No matter how much I love them, sometimes my kids are just arseholes. To be honest, I think most truth-telling mums would admit the same.

But as they grow, I hope that I can teach them to lose some arseholiness (that’s a word, I swear!) and become, you know… actual decent human beings.

Of course surviving the arsehole stage and maintaining some level of sanity is no mean feat. Whilst I can’t guarantee you’ll completely retain your mental health here are a few tips to keep the odds ever in your favour…

1. Consistency is key.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Even when you’re tired and couldn’t care less if they eat those crackers on your lounge. With crumbs. Going. Everywhere. You have rules, stick to them even though its bloody hard. #youcandoit

2. Keep calm and let them take responsibility
Kids can do so much more than they will actually let on. From loading/unloading the dishwasher, to vacuuming, wiping the kitchen table down, putting the bin out and packing their own lunches!

My kids range in age from 4 to 12. They do age appropriate chores. If we work as a team to get the annoying stuff done, there’s more time for fun!

They learn quickly as they vacuum that it’s a good idea to pick Legos up. With three boys in the house they’ve also learnt that cleaning up stinky boy wee is not fun. Funny how suddenly this resulted in better aim!!

3. There are no shortcuts
I love being a mum, but some days it is just hard. On these days I spend a large portion of time wishing there a magic button to press. There’s not. Unfortunately we, just have to do the hard yards to get the pay off. Take comfort in knowing the hard days do end – and the hard yards today are minimising future arseholiness.

4. No excuses
I was great at making up excuses for why my first child behaved like he did. I felt I needed to protect him. It did him no favours. By the time I got to number four, I was well and truly out of excuses.

If one of my kids misbehave at school, there are consequences. They write apology letters. They miss excursions. If they misbehave at home, they miss birthday parties or outings or clean the windows. I detest cleaning windows, but it’s a great way to get them working as a team after hours of “He’s looking at me!” and “She keeps calling me a poo head.” Don’t make excuses for your kids. Make them accountable; you’ll reap the benefits in years to come.

5. Say no
You want to stay up past your bedtime on a school night to watch that movie? No.
It’s daylight savings so you should be allowed to ride your bike with the other kids until dark? No.

Your friends are playing Minecraft so pretty please can you have an extra hour of electronics time? No.

It’s hard saying no. Especially when they go from the cute sweet face, to the demonic tanty when you say no. The more they hear it, the better they will understand. Teaching boundaries and showing your kids you won’t be like every other mother is tough but worth it.

6. Go with the flow
Flexibility makes life a whole lot easier. When you’re a parent, things almost never go as planned. Take a breath and don’t let that vomit in the car-seat totally f**k your day. Re-route, improvise, go with it and show your kids that resilience is a really great quality. Being rigid makes life harder to roll with the punches, of course there’s challenges but you can do it!

7. They’ve gotta earn it
Nothing in this world comes for free. We want our kids to have a beautiful childhood, but they need to learn to earn the extra stuff. We have a chart in our house. If the kids want something special they go above and beyond to earn points towards it. For my eldest this is usually extra time on electronics. For the twins it’s earning playdates/sleepovers. My youngest just wants footy cards. It works, and they appreciate the reward more. Learning the life lesson that good things come to those who put their head down and make it happen is awesome. Even better kids that respect their hard-earned items have recognised the relationship between work and reward. Nicely done mum!

8. Let them make mistakes
If every time they fail, you’re there catching them before they fall, what are they going to learn? You asked your daughter to put that signed excursion note in her bag twice. She didn’t do it. Oops, she misses out. He forgot to bring his guitar to school for band practice today. Bad luck, he’ll have to use the crappy old school one. There’s plenty to learn in failing. And if they don’t fail… how will they ever learn? Hard work & responsibility are qualities learned though failing.

9. Chillax, let it go (and grab a wine if you need to!)
I was so afraid to let number 1 get dirty. My house was tidy and everything had its place.
Then came twins.

I learnt that guests would have to ignore the piles of washing and toys because I was spending time loving my kids. OK and I was also really freaking exhausted.

With number four came along I learnt the outfit I was saving ‘for good’ should ALWAYS be worn. Also playing naked outside in the mud is super cool fun. (For the kids, not for me!) If you find it hard to let go an evening wine is always a sanity saviour!

10. Get mindful
Mindfulness doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. For 30 seconds of the day, teach your kids to be in the moment. There are many wonderful mindfulness activities that can help kids to understand themselves and others. To teach compassion, kindness and appreciation. We can all do with a little more kindness in our lives. Sprinkle that shit everywhere!


From one mother to another I wish you luck! We all hope to raise kids that aren’t complete little arseholes and resultingly totally unlikeable adults. The urge of course is to mow a smooth path in front of our children to make their every step easy! Resist the urge to do this and be assured the immediate moment may not be easy but you’ll thank yourself repeatedly in years to come!

Author

Heidi is a teacher and single mum of four who goes to gym in order to indulge her love of cheesecake. Raising kids with ADHD and Aspergers is fast, chaotic and often hilarious, but she wouldn't change a thing. Heidi recovers with good chick lit, writing and Netflix after bedtime.

1 Comment

  1. Lauren Jordan Reply

    Refreshing! I appreciate your view of child-rearing, I cringe when people say they “want their kids to have everything the never had!” and then wonder why they’re entitled brats. Let them earn it!

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