Archive for the ‘conscious parenting’ category

Kids resiliency will surprise us

April 23, 2012
kids learn resiliency from all kinds of situations, even in divorce, single parents, single mom, single mothers. children of all ages will survive whatever their childhood delivers

Learning how to get along on the playground is fundamental to resiliency.

I know a 10-year-old only child of estranged parents constantly in court over who gets to see the child when.One parent always wants more time, rigidity and control, and drags the other parent and pricey lawyers to court. It’s a sad difficult situation. I can’t wait to see what this develops in the child, alias “Morgan,” who is surrounded by doting adults — mother, father, step-father, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Daily, Morgan gets to wrangle with adults who deliver conflicting, true, false, tempting and misleading information. In ten years, Morgan has been exposed to a plethora of people, situations and family constellations.

I predict Morgan will develop discernment and powerful instincts for people, truth and trustworthiness. Morgan may become a psychologist, lawyer, or CEO with leadership skills because s/he will know how to get people to do what s/he wants — which is the art of management and leadership.

In short, no matter what we do to our kids, they are resilient and something positive may emerge from our mistakes and difficult situations.

I know a young person who grew up living in public housing with one parent hooked on drugs. This person has sworn to never be without money as an adult. That experience created a powerful motivation, work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.

No matter how we mess up our kids, and it’s guaranteed that we will mess up because there are no perfect parents, most of them survive and thrive. Moms and dads have a propensity towards worry and guilt, which is good. We should worry about what we do and constantly improve how we manage and nurture our kids. Worry and guilt are triple if your child is adopted, has a learning disability or some other handicap, or if you’re a single parent. All of these obstacles are learning opportunities.

When they leave home and find their own path, it’s amazing to see how seeds and weeds planted during childhood grow beautiful sometimes unexpected flowers.

Raising Able Workshops this week

January 21, 2012

Come and get it — get a dose of positive parenting this week by Raising Able at these locations.

Act Don’t Yak – how to cut the yelling in half. Monday, Jan. 23, 7-9 pm at Roudenbush Community Center. $25. Call to register 978-692-5511 or go online.

“Do I have to?” How chores teach the priceless gift of self-discipline. Wednesday, Jan. 25, FREE at the Pollard Middle School 200 Harris Avenue, Needham. 7-9 p.m. Sponsored by the Needham Women’s Club.

Act Don’t Yak — how to cut the yelling in half. Thursday, Jan. 26, Harvard, Mass. Community Education, 7-9 pm. Email jcavanaugh@psharvard.org to register. $25.

Hope to see you at some of these workshops this week. Repetition helps when learning new habits. Bring a spouse or friend, ready to laugh as you learn.

Earn new habits through repetition

January 9, 2012

working out at the gym is good for mental health for mothers and fathers and parenting because good parenting is all about taking care of a family, and the family starts and ends with moms, usually. Mommy care is essential. Creating good parenting habits is part of being a positive parenting and positive discipline with adlerian methods. "Dr. Alfred Adler" knows how to advise parents, 100 years later. If you have a difficult child or teen with a behavior problem, super nanny susan can help with private consultations. You can learn to improve your child's behavior through positive parenting, encouragement, family meetings, and natural and logical consequences.NOTE: Join us at a Positive Parenting Seminar, “Act Don’t Yak” on Monday Jan. 9, 2012, 7-9 pm in Littleton. Click here for info.

I joined a gym in November to get in shape. Many people are joining gyms this month as part of a new year’s resolution. We all know that words [and resolutions] are cheap — watch the feet [and the follow-through].

The same is true for parenting.

Pumping iron is repetitious and sometimes boring, much like parenting. With a positive attitude and eye on the long-term goal, pumping the iron of parenting habits will bring rewards.

Dads are very important for parenting skills. Fathers give self-esteem, support the mother and provide a backbone to a family. Mother & fathers and parents need to take time to nurture their relationship by going on regular dates and away for at least one weekend a year. Take care of your marraige or else it will go away.

Bob is the best. While raising the four kids, we made sure to carve out "we time" to keep our marriage going. It was a good habit, like going to the gym.

I’m headed to Paris for a week with my starter husband of 31 years. (We started young) and I’m worried about keeping up my new exercise and eating habits.

The same is true for parenting. Vacations interfere with setting up good habits. Dessert looks too tempting. We skip a few days of our new routine. The days and desserts pile up and we give up. The new habit is forgotten.

Which is why we need to read blogs, connect with parents at parenting workshops, read parenting books, evaluate what you’re doing, co-parent from the same playbook, and get parenting coaching.

A couple I’m coaching privately, I’ll call “Meg and Mike,” long for a closer family. They’ve crossed the first of four hurdles described by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron: Recognize, Refrain, Relax, Resolve.

It takes courage to recognize that what you’re doing isn’t working. In seminars, I tell the story of hitting a low point over a pair of green boots with my son Ian, then 2 years old. His brother was 3 and a half, and his sister 5 years old. The green boots incident motivated me to get serious about new parenting habits — in spite of excuses — holidays, sliding backwards, missing days, messing up and beating myself up for past mistakes.

