This past Tuesday on my Facebook page, I launched a hopefully recurring feature called “Tough Q Tuesday.”
Every week, I’ll ask the group to answer a question. The best responses make it onto the website along with my advice or comments. Because who doesn’t need more advice?!?!
I’m hoping these questions and answers will start a conversation, inspire parents to try more things, and get other moms and dads to realize they’re not alone in the world.
Here’s this week’s question:
Question: If you could accomplish one thing as a parent in the coming year, what would it be?
“Family time. So difficult as everyone has their schedule.” – Cheryl
MY ADVICE: Sorry, Cheryl, but creating more time in a day is impossible.
I’ve tried everything – convincing everyone there are two times in Fall when set back the clock, excellent weed to slow down the passing of time, shouting up at the sun to “STOP GOING AWAY!” I came up with that last idea while on the excellent weed.
The best idea is to maximize the time you do have together.
I think you’ve got to schedule family time the way you plan everything else. Put it in a calendar.
“Every day at this time, we do this as a family. And nothing else gets in the way!”
It can be a game, a meal, or just staring lovingly into each other’s eyes while singing the songs of Irving Berlin.
Here’s a helpful article on ways to make the most family time when everyone is so busy.
“Getting my #4 to open up about the tough situation our family is in.” – Barbara
MY ADVICE: I don’t know the age of your kid, but I’ve found the best idea, especially with younger kids, is to stop asking them how they feel and just be around to let them tell you.
For example, don’t sit your son or daughter down and go “what’s wrong? No really what’s wrong? Tell me! TELL ME!”
Instead, spend time doing something he or she loves and sneak it into the conversation. Maybe get the ball rolling by fessing up how YOU feel about the situation. And be honest!
My son recently admitted to his mom that he hates Halloween. He likes the candy and costumes but trick-or-treating freaks him out. Approaching dark houses decorated with scary faces and zombies gives him nightmares.
About a week ago, I sat down to do a LEGO build with him and brought up the fact that I hate Halloween. I do hate Halloween. Pretty much for all the same reason.
Once he heard my feelings on Halloween, he opened up about his internal struggles.
So I got him to discuss his fear AND got to play with LEGOs. Double bonus points!
“Get my 20-somethings to move out of my house!” – Jeri Lynn
MY ADVICE: I’m sure you know this, Jeri, but the deck is stacked against them with massive debt, the insane cost of living, and all the other factors making it impossible for millennials or any other generation to get ahead.
Since they can’t afford to move out, and you can’t move out, my suggestion is to be around less.
If the kids being around is getting on your last nerve, maybe you’re around too much?
Find more hobbies, meet up with friends more, get a side job, and treat your home the same way your kids do. Just a place to crash at night.
You’ll find a new sense of freedom and your kids might realize “wow, mom’s never home. What the hell is the point of being here?!?” and move out.
“Be more patient. While my son isn’t the average 9-year-old, I tend to forget he is only 9 and shouldn’t expect him to act like an adult.” – Kristen
MY ADVICE: Many parents said that in the coming year they wanted to either “have more patience” or “stop getting angry so much.”
I think about this advice on how to stop getting angry over every little thing all the time and think it works for both situation. Give it a shot.
“To survive my “baby boy” moving out on December 1st. He’s 21 and on to the next chapter of his life – it’s a year lease with friends so he may be back, but man! Is life around here going to be different lol.” – Karen
MY ADVICE: A good friend of mine bought a classic car that was days away from meeting its maker at the scrapyard. He paid maybe $200.
He spent the better part of two years restoring the car, top to bottom, from the engine to the interior and every single inch of the vehicle.
Working on the car took up most of his free time and his life.
Finally, he finished. He called up a bunch of friends and family to check out his work.
The car looked ridiculously amazing.
One of us asked, “ok, who drives it first?”
“Drive it! Are you insane! It’s going in my garage and never seeing the light of day!”
You’re done, mom. You did good.
“To encourage and empower my kids and to explore more geographically; make lots of good memories to reflect on when the tough stuff happens.” – Shaylene
MY ADVICE: Hmm. Be more adventurous? You might want to read this!
“To make more time for my daughter after my son was born four weeks ago. Sleepless nights, homework and clubs cut down any time we have with her.” – Laura
MY ADVICE: Sleepless nights? Not much you can do about those.
Homework? You really can’t control that either.
Clubs? The last time I checked, clubs are optional.
