Monday, September 22, 2014

Love Roald Dahl!

"The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves." -Roald Dahl

    Love this quote!   Children need to shine at success, learn from mistakes, and try all over again!   Confidence from trying!   Whether successful or not.

     How do we help them along the way?  Here are a few suggestions to help:

1.  Celebrate their effort.  Point out the effort they are putting into a learning experience.  This could be climbing the playground,  cheering when they roll over (just received a video with a grandchild at 3 1/2 months doing this today), trying for their driver's licence,  studying hard for a test, etc.   Point out the effort they have put into it.

2.  Don't take away their hope when trying a new thing.  I once asked a young girl to try something that was out of her comfort zone.  She was willing to try, and a few of us were there to help her along the way.   Her mother called me a few hours later and explained her daughter would not be doing this, because she (the mother) would be too nervous for her daughter to try.  I was so saddened by this.  The mother took the daughter's chance to succeed (or maybe not) at a new experience. 

3.  Let them fix their mistakes.  Support them along the way, but let your child be the one to correct what happened.  (with a friend, making a mess, not sharing, not turning in an homework assignment, etc.)

4.  Discuss with them what they could do different next time.   Mistakes happen, and share this with them, but help them to come up with a better solution for the future.    They may need your guidance, but don't tell them what to do different, guide them to the answer.

5.  Let them PLAY, PLAY & PLAY!   All ages need to play!   (Even adults)  Laugh with them and encourage play!   Children and adults learn so many things through play.   Allow them to climb that playground (it's ok to help but don't hover!)  Allow them to drive by themselves after they get their licence (the hardest part of parenting for me!!!)   Let them take the bus at the appropriate age.   Let them get in front of an audience and sing or dance or play a sport.  

Any other ideas you may have?  Please share....there are plenty of things you can do to let your child take healthy risks!  Let us know....

Friday, July 11, 2014

Up, up and away! Being aware of our children.

It has been awhile since I posted anything.  Been traveling to see 2 new grandbabies in two different places!   It has been wonderful.

On one of my many flights this month, I sat across the aisle from a mother and her son.   The minute she got on the plane, mom was engaged with her phone.  Her son was 3 years old and sat by the window across from me.  For about an hour, he was kicking the seat in front of him, yelling, and standing up (after the flight attendant had told mom several times that he had to be in his seatbelt).  Mom just basically ignored him.  There were no toys or books for this little guy to keep him entertained.  This went on for an hour.

So, I took my headphones off and engaged mom in a conversation.  Then I started playing with him.  We did fingerplays, songs, and games.  We counted my fingers and his over and over.  Mom engaged with us at this time.    We did this for about an hour.  It entertained us both.  We started descending to our city and his little ears hurt, so he started screaming again.  I said  "don't scream, use your words and tell mommy they hurt."  So he did.  We then played a yawning game and they popped. 

As we got off the plane, mom said  "you are really good with him!"  My thought was... she could have done the same thing, she just choose to ignore him when he needed to be entertained.   Those little spaces on a plane are confining!  They are so small for kids and adults!  (that's why I entertain myself with music or books). 

I have no problem with children on an airplane.  They have just as much right to be there as I do.  The problem (not the child, but the mother ignoring him) was solved when attention was paid to the little boy.  I know the people around us were really happy when I started playing with him.

One final thought... as I was in the terminal I heard from behind... "hey, you forgot me!"  My new little friend came running up and grabbed my hand.  I explained that his mommy would miss him if he came with me, so he had to stay with mommy.  She smiled and thanked me.   Maybe some teaching was done by example.  Hopefully the next flight they were about to get on was better for him!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Teaching Children to be Resilient

I came outside the other day and saw this dandelion growing beside my neighbor’s driveway. I thought it was funny, because my neighbor has no grass, just artificial turf! I thought “that dandelion sure was resilient!” Made me think of parenting! (what doesn't make me think of parenting!)

To be resilient means: “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”. Another definition is: “resume shape or position after being bent, stretched or compressed”.

I believe we need to teach our children to be resilient. They are in a world where resiliency is important! Resilient people immediately look at the problem and say “what’s the solution to that?” or “what is that trying to teach me?”

