As some of you may have read in my INTRO, being a Wild Mommy has a general and personal meaning to every mom out there! Being a Wild Mommy is having a set of ideas about parenting and living by that ideology, always complying with the standards you have decided are best for you, your partner and your child.
Here are the TOP 5 ways to be a Wild Mommy!
#5- Set up the Framework for Friendship.
You will hear a lot of argument over the idea of “being your child’s friend”. From both a professional and personal viewpoint, people have argued this topic BOTH ways. Well, much like the long-time argument over nature/nurture, I believe it comes down to a combination of BOTH viewpoints. Don’t be mistaken, in no way do I condone being your child’s friend and NOT their parent. You do nothing but destroy your child’s foundation when you step out as a parent. However, there will come a time in your child’s life, whether it be young adulthood or adulthood, when you will WANT to be friends with them, in addition to your already established parent/child relationship. It adds a depth to your relationship when you can include friend-like structure to a mature parent/child relationship. Well, in order to have that relationship when your child is GROWN, you have to lay the framework for it when they’re YOUNG. In order to do that, but maintain your parental status as disciplinarian, you have to make boundaries clear. Essentially, you want to be able to say “I am your friend, until this point” At whatever point that may be, you draw the line of where friendship turns into parenting. And just like ANY OTHER BOUNDARY your child will push it. And, believe me, this boundary is a hard one to keep. But you must. So, how do you set up the Framework For Friendship. Talk to your kid! You have no idea how much deeper my relationship is with my daughter because I talk to her. Not about just HER issues or life lessons, but I share my issues and lessons. Parents spend a lot of time hiding their emotions, problems and lessons learned from their kids. I would say the general consensus is that most parent’s feel it’s not… right… I guess, to share your problems and burdens with a child. Now, I get it, adults go through issues that should NOT be shared with children. However, I would bet MOST people have some issue or stress in their life that COULD be explained and shared with their child. Why do we hide it? I’ll never understand! Some people claim they want to teach their kids to be strong, or simply just want to BE STRONG for their kids. But the real deal here, folks, is that there is a LIFE LESSON to be learned in sharing your problems and worries! By YOU sharing with them, they in turn will continue to want to share their life problems with YOU. Don’t just share the bad either, take time to tell your kids about the adventures you have in life. Tell them when you’re excited about something, or when something BIG is going on at work. Heck, tell them all about your WORK! The more you talk to them, the more they will talk to you. and along the way you get to hear THEIR opinion of your “BIG ISSUES” which can sometimes give you a perspective you never would have considered before! And it all comes down to simply talking with your kid! Just taking time to share with them and hear their opinion. It establishes a friendship, cultivates intelligence and fortifies the idea in your child that you truly love and care for not just their basic needs, but for who they are inside.
#4- DO NOT spare the rod
Please, in no way, shape or form get me wrong. I do NOT support the abuse of children. However, I am and always will be a supporter of Corporal Punishment- a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offense, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behavior deemed unacceptable. (Thanks Wikipedia for that definition!) There is NOTHING WRONG with spanking your child. Anyone who would like to argue this with me, may, but be warned, I have studied and researched all sides of this and my conclusion is an amount of corporal punishment can substantially help in the molding of good behavior. Spanking can help and it’s my opinion that EARLY in life, it is the BEST if not ONLY way to reach them! However, much like being their friend, there has to be a combination. You cannot always simply spank. One thing I have been praised for are the explanation skills I use with my girl. My daughter does not simply get spanked. Usually we begin by me PROMPTING her into telling me what it is that she did wrong. Doing this allows her a chance to recognize and understand what she did wrong. Ask questions like “Do you think that’s nice?” or “Is it FAIR to take someone’s toy?”