Archive for the ‘take time for training’ category

One more thing on a parent’s TO DO list

May 29, 2012
Children, tweens, teens, teenagers and preschoolers can learn about manners at home from parents. it takes repetition. It takes family dinners. Parenting is about repetition. good parenting is about doing things over and over. "manners and kids" is important. Do not underestimate it. Teach manners at home during family dinner.

Teaching your kids manners takes repetition, modeling and reinforcement. Nothing about good parenting comes easy, free or cheap.

Yesterday a young visitor shook hands when we were introduced. “Wow, a firm grip and you’re looking me square in the eye,” I said, returning the courtesy to the 15-year-old.

I turned to his parents and said, “Nice job. He knows how to greet people. My brother Jim taught me a long time ago, Firm grip and square in the eye.” This simple gesture says, “I care about how you feel.” That’s the essence of manners.

My seventh grade science teacher Mrs. Lewis used to bemoan about misbehaving students, “Lack of home training.”

I agree. Don’t go overboard, either like a manners cops, demanding a please-and-thank-you every other minute. All I ask is for kids to make eye contact and pleasant conversation; to unobtrusively say, “No thank you” if they don’t something; and to chew with their mouths closed.

Like most good parenting habits, teaching manners requires role models, repetition and reinforcement. Family dinner is an ideal place to model, repeat and reinforce consideration for each other and the cook. It’s not a chore to teach manners, it’s a practice.

When the snacks were gone and the gathering nearly over at 4 pm, I set out a wedge of gourmet cheese. An 11-year-old asked nicely, “Is there any real food?”

I offered my standard option to those who don’t want what is served. “Would you like a peanut and butter and jelly sandwich?”

Hungry from swimming, she accepted. I put some frozen bread in the toaster and got out the peanut butter and jelly. She assembled it, said, “Mmm. Good jam!” and ate it unobtrusively.

That’s my kind of kid. Appreciative, asked nicely for what she wanted, and accepted what was offered. She showed good home training.

Manners are like exercise — do regularly for the best results. And keep at it.

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.

Bully-free parenting

December 5, 2011
my child is the bully, anti-bullying, positive parenting, positive discipline, hitting, spanking, yelling, parenting about, teens, toddlers,preschoolers, teenagers, tweens, elementary age, "alfred adler" , natural and logical consequences, encouragement, family meetings,
Many bullies are made at home

As the young mother of three children born in 3.5 years, I thought “discipline” meant “punishment.” Through parenting workshops, I learned that “discipline” means “to teach.” Parents are teaching every minute of every day by our example, and how we manage others. To manage people means to get other people to do what we want.

My question to you today is How do you manage your children? Do you yell, spank, praise, reward and punish? Or, are you their friend and set few limits?

Children feel unsafe in both extremes. The greatest challenge for parents is to manage our emotions because children try our patience. When they don’t do what we want, when they make bad decisions and put their safety at risk, we feel anxious, worried and frustrated that they don’t listen to us. Therefore we are justified in punishing them.

The problem with punishment is that it often breeds resentment, rebellion and revenge, and ironically, NOT the behavior change we wish to see.

Tots to teens need limits set with respect, love and logic. Children need to experience the results of their decisions. My favorite line is “Give them enough rope to burn but not enough to hang” so they can learn to choose well and find out life’s rules.

Here are some examples of how tots to teens can learn from their decisions.

a. A 10-year-old spent his allowance on candy on Saturday and asks Dad on Sunday, “Can you buy me this video game?” “Son, I bet you can save up your allowance for a few weeks and buy that game.”

b. A 3-year-old refuses to eat his favorite vegetable at dinner and has a tantrum because his parents won’t give him dessert. “You’d really like some dessert. You know the rule in our family. People who eat their vegetables get dessert.”

c. A 15-year-old doesn’t clean the bathroom as promised by Friday at 7 pm. Mom explains in a kind and firm voice, “When the bathroom is cleaned, I’ll give you the ride.”

d. A 7-year-old forgets her mittens on a cold day and her hands get chapped.

e. A 12-year-old chooses not to pick up his room. It becomes difficult to walk in the room and it l from dirty clothes. He has trouble finding clean clothes to wear to school and doesn’t care.

