Archive for the ‘kind and firm’ category

What I wish I knew as a young mom

September 6, 2012
What I wish I knew as a young mother- spend more time, less worry. love them, set limits and love with logic. Limits set kindly and firmly are the most important. I had NO IDEA how much parenting support groups would help me be a better mother

This is three families at a cottage off the coast of Maine. My family is in the front two rows. Our friend Bruce is on the second row in the plaid shirt and Colin is wearing the baseball cap.

There’s so much to know to be a good mother that young moms can’t know it all. They can learn it from their kids and from other moms. Here’s ten things I wish I knew, or I discovered along the way.

1. Time is short, even though it feels long when they’re young. Cherish their childhood. It will be gone faster than you can believe. I know everyone says this and the days are long.  Go the extra mile even when it’s hard.

2. Motherhood means sacrifice. You will eventually have more time for you. See #1. Learn to give as much as humanly possible. They’ll always want more anyways!

3. Take care of yourself. It took me a few years to learn this one. Self-care makes you a better mother. Spend some time and money on YOU. Then you have more to give.

4. Don’t fool with regret and guilt. Do your best. There is no perfect mother out there. As long as you get it right at least half the time, you’re good. Get help! See #5.

5. Other mothers and experienced mothers can help. Parenting support groups saved me and showed me how to have a respectful and healthy relationship with my kids, without yelling, threatening, spanking, bribing and punishment. It was an investment of time and effort that paid off.

6. HAVE FUN. Your kids will cherish the good times and hopefully forgive and forget the not-so-good. Kids thrive on fun. Laugh, play games, tell stories, play Charades together.

7. Kids don’t have to have it all. Learn to say “no” in a kind and firm way. Encourage them to earn money to buy more stuff. Show them how to have fun without spending a dime.

8. Kids are wonderful teachers. They are patient and kind. They will reflect back who and what we are. Sometimes the reflection is painful. They are flexible and can learn from us, especially through our actions. My kids let me make the same mistake over and over again until I figured out a different way.

9. Having family meetings and having kids do chores and family dinners are like putting money in the bank, an investment in everything you want your kids to become in the future.

10. Don’t sweat the small stuff. When my two young sons discovered a mud bath and got really dirty, my choice was to reprimand them or surrender and get out the camera, quickly, and laugh.

Kids fighting: Let them work it out

June 11, 2012
Sibling rivalry is a time honored tradition and challenge for parents. When kids fight they are learning so much. Letting kids fight and sibling rivarly roar is the best way to let kids learn how to get along. Sibling rivalry is right with lessons. My kids fighting taught them valuable lessons.

Sometimes my kids needed a boxing ring to work out the challenges.

Kids fighting is a common complaints from parents. Here’s a story from a reader who solved it by letting her two kids work it out. Their ages are irrelevant. What matters is Mom’s calm encouraging approach.”Cora needed new clothes, and Joe didn’t want to go shopping. We had a day off (from school), so it was convenient. We went to to three shops, and Joe ate the chocolate bars I had in my bag, drank the water and was super-patient.

“Afterwards, Cora wanted to go to the shoe shop, but Joe was fed up. I told her that she would have to convince him to go herself. They had a private tete-a-tete, and the next minute they both started walking towards the shoe shop.

“I asked them how that happened, and they told me that they agreed that he could look in the toy shop as long as he liked after we went to the shoe shop.

“We went home happy with three bags of clothes, sensible shoes and no fights. What more could a parent ask? They have learned to see the other guy’s point of view and to work on the individual they need to change. They both seem to have twigged (British slang for understand) that I never wanted to be the big boss, I just go along and advise and drive the car and don’t want to be the referee all the time.

“When we got home it turned out that Cora also said to Joe ‘If you go to the shoe shop, I’ll tell you where the switch is on the router.’ This has irked Joe for ages.”

What worked: Mom encouraged, expected and empowered them to work it out. Mom respected Joe’s tolerance. Brother and sister will be closer and get along better now and in the future. Having a sibling includes rivalry and learning to work it out. By solving their problems, they become resilient, creative, confident, capable and develop “people skills.”

Email me your challenging situations — that you’ve solved or would like an a Raising Able /Adlerian suggestion for. I love to solve parenting challenges! Tell me what is driving you crazy — susan [at] susantordella [dot] net.

Difficult children respond to encouragement

March 19, 2012
Difficult children are often more intelligent. LEarning encouragement and positive psychology saved my relationship with ian. he is creative. Difficult children are often more creative and intuitive. Parenting is about learning to love children even when they are difficult.

Ian, 3, with his favorite dinosaur. Today at age 27, Ian teaches kite-boarding, is an organic farmer, and can play five instruments, including the fiddle, which he taught himself to play.

My son Ian was the third of our four children, born in just under seven years. At age 2, he was difficult: stubborn, vocal and committed to get what he wanted. I didn’t like him much.At seminars today, I describe Impossible Ian, how encouragement transformed our relationship, and how you, too, can learn the art of encouragement.

Another term for encouragement is “positive psychology,” pioneered by authors Martin E.P. Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

This book is about how to have a positive outlook on life without drugs and therapy. It will help you with parenting and work and love. I'm listening to it on cd, and love his approach. It's all about love and logic, adlerian, parenting tips, parenting advice."Martin E.P. Seligman" "Mihaly-Csikszentmihalyi" optimal experiences, flow, positive psychology, encouragement, family meetings, power of language, discipline, parenting: about,

"Flourish" by Martin E.P. Seligman is worth reading. I'm listening to it as a recorded book.

