Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What is the secret to being a great parent?

We were longing to go to a movie. As a product of the movie generation it hits us often without satisfaction. So to avoid massive disappointment, in the current movie makers offerings of lacking imagination and creativity, we watch a midnight program on what is good and what isn't. At least on the opinion of the reviewers.
side note: This is my online choice for families who want to see a movie. Clear information on what you'll need to know to take your family to good movies plus suggestions for other choices if that one isn't a good fit.
Anyway back to the TV review show. Both reviewers were carrying on about a family movie that is coming out about a girl on an island. And of all the good stuff they had to say they added, "and parents will feel like they are at a movie they enjoy too" Now that is great. A movie I would enjoy too. In looking back on raising children this sums up my best advice.
Live a family life where even mom and dad can feel like it's something they can enjoy.
I remember in college psychology class they were saying current research was showing that even kids raised in hard environments can grow up fine if and I will put this in caps, IF THINGS STAY CONSISTENT. That means if you're a parent that likes to speak kindly or not, or if you're strict or you're lenient, your kids will adjust to your style and grow up OK if you are consistent. (Now don't misread this as meaning any kind abuse is OK, it's not. And your child will fight all his/her life to feel normal inside if they are abused.)
I wonder if this is still the case, do kids adjust to what is the norm in the household no matter what your child raising style is?
So back to my best secret for being a great parent. You must enjoy yourself. Don't wear yourself down trying to be perfect. Don't take any one part of your life and over do it. And you must have fun, enjoy that precious time with your kids as they grow up (disclaimer: If you have teens we need to talk, it's a different world for sure. I had 5 who hit their teens one after the other, I know how this goes) Find some humor in your world, do something that is fun for both you and your child, surprise them now and again.
I learned it's best (teens included) that they never know what you might bring out of your bag of imagination. In the middle of a horrible day if you put all the chairs in the middle of the room and toss a sheet over them and crawl in the middle, believe me you will get every ones attention, and hopefully they will join you and soon everyone will be laughing. Thank goodness my husband is a true impromptu person, it helped a lot when out of the blue I'd start gathering stuff and announce I felt like a hike. I have some great followers in my family who know how to collect in 10 minutes and be in the car.
So what is your personal style? what can you do to keep them guessing? There is delight and fun to be found. I read somewhere that bandage wrappers pulled open in the dark makes a nice spark. Well we spent weeks going up to my big dark closet opening bandages and everything we could find that might make a spark. Life should be surprising shouldn't it? There is enough cleaning, worry, cooking, lack of money in our lives. What is there that is just fun for us all? Find it, use it, keep finding it and always have a surprise on hand. Learn to laugh at this crazy job you do as a parent. It is pretty funny that we could be kids for 19 years or so and suddenly think we could be parents ourselves! Do cut yourself some slack. Your kids will be OK. Just keep trying. and never let them think they know what is coming next. Awe the secret, let life be full of surprises for all.
some ideas to get you started:
They can't or won't sleep and you are at your wits end so are they. Take the lights and put them so you can do a few shadow animals on the wall, forget the battle.
Afraid of the dark. Take an empty spray bottle call it monster spray and give it to them to dissolve anything that's scary.
Are lifesavers still out there? Well wint O green sparks really well if they still make it.
Being a Den mother in the scout program gave me a million great fun things to do. I'll pass some along later, but soda and vinegar bubbles nicely and add a little color and you can amaze most kids.
put your clothes on backwards and wait to see who notices.
Etc, Etc, Etc!


Eden said...

Thank you. This is what I need. Being a little less hard on myself and okay with a messy house.

Eden said...

Here's a good suggestion: a bucket of water and some cups in the back yard. Remember, who cares if their shoes get wet.

Fonnell said...

great idea, Lyndy used some stored wheat that had to be opened and let logan scoop in that all day. It's amazing the many toys there are all around us! Thanks for your idea!