It's not a sin to say no to your children
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Dear Mom's Corner,
I have two children and sometimes I get so aggravated at them. What do you do with your six kids when you get aggravated with them? Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Absolutely, not. I never get aggravated with my dear children. I love them completely and we never have shouting matches and we never have any discord in our home. OK, if I was Pinocchio my nose would be four or five feet long!
I think every home has arguments and trouble sometimes. The first thing to consider is why you're feeling overwhelmed, because I have found that can be the root cause for the aggravation with the children. For example, are you stressed out because you have allowed your children to get involved in too many activities? Have you accepted too many responsibilities? Are you expecting too much from those around you? Do you have your priorities in the right order?
Contrary to popular opinion, saying no to your children is not a sin. When my oldest was about 12 or 13 years old, she wanted to join an after school club. The problem was that we had six children in our home and she was already involved in several other activities. I told her she couldn't join the club because we were already busy enough. She got mad and told me she hated me and I was being mean. My reply? "Great, I'm glad to hear it."
My daughter looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I told her that I didn't expect her to love me every minute of every day and my job was not to be her friend, buddy, or confidant. I also explained that I hoped to be those things to her, but for right now I was her mother. I added that she didn't have to love me or all the decisions I made, but she did have to respect and obey me and I would be her friend when she was 30.
Guess what? We are still alive and my daughter doesn't seem to have suffered any major emotional trauma from the decision. How about that? However, I did prevent my stress level from increasing by not allowing her to add something else to our plate.
The bottom line is if you wake up each morning dreading the activities for that day, then you need to reexamine what you're doing. If you have to forcibly drag your children to their practices, lessons or games, then once again it's time to take another look at what's going on.
Just because your children's friends are doing something doesn't mean your children have to do it also. An example of this in our family is the fundraising campaigns we have at school. Yes, I know it is a necessary evil, but I don't let my kids do it anymore. Why? We'll for one thing we don't have any family in town or close by to sell to, and going door to door is just not a good idea in this day and age. Also, I hate trying to deliver the stuff and collect the money. Another problem I have is trying to keep it fair for all the children, otherwise I get to hear the "It's Not Fair" speech.
My big advice is pick your battles. By that I mean decide what is most important in your life or your family's life and decide what is acceptable and what isn't then stick to your guns. Don't worry about other families. What works in one family or what they can handle doesn't matter, it's your family that you have to care for.
Now for the kid part. No, the Blaylock home does not work like the "Brady Bunch." Not only do our kids yell and argue, but so do their parents. However, I've found if I can control my own voice, then it helps reduce the kid's volume.
My 16-year-old told me she knows things are really bad when I get really quiet. She says I'm scary when I'm mad because I don't yell like other parents. She knows life is not going well in the Blaylock home when Mom is talking about something they did or didn't do in a very quiet voice. I think I like that!
I have noticed that children tend to imitate what you do. If you yell and scream, they will tend to as well. Now, that having been said, no one is perfect. I've discovered when I catch myself yelling if I take a second to take a deep breath and readjust my volume, it helps tremendously.
Also, I've taken to asking the children, "Why are you yelling? Is it going to help anything?"
This helps them rethink what is going on and gives them that second to readjust their volume and with it often times comes a better attitude.
My last piece of advice is to take time for yourself. That's an awesome concept, isn't it? I'm not referring to a weekend at a spa, but something you do just for you each day. There are many things that can fit into this category. How about taking 15 minutes and doing a Bible study?
Other ideas include reading a book, watching a favorite TV program, taking a bubble bath, painting your nails, working on a craft or hobby, etc. Just doing something for yourself a few minutes each day will make you feel so much better.
In fact, one day I was really upset about chores that hadn't been done and was seriously griping at the kids. My 13-year-old son looked at me and said, "Mom, you need to go take a bubble bath for awhile then you'll feel better." He was right!
I hope everyone has a super week. If you have a question or comment for Mom's Corner, please mail it to Mom's Corner, P.O. Box 1496, Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail email@example.com.