Posted tagged ‘parenting about’

Missing Mom

May 7, 2012
Mothers of large families with five or more children have a special place in the world. There were many big catholic families in the 1950s and 1960s. Not so much anymore. Now mormons have the corner on big families. My mother was an incredible woman. I honor her on Mother's Day.

Our family in 1962. I’m sitting on my father’s lap in this annual holiday photo tradition.

No matter what your relationship with your mother, you will miss her when she dies.The ache is doubled if your mother was like mine, with whom I felt connected, accepted and respected. Mildred has been gone for six years now. I still want to call her when I feel up or down.Motherhood for Mildred was not about if her children made her look good or feel good. I never remember her saying, “I’m proud of you.” Her objective was not how she felt/thought/looked about us, but how we felt/thought/looked.

Mother's Day is a day to remember our mothers- what they did for us, what they didn't do for us, and how they loved us. Mother's Day will not feel the same this year without my mother, who influenced me so much. I still mis her. Mildred was a remarkable woman.

Mildred Mary Margaret Theresa Rees Tordella, 1921- 2005. Mother of nine, grandmother to 25, great-grandmother to 11 and counting, and friend to countless.

Parental pride/praise sends the silent virulent message of, “I love you best when you make me look good and feel good. Don’t let me down.” Praise and pride can motivate children to achieve for parents. One unfortunate outcome of parental pride is for a young person to choose a career parents want, which eventually lands them in the psychiatrist’s office, miserable.

Without the risk of “letting Mom down,” it freed me to call her when I had been fired from a job, yelled at my kids or fought with my spouse. She held me in failure and celebrated my joys. I long to call or visit her one more time, to bask in that kind of connection, acceptance and mutual respect.

Mother's Day is a special day for parents and children, especially mothers and daughters. I really miss my mother, who inspired so many of us to be independent and loving. She believed in chores and self-discipline and cultivating responsibility. She showed me encouragement and mutual respect. On Mother's Day, I still miss her. If only mothers could be perfect, but we can't so we have to accept them the way they are. and forgive them for not being perfect.

Mom in her early 20s.

My parents never referred to their posse of grown children as “the kids,” a common practice, often justified because “You’re younger than us.” Yuck — what a barrier that sentiment erects. One of the most difficult aspects of motherhood is knowing and seeing we are setting up lifelong habits and forming personalities. Ugh! What a responsibility — and opportunity.

My mother mastered the art of encouragement. She stayed out of our way and let us find our own way. Five of us have our own businesses. We all have high degrees of internal motivation, thanks to the chores we were expected to do, that taught us self-discipline.

Mildred specialized in listening with an open heart and asking questions. Questions pointed my needle in the right direction.”What do you think? How did that happen? What are you going to do next?”  I trusted her to listen objectively, not make me wrong, or risk disappointing her. When whining about my marriage [what marriage is perfect?] she inevitably sided with Bob, much to my annoyance. She was usually right, too, because I had failed to manage my emotions around whatever petty annoyances.

Even though her parents had been dead for years, Mildred often said, “My parents are with me every day.” I scoffed at that sentiment when she was still alive, and like much of her wisdom, I’ve come find out she was right.

Mom, you’re with me every day. Thanks for everything. I love you and miss you.

Source: www.buynaturalgarciniacambogia.com

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The Hunger Games

March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

Parents have a tough decision on whether or not to allow tweens to view “The Hunger Games.”

From Judy Arnal, a fellow parenting educator from Calgary, Canada.

Tips for parents of children watching The Hunger Games Movie

Ideally, see the movie before your child does! However, if attending a midnight movie is not on your fun list, at least be present for processing this weekend!

Talk to your child about the movie – what did she like, dislike?

Ask your child to draw pictures of what she thought of the movie. Give her plain paper, markers and don’t judge. Accept all responses.

Temperament matters more than age. If your child is sensitive and empathiseswith other children, re-consider if this movie is appropriate.

Realize that reading the books is different from watching the images. Reading allows a child’s imagination to interpret the scenes according to their experiences. Watching a movie forces a child to accept an adult’s interpretation of the scenes which can be much more intense and frightening.

Gauge your child’s ability to handle complex subject matter. The onset of puberty allows children the ability to handle abstract thinking and examine the grey areas of right and wrong. Pre-teens are not able to think critically yet, and see things in absolutes or black and white. This is the reason for the PG14 rating.

–Judy Arnall, the Professional Parent

From Raising Able

Talking about “The Hunger Games” and getting them to write and draw about it will reduce the impact of those powerful images. Read the book, too. The book is always better than the movie. It’s one of those books that tweens, teens and parents can read together and talk about.

Mother guilt & father guilt are delivered with the baby

January 23, 2012
every mother and father, mommy, mom and dad have experienced guilt when we realize we have messed up with our children. It goes with the territory of parenthood. Parenting is about learning and forgiving our selves even when we're not perfect.
Every parent strives to be good and create happy memories like the one above. All we have to be is good enough. There is no perfect parent or perfect childhood.

“I’m a bad mother,” said “Zoe” a  young mother of three children, 7, 5 and 2, at my “Act Don’t Yak” workshop on how to cut the yelling last week in Littleton.

“Zoe” repeated that statement several times during the workshop on positive parenting techniques. “I’m doing so much wrong,” she said sadly.

