How MMORPGs Can Make Family Life Perfect Together

Have you ever heard of video games?

Or computer games?

Better yet, do your kids go bananas over playing games like Minecraft, Team Fortress 2, Starcraft, Warcraft and others?

Heh, if so….you'll love this post!

You see, it all started when HS1 and HS2 decided to play Minecraft.

Ummm, it's kinda sorta a game where you, um, mine stuff.  Yeah!  That's the ticket!

To quote Wiki:

…The game is focused on creativity and building, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. The game has two variants – free Classic and paid Beta – where Classic is focused entirely on construction with unlimited material supply, whereas Beta requires players to acquire resources themselves, and contains mobs, player health, and additional features and items. The gameplay is heavily inspired by Infiniminer by Zachtronics Industries,[6] Dwarf Fortress by Bay 12 Games and Dungeon Keeper by Bullfrog Productions.[7][8] …MORE…

That by itself is boring…here's what utterly magnificent!

Yesterday, HS1 and HS2 had a disagreement which was resolved…but still took a toll on them.

And then HS1 had the brilliant idea of:

"Hey!  We can both play Minecraft together and work as a team and get rid of our icky feelings!"

Pardon me as I gently exclaim

WOO HOO!

Think about this for a moment, aye?

Two siblings consciously choose to work out their angst via a MMORPG.

Is that the most awesomely incredible thing you've heard today?

Here they are in all their Minecraft glory:

Minecraft!

You can see HS1 suggesting to HS2 their next plan of action. 

I don't know about you, but I never ever *ever* thought of online video games as a way for siblings to work issues out…together.

The amount of character-building I've been experiencing now for the past few days – it will definitely last me years and years, but wow.

It's ever so much worth while!!

Thus, if you have more than one child at home, and if they have similar interests….see if they can become a team at an online game.

You might find it will be a sanity-saver when issues might arise.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

ps – speaking about MMORPs, have you seen:

The Brilliantly Secret Use For IKEA You NEVER Even Considered

I know, I know….

Summer time is almost over, and your kids are clamoring for one last exciting adventure!

Well, if you're in MamaBear's family, you do the non-obvious, of course.

Which in our case means….taking the kids to IKEA!

Yes, IKEA.  The furniture store.

Confused?  So was I, until I realized just how much the kids enjoyed it!

Here's how it started.

About 4 years ago or so, the husband and I packed the kids in the moose-mobile to visit IKEA.  Our IKEA, mind you, is situated right next to the airport, so you can see the jets zoom in and out all day (makes for exciting conversation during the world-famous IKEA lunch!).

At that time, our resident space alien, HD2, picked up a stuffed hippo at the beginning of the IKEA marketing walk (What's the "IKEA marketing walk", I hear you ask?  It's the way the entire store is laid out so you *have* to pass by tons of iirresistible impulse buys – you can learn more at Opinions vary on IKEA store 'maze' layout).  Of course, HS1 and HS2 followed suit!  When I asked them, what were they doing, HD2 said, "This is a temporary hippo who we're showing the store to".

And the official Mama Bear Ling IKEA outing was born.  :)

The kids happily walked thru the entire IKEA maze and started making up stories about the various rooms/products/etc.  They were very respectful to displays, they didn't speak loudly or annoy other shoppers, but wow….they had a tremendous ball and were ready to fall asleep once we were finally done.

We've taken the kids to IKEA ever since!

Here's some pix:

Camping in the wilderness:

Camping in the wilderness

Star-gazing (kinda sorta) in the wilderness:

Stargazing in the Wilderness

As you can tell, a grand time was had by all.  And yes indeed, we also bought some necessities for home too!

Thus, should you ever need an exciting outing for your children that sparks their imagination…take them to IKEA.

Guaranteed, they'll never look at retail store the same way again.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

ps – speaking about IKEA, have you seen:

RANT – Parents Who Allow Sibling Rivalry To Escalate Into Sibling Abuse

You know, there's a few things that really frost MamaBear's petunias.

One of them is sibling abuse.

Sibling abuse is a horrible secret in many families and, left unchecked, can truly scar your children with memories that will simply never ever disappear.

  • Often, parents are either unaware of the abuse that's going on, or choose to downgrade the dangers of it.  This gives the abuser more confidence to make their siblings' lives hell.

