This past year or so has been an incredible time of growth and of challenges for us as a family. Of course, that’s life, right? Well, it is…and not just MY life. The whole family feels it when even one member has been stressed, and I’ve been known to add to that phenomenon. See, when things have been wild and I’ve been stressed, I tend to resort more to the reactive, “yelling progressively louder” parenting method, instead of stepping back and responding to all those challenges the kids inevitably throw my way.
That’s why I found myself at the computer a few weeks ago, guilty and tearful over a hard week that I hadn’t handled well, looking for some way to make it up to the kids. But as I browsed the website of our local Science Centre, I began to see my pattern of reactive parenting spiralling out into guilty-reactive parenting, and from there into indulgent-guilty-reactive parenting. I realized I couldn’t make this a habit, buying my kids’ forgiveness…but we did NEED that day out to make some happy memories in the midst of the madness of everyday living. Not to mention that my kids needed some better motivation than fear of Mommy’s yelling.
So, I decided to hop on the sticker chart bandwagon. But I didn’t tell myself they would be sticker charts (that’s way too cliché!), they were to be TICKETS TO FUN. Tickets the kids would earn and “pay for” with good behaviour and that would get them into the Science Centre (which I had already begun talking-up) or into other cool, fun places. Tickets that would only have SEVEN places on them for stickers because I just can’t keep it up for as long as it takes to fill a chart with more!
I sat at my computer, opened Microsoft Publisher, and the Ticket to Fun was born. [dramatic fanfare]
Well, they’re not exactly a masterpiece, but I think they turned out alright. As it happens, the kids were SUPER excited about them, and we WERE able to go to the Science Centre the following weekend (good thing…I’m not sure what I would have done with the Dome Show tickets I’d already bought if things had gone otherwise).
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination.
I know that probably doesn’t come as a surprise and I wouldn’t want it to, because I want to share that I am HUMAN…and if you’re a parent, struggling each day to know whether you’re doing the right thing for your kids, knowing that you’ve messed up again and again, you are not alone. We’re all in this together.
So even though they come with stories of my own parenting mishaps, I’m happy to share these not-at-all-sticker-charts-THEY’RE-TICKETS-I-swear-not-sticker-charts with you. Please download them, share them, use them. Have fun! Be together as a family, set goals, and don’t worry about your past mistakes. Look ahead and love on.