Category Archives: Parenting

How To Calm Your Kids When They Fight

homegrownmommy calm kidsPlease tell me I’m not the only one whose children fight sometimes. More than sometimes. More than I would like them to.

It’s just normal sibling stuff but I just feel awful when they get at each other. Especially with our recent move, things have been pretty out of whack. I don’t do well living in boxes, so I’ve been so focused on unpacking that our schedule and their emotions have been on the fritz.

So, we had a “situation” today. The outcome ended up being better than I expected and, since my main motivation for writing on this blog is to help encourage you guys, I wanted to share it with you.

Here’s the lead-up:

Child A and Child B are fighting downstairs. Child A walks away in the midst of the upset. Child A comes across my path and begins talking to me about something else.

Child B is still mad and comes to find Child A. I see the look on Child B’s face and intervene. (Side note: I canNOT say or type the word “intervene” without hearing Tim Hawkins’ voice in my head!!! Lol!!! I linked the video for your giggle-of-the-day but forward to 1:53 if you just want to hear him say it!)

Anyway, back to the children. Ahem.

I took both kids into my room and had them sit on the bed while I discussed better ways of handling the situation. Neither of them were particularly chipper by the time this teaching moment was over and I excused them to go finish what they were supposed to be doing. Child A was obviously still upset by the sound of the stomping.

Surely You DID Something About That!?!

In the past, I’ve been taught to deal harshly and swiftly with that type of behavior – the stomping, the fuming that goes along with it, the attitude. I normally would have called her back over and corrected her by pointing out that her attitude was way out of line and that she needed to fix it.

But, recently, I’ve seen some other ways to deal kids in these tough situations. Situations where it seems like no matter what I say, I make it worse. Where I am trying to teach them something valuable but they just aren’t receiving it.

So, I did something about it.

I called Child A back over by me and had her sit on my lap – she’s 9 but sometimes, she still needs mama’s lap. First, I hugged her for several minutes. Then, I gently smiled at her asked in a warm voice, “What do you need? What can I do for you?”

“Nothing.”

So, I just rubbed her back for a little bit.

“Well, I guess you don’t really ever let me talk. You just talk and then make us carry on with what we’re doing.”

This was said sadly but respectfully and sweetly – no bad attitude was left at all.

We talked some more and they she went back to her story from before Child B entered the picture. It was really nice. I felt like we connected and she understood how the situation could have been handled differently.

It’s now late afternoon and she has had a wonderful spirit about her all day.

Sometimes, It’s Okay To Turn Back

homegrownmommy sometimes its okay to turn backTurning back? Isn’t that like giving up, being a quitter, not having enough faith? Surely turning back is never ever the right choice!

Or, isn’t it?

Today is my first day home alone with the kiddos. My husband has worked from home for the last three years – always someone around to talk to, always someone there to help with the kids, always a team member to pick up the slack.

We were committed to keeping him home and growing our income streams to support our family unit. We worked on it. We prayed.We worked some more.

Then, last week, we looked at each other and knew we had to turn back. He took a great job with a great company who truly appreciates him and his talent. Sighs of relief have been frequent. We feel less burdened.

Initially, I wondered if we were being quitters. Were we losing our faith? Was our success just around the next corner if only we persevered? Are we giving up on our dreams?

Then, I reflected on the other things we’ve “turned back” on …

  • Kids outside the home – to homeschooling – to public school (When my oldest son was little, I was a single mom and he went to daycare while I worked. When my husband and I married, we began the homeschooling journey. Then, my son wanted to try out the public school experience while living with his dad – he is doing well.)
  • Staying put – to moving – to staying put (We’ve moved quite a bit over the years. I thought we were going to stay in Florida forever when we moved. Then, we came back to Wisconsin. We were going to move closer to church – now, we are going to stay where were are because it’s a good middle between hubby’s work and church.)
  • Open dress code – to only skirts – to an open dress code (I grew up wearing whatever – within reason, of course! Then, I made the decision to wear only skirts. Recently, I realized I was doing that as an outward sign of my own righteousness. Jesus is my only righteousness!)

What are you struggling with today? Have you made a decision that is causing some unrest and you are wondering if you should go back and make a different choice?

Certainly, this is different for each person and for each situation. I don’t want everyone to start giving up on those hard-to-live-with husbands or the difficult homeschool year or that really challenging conviction!

But, just know that, sometimes, it’s okay. Sometimes, you have to travel down the road a piece before you realize it’s not the right path. God works all things together for good and He’s watching over you!