It can be very insidious as well!  Skillful abusers will simply lie to their parents, and trusting parents, alas, will even turn around and blame the victim for making up stories.  :(

This are some reasons why I am utterly insane about my kids treating each other great; I do not allow sibling rivalry, nor do I tolerate any meanness whatsoever.

It's funny, you know…other karate moms and dads just do not believe it when I mention how my kids get along and support one another.  It's honestly not a difficult thing to do…but it *does* require reinforcement at all times.

Here's 4 ways to help prevent sibling abuse in your family.


NOTE!1.)  Make sure it's known that any abuse will result in the abuse being visited upon the perpetrator 3 times as hard.

Whenever one of my child was mean to another, I'd make certain their consequences were far more painful than what they did to their siblings.

If they said something cruel, I intensified that to the point the protagonist started to cry…and then comforted the kid, wait for the tears to dry, and ask, "Did that feel good?  No?  Why was it acceptable then for you to make your brother/sister feel that way?" and continue with other ways of handling the initial situation.

Yes, it was draining.  Tremendously so.  But generally, such things happened only once or perhaps twice, and never again.

Being forced to experience the pain they inflict is a great way to teach children *not* to be cruel.

It works.


NOTE!2.)  Refuse to compare siblings in the same activity.

There has been several times in the past that HS1 and HS2 asked me to tell them which one was "better" or which one was "more skilled" etc.etc.etc.

I utterly refused to pass judgment.

It was the same thing for my girls – when they were younger, they'd occasionally ask the same thing to no avail.  Now that they're older, mind you, and patterns have been set, I don't mind commenting on their various works; there's no ego/"I'm better than you, nyah!" involved.

It's taken awhile, but HS1 and HS2 now no longer ask. Instead, they help each other out.


NOTE!3.)  Always insist that each sibling cheer the other ones on!

This is a biggie in my family.

Cheering sections rock!

Whenever one of my kids has "done right good!" in school/what have you, all the other siblings will proactively congratulate him or her. 

And if they forget to, I remind them rather rapidly indeed.  :)

It becomes second nature and is burned into their souls.  There is no negativity, no jealousy (well, generally no jealousy….HS2 still labors under the 'younger child' syndrome but hey, we're working on it.  :)  ), no bad feelings at all.


NOTE!4.)  Always let each child have one thing *only* she or he does.

I've seen families where when one child excels at a sport or activity, another child simply *has* to participate and show up said kid.

That's horrible beyond belief to me.

Now, if both siblings honestly enjoy the activity with no "one upsmanship" involved, certainly…they can both tackle it together.

After all, all 4 kids plus MamaBear take karate together!

But!  If the sole reason why one child wants to join in an activity is merely to crush their siblings' self-confidence…forget it.

That's why I allowed only HD2 to take sais at karate – that was possibly going to be *her* weapon of choice (HD1 does swords).  Alas, HD2 lost interest and now focuses on Aikido.  These things happen.

* * * * * *

Remember.  Your children will learn what's accepted…and what's not…regarding their interactions by how *you* view and accept them.

Foster *love* between your children…not envy. 

It will go lightyears towards preventing sibling abuse.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

Gentle Effective Way To Help Your Child Learn Empathy

If there's one thing MamaBear hates regarding her fellow human beans, it's how sooo many of them will never step up to the plate for their friends unless proactively asked (and sometimes, even then).

Think about it. 

Have you ever been so distraught and so overwrought with issues and challenges that taking a long walk off of a short pier sounds like the most fantastic vacation imaginable?

Yep.

Me too.

Think back to those times.  Wouldn't hearing from a friend or loved one…have made all the difference?

It never ceases to amaze me quite how self-pre-occupied people can be with themselves….and how, even when their friends beg them for support, they simply ignore it and hope it goes away.

It's really horrible.

Somehow from my generation to now, the fine art of being there for one's friends has truly been lost for a multitude of peoples.   I truly believe that what goes around, comes around…and I try to always walk the walk that shows an unconditional support to the people I love.   Even when it's not returned, I remind myself of the following line from a poem:

…What should a person do: Should a person be tougher and more protective of themselves even though they take away from the full effect of friendship….Or should you be more vulnerable and weak and open to possible disappointment….

I am WEAK! Not because I choose to be this way….but rather because in all honesty, I know no other way….

Someday I have to republish the entire poem.  It's awesome beyond belief.

But I digress.  :)

Instilling empathy within your children, *without* compelling them to be a doormat, is a very desirable trait indeed! 

