:Recently, I had several opportunities to speak to a group of parents of young children. As I was preparing my remarks, I looked over the articles that I have written for my blog over the past year and a half. Of all the knowledge that I have gleaned from the numerous parenting books that line my bookshelf and sit in stacks next to where I write can be distilled down to a few fundamental phrases.
Relationship is key.
The world has changed tremendously over the past thirty years. In the past, children and youth developed their ideas, values and worldview largely from their family and community. Today, growing up in a global community, social media impacts our children’s taste in clothing, food, music, social/political/religious beliefs, fears, anxieties and more.
Yet, family is still essential and relevant. Regardless of all technological advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their growing children. But our relationship with our children is key. Parenting with empathy, love and modeling what we want our children to inherit are a big part of creating connection. Go to this blog for more on this: gifts-we-can-give-our-children-empathy.html
Love and respect of oneself and others are largely determined by how well a child’s basic needs are met in the first two years of life.
Every time an infant’s basic needs are met, a seed of trust and kindness is planted into that child’s mind and heart. Dr. Foster Cline coined the phrase “The Trust Cycle” in the 1970s. When a child expresses a need by crying/expressing discomfort and the parent responds, trust is achieved. The basic components of eye contact, smiles, hugs, holding, touch and relief from pain and discomfort all contribute to this trust. It is a known fact that an infant will die not only from lack of nourishment but also from not receiving physical touch, eye contact and smiles.
Our children never outgrown the need to know that they are loved. We all need touch, connection and to know that we matter!
Presence is love
In May of 2019, the ABC network aired a special called “Screen Time” hosted by Diane Sawyer which looked at how smartphones are affecting us. One preschooler conveyed the immense importance of presence when he was observed going to his mother who was talking on a cell phone, taking her face in his hands and saying, “Mommy, I need you to listen to me with your whole face.”
Children learn more from who we are when we are with them than what we try to teach them. We don’t need to be perfect but showing up and being present means noticing the little things, learning to put down our cell phones and really listening. Provide it when you’re meeting their needs; when you’re expressing your love to them; when you’re disciplining them; when you’re laughing together; even when you’re arguing with them.
Failure is part of growing up; it contributes to developing resilience and succeeding
Dr. E. P. Seligman, often called the father of Positive Psychology, discovered children need to fail in order to succeed. In fact, it can help them figure out how to succeed next time. He discovered that until the early 1960s, achievement was the most important goal that parents sought to instill in their children.
However, from the 1960s to the present, the goals of happiness and high self-esteem have replaced achievement and become the key focus. In four large scale studies by Dr. Seligman, the results of this new trend are that depression has skyrocketed and feelings of self-esteem have actually plummeted.
In his book. "12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid," Tim Elmore states, “Refusing to let kids fail brings two negative outcomes. First, it fosters the fear of failure later in life as adults…Second, it dilutes the will or motivation to excel.” Click here for his book tinyurl.com/qo3vvn4
As a parent, we need to learn to weigh learning experiences against rescuing them. Which choice will enhance our child’s self-concept? Often, learning to ask a guiding question can support our child’s decision without taking away their life lessons. Quiet support and empathy go a long way as our children, youth and young adults are figuring out their next steps.
Learn to Prepare the Child for the Path instead of the Path for the Child
Tim Elmore concludes that learning to prepare the child for the path instead of trying to change the path for the child is what is needed. There is much for us to be hopeful about as parents when we learn to be honest about our relationship with our children and see where we need to adapt.
I would like to invite you to check out my parent coaching services and sign up for my four-week webinar series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-to-be-with Kids.” It is on-demand, you can watch it from the comfort of your home and put the skills presented into practice each week. I am offering it at a special introductory price through March 2020. Webinars
Recently, I was needed to help my husband with the replacement of our kitchen oven. It turns out that an oven purchased from Home Depot is delivered to our home and for a fee, they will take the old one away. But the installation of the new oven into the gaping is not part of the deal.
