Friday, November 23, 2007

Right Ways of Behavior Parenting Series: Epilogue: Feeling Overwhelmed by Parenting Challenges

Right Ways of Behavior Parenting Series:

Epilogue: Feeling Overwhelmed by Parenting Challenges

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed lately with challenges with parenting. As an active parent (not a lazy parent) I put a lot of work into addressing situations at hand. Lately I am just worn out about it.

A big thing was and is dealing with helping my children cope with the grief from the loss of their grandfather. This is the first grandparent they have lost who they have known since being older than one year old. This is a grandparent they were close to and whom they new that was close to my husband and I as well. Our holiday celebrations were all celebrated with this grandfather who was actually the patriarch of the family and the force behind all the family traditions.

Dealing with the last two years of my father-in-law’s illness combined with other family problems was stressful in and of itself. Somehow I was not prepared to lead my children through the actual death happening and the grieving that comes after the passing.

This helping children through the death of a close loved one is such a big thing I have not even tried to write or blog about it yet, perhaps sometime in the future I can write about it but now it is too fresh and raw to handle.

Additionally in this time after the passing, things went on with the four cousins that they saw daily for six days that are, for people like me, enough to give me more than a few new gray hairs. Stuff went on to strip my children of some of their innocence and (age appropriate in my opinion) naïveté.

It was overload to then deal with my own grieving, help my children with theirs and me trying to help my husband get through his emotions combined with a multi-topic review of all of our family’s values and ideal ways of behavior. I can’t think of the right word for this, it is at the tip of my tongue. A wrong word would be brainwashing but I am attempting something a bit like it. What I am faced with doing is a complete review of what we think is right and good behavior.

“The parenting experts” say children learn more from observation and experience than from words they hear from their parents. So here I am doing damage control and trying to reestablish our own family’s values and preferred behaviors after seeing a bunch of negative stuff for nearly a week.

A challenge especially for my younger son (I think this is a developmental stage-age thing) is to deal with the concept of how that family can allow that behavior to go on with the children (or even the adults) and why they accept it when in our family it is not allowed. My younger son is really having a hard time with this concept, and has been for over a year now (since turning six actually). At first it was dealing with stuff said and done on the playground by schooled and homeschooled kids in other families. That wasn’t bad as talking about one kid using ‘shut up’ once is not that big of a deal. Now it is worse and concentrated as we’re dealing with actual family members which I guess is harder to grasp. And as I said I’m dealing with many different bad behaviors in a concentrated six days and it is just too much.

I have addressed single issues as they have come up in conversation. “Why does (nine year old cousin) get to say b--- but you say we can’t?”. “Why does (seven year old cousin) say What the h--?” but you say I can’t? and so on. Another one that came up while in the presence of other homeschooled children was a ball was placed low in front of my son’s chest and he said, “Look at my saggy b—b”.

SIGH.

-ChristineMM, November 14, 2007.

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Update: November 23, 2007:

I felt so overwhelmed by all of these issues back then. I didn’t know how to address everything.

I decided to define each area that is an issue, to separate the issues and to categorize them. I then thought about our family’s values and our philosophy on each issue. I thought about the ideal situation, and how I thought in our parenting journey, that we could arrive there. I thought about the difference between parenting on a set course (that was us beforehand) and about the different situation when we are taken off course and need to get back on course (the situation we're in this month).

I thought about the things I don’t like and thought about why I don’t like them.

I figured this out by writing it all out. I wrote and wrote. I separated the issues from each other. I edited and pared it down.

And I published some of that into a series “Right Ways of Behavior”. I figured after a brief introduction and addressing some of the issues in a chapter type format, I’d put here in the conclusion, the reason that it all was on my mind, to explain why I had blogged it and written it all out in the first place.

So here we are. Three weeks ago my father-in-law passed away. It was then that my kids were exposed to certain words and behaviors and informed of certain things that I thought they were too young to know. We’re addressing things a little at a time and as things come up. Some of the questions I’m getting are causing my eyebrows to raise. I’ll leave it at that except to say we’re doing alright, I think. I see this as a hill on the roller coaster that is parenting.

Note:
If you wonder what I think of spanking please read my post: My Thoughts on Spanking published 6/25/07. The short answer is: we don't spank in our children.

The Directory to this parenting blog series: Right Ways of Behavior can be found here if you want to read my other writings.

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1 comment:

Willa said...

I like your method of separating and defining the problems before figuring out a way of tackling them. A few similar things happened in our family when my 6th child was critically ill for a long time. I couldn't keep up my normal standard of protectiveness, and this was very demoralizing.

I've often found it useful to keep a private journal about ongoing "issues". Thinking and writing about the issues helps me to problem-solve and figure out ways to cope.