children

All posts tagged children

Parenting Styles

Published June 14, 2018 by lynn k scott

I was listening to K-Love, my favorite Christian radio station, on my way to work, when they brought up a new study.  “Experts” are saying that the authoritative parenting style should be replaced with parents who negotiate with their child(ren).

I was relieved to hear callers to the station completely disagreeing.  One caller even said, “parenting is directing children and negotiations are for hostages”.  I thought that was brilliant.  The woman happened to be a school teacher and expressed how she let her students know their future bosses wouldn’t tolerate them wanting to negotiate everything they were told to do.

It’s not surprising the “experts” are spouting this nonsense.  In today’s world, where even the youngest child gets a say, feelings can’t be hurt, high school students dictate what they will and won’t do, and college students are causing chaos, it’s a sign the authoritative parenting style has fallen by the wayside.

While I my tween daughter and I discuss issues as they arise, there are certain instances when she is to do as she is told; when she’s told to do it.  My house isn’t a democracy; I am in charge.  Kids are still learning how to become productive members of society.  they don’t have all the answers to make informed decisions on their own.  I don’t want to get up and go to work everyday, but I do.  I don’t always agree with my boss, but I still complete the assigned work.  When I was in college, I did the assignments that the professors handed out, because they were in charge during class time.

Our job as parents is to show our children right from wrong.  Everything they do is not up for debate.  It’s ok to tell a child “no”.  In fact, they need to hear it.  It’s ok to put limits on who they hang out with, that they have to tell you where they are going, to monitor their schoolwork and to listen to you without backtalk and/or arguing.  Boundaries are important and it’s something that must be instilled in every child or they morph into today’s “entitled” adults.

Don’t get me wrong, the older a child gets, there is room for them to have more discussions with you.  If they have a valid point, that might influence or change your decision, then by all means, do so.  But there comes a point when they just need to accept the fact they need to follow instructions and they will not get their way.

So, excuse me experts, there is nothing wrong with the authoritarian parenting style.  Perhaps if more parents were committed to teaching proper behavior, that not everyone can be a winner and respect for their fellow man/woman, then we wouldn’t have young adults needing safe spaces or acting like a spoiled toddler throwing hissy fits on their college campus because their feelings were hurt because they heard something they didn’t agree with.  Today’s entitled kids are products of a non-authoritarian environment.  I’m not an expert, by an means, but I sure as hell will not have my daughter turning out like the majority of today’s teens and 20-somethings.

 

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The past continues to haunt me

Published June 13, 2018 by lynn k scott

I recently found out my son was getting married.  He is the last of my sons to get married.  I found out, because his older brother mentioned it to me. Back to that in a moment.

I haven’t spoke much about my past (on this topic), but I was married before.  I married at 18-years old and married a VERY abusive man.  I was young and naive.  I don’t regret having four children in my first marriage, but I do regret that he is their father.

I had to literally escape from my ex-husband, in the early morning hours, with only my mother to see off on the Greyhound bus that left NY for CA.  It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but after two attempts on my life, the joke of legal assistance by NY police and courts, I wasn’t safe.  If I had stayed, my children would have been visiting my grave versus having the option of passing judgement on my decisions and harboring anger toward me.

Long story short, my ex-husband eventually beat a woman he knew, in the face with a brick, over a dispute over $50.00.  The cops failed to do their job.  News staff contaminated the crime scene.  He went to prison on an E-felony instead of a higher charge, which would have kept him behind bars for a longer time.

Needless to say, even 3,000 miles away, I lived my life in fear.  I did attend group counseling for battered women.  At one point, before leaving for CA, I was diagnosed with battered women’s syndrome.  My ex-husband will always be a threat to me.  There is no doubt in my mind.  I haven’t seen him in 21 years and I have no plans to do so.  We only spoke to each other through various court appearances (me appearing by phone).  My children will never know or understand the terror I survived.  While, I have told them I was abused by their father, they don’t have many details or know the extent.  Yet, they still choose him over me.  Simple reason:  I left.

Back to my son getting married.  This son is the one who wants nothing to do with me.  I have been allowed back into my other (adult) children’s lives, in various stages.  I messaged my son and asked for his address to send him a wedding present.  He told me it wasn’t necessary.  I responded that it’s something I wanted to do and I had done the same for his other brothers.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of my sister’s death (one of hardest days of the year) he chose to tell me he didn’t trust me enough with address.  I could give it to his oldest brother to deliver it to him, if I insisted on sending him a gift.