Being a very capable engineer, my husband knew how to accomplish this task but raising the oven to the correct height in order to slide it into its location was the tricky part. With some 4 x 4 pieces of wood and a sturdy car jack, the task was accomplished. My role in this adventure was stabilizing the oven as it was lifted on the jack. Everything went smoothly without any incidents or injuries.
A few days later, I was reflecting on this task and was amazed at our teamwork. I also realized something about me.
I have a history of getting upset, even angry, with my husband when we have tried to accomplish things together. It usually involved me:
Upon my reflection, I realized that I have changed in how I hear my husband and respond him. And the biggest reason why is because I feel more loved. Probably he has learned how to express his love in ways that I am better able to receive. But the greatest difference is that I am learning how to fill up my own love tank and accept his suggestions and ideas as support instead of accusations.
In his book, “Real Love,” author Greg Baer states that we ‘act badly’ because we are drowning. Without enough Real Love—the single most important ingredient required for happiness—people feel like they’re drowning all the time. Then we use the Getting and Protecting Behaviors that allow us to temporarily keep our heads above water.
The reality is that my husband or my children are not the source of my unhappiness. I came to this family with baggage—feeling unworthy & lonely, full of anger and afraid that others would discover this. As I have learned to be honest with them about these emotions and to listen to how this has impacted our family dynamic, we are learning a new way of relating and loving.
If you are not familiar with Real Love, check out the website https://www.reallove.com/ and stay tuned for more on my experience.
For the past 4 ½ years, I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and his extended family. If you ever have the chance to visit Atlanta, I highly recommend that you make time to experience the King Center and the National Historical Park which includes the visitors center, the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Freedom Hall and MLK Jr’s birth home.
I also challenge you to find a way to honor Dr. King’s legacy with your family on January 20, 2020. If your children do not have school, find a volunteer opportunity to do as a family by joining “Make It A Day On, Not A Day Off.” Use this website and put in MLK Day in the key word section: www.nationalservice.gov/serve/search Or find something that fits your family’s schedule. Search google for ideas or ask your kids to come up with something. Read the article and let your inspiration take the lead.
Adapted from a blog post by Sharon Egan, http://parentingforhappyfamilies.com/
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an iconic pastor, human rights activist and leader in the American civil rights movement has, and will forever, impact the world not only as a whole but if we allow him to, on us as individuals.
When I think of Dr. King, the following three words immediately come to my mind:
Dr. King’s dream of having peace and equality for all was one in which he believed so deeply in that he persevered through the very worst of times, having hope and faith every step of the way.
What are your dreams?
as a parent?
for your family?
Your dreams can become your reality! But first, you must believe.
Do you believe in yourself? What we say to ourselves is a reflection of what we believe which then becomes our truth. If you tell yourself, “I’m a terrible parent” or “I have no more patience to give!” then guess what?
Do you believe in your children? Your children believe about themselves what they believe that you believe about them. Even if you say you believe in your kids, your words and your actions may be telling a different story. Have you ever told your child he is irresponsible? Are you always there with loving reminders for your child?
Persevering through the many challenges of raising children is not easy but so important to do if your dreams are to become a reality.
And if you are parenting alone, the challenge is magnified, greatly testing your ability or willingness to persevere!
Dr. King showed great strength and perseverance, but he had the help of many others right alongside him.
Let’s learn from Dr. King! Let’s band together as parents and support one another to reach the dreams we have for ourselves and for our families.
What will you do with your family and others to make MLK Day be a “Day On, Not A Day Off?”
The world that you are raising your children in has changed tremendously in the past 20-30 years.
The thing that hasn’t changed is that the most important component in raising your child is your connection to him or her. As parents, our connection and relationship with our children are the building blocks for their future relationships. Taking time to talk and listen, really listen, to our children is essential.
Connection is key, it is the heart of the matter! Children learn how to interact with others by watching and relating with us. Plus, strong family connection supports more cooperation and harmony in the home.
