Posted tagged ‘Alfred Adler’

Summer time is Chore Time

July 15, 2015
Chores teach kids grit, self confidence and self-discipline

My 17-month-old grandson helps with the Brussells sprouts preparation. He was curious about what I was doing, so I included him. It’s never too early to get kids started contributing around the house.

With all of the busyness of the school year, summer can offer some open-ended time to catch up on family meetings and re-establish a routine of chores. Kids thrive upon routines. It’s not too late to establish one for the summer. Have a family meeting and ask the kids what outings they want to take this summer. Challenge them to think of some free and local adventures, like walking up a creek in old sneakers.

Ask them what jobs they household jobs they want to take on for the summer. Encourage them to reach a little beyond their ability if they offer. For example, a nine-year-old can capably prepare a very simple dinner that uses prepared foods. When his/her family appreciates the food and effort, that is high encouragement and motivation to do it again.

When I was about 10, my mother assigned me the job of making dessert for the family, because all of the other jobs, like making dinner, had been taken by my eight other siblings. Most of them were older and it seemed like I could never catch up. I had a great deal of fun experimenting with homemade desserts. My mother rarely complained about the mess I made and was willing to pay for any ingredient. In those days, I hopped on my bike and rode a half-mile to the A&P to buy whatever was needed.

The result? I love to bake desserts and the confidence spilled over when I learned to cook other foods as well. I can still remember the feeling of satisfaction of contributing to our family’s dinners.

Summer is another opportunity to establish the routine of family dinners or at least breakfast together. Such connection, influence and closeness cannot be found anywhere else, or so conveniently, right in your own home. Move the meal outdoors if you can. My oldest daughter remembers, “Having dinner in front of the fireplace on the coffee table in winter made me SO happy.” Kids are easily pleased. Cherish that while you can.

My book on chores offers more information on how to chores can teach your kids grit, self-confidence and self-discipline while using the effective tools of family meetings. It’s available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. “Raising Able: How Chores Empower Families” by Susan Tordella. There are plenty of stories of mistakes I made and successes, too, so it’s light summer reading.

One of the main things I learned about chores from surveying 500+ people ages 8 to 90 was the reason they did chores was simple: “My parents expected me.” Money is one of the lowest motivators for people of all ages. According to Daniel Pink, author of “Drive,” the most powerful motivators are mastery — learning something new and doing it well, autonomy — having freedom and choices over a task; and power — control or influence over a situation or people.

Most of what we parents do is free and is expressed through our body language and our actions. Our kids are always watching us. Get going today and set up a family meeting and talk about chores and family fun. Remember to encourage their input and give them the opportunity to run the meeting.

5 positive parenting resolutions for 2012

January 2, 2012
Act Don't Yak from "Dr. Sam Goldstein" is a fundamental principle for happy families. If you have a behavior problem with your toddler, preschooler, school age, tween , teen, teenager or adolescent, acting not yakking is a positive parenting resolution for 2012. You can do it. start with baby steps.
Act Don’t Yak is an easy-to-follow 2012 resolution.

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.

“It’s so hard to make new habits,” parents say in my parenting seminars and private practice. It’s true — ANY new habit is challenging to establish and maintain.

Think of a habit as a groove on a record — yes, an old-fashioned LP. When you are stuck in a groove, the record keeps getting deeper as it replays itself. Parents sound like a broken record when they threaten, punish, praise, reward and spank. These negative parenting practices do NOT develop long-term good decision making, and they erode a parent-child relationship.

Take the lead from your kids and start with small steps. Rotate practicing one of the habits each week for three months. Write them out on index cards or 8 x 11 sheets as in the photo at left, and post them on your bathroom mirror as a reminder. They are deceptive simple, extremely effective and will bring results for tots-to-teens.

1. Have regular family meetings to connect, communicate, share the load of housework, empower children, and practice mutual respect. Set the goal of having them weekly, every-other-week or monthly. They create the foundation for everything you want your family and child to be.

2. Act don’t yak [Dr. Sam Goldstein]. This one habit can transform your family communication from horrendous to harmonious. Stop threatening, yelling and repeating. Say it ONCE and then take action. This applies to kids of all ages. Otherwise kids tune parents out and become mother-dear and father-deaf.

3. Be kind, firm and consistent. No one is perfect in this department. However, you can learn new language. “I’m sorry Brittany. I know you’d like to me to give you money to buy that XYZ. Remember at the family meeting we agreed that you would use your allowance to buy such things? I’m sure you can save up for it.”

4. Learn the art of encouragement, also known as constructive praise. GIVE UP using “I’m so proud of you,” which creates external motivation and can only be used after success. Start saying, “Well done! How do you feel about it?” “Look at what you did. Tell me about it.” Encouragement can be given after failure. Ask, “What did you learn?” “What would you differently next time?” Give them courage to try again and cultivate intrinsitic motivation.

5. Use natural and logical consequences that follow the three Rs-   Related, Reasonable and Respectful [Dr. Jane Nelsen]. Otherwise your kids will resort to the negative three Rs– Resentment, Rebellion and Revenge. These get uglier and more dangerous as children mature into teens and have more freedom.

See free tip sheets on encouragement, natural and logical consequences and family meetings, or order the book for reinforcement.

These positive parenting practices are built on a foundation of mutual respect — where everyone has rights and responsibilities and is treated with dignity. Mistakes are looked upon as opportunities to grow and learn NOT as reasons to punish. Accomplishments, pride and new skills belong to a young person — NOT to parents.

You can do it. Start small. Encourage yourself by noticing progress. Any progress is improvement. Comments always welcomed.

May 7, 2010
my family in 1963. we were a close happy family with lots of chores, encouragement, family meetings, mandatory family dinner, fun and closeness. My mother let natural and logical consequences happen to us all the time
That’s seven of my parents’ nine children in 1965 with Brother Thomas, a family friend who was visiting. I’m on my brother’s shoulders on the right in the 1958 Volkswagen minibus.

Here’s a happy mother’s day wish to all the mothers out there. My mother had nine children and she used the Adlerian principles I teach, without realizing it.

Mom let natural consequences happen to us all the time. She gave us the gift of freedom and didn’t interfere or nag. She never said, “Do you have your mittens? Your homework? Your saxophone for band today?” If I forgot, I dealt with the consequences.

Consequently, my eight brothers and sisters grew up to be independent self-managers, with many of us in business for ourselves.

Mom was very encouraging. Encouragement can take the form of saying nothing, offering support, and giving a youngster to try again after failure. Encouragement is one of the most powerful ways to influence people. My mother and father never said, “I’m proud of you,” because that would have made my achievement about THEM, not me.

However, they showed up. They came to swim meets, parent conferences, piano recitals and more. They said nothing, and their presence said everything — that they cared about me. They were happy with me whether I won or lost or made a mistake during the recital.

That kind of encouragement and acceptance is a gift.

When I became a mother, my mother provided me with more encouragement, especially when parenting was challenging. “You’re building character,” Mom said to me one day after I had been home tending to sick children for three weeks when they passed chicken pox around to each other.

My mother encouraged me to take care of myself. I hope all mothers are following that advice on Mother’s Day, and every day, because when we take care of ourselves we have more to give to our families.