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Positive Parenting Tip – How to Super Charge Your Child’s Self Esteem

September 12th, 2011 23 comments

Positive parenting can be a confusing subject.  I believe most parents truly care for their children.  They want to raise their children to be self sufficient and productive members of society.  What we do in our homes sets the pace for our kid’s future successes in life.  If we do it right, we raise children with positive self esteem.  Done correctly, we give our kids the tools it takes to survive and thrive in the world.

Let me illustrate this with a true story.  Some years back, our company decided to create a day for the children, and the parents, of the people who worked with us.  Each family was encouraged to bring their grandparents, also.  It was to be a fun family day.

It took many months of planning.  We had games set up to play and lots and lots of prizes!  The unique feature of the company was their belief in positive recognition.  We wanted a chance to give the children a good dose of positive recognition.

We designed a t-shirt especially for the event and every child would get one in their size.  We printed up some certificates which had their name printed on it and said “is an awesome kid!”  Since I headed up this team of people, I got the honor of awarding the certificates.  When each set of parents came to the registration booth, I was there to ask them to write on a 3 X 5 card 2 things they loved about their child.

This wasn’t a difficult task for a few.  Sadly, the majority of parents’ reaction was either their eyes glazed over and they were completely lost on what to write, or they got the “deer in the headlights” look.  They had no idea what they liked about their child.

I was surprised by a few comments about how their child didn’t really do anything right.  Come on folks!  You have a beautiful living, breathing, child and you can’t think of anything you like about them?  Did they wonder why their children acted naughty?  When their children misbehaved, was this the only recognition they received?

With these parents, I really had to probe them with questions.  I had to use the best deductive reasoning I could come up with.  Many of these children I knew personally and I was able to embellish their parents comments.

What a huge success!  Each child had something said about how special they were when I passed out the certificate and the t-shirt.  I made sure to say, “Mom and Dad say” before each special thing they were recognized for.  The biggest effect took place with the children who’s parents had a difficult time coming up with something good to say.  These children lit up when they received the kind words and certificate!

This exercise opened my eyes!  How different would our children’s self esteem be if we could look them in the eyes once every day and tell them something we like about them.  How often do we do this?  A daily habit of saying, “I love you” is very important.  Just as important is the habit of letting them know, sincerely, what we like about them.  It’s fun and rewarding to see them stand a little taller and get a gleam of pride in their eyes when we are sincere about our compliment.

I have talked with many parents of young children who love to tell their child’s “naughty stories” within ear shot of the kids.  What does that tell the child?

There are many parenting styles.  We aren’t all alike.  Most of our parenting styles is learned by winging it and making it up as we go along.  The sad fact is most schools don’t teach parenting.  They may teach our kids how to earn a living, maybe how to manage their check book, but not much on how to raise children.

we spend millions of dollars on education, self improvement and other self help subjects. We’ll learn many things to help us succeed in our careers, but not much about how to succeed in our families.  It usually takes a crisis to wake us up to seek out family counseling.

Parenting isn’t always easy.  Each child is different.  There aren’t any cookie cutter ways to raise kids.  I know it has made a difference in my family and my kids to tell them what I like about them, every day if possible.  What we focus on grows.  Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the positive things our children do rather than the naughty” behavior?  How could the world be different if we practiced this one parenting tip?

Leave me a comment and let me know how you feel about this subject.  What do you do in your family to increase your children’s self esteem?

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When Has Competition Gone Bad?

July 27th, 2011 12 comments

We live in a competitive world.  Competing can be a worthwhile endeavor.   It encourages the drive for excellence.   It has led to advances in science, from our walk on the moon, to the races for success in the business world.  The results leading to an advancement in our enjoyment of our personal living conditions.  It’s even present in our  everyday life when we compete with others for the chance to date and marry our special someone.

Some of us are more competitively driven than others.  There’s a special rush to winning!  While others don’t like the feeling of being compared or competing with someone else.  They haven’t experienced the good feeling which can be wrapped up in the art of competition.

