Back To The Basics!

Yesterday I wrote about “Trying to change others vs. changing yourself,” while today I am reminded of “Choosing my battles vs. Choosing not to battle.” Seems like there’s a little trend of back-to-the-basics going on.

It is so easy to forget the simplistic yet ever so important lessons in life and sometime we just have to go back to the basics!

Last night I found myself in a little battle with my son. We just bought him a new sleeping bag for an upcoming camping trip and of course, he wanted to sleep in it, in our new tent, inside our home. No, was the first reply that instinctively came to mind, so that was naturally my reply. He tried to bargain with me and asked if he could sleep in his sleeping bag with no tent. Again, a “No” reply. After a moment, I thought about it and asked myself, “What’s the harm?” My son is a child and is simply asking what any child would. So we negotiated and I let me sleep in his bed, in his sleeping bag.

I want my son’s memories of his childhood to be full of adventurous, fun-filled memories!

This morning, again, a little struggle of the wills. My son wanted to wear his new shirt today. I didn’t want him to because he goes to his dad’s this weekend, and usually never returns home with the same clothes. I was insistent that he change but again was reminded about childhood memories. (I was always excited to wear my new clothes as a child, and mine usually were put on as soon as I got home from the store!) We came to an agreement, that he would be responsible to return them home from his dad’s place, and that no new clothes would be bought until they came home. (A fair agreement if you ask me. I cannot be responsible to buy clothes for one child at two homes.)

It all really came down to control. I have told my son, and oh does he remind me, that I cannot control him, only myself. Telling him those words has been one of the best things ever, and he is not afraid to remind me!

It’s been quite the journey learning to control myself, and not trying to control him, but man is it ever worth it! The quality of our relationship has never been better! To love is to allow freedom!

M.O.A.W.

Who Are You Praying For?

Lately I’ve become more and more aware of how to have an effective prayer life.

You see it’s often easy to pray for the wrong thing without even knowing it! Likewise, it’s also easy to often pray trying to manipulate a situation to our benefit, unintentionally of course. (Thank God HE knows what’s best for us!)

How many times after tireless, exhausting, tear-filled nights did I find myself praying, “Lord, I need your help! Change my son’s behavior; help him to be more obedient to me.” Or something of the sort anyway…

Last night as I was lying in my bed, it dawned on me that I was praying the wrong prayer the entire time! It should have reflected something to the effect of, “Lord, I need your help! Change ME!” Period. End of story!

How many times have we heard that cliché, ” You can’t change another person, all you can change is yourself.” Yes it is so true, and I knew it, but I guess the revelation didn’t hit my prayer life.

I still pray for my son, but when I pray regarding areas I want to see changed in his life, I pray my requests in thanksgiving, as if it will already be granted. I also pray that God would give me eyes to see the situation, and my son, the way He does. I pray that I would have wisdom to parent my son the way he needs to be parented specific to him, and love him the way he needs to be loved, not the way I would like to parent or the way I would need love.

As I have changed, naturally my son has changed too. I am in awe of the fact that he not only has changed for the positive, but there has been a supernatural radical growth in him over his life span, but more particularly these last 2 months. I’m so proud of him and so very, very thankful for God’s grace and unending love my son and I.

God is so Good!

M.O.A.W.

“What’s Next?”

Change has always stirred up feelings of anxiety for me. Perhaps its because of the strong desire for control in areas of my life that I felt were out of control.

My son has started a new daycare for the summer, and will lead into before and after school care in the fall.

Will (what if) he cause trouble for them?
Will (what if) she has to close the daycare because she hasn’t’ found more kids to care for?
Will (what if) the personalities be a good fit?
Will (what if) the other kids and my son (don’t) get along?
Will (what if) they ask him to leave?
Will (what if) I have a child care so I can work?
Will (what if) I get fired?

You can see where this kind of thinking goes… nowhere really.

My son has gone to more daycares/before & after school care than I could ever count. Seriously I’ve lost track!
One year, there were at least 6 different places that I recall.

This has always been my second biggest challenge (often a result of behavior), right next to my son’s behavior.

Well, his behavior has improved LEAPS and Bounds, however many times, if in the wrong setting, things and people can trigger it, and a flare up happens again.

