Archive for the ‘Entitlement’ category

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.

Expectation is the most powerful APP

September 26, 2011

Laura, mother of Zia, 3, alerted me that there’s an APP  for kids to do chores. It’s basically an electronic reward system. I’m against all reward systems and paying kids for chores, unless you want to guarantee:

1. You will go bankrupt, unless you get them to pay for what you do for them;
2. They will always have to be paid/rewarded for anything they do;
3. They only work for extrinsic motivation and do not develop authentic intrinsic motivation;
4. They work for the lowest motivation for humans of all ages: money; and
5. Get more hooked on electronics running their lives.

The company’s goal is to sell more APPS. They get a star for creativity. Like all reward and praise systems, I guarantee this one will lose its shine over time.
The best way to motivate children to contribute around the house is to expect them to do so, do it with them, and enjoy the time and effort spent together. I have many happy memories of doing dishes with my siblings and my four children: raking leaves, cleaning the garage and more. Yes, they were chores. We had teamwork. I learned self-discipline, a characteristic that I use every day when working, eating, exercising and living.

Here’s what Laura says about her daughter and chores with my comments in brackets. Laura read my book.

She loves to do them and does not think of them as ‘chores’ [What’s wrong with calling it what it is?] She helps clean the table for dinner ever night and helps mommy with the shopping with her own little list made by me. She also helps me make parts of the meals by dumping and pouring. [Fantastic way to engage little kids in cooking, keep them busy while waiting for dinner and avoid screen time. Every family can benefit from this practice.] She helps set the table with a place mat I made for her. She helps with cat-care and loves to brush my very gentle cat and it’s her job to do it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She helps feed the cats by putting out their bowls after dinner time.”

I congratulate Laura for expecting Zia to do chores. This is the most powerful way to get kids to do anything. Laura also has:
1. Started early. Research shows when kids start chores by age 4, they do better at age 24 when compared to non-chore doing peers.
2. Included Zia in the family work and doing it together. This makes it fun for the child, teaches skills and self-discipline, and nurtures her self-esteem because her contributions count.
3. Connected with Zia through chores. A strong parent-child connection is the best way to prevent entitlement, keep kids off drugs & alcohol, and encourage them to make good decisions as they mature, so when they become teens and they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour – in your car, they will make good decisions. They will be wearing a seatbelt, going the speed limit, sober, where they said they’d be with friends you know and like, making good decisions about sexuality with a condom in their pocket, with you installed in their conscience.

Chores are worth the investment of time and energy, even though less than 20 percent of kids have to do them. Take the time to have a family meeting today and ask your kids what they want to do, then help them do it regularly.

Self-discipline comes in many packages

May 2, 2011
Chores develop self-discipline in children which is useful in life for learning musical instruments, school, work, love, life, savings, self-restraint and more. Chores are one of the most important gifts you can give your child. Use family meetings, according to "Alfred Adler" and "Jane Nelsen" to figure out who does what chore. Jobs around the house will teach your child more than you think and set her up for lifelong success. Parenting is all about being consistent and following through. Doing chores is all about being consistent and following through.
Learning an instrument requires self-discipline, learned through chores.

Showing up when you don’t feel like it is required many places in life, like work, school, relationships, exercise, and learning a new skill. Self-discipline is pretty much essential.

A longitudinal study — meaning the subjects were followed up on over a long period of 20 years — showed that the young people who did chores when they were 4 years old did better later than peers in the same study who had no chores, according to Dr. Marty Rossmann, professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota.

The kids don’t have to get up at dawn to milk the cows, but such discipline instills a life-long ability to make good decisions, according to an in-depth study done on children from age 3 until their mid-20s.

Kids learn responsibility, competence, self-reliance and self-worth that sticks for life, says Dr. Rossmann. She found the young adults who had done chores were better adjusted and more successful than non-chore-doing peers in the study.

This kind of long-term research and correlations are hard to come by in psychology. The research even more convincing because the original data by Diana Baumrind analyzed parenting styles — authoritarian, permissive and authoritative. So the research contained no biases about chores and long-term success in life.

The real gem in this study is that the earlier the kids start doing chores, the more it is pricelessly embedded in their psyche. My kids started pushing laundry into the dryer and shoving around a mop before they could talk. Next, they emptied wastebaskets from the bedrooms, and sorted the silverware from the dishwasher — an excellent pre-reading skill of learning to distinguish differences. Their chores got more complex a they got older.

Yes, it’s easier to do the chores yourself. Yes, it will get done faster and better if you do it. Yes, you’re hurting your kids in the long run if you do everything for them. It creates a monster called entitlement.

The tragedy of Tyler Clementi

October 3, 2010
homophobia, did not die in vain, mutual respect, good decision making, pain, bad decisions, adolescents, death, choosing wisely, courage, homophobia, teaching tolerance, teaching love, teaching acceptance, parents teaching homosexual acceptance, parents + homophobia, how our children are raised

Tyler Clementi, may you rest in peace. I'm sorry you couldn't find peace on earth. Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

Ironically, the co-conspirators who focused the webcam on Tyler Clementi were of Asian and Indian descent.

Everyone strives to belong. Being part of a social group is one of our most essential human needs. These two young people,

homophobia, bad decisions, desire to belong, fear, raising tolerant children, how to be a good parent, every parent's nightmare, what we do to belong, the importance of belonging, homophobia, tyler clementi, fear, homosexuality, it will get better

Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, Facebook images.

made a really bad decision, the kind of decision every parent worries their young people will make.  One of their unconscious motivations could have been the need to belong. One way to belong and seek status is to put down others who have less status and are weaker than you.

