So what do you think when you hear the words...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    "Pick your battles."

    I read it as I will have battles still, but not take on every one right away. An example for our house might be that I will go head-to-head with Duckie/Xena over disrespectful behavior or not doing homework, but I couldn't care less if she decides to wear mismatched socks because her friends think it's cool. Or if she decides to take her shower before homework (who cares as long as it all gets done?).

    I've noticed that a lot of the parents of her friends read it as an excuse to let things go (these are easy child's). "Well, okay... you can watch Gossip Girl.. it's not that bad for a 4th grader." "well, you're supposed to be 13, but you can have a Facebook account. What harm could it do?" It's like they've abdicated being a parent in order to keep the peace.

    One of her best friend's moms was talking to me about some of the kids this age "dating" and mentioned another parent chaperoning a "couple" to the movies for a "date". This friend's mom, when asked, said it probably wasn't the best thing to do and she wouldn't do it for her kids... too much of a slippery slope. I agreed with her.

    Are they right? Or, are we? And what does "pick your battles" mean to you?
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    To me those words mean to let some things slide. I will fight over things I consider important for my kids to grow up the way I hope they will. I can't say if the other parents are right or wrong. I think every kid is different. Even with my kids, I pick different battles. That's the great thing about individuality.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    in my opinion... This goes right along with baskets A, B and C.

    Onyxx had a MySpace account LONG before she was old enough. This was, at first, a battle - and then - we let it go - with caveats. She had to friend us; we had the right to block it from use; we had to be present while she was on it; and we installed a keylogger. Our reasoning was this: One, BM let her, and at the time, she lived there. Meaning at least that way, we had a clue what was going on. Two, it calmed some of the battles down. Mostly reason one, though. When it got out of hand? She was not allowed to use it at our home. And at a couple of points, we contacted MySpace and had them remove the account. She has one out there - and hasn't been on it in MONTHS. Facebook's where everyone is... (And, yes, I know about her other MySpace accounts. They got monitored, too. Thank you, keylogger.) By the time she decided facebook would be worthy? She was 15. And the same rules still apply. Unfortunately, the keylogger isn't working suddenly (last couple of months).

    Cleaning rooms - Jett MUST clean his weekly or more often, but Onyxx doesn't have to. Why? Well, hers is MESSY - but clean underneath. His is just disgusting. We removed the carpet last weekend - beautiful hardwood floors underneath - but all the places he urinated on the floor? Were BLACK - and the varnish was GONE. But now, without the carpet and padding, his room no longer reeks. I see a huge difference between messy and dirty. Onyxx's room used to be a MRSA infection waiting to happen. No, I'm not joking. I refused to walk in there barefoot or in house slippers. I didn't touch anything without gloves.

    I think it's a difference between what you can stand and what you just can't. I could care less if the kids wear sweatpants to school - with a nice shirt, LOL - as long as they are within dress code and reasonable for the weather. I finally told Jett that if he got sick after wearing t-shirt type shorts and no coat, I wasn't taking him to the doctor. He hasn't done that again... Now that it's getting warmer, I'll have to remind him NOT to wear long sleeves... But if he wants to? OK. He can't take his shirt off if he gets hot at school...

    I don't mind if the kids have a water glass in their room. 5, plus other dishes, is overkill to me. Besides, there isn't supposed to be eating in bedrooms... But... I can't supervise 24 hours a day. So I have to grumble at them, but let some things slip a little.

    Now, as for "not that bad for a ____ year old"... Onyxx brought 8 Mile over from BM's when she was 11. Imagine our shock. At age 8-9, she wanted to watch Anaconda, etc. and loved Akon - I told her not to bring his music in my home, or it would be destroyed. (Non-negotiable for me.) CD appeared? GONE. Normally I won't do things like that, as I love music AND hate wasting money, but occasionally I will stand my ground. (Never saw another Akon CD... To this day.) I had to block the Playboy Channel (we can't get CMT and VH1, but we get THIS?)... because Onyxx was watching it. (And DVR'ing it - which is how I discovered the problem.)

