Monday, April 30, 2012

In training.

Sofie had a soccer game Saturday.

The kids and I, designated cheerleaders, braved the wind and clouds and chill.  I "thought" it was a grand idea.  There was a playground, lots of room to run, and opportunities galore to socialize Charlie.  The reality was all-out torture for Sam.  The poor sick fella. I have YET to meet an infant who likes getting his nose wiped.  Prove me wrong, I dare you.

But there's a point to all this soccer-attending stuff.

There was a man with a dog.  And not just any dog.  A grown-up Charlie dog.  A glimpse into our future.  

And...I'm a little nervous.  Charlie WILL be a big, strong dog (with a big, strong tongue:)).

(follow the pictures.  They tell a funny story.  It was even funnier in person.)

I received an impromptu Dog-Training 101 from this man.  And boy, am I grateful.  It was the impetus for my subsequent checking out of a book on puppy-training. 

Said book has saved me in the Charlie-realm.  Wait, said book has educated me, empowered me.  I am confident and hopeful, not discouraged and afraid, like I WOULD HAVE BEEN, had I not read this book.  Knowledge is power.  THIS is true.  (but it's not the book, itself, it's the skills I never knew existed and the expectation I never knew you needed.)

Dog-training has evolved my take on parenting.  I know, kids aren't dogs.  But, there are principles in the rearing of both that, if implemented, are so effective.  Boundaries.  Clear expectations.  Immediate consequences.  Rewards.  Tone of voice.  Time.  Love, love, love.  Setting them up for success.  Building trust.  Loyalty.

I found myself analyzing how I parented, finding places where I needed to "tighten up," so to speak.  Sometimes, not being clear in my expectations leads to misunderstandings on my kids' part (when they're trying so hard to please) and, consequently, frustration on my part.  It's a discouraging cycle.

Keep it simple.  Keep it clear.

They are willing to DO when they understand the task at hand.  I had to stop assuming they knew what I MEANT/IMPLIED.  They're kids.  I'm Mom.  I know the house like the back of my hand.  That's my job.  However, for my kids, getting to know the house like backs of their hands is not a top priority.  But I expect them to have a civil, working relationship:).  You love what you serve, right?  Does that include a home?  I think so.

I never would have thought a book about dogs would make me a better parent.  

But it has. 

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