Humiliating Your Child Is Not Parenting

Did you see the Facebook post of the parent who took a picture of her son with his Playstation and a Captain America figure, and the sign he held up that said something like, “I had to return the Playstation I was going to get for Christmas because I didn’t show enough gratitude for the Captain America figure I got.”

Really?  This is what you came up with to teach your son about gratitude?  Using social media as a weapon, a source of humiliation and embarrassment?

I think there’s a growing trend of extremism in all aspects of society, and I think parenting has not escaped this trend.  Listen, I am not a pushover teacher.  I have many students who are not used to hearing the word, “no”, but I will say it as many times as it takes to be understood.  But in teaching and parenting, one must realize that we are dealing with children, who by very definition are still learning how to be human beings, which means they will make mistakes.  And when they make those mistakes, humiliating them in front of millions of people (or even your closest 200 friends) might not be the best approach, nor will it be very effective in teaching the lesson you would like them to learn.  The “lesson” or consequence should be immediate, should fit the action or behavior, and should directly relate to what you’d like them to learn.

If my son didn’t show the appropriate amount of gratitude, I would first ask myself, “Did I explain to him what my expectations were about showing gratitude when receiving a gift?”  If I didn’t, then we go back and review those – you can’t blame a kid who doesn’t know the parameters.  If I did make my expectations clear, I would remind him of my expectations, ask him to think about the amount of gratitude he showed when receiving the gift, and then ask him what he thinks we should do to fix the situation.  We might verbally apologize, send a hand-written thank-you note to the gift-giver, or even plan a volunteer experience with people who are less fortunate so we might learn a little bit about giving and receiving, wanting and needing, and all of the emotions involved (and how they are communicated).

You don’t get respect unless you give it.  Our children, who are still learning, and who will make mistakes, deserve our respect, not our ridicule.

disrespect

Happy Day

Christmas morning, The Man and I got up leisurely and decided to open our presents to each other before my parents came over for the meal, stockings, and all of the other gifts.

I gave him his gift, cleverly disguised (he told me later he thought I had bought him a large tool set, but they were actually three framed engineering prints in poster frames, which were also a great cover for the real gift — a gift card to the tool store).

Then it was my turn.  I had told The Man that I would like a watch for Christmas, and lo and behold, there was a watch-shaped box under the tree with my name on it. I unwrapped it to find “Parker” on the top of the box.  “Parker pens?” I asked, not expecting a response.  Sure enough, I opened the box and found a nice pen and pencil set, not what I expected but nice enough.  I pulled out the mechanical pencil to see how to activate the mechanism, which The Man promptly grabbed from me, leaving me to examine the pen.  I turned it over and noticed his name engraved on it… What the —??

I had not noticed The Man getting off the couch and doing some other stuff in my peripheral vision.  At the very moment I was thinking this could quite possibly be a very rough day, he suggested I look again under the tree, because he thought he saw another gift for me under there…

And there was a ring box.

After uttering his name, and looking at him to see if he was for real, I reached down, grabbed the box, opened it, and realized what he was giving me.  He asked me if I would marry him, and I said, “You know I will!”

my RING!

Sneaky, sneaky man.  He did an amazing job remembering exactly what I liked.  And now we are engaged!  He says he had no idea those pens had his name engraved on them, but wrapped them knowing I would think it was a watch.  He knows me so well.

I am a lucky, lucky (and happy!) woman.

 

How to Be Thoughtful About a Small Family Christmas

As I’ve mentioned, this Christmas, I will be without The Boy. Since the divorce, I have noted how few gifts are on my list for others.  Being an only child and having an only child leaves only gifts for my parents, The Man, and The Boy.  I’ll admit this is kind of nice, although giving the perfect gift is something on which I pride myself a bit.  I do get gift cards when someone tells me that’s all they want, but it’s difficult to stretch the traditions of Christmas morning out when you are giving gift cards to 3 other people…

How do I get my gift-giving fix?  Where do I get to be creative? (Mom, Dad, anyone else on my list — stop reading!)

