Where's the Manual for this Kid?

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7:00 am Sunday morning.

I awaken to the sounds of clanging, squealing, thudding, and shushing from the general area of the kitchen. I squeeze my eyes shut, hoping the sounds came from a dream. Open my eyes. Nope, the sounds are still there. Now add the aroma of burnt toast.

 mothers day stirOh, that’s right…it’s Mother’s Day and I get breakfast in bed!

Over the years it was interesting to watch how those breakfasts changed. As my boys grew, I was treated to a little more lavish and a little less charred.

Then came the year when I awoke to the voice of my college son, who lived in a dorm. Hmm, that didn’t make sense since he wasn’t visiting the night before and didn’t have a key. When he proudly carried in a gourmet breakfast tray, he informed me he had decided to surprise me and broke into a window during the night.

mothers day window

 Surprise!!

Yes, it was a delicious meal. But I couldn’t help but wonder how much it was going to cost me. Between you & me, it was totally worth it!

There’s nothing more special than those Mother’s Day memories. Here’s to all the mothers who on this Mother’s Day Sunday morning will be eating breakfast in bed & smiling through their delicious burnt toast. Hopefully they’re not calculating the cost of a new window!

    Ahh, it’s back to school time!

Does joy at the sound of the school bell make you feel like a mean mom? That alone should not do it.

But that, along with a plan based on the three R’s to take charge for a smooth transition, should. It takes a mean mom to get everyone back in the structured mode of the new school schedule.

Remember the three R’s of being a student? Well, now that you’re a mom of students, you have a whole new set of Three R’s to live by:

  1.  Reality
  2. Responsibility
  3. Routine

The following interview explains these 3 R’s and how to use them to get everyone back into the groove of the school year:

Mean Moms Club: The Moms Rule Book is a collection of 7 foundational rules to help you become a take charge parent with a plan, even when that makes you “mean”.

I’ve created a blog/video series to give an overview of what each rule entails and how it relates to the others.

 This segment in the series is Rule #7: Nobody knows my kid…like I know my kid. In the short video below, I tell you how to work with other authorities without giving up your own. This is also in print below for those who would like to be able to go back to this information for future reference.

 Disclaimer (you know I have to have a disclaimer): I am not a perfect mom, nor am I a perfect video producer! But I think you’ll get the points, and maybe even enjoy watching it while you do.

You are the foremost authority on your kids. They know this and feel safe and secure because of it. But what about when other authorities are involved like school personnel or medical people? When other authorities are involved, we tend to give up our authority. The result of that can be a feeling of helplessness. If you feel helpless, you can’t help your kids feel secure.

 What happens when you feel helpless? Helplessness creates fear, and fear often is communicated as anger. When you get angry at other authorities it puts them on the defensive and closes communication rather than opening it. We need to work together. So, how can we do that?

 First, by not giving up your authority

  • Other authorities are highly trained in their fields. However, they are not highly trained in knowing the ins and outs of your kid. Only you have that depth of knowledge. Only you know what that lifted eyebrow or chin quiver means. Your knowledge of these subtle signals can be very helpful in figuring out what is causing a situation or in determining how to solve a problem. Watch for them and use them.

 Second, by finding the balance between your authority and theirs

  • Communication needs to be done in a way that acknowledges both yours and their expertise. Use statements and phrases that encourage working together rather than being adversarial or confrontational.
  • Try things like: “In my experience”, “I hear what you’re saying and when I see that at home, it usually means…”
  • acknowledge their expertise & let them know you also have expertise

 Did you answer this question correctly from the video?

Your child is having problems in school and the teacher tells you he’s just trying to get attention. What do you do?

A. Between you & I we can figure out what’s behind this.

B. My kid does not do that kind of thing.

C. You can be sure I’ll punish him for being disruptive.

 In summary, working with other authorities means

  1. Not giving up your authority as the parent
  2. Finding the balance so you can work together

The book goes into detail about how to share authority and gives suggestions for phrases and statements that open communication.

Be sure to review the other 6 rules. Using the book, you can create a plan based on these rules to raise your kids to be responsible, compassionate young people.

Mean Moms Club: The Moms Rule Book is a collection of 7 foundational rules to help you become a take charge parent with a plan, even when that makes you “mean”.

I’ve created a blog/video series to give an overview of what each rule entails and how it relates to the others.

 This segment in the series is Rule #6: I get to be president…of the mean moms club. In the short video below, I tell you how to stay consistent with your plan even when that makes you mean. It is also in print below for those who would like to be able to go back to this information, especially as the series progresses.