Here's how to do it.


Step 1.)  Whenever you see your child struggling with something, proactively offer support.

Don't wait to be asked.  Simply stroll over and give a sentence or two of, "I believe in you!  I'll bet what you're doing is really tough, huh?" and stuff like that.

Walking the walk and leading by example – it's a great thing indeed.


Step 2.)  When the crisis has passed, debrief with your kid and point out the following.

"Think how you felt when I came by to cheer you on.  Being able to do that for the people you love, or your friends, or what have you….it's a free way to really raise someone's spirits.

And remember, you didn't ask me to come by; I saw your need and wanted to help.

This is something you can do too when your friends have problems as well!"

Don't pound the lesson in….just let it simmer.


Step 3.)  Be alert for when you hear of your kids' close friends having issues.

When that happens, gently remind them of how great they felt when you supported them during times of stress…and suggest they send a helpful/supportive text to their friend.

And if your child pushes back and says, Mom, they didn't ask to hear from me….tell them:

"Good friends can hear without the words being said."

And that's all there is to it.

Now, true…empathy does take time.  Unless you've been raised with it, it's something that requires years of growing.

And there's always the danger that your child will expect the favor to be returned.

Never expect this.

I've had experiences where I have been there for several dear friends… but when I needed the help/support, it just didn't arrive.  :(  The good news is I've learned I cannot rely on them…the bad news  is, well, I learned I cannot rely on them.

Life.  It happens.

Still, though, I will not change; being there is something that is inherent within my soul and spirit. 

When your kids learn how to be there for their friends (assuming said friends are true and not fair-weather)….

It's a life skill that will benefit them when *they* become parents as well.

And that, of course, is a Very Good Thing indeed.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

How To Make Your Children Truly Appreciate Each Other More Than Gourmet Coffee

Being utterly, mind-bogglingly brilliant.

It does have its disadvantages!!  As HS1 just found out.

MamaBear was reminded of this when HS2 came bounding up to her, showed her a balloon that smelled rather nice and said,

"Look Mom!  I used air freshener to blow it up!"

Talk about creativity!

Bizarreness, too, mind you, but as HS2 is a rookie space alien (his own description of himself), I chalked it up to,

Wow, his mind works so uniquely…I hope he never loses that ability!

But then….

It happened.

Thrilled with my reaction, HS2 scampered over to HS1, "He Who Comforts The World Because The World Is Not As Glorious As He Is Himself", and showed him his "invention."

HS1's reaction?

"My gosh (clucking tongues), HS2, you *just* *don't* use air freshener that way!  I mean, Jeez!  How could you even…."

Whatever he was going to say was lost, as I immediately tempered my voice into a rather decent imitation of a calm, gentle avalanche of 48 megatons and called him into my office.

I then proceeded to take his nifty ideas (he now makes tremendously clever Portal cubes out of scrapes of paper), and systematically turned his words against him like so:

"My gosh (cluck cluck cluck) you just *don't* *use* paper for stupid ideas like Portal cubes!  I mean, jeez it's for writing!  Why are you wasting it by trying something neeeeeeewwwww?????"

As you can imagine, 4 seconds of this had HS1 feeling lower than the ingrown toenail of arthritic cockroaches.

But it *did* give me a smashing opportunity to cuddle both boys and tell them the following.

"HS1, there will come times when HS2 will totally mow you over because his mind is capable of thinking in such bizarre ways, he'll come up with ideas you'd never even consider.

And HS2, as well….HS1's analytical mind will always derive logical solutions that might evade you too, because that's just the way his brain is wired.

You boys *need* to appreciate the fact you have what the other lacks!  You boys are a team; you both have extraordinary thinking abilities that *complement* each other!

Embrace that!  Because while separately, you're both magnificent, together…you can conceive of miracles.

Got that?  GOOD!"

And both boys went off happily to play.

Sigh.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

It's very easy for siblings to sneer at another's accomplishments, *unless* you as a parent spell out to them just why they should cheer each other on.

HS1 wasn't trying to be mean; he was simply stating his opinion *without thinking* beyond his surface reaction.

But once I showed him just *why* HS2's actions were to be applauded (bizarre though they were), I'd love to say he embraced it completely!

'Course, I'd love to say I'm 5'10", 110 pounds as well.  :)

I'm not after total acceptance, mind you…but at least HS1 allowed his mind to be open to the idea.

