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But I need you!

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Tonight, I sit here just resting from the quiet and the stress of the week with my #2 granddaughter.  I get a few days off before I get my grandson, so I will be working on VBS and writing, writing, writing.  This week I did not get any writing done at all.  I did more the week I had the Mother-in-law and the #1 granddaughter at the same time.   I adore my #2 (my Rissa Roo).  She is, however, extremely needy.  She is #2 of 4, and often gets the short end of the stick.  Since the advent of her 2 yo sister, she has taken up baby talk.  This is one of many annoying habits, but it is one that compares to Chinese water torture nails on a chalk board.

I have tried many tactics to eliminate this habit (at least around me), but to no avail.  We did make progress this week, but it got to the point where I had to turn away from her and tell her she could choose to talk baby talk somewhere else or choose to play with Grandma.  The point was to show her that her choices are her choices – a habit if you will – and she has the ability, at 8, to make better ones.  We had a few hour long sessions with tears and more, but in the end, she was doing much better.  The thing is that this child is so needy.  She is also bossy.  Along with that and some other quirks she has picked up as a bid to get attention (unconsciously), something has gone wrong.

So what? you may say.  The point here is that the child is desperate for attention.  However, the things she does to get attention work against her bringing negative attention instead of good attention.  Of course, all children will choose negative attention over no attention.  In my little Rissa Roo’s case, I have to worry about her because the attention getting behaviors are so bad and so hard to take, even for her grandma who adores her!  I want to help her learn how to 1) entertain herself, 2) accept that she doesn’t need attention 24/7 (it’s never enough) and 3) learn that the negative behaviors are choices that do not work, and so teach her better choices.  She also talks a blue streak and needs to learn that it’s ok to be quiet sometimes, but that’s another story and may have help from her ADHD. 😀

Horizontal communication, that between us and others cannot happen in this kind of environment.  It may take an 8 year old a while to understand, but I know adults who have this issue as well.  They are overly needy and seek to have that need filled in ways that push others away instead of drawing them.  Sometimes, these behaviors are habits, learned early and left over from childhood.  Some of us outgrow these behaviors as we grow.  Others, either because they do not see them or because they don’t know any better, continue in behaviors that effectively cut off their ability to truly communicate with others and thus get their attention needs met.

Vertical communication, that between us and God, can look like this at times too.  We may not see it as ‘attention getting behavior’ (and neither does the child or the adult in the above paragraphs) but it works the same.  Let’s say God does something for you.  You say thank you (sometimes), but not much time lapses before you want something else.  Some people get upset if God doesn’t do what they want in the time they want, forgetting all that God has already done for them.  It’s like God has to prove His love over, and over, and over, and over.  Jesus death on the cross is proof enough, and if we get nothing else, it’s more than we deserve.  Yet we can act like a young child who loves mommy when she’s happy, but tells mommy she’s a ‘bad’ mommy when angry.

The Israelites displayed this behavior, and I believe God used their stories to show us how we do this too–so no judging allowed.  God would do miraculous things for them and as soon as life got a little tough, they would turn away from Him or whine because they are unhappy with the now.  They forgot the big things God did!  We may wonder how they could march across a sea/river on dry land, among other miracles, and ever gripe to God again, but they did.  And so do we if we do not watch out.  I sometimes wonder if it breaks God’s heart as much as it breaks this Grandma’s to see a child hurting and doing all the wrong things to deal with it.  I’m sure this is something He sees way more than I do:  People looking for love in all the wrong places. . . 😦

Do you have attention getting habits that interfere with your horizontal and vertical communication?  How do you keep a grateful heart, appreciating what you get, while not griping when things don’t go that well?  Anyone have advice for teaching this to an 8 year old?  I’d love to hear what you have to say about this topic.  

BTW–the other kids have wrong behaviors too, but they are just a bit easier to deal with and more amenable to correction.  AND I l♥ve my Rissa Roo no matter what she does or doesn’t do.  😀

Communication Busters: Mind reading

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I recently read a post by Emily Stone over at StoneWritten on the subject of mind-reading.  She gives a deep psychological post that is well worth the read.

