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When Your Child Loses Their Passion For Something They Love

oatmeal cookies (1)Does you child have something that they love to do more than anything else in the world? Playing a sport? Creating art? Reading books? Participating in an activity like boy/girl scouts? Have you ever experienced your child lose their passion for this activity?

This past week, I have experienced Danyella telling me that she doesn’t know if she wants to dance anymore. What the What?? This must be someone else’s child because my child would NEVER say this about dance but she did.

Here is some background story about why this is so unbelievable to me….

Since Danyella was little she LOVED to dance. In order to get her to start walking, I put on Happy Feet and this child danced before she could walk but the movie encouraged her to walk/waddle around the house. As she got older, she experimented trying different things like gymnastics, soccer and girl scouts. She liked them (ok not soccer, she ran the other way) but nothing gave her a spark to wake up and want to do it everyday.

A little over 3 years ago that all changed. She asked to take a Musical Theatre class at a local dance studio so I signed her up for that and a Jazz class. Danyella loved her classes and she was naturally good at dancing. We added a ballet class to her line up and she couldn’t be more in her element. Just a year after dancing, Danyella made the studio’s first ever Mini Elite competition team. She takes 7 classes a week plus competition team or the special recital team’s rehearsals. On Saturdays she dances for 11 hours with breaks throughout the day. This is when my kid is in her element. She is a great dancer and quick to pick up choreography.

Now after 3 years, she lost the spark she had because of a couple of girls in 2 of her classes. She still loves to dance but now she only wants to dance in her room. She dreads going to her first 2 classes on Saturday mornings because it feels like torture to deal with these girls. The nail in the coffin is that next year she only has one option for ballet and it forces her to be in the same class with the same girls with the same teacher that doesn’t seem to care to control the class. She doesn’t want to go at all next year.

When my child is unhappy then I am unhappy!

What to do what to do? Danyella doesn’t want me to say anything to anyone for fear that this girl will hear that her mom opened her mouth and will retaliate against her. Well, she should know better because I will open my mouth. I don’t want to see Danyella avoid doing the thing she loves because a few girls have ruined this year for her. I will advocate for my child because when she dances, she has a magical spark about her and twinkle in her eye. You know that she doesn’t have to dance but she choices to display a beautiful form of art for everyone to enjoy.

Yes, I could be the parent to take the easy way out and let her just quit. What does letting her quit teach her? How will she feel in 10 or 20 years that she gave up on her dream to be a professional dancer? I want her to push to be the best person she can be and for her that means being a dancer. Dance has given her friends that she can relate to and enjoy spending hours upon hours with. Dance has given her a discipline that she didn’t have before. Dance has given her a passion about something in her life, something to look forward to doing every single day.

Not only has Danyella given her heart and soul to dancing, but so has the rest of our family. Evie has become the team mascot for the Mini Elite team and dance studio. The teachers love to get the chance to hold Evie and dance with her. The other moms have become a second mom to both girls. I have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. The studio has become our second family and I don’t want to give up our second family without a fight to help Danyella get to a place where she is comfortable for next year’s classes and that she will participate in all of her recital classes this year.

Moral of this story: Don’t let your kids just quit when they have a passion for something. There are negative people in the world that will always try to extinguish your flame but when they do just relight it and burn them with it. Ok not literally burn them but you get what I mean…. make them realize they can’t force you or your child out of what they love. Fight for your kids dreams and passions!

There will always be Negative people trying to extinguish your flame. Reignite that flame and show them No One can extinguish your passion!

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Kind Kids Start At Home

kind kids

If you sit back to watch and listen to a group of kids and/or teens, you will be able to pick out the rude, mean kids and kind kids. Week after week, a few parents at the dance studio sit back to watch these kids and how they act to be able to pick out these different kids. The sad thing is that the mean kids outweigh the kind kids. Not only are these kids mean to the other kids but to adults and most of all their parents! This plays right into the big internet controversy this week….

The big internet controversy this week is the episode from the Roseanne reboot where she sticks her granddaughter’s head under the kitchen sink and sprays her with water. (The clip is below if you missed it) Roseanne did this in reaction to the fact her granddaughter, Harris, is acting rude, disrespectful and entitled to everyone around her. This behavior has become common place among kids, tweens and teens which these kids feed off of each other.