Ask your daughter if she’d rather go to chess club or spend an hour alone with you. I’m assuming her answer will be a PG, kid-friendly version of the reply “Fuck chess!”
“To instill a sense of confidence that the world can’t shake. (And I mean confidence, not entitlement.)” – Dani
MY ADVICE: Fatherly ran a great piece on self-confidence. It’s worth a read.
My two cents is confidence is learned, and you’ve got to lead by example.
If you’re confident, they’ll be confident.
“To beat my breast cancer and not have my treatments be too traumatic for my son.” – Heather
MY ADVICE: Heather, best of luck in your fight. You’ve got this!
“Have more patience. Something I saw on Facebook stuck with me ‘He is not giving me a hard time, he is having a hard time.’ Figure out why, and try to help him through it. – Claire
MY ADVICE: Ohhhh, I like that quote and we all know how much I love quotes!
“To get My kids brushing their teeth and taking their vitamins without me nagging them!” – Amanda
MY ADVICE: Those are both activities that need to be part of a larger routine. Routines are SUPER powerful.
Check out this article on how to establish routines with kids.
“Get my child to the end of senior year & graduation.” – Carol
MY ADVICE: Carol, I understand the sentiment but unless you’re going to be there for freshman year of college now might be the right time to teach your kid to rely only on him or herself.
You can be there. It’s not on you to get them there.
“Help my 6-year-old realize who his true friends are. He’s being bullied and manipulated. I’d like to help him make new friends.” – Kyley
MY ADVICE: I’m so sorry to hear this about your child’s friends, and I’m incredibly sorry to hear how busy your kid will be at night and on weekends. So busy that he or she doesn’t have time for those friends.
My son had a friend I wasn’t crazy about and WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT we’re super, duper busy every time he wanted to have a playdate. Well isn’t that the darndest luck!?!
Kids forget about old friends as soon as they make new friends. You can certainly help with that.
“Getting out the front door without argument.” – Meg
MY ADVICE: Here’s a crazy idea that I have no proof will work but doesn’t hurt to try.
Use a different door.
Humans have habits. Kids usually don’t want to leave the house, especially if they’re going someplace they hate, so they’ll stall at the exits.
Change the exit.
They’ll be in the car and confused as hell before they can put up a fight.
I’d like to take this advice, but unfortunately, there’s only one exit out of my condo.
Maybe we all jump out a window?
“To help my daughter become a better friend and to make friends with people who are good to her. She is very popular but I worry she is surrounded by kids who get her in trouble.” – Keelia
MY ADVICE: Keelia, your daughter goes to school, so she’s ABSOLUTELY surrounded by people who will get her in trouble.
You might not be able to change her friends but you can change the punishment should she decide to participate in things that get in trouble.
Don’t put her in a position to not screw up. Let her screw up and learn from her mistakes.
“Get my son to tie his shoelaces.” – Charlotte
MY ADVICE: Maybe this will help.
“Teach my son how to play baseball to help him be more active.” – Cindy
MY ADVICE: Kids can be active in a million different ways.
Does your son even like baseball?
Maybe you’re pushing him too much into being active with the things you want?
“To get my 6 y/o to stop debating EVERYTHING with me!” – Krystal
MY ADVICE: While it’s frustrating as hell, you’ve got to let the kid develop an arguing habit. It will serve them well in life to ask “wait, why?”
Just don’t let give the “because I’m your mom and I said so.” I do it sometimes and cringe.
Imagine if your boss denied a request at work with “because I’m the boss and I said so!” It sounds like he or she really doesn’t have a logical reason.
Explain your reasons to your kid. If they still “why?” you to death, lock yourself in a bathroom until they lose interest.
“I get a job and support my family properly.” – Dennis
MY ADVICE: I feel you, Dennis.
As a man who’s actively been looking for a full time job for over two years, I feel you.
Here’s my advice – make up your own job. Find something you like doing, even if you can’t make money. Put all of your time, energy and passion into that endeveour.
It will either lead to a way to make money or a job doing it for someone else.
Best of luck!
“Just be awesome! Still figuring out what that is.” – Kim
MY ADVICE: Aren’t we all! If you figure out, please share it with just me.
“Become a parent……” – Katharine
My Advice: Good luck! If it doesn’t happen, I have a couple of thousand readers who will gladly hand over their kids.
Do you have a parenting accomplishment you want to nail in 2019? Tell us about it in the comments! Did you love this article? Subscribe via EMAIL and never miss another one again!
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