To say I was upset, was an understatement.  Not trust me?  I messaged his brother.  I was expecting some support.  I thought my oldest and I had made a lot of progress.  I was severely mistaken.  He told me he doesn’t accept the choices I made but was trying to understand them.  Then, he felt like twisting the knife that he just lunged into my back, by saying I was lucky any of my kids wanted to have anything to do with me.

WOW!  I had to shut the conversation down.  All the progress I foolishly thought we had made just flew out the window.  At least now I know where I stand; with those two sons.  I also know where I stand with my daughter.

Part of the reason I had my youngest child was 1) my second husband had no children 2) I needed to prove to myself I wasn’t a horrible parent.  I have done everything in my power to be a good mom.

I can’t change the past and I have been trying to make amends for what I felt was the only decision that could be made.  I find it ironic, a convicted, violent felon, who was the reason I left, is more welcomed in their life than I am.

I can only pray one day they will see the light of how serious my situation was at the time.  That my older children will want a relationship with their youngest sibling.  For now, I am done.  The ball in is in their court.  If they choose to end the game, that’s their decision.

 

Adult Children

Published June 2, 2018 by lynn k scott

I’m a mom to five kids. Four of them are 21+. Two of them have kids of their own. They are from my first marriage. Their father was extremely abusive and our separation/divorce was less than amicable. For years, my children and I didn’t speak often; if at all. One of my sons still refuses to speak to me. I pray that will one day change. I cannot control his emotions or feelings; but everything happens for a reason.

On the flip side, I have a pretty good relationship with my oldest. My youngest son and I have reconnected and are building a great relationship. My oldest daughter still lives with her dad, so we only speak via email, because her father and I have nothing to do with each other; ever.

I can’t begin to describe how I love receiving texts from my oldest telling me how is day is going. Showing me pictures of mulching a flower bed. He sends me pics of my granddaughter in various aspects of her world. Heck, he even surprised me last year by showing up, with his family in tow, and stayed for three weeks. If you don’t have grandchildren yet, holding your grandchild for the first time is a feeling beyond expression.

No matter how old your kids get, they will always be your babies. They will already pull on your heart strings. Sometimes it hurts to hear (or see) the pain life can cause them. Sometimes just being a sounding board is all you can do. While it sucks to feel helpless, it’s comforting you have reached the stage where they want to include you in their lives again.

So, if your parents are still alive (sadly, mine aren’t), give them a call; even if it’s just to say ‘hi’. Send them a text. Until you have grown children of your own, you have no idea how those simple acts will be cherished.

Will You Remember Me?

Published June 27, 2017 by lynn k scott

Tomorrow will mark 10 years since my father passed away.  In the last two weeks, I have remembered the loss of my sister and mother.  I have lost three family members; all in the month of June.  All by the time I was 41 years old.

Mortality is in the forefront of my mind. It’s hard to ignore it.  All three of them had cancer, two were defeated by it and one passed, due to illness complications.  So, yes, wondering if I will meet an early demise, in June (no less), brings up lots of questions.

I didn’t have the best relationship with my father, but my sister’s and mother’s deaths hit me hard and their angelversaries elicit uncontrollable emotions.  There are specific things that I remember about each of them.

Remembering Dad:

  • Cook
  • Hot-tempered
  • Alcoholic
  • Recovering Alcoholic
  • Sports fan (Mets/Giants)
  • Friend to Chuck
  • Unable to show love to his family

Remembering Mom:

  • Faithful
  • Hard Worker
  • Loyal
  • Dedicated
  • Friend
  • Compassionate
  • Horrible Cook
  • Family-oriented

Remembering Sis:

  • Stubborn
  • Opinionated
  • Argumentative
  • Loyal friend
  • Loved the outdoors
  • Gardener
  • Dedicated mother
  • Straight-forward
  • Couldn’t cook rice (LOL to the family)

Gets me to thinking how, or even if, my children will remember me.  There’s history that hasn’t been discussed on this blog.  My youngest child will be the affected the most.  I can’t say the other children will be that upset or even care.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I am not ignorant to my reality either.

What will my friends think of me?  Will I have a large attendance at my funeral? Probably not.  I can’t see that.  I’ve done a lot of personal reflection.  I am planning the details of my funeral.  I never want to have to put someone through that.

Death is inevitable.  I choose not to fear it.  I believe God has chosen my path.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy road to follow, but I will continue on it until I am called home.