 

These kids, no matter their age, will throw a temper tantrum of sorts until the parents allow them to get what they want. This behavior from the parents teaches the mean kids that their bad attitude and behavior is acceptable not only at home but in public and among other people and kids. Since when do parents step tip toe around their kids and show them fear of their temper tantrums?

Now, I will admit that Danyella has her moments. Yes, she is 11 and has learned from other kids that she should be entitled to whatever she wants and shouldn’t have to do anything for it. Boy is she wrong! Currently, we are working on undoing the bad habits her dance classmates have tried to teach her by giving her a chore chart and reward system (check that post out here: Tween Rules and Reward System). She knows that her bad behavior will not be tolerated and taking points away from her earning her New York City trip means it will be even longer before we can go. Plus, for Christmas she received an iPod which is the cause of most her throwing a fit because she doesn’t want to put it down. She will get mean, say nasty things and throw a fit when its time to give up her iPod for either a time limit or bad behavior. With the promise of points being taken away for this behavior, these tantrums have dwindled slowly.

On the other hand, kind kids are started at home with being given boundaries that help shape them into responsible, respectful kids. These parents don’t allow the kids to get away with bad behavior because there are consequences to that type of behavior. Now, I am not talking about the types of discipline in this post but I am saying these kids know that if they behave badly there will be a downfall/consequence to it.

These kind kids are the ones that will welcome a new kid into their friendship circle, open a door for a stranger, share their lunch with a kid that forgot theirs, pick up something someone else dropped and smile when someone looks at them. It is these kids that grow into responsible adults that want to help others. They are the adults that help with charities, listen to their friends talk, help when anyone needs help and smiles with someone looks at them.

Danyella has been writing her affirmations of kind words and her writing prompts are about being kind to herself and others. Plus, I have been teaching her to stand back and watch how these mean kids act when she is around them and think about how they look to others. Then, she was taught to think about whether she wants others to see her act like that and does it benefit her to act like that. Last, I have been teaching her to say something nice to someone everyday because sometimes someone needs to hear kinds words. You never know when someone else is having a bad day and those kind words just helped them feel better.

These are the kind of kids we should be raising today! The kids that learn at home to be kind to others, to be responsible for their obligations and actions and to respect other people, no matter their age or relation to them. Let’s all strive to be the parents that teach our kids to be a Kind Kid and change the world one kind kid at a time!

Teach Kids to be Kind Everyday and watch the world grow in Goodness

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Tween Rules and Reward System

Tween REward System

After last week’s meltdown and subsequent cancellation of Danyella’s New York City birthday trip, I wanted to find a way to encourage her to behave and do her chores without the attitude and mouth running. Off to Pinterest I went….

I searched and searched, using different search terms and had a hard time finding anything that really worked for us. Some of the links were for teachers to get kids and teens to listen in class. Some of the links were for kids that were younger and didn’t quite fit Danyella.

I was looking to set up Rules and a Reward system for Danyella that would reward her with points to earn special things. At the same time, if she didn’t complete a task then she wouldn’t earn the points and if she misbehaved points could be taken away. After hours of searching, I went to google drive and created my own system.

First were the rules: One would think these were basic rules but to Danyella, I was running her life by asking her to abide by these rules! After nearly a week, she has broken some of these rules and has definitely fought these rules every chance she can.

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Next were the Rewards: At first she didn’t care about any rewards. If you look, she started to cross out New York because she was never going to New York ever again if I wasn’t going to take her the day we had originally planned. Eventually she came to terms with her rewards. She even began to calculate how many days it would take for her to earn the trip back if she did all of her chores everyday without attitude points taken away. How I structured her rewards were at levels, so that she had little things to look forward to as she re-earned her New York City trip. One of our favorite things is to go get Italian Ice from Rita’s so that is first on her list to earn.

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Last were the check off lists: There are 2 lists for Danyella. Since Danyella is homeschooled, I wanted her to start to take responsibility of her own schoolwork. I made her a checklist of what she needed to accomplish everyday and she earns 10 points for completing them all. The other list is her chores list. This list has different chores for different points like cleaning her rabbits cage is 1 point. I gave her some additional points for helping me label the body products and helping me cook dinner (I should use her cooking show obsession to my advantage lol).

