Connection is Key: Kids are wired to be attached to their caregivers. They want to be noticed, listened to, understood, and supported. When this connection is strong, kids are more likely to listen and comply with less resistance. Look for opportunities to connect with each child daily — playing, reading, running around the yard, or take time to listen, observe, and be quiet together. Relationship is the heart of the matter.
Kids are Immature: They are going to be forgetful, impulsive, messy, and silly. The ability to make a good choice over a not-so-good choice takes time. There’s nothing you can do to rush this process. In the meantime, focus on guiding them as they learn how to handle tricky situations, giving them grace when they mess up, and letting them try again. Mistakes = learning opportunities!
Don’t Fear the Meltdown: Big emotions cause parents to shift into panic mode, which usually leads to yelling, giving consequences that don’t make sense, or giving up entirely. Meltdowns are a normal part of life with kids, unfortunately. Focus on being the calm, confident, supportive parent your child needs. If you find yourself having a meltdown of your own, stop, take a deep breath (or a break), and get your own emotions in check. As a parent, strive to model the kind of behavior that you want your child to inherit!
Trust Your Gut: Social media, parents at the bus stop, and even family members can give you a long list of things your child “should” be doing. Remember, you are the expert on your child. If you think your child needs additional support to thrive, seek help. Otherwise, embrace your child’s unique personality, needs, strengths, and growth areas as they develop at their own pace. Mom, Dad—you’ve got this!
Your Own Stuff Matters: There’s a reason you’re getting upset, giving in, or over-reacting. Learning about your triggers and understanding why some things bother you more than others is an important part of parenting. Sometimes you can work through these challenges on your own, but sometimes you need the support of a friend, coach, or mental health professional…and that’s ok. Parenting and grandparenting is the opportunity to re-parent yourself!
As a parent coach, it would be my honor to support you on your journey of parenting. A parent coach is a trained and certified professional who helps you achieve your goals in creating a fulfilling family life and cultivating a better relationship with your children. Addressing issues such as problems with routines and transitions (morning and night, for example), power struggles, parental anger, discipline, homework challenges, chores, and “disrespectful” behavior, I give customized support, tools and advice based on your family's needs.
Whether on the phone, in-person, or over Zoom, I work with you to clarify what you want to accomplish, set specific goals, make an effective action plan and help hold you accountable for making progress toward meeting your goals. To find out more, visit my website and make an appointment for a complimentary Clarity Coaching Session Parent Coaching.
Just imagine that an alien suddenly dropped into our world to find out what our society thinks about sex. He’d observe how sex is presented in the TV shows we watch, the movies we go to see, the magazines and books we read, and what we look at on our computer screens and smartphones. Maybe he’d go to a high school and sit in on a sex education class to learn what kids are taught about sex. It’s not hard to figure out what his conclusions would be. He’d assume that everyone’s ‘doing it,’ that there aren’t any consequences (or none that anyone worries about ahead of time), that it’s apparently enjoyable but not meaningful, that marriage has nothing to do with it (if he’d even come across the concept of marriage), that there’s no moral component (if he’d come across the concept of morality), and that there’s no connection between sex and planning a family. Marcia Segelstein
In her new book, “Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids,” Marcia Segelstein shows us how today’s parents need a different parenting plan than in the past. Written with the journalistic thoroughness she honed for many years covering family issues as a columnist and producer for CBS, Ms. Segelstein sheds light on the issues and trends that justifiably cause parents to be concerned for the health, safety and spiritual well-being of their kids.
She does an incredible job of demonstrating, from studies and various anecdotes, that the influence of parents over their children tends to be limited in our current society. As the influence of parents decreases, the influence of the culture increases. Through the book, Segelstein highlights five major cultural influences (school, media, sex, pornography, and consumerism), shows the impact these influences have on our children, and highlights ways that parents can take back the role as influencers in a positive way.
