Thursday, January 29, 2015

My response to "11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents of Little Kids to Know"

Over at the great Huffington Post, Shelley Eming posted a Pinterest-y "make memories" type list of   "11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents of Little Kids to Know".  I know offer MY version of this list--it's a tad different from Ms Eming's sweet list.

My list is a tad different...

1. Sports practices are for the kid's team, not the parent. Do something else during that time. It's ok to miss a few games--kid needs to learn that he's part of team in sports and must compete regardless of who's watching. [My real advice: Feel free to skip kid sports. Your child isn't going to the olympics or the NBA--statistics bear me out.]

2. You can't film, record or scrapbook every minute of their lives and as Martha would say "It's a good thing." I'm the Mom who forgot the camera [yes, you had to have an actual camera not a phone] for my kid's first school Christmas presentation. Guess what? She doesn't remember it and WHO CARES. Plus, I saved her dress.

3. Don't rush to enthuse over every new passion. They just saw ice skating on tv and love it. Take the family skating some Saturday--don't rush to sign up for 40 lessons. Chances are it's not that big of a passion. You WILL know when they truly ARE passionate and it is likely to be for something you don't expect. If it's legal, moral and ethical then help them with that passion, but don't take it over and micromanage it.

4. Have the other kids to YOUR house. God knows what the other folks may have in theirs.

5. Know where your kids friend's are in their family's birth order. Anyone more than a year or two older see #4 at least until you get to know the other family WELL.

6. Offer them something other than Disney Princesses and other overly hyped media-tie in products. That doesn't mean NO to those, just offer other EXPERIENCES to minimize the influence of these things on their imaginative play.

7. READ and keep reading to them.

8. Listen to them.

9. Don't sit around worrying that they'll be abducted or in a Columbine incident. Relax.

10. Take time for yourself and don't feel guilty.

11. Do what's right for the kid. Bedtime is the #1 item on this list. It's hard to have only a short time after work, but your kid has been at work longer than you have. Bedtime is bedtime.


12. Don't find defiance "cute." You will so regret it.

13. Stop worrying about if your kid likes you. And please, quit saying a Mommy/Son Daddy/Daughter "Date." Just don't. It's creepy. Do things together one on one, but don't call it a date. Therapy looms.

14. Let them fail. Let them fight their own battles. Get involved only if it their legal rights are being violated. Resist the urge to say "How could you have said that nicer?" It's better to let them find out what happens when they don't say it nicely.

15. Resist the urge to let the world revolve around the child. People only sleep with their kids when they are too poor to do otherwise. Sports leagues can be a tyranny to families. Think before you sign up. Say "go play" and mean it. Let them be bored, they'll learn to solve the problem. Keep time for yourself and for your marriage--it matters a whole lot more in the long-term.

16. Say "No" and mean it. It causes maturity to grow.

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