Saturday, June 18, 2011

Has Had Conversations to Cherish with my kids and Some I don't Cherish

She stood by the toilet paper dispenser in their bathroom with her hands on her hips contemplating the roll that was sitting on top of the dispenser. “Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here?” For a split moment, I grinned. Then I opened my mouth, and the words that tumbled out of my mouth were words that had been uttered in the 80s when I was in my youth. “Let see here, I go to the grocery story, cook the food, sort the laundry, wash, dry and fold the laundry, help you with your homework, pay the bills, clean the kitchen, drive you and your brother everywhere you need to go. Why don’t you tell me exactly what you do around here, and then I’ll finish my list.” Silence… Crickets... She was trying out the attitude, and it had not gone over well for her at all. When I was telling my sister about the interchange she asked, “Is she still with us?” Dr. Dobson said parenting isn’t for sissies, and I say parenting isn’t to be done without a support group! I laughed and told her that she is for now.

I’m sooooooo not ready for puberty. The taste we have received so far makes me dread what is going to come in the years ahead. The emotional roller coaster. The drama, or as Pearce says as he’s walking through the den, “Dwama, dwama, dwama.” I don’t have the heart to tell him this is just the beginning, and it will get worse before it gets better.

In our home, our children have responsibilities they must complete before they can have privileges that include music, television or play time. Responsibilities include taking care of their person (brushing teeth, hair, getting dressed), cleaning their room and their side of the bathroom, switching over the laundry, folding the laundry and putting it away. They are also responsible for loading and unloading the dishes and cleaning off the table. Yes, even my six year old does them. Erin has learned to make oatmeal, scrambled eggs and popcorn in the microwave. Pearce waters the plants and makes sure the dog is fed and watered. We don’t pay them for these because we see this as being part of living in a family. They get paid for their job – earning good grades at school. Sometimes if we have extra jobs around the house and they are wanting to earn money, then we offer it to them first.

I’m sure there are some that are better at this parenting-thing, but this is what we’ve come up with so far. Now, if we could just find a way to manage the attitude and raised voices. We talk about exercising self-control, and there are consequences for not exercising self-control. Some consequences are natural. Others we have to make along the way. It’s okay to have emotions, and we expect them to feel them and share them, but there is a better way than raising a voice or with an attitude.

I love the fact that both of our kids feel like they can talk to either of us. Pearce talked to me last night about his adoption and his birth mom…what a tender, sweet conversation. Absolutely love those conversations from the heart.

I’ve been asked if our children know they are adopted. Ever since I started telling stories to Erin her birth story has been part of the repertoire, and the same goes for Pearce. I love telling them their stories, and it has fascinated me as to the questions they ask at different times in their lives. I use the same verbiage – birth mom, biological sibling, birth father, etc. Things they understand on a simple level will go deeper as they age. I remember Erin asking me, “What does biological mean?” These are the conversations I cherish.

What conversations do you cherish with your children or grandchildren?

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