Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Best Parenting Ideas are Stolen

When my kids were really little, one of my farmer BFFs offered this piece of perspective-changing wisdom: Everyone parents differently.  It doesn't mean that their way is right or wrong, it's just different.

And thank God they do!  I've learned and stolen so much from my parent friends.

Like the Look of Death.  Before our neighbors were our friends, they were our parenting role models.  We sat behind them in church for several years and watched them teach their three small children how to sit still and be quiet.  We learned that with just one look, a look that says, "If I have to take you out, there will be trouble," you can change behavior. 

I also learned about Do Overs from my loyal fan.  When my son was around four, I found that there were some transgressions that didn't warrant discipline, but did need correction.  Do Overs were such a great alternative.  We would do whatever it was over until he got it right. 

Recently, I learned about The Pigs from Holly.

Manners are important to me.  Manners differentiate people.  When used, they make others feel at ease in your presence.  And just like any good behavior, I think it's important indoctrinate your kids from the start.

More often than not, we eat dinner as a family.  When my farmer is busy in the field, it's just three of us, but we still sit down and eat together.  Recently, I've been seeing a lot of bad habits forming  - inappropriate conversation, not eating with forks, chewing with mouths open, and talking with full mouths.

I'm not sure how we got on this topic in Chicago last month, but Holly was having similar issues and told me about her intervention - The Pigs.  They have a pig that sits on the table at meals.  When someone demonstrates bad manners, the pig is moved in front of their plate.  Whoever ends up with the pig at the end of the meal has to cleanup.  The pig often moves several times during the meal, even to parents.

What a BRILLIANT idea!

Our own set of pigs, courtesy of Grandma Millie's salt and pepper shaker collection, joined us at meals this week.  It was kind of tough because we had tacos three of five nights, but it made everyone more aware of our topics of conversation, talking, and chewing issues.

Thanks for letting me steal your idea, Holly!  I'm hoping to see big improvements!