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Parenting Advice: What to Do About Breaking a Child’s Bad Habits?

When it comes to bad habits, there are a few things that parents can do in order to help their children break them. 

First and foremost, it is important to be consistent with any consequences that are put in place for breaking the bad habit. For example, if a child is disrespectful and is told that they will lose screen time for a week as a consequence, then it is critical that the parent follows through with this consequence every single time the child is disrespectful. This will help the child understand that their actions have real-world consequences that they will have to face. 

It is also important for parents to provide solutions for their children whenever they break a bad habit. For example, if a child is being lazy and not doing their homework, the parent could sit down with them and help them come up with a plan to get their work done. This could involve setting up a specific time each day for homework, setting smaller goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and providing incentives for completing tasks.

Finally, it is helpful for parents to lead by example when it comes to breaking bad habits. If a parent is trying to get their child to stop watching inappropriate shows, then the parent should also avoid watching these types of shows themselves. This will send the message to the child that these types of behaviors are not acceptable.

Bad habits can be difficult to break, but with consistency, parenting solutions, and leading by example, parents can help their children overcome them.

Back-to-school Shopping Tips for Mixed-Age Group Families

As a parent of a mixed-age group family (elementary, middle school, and high school students), it can be difficult to find affordable clothes and supplies for your children--I've been there! However, with a little bit of organization and planning, you can save time and money on back-to-school shopping.

One way to save money is to shop at consignment stores or thrift shops. You can often find brand brand-name clothes at a fraction of the price. Another option is to buy used school supplies online or at garage sales.

Another way to save time is to shop online. You can find great deals on clothes and supplies at websites like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Plus, you can avoid the crowds and long lines at the stores.

When it comes to back-to-school shopping for mixed-age group families, it’s all about organization and planning. Here are a few tips to help save time and money:

1. Start by creating a budget and sticking to it. This will help keep your spending in check.

2. Shop online. Not only is it more convenient, but you can often find better deals online than in stores.

3. Compare prices before buying anything. It’s not always necessary to buy the most expensive items on the market – sometimes you can find cheaper alternatives that are just as good.

4. Set a day for each family member to shop for their specific needs. This will help avoid overlap and ensure that everyone gets what they need.

5. Take advantage of sales and discounts whenever possible. Many stores offer seasonal sales, so it’s worth checking out their websites or flyers before making any purchases.

With a little bit of organization and planning, you can easily save time and money on back-to-school shopping for your mixed-age group family.

Personal Experience with the Teens Pushing Back, Talking Back

I must admit I'm not ready for these major mental and physical changes my two adult sons and their younger brothers are going through!  There I said it!  I recall when I started this blog back in the day when the two younger ones were in diapers and the two older ones were in elementary school.  Now fast forward, I got two in high school and two grown men.  That photo to the right when you scroll down, are my four sons when they were fun and naive without a care in the world!  Two not-so fun busy working and the other two having too much fun time to work soon!

These days I am seeing all of them go through personality and bodily changes that I know are normal for their ages, you know arriving at their manhood, defining who they are and what they hope to accomplish in life, but there is this other personality developing that is pushing back with the two younger ones.  This personality shows up and tells me at any given moment of the day regardless of what I ask or demand, "No I'm not doing...I don't want to...I don't have to..."  Whoah!  Who is this?  Excuse me?  Now I realize why parents had to go get belts back in the day or kick kids out!

"Excuse me, but you will do or else...what did you say?  Who do you think you are?  After all I have done for you, and you treat me this way...I don't like you right now.  I'm taking everything out of the room, and you can sleep on the floor for all I care!"  

Yes, the joys of parenting.  The clock is ticking, and I have less than 36 months to prepare them for the great move.  Yes, they will be moving out sooner rather than later.  My rules are if you think you are old enough to manage your lifestyle, then by all means, here's the door!  These coming months are becoming increasingly more uncomfortable for them, because there will be no relying on me for everything like they once had.  "You need personal products; you earn money, and you buy them.  You need this taken care of, you can fill out the form and do your research and make a phone call.  You got to have....and there's Jesus!"

"But you did this, Mom and you said, Mom...I don't want to...I don't have to..."  So, the conversations of explaining and listening, explaining and listening turned into shut-downs and shut-outs until we meet again on the same topic or a multitude of different topics.  I had enough of the merry-go-round.  I put action to what I originally told them, you want out, you will start by doing the kind of things that will ensure a safe exit.  Dad had to get on board; otherwise, the ship was going to sink.  When I talked about their plans of redirecting what they were asking for to him, he had time to talk to them.

Parents have to be on the same page, but sometimes it has to be a bit uncomfortable for the parent that is less strict to see what the future might look like if we all continue to let children have their way.  The future isn't so bright when separation rears its ugly head.  I have been there in a previous marriage that ended up in divorce court.  Many factors involved in that sour end including the parenting issues.

The talking back with the rebellious teen has led to no explanation necessary and nothing else given.  It has also stopped any future opportunities that had once been discussed.  Plans to remove devices out of rooms is forthcoming for a limited amount of time with not a chance in sight for a decision to be reversed.  It's unfortunate that it had to come to that, but I told them, "Enough."  I meant it.

Chores and other tasks that needed to be completed could not be put off any longer.  They were to either do them or suffer the consequences of favorite items not being bought by them, of course.  "Sorry guys, I have no budget for your wants or needs, that's why there are ways to earn money legally and ethically.  They are called jobs.  I will not assume any more of your responsibilities or burdens. It's not fair to me or your dad.  By law we are required to give you the basics not the luxuries, capice?"

I spelled everything in writing since one son joked, "Well I don't see anything in writing so you can't hold us accountable."  But I did.  It's up here on the fridge.  "I didn't sign anything," he says.  "Your signature isn't necessary to enforce rules that have long existed in this household that you chose not to follow."  It got more uncomfortable for him as a result of his smart mouth.  "Would you like your phone shut off so that you can focus on your chores?  Of course not, just do what you are told and enough with your comments."  I said something about we all live here, don't you want a nice place to stay?  I guess that last line made a difference and started and completed his chores.

So, you see, it hasn't been easy for me, but I am doing the best that I can.  I hope that you too are hanging in there, Parent, and standing your ground.

Nicholl McGuire is the owner of this blog and the author of When Mothers Cry.  She also has a blog on home organizing, see here.  

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