Monday, April 16, 2012

Maid for Mondays: Don't blink...

 It goes so fast. One day you’ll blink…and they’ll be in high school. Blink again and they’ll be getting married. Blink again and you’ll have grandchildren. It really does go fast. I never thought it was true, but it is!!

Whether it’s because life is busy and we move at such a fast pace or because we don’t take the time to enjoy them while their young or …you fill in the blank. Whatever it is...that statement is true!

Mister Bull at age 1 (left) and Mister Bull just a few weeks ago at the Zoo.
See how tall he is next to his Daddy?!
My oldest son will be 7 at the end of June and in many ways it seems just like yesterday I was so excited to find out we were pregnant (again, but that’s another post). At times I want him to stay my little one, a momma’s boy all his life. But, I know this too will change.

Several weeks ago, I caught him helping out at home without prompting. He was helping his sister into her high chair for lunch and being so sweet and kind. Then, he turned and helped his brother into his chair. And, if that wasn’t enough…he laid on the floor and played with his youngest sister until I could finish getting lunch together. My heart was filled with JOY as I heard his voice soften and the tone change to sweetness.

But…as with any 6 yr old boy, that was short lived. His brother quickly did something that annoyed him and I then hear, “Bubba! Stop that! Do you want me to take you out of that chair and put you in your room?”

Ummmm….when did he become the parent? Oh wait…he didn’t!! Has this ever happened to you? This was a real wake-up call for me. My kids hear everything I say and watch everything I do!! They want to be me! So, right then and there I vowed to myself to change my ways to allow my kids to be kids for as long as they want!!! Okay…maybe not that long, but definitely longer than 6 years old!

But, in the meantime, I must learn to let my son be a little boy! He won’t be one forever, so I must be careful not to rob him of this time in his life!! I don’t want him to grow up too fast. So, here are some steps and tips I’ve come up with for myself and thought they might be useful for someone else too.

1. SET BOUNDARIES EARLY. You must make them understand you are the parent, not them. You are the one that corrects and disciplines, not them. I suggest doing this very early on, so there is no confusion when they get older. We were not as firm as we should have been with our oldest and now, we’re having to correct that behavior. Believe me…I’d much rather start early than correct it when they’re older!

2. WHO’S IN CHARGE? When implementing your boundaries, it’s also important to teach your kids as they get older who’s in charge and when it’s okay to help. We are working with our 6yr old son on this very thing. He thinks just because he’s so much older than the others that he has a “right” to correct them.

3. DON’T GIVE THEM JOBS. Now, let me briefly explain my point of view here. I want my children to learn that a house does not run by itself. Therefore, we assign chores to our children from an early age. But, our chore assignments are just that…chores. Our kids do not get paid for them for several reasons (which I will probably need to expound on in another post), but the main one being that they are a part of this family and therefore, they have certain (age-appropriate) responsibilities. It’s just how it works in a family. My example to my oldest: I don’t get paid to wash, fold and put away your clothes, to do the dishes or to cook your meals. Why should you get paid to wash the toilet? Now, to thwart any arguments that may be arising in you…we do give rewards for doing their chores. Rewards include and extra treat from the treasure box, earned time on the Wii, extra time alone with Mom and/or Dad, etc.

If you’re wondering what chores our 2 and 3 year olds could possibly do, take a look at this amazing chart I found a few months back!! It’s been a blessing and a life-saver for us! She does a wonderful job of breaking it up by age group.

4. IT’S A FINE LINE. There is a very fine line with this subject. While I can’t allow my son to continue correcting his siblings, I don’t want to squash his sweet and helpful spirit. God has blessed him with that spirit and we need to nurture it, just slowly and healthily. So, we have decided that our oldest is not going to help with his younger siblings unless we’re there to directly supervise. At least for now. And, as he gets older and more mature, we can work on other ways he can help without being the “parent.” But, for now…he’s on the other side of the line and staying there.

It’s my job to be the parent; to guide him and teach him how to be a better person. A God-fearing man. That’s my job!! And if that means I have some extra chores for a while so he can be a kid, then so be it! I’ll take the long hours and lack of sleep for the sake of my kids any day!!

What advice do you have about letting kids be kids? How do/did you teach your kids they are not the parent? Feel free to leave your tips in the comments or link back to a post you’ve written. I love reading other blogs and learning from them! Your kind words of encouragement inspire me!


Linking up to these great parties today:

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