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Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk- A Book Review

I didn't like reading this book...

but I like the book. 


I know that may sound bizarre or weird, most definitely confusing. 

You see, it was hard for me to read this book because the parenting style in this book is the opposite of my parenting style. I would actually get mad as I would read. 

"You can't let your kids run the house like that!" or "You need to discipline the kids now, so they know they're not in charge!" would run through my head constantly. 

The thing is, as I would continue to read the book, I realized that the books style of parenting  was actually pretty effective and when those thoughts would run through my mind, I would decide to try out their different strategies. 

So it took me a while to finish reading the book and an even greater while to write this review because I was trying out the methods.

This is what I learned:

Every fiber of my being wants to get my kids in trouble the moment they act out. It was how I was raised and by letting them yell at me or complain, it felt like I was telling them it was ok walk all over me and that they were in charge, not me.

But Becky Harling says to wait it out. Using Biblical teachings, she points out that we shouldn't speak out in anger because when we do, we will shut our kids up. So take a minute to calm yourself before you react in a way that loses trust.

"But Becky! I can't let the kids win! Doesn't that let them think that they can get away with disrespecting me like that?"

Ugh- did I just use the word disrespecting? I heard that word so much growing up, it started to feel like the word was losing its meaning. 

But by taking a minute to calm down and come back to the situation, I was able to talk to my kids without using mean words that would possibly slip out while I was yelling back at them. (You know, a defense mechanism with that "fight or flight" response.) I was able to listen to their feelings and could get to the root of the problem a lot sooner. 

"Oh! School was really frustrating for them today. They weren't able to understand the math problem and when they tried to ask the teacher, the teacher misunderstood and yelled at them. This problem began and built up since class, earlier today."

Now I know how to approach the problem. I can tell my child, "Everyone is human and while the teacher yelled at you, it wasn't your fault." The teacher didn't take the time to understand the question and took it personally that his method of teaching wasn't understood. Now my child and I can work together to make the situation right. By not reacting to their frustration right away, I was able to figure out why my child was huffy and instead of lashing out, we were able to talk through it and now I know my child will come back to me with their problems and talk to me, perhaps more calmly than they did before. 

Another thing that I actually really liked and didn't feel insulted by or called out for was the talking suggestions that Becky gives in the book. 

I have three kids, so I know sometimes, when one of my kids is acting out, I take a look at what is really happening and I realize that this child has been feeling pretty left out lately. 

So it made sense when I'd read about taking time for each kid, perhaps during the nightly tucking in routine, right before prayers, where you'd just talk to your child. 

My favorite night was when I told my kids, "You can tell me anything without me getting mad. I want your honest answers." and then I asked, "What is something that you like that we do together?", "What is something you'd like for me to do more often?", "What can I do, to be a better mommy?" and my kids answered very honestly. For the most part, the answers were, "Spend more time together" and "Listen better."

So we did this every night. I'd ask them different weird and silly questions and tell them stories and let them tell me their stories. My phone was put away and I made a better effort to really listen. I noticed that they opened up to me way more when we did that every night. 

When we would all sit at the table and I'd have them put everything away for dinner, dinner was more interactive. The kids were talking more and we all really enjoyed talking with one another. 


I didn't like reading this book because it's completely different parenting style called me out. I though it was pretty "Hippy"ish and very "free range" but by giving some of the things a try, it did open up a lot of conversations with my kids. 

It was an interesting read and one that takes a lot of experimentation. Don't completely dismiss this book, especially when you start to get mad. Because while there were somethings I just didn't agree upon, there were so much more that was valuable and works.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Freezer Pop Sleeve

Summer is the time for those cheap Popsicles....You know what I'm talking about. They call by many names. I've always called them Popsicles, my kids call them Otter Pops, others call them freeze pops or icicles. Whatever the name, they're kind of the frozen staple of the summer.

Whatever their name, I've always kind of dreaded having them around because they are mouth scissors and I always end up holding them for my kids because they're always too cold for them to hold. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Parenting- Quick Reaction, Wrong Response

My oldest just turned ten and my youngest is five. I'm at the point in my life when my parenting tactics have to be readjusted to fit the appropriate situation without losing my credibility with them.

Having a ten year old can start to be a little trying since he's becoming more private and doing things on his own. It won't be long before he's hanging out with his friends more than hanging out with us and peer pressure is going to be something that he's going to have to deal with and there are going to be choices that he's going to make that are going to be good or bad.

As parents, we're going to want to maintain control, but at some point, our kids are going to have to learn to do things by themselves, and we're going to have to let them so they can grow up to be responsible adults.

