A State of Chaos

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I wonder how people who willingly condemn another can hold themselves to a different standard. What is the reasoning that allows condemnation of one and passivity with another? There seems to be a lack of consistency when it comes to accountability, rules, laws and standards. It’s not what act was committed yet who committed the act that decides if and what the consequence will be. It’s unjust and it’s twisted and it sends mixed messages. No wonder people are so confused. When we lack consistency we create chaos. Nobody needs more of that. God help the children that are being raised in this difficult era of hypocrisy. Do as I say and not as I do.

Today I beg you to be the role model these kids need. No more double standards. No more hypocrisy. We have got to set the bar higher because a state of chaos is not where I want to live.

Yep, it’s one of THOSE days!

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If I had a dollar for everytime I had to do something I didn’t want to do, I would be a millionaire. With parenting comes many responsibilities that take many hours of long work. Sometimes trying to get my kids to do anything is like running head first into a brick wall after already breaking my own neck. Why does it have to be this difficult? Kids question everything these days and they challenge their parents every chance they get. I’ve recognized that it’s just impossible to be their friend and their mother as we all suffer our way through these tumultuous teenage years.

If I’m being completely honest, I must admit that I am, for the most part to blame. They wear me down and I just don’t have the energy or motivation to stay on top of them the way I know I should. I wouldn’t dare disrespect my mother. If she told me to get something done, like it or not, I would get it done. My kids believe they can pick and choose what to do and when to do it because their own needs and rights trump the rights of their parents. The world is out of control and my kids are spiraling right along with it. The selfishness, disrespect for others and lack of concern for anyone but themselves leaves me feeling like I have failed as a parent. I try my best to be an example but I cannot force them or anyone else to follow it. Some days are just so much harder than others and some days I let things get to me more than I should. I guess today is one of those days.

What Does Reading and Driving Have in Common? You Won’t Believe It!

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You know that old saying, save the drama for your mama? This mama is sick of drama. Everytime I turn around its something else.

Chase took his 8th grade reading test on Tuesday. The kid has been a wreck ever since. Upon completion of the test, a raw score pops up, yet there is no published passing score to date. Usually these standardized tests are a complete joke and I don’t put much emphasis on them but this year the situation becomes a little more serious. See in Oklahoma, one of the worst ranked states when it comes to education, the school system teams up with the DMV and 8th graders who do not pass their reading test cannot get there drivers permit until they do. The catch? I do believe you can only take the test once a year. Some will argue this is a good thing because reading a book on how to drive well, requires reading.However, this test is based on vocabulary, literary terms and analysis and comprehension of pieces that are just over a 14 year olds head. Someone please explain to me how identifying the mood and theme of a piece of writing has anything to do with driving a car? Enough is enough. This is taking things one step too far.

Don’t Be a Jerk

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This is a gentle reminder that acting like a jerk can really ruin someone’s day. Control yourself.

I was headed to take my little dogs for their yearly exam today. They run all over the car and one dog gets very anxious when he is going someplace and whines the entire way. I was already feeling a little anxious and trying to get there safely. Apparently I wasn’t driving fast enough for the guy in the big white truck behind me because as I made the turn into the parking lot, he held down his horn until he was completely past me. The noise really startled me and I was already feeling pretty anxious. When did driving the speed limit give someone the right to get aggravated to the point they act like a maniac? Just don’t do that. I hope you know better.

Why I Despise Sports

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Anyone who has the endurance and patience to continue to follow my posts knows, without a doubt, that I am constantly questioning and reevaluating my own life. Is it any surprise that I do that when it comes to everything else as well? At what point does one say, this is ridiculous and make the changes to live a more sensible life? Ever?

I despise sports. Not the sports themselves but the crap you have to deal with because of the people who run them. I’ll let you decide.