And it's a *beginning*.

Beginnings rock, mind you.

I'm utterly and totally insane about there being *zero* sibling rivalry in my household; from the getgo, I simply refused to accept any hint of one child raising themselves up by putting a sibling down.

A great way to accomplish this is to always be alert when issues like the above happen; kids can't be expected to value each other unless it's spelled out in no uncertain language.

Tiring yes…but worthwhile….beyond belief.

So to make your kids appreciate one another, simply do not accept *any* nastiness or oneups-manship; refuse to tolerate small-mindedness, and verbally take the time to tell your kids, again and again, just *why* they *will* value one another.

Yep, you'll gain more grey hairs….but trust me on the following.

Having children who love and value one another….it just plain rocks.

It's a glorious thing indeed.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

Fixing Your Drama Queen Kids When Their Self-Punishment Goes Overboard

Consequences.

Annoying deserved consequences.

You know, giving consequences for dippy actions is something I can completely support!

For 3 out of 4 of MamaBear's kids, it works beyond perfectly.  Said kid acts more idjutotic than a drunk moth testing out the heat of a nuclear flame, said kids receive appropriate consequences, and life just goes on.

'course, then…..

Then….

Then there's HS2, my youngest.

He's my extremely sensitive, "does his best but his focus flies into Mt. Vesuvius when his brain gets engaged" boy.

In other words, he has zero malicious/stupid intentions but wow, his carelessness manages to hose him more than fireworks hose  the worlds largest toothpick city, ie:

Take yesterday.

Please.

Yesterday, I took my kids to visit a friend for a playdate.  And upon spying the TV remote control…

HS2 figured it would be a magnificently glorious adventure if he dismantled it and bravely took out the batteries and secretly put them back in.

Which would have been barely tolerable if…he remembered then to reattach the back cover.

Sigh.

Luckily, a black hole did *not* engulf said cover, so the issue was fixable.  But on the way home, I told HS2,

"Each one of your siblings has my permission to dismantle something of yours.  You simply have to learn to keep your hands *off* of stuff you don't own!  Let's see how much you like it then."

Simple, eh?

Well!  HS2 figured that wasn't enough.

A few hours later as I was happily relaxing and reading, HS2 came to me with tears in his eye, held something out to me, and said, "I didn't deserve this so I broke it".

  • It was his cherished North Carolina glass pendant that I had just bought for him a few days ago.

Broken.

In two, I might add.

And then he said,

  • "I thought about it, Mom, and decided I *had* to break it because I broke the remote. It's fair, see?"

What an incredible boy.

Of course, I took him in my arms and told him, "No you didn't have to do that, Mom makes the consequences, not you, I would never have you break something you loved so much!  That is overkill and now doesn't fit the crime."

10 minutes later, all was sunny etc.  But it sure did give me pause as to the values of right and wrong I'm instilling in my kids…and possibly how with HS2, it has to be guided *bigtime*.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

I am a massively *huge* believer in the punishment fitting the crime. 

  • You hit your brother to be a jerk, your brother gets to hit you back.
  • You forget your kitchen chores, you do your siblings' chores as well the next day.
  • You leave dishes in your office, you lose the ability to *use* your office for several days.

But when kids take the whole notion into their hands and go overboard, it has to be addressed immediately.

What I did with HS2 was present several negative scenarios like the above, and then asked him, what would be a good consequence?  ie,

"If you whined to go to a trip after I said to cut it out, should I:"

  • Refuse to take you on that day?
  • Refuse to take you during that week?
  • Blow up the store?

Luckily, HS2 did *not* choose option 3.  He *did* choose option 2.

"If you back-talked to your parents, should I:"

  • Give you to another set of parents who wouldn't care?
  • Take away every privilege imaginable until the next solar eclipse?
  • Have you write down what made you do that, how you could have acted differently, and how you'll act in the future?

Given that option 3 is how I deal with such matters, that's what he chose. 

And so on, and so on.

Now I know why they call "parenting"… "a loving adventure in dismantling your sanity, precious day by day".  :)

Thus, if you have a drama queen or drama king who believes that if one act of self-sacrifice is worthy, a whole Shakespearean play of it must be even better…..do yourself the following favor.

*Spell out to your kids* what constitutes the punishment fitting the crime.

It will save your future parenting a heck of lot of grief….trust me on that. 

