H is for…

HRaising kids properly. I’ve always said there are three requirements for successfully raising children. If they are happy, healthy, and educated then you’re doing it right. Naturally, it’s nearly impossible to hit on three counts all the time. Kids get cranky. Kids get sick. Sometimes we redefine what educating our children means. We have no curriculum, after all. So we make forward progress, always trying.

Raising happy kids is a tricky business. On one hand you want to spend your day with them, bending to their will. However, we know in the long run that won’t make them truly happy. When it comes time for them to be on their own they will flounder, lost without our help. So we need to balance bending to their will with allowing them to figure it out on their own. Whether it’s entertaining themselves or working independently or problem solving, they need to try it by themselves first. A couple years ago I heard a parent being described as a “snow plow” parent. I’d heard of crunchy parents, helicopter parents, tiger parents. A snow plow parent is one who pushed aside and solves all their children’s problems. Didn’t get the grade? Parents talk to the teachers. Didn’t make the team? Parents talk to the coaches. Didn’t get the job? Parents talk to the boss. It’ll make your kid happy now, but in the long run they won’t know how to handle disappointment and failure. So we walk the tight rope trying to balance what our kids need with what they want.

Another factor in their happiness is attention. There’s much to be said for positive attention. When you praise your kids for doing good, even if it’s something they do all the time, they start looking for more positive ways to be recognized. I know this, yet I still find myself nagging and barking at them for doing wrong. Attention is attention for them, positive or negative. I’m now working on catching them being good and verbally recognizing it. It’s making a difference.

Keeping them healthy is an entirely different issue. They’re going to sick at some point. Once they start trading germs like Pokemon cards it’s inevitable. Good parents nurse them back to health. Crazy parents wish they could take their child’s place in the sickbed and be sick for them. Hell no. Parenting is hard enough. We don’t need to be handicapped in parenting with the flu. Let them be sick and get your extra snuggles. Give them extra screen time and extra juice boxes.

Keeping them healthy also means feeding them properly. Real food. I know not everyone enjoys the kitchen as much as I do, but it doesn’t take much effort to make real food. Of course, there are cheat days when you don’t have the time, the energy, or the desire to make a meal so you throw in a frozen pizza, or nuggets, or whatever is easiest. Real food is a great way to save money, too. It’s cheaper to make a meal for four than it is to buy a meal for four. Plus you get leftovers. Unless it’s fish. We don’t eat leftover fish.

Keep ’em happy. Keep ’em healthy. The rest will fall into place.

You can also find some happiness on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

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17 thoughts on “H is for…

  1. I find myself struggling with fussing at them over stuff and not praising enough, too. I’ve read all the books and from experience know that is the way to go, but damn it’s hard sometimes.

    As for healthy, I’ve got one kid that wants salads and the other won’t eat a normal meal to save her life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We started with the super easy stuff. We praised them for the things they were already doing well (eating at the kitchen table instead of in front of the TV and putting their dishes in the sink after a meal, etc..). From there it sort of spread to other areas. When it comes to feeding them, you just do what can. I think one eats like you, does she not? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m gonna start with “Good on you for closing the car or house door!” That’s been the latest thing that the boy is forgetting to do now 😮

        She is way worse than me. For a while she was eating normalish meals for her (like fish sticks, fruit, and cheese), but lately she’s been refusing practically everything and wanting to exist off of Cheerios and string cheese. I know small kids go through those phases, but it still worries me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • small steps… start with the easy 🙂 I’ve often wondered how hungry my kids would go before they started eating healthier foods. I was always nervous of trying that though because I also know how stubborn they are.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As a former stubborn picky child, I can tell you that I would always choose to skip meals over eating the offending foods. We would have to be on the brink of death to eat it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a mom of 4 and let me tell you doing all these can be brutal at times. I’ve learned that each of my children needs to be approached in different manners to achieve these every day. Great read 🙂

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    • Thanks, my friend. And most of the time keeping them happy is mostly about picking your battles. It can be hard to figure out when to stand your ground and when it doesn’t really matter.

      Like

  3. Pingback: A to Z Conclusion | All In A Dad's Work

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