Friday, March 4, 2011

Fabulous Friday: You Light Up My Life

My husband picks on me sometimes because I so often look outside myself for inspiration and guidance. You'd think that as an only child, I'd be more independent and less reliant on others. But I'm not. Sue me. I take my inspiration wherever I can find it. Sunny day. Wise words from a close friend. Self-help books. And blogs.

The last 3 weeks or so, I've found some great inspiration in the SITSGirls community for bloggers. One blogger in particular has inspired me with her enthusiasm, tirelessness and work ethic, the long list of all she does – including caring for a daughter with special needs – and the leadership she has shown as moderator for the SITSGirls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge. Shelley, from I'm Still Standing, is an awe-inspiring person who just does what needs doing. She makes me feel like I can do anything, too.

Every day I think, I don't know if I can finish this, but then I see all that Shelley does and I read her daily posts that are written with such joy and light and I think, "Well, I have to do this. If Shelley can do it with all the other things she has going on, I can do it." And I do. Then, I feel happier and closer to my own personal goals.

Thank you, Shelley, for sharing all that you do and for being a great leader on this journey to a better blog!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stupid Kid: Father Threatens Lawsuit Over Kid's Dumbass Facebook Postings

Being in the midst of confronting my own discipline challenges with my son, I was struck dumb by a story I read in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The story is about three middle school students who posted disparaging – and possibly career ending – statements about a teacher at their school on their Facebook pages. The statements ranged from saying the teacher was a pedophile and rapist to stating that the teacher was bipolar.

The school, rightly in my opinion, suspended the students because their statements were not grounded in any sort of truth and were disruptive to the learning environment at the school.

Of course, one of the kids' fathers is furious and says the school had no right to suspend the kids, calling it a violation of their privacy. They're considering a lawsuit says the father.

Ridiculous. Right?

Maybe not. Apparently, there is a precedent for allowing mouthy high school students who have no respect for anyone other than their selves to get away with slandering teachers or whoever else they want to via Facebook. Granted, what Katherine Evans said about her English teacher is not quite as bad as what these Georgia boys have done, it's still utterly disrespectful and instead of allowing her to move forward with a lawsuit her parents might have served both their daughter and society better by teaching her to mind her manners and show a little respect for the rest of the world.

Anyone who claims that getting in trouble for something you write on Facebook is a violation of your privacy is a fool. If you put it out there on a public profile you have no right to privacy. If you had a private account and the school hacked your account and read your postings, that's something else entirely. But that's not what happened in either of these cases.

I expect and try to teach my sons to care about others, to show them respect, and not say bad things about them. To that end, I try not to speak badly of people in front of my kids. If I found out either of them created a Facebook page (or whatever the cool means of communication is when their teenagers) that said ugly things about a teacher, a fellow student, or their archnemesis, I would put a stop to it immediately and they would have to go apologize in person to the person they hurt. Then, they would have their Facebook privileges taken away. Children, as I learn more and more every day, need structure and parental guidance – not parents who always tell them they're right even at the cost of someone else's dignity.

What say you?

Do kids (or adults) have a right to trash anyone they want to in a public medium with no consequences for their actions?

If your kid did something like this and got suspended would you sue or would you punish your child?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teach Your Children: Regaining Control of Your Household

Between my attempting to work a little more and volunteering, Scott's traveling for work and hectic  schedule of long hours and the occasional night or weekend on call, Brendan's daily homework grind, and all the rest of our rat race, we've run into a bit of a discipline void.

Brendan, always my challenging boy, has been pushing every button I own and testing all the boundaries, which I will admit, are always a bit loose. As Alexandria over at Before the Baby Wakes put it, I subscribe to a Free to Be Us parenting style. I've tended to err too far on the side of not wanting to crush my child's spirit. Right up until the point where his spirit is really pissing me off and I blow up. Not good.

In thinking about how and why things have gotten so out of control, I see clearly that it has been my lack of consistency in disciplining and setting rules.

Because of Brendan's dyspraxia and all the associated frustrations he experienced before we had a diagnosis, I learned, as did he, that sometimes it's just easier for mommy to give in and perform the task at hand for the child. It can make things go a lot faster when you're trying to get out the door. Unfortunately, kids don't compartmentalize so well and now there are lots of things that my 8-year old should do for himself that he still wants or expects me to do and when I refuse, it turns into a huge power struggle.

We're also dealing with his smart mouth. I've tried reasoning with him on the issue, telling him it's unacceptable, rude, he hurts my feelings, etc. At my wits' end, I've been tempted to pull out the hot sauce or the soft soap and use them when he sasses, but instead, I'm regrouping.

Today, I made a list of our house rules and the consequences of not following those rules. I made it as a reminder for myself as much as I did as an instructional tool for the boys. I have a real problem with deciding in the heat of the moment what an acceptable punishment for a particular misbehavior should be. I figured if I define it for myself and let the kids know what will happen if they talk back or fail to pick up their toys when I ask, it will be easier for all of us and lead (I hope!) to a calmer, happier  household.

I'm also reading John Rosemond's Parent Power and hope to get some new insight from that.

I just hope it's not too late.

What discipline challenges have you faced?
How did you fix the problem?
Do you feel that you were successful?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Change Will Do You Good


Welcome to the new, and I hope you'll agree, improved digs. What do y'all think?

As y'all may know, I'm participating in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. One of the tasks was to create an editorial calendar for your blog, which I did. In the process of reading about forming an editorial calendar, I saw a couple of experts who recommended themed days. They claim readers like that. A lot. Although, most of the popular blogs I read don't do that. Now. Perhaps they did in their infancy, but I don't know. All I know is this... I generally find themed days kind of cheesy and not really my style.

But guess what? I think change is good and I feel like spicin' things up around here. So, to that end, I'm going to give themed blog posts a trial run. There's no guarantee that I won't have a random I-must-post-this-today-even-though-it's-Recipe-Day-and-this-is-not-a-recipe-day here and there, but for the most part, I'm going to try and stick to this for a while and see how it works. 

Here's my current plan:

Musical Mondays: Review or share a new band, piece of music I love, or video.

Tasty Tuesdays: Recipes, kids’ party info, or information about food and health; relate to parenting

Wordy Wednesdays: A longer feature on parenting

Take That Thursdays: A review or opinion piece

Fabulous Fridays: Shout Outs or Inspiring Things and/or People

Spontaneous Saturday: Anything goes

Spiritual Sunday: Faith, inspiration, and reflection

Of course, I want to know what you think. 

Are themed posts a good idea? Like? Dislike? What do you do on your blog? 

And what do you think of the new design?

Do share!

P.S. A shout out to Jacqui of Wacky Jacqui's Designs for the new look!