Jun 2, 2012

Printable: Raising A Good Kid

Being a parent is hard stuff. 

I wasn't ignorant of that when I signed up for this whole motherhood thing. However, I will say that in the beginning when the hard stuff is heavy on the care-taking end I was tired, but I wasn't overly worried about my children's well being.

I settled in and got used to it. I learned the ropes. I knew how to function on no sleep. I got really good at the whole feeding/diapering thing. I even eventually felt certifiable as a potty-training mom. Yes, I felt I had the care-taking thing down okay. Okay enough to not have too much anxiety about them growing and developing healthily.

In the beginning, there is so much hero worship. I mean little kids have SO, SO, SO much love to give. Even though there are some tantrums and moments of hair-pulling, you as their parent are pretty much as cool as playing in the mud, ice cream, and puppies.  

When my boys were little, I was never really stressed about raising a good kid. I mean even the occasional time out did nothing to tarnish their little halos. I knew they weren't perfect, but it is easier to remember a little one is still learning manners. For one, they seem to have more moments of good and less of weasel.

So yeah, in the beginning I knew it was hard. BUT I am learning that with the more blessings and fun that parenting brings as the boys get older, the harder it gets. 

Harder in a different way. 

Less work physically.

More work emotionally.

More work spiritually.

Over the past year or so I am learning this first hand thanks to my Oldest.

You know this handsome kid.

He is old enough to start expressing his personality. He is old enough to start questioning. He is old enough that he thinks he is old enough to be our equal. He is old enough to control his emotions and yet he is young enough that he doesn't have it all figured out.

He is the oldest so he is bossy. He is smart...so he always has an answer for everything even if he hasn't been asked. He is old enough to help. He is old enough to ride his bike out of my sight. He is old enough to start making his own choices. He is old enough to be held accountable for his actions.

He is old enough that this Momma sometimes gets a little obsessed with making sure he is being a "good kid". I will admit it. I think I am a little overbearing sometimes. I SO badly want the best things for him. 

I want him to be a good example. I want him to be a good friend. I desire for him to have compassion and gentleness but also to be able to weather the challenges that life will send his way. I want him to really know he is a Child of God and I want him to have confidence to act accordingly. I want him to make as few stumbling decisions as possible. I want him to develop an obedient and faithful nature. I want him to think of serving without asking. 

I want to raise a good kid so that he will be a good adult.

I want this so badly for him, because I know ultimately this kind of character will bring him the most joy and happiness. Isn't that what every parent really wants for their children?

Sometimes I want it so badly that perhaps...just perhaps I spend WAY too much time correcting every little thing, over and over and OVER again.

Sometimes I want it so badly I only see the things to correct and I forget one very important thing...

He is already a really, really good kid.

He is respectful at church, school, and with other adults. He watches out for Middle. He reads to Bean and the other boys. He will give his balloon up when another siblings flies away into the sky. He will spend a time out in his room planning a spiritual lesson to teach the family. He obeys the BIG rules. He gets excited when we go take treats to a neighbor. He had hoped that his younger brothers would never learn swear words and felt devastated when he couldn't protect Middle from learning one. He easily shares with us when he feels the spirit.

He still talks about marrying the girl I picked out for him 4 years ago. He talks about being a good dad. He tells his Momma that she is the best cook frequently. He is eager to learn new skills. He reads and reads and reads. He makes good decisions 90% of the time. Fells genuine remorse for his big oopsies.

So yes, I will say it again. He is already a really good kid.

I was grateful when I ran across the above quote pinned by my SIL. While I was reading it, a light bulb went off. I so badly needed to be reminded to not focus on all the fixing. I needed to be reminded that I needed to be corrective, but ultimately I needed to foster his already-there goodness. I just need to lovingly teach and reinforce the goodness he came with.

Because I am not perfect and I am aware I will have a lapse in memory, I decided to create my own version of the saying I saw. I will be printing off and hanging it on my fridge so that I can remember everyday to be the parent I want to the good kids I already have. After all, he is just my first AND he has plenty more growing up still to do with three siblings quickly following behind.

If this saying struck a chord with you, please fill free to save the above quote to you computer and print it off. A little positive reminder never hurt. 

After all, just like raising a good kid is a process, so is becoming the parent we want to be.

Go give your good kids a hug and tell them how grateful you are for all their goodness.


Jessica Ayala said...

Thank you for this. Sometimes we moms need a reminder!

Julie said...

It is so funny you posted this today. I have been thinking the EXACT same thing about my oldest in the last week. I make a mental decision to criticize less and be more positive and patient. Easier said than done though! It's like you took the words right out of my mouth :) Thanks for the printable. That will help remind me!

Larissa@Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Jessica and Julie,

It is good to know I in the same boat with other moms!

Stockhoff Family said...

Man I wish all the answer's could come in printables! So many things I could use hanging on my fridge. You are doing pretty darn well, by the way.

Michelle said...

Love this post! It really made me think - and freak out a bit :)

Celeste said...

I really needed this today. I love how eloquent you are at writing your thoughts. I so can not do that :) I too am a bit to much "on top" of things my kids say and do. My oldest is 11 and I realize how important it is for her to make as many of her own decisions now and get used to good and bad consequences so she can make better choices when things get really tough. I will definitely need this reminder to see everyday and know that mine too are already really great kids ;) Thanks Larissa!

Adrienne said...

wow, thanks for that :-) i am over-bearing with my 5 and 3 year old in the sense that i just want to do stuff for them and there needs to be a change! this comes from my Mom cuz that's how she was, ha-ha. if you have any other parenting wisdom to pass along please do cuz you seem to really have a handle on parenting. i will be printing that out as a reminder with my 5 year old daughter cuz i do need that reminder that every kids really wants to be 'good' and i just need to reinforce the good and not focus on the bad so much.

Alli @ Baker Mama Love said...

That is such a good reminder. My baby is still young but I can see myself doing the same thing you were in a few years.

It sounds like you are raising a bunch of really good little men. I would be so proud of your oldest. He sounds like an awesome kid!

Michelle (aka mybelle101) said...

Perfectly said...I struggle with this with my oldest, too. He seems to have a lot of qualities in common with your guys ;) And, I too just recently have been thinking that I need to focus on and encourage more of the positive, and less on the negative. We did a parenting study recently, and one of the things said was that by spending positive quality time together up front, you can reduce the some of the behavior issues that can arise from wanting that attention...SO TRUE, and something I've been using a lot lately. Thanks for sharing!


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