My daughter joined the volleyball team late. She was told she had to make up every day of conditioning before she would be allowed to play. She finished last week and came home happy and high-fiving everyone. We aren’t talking about a few laps around the track. We are talking 1000 push-ups, 1000 sit-ups, 1000 pop ups, suicides and then some more. Is strength and conditioning going to make her a better volleyball player? No, playing volleyball and practicing would but she sat on the bench like a trooper, cheering on her teammates since games started in early August. She has already had 2 games this week. Guess what? She still hasn’t played. Even though she worked to get everything completed, still they won’t put her in a game? What kind of message does that send to an athlete, especially a teenager? If that isn’t bad enough, these kids leave school around 3:00 on the bus. They must stay and sit through freshman, JV and varsity games and ready for this one? They are not allowed to do any school work while they wait. Two nights in a row she has left for school and walked in the door at 9:30 at night. She has 3 games this week and did I mention they don’t stop to get these kids food?So, by the time she actually gets to her homework, it is 10:00 at night. She was up until 1:00 in the morning trying to get it all done.

Someone please tell me when our priorities got so screwed up? When did sports take priority over schoolwork and why the hell doesn’t anyone challenge this? Here’s an even better question, who the hell do these coaches think they are that they can even make a rule as ridiculous as this one? Where are the parents? Why is nothing being done? What if your kid has a huge test the next day? You can’t even pick them up from the game, they have to wait until everyone’s done.

The answer is, we live in a world where people kiss ass to get what they want for themselves. What’s worse, they do it at any cost. They are afraid to make waves because they know all too well, they might face retribution. And no one wants to see their kid take the brunt of the consequence of challenging or questioning a coach. People are weak and they are turning their heads away from the things that really matter. Someone please explain this to me. Am I blowing this way put of proportion or do you see a problem too?

Parenting Advice That May Change Your Life

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I remember thinking my mom was old fashioned. She would give me unnecessary child rearing advice that didn’t apply to the here and now. Didn’t she know she raised us wrong? All the things she did was wrong. I know that because all the experts tell us to raise our children differently then we were raised back in THOSE days. And surely they had to be right, at least that’s what I thought until my toddlers turned into teens.

Here are a few examples of what I was taught and where that advice went so wrong.

1) Give Kids Choices

You’ve practiced this one a million times. You let little Sally choose which shirt to wear to preschool. You ask with a great big smile on your face, “Will it be the pink one or purple one?” Then little Sally comes home for the day and you ask, “do you want to take a nap now or after one episode of Barney?” She chooses now and you are delighted in the knowledge that Sally is smart enough to make the most responsible decisions, even at her young age. You feel proud. Later that night as you sit down for dinner, Sally tells you she doesn’t want to eat her peas. You tell her that she has to eat three out of four things on her plate but she gets to choose. It’s no surprise she skips the peas. I think you get the point.

2) Respect and Understand Your Child’s Feelings

Little Sally doesn’t want to take a nap. We do what the good books tell us to do and we try and ask the right questions so we can understand where this is all coming from. Sally’s eyes well up with tears and she explains she misses mommy and Sally time because school is such a long day. Mommy feels sad. She probes. “Sally, do you feel like Mommy doesn’t want to spend time with you? Does it make you feel sad when mommy is busy doing other things?” Do You see what’s happening here? Sure, sometimes Sally does not want to take a nap but she lacks the knowledge and maturity to know what she needs. Mommy knows Sally is tired and will have an emotional tantrum if she misses her sleep, but shouldn’t we give Sally the choice anyway?

3) 5 Minute Warning

We’ve all had that one mommy friend who prides herself on five minute warnings. “You have five minutes to clean up your toys.” She holds up five fingers and smiles at her child lovingly. “Sally, we have to leave in five minutes. This is your warning.” Then, somehow the moms get caught up in the latest gossip about who is no longer wetting the bed and before you know it twenty minutes have gone by. “4 minutes Sally and we are going to leave.” Can you see where this lack of follow through will eventually lead?