The bottom line: there are no perfect parents, perfect people or perfect bodies. We go to the gym because we feel better and make incremental progress, that isn’t always easy to see. We know it’s good for us and will protect us if we succumb to that dessert and miss a few days of workouts. So we keep at it and look at the long-term goal.

As it is with parenting. The long-term goal is important. We will slip and slide along the way. We must have faith in ourselves and our kids while building better habits for a positive family environment, and a healthy lifelong family connection.

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/.

Everything starts at home

August 1, 2011
kids on vacation, related, reasonable, respectful, discipline, children and discipline, how to teach kids discipline, disciplining tweens teens and family. kids on vacation, how to have fun on vacation

The young man in the front in the khaki shorts and his parents behind are enjoying a whale watch. Notice what's in his hand, ready for transmission. Like many kids his age, he has a constant electronic companion. He can be commended for knowing how to sit quietly, a good skill to have when on a boat, in a car, airplane or at church.

Parents quickly show their family management skills on vacation, when there’s an audience, new situations and the pressure to have fun because it’s vacation.

Good parenting starts at home when there’s no audience, familiar surroundings and nowhere special to go. That’s called choosing a good time for “training,” an old-fashioned word to teach the child about the rules of the world.

Here are some of the rules of the world:

  1. You can’t always have your way.
  2. If you behave recklessly, you can get hurt, hurt others, or even die.
  3. Sometimes you need to be able to sit down, be quiet and wait.
  4. Life is easier when you can get along with other people.
  5. When you’re tired, rest. When you’re hungry, eat.

When I started coaching one of my clients, call her Jenn, with six children in a blended family, she couldn’t take her gang out in public. When she started practicing positive discipline on a consistent basis at home, things changed. She learned a few simple habits.

  • Act, don’t yak (Dr. Sam Goldstein) — which means take action before you get mad.
  • Let kids work things out as much as possible so they can learn to get along with each other.
  • Allow natural consequences to happen — such as you have to swim in your shorts if you forget your swimsuit.
  • Make logical consequences for misbehavior related, reasonable and respectful (Dr. Jane Nelsen’s 3 Rs) That means if they won’t put away their iPhone during the whale watch like you agreed upon in advance at the family meeting, it will be taken away for a week. It doesn’t mean that if you won’t clean up your room, your iPhone will be taken away for a week.

Can you see how the first is related, respectful and reasonable and the second is not?

Kids feel safe with boundaries. When Jenn goes out in public with her gang now she immediately sets boundaries before the kids push for them. Good parenting is about constantly and consistently setting boundaries. It requires self-discipline!

Kids like regular food and rest, which can be compromised by vacation. They and you won’t be at your best when you push too hard and do too much. Kids are easily pleased. It’s adults who feel guilty and restless when they can’t provide trips to Disney, Hawaii and Aspen. Kids can be thrilled to spend an afternoon fishing at the local pond with Dad or Mom showing them how to bait the line, sit still, enjoy the great outdoors and be with each other.

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.

Bad seeds become weeds

May 16, 2011
working alongside of parents is about good parenting that teaches children skills for life. If you want your child to have high self esteem and a work ethic, follow the advice of "Dr Alfred Adler" and "Dr Rudolf Dreikurs" and have them do chores. Home chores will prepare your children for life.
Kristen is spackling a basement wall with Bob when she was about 7 years old, before Bob started his business.

My husband Bob is a contractor with a small crew. He occasionally hires young people — usually male — to train as his assistant. Recently Bob estimated a job with a typical new customer who lives in a comfortable house in a good neighborhood where the children are expected to be above average.

Bob mentioned to the woman of the house that he needs to hire a new crew member for the summer spike of renovating kitchens and bathrooms in and around Routes 495, 2 and 3 in Massachusetts. (Shameless plug.) This how the conversation went.

Mom: Oh! My son needs a summer job.

Here KRisten and Bob of www.renovationsredoak.com finish some tile work.
Here’s Kristen at age 21 finishing a tiling job with Bob in Littleton.

Bob: Really?

Mom: He’s 19. (They move towards family room where Bob sees two feet hanging over the edge of the couch in front of a 72 inch screen.)

Mom (in a happy voice): Junior, Bob needs summer help. Come and meet him.

Junior: Mflgsh.

Bob: (Thinks: No way will I ever hire this guy.)

Mom: Junior, this is an opportunity. Come and say hi.

This is an example of Kristen's custom designed tile work in our bathroom. She is halfway through a MFA program in sculpture that requires a dedicated work ethic.
This is an example of Kristen’s custom designed tile work in our bathroom. She is halfway through a MFA program in sculpture where she works 60 and 70 hours a week teaching and doing art.

Junior: (Wearily) No. I don’t feel like it.

Mom: But Junior, you need a summer job.

Junior: I don’t want to.

Mom gives up in exasperation.

Bob has hired one or two other young men like Junior who showed up late or not at all, showed little initiative, and showed great interest in cigarette breaks.

Bob’s best workers come from families where they worked along side of parents doing yard work, using their own set of junior-size tools, and developed a positive work ethic.

At age 19, Junior is nearly a lost cause.

Don’t let your kids become like Junior. Plant the seeds NOW of working around your home and yard, and water them regularly. It’s an investment of time and effort that will pay off for a lifetime with the priceless gift of self-discipline.