Archive for the ‘give choices’ category

Family dinners are a the mother lode

August 28, 2012

I’ve just finished going over the manuscript for “Raising Able: How chores empower families” for about the 25th time to prepare to publish it on Amazon’s Create Space, where it’s available on Kindle and print-on-demand.

It has caused me to re-read the book, published more than two years ago. There are some great stories and examples to prove that family chores, family dinner and family meetings provide a solid foundation for your crew, for life.

YES it takes time to plan dinner and make it. Get them involved. See this blog post for ideas on how to make it easier. This photo of my gang on the blog along with ideas to make family dinner easier, especially as school starts and schedules start to collide.

Family dinner is one of the most important and powerful traditions. Here's the author of "Raising ABle: How chores empower families" sharing a dinner with her four grown children and their boyfriends and girlfriends.

The lure of family dinner never wears off. This was taken at our daughter’s apartment where she had cooked us dinner.

My tips to make family dinner easier:

1. Plan dinner in the morning or the night before if you work outside of the home. Make use of a crock pot, time bake and kids at home after school to put on the potatoes and make pizza dough.

2. Involve tots-to-teens in every step of planning, preparation and cleanup. Use family meetings to plan menus and volunteer to cook and cleanup.

3. Eat family-friendly meals and encourage and expect them to try new foods, within reason.

4. Encourage them to start cooking independently as soon as possible. Buy ingredients they need, experiment and have fun. Don’t complain about the mess! Compliment the chef. Eat their food with gusto. You’ll be developing confidence and a lifetime skill and avocation.

5. Learn to stock your pantry, freezer and fridge so you can cook from what’s on hand. Learning to cook from what’s on hand is an art, too.

Bon appetite!

 

Bully-free parenting

December 5, 2011
my child is the bully, anti-bullying, positive parenting, positive discipline, hitting, spanking, yelling, parenting about, teens, toddlers,preschoolers, teenagers, tweens, elementary age, "alfred adler" , natural and logical consequences, encouragement, family meetings,
Many bullies are made at home

As the young mother of three children born in 3.5 years, I thought “discipline” meant “punishment.” Through parenting workshops, I learned that “discipline” means “to teach.” Parents are teaching every minute of every day by our example, and how we manage others. To manage people means to get other people to do what we want.

My question to you today is How do you manage your children? Do you yell, spank, praise, reward and punish? Or, are you their friend and set few limits?

Children feel unsafe in both extremes. The greatest challenge for parents is to manage our emotions because children try our patience. When they don’t do what we want, when they make bad decisions and put their safety at risk, we feel anxious, worried and frustrated that they don’t listen to us. Therefore we are justified in punishing them.

The problem with punishment is that it often breeds resentment, rebellion and revenge, and ironically, NOT the behavior change we wish to see.

Tots to teens need limits set with respect, love and logic. Children need to experience the results of their decisions. My favorite line is “Give them enough rope to burn but not enough to hang” so they can learn to choose well and find out life’s rules.

Here are some examples of how tots to teens can learn from their decisions.

a. A 10-year-old spent his allowance on candy on Saturday and asks Dad on Sunday, “Can you buy me this video game?” “Son, I bet you can save up your allowance for a few weeks and buy that game.”

b. A 3-year-old refuses to eat his favorite vegetable at dinner and has a tantrum because his parents won’t give him dessert. “You’d really like some dessert. You know the rule in our family. People who eat their vegetables get dessert.”

c. A 15-year-old doesn’t clean the bathroom as promised by Friday at 7 pm. Mom explains in a kind and firm voice, “When the bathroom is cleaned, I’ll give you the ride.”

d. A 7-year-old forgets her mittens on a cold day and her hands get chapped.

e. A 12-year-old chooses not to pick up his room. It becomes difficult to walk in the room and it l from dirty clothes. He has trouble finding clean clothes to wear to school and doesn’t care.

