Raise 'Em Right

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By Rebecca Teti


Monday: Parenting

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Terrible toddlers? Trying teens? Something in between? This weekly forum is the spot to share your questions and struggles about all things related to parenthood.

Please join us!

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • In the midst of daily tasks and disciplining the children, I often want to hide in a corner somewhere. I want to be an engaged attentive parent but dealing with temper-tantrums and bickering overwhelms me. Are there any inspiring prayers or practical advice to help me prevent mommy burn-out? Thanks in advance!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 7:32 AM by mommyof5

  • My 15-month-old boy thinks its funny when I say "no." He thinks its even funnier when I raise my voice to do it and frown at him! I don't know what to do. The little guy climbs/stands on everything, pulls his big sister's hair, will not lay still for a diaper change (and I am not strong enough to hold him down + change him one-handed so I have to wait - hours sometimes! - until he's "in the mood" for holding still), and he has recently started biting both me and his sister. When my husband says "no" he stops for awhile... but my husband works long hours and most of the time it is just me with the kids. I am completely at a loss about how to stop behavior that needs stopping! I tried a "flick" to his lips when he would bite, and that made him pout for a few minutes and deterred him for about an hour... but then he was back at it! I have never had such a mellow and happy-go-lucky child. His personality is so sweet and loveable & nothing fazes him... but the flip side is that when he does dangerous or hurtful things I can't induce him to stop!! Life is a party to him & ain't no one going to crash it! Help!!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 9:27 AM by Jen

  • How do you discern whether YOU (the parents) can handle having another child? Our worries are 1) can we homeschool kindergarden/1st grade while also having a toddler and newborn baby? and 2) will their be too much chaos / noise for my high-strung husband's nerve to handle? I do not feel there is a clear answer to these things. I would love to have a #3, esp. since time is running out (biologically) so it feels like "now or never." But I don't want to neglect schooling at a critcal time when my oldest will be learning to read / basic math (K/1st). She is really bright and I want to give her a good education, not a slap-dash one. ALSO, I want to honor my husband's emotional and psychological needs for peace and quiet. BUT... I'm also reminded (esp. since its Lent!) that its GOOD to stretch ourselves sometimes. We can often do more than we think we can! We often grow to fit the role that is thrust upon us. My husband, on the other hand, reminds me that bad things happen when people push themselves to the brink, emotionally. He, however, agrees that living a "boring" and "safe/fearful" existence is not happy, either. Does anyone have insights here? Especially anyone with a high-strung husband? Did it work okay to homeschool your kids?? How many kids do you have??

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 9:37 AM by unknown

  • @ Jen. My number 6 is 2 . . . so I have felt your pain . . one more to go! I find that 15 months is a very hard age because they are right on the cusp of being old enough to really understand time out but sometimes aren't quite there. I would suggest a couple of things--first when you say "no" make sure you are down on his level and in his face. Then make sure that you say it in a low tone of voice (as mom's our voices tend to get higher when we raise our voices . . . babies seem to respond to lower voices better--part of the reason they respond to men better). Now when you say "no" you are right next to him so after saying "no" you pick him up and move him away from what he was doing that got him in trouble in the first place. As for the diapers--most of mine have done that too but what I have found is if I smack the side of their bare bottom (not even really hard--just enough to let them know I mean business) they tend to go a bit better. You have to be really consistent with this so that they know that if they try and go there is a consequence. As for the biting . . . you can try the "no" thing and then put him in his crib/playpen for 2-5 minutes every time he does it. Just some ideas-hope they help!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 12:53 PM by Lisa

  • Jen - One of the few times I spanked my oldest son was when started biting at 15 months. Since nothing else worked I spanked him for the first time. He was surprised and stopped biting for a short time but then was at it again. So I gave him two swats this time and harder. This time he stopped biting completely. He got that the spanking wasn't a one time thing and it would increase in intensity if he continued. I know some moms wouldn't spank no matter what but I this was a last resort and he needed to know the boundaries.

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 1:27 PM by Monica (momof2)

  • Thanks, Lisa and Monica! I tried a "flick" (harder than usual) on his lower back when he tried (for the millionth time) standing on our dining room chairs just before lunch... he did it a few more times and each time got a hard-ish flick. Then he popped out his lip and looked at me with an, "I can't believe you just did that!" look... it was SO heartbreaking, but I'm hoping he will get the point if I'm consistent. I also flicked his lips at the park when he kept popping rocks in his mouth. Same "sad face" and he stopped. Let's hope this is progress!! As to the low voice... I tried that, too, this morning. My 3-year-old responded with, "Wow, you sound like Daddy!" and then both the 3-year-old and 15-month-old burst out in peals of laughter. I had to laugh, too. I sounded so ridiculous!! I'll have to work on my "low, mean, grouch voice," lol!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 2:19 PM by Jen

