Parenting tips are tough! I can't even count the number of articles or blog posts I've read about how to fix this or do that and thought "Yeah, that so wouldn't work for us." Every family is so very different with their own challenges and gifts and each child is just as different so really specific ideas often don't work.
|J, a sleeping baby Tornado, Eleanor, Emma, and Paul in 2010|
We're kind of an unusual family. We're blended but both my husband and I are the custodial parents so we've pretty much had everyone all the time. Then when the older 3 were in middle school and up the Tornado was born so while we have 4 we basically have 3 kids and an only child.
I remember when the Tornado was around 2 or so listening to an acquaintance talk about how they planned out their life and basically said that if you didn't do it that way you were flat out wrong. She had one little girl of about 3 1/2 who was by nature quiet and a people pleaser. The Tornado is neither of those things not to mention at the time I had 3 kids that I had to drive around and 2 of them had crazy soccer schedules and almost as crazy social schedules. While her neat ordered plan worked wonderfully for her there was no way I could have applied it my life of herding cats and putting out fires.
So with all that in mind my main piece of advice is - Do the best you can at the time and don't worry about being "fair". There are so many variables in life that it's impossible to keep everything perfectly equal and I don't worry about it. Financial situations change, times change, health changes, and outside events change. There's no way you'll ever make things fair or always make the absolute right decision. Make your best decision given your situation at the time and then be okay with it.
So not exactly groundbreaking but I think in general as parents we tend to beat ourselves up for everything.
|Paul and Emma at Ford's Theater in 2009. He's now enlisted in the Marines and she's finishing up her first year of college|
The other thing I found that worked in my house was tailoring punishment for each child. This was especially true for Emma and Paul as they have very different personalities. When Emma got grounded for something instead of being stuck in her room she'd have to stay within 10 feet of one of us all day because she was perfectly happy hanging out in her room on her own reading. For Paul we would do the reverse. He was to stay in his room and we used to count overage like they did in soccer. He'd be grounded for say 5 days but we'd keep count of all the times he'd come out of his room for a snack or drink of water or to wash his hands or to ask a "very important" question and add it on to his time at the end. They hated them equally even though the punishments were very different.
So that's my parenting tips for today. What works for you?