Tag Archives: parenting

Don’t Eat My Cereal

If I have invited you into my home for more than a 5-minute conversation I consider you my friend. If you have spent the night in my house you are, more than likely, considered family. I only have one hard and fast rule in my house, do not eat my cereal.

I am a generous person for the most part. We are all a little selfish from time to time and I am no exception. I will let you read my books, use my shampoo, make your dinner, I will even sleep on the couch and let you have my bed. You can borrow my clothes and use my computer. DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

See? I am generous. I am loyal to a fault and I usually share everything I have. However, if I am eating please do not stand over me and say, “I want some!” and then expect me to hand over my bowl or give you a bite. Have I not already given you everything else? Do not take another mile if I have already given you 2. In other words, DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

You want something from my garden? Ok, it’s yours. Want me to bake you some cupcakes? No Problem! Just DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

Welcome to my house, where the only hard and fast rule is: DON’T EAT MY CEREAL!

 

 

This a work of fiction, maybe ;), for all those generous people out there who would give you the shirt off their backs. Also for parents because we all know that if we were eating a shit sandwich our children would want a bite simply because we were eating it :).

P.S. If you like my writing check out my children’s book, Stuck by Valerie Prather, on amazon.com

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Parenting is Rough!!!

Hello, everyone! A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my daughter’s escapades with in-app purchasing and her resulting consequences, I would like to update you on that situation and lay out some thoughts I have on punishments.

A couple of weeks ago my beautiful daughter bought $122.36 worth of in-app purchases for a game called Builder Buddies. She was promptly grounded from her iPad, video games and Youtube for a week, all seven days of the week, much to her great displeasure. I came up with a way for her to work off the money she “stole”. Yes, stole, she did not find it laying around, she did not earn it or ask for it, therefore, she stole the money. I put together a list of chores and designated a minute value to each chore. My daughter earned $8.50 for every hour of work completed. Let me tell you she worked her little behind off to pay that money back before her Spring Break started! She now has her iPad back but no longer has access to the iTunes password, in case she did not learn her lesson. All is right again in our peacefully chaotic home.

For the last five years, I have been a single parent. I have run through the gambit of parenting styles. I have yelled, negotiated, screamed, gave the silent treatment, grounded, spanked, bribed and so on. I wouldn’t say that I was a bad parent, just as I wouldn’t say I am a parent of the year. I am just trying to figure out what works with my head strong nine year old. I make tons of mistakes, but I make a lot of good decisions as well. That being said there is one trend in parenting that I do not understand. Public humiliation, I just don’t agree.

The last several years there have been many Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram pics where parents have their child on the street holding a sign describing their misdeeds. I have even watched some reposted videos where the parent has punished the child and is following them filming his or her reaction to the punishment and making the child tell about what they did wrong. I don’t understand this and here’s why. If I make a mistake at work and my boss decides that everyone in the office should be present while she yells at me I would be pissed! I certainly wouldn’t want to try to do better, I would start looking for another job. Unfortunately, kids can’t just go looking for a new family, so what do you think they will do instead? If it were me, I would hide in my room and speak as little as possible to my parents, I would withdraw from them. I would do this because I would feel like if I make the littlest mistake I might be humiliated again. I would think that the people who were supposed to be my guides in this crazy life have now become my enemy. My parents would cease to be my champions and teachers and now become my humiliators, my punishers. The people who I thought were supposed to love me unconditionally, just showed me that there are conditions to their love. That’s just me, I don’t know how you all feel.

Before any of you go berserk on me let me explain something. I know that children need to have punishments or consequences for their misdeeds. This is how they learn right from wrong. I am a believer that an occasional spanking, usually as a last resort, is ok. I believe in grounding and taking things away from children. I think that sometimes raising your voice lets them know how much you dislike their behavior, but a simple look and shake of the head can do the same thing in certain situations. I do not believe that public humiliation is the answer. I think our children get humiliated enough at school by their peers, by the teachers, and the bullies. Home is supposed to be the safe haven, not a place for more knocks to their self-esteem.

