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THE PARENTING MANIFESTO PROJECTFrom Mary Lou (Mom of Seven):
Gum and anyone under 5 don’t mix well. Actually they mix VERY well just not with what you’d like them to mix with.
Electronic boxes and tethers are not good for anyone in even medium doses (small maybe) – TV, computer, video games, Blackberrys, cell phones, PSPs, - you get the picture. People and the relationships you have with them are what counts and while some of the e-boxes can help with relationships they should never replace hugging and talking.
Make sure YOU have friends and take care of yourself. If you don’t have friends, this whole kids thing is going to be REALLY hard. First of all, you won’t have any sounding boards. And second of all, it probably means that you haven’t figured out how to build and sustain relationships with people who disagree with you, are different from you, are cranky, or that you can’t just dismiss because they ate all the Cheez Whiz and crackers.
Your home should be a haven and a sanctuary. If it isn’t, figure out why. It won’t be every day all day long BUT you should never dread coming home or being there.
Abuse is NEVER ok. In any form, at any time, from anyone. Either your child or you.
Pick which hills you’re going to die on. Some of them won’t win the war – skip those but know ahead of time what you NEED to fight. Weird hair, baggy pants, black nail polish – little bitty hills. Drugs, drinking – anything that has long term (as into adulthood) consequences – REALLY BIG HILLS.
Say “I love you” everyday – even when you don’t like your child. And there will be days when no matter how much you love your child, you absolutely will not like them. Trust me, there is a difference.
Some things are absolute. Make sure your child understands that if you violate those, there are consequences.
And finally, from the HR handbook of life: Set clear expectations with measures and give feedback. When the expectations aren’t met, figure out why. It may be you’ve set unrealistic expectations and need to modify. It may be that the expectations are being ignored and discipline needs to occur. When the expectations are met, celebrate. Even little bitty things. While that sounds pretty corporate, kids need to know what the boundaries are and the expectations are – just like the rest of us.