 

How To Make Your Oldest Feel Important {Not Overwhelmed}

homegrownmommy

We have a pretty large family by most folks’ estimation – 5 kiddos living with us and one outside our home.

My oldest daughter is nine years old and she is so very sweet and helpful and she desperately loves her younger siblings {most days}.

I have found myself reminding her at times that she is the oldest and sets an example for the younger kids.

One day, she confided in me when we were alone that, while she usually really loves being an older sister, there are some days when it just feels … hard. She had a hard time coming up with the words that fit the feeling she was experiencing.

But, I think I understand what she was communicating.

Ever since that day, I try to make sure that I am helping her to feel important in her position, but not overwhelmed. She seems to be feeling much better!

birth order issues, big family birth orderHere are the top three things I try to keep in mind each day:

1. Do not to use her position as the oldest as a way to get her to behave more inline with what I expect.
I honestly think this is where her overwhelmed feeling came from. I would see her acting … well, her age, really … and I would remind her that the other kids were watching and learning from her. Ugh! Talk about putting a load on a kid’s shoulders.

2. Extra privileges because she is the oldest.
But, not so many that the younger kids get jealous about something they cannot control – their birth order.

For instance, generally, when all the kids are asking to help with “the baby” {who isn’t really a baby any more but she’s the youngest so she’ll always be the baby!} I pick my oldest daughter more often than not because she’s the oldest. And, because she just happens to mesh a little better with the youngest.

But, there are some things she gets to do just because of her age – something they can eventually attain to – such as staying up later than the rest of the kids. Eventually, they will all hit nine years of age as well and will be able to stay up until 8:30pm just like big sis’ did.

3. Let her be a kid.
Don’t always expect her to act like the oldest. Some days, she just feels silly! {Don’t we all!!} Or irritable. Or sad. Or it was a mistake. Or she wanted to try something new.

There may be things she does that I think she is too old for, but she really shouldn’t have it hanging over her head all the time that she is the leader. Even leaders need a break on a regular basis.

4. Let her be out of the limelight.
There are some children that love the spotlight. My oldest daughter is definitely not one of them. Although she is slowly coming out of her proverbial shell {hurray!!}, she doesn’t want to always have people focusing on her.

But, as the oldest of the 5, many people automatically look at her and say what a great big help she must be and start talking to her about her position. I try to move that spotlight sometimes when I sense that she is extra uncomfortable.

birth order issues, big family birth orderEach child is so different.

I am so glad that my daughter confided in me about her feelings and that I was able to do some course correcting in order to help the situation. And, I hope my experience helps you, too!

How do YOU deal with issues that come up regarding birth order?

How To Feel So Much Better About Your Parenting Skills

how to feel so much better about your parenting skills

You are doing a good job, Momma! But, I know, some days, you really don’t feel like you’re doing so hot.

Sometimes, the only difference between how we want to be and how we really are is how we feel about it.

If you ask anyone around, they would probably say that you are a great mom. A great wife. A great member. A great friend. A great sister.

So, on those days when you aren’t feeling it, you want get to that point where you feel so. much. better.

How?

Four Simple Steps

 Know it. Believe it. 
That’s the first step in becoming the mom you want to be. Believe it first. You can read hundreds of parenting books and pray for God’s wisdom every waking moment – but, if you never take on that identity, if you never believe it can really happen for you, if you never begin to live it out, all that time and effort would be in vain.
 Speak it. 
Your words matter. Think of them as little seeds that you sow and will grow, bearing much fruit. Are you planting complaint seeds about that time you yelled or when you forgot a special day? Are you constantly talking about how you messed up each day? Are you proclaiming how you’ll never get it right? What kind of fruit do you think will be falling from the trees planted by those words?
Ask about it.
Ask the people around you, the ones who see who you really are on those days with no makeup and the mommy-ponytail hairdo. I dare you to ask your kids what kid of mom they think you are! Check out this video of some moms and kids who were in that exact position.
Rehearse it. 
{re} + {hear} it. Self-talk is a good thing! Say all those good things to your self again at the end of the day. Every night, before you fall asleep, think about or journal the answers to these three questions – what did i do right? what could i have done better? what am i thankful for? If you go to sleep with those kind of thoughts running through your mind, you can’t help but see improvements in your parenting skills.

When you first start implementing these ideas, it will feel weird. Really weird.

These are not things that we are normally taught to do. When we think about doing better as a parent, we think about the latest parenting book or Bible study about parenting or some other technique that some doctor told us would solve all our problems.

But, I promise – you will feel so much better.

I can make that promise because I’ve traveled this road. I started out telling everyone around me what an awful mom I am and how I am certainly messing up my kids’ futures a little bit each day. Now, I can smile and accept a complement when someone says what great kids I have and how I am doing such a great job.

