Ep 47. Raising Children of Character with Monica Swanson

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Monica Swanson, blogger, author and host of the Boy Mom Podcasts. She is also author of the book, Boy Mom which came out in August 2019.

Monica speaks about how we can raise children of character and integrity as well as cultivating a strong family dynamic. She also shares some tips to help us on this journey of raising our children.

What are the key things to focus on?

Think about what you ultimately want in raising your children. The ultimate goal is to raise kids into the young adults that they will be when we launch them into the world one day.

Faith and character are key. Look at how various opportunities, challenges, school subjects, and activities help to shape their character. Use all the things in our daily lives to point our kids and start to focus on shaping their character.

Introduce character qualities throughout the day when kids are little. (ex: responsibility, honesty). Attach these character qualities to the things you are asking of your children or teaching them.

Parents must model the character that we want our kids to embrace.

The Importance of Consequences

Giving praise to our children for their honesty and good behavior is important, but it is equally important to use consequences if they’ve broken a rule.

Be prepared and have consequences for behaviors in place before you are in the situation with your child. As hard as they are, consequences are a mom’s best friend!

Also consider natural consequences and allow them to take place. In life if you forget something, there’s not some magic fairy that’s going to deliver it to you or rescue you from trouble. Parents shouldn’t enable their child and be that magic fairy.

If there are no natural consequences, find a logical one where you can tie the consequence as closely as possible to the offense.  For example, if your child is on their iPad instead of doing chores, then the consequence could be no iPad for 24 hours.

The key is to show them that if they don’t fulfill their job, they will have consequences for their actions.

Helping our Children Deal with Anger and Disappointment

Every child is different, and all kids are going to express their emotions differently. Parents need to be students of their child and learn how they are wired.

When kids are young, talk to them about feelings and teach them feeling words. In boys, it’s common for them to put all their emotions into the angry category, when in fact they are actually disappointed or frustrated.

  1. The first step is to sit down with your child and help them to calm down. Then talk with them to see what exactly they are experiencing at the moment.
  2. Help them to put a name to that feeling and expand their emotional vocabulary.
  3. Help your child understand that feelings are not wrong, it’s just how God wired us.
  4. Teach them the appropriate response to what they are feeling because they are responsible for how they handle their emotions.

If your child responds inappropriately when angry, you may have to involve consequences and to let them know what they will be.

Parents have to follow through on enforcing the consequences so that their child learns to trust that you mean what you say- i.e. Tough Love!

Remember – if you don’t discipline your child within the safety of your home, the world will give them consequences if they don’t learn self-control and how to handle their feelings.

How to Give Children a sense of Positive Control?

Parents need to foster healthy relationships with their children by establishing rules and setting boundaries. A relationship with out rules leads to rebellion.

When we set boundaries or give them rules to follow, children need to know that there are plenty areas of their life where they have control and are making decisions every day.

You can give them choices within your boundaries. For example, Here’s three things you can do today and no, you can’t get on a device right now, but look, you could build Legos, play outside, or do some artwork.

So as long as they feel like they have some choices, this helps them accept the limitations or boundaries that we have set for them.

 Also discuss with your children and have their input in helping you establish the rules and boundaries for their behavior.

Give your children something age-appropriate to do that they are responsible for that contributes to the family (chores around the house, packing their lunches etc.). The more they can start to be responsible for their own things the better it will be for them when they launch out on their own.

Find a list of key age-appropriate life skills and start to teaching them to your children. Set goals with your children for mastering these specific life skills.

Create a Family Dynamic where it’s Safe to Express Emotions

Remember every family has different dynamics. The key for strengthening the family dynamic is modeling by showing our children what we do when we are overwhelmed or frustrated and communicating this to our children.

You can tell them you’re sad or angry and then model how to navigate it so they know what to do when they are in a similar situation. You’re giving them tools and permission to feel, but you’re also teaching them what to do with those feelings.

Parents also need to set boundaries when they are navigating through their own emotions and they need time apart from their children. When you need that time to yourself, do not let them follow you. You must be firm, and you must say that you need this time for yourself. This teaches them to respect someone’s time and space.

I hope this information has been helpful for you as your navigate parenthood. If you have any questions or podcast episode ideas, please join us inside the free community and share them with us. I love hanging out over there and going deeper about these podcast episodes and getting to know each of you on a more personal level.

And as always mama, I am here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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