I have had to be resilient these past few weeks (thus why I haven’t posted for awhile). We have a few health concerns going on in our family that have required my attention. Although it has been difficult, I am hoping that in my lifetime I have learned resiliency and I will be able to move on, resume my shape or position after being bent, stretched and compressed!

How do we teach this to our children?

 I think we should listen, listen, listen and then talk to them when they are struggling with something. Give them an opportunity to look at the situation in a different light. Ask them what they could do now to move forward, how can they solve the problem, what they could have done differently, what can they learn from this? All these questions and more, depending on the circumstance, will give the child a chance to learn for themselves the lessons they need and move on.

Teach them that mistakes are opportunities to learn and encourage their efforts. Logical and natural consequences are ways for children to learn resiliency also.

Hold a family meeting when a family is struggling with something. We just did this through technology to speak with all the family at once since we aren’t in the same cities. Our children are adults and they each had something to say to help with the situation or ideas as to what to do from here after they were able to process and think about it. When you hold family meetings when they are young, they will be able to do this as they are older.

An example of this when my children were young was when my husband’s company was bought out by another company and he did not have a position. He was without work around Christmas time. We had five children ages 3-14. We sat them down and explained the situation. My husband and son were delivering newspapers in the mornings so my son could earn money and as a family it was decided to take on more paper routes. We took on 4 routes. I remember it being one of the snowiest, coldest winters we had (probably because I was out at 5:00 in the morning) but we did what each of us could do to help. We kept the 4 routes until my husband was able to find a job and then my son and husband continued with their route.
I hope that this was an example to them of being resilient and able to withstand or recover quickly from a difficult condition.

So, little dandelion, I admire you and your determination in a difficult situation. I’m not sure my neighbor admired you, as I see now, that she has pulled you! At least I was able to get a picture and show the world your resiliency at the time!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Too High-Expectations

As I walked into the mud room the other day, this is what I saw: 

My daughter and her 3 children live in the apartment we have in the basement. They come through the shared mudroom to get to their place. I was always finding coats on the floor. It was driving me crazy! Now I know, mom walks in with three children, one is a baby, probably groceries, a diaper bag, preschool materials etc. It is hectic coming in the house with 3 little children. Were my expectations too high? Literally they were...

The children couldn't hang their coats up because the hooks were too high! So I solved the problem. I just put hooks lower, explained to the children where their coats go now and problem solved! We have had no more coats on the floor!

This is a simple solution, I understand, but it got me thinking about other expectations. Do we expect too much sometimes from our children?
For example..

Toddlers: We give them a plate of food and tell them to eat all of it. Most times, the portions are what we give them. Is it too much? Toddlers will eat tons at one meal and nothing but a few bites at another. 

Adolescents: Do we tell them to come home from friends at a certain time, yet they don't have a watch with an alarm to tell them what time it is? Do we expect them to constantly watch the clock to be home on time?

Teenagers: What are our expectations with them? Do we think they should have adult brains and adult experiences to make the correct choices all the time? 

I did believe we should teach our children responsibility and teach consequences for our actions, but we shouldn't EXPECT them to always be able to do those things we think they should do. I often hear from parents... "He knows better". This statement is a true statement, but remember how many times you had to be taught before you could make the right choice sometimes. Expect to teach them over and over. 

I don't believe you lower your standards and values in your family, those are strong and stay high! I do believe we sometimes need to lower what we expect of our children. Our EXPECTATIONS can be too high. Remember, they are learning through out their childhood. Have faith in them through struggles (like the coats), problem solve with them and then see what they can do!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Values - Following the Leader

Often when I am facilitating a class, parents will say to me.. “The problem with children today is…”
The following is what someone said about youth:

“The world is passing through troubling times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.”

Does this sound like our children today?  This was actually written by:

Peter the Hermit
(c. 1050 – 8 July 1115) He was a priest of Amiens and a key figure during the First Crusade. (Wikipedia)

To me this is very interesting…  Each generation says the same thing about children and youth.  Do I believe there are problems with this generation?  Yes, as in all others.  I do believe however, that there are wonderful children and youth in the world.  We just don’t hear enough about them!  I have met them and had them in my home when my children were youth.

