Crossing the Line

To say it has been a tough week is an understatement.  This week absolutely broke me, to the point where you feel you have no fight left, and you have nothing to give!  My kids broke me –  how is it that kid’s these day’s who are so privileged, compared to when I was growing up, still don’t appreciate everything that we as parents do for them?

What brought me to this place?  Well my youngest has been playing up at school on more than one occasion with her group of friends.  First it was pinching blu tac from teachers classrooms, not just one teacher but five.  Which means I got a call from the deputy principle.  I could have died, who is this child????  Why is she doing this???  She and her friends had to write letters apologising for what they did.  I took out money from her jar which she was saving for our holiday and went straight to the supermarket and bought 5 packs of blu tac costing $20.  The next morning we went to each teacher and she had to replace it.

This week I got an email to say that the same group of girls damaged another child’s squishy toy (never want to f*cking see another squishy) deliberately.  We just went through the whole blu tac thing and now this!!!!!  It was the straw that broke the camels back!!!

I get the whole thing about kid’s wanting to push the boundaries and testing the limits but there is a point when enough is enough!  I don’t think any of these kids are silly, they know that what they are doing is wrong, right???  Surely they must know it’s not good??  But how do we teach kids remorse?  Because it seems as if they just have no clue!  I know my youngest is easily influenced by others, don’t get me wrong she is no angel but I know that this behaviour is way left field even for her.

No child is perfect and I am not asking them to be, but seriously, I just want to scream WHY??????  Actually I think I did do that when I lost it!  The thing is I know I am not the only parent going through this, why doesn’t anyone talk about it, we are all in the same boat, we might as well go down together, or stand up tall together.

Are parent’s embarrassed to talk about what their kids are getting up to? Especially amongst friends, you never know someone might have a brilliant idea on how to help.  Is this second child syndrome?  I keep ticking of things in my head like are there secret messages in her behaviour, is she crying out for help? – no, okay then is she being a total pain in the butt for no reason? – possibly, does she just want to fit in with her friends? – could be, is there a leader in this group? – there is always one that is.

My oldest she has her moment’s too, with her now in Intermediate all I hear, is “so and so’s parent’s let them do this, why can’t I?”.  “You alway’s so no for everything” I was like really???  I say no, how about all the things I say yes to!  But oh no kids love focusing on the no but never the thing’s we say yes to.

Well I hope there is light at the end of this tunnel, and please god let it just be a phase!

Here’s to a better week next week!

R x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Said Yes to Instagram

My tween who turns 12 in less than a month has been asking to have an Instagram account for a long time, and I mean long!  I always made her work for it, she had to demonstrate being responsible, do her bit at home to help out etc

I have had an Instagram account for a long time, and so she has been watching me use it and it sparked an interest.  I had many talks with her about using Instagram, and that she will only have a private account, this is a MUST! Which means not just anyone can follow her and it has to be approved, she needs to check with us.  If she doesn’t know the person then it’s a big fat NO!!!  We have access to her account at all times.   Many girls her age seem to only post selfies with duck face pouts, I mean come on! A selfie here and there fine but not hundred’s of them.  Anyway thus began our lessons about photos and the purpose of having an Instagram account.

We talked about not posting photos that show any of your bits (if you know what I mean).  In her bio, which anyone can view I didn’t want any info about which school she went to or her date of birth, pretty much no personal info.  When commenting on other post’s only positive comments. Also besides just following friends and families I wanted her to follow some other inspirational accounts, like I am Kid President, Humans of NY, a few of the National Geo accounts for inspiration with travel photos etc

The reason she wanted an Instagram account is because, she wants to take photos of food, places that we visit, hanging out with her friends, dancing, nature etc  So I thought that was cool.  I did say to her that the biggest fear for me was I didn’t want her to see what her friends had and what they did, and to then look at her life and be like, well my life sucks because it’s so boring!  Or if her friends didn’t “like” or “comment” on her photo not to take that to heart.  If she loves taking photos of things that interests her then don’t worry about anyone else.

At the end of the day she is a good kid and I trust her!

