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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.

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The Increase of Hands Off Parents

plan the perfect

After trying numerous different sports and activities, Danyella has found her passion at a young age…. dance. For the past 3 years, I have supported Danyella taking several different dance classes and auditioning then making the Elite competition team. I sat in the lobby for hours while she was in class. Traveled to different competitions. Basically, I made her dance my life as well. It has been a wonderful experience for both of us…. until recently.

For this dance season, Danyella and I agreed that she could double up on some of her classes so that she move up another level in jazz and ballet. With my due date for Evelynne being in the middle of dance season, I set up Danyella’s dance schedule to be 7 classes and elite rehearsals on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This way, if I went into labor or needed anyone to take her to the studio it would be easier to fill 2 days then 5 days, like last year. Timing ended up perfect that I had Evelynne over the holiday break so Danyella only missed classes the one week because she was sick.

Typically, Danyella has looked forward to every single on of her classes because when she dances, that is when she is in her element, her zone. The past few months, Danyella has dreaded her Saturday morning classes because of the actions of some “mean girls” in 2 of her classes. These girls will talk nasty to the other girls, about the other girls to their fellow “mean girls” or to the teacher and his assistant. They will fool around in class and make it difficult for other kids to learn and take their passion seriously. They will sit on their cell phones and make phone calls during class. They will walk in and out of the class which makes the teacher or assistant have to go chase them down.

Some of the other parents and I watch and listen to all of this go on for an hour and half! These girls are 10-12 years old which means they know better than to act like the way they are but no one is there to discipline them. The teacher tries to take control of the class but these girls just laugh at him and do what they want. So where are the parents of these “mean girls”?

As a dance parent, I spend from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm at the dance studio on Saturdays because I want to make sure that Danyella feels safe during her classes. Don’t get me wrong, there are times where I have dropped her off and ran to do errands or home to deal with some stuff. Since Danyella has expressed how unhappy she is in the classes, I have parked my butt at the studio because if I need to intervene then I will.

There are a few dedicated moms or dads that stick around for the classes but not many. Even for that hour and half, the parents will drop these girls off and use the studio as a babysitter for their girls that don’t behave and then we wonder why they act the way they do. When a parent isn’t around, kids will push their limit until they find the breaking point. Is there a breaking point when the parents can’t bother to stick around for a simple class observation or to even make sure their child makes it into the class?

When did our society feel that sports and activities have become a babysitter for parents to drop their kids off and never know how their kids act? I know technology has aided in the “hands off parenting” approach but when you can’t even bother to support your child in the sport or activity they are participating in then don’t be surprised when your “angel” starts getting into trouble.

These parents don’t even want to believe that their “angels” could say some of the things they do or act they way they do. Then take the time to sit there like the “hands on” parents do and watch how their children act or be there to stop their behavior.

The actions of these “mean girls” and the hands off approach of the parents have caused other parents to pull their girls from the classes or even the studio. Danyella’s only reason to stick to these classes is because one of her best friend’s would be stuck in the class by herself. Danyella refuses to let her best friend to thrown to the wolves and be hurt by them. This shows me that I have done something right because Danyella has a loyalty to those that she cares about and loves. Maybe these “mean girls” could learn something valuable about life from the kind girls they pick on every Saturday morning.

Photo Jan 22, 8 08 20 AM

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Positively Grounding a Tween

Tween Positive GroundingTypically, Thursdays are my days to write about being thankful but after my experience with Danyella yesterday, today is going to be a special subject day…. Grounding a Tween in a Positive Way. I know that at her age, that kids are struggling with still being a child and struggling with wanting to be treated like they are older or an adult. This doesn’t mean that a child can treat others in a disrespectful way which is where we are struggling with Danyella. She feels that she can speak to the adults that care for her in any way she feels fit and continue to do the things that she enjoys. Well she is about to find out that life doesn’t work that way.

In the adult world, if we spoke to each our bosses in this rude manner then we would be fired from our job. If we spoke to a police officer in this rude manner then we would be arrested and spend sometime in jail. If we spoke to our friends in this rude manner then we would be become friends, quickly. If we spoke to our significant other in this rude manner then we would be dumped and living a single life. If we spoke to our loved ones in this rude manner then we would be living a very lonely life. So why do we allow our children to speak and react in rude manners when adults cannot act like that?

Well in my house and family it is not allowed. I will admit that I made many excuses and let things go because I felt Danyella has gone through a lot of change in her 10 years especially with a new baby on the way. The problem with the excuses is that I created a monster that thinks she controls the adults instead of respecting them.

After her meltdown yesterday which was over the fact that she didn’t get her dance leotards into the laundry after I (or so I thought) finished all of the laundry. She flipped out about everything and anything that came to her mind at that point. She refused to go to dance which normally I would make her stay home but instead she was sent without being in her required clothing so that she had to explain why to her teacher. She will be coming home today only to find her room quite empty…. no TV, no toys! Just her clothes, bed and books will be left which she will be earning her items back through a point system.

I had seen someone post this as a meme a while back and the idea sat with me so this morning I decided to make my own point earning system including chores that she fights with me over and positive activities that are required for her to complete in order to earn her items back. I will be posting how this first time goes in Monday’s post so be on the look out.

