Archive for the ‘mother-daughter’ category

What’s your biggest parenting problem?

July 23, 2012
do your kids use computers, video games , TV, texting and cell phones too much? Do you as parents have trouble regulating your children's and teen's and tweens use of electronics such as video games, online gaming, sexting, texting and cell phones?

Do your kids spend too much time online and using electronics? Do you often argue with your kids about how often they are hooked up to computer and video games?

Readers –

What’s going on in your families today? I’m interested in your most difficult problem as a parent right now that you wish you could solve by waving a magic wand. Include the ages of your children with the comment.

You can share the hardest problems you’ve faced in the past year, the past five years and/or since your child was born. LIMIT of three big problems per comment.

Be general and concise when describing the problem.  “Discipline” is too general. “Not listening” would be more specific.

Here are examples gleaned from my own parenting challenges.

  • Power struggle between me and my daughter, until she left home.
  • Sibling rivalry — kids fighting, all ages.
  • Telling the truth, lying and trust issues, teens.
  • Morning and bedtime routines.
  • Food and mealtime issues.
  • Toilet training.
  • Excessive screen time — computers, cell phones, gaming, television.

I realize that parenting problems are a moving target. Give a snapshot of Vancouver MLS where you are now, and/or a really big problem you faced since you had your kids. I’m looking forward to your responses.

How chores & family meetings have changed everything

May 14, 2012
This young girl is showing the value of family chores. She is washing windows. This task gives her connection to family, self esteem and self-discpline, all of which cannot be bought at K-Mart or Wal-Mart. Yes, it takes more time for mom to involve the kids. Yes, the kids won't do as good as a job. Yes, it requires family meetings and encouragement. it's worth the investment in your family.

Love the action in this photo as well as the reflection in the windows. Appearances can deceive. This 9-year-old is gaining self-confidence, skill, self-discipline, self-esteem and connection to her family.

This post is from a mom in Ireland who read “Raising Able: How Chores Empower Families” and began applying the practices with her two kids. 

Somebody tell Hallmark that we already had mother’s day. It was a few weeks back.

We started family meetings in January. We have had a weekly family meeting for three months. As a family, we have cleaned out the shed, scrubbed the carpet, and had a stall at a carboot sale [flea market]. The children have cleaned the bathroom, washed windows, hoovered, worked a huge amount on the dishwasher, washed the dogs, brushed the dogs, cooked frozen sausage rolls with no help, lit the fire, made firelighters, and swept the floor: All since we began chores.

This young man is hanging out damp laundry to dry. He is doing a green chore, which is common in Ireland. Such a simple chore for a child that brings complex benefits, such as self-esteem, self-confidence, skill, connection to family and self-discipline. These are priceless. All through family meetings, family chores and encouragement. Mom does the chores with the kids. that helps enormously.

Hanging out the laundry instead of hanging out with his friends brings priceless self-discipline and counteracts entitlement.

We have gone bowling, had lunch in various venues, made trips to the playground, played cute family games of hide and seek, become expert at Connect 4, and even camped for one night in April in Ireland.The children have learned to work together and to enjoy their jobs. It was a joy to see my son busy with the hoover [vacuum cleaner] and singing a song. He seems to particularly enjoy telling the boy next door that he can’t  come out now because he has his jobs to do!

My daughter is 9, and she had never really done chores before. I explained to her that I needed her help, and that she had to work for our family the same way as the rest of us do. She likes when I work with her. She now tells me more about her feelings and her life. She seems so much happier since we put her to work. She likes to tell me that other girls are princesses. We are not princesses, we are women who are useful and the dad in our house likes us just the way we are.

As a parent, family meetings are hard work. It is totally worth the trouble. We are so much more together as a family, and I wouldn’t have missed that game of hide and seek or seeing that baby lamb at the campsite, for all the tea in China. “Raising Able” has given me the ideas and skills to make memories my family will always cherish. Thank you Susan.

This little guy is making scones. His mother is allowing him to make a mess in the kitchen. This is how children learn to cook - by making a mess. Cooking is not a chore. Cooking is a fun exploration by combining ingredients. Let kids discover the joy and excitement and satisfaction of cooking for famil members. Start them cooking early and often. Do not baniish kids from the kitchen.

This little guy proves that cooking is not a chore. Combining ingredients and transforming them into something delicious is an adventure that brings pleasure to family members. It will require parents to allow kids to make a mess in the kitchen. Go with the flow!

