Friday, April 30, 2010

How to be a Parent Part II

So approximately four weeks ago, I posted Evan's and I first three rules for parenting.  The first segment is here.

To recap though, our first three rules are: 
(1) No TV in the children's bedroom
(2) No Significant others in the children's bedroom
(3) 1 sport, 1 musical activity: maximum of 2 activities.

Well, since I'm officially in my 34th week, I figured that today would be a great day to continue on another three rules.

Allowance is to be earned
Similarly to the "no TV in children's bedroom rule" Evan's pretty adamant about this rule.  He was actually the creator of this rule.
Our parents had completely different rules with allowance growing up.  Evan got a very organized and set amount of money each month.  He did not have chores he had to do, it was just given to him. When they had chores they wanted the children to do (such as pulling weeds), they just told them to do it.  But they never had a set thing each week.
My allowance was never set.  I usually just went to to my Dad and said he hadn't given me lunch money for over a month and he remarked with a funny "you chunk-o, you shouldn't be eating as much" and would give me a kiss on the cheek and occasionally would remember that sure enough, he hadn't given me allowance in a while.  (by the way, my Dad is amazing...if some random person happens to read this blog, he wasn't serious about the chunk-o thing.  He always told me he thought I was too skinny if anything.  My Dad just jokes around a lot, this is our relatinoship and it's tough to explain, but we're really really close.)
I did have some chores to do, but must admit, it really wasn't bad.  I cleared the table and washed dishes in the evening and during the summers, I made my parents bed and watered the plants on the days the cleaning lady didn't come.  Like I said, I really was quite privileged and spoiled.
My parents did do one thing that I liked a lot though.  Starting my senior year of high school, the cleaning lady was not permitted to enter my room.  This meant that I started doing laundry, cleaning my room, etc.  I think this is a brilliant idea.  At least by the time I went to college, I knew how to handle a clogged toilet, sink, and how to get rid of lines on the bottom of my bath tub.  I know I was privileged, I'm not saying I wasn't.  I just at least appreciate that they did make me do this for a year. 
My Dad has told me before that one regret he has as a parent is that we (as in my siblings and I) had it too easy.  As much as I hate to admit it, I think he's right.  Evan thinks him and his siblings had it too easy as well.  For this reason, I do agree with Evan's rule.  Allowance will be earned and will be set as it was in his household. I like the organized method that his Mom set.  That fits with my personality too.  Each week the children will have different chores.  If they don't complete their chores, then no allowance...too bad, so sad.

Family Date Night Once a Month
This rule mainly will start to apply once the children want to go out on the weekends to be with their friends.  We're stealing this rule from my family, not Evan's.  Evan family had a tougher time accomplishing this because they were often at swim meets on the weekends, but even if our children are swimmers, they'll have to somehow set aside a night.  I have to admit, my family likes spending time together!  We didn't see spending time together as a punishment ever.  I think with Evan and his siblings, this was even easier to accomplish because they were all boys in the same age range.  But since Danny and I are of the opposite sex and nearly 8 years apart, it was good to make this a set rule.  So, once a month, it was a rule...we went out on a family date night: no significant others allowed.  The great thing about this was that we rotated who got to choose the date night.  While my family was good about spending time together (watching Spurs games or eating dinner together), we rarely did go out bowling together.  This rule made that happen, and I LOVED it.
We did lots of fun thigns together.  For instance, my Dad might choose going out to dinner as a family and we'd go to a really nice restaurant, not a quick meal.  It was the EVENING that we spent together.  I chose to go bowling.  Danny chose to go to Dave and Busters.  My Mom always chose really cute things too: going to see a play at the Majestic.
I'm already excited for these monthly date nights.  I hope our children enjoy them as much as I did.

No Friends in the Car for First FOUR Months
Our kids will hate this rule, but I think all parents have a similar rule.  In my family, this rule was for the first 6 months, and obviously since Carlos' death, it's completely understandable why they had it.  Evan's parents had this rule too...I think there's was for the first 3 months, thefore, four seems like a fair compromise.
 One thing we'll change from our parents though, is that we'll actually check up on them.  We both cheated with this rule!  We were stupid teenagers!! I don't know how we'll do it, but if it takes me sitting outside the movie theatre to make sure they're the only ones getting in the car, then that's what we'll do.  Having a car is a privilege.  If they don't follow the rules, then they'll get it taken away for a little while.

I just realized that with all these rules we seem like we'll be really strict.  We probably will be.  Correction: I will be. I think Evan will be more flexible than I will be, but not for everything.  I think I'll feel guilty and he'll have a much more "eh, they'll learn to deal with it" approach.
While I know we'll be strict for certain things, I also know that I want our children to be happy.  We will be fun parents.  This might be a great thing about the fact that we got pregnant sooner in life than we had intended.  We'll remember what it's like to be a teenager: it sucked ass.  I hope I remember that.

Hope you liked this part of the series!  More to come in a few weeks I'm sure...we still have quite a few more written down!


  1. great advice. Having 8 kids I can use all the advice I can get.

  2. I LOVE this! Although my kids are still babies, I think this will come in handy someday. I think teens strive for structure (although probably won't admit it). Thanks for sharing.