101 Reasons Why Teenagers are Better than Babies

Okay, I might not have a full 101 yet, but maybe I will just pop back in here from time to time and edit this post.  And maybe the things on this list don’t apply to your teen.  If that’s true, you should consider trading her/him in for one in foster care.  OH COME ON – I’m kidding!  But in all reality, if yours isn’t like this, I would recommend reading Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk and/or running yourself to the first Love and Logic class you can find.

  1.  You can have an intelligent conversation without whining (and if you can’t with your teen, go find a Love and Logic class FAST!  It will change your LIFE!)
  2. The can hike much longer than the little ones.
  3. They like to watch shows like The Walking Dead, instead of Ninjago.
  4. They can teach you things like how to longboard.20160327_194256
  5. They know how to express their feelings.
  6. They can help with dinner. (and if you yours doesn’t, go find a Love and Logic class FAST!  It will change your LIFE!)
  7. You can share clothes with them!!! (this is super fun – one of my faves so far)
  8. They are another person for your little kids to connect with. (another one of my faves so far)
  9. Their rooms are super messy (Okay, I know this is a weird one, but there is something about walking my my teenager’s messy room, knowing it is fully her problem if she can’t find something.  The little kids have to keep theirs clean or they can’t find things, and it becomes my problem.)
  10. They carry groceries in from the store and put the food away. (and if you yours doesn’t, go find a Love and Logic class FAST!  It will change your LIFE!)

What I really want to say here is that things are going great.  We love our teen.  If you’ve ever thought about opening your home, please do it.  Here is a quick little list on what you have to do to become a Koinonia Foster Parent.  Going forward, it’s a dual certification for Foster Care and Adoption.

And…no I haven’t had to use Love and Logic with my teen yet.  I’ve just got it in my back pocket.  All the love keeps spilling out, but I just leave it laying around like confetti.  It’s pretty to look at 🙂

LL

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Surprise! Mexican Bean Soup!

So, I decided to try this new recipe.  The minute it was done, I said, “Ew, I think this is not going to be my favorite dinner ever.”  I also told my husband we should use this as an opportunity to practice the fantastic Love and Logic technique called “Plan to Fail”.  Basically, we put the dinner in front of our very picky and very vocal 4 year old and when he complains about it, we take it away from him with a very kind, “Okay, we will just take care of that for you.  You can wait until breakfast to have a meal.  I sure hope you make it that long!”

Well, he sure did surprise us with a “Yum!  This is good!!”  and then I tasted it and said, “Wow, this is really good!!!”  So, I share it with you!

Here is the link to Forks Over Knives Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup.  The only changes we made were to add black olives, and tone down the strong Cumin flavor with some taco seasoning.  I also used black beans that I soaked and cooked myself, instead of canned.  That always makes everything taste better.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is Key

We all know this, right?  Also…easier said than done.  Parenting in a consistent, loving, effective way is the quickest way to wear yourself out!  My body could probably go out for a run at the end of the day, but I’m so worn down emotionally from being creative and consistent that all I want to do is collapse on the couch and enter some alter-reality (is that even a thing?).

But consistency really is key.  What I’m watching happen with my own kids is that the best thing I can give them is consistency.  They don’t have to wonder if I really will follow through on the things I say.  When they ask me with their actions, “Do you love me?” and “Who is in charge?”, I can answer with my actions, “Yes, I love you” and “I am in charge”.  Can you imagine being 4 or 7 or even 16 and being fully responsible for the way you turn out in life?  That is WAY too much for little people.  So, as parents we get to share that responsibility with them.  We guide them, they make decisions, and we guide them again.

I was struck by this when we took our family to a Raiders game a couple weeks ago.  Two weeks before we went, we were at Peyton’s baseball game.  Owen was tired and whiny and kicking my legs as he sad on my lap.  I had asked him to stop and it was clear it was going to continue.  Finally, Cameron stood up, picked Owen up, and started walking to the car with him.  In his most empathetic voice, he said something like, “This is so sad!  We are going to take all that whining to the car where people don’t be disturbed by it.”  TEARS!!!!  And Cam got to just say, “I know…I know” as he patted his back and continued walking to the car.  By the time we got to the car, Owen was fast asleep.  Poor guy was TIRED!