Dr. Brene Brown--professor, author, and speaker said after sixteen years of research, “I am sure of one thing: Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives…Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgement.”
Parenting is an inside job. Regardless of all the technological advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their children. As you and your partner guide your children through your relationship with them, you support them in learning to make good choices, taking responsibility, and learning from their mistakes.
Through this connection and support, they develop a moral compass--an inner voice--that can guide them throughout their whole life. In fact, I believe that the parent-child connection is the core relationship that rules the world. If it is strong and solid, we have healthy men and women. If it is broken and fragmented, we have a wounded world.
To support you in strengthening your connection with your child/ren, I would like to invite you to check out my parent coaching services and sign up for my four week webinar series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-to-be-with Kids.” It is on-demand, you can watch it from the comfort of your home and put the skills presented into practice each week. I am offering it at a special introductory price through March 2020. Webinars
I’d be honored if you would allow me to support you in your parenting journey as you walk beside your children in guiding them towards their future.
As we approach the end of 2020, there are many articles, blogs and advertisements that encourage us to think of our New Year’s Resolutions. According to an article on Forbes.com from 12/31/18, less than 25% of people who make resolutions stay committed after 1 month and only 8% accomplish them. The article recommends having specific attainable goals instead, ones that have actionable steps that you can track each day/week.
As you think about goals that you would like to work on in the new year, I would like to suggest that you do some thinking about areas of your life in which you want to make different choices.
In college, I had a class assignment to write my own eulogy. We were asked to think what we wanted to be remember for at the end of our lives. I have forgotten what I wrote but looking at my life now, I want to be remembered as someone who was a good friend, who knew how to listen, who was authentic and enjoyed life immensely.
In her book, “Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing,” Bronnie Ware shares about the wisdom she learned from her patients while working in palliative care. bronnieware.com/blog/regrets-of-the-dying/#
Here is what she discovered:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
After reading this, I want to make different choices about my relationships in the new year. Here are several of my goals:
What are some choices/goals that you want to make in 2020?
I am sharing a blog that I wrote last Christmas because I think it is important to remember that the memories we are creating will last much longer than the presents we give.
This year as I unpacked ornaments and decorations, I was flooded with many memories of Christmases past. The ones that stand out the most are not the presents I received but the experiences that we had together as a family.
As a child, I remember the annual outing to get a live tree from a family friend in Oregon. He planted and sold trees on his land and he generously offered our family the opportunity to cut our own tree for free from one of the second-growths that sprouted up from the stump.
One year, my three siblings and I accompanied my dad on a damp Saturday morning. As my dad tells the story, finding a suitable tree and sawing it down was not the biggest challenge. As we made our way back to the car along the muddy path, my brother Eric who was three, was having a difficult time keeping up. My dad, pulling the tree with one hand, grabbed my brother around the middle and lifted him up. Unfortunately, his boots remained stuck in the mud. For me, the highlight of the adventure was the retelling of the story to my mother back at home—how my dad had gotten all of us, the tree and even the boots safely back to the car.
Although we lived across the country from both sets of grandparents, we were able to spend some Christmases together with them. I remember the opportunities to spend time talking with them, the annual jigsaw puzzles, getting reacquainted with cousins, and eating the cookies and special Christmas treats.
One Christmas, we were in Plevna, Indiana with my paternal grandfather. My grandmother had been gone for several years and I am sure that it was a source of great happiness to have several of his children and their families spend the holidays together. On Christmas Eve, all of us cousins decided to bundle up and go caroling in the small town. I remember having a feeling of joy sharing carols with my grandfather’s neighbors who we had never met before. My dad reminded me that this was special because it was the last Christmas that my grandfather alive. I am glad that I helped to make it memorable.