What we need to teach our children is values.  For each family this is different of course, but overall I believe our values are similar.  Honesty, kindness, integrity, empathy, respect, self-discipline, responsibility etc… (this list goes on and on).   Your core values in your home and the characteristics you want your children to have needs to come from you.  If you don’t teach, they will learn values from the world.  You don’t want this to happen!

So, how do we do this?  Number one and most important way is to model these values yourself.  

So, for example, let’s talk about empathy and kindness.  A child learns best when he sees others he respects and loves being kind, and loving.   Show kindness and concern to neighbors, friends, families in your school area, the homeless, or anyone that you see may need some compassion at the time.   Let your children help also.  Talk to them about what you are doing and why.   Can you see what they are learning at the time?  If you model kindness and talk to them about it, they are learning in two different ways.  

Watch what children are learning from media. The TV shows, games, movies, music , magazines, etc,  all have values that your children learn.  Are these values the ones you want to instil in them?   Why not turn the radio off?  Or a TV show?  Many (many) years ago, a show came on the TV.  It is still running today!  (I won’t mention any names in this post).  My husband walk in and one person on the show was speaking very disrespectfully to another.  (A child to a mother).  My husband walked right over and turned the TV off and announced… “that  was very rude, this show will not be on our TV in our home!”   A discussion followed, because the children were not in agreement with turning it off, but we were insistent that we were not watching that show in our home.  We discussed with the children why.   My adult children remember that discussion and hopefully learned what values we expect in our home.  I actually know they learned that lesson throughout their years, as they teach the same values to their children and that show is not watched in their homes either!

So, with any value you want to teach, model the behavior and value you want them to have.   If you do this, they will follow you and learn your values.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Are You Their Friend AND Parent?

Have you seen this quote lately?  

  Every time I see it, thoughts run through my head.   (Don't ask me what those are).  The thought that sticks out mainly is...Why can't moms and dads be both; parents and friend?

I looked up the definition of both words:

be or act as a mother or father to (someone).

"the warmth and attention that are the hallmarks of good parenting"
synonyms:raise, bring up, look after, take care of, rear

1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
4. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement: 

So, thinking through this statement of "I am not your friend, I am your parent" really doesn't make sense when raising children.  I understand we are going to protect our children and teach them to make wise decisions, but parenting is not stalking, hunting them down or even being their worst nightmare!   Parenting is advocating for your child when needed, helping them through mistakes they make and guiding them to make correct decisions.   

Yes, as they get older, they may think you are a bad nightmare (and I'm sure that is basically what this statement is about) but, if we discipline and teach with a caring heart, children will learn more and show more respect for you.  Respect should be from both child AND parent.  The statement above is not a statement of respect from the parent.  

My father had boundaries and guidelines for me to follow.  Did I like them all?  No!   Did I think he was my worst nightmare? No!   I may not have agreed with him, maybe even have been mad at him at times, but never did I think of him as a stalker, or an enemy or nightmare. 

So, ideas on how to be the parent your child respects?  ( doesn't mean always agrees with, but respects you and your boundaries).   Let's rewrite this statement!

"I am your friend AND I am your parent!  
I will walk beside you and guide you.
I will discuss with you your concerns and mine.
I will listen to you always, in turn I hope you listen to me.
I have you in my dreams and I hope your dreams are happy, too.
When mistakes are made, I want you to know you can come to me!  ALWAYS!  This way we can learn together, to make it better next time.
Because I love you!"

I like this statement so much better!  The only problem I see with it, is it doesn't fit on a decorative board like the other one!  :)

So, can we be friend AND parent?  Of course we can!   

As the definition of the words friend and parent states, we can "be and act as a mother or father" and "be the person our child knows, likes, and trusts!"  


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Lying Game

Have you ever told a lie? When you did, why did you do it? Most people will tell a lie to protect themselves from embarrassment, punishment, rejection or disapproval. As adults, this is interesting to think about. Now, I’m not saying that most adults lie, I try to be honest in my life as I’m sure you do also, but as I think over my many years I have told a lie and they were for the above reasons. (Now is the time to be honest with yourself! You have too )

Now, about our children. How do we teach our children to be honest? Children are going to lie for the reasons we read above. If you put them in a situation to experience embarrassment, punishment, rejection or disapproval, they will lie. Is there a way to discipline without making our children lie to us? Let’s start with the following situation that happened with one of my grandchildren…

D.K. had been picking the paint off the walls by her bed. Her mother had asked her several times over a period of days, not to pick the paint off. One day mother walked in and more paint had been picked off.