. Try reversing it on them “If someone took YOUR toy how would YOU feel?”. After she has identified what she did wrong and WHY it was wrong we move onto punishment. She will be told, the punishment for what you did wrong is a spanking. When she was younger she would argue, like most kids, and my response to her arguments would be “This is not my fault, it is yours. You were told not to do [whatever], but YOU chose to do it anyways. Did you know that it was wrong? Did you know you would be spanked if you did it?” (Both answers should be yes) “Then you CHOSE to be spanked”. Really trips them out when you lay that bomb on them! After 4 years of this method, If you ask my daughter, when she’s in trouble, if she deserved her spanking, she will tell you yes. Not only that but now that she’s a little older she will tell you, when she has been caught in trouble, that she will “take her spanking like a big girl and she won’t cry because she knows it was her own fault.”. THAT is the kind of person I want to say I brought into this world! She is 4 and already takes personal responsibility for her actions! Now, as they grow older, in my opinion, you stop the spanking and move to new consequences. This can be different for everyone! Time outs can be very helpful, my only suggestion is don’t force a time-out in a corner. Tell them to take their time out to a no-toy, no-tv area, but let them choose. In doing this, they won’t focus as much on BEING THERE as they will on WHY they are there. It’s also very important that you RE-EXPLAIN why they got in trouble after the time-out is over. Don’t let the lesson be lost! Also, don’t promise a consequence you cannot live with! There have been times when I have ALMOST used an activity I needed for a consequence. Example: If you do not stop [whatever] we will not go to the park. Well, that’s fine and dandy until bedtime rolls around and the kiddo is FULL of energy because they didn’t get to burn it off! You CAN back yourself into a disciplinarian corner! So be careful! And spank your kid when they deserve it, just help them understand the idea of deserving it.
#3- Take time to LISTEN
I know, it sounds HORRIBLY cliche. But I don’t just mean take time to have conversations, I mean take time to LISTEN. All the time, I see parents just simply OVERRUNNING their children. There is a difference between “Putting your foot down” and not even considering your child’s thoughts. The best example of a mom needing to just stop and LISTEN, that I have. One day, when I was in the restroom at work, a mom and daughter came in to use the facilities. I was grooming myself in the mirror when they came to wash their hands. The little girl told her mom she wanted to wash her own hands. But, Mom was in a hurry and that seemed like it would take too long, so she told her no and picked her up to LIFT her to the sink. As the mom was balancing the girl on one raised knee, turning on the water, soaping and rinsing the girl’s hands, the little girl was STEADY whining. About what, is entirely unsure, since her mother was disciplining OVER her perceived bad attitude. Come to find out, the way the mom was holding the little girl against the counter was HURTING her. Only after the little girl went into hysterics did the mother raise the girl’s shirt up to reveal where the counter had actually BROKEN SKIN! The entire time the mother thought the little girl was arguing about not being allowed to wash her own hands, when in reality she was trying to tell her mother that she was hurting her. Enough said? It’s the little things, moms and dads! So many times throughout their little lives they will be ignored. Even by the BEST parent. But you can truly benefit from stopping yourself from running your child’s VOICE over. Not only can you avoid issues like the previous story, but, by taking the time to LISTEN to them, we establish in them a sense of importance. They feel like their opinion and voice matter to you! As a parent, the best thing you can give your child is confidence in that voice! If they feel like that as kids, when they are adults they will feel their ideas and in fact, they, themselves are valuable. And that is a necessary feeling!