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We have discussed this before, but it bears repeating.  I frequently have conversations with a family member along these lines.  She “knows” people are thinking ____________.  {Or she projects that ____________is going to happen. (another post to come, so you can predict that it will happen 🙂 }

No one can read another person’s mind!  No, not even you!

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Nederlands: Introvert gedrag.

Nederlands: Introvert gedrag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are made by God to have the ability to communicate via body language and other cues to what’s going on inside a person.  However, not all of us can actually read these cues well.  As an introvert, I often sit by myself, wishing to talk to others, but waiting on them to come to me.  I’ve made progress in this area, but people tend to think I’m snobbish instead of bashful.  Are they right?  Not at all, and if they would take the time to get to know me, they would know that is far from the truth.  Did you know that even people who appear gregarious can sometimes be compensating for shyness?

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Birth order can affect human psychology, thoug...

Birth order can affect human psychology, though many supposedly formative effects of birth order are instead related to other factors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each of us is unique.  Generalizations (and stereotypes) may apply to some people, but they do not apply to all.  We each have different upbringings (even twins and siblings).  This happens because such things as personality, abilities, birth order, friends, extended family, and other things tend to play in to the upbringing, even when it is exactly the same otherwise.  My sister and I are only one year, one day and one month apart, but we viewed our childhood very differently.  The example I usually give is in regard to our poverty.  I saw the hand of God through it all and didn’t know I was poor.  She knew we were poor and was embarrassed by it–same circumstances, same parents, different views.

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In another circumstances, my sister then took that and asked for what she wanted and took it upon herself to make sure her needs were met.  I retired to the background, often wanting the same things, but unable (or unwilling – I thought they should read my mind!) to do so.  I spent a lot of time ‘hiding’ in corners wanting attention, my sister got it–one way or another.

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What does that have to do with it?  It helps illustrate my point.  If you knew my sister, you might think she is highly selfish.  However, she is also very generous.  Her ‘selfishness’ was an attempt to get her needs met.  After all, children are not born knowing how to get what they need (except by crying).  If a child’s needs go unmet, he or she will go the way of my sister or myself or anywhere in the continuum between.  I appeared unselfish, but that was not the case in total.  I gave way because I was used to doing it for my siblings.

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I didn’t mean to go into a childhood spiel, but there you go.  The only way to know what a person is thinking at any time is to ask.  Assumptions cause the majority of problems in the world in my book!  I won’t share the saying that goes along with what happens when we assume (you probably know it anyway).

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Linkware Freebie Image use it however you like...

Linkware Freebie Image use it however you like all I ask is a credit link to : thegoldguys.blogspot.com/ or http://www.lumaxart.com/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My personal task right now is to practice this in my marriage.  I’m sure we’re just like other couples.  He says or does something, and I read all kinds of things into it.  In the past, I have gone off to lick my wounds and pout.  Now I say, “what did you mean by that?” and keep at it until I understand exactly what he was saying.  It’s seldom what I was hearing.  It’s amazing what happens when you actually take the time to not only listen but really hear what another says.

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Are you guilty of trying to read another’s mind?  Or, do you ask clarifying questions when in doubt?  Do you have a story to share, here or on your blog, about a time when an assumption turned into a comedy/tragedy?  On the other side of the coin, do you make sure others understand your words/actions, or do you assume they got it?

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Spring into tag

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Recently tagged in a fun little cyber game going around the blogosphere, I have decided to play in the interest of lightning things up a bit.  After all, Spring has arrived, and what better time to go out and blow the cobwebs out by having a little fun?

I was tagged by fiztrainer over at serendipity Plus. I hope you’ll hop over and take a look at her blog too.

The Rules:

  1. Tagged Bloggers should post the rules.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you in their post and then create ten new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
  3. Tag ten people and link to them on your post.
  4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

So, here’s my questions (and answers):

