Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Starting School with Serenity!

Back to Class!

The books are bought and the bags are loaded.  Labor day looms, while corn tassels still bloom and yet school has already begun.  I wonder who is ready?  The school doesn't seem quite ready. I spoke with a counselor the other day and 400 some new students were still trying to get a schedule.  The counselor I spoke with seemed a bit frazzled.   Well, I'm sure other parents are frazzled as well.

There is plenty of reason to worry about lots of things.  How will your child do this year?  Will he or she get the right teachers, the right classes or the right medication?  Will they find the way to the right classrooms and will they get along with their peers?  Parents can make themselves crazy thinking of all the things that will go wrong.  It is important to remember that old maxim, "you can only control what you do!"  So do what you can, review the rules with your kids, make sure they get to bed on time, check on homework each night and if anything comes up try and talk with your child and the teacher without getting into blaming and shaming.

The school will be sending things home for you to sign.  Try not to take the things they send home personally.  Some of them will appear to treat parents like they are idiots. You probably already know that your kids are responsible for their own homework but the school will remind you of that.  You probably know that they are responsible to get their homework in on time but they will tell you that anyway.  They have to do this to make sure that later if there is a question they can say, "we informed you of this at the beginning of the year."

There is a lesson here.  Start off the year with a clarity of expectations.  Remind your kids of the things they already know.  Don't take anything for granted. Later when your child turns in homework late you can take the phone away and not be arguing with them about whether they knew the rules or not.  It is always better to start of strict and ease up on the rules and expectations than it is to try to tighten them up later.

Control what is yours to control and seek serenity in accepting the things you cannot control.

Have a great school year!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weeding out the problems

Growing a garden provides 'plenty' for your home.  If you grow a garden you can occasionally find it overrun with weeds.  This usually happens if the mosquitoes are bad, you've been on vacation, or it has been exceptionally humid.  This year the weather has been pleasant and I have managed to keep up nicely.

Kid's on the other can get out of control for any number of reasons. Maybe you've been distracted by work or just tuning out while they play too many video games.  Sometimes its because of relationship discord and splitting with your partner.  Sometimes its negative peer influence.  That can creep into your home like cockleburrs into your garden.  Once its infested it is tough to root out. Whatever the reason your kids are acting up they can get to that point where the rules aren't working anymore.  Like your garden it can be overwhelming trying to get back to parenting again.

When I am reclaiming my garden. I can say "I'm gonna go clean that garden top to bottom," the reality is that energy doesn't last long.  Usually, I do better if I pick a section and just work a little bit. Maybe the buttonweed needs to get cleaned out of the beans. Once, I am started it usually goes fairly well and I do a little bit more than I planned.  The main thing is that I have gotten started. The hard part of weeding is pulling the weeds and making sure you don't pull the plant with it.  If you try to work to fast or grab too many weeds at once you end up damaging your plants.

It's the same with kids.  Pick a behavior and focus on that.  Try to eliminate all the negative behaviors at once and you will end up making the kid feel like you just want to get rid of them.

Like weeding you still want to nourish the plant and cherish the produce.
I'll let you finish the metaphor.