Sometimes, the way that we handle things can have a lasting impression and the way that we do it can have positive or negative consequences.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Why I'm Making My Kids Practice Their Spelling Over Summer Break

Somehow, I have children who are old enough to read and write.

I don't know how that time came, but it's here and it's up to me and them to make sure that they practice so that they're current on what they need to know when school starts again.

This year, I found out it isn't in the school curriculum to teach the kids spelling or give them spelling tests.

Friday, April 26, 2019

What If I Were a Dad, Instead of a Mom?

This morning was another one of those really stressful mornings where it might not have been so bad if I had my crap put together.

My son forgot to do his Friday letter on Friday, so I had to make him work on it this morning. Without his ADHD medication, he's squirrely and has a hard time sitting down to focus on it. It doesn't matter that he'll have his recess taken away for the day if he doesn't turn it in. To him, it's future him's problem. To me, however, I know that no recess might cause other issues because he wasn't able to run out that energy that he needed to run out.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How to Deal With a Strong Willed Child.

Parents of strong willed children, I really sympathize with you. I, too, have a strong willed child and some days I just want to give up and throw in the towel and let him just run the house and then there are other days when I'm ready to spar with him until he gives in because we're both stubborn and want to be the one who wins.

Our battles can be over anything, really. We might argue over whether this font color is blue, green, or gray or argue over whether tomato is pronounced tuh-mate-o or toe-mah-toe and EVEN IF, we realize one of us is wrong, it will take a long time for us to admit it, if we do at all.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

ADHD and Reading- The "Aha!" Moment

Looking at the picture below, you'd think, "What a good brother! He's reading to his brother and sister." When I look at this picture, I see more than just that. I see a miracle. I see a blessing. I see answered prayers and opened doors.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What Can You Learn From a Broken Washer Machine?

What's the Problem? 

        Twice now, my washer machine has broken and each time, my husband and I decided that we were going to get a new washer so I could wash clothes without a hassle.

       The first time it broke, my washer machine kept filling up with water and wouldn't stop. In order to get it to stop filling up, I had to turn the water off in the whole house. Thankfully, it went onto the next cycle and the water drained. Unfortunately, this happened for hours and water had poured all over the basement floor and the blankets that I had set there to wash (stomach flu season) got soaked.
       I had to get those washed or they would mold and be ruined. So I was extremely happy that when I turned the water back on, the washer didn't start to fill up again. I still had to drain and spin out the load that was already in there, so I put it on the spin cycle and it spun all the way out. I transferred the clothes to the dryer and took a chance and washed another load, but this time I stayed to watch it.

       The same thing had happened again. The water kept rising even after the next cycle began and the washer began agitating the clothes. I went to the main water valve and turned it off again and the water stopped. It seemed that as long as it stopped filling, it wouldn't start again until it was time to rinse. Thus, my journey began when I had to babysit my washer machine in order to get it to work properly.


        My husband and I both decided that this was too big for me to fix or want to try (I like to fix the things around my house) and that we would buy a new washer.

        I began cleaning up and around the basement so there would be room to install the new one when we bought it. While I was cleaning I put on a smaller load of laundry. To my AMAZEMENT, the washer machine worked on its own. I tried the large size load, (I normally do my laundry on super mode because we have a ton of laundry) and that worked too. I called my husband up and told him that we could wait on looking for a new washer.

       The second time it broke and I figured that the part to fix it was probably worth more than what the washer machine was worth, happened a couple of days ago. The washer would start it's load, but then the whole power box turned off every time the washer was to begin agitating and spinning.

       Naturally, I tried troubleshooting it, ruling out what the problem could be and figured it was the motor. So, again, instead of buying a new part that was probably going to cost a large amount and then possibly break the most important part of the machine, we decided to get a new one.

      So I'm back downstairs in the basement, trying to clean up that area. It's a huge mess. I've fallen behind on laundry from babysitting the washer before and from working on the blog full time. Since I know that the washer machine will drain, I figured I should try to get out as much access water as I could because it would be a mess to move it if it was full. I tried to put the drain cycle on (different from the spin and agitating cycle) and it went straight to spin and turned off.

      Well I'm an expert now on how to make my washer do things it doesn't want to do, so I spun the knob around to the wash cycle and turned the washer back on. I let it fill with water (because at this point it's starting to smell from everything sitting for a couple of days) and to my chagrin, the washer starts doing a full cycle including agitating and spinning.


       To test it out to see if it still works, I put on a small load and guess what.... It worked!

       Naturally, I have to tell my husband because we were going to call a guy who sells washers and well, we may not have to. I told him that it was working, but I would try a second one just to be sure.... and it worked too!

       So what have I learned about this experience?

Just because it seems broken, it doesn't mean that it can't be fixed. 