#2- Stay COOL
First, I will admit, this will always be a “work in progress” attribute for me. Keeping your cool is quite possibly the toughest part about being a parent. The deal is, other than your spouse, you can bet your child will be the single most unnerving person in your life. It isn’t just the stress of keeping the little person ALIVE, but also molding and shaping them into a GOOD person too! This means acting as a refining fire, burning all the impurities out. And as we all know, fire is dangerous and painful! Your kid will find all the ways to push all your buttons. and once they have found them, they will play them buttons like a piano! Not to mention the vast majority of little annoyances that most ADULTS know to avoid, your kid will find AMUSING! It is INEVITABLE! They will piss you off. But it’s YOUR responsibility as a parent to KEEP YOUR COOL! How you react to those little annoyances is where your child will get their cue for dealing with their life stresses. If every time your kid makes a mistake you blow up at them not only are you essentially telling them mistakes aren’t OKAY, but you are showing them that the proper way to react to a mistake or stress is to LOSE YOUR SHIT! Do you really want your kid to live life just losing their shit over everything?? NOPE! So, you have to learn to keep yours!! I’ll tell you, the biggest reason I have seen for kids bugging their parents is attention. I would bet if instead of acting huffy, you turned around and spent 5 MINUTES just concentrated on your kid, lots of those little annoyances would go away! But a lot of times we, instead, just get frustrated by their “cries for attention”. I’d love to say “here are some tips for keeping your cool” but honestly, they’re different for every different person. What calms you down may not calm me down. However, there is one SIMPLE thought you can hold in your mind when you begin to feel your cool slipping away. Take a deep breath, look at your child, your beautiful child and think “He/She is just a kid, I am the adult, so I should act as one”. If you need to walk away, do so! But don’t blow up at your kid. It isn’t their fault you cannot control your emotions at the moment, so do not punish them for it! Also, don’t punish in ANGER! It is VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE COMPLETELY COOL-HEADED WHEN YOU DISCIPLINE. If you discipline with a temper, the lesson will be lost to fear. I don’t think anyone would say they have accomplished MORE in a situation by being hot-headed! But just think of it this way, do you want the lesson to be “Don’t make Mommy mad” or “Don’t do [whatever]” ? If you approach discipline in anger, what you are establishing is that they are wrong for MAKING YOU MAD. and that is all they will see. How MAD you are at them. You won’t get the great teaching opportunities that these times can bring, you will get a kid who feels all they do is anger you. The 2nd half to “Keeping Your Cool” is apologizing when you lose it. Most parents, throughout their kids life, will teach them that when you do someone wrong, you apologize. And yet, when we blow up at our kid for interrupting or bugging us, we say it’s perfectly fine! I have seen parents blow up, heck, I have blown up many times! Now, if you were a grown adult and another grown adult spoke to you the way we sometimes blow up at our kids, you might have a real fight on your hands. I don’t get it! Snap at a coworker and you will apologize. Yell at your kid for them asking a question and you will justify. No, there’s no justification. Even if they are clearly in the wrong, blowing up isn’t how you handle it! So, when you do slip up and explode, make sure you apologize and in my opinion, explain. My daughter will benefit from hearing me say “I was wrong, I apologize. Mommy shouldn’t act like that, even when you’re misbehaving”. Children will benefit from seeing their parents being honest and having integrity that doesn’t lapse because they are children and not adults.
#1- Affection is the best Affirmation(Submitted by my beautiful daughter)
When I asked her for her input on my first blog “How to be a Wild Mommy” she responded that the most important thing for being a good, wild mommy is to always kiss, hug and tell your baby you love them. I felt, it deserved to be #1! There’s an epidemic happening moms and dads. Somewhere along the line, parents suddenly forgot to be affectionate with their kids. Perhaps it’s not just that. Perhaps we have been made to feel that affection isn’t appropriate. There are so many empty spaces between families right now that could be filled with a hug or kiss. Let me just say this in no way, shape or form is it WRONG for a mother or father to touch, rub, tickle, kiss, hug or pat their child. In fact, I will go so far as to say it is WRONG for you to NOT touch, rub, tickle, kiss, hug or pat your child. Physical connection is a LARGE part of our needs as a human. Your child needs to FEEL you. Infants actually BOND by being skin to skin. Everyday! Everyday you should be doing something PHYSICAL to assert your love for your child. Of course, everyday should include a mental assertion as well, but that physical contact is important! I mean, my 4 yr olds only requirement for a “Good Mom” is one that kisses, hugs and tells her she’s loved. She asked for the 3 simplest forms of PROOF of my love. A hug, A kiss and A word. That’s what they need. They need to know, in every way possible, that you are 100% crazy in love with them! and honestly, that isn’t too much to ask!
So there you have it, my TOP 5 ways to be a Wild Mommy! I hope you enjoyed my little insights and come back to see more! I thoroughly enjoyed writing my first BLOG and cannot wait to write more! Feel free to comment, like and SHARE!
Until next time…
Wild Mommy MC
@wildmommymc on twitter