Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Random Parenting Bits Part 2

Otherwise known as the bits I didn't do so well at.  Here is part 1, otherwise known as the bits I feel I did well.

- Don't treat all your children the same.  They aren't.  How do I know this one?  My eldest was undiagnosed as an Aspie for many years but because of the way he reacted to certain experiences, like art and craft or playgroups, I didn't make much effort to do these things for the other children and I really feel sad that they missed out on some big childhood experiences because I didn't know how to manage his quirks about these things.

- Don't trust your children to do chores unsupervised (at least until they are much older).  They will naturally tend to the lowest level of completion.  Be clear in your teaching, take time to train patiently again and again, and definitely inspect what you expect.

- Don't buy into arguments with two year olds.  It is not pretty to see an adult acting a lot younger than they are.  This also counts as advice for argumentative Asperger's kids.  I should have stood my ground a lot more when they were all younger.  Now I am obeyed about 80% of the time and with 80% of the attitude of respect I would like.

- Don't be unclear in your communications.  They don't always understand and get the "gist" of them.  Example - When sending the 9 year old around to the shop with a $5 note for a $2 loaf of bread, I should have told him to bring home the change.  Instead he bought $3 of lollies at the news agency on the way home.

- Trust yourself.  I should have trusted my instincts that said my eldest was not an easy child.  Instead I took on the guilt of thinking it was my fault and I wasn't a good parent.  I blamed all our moving around for his difficult ways.  I blamed me for not being a good mum and being able to be the type of mum he needed.  I blamed the stress in our household due to erratic income at best and only unemployment income at worst for a stretch of almost 10 years.   

Others didn't see his unusual ways because I isolated us from others so it was easier to cope.  And then when I tried to talk to others they didn't believe me that he was an unusual kid because he looked good if I took care.  I really should have gotten his diagnosis a lot sooner.  It would have helped our family in so many ways.

- Be consistent with your rules.  Don't let them slide when you are tired.  Write them up in a prominent place if you need to see them regularly to remember them.  I didn't in the early days because I figured the kids couldn't read yet, but I really could have done with a clear reminder in those baby hazy days for myself and my dh so he could help follow up too.

- Don't allow anything in your life to be more important than your family.  Blogging, email groups and surfing have taken too much time from mine.  Reading  novels would have been another weakness for me if the computer hadn't come along.  As you may have noticed from the frequency of my blogs these days I have taken this to heart and am spending more time with my boys.

Over all I am mostly happy with how I have parented.   But with my youngest and last growing up fast I wish I hadn't “lost” so many years to bad decisions.  Maybe that is why Grandmas are great, they have had time to reflect and know what they didn't do so “right” with their children and can teach their children what they learnt (if they will listen).  And they can make up for their “mistakes” with how they treat their grandchildren.  I look forward to that time.

Best wishes
Jen

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