Thursday, August 19, 2010

Parenting: Touching the Hearts of Our Youth

As a mother, I hope to create an environment where my children can grow to become who there were sent to this Earth to be.  I hope to create a nurturing environment full of unconditional love.

In the past, I have gotten caught in the trap of preventative parenting.  I think this could also be called 'fear' parenting; keeping in the forefront of the mind what I am trying to avoid as opposed to what I am trying to obtain.  I found myself focusing on correcting the kids and sadly sometimes only interacting with them during these corrections.  So instead of being someone who is positive and uplifting, I was someone who was to be avoided.  NOBODY want to hear corrections and criticisms all the time.

When I stepped back to evaluate my parenting strategies, I felt that I didn't even know who I was looking at.  I didn't even know myself anymore.  I've always felt that since I was a child, I have been able to love a person despite their behaviors.  I've felt that it was a gift I had been given.  So evaluating this person (myself) who I felt had good intentions but horrible and very detrimental methods, I was disgusted in what I saw.   I knew something had to change.

I realized that I had gotten to this point because I had been so overwhelmed for so long.  I was faced with behaviors and emotions from my kids that I didn't know even existed in young children prior to my getting them.  I searched for help and found none.  I tried following the advise of other people to no avail.  I was seeing my children be hurt and abused by each other while in my care and I felt horrible.  So I resorted to preventative parenting.  And for a long time, my focus was on stopping these horrible things from happening.

Thankfully, after much prayer, reading and growing myself, I feel I'm not only back to who I was before, but I have learned so much!

I've learned to focus my parental energies on building great children who will become great adults, NOT on preventing delinquent adults.  I try to point out the things they do right.  I try to take the time to listen to them.  I try to support them in what they are interested in.  I take time to hold them and to look into their eyes.

In correcting them, I try to build them up in the process.  I am far from perfect.  And I can only say that I wish I did this all the time.

I try not to let myself get down about my mistakes, rather I learn from them and strive to be continually improving.

Great messages like the one in this video really help me to stay focused on what I want to do and who I want to be.

Childhood is so short.
I don't want to waste any time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Signs of Healing

I remember dreaming about a day when my adopted children would be able to embrace their new life and family.
I remember many late nights walking up and down the street we lived on pouring my heart out to my Heavenly Father asking Him to give me the strength and stamina I needed to get them to that point.
I remember days and weeks watching them struggle as they were filled with anger and rage like I had never seen before.
I remember broken walls, shattered windows, shredded clothes, blankets, and curtains.
I remember holes and carvings in furniture.
I remember broken cabinet doors and window blinds ripped off during rages.
I remember constantly finding urine and feces nearly every time I turned around.
I remember recognizing signs of abuse much worse than anyone ever imagined.
I remember them trying to conquer their victim-mentality by becoming abusers.
I remember the horror I felt at finding out about this abuse they did to each other when I was not aware.
 I remember the overwhelming guilt I felt at having not protected them better.
I remember wondering how another person's suffering and pain could be so satisfying to them.
I remember watching and realizing that their play was not play at all but scenes that could have been taken directly from a horror movie.
I remember being hit and kicked.
I remember being marked with bruises and scrapes.
I remember the spit that ran down my face immediately after I said, "I love you."
I remember their many sleepless nights and their nightmares.
I remember holding raging children wishing I could take away their pain.
I remember the hate I saw in their eyes when they looked into mine.
I remember how much that hurt.
I remember loving them so much it hurt, but not knowing how to let them know that.
I remember many mistakes I've made during heated moments, mistakes I still regret.
I remember sobbing as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to forgive me and to not let my mistakes and my weaknesses cause them further harm.
I remember how time and again, miraculously, my burden, my sin was lifted in an instant, and the grief I felt was replaced with overwhelming love from my Heavenly Father.
I remember crying even harder after I realized how merciful He is and how willing He is to forgive.
I remember pleading for miracles to happen in the hearts and spirits of my sweet wounded children.

Now I look around and see those miracles I pleaded for.
I see smiling children.
I see Kiana doing the dishes for me so, "You won't have to."
I see Jazmine following me around all day because, "I just want to be by you, Mom.  I love you!"
I hear Kishawn talk about me being in the hospital to have Makenzie and say, "If Mom goes in the hospital again to have another baby, I want to be there to take away her pain."
I soak in the times during the day when Jada stops her playing to come lay her head on my lap.
I see them mimicking me, saying phrases I say.
I see kids, when it's time to clean, choose which part of the house they will clean, then when they finish, turn to help who has not finished.
I see kids who play "house" and this time they are not only a 'functional family' but they are caring and loving.
I see their eyes light up as I tell them what I see in them and the kind of amazing people I believe they will become.
I see their spirits recognize this truth and finally they are able to embrace it.
I see them care for Makenzie in a way they never knew they were capable of.
I love that Jada snuck into my car when I left to go to a book group and when after getting there and realizing she was with me and bringing her in with me, she was glued to my side.
I see kids who proclaim to strangers, "That's my Mom!"
I see kids who beg me to be with them and to play with them.
I see them all clamor for a place beside me every time we kneel to pray.
I hear the most eloquent, beautiful prayers come out of their little mouths.
I see wisdom and understanding that can only come from making it through difficult experiences.
I see life-long friends and an eternal family.

I see a loving Heavenly Father's hand intertwined in every aspect of our lives.
I see the effects of our Savior's atonement.


It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Don't like hard work...

Last night Brad asked Jazmine to help clean a muddy mess she and Kishawn left all over the front porch, walkway and driveway.  She didn't want to so she pretended she didn't know what Brad meant, then, when that didn't work, threw a fit.

Brad told her that he would do it for her, and she could stay in her room until he got around to it and got it finished.
While she was in her room she wrote this note to him.

(Dear Dad, I love you but I do not like to do hard work.)
The picture shows her picking up the mud with her hands.  And apparently everyone else in the family is relaxing on the porch watching the poor girl work by herself, with the exception of Kishawn who is riding his bike.

Haha.  SO funny.  I LOVE this girl orneriness and all.