Tag Archives: independence

Parenting: “Phase 9”


I feel lately like….I’m being run over by a stampede…

Yeah…kinda like that….

Actually….that’s more accurate than I really want to admit….

I’ve also noticed that my wine consumption has increased and my kids’ bedtime is gradually getting earlier and earlier….so early that I debated having them get into pajamas for dinner…at 5.

I kid

well…..sort of….

Our house has been blessed with the “phase” otherwise known as “9” (it can also be synonymus with 8, or 10). This phase is characterized by the following:

·       Eye rolling

·       Door slamming

·       Clinched teeth

·        grunting

*Sayings such as “It’s not fair!” or “How come??!!”

·       And finding everyone “annoying”.

Doesn’t that sound awesome???!!!

IMG_2374It’s like I’ve just woken up on a train track with a train coming. I’m not sure how I got there but I know to get off the track!!!!

My first thought is to blast all my “mom friends” who have older children….”Why didn’t you warn me?”

But…that’s the equivalent of a first-time mom asking “why didn’t you warn me about labor?” It’s kinda like….”well, there really is no need to scare the crap out of you. When it’s time…you will be able to handle it.

So….the hubs and I have come to the conclusion that we gotta “step up” our parenting game.

70s partyWait…let’s not judge us as parents on this pic…haha

The simple “first level” parenting level that we had grown accustomed to…is still there. We are still dishing out time-outs; putting kids in their rooms, and issuing “quiet time” and naps.

Shayla balletYep…My little Sweet Pea during those “easy” years…=)

However, this “runaway train” called Phase 9 was going to require some serious prayer and parenting discussion.

So…as we take this journey…we have decided to try a few things that I wanted to share with you. It’s such a science experiment…I will either be able to offer you advice in a year or two……

or you will firmly commit NOT to do what I did.

 Parenting is loving our children and wanting their holistic formation into the life of a teenager. The first thing we decided to focus on was to remind ourselves of our roles as parents and to focus on our parenting philosophy. We are trying to teach our daughter how to communicate; to know herself; to have strong character and conviction; to desire a love for others, and to yearn for a relationship with God. 

shaylaSweet Pea, last fall…

So….how to do we do that without judging her?…critizing her?….or being too negative? How do we “water” her genuine desire to serve? How do we encourage individuality and yet love for her family and friends?

 listen. Listen to what my daughter is saying …Lord knows, at this point, I don’t LIKE half of what I am hearing…but I will rejoice that my daughter feels like she can talk to me. I will NOT confront her in the stress of an argument but will honor her desire for respect as a little lady. I will sneak in moments over a cup of tea or cooking in the kitchen to ask her to explain situations to me. “What were you thinking about when you said_______?” ”Why do you think you are slamming doors all the time?” “What is the most frustrating thing you are experiencing?”I must also be aware of what her body language is saying. What is it that she doesn’t like to discuss? Could I be embarrassing her when I am not trying to?   Does she have certain “triggers” that make arguments escalate?

IMG_0480Allowing Change. Change is so difficult but necessary. I am being called to now foster a different type of relationship with my daughter. I don’t need to make sure she has food nor do I need to dress her. I don’t have to worry about her personal safety but…I do need to assist her in making her decisions. I need to be her mom….gently reminding her to brush her teeth because of her braces, and encouraging her love of piano. I need to watch her to see the areas in her life that SHE is defining and to continue to make experiences to get “to know” my daughter.I need to encourage her desire to lead and help in situations. I need to allow her to have additional roles in the family that would alleviate my burden and yet allow her to feel “treated older”.

dinner with Dad

Date night with daddy.

Be her biggest fan. In a lot of ways, I already am. I know that my daughter is amazing. She is loving and thoughtful. She has such an amazing heart that I want everyone to see. I guess, I just want her to be true to herself. But…I need to spend this time of uncertainty and change for her, being “her rock”. She needs to be told how I view her and often. I need to deliver affirmations more than criticisms. I need to spend more time with my arm around her and my eyes looking at her. She needs to see my “correction” as just that…a fleeting correction and not an “overall” view of her as my child.

IMG_0973As we enter this new journey of “Phase 9”, our prayer, as a family, is that we may continue to be a stronghold for each member of our family. That the Lord will guide our decisions as parents and help us to be what our daughter needs.

Our whole gang

Our whole gang

“You will show me the path of life..you my hope and my treasure. In your presence is endless joy, at your side is my home forever.”- Psalm 16:11

 God bless,



Tip Tuesday: Making your home kid-friendly

Do you have kids?

That’s Miss Missy….she’s pretty BIG in these parts…she is convinced that she is really a BIG girl stuffed in a little body.