Mother: “D.K., did you pick at the paint on the walls again?”

D.K.: “No, I didn’t”

Mother: “I can see you have, it’s not nice to tell lies. Lying hurts and makes you feel all yucky inside”

D.K.: “Well telling that lie didn’t make me feel all yucky inside!”

Although this was really a funny answer, Mom got caught in the trap that time. Now, I think my children are great parents, but we have all set up our children to lie to us at one time or another. Do we ask them a question when we already know the answer? This will invite a child to lie if they feel trapped. Here are a few ways to help children learn that lying really does hurt themselves and others, we do feel “yucky” inside and that telling the truth is best.

1. Don’t ask questions that can set up lying. As explained above, our questions often set up a child to learn to lie. They get caught in the thought
of embarrassment, punishment, rejection or disapproval. We can be disappointed in what happened, but our conversation around that will teach them how to handle a critical conversation. The best way may be:
“I see you have been picking at the paint on the wall again. Do you think we can talk about something else you can do with your hands while you are trying to go to sleep?” You could also tell them why peeling the paint off the wall isn’t good and there may even be a consequence of helping to repair the wall (what that may be will depend on age and what they can handle).

2. You can ignore the lie and continue on with the consequence for the action.
Mother: (after D.K. told her the lie) “I see that there is more paint off the wall. What can we do to fix this?”
Mom had set the situation up for her child to lie, but ignore the lie and went on with information or consequence. Nice recovery!

3. Deal with the problem, not the child. Help children learn that it is ok to make a mistake. Sometimes that is all it is, a mistake and they had forgotten. By using discipline and consequences they can learn from those mistakes and move on. If you don’t overreact, they will know that mistakes happen and they won’t have to lie to you when they do.

4. You don’t always have to find out what happened. Sometimes when it involves two children, you will never get the right answer. They have a tendency to blame each other (sound familiar?). Remember, you don’t have to question and you don’t have to know the answer. Deal with the problem at hand, teach a better way to do it or use a consequence for them to learn a lesson.

5. Watch what is going on in your child’s life. Are there outside influences that may lead them to lie to you or others? Are they lying to teachers at
school? Is it because of teasing or bullying or anything else that you may see? Does your child show signs of low self-esteem?

6. Watch what is going on in your home. Is your child tired, sick, lonely, sad, embarrassed etc?

7. Watch how you react to your children when they do something they shouldn’t. Do they feel like they need your approval for love? Children need to know you love them no matter what.

8. Teach the importance of telling the truth at another time. A family meeting is the best time to teach this. Get the children involved by asking them how they could tell the truth in different settings, even when they know that what they did wasn’t right.

9. Problem solve with your child if it is an ongoing concern. State your concern, listen to your child’s solutions, give your solutions and let them help you come up with a plan when they feel like they are going to lie. If a child is involved in the solution, they will be more aware of it and want to follow through with the plan.

10.Always tell your child you appreciate the honest answer when they do tell you the truth. Consequences may still be appropriate, but self-esteem is not lowered when you let them know you appreciate the honesty.

Now, think back on my first question. Have you ever told a lie? Did you feel all “yucky” inside? The ones I remember did hurt me, as I still remember them and the “yucky” feelings I had when I did tell them. I am an adult now and understand that I was trying to protect myself, but it doesn’t make it right. The hurtful part comes in remembering how I felt at the time. Lesson learned for sure. Let’s teach our children those lessons with understanding and acceptance. Teach them how to express the truth without worrying about the results.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Raising Awesome Kids

I saw a sweet little girl wearing this shirt the other day: 

We all think our children are AWESOME but how often do we tell them? How often do we show them? Are we caught up in the "so much to do" life that we forget to take a few minutes to tell our children? Do they really know? They probably know you love them but do they know you think they are AWESOME

In my work with families, I will go into homes that are having behavior concerns with their children. I watch the interactions between family members. Often there is yelling, back talk, and no respect. Believe it or not, this is coming from the parent! So, why is the child having behavior concerns? Hmmm... 