Parent Powerfully,

Mama Bear

How To STOP Brother and/or Sister Teasing From Destroying Your Family

MamaBear has some words of wisdom for you, she really does.

And it's this.

Never ever *ever* get between her and her 38th cup of coffee in the morning!

Truly, attempting this foolhardy adventure is more dangerous than testing the tensile strength of a Mylar balloon via the edge of a brand new machete.

But I digress.  :)

Let's get onto the topic of the day! 

If there's one thing MamaBear hates, it's this.

Ready?

Siblings (ie, brothers, sisters) who tease one another.

Oh. My. Gosh.

It's guaranteed to not only send me into orbit, but cause the creation of brand new, squeaky-clean galaxies via the black hole that springs into being.

In other words, I'm utterly insane about there being a complete and total absence of teasing in my household.

Well!

There we were this morning.  I was making French Toast for HS1 (ensuring the cinnamon and vanilla and honey and everything were all dancing together in perfect peace and harmony, much like:

No, I did *not* just date myself, why do you ask?

But I digress yet again!  :)

Anywhos!

All of the ingredients were melding themselves together like coffee and zero-calorie sweetener, when HS2 strolled into the kitchen and started something similar to….this.

Followed by,

"You didn't do your chores last night!"

For some reason, HS2 didn't notice me standing at the counter and start to smolder like 3 cubic tons of fireworks.

That was, until HS2 noticed HS1 looking in my general direction.

So, very quietly, I asked HS2,

  • "Are you teasing your brother?"

and he immediately responded,

  • "Why yes mother, it certainly does appear that I lapsed in my general attitude towards my brother and indulged in great idjutness."

Okay, that was a total lie.  He really said,

  • "No!"

To which I said,

  • "Are you lying to me?"

And amazingly (really!) his answer was….

  • "Yes."

Okay, well, really…it's kinda sorta difficult to say, "Jeepers Mom, even though I was Nah nahing to my brother, of *course* I wasn't teasing him!  I was…um…..praising him and it's opposite day so I wanted you to *think* I was teasing him and…."

So I quietly reminded him how Lings do *not* tease, how he's much better than that, and how he will now be doing his brother's chores for the next few days as a consequence.

He accepted this punishment as deserved (yay!).

Which brings me to the point of this post!

To stop your kids from teasing one another, simply:

Address the situation:

  • Right then and there
  • Comfort the teasee
  • Tell the teaser he or she is much better than that and how they've dishonored themselves
  • Give whatever consequences are deserved *right at that moment*.

Remember…

The key to halting teasing between siblings is consistency!

Do *not* let them get away with it, even once. Implement any consequence that gets the point home.

And if the teaser complains, double the consequences.

It might take some time, it definitely cause big huge amounts of grey hairs to take up residence on your head, but trust me on this…

Stomping out teasing between brothers and sisters is a Very Good Thing Indeed.

Do you have any other ideas?  I'd like love to hear them below!

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

 

When BLATANT Bribery Works As An Awesome Parenting Tool

My gosh, is it the morning already?

MamaBear has awakened, poked her nose out of her lair and decided that a 3-year long winter sleep would be most beneficial indeed!

Alas, as she has to rouse her cubs to school and continue with her writing and blogging…the chances of that happening are less than 3 parakeets inviting a Bald Eagle to tea, correcting her grammar, and living to tell the tale. 

But I digress.  :)

Onto today's topic!

Have you ever bribed your child to get good grades?

If so, I do confess…I disagree with that parenting principle more so than I brutally shun coffee minus caffeine.

Like our job as parents/adults is to work at, well, our jobs, our kids' job is to achieve the best grades they possibly can.

Let's be serious, here, shall we…you just do *not* expect your boss to wheedle your performance with:

  • "If you make your deadline, I'll give you an extra window in your cubicle!"

or

  • "If you finish your deliverable on time, I'll add an extra $293 to your paycheck!"

Know what I mean, aye?

The same thing should go with our kids.  If they choose not to excel, you should pile on the consequences, not beg and plead with them to use their brains for more than roomspace in their noggins!

Still, however, there *are* times when blatant parental bribery for your kids….does indeed work.

Here's what happened to me.

It started off on Saturday.  The Husband had just returned from his business trip to China (and let me tell you, seeing all 4 of our cubs pounce on him when he came thru the door – it brought tears to me eyes!), and happiness and excitement sparkled up our happy home.