The Christmas with my own children that stands out is the one we spent in Puerto Rico. The trip was to celebrate my parents’ sixty wedding anniversary which was in June. But December was when everyone was available. Renting a small villa with separate rooms for each family, we cooked meals in the outdoor kitchen and enjoyed the sounds of the tree frogs and tropical birds. We had our Christmas meal on a rooftop patio enjoying an incredible sunset. My Christmas wish that year was fulfilled as my children had the opportunity to spend time with and reconnect to their grandparents as young adults.
What memories will you be creating this holiday season?
For some more holiday ideas, go to these past posts:
When he was 40, the renown Bohemian novelist and short story writer FRANZ KAFKA (1883–1924), who never married and had no children, was strolling through Steglitz Park in Berlin. He chanced upon a young girl crying her eyes out because she had lost her favorite doll. She and Kafka looked for the doll without success. Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would look again.
The next day, when they still had not found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter "written" by the doll that said, “Please do not cry. I have gone on a trip to see the world. I'm going to write to you about my adventures."
Thus began a story that continued to the end of Kafka’s life.
When they would meet, Kafka read aloud his carefully composed letters of adventures and conversations about the beloved doll, which the girl found enchanting. Finally, Kafka read her a letter of the story that brought the doll back to Berlin, and he then gave her a doll he had purchased. "This does not look at all my doll," she said. Kafka handed her another letter that explained, "My trips, they have changed me." The girl hugged the new doll and took it home with her. A year later, Kafka died.
Many years later, the now grown-up girl found a letter tucked into an unnoticed crevice in the doll. The tiny letter, signed by Kafka, said, “Everything you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way."
We all have opportunities in life where we have the choice to make a difference by our words and actions. Especially during this holiday season, may we all choose to be loving and kind.
This story is credited to Marina Veronica and Jim Fagiolo. Marlene López is the artist of the watercolor drawing.
This blog is from a Facebook post that I saw thanks to my sister Joanna Osborne Masingila. I love what it says about what is truly important in life—memories, unconditional love and passing both on to our families and others.
“Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?”
In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes. God, he was so tired, and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife. Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, “Did… did you…. find him?”
“Yes dear,” Susie said smiling sadly, “He was in the attic. “
Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll. Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long.
“l washed him for you,” Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband.
“Thank you, Susie.” Calvin said. A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia.
“Dear,” Calvin said finally. “Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him.”
“All right,” Susie said. “I’ll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I’ll be back soon.” Susie kissed her husband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. “l love you,” he said.
“And I love you,” said Susie. Susie turned and left. Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door.
Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. “Hello Hobbes. It’s been a long time hasn't it old pal?”
Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered. “It sure has, Calvin.” said Hobbes. “You… haven’t changed a bit.” Calvin smiled.
“You've changed a lot.” Hobbes said sadly.
Calvin laughed, “Really? I haven’t noticed at all.” There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room.
“So… you married Susie Derkins.” Hobbes said, finally smiling. “l knew you always liked her.”
“Shut up!” Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever.
“Tell me everything I missed. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to!” Hobbes said, excited.
And so Calvin told him everything. He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grand-kids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade, and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause. “You know… I visited you in the attic a bunch of times.” Calvin said.
“But I couldn’t see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal.” Calvin’s voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes.
“You grew up old buddy.” said Hobbes.
“I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn’t grow up and that we’d be together forever!!” Calvin broke down and sobbed, hugging his best friend.
Hobbes stroked Calvin’s hair, or what little was left of it. “But you didn’t.”
“What do you mean?”
“We were always together…. In our dreams.”
“Yeah, old buddy?”
“I’m so glad I got to see you like this… one last time…”
“Me too, Calvin. Me too.”
“Sweetheart?” Susie voice came from outside the door.
“Yes dear?” Calvin replied.
“Can I come in?” Susie asked.
“Just a minute.” Calvin turned to face Hobbes one last time.
“Goodbye Hobbes. Thanks… for everything…”
‘No, thank you Calvin.” Hobbes said.
Calvin turned back to the door and said, “You can come in now.”
Susie came in and said, “Look who’s come to visit you.”
