Archive for July 2011

I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth

July 25, 2011
The truth can be hidden behind a veil. Kids and lying is a touchy subject. Getting kids, tweens and teens to tell the truth is really hard. What to do when you kid lies is a very complex problem. You have to start by nipping lying in the bud. You don't want to be suspicious of your child and constantly accusing him or her of lying. children and lying is a problem. telling the truth can be modeled. Parents and families can use "honesty is the best policy."

The truth is sometimes hidden behind a veil. Pull back the veil gently to get at the truth and teach your children to tell the truth.

“We always knew we were in trouble when Mom or Dad called us into the office,” said my son Noah, now 27. Our 4 kids got summoned behind closed doors for serious offenses: lying, stealing, violating safe driving agreements and other character issues.
We, the parents, had to manage our emotions. If called to the office, we had time to gather evidence, quell the anger and disappointment and follow the three Rs of natural and logical consequences [Thanks to Jane Nelsen Ph.D.]. So the consequence is not a masqueraded punishment, it must be reasonable, related and respectful.
The second objective was to preserve the parent-child relationship. We had to ask, “How must s/he feel in order for them to do what we want?” Answer: kids must not feel resentful, rebellious or revengeful — the fallout after punishment.
Does this make sense? Let’s use those concepts to deal with lying. Follow these 7 steps when you suspect your child has lied.
  1. Manage your emotions! After you calm down, take them somewhere private. Do not force a confession. Say, “It looks to me like you might not have told the truth.” Describe the situation and listen to them. If they don’t deny it, keep going.
  2. State your feelings. “When you lie,”I feel disappointed. I feel like I can’t trust you, and trust is really important. I feel upset and sad. This hurts our relationship, and our relationship is the most important thing to me. I tell the truth to people I care about.” This step will have the most impact on your children, tweens and teens and get them to stop lying.
  3. Ask open-ended questions: “Do you like me to tell you the truth? How does it feel to you when someone lies to you?”
  4. Make statements/tell stories. “When I was caught lying to my parents about XYZ, this happened, and I really learned my lesson that honesty is the best policy.”
  5. Encourage them.” I know you can tell the truth, even when it hurts.”
  6. Don’t say: “You can do better.” This is very discouraging. describe the behavior you want, and encourage it.
  7. Model telling the truth — even when it hurts or is inconvenient. If parents lie, kids will too. Act, don’t Yak.

At some point, most children will lie to parents. It might be save face, avoid disappointment or punishment. Parents don’t have to punish every bad act.

A coaching client with six kids said in front of her older kids, ages 7 to 12, “Oh no! $100 is missing from my purse. That money was for Christmas presents. Has anyone seen it? I really need that money.” One of the kids quickly “found” it without incident or punishment. She was relieved because stealing was a problem that undermined family trust.

Put “telling the truth” on the family meeting agenda and talk more about it. Don’t flip out when your tot, child, tween or teenager lies to you. It could be out of self-protection or fear. You can deal with it calmly, kindly and firmly.

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The great outdoors is fun, frugal and local

July 18, 2011
Family fun can come in all sizes and shapes. Family connection is one of the most important aspects of summer vacation. Fun Frugal family times can be found in nature. Nature and kids seem to go together.

That's me, about to take a swing on the rope swing.

I want to jump back into this picture when we found this rope swing while on vacation with another family on Bustin’s Island in Maine. It was better than an amusement park, closer and cheaper, too. We made our own fun together. Bustin’s Island is an 80-acre island off the coast of Freeport, Maine — no cars allowed. Everything must be hand-carried or put into one of the few pickup trucks that meets the small ferry and taken to rustic cottages. When we went there in the 1990s, most cottages had outhouses, gas lights and gas refrigerators. It was one step above camping and we loved it. The kids and dog could roam free. We found non-electronic things to do like this rope swing, canoeing, playing volleyball, picking blackberries and biking.   Getting outside and playing together is one of the best methods for family connection and a mental health remedy.

It can be as simple as  slowing down for backyard fun, a walk in the neighborhood park, taking a day trip, or going camping. Nature is therapeutic according to multiple studies. Nature is a conduit for family connection — one of the best ways to protect your kids against making bad decisions as they become tweens and teens.

A strong parent-child/tween/teen connection is the BEST insurance that they stay away from the bad list — you know that list of parental angst that only grows as they grow up. Find some time to get in your backyard, bike around the block or plant a few seeds. Your kids will remember these activities for a long time. It’s an investment in positive parenting because you can act like a kid and have fun with them.

Have a family meeting and make a list of simple outdoor activities your kids want to do this summer. Let loose and take a turn on the rope swing. Bring the camera.  Time passes fast.

Biking together is a great way to get eveyone in the family on the same page. Good parenting is all about Family connection. The easiest way to connect is to have fun together and act like a kid with your kids, tweens, and teens. Use summer vacation to find fun frugal cheap family adventures. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun together.

