Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Don't Call Me Butt-Mom! Secrets & Confessions of My Parenting Style

Secret Confession #1.  I'm not the uber-strict parent that I sometimes like to pretend I am.

Secret Confession #2. I can be a bit of a pushover at times and unfortunately, this had taught my kids the art of negotiation.

Secret Confession #3.  I don't think learning the art of negotiation is all that bad.  Really.  If they can come up with an alternative solution, then perhaps a little bit of compromise is in order.  Seriously.  I really believe this.  I think that when kids and parents take a collaborative approach, it not only creates better thinkers, but it helps them to understand my side of things.  (Which is also why I rarely play the "because I'm the Mom and I said so" card.)  An example of a collaborative approach:  One of my kids wanted to attend a sleepover once and although I couldn't explain it, I just did not feel good about it.  How could I reason with him if I didn't feel good about it?  I finally just said, "I'm sorry.  You can't go, because I just don't feel good about it."  To my surprise, he came back to me a few minutes later asking, "Well, what if my friend came over here instead and we had a 'late-over' until like midnight?"  Now, THAT I could say yes to!

Secret Confession #4.  I like to think I use a rational, down-to-earth, logical approach to parenting (of course maybe I'm way off - haha).  Taking the drama out of a situation and being able to AVOID getting sucked into THEIR drama has made me a much more effective parent these days.  (For tips on how to do this, check out {{Love & Logic Responses}}.)

Secret Confession #5.  Sometimes I use humor and/or maybe even a smidge of sarcasm in my parenting.  "Seriously?  You HATE homework?  I'm shocked.  I bet you don't hate homework as much as I hate my kids getting bad grades... and I bet you're at least smart enough not to find out.  Now, go do your homework."  "Oh?  I'm ruining your life?  Well, good.  It means I'm doing my job."  "You have every right to your emotions, and if you choose to throw your fit, that's just fine.  But you have to do it in your room, because I have every right to some peace and quiet right now."

Secret Confession #6.  I basically have 2 rules.  Rule #1: Love.  Rule #2: Don't call me Butt-Mom.

Rule #1: Love ---  I find that I can make almost anything fall into the "Love" category.  "Running in the house isn't showing love and concern for the home I work hard to provide.  Please go back to the top of the stairs and start over again."  (we used to do a lot of "Take-Two"s in our house, haha.)  "Arguing with each other isn't how we show love to one another.  Go sit in your rooms and come up with something you will do to show love for your brother/sister, etc."  "When you disobey, it doesn't show love,"  and so on and so on.  Once I remember my oldest (when he was about 4) saying, without prompting, "By not eating this chicken I am showing I do not love chicken."  Haha.  Of course, after stifling my laugh, I added, "That's too bad.  Because by not eating your chicken you are also telling me you don't love being excused from the table with enough time to play before bed."  

Rule #2: Don't Call Me Butt-Mom.  While I don't mind if my kids negotiate, what I really HATE is when they "got nothing" and they just want to whine and blatantly protest with a plethora of empty excuses, prefaced with "But, Mom!...."   Ugh.  So, in this situation I usually say, "Don't call me Butt-Mom" followed by my broken record response, "Now eat your veggies."  They usually laugh a little (or roll their eyes, cuz now they've been hearing it for years!), but more importantly it's a way for them to realize they are whining without cause.  If you're going to protest, be smart about it.  My oldest would come back and say, "How about instead of eating my green beans, I eat extra corn?"  Great. Fine.  Now we're back to collaborating and we both get what we want. Their self-awareness of whining has drastically reduced the amount of times I've heard it over the years.

Secret Confession #7:  We're not perfect - the kids OR myself.  Shocking, I know; all credibility has just gone out the window.  Sometimes we may even argue or raise our voices or cry (me) - or even feel like the worst parent in the world.  That being said, I do get a lot of comments and/or compliments about how kind and responsible my kids are, how well-mannered and respectful of others they are.  The best compliments of course have been the ones received in a restaurant, store or church; places where it wasn't uncommon for other kids to get bored and grow agitated.  So, while we are definitely not perfect, and while we've definitely had some drama some of the time, I like to think that in spite of, and quite possibly because of these "confessions", my kids are turning out A-okay.

What about you?  Do you let your kids call you Butt-Mom?


greenolive said...

I tell my kids not to call me butt-mom too. I know I need to chill more. I sometimes find myself saying no for no good reason. Once I say it I feel like I have to keep it that way because it was said. So I really need to fix that parenting flaw that I have. Any suggestions O Wise One?

EmmaP said...

Greenolive, don't hey me wrong. Saying no isn't a parenting flaw, per se. But I did decide that if there was a way I could say yes, I wanted to. When I first decided to become a yes mom, if I caught myself saying "no", I'd add "unless..." Or "but you could...". An example of this is when they plead, "can't i stay up a little bit longer?" I say, "No. But you don't have to go to sleep. You can keep your eyes open for as long as you'd like; you just have to stay in bed and be quiet."

EmmaP said...

Dumb auto correct. That was supposed to say "get" not "hey".

Ruthykins said...

I also tell my kids not to call me butt-mom. I think I heard it from you.