The Choice Method

I get asked quite often “How do you get your kids to listen to you?” or “They didn’t fight you on that?” The answer is no and here is why, I give them a choice in everything! Don’t get me wrong, we still butt heads occasionally , but it would be chaos without this method.

I have dubbed it “The Choice Method”

a fine print tip in parenting

Let me break that down a little more. Think about your day to day routine. From how many times you hit the snooze, how loud you turn up the radio, when you reply to a text, all the way to what time you actually go to bed. You are making a choice in your every move. It is no secret that humans like to have control over what happens to them, whether they think they have it or not. Children or no different than you or I. They want to have that same control in their choices.

Children or no different than you or I.

Some parents find themselves rushing to make this change and tip the scale. In my experience, in order for this to work you have to have balance. You can not just start letting your children make every single choice without guidance. Especially if this is a new thing to your home. You are their parent and it is your job to steer them to make the right choices. You also have to remember that even with this method, kids will be kids.

In reality here is how it goes. You maintain control over all situations and decisions. To do this, you limit the number of choices you give. Think about how overwhelmed we get when we have too much on our plate or choices in front of us on a menu. That is brain overload for children! What has worked for me is I tend to give three choices. Two choices, that vary but both I am 100% okay with them choosing. For example, it is bedtime. I give them a choice of ” you can go to bed now or in five minutes.” Do not give a choice that you are not okay with. All that leads to is friction between all involved. The third choice I always give is “or mommy can make the choice for you”.

The third choice I always give is “or mommy can make the choice for you”.

It is so important to include that last choice. At the end of the day you are still in charge. Yes we want our children to grow up and be happy, self empowering and strong individuals. But hold the phone, because while they are still wanting to eat gum from under a desk, can’t wipe their own butt and throw a fit if their sibling looks at them. Just a few reasons why you have to maintain control and can’t just let them do it alone. Don’t forget that you are still raising them and they need guidance to make the right choices, by having you (as their parent) help them see which ones those are to make.

I hope this is helpful in your household as it has been in mine. Parenthood all boils down to mutual respect, you need to give it to them to get it back. It shouldn’t be expected just because you are raising them. After you try the “choice method” come back and tell me how it has worked for you!

til next time ~ xo Diana

Parent, like a boss.

                                         Parent, like a BOSS!

My New year resolution was to put more focus on my family. Those that know me probably thought, how? Because I am all about my family already. Why do I feel like I need to do more? Something I realized a short time ago was that I was lacking in putting enough effort into my family on a deeper level, not just the surface.  That I wasn’t giving my family the attention and real care that it needed.

As you can imagine, in a household with many children and a wide range of ages, with three having special needs and owning business { the list goes on }, we are busy. And I don’t like to tell my kids no when it comes to their activities. I want them to experience as much as possible in their childhoods! That just adds to our schedule, one more thing to do.

Jackson works a full time job with loads of on call and my business is continuing to grow and expand. Which means we put in a lot of hours to our jobs. Just the other day I had five meetings in one day.  IEP, PTA, Tech and branding for DHP, New hires…   It was a long day. I put in the time and effort to make those meetings happen. Those meetings needed to happen, to make growth and progress within my business and their education. I planned out meeting notes, questions and ideas. I left each meeting feeling as though so much was accomplished.

Meanwhile, at home it was ” We’ll handle it later” or “I’ll see what I can do” and just put it to the side and back to work.

If we put as much effort into shaping and helping form our family

{ and not in a physical numbers sense } it would help us grow stronger, together. 

After I had this light bulb moment I viewed my family as a business. Made my notes of “what’s working and what’s not”, then put into place Family meetings. I mean I take time to make all of these other meetings happen, it’s time to make it happen for the family too. After we called our first meeting it was amazing the immediate result! We went over all aspects of our daily chaotic life, heard each child out on their views of things. From what they want to eat, to what frustrates them.

Here’s some ideas to go over at your family meeting:

~Schedules

~Frustrations

~Wants

~Expectations

Ground rules for our family meetings, to keep it productive.

  1. For every complaint, they need to have an idea on how to address it. 
  2. We raise our hands, no talking over one another.
  3. Respectful of others ideas and concerns. { Important that they feel like they can talk openly }

To have a strong family, a strong business, the leader {mom + dad}

are only as strong as their employees {kids} are. 

 

We will now be having bi-weekly family meetings and putting lots of good ideas from he kids into play. Already, the stress levels for the kids and Jackson and I are way down. Because we are all working as a team. I’m excited to share more on what we come up with during our meetings, so stay tuned. In the mean time, plan out your family meeting and let me know how it goes!