    Some lines in the sand are hard-and-fast, and some are dotted. Each person has to come up with their own "gottas".
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    in my humble opinion, one of the biggest light bulb moment for me when my boys were going into teen years was that we shouldn't and couldn't control their decisions. My job was to cast a bigger net so to speak.
    If they followed the ten commandments, were respectful to parents and teachers, that I gave them great freedom in what they wore,did and even curfews. I certainly gave an opinion and stepped in when they were in over their heads but my controlling every aspect of their lives and thinking created resentful, sneaky, devious kids.
    I never had a curfew. I didn't need to so why create a rule that was unnecessary?
    Facebook, my boys were in their older teens but I never interfered except when easy child was using language that was a bit coarser than he uses in real life. I e mailed him with the "your smart enough to come up with a better vocabulary" and "never talk about your bosses in a negative way".
    There are basic rules and responsibilities in every home. If Duckie has the ability to make her own schedule to fill all those responsibilities shouldn't letting her teach herself a better parenting lesson? I don't want blind obedience. I want thinking, understanding, independent kids. Doesn't mean that they don't slip up or get lazy but the goal is to parent in a way that they know and see love in the home and that everyone contributes to the family. That may mean homework or chores or following through with responsibilities.
    I don't know anyone who has the same parenting philosophy. We don't want to have conformity in our children or parenting, do we? Let the others do their thing.
    My goal is to do no harm, ask "who does it serve?" and allow them the freedom to grow their own personality.
    If Duckie wants to do something non traditional even if it's called dating by them(and called a playdate by us), why create the big emotional turmoil. If they are supervised and they are doing something fun, doesn't it take the mystery out of the opposite sex?
    A good dose of "fear" helped my boys stay in line. They used a scary mom many times to stay out of an ugly situation. It's ok with me. I have never raised a hand since they turned 5. It's a tool they use.
    Anyhow, my parenting evolved based on what my son's needed. First I was following what the traditional community standards were but eventually I found it lacking and silly in some aspects. I developed my own parenting and I am pretty sure I did not abdicate one ounce of my parenting responsibility. Look at Duckie and ask yourself "what does she need?" Let the others homes find their own way. I think you will like your kid better even if she is a bit less traditional than the others. No Stepford Wives.
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Fran- We're not doing cookie cutter parenting, we stress respectful behavior (to herself & others) and personal responsibility. But I have noticed that many of her friends' families seem to let the kids do as they wish. I know Duckie would NOT do well with that so we take each issue on a case-by-case basis. Dating (in any form) at 10? Thankfully she thinks it's icky. Facebook account? No... she's too sensitive to other kid's criticisms in person, she's not ready to deal with them in the cyber world where others often feel empowered behind their computer screens. We also give Duckie a lot of power in the activities she participates in. She may be dropping swim in favor of picking up another dance class. I only ask her to be involved in a physically active extracurricular for the health benefits. She gets to choose which one.

    I've also noticed that while she can be sneaky (she is 10, after all!)... that she does talk to me. And her friends have already stopped talking to their parents (according to the parents). I think that has more to do with Duckie than our parenting... but I'm glad we can still talk. I think it helps me to guide her or suggest things without having to make the decisions for her. It lets her know my thoughts and the reasons behind those thoughts.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I will give my reasoning when the kids are reasonable. They push too much though, and sometimes - the rule is a rule because I am the parent. Period.

    Such as Onyxx having to be home before 9 PM. Because? ***I*** have to sleep. I know she doesn't. husband woke up about 1:30 this morning and made her go to bed (she was there when we WENT to bed, WTH happened? Oh, she doesn't have to follow rules. Grr). So... We try.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    TM, in our household the battle I always always always took on was health/safety & physical/verbal aggression. As the tweedles have "matured" less subtle but just as serious health & safety issues have come to light ~ internet use, cell phone, etc.

    We always demanded respect from kt & wm however gave, especially wm, chances to redo. For me it's been a fine balancing act. I've not yet reached the point where kt is allowed out alone with friends - curfews aren't happening yet.

