My 3 Rules

I read a great post on the Huffington Post entitled “The 3 Rules of My House” and laughed because I thought the author and I must be kindred spirits because I have 3 rules too. I had Munch reciting my household rules a couple of weeks ago. Not for punishment, but memorization and application.

When talking to other parents and adults we are often angered by the state of our youth today. Not having any manners, their lack of respect for technology, a complete disrespect for privacy, their completed disregard or concern about their own health or their future plans. All these frustrated topics were discussed and dissected in great detail that the only thing we could agree on was the fact that the state of our young people scares us. What is happening to them?

A couple of Saturdays ago, Munch was waiting patiently in the nail salon while I got my bi-weekly maintenance. Normally, he wouldn’t be there because I go when I don’t have him, but his dad being out of town kind of threw a wrench into my plans, but such is life. We got up that morning and I asked him did he want to eat breakfast at home or I would stop by McDonald’s as a treat for him being a good boy. He opted for McDonald’s. I grabbed the I-pad his headphones and headed to the golden arches before going to get my nails done.

Once in the salon, he ate his breakfast and watched his movies. He waited the entire 2.5 hours while I got the works and never complained. All the women were complimentary about his patience and behavior. I smiled and said, “Yep, he’s a good kid.”

So, my mood changed when 20 minutes later a couple of young women (guessing their ages were between 16 and 20) walked in and yelled, “How long for a full set?” I cringed and looked at my nail technician and said, “Wow, no good morning? How about rephrasing and asking….Good morning, may I please inquire as to how long it will take for a full set?” She laughed and said, “T, that’s all day every day. Some of these young women just walk in her and start cursing up a storm that I have to remind them that this is a place of business and we don’t talk like that in this establishment.”

I was floored. Why are these young people being so disrespectful? Do they not have any home training? What do their parents think of their behavior? I said, “When I was growing up, my momma had many rules but only two ever stuck out: 1. Never, ever embarrass me and 2. A lady never gets drunk in public. She gets drunk in the privacy of her own home.” She laughed and said, “I know that’s right girl!” I said, even now I only have 3 rules for my house. I said, “Munch, come here please.” Munch walks over. I said, “Munch, what is the number one rule for mommy’s house?” He smiled and replied, “Don’t embarrass mommy.” I said, “Thank you love.” She said, “Wow, I like that.”

Reading the article prompted me to share the three rules of my house:

  1. Don’t embarrass mommy. This is an all-inclusive, mega statement that applies to everything you do from the minute you wake up to the day you die. Don’t embarrass mommy. I know that you will go through things that will make your choices seem difficult. Many questions such as:
  • Should I skip school?
  • Should I try drugs?
  • What about pre-marital sex?
  • What about cheating on a test?
  • My parents won’t know if I lie, that’s easier than telling the truth, what should I do?

I get it. You will have a lot of choices thrown at you, but remember that all your choices are designed with one thought in mind…not embarrassing mommy. Your choices should seem easier if you answer them with that thought at your fore-front. I know. I’ve been there. I can thankfully say that I have never embarrassed my mommy.

  1. Don’t run in traffic. Yes, it seems that this shouldn’t be a rule that will follow him until adulthood, but it will. It’s a continuation of rule number 1. When you’re young, I don’t want you letting go of your parent’s hands and running into traffic. Traffic is dangerous. We want you to hold our hands until you no longer feel the need to be led by us (which hopefully will be until you graduate from high school – but I know that may be weird for you). Traffic is dangerous and I want you to stay out of traffic. Traffic is where you go once you’ve been licensed by the state as a safe driver and can operate a vehicle that will hopefully protect you when you let go of my hand. Traffic is not to be played with and we don’t run in traffic.
  2. Give thanks. In all that you do, you need to give thanks. Have an attitude of gratitude. Things won’t go your way, such is life, but you should still give thanks. Thanks for being able to have a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Thanks that you have food to eat when you open the fridge and that if you want to buy lunch, your parents can afford to put money on your school lunch account. Thanks that you have two bedrooms, with two tv’s and two dvd players and a whole lot of Disney DVD’s. Thanks that you have parents that love and adore you more than their own lives. Thanks that we want you active and healthy which is why we put you in sports. Thanks that we try to enrich your life by teaching you French, taking you to museums, vacations and beaches. Thanks to your many aunts and uncles who adore you and listen to mommy blog about you all day long. The same aunts and uncles that love you as though you were their own. The same ones that sent you a beautiful children’s Bible from Paris in French so you could read it and translate it to your parents.  In all things give thanks. Never forget that.

Three rules. Simple and easy to remember. I want munch to have an attitude of gratitude and respect for human kind. I want him to open his mouth and say Good Morning and thank you sir to those who he comes in contact with. I want him to grow up the way most of us grew up. With respect and appreciation for everything.

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Parenting Now vs. Then

One of the things that often bother me is the unsolicited advice from well meaning parents. At least I think they are well meaning. You know the parents that offer their opinions when you didn’t ask for it. The parents that assume that they way they did things is the way it should be. I have to admit, I don’t like those parents. Parenting is a responsibility between those that create the baby. Parents decide how they will raise their children and what they think is best. One of the best things that I learned as a new parent is to trust my instinct. I have been going back and forth with some friends on whether or not you should spank your child when I ran across this interesting article “8 Reasons to Spank Your Kids” . Here are the reasons:

1. Love.
You have to love your child enough to be tough and do what is necessary to get the desired result. Parent first, friend second.

2. You want to be respected.

To be feared (in the sense of reverence) is to be respected. Your children should be weary of going against your rules. It also teaches them to submit to authority regardless of whether or not they agree.


3. You want to teach them how to make good decisions.

Our destinies are determined by decision-making. Children have the option to obey or face the consequences, and they need to know consequences hurt.


4. You want them to have self-control.

When you are aware of what is on the other side of making a poor decision, it is easier to exercise restraint.


5. You want them to be accountable.

Every decision has an outcome, good or bad. Just as your reward your child for the good, you must also acknowledge and address the bad.


6. You want to set standards.

Children need limits to learn how to grow up with restraint. They will never be able to do whatever they want. Teach them to live by the rules set in place.


7. You see strength not weakness.

Western parents seem to assume fragility rather than strength. Spanking your child properly is not going to damage their self-esteem. Accepting mediocrity and dismissing poor behavior teaches them to indulge in being weak.


8. It works best.

Some kids need it, period. When time-out, talking and taking away toys doesn’t work, you have to get that butt.


Lee and I have always believed in the old phrase “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. We believe in spanking because we got spanked and it worked. When I became a mom, I started having second thoughts on whether or not it was socially acceptable to spank or was I doing more harm than good by hitting his bottom. I decided that spanking should be a last resort, not a first response. I want Brennan to understand why he’s getting a spanking and that it “hurts me to have to spank him more than it will hurt him to receive it”. I think as parents we want the best for our kids, but is spanking good for them?