Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Q & A

Education was never really pushed with my family or my spouses, which, now that i am grown up, i could strangle my parents/in law... Can you tell me how you talk to your kids to get it through to them that it's not really an option, that further education is expected. or have they figured that out themselves?

We are really lucky that both Dave and I grew up in families where education and college was never questioned, simply expected. The focus was on what grades would get us into which colleges and where we would go. I’m so grateful my kids are surrounded by relatives and friends who don’t ever think of another option. BUT if that is not the case in your family and you want it to be, you can make it a focus! These are some things Dave and I do to show our kids how important education is in our family:

1) We make homework a priority. I try my darnedest to make myself available to help with any reports or assignments at night BUT there’s such a fine balance between helping them do things and taking over (especially in elementary school).  I helped my older kids a lot more than I do my younger ones because I’ve realized the more they do on their own the more they will learn (duh, right?).  To me it is a proud moment to see my kids’ work displayed that is so obviously their hard work right there in a sea of reports or art projects you can tell the mom actually did.  More on not getting too involved here.

2) I make sure I’m always in close contact with my children's teachers. I haven’t been so hot at this in jr. high and high school, but this year I have all the teachers email addresses and they are pleased as punch to answer any extra questions or concerns we may have. I really don’t email them much…I feel like it’s important by the time kids get to high school to be able to maneuver and manage their own grades. But every so often I need to intervene to help when I see a grade floundering and said-child doesn’t know what in the world to do about it. I have realized that teachers enjoy having parents who are engaged and at least aware of things that are going on in school. I want to help my kids really understand how to study and how to learn which is something that isn’t really guaranteed by just going to school.  Power of Moms has a great program to help with helping kids manage homework here.

3) I go through my little girls’ backpacks with them to help them sort things out (especially Lucy) to help them keep their things situated.

4) We have this awesome thing here called “Campus Portal” where we can all (students and parents) check grades any time.  So we do.  All the time.  We make it a big focus.  And we always explain why we care so much. 

5)  We talk about college all the time.  I helped Max hang all these college flags in his room to help him think about it more.  2012-01-18winter43300
Ok so they’re really mostly just fav. sports teams but some represent colleges and I’m all about that.  (More about Max’s room here.)

Now, I have to back up and say that I know a lot of people who have not gone to college.  Many of them have their own businesses and are doing just fine.  But Dave and I hope to push the higher education thing because we feel like it opens options.  And we want our kids to have a lot of them.

I’m sure there are a bazillion good ideas out there to help make education a priority.  Please share if you have good ones!

Did you/do you have any pouters? If so, how did you deal with that? I have a boy that gets this really grumpy face and pouts at the drop of a hat. He drags it on way too long and often storms into his room or hides somewhere. I really don't want his social skills to suffer from his pouting, or worse...his future wife!

Yes, I think every family has pouters.  I think the best thing is the “no tolerance” thing.  “You can pout all you want in your room away from anyone else, but we do not ever put on that face outside of your bedroom.”  Period.  Then follow through.  The job jar always works great for a good consequence too.  Man have I mentioned how much I love that thing?  Have them stand on their head or put their nose in a corner…whatever the consequence for pouting, just make sure it’s something you can really hold strong to and follow through.  That's the most important part.

Sometimes, in the middle of a pouting episode, it's important to remember that all this parenting stuff doesn't need to be so darn serious though.  I think probably the quick fix that works the very best is just to mimic the pouter.  Usually makes everyone break out laughing and the pouting is forgotten.

Humor is so important in parenting.  That's why I love the funny additions to our job jar.  Plus I sure liked getting my feet rubbed as a consequence for one of the kids the other day ;)

What do you do when the kids misbehave right before bed or right before you have to leave and you are already late, or in the car, etc? It seems like those are the times I need a quick emotionless consequence, but I can't think of how to make this work.

{this was after the “job jar” post…link above}

I’m telling you, that "Love and Logic" book has worked miracles for me in things like this.  The biggest thing I remember reading is that if you’re in a hurry or you are gone from home where the regular consequence would be, you tell the acting-up child there will be a consequence but that you still need to figure out what it will be.  Calmly tell them you will let them know when you get home.  The trick with this is that you have to really do it or no one will believe you.  But I have tried it several times and it sure makes them nervous as to what their consequence will be.

I remind myself over, and over, and over again that getting mad doesn’t help anything.  Being that “durable object” (my sister Saydi's great wisdom) with no emotion involved and calmly saying things like, “I’m sorry you made that decision” or, “darn it, it’s too bad you’ll have to pick another job from the job jar,” (or go to your room, or whatever) but following through with consequences is such a good thing.  It is SO hard to do in the heat of the moment though!
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