Parenting is hard! We all know this and finding ways to parent effectively in both good times and rough times is no picnic. Parents are deemed awful if they say that corporal punishment is okay. Then the same people who glare at them for that are giving out disgusted looks and nasty comments in the grocery store when a kid is throwing a tantrum because they can’t have the gummy bears they demanded. Bribing children into good behavior is seen as weak parenting, ignoring bad behavior is seen as non-parenting and spanking is seen as abusive. What do we do when everything we try is criticized? the answer to that seems to be public humiliation. Here’s what I say, my fellow parents, let people talk, let them judge you because they don’t matter. Whether you spank your kids or ground them, whether you ignore the bad behavior or yell instead is up to you and what you know works for your child. Raising a kid is a lot like a science experiment, trial and error. We try one thing and if doesn’t work we move on to the next. The one thing that we should never forget, our children depend on us to offer them a safe place where they won’t be embarrassed to make mistakes or be themselves, for this reason, any punishment for mistakes or misdeeds should not humiliate them. Punishments should help them understand and learn from their mistakes, not alienate them or cause a rift between parent and child. Remember, there is always someone out there who is going to say “if that were my kid…”, but she’s not their kid, she’s yours, so do the best you can, and when in doubt ask for advice. There are others going through all of this parenting stuff too and they might be able to help ;).

Well, that’s my two cents! What do you think? Is public humiliation ok? Any thoughts are welcome but please keep it civil, we are all adults and it’s ok to disagree but it’s not ok to be a jerk. Thanks all!

The Learning Curve

I got ready for bed about 10 o’clock last night. Decided I would check my bank account before turning off my phone for the night, I wanted to make sure I had enough money for essentials this week. To my great surprise, there were five charges that I did not recognize! I start to panic thinking that someone has gotten ahold of my bank information. I took a deep breath and looked at the places the charges were made, the next word that came out of my mouth was my daughter’s name. All of the charges were made this weekend on iTunes. I was sick all weekend so my lovely daughter was on her iPad pretty much from the time she got up until she went to bed. Now, normally I would have an issue with this and tell her to go ride her bike or do something else for awhile, but as I said, I was sick. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would charge $122.36 in in-app charges on iTunes. We have had extensive discussions about how she is not to purchase anything without asking me first. She has had her iPad for about five years and has known the password for buying apps for about two years. Never have we had an issue. Until this weekend.

To say that I am furious is an understatement of the grandest proportions. I have been struggling financially since my husband passed five years ago. I have also been trying very hard to overcome this financial difficulty while still being able to be at home when my daughter is at home. I have always felt that it is more important for her to have me around than to have things and be raised by babysitters. I have wonderful family and friends so I have, for the most part, been able to give her complete access to my time and attention. This is not an easy accomplishment in this day and age and sacrifices have been made. That is a story for another time, back to the issue at hand. I have not always been the best at giving punishments. There were times when the punishment outweighed the crime and times when the crime outweighed the punishment. Last night when I discovered the infraction it was late so I was tired and still not feeling the best, because of this I ended up screaming at her and grounding her for the week from her iPad. When I woke up this morning I decided that this was not enough, though I was feeling a bit guilty for the screaming at her part. I had an hour before I had to get my sleeping beauty up for school so I thought about what should happen. I started planning. I woke up my daughter and I gave her the first part of the plan. Then I dropped her off at school and I contacted my sister and a friend because I needed help working this out without being completely over the top or too lenient. It helps to have a sounding board or two when you are a single parent. Not to mention I was ready to smash her iPad into smithereens and ground her for the foreseeable future and possibly use corporal punishment just to drive my point home. Luckily I chose to go to sleep last night instead and took some quiet time to think this morning. I am happy to report that the iPad and my daughters booty are still intact. Let’s get to the plan shall we?

This morning: After waking my daughter up this morning I calmly explained to her that her actions have caused a serious problem. I will now be negative in my account unless I can find a way to put back the money she spent. Instead of going to visit her uncle, aunt and cousins in a couple of weeks I will now have to work. In addition, I will have to pick up some extra hours at work to cover the loss. Her mistake has cost me not only money but a trip to see my niece for her birthday. Her punishment is not being able to use her iPad, YouTube or play any video games for the entire week. She will have to do all of her chores and any additional chores without complaint. I have changed the password to the iTunes and apple store accounts, she will no longer be allowed to have the password. I explained to her that because of the problems with the roof, the need to pay bills and put food on the table was going to cause us to be negative in the account in April and due to her actions we are now going to have twice as less money. I accept responsibility for the first part and had already taken steps to remedy the situation, however, I will now have to figure out how to remedy both situations. This not only entails me canceling the trip north and picking up more hours at work but may also mean that we will have to turn off the internet and all tv services until the situations are fixed. While I understand that mistakes can be made she made the same mistake five different times on the same weekend, four of them in the same day. More importantly, she broke a rule. There are consequences for every action. Boom! Done! But wait! There is more! Here is what awaits my precious love this afternoon.