In the first three examples, can you see how the parent explains the logic behind the decisions and in the last two, the parent can allow the youngsters to experience the results of their choices without intervening. The first three are “logical consequences” because they require parental action. The last two are “natural consequences” because the outcome happens without parental action. These are the most powerful and respectful ways for children to mature that sustain a positive parent-child connection.

Here are some bullying responses to the same scenarios, that teach children those who are bigger, meaner, verbally or physically abusive, louder and stronger will win. Verbal abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse.

a. “You’re never going to learn to manage your money.”

b. “Go to your room, you’re being a bad boy. I’m going to spank you if you don’t stop crying.”

c. “What do you think I am? The maid and the driver? You’re lazy and self-centered. All I ask is that you clean the lousy bathroom once a week. I’m going to take away your video games for a week.”

d. “How many times did I tell you to bring your mittens? You’re going to catch cold and die of pneumonia. What will your teacher think if you go to school without mittens? You always make me look bad. I want to be proud of you.”

e. “You must clean your room today or else you’ll be grounded for a month. I’m sick and tired of you disrespecting the house your father and I work so hard to get. You’re going to amount to nothing if you don’t learn some respect. What will your friends and teachers think when you go to school with the same dirty T-shirt day after day?”

In the last two, parents can allow youngsters to live with the consequences of their decisions. This shows mutual respect. Parents model problem solving and behavior management without punishment, reward and praise.

Parents can teach children to choose wisely by being kind and firm, saying as little as possible and using natural and logical consequences that are related, reasonable and respectful (thanks to Jane Nelsen for the Three Rs of natural and logical consequences).

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.

Slow down, you move too fast

June 13, 2011
bath time is an excellent time for children to unwind so bedtime is not a discipline problem. Water soothes children and gets them ready for bed. Parenting is about taking time and spending time and love to get children to do what we want- also known as cooperation and discipline. Positive discipline is easy when you know how to do it.
Tubby time for sisters. I’m a great believer in a nightly bath as therapy to get ready for sleep.

Watching children play together, catching them being good, witnessing their daily activities without criticism, rushing or interfering is one of the most important things you can do for your family.

It’s time well invested in the parent-child relationship. I learned how to watch quietly when Ian, my third child, was very difficult and I didn’t like him very much. My assignment was to “rebuild the relationship.” I had to practice seeing his positive attributes.

It took at least three months of forcing myself to change my attitude towards Ian, then 2 years old, was very demanding, controlling, loud, powerful and a trouble-maker with his older brother and sister, to start to see his beauty, charm and persistence.

Last week at a parenting workshop when I described how to just watch children in action, the mother of four children ages 4 to 15 had an “aha” moment.

“When I just watch my 7 and 4 year olds take a bath, and I’m not cleaning the bathroom, dealing with the 15-year-old in the hall, making phone calls or doing a dozen other things at the same time, they go to bed without a fuss, without coming out and asking for another drink of water.”

This is why parenting workshops are so effective. They give parents an opportunity to  step back from the hectic, emotional and consuming job of taking care of children, and see the big picture.

A smooth bedtime routine benefits everyone — parents, children and the family environment. After 7 or 8 pm, little children do not have the emotional or physical capacity to be awake. However, we must satisfy their emotional needs and wind them down for bed by using a soothing bath where we are not distracted.

Just watch. Wait. Enjoy the moment — they will be grown up sooner than you will ever believe.

When Ian turned 13, he decided to build a skateboard ramp in the driveway with the help of his friends. I continued my routine of watching quietly — and it was very interesting to see his crew in action. They taught me when the hour is late (after 2 pm) and the problem great,  quit and go swimming. Ian and his buddies finished that skateboard ramp, which impressed me and gave them a great deal of confidence and competence.

Watching was sheer delight. Remember to slow down, watch and don’t miss their growing up.

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.

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.