Ronell x

 

 

 

Just Be you

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How do we teach our young kid’s, especially girls that you don’t have to be like everyone else? Be confident in your own skin, just be you!  Everyone is different and that’s okay, no two people are alike because that would be totally boring!

I’m sure even as adults we are still dealing with some demons of always comparing ourself to someone else, or comparing our lives to someone else’s.  Do children learn this from us or is it just a normal human thing that we do and have to get ourselves out of.  This thinking all started due to Pink Shirt day at school today.  I went to Savemart a couple of weeks ago to find some pink t-shirts for the girls.  I chose one for my oldest who was fine with it and stuff then this morning she decided to change her mind (as they do) and wear something else.  She chose a very light soft pink top with jeans, it’s still pink but not in your face pink.  She has accessorised with pink earrings and sunglasses, she even chose fluro pink bands for her braces!  So all cool no dramas.

Then she see’s photos of other kids dressed up in bright pink clothes and fully decked out, pants, tops, hair everything which was so cool.  But instead of looking at it like, “wow they look awesome”, it was more like, ” I am not walking to school, I look horrible, my top is not even bright enough”  You get the picture!  I reminded her that you do have the top that I bought, which you can still wear.  NO!!!  It’s not pink apparently and more purply pink.  I said to her there are lots of shades of pink not just one type.  Anyway she ended up walking to school crying because she didn’t like how she was dressed and how she looked.

All morning I felt like a terrible mother for not being able to choose the right shade of pink or getting lots of pink stuff for her to wear and that she walked to school crying.  When I have gone over the top in the past she didn’t like it so I kept it simple this year, well I was wrong!  How do you win? Can you actually ever win with kids? The lesson here is next time take them shopping and let them choose!

Kid’s seem to ignore all the wonderful attributes that they have all because they want to be like the next person, instead of just rocking who they are.  Right about now I wish I had a Phd in knowing how kids minds work or something.  I’m always conscious of how I speak and alway’s make sure I never compare myself to other people in front of the girls.  I mean let’s be honest every now and again, I do compare myself to someone else in my head off course but not like I want to look like that person or anything, more like if someone is going on holiday, I would think to myself, “Oh how I would love to be on holiday now too” that sort of thing.

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When we start comparing ourselves to others we start to loose our own confidence in ourselves!  The thing is though,  it’s happening with kids from such a young age, how do we fix this?  Imagine how freeing it must feel to just be you, and not give a flying f*ck about anyone or anything else.  Just live and soak up everyday!  Maybe I should print out every type of quote that I can find on the web and wallpaper their walls with them all!  Like I am at a loss because I can tell my girls all the right things and read all the wonderful things there is out there about being yourself but until they start believing it themselves, am I wasting my time?  Am I a nagging mum?

If you have any tips or advice or anything…..throw them my way!

Ronell x

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready for Puberty & The Essential Girls Kit

This blog post is definitely not one for the guys, so look away!  A couple of girlfriends and I were talking today about puberty so that prompted me to share this post with you and what I have done for my daughter.

We all know that the time is coming when puberty graces us with it’s presence, for many this is confronting and for others not so much.  But whether we like it or not, it’s happening, so there is no point hiding from it, the best form of action is being prepared.  I bought a book for Miss 11 last year by Kaz Cooke called Girls Stuff from 8-10 years old.  We went through the book together and it was pretty funny and light-hearted so it took away the awkwardness about it all.  She did say, “mum it’s so gross!”, so I said to her that yes it may be gross and it may be annoying and stuff but it’s part of life, this is how a women’s body work’s and we can’t change it (until you hit menopause).  After this, she just accepted it all and is okay about it.

I figure the more open we are about it and the more comfortable I am talking about it, this in turn has made her more comfortable.

Right, first things first, I wanted to start her on a good skin care routine.  The skin takes such a hammering during puberty, I had awful acne throughout high school and after, it was just horrible! Both my girls from the time they were born, I have always used moisturiser on their skin morning and night, so it’s something that is second nature for them now.  I researched a bit about skincare products that are suitable for young skin and I wanted natural products.  I finally decided on Oxygen Skincare.  Their skin care is 100% natural, made right here in New Zealand and certified organic and not tested on animals.  Check out their website for more details.