I am fully aware and make sure my son knows, that ultimately, no matter what the other person is like, says or does, he is responsible for his own actions, because that is all he really can control. In adult life, just as childhood, there will be an array of different personalities that he will have to work with, and it will not excuse poor choices on his end at any point in time.

My son has experienced many care workers who have treated him beyond “unacceptable,” boarder lining abuse and even reasons to have day cares closed down.  He by no means is always the reason for needing to leave and change so many daycares, however often it has been a result of his behavior. (A very hard thing to deal with when you find out that the reason your child is acting a specific negative way is because he is communicating without words that he is hurting and being hurt, verbally, physically, and emotionally.)

Even with this great behavior he has been displaying for the last several months, (with the occasional hic-up here and there,) still, there lays the worry and fear that tries to arise and get my mind on negative, pessimistic thinking.

My solution: Trusting in God.

He has always provided for me, even if at the very last minute, He has NEVER failed to come through. The worry lies in the “What if’s,” but I know that He is my Father and provider and His love never fails.

Seriously, when I (you) think of it, when has God ever not come through in the end? ALL things have always worked together for good. (Even if I (you) didn’t see it at the time, even if it was so last minute that tears and sweat rolled.) Reminding myself that “He always has come through with a way in the past” really puts things in perspective, especially when my mind wants to go into worry mode.

The above said really makes life interesting. Understanding that I was never in control of the circumstance or the outcome, releases me from trying to be in control of it now, which ultimately helps me stress less and enjoy life the way He (God) wanted us to. I will admit, I often need to remind myself, “He has it under control,” but in the same respects, life has also been a really great journey of learning, living and laughing (yes crying and worry and stress to the max too!) because I no longer have to have all the answers to the “What if’s” and now I get to ponder on the “What’s next?”

Because I changed my thinking, and constantly renew my mind with right thinking, I can wake up every day excited, even when nothing too exciting appears to be happening, and wonder, “What’s next!”

M.O.A.W.

Being The Change To Create The Change

“Children often do not know how to express the way they feel about their environment with mere words. But their life often becomes a message that is manifest through their actions, behaviors and attitudes. Even their physical well-being is often a sign of their sense of well-being or neglect. Learn the language of children and improve your parenting skills.” -Kris Vallotton KVMinistries

As a parent, it is vital to the success of a child’s life, to be able to understand their (parents) own feelings prior to helping a child understand theirs.

If as parents, we don’t communicate our feelings, and we act them out through aggressive, passive or passive aggressive behavior, how can we expect a child to do any different? We are their examples, whether we like it or not; they look up to us, and model our behaviors.

It is so important for parents to get rest, take breaks from their children, and learn to know themselves so they can be the best moms and dads for their little geniuses.

This is what I have been learning, and while it’s not easy, it is extremely important to their success in learning to know all that they are capable to be.

Every time I look at my son and watch his behaviors and attitudes, good or bad, I see a glimpse of a reflection of both his father and I. Although this has often been discouraging, so many times has it been rewarding as well.

As human beings, we will never get it all right. Knowing that, there is no point of focusing on the problem, merely recognizing it, and making a decision to work at it and not give up on creating the change that we want to see in our lives.

M.O.A.W.

Changing Your World: Rewards vs. Bribes vs. Spoiling

While many parents want their children to have a “better” lifestyle than they (parents) had growing up, there is a fine line between rewarding and spoiling; the same is to be said for rewarding vs. bribing.

I believe the difference comes with the heart behind the matter.

Many times when parents don’t feel present enough, loved enough, liked enough, or even grew up without, they feel the need to give material possessions to make up for the insecurities they have, which they assume their children will too have if they “go without.” When a parent works at healing their own heart, they can see the situation in a clearer, more accurate light.

(There are many reasons why, these are just a few from my generalizing perspective.)

Many times when parents feel they need to have control or they feel out of control of their kids, they feel that bribing their children will give them (parents) the results they are looking for. This comes from a heart of manipulation, often unintentional, however still manipulation. Perhaps these parents don’t feel in control of themselves, their lives, and their heart that they feel the need to control what they can, often, their children.

I believe in rewarding my son for good behavior, but I also believe in teaching him the value of money and his good choices.