But then, all of a sudden…

A Dismal Grey Dimness of Despairing Distress Descended Upon Distinguished Daughter 2!

(okay now, admit it – you're wondering how I managed to create that sentence with so many Ds in it.  So, for that matter, am I.  :) It's really HD2, or Honorable Daughter 2, but hey…it works.  :) )

Yes indeed, the most horrendous of tragedies had enveloped HD2.

Her phone had donned on a Cloak of Invisibility!!!!!!!!  And it was evilly laughing at her from someplace in the Universe!

(what's that?  You need to hear what is sounded like?  Click here:)  )

Yep.  We're talking massive amounts of panic here.

So!  Being the calm, cool, always-in-control parent that I am, I first suggested that she takes apart her office, and then asked her siblings to pitch in as well.  Since all 4 of my kids help one another, massive amounts of exertion happened….to no avail.

WAH!

The next day (ie, yesterday), was Memorial Day.  After that excitement, I personally re-took apart HD2's office, figuring the phone simply had to be enjoying a relaxing vacation buddying around with the dust-bunnies under the printer….to no avail.

Oh well, these things happen.

But!  Right then, at that moment…

When the unicorns cried and the daisies wilted and gloominess seemed to envelop the known universe….

HD1 casually strolled up to me and said (hope you're sitting down for this!):

"Hey Mom!  I'd like these two particular Amazon.com books for my relaxation and enjoyment, can you buy them for me?"

Of course, you could imagine my reaction:

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Silly HD1 – doesn't she yet know that Mom is allergic to spending money, and would immediately reply, "Make money on your own and spend that to your little hearts' content?"

But then…HD1 came up with the most remarkable suggestion!

She asked me:

"Hmmm….how 'bout this Mom, if I actually find my sister's phone, can you buy it for me then?"

Gentle reader, imagine MamaBear's covert thought process at that exact moment.

It went something like…..this.

"Well now jeepers, let's see.  I can't find the phone.  If I don't find it, I'll end up spending money to replace it.  If I can't find it, she *certainly* can't find it, but hey, if she *did* find it, that's both money saved, HD2 made happy, plus it will be a great sibling bonding experience!."

So I agreed to it.

Later that evening, HD1 pounced upon HD2 and said, "We're going to go over every single thing you remember you did at the last time you used your phone."

And what did they discover?

Well, HD2 realized:

  • My school trip was for Great Adventure.  I put on a stylish jacket of stark grey and red colors that was totally fab..
  • I didn't have my phone then, I had left it at home because I am Electronics Conscious and realize that the Log Flume and Congo Rapids, married to my phone, would be a Very Bad Thing Indeed.
  • I came home from Great Adventure.  Mom picked me up.
  • I talked to my friend afterwards right outside the front door.

HD1 and HD2 retraced all of her steps!

Nothing was found.

So….HD1 went over the steps again, and then realized….

The jacket!  HD2 might not have taken her phone to Great Adventure, but she didn't take her jacket *off* after returning home!

Ergo…chances are, HD2's phone was slumbering in said jacket.

A huge race to find that jacket commenced!

…and it was located in the garage, next to my MooseMobile….and indeed, it was wrapping up HD2's phone all nice and cozy-like.

Whew!

Thus, the end result was, HD2 had her phone, HD1 received her books, and MamaBear….was a very happy camper indeed.

For this situation, bribery really did work wonders! 

It delivered the following yummy benefits:

  • HD1 and HD2 beefed up their sleuthing skills
  • HD1 and HD2 worked as a team
  • HD1 did something really tremendous for HD2

and most importantly for MamaBear:

  • I saw the sibling lessons I've been pounding in my cubs….really take root and flower *gorgeously*.

Woot woot WOOOOOT!

In closing, bribery should never be used to get good grades, but when it acts as a catalyst to foster great times between your kids, it's a fantastic parenting tool indeed. 

What do you think?

Parent Powerfully,

MamaBear

3 Can’t Fail Techniques to Compel Your Children To Actually UNDERSTAND One Another

It's the Memorial Day weekend!

And that means it's time for yet another episode of that exciting show,

"How can we misunderstand and unfairly take offense at our siblings today?"

Yes indeed, while other families are enjoying exciting BBQs outside and opening their pools, MamaBear's cubs realized they could either get along and play nicely, or choose to misunderstand and imitate Godzilla discovering that his latest diet precluded Tokyo.

