My Duckies have some really great friends inside and outside of church. We celebrate birthdays and accomplishments with them, they have tons of fun when they play together, and sometimes they can get down-right rowdy. That’s when I have to step in and spoil the fun by reminding them to quiet down and be thoughtful of other people nearby. Not many people want to hear my kids going nuts or yelling as loud as possible just because they can. I love them. I don’t even want to hear the yelling, and there is always so much yelling.
We have rules because the reality is that rules exist outside our home, and the penalty for breaking those rules can be much worse than a time out corner when they are grown. While the norm may be shifting to ‘just let them be kids’, we aren’t doing them any favors by allowing them to misbehave. It does them no good to have a rule, break it and have me tell them it’s okay, either. I have to stick to my guns when they break a rule or don’t listen to me. By being my kids’ buddy I am teaching them that I will be there to fix the situation so they aren’t in trouble, and that there is no authority. I tried that in our house and I got total anarchy! My kids need authority because their voice of reason isn’t fully developed. When I cave because my toddler is screaming, I am teaching her that if she screames long and loud enough she will get her way. That is just unacceptable and careless teaching on my part. When she is an adult and she tries to yell to get her way I hope she gets thrown out of a store by management because she shouldn’t get away with that. I hope to teach each of the kids how to despute without raising their voice and to bring a solid argument.
Here is the society we live in: we want to stomp out bullying, but we raise bullys and teach people that throwing a fit gets you your way. My duckies will not be a part of that problem because I am raising them better. They will be able to accept the word ‘no’ at a check out counter without wanting to yell at a manager because I am conditioning them to hear ‘no’ when they are young. Am I saying they will never loose their cool? I can’t guarantee that, but I can tell you they won’t learn ‘temper tantrums equals their end result’ from me.
I will add that if your kid is screaming and having a fit in a store and you aren’t giving into them then you are doing a great job! However, it is maddening to be put through 15 minutes of wailing just to see a parent cave in. Save our ears and don’t draw it out if you are going to give in. Plus, and yes I have done this, if your kid doesn’t want to leave a place and throws a fit don’t forget that you are bigger and can carry them out. I have been the mom with the stubborn kid screaming in the cart, and I have had to take my kid to the car while leaving my items there. Sometimes raising them is more important than the shopping list.
Another target I painted on my back was giving my Duckies chores. I make sure they are age appropriate, but yes my youngest Ducky can put away her own toys at the end of the day and my preschooler can make his bed. When I first brought the idea of chores in the house I felt like a drill sergeant having to constantly remind them to do a task. Those Ducks are stubborn and can drag out cleaning their rooms for days. After a few times of letting them know they missed a activity because they weren’t done cleaning their room they got the hint. Momma Goose doesn’t back down just because they really really really wanted to go to the movies. If they don’t learn how to keep a house now, there isn’t a magical adulting app for later. I am the one equipping them to take care of themselves. I don’t like it when they are mad at me, but they will learn to finish their tasks. I had to learn over ten years how to keep a house. If I had started when I was a kid I wouldn’t have been so clueless and overwhelmed later. It is important that they learn to pick up after themselves.
We just moved to the country to start a new chapter in out lives as homesteaders. While my husband still works outside the farm, we will be utilizing the land as best we can. Trust me when I say that the duckies have plenty of ideas as to what kind of animals we can get. We are leaning towards Alpacas long term, but Ducky 3 still has his heart set on a Polar Bear. Don’t worry I will be sticking to no on the Polar Bear issue! Anyway, I agreed to let them get chickens as a start and the older Duckies are going to help build the coop and tend the chickens. It isn’t because of a lack of effort on my part, but more a desire for them to earn the right to get chickens. My eyelid twitches at the thought of all the nails I am going to have to pull back out, mistakes in levelness I will have to fix, or the arguments that are bound to happen. The reality is that the coop is going to be a great learning experience for them. They are going to know what it means to work hard for something they want, how to work together, and how to use a hammer. I want them to have the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing a project with their bare hands. If they grow up and work in an office that is great, but I want them to understand how hard manual labor is. Papa Goose works in a factory and tells me it is very easy to pick out the supervisors who came off the line and the ones who don’t understand the physical demand of the jobs they oversee.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been made fun of or even scolded because people feel I am being ‘too hard’ on my kids. I am not being their best friend all the time and deviating from the norm makes people uncomfortable. I stick to my guns and find comfort in Proverbs 22:6 ESV ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ Now I get compliments on how well behaved they are, how quickly they step up to help others, or how great they are at doing what they are asked without talking back, rolling their eyes, or downright refusing.
Like it or not my Duckies are going to leave the nest. They are adults in the making and right now I am called to mold them not be their best friend. It is my job to be their conscience until theirs is mature enough to do the job. It is my job to make sure they are equipped with all the life skills then need to survive without me. When they grow into thriving, well mannered adults I will know they can soar and live their dreams because I taught them how. When I know that they have got what it takes to make it in this world only then can I be their best friend.