Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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Social Media & A Mommy’s Guilt

“My Billy just started walking and he’s only 4 months old!”

“Susie just read her first book and she’s not even 1 yet!”

“Jimmy is already potty trained and he’s just turned 6 months old!”

So, perhaps those are exaggerations, but I can’t help feeling the pressures of raising my children in a world that is so immersed in social media (me included). I’m not just average and I don’t expect my boys to be that way either. I don’t settle. I set high goals and standards for myself, and I’m an overachiever. I fully anticipate my boys will be the same way, without me being a pushy mom.

I love social media. My iPad is always within arm’s reach and if I leave the house without my cellphone then I feel naked. I curb my intake of it as much as possible, but there are times when I just don’t want to think or work. There are times when I just want to be mentally lazy and peruse the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get caught up on what’s going on with my real friends and the other “friends”. What I’m encountering isn’t exactly what I was hoping to achieve. What I’m finding is that instead of using social media as a way to just have some down time, it’s becoming more of a hindrance and really just adds more stress to my life as I read about what other people’s children are doing.

I know I can’t be the only one who’s experiencing this. And the reason I know this is because there’s no way that the things I’m reading online are actually true. Parents are speeding up milestones to make themselves look good as parents or perhaps to make themselves feel better for not being as hands on as they should be (you know who you are). What this in turn is doing, is fueling the fire for those of us who can’t seem to turn off the social media chatter surrounding the raising of children. It can truly cause a person like me to question how I’m raising my boys, what I’m doing wrong, what I could be doing better, and in turn adding undue stress and sleepless nights. Yeah, yeah, my personal problem I know, which leads me to wonder what it was like for my parents when I was my children’s ages.

In 1977 (I was 2), there were no cell phones. Only the rich had cordless phones and answering machines. We didn’t have a computer and internet. There were no digital cameras, only Polaroids. Videos? My uncle had an old movie camera that had film rolled onto a spindle. You showed it using a projector either on a blank wall or screen and there was no sound. So, basically, back then my parents could enjoy life with me. I don’t think they ever really questioned their parenting skills or compared me to their best friend’s kid. Sure they bragged, but mostly to my aunts, uncles, and grandparents, not on a computer screen that transmits every word and character simultaneously throughout the world.

There were no immediate judgments or backlashes for what and how they were doing. Life was simpler and after talking to my mom this week, not necessarily guilt free, but a different, less stressful kind of guilt.

So, how do I go about enjoying my social media without letting it adversely effect my mommy guilt? I have absolutely no idea. I do; however, seriously doubt that other parents out there evaluate my parenting skills as much as I imagine them to. I sincerely hope that they’re more concerned with their children as opposed to making themselves look and feel better. Me? I’m completely truthful on my blogs and posts, but I gotta tell you nothing is more stressful for me right now than reading about all the other children who are potty trained and mine is still asking for diapers.

I wonder what the world will be like when my boys are parents and what sort of things will trigger their guilt as parents.