     How many times have we thrown something out just because it was broken? How many times have we given up on someone or something because we didn't want to work on our problem?

     I've had problems with this washer before. It was with our house when we bought it four years ago. At the time, I wanted to see if I could fix it because we didn't have a lot of expendable income coming in and I thought that our money could go towards something better than a new machine.

    With the help of YouTube and the GE website, I was actually able to diagnose the problem and fix it. It turned out, all it needed was a lid switch and that was an easy job to do, once we got it.

     The second time it happened, I was able to diagnose that too and get it fixed. I can't remember what the problem was, but I did it, with a little help from my husband because I needed the muscle to move the washer.

Once you've fixed the problem, you gain some peace.

     Not only did I feel overjoyed that it started working again, I felt accomplished and content. I did something with my two hands and fixed it. We wouldn't need to pay more than what we needed to and I knew that it was going to work for a while longer.

     When we have problems with people, parenting, or married life, we should first try to work it out. Of course there are exceptions like being in an abusive relationship, in which case, find someone who could help you get out, but in other cases, there most likely was a misunderstanding.

      Sit down and talk with them and listen. I'm guilty of shouting when I want to be heard, but I know that can damage relationships more than anything. Really listen, really talk things out. If a counselor can help, let them.

      The same thing applies with your children, especially young ones who don't know how to verbally tell you what is wrong. Sit down and talk with them and listen too. When you're finished, try to come up with a solution and ways to apply it. I bet you'll feel at peace afterwards.

Sometimes, you just need to be ready to throw in the towel and give up in order to get results.

       Maybe my washer machine knows what's really happening... I'm kidding, I know it doesn't. But how is it that coincidentally that each time we were ready to get a new washer machine, it decides to randomly start working again?

      Maybe it needed time to readjust. Actually, when you look in the manuals or look online, it tells you that you need to try to reset your washer. Sometimes it's as simple as lifting the lid and closing it several times and other times, you need to restart it and try an empty load so it re-calibrates. I'm guessing that is what I did when it decided to work again, today.

      In relationships, getting to that point when you're about to give up, that can really open the other person's eyes. It may just be enough to get them to see that what was happening was something that bothered you more than they thought it did. Even if you told them, sometimes its when they see it happening they realize.

     Maybe then, they'll take action and know that it's time to change.

If it's really broken and it can't be fixed, get rid of it.

      Sometimes, things can't be fixed. Throw out that washing machine and get a new one.

       Obviously, or I hope that it's obvious, don't throw out your kids. In a parenting scenario, if something like spanking or time outs don't work, throw out that strategy and try parenting with a different approach. Redirect them, love them. Not all strategies work.

       With adult relationships, there can be very toxic relationships. There are many people who are master manipulators who know the game and will change for a little time, but if they keep repeating it, they're broken. Leave that relationship. In cases of abuse, please get help. It's not easy, in fact Danielle Steele writes a book all about that.

       This is actually a very good book. It was frustrating and engaging and an emotional roller coaster read. In this book, she explains how some women, especially those who were physically abused, don't realize that they are in an abusive relationship when they are in one. I recommend the book, immensely!


       All that we're saying, is give things a chance. Ok, so not really. I know that eventually, we're going to need to replace our washer machine and I was embarrassed that I had to ask my in-laws to use their machine because I couldn't wash my kids uniforms at home. (another reason that I think uniforms are unnecessary.)

      I'm annoyed that I cleaned my basement when I could have been working on other things. On the plus side, though, at least it's one less thing that I have to worry about when it does come time to replacing the washer.

      On the downside, I cut my hand on something in the basement, so I might contract gangrene or tetanus and no, I'm not going to the doctor for a shot unless my hand starts to die and fall off or I start to mutate. I'm just going to rub some dirt in it- you got me again. I'm just going to wash my hand and bandage it, maybe put on some Neosporin. Maybe someone has an oil for that?

      But really, sometimes, a blog post might come out of something totally unexpected and maybe, you can learn something from a broken washer machine.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Making Mom Friends

  I know that this is a topic that gets talked about a lot, so I'm hoping to put another perspective on it so it's not your typical, "How To Make Mom Friends" type post.
      A little over a year ago, I was one mom in a small group of moms for a mom's group Bible study. Some of us had kids in the same age range, while others had kids who were younger or older. We met up once a week and then changed it to every other week, and then to whenever we could meet. After all, we're all moms and moms tend to be busy. We usually met without our kids and even though we, ourselves, varied in ages, we still had a common ground, which was our kids.

About Me

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Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk- A Book Review

I didn't like reading this book... but I like the book.    I know that may sound bizarre or weird, most definitely confusing.  You see, ...