It’s something we learn to enjoy or hate when we are children.  Positive parenting encourages it and is a role model of productive competition.  It’s important to remember the lessons we’re teaching as we watch and react to our children when they are playing sports.  How we behave and relate to competition speaks volumes to them.

Those who enjoy competing, understand the beneficial art of competition which can enhance our self esteem.  It’s one of the best ways to learn from our opponent, especially when we lose.  Competition brings out our opponent’s strengths and can pinpoint our weaknesses and the areas where we can improve.

We all know someone who has moved the love of competition from the fun beneficial endeavor to something much darker.  Someone who’s desire to compete has taken on frightening proportions and has moved into malevolent behavior.  The person who’s entire life is about competing and winning.  It becomes all consuming and effects even their loving relationships.

What are the signs to watch for in “competition gone bad”?  Here’s a few.

1.  Putting too much emotion into the loss or win.  Losses enrages them.  This bleeds over into their personal relationships with ugly mood swings, violent behavior, and the mistreatment of others.  Winning can turn into addictive behavior such as betting.  Addiction to betting can rob us of our financial and emotion lives.

2.  Competition becomes the only vehicle which triggers the emotions of happiness, well being, and self fulfillment.  When someone can’t relate to another individual without the need to compete with them.  This includes their spouses, children, co-workers, and friends.  It damages their loving relationships and ends up isolating them from their connection to their friends and family.  Their loved ones get fed up with everything being a competition.

3.  Putting too much emphasis on the competition and not on the experience and the lessons wrapped up in it.  Someone who has slipped into this self defeating mode will be critical of anyone they believe could beat them or overly verbally abusive when their perceived opponent loses.  They are consumed with winning at all costs.  This presents itself as bad sportsmanship.  Cheating to win, rubbing it in to an extreme when they win, or being mental or physical abusive when they lose.

Competition can be fun and filled with learning experiences.  It can teach us how to do something better.  It can lead to emotional, scientific and technological breakthroughs which have a positive impact on our lives.  It can be a fun way to enrich our lives and improve our self esteem.  When it goes from fun and life enriching to the opposite, it’s time to address it.  Fix it before it moves into dangerous waters where only a professional can lead the way back to a more safe and fun place for competition to reside.

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Parents – What are We Teaching Our Children About Trust and Relationships?

April 11th, 2011 No comments

Our lives revolve around the fulfilling relationships we create. We’ve all heard the quote, “no man is an island”. I believe this means we can’t happily exist all alone  in the world, without a connection to others.

Building a connection to others is easy for some and incredibly difficult for others. What makes it so easy for one and not for another?

Our ability to trust others, and have them trust us, is started in our early childhood. Yes, parents, it is up to us to help our young ones develop into trusting people who can have healthy relationships with others.

What can we do as parents to nurture trust? Here are a few things to consider.

ALWAYS BE HONEST

This can be a difficult one because we perceive our children as being too young or naive to understand the truth. We develop little white lies to protect them, or insulate them, from things we have done in the past which we are ashamed of.

It is difficult to answer the question “Is there a Santa Claus?”. It is an admiral trait to want to keep our children innocent and pure. How about the question about pot, or sex before marriage, or any other issue we might not feel comfortable discussing, or don’t know how to honestly discuss with our children? White lies can be a very thin line to walk. The white lies stretches over a pit of mistrust which even many well meaning parents have fallen into.

Parents, often, reward dishonest behavior. Do we give less punishment if they tell us what we want to hear? Or, is the punishment more when we discover a lie?

ALWAYS BE LOYAL

Whether we want to accept it or not, our children learn loyalty from us. Loyalty is an important trait in a leader, a team, a parent, or anyone who wants to have a rewarding relationship with others.

Many people don’t seem to value loyalty anymore. In many social circles it is quite passe. No matter how loyalty is viewed in this day and age, it remains an important factor for trust.

