I grew up with a strict tyrannical father. “My way or the highway,” was his motto and we felt we had no other choice, but to abide by his rules. I didn’t want my kids to have that same militant discipline.
Which is NOT to say that I didn’t discipline my kids. I never hit them because I hated being spanked. I used the time out method when needed. I told them how I expected them to behave and allowed that to steer them with the understanding that proper manners, doing your chores and homework in a timely manner and being a loving part of our family was important. How about you?
It wasn’t until the divorce that my parenting style changed. Although to be fair, I was the main parent throughout the marriage since their dad traveled often when we were married.
When you’re a divorced mom of two adolescent sons, there’s no back up. No ‘wait until your Dad comes home’ because he’s abandoned the family and chosen to be their pal when he occasionally communicates with them. So you’re it. And you have to take it seriously, but also you can’t be so obtuse that you are blind to what is.
I made a choice that I am grateful for which was this: we are a family of three now. While I am always MOM, we work together through it all. Kindness, caring and understanding are pivotal here, but also responsibility, manners and the ‘all for one and one for all’ mentality. Because what each of us does may affect the rest of us, let’s do it together. We bonded as I listened to them, they listened to me and we all chose to work through the obstacles. I was so grateful that they were on board with me.
The template for the family (we’re in this together) was set from the start and it has grown. I am thankful for that part. We have struggled, but the dynamic has helped to ease the painful moments. Interestingly enough, when I discipline one kid, the other will either ‘co-parent’ with me or explain how I am not being fair to the one in trouble. And then we can discuss it. Because I can admit when I’m wrong. I’m a Mom and sometimes I can only see the situation in one way, so hearing an explanation from a different perspective helps. And sometimes I am wrong. And sometimes I’m right. But it’s a round table here with me still being the Queen Mum. LOL
Now they’re older, college-aged, so it’s a little different as you saw in my last two posts. It’s a difficult line to walk when they’re ‘adults’ but living in my home during a quarantine with the threat of the virus lurking invisibly. We’ve not had this experience before so there’s bound to be some upheaval. So far, I think we’ve gotten through the roughest waters. Time will tell.
My aim is to teach them to be independent, kind, caring, smart men who live their lives with integrity and a sense of family. My intent is that they understand that there’s a give and take in relationships. We pick up the slack when someone needs more help. We feel confident that the people who love us will do the same when we need it as well. In our home there’s not a ‘tit for tat’ mentality. There’s appreciation, kindness and compassion.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but raising young men this way I think makes them stronger, not weaker. Because forging connections with integrity and love makes for stronger bonds between people. Stronger bonds within themselves and with others grows self-confidence, self-worth and the all-important skill of managing stressful situations. Resilience and the ability to pick one’s self up to try again. That’s my prayer for these two. Well, that and may they find someone who brings out the best in them and inspires them to be the best men they can be (and vice versa). And…may they never forget me.
You know I only have the girl’s point of view here which is why I found a male therapist in case they needed an elder male to talk with about ‘guy stuff.’ Luckily, he’s been a great source of help when needed. Does any of this make sense? Do you agree? Did I miss something? I’d love to hear how you parent in your home!
All I can say is that I know your kids are in good hands. From your perspective as I read this post, you deserve an applause for raising these young men to be affectionate and reasonable. Congrats and I know they will go on with life just fine… because they have a wonderful mother in their lives. 💛
Camille, thank you so much. You lifted my heart today with your kind words. I appreciate your kindness! And kudos to you as a teacher! I am sure this quarantine and online classes are not easy…but with the kindness you’re showing in your comment, your students feel your warmth as I do.
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I’m glad to have lifted up your spirits, Janie! Yes, there are adjustments into shifting online but we’ll carry on. The important thing is that we continue learning 🙂 nonetheless, I wish students have fair access aquipment so all of them will be capable to continue their studies. I admire single moms like you, thank you for making a safe space and wonderful home for your kids. It means a lot to help them deal with no matter life throws at them. 💛
Thank you Camille for all that you do! I am sure it can’t be easy teaching online or through zoom calls. As parents we just have to do our part to keep them on task and help in all ways to bridge the gap while they’re not physically in a school setting. I hope things get better for all and a new normalcy will emerge sooner rather than later…and that all stay healthy! 💛
I never hit my kids (now 33, 31 and 23) either. Time outs or taking away privileges were the things I used. I had thought that I was doing a good job but recently realized that I made some pretty big mistakes and while the kids have all turned out okay (meaning no drugs or legal issues) our relationship as a family has suffered, especially the kid’s relationship with their father. We are still married (36 years) but for most of that time he was suffering with medical issues and then some alcohol problems so it was almost like I was a single parent. My mom taught me to put my husband first always and that was definitely a mistake. I made the kids feel like their thoughts/feelings didn’t matter and that we always had to make sure their dad was happy just to keep peace in the house. That wasn’t fair to them (or to me because I lost a bit of my own self-identity). I realized what I did and had a talk with them, letting them know I was sorry for not validating their feelings. Fortunately my relationship with them is intact for the most part but I don’t know if they will ever have a good relationship with their dad. It was a shock to me when the started telling me exactly how they felt as kids now that they are adults. In truth, it wasn’t fair to my husband either. I made things too easy for him and he didn’t learn how to interact with them. It sounds like you are doing a great job! Communication is always key and you are having those important conversations with your boys.
