Are Your Fears Ruining Your Relationship With Your Children?

ruining relationship
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What kind of parent am I? This is a question I think about a lot. Instead of labeling myself, I parent from a place of trust. It’s definitely been a learning process because when they were little it was all about fear. Be careful, you are going to fall. Don’t do that, you might hurt yourself. And on and on. Then I realized that in order for my kids to grow up as independent adults, I needed to start trusting them.

What Are You Afraid Of?

The other night at book club, as the wine flowed, it was all the typical mom talk. Where do your kids go to school? How old are they? And the night wouldn’t be complete without some talk of poop.

One of the moms brought up something she read on Facebook. The scenario was: Do you watch and wave to your child five times as they walk into school to make sure they get inside? Other moms were nodding along in agreement saying they do this all the time.

After a glass of wine (or two) my filter is gone about my own life (hence the poop talk). I flat out said, “Oh no, I kick my kids out at the end of the sidewalk, say I love you and drive off. I would even drop my oldest off at dance when she was 5 and come back when she was done.”

Build Unshakeable Trust With Your Kids

This isn’t about me being irresponsible in fact it’s quite the exact opposite. I trust that my kids are going to walk straight into the building and be where they are supposed to be. They have always been in the right place when I pick them up because we have good communication. We talk about where they are to meet me and I know they will be there because I’ve drill it into their heads. Plus, I know they are with teachers/coaches that care about their safety while in their care.

On the heels of my comment about dropping my daughter off at dance, I also mentioned that during football season my son will have 2 hour practices. Do I stay? No, I am definitely a drop off and see ya later mom. Several of them were like “You don’t stay?” No, I have three other kids who have places to be. This is a time to run errands and cook dinner.”

He doesn’t need me there.

In fact, if I am there I become a distraction. One night, I was helping my son bring all his stuff over for practice and before I left I was chatting with another mom. The boys were all messing around playing catch and mine tripped over someone and fell. Because I was there he made a bigger deal out of it than if I wasn’t. He would have just shook it off and continued to play. Instead he had to come over and tell me what happened.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah.”

“Then go back out.”

“It hurts.”

“Do you need to go to the hospital?”

“No.”

“Have a good practice.”

Trusting Other Adults

If I was there during practices he might also look over to me for validation on a play instead of getting it from his coach. Sure, I could toss him a nod but if he needs a suggestion to improve, the coach is there for a reason. He is much more knowledgeable about the sport than I am. Plus, if I wanted to coach I would volunteer.

I can’t remember a time in my life when my mom came to my practices. It was nice after a game when she could tell  I had improved from the week before. So if I went to every practice how could I tell if my kids are getting better. I feel as if I would just nit pick at the things they need to work on instead of seeing their improvement.

My daughter had a volleyball game this past weekend against a team that walloped hers at the beginning of the season. They won! It was exciting to see the change in their team over the last couple months. Their  coach has been preparing the girls for what they needed to work together as a team. By only coming to the games, I saw a HUGE improvement in my daughter’s team over the season. And she was beaming cause she knew how hard they have worked.

I’m happy to leave my kids in the trusting hands of their coaches (who have my phone number) because they have so graciously volunteered their time to work with our kids.

In turn, I trust my kids to be respectful to the adults who are in charge. They know to listen and not mess around during instruction time. I trust that my kids will talk with their teacher/coach if something is wrong. If they need disciplined, the coach will handle it. It’s so cliche but we can’t do this parenting thing alone. It truly does take a village. I trust these adults to keep an eye on my kid and prepare them for skills that only they can teach. More importantly, my kids know they have other adults to turn to when I’m not around.

 

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I Can’t Believe What Video Games Taught My Kids

video games
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Wait, I thought Video Games were the breakdown of human society as we know it?

Well yeah, if you are going to sit in front of the screen for 10+ hours a day only interacting with people via WiFi. This past summer I instilled some electronic usage limits for the kids and it’s given me the chance to see the upside of their gaming habit.

Retelling Quests Improves Comprehension

I love spending time with my kids, playing board games and teaching them how to play Spoons, Sevens, Texas Hold ‘Em and other card games from my childhood. But when it comes to video games, it’s not my jam. I’ll stick to the classics where you can race against each other or get to solve puzzle games by dropping different shaped blocks. Because it’s more fun for me to play with a group of people. I don’t want to sit there watching someone walk around fulfilling quests.

Not my idea of fun.

For the most, they are ok with that. After they are done, they get to explain their game to someone (me, the noob) who has never played. In essence, they get to relive their game by remembering details that’s allowing them to expand their comprehension levels.

