornings. But we do. And I love it. Works really well for us and my teens say thay have a lot more focues and motivation in the morning. Morning homework FTW!

4. Adapt your parenting to fit your child

So, this one is tricky around here. I have teenagers, pre-teens, children, young children and an infant. Ooooomg. It's hard going from baby talking with Ethan straight to trying to list every possible place I can think of where my teenager's footy shorts may be. Sometimes I'll even baby talk my teenagers (by accident, of course) when their friends are over and let me tell you, THEY DON'T LIKE IT.

But yes, clearly the old 'if you brush your teeth, then I'll ready you a story' bribe doesn't work on the older ones. 'Brush your teeth and we can do tequila shots' usually does the trick.

5. Establish and set rules

Again, this one is tricky with the large age range. BUT. The rules we have in place around here are mostly manner-y ones. I want my children to grow up with lovely manners. In fact, I've trained my boys to open doors, pull out chairs send flowers and notes and all of that good stuff. Of course we have the 'no killing, bombing or shooting' rule, but I thought that was pretty standard on everyone's rules list. No? Just us.


6. Foster your child's independance

I usually like to let my kids learn from their mistakes. Unless it's something life threatening to either them or their siblings. So, knowing my kids, this is usually 99% of the time. Damn.

7. Be consistent

Ya know, I can't say I'm really that great in this area. What works for one kid sometimes doesn't really work for others. What worked for a couple of months suddenly doesn't work anymore. What worked for us before lunch, now doesn't at 1pm. For the most part, I'm consistent but for others it.just.doesn'

8. Avoid harsh discipline

Oh. People aren't doing the whole washing mouth out with soap and mustard power, wooden spoon, locking in rooms thing anymore? Sheesh.

Naughty corner; here we come!

9. Explain your rules and decisions

I'd like to think that I'm good at explaining things to my younger kids, but not to my older kids. You know why? Because they have such great comebacks. And sometimes? They say better things than me, which make much more sense. I also have a tendency to muck up my words when I'm trying to get my point across. Waaa.

10. Treat your child with respect

The best way you to get respectful treatment from your child is to treat him respectfully. You should give your child the same courtesies you would give to anyone else. Speak to him politely. Respect his opinion. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Try to please him when you can. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationship with others.

Agree. Agree. Agree. Not much more to say on that one.


So, that's all well and good. I get down to the bottom of the 10 Commandments list and see this:

There is no guarantee that follwing these guidelines will result in perfect parents... remember, there is no such thing!

Ah. WHAT?! You mean I just went through the commandments, realised I was close to what you would call a perfect parent (no flaws, *brushes shoulders*) and now you tell me there is NO SUCH THING.

Guess I'll go back to trying.