Hello, friends. You will have to excuse my serious absence from this place, but I haven't been feeling particularly clever lately. Moving three small children across the country and trying to adjust to a new place, plus trying to go back to work, get one in school, and find some sort of childcare for the other two is kicking my butt. I feel overwhelmed, exhausted and at the end of my rope. I have not been a parenting star these last three months.
There has been way too much tv watching, yelling, finger waggling and bribing, and not nearly enough routine, calm and consistent consequences, positive reinforcement and personal attention. Part of the problem is just trying to keep the kids quiet so we still have tenants above and below us at the end of their leases. Part of it is trying to keep the kids calm while we spend time organizing and building and sorting. Part of it is the erratic schedule of appointments with government offices and substitute teaching on random days and passing kids back and forth around us. And part, of course, is the inevitable greif our children are experiencing as they miss their friends, their school, their church, their babysitters, their yard, their freedom and their sense of security. Comments like, "The sky is still blue, Mom" and "I made friends at my last school because I thought I would be there forever. I don't want to make friends again." are common these days.
In the midst of all this chaos I don't feel up to the challenge of giving any of you advice or thoughts on parenting. When my kids are screaming at me in the mall, hitting kids at the park with sticks and awake arguing in their room (located below our upstairs tenants' room) at 4am, or punching each other in the back seat while I try to drive down the highway in busy traffic, I feel pretty lame and out of control.
The thing is, though, that my goal has never before been to control my kids. It has always been to guide them and shape their innate personalities and gifts. I have always tried to show them the consequences of their behavior and help them to find positive outlets for their energy and frustration and excitement. But when you are trying to stop them from disturbing others' and keep them within the new, different limits imposed on them by living in close quarters in a big city, you really do feel like you want to control them.
So, today, I have a few questions for you, friends. I'm okay with the baby age, its the older ones, especially the six year old, who are really frustrating me. Here goes:
-if you live in the city, or in community, what are your limits on noise, jumping, screaming, etc for you kids? How do you impose those limits?
- how and when does your child do their homework (30 min or so a night, after a full day of school) and get them to bed on time?
- how do you teach them to be kind to one another?
- how do you help them to be considerate of siblings and neighbours?
- how much "give" do you give when they are adapting to new situations or otherwise stressed out? How do you do that when you are stressed out yourself and trying to figure out the new rules yourself?