Archive for the ‘empower’ category

Why Choose Unisex Clothing – Guest post by Jenni

July 1, 2014

The benefits of genderless apparel on the general well-being of children

children's clothing can be gender neutral

Some rights reserved, tippi t via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a sad reality that we now live in a world where parents now believe it’s acceptable to spend thousands of dollars on their children’s wardrobes. Sometimes mothers even end up spending as much as $170 on a single item of clothing that their kids will soon outgrow anyway, while they themselves end up scrimping on their own wardrobes, and even feeling bad about purchases for themselves.
There’s also a worrying trend emerging: parents dressing their kids to look like miniature adults – stylish, hip, and fashionable. But while it may seem tempting to dress our kids in the latest trends, is it really what’s best for them? Should LBDs become the next priority purchase for little girls, and high-cut sweaters for little boys? Or should responsible parents, in fact, start turning to something much more practical, like unisex clothing?
Cultivating a Culture of “Letting Children Be Children”
Katie Holmes often came under attack for letting her daughter Suri dress in clothes that seemed to be inappropriate for her age, wearing makeup and heels while she strutted down New York City streets. But the reality is that playing dress up is a long-established form of childhood play, and as long as children aren’t dressing in wildly inappropriate clothing or putting themselves at risk for hypo- or hyperthermia, then we should let them be.

Conversely, Angelina Jolie also received some backlash for letting her daughter Shiloh dress like a boy. “She likes tracksuits, she likes [regular] suits. She likes to dress like a boy,” she told Vanity Fair magazine. “She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.” But this problem isn’t exclusive to girls either. Earlier this year, news broke out about a little boy who was taunted for wanting to dress like Sleeping Beauty for a schoolmate’s birthday party. Often, we end up imposing our own set of rules to our children, and forcing them to dress in what we think is appropriate.

This, however, shouldn’t be the case. Instead of basing our decisions for what our kids should wear on current trends, unisex children’s clothing designer Katie Pietrasik, founder of Tootsa MacGinty, tells Wales Online that decisions should be made based on the idea that “Clothes for children should be built for sturdier purposes than the changing vagaries of style – to be passed from sibling to sibling, or friend to friend regardless of gender.” As Clutch Magazine is quick to point out, while it’s nice to play dress up and photograph kids wearing stylish clothing, we have to ask ourselves, “are these outfits practical for everyday kiddie life?”

Unlike designer brands, unisex clothing is made with children’s lifestyles in mind. Comfort and practicality are key to unisex brands, allowing children to dress in appropriate styles, and still climb trees and play in jungle gyms. Rather than imposing stereotypes like “girls should sit at tea parties and play with dolls” and “boys should be little monsters”, unisex clothing encourages them to be themselves, and play at their own comfort levels. A child dressed to the nines in skinny jeans, a cropped top, or a little black dress may feel too intimidated to play at recess lest they dirty their clothes, but a child dressed in unisex clothing will feel confident enough to take on any and all of the day’s activities.

Let’s not forget that one of the most important things to remember when trying to build confidence in our kids is to let them make their own decisions. Sometimes, this could mean something as simple as letting them dress themselves, as Katie Holmes has often done with Suri. While her struggles with making sure that Suri dresses in clothing appropriate for the weather is all too real, investing in unisex clothing keeps these incidents to a minimum. Unisex clothing is easy to mix and match, and key pieces can be worn at all seasons. With items being made from quality, sturdy material, and most of them even being made to be adjustable to adapt to growth spurts, spending $170 on one outfit for our kids should soon be a thing of the past.

WrittenbyJenni

Allow transition time to summer vacation

June 25, 2012
college students are like lame ducks. They've experienced the freedom of college and now have to spend summer with mom and dad. Parents need to communicate with college students about expectations.

Close the door if you can’t stand the mess and let kids of all ages keep their rooms how they choose. You have bigger concerns on which to pour parental energy.

Most kids despise transitions. They like routines, the safety of knowing what’s coming next.

Give them at least two weeks to settle down into the new summer schedule, whether it’s more time at home, with relatives or at camp or summer school. Until they settle down, cut them extra slack when they are quick to anger, resist doing chores and squabble with you and siblings more often.

Expect less and show more patience during the two weeks of transition. You’ll be calmer by adjusting  expectations and having a plan.

If you have the revolving door of college students, have a family meeting or at least a chat about how you expect them to contribute, keep track of their belongings and communicate about their whereabouts.

The start of summer is a good reason to have a family meeting with kids of all ages to set up summer plans for fun, chores, routines and agreements on screen time. Figure out a way that they will self-monitor screen time so you’re not the cop.

