Yep, must be close to Christmas I am not only putting out milk and cookies for santa this year, I am also potentially spreading the gift of herpes. Sometime, when I was little I was exposed to the herpes virus, I believe the age to contract this delightful treat is between the ages of 1-5 years old. I must of been a pretty busy toddler. Mistletoe anyone?
Even with the outbreak, this time of year is absolutely my favorite, but also the most stressful and busiest time. Which means I breakout in cold sores and start getting sick.
I feel like if I were a character in Jumanji my weaknesses would be; winter, being awake, snow, holidays, having kids, and “strenth”(the way Kevin Hart says strength in the movie kills me).
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE winter more than I love summer. The sun and I aren’t homies.
This year has been a tiny bit more stressful than the previous years. Dan and I were in charge of our church’s Christmas breakfast and we were told to plan for 300 people. 150 of those being kids. Because we had such an amazing committe it turned out beautifully and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I still stressed about it.
We also have 3 birthdays in the next two months and I am starting finals for school. Oh and Christmas! Let’s not forget about Christmas and presents and wrapping paper just for santa and writing in old time calligraphy to make it look like santa wrote it. (I am just kidding on the calligraphy part, I don’t do that. Wouldn’t want anyone to feel intimidated on here by me doing elfish script.)
Parenting is tough during this time of year. “What do we get the kids?” “They’re already spoiled.” He wants a $900 snowboard with boots and bindings.” “He hasn’t been contributing to the family, lets put coal in his stocking!” “How do we make it fair with the huge price differences?” “We should cancel the whole present thing, Christmas is about Jesus not presents.” What is the right thing to do?
With all the studies, articles, experts, podcasts, and books out there on parenting saying all kinds of different things, one could give themselves whiplash trying to keep up on all the contradictory. I would advise to read as many articles as you can and then hand pick the advice that works for you and your family.
I recently read a chapter for school titled, “Self-defeating Patterns: There is no Right Way to do a Wrong Thing”. The, “let’s get straight to the problem… It’s You“, title really drew me in. It had a lot of valuable lessons in it but I will tell about the one I needed the most.
It talked about, Provoked lies: when a parent asks a question that will more than likely cause defensive lying. Children hate to be asked questions that they know, the parents already know. They know, that you know, that they know, that you know. (Friends) I don’t think adults like it either. According to Stern (2011), “Most people come out fighting, or denying, or lying because it’s just too humiliating to come out with the truth.”
“Did you eat cookies for breakfast.”confused look with cookie on your face. “What makes you think that? Pshhh…” “Questions that trap them between a lie or an embarrassing confession provokes them to come up with a lie.” (Ginott)
People, all people including kids want to avoid embarrassment. So what do we do? We state the truth in a statement. “I see that you ate cookies for breakfast this morning, how does that make you feel?” “Makes me feel great!” Moving on…
When we confront our underdeveloped brained children, we must always be thinking of teaching them in the long-term way. “But what if we state the truth and they try and lie about it?” This next part is crucial to helping them know they are safe telling the truth. After you state the truth, you follow it up with kind words that teach them that you are a safe place to come to. Example: you buy your kid a toy and tell them to please take care of it. Later that week you see it broken and hidden under some blankets. Instead of becoming Columbo and interrogating your child about the toy, you know is broken, you say, “I saw that your new toy is broken, what a bummer, I bet you were sad when that happened. Do you want me to see if I can fix it?” You’re showing that you’re safe and sympathetic.
This parenting tip may seem super exhausting to do, but do you want to know what’s even more exhausting? Trying to undo all the damage you did by interrogating your children, wondering if they are telling you the truth and having to teach them sympathy because you missed the opportunity by not showing them some sympathy while they were troubled.
There is no perfect parent and there is no perfect child, we can only do our best.
Ginott, H.G. (1965) Self Defeating Patterns:There is No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing. In G.A. editor & G.W. editor (Eds), Between Parent and Child ch 3. New York: Random House.
Stern, J. (2011) Teaching Your Kids to be Honest. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/parenting-is-contact-sport/201103/teaching-your-kids-be-honest