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Things I Learned from My Mom While She Thought I Wasn’t Paying Attention (3)

2012 February 14


I remember talking to my friend, Page, about growing up and how things were for us, when she commented, “We didn’t have strangers coming in and out of our house. Some kids today don’t know who they’re going to find when they come home from school or even when they get up in the morning.”

This struck me later when we were in parenting classes and the discussion turned to the importance of letting the kids know what was happening next, how the week was going to go, and when we do things like eat breakfast or have dinner; all of which is a departure from what most of the kids we’ll be exposed to are experiencing. More than just the “House Rules”, the idea is to replace the uncertainty and disorganization with predictability and structure.

But I already knew all about that.

When I was a kid my mom would let us know things, usually well in advance and always repeated. As we got older we used to laugh about it and tease her; but now that I’m even older I appreciate what she did for us and know first hand why it’s important to do the same for kids today; especially those in foster care.

We knew dinner was at a certain time, and if it wasn’t going to be at that time we were told the new time and why. We knew what were doing the next three weekends in advance. We had a predictable routine and if anything was going to change – and it rarely did – we knew about it in advance.

The example that came to mind when I was talking with Page was the time we were going to have an overnight guest.

We knew a lot about this gentleman a week before he arrived. We knew how he knew my father, where he was from, why he was coming to our town, when he would arrive and when he would leave.

We were reminded of all this the day before he arrived and the morning of his arrival while we were getting ready for school.

Lesson: Let kids know what’s going in the house, because it’s their home too. 

Photo: “Cutlery on Red Plate” by Yenhoon

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