‘You’re fine just the way you are’ & other gifts from Mom

April 16, 2012
on mother's day, the best thing a mother can do for a daughter is to accept her, as she is, without offering improvements and criticism about body image. Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders affect tweens, teens, children, teenagers and adolescents.

The four girls in 1961. Do you like the bobbles on my hat?

One of the most precious gifts my mother gave me and my three sisters was this simple statement: “You’re fine just how you are.” She shopped with me for size 11-and-a-half shoes, 36DD bras, and shirts with extra long sleeves to fit my generous frame. NEVER did she comment or show any negative body language towards my solid foundation, curves and useful long arms.

When my three sisters or I complained about a less-than-perfect body part, Mom shrugged it off, emphasized good posture, Stomach in, head up, shoulder back, and of course, looked us straight in the eye and said in a kind sincere voice, “You’re just fine the way you are.” She convinced me that I am indeed, just fine the way I am.

body image and anorexia, bulimia and other body-issues plague girls and women today. mothers on Mother's Day can do well to say, YOu're just fine the way you are. MOther-daughter relationships can be built on a solid foundation of acceptance. we are not barbie dolls

Mom with her four daughters. I'm the youngest, bottom right.

I still feel fine, and found a man named Bob who thinks my extra-large curves, feet and arms are just fine. After carrying three 10-pound babies, (and one 8 pounds 11 ounces) stretch marks covered my belly. Bob calls those marks of motherhood fire because they emanate from my pubis and resemble a fire, the fire of life. Bob’s and Mom’s total acceptance of me bring tears to my eyes.Apparently, I’m lucky. My son Ian and other young people warn me, “Most young women have body issues.” He’s right. Eating disorders are epidemic among girls, teens and young adults.

Contrast the total acceptance Mom gave us with the blog post below about a Brazilian woman’s experience about her body image copied from Bullying Stories on wordpress.

[This is the second in a series of Mother’s Day blogs because mothers deserve a month’s worth of posting.]

I am 30 years old. Born and raised in Brazil, I lived there for 24 years. Growing up in a house with 3 sisters and being the only “chubby” one, it’s not so hard to imagine the “verbal” bullying I had to endure. … It came from adults for the most part and it was targeted, recurrent and persistent. …According to them, I was chubby, short, my forehead was too big, my face was too round, my hair was too thin, my breasts were too big, etc…In addition, I’d have them compare me and my so-called “flaws” to my sisters/relatives. That was extremely unfair since we’re all very different both physically and personality wise. Needless to say, such comparisons always ended with them determining or hinting my “disadvantaged” position. When I would go buy clothes, I’d always have what they said in mind: “you can’t wear this, you have to wear that.”
 
Years went by and I took extreme/unhealthy measures to lose weight (think throwing up and drinking hot water and soap). I got thinner indeed but the bullying never stopped completely. It was extremely detrimental to my emotional development and well-being. It affected the way I conducted all my personal interactions. For a long time, I even forced myself to avoid any possibility of having real relationships with boys. I’ve met a few and even though they were nice to me I simply could not believe that we could have a normal, healthy relationship. I would always question myself: ” why would they want to date me? That can’t be serious.”
~Luzia

See her whole post at Bullying Stories on wordpress.

The writing on this poster made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women reads, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." Mattel sued The Body Shop and forced them to stop selling this poster.
The writing on this poster  made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women,  “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do ” incited Mattel to sue The Body Shop to stop selling this poster.
 

Barbie Dolls, toy guns and the cocoon

March 12, 2012
The writing on this poster made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women reads, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." Mattel sued The Body Shop and forced them to stop selling this poster.

The writing says, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." Mattel sued The Body Shop and forced them to stop selling this poster intended to raise money to end violence against women.

My pledge to ban Barbies lasted until my oldest, Casey was 2.5 years old and the landlady of a vacation rental gave her Barbie doll abandoned by a previous tenant. Casey fell in love with the plastic icon of everything I didn’t want her to be: a sparkly, skinny-to-a-fault, sex object. It launched a sickening decade-long investment in all things Barbie.

Had I snatched the toy from Casey’s little hands or banned toy guns from our toy chest, I would’ve created forbidden fruits. Instead, I put up the poster at left, in our family room over where Casey and her sister Kristen played Barbies for hours. We talked about gun control and weapons and kept no real guns. I helped gussy-up the girls like Barbie dolls for prom nights, even though that racket contradicted my principles.

Sometimes moms have to go with the flow and relinquish control. Our protective cocoon starts breaking apart from birth on, when land-ladies, relatives, friends and society start giving gifts of Barbies and toy guns. Ban guns and your kids will make guns out of sticks and Legos and grab every gun at their friends’ houses.