A child will seek for attention from anyone who is willing to give it. Especially from parents. If the only attention they are getting is negative, that is what they will seek. When a child sees mom or dad being unkind or disrespectful to them or others, they will do the same.  

A child who feels like he/she is AWESOME will want to get that attention from their parent. How do we show them this? Telling them is a great way! Just walk up and tell them at a time that they are playing or when they are doing homework. Simple to do really! They don't need to be doing anything special at the time, just walk up and say "have I told you how AWESOME you are?" How do you feel when you read those words? How do they feel when you say them? 

My daughter and daughter-in-law each send AWESOME notes in their children's lunch kits. Great idea! A simple statement of love and telling them they are great! Children need that reminder in the middle of their school day. My oldest grandson was in 2nd grade and his mom wrote him notes on the outside of his lunch sack. One of the kids at school teased him when they saw it. He came home crying and was really upset. His mom tried to discuss it with him and his reply was " I don't care what they say, I am upset because I don't want you to stop writing them!" He knew his mom thought he was AWESOME! A simple solution to the problem.... mom started writing the notes on the inside of his lunch sack so that he could still read them. By the way, she did this with her daughter in kindergarten also and her friends loved reading them with her at lunch! What a boost of self esteem for both children! 

Simple acts of kindness tells them they are AWESOME! One night as a teenager, I remember going to bed and my feet hit something in my bed. My dad had put a can of beef jerky (which I love) in my bed. What a way to tell me I'm AWESOME! All the pressures of the day were gone. All I could think about was how much he loved me! I still remember those feelings to this day!  
So, what can you do to tell you children they are AWESOME? Comment below to share your ideas with the rest of us! We would love to read them all! Laurie  

PS. I think all our followers are AWESOME! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aha! and Haha! Moments

We've all heard of “Aha! Moments” where we realize something or understand something. (Webster's Dictionarya moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension)  I want to talk about “HaHa Moments”.  Those moments when you just have to laugh! 
Here’s a great example shared by a friend of mine, Rachelle, that happened with her 5 year old son.   The pictures that are included are actual pictures of the event.  When I saw these, I laughed out loud!  It was clearly an example of a HaHa moment!

 “I had asked my son to clean up his room one night. When I went upstairs to check on him I walked into his room and noticed his room was completely empty!

I had expected to find everything shoved under his bed and in his closet,  but to my dismay as I turned around I noticed my own room was barricaded with all of his belongings!

My son was standing there in the doorway and then he turned to me and said "No Mom! You go clean your room!"  I didn't know if I should be furious or impressed, however, after a discussion about how if he couldn't take care of his belongings and put them back where they belong they would be given to another boy, he understood the gravity of the situation. 
And then he was asked to clean up the proper way!”

HaHa moment for sure!   Mom certainly handled the situation the right way.  Sometimes you just have to laugh.  Did he have to take the time to put it all back?  Of course he did.   Would yelling at him or punishing him in anyway have solved the situation any better?  Of course not!   Would he have learned more if she had spanked him?  No, in fact it would have had a negative effect on the whole situation!   He was trying to be funny and use a HaHa moment himself.   His self-Esteem would have gone down, respect for child and parent would have diminished.  Was it funny?  YES!  His personality was in play at the time!   Could mom laugh?  Of course she could (and did!).  The rest of us laughed too!   Did he have to take care of the whole mess?  YES… there are consequences to our actions!  Yet, mom certainly used her sense of humor.
 Using your sense of humor in parenting, easing the tension, leaves self respect intact and can even be used as a teaching moment.    As a family, my adult children still talk about the times that humor was used in teaching a lesson, rather than punishment.   Longer lasting lessons are learned when you use your sense of humor.
Think of someone you know that has a good sense of humor (not sarcasm, that is different.  We will talk about sarcasm at another time).  When you think of that person, doesn't it make you want to be around them?   My father has a wonderful sense of humor and my children and now my grandchildren talk about him all the time with love in their voices as they do!  Everyone wants to invite Grandpa B to all our events.  We love to be around him.   Your children will think the same of you if you use your humor in a way to teach.
Caution again:  We aren't going to use a joke or a sense of humor in all teaching.   You can go overboard.   Also, don’t make fun of your children or use sarcasm when using your humor.  This will backfire!   You do need to always use your kind and understanding self, even when not laughing!
 So… try to change your view of things.  Laugh WITH your children!  Find those “HaHa moments” in your parenting!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yes or No?

