Archive for November 2011

Help! My child is the bully!

November 28, 2011
setting limits for kids who are out of control. Discipline is about relating their behavior to children's and teen's decisions. Good parenting and positive parenting are about being kind firm and consistent. Parents can encourage accountability to children by using this book. Schools can encourage misbehaving kids who are discipline problems by reading the book "Schools where everyone belongs" by Stan Davis and Julia Davis. School bullies can learn to change their behavior when principals use this book. Bullying can be ended at schools by "Schools where everyone belongs."
This book has ideas for educators and parents for children who are regularly  in trouble at school.

Perhaps you saw it over Thanksgiving — a child running wild with no limits set by parents. Perhaps it was your kid who was out of control and you feel guilty, ashamed and don’t know where to turn.

Positive parenting can be learned. It’s all about how we set a limit and let children make their own decisions. I really like the approach in”Schools Where Everyone Belongs,” by Stan Davis, with his daughter Julia Davis, who write about how to eliminate bullying behavior at schools. They emphasize the power of encouragement, guiding children to write and reflect on how their behavior impacts others, the importance of adults keeping a positive and neutral tone, and how to come up with a plan for adults and children.

For example, when a kid is sent to the office and avoids taking responsibility for his/her behavior, the adult in charge asks, “What did you do?” and “What was wrong with that?” Kids don’t always own up to their behavior. If kids are reluctant to acknowledge what they did in the “reflection room,”  the adult can say, “Are you saying you’re not ready to do this today? You can do it in detention tomorrow instead.”

This approach is so much more effective and respectful than pronouncing, “I’m giving you another detention tomorrow!” which will come across as punishment, and can lead to resentment, rebellion and revenge. And you still haven’t achieved your goal of guiding the child to make better decisions.

Parents can learn from this constructive approach to better manage our emotions [usually anger and frustration] and to empower children to make choices and live with the outcome.

Maybe your child is the bully. This book will give you great ideas on how to handle him/her at home, what questions to ask to encourage reflection, and what you can say and do. Bullies are usually regular visitors to the school principal, so buy this book and give it to your kids’ school principal.

Savor the next few days

November 23, 2011

The following came from Tracy Harrison’s e-newsletter on wellness As you can see, Tracy takes a positive approach to healthy eating. To her sage words, I add: have patience with your kids and teens in the next few days. Remember you’re their greatest teacher, your greatest tool is your example. Set kind, firm and fair boundaries that relate to the present moment and you’ll all feel better, with no need to yell and apologize later. Manage your emotions for a harmonious holiday.

From Tracy:

This holiday season, I invite you to explore the lost art of savoring.  Actually seeing and then relishing the things in your life that you appreciate.  Whether it’s a particularly delicious bowl of soup.  Or a hug and a charming smile from a little one.  The kind nature of a coworker.  Some spectacularly comfortable pajamas.  The stranger who lets you know your car headlights aren’t on yet.  An energizing hot shower on a cold morning.  The reassuring touch of a friend who truly hears your story.  The fact that your car cranks on the first turn – every time.  A warm cat who snuggles in your lap.

We have so much to be grateful for – to savor, to celebrate.  Use this time of Thanksgiving to actually SEE in your life the things you usually zoom through and take for granted.  Pause.  Smile.  Allow gratitude to well up in you.  Send that Thank You card you’ve been meaning to put in the mail for months.  Slow down and truly savor your Thanksgiving feast, like it’s your last meal.  Hug your spouse like it’s the last time you can.

Live on purpose.  Make your moments matter.

Thanks Tracy. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.eatonpurpose.com/.

Thanksgiving Day can last all year round

November 21, 2011
family dinner is one of the best ways to connect with each other at tHanksgiving and every other day of the year. Family dinner with toddlers, preschoolers, school age, tweens, teens, teenagers and adolescencts means less drug abuse, less alcohol and tobacco abuse. Family dinner is one of the best ways to connect with your teens and children and keep them off the street and out of trouble. Family dinner is  place to absorb manners, values and behavior.
Family dinner isn’t only for Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving on Thursday is the ultimate family dinner of the year. Thanksgiving is a reminder to keep family dinner — or breakfast — sacred, even if your kids/teens resist.

Every family dinner will not be perfect. I can remember many the argument among the kids or me falling prey to a power struggle with my oldest daughter during a family dinner. Family dinners are worth the effort even if they’re not Thanksgiving Day-perfect because they keep kids connected to us.

When kids have a strong connection to parents they are less likely to use and abuse drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Study after study has demonstrated the efficacy of family dinner. This study is famous and persuasive.
Having family dinner or breakfast three or more times a week connects families AND it insures kids receive better nutrition.

Family dinner benefits kids socially, psychologically and physically. How can you go wrong? Start with the goal of having one family dinner a week. Use a family meeting to get the kids involved in planning, preparing and cleaning up the dinner so it doesn’t all fall on mom’s or dad’s lap. Encourage your kids to cook something for the dinner, either with you or independently, depending on their age. Make it their responsibility to help clean up.

Make family dinner or breakfast a habit. Turn off the electronics (parents, too), tell stories, look at each other, enjoy and appreciate each other and the food. Fight if you must — it shows you are emotionally connected. Take the time to resolve it, too, and come up with a plan to keep the peace during dinner.