The choice, gentle reader, was obvious.

Let me take you back, back, back again, where…..

So there I was at my computer!

I was happily explaining to HD1 how to add thumbnails to WordPress homepages (it's really easy to do, I wrote a tutorial about it over at How To Easily Make A Glorious WordPress Homepage Complete With Thumbnail Post Images ) when all of a sudden…

A darkness descended!

A sullen chill pervaded the air….

And HD1 remarked,

"Ummm, Mom, I think that's HS2 currently sounding like a broken chalk-board record in your room…."

And by golly, he was!  Losing not a moment, I first donned on my stylish SuperMamaBear Hero's cape and flew to my bedroom, where I was brought up starkly by the scenario that met my eye.

It was frightening enough to daunt the most stalwart of souls!

Capt Picard would have been hard-pressed not to quail in his boots and he certainly would have been unable to reproduce the following!

Yes indeed, HS2 was sprawled on the floor, crying his heart out, incredibly mad at HS1!

And HS1, that stoic soul who was born minus the compassion gene but recently has been making leaps and bounds worthy of Superman to fix that, was curled up in a ball of misunderstood misery on my bed.

What had happened, I wondered?

  • Did HS1 make HS2 feel stupid because he didn't understand how black holes suck in objects?
  • Did HS2 make HS1 feel unappreciated because he failed to worship the ground upon which HS1 walked?

Whatever could it be??

oOo, what I asked.  :)

Turns out, both boys were playing on the bed and HS1's push to HS2 pushed him off of said bed, where HS2 bonked his head.

But things rapidly went downhill faster than 8,382 fresh ripe tomatoes can decay in one's school lunchbag when HS1 immediately ran over to HS2, said "Are you okay?" and HS2 screamed at him, "WHY DO YOU ALWAYS ASK THAT?  I'M HUUUUURRRRTTTTTT, WAAAAAHHHHHH!"

Oh the drama….if only Hollywood would make a reality TV show about my family!

Gentle reader, let me pause in this dramatic narrative and ask you the following.

If you were hurt, and someone asked if you were alright, would you focus upon:

  • The literal words?

or

  • The emotions that powered the literal words?

It turns out that HS1 was trying to comfort HS2 the best way he knew how.  But because HS2 is far more literal minded than HS1, he focused instead on the actual words themselves…instead of his brother's desire to make him feel better.

So….HS1 was basically punished by his brother for not making him feel better in the *right* way.

Which of course…is no way to run a family!

After a big long huge never-ending soul-searing dramatically agonizing talk, I managed to get both boys understanding that they were both there for one another…but neither would look beyond their own personal feelings to see the goodness that was driving the other.

And as is MamaBear's habit, she had them both write down what happened, what they learned, and what will occur in the future.

Here's HS1's take.

I asked HS2, “Are you ok?” and he began yelling like, “OMG OMG OMG!!” Apparently, he enjoys me not to ask the specific question, but, “Would you like some help?” would work. I think he would be more exuberant than because he enjoys that interpretation better. He probably enjoys that interpretation better because it’s obvious he’s really hurting. I will make sure to be more careful in the future.

               I felt sort of annoyed by the fact HS2 would just yell when I tried to comfort him. HS2 probably felt, “OMG I’M OBVIOUSLY NOT OK SO LIKE OMG” I now completely understand why HS2 reacted this way. I thought he was just yelling for the sake of me causing the accident. I’ll look for clues next time for what to say.

               Finally, we resolved this problem with what to say and when. I’m supposed to say, “Are you okay?” when it’s bleeding only slightly, and he’s still in his position before. If it’s a major cut (ex. Crying, bleeding, crippling etc) I should say, “Would you like some help?” I hope this solves all problems with him angry at me for these reasons. I now know what to say and when, so by another shard, were one step closer to the portrait of a wonderful family.

And here's HS2's take.

Have you ever have done 3 paragraphs? Have you thought it was a punishment? Well it is a learning concept. So I did one this morning. So I am going to explain what I did.

 So First the beginning paragraph should be what you did.     

First I got pushed of a bed. My brother said are you ok? I was  like WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE! It was really wrong. So I was very hurt.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So the second paragraph should be why you did it.   

Second I yelled because because he asks are you ok everyday?. It gets annoying every once and a while. So i did it because it didn't look like I was ok. I was like screaming because I was really hurt.That is why. 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The third paragraph is what you will do in the future.