  • Would you rather vacation at the BEACH or somewhere COLD? Vacation, what’s a vacation?  Ok, I guess I would rather be wherever my family is, but it would be nice if we could all go to the beach 🙂
  • What was your most embarrassing moment?  There have been so many!  Hmmmmm.  Once upon a time, at my old house, long, long ago, we were redoing our back porch.  The porch was missing (except for posts and sundry items like concrete steps from a previous owner).  The story finds me in the back yard, standing where the porch would be if it existed.  My son was standing at the back door (up quite a few feet) talking to me.   The neighbors’ son pulled into our shared driveway and parked in the back.  Did I mention I had a bit of a crush on said son many moons before?  Anyway, as they were getting out of the car, I went to step backward.  Behind me was a large trashcan.  Yup, I landed on my behind, spread eagle, legs sticking up in the air, trashcan crushed beneath me.  The neighbor’s son and his wife came running over trying to help me get up.  Did I mention that I am a large woman and that both my sons were now standing by splitting a gut?  I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, but I still have nightmares flashes of embarrassment from this episode.
  • Have you ever traveled outside the country? If so, where? I have been to Canada twice, but otherwise have stayed on the east side of the Mississippi.
  • Do you prefer DOGS or CATS?  I prefer neither, but if I have to choose, I will pick a cat.  Dogs tend toward over friendliness, messes and foul odors.
  • What is at the top of your BUCKET LIST to do?  Write a book.  Hmmm, did that surprise anyone?
  • Are you an EARLY BIRD or NIGHT OWL?  I am definitely a night owl!  At my worst, my husband and I will pass each other as I head to bed and he heads to work (oops!).
  • What was your PROUDEST moment?  I would like to say the day I graduated with my Master’s Degree, but I would have to say my proudest moments happened at the birth of each of my three children.  I’m not sure why exactly, even though it was hard work.  I guess I was just proud to be Mommy to three such blessings.  {Yes, that’s what I’m calling them, and I’m sticking to it!}
  • Do you prefer COMEDIES or SUSPENSE?  I prefer, oh poo, I can’t pick one.  It really depends on my mood.  I love a good comedy, but I also love suspense.  I am more likely to read suspense, however.
  • Who was the most INFLUENTIAL person in your life?  Such hard questions!  I would have to say the most influential person in my life award goes to my Mother.  She was a good woman with a big heart, and I miss her dearly.  Both my parents had a good influence on me for different reasons, but she wins by a hair or two (sorry Dad).  My grandmother was also highly influential in my life.
  • How do you spell R-E-L-I-E-F (in other words, what do you do to relax)? I find writing relaxing, especially blog writing.  It releases endorphins and gives me a mode of expression I seldom get in “real life”.

10 New Questions (or statements) for the Tagees

  • Describe a turning point moment in your life.  Why was it a turning point?
  • Is your favorite blog to read funny, serious, a mixture of both, or something else?
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • Are you a thinker or a doer?
  • Name someone who have influenced your life.
  • Do you have a charity that is near and dear to your heart?
  • Have you ever played hookey from your responsibilities?  What happened?  Did you get caught?
  • What is one piece of wisdom you’d like to pass on to the next generation?
  • What’s your favorite stupid joke?
  • Why do you write?  (Think purpose, feelings or whatever)

Now comes the hard part – picking 10 people.  Girding up loins, getting out my super picker (no not nose picker)… [feel free to decline 🙂 ]

Tag!  You’re it!

::Running gleefully away, leaving behind a trail of giggles floating through the air::  😀

Taking a Ride?

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No Guardrails

Today I drove down the road — thinking.  (Yes, thinking while driving is quite dangerous, but the thought police have not enacted a law against it as of yet.) Anyway, driving and thinking about the side of the road where there were no guardrails and quite a drop if I would happen to slip off the road for some reason.  I don’t like these kind of places.  I like guardrails to give me some kind of safety buffer from almost certain death.  That’s never happened to me before, (well, duh! Do I look dead?) but I fear it none-the-less.

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English: took this photo using my mobile, in J...

Image via Wikipedia

Guardrails

From there, my mind wandered to the guardrails, actual guardrails or a stand of trees or something else to stand between me and potential disaster.  They may not stop me, but they make me feel safer.

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Immovable Objects

Mahi-Par Mountain Pass in eastern Afghanistan.

Image via Wikipedia

From there, I thought, “Well, I guess I’d rather go off the road at a drop off (depending on how steep) than to hit an immovable object, such as a rock wall.  At high speeds, I’m guessing that’s pretty much a death sentence gonna hurt!  Going between the cuts in the hills, solid rock on both sides, might mean disaster for the unwary motorist. 

Huh?