In the first three examples, can you see how the parent explains the logic behind the decisions and in the last two, the parent can allow the youngsters to experience the results of their choices without intervening. The first three are “logical consequences” because they require parental action. The last two are “natural consequences” because the outcome happens without parental action. These are the most powerful and respectful ways for children to mature that sustain a positive parent-child connection.

Here are some bullying responses to the same scenarios, that teach children those who are bigger, meaner, verbally or physically abusive, louder and stronger will win. Verbal abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse.

a. “You’re never going to learn to manage your money.”

b. “Go to your room, you’re being a bad boy. I’m going to spank you if you don’t stop crying.”

c. “What do you think I am? The maid and the driver? You’re lazy and self-centered. All I ask is that you clean the lousy bathroom once a week. I’m going to take away your video games for a week.”

d. “How many times did I tell you to bring your mittens? You’re going to catch cold and die of pneumonia. What will your teacher think if you go to school without mittens? You always make me look bad. I want to be proud of you.”

e. “You must clean your room today or else you’ll be grounded for a month. I’m sick and tired of you disrespecting the house your father and I work so hard to get. You’re going to amount to nothing if you don’t learn some respect. What will your friends and teachers think when you go to school with the same dirty T-shirt day after day?”

In the last two, parents can allow youngsters to live with the consequences of their decisions. This shows mutual respect. Parents model problem solving and behavior management without punishment, reward and praise.

Parents can teach children to choose wisely by being kind and firm, saying as little as possible and using natural and logical consequences that are related, reasonable and respectful (thanks to Jane Nelsen for the Three Rs of natural and logical consequences).

What is Your Child Really Saying? Translating ‘attitude’

October 26, 2011

Guest Blog by Judy Arnall

Attitude is sarcastic anger. Sometimes, it‟s a snarky I-statement or You statement If you look underneath, often, it‟s a sign that your child is ready for more independence and feels thwarted in some way. Does she have reasonable choices? Can you give her more ability to make decisions? Or does she feel that she never has control over anything?

Children want their needs and wants taken care of, just like adults do.

When looking at sass from your child, try to identify what they are really trying to communicate based on their need or feeling (NOF), stripped of the sarcasm, and then feed it back to them. “You are upset because I’m interrupting your game?”

Share your feelings. “When I hear your tone, I fee disrespected. I would like to talk about this. Can we try this again? Here is how you can say what you are feeling. Instead of saying, “Whatevah!” say, I’m feeling nagged. Please leave me alone.” Then I will really hear you. Can you try that please?”

Sometimes, you really have to give them the exact words to use, or they don‟t know the respectful way to assert their needs. It’s a critical life skill to speak up respectfully so people can know what‟s bothering you but still not feel attacked.

Or you could gently say, “Do you want a moment to rephrase that?” You could use humor in your response. You could also just walk away and your body language will reveal you don’t want to be spoken to that way. Responding with anger or sarcasm doesn‟t teach them anything other than its okay for them to continue that way.

Be sure to model assertive politeness instead of “attitude” yourself. It’s a hard trap to not fall into especially when family sarcasm is portrayed all over the media as cool and desirable. It’s a false representation.

If you said, “whatever” to your boss when she asked you why your project was late, I would bet that she wouldn’t laugh. You are the perfect person to teach your children the assertiveness skills they need in life. Start at home!

Attitude Statements Your Child Might Use

  • You’re not my boss
  • I hate you
  • I’m not your slave
  • I’ll do what I want
  • You don’t love me
  • You don’t understand
  • It’s not fair
  • This is dumb
  • I can’t do it
  • I have rights!
  • Fine!
  • Whatever!
  • I don’t care

Persuasive Statements that Adults Listen To

  • I’d like a choice
  • I didn’t like what you said
  • That doesn’t seem fair
  • I need to try
  • I need attention
  • Please listen to my opinion
  • I feel capable and responsible
  • I feel scared, worried, about failing
  • I don’t know how
  • Please help me
  • Please let me have a choice
  • I’m feeling pushed
  • I’m scared