Learning To Fix Mistakes By Failing

A little boy I babysit on occasion needs me to watch him play all the time. Instead of being a warm body to keep him company, I end up playing games I don’t want to play.  I know he needs my attention, which is fine, but after playing the same game for 15 minutes, my eyes get tired. This is where I explain to him that he can continue but I’m done.

To which he responds “I can’t do it.” This is the point in which I give him the opportunity to learn how to fail with the follow conversation.

Me: ” Well, you’re right. If you say you can’t, then you can’t. But you have to give more than one try.”

Him:”You do it.”

Me: “No, because if I do it, you won’t learn how to play this game. I’ll give you some suggestions but you’ve got to do it yourself. You are the one who wanted to play the game so try it without my help at least 5 more times.”

Him: “Ok…”

If I sit there and do it for him, then I’m robbing him of a big life lesson: How to problem solve when he get stuck in a difficult situation.

I have been doing this for years with my kids. They know that Mom doesn’t play Minecraft and Fortnite. My reason being it’s more exciting for them to build an entire city so they they can tell me about their accomplishment. I want them to proud of themselves on their own merit not because it’s something I did for them.

Playing video games is learning the art of failure over and over again. I have watched my sons continually lose levels  but continue to play the game until they complete the task. How willing are you to finish the job? Are you going to give up when it gets hard or stop playing because you have to defeat a big ol’ mean boss?

Working Through Frustrations On Their Own

While I don’t want my kids turning into zombies, watching them play video games is very telling of how they are with other tasks. Sure, they get frustrated at the game and want to throw a controller. I feel the same when my computer is acting up and want to throw it out the window. I don’t do it but I get mad and figure out another way to get get things done.

Video games also let my kids work through arguments with each other. They figure out how to be patient with one another especially when someone isn’t doing it the way you would. My middle two boys will go rounds with each other fighting about whose way will work and getting mad when it doesn’t. In the end, somehow they are jumping up and down excited when they win. The process is messy, but they work through to see where adjustments can be made on their own.

When kids are so used to people doing everything for them, they will expect it in other areas of their lives. I have see it when other kids come to our house. My kids are not their first choice when it comes to helping them defeat a guy or beat a level. They come to me.

Guess what? Homey don’t play that.

Mom Is Not Always Right

In our house, the boys know how to play these games because they have figured it out together. They are the ones we go to when we have a gaming issues. Here’s why: It’s because we have instilled a level of confidence in them where they are the expert in something I am not.

While Mom is usually the go-to person, my kids know someone else might have a better solution to their problem. It’s amazing to watch from the sidelines when they are in the zone helping a friend through a quest.

It’s not that I won’t ever play anything but it’s got to be the right game. In fact, you want to throw down at Tetris, have a dance off with Just Dance or watch me blow smoke in your face in Mario Cart? You’re on, Kid. Sidenote: We also teach our kids that we never LET you win. If you want me to play with you, I’m going to bring my A game. So you better bring yours. I’m not here to give you a participation trophy, I’m here to win. That’s probably another reason my kids don’t like to play with me that much. I’m actually good at video games.

Ultimately, I’ve got ulterior motives to teach you life lessons as I watch you lose. Remember, I’m not step in to help you beat your quest.  Trust me, I’m smart enough to figure it out for you but that is completely and utterly besides the point. And you know what, kid, you got this, too!

 

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Why I Blame Myself For “Feeding” My Kids’ Addiction

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If I could do it all over again, what would I change?

Realistically, nothing. Hypothetically, everything.

As I see it now in hindsight I know where I went wrong. BUT I wouldn’t be where I am today wanting to make a change for the better. There are so many lessons I learned from the mistakes I made. How could I have let this go for so long, standing on the sidelines, watching it get worse by the day? I saw all the red flags but ignored them until I saw it in myself first.

Literally Feeding My Addictions

Much of the traits I am passing down to my children are ones I set by example. Watching them each day becoming their own person is so fun to see. I am able to pick up on intricacies they have that are similar to their Dad and I. It makes me smile knowing there is a little bit of me and him in our children. Some things I wish they would let slide but they can’t always get only the good things from us.

I’m a “good” girl who has never smoked, done drugs and only drinks on occasion. So while the taboo vices were never my jam, it doesn’t mean that I’m pure as gold. My issues stem from my relationship with food and it’s been quite the roller coaster ride for years.

