Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Family Rules Work For Me

Sorry to say, the chickadees have reached the ripe old ages of 9 and 6 with some confusion.  After a disastrous week of tears and trouble, lots of sibling arguing back and forth, and a bucket load of parental angst, I decided that I needed to go back to parenting 101.  I have had a book on my shelves for years and have dipped into it from time to time:  Greg and Lisa Popcak's Parenting with Grace.  The other day, after a particularly sinful exhibition of parenting that will probably land the chickadees in therapy twenty years from now, I took it off the shelf again.  Of course, we all know that the answer to everything is between the pages of a book (not).  But I did like this one, and it inspired me.

Trying to start the next day on a positive note, I brought each girl in to my bed separately for a morning cuddle and talk.  I asked #2 to tell me some of the rules we have here in our household.  After a long pause, she said something along the lines of "always zip the trampoline net closed".  This is a rule, but not really what I was going for.  I then asked her to name some rules at school, and she was able to trill five or six without any hesitation.  Chickadee #1 had an even more difficult time naming some household rules.  Truth be told, she also had trouble naming rules at school.  Maybe she was not focused.

Anyway, a light bulb appeared above my tangled bed head.  I went downstairs and told my husband that I had found the key -- the kids didn't follow the rules because they didn't actually know the rules.

Later that night, we had a family meeting and articulated the rules together.  We told the chickadees that, now that we all know the rules, there was no need for confusion. When a rule has been broken, parents will send chickadees to a list of rules and ask them to identify which rule they have broken.  It's working like a charm, both to reinforce the rules and stop the negative behavior.

And so, clearly articulated family rules posted in an easily accessible place to which Chickadees can be sent repeatedly throughout the day as they serially break them WORKS FOR ME!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

God Smacks, Again.

I've been feeling really discouraged lately.  I haven't been writing as much because I don't have anything positive to report and I've been treading water in many areas of my life.  School is almost at an end for the year -- I have a kindergartner graduating in two days, and a 3rd grader who is going to be in the upper wing of the school next year -- no more primary wing for her!  The end of the year is always stressful for everyone -- finishing up projects, end-of-year parties, bidding friends good-bye for the summer.  All of it is wonderful, to a certain extent, but also busy and overwhelming.  Add to this mix a new activity for the children, swim team, and it's all becoming a blur. Swim team is wonderful, but there are a lot of moving parts, practice every day, and expectations of parents about which I'm not entirely clear.

Discouragement:  I'm always going to be like this.  I'm just not strong enough/together enough/deserving enough to change.  

And then, today, at mass, a sermon so powerful that I had to take notes.

God makes hopeless cases hopeful: The widows whose sons have died.  Abram and Sarai.  Zechariah and Elizabeth.  

Bring all your anxiety to the Lord.  Do not give in to defeat.  Or anxiety.  Or depression.

Consider God's promises.  We have a God who is mighty in battle. Let him fight for you.  Look at Romans, 10:11.  Whatever your problem may be, bring it to the Lord.  Jesus is there to help you.  Let him be compassionate to you.  

God does not change.  We have the same God today that has always been.  

Do not surrender.  Persevere.  Call on the Lord.  In his own time, in his own way, he will help you.  He will change your hopelessness to hope.

Sometimes it's really scary.  But I'm so grateful for the God smacks.