Posted tagged ‘good parenting books’

The value of sweeping the floor

November 16, 2009
chores, raising able children, good parenting advice, parenting tips, helpful tips for parents, raising teenagers, families parent, help parenting teens
Reliable Bob building a chicken coop at home.

I spent the morning helping Reliable Bob, my “starter husband” of 29 years, install a laminate floor at a customer’s house. Bob left the golden handcuff of corporate America six years ago and founded a home renovation business. 

Bob likes to work with an apprentice, and he’s had a few since he set up shop. As his apprentice this morning, my job was to help him — by sweeping the floor,  going for coffee and supplies from the truck, sawing pieces, and recycling materials.

My objective was to make myself useful doing menial work — which requires the right attitude, interest and some aptitude.

Not all of his helpers have displayed the right attitude, interest and aptitude.

As Bob went out to the truck for supplies and left me alone, I joked, “Now that the boss is out of sight, I don’t have to work until he comes back.”

Some helpers had that poor attitude, and  Bob couldn’t stand them. They took no initiative, showed up late, called in sick often, were poor listeners, and looked forward to cigarette breaks. They got eventually got fired.

Chores are the best way to teach children a work ethic — starting when they are 3 years old and continuing until they leave home. My upcoming book, “Raising Able: How Chore Empower Children,” touts the long-term benefits of a childhood regime of chores.

Children and teens don’t have to:

  1. Like the chores,
  2. Want to do chores or
  3. Get up at dawn to milk cows.

They just have to do a few chores around the house for the common good, and be held accountable do them regularly. The chores can be as simple as sweeping the floor and taking out the garbage daily.

Notice I didn’t say acceptable chores are “to clear their own dish and clean their own room.” The chores must be done for the common good. Do not pay them for the chores, other than a weekly allowance unrelated to the chores.

In the rushed lifestyle of today’s families, many parents don’t want to burden children with chores. If your lifestyle is so busy that children don’t have time to sweep the floor every night, re-evaluate your choices and consider making some changes.

Chores develop a host of beneficial personality traits, such as strong self-esteem, responsibility and confidence. Children learn practical skills and project management. Children who do chores can feel valued, connected to their families and capable.

Being held responsible to do something as simple as sweeping the floor every night creates myriad long-term benefits.

Next: how to use family meetings to get children started doing chores.

How children manage weddings

November 12, 2009

 children at weddings, include kids at weddings? do kids belong at weddings? should I bring my children to weddings? parenting advice; parenting tips                                                                                                                                                                       The girl at left summarizes how some children feel about weddings!

Children are expected to be quiet and still. She’s doing pretty well.

Parents shoulder the stress of children at weddings. They have to take care of them and set boundaries.

One reason I brought my brood of four children to church regularly was for them to learn to sit down and be quiet for 30 or 60 minutes. It’s a valuable skill.

Some parents tell me, “I can’t take my children in public.” It’s reasonable for parents to expect children to behave in public. Good training starts at home.

When parents set reasonable limits at home, they prepare their children to follow limits in public. Parents who respect the attention span and schedules of their children can take them out in public for short times.

In the classic case of the child screaming in the store, it’s the mother (usually dads have more sense and less desire to shop) who is at fault. She’s not respecting the needs of the child by demanding he behave in a store when he should be playing, eating or sleeping. If moms want to shop, get dad to watch the child, hire a babysitter, ask a relative to help, trade babysitting with a friend, or stay home.

Some children would rather stay home from weddings.

Children can be stressed by being included in the bridal party. When my 6 year old daughter was in her aunt’s wedding, it was enough to be included, get the outfit ready and day dream about it in advance.

The young flower girl had a melt-down on the wedding day because the excitement was too much to contain. Somehow she collected her emotions and managed.

Like many brides today, her aunt wanted my daughter to participate. We brought her two younger brothers, too, so we were on duty for the wedding — until the kids wore out and we turned them over to a babysitter on call — the ideal situation.

Weddings are adult events. Children are not mini-adults. I don’t say this often, but children are entitled to have their stamina respected. Children are not at weddings to perform, be displayed or to make their parents look good.

They want to have a good time, and I can guaranteed their good time is different and will end a lot sooner than our good time.

Should I bring my baby to a wedding?

November 12, 2009
should I bring my children to a wedding? parenting about, parenting tips, good parenting books, helpful tips for parents, families parent, help parenting, parenting

Should kids be included in weddings?

I’m amazed at how many people bring babies, toddlers and children to weddings these days. Some bridal couples kidwedding2make it clear, “Children welcome,” and go so far as to match the dress of the 1-year-old to her bridesmaid mother, who carries the tot down the aisle on her hip. Who can argue with that level of cuteness?

Because Bob & I had four children in seven years, spending a day at a wedding with our brood would have been exhausting. We sprang for the babysitter and left them behind to play Candyland, feast on chicken nuggets and have a special toast of ginger ale.

As soon as they could sit still and quiet during the service and entertain themselves during the party — by age 7 or 8 — I had no problem including them. It was one less meal to fix! They enjoyed it. As long as the wedding was earlier in the day, it didn’t tax their nervous systems too much.

Today’s families are smaller and children may be in day care all week, so parents want to maximize time spent with the children.

Provided children are invited, couples who wonder, “Should I bring baby to a wedding” should ask: “Will it tax the us or the little ones to attend?”

Little children like schedules. They like to make noise. They demand that their needs come first. Many parents are willing to sacrifice their own fun at a wedding to include baby in the festivities.

Baby might not appreciate being included, get cranky at the wedding and require a day to recover from the disruption in schedule. Many parents don’t mind paying the price, especially if they only have one or two children.

The ideal situation to include baby in the wedding is to have a babysitter on hand when she wears out. At the last wedding I attended, the young families stayed at the venue, in rooms adjacent to the ceremony and reception. Armed with a nursery monitor, parents got ot have the best of both worlds, sort of, because they still had to put baby first.

One final thought: every child wants to grow up in an intact family. Sadly, by 12th grade, the parents of about half of all children will be divorced. 

When couples constantly sacrifice their needs and their relationship in order to focus on the children, the primary relationship of the family — the marriage — suffers. Marriages need constant replenishment. Marriages can survive short droughts by calling on reserves. But marriages that always take second place to the children will dry up.

Wedding are a wonderful day-long “date,” and a time for a couple to reconnect to what brough them together, remember their special day, and to reinforce what keeps them together.

Every “date” is an investment in a marriage that will pay off for years in family togetherness.