In “Flourish” Seligman presents research that shows positive comments must outnumber negative remarks by 3-to-1 for a company to succeed. For a marriage to succeed, the ratio must be a mind-boggling 5-to-1.If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it!

I teach parents to say something nice that will get kids to learn good judgment, the cause-and-effect of behavior choices, and nurture the parent-child connection.

The first task is to give up praise. I know this is heresy because Americans  give everyone a trophy for breathing so their precious self-esteem won’t suffer. This leads to what I call self-excess-teem, and young people with no work ethic because they want a standing ovation for showing up.

Here’s a comparison between praise and encouragement devised by parents in a workshop last week. You can see which one wins.

Encouragement might feel awkward at first. Practice self-encouragement — notice what you’re doing well — to get past the awkward stage. Remember it takes three weeks to establish a habit. This is a fun habit to learn that is useful for everyone in your life.

Praise                                             Encouragement

Similar to candy                                Similar to an apple

General                                               Specific

Given after success only                  Given anytime, including after failure

About how adults think/do/feel    About how children think/do/feel

Creates external motivation           Creates internal motivation

Hollow, insincere                              Authentic, descriptive

Promotes unrealistic self-beliefs   Nurtures genuine self-esteem

Obedience is the goal                       Questions actions/beliefs/authority

Patronizing                                         Respectful

High energy, excited                         Low-key, balanced

Exaggerated                                        True

Celebrates accomplishment only   Notices efforts made and progress

Highly verbal                                      Can be silent

What’s your encouragement score today with your kids and your spouse? Have authentic positive statements outweighed the negative? You can do it :-) And enjoy using encouragement. Start with yourself.

Help! My child is the bully!

November 28, 2011
setting limits for kids who are out of control. Discipline is about relating their behavior to children's and teen's decisions. Good parenting and positive parenting are about being kind firm and consistent. Parents can encourage accountability to children by using this book. Schools can encourage misbehaving kids who are discipline problems by reading the book "Schools where everyone belongs" by Stan Davis and Julia Davis. School bullies can learn to change their behavior when principals use this book. Bullying can be ended at schools by "Schools where everyone belongs."
This book has ideas for educators and parents for children who are regularly  in trouble at school.

Perhaps you saw it over Thanksgiving — a child running wild with no limits set by parents. Perhaps it was your kid who was out of control and you feel guilty, ashamed and don’t know where to turn.

Positive parenting can be learned. It’s all about how we set a limit and let children make their own decisions. I really like the approach in”Schools Where Everyone Belongs,” by Stan Davis, with his daughter Julia Davis, who write about how to eliminate bullying behavior at schools. They emphasize the power of encouragement, guiding children to write and reflect on how their behavior impacts others, the importance of adults keeping a positive and neutral tone, and how to come up with a plan for adults and children.

For example, when a kid is sent to the office and avoids taking responsibility for his/her behavior, the adult in charge asks, “What did you do?” and “What was wrong with that?” Kids don’t always own up to their behavior. If kids are reluctant to acknowledge what they did in the “reflection room,”  the adult can say, “Are you saying you’re not ready to do this today? You can do it in detention tomorrow instead.”

This approach is so much more effective and respectful than pronouncing, “I’m giving you another detention tomorrow!” which will come across as punishment, and can lead to resentment, rebellion and revenge. And you still haven’t achieved your goal of guiding the child to make better decisions.

Parents can learn from this constructive approach to better manage our emotions [usually anger and frustration] and to empower children to make choices and live with the outcome.

Maybe your child is the bully. This book will give you great ideas on how to handle him/her at home, what questions to ask to encourage reflection, and what you can say and do. Bullies are usually regular visitors to the school principal, so buy this book and give it to your kids’ school principal.

Savor the next few days

November 23, 2011

The following came from Tracy Harrison’s e-newsletter on wellness As you can see, Tracy takes a positive approach to healthy eating. To her sage words, I add: have patience with your kids and teens in the next few days. Remember you’re their greatest teacher, your greatest tool is your example. Set kind, firm and fair boundaries that relate to the present moment and you’ll all feel better, with no need to yell and apologize later. Manage your emotions for a harmonious holiday.

From Tracy:

This holiday season, I invite you to explore the lost art of savoring.  Actually seeing and then relishing the things in your life that you appreciate.  Whether it’s a particularly delicious bowl of soup.  Or a hug and a charming smile from a little one.  The kind nature of a coworker.  Some spectacularly comfortable pajamas.  The stranger who lets you know your car headlights aren’t on yet.  An energizing hot shower on a cold morning.  The reassuring touch of a friend who truly hears your story.  The fact that your car cranks on the first turn – every time.  A warm cat who snuggles in your lap.

We have so much to be grateful for – to savor, to celebrate.  Use this time of Thanksgiving to actually SEE in your life the things you usually zoom through and take for granted.  Pause.  Smile.  Allow gratitude to well up in you.  Send that Thank You card you’ve been meaning to put in the mail for months.  Slow down and truly savor your Thanksgiving feast, like it’s your last meal.  Hug your spouse like it’s the last time you can.

Live on purpose.  Make your moments matter.

Thanks Tracy. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.eatonpurpose.com/.


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