The campground is waking up around me. Some wake up slowly, with whispers that I can doze through. Some are still asleep and nothing stirs at their place. I propose that they are people without children, or dogs, because the families with kids and dogs come with moms who yell, “Stop IT!” to the dog (oh, how effective that is, listen, he's STILL barking) and “Don't touch that to the kid!” (who gets that phrase repeated to him over and over and over again – much like the barking dog gets his phrase). Ineffective parenting bugs the crap out of me. Yes, I'm a perfect parent.
Ok, I'm not. I am, however, a parent who is observant, and since there's a lot of bad parenting all around, there are plenty of counter-examples to avoid, if one just observes how NOT to do it.
Don't tell a kid that, “If you ______ , then I'll________ ,” unless you really, truly mean it. The first time you don't follow through is like poking a tiny hole in a balloon and pretty much all your credibility is drained out in a few short encounters. “Well, she doesn't usually, actually _______ so I think it's worth the risk.”
Don't give kids treats to shut them up. “Ok, fine, have another ice-cream sandwich, just let me talk to ___________ on the phone and don't come in here again!” However, I'm all for a bribe. “IF you can leave me alone for ten minutes, and you sweep the kitchen and take out the trash, THEN you can have another one.” I'm not heartless, nor the sugar police, just trying to keep it real. And get my kitchen swept.
Listen to your kids. Don't tell them, “I'll talk to you later, right now I'm...” If they're actually wanting to talk, don't miss it. Wish I'd learned this one sooner.
Yes, it's really 2:30 am MST. Insomnia sucks. So does my writing at this hour, but I haven't posted in a week and so I'm back to the paranoia of people forgetting me...bad blogging...bad parenting...both bad...good-night.
What's your biggest parenting blunder? Willing to share? I'll share mine tomorrow when I can think more clearly. You can probably tell right away where the part I wrote while camping ends and the part I wrote in the middle of the night takes over...