Janet, thanks for sharing. I think we do the best we can with what we know under the circumstances that are unique to each family. We have the ‘keep the peace in the house’ in common and while the ex here didn’t have the same issues as your husband, I understand because I mostly put him first as well. Mine traveled so I was a single parent during the marriage too, but luckily the kids and I bonded while he was away which made the transition easier.
Having those important conversations with your kids makes a huge difference, no matter the age. Being honest with what we did and how it made them feel is a good step because none of us are perfect and we’re doing the best we can. Perhaps someday when they’re married and parents, they will understand even more. In the meantime, keep the lines of communication open by listening so you can grow your already intact relationship with them. I am happy to hear it is intact…that’s important.
Don’t beat yourself up over it…be kind to you. Open hearted as you are and all will unfold as it is supposed to with them! All good! ❤️
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We’re a nonviolent family, always have been. My parents didn’t believe in violence, so I learned from them. Regarding parenting, we are always parenting our children, no matter how old they are. They still need our guidance and loving support even when they’re 39 and acting like four-year-olds.
LOL! Your response made me giggle because it’s so true. They will always be our children, even when they’re adults. That parental love never wavers…thank goodness! :).
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Yes, I’ve compared it to an anchor or an albatross. In a very nice way, of course. HAHAHA.
Hahaha!! I like anchor better. Love the pun!
Someone once told me I was his anchor. I thought he meant that I was his stability or maybe he meant that I was holding him back from moving his boat. Who knows? He lifted his anchor and is now aimlessly wandering.
And you are freed from being the anchor, whatever that meant to him. 🙂
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Anchor = trauma bond at this point, and yes, he’s free to sail around in circles with no destination.
And you are freed as well! 🙂
My mom is a narcissist and she is manipulative and mean. I don’t think she loves me. I tried very hard to earn her respect in my life, but she can still make me feel unreasonable and incompetent.
As a result, I want to show my Kids I love them. I know I haven’t always done a great job, especially in a few years I struggled with depressions and drinking…
But since then I have chosen to be a parent who they can trust and who they know will always have their back. I am interested and involved in their lives.
My ex was much like my mom…I didn’t realize the kids felt they had to appease him until he was gone. He moved out on November 2018 and every single day since has been more relaxed and loving.
At 17 and 15 my kids completely trust and love me and me them. They talk to me about everything. I have very few rules, but have expectations around school, etc. I’m willing to help them succeed in any way.
My 17 yo is a boy and I wonder if he is missing a male influence…but honestly, I’m not sure what a man can teach him that I couldn’t…although when he asked me about “manscaping” I admit to being speechless, lol
My kids are nice people. I feel blessed every day.
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Anne, I am so proud of you! Here we have talked about a lot of male topics that I was unsure of too. And when I’m speechless, I try to calm myself and then look it up later. Google has become a friend in situations like your example. LOL
I am not sure what a man could teach, but I do know that my sons are happy with their therapist who gives them the ‘guy point of view’ and he’s easy to talk with so they discuss stuff with him. I think it’s good for my kids to have that because I’m Mom and sometimes they desire a man’s point of view. I’m not sure if that makes sense. But it also helps them to work through their emotions about their own dad with someone who was the son of a man for which I can only imagine their feelings on that subject.
I am so happy that you’re all in a good place and that your kids are nice people like their mom! Feeling blessed certainly makes the day brighter! xo
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As a longtime teacher (thirty-one years in grades 2-6), I have so many thoughts on this topic. I think the way you are raising your boys is just right. Parents fall into all kinds of roles in a marriage, and sometimes these roles are discussed, and other times they just happen. For example, I’m far better at math than my wife (she’s far better than me at plenty of other things), but she is the billpayer in the family. Why? She is far more organized than me and will never miss a payment about anything. You dealt with a lot of the discipline beforehand, so even though you’re a single parent now, your past experiences will guide you well.
If you really are interested in my thoughts, I wrote a whole chapter on discipline in my book. I would be glad to send you that chapter if you sincerely are interested if you want to give me your email address. (It’s ten pages, so rest assured I will not be offended in the least if you don’t want to read it.)🤣🤣🤣
HI Pete! What a great teacher you were and how patient as I’m sure teaching the younger grades for years must have been challenging and yet also incredibly rewarding! I love how you speak of your son and your wife with such respect and kindness.
I appreciate your offer, but under the circumstances with some court stuff looming with the ex, I don’t know if I’ll have the time to read your chapter properly, but I do appreciate you thinking of me.
Thank you for your kindness! I hope you have a great day!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I think you’re doing an excellent job. You have done all the hard work in earlier years and now, I hope, things will be easier and smoother.
Thank you. It’s up and down, but I’m still here and they’re still with me so that’s the good news! We keep working at the relationship and that’s helpful. Hope all is well with you!