Print The Grounded Points Chart Congratulations You are grounded

CongratulationsYOu are grounded (1)

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Mom to a Tween Girl

Mom to a Tween Girl

Anyone that is mom to a tween sees their cute, adorable little girl with a touch (or bucket full) of attitude and sass that leaves you wondering… where did this child come from because this isn’t my sweet little girl. For the longest time, I thought it was just mine that acted like this but once the dance moms and I started our weekly chats, I learned that nearly all tween girls are like this and I am not alone!

My daughter will go from a sweet smile to tears to growing devil horns in about 5 seconds flat. You ask her to do something and it is met with an attitude like no other. I mean I thought this is what we dealt with when they became teens??

When you ask them to do their chores or anything at all to help…. wear body armour because dart will come spitting out of their mouth as they tell you “soon”, “in a minute” or “fine”. At the same time, she wants time to cuddle and be with her mom. It’s such a fine line when it comes to this tween age! 

Right now our biggest struggle has been technology or in her eyes “lack of technology”. She wants a phone and has been asking for one for the past 2 years but we are set that she doesn’t get one until she can show us responsibility aka keep her room clean and do her chores without a temper tantrum for more then a day! 

Raising a girl isn’t easy but a tween girl in this day and age just seems to be gettting so hard at least emotionally and mentally for this mom. Those rare “I love you” or “thank you” moments make enduring the attitude, slamming door and tears all worth it. Anyone else raising an emotional tween girl?

 

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Thankful For Being a Dance Mom #thankfulthursday

Thankful For Being A Dance Mom

Let me start off by saying, I am not one of “those” dance moms where I get all crazy and cut throat so that my child is the focus of the dance studio and rant all about the studio to get my way! Not my style unless I feel the need to step in because there is a problem or something comes up.

Even though the show “Dance Moms” is what inspired Danyella to want to take her first dance lesson at age 8, I vowed to never be one of those crazy sports moms because they just embarrass themselves and more importantly their child. Don’t get me wrong, the drama on that show can be addicting but I started watching it with Danyella years ago because she loved to watch the dances these girls would learn and perform in less than a week.

When Danyella first started out at the studio, she wanted to take Musical Theatre and Jazz. She wanted to take the musical theatre class because she loved watching me work on the costuming for local theatre shows when she was younger. With jazz, Danyella knew that it was fundamental in learning dance. I was shocked when I saw her excel in dance because in everyday life she is quite clutzy (don’t tell her I said that). Part way through the year, we added a ballet class to her dance schedule and Danyella found her passion in her young life… Dance!

All this girl wanted to dance, day and night. It was heart-warming to see her find a passion like this at a young age. That first year, she was much older and taller than the other girls in her classes because I didn’t know how she would like, let alone find a passionate talent in dance.

At the end of the year, her studio announced that they were forming their first ever Mini Elite Competition Team.  Even though Danyella had only been  dancing for a year and wasn’t at the class level required to audition, she was encouraged to audition anyway. Bad mom moment…. my thoughts on her auditioning were that she would learn the lesson that she needs to work hard to achieve things she wants in her life. Aka, she wouldn’t make the team and learn the lesson of losing and being denied something you desire.

2 months after auditioning, I received the email and was mind blown, shocked to read that she had made the team! What?????? She had only been dancing for a year…. A YEAR! Did she really have that innate ability to dance that she would make a competition dance team? How would these other dance moms act? Would we be living the show’s drama now?

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Our First Competition Mom and Me Selfie!

After 2 years of dancing under our belt and one year of competition team, I am so happy to talk to you about MY life as a dance mom! Both Danyella and I have made wonderful friends through her dance passion. When you spend every week, sitting in a room with the same moms you begin to have conversations. Most of those conversations began with a mom asking what I was crocheting or making because I can’t just sit and not have my hands moving. From that first conversation, we began to share stories of our kids and our lives. That is how friendships are formed and kept.

 

The Elite Moms had an extra special bond because we would live our lives based around dance every weekend from August through March. We would travel together to the competitions and bond over what it was like as a first year competition mom. We were all in this together. Eventually, we started connecting over Facebook and still chat about what is going on with our girls. We have been able to commiserate over our girls and their behaviors. It was great to know we weren’t alone with our tween girl problems.

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The shirt that I made for the Dance Moms for last year’s competition season.

As the girls bonded as a team, so did us moms. We have learned to rely on each other when we need help or have questions and never feel alone in this experience. This year, the team has changed because some people have left the tea

m, so girls moved up and new girls were added. Our girls embraced the new girls just as us moms embraced the new moms. Another new change was the addition of the Petite Elite Team, which consists of some younger girls and a new set of moms. The Minis and Petites bond and help each other just as us “experienced” (not really but we fake it) moms help the new moms navigated the uncharted waters of having a child on the competition team.

Last night, I was reminded of the bond that us dance moms have because as I was sitting for 3 hours of classes on the first week of the new season. Witheach class, brought in a new set of moms and we would all begin to catch up from either having the summer not seeing each other, having a year of our girls having opposite schedules or having a week since the last elite rehearsal. Each conversation just picked up like we never lost anytime.

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The first Elite Team at Competition last season.

 

It was an eye-opening experience to see all us in a room just talking like we have been friends forever. This is what a dance mom life truly is! It is not about drama, it is not about making sure our child is number one or gets special treatment, it is not aboutthrowing adult temper tantrums. It is about showing our children that they should pursue their passions. It is about showing our children that the friendships they make with their fellow dancers are ones that should be cherished. It is about showing our children that we should support one another no matter what and no matter our age.