    I guess I'm still working on basics & make the health & safety issue the battle I will take on - that's expanded over the years. I give choices & limit them to what I can handle. I educate, as do the tweedles teams on all things safe, i.e. boundaries, impulse control, taking responsibility for choices made, etc. It's an ongoing journey.

    I don't give a hoot what others think; they are not the parents of kt & wm.
  8. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    My biggest battles right now with difficult child are as follows:

    You must respect your parents and others (including yourself)

    You must not pick on or be mean as H*LL to your sister

    You must brush your teeth 2x per day

    You must shower 1x per day

    You must do your homework and chores

    All of the above are constant battles. I try to work around everything else because I only have enough energy for the above.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Pick your battles as explained to me by an 80 year old in a Hair Cuttery upon Dude explaining his wanted hair cut to the stylist

    Which was...."I want it a fade on the side with a mohawk spiked down the top and back, and I want the sides just slightly spiked so when I put gel in them it kinda looks like Wolverine, but not as long and I want it all a whiteish blonde, except for the mohawk - that I want to buy a couple different hair dye colors so I can do like blue or purple to match my kicks."

    After that? I chuckled and the older woman said patting my thigh "Hair grows out you know. - Pick your battles dear - by that I mean the things they can change? Let them change. The things that mold their lives? Faith, morals, good manners, character? Don't sway on those. The rest of it? Pretty much a 'CR&*' shoot and whose to say what's right or wrong under anyones roof. I'm almost 90 and I couldn't tell you, but I did my best to raise my children with no regrets and let them go on to raise theirs the same way."

    I've only added 'respect' to what she said because we have tried to live by the Golden Rule. I actually wrote down what she said because that was a really bad day for us, and when Dude came out? He didn't have a mohawk at all. I was being shined - per difficult child grand style.

    So I guess we have guidelines for morality that are concrete, and then there are guidelines for fashion that are bendable so you can live with Xena, and everything in between that you just kinda make deals on for motivation.
    I thought it was pretty sage -
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Faith, morals, good character, manners...well put, as usual, Star. I insisted on what I referred to as "behaving like a civilized person," which meant a daily shower, clean clothes, polite tone when requesting something, kindness towards the animals, attending school, taking medications, and things like that. Our district has a dress code, so some of her fashion craziness was tempered because she'd get in trouble at school about it. I always emphasized that school was her job, everybody has a job, and you do your best at it.

    The black eyeliner raccoon eyes? It's your face, kid. Look silly if you want to. The tight jeans? Not my problem if it's uncomfortable to sit down. I'm not the one who bought my pants two sizes too small. Green hair? I'm not the one who'll be doing the in-school suspension till it grows out. Refuse homework? Your detention, not mine. Enjoy. Failed a class? Happy summer school or zero period PE, scampering around the soccer field at 6:30 on a winter morning.

    I put as much on Miss KT as it was possible to do, because I believe that if someone is never allowed to make choices as a child, they will not magically know how as an adult. I pointed out the pros and cons, but if it wasn't a safety or a "civilized behavior" issue, I let her take her lumps.

    She actually thanked me for being so hard on her when she was a teen! She says there are girls in her dorm that have no idea of personal responsibility, and it drives her nuts! She doesn't understand how they can waste their money and play at college, because this is - wait for it - THEIR JOB! Even more surprising from her, since she is going to college with an educational trust her granddad set up for her before he passed away.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    one thing i do wish is i had done is picked the language battle more with cory but umpteen therapists told me i had bigger fish to fry. i think they were wrong.
  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I think so much depends on the kid and your relationship and if they are a easy child or difficult child. When my difficult child was in 9th grade in a new high school with lots of new friends who I had no clue about it, I had a rule that I had to check with parents and make sure that parents were home if he was going over there. This made him really angry with me and in some ways probably hurt our relationship. I felt I was just doing what any parent should do. Now it was also true that I didn't trust him at all and knew he would be going to the houses with no parents home and likely drinking and drugging etc. etc. So recently my easy child daughter now in 10th grade at same school wanted to go over to a new friends house after school. I said fine and thought how uncomfortable it would be to call the parents and said ok.... and it hit me why my son was so mad at me in 9th grade, because his friends parents probably didn't call. The BIG difference is that I totally trust my daughter. True she may some day do something she should not, but she talks to me a lot, she has never ever done anything to break my trust. So I trusted her when she said that there would be 3 girls there etc. And it was not a big deal. I do still call and check if it is a weekend party type thing because drinking at those is so rampant.... but this was really no big deal.

