What's the weather today-inside?

If you live in Buffalo, the weather is a very common topic of conversation because, as far as Buffalonians are concerned, there’s always something to complain about!  Unlike Florida, California or the Carolinas, where it is beautiful 90% of the time, Buffalo can have snow from (as early as) October through (as late as) May!  One year we had snow on Mother’s Day~ I was not a happy mother!  However, the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Buffalo, wait a minute!” It’s that fickle.

If you are a cold weather lover, it is not an issue~ we have great skiing and the diversity of Lake Erie, countryside and mountain skiing is a big draw for those who like to visit at many different times of year. I was born in the Dominican Republic and consequently, snowy weather is not my first choice….Nevertheless, we do love Buffalo for the people!  It is a “best-kept-secret” and one of the reasons that so many folks who move to Buffalo, stay in Buffalo (despite the economy!)  The people are warm, friendly and wonderful~

This blog post is not, however, (despite my misleading introduction) about the weather outside in Buffalo (as the previous one was).  It is concerning the climate in our homes!  When was the last time we stopped to take note of the atmosphere in our homes as we are raising our children, especially when they hit the teenage years?  My husband and I realized pretty quickly, that we seriously had to learn to pick our battles as our guys were growing up!  If we hadn’t, we would have been fighting constantly about everything.

There were issues that crept up on a regular basis that were not monumental in the big picture.  One of the things that Rosemond reminds us is that we can determine what’s important in our child-rearing by envisioning what we want our children to be like at the age of 25 or 30.  I wish we had known that when we were parenting during the teenage years ~ it probably would have saved us a great deal of conflict!  When we decide what the important characteristics are that should be in place when our young adults have launched from our nest and are on their own, then we can decide what issues to ignore, and which ones to go to battle on.

If the struggles that we are experiencing have to do with integrity, honesty, empathy, respect, compassion, responsibility, and accountability, those are ones worth fighting for. You can probably think of a few others that would top off that list.  Obviously, we all want our kids to be truthful, respectful, responsible, etc. Those are the characteristics that we value and we know will be important as our young adults navigate their way in the world.

No one is going to care if they were the captain of the football team, the lead in the school play, or the winner of the spelling bee in fifth grade.  If your children get a chore done, or their homework done…who cares when it happens? If they complete tasks well and can do it in a way that you can’t relate to…cut them a break.  Employers are not concerned with what they got on their fourth grade state mandated exams, or if they flunked chemistry, (unless they decide to become a chemist!) as much as they will care if our son or daughter exhibit signs of dishonesty, lack of work ethic or dedication, unaccountability, inability to focus, etc.

So, what’s the climate inside our house?  Are we fighting all the time about things that don’t really matter in the long run? Or are we fighting for those things that will make a big difference in their young adult lives down the road? Do we have the bigger picture in mind when we discipline or are we too worried about the here and now?

No one said it was going to be easy! Check tomorrow for a blog post on our different learning styles and how we take in information and process it.  Learning styles can be another source of conflict in our homes with our teenagers…We need to understand how our children learn so their homework habits don’t become an issue.  Don’t let it throw you!  Until next time…

Ann Van De Water, author of MOMMY MEMOIRS

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More tomorrow!  Until then…

By Ann Van De Water