Tara Kennedy-Kline
Friday was report card day. I know my boys are smart and I know they do their homework (because I hover over them like a vulture on a dying rabbit) so I wasn't the list bit worried as I opened the envelopes.

So, I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when my oldest (and most responsible) son brought home an F (hold on...I just threw up a little) in Spanish.

When I saw it, I was kind of in denial. I had to go back to the little grading chart like 3 times to make sure I wasn't mistaken...and I wasn't. Suddenly, the whole paper went black and all the other grades (a's and b's I might add) just disappeared and I could see was one ugly mark among the 9 on the paper.

Now, I don't want anyone to misunderstand...I was NOT an honor roll student by any stretch of the imagination...but I do expect more from my kids because, well, they're not ME! And more importantly, my husband is a brilliant man and wonderful teacher (as well as VERY educated in Spanish) so I would have thought my sons would know intuitively to come to him or me for help if they needed it.

My husband sent an email to the teacher to try to understand what happened and until we received a reply this morning, we focused on helping our son to understand what he must do to bring up his grade...including taking him to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and making him use his Spanish the whole time (lol...oh don't judge me!)

My husband and I had several discussions about "what we are doing wrong" that would lead to our son getting a failing grade in ANY of his courses...and I will admit, I felt a great deal of guilt, blame and shame around the whole thing, which made me rather defensive and angry. We came up with a plan that we thought would help our children become better students and increase their grades and we spent alot of time trying to figure out what we need to change as Mom and Dad to inspire our kids to do better in school...

And then, we got this reply from Max's Spanish teacher:

Thank you for e-mailing me. Max and I had talked about his grade a couple a weeks ago. In our discussion, Max admitted to me that he felt like he was struggling and asked me if he could have a tutor. I was very proud of him, because a lot of students don't like to admit they need extra help. I did find him a very strong 8th grade Spanish student to help him. He and Max have been working together for the past week and a half and I can see Max feeling more confident, which is wonderful. Right now, Max has an 86 for the 3rd quarter.

I think part of the problem was, he wasn't sure how to study properly for Spanish and he wasn't asking for help when he didn't understand. ... (Deleted some fluffy stuff here)

...Max is such a great kid and he participates all the time in class, even when he gets something wrong he still is not afraid of trying. This is wonderful to see because usually students have a hard time when they get something wrong and are afraid to try again.

And then I cried a little...

Mostly because I realized that all that time and energy we spent this weekend arguing over what we had done wrong or what Max had done wrong, was a big fat waste! Our time would have been better served to ASK what we could do to help and WAIT for the answer...because what we found out is that our kid is really good at (better than us apparently) asking for what he needs and then accepting the help.

So my Mom Reality Bytes #21 is that when it all boils down, we are left with the fact that we may not be raising a child who's awesome in Spanish...but we are raising a young man who is awesome at communicating his needs and honoring the gifts in others. And that is probably the most important language we can possess.
Connie Ruth Christiansen
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Tara Kennedy-Kline
My 20th Reality of 2012 came to me as I was responding to a post on "Should we discipline our children". One of the contributors has a very firm platform from which she speaks on parenting. Although I do not always agree with her...I honestly respect her conviction and dedication to bring peace to our world through parenting.

The following post was in response to several comments that boiled down to: There is NEVER a time to discipline or punish a child...and rules are just another tactic parents use to force their authority over children.

That being said, here is what I realized for ME as a parent:

Being the ever "grey" area...I feel I must say that there are exceptions to almost any scenario in life. I believe the part that has me concerned is the part about not allowing "rules".

First I must level the field by saying that I do believe there is a difference between Discipline and Punishment. I do believe that Discipline is a natural process of modeling to teach and guide. And I do believe that punishment is punitive action meant to change a behavior.

However, I do not believe that punishment is strictly physical, I do not believe that all punishment is harmful and I do not believe that there is NEVER a time when punishment is necessary...

let me explain...

One of the definitions of punishment is to cause pain (which I do not condone) the other is to cause discomfort. Discomfort is not universally "pain" induced.

I can cause my child discomfort by telling them to leave the room if they are being disrespectful to my adult friends. I can cause my baby discomfort by removing him from the breast while nursing should he bite me.

In these cases, my idea of "discomfort" can also be called "natural consequences"...and are in deed, by definition, punishment.

So yes, I do believe that their are times when rules, boundaries or principles that we have set are challenged, broken or tested and that we as "Mentors" and parents, must use punishment (i.e.: cause discomfort) to discipline (i.e.: guide/teach) our children in the course of their journey into adulthood.

By standing up for our beliefs, rules, agreements and principles, we teach our children integrity, accountability and respect...for others as well as themselves.

