Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Parenting Process

Gruelling! Constantly changing to suit the needs of my constantly changing kiddos. First, a tidbit about co-op and the change in my teaching style. I am still loving my class of boys. I have them twice, once for english, then again for science. Today, I walked into a paperwad fight. Last year I might have stroked out. This year I said, "Okay guys, that was fun. Now it's time to pick them up, throw them in the garbage and take a seat." They did. We had a great class. I am learning these are kids that just need a little tension breaker here and there. (me too!) It is hard to sit in a seat for a whole hour. If we can begin the class cutting up and then tone it down and get started, it works. I am super strict and they know it-but I am nice about it.

K-1 is a whole other ballgame though. I am glad to only be the helper. I may enjoy my 3rd-4th graders even more because I had preK-K last year. They want to sit still, it is just so hard. Plus they are tired. Crabby is hard to love. (right Erik? heehee)

The change in me is that I had the realization that kids are people too. Thinking, feeling people that will grow up into adults that will always remember how I treated them. What do I want my legacy to be? It occurrs to me that the most important thing is for the kids to feel loved, not to have excellent behavior. They won't remember what they did to make me scream at them, only that I often screamed at them. Do I want that to be their teaching/parenting memories? I am so sad to just now be learning this with my own. Kids are LEARNING to behave, they haven't mastered it. How you love a misbehaving kid sends them a message that will make a huge impression, good or bad. I was a mean teacher/mom before. Bossy and demanding. Don't give an inch. Now I realize that this doesn't bear the type of fruit I want. Instead, it plants seeds of rebellion that grow into a pretty mean plant.

My oldest two were always very well behaved as youngsters. I made sure of it. I never took my eye off of them. Constant rebuke and correction. I was exposed to a couple of parenting "experts"(self-proclaimed) that were all about establishing authority to the max. These guys were and still are so outspoken about how everyone should parent, I am not sure they even see their own kids. They preach good parenting is making your child know who is boss and making them toe the line. Not having much parenting myself, I latched onto that theory and have used it right up until now. Now I look at the fruit of that theory (their kids all grown up) and I am sure I DON'T want that!!

I am so thankful I have time to back-pedal a bit and show my kids a little more love and compassion. God is the perfect parent, he disciplines us in a huge way, but always with love. The punishment always fits the crime. I was also exposed to some really effective parenting that wasn't as showy or boisterous. These people did not stand before the masses and brag on their parenting styles, they just are quietly raising good kids. I look at the fruit and think, "Wow, those are the kind of kids I want." No, they aren't perfect. They make boatloads of mistakes-AND learn from them. I don't want perfect kids because I know it is a smokescreen for rebellion done privately. I'll take a teachable screw-up over a superficial perfect any day. Just like my Father(Heavenly, that is).


daisyaday said...

You are so right. If you micro-manage your kids, they will simply wait till you're not there before they rebel, and they'll enjoy doing it that much more.

If you give them the opportunity to make good choices, and let them experience the consequences of their choices (good or bad), they learn to make smarter choices. (Most of the time.)

If your kids are treated with respect AND expected to treat others with respect, they will generally rise to the level of your expectations.

Good for you.

~ Stephanie. said...

"because I know it is a smokescreen for rebellion done privately" - insightful observation.

I was never a frequent screamer, but I sure did have my moments. Kacey, Kevin & I all three remember the last day I ever yelled. It so terrified Kevin, who was about 4 or 5 at the time, that I vowed never to do it again, and I haven't. The kids still talk about it, because they remember it so vividly, but with laughter now because they know their mom used the situation to change some bad behavior. A better lesson than perfect parenting anyday.

Love you!