I empathize with Zoe’s guilt, pain and desire because I have lived it. I started taking parenting workshops when I recognized what I was doing wasn’t working.
RECOGNIZING is about 80 percent of the process. Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says that after recognize comes refrain, relax and finally, resolve.
This means we parents must manage our emotions — including guilt. We only have to be parents for 24 hours when the guilt sets in, along with new empathy for our own parents. It hurts to realize that WE have messed up because we care about our kids so much and we want the best for them. We all mess up.
I usually start my programs with a story of one of my major mess-ups. My story of a horrible-no-good-terrible-day frees up parents to share theirs. And all parents have those moments, words and days that we regret.
Zoe resolved to start the journey to change, to take more workshops and improve her parenting skills. It will take time, attention and worse, backsliding and starting over again after failure.
That’s where self-encouragement comes in. Sarah, the mother of six, shared at a workshop how she handled a difficult situation with her teenage son. We gave her feedback on what she did right — which was a lot. Sarah walked away feeling better about how she responded to the situation. This is priceless. We can practice self-encouragement when we recognize-refrain [the hardest two to achieve] then find the path to relax and resolve.
Taking a step back from parenting at a workshop allows insight, camaraderie with other parents, laughter, forming a positive parenting plan and starting self-encouragement to better manage the inevitable parent guilt. I hope to see you at one — with a friend.

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.

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.

Presents or Presence?

December 19, 2011

your presence is the best gift you can bestow upon your children. Forget presents. Give them 3 from santa. Encourage your entitled kids to give each other gifts of time. This will require slowing down and spending time with each other without electonics. Kids can learn to play, spend time together without video games.When my oldest daughter began spending time with her high school boyfriend’s family, she announced, “We don’t have any traditions.

The best gift you can exchange in your family is time.  Some of my favorite gifts of all time have been certificates for experiences and deeds done together.

Give them three gifts from Santa and spend the rest of the day cultivating a holiday tradition that will last long after the batteries die out from the high-tech gifts. Here are some of my favorite simple traditions.

  • Take a long walk in the woods or in a park on Christmas Day.
  • Make a special treat together, like cinnamon buns, Christmas cookies or hot cocoa.
  • Build a fire inside or out and sing carols and other songs. Kids of all ages LOVE fire. Even if it’s frigid outside, spend some time together gathering firewood and creating the fire pit. This memory will last much longer than any gift you will ever purchase.
  • Play some games together that don’t require electricity. Cards, dodge ball, ping-pong, board games, charades, make up a skit, let your imagination go.
  • Do a craft together, even if it’s messy. Keep it simple or not. Have fun.

Be present with your kids. SHUT OFF your electronics when you’re with them and ask them for the same courtesy.

Slow down and make the days last. It might seem like your kids will never grow up. The days will morph into years, and they will leave home sooner than you can believe. Childhood will be sealed in a time capsule that can never be revised. The special memories can be retrieved and relived.

What are some of your family traditions?

PS — If you have a difficult child, spending 5 to 15 minutes a day with him or her can dramatically change your relationship and their behavior. Choose the positive attention as prevention, instead of negative detention afterwards.

Cultivate holiday happiness and gratitude

December 12, 2011

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude during this holiday season to reduce christmas stress. Teach children how to appreciate what we have instead of going nuts buying stuff. Discipline is tough around the holidays. kids are so excited. Tots to teens can't stand the anxiety of Santa Claus, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza and whatever else you celebrate. Have a family meeting. TAlk about what holiday traditions mean to you.Readers, you know I love chores and what they teach children. Christmas can be one big chore that leads to stress, depression, and of course, taking out frustration by yelling at the kids.

It’s not their fault that we’re in the midst of one of the biggest marketing campaigns and traditions in the world. They can’t help their excitement and anticipation of the big day because it’s so exciting!

Have empathy that your tots-to-teens are going crazy waiting for the biggest day of the year.

Come to Littleton tonight, Monday, Dec. 12, 7-9 pm for a parents forum on reducing holiday stress. See previous blog post for directions. It’s only $15 if you RSVP to susan @ susantordella dot net. Bring a friend and it’s only $20 for two.

Here are three suggestions to defuse the holiday stress, that we women mostly heap on ourselves, in response to impossible standards set by the media, that we internalize. Martha Stewart has a crew of dozens to create her “effortless” crafts, meals and decorations. No one can live up to those ridiculous benchmarks.

1. Make peace with yourself and quit doing so much decorating, cooking, baking, partying, eating, celebrating, buying and whatever else makes you crazy this time of year. Celebrating Christmas is optional! How much you celebrate it is up to you. Don’t feel obliged to get everyone in your life a gift, especially your kids’ teachers. They don’t need all of that stuff. If you want to give something, give school supplies they might purchase with their own money or donate a book to the school library or to someone who needs it.

2. Have a family meeting. Find out what traditions the kids like and/or want to create, then do it. It might mean staying home and making and decorating Christmas cookies together instead of going to “The Nutcracker.” Simple is best. Make hot cocoa and sing holiday songs by the fire. Play games from last December that are in the closet. Take some time to decorate the tree together. Slow down. Don’t rush. Be grateful. Cook some traditional holiday foods together. You are creating memories.

Remember that holding regular family meetings is the greatest gift you give to your family because they reinforce everything you want your kids to be — connected, capable, confident, respectful and fun.

3. Make a list of gratitudes. At the family meeting, ask everyone to make a list of things they are grateful for. Either put the list on the Christmas tree or near the Menorah, or write the gratitudes down on index cards. You can cut the cards into simple holiday shapes and make a hole at the top to hang them on the tree with a twist tie, yarn or wire ornament hangers. They can be as simple as, “I’m glad we have a dog.” “Visits to grandma.” “My Legos.” “Good health.” “Family.”

There are less than two weeks to go until the biggest day of the year. Enjoy it as it comes and then goes away for another year.