Many parents talk about their children behind their backs. They enjoy telling “naughty” stories about what junior did. We’ve all had a good laugh at a cute naughty story. I know people who talk badly about their children as if they were the worst children in the world, loud enough for them to hear. I always wince when I hear a parent talking badly about their children. Actually, it is a tactic insecure parents use to get the attention of others.

What it teaches our children is, no one is worthy of loyalty. These children grow up to speak badly of their spouses, their children, their bosses, their jobs, and any other relationships.

There is a concept in military circles. When in battle, two soldiers will place themselves back to back in their foxhole to protect each other and thus themselves from an enemy. It takes trust and loyalty to do this. Are we the kind of parents our children would want in their foxhole?

ALWAYS HAVE INTEGRITY

Many people haven’t learned to have integrity. I have witness married couples who don’t trust each other, because one or both lack integrity. What does that mean?

Any time a person with integrity says they are going to do something, they do it!  They are true to their word. Their word is their bond. When a couple says one thing and does another or doesn’t do as they say they will, the lack of integrity breaks down the relationship  little by little.  It can kill any relationship, including the one with our children.

For instances, parents can say a certain consequence is going to happen if the child acts a certain way. The child will test them. If this consequence doesn’t come about, what have we taught our children about integrity?

I have seen parents who yell and scream and threaten to give the child a “lickin'”, but they are empty words. They threaten, but they aren’t willing to follow through with action.  The parent doesn’t realize they are compromising their integrity, which leads to more screaming and yelling and threats. A vicious cycle spins out of control.

Children also watch our relationships with each other. They watch how their parents treat each other. They watch us when we aren’t honest, take something that isn’t ours, make a promise or commitment and not follow through.

ALWAYS HAVE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

When we have a sense of community, we do what is right for everyone instead of only taking care of #1. People without a sense of community will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want…to heck with everyone else.

A parent who teaches a sense of community sees the world as a loving place in which to serve. They take care of the sick, the elderly, our planet, those less fortunate than them, and they take care of their children.

ALWAYS KEEP CONFIDENCES

This can make or break a parent/child relationship. If we parents tell everything we know, how can our children trust us with any confidences?

Our children, when they trust us, will tell us things from their heart. They don’t want these things told to others. When we can’t control ourselves, and we tell those confidences, we erode their trust.

Trust is built one day, and one interaction, at a time. It can take a lifetime to build trust, but one poor decision to destroy it. Think of our relationships with someone as an empty box. Every time we act in a way which builds trust we put a credit in the box. These credits build up over time. Any action which takes away our trust takes credits out of the box. A major bad decision, which steals the trust from this relationship, is like lighting a fire in the box. All the good things we have done can go up in a puff of smoke. The way to keep those credits in the box is to make good decisions.

Some might say they haven’t learned these things as children. Is there no hope for them to build strong trusting relationships? I’ll answer with a quote from Louis L’Amour, “A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one’s life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself.”

If this article has been helpful to you feel free to pass it on!

To read an article from Jon Gordon about building trust, click here!

 

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How to Beat the Evil Twin of Success Also Known as Discouragement

March 29th, 2011 No comments

Goals and dreams are exciting!  They can light up our world.  They give us a reason to put our feet on the floor every morning.  Along with goals and dreams comes the polar opposites of discouragement and failure.  Everyone, no matter who you are have been, or will be subjected to them.

The difference between our successes and failures is how we each handle discouragement.  I have a dear friend, who when faced with failure, becomes fatally discouraged and quit whatever they were doing and latch securely onto the expressions, “I can’t”, I wasn’t born to do this”, or my all time favorite (I say with all the sarcasm I can muster) “It’s always been this way, why should I change?”

I heard a speaker once say, “if someone had a gun to the head of one of your children, would you just lay down and quit, say you can’t do it and let it go?” Most of us would say, “hell no!” But, when we let our dreams and goals go without a fight and slump into fatal discouragement, isn’t that exactly what we are doing?

Someone might not be, literally, holding a gun to the head of one of children.  But if we don’t learn how to deal with frustration and discouragement isn’t that a lesson our children are learning from us, which can eventually put a stop to their dreams and goals in their lives?

