Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Night Policy Review

I am NO EXPERT. Please do not tell my children that, but I will admit to NOT knowing what I am doing half the time when it comes to parenting this small group of people. I have a few tricks that has seemed to work during this 8 year trial and lots of error period. First, I am a big believer in policy and procedure. Most of my day runs on preexisting policy that I have made up out of necessity because these little people look to me for direction and I figure if I don't give it to them, they will make it up themselves.

And since it is Friday and Pete and I made a really great dinner and I drank a really large glass of wine I will share some of my policies with you. Some of these I am not proud of...they just seem to work. Some of these are old school and not very popular in the " This book I read said to do this" category of parents. Some of my policies only apply to a small population of our family. Keep in mind I AM NOT EXPERT and I do not think there is only one way to skin a cat. And another thing , I reserve the right to eat my words at any given moment.

Melnick Policy #1: When trouble occurs and I can not quickly figure out the perp and the victim they all parties are equally punished.
Melnick Policy #2: If I find shoes in places other than the designated shoe area then the forgetful shoe owner owes me one dollar. This dollar is collected IMMEDIATELY!
Melnick Policy #3: If any person does not obey than that person spends a good amount of time on their bed doing NOTHING.

*This is a great little trick I picked up from a friend who has 8 kids. If I have asked a child to do something, or NOT do something, and they did not comply they must sit on their bed for a certain period of time. This is very similar to the popular "time out" technique, however I find it more productive for them to cool down in a private location where they can really take a break from the rest of us. This has helped me also calm down in lots of situations because I can close the door and not hear the begging, crying and other noises that come from a child who feels wronged. I especially love this for the toddlers because I sometimes think over stimulation is the reason for misbehavior and when they can lay in their beds with their comfort items they can really take it down a notch. And mom can actually finish that Hail Mary I so need!

Melnick Policy #4: We have assigned seating in ALL locations. People are always told where they will be sitting, standing or waiting. This really helps in the grocery store and parking lot where just unloading the people can be enough to send me back home sniffling.
Melnick Policy #5: No chocolate before 9:00 in the morning unless it is a birthday or early mass where donuts are served (compliments of CiCi Travers circa 2005)
Melnick Policy #6: We talk kindly. Always saying please and thank you, even if you are the victim . For example instead of saying "Stop Lucy" you say, "Lucy, no thank you for hitting me in the nose and making me bleed all over."
Melnick Policy #7: If I see a naked Barbie it goes in the trash (naked dolls CREAP me out).
Melnick Policy #8: Any baby needing to be removed from the pew at church is removed by mom. Dad belongs in the pew with the children. I think it is so important for children to see daddy on his knees, since they know mom basically lives there!

So there you have it. The 8 policies I feel comfortable sharing at this time. I will say this, some of our policies have become obsolete. We seem to deal with certain problems for a short time and then just as fast as they came..they leave and are promptly replaced by another.

 We also have removed children from the dinner table and sent them to bed EARLY for disruptive or inappropriate table behavior. Some things have only been done a handful of times because when one child witnesses another's punishment they make a concrete decision to not repeat that offense in order to save themselves from a similar fate.

I really do have a lot of fun with these little people. However, helping to form them into people that I can stand to be around can be challenging, tiring and difficult. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed one particular day in Sitka and my dear friend Kathy said to me "These are just moments in time and you can handle each one as it comes". I hope I can...
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  1. You forgot to explain the "spoon" policy. (You know I love you, right?)

  2. I have a lot of "policies" I did not share. I did not have enough wine to pull out the big dogs!!

  3. Wow, Lisa, you amaze me! God knew what He was doing entrusting all these little souls to your care.

    I'm a particular fan of the "cool off in your room until I can calm down" policy. This has saved my children many times from a too-harsh or wrongful hand of discipline from me. Once safely away from me in their room, my first recitation is, "OK, I'm the adult here," followed by as many Hail Mary's as it takes to get my to look at the situation through the child's eyes.

  4. That coming from you is very meaningful. You are my Catholic mommy inspiration. I learn from the best!!

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  6. I have been loving your blog ever since I ran across it a few days ago. As a Catholic mom of 2, who is thinking of homeschooling, I love hearing your thoughts on balancing life and keeping it somewhat under control!