The first chapter, "The Critical Role of Parents" is an amazing reframing of what it means to be a parent, a welcome shift from the modern approach. Ms Segelstein states, "If we want our children to follow us, instead of the culture, we need to gain their respect. We need our children to listen to us and to trust us so that ours are the values they embrace and ours are the voices they heed
She further asserts that our first task is to become confident, authoritative parents. This does not mean stern and rigid but rather parents who provide love and limits. Quoting Dr. Jane Anderson, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, Ms. Segelstein says that, “These are parents who provide rules and standards…for their children…they’re nurturing, responsive and loving. I call them the nurturing, loving, rule-setting parents.”
The chapter on the media is a hugely important wake up call for our media dependent culture--especially when connected to the later chapter on pornography, an issue which I believe parents need to be extremely aware. The use of cell phones, computers and other forms of media has become the leading activity for children and teens other than sleeping. “Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids” gives parents support in making some family rules and managing this huge influence on our children.
Written from the Christian perspective, Ms. Segelstein draws on her experience as a Catholic, her years of writing for the National Catholic Register, the “Family Time” segments that she produced for CBS This Morning as well as her own experience as a mother. Parents of all backgrounds can find valuable resources and information in this book. Each chapter includes a section of Solutions, Tips & Tools with many resources and suggestions. I especially resonate with the ones presented in the first chapter as they are foundational components of creating a happy family that I recommend in my weekly blogs and webinars. These include having rules about manners and respect, establishing rituals, family dinners, chores (which are contributions to the family), creating a family mission statement, and weekly family meetings.
I highly recommend this book for parents and grandparents of children birth through high school. It is eye-opening, at times confronting and scary but also provides a wealth of information and tools. Thomas Lickona, author, psychologist and education professor said it best, "This book is a godsend for families of faith, but it’s also for everyone who cares about kids and wants to learn more about how to deal with the very real threats to their hearts, minds, and souls from the world they now how to grow up in. Consider it for a book study in your church, school, or community—and offer a copy to your pastor." To order on Amazon, click here: tinyurl.com/yy8oxues
Edna Ruth Byler was someone who lived her life to make a difference. Although I never knew her, she was raised as a Mennonite in the town where I went to college. For those of you who might not know about the Mennonites, they are a faith group that began in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. They are known for peace, justice and non-resistance and my father is a retired Mennonite minister.
Mrs. Byler grew up surrounding by role models who made a difference through their life. However, in the 1930-1950’s, the role of a woman in the Mennonite Church was largely to raise the family, support her husband and serve her local church community. On a trip to Puerto Rico with her husband whose job included overseeing relief work internationally, Edna Ruth Byler discovered a way that she could make a difference.
Impressed with the intricate needlework of women in the villages, Mrs. Byler agreed to find a way to market their handiwork, thus, helping these women to support their families. Starting from the trunk of her car, she added crafts from other countries and opened a gift shop.
Now known as Ten Thousand Villages https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/, the efforts of Mrs. Byler have grown into the largest fair trade organization in the world. This organization empowers women/artisans in thirty-eight countries to be self-sufficient and to take pride in their talents as well as pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for themselves and their families.
Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, former US Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, spoke at the 2nd Global Women’s Peace Network Assembly in 2013. She called on women to lead in their families saying, “There is no more important mission for women than to provide leadership in reconstructing the family. That means women must be selfless, put their children ahead of their own desires and work hard to make their families strong and healthy…women have the opportunity to raise moral, spiritual and contributing citizens…this is among the most extraordinary and satisfying life she can lead and the most honorable gifts she can give.” I agree with the Ambassador that the role of women leadership begins in the home within her own family.
We all want our children and grandchildren to have good role models. But how do we make this happen? There are many in media, music, sports, and more—who strive to gain the following and the pocket books of our children. But most often, they do not embody the characteristics that we want our children to aspire to.
As parents, as mothers, we have the opportunity and responsibility to guide and influence our children towards goodness. In this rapidly changing culture, Maria Segelstein is a voice of support and reason for parents in her new book, “Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids.” Keep tuned for more on this next week.
Last week, I wrote about how the tradition of Mother’s Day was inspired by the actions of Anna Jarvis who wanted to unite families who were divided by the Civil War. This week, I would like to highlight a few mothers who also exemplified their love through their deeds.
