11/22/2012

The Voices of Motherhood


I've been watching mothers lately.  Well, not exactly lately... I've been watching mothers, closely, since I had my own kids.  Watching other mothers is a great way to get natural and pressure free parenting advice.  There are so many different parenting styles and observing mother/father/child interactions is a great way to see which philosophies work the best for your family.

In my mother watching, (and I use mothers loosely as "parents"- I just have more interactions with mothers- but mothers and fathers can be used interchangeably here) I've noticed, that when a child misbehaves or presses the limits in some way, mothers use four basic responses in dealing with their children.  Personally, I've used each one, depending on the situation, but I think all of us favor one method or the other and the one we favor makes a large difference on the overall behavior of our children.

1.  The Redirection.
This is when the child wants a lollypop and instead of saying what you are thinking, "NO way, are you crazy!?  I'm making dinner???" you say, "oh look at these yummy cucumbers.  I can cut them like a heart and that will be so much fun!"

The Redirection contains a fun, alternative activity/solution so that the word "No" does not have to be introduced.  Sometimes, the Redirection is so much easier than the fight, especially when the fight (the lollypop verses the cucumber), really isn't that big of a deal in the overall picture.

The Redirection becomes less effective in the overall picture when it is a child throwing rocks at people being redirected to throw them in the lake instead, for example.  Some things are worth the fight.

2.  The Whine.
The Whine is actually a whine from the parents.  It is usually accompanied with statements such as, "why did you throw your plate on the floor?" or "Don't hit your brother with the stick."  The Whine also generally has omitted the authoritative "No!"

I admit, I have been known to use the Whine, but it generally accompanies complete accidents with statements like "why did you spill your milk again?" or "you knocked over the laundry I just folded?"  My Whine is usually followed by a "Please be more careful..."

Quite often, though, I have observed the Whine used for much more serious infractions.  The problem with the Whine is that the children don't learn the seriousness of their infraction, just like with the Redirection.  They have no reason to change the behavior, whether it is knocking over the folded laundry, running out in the street or coloring on a playdate's coffee table.

3.  The Mom Voice
The Mom Voice is a stern, no- nonsense, ever so slightly raised tone of voice that portrays the seriousness of the situation. The Mom Voice generally contains the word "No" (or a form of it) and is accompanied with a look that could melt butter in an ice storm.  Occasionally it is followed up with the threat of a consequence but generally the memories of past consequences stop the behavior with just the reminding look and tone of voice.  (The Mom Voice only works effectively when the promised consequence is actually followed up on, otherwise, The Mom Voice has no credence.)

4. The Scream
The Scream is just that, an end of the rope, all patience lost, all out scream(ing).  Some moms begin and end with this (and all in between) and some moms resort to this when they have lost every other battle and are at the end of their rope.  (We've all been there.)


I'm sure, at some point, we've each done it all.  But, I have noticed that we all favor one method.  What do you use and how's it working for you?

Whaddya think?

11/08/2012

A Nation Divided: Why I Think Obama Won

(If you follow me on Facebook, I apologize, much of this has been said there...)

I believe in charity.  I whole heartedly believe that we should help those who are less fortunate than us, and I do, in large amounts, but there is a difference between helping and enabling.  No matter how many programs we form, life will never be fair.  My mother died, your didn't.  My husband had holes in his shoes growing up, I didn't.  My children are healthy, someone else's are sick.  Life will never be fair.  Many of the so called 'freebies' handed out by the government today are America's way of trying to make life fair, but laws and programs shouldn't be made to make life fair; they should be made to better society as a whole.  I believe, these 'freebies' should be helping people get back on their feet, but more often they are teaching people to rely on the government to support them.  Obama won because much of America has developed this sense of entitlement. 'You have it, so I should too.' 'You owe me this because I am a human being.'  America doesn't 'owe' you just because your life isn't fair.

To be clear- I have NO problem with government funding supporting those who absolutely cannot support themselves.  The very old, the very sick, the disabled, etc.  Those people absolutely deserve help and support.  Helping those, who truly cannot help themselves in not enabling.  Enabling is helping all of those who CAN help themselves , but choose not too because there are government funding options.

I don't believe that paying for abortions (which I am morally opposed to- but required to fund), free needle exchanges and some one's food and living expenses while they are receiving a high quality higher education because they don't want to work through school or take out student loans (all while I am still paying off my own student loans because I thought my education was MY responsibility) is not helping the poor and needy.  Sure, it will help them in the short term, but it won't help them in the long term.  I believe in self reliance as much as I believe in charity.  Our charity should be helping the poor become self reliant.  Some times that is with food and shelter and a hand up, but not to the extent that the government issues now.  No free needle exchange ever helped an addict kick their habit.
Our society would be better off in the long run if we taught those less fortunate to fish rather than giving them fish, shelter and free higher education.  No great thing was ever achieved without sacrifice and effort.

Let me close by saying that although I did not vote for Obama, I do not think he is the devil reincarnate. I may not agree with his politics and policies, but I do think that he is trying his best to do what he believes is in the best interest for our country.  And, now that he has been elected, even though I don't agree with his policies, he deserves our prayers and support.

Whaddya think?

as a p.s.- I know politics are a HEATED topic and I'm sure you have opinions of your own.  If you can't express your political opinion without rudeness and malice, MOVE ON.  Hatefulness is not welcome here.  Everyone has a right to their opinion, and I'm happy to listen to it.  But that is what every political side is- someone's opinion based on a theory.  And all theories have statics and studies to back them up.  So feel free to express your opinion, but BE KIND.