Of course, I want God to get all the glory in my life, so I make sure to tell them that He has done it all through me and given me such wonderful children.

There are days that don’t feel so great still. But, it’s much much better than when I started the day out automatically assumed that I was going to mess up.

Believe in yourself, Momma! God sure does!

Do you have any rituals that you use to help yourself feel better after a particularly challenging day of parenting? Share please!

I linked this article to:

How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Walking Redeemed – Wednesday Link Party Works For Me Wednesday
how to feel so much better about your parenting skills how to feel so much better about your parenting skills how to feel so much better about your parenting skills
Mama Moment Monday  Capture Your Joy
 

 

 

Talking To Toddlers Audio Course Review – Success Stories

To read my full review of Talking To Toddlers, check out my review article.

To read more success stories, please check out this one.

ANOTHER success story with Talking To Toddlers!

This one is with the potty-trained three-year-old again. I am definitely glad I have learned these techniques to use with her – out of six children, she has certainly been the only with the most will power! With Talking To Toddlers, I don’t have to argue or get upset or yell. {Well, I guess I wouldn’t HAVE to get upset or yell even without T2T, but this makes it much easier to know what to do instead!}

Me: “Okay, honey! Time to go to the bathroom!”
Her: “But I want to help big brother with the toast.”
Me: “Oh. You want to help big brother make toast? Is that right?” (Mirroring her question to enter her world – so she knows I understand what she needs.)
Her: “Uh-huh!”
Me: “Would you like to help big brother cook the toast or butter the toast after you go potty?” (Double Bind)
Her: “Um, butter the toast after I go potty!”

And, off to the bathroom she went!! Hurray! With this particular child, this situation could easily have escalated into a meltdown if I had not used the double bind.

What situations would you like to turn from potential meltdown to smooth and easy?

Talking To Toddlers Review – Success Stories

I’ve been having so much success with the tools I have learned with Talking To Toddlers, I have decided to post some of the stories here as I think about it. If I can possibly get one of the magical moments on camera for you, I will. With my kiddos (maybe yours too?) you just never know what situation is going to spark a little bit of tension and many times the moment is over before I can get to my camera! 🙂

This afternoon was one of those wonderful moments.

The kids were all caught up with school work, the house was clean {as clean as it’s gonna get, anyway}, my husband and I needed to get some serious work done for our internet marketing business. So, we decided that a little bit of video time for the kids was in order.

Our three-year-old is newly potty trained  – dry all day with regular reminders from us to go and a small treat for each successful trip, dry at nap, diaper at night with it usually being pretty wet in the morning. I wanted her to make a stop in the bathroom before the movie started so there wouldn’t be any accidents.

Me: “Honey, go to the bathroom real quick before the movie, please.”
Her: “But, I don’t want to.”
Me: {a little nervous this might turn into a meltdown} “I don’t want you to have an accident during the movie.  I’ll wait to start the movie until you’re done.”
Her: “But, I don’t have to go to the potty.”
Me: “Well, would you like your treat after you go potty or before you start watching the movie?” (Double Bind with Presupposition – Lesson 1 of the Audio Course)
Her: “After I go potty!” as she galloped off to go to the bathroom.

Not all our success stories end with a treat. This one just happens to because it’s where we’re at with her potty training. It got her mind off of not wanting to go to the bathroom and on to something she did want.

Either way, she did what needed to be done and I did not have to argue or threaten even a little! Hurray!

If you would like to check out the Chris Thompson’s Talking To Toddlers Audio Course, check out his site.

If you would like to read my full review of the course, check out my article.

Training Children – The Goodness

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I am constantly learning how to be a better parent. Everyday, I learn a new lesson. Every moment, I see things from a deeper perspective. Praise the Lord! He answers my prayers about being a better mom to these beautiful treasures He has entrusted me with!

A few of those lessons culminated into one big “ah-ha!” for me a while back and I’ve really been wanting to share it with you. Finding time to share in between taking care of the needs these sweet little treasures come with is another story!

My husband and I have been experiencing and learning about God’s amazing love and abundant grace all over again these last few months. One of the verses that we have gone to over and over again is Romans 2:4 where the last part of it says, “… the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”.

So we started applying that idea to our children. When we see an area where repentance is needed, we go to them with thoughts of care and goodness. We’ve gotten so much further with our kids than ever before! My little two-year-old is the best example of this.