 

God in my life

Published June 4, 2017 by lynn k scott

Disclaimer:  This blog post will probably be lengthy, however, I feel it’s time to share how I’ve seen God in my life.

I wasn’t born into a wealthy family.  My father only had an eighth grade education and my mother only went as far as to graduate high school.  I was the oldest of three daughters and often had to help raise my younger sisters, while my mother worked two jobs and my father worked what jobs he could.  My dad was also an active alcoholic during my childhood.  He chose to get help when my mother kicked him out.  Then he sobered up and stayed that way. However, my sisters and I spent many nights playing in the a church room, while my mom attended Al-Anon.  We were pretty shielded about why she attended. I will say through all our hard times, my parents never accepted government assistance, although looking back, we more than qualified; at times.

My mother was the foundation of our family.  She made sure my sisters and I went to church on a regular basis.  Back then, it was what was required.  We didn’t always go willingly, but we went.  We grew up in the United Methodist Church where we attended Sunday school, were confirmed in the faith, joined the youth groups and choir.  It was the only church I ever knew and it was the church I set the standard for my future adventures in faith.

Was I devout?  Not, in the least.  I believed in God, but rarely said grace before meals, prayed or reached out to anyone in my church.  I was missing a connection.

I married at just 18-years old.  I had no support, but my family went through the motions of my marriage anyway.  Needless to say, they were right, along with everyone else, and my marriage was doomed to fail.  One thing I did take seriously, was my marriage vows; esp., ’til death do you part’.  Little did I know, that vow almost cost me my life.

That quick foreshadowing was meant to segway into how my (now) ex-husband was extremely abusive.  There were two separate times he actually tried to kill me.  In the six and a half years we were together, we had four children.  I was a typical abused wife, caught up in the cycle of violence.

I believed if I had dinner ready on time, I wouldn’t have gotten yelled at.  If I wasn’t so tired, from being pregnant, the house would be cleaner and I wouldn’t have gotten hit.  I believed him when he said he was sorry.  “It won’t happen again.”  If there were ever famous last words, those were it.

We attempted counseling.  It was couples counseling, in addition to individual sessions. When your therapist tells you privately, “have a bag packed and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice”.  Go ahead; it’s ok to read into how serious the danger level was.

Yet, I had two small children and I had no place to go.  No one knew of the abuse; esp. not my family. My mom didn’t even find out until I was pregnant with my fourth child and we woke up to our house on fire.  We ended up staying with my parents again; which my ex-husband made for a less than amicable time.

I had been journaling about the abuse and hid the notebook under my mattress.  When we moved out, I forgot about it.  Months later, my mother found it, read it, and called me crying asking if I was being abused.  I broke down and admitted everything.

I had attempted leaving before, but my ex-husband convinced me to come back; esp. after he cleaned out our bank account and left me financially broke.  I had little choice (or so I thought).

I will spare the rest of the details I can remember. I used to cry myself to sleep asking God, “what did I do to deserve this”?  The abuse only escalated.  It got to the point, I ended up having to leave my children behind, in order to survive.  My youngest son was only six months’ old.

I left and ended up staying with a guy I barely knew.  I had no job because my ex-husband told the restaurant I worked at that I abandoned my children and they felt the need to tell me to go home and be a better wife and mother.  Wow!  I was floored.  I felt like enough of a failure without my boss and coworkers passing judgement on me.

One day, when hopelessness was overwhelming, I made the decision to just end it all.  I went and bought a bottle of sleeping pills.  It was the easiest way; just go to sleep.  Little did I know God had other plans for me.

I carried out my plan.  I didn’t leave a note.  Got a large glass of water and began swallowing three pills, at a time, until the bottle was empty.  I laid down on the floor, with a pillow and blanket, and planned to go to sleep forever.

I fell asleep and then felt convulsions.  It was like I was having a nightmare and I couldn’t wake up from it.  I heard in my mind, “you’re not going to die today.”  I continued to have convulsions, as if a doctor had paddles to my chest and was yelling, “CLEAR!”  I have no idea how much time passed.  It was dark outside, I woke up, still alone and thought, “I can’t even kill myself right”.  However, after that ordeal, I did believe I wasn’t supposed to die that day and never attempted to take my life again.

Long story short, I ended moving to California.  The state I grew up in had horrible domestic violence laws.  They didn’t have anti-stalking laws.  I had no protection.  Once my ex learned of my change in states, he chose to give the children to my mother and followed me.  I lived several years looking over my shoulder.  I even arranged for someone else to check my post office box, in case he would be waiting for me one day.