Is your home kid-friendly?

I’m not talking about whether you have child-proof gates on the stairs or all your medicines safely tucked away, I’m talking about making your home a kid-friendly environment.

I have high expectations for my children. They contribute a lot to the general functioning of our family. With that in mind, I need to have my house arranged in a way that caters to them as well.

My house certainly is far from any magazine covers but I like to decorate my house in a way that shows I take pride in what I have. Additionally, my house needs to reflect my parenting philosophy that we are raising saints…not museum exhibits. Our couches are made to sit on…our dishes eaten out of…and our things “touched”…..

Going a step further…

If I want my children to be active participants in the daily activities of our home, I need to make sure that I foster their independence in the way that I set up my home. If you are clueless to what i am saying….it’s late….I might be babbling….but read on…somewhere its bound to make sense….

Here are a couple of tips that have proven effective in our little humble abode:

Have things handy to help with chores.

  •  I keep my kid bowls/plates/cups in a bottom cabinet in our kitchen. I do not want my kids climbing to grab a bowl for breakfast or to get a drink of water. This also makes it much easier to assign them the job of emptying all the “kid dishes” from the dishwasher. blog 1
  • I also purchased one of these nifty broom sets so that I could have the kids take turns sweeping under our table for meals. It has been sooo helpful!!!


  • I have also found that investing in some of the Swifter products like the wet mop and duster are great tools for my kids as well. I might not want them to mop the breakfast room floor but throwing a wet pad on a swifter after a night of pasta or ice cream cones is a great way to “help” mom.

Keep things accessible for independence.

  • My kids love to snack. In some ways, they really think that the kitchen is a drive-thru and that I’m a short order cook. Well…I try and limit my time in the kitchen and my time spent replenishing my pantry and fridge. I have a set menu for the week but my snacks can be more of an option. The kids can choose some sort of fresh fruit or something in the snack bin. blog 2This little bin, purchased for one dollar at the dollar store and labeled, is filled with any snack I feel that they can have at any time. Its located where all the kids can access it. Miss Missy, due to her current allergies, has her own bin at her height. When I menu plan, I hit the kids up for suggestions on what they would like in their bin. The kids’ snack bin is located next to the red bin in the pantry. Miss Missy’s is the light blue bin on the bottom right. blog 4What about snacks that I am saving or only want my kids to have every once in a while??? Those are kept on the top shelf labeled kids treats in the red bin. That bin is where I store extra candy, granola bars or fruit snacks for their co-op days, or anything that I don’t want them consuming without my knowledge.

blog 3

  • I also don’t want to be a “nag”…constantly repeating myself in regards to the kids’ bathroom behavior and getting ready for the morning. Putting up charts and visual reminders are a great way to assist kids in what is expected. This sign hangs in the kids’ bathroom next to the sink. I seriously, made this a few years ago with Google images and Microsoft Word. The kids love it! Once their bathroom is painted, this little ditty will get a nice frame. checklist 2The second little chart appears right before the children make their way down the front stairs for the morning. It looks like this:checklist 1I often smile to myself as I see the little eyes scan this sheet before they descend the stairs. If I feel like one of them seems to be “forgetting” several of these, I will send them upstairs to “memorize” the sheet. We have had little “forgetting” in this house.
  •  I keep all of the children’s washcloths in a bin on the floor of the linen closet. This allows the kids to easily grab one before they jump in the shower.  I see no need in folding them. I use to fold them and place them neatly on a shelf. Then one of the kids would grab one, and let the rest of them fall to the ground. This little wicker basket has conquered two issues: I don’t have to fold washcloths and the kids can easily locate a washcloth.
  • I also installed a double closet rod in my hall closet to hang the little kids coats for the winter. After adding a few little hangers, it makes it way easier for them to hang their coats and for their siblings to assist as well.

Create spaces for your kids

When my husband and I moved into our new house three years ago, we sacrificed more yard space for a larger house with an open floor plan. I loved how spacious my new house was and was eager to give everything a place. People were often surprised that I had decided to designate a “school room” in my house for my kids. However, it seemed to be necessary for someone who would be schooling four and then five children to have enough space to house all the stuff that that would require. school room 2 school roomAs you can tell, this room is currently “under construction”. However, you get the general idea. The kids have their own “cubbies” and places for stuff. There are plenty of activities to occupy the little tots while I am working with one of the other kids.

As our family grows and our children undergo new developmental stages, the hubs and I will continually look for ways to help them in maintaining their independence.

I would love to hear how you create a kid-friendly environment…anyone want to offer some suggestions??? I’m always looking for some great ideas!!!

God Bless,