Why? Because guns, like Barbies, epitomize power in our culture. Our kids need to play around with that power so they’re comfortable with it, whether they reject or accept what goes with it. Barbies don’t cause anorexia Families ought to pay more attention to how they handle power and beauty instead of a plastic toy doll.

Have a family meeting, give your kids the opportunity to run them regularly, encourage them to speak up. Listen to what they say and implement their ideas. This will empower them more than shooting a gun or showing their cleavage to the world. Give girls the gift of being seen, heard and respected for who they are, not how they look.

The owner of this ankle LOVED to play with barbies and still loves to get dressed up. She does not suffer from anorexia and has a very positive body image.

The owner of this ankle damaged by playing floor hockey LOVED to play with Barbies and still loves to get dressed up.

Instead of perpetuating an artificial cocoon without sexist toys, weapons, knives, scissors and fire, it’s far better to allow our kids to experience them and make their own decisions. They will eventually do that — no matter what we say, and more importantly, what we do.

Casey is the unicorn -- a costume she made. Visit her blog at http://smazzle.blogspot.com/

They need venues and toys to act out what they observe in the adult world — full of warfare, highly sexualized women and men in a consumer culture. Their only crime is reflecting us and the world we inhabit and perpetuate, and we don’t like it.

Kristen became an artist. Some of her work contradicts the image of woman in society. I love that she’s comfortable enough with Barbie images to use them in her work.

That’s a hammer Kristen is swinging in this performance art.

Back to School 1: shopping

August 22, 2011
girls who love to dress up can be encouraged to do it without moms and dads interference. Girls can learn to make good fashion choices. Stay out of their way. Teach them self-discipline and good decision making in Boston, Mass. through chores. Chores will teach them how to make good choices. Clothing and back to school shopping can be done without arguments.
My oldest daughter Casey chose black patent leather Mary Janes as her school shoes in first grade.

One of the most difficult parenting lessons I had to learn was to allow my kids free choice. I wanted them to do what I WANTED! When I started taking parenting workshops, the leader, a savvy mom of five kids advised, “If your daughter wants to choose black patent leather Mary Janes as her school shoes, let her.”

I hated this advice, but I knew that like most of what I learned in the workshops, I was wrong for wanting Casey to choose sensible school shoes for first grade. It helped to know other parents faced the same dilemma and allowed their daughter to make their own decisions so they could learn self-trust, and the natural consequences of their choices.
Casey wore those black patent leather shoes daily  with a dress, which she loved, along with Barbies. No, I was not the kind of parent to prohibit Barbies or guns. Moderation is better than creating forbidden fruits.
Childhood is all about learning to making good decisions, establishing self-trust, confidence and nurturing a child’s self-esteem. Allowing them to choose their own clothing as much as possible is empowering. We might not always agree, but parents have enough bigger issues than clothing to worry about. Clothing is costume. Character  counts.

I had many arguments over back-to-school shopping with my two daughters until I realized how to avoid it. I put “school shopping” on the family meeting agenda [see free tip sheet] in August. We negotiated a reasonable budget for clothes and what type I’d pay for. They planned to bring “their own money” to supplement. It’s fun to see what they’re willing to spend their money on.

I’ve wasted many dollars convincing them to buy something I liked, only to see it in the give-away bag later. Sigh. I eventually learned to respect their opinions, especially when it came to clothes. Like all lessons worth learning, I paid the price.

Today, I love to go shopping at a thrift store with my daughters. We find some wonderful fun bargains along with clothes I would never pay full-price for. We have fun. They give me honest feedback on what looks good and what doesn’t. They could have more tact in this area.  If your kids love clothes, money can stretch a long way at thrift stores.

The second part of back-to-school shopping is school supplies. I swear by L.L. Bean backpacks from the return department with botched custom embroidery. These backpacks wear like iron for multiple years.

We argued over school supplies because the kids always wanted to buy everything new. After school starts, review the lists of supplies sent home by teachers and have a family meetings. Figure out what supplies you already have or can be purchased second-hand, like the T-111 calculator for high school math that costs $80+. After scrounging around the house,  agree on another budget and shop the sales together.

Learning to set a budget and live within your means is a valuable lesson. My four kids are 23-30 years old, have NO credit card debt and live within their income. The ones who earn more spend more. The ones who earn less spend less. They have money for what’s important, like Mary Janes.