Family meetings pay off in the long run because they engender every positive characteristic you want kids to develop. They especially promote the priceless gift of connection that eventually keeps tweens and teens making good independent decisions.

Whatever you do with your toddlers, school age, tweens and teens this summer, make sure it involves some outdoor time reveling in the woods.  Allow them to feel boredom without plugging into a screen. They will discover resource and creativity through boredom. It is a problem they can solve without plugging in. Remember the four most powerful words in the English language: You can do it.

How do you handle the big transitions around the school calendar? Do your kids act out?

A private parenting workshop in a book

June 8, 2012

Image of "raising able" a book on how chores empower children, toddlers, tweens and teens to be more responsible and develop self-discipline. This adlerian-based approach to good parenting will help parents of children of all ages. Good parenting is all about good habits. Family meetings and encouragement along with family dinner and family chores are the holy trinity of good parenting of all ages of children.If you haven’t read “Raising Able” yet, this review by Bookworm Mama might persuade you to pick it up, read highlights to your spouse, and create a positive parenting plan for summer.

If you’ve read it already, re-reading it will remind you of parenting habits that need attention.

When I learned new parenting skills, it took years and re-learning. “Oh yeah,” I’d say after a parenting workshop or re-reading a good parenting book. “I need to work on encouragement. Oops, we haven’t had a family meeting in a while.” It’s easy to slide. Parenting requires diligence.

Bookworm Mama said she wanted more examples from raising my four kids. I didn’t want to brag too much in the book. My best examples are my failures and wisdom gleaned. That’s what parents enjoy hearing when I speak at workshops and conferences, because it reminds us all how difficult parenting is, and no one is perfect. It’s too big a job to fail at.

I have my share of regret and guilt — even more so with four kids. Learning parenting skills changed MY habits and taught me positive ways to steer kids in the right direction, without begging, bribery, sarcasm, criticism, praise, reward or punishment. It took more time and creativity to use family meetings, encouragement, mutual respect and natural and logical consequences.

Today I have the long view and can realize what really matters — family dinner, family chores, family meetings, family walks in the woods with the dog, playing Spud in the yard, cooking together. Simple pleasures.

I gauge success by adult-to-adult relationship with my grown kids, ages 24-31, and with their partners — a new challenge!  They call home regularly, but not for money, and live independent lives. They are following their own paths, not one I dictated for them. What more can I ask for?

chores made our family connected. family chores were a daily part of growing up. Chores taught my kids self-discipline and nurtured their self-confidence and self discipline. Positive parenting gave my kids a sense of mutual respect.

Chores developed self-discipline in my kids. Working together gave them a sense of teamwork, taught them skills and gave us greater family connectivity — the name of the game to get kids to make good independent decisions as they mature.

ACT don’t YAK and other ways to cut your yelling by 50%

June 6, 2011
This workshop shows women talking about parenting, how to parent the best way - from a positive attitude. We take the time to reflect on how we discipline our children, tweens, teens, preschoolers and toddlers in the Boston, AYer, Chelmsford, Westford, CArlisle, Acton, Dracut, Bedford area. We come together to plan strategies so we act, don't yak. These women are meeting in CHelmsford, near Westford and ACton, Massachusetts.

Parenting groups are fun, and you will take away new strategies every time. That's me in the middle, surrounded by a group of mothers in Chelmsford. Fathers are always welcome.

I’m not sure how my children would have turned out without my going to parenting workshops, where I learned about their motivations and to change my behavior, which, in turn, changed their behavior. Everything was based on mutual respect and power-sharing, which were hard for me to learn. You see, I wanted to rule my family of four children born in seven years with the baseball bat, not the feather duster.

The first thing that happened as a result of attending parenting workshops was that yelling at my kids decreased by at least half. I eventually reserved yelling for that special time right before my period, and  I learned to mark my calendar so I could manage my emotions and hormones.

I learned the enjoyable art of encouragement, how to hold family meetings to nurture mutual respect and much more, the importance of family dinner and chores, and how to use natural and logical consequences.  I gave up praise, punishment, reward, yelling and frustration and replaced it with a positive relationship with my children that has lasted into their adulthood.

Parenting groups are fun and filled with laughter because if you can’t laugh at it, you can’t live with it. None of us are perfect parents and besides, if we were , everyone would hate us. Workshops give us a step back from the forest, to see the trees, and make a plan to manage the forest using positive strategies. We get ideas from other parents and learn what to expect developmentally. Of course, everything is confidential, abstain from judgment and create a supportive environment.

Summer can be intense because the children don’t have school routines and we’re around them so much more. Sign up for one or both of these workshops offered in Westford and Acton, Massachusetts.