The Lesson in money: Under the advice of my friend I reached out to iTunes store and they graciously agreed to reverse the charges. Yep, all $122.36! Happy Dance! 🙂 Do you think I am going to tell my little one about that? Heck no! Baby Girl keeps telling mom she isn’t a baby anymore, did I mention she is about 5 months from double digits? Yep, she’ll be 10. I guess it’s time she learns how to earn money. Here’s what she is going to find out this afternoon. I have made a list of chores and assigned them a number in minutes. For example, sweeping and mopping the floors will earn her 30 minutes, dusting 15 minutes and dishes 15 minutes (we have a dishwasher), etc. She will earn $8.50 per hour. We will keep track of her time with a time sheet, at the end of the week, we will add up her time and figure up how much she has earned and then deduct that from her debt. If she does her job without complaining she will receive a raise. If she complains or gives me a hard time about the chores there will not be a raise. If she refuses to do the chores she will extend her grounding by one day for every time she refuses to complete a chore. Bam! That’s right mama’s got her dancing shoes on! All done and without a single smack to the ass or slap upside the head!

Thanks, Sister and C for the listening and assisting! What do you think my blogging friends and loyal readers? Too much? Too little? Am I completely off my rocker or on the right track? Constructive criticism only, please! Being a parent is tough friends so let’s not have any hateful words, only helpful ones :). Thanks all!

Jealousy Rains Supreme

The Green Eyed Monster has reared its ugly head inside my brain and is making its mission to conquer my heart. As a mother you believe that no one can parent your child as well as you, no one can possibly understand your child the way you do, or help them the way you can. You are after all his/her/their parent, to them you are everything and everything you say is gospel truth, right!? Right? Maybe? No. Once your kids start school you are no longer the end all be all in their life. Their teachers and their friends now know WAY more than you ever did. When my daughter started Kindergarten I accepted this, her teachers then and since have been good teachers.

But what happens when you invite someone in to your home? What happens when you take on a roommate out of necessity or kindness? What happens when that roommate becomes comfortable with correcting your child? Hmmmmmmmmmm………………maybe the most important question is “What happens when it seems your child would rather hang out with your roommate?” This is when the questioning begins. Am I a good parent? Have done something wrong to make my child not want me to help with homework, play games, or ask questions, etc…? You know the general “What the F*** is wrong with me? questions. So I have been dealing with the jealous monster in my head for a little and I can usually talk it away, but something has changed and the monster has begun to win.

I think war was really shoved to the forefront when Anastasia’s report card came. I was talking to Anastasia about her teacher’s comments and all of a sudden the roommate was attempting to work with her on the areas the teacher said needed work. I hadn’t even finished talking to Anastasia about it and roommate was already taking it upon herself to direct my daughters studies. I didn’t say anything to roommate because I thought maybe it was the G.E.M. again. Unfortunately I can’t stop thinking about it and I have since been picking at every little thing and asking myself “Is she trying to be my daughter’s parent? MY DAUGHTER! Not yours!” As these words reverberate through my head I try to tell myself that roommate is just trying to help and I am being a paranoid freak. Then I ask myself why is Anastasia writing cute little letters to roommate and roommate writing letters back? Why I am left out of the loop? Why is my little girl drawing pictures and dedicating her Hoops for Heart donation collection to roommate? What about her Dad who died due to heart and kidney related issues? What about her various family members that have high blood pressure? What about the woman who is doing her best to raise her? The thing is we only get to be a part of our kids everyday lives for a short time, then they begin to really grow up and they don’t need us like they did when they were little. Anastasia is only 7 years old, in the blink of an eye she’ll be an adult and begin to form connections with people that will take her even farther away from me. Whether it seems it or not I am very grateful that she has so many people that care about and love her. But I am her mother and a majority of her life lessons will come from me and so the jealous monster says that gives me the right to want and need for me to be her everything at least while she’s little. But does it really?

Tonight I made my daughter feel guilty about not wanting my help. Tonight I was a bad mother. Tonight I made my daughter cry for no other reason than I was feeling tossed aside like yesterdays newspaper.Tonight I will be making attempts to amend my bad behavior and get the Green Eyed Monster back in its cage. Tonight I will try to put those questions out of my head. Tonight I will accept that I am a good mother and that I am human and make mistakes. Tonight I will ask for help from those who have might also had these thoughts and feelings. Let me know how you deal with it so that I can learn and be an even better mother.