Friday, March 28, 2008

My Expert Parenting Advice


Sorry, I don't have any.

But,lots of you were wondering how Adam would stay on the naw-tee step long enough to pass out cold. And yes, we call it the naw-tee step just like Nanny Jo because we all heart Nanny Jo especially the big child who has actually written her a letter letting her know that he would marry her one day. We haven't heard back about that.

I can tell you that I have a degree in elementary education and child development and while everything I learned in college looked wonderful on paper, it doesn't work for everyone. It took me a lot of time and inner turmoil to realize that I wasn't the absolute worst parent in the world because my kid (i.e. Jacob) would not be disciplined in the "right" ways.

I'll get to Adam in a sec, I'm on my soap box here.

Since I spent seven long (and wonderful) years learning every technique known about dealing with children, I assumed I would be a kick-ass parent. I didn't think that one day I would seriously consider kicking my child's ass to make him behave. I graduated magna cum laude (yes I'm bragging) I knew IT ALL. I would shake my heads in disbelief at all the parents I saw struggling with their children in restaurants, church, and malls. I actually explained in great detail to a friend BK (before kids) how co-sleeping would prevent her daughter from gaining independence and, really, is yelling solving anything?

Uh, yeah. It all comes back to bite you in the ass.

As most of you know, Jacob has not been the easiest child to raise. He was, and sometimes still is, that child making a scene while you're trying to shop in peace. We've left half full grocery baskets, stacks of clothes on check-out counters, and still hot plates on the restaurant tables more times than I can count. I've watched the people around us shake their heads at us and have even had assholes helpful onlookers give us assvice well-meaning advice. WTH? I have degrees in this shit, why was I NOT Mother of the Year???

I have a point, I think.

Oh, Time-out didn't work for Jacob. Have you ever watched Super Nanny and seen those kids who keep running off the mat/step/seat/whatever and Jo keeps having the parent take them back over and over for hours on end? Yeah, that's what it was like at our house. That got old after a while. Jacob never did "get it" like the tv kids seem to do and after Adam arrived I had neither the patience nor the stamina to keep that up. I probably shouldn't write this, but about that time the husband put a lock on his bedroom door. Backward. I hated it. I kept feeling like if I were on some sort of Nanny Cam I'd be on Nancy Grace later that night. But I didn't need to worry about it long because four year old Jacob figured how to unlock it three days later. We even tried spanking complete with the old, "this hurts me more than it will hurt you" schtick, but it never phased him except for a time he thought it was a good thing to smack his brother when he told him he loved him so we stopped that too. Charts worked for a while, emptying his room of everything but the bed ala Dr. Phil worked for a while too, but we've never found anything that works consistently with him. At the moment, we have him on a detailed chart for behavior and chores and he must check everything off before he is allowed any sort technological stimulation (i.e. Game Boy, Computer, Television). Now that he's older, he'll do the naughty step, but sometimes seven minutes turns into twenty minutes with a little "I hate you, Mom" thrown in, but eventually he shuts his mouth and takes his punishment.

Which brings me to Adam.

Adam is our reward for all the hell Jacob put us through. Sure, he's really living the terrible threes with a huge bang at the moment and he scares me with all he's willing to put in his mouth or jump off, but for the most part, Adam is the child I studied about all those years in school. He is the time-out poster child. Usually just the mere mention of the naw-tee step will eliminate the undesired behavior (see, I can use the lingo). He did start sneaking off the step for a while, but we'd just pull the Nanny Jo and take him back without saying anything and start the ticking timer over. He hates to see the timer start over. Just like Jo had promised. He got it. He is that child who wants so desperately to please you. Is that classic middle child? I must read up on that.

And if you didn't already know, Jacob was diagnosed with ADD last year. We just recently started attending an ADHD support group and, WOW, all I can I say is finally. Finally someone else understands. Finally someone else knows we are doing all we can. Finally someone else knows what it's like to be stared at. Finally other parents aren't looking down at us as the worst. parents. ever.

So, sorry, no expert parenting advice. I dropped my dream of Mother of the Year years ago. Now I just do what I can to raise my kids as individuals and hope that they'll grow into competent, capable, happy adults without a desire to one day hunt me down and kill me.


Lynanne said...

Now see, this is why you SHOULD win Mother of the Year. For realizing what it's really like to be a parent of a challenging child. If I had a penny for every time an "expert" (real or self-proclaimed) told me that all I needed to do was X, Y, and Z and MysterE. would cooperate, I'd be very rich indeed.

JaniceNW said...

Parenting is like skydiving, you're never exactly sure where you're going to land...

Tracey said...

Oh, I love that you have degrees in child development and still feel clueless! But not in a mean way!

Each kid is different. Each parent and family make-up is different. There is NO magic cure-all for children misbehaving or parents making less than desirable choices... Not that I'd know first hand. Pshaw.

Sadie said...

*stands up*

*Cheers continuously for 10 minutes*

*sits back down*

Good for you! You're a great mom! You just haven't realized it yet!

Dawn said...

I can totally relate with what you have been through with Jacob. My Jason (second born) is the same way. And people who haven't been there really DO NOT understand. This is a great post. Misery loves company, you know. lol!

BethGo said...

I feel the same way. Here I have all this edumacation and what good does it do me with my own kids? Nothin'

I do have to say that Aidan was always good about time outs but Riley is more like Jacob. So far, he's pretty untrainable and now he adds his own commentary when I try the time outs.
"I'm the boss, Mom."
Good grief!

Lynsey said...

That was such a great post...I loved it. You love your kids- that's plain to see. And that is worthy of all sort of awards in my book!

Dana said...

Man, in my humble opinion, if you can manage to raise a challenging child (I have SEVERAL of those) without going absolutely crazy or actually wringing his neck, then you've indeed earned the award. Don't you wish parenting came with a manual, with troubleshooting for each and every possible scenario? I know I do. I feel SO clueless at times and I am all to familiar with the condescending stares of others. Parenting is one of those jobs that you never know if you're doing it quite right until your kids are grown.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I love the new look!

I have a theory that the truly wise people in this world are the ones who frequently declare that they are clueless. It's recognizing that you have things to learn that makes YOU a genius.

Brag away!

Dawn said...

Just thought I would let you know that my latest post was inspired by this one. So thanks. :

Becky said...

I feel the same way about Alex and Ben. Ben has been my challenge from Day 1 and Alex is a total doll.

Doesn't help, of course, that Ben is autistic.

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

Actually it makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone in my inability to make Carson STAY. I guess I'm not such a bad discipliner (is that even a word?) after all.

Amie said...

I'm glad you have some support from parents who can relate.

Shane said...

People who don't have ADHD kids just don't and can't understand. I'm here for ya sister. I totally get it. BTW, we're huge fans of Nanny Jo too. The boys want her to come here so they can play with her and listen to her talk. Keep up the GREAT work!