Everyone LOVES unsolicited parenting advice, am I right?
Yah, I didn’t think so…
If I’m being honest, I even have a hard time offering parenting advice much less giving or hearing someone else give unsolicited parenting advice. I know full well what works for me and my family may not work for you and yours. For the most part however I’m usually down for talking about anything. I do have a bit of experience in dealing with different aged children, stages and behaviors.
I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any stretch. Experienced sure. And while I’m at it may I add experienced only in ages 11 and under (ha). For instance I have a boatload of advice on breastfeeding and am actually quite passionate about it. We are just now approaching the pre-teen years and while we haven’t had too much trouble I can already tell this stuff isn’t for the faint of heart. I just realized my oldest son turns 12 on Christmas Eve… In a little over one year we will have a teenager. That’s crazy.
*Here’s a round up of some of my best unsolicited parenting advice.
I think my father is the one that gave me this advice real early on in this whole parenting endeavor. It’s kind of stuck with me. Children can be a handful at times but the gift of consistency is something you can give them that will transfer in to other areas of their life. If you say no stand firm. No means no. By being consistent the message you are giving your child is predictability.
I couldn’t have said this better than Sara Bean, M. Ed. from “EmpoweringParents.com on How to Discipline Kids: The Key to Being a Consistent Parent” (full article here),
“Being consistent with your rules, values, limits, and consequences is a crucial part of establishing a culture of accountability in your home—the structure that upholds you the parent as the authority that your child answers to. When you are not consistent in these areas, you undermine your own authority because the boundaries aren’t clear—and what you say doesn’t match up with what you do.”
Consistency begins in the very beginning and translates well in to later years with children. Children in my experience really thrive on consistency. Consistency in schedule and daily routine.
Consistency in disciplining is important as well. Discipline is necessary when raising children. Addressing negative behavior is important but, so is reinforcing positive behaviors. When parents say “no” it is important to commit to “no.” Don’t cave, no empty threats, there must be follow through! It’s really important not to give mixed messages to our children.
*By being consistent with our expectations our children learn and are able to meet and sometimes even exceed our expectations.
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
Early on we have set some pretty straightforward expectations for our children. My children do well to know exactly what we expect of them. For instance they do not play Xbox or go on their handheld devices Monday through Thursday. If they are disrespectful or disobedient during the week it is really easy to take away the devices for the weekend. We expect our children to be good. If they aren’t the privilege is easily taken away.
Enforcing our expectations that we have on our children is as important as setting the clear expectations. If our children do not meet our expectations they know full well what the consequence will be. Rules are put in to place for a reason.
Our children are not always perfect. Sometimes they act up and it is confusing because clearly they know our rules. It’s hard because it is our expectation that our children will meet our expectations at all times. What’s confusing is, we know our children better than anyone else in the world and know that they aren’t always perfect yet, still hold them to pretty high standards.
Grace is something I work on regularly for myself. I am trying hard not to hold myself to a standard of perfection which has forced me to evaluate this very area with my children. I am working on extending my children grace because they are after all children. They are constantly learning and becoming better, kinder, more sensitive little people. By holding my children to a standard of grace it is easier to keep a cooler “head” on my shoulder.
In all honesty when I set out to be a mom I set out to be “the perfect mom.” Shortly after having my first I learned that perfect was definitely subjective and unattainable. Let’s put it this way when I had my oldest little boy I was dead set against binkies. In my mind there was not a chance I would “plug” my baby. I kid you not Zach was born and we were only in the hospital 24 hours or so after delivering him. We didn’t even make it a day without a binky! Ha.
I am so far from the perfect mother that I thought that I would be. At the end of the day however, I am exactly who my children need me to be. I learn every single day to be a better wife and mother. I strive to show my children that I love them and that I am proud of them. It’s hard and its challenging and sometimes I’m a MOMSTER… but it’s so worth it. They are worth it.
While I’m here and if you’ve read this far let me just challenge you to hold yourself to a standard of grace when raising your children. The desire to be a perfectionist in raising children is real and it’s ever present when we can so easily compare our lives with others on social media. I cannot even tell you how many times I feel like I’ve failed my kids. I have a feeling that this will not change.
LOVE THEM FIERCELY
At the end of the day remember God chose YOU to be your children(s) parent. He knew you could handle it. Practice extending grace to both yourself and your child(ren) and remember to breathe. There ya have my random unsolicited parenting advice summed up. 🙂 Grace Upon Grace Momma.
“God knows our struggles, pain, shortcomings, mistakes, and fears — and still He wants to use us in the story He is telling…”
*Ok, ok that’s enough of my unsolicited parenting advice.