Dad on the tandem with Ian and Kristen in the last century.

Plant seeds, have hope

July 11, 2011

exploration, children, toddlers, babies, natural exploration, natural and logical consequences, helicopter parenting, learning, education, allow them to find their own way, according to the latest research. Babies & children can benefit from parents getting off their backs!Look dad, here’s my piecrust!

Summer can be an ideal time for kids to do chores regularly without the interruption of school and other activities.

Make time for regular family meetings and ask them what jobs they want to do. Allow them to stretch. It’s fun to let them cook and enjoy the results. My motto is “It’s hard to hurt homemade food.”
My friend Carol, who is like an aunt to our four children, remembers Kristen’s first attempts at making pies. Carol told me, “Her pies weren’t that good, but you said, ‘Mmm,Kristen, this is good!'” An expert pie maker, Carol kept quiet and ate the pie. Kristen eventually mastered pie crust and makes fabulous pies today. Mastering the art of pie crust gives young cooks the idea, “If I can make a pie crust, I can cook anything.”
Kristen is spending the summer as an intern at Franconia Sculpture Park north of Minneapolis, Minn. In addition to helping resident sculptors and doing her own sculptures, Kristen takes turns cooking dinner for 13 to 15 people.

She has called home for a few recipes and said, “Thanks Mom for teaching me how to cook. I’m one of the better cooks and I can time everything to be done all together.”

I smiled and remembered how I taught Kristen to cook.

At 4:30 or 5 pm, I’d call up to her bedroom where she would be sequestered reading. “Kristen, come help me fix dinner.”

Long silence. “Kristen?”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes. I need your help.” I still hate to cook alone.

making pie from scratch is a way for kids, tweens and teens to learn how to cook. summer vacation is an excellent opportunity to slow down and cook with kids and allow them the independence to cook whatever they want. Allow them to make cookies and other goodies. It will teach them how to cook with confidence. Encourage their cooking efforts. Parenting is about building confidence.
These strawberry rhubarb pies were really delicious.

“I’ll be down in a few minutes.”

Ten minutes later I’d call up again. “Kristen! You said you’d be down in a few minutes!”

Five minutes later she wandered down reluctantly. This is how Kristen learned to cook — reluctantly.

It’s an example of how tweens and teens can resist being included in family time, but they still show up. They like to be invited, to be wanted and included, BUT they can’t show too much enthusiasm because of their age and hormones.

What are your kids doing this summer now that they might have some extra time? If they want to stretch and learn new skills, like making pie crust, appreciate and encourage their efforts. Have patience and hope. You’re planting seeds that will blossom in ways you can’t imagine now.

Successful family vacations start at home

July 5, 2011

family Vacation is a wonderful time to spend together. It brings out how you are parenting. Have you taken time to set respectful boundaries? Do you know how to communicate, motivate and manage them? This boy is having fun on a boogie board. The family is used to doing things together. Family Vacations can be stressful if the family is poorly managed“Vacation” can be a misnomer for parents because we bring our work with us. Changing the environment can be a distraction and add stress, especially if there’s an audience of family and/or friends. And the pressure is on to have fun.

Having a great vacation starts at home with a positive family management system. Family vacations will be smoother when families practice the basics.

1. Have regular family meetings. Before a vacation, we used family meetings to set expectations, share suggestions on what to do and where to go, and how to manage logistics. We often started vacations with a family meeting to set boundaries — like no swimming alone; to plan activities; and to figure out how to contribute so Mom and Dad are not the valets and cooks for the week.

2. Let kids work it out. Start the practice of encouraging children/tweens/teens to work out their problems by saying, “I know you can work it out.” Or say, “You sound really angry about X. Put it on the family meeting agenda. We’ll talk about it later.” (When emotions have cooled.) Your  children/step-children/cousins/friends can work out most problems. It’s good for them to work it out. They may find out that fighting hurts. In the long run, they will be closer and you will be calmer. There will be less fighting, not more.

3. Set kind firm and consistent boundaries. Kids like routine, regularity and fairness. Parents must constantly set boundaries at home and on vacation. Doing it nicely with their input makes a big difference. Once you have set the boundaries, act don’t yak [Dr. Sam Goldstein]. This one guideline will eliminate at least half of all parental yelling and frustration. Use natural and logical consequences that are reasonable, related and respectful [3 Rs from Jane Nelsen, Ph.D., Positive Discipline].

4. Give positive attention at neutral times. Don’t make them misbehave or aggravate their siblings in order to get your undivided attention. Just witnessing them is extremely important.

5. Practice the art of encouragement and building a positive relationship based on seeing what they do well. Saying “thank you” and appreciating small things go a long way to connect with your child — the best investment you can make.

Successful vacations have three components: anticipation, the actual vacation, and looking back on the vacation. Time spent on holiday is only one-third of a great vacation. Start now by having a family meeting and following the five guidelines so you can incorporate positive parenting at home every day and bring it on vacation, when you’ll need it.