Face it, our kids watch us and how we deal with love, success, freedom, discipline, discouragement and frustration, just to name a few.  We are walking, talking lessons in life, whether we like it or not.

One of things I ask myself when I’m in the throes of discouragement and despair, is my goal or objective worthy or should I let it go? The more attached I am to my goal or objective, the easier it is to say “hell no, I’m not giving up!”

The second thing I ask myself is a perspective question.  If I can get through my discouragement, in 5 years what will I remember the most? The agony of the discouragement or the thrill of victory!

The third thing I ask myself is, how can I get around my discourage, work through it, or blast it out of my way? Once my mind is made up that I’m not going to quit, the discouragement melts away.  Resolve replaces it.  Solutions become apparent.

Life is journey!  It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.  As Bob Proctor would day,  “Lack and limitation can only exist when we make room for them in our mind.” The same is true for discouragement.  Isn’t discouragement just another lack and limitation?  Doesn’t discouragement breed a lack of motivation and limits success?  The next time you face the evil twin of success, ask yourself the three question.  You might be surprised by your answers.

If you need a little more help to relax and let go of your tension and stress, click here!

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9 Tips for Keeping Working Parents Lives Organized

November 5th, 2010 8 comments

The 2010 census shows that over 75% of 2 parent families have both parents working a part-time or full-time job outside the home.  How do we find the time to do all the things we want to do for our families?

We are busy people.  There are meals to cook,laundry, dance class, little league, and the list goes on and on.  There seems to be more things to do than we have hours in the day.  By the time you add on a 40 hour work week, it is mind boggling and stressful.  The answer is in our organizational skills.

Here are 9 tips for staying organized.

1.  Plan a menu a week in advance.  List it all on the calendar with every one’s schedules. Use one calendar located where every member of the family can see it.

2.  Shop once a week for everything on the weekly menu.  This cuts out all the time consuming, little runs to the store.

3.  Fire up that crock pot!  With the help of a timer, the meal can be cooked and ready to go by the time everyone hits home.

4.  Don’t forget to use those easy cooking, quick preparation time cook books.  They have some very nutritional meals with short preparation time.

5.  Prepare ahead of time the things that can be cooked and frozen such as ground beef and chicken broth.  Keep the fresh veggies cut up, and in containers in the refrigerator, for easy use and snacks!

6.  Make twice as much at one time and freeze half.  Don’t forget to put the date on it!

7.  When making cookies, make some to freeze.  This is a life saver when it comes to providing those last minute cookies,  your child forgot to mention but is needed for school, that day!

8.  My kids were always starved when they hit home after school.  Having little snack sacks of nutritional snacks, made up in advance, helps them reach for the healthy snacks.

9.  Don’t hesitate to use the 5 year rule.  5 years from now, is anyone going to remember if that particular thing was done or not.  Keeps us pointed on the more important things.

Life is busy!  When we stayed organized and prioritize it will go smoother.  The key is to get things done, so we can have some much needed time with our partner and children.  Or, a novel concept, time for yourself!

Here’s a couple of sites I found helpful.  Click here and here!

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Parenting – Are We Allowing Our Children to be Part of the Family Team?

November 2nd, 2010 47 comments

Years ago, at the start of the Industrial age, children were put into the work force.  They worked long and hard hours.  They never had a childhood, where they could run and play.  As a society, we have done a complete reversal.  Have we gone too far?

We are now facing an epidemic, of child obesity.  It is convenient to blame McDonald’s and fast food.  When we really look at what our children’ s lifestyles are these days, it is something to ponder.  Are we, the parents, doing what we are suppose to do for our children?  Isn’t our role as a parent to raise children to be independent and productive members of society?

Most families today, have both parents working.  When Mom and Dad get home, they are exhausted!  I’ve been there.  I know how tired one can be after a long day at work.  It is easy to pack the kids up and head out for a quick meal.  I understand this.  When I was a child, and my Mom worked, I was responsible for having the dinner ready when she came home.  Amazing concept!