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Next thing is liners for their underwear.  It’s a good way for them to get familiar with knowing how to put it on and take it off, and also when the day arrives and they get their period, knowing that the liner is there initially will probably stop them from freaking out.  I personally think it’s a good idea to always wear a liner everyday.

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The next step is putting together a little kit that they can keep with them at school, either in their bags or if they have lockers at school they can keep this in there.

 

To put together the kit we both went to the supermarket and were looking at all the products and working everything out.  Involving your child in this process I think is a good idea.  This is the kit that we put together.

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I bought the pencil-case from Kmart.  I think it was around $8-$12, and it has two zippers.  Inside the bag are two spare pairs of underwear.  We also have scented sanitary disposal bags, they come in a box and inside the box is two packs (the black pack with paisley’s) so we just have one lot in the case.  We also put in special wet wipes that are for the (oh god how do I say it) your private parts or as the pack says “intimate wipes” (everyone has all sort’s of names for it), a small bottle of hand sanitiser and 4 pads the brand she chose was U by Kotex.  I didn’t add in any paracetamol tablets because well she doesn’t really know how to take tablets and I know she school will have some form of pain relief if she absolutely needs it (I’m hoping she will be fine).

I hope that by doing all of this we are ready for when it happens and I know that if she is at school, she will be okay and know exactly what to do.  Information and preparation is key in avoiding total tween or teen meltdown!!!

If you have any other tips or things that you do or have done, I would love to hear it.

Ronell x

 

My 11yr Old has a Smartphone!!!

As our eldest daughter is starting intermediate this year, we thought it was a good time to get her a phone.  I think a lot of other parents thought the same thing as the shop was filled with very excited and eager tweens and teens getting new phones, and parents re-directing their kids to the not so expensive phones.  It’s not a decision we took lightly, it seems kid’s are getting phones much younger these days and our rule was always that we would look at it when the girls start intermediate.  I mean I got my first phone when I was 19 and it was a Nokia 3210, however I don’t think waiting til that age now would go down well.

After much research and looking around and talking to the sales guy in the store we decided on a Samsung Galaxy J3 Pro.

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Having a phone now teaches her to be responsible for something, it gives her a bit of independence and freedom as well.  I am glad that I can now contact her or vice versa when she is out walking to school and home, at her after school activities etc.  But before we handed over the phone we had to go over some ground rules, and I wanted her to have some sort of contract between herself and us.  So trusty Google came up with the goods.  I downloaded a cell phone contract and a social media contract.  She isn’t on social media but has asked if she can get Instagram, which I am still considering. My husband and I were chatting the other day and we both agreed that technology is not the enemy, it’s when people abuse and misuse it, that’s when it becomes a problem.  Technology is moving forward and our kids are bang smack in the middle so instead of holding her back and sheltering her from it all, it’s better that she learns about it.

Now I know some people might think having a contract is a bit over the top, and that’s fine, but for us, since kids are getting phones younger now, we wanted to educate her and make her aware of cyber bullying, the many weirdo’s that are out there, what is and isn’t appropriate use of the phone and social media.  Even photographs, what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Here are the links to the contracts that I have downloaded and used, the social media contract is from iMom and Cell Phone contract is from 30 Hand Made Days.  They are pretty good.

Social Media Contract

Cell Phone Contract

Ronell x

Wonder the Movie

WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING
RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

Well, let me just say one thing, this is the first movie that I have actually cried from the start to the finish, and I completely forgot take any tissues with me (amateur move).  It is very hard for your heartstrings not to be pulled watching this, and more so for parents because you automatically put yourself in those parents shoes or you think about your own kids and all that they go through at school.

For me it really hit home because, my oldest has had the shittiest time at primary school, because whether we like it or not there are mean kids in every school, but on the flip side there are also true gems that can be found too, you just have to look really really hard for those.  It showed me how having really good friends makes all the difference to a child’s life especially at school because they spend so much time in school and to be able to have that person you know will always be there to pick you up when you are down, stand up for you and never leave you behind, when others are being mean to you, well that is true friendship. The emotions that August went through at school made me think about the struggles my daughter has had and all the tears that we have to wipe away to this day.