Skip ahead years later, and I remarried.  My children were still with my mother.  I would call and speak to the kids, but they wanted me home and it wasn’t possible.  Anger and resentment festered from them.  I was losing my children and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I admit it.  I was a bad mom.  I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself and it cost me my children.

I did have one more child.  My second husband had no children and I had to prove to myself I wasn’t a horrible mother.  With the abuse factor removed, I didn’t suffer the severe depression I had with my other children.  I wasn’t hospitalized for postpartum depression, as I had been twice in the past.

My mother and I chose not to tell the children about their half-sister.  They resented me so much already.  I knew them thinking I just left to start another family would be first on their mind.  I knew this because that is what their father had told them.  He eventually left California and returned to my home state to get custody of our children.

Meanwhile, when my youngest was 5-months’ old, I started looking for a church to go back to.  I was missing something.  I was so alone.  I found a United Methodist Church, close to home.  I took my little one with me and walked into Wayside UMC for the first time.  I figured, if it wasn’t for me, I could use the baby as the reason I had to leave.

We stayed and I eventually became a member of the church.  Even though the church reminded me of the church I grew up in, I still hadn’t made any close connections.  I went through the motions, but it wasn’t 100% what I was looking for.

In June 2007, my father, whom I’ve always had a strained relationship with, was diagnosed with Stage-4, stomach cancer.  He was given three to six weeks to live.  I called to speak with him while he was in the hospital.  He had forgotten he had an older daughter; he thought I was my sister playing a joke on him.  After five agonizing minutes, he finally remembered who I was.  We spoke til he got tired.  It was the last time I was speak with him.  He died exactly three weeks from diagnosis.

A few years later, I reconnected with my sister.  A sister that I didn’t speak to for 10 years.  Yet, after all the abuse and loss I had already experienced (which I glossed over quite a bit), my 37-year old sister was diagnosed with Stage-4 breast cancer. Diagnosis: less than a year.  My mother and I prayed, but we were also facing reality that her breast cancer was aggressive and odds of recovery were slim to none.

After her passing in June of 2012, I was lost.  I had survivor’s guilt.  I stopped going to church.  No one called to check up on me.  I didn’t feel missed or cared for.  I flew home to bury my sister, flew back to California and had to pretend my life was fine.

Let’s add insult to injury and have my youngest sister call me one morning while I was at work.  Seems my mother was rushed to the hospital with food poisoning.  After some testing, it was determined it wasn’t food poisoning.  She had a bowel blockage and required emergency surgery.  My mother never made it out of surgery as she died on the operating table because she didn’t have a small blockage; all of her intestines were dead. She couldn’t be saved. My mother passed away one year and 13 days after I buried my sister.

To say I was angry with God was an understatement.  Nothing made sense.  I was being punished and I didn’t know how much more I could take.  My older children, except for my first born, didn’t want anything to do with me.  If I didn’t have my youngest at home, I don’t know what drastic steps I would have taken.

I became guardian to my two youngest nieces.  They were my sister’s children, whom my mother was raising.  Life was turned around.  There was a huge struggle to bring two children to California.  Resources weren’t there, but I felt this is what I had to do. Raising two more children, trying to mourn my sister and mother and a family who had a huge adjustment factor, was more than I could handle.

I am thankful for my friends on Facebook.  Ironically, they became my only support system.  Some were friends I knew personally; others were strangers.  They were the only beacon of light, during those dark days.

I would attend church sporadically.  Everyone was nice, but no one really tried to know me other than the polite exchanges we had before service. There was still a disconnect. My nieces eventually returned to my home state; without my consent.  That’s another story, for another time.  With the way the events played out with my nieces, it ended my relationship with my youngest sister; my last relative in my nuclear family.

I began to look for other churches to attend.  I tried to stay within the United Methodist community.  It was all I had ever known.  I also tried some non-denominational churches and even went back to Wayside a few times.  I joined another local church; but that lasted about a year.  It wasn’t the right fit.  Nothing was right.  Nothing made sense.  I gave up.

A couple months ago, I began another search for a church to call home.  I had exhausted all the options within the local United Methodist organization.  I Googled some local churches and found one within a couple miles of my home.

What caught my attention was they spoke of relationships and not religion.  They also offered hot coffee.  Ok, was it wrong, I was drawn in by coffee?  I figured, I could use a free cup of coffee, listen to the message and just leave if it was like all the rest.

