Tara Kennedy-Kline Tara Kennedy-Kline
Listen in to this week's Stop Raising Einstein Radio show with guest Gina author of "Shut up About Your Perfect Kid!" www.blogtalkradio.net

Tara Kennedy-Kline's Blogs

Tara Kennedy-Kline
I love this concept as it ties directly to "Self forgiveness" which is paramount in teaching self love/respect. This is exactly why I include "do overs' in my journaling for families.

One of the questions we ask of each other is "What did I experience or create today that I would do over if I could?" and Then we ask: "What could I do differently next time to be happy about it?" from these questions, we open the door to talk about "what did I learn from it?"

Having these types of conversations with our kids not only shows them that "mistakes happen", but by going first as the adult, we let them see that mom and dad (and their teachers and their coaches) make mistakes too. It's important to model for children that we do not need to beat ourselves up over those mistakes...instead, we should look at them as an opportunity to learn, grow, and plan for the "do overs", even if they are only in our head.

The concept of visualizing corrective actions teaches our children to forgive, prepare and problem solve which are invaluable life skills to carry them through and over the obstacles life will throw in their path as teens and adults.
Tara Kennedy-Kline
I am rather active on many blog sites, parenting sites and magazines...and the topics are pretty much the same no matter where you go. Spanking, Piercing, Discipline, Homework, Feelings, Feedings, Manners, Who's really in charge and who does it the best...

But what I realized today is that nearly all the people who most actively participate in those conversations are either degreed or self proclaimed "experts" who are basically doing little more than telling each other their philosophies and what makes THEIR opinion (or research or diagnoses or program) right! I'm starting to wonder who is really benefiting from all these studies and research and parenting programs...I very rarely hear from a real world parent...and almost never hear from one who is ASKING for help!

I'm starting to believe that the only people who give a crap about how parents are raising their kids are the "experts" who think they know how everyone should be raising their kids! Because while all of those experts are spending their time battling beliefs and studying research & statistics to get their "parenting PhD"...the rest of us are spending our time parenting our kids.
Tara Kennedy-Kline
As I sat at the table during my son's IEP team meeting...I realized something.
(Shocking, I know!)
Hearing my son constantly referred to as "Special Needs" really just kind of irritates me!

They kept saying things like "Well I know that behavior is a result of his "special needs." and "That teacher is better suited to him because she is trained in working with kids with "special needs" and "We understand that tests and homework may have to be handled differently because he has "special needs"...

But all I kept hearing in my head was..."Don't we ALL have "special needs"?"

I know I do! And I know my husband does. And I know my best friend does, and her husband does, and the neighbor’s kids do...and my oldest son does...But not in an IEP way or autism support way or even a medicate able way. Just in our own "unique" way.

For example: One of my "special needs" is; I have to be asked if I have the time in my schedule before I will be willing to do a "favor" for someone.

I also have a "special need" to be told when people are leaving or retiring for the night...if you leave me without telling me, I will flip out. (So what! It's MY special need!)

My husband's "special need" is he wants us to have chores done by the time he gets home and/or without him having to ask. He also has a "special need" that we talk to him before loaning out anything (even if it's someone else's to loan out...like MY car or Max's airsoft equipment) He "needs" to be in control of our family’s belongings and whereabouts.

These things may seem trivial and even a bit odd...but they are the "special needs" which are unique to us. And when these “special needs” are met, it just makes our lives easier and happier. It's about knowing and understanding the people around us in order to keep peace and harmony more than it is about diagnosing and labeling a person based on the number or severity of the needs they have.

Personally, I think ALL kids should be treated as though they have "special needs"! All kids should go through an "evaluation" process with their teachers to find out what will help them to have a happier, easier more successful experience in school (and at home too for that matter)! What the heck? Why not? Isn't it our goal to raise happy, successful children?

So if all it will take is a bit of communicating, a bit of listening, a bit of understanding and then a bit of specializing or customizing to make every child a happy, successful student and every family a happy, healthy, successful team...then I say label every one of us "Special Needs" or just scrap that term completely and just call us all “Unique”!!!
Tara Kennedy-Kline
I walked my kid up to the bus in my jammies today. Yes...complete with my robe and my fuzzy slippers! ALLLLLL the way up to the bus, right past 3 houses and a guy walking his dog.

SO WHAT?! That guy walking his dog was wearing the same flannel shirt and overalls he wears EVERY FRICKIN DAY and I don't judge him...but he sure felt compelled to comment on my inability to "get dressed" before I had to run out the door now didn't he?

Yeah well, you know what else I screwed up?! I didn't brush my kid's hair either! At least he HAS hair! SO, THERE!

But here's the point...who was I hurting? Who suffered or was burdened by my "jammie fiasco"? Truly?...No one. Other than exposing some neighbors to a down-home "people of Wal-Mart" experience...nothing bad happened.

So why do people feel it necessary to open their mouths? When did we make it so acceptable for the imperfect people of the world to judge the other people around them? Why do we feel the need to put ourselves on such a high horse and determine what is acceptable and what is not for other people who don't even effect us?

I understand that individuals have their own unique ideas and beliefs about how the world should look. And I get that in your perfect opinion, jammies should not be worn outside the home. And in a mature non judgmental conversation, I may even agree with you (if we are talking about public places like stores and restaurants) But when you attack me by telling me what I am doing wrong (in your opinion) and then give me examples of how you do it "right" (which is totally offensive to me if I didn't ask for your advice.) You are only going to succeed at pushing me farther and farther away from you and your beliefs...and eventually, you may even drive me to defend myself against you and take the opposite point of view. Is that really the best way to reach your goal?

Humans have gone far beyond simply expressing an opinion of others...we have crossed over into the damaging realm of micro-judging. It's like micro-managing, but with harsher consequences. And it needs to be stopped!

If I am wearing something, doing something, saying something or being something that you don't like or agree with and you feel the overwhelming need to save me from my misguided ness...please do me a favor; Stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself these questions:

Is someone suffering?
Is permanent damage being done?
Did anyone ask for my help or opinion?
Is this going to affect me or my life AT ALL?

And if all 4 answers are No, then do me a favor...bite your tongue and go be yourself!
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.
Displaying 6 to 10 of 34