This thought reminded me of parenting styles, and I began to go into analogies.  (I know — welcome to my world.)  Most agree with four styles of parenting.  Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved.

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No Guardrails

Permissive parenting is like driving with no guardrails.  Guardrails provide boundaries.  They say, “This far and no farther.”  Children need guardrails or boundaries to feel safe and to be safe.  They depend on parents to set these guardrails for them.  Yes, they will push against them and test them, but that’s part of the process too.  Permissive parents are often indulgent, with low expectations and rare discipline.  These are the ones who want to be their child’s friend.  Just like the road with no guardrail, the children often feel unsafe with no boundaries.

Guardrails

Authoritative Parenting is a somewhat democratic process.  The children have their guardrails or boundaries along with expectations of following them.  But, it’s not a ‘my way or the highway’ type of parenting.  Children ask questions and receive answers.  The children feel respected and loved and know exactly what the parents expect of them.

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Immovable Object

This correlates with Authoritarian Parenting.  The parents make strict rules with no room for failure to follow them.  Harsh discipline followsany infractions.  These are the ones who likely expect their children to obey because they were told to.  Children are not allowed to ask questions or negotiate.  They must obey.  This also leaves very little room for building relationships between parent and child.  A statement, attributed in some sources to Grant East, states that, “Rules without relationship breeds rebellion.”   Just as hitting an immovable object in a speeding car would probably lead to death, hitting an immovable parent brings about the death of relationship and often breeds rebellion.

ADDEND:  If you’ll notice in the comments below, a question engendered a new aspect to the immovable object.  ALL PARENTS NEED IMMOVABLE OBJECTS!   “Go play in the traffic.”  “Here drink this chlorox.” “Feel free to stay up all night and miss school in the morning if you’re too tired.”  “Sure watch that horror movie.  Every child should have nightmares.”  You get the picture.  In the case of the authoritative parent, all the rules are immovable.  Whether important or trivial, they are expected to be obeyed – PERIOD!  The child becomes frustrated by the extreme strictures and the inability to do anything about it other than rebel.  Bedtime at 8 is a fine rule for younger children, but it should not be inflexible.  Children should be able to negotiate some of the rules, and they should begin to earn autonomy in their decision making gradually as they grow.  In other words, rules should change with growth.  After all, at some point, they will have to make their own decisions without you.  I think Ann Marie Dwyer said it best, “A lot is said for allowing teens to have precursor adult decision making. They need the experience while parents can mitigate (but not eradicate) the consequences.”

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No lines, no edges, no shoulder, no guardrails

The last style of parenting, Uninvolved Parenting, is like driving down a road in which there are no guiding lines of any kind:  no lane lines, no clear edges, no shoulder, no guardrails, no guidance.

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An icon illustrating a parent and child

Image via Wikipedia

OUTCOMES: Just as a miss on the road can have differing severities based on where it happens, parenting styles bring about differing penalties as well.

Authoritarian/Immovable Object – The outcome here is children who obey (or rebel).  Unfortunately, these children struggle finding happiness, liking themselves, and getting along in the world — either because they need those strict boundaries and don’t get them or because they resent it and have problems with authority figures in their lives.

Authoritative/Guardrails –  This parenting style breeds children (and adults later) who are happy, Able to fend for themselves, and able to operate successfully in the world.

Permissive/No Guardrails – Children raised by these parents also have less happiness in their lives.  They also have trouble with authority figures (having had no example) and in regulating themselves. Without the guidance of parental pusing, these children will likely struggle with school work as well.

Uninvolved/No guides – This type of parenting produces the worst outcomes in children across the board.  They have competency, self-esteem and self-control issues that make life difficult for them.

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Questions to ponder:  What style parent are you?  What style did your parents use?  Did you have parents who gave you a ‘push/pull’ as they each used a different style?  If you have children, what style do you use?  Do you find yourself slipping into the style of your parents, despite best intentions?  Do you have any thoughts on how a child (now adult) would overcome the negative aspects of their raising? 

Profilskiss på en Kohlswabalk

Image via Wikipedia

Remember:

No one gets it right all the time.  We’re human and we kind of learn it as we go.

I hope you all enjoyed the ride!  Come again soon.

Source disclaimer:  The above information was crammed into my head during several college classes many moons ago.  No copyright infringement is intended.

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