Saturday, July 16, 2011

Times are a changin'

The school holidays are now coming to an end - in 24 hours I will be packing lunches, checking bags for all required items, laying out uniforms, writing cheques for school fees, up coming excursions and after school care.  I didn't get to do all the things I wished to do with them, nor did I spend the time I had hoped with them.  You see, times are a changing in my family, my kids - they are growing, growing older.

I have found with this holiday that they needed down time, that crafty arty pursuits were ok, but only once or twice. I discovered that my kids are more and more seeking the company of peers rather than parents, that electronic devices are my greatest challenge these days.  My kids are showing more independence too, they now want to and actually can cook cakes with little direction -  we cooked thogether rather than them cooking with me.

These holidays showed me that my kids are developing nicely and are slowly and surely getting the picture that a bigger world exists out there.  At the beginning of the holidays I gave each child a paper gift bag with : 1 Smiggle voucher (for those outside Australia - Smiggle is a very hip stationery shop that kids go mad for!) for $20, $20 cash, some lollies and a movie ticket.  This was their "stash" for the holidays I explained, I would not be spending vast sums of cash of wims and fancies.  My plan was to get them understanding that money was something that did run out, things cost money and hopefully get them to consider their purchases.

And you know what? It has worked! Eldest child has all of his cash in his piggy bank, has seen a movie and used his Smiggle voucher on some snazzy bits and bobs for school.  Middle child blew his cash in the first 24 hours, seen a movie and yes used his voucher too - but he certainly hasn't bugged either of us for anything else.   Miss Moo today went to the markets and thoroughly enjoyed buying rings, cake and necklaces.  She has really considered what she could do with her money and held on to it, she too has used her voucher but not seen a movie.
All in all they have really spent some time thinking about what they could do with their cash and seemed to really get it that once it was gone it was gone.

What has also been different these holidays is the way we are all communicating. I have had some pretty interesting conversations with these three lately, conversations that have not necessarily been started or guided by me.  Recently we had an issue at our home that involved a neighbour visiting with some DVD's, somehow one of these DVD's sustained some damage - OK it happens, taking personal belongings to another's home comes with a risk I feel. Anyway, no one knows how it became damaged, but it did.  Now our neighbours became most upset and it became an issue about "property" and "compensation" and during this "exchange" we were very taken back with the aggressive way this compensation was demanded . The upshot was that we happily handed over $10 and were left astounded that our neighbours sanctioned their child displaying such an appalling lack of manners to us.   Later over dinner, it was amazing the insight our children displayed to us - not having aired our feelings (which weren't particularly charitable by that stage but because we are the grown ups we had kept ourselves to be shared later when the kids were in bed!)...Not only did our kids hit the mark about courtesy and manners - they could not believe how out of hand the neighbours reaction was to something we would of probably offered to deal with in the first place! They expressed sympathy to us that we had to be spoken to in such a way and offered us their ideas on valuing people and managing conflict.

Man they rocked!! So much wisdom and insight! I certainly don't recall being switched on like that when I was a child, they must get it from their Dad - Mr G is very level headed and according to his Mum always has been.

So these holidays have been very different, not what I had planned or hoped for but better than I could of imagined.  They are growing up and I think I will be ok.


Just Martha said...

Sounds like u had a wonderful time! They sound pretty amazing I might borrow that trick about the bag. Especially 4 Miss T. Pity about ur neighbours. Don't suppose they will realise.their behaviour was over the top. It OS good to ne a Mummy isn't it?

Catherine said...

Your children sound so cool, and so do you Miss Prudence;) I love your idea on holidays I think it would be a hit with my two. It's funny how they all deal with the same things isn't it, I find it interesting watching them and seeing their decision making. Love the way they dealt with the neighbours too, wow a dvd why did they worry about something so minor. xo

Melody ♪♫ said...
Maturity -- what's that all about? ;D

So blessed to have "good" kids, the kind that realize what poor public behavior is...

But why, oh why did you not share your kid/cash/holiday strategy earlier? My boys have only 2 weeks of summer break left -- not near long enough to learn fiscal responsibility. Thanks for the great idea!

willywagtail said...

Sounds like your children are maturing well. I really, really like your idea of the bag of goodies for the holidays and will store it away to share with friends when the time is ripe although it is a little too late with my big kids (23, 20 and 17 and working). I enjoyed reading about their different reactions. It just shows how each child is an individual and must be treated so. Cherrie

trixi said...

I remember how difficult it seemed at first when I realised my kids were all growing up...I was used to having little kids around but I soon saw that big kids were just as much fun ... just in a different way... now I can ask them to do the shopping !

Love the brown paper bag idea!

'Joyce' said...

oh Miss Prudence, how proud you must be of your children. I absolutely LOVE this post of yours, I love how your children dealt with their rations for the holidays, I love how you gave them those choices, I love how they were so mature about the last incident. Our holidays were also very different this time around for the same reasons. Our craft box did not come out over the holidays as per usual, we did not do the 'homey' things as in the past quite as much. There is certainly a 'shift' in our little family once again as we enter the next stage of growing up. I have much to look forward to, however, would so love to slow down the clock just sos that I can savour even more the wonderful time I have with my darlings.
That paper bag idea is coming to our place next holidays, thanks so much for the inspiration.

Karen said...

Wow - so grown up in their attitudes - that's amazing. Great, great, great idea about the money and vouchers - it's a hard thing to get kids to value, well done to you all.