Posted tagged ‘positive parenting’

Allow the opportunity for connection, exploration and “I’m bored

February 9, 2013

The weather outside is frightful today in New England. Many families are holed up. Some parents may be dreading a day of entertaining and refereeing the kids.

My suggestion is to treasure this day as an opportunity to connect. Spend some time together shoveling, making hot cocoa or cookies, or playing a game for a while. Get outside and revel in the snow together.

After spending some positive attention at a neutral time when the kids are not whining, fighting or complaining, go your separate ways and check in with them every hour or so. The younger they are the more frequently you check in.  Notice what they’re doing and offer encouragement by offering observations or asking questions. You can simply watch quietly and do not disturb a good thing.

Things might get worse before they discover the art of self-entertainment. Allow them to learn the joys of having a brother or sister. Boredom can lead to creativity. It is not parents’ job to solve a child’s lack of initiative. Encourage them by saying, “I’m sure you can find something to do.”

Remember the three steps to empower kids to self-entertain and avoid boredom:

1. Spend positive attention at a neutral time every day — at least 15 minutes. This type of connection can solve MANY larger behavioral issues.

2. Expect them to find something constructive to do independently. Allow them to do nothing and feel the stillness, even boredom. This is Zen! Do not solve complaints or bickering with TV or a video. Expecting them to find something to do will probably generate a mess. Allow it. Plan on spending time cleaning up together. The blanket forts, spilled flour, and toys spread all over the floor are evidence of creativity, initiative and cooperation (if you have more than one child).

3. Encourage their efforts in a quiet, low-key manner. Just watch silently.

As I tell my kids, YOU CAN DO IT.

 

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FREE talk by Dr. Ned Hallowell Monday, 3/12/12 in Westford

March 8, 2012
"Dr. Ned Hallowell" and ADD expert, will speak on this book he wrote, "The childhood roots of adult happiness" in Westford, Mass. on March 12. he is worth hearing.

"Dr. Ned Hallowell" will share a great deal of insight about positive parenting and what parenting is all about -- slowing down and taking the time to be with children instead of constantly rushing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell is speaking in Westford next Monday night, March 12. He has written several books on ADD and ADHD. My favorite book he has written is “The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness.”I LOVED this book. I heard Dr. Hallowell speak in fall 2010 in Ayer, and he shared many good stories, insight, and advice with humility and humor.

Whether or not you have read any of his books, this talk is worth hearing. You will come away with some good ideas about how to be a better mother or father.

The Westford Parent Connection is sponsoring the free event – The Distracted Family: Overstretched, Overbooked, And About To Snap at The Westford Academy Performing Arts Center, 30 Patten Road, Westford, MA  7:00-9:00 pm.

For more information go to: http://www.westford.com/wpc/events.htm or to www.drhallowell.com.

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.

Raising Able Workshops this week

January 21, 2012

Come and get it — get a dose of positive parenting this week by Raising Able at these locations.

Act Don’t Yak – how to cut the yelling in half. Monday, Jan. 23, 7-9 pm at Roudenbush Community Center. $25. Call to register 978-692-5511 or go online.

“Do I have to?” How chores teach the priceless gift of self-discipline. Wednesday, Jan. 25, FREE at the Pollard Middle School 200 Harris Avenue, Needham. 7-9 p.m. Sponsored by the Needham Women’s Club.

Act Don’t Yak — how to cut the yelling in half. Thursday, Jan. 26, Harvard, Mass. Community Education, 7-9 pm. Email jcavanaugh@psharvard.org to register. $25.

Hope to see you at some of these workshops this week. Repetition helps when learning new habits. Bring a spouse or friend, ready to laugh as you learn.

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.

“You better not shout!” How to maintain family peace during the jolly season.

December 8, 2011

Who’s being naughty and nice at your house?

Join a positive parenting session on Monday, Dec. 12, 7-9 pm to remind you how to maintain goodwill during this season of celebration.

Touch base with positive parenting principles and share with other parents.Make the two hour informal workshop a holiday gift to your family. Remember what fun it is to ride the one horse open sleigh of positive parenting.

7-9 pm  Monday, Dec. 12.  RSVP to susan.tordella@gmail.com and admission is $15, 2 for $20 (bring a spouse or friend). Bring payment.

$20 at the door, 2 for $25 Drop-ins and babes in arms welcome. 

Mark your calendar for the January Positive Parenting Forum — Monday, Jan. 9, 7-9 pm, same place, at Exit 31, Route 495 near IBM in Littleton, Mass.

DIRECTIONS

NOTE: It’s CRITICAL to enter the old Mill building through the correct door.

From Rt. 110 in either direction, go to the intersection of Rt. 119 and turn north to I-495.  The building is the first building on the left after the turn. 

From locations South, take I-495 North to Exit 31 at Rt. 119. At the end of the ramp turn left.   The mill building is on the right hand side.

From Boston, take Rt. 2 West, then take I-495 North to Exit 31/Rt. 119. Take ramp right and left at the stop sign.   Mill building is on the right.  

From Boston, take Rt. 2 West to the Concord Rotary, then take Rt. 2A/119 West.  Follow it to Rt. 110 in Littleton center.  The Mill Building is just after the intersection on the left.  This route is shorter from Boston but may be a little slower.

From locations North, take I-495South to Exit 31/Rt. 119. At the end of the ramp, go right onto Rt. 119, over the freeway. The Mill building will be on the right.  

Parking:  The most convenient parking is the lot closest to the intersection of Rt. 119 and Rt. 110 at the sign for Cloak and Dagger.  Go to the back of the parking lot and take the steps up to the loading dock.  Enter the red door on your right with a sign on it that says “Creating Life Studio.”  Take the stairs to the top floor to the studio.

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).