you are OK . . .

OK Here it is . . . my week on kids.  Let me say a few things to cover myself before I get started.  First of all I am educated to feed children (tube feedings, allergies, picky eaters, etc because I studied Nutrition in college) I am NOT educated to discuss raising kids.  But!  Don't stop reading.  I do have four kids (three from me and one from my husband's first marriage).  I have read a few (or a lot) of parenting books.  When I was a commodities trader, in marketing and food sales I use to read A LOT for my job.  Since parenting feels like a job (at times) I try to keep myself up to date by reading the necessary materials . . . parenting books.  This is the 'week of kids'.  Enjoy!

This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to parenting . . . TELLING A HURT CHILD "YOU ARE OK"!  Last time I checked no one has figured out how to feel exactly the same way another person feels, not even google.  So if your kid is hurt or sad or mad, don't tell them they are OK.  There is no simpler way to diminish someone's feelings than to dismiss them.  So next time your kid skins their knee or is told 'no' or is just upset because they are upset, please, please, please I beg you . . . DO NOT SAY . . . "YOU ARE OK."  Instead tell them you are sorry for them or offer to help them out.

I know it can sometimes be annoying to hear your child whale about something we may think is ridiculous, or they have fallen and hurt them self for the fourth time (and it's only 10am) or the clothes they want to wear aren't clean or they don't like dinner or whatever!  Instead of saying those horrible words, 'you are ok.'  Instead say this . . .

  • If your child has fallen for the fourth time that morning.  Bite your tongue, or pinch yourself and give them another hug.  Don't say, 'you are OK.'  Sorry, but you don't know how your kid feels, you don't!  And you should want to support your kids feelings, not squash them.
  • If the clothes your kid wants to wear are not clean or too small or they can't find a particular toy and they are upset, help them!  Don't tell them, 'it's OK.'  Say you are sorry for them and be their support and help them find something else to wear or play with.
  • If your kids don't like dinner (that you worked really hard on), tell them I'm sorry.  Don't just say, 'eat it,' you don't have your kids taste buds.  Do you have any idea what force feeding your kid will do to their eating habits when they are older?  It ain't pretty folks.  Now if your children have not tried dinner, tell them they are silly for not liking dinner if they haven't tried it!!!!  Be kind to your kid, be happy if they tried one bite of food.  The first thing a child can use to power struggle with their parents is food.  Don't go there!  Support your kid, be kind, be their food coach.

You can see the theme here.  Accept your child's feelings.  They are their feelings.  Don't squash them.  Here's the kicker, don't go to far with this stuff.  If one of my kids has fallen and it doesn't look to bad to me and I know they are exhausted or getting sick or just extra emotional that day, I still say I'm sorry and pat their head.  No need for bandaids or a big emotional showcase.  I just acknowledge their situation and move on.

Second, if they can't find their clothes or toys.  Offer to help them find something else.  Don't just blow them off, lend them a hand.  Again, no need to go overboard here.  You can help wipe away the tears if needed, and help them find a solution.  You can say, can you find another outfit to wear or another toy.  If the answer is 'no', give them some guidance.  Did you look here or there?  If the answer is 'no' again, offer to help them.  And if you are too busy, cooking dinner, on the phone, whatever.  Tell them you can help them when you are done.  And if that doesn't work for your kids . . . you might want to think about some changes in your household because it should.

Lastly, if your kids don't like dinner or doing what you are doing, just tell them you are sorry.  If they throw a fit and are ruining whatever you up too, remove them from the situation.  Don't give them anymore energy, go back to having dinner or enjoying what you were doing without the child you have removed.  If you need help with this one, I have some tricks!  Send me a question or email.

Again, folks I AM NOT A PRO HERE.  Last week I sat on a curb in a parking lot at the end of a soccer game with my daughter SCREAMING and every parent from both teams driving by.  It was awesome, kidding!  I had more comments, stares, glares then I care to discuss.  I even had a couple mom's offer to help.  I know they were trying to be nice.  It's a temper tantrum folks, kids have them.  And they are going to have them anywhere.  I don't care where my kids have them, I don't like them, but trust me I will not do anything to stop them.  If your kids learn to have temper tantrums without you trying to stop them they will learn to deal with all their hardships and their 'little' lives.  And they will learn they are not always going to get their way and the tantrums will happen less and less.  What I needed during her tantrum was some caution tape or orange cones to keep people away!  Ha ha.  Bottom line . . . accept your kids feelings!