Calvin’s children and grandchildren followed Susie into the room. The youngest grandchild ran past the rest of them and hugged Calvin in a hard, excited hug. “Grandpa!!” screamed the child in delight.
“Francis!” cried Calvin’s daughter, “Be gentle with your grandfather.”
Calvin’s daughter turned to her dad. “I’m sorry, Daddy. Francis never seems to behave these days. He just runs around making a mess and coming up with strange stories.”
Calvin laughed and said, “Well now! That sound just like me when I was his age.”
Calvin and his family chatted some more until a nurse said, “Sorry, but visiting hours are almost up.”
Calvin’s beloved family said goodbye and promised to visit tomorrow. As they turned to leave Calvin said, “Francis. Come here for a second.”
Francis came over to his grandfather’s side, “What is it, Gramps?”
Calvin reached over to the stuffed tiger on his bedside and held him out shakily to his grandson, who looked exactly as he did so many years ago.
“This is Hobbes. He was my best friend when I was your age. I want you to have him.”
‘He’s just a stuffed tiger.” Francis said, eyebrows raised.
Calvin laughed, “Well, let me tell you a secret.”
Francis leaned closer to Calvin. Calvin whispered, “If you catch him in a tiger trap using a tuna sandwich as bait, he will turn into a real tiger.”
Francis gasped in delighted awe. Calvin continued, “Not only that he will be your best friend forever.”
“Wow! Thanks grandpa!” Francis said, hugging his grandpa tightly again.
“Francis! We need to go now!” Calvin’s daughter called.
“Okay!” Francis shouted back.
“Take good care of him.” Calvin said.
“l will.” Francis said before running off after the rest of the family.
Calvin laid on his back and stared at the ceiling. The time to go was close. He could feel it in his soul. Calvin tried to remember a quote he read in a book once. It said something about death being the next great adventure or something like that. His eyelids grew heavy and his breathing slowed. As he went deeper into his final sleep, he heard Hobbes, as if he was right next to him at his bedside. “I’ll take care of him, Calvin…”
Calvin took his first step toward one more adventure and breathed his last with a grin on his face.
It is that time of year—when shopping can have additional challenges with all the holiday items on display, crowds of people to contend with and lists that are longer than usual. You might be tempted to do anything possible to leave your children at home or with a friend or a sitter. After all, what can little kids learn when they are shopping with their parents in the store?
As it turns out, they can learn a great deal. To begin with, they learn about how to find the items in the store, what lives on each isle. They can learn about quantity, quality and what’s the best value. They can learn about how much you love hanging out with them in the store and how helpful they are to you. They can learn about not getting what they want right now--delayed gratification, self-control and how to entertain themselves when bored.
They can learn all this and more as long as they aren’t watching a video on a phone or a tablet. Many parents of young children allow that. It’s understandable. It makes it easier in the short term. However, I believe that what happens when they are young lays the foundation for what happens in your relationship with your child later in life. I believe in paying now… rather than paying much bigger later on.
So… the next time you’re in the store, would it be healthier for the child to be helping you shop? How can you make that happen?
• Before you go, your child can help you draw pictures of a few of the items you need to find. Another option is to print images of these items off the web or have your child circle items in the weekly grocery store flyer. If your child can read and write, s/he can write down a list that you dictate or copy the one from the frig. Now the child has something to hold in their hand as they help you on your mission.
• When they find something you need, they can feel great accomplished. If they spot something that’s not right, you can say, “Oh, that’s really close! That’s almost what we want. Let’s look over here. Oh, look at that. It looks just like our picture. Look, it says ‘Beans.’ The letter ‘B’ stands for beans.”
• You can ask questions: “Are we going to get the small one for this price or the bigger one? I think we should get the bigger one. It’s a better value. That means the price is just a little bigger, but the quantity is a lot bigger. ‘Quantity’ is just a fancy word for how much you get.”
