This post started out in my head with the intention of saying that Family means Chaos, but that’s okay… But then it turned into something else. A post on parenting tips. And I’m still on the fence about how I feel about me writing on the topic of parenting.
Look. I’m not a parent. Yet. But that also means that I am clearly not a prefect parent. Though, to be fair, I don’t think anyone is.
However. I feel like there are just certain things that children should be taught, but not all of them are. And with my cousins in town for several weeks, the difference in how they have been raised and how my nephew has been raised as made me realize some big differences.
And these differences are going to help me when it comes to raising a child of my own some day. And maybe, just maybe, hey can help you out too.
First of all, let’s face it, when extended family gets together, chaos will ensue. Especially if it’s children seeing each other when they normally don’t get to.
That doesn’t excuse certain things though. And that’s what has brought about this list….
6 Things That Parents Should Be Teaching Their Children:
My cousins have been raised so that 8:30 is bedtime. Even for the oldest who is now 10. Y’all, 8:30 is still daylight. Especially right now in the depths of summer. But they’re having to go to bed. I remember bedtime being more like 9:00 or 9:30. And that’s even what it is for my nephew (though it’s sometimes pushed to 10:00 since, hello, summer).
But having said that, I don’t think this is a BAD thing. It’s a structure they’re used to, which is good. There are expectations in place of what they are supposed to do every day — including workbook studies of school-type work even though it’s summer, etc. Again, this is a good thing. They are being taught a structure, and when you get out in the real world, you have to accept certain structures whether you like them or not.
In all fairness, I understand that early bedtimes don’t/won’t work for everyone. I’m not sure I agree with an 8:30 bedtime anyway. But when I have children of my own, I will make sure that I have some kind of structure and daily expectations in place so that my children will have a general idea of what to expect.
Here in the South, we generally teach yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am, etc. And it’s “yes”, not “yeah” (it’s a Southern thing, but I’ll give Miss Congeniality a little credit on that one too). And my nephew knows this. He’s got great manners, and he could charm just about anyone.
My cousins on the other hand, who have not been raised in the South, never use sir or ma’am and are always using “yeah”. It’s mildly frustrating. But attempting to teach this to them while they’re in town for a few weeks is pointless, because they’re parents won’t keep it up when they get back home.
But here’s the thing. It’s about respect. It’s about respecting the person you’re talking to. At the job I just left, the technicians always called me “Miss Hope”. Always. Never once did they just call me “Hope”. And even though Miss Hope makes me feel old (just like “Ms Foster” is totally my mother and not me, because I’m not that old), it doesn’t matter. It’s a sign of respect.
And this isn’t about respect for your elders, though that’s important too. It’s respect for everyone. I use sir and ma’am and other signs of respect with just about everyone I talk to, regardless of age. And I feel like all children should be taught this as well.
How To Use Your Inside Voice
It’s not that hard y’all. Just don’t yell. It should be simple. And yet, it’s not.
I spent part of two days this week helping my mom watch my nephew and cousins. And the number of times I had to remind them that we were inside or that I was right in front of them was just far too many to count.
I realize that in a house that has three siblings, my cousins are probably used to having to be loud to be heard. But it’s really not necessary. Just teach everyone else to listen, and then the person talking can just talk without having to yell or use a loud voice.
How To Behave In A Restaurant
This. Should. Be. Obvious.
Everyone is pretty much aware of the fact that if your child is crying or screaming or throwing a tantrum in a restaurant, you take them outside.
But this isn’t about that.
This is about the fact that parents should not be teaching their children that the first thing you do when you sit down at a table is blow your straw wrapper into someone else’s face. If you wanna do that sort of thing at your own table at home, then fine. But it’s not okay in a restaurant. More often than not, that straw wrapper ends up in the floor or on another table, left to be picked up by someone else.
And speaking of leaving things for someone else to pick up…
Picking Up After Themselves
My cousins are pretty good about this one, to a certain extent. When they finish eating, they know to scrape whatever is left onto their plate into the trash and then leave their plate in the sink. And since I haven’t had then ride in my truck, I can’t comment on that.
But. My boyfriends kids. Less so. Any time they would have food or drinks in my truck, I would end up cleaning out wrappers and half-filled cups long after we’d dropped them back off at their mom’s, because they couldn’t pick up after themselves and get it out. So now, they aren’t allowed to have food or drink in my truck at all.
I did take my nephew to his hitting lessons earlier this week, and I had to hound him to make sure he got all of his trash out of my truck from the cereal bars he took with him.
No one honestly enjoys cleaning up someone else’s mess. So please, just teach your kids to pick up after themselves.
Keeping Their Hands To Themselves
I wish this were as simple as trying to teach kids not kick/hit/punch/slap/etc. But that one is kinda obvious. No violence. Easy.
But no. This one is about not touch every single thing when a child is taken into a store. Which my cousins have trouble with.
My cousins aren’t taken into stores often. Which means when my mom and I took them to Michael’s earlier this week (we were looking for shirts for doing a tie-dye activity), they wanted to touch EVERYTHING. And this is after repeatedly being told “don’t touch anything” or “stop touching things” etc. So maybe this is actually more about teaching a kid to listen than to not touch things, but either way…
So I realize this list may possibly come across as a bitter diatribe, and for that I apologize. It’s not supposed to. I just feel like the generation that is parenting now has gotten away from the core of what they were taught when they were kids, and we need to bring that back.
And I also understand that there are MANY different parenting techniques, and that works for one person/family may not work for another. And that’s okay. Maybe things on this list won’t apply to you. Maybe they will.
The whole point is, this is my reflection on what I’ve seen recently, and I want it to help guide how I raise my future children.
Don’t forget about the Day Designer/Blue Sky Planner Giveaway that Melissa and I have going on!