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

I am grateful though for her having the amount of empathy, kindness and sensitivity that she has because that gives her the courage to always stand up for the those been mistreated, and if I am being really honest I wish there were kids that did the same for her.  She has a few good friends now but I hope one day she truly finds her best friend who I know will be there for her always, because I tell you what you would want her by your side as a friend.

“Don’t try to fit in, because you were born to stand out” – R.J Palacio, Wonder

As a Mum going into school I look around and see other kids with their friends who have known each other for a few years and I can clearly see the close bond that they have, and every time my heartbreaks a little because I so wish that she had that too.

Friendships at school seems to be a number game, what’s the saying two’s a company three’s a crowd. Well she has always been the number 3 in any friend circle so she is always on the outs unfortunately. Anyway that’s another blog post!!!

Leaving the cinema tonight she said to me, “Mum if there was a child like that in our school I will play with them everyday.”

As parents you would want your child to take care of the Auggie Pullman’s of this world.

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

I would seriously watch this movie again and again, and I will probably cry every time.  I urge everyone to watch it and if you have kids definitely take them to see it to too.  However my 6yr old was getting pretty restless towards the end (so I wouldn’t take a child younger than 6) but she did say she loved the movie!

Right time for bed now!  Hope you enjoy the movie too, and I would love to hear what you though of it.

Ronell x

Perfectionism In Children

Why is it that, we are so quick to say to others, that it’s okay, you don’t have to be a perfect parent, or you don’t have to have the perfect body etc. yet we expect our children to be perfect in all that they do (whether we are doing this intentionally or not)?

This topic came up because a friend and I were talking about our kids and the things that they have to face each day etc. and that as they enter into the next phase of schooling with intermediate and high school, the pressure and stress that comes with it.  Well it got me thinking about my family, especially my older daughter.  She is a perfectionist in everything that she does, and I don’t think this is a good thing.

She hates trying new things and would put it off out of fear of not getting it right the first time.  She get’s frustrated and gives up easily too.  In turn this frustrates me, because I know she can do it, if she just gives it a go (not a great combo – frustrated child + frustrated parent = everyone is having a meltdown).  I always say to her, don’t compare yourself to others, because everyone is different, and each person has different strengths and weaknesses.  Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and if that is in the middle or last it doesn’t matter, because it’s the best you can do and you gave it your all.  I want her to just be a kid and enjoy school and her friends while she can, with no added pressure or stress, because we know that shit piles up when you’re an adult.

This got me looking at ourselves and how we parent, and I started questioning how we do things.  Trust me we don’t always get things right, but that’s okay because we are still learning.  There is never a finish line with parenting, just a few hurdles that come up every now and again.  I thought is there anything we are doing unintentionally that is giving my daughter the message that you have to be perfect.  The biggest culprit I think is ME! I don’t say to her, you have to be perfect, or do things perfectly, however she must be picking things up from observing me.

I myself am a perfectionist, I didn’t really have this issue when I was in school,  but when I think back I was always really tidy, I loved cleaning my room and would usually rearrange everything all the time.  This got worse as I got older and had children I believe.  In regards to my house, I need to have it super tidy all the time (not ideal with children) and when it is messy (or any mess in general) my anxiety starts up really bad, so I just clean all the time. I know it is really unrealistic, but I do it anyway.   Messy play gives me heart palpitations, that’s why I loved daycares.  Growing up my mum let us do all sorts of crazy stuff, even messy things, and we never were told not to do anything because she didn’t like it.  So I am not sure how this came about in me.

I know I need to relax and ease up a bit, however it’s not as easy as it sounds, but foremost I need to help my daughter around not being a perfectionist, and I want to break the cycle and better ourselves as parent’s.   So please don’t judge me!

I am sharing this because I hope that there are people out there that can help me and others with tips or strategies that have worked for you.  If you are in the same boat as me, what are some of the things that you are doing to minimize the effect of perfectionism, in both yourself and your children.  Desperate parent right here, so I will take all the help I can get!

I came across an article from She Knows about Raising excellent, not perfect, children and it was very interesting.

Here is the link:  Raising excellent, not perfect, Children

Another good article is from the Anxiety BC.

Here is the link:  Overcoming Perfectionism

Ronell x