When my husband and I first got married, we ran out and purchased this gorgeous yet ill-advised dining room set, complete with white fabric-topped chairs. Everyone in our lives wasted no time letting us know just how very, very stupid this purchase was, for a number of reasons, one of which was "you're probably going to have kids one day, and these chairs are undoubtedly going to get destroyed." Being very young and very stupid - stupid enough to purchase white dining room chairs, clearly - we scoffed, and said something like "Oh, we'll just tell our kids not to go on the chairs."
Allow that to sink in for a moment, if you will: "We'll just tell our kids not to go on the chairs."
When I actually had my first kid a few years later, I had a similar attitude regarding feeding him: "Oh, we'll just only give him healthy things, and he won't even WANT to have candy! No sugar until he's ten, even!"
Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and I can tell you that I presently have dining room chairs that look as though they were rejected by a hobo camp, and not one but two kids who have totally eaten more than their fair share of candy. (And whose collective age doesn't even add up to ten.)
With the years come experience, is what I'm saying, and I am at a point now where I can look back and laugh -- hard -- at my ridiculous naiveté when it came to my kids/parenting. I have not given up entirely, though. No, far from it. What I've learned instead is how and when to pick my battles.
One of the battles I've chosen to "fight" is getting my kids to eat (fairly) healthfully. I have a full-time job, and so the time I get with my kids (especially during the week) is limited. I have worked pretty hard to ensure that this time isn't spent squaring off over platypus-shaped marshmallows, but at the same time, isn't a bleak existence of brown rice syrup-flavored gruel. (Does that even exist? Probably.) I do what I can to make eating well (again for the most part) a natural part of their lives, rather than me making a big deal of how healthfully they're eating.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be writing here about some strategies I've found and implemented (after COPIOUS trial and error) to make doing this with my kids something that's effective, not too stressful (for any of us!), and - dare I say? - fun, all around.
(Even if we do sometimes still eat taffy. On those white dining room chairs, naturally.)
What about you? What are the battles that you've chosen, as a parent?
by Mrs.Pool2BeMarch 8, 2012 at 7:00 AM
I am still battling with my DD to get her to eat healthy and have been since she was a baby, she is 12 now. Some days I just don't feel like the hassle of arguing with her and give in but most times I do get her to eat healthy and she will, drinking water is another one that I battle with my kids, my oldest DS drinks alot of water and I am still working on my 2 youngest.
by gacgbakerMarch 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM
We try to teach a resonable respect for all things- that said, people are always more important then stuff, so if something happens, then it does- if they were being disobedient when it happend there will be some consequences, but they need to know it's not about the stuff- it's just stuff after all.
by elasmimiMarch 8, 2012 at 10:02 AM
white chairs with kids??????
Mine would be their rooms - my mom was always SO uptight about our having our rooms clean, which I can understand since six kids making even a little mess each adds up to a BIG mess quick. With my own kids, though, there are only two of them and they have their own rooms so I let them keep a bit of a mess as long as it's not too much, they can safely walk from their bed to the door, and they clean it up on the weekend. My additional stipulation is that they must bring dirty clothes to the laundry rather than letting them pile up in their rooms. Otherwise, I let them be.
by LuLuRexMarch 8, 2012 at 1:11 PM
I feel the same way as this. I don't have many battles with my kids, so few in fact, I can't think of one.
As they get older, my battles will be to ensure they are well mannered, respectful and safe.
There aren't many things that I have to "fight" to get my children to do.
Picking up their toys is the big one. I took away most of their toys. Win for Mommy.
by LOswald0314March 8, 2012 at 1:16 PM
TV time is a battle here.