I also believe that one of the biggest contributors to bullying is that we have abandoned the concept of modeling and upholding boundaries. When we teach our children that there are no consequences for disrespecting a person's boundaries (be those rules, limits, opinions, beliefs or personal space) we teach them apathy and arrogance and at the same time embed in them the belief that they have no right to create their own boundaries.

Furthermore, by allowing children to believe that they are "untouchable" and I mean that in a metaphorical way, not in a physical way, we make them fearless...and without fear of consequences, we are left without conscience or emotional intelligence.

Free will means "free to choose", not "free to abandon all rational behavior". If there are no "poor choices" than we are left with the concepts of either perfection or chaos...both of which are too absolute to be healthy and both of which will eventually cause total breakdown.

Children, as all human beings, need to be aware that they are in total control of their actions and in some cases, their "actions" or "choices" may violate another person's rules or boundaries and that person probably will not have the connection and relationship to discuss or debate with them.

In Stop Raising Einstein, Discover the Unique Brilliance in Your Child...and You! I wrote:

"A child is responsible for how she or he reacts and thereby the results that she or he creates."

Not all of those results will be ideal. Some of them will be met with discomfort. It's all part of the reality of our life and the process of learning and growing through experience and lessons
Tara Kennedy-Kline
I am a very emotional and highly spirited person.

I cry at the drop of a hat and I have a deep seeded need for people to like me.

My "Love Languages" are: words of affirmation and physical touch.

So when a person like me comes into her "passion years" (between 40 & 55) sex becomes more than just an turns into that "thing" that makes us feel beautiful, sensual, desirable, loveable and loved. It becomes an affirmation that we are not only needed, but wanted. And for many, it becomes as necessary as food and water…

So then why is it that so many of us Moms hit this sexual revolution just when our bodies and our lives begin to rebel against us?

I swear…on the exact same day as my libido spiked that’s also when my metabolism crashed, the lock on my bedroom door broke, the kids starting asking why they can't have a baby sister and my husband found a renewed love of video games and that couch cushion on the far right!!!! (Ok...maybe that didn’t all happen on the exact same day…but it sure felt like it!)

But this some kind of cosmic game? 'Cuz if it is...another thing the universe needs to know about me is I HATE TO LOSE!

So here it is: I'm just putting it out there that I am going to do whatever it takes to get my groove on...Even if that means I have to go back to doing P90X, install my own lock on the bedroom door and start playing old George Michael tapes while I dance in front of that couch cushion on the far right!

"Well I guess it would be nice…”
Tara Kennedy-Kline
This was a sucky morning!

A Cold, dreary, Monday, can’t get my car out of it’s snow/ice prison, kid#1 forgot his saxophone, husband didn’t dig out my car, kid#2 won’t get out of bed, pants don’t fit, burnt the toast, put your coat on over your pajamas, missed the bus, slipped down the hill on the ice, hate my hair, screw this day, where the hell is my coffee? Cancel all my appointments I’m going back to bed! kind of morning!!!

It was the kind of morning that makes loving happy moms turn into screaming, crying nut balls who lash out irrationally.

I tried to be calm…I tried to be all the things and use all the techniques that I as a coach tell my clients to follow…but today, I lost it. I had a BAD morning!

Should I be thankful I woke up this morning? Yes, yes I should
Should I be thankful for everything around me? Sure.
Should I take into consideration how blessed I am? Of course.
Should I understand that it was not my family’s intention to piss me off? WHAT ever!

But today, all that stuff just wasn’t working for me! What I needed to do was throw a fit!
What I needed to do was all that crap that I tell my sons to do when they are mad and need to get out their anger without hurting someone!!!
I needed to punch pillows!
I needed to scream into my blankets!
I needed to throw snowballs at my car!
I needed to kick empty boxes until they smashed!!!
I needed to write big bold curse words on my dry erase board IN CAPITAL LETTERS!
…and then, I needed a time out.

So I did all of it! And now, I am calm.
Now I am relaxed and ready to take a look at what really happened this morning that made our day so crazy…and I what we need to do as a family to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

And you know what else happened? My kids got to see me lose my temper. They got to see me flip out and lose “it” without losing control. They got to see me handle my crap exactly the way I tell them too. They got to see that just because we had a bad morning, that doesn’t have to mean we must have a bad day, or week, or month, it just means we have something to evaluate and correct for. They got to see that although Mom is a “coach” Mom is also human, but being “human” doesn’t permit me to be stupid and break stuff or hurt others...that is how animals attack.

So today I realized that I CAN have a bad day! I can Lose my temper & allow my anger as long as I bring it back & learn from it. 'Cuz That’s what it looks like “When Coaches Attack!”
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