Plant seeds, have hope

July 11, 2011

exploration, children, toddlers, babies, natural exploration, natural and logical consequences, helicopter parenting, learning, education, allow them to find their own way, according to the latest research. Babies & children can benefit from parents getting off their backs!Look dad, here’s my piecrust!

Summer can be an ideal time for kids to do chores regularly without the interruption of school and other activities.

Make time for regular family meetings and ask them what jobs they want to do. Allow them to stretch. It’s fun to let them cook and enjoy the results. My motto is “It’s hard to hurt homemade food.”
My friend Carol, who is like an aunt to our four children, remembers Kristen’s first attempts at making pies. Carol told me, “Her pies weren’t that good, but you said, ‘Mmm,Kristen, this is good!'” An expert pie maker, Carol kept quiet and ate the pie. Kristen eventually mastered pie crust and makes fabulous pies today. Mastering the art of pie crust gives young cooks the idea, “If I can make a pie crust, I can cook anything.”
Kristen is spending the summer as an intern at Franconia Sculpture Park north of Minneapolis, Minn. In addition to helping resident sculptors and doing her own sculptures, Kristen takes turns cooking dinner for 13 to 15 people.

She has called home for a few recipes and said, “Thanks Mom for teaching me how to cook. I’m one of the better cooks and I can time everything to be done all together.”

I smiled and remembered how I taught Kristen to cook.

At 4:30 or 5 pm, I’d call up to her bedroom where she would be sequestered reading. “Kristen, come help me fix dinner.”

Long silence. “Kristen?”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes. I need your help.” I still hate to cook alone.

making pie from scratch is a way for kids, tweens and teens to learn how to cook. summer vacation is an excellent opportunity to slow down and cook with kids and allow them the independence to cook whatever they want. Allow them to make cookies and other goodies. It will teach them how to cook with confidence. Encourage their cooking efforts. Parenting is about building confidence.
These strawberry rhubarb pies were really delicious.

“I’ll be down in a few minutes.”

Ten minutes later I’d call up again. “Kristen! You said you’d be down in a few minutes!”

Five minutes later she wandered down reluctantly. This is how Kristen learned to cook — reluctantly.

It’s an example of how tweens and teens can resist being included in family time, but they still show up. They like to be invited, to be wanted and included, BUT they can’t show too much enthusiasm because of their age and hormones.

What are your kids doing this summer now that they might have some extra time? If they want to stretch and learn new skills, like making pie crust, appreciate and encourage their efforts. Have patience and hope. You’re planting seeds that will blossom in ways you can’t imagine now.

The yin-yang of school vacation

December 15, 2010
yin yang of college students brings changes for parents and children. LEarning to roll with the developmental stages of college students and teenagers and life is a skill. Discipline and family meetings and structure are a part of getting along with college students who come home.

Kristen prepared this delicious dinner of macaroni and cheese, carrot raisin salad and a green salad. Yum.

One of the hardest parts of life and parenting is the constant development and change, and eventual growing up and leaving home by children. When parenting is hard and we have to put our own needs second, it’s hard to stay in the present moment and enjoy the age and stage of our children.

Childhood sometimes feels like it moves like a turtle, then all of a sudden, it has flown away like an eagle and the nest is empty.

When Kristen, 22, comes home from graduate school for holidays and Ian, 26, temporarily roosts here between seasons of organic farming, it feels wonderfully familiar and good. That’s the Yin.

The Yang is, “They left the kitchen dirty AGAIN! What happened to my routines and my food!?” And again after they leave, “I have way too much food in the fridge,” “I’ve gotten used to them being here. The house and my heart feel stripped, quiet and abandoned.”

The Yin-Yang of children living with us and growing up is part of the constant change of life’s seasons. Adjusting to empty nest is often under-rated in significance. It is a HUGE change.

For those of you with little ones, you have regular milestones where they don’t need you as much. Giant steps in development accumulate regularly. My mother said, “Babies need mothers less and less every day from birth forward.” Very true.

They stop nursing, start walking then start school and day care. Later on, their friends become more important and they stop talking to parents as much. Tweens and teens spend more time at school, work and with friends. The increasing separation during the high school years prepares us for the final separation.

The four to six years of revolving door to and from college is fraught with adjustment. As soon as I get used to them being here, they’re gone.

The good news is that we have some agreements on living together, will share in the cooking and cleaning, and enjoy the present moment for as long as we have it. It feels good to have family dinner together again.

The past is history         The future is a mystery

So we must celebrate the gift of the present


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