    With my son I don't regret taking the stand I did because I truly believe if I hadn't he would have gotten into the drugs even faster and more seriously than he did even with my vigilance. So in that case it was a battle I picked with my son but didn't bother with with my daughter.
  13. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    At the height of the bad times with- thank you, I didn't care if he called me a ($!#$ - I did care if he came after me with the knives. To me, that was picking my battles. Actually, it wasn't so much that I didn't care about his language, it was that if I fought the physical violence *and* the language battles, I would've had nothing left for anyone else. Also, in my mind, if I chose to fight a battle, I would have to be able to "win" it. Short of duct-taping his mouth, I was never going to win the language battle. In the grand scheme of things around here, language was just so not a priority.

    With Diva, it's a little different. I am fighting the facebook battle because we've had far too many incidents over the years of her getting bent out of shape over real/imagined slights by peers. She's not called Diva for nothing. And my goodness - some of the parents in our community (from cheer or Girl Scouts or softball) cannot handle facebook - I do not want her getting sucked into adult drama on top of typical teen drama. I did relent on the "dating" thing, once I found out that "dating" consisted of her "hanging out" with- the boy. Rules were in our family room (Boo is always in there - good chaperon, LOL) or on our front porch (not back porch).

    It's a delicate balance - wanting to protect kids from what you *know* is a bad choice (but not life-threatening or permanently disfiguring), but also giving them the freedom to make mistakes (which they're supposed to be making). Picking my battles has been different with each kid and is changing as they get older. It doesn't mean just giving in on everything. It does mean being consistent and having some kind of logic to back up the rules.
  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    TM, I wasn't addressing your parenting. Simply my evolution as a parent.
    What you see as other parents letting things slide, may not really matter. If at 35, most of the kids are working, independent adults, what's the differance in how the parents interpreted "Pick Your Battles"?
    Bad parents often have good kids and good parents have difficult child's. I guess I am less sure that my vision of Picking My Battles will work with other homes.
  15. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Wow good to read all these posts! It has made me think. I really do believe in "picking battles" with kids-esp. tough kids. In my classroom I have kids that need different things and are on different places in the journey towards adulthood. I have to start where they are and with what they need first. Now, with my own kids it has been hard to see the "forest for the trees" at times. My son was just kind of easier to manage. He did have some issues-disorganized as all get out, a bit stubborn about clothing (still prefers shorts and t-shirts in the dead of winter), and a bit of a fight to get homework out of him. I just used traditional stuff and he came around bit by bit. Interesting that he now has long hair and tatoos (I call it girl repellant). He tells me I'm strict and maybe my daughter fights everything because I called friends' parents, insisted on homework being done, expected they contribute to the home with chores (which has never happened in any consistancy with my daughter unless I micro-manage), and be home for dinner. As far as language, I have lost on all accounts. My kids talk like most of the kids do-as a teacher it is amazing how that behavior has esculated since the social networking. I wont however allow my children to call me names. I don't do it to them, and they have never crossed that line. Weird, because my daughter doesn't seem to see most lines, concrete or sand. I stopped fighting the "f-bombs", the black eyeliner, and recently the cleavage (I let the school deal here). I do think with girls the way they dress and look sends a real message and can become a safety issue-but I have had to give that one up and let counselors and treatment school manage. When everything is a battle, you have to pick the juicy ones to sink your sword into because you only have so much energy.