She’s two. She doesn’t like to sit still. When she gets antsy in church, I look her in the eyeballs and smile a big loving smile and say, “Where is my good girl?” She smiles right back and tells me that she is my good girl and sits right down – for at least two more minutes. But, the more I tell her she is being a good girl, the more she actually behaves well!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21  I spoke life into her little heart and the fruit of that was a sweet smiling girl.

What does the goodness of God do in your own life? You probably have lots of stories!

What does the goodness of God do in the lives of those that don’t even believe in Him? He gives them rain and air to breathe and a heart that beats. Now, that’s good!!

Let’s do that for our kids!

 

 

Update On a Mother’s Broken Heart – Mended and Thriving

Oh happy day! After reading over my first article about when my son made the decision to leave our home, I am overjoyed at the progress we {I} have made. It certainly isn’t perfect, but that initial pain, as though someone was ripping out my heart, is mended and we are thriving as a family!

The first year of school outside our home was pretty hard on my son (more accurately, hard on his grades). He learned lots of lessons – academic and otherwise! It was very hard to plan times to get together – we just had never had to do that before. It was very strange to meet him for dinner to celebrate his birthday – he had never ever woken up on the morning of his birthday anywhere else but our home.

But, now, a full year later (almost to the day as I write this) time has certainly healed the wounds. I still miss him and wish he could be with us on a daily basis for all the little things that happen when we are all together. I wish he could have seen his baby sister start pulling up to her feet. I wish he could have been with us when we went on vacation to Kentucky.

I feel like our relationship has mended to the point that it’s almost better than it ever was. I don’t feel the guilt and burden of making sure he is doing what he’s *supposed* to be doing. When we get together, it’s generally light-hearted. I feel much more freedom to just accept him for who he is and not be overly judgmental, to send him thoughts and prayers of love instead of worrying about how he was behaving. It certainly isn’t my ideal way to be a mother, but it is what it is and it’s working for us right now.

He is in high school now and just finished off his first season of football with basketball very close behind. I think the team-spirit they are teaching him is really helping him develop even more. It’s been great to see how he is growing and maturing.

What I Have Learned … So Far

Lesson #1: I’ve learned to be much more patient with all my kids, less worrisome and fearful about every behavior they display. With my son maturing into such a fine young man, I feel like everything with all of them really is going to be okay. Not that I have become what I might call and overly permissive mother, but definitely majoring more on the peaceful and positive parenting styles.

Lesson #2: Be careful what you say! It will come to pass! I have done LOTS of studying on this particular aspect {not necessarily in relation to this situation, but it bears out here as well} of your words coming true. The Bible definitely matches up with the idea. I always said that he would probably hit his teen years and hate our rules and expectations and take off for his dad’s.

If You Are Going Through Something Similar

Please comment below or email me {hgm @ Home Grown Mommy dot com}. I would love to pray for you, maybe even with you if you would like. The reason I run this website is to help other moms with this life they are living. Just having someone else nearby that has walked this path already makes the hard times a little easier. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it leads to better days ahead.

Love Is The Best Parenting Tool

god is love never failsI’ve been on this parenting journey almost 15 years. With 6 kids, ages 14, 8, 7, 5, 3, and 8 months, I technically have about 37 years of experience.

You would think I would have it all figured out by now! lol!

I don’t.

But, I am learning each and every day! And, I am so thankful for every lesson.

Recently, I have been learning very valuable lessons in love. Love and it’s application to child-rearing.

Two stories to illustrate what I mean …

My son (7) was playing with our youngest (8mos). He was being way too rough, in my estimation. I told him to play more gently.

I told him, again, to play more gently.

I told him again to play more gently – this time, I didn’t tell him so gently. I was getting frustrated.

So, when he started it again, I started to stare in his direction with frustration mounting. I thought for sure that, once he looked at me (because you can always *feel* someone staring before you see them, right? – don’t judge, it made sense at the time) he would realize that he was doing it again, and stop on his own.

Well, he never looked.

Then, I stopped for a second.

*I remembered that holding on to this feeling of frustration was doing nothing good for my mind or my body.

*I remembered that aiming this feeling of frustration at him was doing nothing good for my son.

*I remembered that even though I can’t see these feelings, they are there and they are powerful.

So, I stopped. Instead, I looked at him with all the love I had in my heart for him. I thought of how sweet he was to even be playing with his little sister, smiling at her, tickling her, paying attention to her. I could feel that love for him welling up in my stomach and in my heart.