I was pleasantly surprised.  I’m used to a “welcoming” committee, but it seemed everyone who first saw me, made an effort to say hello.  After the service, I several people came up to me and wanted to get to know me.  It wasn’t what I expected.

I returned week after week.  I even joined a weekly Bible study group.  While I don’t share much at church or within the study group, it’s been nothing but a positive experience.

With this June being the fifth angelversary of my sister’s passing and the fourth angelversary of mother’s passing, I don’t feel as alone this year as I have in previous years.  I can attribute that to attending Simple Church.

Again, I left a lot of details out of the struggles of my first marriage, the abuse, the nightmare of family court and the memory loss from the abuse.  However, I believe there is a purpose for all of this.  While I don’t know God’s plan for my life, I trust in Him.

 

 

A Funny “TMI”

Published February 3, 2016 by lynn k scott

I rarely share information like this, but I shared it with a friend who encouraged me to blog about it.  It’s a “you gotta be kidding me” moment that I will bet most moms will laugh at and can completely relate to in one way or another.

It’s been a hectic morning, both at home (before I left for the office) and now at the office. It may only be Wednesday, but I swear this day is trying for a repeat performance of Monday.

I decide it’s time for a restroom break (no it’s not going to get gross).  I grab a pantyliner from my purse and bring it with me to the restroom.  If you’re a male and clueless as to what a pantyliner is, ask Google, if you don’t want to ask your wife or girlfriend.

I unwrap the pantyliner and discover that it has a beautiful pattern of purple glitter all over it.  Obviously, there’s no way I can use it; not like it was a necessity anyway.  I discard it and carry on.

I sit and ponder for a moment.  Why is there trace amounts of purple glitter in my purse? What did my daughter give me to hold that glitter-fied my purse?  How long has it been there?  Why haven’t I noticed it before?  What else (in the purse) is all sparkly now?

It’s hard enough being a woman at times.  When your child(ren) decide to “help” you, even unintentionally, it can be just that more challenging to get through the day.

So while purple is my favorite color, I think I’ll keep the glitter away from sensitive body parts.

Going Into Business With Your Child

Published January 7, 2016 by lynn k scott

When it comes to parenting, there are more ways to approach to raising children than I could shake a stick at.  There are just as many parenting topics that could be addressed too.

I’m going to leap into the educational realm of parenting.  Whether your child attends a public, private or home school, parents and children have a relationship based on that environment.

I just realized, my youngest has been in public school, then we homeschooled and now she’s attending a private school.  I always tell my daughter, “We are in this together.  We are a team for your educational success.”

Sometimes my daughter agrees with me and she’s ready to tackle the world.  Other times, my “team” approach is met with a heavy sigh and rolling of her eyes.

I was preparing her backpack this morning; making sure all her books, homework and whatever else is needed for the day was included.  I love when my daughter shows me the graded work she’s received from her teacher.  Yet, I have to remember, I’m still dealing with a child, who isn’t always forthcoming with all her returned work; especially when the grade isn’t all that magnificent.

That was the case this morning.  I pulled out all these additional sheets of a paper.  Some were satisfactory grades, one was barely passing and one had ???? over it.  Me being me, I planned on speaking with my daughter after she was ready for the day.  It would seem the ???? paper wasn’t properly completed because she simply didn’t feel like doing it.

I can relate to that!  However, we’re not homeschooling any more and it’s not possible just to table an assignment for another day.  I had to reiterate she needs to complete the work as assigned, on time.

There was English work that I was concerned with.  Tenses and parts of speech getting mixed up.  I decided I was going to have the lil miss practice with some online educational games.

Her teacher is great, but I can see my daughter is struggling with a few things.  By being involved, treating her education like a business model, investing my time, we will grow her knowledge together.  School doesn’t have to be all boring.  We can play word games, have conversations and utilize the technology that’s out there.

Her success depends on my involvement.  I firmly believe in working with her teacher, keeping open discussions going, finding out where there are issues and addressing them.  If no official homework is assigned, then I give her something to do each night.  That could include reading her library book to me, playing Scrabble, catching up on some math concepts that could use reinforcement, etc.

Parents know their children best.  That is one reason I firmly believe in homeschooling.  When that isn’t an option, you don’t have to simply sit by and do only what the school says.  You can supplement or raise questions when you see areas that are causing stress.  I see that as my job as her parent, as her partner, for her education.

It’s my business to know where she stands.  It’s her business to be the best student she can be.  It’s our business to accomplish this together.

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