My so called addiction is widely accepted by the general public because it’s something we all need to survive. Eating. I don’t go around talking about it being a problem because everyone eats. For me, it became more than just fueling my body. It was succumbing to cravings, overindulging, eating when I wasn’t hungry, buying things that weren’t healthy: in turn starting an addiction for my children.

More Than Just A Sweet Tooth

I let my sugar craving take over our daily lives. It wasn’t until I took stock in my own health that I realized the amount of sugar my children were consuming each day. For years, I’ve been gluten free and at one point after my youngest was born, I ate super healthy and felt great in my body. I didn’t let grain or sugar be the main attraction and focused on lean meats, veggies and some fruits. Then I began to slack off and allow myself a treat here and there.

Well, you can probably guess where this going? One treat became many and even though I was gluten free, I ate a lot of sugar. The weight crept back on and the energy began to fade. Things were not adding up in my head because I ate well at meals but was struggling to get back to my optimal size.

Several weeks ago, I watched the Magic Pill on Netflix and something clicked. Oh my gosh, I cannot believe how much sugar I have been eating in the last couple years. During the summer, I was buying and eating ice cream with hot fudge almost every night. I thought I was treating myself after having a good day of eating but didn’t realize the harm I was causing to my body.

Implementing Healthy Habits

I took a long, hard look at my daily food consumption and knew I had to make a change. Luckily, I had done this before and saw great results. The reason it didn’t stick is because I was still in a diet mindset, not one where I was fueling for life.

Finally figuring out what foods jive with my body and which ones screw with my system has taken years. What it comes down to for my body is this: No gluten, minimal dairy, reducing sugar immensely (even in fruits), high protein, lots of veggies and some starch. Upon waking up, I drink 24 oz of water and can immediately feel my energy rise. I’ll have a cup of coffee with a splash of almond milk because I like the taste. My first meal of the day is a dairy free protein shake around 11am after intermittent fasting for at least 14 hours. Oh, and I don’t eat after 9pm.

This might sound overwhelming and if you had shown me this 5 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. It didn’t happen overnight but once I found the formula that worked for me, the difference in my body became apparent.

A Pantry Full Of Sugar

Even with these changes, sugar is still a huge part of our lives. While I have the willpower and understanding to walk away because I know of its effects, my children don’t.

With the holidays right around the corner, I have created my own of sugar ingesting zombies. After surveying our pantry, I am basically encouraging them to fill up on sugar. Here, kids, start your day with this healthy but sugar filled muffin. Don’t forget the sugary cereals and donuts that have made their way into our house as a fun fall treat. It’s truly frightening how out of hand it’s gotten.

My goal is not to go to the extreme by forbidding sugar, but instead create a healthy balance, even for myself. I don’t want my kids to hide Halloween candy in their room or sneak eating sugar because they need that fix. You know, the one they have become so accustomed to over the years.

The effect sugar has on my children is not lost on me. I see how it changes their mood, attitude and energy level. There is no one to blame for their choices but myself.  I am the one who buys the food, treats them to snacks and has limited restriction to their snacking habits. I can tell them to choose a cheese stick or banana over the cookies till I’m blue in the face.

But who wants that when there are still sugar laden snacks on every shelf in the house. I want them to think of going out for ice cream as a treat. It’s hard to make that special when my cabinet is full of sugary items and products with hidden added sugar. At this point, their bodies almost “need” a constant stream of sugar pumping into their system to function properly.

Making Lifelong Changes For My Family

I don’t want my kids to feel as if I’m restricting them from sugar because I’m all about moderation. The fact is sugar has become a main food group in our house and I feel as if I’ve lost control. All I want for my kids is for them to grow up as healthy, independent adults who can make good choices for their body.

Right now, they are driven to foods by taste and not what the foods are doing for their body. They don’t understand why they get a stomach ache after eating something that didn’t agree them. They know they would rather have something sweet than eat a plate full of veggies.

I fear that my kids will fall into the same food trap as I did. It is my job as their mother to instill knowledge about making healthy choices so they can grow big and strong. I don’t want them to rely on foods to make them feel better when they are emotional, cure boredom, or overindulge because it taste so damn good.

Today is Day One of making little changes to have them realize that food is fuel to provide energy and keep them healthy. Instead of doing a full sugar purge, I plan to start by swapping out sugary breakfast foods for healthier options and stop buying snacks filled with sugar. We will continue pumping them full of information about what foods are good for them and which ones make their bodies feel icky. It’s a start, but like my life, it will take time. Eventually, they will get it.

 

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Put your oxygen mask on first.

Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.

So I’ve created a guide just for you: 7 Steps To Saying Yes to Yourself.

Get Yours Here!