Wednesday, 18 October 2017

One-on-One Time

Parenting six kids is sometimes a challenge.
People often ask how I do it..
How I manage or how I cope..

Over the next few days I'm going to share with you a few tricks of the trade with the first one being *drum roll please* 


I make it my effort to get to know each of my children daily. I ask them questions that tell me things about them and I make myself available for them to come to me with things on their hearts. Every child is different and the way they open up and share can sometimes catch me off guard and just when I think I know them quite well, they surprise me with something new.
Children grow, its inevitable. and so do I in my way of thinking, listening and understanding them. Each child challenges me and as a mother and Aunt to them all I love hearing it all. Sometimes I prompt them to tell me about their friends and the happenings at school other times they question me about things on their minds. Each child is different and I have different relationships with each of them. The way I speak to Janai for instance is completely different to the way Jie and I are with each  other. It all comes down to relationship. I have two children who are not shy with their opinions or get embarressed about things to easy but then I also have two who sometimes shut down all together until they're ready to share and come to me. This is where its important to make one-on-one time for them. Living in such a large family in such a small home is hard even for me. I take personal phone calls in my backyard or in my car just for privacy so I get that its sometimes hard for the kids to speak to me without being in ear shot from another child so this is where our one-on-one days come into it. For Christmas this year I gave each child 2 movie vouchers for them to use anytime they wanted/needed some me and them time. Away from the others. I was quite impressed when they actually used them throughout the year when they did want that time with me and not just to get out of school. But I also ask the kids at different times throughout the year (usually when I see that they are struggling with something or have something on their mind) if they'd like to spend a day with me.

Today Jeanette and I spent some quality time together. I gave her the day off school and we went down the coast for lunch. She has been through a fair bit over the last few months and with court now over and the verdict being that she will be with me now until just before her 18th birthday I wanted to get a feel about how she was feeling about it all. She too had been hinting for weeks now that she wanted a me-her day so it was bound to happen eventually.

As we sat on the beach together we each shared bits and pieces of where we were at. Our fears, thoughts and daily lives back home. Today Jeanette shared something I will never ever forget. Something I wasn't expecting to hear but something I didnt realize that I actually needed to hear. I asked her what she thought her life would look like if I had never got involved when I did just over 2 years ago. Her reply still plays in my head. Sprinkling sand through her fingers looking directly at me she said "To be completely honest, I'd either be locked up, wanted or dead". Now for me and maybe even you, this statement may feel a little extreme. But reality is the group of friends Jeanette was around before she came here are either locked up, wanted or now not with us. This is very real to her and not something I knew she thought about. I am so proud that her and I have such an open and honest relationship. Loving her is easy but sometimes communication can be hard. Today was a good day for us. Hopefully future one-on-one days will keep that communication open so she can continue to grow and thrive and trust again.

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