Westford at the Roudenbush Community Center starts Thursday, June 9 at 7 pm and goes June 16, 23 and 30.

Acton at Acton Community Education starts Wednesday, June 29, skips July 6, and continues on July 13, 20 and 27.

Do join us and have fun, gain confidence and skills and establish a positive connection with your children for life — and to sail through the teenage years on a foundation of mutual respect.

Firm friendly follow-through

March 21, 2011
Kids having fun in the snow, playing, learning natural and logical consequences, how to make good decisions, going 60 miles away, 60 miles an hour. Parenting: about. How to parent, Teenagers, tweens, toddlers, school age, how to parent, parenting teenagers, setting boundaries. related, respectful, reasonable, "Dr. JAne Nelsen, Ph.D. " "Dr. Alfred Adler" "Dr. Rudolf Driekurs" Learning to make good decisions is really important. Parent/child relationship, "tough love" starts early. playing in snow is fun.

Teach kids NOT to skate on thin ice!

On Saturday a scout leader at the Polar Bear Derby (rescheduled from January) told me that he had repeatedly warned his son and the other kids to stay away from the half-melted pond.

Alas, his child got wet.

“I had to take him home for dry clothes and bring him back,” the scout leader said, shaking his head with disappointment.

How wonderful to know Dad will bail out Junior no matter what.  

Or is it wonderful?

Kids who never experience the related outcome of their decisions do not learn to take responsibility for their actions.

Junior learned:

  1. He doesn’t have to listen to Dad — even when his safety is at hand;
  2. Dad will bail him out and he still gets to participate , despite his poor choice.
  3. He can continue to make bad decisions because good ol’ Dad will bail him out.

I’m interested in the big picture and what precedent Dad set. Tough Love is a group of parents of young adults who have realized they constantly enable their child to make bad decisions. The parents must learn  to say No, I won’t bail you out again from the poor choices you made, which often involve substance abuse and addiction.

It’s hard for parents to say “NO” or to deny Junior the Polar Bear Derby.

Dad could have let Junior experience being wet and cold. Junior could have asked to be taken home or gone inside the lodge to warm up.

Ideally, Dad could teach Junior to listen at home, BEFORE the Polar Bear Derby. It takes time, patience and consistency to teach children to listen and make good decisions. Investing the time, patience and consistency in making small decisions may someday save your child’s life.

The goal is for children to become teens who will make good decisions when they become teenagers and they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour.

Will the young person who is 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour:

  • Be driving the speed limit?
  • Wearing a seatbelt?
  • Be with friends you know and like?
  • Sober and focused on driving?
  • Have told you the truth about where they are and what they’re doing?
  • Made good choices around sexuality?

Start now to teach good decision-making by giving children enough rope to burn but not enough to hang. Let them experience small repercussions, like being cold and wet during the Polar Bear Derby, forgetting homework or mittens, not being able to find their sporting equipment because they didn’t put it away.

It will pay off in the long run.

Let them work it out.

October 11, 2010

 

These miners in Chili have learned to get along in a small place with no police. They resolve disputes like a family, by sitting down and talking. Family meetings are an ideal way to resolve conflicts

Photo by Guarduan.co.uk

 

The 33 Chilean miners are on the verge of rescue are reportedly arguing over who will be the first and last ones to exit the mine.

I presume they will work it out amongst themselves — the BEST remedy for any group, including families, to solve problems.

Parents can decrease sibling rivalry among children of all ages and sizes by expecting them to work out their problems, even if they’re not trapped underground for two months.

Children will respond to firm parental body language that says, “This is your problem, work it out.”

Parents empower children when they step out of the sibling fracas. Children will learn fighting hurts and to avoid tangling with smarter, older and stronger people without their personal body guard (parents) on call to defend them.

As most parents know, younger, smaller, weaker children have ways to fight back, which could include manipulating parents to advocate for them, even though the younger child might have started it.

The Raising Able Family Management System follows this precept: put them all in the same boat. Remove the toy or object if they can’t agree on a solution. Use high locks on doors to keep younger children out of older siblings’ rooms. Figure out non-verbal and non-violent ways extricate yourself from the war zone.

Act like they’re at the bottom of a mine shaft. Encourage, expect and empower children to work out their problems. Leave the room, stop the car, use red ear muffs, turn on the vacuum, crank up the radio. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Be creative! They are learning from these interactions.

As with all changes in parental behavior, anticipate the situation  might get worse before it gets better. Children might scream louder and longer and inflict physical pain on each other while they test your new resolve.

Don’t “try.” You must DO. Remember Yoda’s words to Jedi Warriors: “Do or not. There is no try.”