A month ago I explained to my tween how I was not feeling spending money on him for Christmas. After I evaluated the entire year and a recent incident that occurred a month before Christmas it was a given there would be no Christmas. My only purchase would consist of necessities and not things off of his “I want” list. Initially I guess as any parent there is a little inkling of guilt when you remove traditions from your children however I was over it really quickly. In my opinion, my child needs to understand that Christmas is not an obligation and it is a privilege to be fortunate enough to have Christmas. A
Another issue I had with him was the lack of remorse he had for why it was being taken away. I struggle with this kid’s nonchalant attitude on issues I think should be important. One conclusion I have reached is his sense of entitlement! He never has to work hard to gain so therefore a punishment of any kind is taken lightly.
When Christmas arrived and the tween spent the later part of the day with the “other parent” he was elated to have received an Ipod Mini. Personally, I felt the gift was overpriced and unnecessary! Although, this was not my money, I wrestled with understanding how my tween had come close to earning an Ipod Mini, that retails at $329. Unfortunately, I still do not see the lesson taught here. Yes, he wore me out with the constant instant messaging and FACETIME!
The tween returned home a day and a half after Christmas with his brand new shiny gadget. While he had delighted in showing off his new gadget, later on that evening he asked me “whether he deserved the gift” I had not response. He went on to say “he felt guilty about getting it”, my response was nothing more than a blank stare! It’s interesting how he felt guilt yet it was never returned to the buyer.
I will not waiver from sticking to my convictions even if that means removing traditions. My tween needs to at some point realize that gifts are earned in my universe and not freely given just because I the parent needs to prove a point. There is no lesson of value if I do not continue to put my foot down when it comes to my rules.
There’s always next year for earning back those privileges.
After hearing about the shootings in Connecticut, I felt numb. I can recall exactly where I was when September 11, 2001 occurred. It was a weekday so I was at office. I remember the group going into the conference room to watch the news. The VP suggested we take a moment of silence. My tween turned one, 6 days before. He was extremely young so fortunately I did not have to explain the details. When he started school the questions began with questions on what happened. It was difficult to avoid the discussion because each year the anniversary is marked with memorials.
In the past year there were the shootings in Wisconsin at the Sikh temple, the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, CO and most recently the shootings at the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school. The Newtown story hit hard around the country because the majority of the victims were children. When this hit the news it was difficult to digest something of this nature occurring at an elementary school. I distinctly remember the story at Columbine so how could I fathom young and innocent lives just gone. As a parent I never thought twice about dropping one child off and now I have two children at two different schools. It never crossed my mind that at any given time during the day I could freely walk into my son’s school. The only requirement was reporting to the office to sign in as a visitor and pick up a name tag. It was just NORMAL.
My first thought was for the parents of the children who lost their lives. How could any law enforcement officer or administrator forge enough courage to make that call? The news highlighted the first responders because they had the arduous task of being the first on the scene and the horrific evidence they witnessed. When I watched the news yesterday I saw the town had prepared for two funerals and as the news reported there were more to follow. I wonder how does a small town recover from the severity of these events and how as a parent can you convince a child that school is a safe haven? The town plans to reopen an unused middle school to replace Sandy Hook elementary school.
School is where my kids go to grow, learn, develop friendships with their peers and there is such a calming spirit within a school when kids are working hard. During recess, you can hear kids running around on the playground, laughing, giggling, games and “outside voices” with kids being care fee.
The first thing I noticed on Monday when I dropped off my son was the news van with the reporter and cameraman waiting to interview parents at drop off. Then I noticed the local police district dropped off an officer at the school. Today, when we arrived at drop off an officer’s car was parked in front. Tonight, there was police car in front of the school. My son’s schools locked the doors after a certain time and all visitors are required to ring the bell to get buzzed inside. Some schools have school police on a full-time basis and others have weekly spot checks by officers. Initially the site of school police inside of the school was intimidating for me because it was unfamiliar in terms of what I called NORMAL. When I picked up my DD on Friday, I walked freely into her school and the impact of Connecticut hit me hard. Today my DD’s school implemented keeping all doors to the building locked and instructed parents to ring the bell or call before pick up.
All of these events have put in me in state of feeling numb. It is a challenge for me to create what I know as NORMAL for my kids to feel secure and safe. I feel like the carefree and innocence of childhood is being stripped with each event. My tween is definitely aware of the details in Newtown and he appears to be fine with his everyday routine. My DD who is only 6yo briefly heard it on the news. She is at that “What happened” stage if I’m watching the news with a reaction. I basically told her some children were harmed without all the details. She moved on to her next thought that was unrelated. I breathed a sigh of relief. The new NORMAL definitely requires a lot of shielding to maintain a strong sense of security.
Have the events in Newtown impacted your NORMAL?
