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Let’s Swap: Happy Upcoming Swap Ideas Day!

Coming this Sunday, Sept. 10, alongside Grandparent’s Day is Swap Ideas Day. According to Days of the Year calendar, Swap Ideas Day encourages us to share and trade ideas and concepts. That is a perfect day for ZagZig Parents, who are consciously incompetent -- in other words, we know what we don’t know and we are willing to ask others for support.

ZagZig Parents also know that the key to build a supportive parenting network is to swap ideas that work, and even those that don’t. We all learn from the good and the more challenging experiences; and the latter is often way more memorable.

Those who have read our book, ZagZig Parenting, know this and demonstrate it when, of all things, they ask me if I am “red-chair” mad. Yes, I lost it one day with the kids and did not handle myself in the most-mom-respectable way. (I say one day, but I just have not shared the others, yet.)

As I mentioned in previous posts, we benefitted from other parents and supporters sharing their wisdom with us. When it comes to parenting, there is not just THE answer, but also multiple options depending on the family’s circumstances, people’s personalities and other outside influences. At times, other parents have helped re-examine a decision for us. Here is one of those times.

One of our four children (protecting the innocent, like the mystery of hiding a ball underneath one of several cups and shuffling them around) had been a distracted driver and totaled a family car. First and foremost, by the grace of God, the child was okay as were any others that were involved. After the safe-sound-healthy check, the ticket, the tears, admission of guilt at the distraction and more, we parents started rattling off the consequences. In hindsight, we may have set the consequences while we were still in an emotional state (not a good idea) and then, again, after the insurance rates hiked.

After a few weeks, a friend, who happened to be a parent and police officer, and knew the situation, told us we were being a bit harsh. Our child was a good kid, learned a lesson, and as an officer he had seen much worse behaviors get far less punishment.

It can be a careful line to walk, commenting on the way another parent handles a family situation. In this case, we knew our friend had positive intent, and did not accuse us of wrong doing (although in fairness he could have); he just openly shared his view. We appreciated the alternative perspective and “reduced the sentence” if you will. He was right. We had gone overboard with the never-ending consequence – wanting to be sure the child knew the seriousness of driving while distracted. We came to realize our child also needed to regain confidence by making independent decisions again.

Setting the most impactful consequences can be a challenge for parents. I appreciate venues where we swap good ideas in order to learn better ways to parent. One example is a series of classes my husband and I took a long time ago called Parenting with Love and Logic, a parenting approach built around the science of relationships, loving connections and natural consequences. Mike and I took this workshop, not just once but twice to make sure we got it down, and we still, at times, throw logic out the window, especially when emotions get the best of us. (If you are in the Omaha area, a class is starting next week at Bethany Lutheran Church )

We’d like to propose a new “Swap Meet,” one where parents and caregivers get together to create a supportive community to share ideas on how to manage the zigzag, the ZAGZIG and the chaos that naturally occurs when people raise and support thinking, feeling human beings who are yearning to make decisions of their own – maybe earlier than you want them too. At this “Swap Meet,” the idea also would be to leave guilt and judgments outside the door, and just swap stories, perspectives and inspirational moments.

Next week we will be at HOMEDADCON17 to support the 22nd annual, stay-at-home dad convention. ZagZig is proud to sponsor this event so that dads can swap ideas to support one another as the full-time family caregivers.

Let the Swap Meet commence!

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