Last month I was unpacking Christmas decorations when I noticed a small gift tag in the bottom of a box. Written in a child’s handwriting were the words, “Awesome Samuel.”
Two Christmases before, one of my children wrapped packages of Tic Tacs and labeled each one with a custom tag. Apparently, I saved some of them in a little stack.
Pretty Awesome Mom
Coolest Dad Ever
Doctor Noah is in the house
Pretty amazing! You know who! (the child wrapped their own)
Some of our kids don’t have much of a filter. Am I right?
We try to model kindness, sharing our thoughts and feelings without hurting others. Sensitive kids instinctually understand this. Kids from “hard places” (or with other challenges), may need to be taught.
With young children, we can help them practice the right way of communicating feelings and thoughts.
When kids get older, it is trickier. They have to want to learn.
A counselor told us we should work with our kids on being “fun to be around,” even using those exact words. Imagine how powerful it is for a child to hear, “I like you; you’re fun to be around.”
I want to be able to say that honestly to all of my kids.
We’re trying to create a lighter, happier atmosphere, instituting a consistent Pizza & Movie Night on Fridays, playing more games, reading aloud with my one who loves it.
I’m not a fan of reward charts, and generally speaking, they don’t work for kids like mine. That being said, I’m seriously considered creating a Kindness Chart. I would divide the day into three chunks: before school, after school, evening. Each day when a block is navigated with kindess, a check (or star, or sticker) would go in the box.
But this is where it starts to break down for me. What is valuable enough to my children to be a motivating reward that won’t also be too financially costly for me? And deep down, I really don’t want to do this – I just want them to be kind and respectful.
And then there’s the being consistent part.
But I’m getting desperate enough for kindness in speech and actions that I may have to take the plunge.
I just had a thought, maybe it should be a Kindness & Respect chart! Yes!
I don’t have incredible wisdom here, but I’m guessing you have similar stories and thoughts. Parenting is downright complicated. Parenting pre-teens with significant trauma histories can leave a mom flummoxed, exhausted, or in tears.
The Christmas when we received gifts with these special labels, I’ll be honest, we laughed. We have to keep a sense of humor on this hard road of parenting – sometimes we may laugh until we cry, while other times we just cry.
I want to choose joy and laughter.
Will you share a story with me about your family? We’re in this together, friends.
With courage and joy in the journey,