Here's an interesting question to ask yourself... Can you say YES instead of NO?  
There are several ways to say YES to our children instead of always saying NO! Let me give you an example...from my own interaction with my grandchild. Now keep in mind I teach these skills to parents all the time and I blew it this time! ( a good lesson that we all make mistakes!)
We were enjoying a fun family evening around the camp-fire eating s'mores. (A favorite treat around a fire). My grandson C.A., had eaten his quota of two s'mores that evening... 
C.A.: "Grandma, can I have another s'more?" 
Me: "No, you have already had two" 
(C.A. Goes into 3 year old mode of crying and slight tantrum to view his disappointment...) C.A.: "I want another one, I want another one!" 
(Enter his mother to the camp-fire at this moment. She hadn't heard anything that had happened yet) 
C.A. runs to his mother and says: "Mommy, I want another s'more" 
Mother: "Yes, C.A., tomorrow!" 
C.A.: "Okay"
He then runs off to play! 
Whoa, what just happened here? I teach these skills all the time and I totally missed this time! Mom answered yes... That he could have one and told him when. He was completely satisfied!Now, does this mean we never say no to our children? Of course not. Often no is required and a simple no should do. You can explain why once, but you don't have to explain over and over. Yet too often we say no without even thinking. It can sometimes be an automatic response. We do know better, we do know that two s'mores is enough for a three year old, but rephrasing it into a YES response would have saved me and my grandson from the power tantrum! 
"Yes, we will go to the park when it stops raining!" 
"Yes, you can play with your friend, after you do your homework." 
"Yes, you can watch a movie, after you help me with the dishes." 
"Yes, you can take my car to the mall, but I would like you to pay for some gas." 
Saying YES some of the time (or most of the time) will ease the disappointment and might even tame a struggle. One note of caution though, make sure you follow through with what you say. If you don't, children will soon learn (very soon I might add!) that you don't mean what you say and the struggle will happen even when you say yes! 
So remember... You can often say YES instead of NO! Try it and see if it works for you. It may take more than once, they need to trust you will follow through.  
Comment below and let us know of your successes!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feelings - Validating Them

Emotions and Feelings are a HUGE part of misbehaviour.  Whenever I facilitate a multi-week course, I start with validating feelings and children’s emotions.   If a parent doesn't understand how a child feels, they cannot discipline in a positive way.

Understanding their emotions is easy to do.   A simple statement will bring the feeling out.  “I see you are angry”, or “I understand you are sad”.    You can use these with all age children.

Toddlers:  “I know you are sad that she took your toy…”
Young children:  “I see that must be frustrating for you…”
School age:  “That sounds embarrassing…”
Teenagers:  “You seem mad…”

These simple statements open the door to communication.   What if you say the wrong emotion? Children will automatically tell you how they are feeling… “I'm not sad, I'm mad!”   Great!  You have just taught them how to acknowledge their own feelings!   A great life skill to have.  One piece to the puzzle solved!  

I had a young dad come up to me one time and say  “I don’t have any feelings or emotions, so this is not going to work!”   First off, I don’t believe anyone is free of emotions, he just may not know how to express them properly.  Secondly, this isn't about his emotions, it is about the child's!   We are not trying to get them to be out of control emotionally as they grow.  We are just telling them we understand that they feel that way.  We let them know that it is okay to feel that way.   It’s also an open door to more conversation about what is happening to them at the time.

So, now you have validated their feeling , what do you do next?   Let’s  take a look at the above examples again…

Toddlers:  “I know you are sad that she took your toy…but we don’t hit our sister!”
Young children:  “I see that must be frustrating for you…but we don’t whine, we use our words.
School age:  “That sounds embarrassing…do you want to talk more about it?
Teenagers:  “You seem mad…want to cool off a bit and then chat some more?