 

Til next time parent like a boss.

xo-Diana

 

Mamas instinct

I wanted to take a moment to do a little bit on mamas {and papas} instincts.

 

I have eight children, each and every one of them have a different personality.  Their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, hobbies and so on.  As a parent we have a job, a responsibility to our children.  That is that they come first, plain and simple, in my book.  I will forever do for them, what is in their best interest, no matter what it may mean for me. No matter how one may view me, I do what I do for one reason, them. {more like eight reasons for me 😉 } I will always trust my mama instinct over what others tell me.

 

What the heck are you talking about lady?

{I’m sure is what you all are wondering}

 

Right out of high school I worked as a para educator with Special needs children. I took child development courses in college and have always had a soft spot in my heart for them. To me it’s no surprise that God has blessed me with the strength and privilege to raise them.

When my first born was just 16 months old I knew something was off. That he needed to be assessed for speech.  He had a lot of jarbling and loss of words. To even get him looked at was hard because I didn’t have a lot of peer support. I was the mom “looking for problems”. After his assessment, it was determined that he was in need for speech services. Taking it further, I had only worked with children on the Autism spectrum, but never had personal connections with them. But something was telling me, keep digging. Don’t ignore those signs, those instincts that there may be more going on. So I didn’t, I was his advocate. I did not settle for “lets wait and see”, I did not accept “he’s just a boy, being a boy”.   Now when I say I didn’t have support I don’t mean all around, I did have a few people who have stood by from the get go. But many who did not. Many who went out of their way to give me unsolicited advice. I would listen, say thank you. But I listened to my instinct more. And thank God I did, because our Ayden may not even be verbal right now had I not been his number one advocate.

 

 

Fast forward six years, we welcomed our fifth baby boy!

 

It was dejavu. A repeat of what I went through with Ayden, our first. Loss of words, quirks, the whole bit. This time though I had personal experience with a child on the spectrum. Mama instinct took over and I was on it, speech therapy started at the age of 18 months and he got the official diagnosis at about age 24 months. Then rolled in all of the unsolicited opinions, advice and those that know my child better than I. { we all have had encountered these folks in one fashion or another } I took it and said thank you and moved on. He is now five and doing fantastic, still receiving speech therapy and working on behavioral.

 

 

Fast forward to today…

I woke up at 6:20 a.m, got myself and my seventh son ready to go. Grabbed a coffee and bagel then we drove an hour to the assessment clinic. The drive there I had all of the unsolicited advice running through my mind. Causing me to question myself. As we pulled into the parking lot and I said a prayer, asking for guidance and strength to handle whatever happens once we went in there. After a three hour long assessment and questions being asked, we were ready to be out of the 10 x 10 grey room with a two way observation window. { for me it felt very much like an interrogation room.  That I've seen on t.v. of course }    After about fifteen minutes after it was completed,  in walked our doctor who talked over what we did and asked for my last opinion and concerns.  Then she gave him the official diagnosis. "Your son is on the Autism spectrum, rated moderate".  Now in my heart I saw it coming, but hearing it really made it reality. This changes nothing about him, or how I view him. But it opens doors for him to get the supports he may need.

 

A few things I want you to take from this, whether you are experiencing this first hand, observing or just reading.  If you are observing or just reading, remember that this is a huge life change for someone. This is rocking their world on so many levels, emotionally, financially, their family dynamic and so much more. Please refrain from discouraging words such as “you’re just seeing things”, “he’ll grow out of it” and whatever other, unhelpful, things you can think of. We don’t want to hear it! Seriously. No one goes to get a diagnosis for their kid because “its the thing to do”. Or because we have to have something wrong with our kid. We look into these things because we trusted our instincts and we are being our childs’ advocate.  We don’t want our children to miss out on vital years of services that will help them to improve their skills and adapt to life within their means.

To the moms {and dads } that are going through this. You are not alone!!  You are amazing! You are strong! You an do this!!

{ now repeat that three times to yourself ! Because it’s true. }

Continue to trust that instinct and be the voice, be the advocate for your children. If you don’t, no one will. If you think there are quirks about your childs development don’t shy away or feel embarrassed to ask about it. Do not let others compare their childs situation to yours. No two Autistic children are the same! Don’t think that your child will be labelled or defined by a diagnosis. That will only happen if you allow it. I do not introduce my child “This is Ayden and he is Autistic”. That labels him. The diagnosis isn’t labelling him, my introduction is. Instead try “This is my son Ayden, and he wicked smart”.

I hope this helps someone who may be observing or going through this life change, as I am.  Now I am going to go play with my crazy, fun crew and process how our world changed today.

 

xo ~ Diana