Thanksgiving Day tips for families

1. Remember to involve the kids and teens when getting ready for the big meal this week. It won’t feel like a chore when they are contributing with the adults to create a wonderful meal, day and memory. The kids will feel connected, capable and creative.

2. Don’t force them to eat anything. Offer new foods and keep a neutral expression if they reject them. You can say, “Taste buds change.”

3. Teach them before Thursday how to say, “No thank you,” instead of, “Yuck, I hate that!” and how to say, “Aunt Sue, please pass the butter,” instead of standing up to get it. Even little kids can learn basic manners when parents model them.

FREE talk tonight at West Elementary in Andover, MA

November 16, 2011

Come for a free talk on positive parenting 7:30 pm, West Elementary School, 58 Beacon St. in Andover, Mass., sponsored by the Andover townwide PTA.

The focus is how chores teach self discipline, nurture self esteem and strenthen the parent-child connection for life. Hear more about encouragement, family meetings, mutual respect and natural and logical consequences.

You will go home with some new ideas and reminders about creating and maintaining positive parenting practices.

Bring friends!

Thanksgiving: The ultimate family dinner

November 14, 2011
Manners are a big part of family dinner. Children tweens and teens can learn to behave at family dinner table at Thanksgiving. Good manners start at home. Make it a game. Make it fun. Thanksgiving can be a relaxing time for families. Manners are a good chore to have in Mass., CT, MA , NH, RI and VT.
Children can live up — or down — to our expectations.

Just looking at the table pictured above would have given me a stomach ache if I had to bring my four kids there.

The best way to prepare for such a situation is to practice. If you’re worried about Thanksgiving at the home of a friend, relative or to a restaurant with your kids, start with a rehearsal.
Have a family meeting. Ask the kids for ideas on how to behave at a fancy meal. Write down every idea, however ridiculous, and take the best ones seriously. Then announce you’re going to have a rehearsal for Thanksgiving, using their suggestions. Would they help? Set a date and plan a simple meal, maybe a roast chicken.

Enlist their aid in getting out a nice tablecloth, the best china, silverware and glassware. Remember, a broken spirit is more permanent than a broken goblet. Let them drink from a special glass and use cloth napkins for the evening. Propose some toasts. Exaggerate. Go overboard on the manners. Use an English accent. Make it fun. Kids love fun. Whenever you can make something fun, you will have them eating out of your hand.

Parenting is all about setting reasonable expectations and managing people’s behavior — getting them to do what you want, when you want, just like at work. The best managers are kind, firm, clearly spell out what they expect, and if necessary, train you on how to do it.

Clearly spell out what you expect from your kids on Thanksgiving at Aunt Sue’s. Then practice it. Encourage the behavior you like by saying what they did. “What a nice way to ask for the mashed potatoes, Megan! Of course I’ll pass them to you. Where did you learn such lovely manners?”

They won’t be perfect, and you always remind them on Thanksgiving when they slip, “Remember how we practiced? How can you ask nicely for the mashed potatoes?”

A dress rehearsal combined with realistic expectations from parents will make the day go more smoothly.

Sibling rivalry? Let it rip.

November 7, 2011
Sibling rivalry is a fact of life. Doing chores together is one way to learn to get along. Not interfering in their arguments is another way to deal with sibling rivalry. you can teach siblings to get along with going crazy. Sibling rivalry is part of family life that teaches children about relationships and life, and themselves.

There are a lot of relationships in this group. My parents are in the middle, surrounded by their eight surviving children and their spouses and children. More children equals more rivalry. I'm in the maroon dress seated, second from the left.

If you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is usually one of your biggest challenges, and the best way for kids to learn to get along with people in the world. Disagreements, jealousy and wrongs are committed among people all the time. The question is, how to resolve them?

An adult friend who is an only child said she hated fighting with her friends “because they always had the option of going home. If you have siblings, they can’t go anywhere. You have to work it out eventually,” she said.

Your kids’ relationship will provide the foundation for the most difficult and rewarding relationships of their lives. Sound familiar? Getting along with siblings is preparation for marriage and work.

The more parents take sides and punish for sibling rivalry, the worse it will become because the kids will use it as a way to manipulate parents. They’re still learning from that, too!

Here are some techniques to encourage them to get along.

1. Put them all in the same boat. Fighting over a toy? Remove the toy. Then encourage them:  “You can have it back when you’re ready to figure out how to take turns/share.”
2. Get them to sit down in two chairs, knees touching, looking at each other. Ask questions. “What’s the problem? Who has an idea on how to solve it?”
3. Take all fights outside or to basement –because audiences make fighting better. Cold weather makes short fights.
4. Make sure your kids are getting sufficient attention from you at neutral times so they’re not using sibling rivalry to get negative attention.
5. Don’t feel sorry for younger and weaker siblings. They have excellent defense and offense tactics. They can also learn the valuable lesson that annoying bigger and older people can result in pain.
6. Use a confident voice and body language when saying, “You  can do it. I know you can work it out.” Then walk away.
7. Put the conflict on the family meeting agenda. This “parks it” for a while and allows time to come up with reasonable solutions. Get locks for doors, put toys out of reach, take responsibility for putting your special stuff away. Etc.  free tip sheet on family meetings at www.raisingable.com
8. Some problems never go away until childhood goes away. This is life & parenthood. They will grow up and leave home. When you allow them to work it out, they grow closer.