• If you have a child in middle school or high school, get their input on a new recipe to try out for dinner. Have them shop with you to get the ingredients and put the groceries away afterwards. Help them develop a specialty dish that they prepare (with your help as needed) for dinner. Consider having this be a weekly chore or contribution to the family.
These things make shopping so much more fun and think about the lessons learned with respect to vocabulary, math, and other essential life skills. Of course, they are not always going to be happy about this approach, particularly if they have become accustomed to watching videos or playing games while you are shopping.
That’s okay because it is most important to give our children small opportunities to become unhappy or bored. Think about it--do these feelings still come our way as adults? The healthiest people are those who learned early in life that these feelings are temporary and that they can cope and get through them.
Adapted from a blog by Sharon Eganby
In just a few days, we will be sitting down to enjoy Thanksgiving meal with family and friends. Dinner conversations in homes across the country will begin with the ritual of going around the table to share what each is thankful for and why.
This is a wonderful and meaningful ritual to have, but how many of us limit this ritual to this one special day when we are gathered around a turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Giving thanks and showing appreciation is an art and one that needs to be worked on daily. It is a habit that we need to develop and practice and then, pay forward the art of gratitude to those around us.
Many parents say: “I tell my kids to appreciate what they have-that there are a lot of other children in this world that don’t have what they have. But they don’t seem to get it AND they take everything I do for them and what I give to them for granted!”
So, this November, let’s start a new tradition to be grateful and appreciative for what we have. Pay it forward by incorporating the FIVE tips below into your daily living and see what develops in your family
1- Express, share and model your own gratitude. Express gratitude for what we often take for granted--having a roof over our head at night or food on the table—when your children are present. Doing this allows us to become mindful of life’s daily blessings and to shift our focus to the blessings instead of complaints. The more we share our gratitude for life’s simple pleasures each day, the more our children will naturally discover their own reasons to be grateful and learn to express their gratitude, too!
2- Appreciate your children. Here are some ways you can express gratitude to your children beginning today!
Showing and expressing our appreciation to our children is a gift that will keep on giving. Imagine the sheer joy of your children feeling appreciated and then imagine and savor in how much more cooperative your children will be. Now that is something, we can all be grateful for!
3- Give your children chores. Chores are contributions to the family and make the family work better. We all need to be needed, especially our children. Through helping out, not only will your children learn that the family runs more effortlessly and efficiently but they will learn to understand that hard work and effort is required to accomplish tasks (clean dishes do not miraculously appear on the table each night) and that their effort is greatly appreciated. The more your children feel appreciated, the more they will be willing to help.
An important note is that children should not be paid for these regular contributions. Otherwise, they are hired help. Of course, you can have a list of additional chores that you are willing to pay them to complete
4- Teach the value of patience and hard work. There was a time that children would dream and brainstorm how they could earn the newest pair of sneakers or the latest hi-tech gadget. Today, a common complaint is that children have an increased sense of entitlement. It is important to keep in mind that their seemingly lack of appreciation is being fueled by parents and others catering to their every desire without sacrifice of any kind. And then we become resentful that our children do not show appreciation and act like “ungrateful little brats”.
We have robbed our children of the excitement of dreaming and of the understanding of what it means to wait and to even work for something that is out of their immediate reach. Brainstorm with your children on ways they can earn what they want.
Helping our children learn to work and to wait for life’s treasures by focusing on needs vs. wants will cultivate a stronger sense of internal gratitude and increased feelings of happiness. Being patient while waiting and working towards a goal helps to create a sense of appreciation for what we have and don’t have.
5-Give back to others. Look for opportunities to help others as a family and talk about ways to help others in daily life. Talk about the saying, “to give is better than to receive” and ask your children what they think it means. Have a challenge for a week to see how many people each person can help and talk about it over dinner. To give to others is powerful but we must provide our children with opportunities to be selfless and to give back to others. What opportunities will you give your children this holiday season to give back? What ways does your community offer to get involved?