 Disclaimer (you know I have to have a disclaimer): I am not a perfect mom, nor am I a perfect video producer! But I think you’ll get the points, and maybe even enjoy watching it while you do.

Remember our primary job as a parent is to provide safety and security. We do that by setting realistic boundaries and enforcing them, which we talked about in Rules 3 & 4. The key is to do that consistently every time no matter what!

 How do we do this in the face of tears and anger and “I hate you’s”?

 First, By remembering that it’s our job to be the parent, not the friend

  • You are in charge. You have a plan. Do not back down. Staying consistent, tho they hate it in the moment, is what gives them security.

Second, by sometimes giving them what they ask for. What?

  • When they get overly dramatic to try to get you to back down, go with it
  • The book gives a personal example of this. When he said if it’s so bad just put me in Juvie, that’s exactly what we did-lobue juvie! It was so affective the school principle shook my hand.

Third, by picking your battles

  • If you fight every battle, you’ll die of exhaustion.
  • Use Rule 3 to focus on your family values and goals & decide what battles to fight based on those

Did you answer this question correctly from the video?

“You’re the meanest mom ever! All the other kids are going. I wish I lived at Jamie’s house!” What do you do?

A. Apologize that she lives in the wrong house, but since she lives here, she has to follow your rules.

B. Call Jamie’s mom to see if she can live at their house.

C. Give her the benefit of the doubt and trust her to go to teach her independence

The correct answer is A. Review the video to learn why.

In summary, being president of the mean moms club means

  1. You stick with your plan no matter what
  2. You don’t back down in the face of drama
  3. You pick your battles & make sure you win them

The book goes into detail about how to stay strong and keep your plan in place no matter what.

 Watch for the next rule summary in the series, with key points of Rule #7: Nobody knows my kid…like I know my kid.

frazzledSchool is out for the summer and the kids are free. Oh boy. Oh no! A kid’s dream, a mom’s nightmare!

 How are you going to survive? You can send them to lots of camps, but that costs lots of money. You can send them to their grandparents’ house, but they moved away after last summer. Maybe you can find them jobs. Well, probably not since they’re only 7 and 12. Maybe you can run away. Now there’s a thought! No, they would just follow you. So what do you do?

 The answer is to become a mean mom. No, that doesn’t mean to be nasty and negative and lock them in their rooms for the summer. It means to take charge and have a plan that you can stick to no matter what, even when sticking to that plan makes you unpopular.

 A good mean mom focuses on two things above all else; safety and structure. These two together will make you not only a mean mom but a sane mom.

It will make you mean because the kids are looking forward to new adventures. They’re also looking forward to freedom now that school is out. It’s your job to deny too much of either. Feeling mean yet? No? Then keep reading.

 Now, you don’t want to ruin their summer, or yours. So you need to give them some freedom and loosen up some of the structure. But if you want to survive with your sanity this summer, there has to be balance and a plan. Here’s how you do that.

 First, you need to know what safety means at the different stages of development.

  • Safety for toddlers keeps them from hurting themselves as they start to venture out on their own in their physical world.
  • Safety for pre-school kids allows them to imitate what they learn and to use their imagination while keeping them in reality when it counts
  • Safety for school-age kids gives them guidelines for how far they can venture out not just physically, but also socially.
  • Safety for teenagers keeps them from situations that will require them to make judgments they’re not ready for yet.

 Second, decide what boundaries you need to set to keep them safe. These boundaries will give them structure. The boundaries you choose should come from your family’s style and values.

  • What guidelines do you have in your family for movies, activities, etc?
  • What is out there that is unsafe for them to get into?
  • What chores do they need to be responsible for?
  • What kind of supervision can you realistically give? When it comes to supervision, don’t forget to use your mom network. When they say they’re going to Shane’s house, tell them you’ll call Shane’s mom to be sure she’s ok with that plan. And make the call in front of them. That is guaranteed to earn you the title “mean mom”! It will also earn you peace of mind, very important to summer survival.

 Third, decide on your plan and stick to it. It will be easier to stick to it knowing it’s based on these two critical factors and your family’s values and style.

  • When you have a foundation for a decision, you don’t second guess yourself the way you do when the decision is made in the moment.
  • You also are ready for the argument when it inevitably comes.

 You can survive and even enjoy the summer with the kids at home, if you become a take charge mean mom. Setting clear boundaries and enforcing them consistently will help keep your sanity because when boundaries are held consistently, kids test them less. They know what they can count on, which makes them feel safe.


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