They may have out-projected their homophobic insecurity and expressed their need to belong onto another minority group with even less status than them — homosexuals.

The parents of Ravi and Wei must be saying to themselves, “Where did I go wrong?” Having bailed a teenager out of jail, I understand their confusion, rage, powerlessness, disbelief, disappointment, and angst over how this seemingly innocuous decision will impact their children’s lives forever.

Was the pair fueled by a sense of entitlement, “I can do no wrong”?

Because Ravi and Wei thought it was funny, I think they were held captive by a desperate unconscious need to belong, and Tyler Clementi took the brunt of their insecurity.

Ravi and Wei failed in their quest to belong in a twisted tragic way that may put them behind bars for 5 or 10 years or more, as they should face the consequences of their actions. Some bad decisions lead to death, jail and changing one’s life forever.

The crux of parenting is to raise children to make good decisions when they become teens and young adults when they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour.

I offer my prayers and condolences to Tyler Clementi’s family and friends. May he not have died in vain. He died alone but he is not alone today. From the short online clips of his violin playing, it is obvious that he had a gift.

We’re raising a generation of nincompoops

September 29, 2010

Chores can teach the Millennials how to survive. Chores get them off their computers and hold them accountable to someone. Chores teach children self-discipline, self-respect & self esteem.

Stock photo by Getty Images

Read this article about how we’re raising a generation of nincompoops who can’t even make ice from a plastic ice cube tray or use a can opener.

Then have a family meeting and get them going on chores. Retire from being the house servant TODAY. You’re doing your children — or their future bosses — no favors by doing everything for them.

The new era of picky eaters

August 13, 2010
making pizza together is a wonderful family activity. everyone can customize their own pizzas. The family works together as a team to create something delicious. Family dinner is an essential part of family life. Family dinner prevents drug abuse. Family dinner connects parents with children. Family dinner is essential for teenagers.

The pizza was delicious and fun to make together. Everyone could customize their own pizzas.

Homemade pizza is one of my favorite meals to fix with my children. It’s easier than you think, especially by using store-bought dough, jarred sauce, a bag of shredded cheese and scavenging leftover bits of vegetables and meat from the fridge.

I’m always surprised by the dietary restrictions of Millennials. Here are some NO’s I’ve heard from visiting 20-somethings. NO dairy, wheat, meat, pork, onions, mushrooms and more. Some have double-prohibitions, like no meat or dairy, essentially a vegan diet.

I can justify the allergies. And it’s good for the planet to avoid meat. Pizza is a wonderful easy way to satisfy everyone’s palates.

However, many families create a cafeteria-style dinner every night to satisfy each person’s dietary restrictions and preferences. It’s feasible for a small family. With four children, such a nightly quest would wear me out and encourage high-maintenance picky eaters.

Nurturing high-maintenance picky eaters is more work for parents. It teaches children to expect special treatment. Children and young adults miss out on the adventure of trying new food and expanding their repertoire of possibilities.

We’re lucky to have such abundance that children have the luxury of enforcing restrictions on what they will and will not eat.

Do you have picky eaters? What strategies to you use to encourage adventuresome eaters?

Candyland and drug-free teens, Part 1 (of 3)

July 21, 2010
Candyland requires parents to have patience and spend time with children having fun, competing, entering their little world. Candyland taught me patience. Candyland taught me how to slow down and take time with my children.

Playing Candyland with your toddler lays the foundation of a good relationship.

My biggest fear was that my four teens would get hooked on drugs or alcohol. None did. They’re all 20-something, college grads & living independently.

Was I just lucky? I doubt it because drugs/booze are always available. My workshops on what I most needed to learn helped. The main objective: how to cultivate a positive family environment without reward & punishment. This connects to drug-free teen years. By the way, children are offered drugs/alcohol during their 11th year.

Rule 1: Parents are the anti-drug.

Young people abuse drugs because they: are bored; have too much money and not enough time with parents; want to rebel against parents; make bad decisions; have bad friends; have no hope and low self-esteem; have too much freedom and too little supervision; receive unconscious messages from parents  that they expect teens to use drugs/alcohol; and more.

Most of these reasons trace back to parents being either over-controlling (which can cause rebellion) or under-involved, when parents do not: build a strong relationship with children by spending time with them (see rule 3); keep track of their children and who they’re friends are; and/or provide productive ways to spend time.

Rule 2: Use the first 11 years to develop a positive, open, warm, trusting relationship with your child. This is called spending lots of time together — eating dinner together most nights, doing chores together, playing Candy Land, going to the park, reading aloud to them every night, cooking, building a bird house together, shooting hoops, telling stories, laughing, or in short, showing an interest in your child, daily.

Rule 3: Practice mutual respect. Use family meetings to negotiate reasonable boundaries and agreements. THEN allow children to make decisions and experience the natural and logical consequences of their choices.

When children practice making decisions, for example, of whether to clean up their room, get a haircut, remember lunch money, or do their homework and feel the results of NOT doing those things, they learn about cause and effect. Then they learn to make better decisions, without being nagged or punished and avoid entitlement.

The main causes of entitlement are that parents:

a. Do everything for children and ask nothing from the child. Children grow up like they live in a free restaurant and hotel with a driver on call;

b. Do not let children fail. This denies children the opportunity to learn to make good decisions so when they become teens and they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour, they will make REALLY GOOD decisions. That’s what it’s all about.

Part two is on teens and research on family dinner and preventing drug abuse. Part three is on the college years.