Before You Judge the Parent with the Unruly Child

Image courtesy of freeimages.com/kliverap

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Some mornings at our house don’t go well. The grands fight against our routine almost every morning.  It’s the same routine. Every. Single. Morning. So, why is it so hard for them to follow it?

 

This morning, the grands got up and  dressed quickly (miracle of miracles), except for the shoes. With Amari, that’s wear we hit a snag.

“Put your shoes and socks on, Amari.”

“Ok.”

A few minutes later, he’s still sitting in the same place, staring off into space, barefoot.

“Amari, put your shoes on.”

“I need to put on my socks, first.”

“I know. Do it, please.”

After repeating myself three or four times my volume goes up. I try to stay calm, but it’s frustrating especially when I’m busy doing Victoria’s hair at the moment. Her hair takes ten to fifteen minutes every morning. Today, she cooperated, but some mornings, if she’s dragging her feet, she jerks away and yells that it hurts. We take good care of her hair, so it rarely has tangles, but she still acts like it does.

Add that to her brother not putting on his socks and shoes, and it can get crazy quickly.

Then, there’s breakfast.  In my head, I’m hearing the music they play in mysteries when something shocking or revealing occurs…dundun DUN!

Amari would rather talk to Victoria or make some repetitive noise to annoy her. Victoria doesn’t want to talk to him, she’d rather criticize how he’s eating. We tell them to ignore each other, stop tattling, and eat.

Today, I took Amari’s food away before he finished. That’s not unusual.

If there’s anything worse than breakfast, it’s brushing their teeth. How hard can that be? Believe it or not, Amari stands in front of the bathroom mirror forever making faces and messing with his hair. If we forget to check, he may be in there ten minutes without brushing.

If Victoria brushes her teeth at the same time, Amari complains. All it takes is a speck of food in what Victoria spits into the sink, and he’ll probably throw up. He’s an expert on psyching himself out about how gross something is. Then he vomits. We try to keep them from brushing at the same time. Not so easy when you’re running out of time. Today, I made Victoria brush at the kitchen sink. She pushed back but finally did it. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get Amari brushing his teeth.

So, this morning, we left late. As we started down the road, Victoria exclaimed, “I don’t have my red notebook.”

I turned onto a side street to turn around, asking her where it was in the house. Then, I said, “This is why you’re supposed to put everything for school in your book bag  the night before.”

Her answer, “It’s not a school notebook. I use it to draw in during free time.”

Obviously, I didn’t go back to the house. The neighbor whose car was behind me and now was in front of me probably wondered what my problem was.

Before you jump on and give me advice, that’s not the point of today’s post.

We’re raising two children who didn’t have a morning routine before they came to live with us. They never were on time to anything. I know this because when they visited us, they always arrived late, and I’m not saying a few minutes. We’re talking an hour or more

Whether you’re a grandparent raising children or a foster parent, the rhythm of your household will be different from the one the children knew before. Ours is structured and organized. Theirs was not.

This means we struggle every day with little things. Other families do experience some of these things, but this is how 90% of our days start. It’s not fun.

More importantly, this is just an example of the issues we face. For example, there are stores I will not go into if the children are with me. Why? Because I’m still trying to teach them the proper behavior in a store. They don’t get it, and I don’t appreciate the judgmental looks, and comments, I get from the store clerks. Yes, the store clerks. There are two stores near me that I no longer frequent due to this.

When you see a parent with a difficult child, don’t always assume it’s their fault. They may not be the one who created the habits in the children with them. They may be the ones trying to change those habits.

Cut them a little slack.

Oh, and since some of you are itching to tell me what to do differently in the morning, we already do the following:

  • Pack book bags before bedtime
  • Pick school clothes before bedtime
  • Get up with plenty of time for them to dress, eat, and brush their teeth and have time to spare if they do everything on time. Believe me, they have tons of time.
  • Divide responsibilities between my husband and me when he’s home (he was on a business trip this morning)

Other techniques I’ve used:

  • Timers
  • Reward systems
  • Consequences

So, if you have something different to share, go for it. Otherwise, please don’t.

And please be kind to the person with the unruly child. It’s already hard enough.

 

Advertisements

My Daily Balancing Act

We discovered these rocks on the shore in Rhode Island. There were hundreds of these stacks, balanced against the winds from the ocean. © Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

A few days ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to say in this post. Today, the desire to say it is gone. There are other needs pressing on me, and I don’t know whether I’m ready to share them.

I know, I know, I’ve been an open book about the struggles of my life, but most of those posts talk about situations in my past. Many of them quite a few years ago.

I’ve come to a point in my story where the posts have caught up to real time. To now. Today. That means the stories I’m sharing are ones I’m experiencing. The people they affect are dealing with them now. There are parts I can’t disclose, yet.

That makes the goals of my posts a bit harder to share. The outcomes are unknown. Yes, I trust God to take care of us, but everything I’ve been through has shown me that His way is often a way I can’t begin to imagine. He doesn’t always give us the easy outcome. He has a long-term perspective that I can’t know or see. To be honest, that frightens me when I stop to think about it.

So I don’t stop and think about it.

There’s enough going on in our lives to keep me from focusing on things I can’t change. Thankfully, I’ve never been much of a worrier. I’m a doer. I prefer to be on the move, headed toward a goal. And that goal, for now, is to get through this day. To get through the next day. To help my grandchildren cope with this unfair situation. To find time to spend with my husband, time separate from the grandchildren. To find time to focus on the rest of our family.

AND, to make sure I take time for me, so I’m the person they need.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

It’s not easy. It’s a balancing act. Most days it feels like the rocks in this picture, balanced against all odds. Like these rocks, I will persevere. I will stand against the elements and time. If nothing else, my story has taught me blessings will come. So, I wait and balance.

It’s what I do…for now.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You might not know it, but October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It gets less traction than the other worthwhile cause spotlighted this month, Breast Cancer Awareness. Both of these are crucial issues dealing with women. I’m more familiar with the impact of domestic violence, so I focus on it in this blog.

Last year, I wrote a post entitled, Domestic Violence Awareness Month: From One Who Lived It . In the light of current topics in the news related to the Me Too phenomenon (I will probably write about that one soon), I thought it might be worthwhile to share last year’s post today. It contains links to many of my posts on domestic violence. Please share it if you find anything of value.