In the future I will not yell. I wouldn't yell because HS1 is only trying to be nice. Also it could really hurt someones feelings. Also I would just say yes if he forgets not to say are you ok? I will never do that again.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So just remember people 3 paragraphs is not a punishment it is a learning concept. So bye!

So..yeah indeed.

As you can tell, HS2 still focuses bunches on his own personal feelings, while HS1 is getting much better at understanding other people's feelings as well.  Still, though, it's definitely a Very Good Beginning indeed!

Is the day over yet?

:)

Anywhos! 

This really highlighted that it doesn't matter how much empathy you have or how much you want to take care of someone…if they refuse to listen to your words.

Thus, the 3 Can't Fail Techniques to Compel Your Children To Actually UNDERSTAND One Another are as follows.


NOTE!Step 1.)  Emphasize to your kids to listen to the actions that drive their sibling's words.

It could be that the way they want to help is not received as expected.  So, do not dwell on the actual words if offense is generating….instead, look beyond those words to the actions they compel.


NOTE!Step 2.)  If misunderstandings do occur, praise both kids for trying to communicate, and then get to the root of what went wrong where.

The fact is, both kids involved need to have their feelings validated.

You don't have to agree with them, mind you, but you do have to let them feel they've been heard.

So tell them they did well in trying to get their point across, and then ask them, what was going through their minds when the blow-up occurred?


NOTE!Step 3.)  Work on discovering a better approach for the future.

Knowing what went wrong where is a good start…but it's useless unless your kids learn from it in the future.

Thus, talk out with your kids what they think would work better should the issue happen again.

In my case, HS2 wants HS1 to say, "Would you like some help?" if he gets hurt.

Thing is, though, knowing HS1…chances are, it will take lots of repetition before it sinks in.

So, HS2 needs to listen to the actions *first* before taking offense at the words. 

And that's something that will take time as well.

However….it's a start.

And that's what the Mama Bear parenting method is all about.  We are always open to trying new things to foster better communications within the family.

Parent well,

Mama Bear

Hell Froze Over And Incredible Kid Compassion Emerged

Well now, today has been most character-building to the extreme for MamaBear.

Suffice it to say, our house is not exactly the neatest on the block.  'Matter of fact, I'd say that along with missing the gene for idjutness, our family was born starkly minus the Clean Gene.

Normally, this doesn't bother me much; whenever someone is due to come over, I will schedule out the day to ensure every required room is taking care of and made appropriate for the company.

Take today, for instance!

I was expecting my guest at 4pm, so happily mentally mapped out the cleaning I would do from 11am until 3:30pm or.  I calculated the time available, and figured I had enough breathing room to zoom on a Costco run for the weekend.

And it was wondrous!  Until….I came back at 11am to find my guest waiting for me.

And I realized – the kitchen was still hell, the guest room was beyond hell, the groceries were sitting in my moosemobile….and it was *showtime*.

Happy…I was not.

Well, actually, I was thrilled to see my guest, but quite mortally embarrassed that my abode was not up to the standards I try to showcase when people come over.

Things went well, mind you, but after HS1 and HS2 came home, HS2 decided to revert to some rather childish behavior (causing MamaBear to get quieter and quieter, kinda sorta like Nature holds its breath before the earthquake makes itself at home).  The stress-levels were starting to erupt off the Ritcher scale for me when all of a sudden…

(hope you're sitting down for this!)

HS1 came to me and said,

"Mom, you look stressed.  You always told me we should talk things out when we're stressed.  So can you tell me why you're stressed?  Maybe I can help."

Well, flap my earlobes and call me Dumbo!

Gentle reader, HS1's main attitude in life is, "Why hello there!  I'm HS1….and you're not!  But do not worry; I truly do feel your pain so I will do my best to showcase my incredibleness so you do not feel left out."

In other words, the dear boy was born minus the compassion gene.

So for him to proactively come up to me with zero prompting and try to get at what was bothering me….

That's more unexpected than seeing The Sock Eating Monster abdicate from its laundry machine throne.

Honestly, I was knocked senseless by his gesture; the other three Magnificent Ling kids eat, breathe and sleep empathy. 

HS1 does *not*.

At least, he didn't!  :)

This really did showcase to me that even when you think things might be hopeless regarding your children learning….stay the path.

You never know when the lessons you teach…will finally click.

Parent well,

Mama Bear