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After a week, she is more focused on getting what she needs done though there has been times where she has fought me on completing her tasks (especially schoolwork which is another post to come). It has been nice to see her get excited to help me cook dinner or bake cupcakes. I will keep you all updated on how the system works as the weeks pass.

A question for my readers with older kids: How do you reward your children for good behavior or punish for bad behavior?

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Feeling Like I Am Failing

Today’s post is going to be real, raw, and emotional post about motherhood at its darkest hour. This was your warning so if you can’t handle this type of post, turn back now….

Anyone who is the parent of a tween or teen knows the roller coaster of emotions they go through and subsequently we go through while dealing with their emotional meltdowns. Well, in our house we have been getting these emotional meltdowns, attitudes and refusals to listen more frequently as the days past some being multiple times through the day. Yesterday, I finally hit my emotional breaking point as a mom and a wife.

For nearly 9 years of Danyella’s life it was just her and I. We did everything together and I was Mom and Dad to her. Then I met my now husband, which began to invade into her “Mommy’s time is only for me time”.

In the beginning, Danyella and Doug got along great. They would hang out together and grab something to eat or surprise me with coffee at work. Then, Danyella began to resent him for taking up “her” Mommy time and stepping into a dad role which was uncharted territory for her. This resentment has just escalated and grown everyday for about the past year.

I know in the past year, a lot has changed for Danyella. She gained a new baby sister (which she wasn’t happy about until we came home from the hospital) and a step dad. I completely understand how much of a change this all is especially for a kid that does not cope with change very well at all.

I have become Mom, wife and referee. There is a part of me that feels I need to defend Danyella when she acts out or does something he doesn’t like. I mean this is my little girl. I’ve been all she has had for nearly her entire life so it’s hard for me to see him come down on her about things she does, especially when it’s things I’ve allowed but we differ in some of our parenting styles. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Doug’s parenting style is much more authoritative then mine is because I have learned not to sweat all the small shit. If the kid wants to eat in the living room once in a while what’s the big deal. If she falls asleep better watching tv, I’m not stressing out about it because it’s better then her not sleeping and keeping me up all night (already have a 10 week old that enjoys her night time snuggles). These are just the tip of the iceberg of where he and I differ and then clash because he wants to discipline her and I defend her.

Our marriage is already strained due to problems between him and I and adding the stress of the daily fighting between him and Danyella has just made things worse. He and I fight about her all the time because I don’t always agree with him or I feel like I need to defend my child.

He refuses to back down and look at things from her point of view. She refuses to do what she is told without an attitude or smart ass comment or tween temper tantrum. I am stuck in a position that I can no longer emotionally and mentally handle.

Last night I hit my breaking point with both of them and have felt the lowest I have for a long time. Dinner turned into a fight that I had to referee because Danyella refused to use manners while we sat down for the only family dinner we have every week. With a flair for the dramatics, Danyella was sent to take a shower after pretending to gag because she was told she had to finish the last 3 pieces of pork on her plate but wanted to eat more asparagus.

After her shower she was asked to help clear the table which turned into an attitude fest. This got under Doug’s skin and he said something to her about dropping her attitude. Well, the attitude continued and he took her firestick to her tv away. Let’s just say she flipped out. It ended with her throwing stuff at him. He got into the shower to calm down and she went to bed.

I broke down and cried at my kitchen sink for over an hour and then just walked around the house crying while he was in the shower. No matter how much I’ve said to either of them that this stress of them not getting along is killing me, it’s like neither of them care how I’m being effected. I am not agreeing with him completely because I know he does expect more of her then I have so he comes down on her about (to me stupid shit) shutting her dresser drawers or how she sits at the table. I am not agreeing with her about how she doesn’t need to listen to either of us because she is “to old to listen now”. How in the hell did my life get like this?

I feel like I am failing as a mother and a wife because I can’t make either of them happy. My daughter has come to resent me for having to discipline her for her mouth and attitude that is nearly an all day, everyday occurrence. My husband and I have a long list of problems and this one is the source of our one of the top 2 problems. (The other one is for a future post when I can finally get the words to come out between the tears) I can’t make either of them happy which has made my life miserable and I don’t know how to fix things to make life more bearable for myself.

Mom and wife failure at its finest right now.