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Parenting is not something you are taught, but more so a journey reaching every milestone and persevering after every fall. It might be the through line in my life, but there is no book, memoir, manual or script that could teach me how to get it right. Sure, it’s a privileged perch being Mom at the Schaffer six household, but it’s undeniably unpredictable.
Like most parents with more than one child, life naturally takes off in many directions. But we often come together and help each other during the moments when our life intersects. Recently, I have been thinking about my grandmother Lucy and how she would spend so much time with me as a child. She always asked questions and I loved telling her my grade school tales. Her stories were endless and she inspired me with her core values that inevitably molded me as a parent: Lucy style of course. I loved her endlessly. I miss her wit, her laugh and her smile. More importantly, I wish she could have experienced more time with me when I became a mother. She would have enjoyed seeing a little “Lucy” in me. She would have laughed at our encompassing chaos, but she would have dove right in. I would be winning if I could be just half of the person she was.
Like the daily chats I had with my grandmother, I now have them with my own children. I try to subscribe to the adage, “family is not an important thing, its everything.” She taught me that. And having an open dialogue and listening is what makes my family so close. I make sure everyday there is “us” time. From eating dinner together, long beach walks, hikes and exploring any adventure to have that family time. My children thrive off of my unconditional love and that I am present. And they let me know if I am working too much and need to fine-tune myself into them. It’s during these moments, that helps create a solid foundation for not just them, but for me as a parent.
Like most parents, I love my family fiercely, it’s everything I dreamed it would be, except the lack of sleep, nine years of diaper changes and the loads of homework. Recently, I learned that my Jackson was being teased for a stye he had in his eye. We talked about what he should and shouldn’t do. Right now, the kids are still little, and they tell me stories about teasing and goofing around. In the blink of an eye, these babies will be tweens and teens and their stories will change and get more serious. They will be exposed to things I was exposed to in high school and I want them to feel they can always come to us with any obstacle that stands in their way.
Roman, our little headstrong stallion, recently climbed our pantry and grabbed a bag of gummy veggie vitamins. In a blink of an eye, his hand was in the bag and he ate a handful of, what he would like to call, “Hulk Medicine.” We talked about how he can’t go in to the pantry without asking permission and could never eat anything without asking first. It was an innocent mistake, he is only four and thought he would be stronger if he ate more. And I never thought he could get to the top of a ten foot pantry. He proved me wrong.
I hope he’s never interested in overindulging again, but as a parent I want to be aware of the things my children are exposed to, especially as they get older. Middle school and high school is definitely the age where kids start pushing their limits and trying new things. Unfortunately, these can take a downward turn. October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month and its important for parents to know what to look for. Having so many friends and neighbors with teens and tweens, it would only be right for me to support the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign to spread the word among parents. Do you know that approximately 1 in 30 teens, or approximately one child in every high school class, has abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high?
DXM, or Dextromethorphan, is the active ingredient in most OTC cough medicines and some teens abuse DXM to get high, taking up to 25 times or more of the recommended dose. Parents need to know that DXM is an active ingredient in over 100 cough and cold medicines and it is safe when used according to the Drug Facts label. When abused, DXM can cause side effects including vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and loss of motor control.
What Can Parents Do This Month?
I encourage all of my readers to look for the PARENTS icon on packages of cough and cold medicines this cold and flu season. Be aware of medicines that contain DXM. The icon points to StopMedicineAbuse.org where parents can learn more about teen abuse of these medicines and how to prevent it. Most importantly, I encourage parents to tweens and teens to share this image during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to help spread the word.
When my kids enter the tween years, I am sure we will have our share of challenges to surmount. It is my hope that we can lay the foundation now and always be open with each other. I have zero interest in pretending we have the perfect life, instead I am more interested in having a close family. There is no one-size-fits-all on this journey. Listening to each of my children and teaching them to all listen to each other is where I am starting. Our children do not come with an instruction manual, instead I am just trying to have the strength and fortitude to guide them in making better decisions through life. How are you keeping the dialogue open and guiding your tribe in the right direction? Comment Below.
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but all opinions are my own.