Thursday, February 4, 2016

Beyond the Books: Parenting Tips

This week I'm linking up with KissinBlueKaren for Beyond the Books.  This is a meme where we all answer a non-bookish question.  It's always so fun to see everyone's answers and get a peak at the blogger beyond the books.  This week's topic is - Parenting Tips.

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?


  1. I think that is great advice!! Especially about the punishments (which I haven't really had to deal with on that level yet though). My big thing is not to compare myself to other parents. I feel bad I am not the Pinteresty mom with them or take them all over but we do play a lot and visit the grandmas and what not. I know a lot of people put their "best lives" on Facebook and I have to remember I have no idea what is really going for them. Or they could be perfect but who cares!

  2. I would have been happy stuck in my room reading, so I can relate to Emma ;) That's very good advice and no, you can't be fair all the time - being a perfect parent is impossible ! I know I used to hate playing baby games with them back when my daughters were little, but my ex-husband loved it. On the other hand, I'm having more fun with them now as teenagers, but ex-husband is a little lost :) Not doing something with your children because you're supposed to do it is my bit of parenting, to each his own and my daughters are well brought-up and loving kids :)

    1. LOL - Iza, you are so right! It wasn't until much later that my mom realized that sending me to my room where I escaped with books was NOT a real punishment.

  3. I'm not a parent, so I don't have any advice. But I do 100% agree that each family is different. And each child is different.

  4. I agree with your advice, Katherine. Each child and each family is different. It's really hard not to compare ourselves with the family we see that seems to have it all together. But what we see and what they're really going through may be two different things. Hard to remember that sometimes though!

  5. God knew what he was doing when He gave me just one male child! (lol) I didn't have to worry about hairstyles, boys calling, etc.. My biggest problem was he tied up the phone, always needed to be taken to and picked up from events and he ate us out of house and home! (lol) Great topic and thank goodness mine is 31 and on his own!! Hugs...

  6. Sounds like good advise to me (says the non parent!) but it's good plain common sense. And I really like the individualised punishments, sounds a lot more effective.

  7. Wonderful advice! I remember my oldest daughter telling me that I didn't treat her the same way as I did her sister. I told her she was right because if I told her not to do something she would sneak around and do it and then lie about it. When I tell my youngest not to do something...she doesn't do it. You can't treat kids the same because they are not the same.

    I just wish someone would send ME to my room! :)

  8. You go girl! I once went to a blog that had been a book blog previous to the blogger having a baby, and then it turned into a mom blog. She did a post about people giving her unwanted ridiculous and "old fashioned" advice and said parents should do what they think is best for them, and she asked what was one thing that we were told that we didn't follow. I told her that I was told that babies had to be kept on a strict schedule or they would be cranky all the time, and grow up nervous because they would feel insecure. I told her that ended up being wrong because with my son's dad working with a band and our wedding photography company there was no such thing as a schedule at our house, and my son grew up just fine and secure and he was a happy baby just going with the flow. Well, she commented back that I was terrible and I was lucky he didn't have problems later in life and that she was having trouble getting her baby on a schedule, but she was not going to give up because it is one of the most important things for a happy well adjusted baby. Ha ha. I guess going with your gut was only for her. I never went back because she was rude, but now that I am thinking about her, I wonder if she ever attained that sacred strict schedule Nirvana. Hehe.

  9. OMG! You are a genius, I love those tailored punishments. Having my son follow me around all day would be funny, but it would really work for my daughter. Great post!

  10. Lovely day at a time, united parenting, firm but fair. You have a lovely family Katherine :)

  11. Aww it seems like everyone is growing up so fast! I'm definitely not a parent, but I do have a lot of siblings, so I know how hard it would be to try to keep everything "fair". Tailoring the punishment is a very smart idea!

  12. I only have the one child and he is now 27. Punishments for him were different than those his best friend as his mom would tell me what worked. But not for our kid. They are all different and individual and unique as to what works. Your family photos are great and I thank you for sharing them.

    Good grief, Paul is in the Marines now? Time flies.

  13. oh I love your post Katherine SO TRUE. best parenting advice ever: DO THE BEST YOU CAN :)
    I'm going now through the crazy soccer schedules phase (and ballet, and piano, and Spanish, and swim O..M..G) so I do have to try to be organized even if it doesn't look I'm LOL
    Kids are such a blessing. Thanks for this beautiful post :)

  14. Great tips - I especially like the idea of tailoring the punishment to each child. My middle one was always happy to be sent to his room. But then, for him, part of the deal was that he just needed to get away from the people that were winding him up and chill for a while so it still worked.