My concern is, children are not being allowed to become part of the family team.  Most children, don’t have important jobs around the house to contribute to the family.  When they get home from school, they are free to watch TV, play video games, have after school snacks, and do nothing until Mom and Dad come home.

Every child needs to feel they are contributing to the family.  That the jobs, they are responsible for, are very important to the whole family.  If we let them off the hook, and they aren’t responsible for anything but their school work, is that really fair to them and to, you, the parent?

When I was a working parent with children, I got a lot of flack, from concerned relatives, about the jobs my children were responsible for around the house.  They were, usually, people who hadn’t worked outside the home when their children were young.

I see working parents who work all week, and on the weekend, they work both days around the house and yard.  They work, while the kids watch TV, play video games, or some other amusement of their choice.  Are we responsible for raising children with no concept of a work ethic?

When my children were young, and I was working outside the home, they had jobs around the house.  Were they always happy about their jobs?  No, they weren’t.  What they did get out of working around the house was a sense of pride.  They realized, if they did their jobs, it would free up Mom and Dad for some fun on the weekends.  If the stars on the calendar were complete, we would be able to do something, together as a family, they wanted to do.

I’m not suggesting shackling your children to the house work wheel.  I am saying, it is healthy for children to have jobs around the house and yard.  It will give them a sense of family pride, as they work as a team.

We have come so far from putting our children into hard labor to earn money for the family.  Our children have time to be kids.  Let’s not let it go too far.  Children who contribute and share the work load in their families, learn to how to do the important tasks around the house and yard.  They learn how to be productive members of society.  That’s what we really want, isn’t it?

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Parenting – How Do I Handle the Feelings of Guilt?

November 1st, 2010 13 comments

It can be very frustrating to work a full time job, while balancing a full time Mommy or Daddy position.  I have seen so many working Moms and Dads feeling guilty and beating up on themselves because of this.  I have even done it myself!  The guilty can take us over, if we let it.

I have been on both sides of the motherhood coin.  I have worked a very time consuming and stressful job when I had small children.  I have, also, been a stay home mom chasing after the little guys!

I enjoyed my career and I enjoyed being home with my kids.  There are stresses to both worlds.  Life is too short to bog ourselves down with unproductive feelings of guilt.  No one wins in the guilt scenario.  What ever we decide our role is, we should learn to find the good things in what we are doing.

If a job is needed to help balance the tight budget, then do it.  Many working parents don’t have a desire to stay home with their children.  That’s OK too!  Make the decision to do what you need to do and drop the guilty.

Guilt is a double edge sword.  We can use one side of the sword to punish ourselves for taking time away from our kids to go to work.  The other side of the sword can be used by the kids, who sense our guilty feelings about working.  It’s time to sheath the sword and stow it away where it can’t hurt anyone, any more!

Many people when balancing their careers and families feel bad not having enough time to do their house work.  When ever I started feeling guilty about not have Mr. Clean as my best friend, I made a point to stop and think, 5 years from now will anyone remember whether my house was clean?  Instead, I chose to spend time with my kids.  Five years from now, they might not remember on that exact date whether our home was sparkling clean.  They will remember we played and spent time together.  They will always know how much they mean to me.

Divide up the house hold chores among everyone.  Even the littlest guys can do things to help.  They are fantastic go-fers!  The extra dividend of the family pitching in and dividing up the chores is, they learn how to take care of themselves.  It will help raise them to be independent, productive adults with great work ethics!

When it’s boiled right down to the barest bones, we need to prioritize our lives.  We should decide, what is the most important thing to us.  Talk it over with our spouses and  our kids.

The Mommy and Daddy roles is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.  We all know this to be true.  I say, make a decision, communicate with your family about the decision, and don’t ever feel guilty about it, again.  Decide to enjoy your life, and what ever rolls into it!

Have you found a way to let go of the guilt?  Leave me a comment and let me know what works for you!

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