I’m working on some crafty wrapping this year, thanks to all kinds of inspiration from Pinterest.  I just got a new sewing machine, so I will be working on these stitched wrapping projects from Shimtokk:

donotopen5

The tutorial is here at Martha Stewart (the idea was so good they were featured as a part of last year’s Gift Wrap Challenge!)

Stocking stuffers are another area where I get to be thoughtful and creative.  No dollar store trips for me!  Here are some of the projects I will be attempting:

Surprise Box from Martha

Dad’s will have his favorite treat, Jordan almonds, and The Man’s will contain his favorite, Necco wafers:

almonds & wafers

The directions are here at Martha Stewart’s site, again.  Haters can hate, but sometimes she’s got good, achievable ideas!

And maybe these:

DIYmonogrammug17

Filled with coffee or hot chocolate mix?  The tutorial is from Design Mom.

Finally, we have a tradition to spend some time on the gift tags – not making them elaborate or anything, but as clues to the gift.  Rather than just saying “To: Mom, From: Annie” it will elude to the nature of the gift, and from whom the gift is.  For example:  if I was giving my mom a book (a fairly common gift), the tag might read, “To: William Least Heat Moon, From: Alex Haley”. (Moon wrote one of Mom’s favorite books, “Blue Highways”, and Haley wrote one of my favorite books, “Roots”.  We know each other’s favorites, so this would be a big clue to her that it is book-related, and that it is from me!)

What can I say?  I like to emphasize the relationship I have with each person rather than the stuff.  I want to remind them about all of their little quirks which make them so lovable.  To me, that’s what this season is about.

Teacher, Parapro, SLP, OT, Daycare, and Ex’s GF gifts

It’s that time of year to give gifts to the many, many people who help your child through his or her day, as well as to the other side of the family (you know, the one you don’t want to spend too much money on, because really it’s the ex’s job to buy for them, but it’ll never happen, and you don’t want your kid to feel bad for not bringing presents?…).

But buying gifts for all of those people would be outrageous.  So what is a budget-minded, single mom of a special needs kid to do?  Get crafty…

  1. As mentioned in a previous post, you can make your own sugar body scrub from fairly common ingredients like sugar, honey, tea, and vanilla.
  2. You can get yourself a metal stamping set (like this one from Harbor Freight), some washers (but probably better to get actual jewelry making metal from the craft store: zinc-coated washers are too hard), and some carabiners from your local big box store (they run about a dollar apiece) to make personalized key chains.
  3. Last year, when I asked everyone I knew for ideas, Dr. Leah from Singlemommyhood suggested paperwhite bulbs in a pretty bowl as a great gift for teachers.
  4. You could always do a donation to a great cause like Heifer International for teachers, as well.
  5. For daycare helpers, we have made fudge, cookies, chocolate-dipped large pretzel sticks (with sprinkles), and all sorts of goodies in previous years.  Just make sure to note any allergies!

I can’t tell you what we’re doing this year (because some of these wonderful people who help The Boy sooooo much read my blog!), but maybe you can share with us some of your ideas in the comments!

body scrub

Advent Update 2

As of Day 9, our advent calendar hasn’t been torn down, and The Boy is excited to open up a box each morning.  He really couldn’t give a flip about the activities, but he seems to enjoy the little gifts.  We have done a few activities, and all I can say is that this is much better than a couple of years ago.

AC as of day 9

I really like only putting one gift out at a time, although it would be great if I wasn’t frantically making a box and trying to fill it with stuff each night.  Next year, I’ll have my “stuff” together and get all of the boxes done ahead of time, and possibly filled so they are ready to go.  Making the boxes is fun, though, and really fills my “crafty quotient” for the day.

I’m still a little disappointed that we’re not doing as many of the activities, but as long as we’re doing some, I’m going to have to be OK with that.  (It’s not about me, it’s not about me, it’s not about me…)

The bonus is that whatever little gifts I have left over, I can throw in his stocking and call it a day.  Time to go make tomorrow’s box…