After having the “Talk” I thought my Tween was totally comfortable with a facts of life discussion. My little one calls everything having to do with that time of the month, “mommy business”. Somehow me and the TWEEN were on that topic and I told him it may be a time when he has to go to the store for “mommy business” items. The TWEEN almost choked and then I told him even if not for me, what about your wife? He insisted this will never be the case for him and I said you wait and see. I also find myself reminding him that when he is walking with his sister he should be on the outside. Well of course with the mouth on him he comes back with well what if I get hit? I told him as a male it is way of protecting the “female” you are walking next to. During our lunch outing, I noticed just a general table manners lesson would be a great step in the right direction. It’s not that he did anything out of the ordinary but just skills on opening doors, pulling out chairs, what do to at a dining table (which does not include an Ipod Touch) would be really nice for him to learn now rather than later.
I guess these little subtleties would be easier if only there were a book? I know there are standard etiquette books however I would love to have a book on refining a TWEEN into a GENTLEMAN. This is going to be quite an undertaking and I think my patience are wearing and this is is just the beginning.
If anyone knows of a book specifically for refining a male child, please drop me a comment or email!
After losing my father at the age of 19, it never dawned on me how much I would miss out on our relationship. When I look back on my accomplishments, the last one my father physically shared with me was my high school graduation. I was the first of his six children to graduate from college and he was such a huge advocate of education. His passing left a huge void in terms of sharing in my wedding, birth of my children, the challenges of separation/divorce and now being a single parent. I have always heard “daddy’s little girl” and when your younger it never really sinks in until you lose your father early in life. For as much as daughters need their fathers I feel it is incredibly important for male children to have a strong and consistent foundation from the primary male in his life.
When I see how much my TWEEN is growing emotionally and physically I feel a void because it is extremely difficult for me to fully relate to his growing pains. There are sensitive topics that he may feel uncomfortable sharing with me and in some cases I don’t feel slighted. However, having the opportunity to share and talk about these changes can only provide a positive outcome. What I miss is the ability to communicate with my father and that is a tough reality. I notice that communication comes in many forms today with the evolution of texting, Facetime, SKYPE, Facebook, etc, which leads me to wonder how do we really communicate with our children? The ability to effectively communicate with a TWEEN is priceless.
In my TWEEN I see how he struggles with wanting to have a strong and meaningful relationship with his father. I think what parents forget is the fact that children grow up and remember the time spent. My belief is that children forget about the trucks, video games, bikes, Ipods, Ipads, tvs, etc and really cherish the one on one time spent, showing up for their school activities, sporting events, or just being there. My TWEEN longs for one on one time with no interruptions or interference. I see how he buries himself in his Ipod Touch even when the one on one time is suppose to be a priority. For some reason it is easier for my TWEEN to communicate this disconnect with me and not the “other parent“. Unfortunately, I cannot offer an explanation. There is no parenting handbook however at some point our children must be a priority.
TWEEN years are a roller coaster of emotions and a strong, firm and disciplined foundation from the “other parent” is so important. There are a number of organizations that offer leadership and mentoring but I am stumped with relying on others to assist in this area. Then I ask the question is this being selfish? or to be realistic should I take this route?. I hope one day soon this solid and consistent foundation enters my TWEEN’S life.
Heeeelp as much as I want to deny it my male TWEEN is in the midst of PUBERTY! There I said it and it still feels awkward! I think this may last a moment. I know I should just face reality but why? Please someone tell me why? My TWEEN proceeded to discuss with me an aspect of puberty that should only be shared with a male. ……I told him to HALT put on the brakes! and pick up the phone and call the other parent, please, please! What does he do? sent a TEXT to arrange the discussion, what is wrong with this picture? It is ridiculous how this mode of communication has no level of urgency. He was hesitant about sharing with the other parent but I reassured him it is a natural part of life and definitely nothing to be ashamed of! I think I am on the right track, petrified but on the right track! I think for moments like this he deserves a face to face, not FACE TIME or a TEXT MESSAGE!
One thing I know for sure about parenting, it is not for the faint at heart! There is no perfect timing or schedule, as a parent you have to deal with the challenges as they come. We may want our children to stay our babies, that is fighting the inevitable! My TWEEN is so computer savvy but I think some topics warrant conversation and not a session of perusing the internet to get the answers.
My preference is not to intervene and allow my TWEEN to have the much needed discussion with the other parent. What are your thoughts on effectively raising a boy child?
For me giving birth was what I equate to a marathon runner finishing a race, it is the biggest release of physical and emotional energy filled with a loads of adrenaline…It is so true that the pain escapes your memory and even without an epidural on either delivery I cannot recall the pain not even the “ring of fire” stays with you!
The process of giving birth was easy compared to the real job of parenting. Parenting is a daily and constant hurdle. There is no rule book, standard operating procedures, or instruction manual. It takes a lot of ingenuity and major tenacity! Loving your children is truly unconditional; there is no denying this feeling. In the past few weeks my thoughts have centered on this question; are we always suppose to “like” our children? No matter how much you want for your children they may not share your hopes, dreams and desires. I am finding that a number of circumstances affect the path our children choose and the struggles as a parent are beyond stressful. The onset of puberty and the need to “belong” are battles that I may never win. In discussions with other parents I hear this is just the beginning and I’m thinking wow, really? I will admit it is easy to love unconditionally but to always “like” who your child is transforming into in front of your eyes, is like trying to swallow multiple pre-natal vitamins at once! What are your thoughts?