Do you see how these words can open the door to conversation so that you can teach or discipline in a respectful manner? 

What if you were to take the above examples and respond like this..

“Don’t hit your sister!  I don’t care if you are mad!”
“Quit whining…I'm not going to help you if you are whining!”
“Stop sulking!  Tell me what is wrong!”
“Change that attitude.   Getting angry doesn't solve your problem!

Now with these responses, where does the child go?  To a state of rebellion, resentment, and discouragement.  They will not be willing to talk to you about what happened and things just get worse.  
Validating feelings is one piece to the positive discipline technique!

So… before discipline, teaching or helping a child, validate that you understand their emotion.  Then see what happens next!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Discipline - What it Really Means.

Positive discipline… do you hear those words all the time now? GOOD! Disciplining in a POSITIVE way will teach your children what is expected and leave both your children and yourself with self-esteem!

When we punish a child with extreme techniques (spanking, yelling, belittling, sarcasm, ignoring, etc.) we teach our children fear, resentment, and rebellion. Only the needs of the adult are met when punishment is used.

Discipline on the other hand, teaches the child what he should have done instead. It teaches life skills (yes, even at a toddler age) that he/she will use for life. It focuses on the solutions to problems, not the problem itself.

Does this mean we are letting them get away with the misbehaviour? Absolutely not, there are consequences to actions. It takes courage and hard work to parent with positive discipline techniques. Let’s talk about a few of those techniques in the coming posts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I love the lessons little children teach us.   For example:

A.J.:  *Age 3, on sofa, hands behind head, legs crossed*
Nana:  “A.J., what are you doing?”
A.J.:  “Nana, I just want to wewax!” (translation:  I just want to relax!)

There is a lesson for all of us in that story…sometimes relaxing is the best tool for parenting.  When things get uptight, overwhelming and you feel you can’t go on (or hear one more whine, cry or MOM!), just relax!  This will calm your soul, calm your mind and calm your spirit. 

Being a parent is hard!!  No argument there.  I believe we sometimes need to relax about events in our homes.   Misbehaviour is often a result of parents over reacting.  Children put up a defence and take to arguing, name calling and sometimes violence.   

Do you escalate when something goes wrong?   Do you react too quickly and then are upset when you punish too harsh? 

Take time before you react.  Relax your body and mind.  I often say “go to your happy place”.  (My happy place is pictured below… this is where my mind goes when frustrated!) Then deal with the situation appropriately.  For young toddlers, this breath of calm shouldn't be too long or they will forget what they have done.  With older children and teenagers, you can say “I need a few minutes”, then return when you are calmer.

I also think you should relax more when things are going well.  You know why they tell you on an airplane to put the oxygen mask on you first before you put it on your child?  Ya, you can’t help your child if you are passed out.  Same with parenting.

So… one thing to remember in this parenting puzzle…  “Just WEWAX!”

Thank you A.J. for reminding me of this!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Where To Begin?

Where to many pieces to add to our parenting puzzle!

In the next while, let’s deal with validating feelings, your reactions as parents, parenting styles, positive discipline (which will include MANY topics), fighting, aggression, resiliency, respect, chores and responsibilities, backtalk, defiance, encouragement and cooperation.  (Just to name a few!)  And if that isn't enough to get you going, email us with your suggestions!

I know that if parents make a change in the way they react to their children, change will happen in the home.  I have seen it happen over and over again.   Testimonials (some included in this blog) confirm this to me.   We cannot change anyone else, we can only change ourselves.  When we learn new techniques and are willing to shape ourselves into proactive parents, we experience children who are more respectful of your role as a parent. 

I also know that parents want the best for their children and are searching for better answers.   I realize that most parents are doing the best they know how.   Sometimes, just a reminder of how to do it in a different way is exactly what they need to calm the home.

So, let’s start the blog with adding the puzzle piece “CHANGE”… Change for the better.  We can start by learning new techniques to help change the atmosphere in the home.  Learning new ideas to help bring that respect to the home that both parent and children deserve.

Remember:   “We are responsible for our own change… we can make it one thing or another”

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