Well, the next week rolled around and it was time for Peyton’s baseball game.  There was no lecturing between the two games, no mention of the whining and fussing, but we got packed up and I took Peyton to his game.  Owen stayed home with Cameron.  Sure, it was not cool that Cam had to miss Peyt’s game, but we also knew that we needed to seize the opportunity for the sake of the rest of the season.  Owen said, “I’m ready too!” and what did we say?  “Oh bummer!  Remember all that whining at the game last week?  We can’t make people listen to that.  Their poor ears.  We will let you stay home and get some rest since you had such a hard time last week.”  NO!!!!!  Oh, the TEARS!!!  Of course it was a rough night for Cam, but Owen went to bed a little earlier than usual.  No movies or ipads or anything to pass the time.

Then, we went to the Raiders game, and Owen as so tired!  He had a great first quarter, high-fiving the other Raiders fans, clapping and yelling.  Then he got a little whiny during the second quarter, and right away, I said, “Oh buddy.  I was wondering if you were old enough for a game, but I’m thinking maybe next time we go to a football game, we should leave you home.” NO!!!!  “Well, remember Peyton’s baseball game?  You showed us that you weren’t old enough to stay up late.  Now you’re showing me you’re not old enough to go to a Raider’s game” and would you believe he stopped INSTANTLY?!??!  Oh yes, he remembered how it FELT to miss out.  And that’s all it took.  He ended up asking to sit on my lap during the 3rd quarter, and feel FAST asleep!

The whining was related to being tired.  Understandable.  But…a four year old (and even a 2 or 3 year old) is perfectly capable of recognizing that the whining is painful to the ears of those around them, and that they are responsible for the consequences.  Consequences are related to their actions!  Combine that with being consistent and you have some pretty well-behaved little people who are almost always a joy to be around.

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Anger Doesn’t Solve Anything…

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while, but it feels like a bit of a hypocritical topic because I’m really really bad at it.  I guess that means we can work on it together.  

Situation: Owen wakes up really early.  He shares a room with Peyton.  Instead of laying there quietly, reading, or leaving the room to play quietly in the spare room, he climbs the ladder to the top bunk and taps Peyton over and over again until he wakes up.  Peyton ends up cranky – as all non-morning people do – and I kept my anger at bay (a rare occurance).

Two possible scenarios:

  1. I yell at Owen, I get visibly upset, I take away his favorite toy, and ground him from his ipad for a week, and make him sleep in the spare room for the next several nights.
  2. I give Owen a hug and say, “Oh buddy, I have some really bad news for you.  Since I can’t trust you to be kind to your brother and let him get the sleep that his body needs, you’re going to move into the spare room tonight and sleep there.

Thankfully, scenario two came out, and there were tears.  OH!  The TEARS!!!  But instead of getting mad and being the bad guy, I got to give hugs and pat his back and say, “I know…I know” as he cried sad tears.

Here’s the deal.  If an part of scenario one had come out, then my anger would have been the punishment.  All the other things wouldn’t have taught him anything because as you probably have experienced, when someone gets mad at you, it’s pretty much the only thing you can concentrate on.  And you may have even gotten upset right back at them.  If we get angry at our kids, even without yelling, but with lots of lecturing and “I told you so”, and with obvious disapproval, the feeling is the punishment, and it actually doesn’t teach them anything.  It just causes a rift in the relationship.

As I always say, the thing I love about Love and Logic is that it gives logical consequences for negative choices, all the while, giving you the opportunity to empathize with your kids and be on their team.  In addition, they learn the cause and effect of making poor choices.  I’d rather they have tears over moving to the spare room for a night, than cry tears over wrecking the car after drinking at a party and trying to drive home.  I pray that scenario never occurs because they have learned to make wise choices and think through consequences.

Please also hear this.  I let anger and yelling be the punishment way more often than I wish I did.  Doing this the right way sometimes is better than doing it the wrong way always.  I am learning.  I pray daily that the Holy Spirit rules in my life and the love of Jesus shines through, and not that yucky anger the comes from a place of being inconvenienced.  

Do What I Say!!!

Okay, we all have been the victim of the embarrassing moment where you say to one of your young children, “Come on! Time to go!”, or even sillier, “Are you ready to go?”  Of course they aren’t!  They are having fun!  They don’t care that you need to vacuum the carpet, or unload the dishwasher or that YOU need them to take a nap.

Enter the MAGIC for Early Childhood from the Love and Logic Institute.  For your viewing pleasure:

How to get your toddler/pre-schooler to do what you say.

Get a Diffuser!

No, I’m not here to talk to you about doTERRA essential oils.  I want to talk about diffusing those arguments our kids are so stinkin’ talented at drawing us into!  So, without further ado, here is my suggested Love and Logic technique…and once again, it’s so easy, it feels like there is no way it will work.

(ps look honey!  I did that whole “embed video” thing you taught me!!)