  • Unknown, I know there's no "right" answer (as you said) for number of kids. We have 3 right now, 6, 3, and 1, and are hoping for more (but time's running out for us too) - and I agree with the "Marley and Me" author: kids are "a brief brilliant flash in the midst of an otherwise ordinary lifetime." It's so much fun watching the three of ours interact and learn to be a community of siblings! So I'd say "have more!" as long as dh recognizes that being stretched is a good thing. :-) As for the homeschooling, K/1st isn't all that "academically" crucial. If you do things like read aloud and involve your kids in activities (like cooking or shopping or laundry or whatever), kids that age will truly pick up all they need to know academically (as well as socially). We have done no formal schooling, but my dd can write her letters, is learning to read, and is doing fine with basic math skills. Plus we get some history and social studies and such in by reading Little House books, biographies (we like the ones published by Troll Associates), and things like that. I've asked my mom how she taught us to read and she says she never did. I picked it up around age 3; the brother after me learned around 8.5 (he has a PhD now so reading "late" didn't hurt at all), and the others - she didn't pay much attention to when they learned, but they did and like reading now as adults. All of that just to say, don't be daunted by teaching K or any primary grades. You really don't need to do a lot of formal stuff until they're 10 or so, as long as you're willing to pay attention to what they do need (I liked having my mom make sentence diagramming worksheets in 1st grade or so; my youngest brother didn't, but was very good at multiplication very early b/c he loved playing darts) and build on that. Good luck!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 4:00 PM by Anna

  • @Jen, I change really squirmy ones on the floor so I can hold their arms with my feet, with my legs kind of keeping them from rolling over. Then I have both hands free to change the diaper. hth!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 4:02 PM by Anna

  • What do you think about this? I have always given the clothes my kids grew out of to my good Catholic friend nearby which she appreciates. However, when her kids grow out of things she goes through all kinds of mental gymnastics about who to give them to. On the one hand she says her neighbors (who have kids that her kids play with) probably could use the clothes but on the other hand she feels she has to save them for more needy kids so she saves all of it for the once a year St. Vincent de Paul drive. I, my friend, are her neighbors are all middle class, not upper middle class and not poor. Do good Catholics have to only give things to the most needy people or can we give things to anyone we think can use them? I told her it builds goodwill to have give and take between neighbors and friends - that's how strong communities work -- so you shouldn't feel guilty about only helping those in your immediate circles.

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 4:32 PM by Friends helping Friends

  • Unknown - I would never choose homeschooling over more kids. Hopefully you can do both but if you have another child and homeschooling becomes too difficult just put them in school. I say this as a homeschooling mom of two kids. For medical reasons I had to stop at two but I would gladly trade in homeschooling if it meant I could have more children. But just so you know it can be done there are plenty of families in our homeschool group with over 8 kids with husbands of all kinds of temperments.

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 4:37 PM by Monica (momof2)

  • Friends helping Friends ~ I think it goes any way you want it to. Whatever feels "right" or "fine" to you, I think. And the same for your friends. HOWEVER... once you give it away to *whomever*, I think the only thing that really matters is that you let go of it. I have had people give me things & then express some dismay when they see that I turned the shirt into doll clothes, used the pretty plate for a plant, or got a stain on the jeans they worked so hard to keep fresh. We aren't rough with our stuff, but I feel that if its mine... its mine to choose what to do with it! However, I've also heard people express upsetness when donating clothes to charity, because they feel irritated when hearing the "needy" discuss TV shows when these people feel they should use their cable money on clothes (thus reducing the number of "needy" who are taking the reduced-price clothes they donated). Even when donating to super-poverty places in 3rd world countries, I have heard that children sometimes get beat up so their nice clothes can be stolen by thugs. After I heard that I decided there was no "perfect" place to give the things I don't need/use anymore!! I just pick someone/someplace, donate, and let it go. So that's all I can recommend. Sorry if that's not too helpful. :s

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 4:43 PM by unknown

  • Jen- for the diaper change I did that with him standing up holding his body against my legs. If the diaper is really messy then I used the changing table but I kept a battery powered toy (something he didn't play with except for on the changing table) this at least keeps his hands busy so that he isn't pushing to roll over. (I used fuzzibunz so this may have made cleanup and getting the clean one on easier).

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 7:40 PM by MMH

  • Jen- At this age, discipline is SO tough. Make sure that you only use NO for 1 or 2 behaviors. In our house, it was biting and standing on chairs. That way, they only heard the NO word when it was serious so they didn't just tune it out. Also we used a lot of redirection...As for the squirmy diaper changes, I'm still there with my 2.5 yr old twins! But I find that letting them hold some novel toy (ie something they never get to play with otherwise, esp ones with blinky lights or that makes noise holds their attention long enough that I can get in a quick change)

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 10:28 PM by JT

  • Mommyof5 - I know what you mean! The bickering drives me nuts....I try to say a quick prayer in the morning ....."God, please help me to be more patient today dealing with the tantrums". I leave the house every day - whether it's the grocery store, a park, or a walk around the neighborhood. I enforce quiet time for 1 hour after lunch to give myself a break. And my husband usually entertains the kids while I cook for 30 minutes every night.... Good luck!

    Posted on Feb 18th, 2013 at 10:32 PM by J

  • I actually disagree with Monica. As long as your husband does not work at home I would choose to keep my kids home and homeschool during the day and then involve them in evening activities where your husband can get a little peace and quiet each night. That way you both are getting your needs met, you for time with the kids and him for rest. As others have said K/1 homeschooling is not a huge deal and can easily be completed during an infant's nap time. Where you need to look is 18 months down the road when you have a 2nd/3rd grade and a toddler, that is where things will get challenging but so much can change in that time. First of all you don't know that you will get pregnant or you could plan for 1 and get 2. Whatever decision you prayerfully discern you still have to be flexible for only God knows the plans He has for you! As for "Friends Helping Friends", you never know the good you are doing when you pass clothes on. Those middle class neighbors who seems to not need them may actually really need that financial break or they may pass them on to someone desperately in need at some point. If we were talking about giving money, that would be one thing, but any shelter worker can tell you, clothing is abundant, don't feel guilty.

    Posted on Feb 21st, 2013 at 5:39 AM by Becky Le