My mother, Joyce Nyce Osborne, was a pastor’s wife. She not only cared for our family but also cared for the members of our church and larger community. When I was a child, my mother signed our family up with an international student organization and we hosted students who were too far from home to be able to go there for holidays. I remember dying Easter Eggs with Mr. Ogbein from Nairobi and sharing Christmas dinner with Mr. Ogot from Kenya. Through this simple act of inviting someone of a different race and cultural background into our home, my mom expanded my worldview.
When my brother died of cancer at the age of 29, my mother was able to heal some of her sadness and pain by volunteering at local hospice-something that she continues to do today. Although I didn’t always understand or appreciate the time that she invested in others, today I am proud of how she lives her faith and know that I have been greatly influenced by her example.
Dr. Ben Carson, the retired director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland and currently the Secretary of HUD, gave a powerful speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. He credits his success to his mother. As a boy, Ben Carson watched his father walk out on his family, closing the door on a life the 8-year-old would never know again.
Through periods of heartbreak, fear and financial struggle, his mother, Sonya Carson, provided for Ben and his brother without relying on government assistance. A determined woman with only a limited education, she insisted her sons see their potential and that they never let circumstances get them down. She taught them that education would change their lives.
Determined to turn her sons around, Sonya limited their TV time to just a few select programs and refused to let them go outside to play until they'd finished their homework. She was criticized for this by her friends who said her boys would grow up to hate her. But she was determined that her sons would have greater opportunities than she did. She required them to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though with her poor education she could barely read them. She would take the papers and review them, scanning over the words and turning pages. Then she would place a checkmark at the top of the page showing her approval.
At first, Ben resented the strict regimen. While his friends were playing outside, he was stuck in the house, forced to read a book or do his homework. But after several weeks of his mother's unrelenting position, he began to find enjoyment in reading.
Being poor, there wasn't much opportunity to go anywhere. But between the covers of a book he could go anyplace, be anybody and do anything. He began to see himself differently, different than other kids in his neighborhood who only wanted to get some nice clothes and a car. Taking on his mother’s challenge, Dr. Carson devoted himself to a life of learning and achievement and he never forgot his mother’s early lessons or her sacrifices for him.
Through what actions has your mother loved and taught you? Did you tell her what you appreciate about her love for you? Need some inspiration? Watch how these kids move the hearts of their mothers.
Although you might think that Mother’s Day was initiated by Hallmark, it was not motivated by commercialism but from women’s peace groups. In 1868, Ann Jarvis– mother of Anna Jarvis – created a committee to establish a "Mother's Friendship Day.” The purpose was to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War. When the Civil War broke out, Ann Jarvis called together women to pledge that friendship and good will would not be a casualty of the war.
In a remarkable display of courage and compassion, the women nursed soldiers from both sides and saved many lives from both sides. Jarvis – who had previously organized "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to improve sanitation and health for both Union and Confederate encampments undergoing a typhoid outbreak – wanted to expand this into an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.
Her daughter continued her mother's efforts and what began as a celebration in a church in West Virginia spread over a few years to many states and eventually became a national and international holiday. Carnations were Ann Jarvis’ favorite flowers, so it became a tradition to give out carnations on Mother’s Day. “The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother’s love never dying," Jarvis explained in a 1927 interview.
Designated as the second Sunday in May by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, aspects of Mother’s Day have since spread overseas, sometimes mingling with local traditions. Jarvis took great pains to acquire and defend her role as “Mother of Mother's Day,” and to focus the day on children celebrating their mothers.
Ann Jarvis did not like the commercialism that become associated with Mother’s Day—buying flowers, cards and candy to one’s mother. In this spirit, I challenge you to find a unique way to celebrate your mother this year.
How about an experience that you can share together? A picnic and a hike in the woods? A visit to a local botanical gardens or park? Breakfast in bed? (Make sure you clean up the kitchen afterwards.) A drive on a scenic road? A photo album with a cover that the kids help decorate?
I am sure that you will figure out something that it special and wonderful. You have just over a week. Be sure to check in the next couple weeks as I highlight some amazing mothers. And if you need some help to connect to all that your mom means to you, let this video inspire you.