What is Sally doesn’t want to leave? She’s upset now because she wants to stay and play longer with her little friend. Shouldn’t we respect HER feelings?Maybe we should ask her why she feels this time isn’t adequate enough. Maybe we should give HER the choice to decide when it’s time to leave. Maybe we are being unfair and that is why little Sally looks so distraught.

I don’t claim to be a perfect parent. I believe that parents are ashamed to admit they raised their children wrong and they made mistakes. ALOT of mistakes. We throw our entire selves into being perfect parents and one day we wake up to see that that what we raised is a very bold, spoiled teenager. We can’t admit that though. We mask what we’ve created by putting a positive spin on their less that desirable personality traits. We call them strong-minded, smart, mature, strong-willed. There are thousands of ways can can spin the negative into something that feels better to believe is good.

When our toothless little toddlers grow up to be teenagers, all they know is what we have taught them. When we say be home by ten, they bargain for a later time. They want a choice. They want you to respect their need to stay out as long as everyone else. “You are a horrible mother. Everyone else’s mom knows that it’s important to stay until the end of the party.” Then you remember the deal was that she could go to the party as long as her room was clean. “Have you cleaned your room” you ask. “I will do it on my own time” she responds. “You need to respect my schedule.” Hmmm….you start to sink a little lower. You did this, you created this and now you have to deal with it. 5 minutes you would say and not follow through….AND YOU WONDER why she feels she doesn’t have to clean her room BEFORE the party????? It’s her time, they are her choices and she will do what she wants while you have no choice but to respect her decisions.

Wake up moms! Our teens are walking all over us and the truth is we have lost control. We want things to change, NEED them to change but now what can we possibly do? We gave them too many choices, we respected their feelings, we always gave them too much time to do what we expected of them. This is the reality that we created because we listened to the people who we thought knew better.

Looking back I would do it different . This is how the day would play out.

“Here are your clothes for school Sally.”
(Sometimes we have to do what were told)

“We are leaving right now Sally, get in the car.”
(Time waits for no-one)

“I’m not interested in why you don’t want to take a nap, you are going to bed.”
(Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do)

I did everything those books told me to. I did the best I could do. I am ashamed to admit what happened with my own teenage daughter this morning but if someone, ANYONE learns from it then I have done my job well. I told my daughter she had to have her room clean before she goes back to school tomorrow. She told me like it or not, she would do it on her time. Did it hurt my feelings? Of course but my feelings are not whats important. What is important is that my lack of knowledge, my lack of good parenting will come back and haunt her. Unfortunately, it will be a very hard lesson when she learns there is no “my time”. Soon she will be forced to succumb to and respect her professors time and eventually she will stand in front of her boss and I cringe to think about what his response will be when she tells him she will do the job in her own time. These techniques do not work in the real world. They set our children up for failure and a misconception that they have more control than they actually do. Her current mindset will not serve her well in the real world. I am sad for her and I am sad that I created something that life will eventually completely destroy. Heed my warning, do better by your kids. Don’t make the same mistakes I have made and stop thinking that you will find your answers in a 200 page book. Use your common sense and make choices that make sense. If you take my parenting advice, it just may change your life and I guarantee you will have an easier time when your toddler turns I to a teen.

One final School Fiasco- You knew it Was Coming!

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I am sitting here absolutely dumbfounded. Seriously, it is the last week of school and the excitement I should feel has been crushed with frustration and disappointment. If you follow my blog closely you understand some of the difficulties I have had dealing with schools. I am going to start by saying this, my frustration is with the schools my children attend. This is not to be taken personally by every teacher, administrator, etc. I will tell my story though because the truth and the facts have to get out there so parents become more aware about what is and isn’t going on at least inside of my schools.

When a child is tardy or absent, I get a notification. In fact, I get several. Every phone number tied to the parents gets a call with the notification as well as every email address. I got 2 last week for Chase, both instances resulting in a mistake on the part of the teacher marking the wrong kid absent.

