By Dr. Charles Fay, loveandlogic.com
Many parents ask, “Is it really possible to raise well-adjusted kids while at the same time trying to manage an incredibly hectic and stressful work and family life?” One mom described their situation:
We try to live a simple, frugal lifestyle. Even with keeping our spending as low as possible, both of us still have to work full schedules just to provide for the basics. With three young children things get crazy. The house almost always feels like a mess, and we have very little time and energy left over to spend with the kids. Both of us feel horribly guilty about this much of the time.
Some parents spend almost no time with their kids because they are addicted to work, addicted to buying extra stuff, addicted to selfish activities or all three. Many others, however, find themselves having to work their fingers to the bone because they simply don’t have a choice. Here are some words of encouragement… and some tips… for this second type:
• Many well-adjusted adults grew up with exceptionally busy parents.
The key seems to be this: As children, they were not shielded from their family’s economic struggles. Their parents were honest about the challenges and consistently modeled hopeful, positive attitudes. As such, they internalized the truth that they were deeply loved even though their parents weren’t able to spend as much time with them as they wanted.
• Remember that guilt often interferes with good parenting.
When we allow guilt to interfere with our ability to set and enforce loving limits and expectations, our kids suffer.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help with supervision.
Kids of all ages need good supervision. Without it, even very good kids often get involved in drugs, alcohol, early sex, and other high-risk behaviors.
• You are doing a good and noble thing by taking care of the needs of your family.
This is wonderful modeling, and it sends a powerful message of love to your kids.
There is a secret hidden in plain sight for all parents of young children: the most important—and astoundingly simple—thing you can do for your children’s future success in life is to talk to them. The way you talk with your growing child literally builds his or her brain. Parent talk can drastically improve school readiness and lifelong learning in everything from math to art. Indeed, parent–child talk is a fundamental, critical factor in building grit, self-control, leadership skills, and generosity.
Dr. Dana Suskind, surgeon, pediatrician, professor and author, wrote her groundbreaking book “Thirty Million Words: Building A Child’s Brain” in 2015. Dr. Suskind says, "Every parent has the words, the language, the nurturance necessary to build their baby's brain. It's really about families understanding that they matter in their children's education and that they matter from the first day that their children are born." For more on her research and her book, link
Just how do you talk with a baby or toddler? Try the three T’s (from Thirty Million Words: Building A Child’s Brain):
Tune In: Notice what the child is focused on and talk about that. Respond when a child communicates – including when a baby cries or coos.
Talk More: Narrate day to day routines, such as diaper changes and tooth brushing. Use details: "Let Mommy take off your diaper. Oh, so wet. And smell it. So stinky!"
Take Turns: Keep the conversation going. Respond to your child's sounds, gestures and, eventually, words – and give them time to respond to you. Ask lots of questions that require more than yes or no answers.
Other tips for supporting your child’s developing language are:
Finally, let me encourage all young parents out there: to the exhausted mom who is reading The Cat in the Hat or Goodnight Moon for the fourteenth time after a long work day, to the dad who gets up early on Saturday morning and heads with his kids to the library instead of playing golf, I salute you. Keep up the good work! Because someday, after many years of reading to them, they might start reading to you.
Most young children are aware of death, even if they don’t understand it. I remember vividly my first personal experience with death--my neighborhood friend’s dog was hit by a car. We were standing on the sidewalk and it seemed to unfold in slow motion right in front of us. I can still connect with the helpless feeling I had at six years old—there was nothing I could do about the horrible outcome of the collision or for my friend as she sobbed uncontrollably.
Death is a common theme in cartoons and television, and some of your child’s friends may have already lost a loved one. But experiencing grief firsthand is a very different and often confusing process for kids. As a parent, you can’t protect a child from the pain of loss, but you can help her feel safe. And by allowing and encouraging him to express his feelings, you can help him build healthy coping skills that will serve him well in the future.
Other points to help your child process the death of a loved one are:
If you know children who are dealing with a big loss, these books can encourage them to talk about and work through their sadness and cherish the special memories they have. For more on helping children deal with loss and grief:
Did you know the average North American child now spends about seven hours a day staring at screens and mere minutes engaged in unstructured play outdoors? Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth. Regular exposure to nature can help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, combat obesity, and boost academic scores. Most critical of all, abundant time in natural settings seems to yield long-term benefits in kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social development. Of course, spending time outdoors is important for adults as well!
Growing up, Scott Sampson—the paleontologist and CEO of Science World in Vancouver, Canada — went on annual camping trips to the Rocky Mountains with his family. However, he said in a recent TED talk, “This was not where I fell in love with nature. That happened close to home — looking for rocks in the backyard, playing kick-the-can in the neighborhood, bushwhacking in the local forest.”
Sampson recommends three steps we can take with our children to connect with nature.
Sampson also wrote a great book on the same topic www.amazon.com/How-Raise-Wild-Child-Science/dp/0544705297?tag=teco06-20
As many families are preparing their children to start a new school year, I would like to share this article with parenting advise on how to help your child get off to a good start. As a former teacher for 25 years, I totally support the ideas and insights presented here.