If we always do everything for our children, they do not learn valuable life skills that they will need throughout their entire lives. If we always rescue them when they get in trouble and make poor choices, they will not learn how to solve their own problems. If we always give them what they want, when they want it, we prevent them from learning the value of earning, and taking pride in what they have earned, accomplished and become. This is where natural responses and consequences come in; we need to allow children to experience the consequences of their actions, to learn life lessons now, so when they are older, they will be equipped for when the world throws dirt and life is all of a sudden not so “easy.”

Parenting is probably the hardest job to have. When we take ownership of our responsibility as parents, we will begin to see the changes that we long for. If we take the time to do it now, we will see the fruit of our efforts later in life.

It’s never too late to change, yourself, in turn the world around you may change too. Do nothing, and the world around you will change too. Which way it changes is completely up to you!

Fruit of My Changes

The last three weeks have been an amazing experience!

Since I decided to recommit myself to praying not only nightly but every time I thought about my son, his behavior has been incredible!

My son is on an IEP (Individual Education Plan) at school to help cater to his needs. He learns everything the other students learn, but the setting may be different, the location, and time given to complete tasks. My son often needs breaks from the class or extra snacks to help him get back on track and focused. The teachers, counselors, educational assistants and principal involved are all amazed at how my son has kept up academically with the other students, while he is not present for at least one-third of the time. He has communication book that gets sent home daily that the teacher writes in to let me know how the day went and any issues or successes that happened. There is also a “Red Light/Green Light” system in place where a red, green or blue light is on each class, break and lunch time resembling, really poor choices, great choices and break time for the blue light. The principal on several occasions has commented on how my son, although often would make poor choices with his behavior, still has a lot of friends and the children really love to be around him. (Praise God for that!) This education plan has really helped my son throughout this school year.

In the past, when I would read the communication book, a general day would have at least one red light, but usually two or three, several green lights and at least three blue lights. Usually around this time of the year (last two months of school), the principal says, students are really ready for summer vacation, and they are quite tired and it often shows in their work and body language. About a month ago, I would say this was exactly what my son was experiencing, however I knew there was much more to it than that. They are his choices, which he is responsible for.

There have been a few things I have been implementing that seem to be working. I have been praying diligently, allowing my son to choose his own bed time however “Bedroom Time” is 8pm (Essentially I have been giving him more choices and allowing him to be in control of his life, while being responsible for the outcome.) as well as speaking words of life over my son and changing ME, the big one. Since then his communication book reads ALL green lights and several blue lights (usually one or two a day, however sometimes none!) This is quite an improvement! At home has improved at a slower rate than school, but it has improved!

Super excited for my son’s future! (We have been starting swimming lessons, a smaller group, less hyper stimulating, and goals to achieve set. So far he is doing great and this is helping him build his self-esteem as well as burn off some of that energy.)

Will keep you posted!

M.O.A.W.

A Bitter-Sweet Milestone Victory

A bitter-sweet moment took place last night, certainly a victory, yet a moment of sadness, realizing my son is becoming more independent and growing up. This by no means is me complaining as I could only pray that as he grows, the positive and logical parenting skills that I am learning and applying will instill in him and help him become a Godly leader of a man with character, wisdom, love, and passion.

This is about day five of the new ‘Bedroom Time’ routine.

Last evening, we arrived home from doing our laundry, (he folded his own clothes) and he put away his clothes, washed his dishes from the previous two days, went to the washroom, brushed & flossed his teeth (with my help) grabbed a few toys and went to his room, ALL before 8 o’clock, his ‘Bedroom Time.’ Not only that, he did it all without having to be asked twice, and without complaining.

As I began my paintings, during ‘Mommy’s quiet time,’ I looked over and within 30 minutes, the lights were off and he was fast asleep. (This was the first time he turned the lights off and even had the door kept closed.)

The moment I was waiting for, now had arrived, yet a tear almost rolled. A victory for sure, a very exciting moment especially after the last two weeks I’ve had with bed time behavior; my efforts were (are) paying off and the fruit of my labor has begun to blossom. (FINALLY) Yet, in that moment all at the same time, a deep sadness that my boy didn’t need mommy to scratch his back, read a story, sing him a song, or tuck him in to help him sleep. (He even had the door closed and lights off!)

Surely I will cherish our moments together even more so now.

I wasn’t sure if I should cry or shout for joy during this milestone in time, but praising God was certainly in order.

Persistency and patience builds character.

M.O.A.W.