Category Archives: parenting

Learned Behavior

Tanya and I were at the mall and we went into Forever 21. As we were walking around she said “I remember being here with you before, and we were looking for the elevator, but I don’t remember why.” I reminded her it was because I had the kids with me in the double stroller and thus could not use the escalator. “Oh yeah! Your kids are so well behaved sometimes I don’t even notice they are there. I hope I get that kind of a kid.”

First of all, my kids certainly have their moments. By which I mean they can be little terrors. But yes, for the most part they are well behaved, quiet, and polite. Not to steal their thunder, but I think this has more to do with me than them. I have always thought a child’s behavior is reflection of the parent. I am not going to go as far as creating a dichotomy between “good” and “bad” parenting, but simply state that discipline comes from the parent, and behavior is indicative of said discipline. In other words, my kids know what they can and can’t get away with.

Of course there are those times when they are overly tired, or hungry, or something, and they just have an all out cry marathon regardless of where we are. But they are still very young and have difficulty controlling strong emotions. Nevertheless my daughter, who is now approaching three and a half, has started knowing better. She knows when she has a temper tantrum in public it is not alright. She also knows that if she has a temper tantrum in public we will leave immediately, and she will get a time out. Put these two things together and guess what you get? That right, less temper tantrums and more self control. My son is still a little too young, but he too is coming to understand that there are consequences for his actions. There are things we do, and there are things we don’t do. Period.

This does not mean that they will always get it right. This doesn’t mean I won’t give them hugs and kisses when they cry and try to make it better. I understand that some things can be overwhelming or frustrating for them. This does not mean that their individual personalities aren’t taken into consideration. But practice makes perfect. The more children are socialized, and realize what is appropriate, and what is unacceptable, the more prone they will be to get it right. Children want to please, especially their parents, so if they start understanding what type of behavior makes you happy, they will be more likely to do it. I am not going to go too much into the psychology or even methodology of this since there are numerous books out there, written by professionals, that outline this very issue, but I will say that behavior is learned. It takes time on your part, but the outcome is very much worth it.


How Not To Raise Your Child

As I like to say, when it comes to parenting, there are more opinions than there are actual children. I am a parent, and have managed to keep my children alive, one for over two years, so in that sense, go me! However, this does not qualify me to give advice to anyone in regards to parenting. Because honestly, I have about as much a clue on the subject as you do. I know my kids, and I may know some things about yours, but at the end of the day, they are your children, and you know them best.
Parents who get all preachy and judgmental drive me up a wall. Unless I am directly harming my children, please mind your own business, and I will mind mine. Currently my business is my own kids. Which I mind just fine.
I am sure you have opinions, and frankly I would love to hear them, because that is how I get half of my own ideas. I hear what other people have to say, and then decide whether or not I like what I am hearing. If you want to know my opinion on different things like breast feeding, potty training, discipline and so forth, well, not surprisingly, I have a lot of them. I will gladly share, and talk your ear off. But I will not be offended if at the end of my rant you chose to say “no, thank you” to everything I have said. Because that is your prerogative.
It does take a village to raise a child, and there should definitely be a conversation between parents on best practices. That is how we all learn. Especially if you are having your first child and someone else has already been there done that, multiple times. That is called learning from others’ experiences. It is a wonderful process, and can be very helpful. But when the parent in the know takes it upon themselves to bash everyone else who does not take their advice, then it gets ugly. It is no longer called a conversation, it morphs into something akin to an argument. And from some of the blogs and boards I have seen, it can get pretty heated.
Some topics are a lot hotter than others. Breast feeding is one of them. If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I have tried (wasn’t all too successful, and if you read A Nervous Tic Motion this coming Thursday you will get a glimpse into why). Others have chosen not to try. I can respect that even if I don’t understand it.
But then again I have seen people tare each other to shreds in forums over much more innocuous matters, such as which onesies and rattles are best. Seriously folks? If you are having trouble sleeping because someone else gave their kid a rattle you don’t agree with there is a much larger issue there. Hint: it’s not the rattle.
So I am going to ask the age old question of why can’t we all just get along? Why can’t we share parenting experiences like kittens? Because no one ever argues about which kitten is best. We can all agree they are all wonderful.
So, in conclusion, I am ending with this hilarious, and only mildly off topic cartoon from Time.

Ten Fun Winter Activities

Last weekend it rained. Hard. Which meant all outdoor activities were nixed off the list. Now, try explaining that to a hyper two year old who wants nothing but to run around outside. She spent most of the day in front of the patio door, pointing and making sad (albeit cute) pouty faces. This was Saturday. By Sunday, I had a plan. While you debate letting your little one splash in the puddles outside, and contemplate the giant mess you will have to clean up, here are ten fun tips for keeping her active, entertained, and most importantly, warm and dry.

1. Go to the toy store

I know this sounds completely counterintuitive to your sanity, and probably your check book too, but it can actually be quite productive and fun. I am not suggesting buying anything. Spend several hours letting your child experience the toys. Get an idea of which items she likes more than others. See how she interacts with the toys, and gage how much use and benefit she would get from them. This helps you solidify your Christmas list. When it is time to go, explain to her she will receive something special at Christmas time.

2. Play hide and seek

But remember to keep it simple so your wee one doesn’t get too frustrated, or worse, scared. She may not yet understand the concept of hiding, but she can definitely seek.

3. Dance

Put on some music and let loose. If you don’t know how to dance, don’t worry, your kid doesn’t either, so just bounce around have fun.

4. Put on a fashion show

At this age kids grow an inch a second. They will outgrow their clothes before you can finish doing the week’s laundry. Use this opportunity to have some fun with your kid (toddlers love trying to learn how to dress and undress themselves) while also figuring out what items in their wardrobe are no longer viable options.

5. Build a fort

Use your couch, some sheets and throw pillows. Throw in a few dining room chairs. You now have the perfect castle, fort, tent, etc. Let your imagination guide you.

6. Go to the park

If it is not raining or snowing, but it is still cold outside don’t rule out going to the park. Bundle up and you can still have a blast. Just think of the yummy hot cocoa you both can enjoy when you get back. Don’t forget the marshmallows.

7. Move

Put a bunch of toys in a pile, and then the both of you pick some up and move them across the house. Go back for more, until the entire pile is moved over. Repeat as many times as your kid has energy. Feel free to skip the gym tonight.

8. Go for a walk

Don’t set a destination. Don’t plan. Just take a stroll through your neighborhood. But don’t walk until you are both completely tired or your little one won’t be able to make it home. You will be surprised at how many things you have never seen before.

9. Decorate

Christmas is less than two months away, and you don’t want to get caught up doing everything last minute. Buy a large bag of popcorn, cereal, etc. and some string. Make giant garlands to string up for the holidays. Have her hand you the kernels as you string them through the needle. Enjoy a few bites along the way.

10. Make your own wrapping paper

While you are in the holiday spirit, create your own wrapping paper. All you need are some giant sheets of drawing paper, crayons, colored pencils, washable markers, stamps, or whatever you want to use to decorate, and have at it! Grandma will love her custom wrapped gifts.

What are some of your favorite winter activities?