Love and Logic Parenting, by Dr. Charles Fey, www.loveandlogic.com/
Centuries ago, I presume, a tradition developed whereby parents felt compelled to provide a tangible expression of their gratitude toward teachers. The original motivations for this tradition are unclear. Some may have been prompted by genuine appreciation; others may have been spurred by guilt and attempts to atone for the unruly classroom conduct of their children; some may have darker motivations where it was hoped a small payoff would “grease the wheels” a bit toward a better grade for their child.
While I’m sure that most educators truly appreciate the gesture, I’m not sure how many apples an average person can eat. I wonder how many of those cute little picture frames, paper weights, plaques, and other cute thingies eventually get regifted.
Of course, all of us dedicated educators want to be appreciated for our hard work, long hours, and willingness to be exposed to every germ known to humankind. It’s nice to be appreciated for the fact that we choose to love kids even when they behave badly and produce noxious fumes. It’s great to be appreciated for the fact that we take classrooms full of kids with different needs, abilities, behaviors, and troubles and turn them into high-powered learning teams.
Great teachers are amazing!
The best gift we can give them involves our own parenting. The most wonderful display of our appreciation is to send them students truly ready to be respectful, responsible, and eager to learn. No doubt this gift also benefits our children, who will rise to the top when equipped with such character attributes.
Listed below are just a few things you can do:
(Adapted from Love and Logic Parenting) www.loveandlogic.com/
This parent commands and directs the lives of children through the following methods:
1. Provides messages of low personal worth and resistance
2. Makes lots of demands and has lots of expectations about responsibility
3. Tells the child how he/she should handle responsibility
4. Tells the child how he/she should feel
5. Provides absolutes: “This is the decision you should make!”
6. Demands that jobs or responsibilities be done now
7. Issues orders and threats: “You get that room cleaned up or else…”
8. Takes over the ownership of the problem using threats and orders to solve the problem
9. Uses lots of harsh words and very few actions
10. Uses punishment, pain and humiliation to serve as the teacher
This parent hovers over children and rescues them from the hostile world in which they live through the following methods:
1. Provides messages of weakness and low personal worth
2. Makes excuses for the child, but complains about mishandled responsibilities
3. “Takes on” the responsibility of the child
4. Protects the child from any possible negative feelings
5. Makes decisions for the child
6. Provides no structure, but complains, “After all I’ve done for you…”
7. Whines and uses guilt: “When are you ever going to learn. I always have to clean up after you.”
8. Complains about having an irresponsible child who causes “me” much work and responsibility
9. Uses lots of words and actions that rescue or indicate that the child is not capable or responsible
10. Protects child from natural consequences and uses guilt as the teacher
The consultant parent provides guidance and consultant services for children by:
1. Providing messages of personal worth and strength
2. Seldom mentioning responsibilities
3. Demonstrating how to take care of one’s self and be responsible
4. Sharing personal feelings about own performance and responsibilities
5. Providing and helping the child explore alternatives and then allowing the child to make his/her own decision
6. Providing “time frames” in which child may complete responsibilities
7. Modeling doing a good job, finishing, cleaning up, feeling good about it
8. Asking one’s self, “Who owns the problem?” and helping the child explore solutions to his/her problem
9. Using lots of actions, but very few words
10. Allowing the child to experience life’s natural consequences and allows them to serve as the teacher
God gave all of us free will and that includes the opportunity to mess up. Failure and Success are two sides of the same coin. Drill sergeant and helicopter parents take away the opportunity for children to make choices and to learn from their mistakes. We increase the odds of raising resilient individuals by guiding our children with lots of empathy and natural consequences.
For more on this, see my earlier blog: https://www.coachmyrna.org/coachmyrna-blog/archives/09-2018
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you as you parent your children. coachmyrna-webinars
Have you ever disappointed someone you love dearly, someone who believed in you? That feeling can be crushing. The closer we feel to another person, the more devastated we are when we do something that they disapprove of. When relationships are damaged, it takes a lot of investment to repair them.
As parents, we need to realize that loving relationships give consequences their power. Consequences are opportunities for our children to learn from mistakes if we remember to keep our relationships intact by putting empathy first. For parents who get pulled into endless arguments, that becomes the focus of their relationships with their kids.
I think we can all agree that arguing with our children is not a good thing. Fighting, arguing, and lecturing causes us to move from the frontal cortex part of our brain where thinking, reasoning and impulse-control happen to the brain stem which is responsible for basic survival and the “fight-or-flight” response. When we or our children are in “fight-or-flight” mode, understanding, reasoning and connection get buried beneath angry words and feelings.
Empathy allows children to learn from their mistakes. Anger short circuits learning. Sarcasm backfires every time, sincere empathy works wonders. It allows the parent to remain the “good guy” and the poor choice to be the “bad guy.” Empathy prevents fight-or-flight & maintains lifelong loving relationships!
One tip that I love to teach parents to avoid arguing and keep the relationship connection comes from Love and Logic Parenting. It is a two-step process:
Focusing on the connection creates a living thread between us and our children, and these threads weave a powerful bond that fills them with a genuine and lasting happiness. When we unconditionally care about our children’s happiness, they feel a powerful connection to us. They feel whole, safe and included in our lives.