As a parent, I can’t help but wonder each and every time I get a call if my child is possibly cutting class. I mean I am not so out of touch with reality to believe I have perfect children all the time. So, when I get all these notifications I wonder. The policy is that once you get an alert, the parent has 48 hours to contact the attendance person. So, like a good, responsible parent, I make the call to the high school today. I have questions about the policy so that I am fully aware of all it’s implications. I simply ask why am I getting a call asking where my child is when he or she is under the care of the school. I rudely get dismissed and am told that it is my daughters responsibility to go to the teacher that marked them tardy or absent so the teacher could then email the office to verify where that child was. Let’s look at it this way….you want a kid that is bold and irresponsible enough to even possibly skip a class to go to the teacher that turned the kid in to have a conversation about it so the teacher can clarify with the attendance office. If I even have to explain why the whole idea of that is ridiculous then you should stop reading right here and move on to the next blog. I ask the lady to explain why this is the protocol and she becomes defensive and tells me it is not her job to email the teacher and find out what’s going on, it is the students responsibility. Wait! You are the attendance person, what is your role exactly and again why am I getting a call asking where my child is while in your care? If you don’t know, and I don’t know, this conversation is just a waste of time.

Every time I deal with a school I hear the same line over and over again. “Your child needs to be responsible for herself.” Hmmmm….really? How are you being responsible? What lesson about responsibility are you teaching my child? I am about to clear that up now. The woman told me they contact the parents to make them aware. I asked what the next step is. Guess what? There is none. That’s it. She did tell me Kayleigh has been tardy 4 times and after the kids have so many they get in school suspension. Really I asked, how many? No specific answer. I hated to do it but I couldn’t help but point out the obvious. Can you imagine if after one or say 2 tardiness you sit face to face with a principal explaining one more would lead to a meeting with the parents and in school suspension, how few 3rd tardies there would actually be? After a very long, in depth conversation, it became clear to me that there are no consequences. The kids are told they are responsible for themselves, they can come and go in and out of the school as they please, AND there are NO consequences. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We spend years raising kids, teaching them right from wrong, to respect rules and to have fear the consequences of their actions and the high school, who we place the care of our teen in for hours of the day, completely teaches the opposite. No wonder kids are not respecting parents and rules. It’s this confusion coming from authority or lack there of that decides whether or not they will respect rules and laws or really believe they are above them and can do anything they please.

This is really getting out of control. There are so many policies that are so broken and what’s worse, people follow them blindly. What happened to common sense and thinking things through? As it is, freshman are not supposed to leave campus at lunch but you wouldn’t believe how many I see at local restaurants everyday. The attendance secretary explained that they can’t have a cop at every door making sure these kids don’t leave. What? Maybe not but I suggested how valuable it would be if the principal or assistant principal showed up at Chick-fil-A on a random basis. The truth is they really don’t care that the kids leave. They know they do. See where the message gets mixed up in the mind of the kids. Rules aren’t meant to be followed, teachers really don’t care. If that’s the case, change the rule. If you are not going to enforce it or have consequences then CHANGE THE RULE!

I see a lot of finger pointing back at parents. I know my kid is home when she’s supposed to be home and if I catch her breaking a rule, there will be consequences but the school and the parents have got to be on the same page. Otherwise, parents become less significant to the kids and slowly over time, we lose their respect. They aren’t afraid of us anymore because really, why do we make a big deal out of everything? The school doesn’t care. It’s like two parents negating each other. The kid plays one against the other and the child gets away with murder. It doesn’t work and I am watching it happen in front of my eyes. I can’t even stop it. I have one kid who was missing from a class for 4 weeks before they discovered he was in the wrong one, and another one that should be responsible for herself. What exactly are our schools responsible for? Because last time I checked my kids aren’t legally at age to care for themselves. Why do these schools not know where my kids are when they are in their care? And furthermore, if a teacher screws up for weeks not realizing a kid is missing or a kid takes it upon herself to have multiple tardies or cut class, who is responsible? The answer is nobody, and that’s exactly why these things are happening in the first place. What in the world is going on?