Within moments, he stopped how he was playing with the baby and looked at me. He smiled ever-so-sweetly – a genuine, rich, delicious smile. Then, he went back to playing much more calmly and gently with her!

hmmmmm … making a mental note

Second story …

My 3 year old is going through a particularly … um … trying … time in her behavior at this {short} time in her life. I have experienced defiance from this child like I have never experienced from any of the others. It’s not that she is worse or any more naughty than your average 3 year old, it’s just that she is more determined – she has more stamina in her choice than I do in mine at times.

So, today, I experienced one of these (what feels to me like) battles of wills with her. We were unpacking ourselves from the vehicle and going in the house, so she was out in the parking lot when it started. She did not want to go in the house. Not really sure why – she just didn’t.

Mission One:

get her out of the public eye – that always magnifies everything, in my opinion. We gently guided her into the house and then into her room. Mission accomplished.

Mission Two:

hug a childget her to calm down. She was really loud upset by this point. I saw my sweet little girl, standing in the middle of the room with anguish on her face because she just did not understand why she could not have what she wanted to have, with tears streaking down her face, and her mouth drawn wide open to allow the loudest sounds to come out – and I fell in love with her all over again. I realized that she was just a child who needed love and direction. So, I scooped her up in my arms and held her closely and gently and told her I loved her so much.

She quieted instantly. Mission accomplished.

We talked a little about how much fun we had earlier in the day – partly, to get her mind off what she wanted. I told her I needed to put her down in her bed (where I wanted her to begin with) and that I would be right back (I really really needed a potty break).

Love.

So simple.  So powerful.

Isn’t that the tool that Christ used when He died for us? Isn’t that what He was trying to teach us while He walked this earth? Isn’t that how He parents us now?

Love. God IS love.

You BE love to your child. It will make a world of difference.

 

(photo credit: http://atsadifish.deviantart.com/art/God-is-LOVE-Never-Fails-215799888 and http://www.openarmsofblueridge.org/campaigns/spend-local.aspx)

How To Survive A Mother’s Broken Heart

Is it just me or do the heart breaks get bigger as the kids get older? I’m not really sure whether the title of this post should be a statement or a question.

We’ve just entered a sad new chapter in our lives with our oldest child – I am so very very scared, terribly heart broken and just confused. He is 13 years old and has moved out of our home to live with his father permanently.

(You can read my story to get a little more of the background – I had him before I was married.)

He has never displayed any huge outbursts or loud temper-tantrums of rebellion – just a quiet, yet dark, under-tow of disconnect. But, I always felt like maybe I was just being too hard on him or expecting too much from him. Maybe is was simply my fault and I wasn’t a good enough mom.

Part of me feels like I don’t want to talk about too many details. It is so personal and so close to my heart and I am so bruised and battered already – opening it all up to the world wide web seems very daunting. I also do want to protect his part in this story.

But, I also want to be a help to other families that may be going through the same issue. I have received so much help and solace from Not Consumed as she has shared some details and some awesome resources for getting through this type of heart-break.

(At first, I understood that her blog title is from a Bible verse. Now, I also understand that, sometimes, you feel completely consumed by the loss, the heart-break, the trial. But, through the Lord, we don’t have to be consumed.)

I mention Not Consumed because I would love to pass on the comfort that her words have given me to someone else who is going through the same type of situation I find myself in – but, I won’t be as much of a help if I don’t share more of the details. So, little by little, as I learn and grow through this, I will share.

This first post is pretty big for me at this point. Normally, around here we talk about lesson plans and teaching kids about missions and product reviews.

Nitty gritty emotion was not what I had planned. Maybe Someone has a bigger idea in Mind.

I want to share how I felt like crawling into bed and crying all day with the covers over my head.

I want to share that the pictures of him as a baby taunted me in my mind’s eye throughout the day.

I want to share that I could not sleep or even breathe sometimes.

But, how can words convey those emotions? Maybe you’ve been there too and the words are unnecessary. Maybe the feeling is already stirred in your broken but mended heart.

There were days when he first left that I could think of nothing else. I couldn’t cook or clean, I couldn’t teach, talking was a chore.

But then, there were days when I looked at the beautiful crew of remaining children the Lord has blessed me with and I just knew I had to stop mourning for the one who no longer wanted to be there and live for the ones that do.

So, we would take a trip to the library and then curl up on the couch for lots of reading time. We made cookies and delivered them to an older lady in the neighborhood. We went to church when I wanted to be anywhere else but there.

I am amazed at the stuff God made a mother’s heart out of – simply indestructible, it seems. Though I felt that this heartache may actually destroy this heart of mine forever, I have seen smiles and laughter again. I didn’t die under the weight of it all, I have survived.

There certainly will be more sad days ahead. There will be hurt feelings. There will be hard times. But, through it all, I know that I’ll make it through.