This blog is from another parenting educator, Judy Arnall from Canada. We both come from the same positive parenting approach based on the works of Dr. Alfred Adler. Judy Arnall is an award-winning parenting and teacher conference speaker, mom of five children and author.
Reach her at jarnall@shaw.ca, www.professionalparenting.ca

Mirror mirror on the wall

June 9, 2011
Parents are about the only people responsible for their child's behavior. Their children mirror back their parenting style. The most effective way to solve a discipline problem for a toddler, preschooler, school age, child, tween or teen or teenager is to change the parents behavior. My book Raising Able will give many great ideas on how to solve common discipline problems, which usually stem from the parents.
When our three little children reflected our poor parenting skills, it was motivation to learn positive parenting skills. I found out that I WAS THE PROBLEM .

Do you have a problem child? A difficult discipline problem? A toddler, child, tween or teenager who regularly challenges, aggravates and frustrates you?

I can relate. I had three children in 3.5 years and I yelled at, sometimes hit and often punished them and STILL didn’t get the results I wanted.

Then I found out about parenting support groups and joined one. And then another one. I kept going until I began to lead of parenting groups. We teach what we most need to learn. I learned I was the problem — not my kids! I had to learn different ways to respond to them. It took time, attention and effort — that were worth the investment. Workshops are also fun!

Experts agree.  The most effective way to change a child’s behavior is to change the parent. See this article: http://www.washington.edu/news/archive/uweek/18654

If you have problems with your child’s behavior, then you — mom, dad, whoever is raising the child — must learn to be consistent, show mutual respect and to act, not yak about setting kind and firm limits. Take time to invest in your family’s future with family dinner, family meetings and family chores. Learn how to deal with morning and bedtime routines, homework, sibling rivalry, tantrums, mealtime, power struggles and more.

The best way to improve your child’s behavior is to improve yours. You can read a book — I have one for sale. You can take a course. A
4-week parenting skills course starts tonight — Thursday, June 9, 2011 at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford, Mass. from 7-9 pm. It could change your life . Come tonight for the introduction, no charge, no obligation. If you like it, sign up. Hope to see you there.

If you can’t come, contact me for phone coaching or at your home in the Boston area. Parenting is THE most important — and difficult — task most of us will do in our lifetimes. You can learn to manage your child’s behavior by changing how YOU set limits, follow through, and establish a democratic family where parents and children have rights.

Let them work it out.

October 11, 2010

 

These miners in Chili have learned to get along in a small place with no police. They resolve disputes like a family, by sitting down and talking. Family meetings are an ideal way to resolve conflicts

Photo by Guarduan.co.uk

 

The 33 Chilean miners are on the verge of rescue are reportedly arguing over who will be the first and last ones to exit the mine.

I presume they will work it out amongst themselves — the BEST remedy for any group, including families, to solve problems.

Parents can decrease sibling rivalry among children of all ages and sizes by expecting them to work out their problems, even if they’re not trapped underground for two months.

Children will respond to firm parental body language that says, “This is your problem, work it out.”

Parents empower children when they step out of the sibling fracas. Children will learn fighting hurts and to avoid tangling with smarter, older and stronger people without their personal body guard (parents) on call to defend them.

As most parents know, younger, smaller, weaker children have ways to fight back, which could include manipulating parents to advocate for them, even though the younger child might have started it.

The Raising Able Family Management System follows this precept: put them all in the same boat. Remove the toy or object if they can’t agree on a solution. Use high locks on doors to keep younger children out of older siblings’ rooms. Figure out non-verbal and non-violent ways extricate yourself from the war zone.

Act like they’re at the bottom of a mine shaft. Encourage, expect and empower children to work out their problems. Leave the room, stop the car, use red ear muffs, turn on the vacuum, crank up the radio. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Be creative! They are learning from these interactions.

As with all changes in parental behavior, anticipate the situation  might get worse before it gets better. Children might scream louder and longer and inflict physical pain on each other while they test your new resolve.

Don’t “try.” You must DO. Remember Yoda’s words to Jedi Warriors: “Do or not. There is no try.”


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