“We Don’t Point Guns at People”

Once while browsing through clothes at a consignment shop, I witnessed an interesting mother. She and her daughter were looking through dresses. A small boy zoomed past; I guessed him to be 3 or 4 years old. He waved a toy pistol he’d ‘borrowed’ from the toys for sale and made shooting sounds as he ran.

“Pew! Pew!”

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The woman stopped the pretend assault and relieved him of his weapon. “Now, Garrett**,” she admonished, “We don’t shoot guns.”

She might have gotten offended if she’d seen my expression, a mixture of hilarity and shock. For, in our house of 4.5 boys, we possess a full arsenal of Nerf guns, Nerf crossbows, plastic bows, Nerf swords, Minecraft swords, and many off-brand toy hand guns. When not shooting darts all over the basement; my kids and their friends hurl pillows, socks, and each other at each other.

The consignment shop mother’s comment reminded me of my own mother’s words, once upon a time. My oldest was two years old, and he had been fascinated with guns since he’d learned to speak. After aiming a squirt gun her way, my mother said, “No, Samuel**, we don’t point guns at people.”

All this talk of guns and swords and pro-gun rights for children might peg me as a weapons-happy, gun-lovin’, dyed-in-the-wool carrier who won’t have my right to bear arms ripped from anything but my cold, dead fingers.

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Although I am in favor of that amendment, my support of the boys and their pretend weapons stems from logic.

  1. My children turn most objects into weapons, and then use those weapons to attack each other. The toy guns with their sponge bullets give them a better outlet for that aggression.
  2. It’s impossible to play the sorts of war games mentioned in #1 without ever pointing a gun at a person.
  3. All of my rules have been created to channel the boys’ actions into somewhere productive instead of trying to make them stop feeling the way they do.

So, what’s a mom to do? Our official rules are:

*You can’t shoot anyone not playing The Gun Game and not holding a gun.
*You can’t shoot heads or sensitive parts.
*You can’t shoot at close range.
*Swords can only hit other swords.
*Only wrestle with Dad.

Actually, our #1 rule, the one I made years and years and years ago is:

*No heads, no necks.

My sister thinks it’s hilarious, but now she has children of her own….

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Sunday, September 8: “Parents, Put the Phone Away!!!,” a post encouraging parents to put the phone away.

Monday, September 9: “The Boy Mom Poem

Tuesday, September 10: Shared a funny parenting meme.

Wednesday, September 11: Outlined the steps for framing a beautiful food picture.

Thursday, September 12: “Underpants and Floor Food,” a snippet about what children prefer.

Friday, September 13: Discussed teaching how income and credit cards work in, “Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money.

Saturday, September 14: Shared Anxiouscougar‘s tweet about funny things we tell our toddler.

Sunday, September 15: That’s today!

**Names changed

 

Photo Credits:
Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Photo by Alex Kalligas on Unsplash
Image by นัทธิ์กวี แก้วบุญ from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Don’t Give In, and Stay Sane Doing So

I have a younger brother, and he is annoying. Everyone thinks his younger sibling is annoying; but, honestly, the younger ones often try to bother their betters.

Don’t believe me? When cell phones were a new thing, my teenage brother changed our mother’s ringtone to The Family Guy‘s Stewie saying, “Mom mom mummy mama… ”

He thought it was hilarious. …As if she hadn’t actually had us do that to her in real life.

Whether it’s a little brother or sister or not, all children are adept at repetitive behaviors. They say or do something over and over (and over); sometimes for kicks, oftentimes to get their way. If you think giving in will stop the annoying-ness, however, you are very wrong.

My advice for today is:

Don’t Give In!

Seriously. If you have said, “No candy before dinner” and catch them with Smarties, take the package away. When one boy smacks his sister, put him in Time Out just like your rules say will happen. Don’t want to impulse-buy toys every time you go shopping? Don’t!

The child who has exceptions learns that exceptions are the rule. And, elephants got nothin’ compared to the memory recollection of a child.

That’s not to say that sticking to your guns is easy. It’s not. Even after I (mostly) never give in, I often have to endure several minutes of telling my children, “No.” BUT, not capitulating does lead to respect, obedience, trust, faith, and fewer nagging sessions.

If you’re in the middle of a “no” session with your kid, here are some ways to keep your cool:

  1. Attempt to distract the whiner. He is probably hungry, tired, or bored; and badgering you is entertainment.
  2. Sing your answers. ♫ “Noooo! You may not have a coookieeeee! I love you too much to ruin your heeaaallllth!” ♪
  3. Put on some music. I do this as a last resort in the car, particularly if I cannot pull over to resolve a fight.
  4. Talk to the complaining child as best as you can, and tell her that you are not going to be able to talk to her for five minutes if the asking doesn’t stop. Then, set a timer for 5 minutes and ignore the noise.
  5. Pick a NON-PHONE task to do whilst repeating your calm, reasonable, “No.” Activities may include dishes, laundry, dusting, light cleaning, etc.
    I recommend against an activity with a phone because that’s teaching children to use phones for distraction.
    I also recommend against doing a task like pruning because you’ll be holding a sharp object.
  6. Imagine you’re somewhere else. Meditation and yoga exercises really help with this skill, or currently having a crush on a hot movie star.

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    Courtesy of People Magazine.
  7. Repeat back what he says as if you are a parrot, but do so with a lot of love and laughter. You’re not making fun of your child, after all; just the whining.
  8. Write the word NO on a Post-It and stick it to your mouth. Then your voice won’t get hoarse.
  9. Turn to your spouse, kiss him on the cheek, say, “Your turn,” then go take a nice relaxing closet break.
  10. Buy some noise-cancellation headphones.

Several of my boys are very concerned about fairness, fixate on erroneous issues, and have periodic mental meltdowns. If I can treat them with loving patience during any of those activities, so can you.

Staying strong will not only teach your offspring that you mean what you say, it will also exercise your own patience and mental endurance.

And you’re going to need that for the teenage years.

Inspirational Quote 3

“Children really do want to be told no, despite their protestations. If they are never told no, they will keep doing louder and more unpleasant things until somebody does tell them no, and when that somebody finally does tell them no, in addition to telling them that they are behaving like horrid brats, they will have finally found a grown-up that they can respect. With any luck, that somebody will be you…”

-Christie Mellor, The Three-Martini Playdate (18)

Advice

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C’mere a minute, Bear. I have somefin to tell you about growin up.

Firstly is food. Food is yummy. You can’t eat it ’cause Mommy says I can’t make you a mouth. Also, bears can’t eat any food even with a mouth because you are all stuffing.

I have a mouth but Mommy says to put the grapes back and that floor food isn’t food.

Nummer Two is sleeping. Mommy and Daddy want me to sleep A LOT, even when I’m still playing with you and the sun is not sleeping. I think they play when I sleep so that’s why they want me to sleep.

And then there is outside. Mommy says to play outside. Then she says I’m too dirty and why did I go in the mud. Daddy says -he says to nefer touch the hose and not get wet. I can’t touch his tool bench either or his car. Or his saw or his candy or anyfing!

Growin’ up is all about having lots of things that kids can’t touch.

*Sigh*

Wanna go play in the mud?