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you in creating stronger connection as you parent your children. coachmyrna-webinars
The world that parents are raising children in today has changed tremendously over the past twenty-to-thirty years. People are living longer which means that grandparents can be more a part of their grandchildren’s lives.
We see a large increase of three and four generation families. Yet, we are a global community and often live far from our extended family. Most often, both parents work outside of the home. There are many children being raised by single parents and by grandparents.
Technology has changed our world forever. Children and youth today do not know a world without cellphones and tablets. Communication is instantaneous and we can connect with those halfway around the globe.
Among all those advances and changes, the fact is that family is important and is the most basic social unit. It has been said that family is the only institution created by God. I believe that regardless of all the technological and societal advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their growing children.
I would like to ask you to think for a moment about your goals in raising your children. For many parents, one of their goals is to teach them to obey. However, I would propose that having this at the most important goal is an inferior one because it creates a family culture based on rules and compliance instead of relationship, choice, freedom and love.
Parenting is an inside job. We guide our children through our relationship with them. Through our connection with our children, we build trust, respect and love. This allows them to make choices, learn from their mistakes and develop their own moral compass. As parents, when we remain calm and ask guiding questions to help our child sort out problems and emotions, our relationship is strengthened and the poor choice remains “the bad guy.”
Brene Brown said, “Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and values; when they can give and receive judgment.” As we parent our children, we are creating the inner workings of our future adult children. Connection is key. Relationship is the heart of the matter!
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsibility, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you in creating connection as you parent your children. coachmyrna-webinars
Reprinted from a Face Book post by Leah Carroll
To the mom of three at Chick-Fil-A: I sensed your panic when your five year old son pointed at my son in his wheelchair and shouted "Mom look at THAT boy!" You leaned forward and quietly told him and his three year old brother that we don't say things like that and they shouldn't point or stare.
But as in most cases, these suggestions are futile with young, curious minds and they continued to stare and loudly ask questions about my son's differences. When you realized your whispers weren't working I saw the panic disappear and you took a deep breath and took a step of courage.
You brought your boys over to Malachi and said "I bet he would like to know your names!". As they said their names my little Malachi started grinning from ear to ear and jabbering back to them. The joy on his face brought tears to my eyes- he loves kids his age but so many are fearful to come and speak to him. Your boys continued to ask questions about his foot braces, his wheelchair, why his legs don't work, why he holds his mouth open like that.
You took the time to educate your sons in that moment and help them understand that different is okay. Different is not something to fear. And that it was okay to ask questions!
Thank you for giving my son a chance to meet your kids. Thank you for being the type of mom who educates your children instead of frantically trying to silence them. Special needs moms have to develop tough skin- we get used to stares, comments, and whispers.
Please know it takes a lot to offend us, particularly when the comments are coming from young children. Give your kids the same grace we give them and use the opportunity to teach them about differences.
So Chick-Fil-A mom, thank you for raising your children to embrace children like Malachi. And thank you for giving my son something to smile about.
UPDATE: After this post went viral the Chick-Fil-a Mom reached out and Malachi reconnected with his new friends. We still meet up for play dates and she and I have become very close friends. Chick-Fil-a did a follow up video of our reunion that can be found here: youtu.be/_FqXgxnfzd4
"Meltdowns are terrible, nasty things, but they're a fact of childhood," says Ray Levy, PhD, a Dallas-based clinical psychologist and co-author of Try and Make Me! Simple Strategies That Turn Off the Tantrums and Create Cooperation. "Young kids—namely those between the ages of 1 and 4—haven't developed good coping skills yet. They tend to just lose it instead."
What is it that sets off a tantrum? Basically, every single tantrum results from one simple fact: the child isn’t getting what he or she wants. For children between 1 and 2, tantrums often stem from trying to communicate a need—more milk, a diaper change, that toy over there—but not having the language skills to do it. For older toddlers, tantrums are more of a power struggle. "By the time kids are 3 or 4, they have grown more autonomous. They're keenly aware of their needs and desires—and want to assert them more. If you don't comply? Tantrum city” says Levy.
When your kid's in the middle of a tantrum, it can be tough to keep yourself from having your own meltdown as well. Author, psychologist and trusted guest expert Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore says that a parent’s response to tantrums has a big impact on whether they continue or not. “If you pay attention to tantrums, they are going to happen more often. If you get angry in response to tantrums, they are going to escalate.”
So, as a parent, what can you do?
One of the biggest challenges as parents is managing our own emotions when our children do unexpected, even "awful" things. Looking back, I realize that it was often in these very moments that I learned to be present to my children without trying to fix, manage or organize anything. My mantra became "This too shall pass." and "I am enough."
Children need to figure out themselves in relationship to the world and we are their guides, their support and their teachers. The most important thing is that we find ways to take good care of ourselves, learn how to stay as calm as possible, forgive ourselves when we get upset or lose it and reach out to others (spouse, friends, family, a coach) to get the support we need.
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsibility, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you as you parent your children. Webinars