Archive for the ‘You can do it’ category

Allow the opportunity for connection, exploration and “I’m bored

February 9, 2013

The weather outside is frightful today in New England. Many families are holed up. Some parents may be dreading a day of entertaining and refereeing the kids.

My suggestion is to treasure this day as an opportunity to connect. Spend some time together shoveling, making hot cocoa or cookies, or playing a game for a while. Get outside and revel in the snow together.

After spending some positive attention at a neutral time when the kids are not whining, fighting or complaining, go your separate ways and check in with them every hour or so. The younger they are the more frequently you check in.  Notice what they’re doing and offer encouragement by offering observations or asking questions. You can simply watch quietly and do not disturb a good thing.

Things might get worse before they discover the art of self-entertainment. Allow them to learn the joys of having a brother or sister. Boredom can lead to creativity. It is not parents’ job to solve a child’s lack of initiative. Encourage them by saying, “I’m sure you can find something to do.”

Remember the three steps to empower kids to self-entertain and avoid boredom:

1. Spend positive attention at a neutral time every day — at least 15 minutes. This type of connection can solve MANY larger behavioral issues.

2. Expect them to find something constructive to do independently. Allow them to do nothing and feel the stillness, even boredom. This is Zen! Do not solve complaints or bickering with TV or a video. Expecting them to find something to do will probably generate a mess. Allow it. Plan on spending time cleaning up together. The blanket forts, spilled flour, and toys spread all over the floor are evidence of creativity, initiative and cooperation (if you have more than one child).

3. Encourage their efforts in a quiet, low-key manner. Just watch silently.

As I tell my kids, YOU CAN DO IT.

 

How to nurture your kids confidence this summer

July 16, 2012
summer is a great time to experiment in the kitchen with kids. let then make a mess. let loose, have some fun. children in summertime can learn skills and boost confidence through experimentation

Making scones is fun and sometimes messy.

Kids are messy.  Cleaning up after them is part of part of being a mother. 

That wisdom came from my mother, who had nine children and cleaned up many different kinds of messes.

When things get messy, they get interesting. Creativity starts flowing, interest heightens, you get lost in the project. Discovery occurs. Problems get encountered and solved. Confidence and self-esteem build through the experience.

None of this happens if you have to worry about “Mom getting mad about a messy kitchen,” or “Dad getting upset that his tools didn’t get put away.”

It takes time to clean up and teach them how to put away the tools where they belong in the workshop and kitchen. It’s about the process, the moments spent together experimenting and getting flour on the floor and a pile of pans dirty.

One of my kids’ favorite traditions was making homemade applesauce. We’d fill every big pot on the house with apples, simmer them and put them through the food mill. Every counter would be full of sticky bowls and utensils. Your feet would stick to the floor. It took a good half hour to clean up.

Hot fresh applesauce is SO delicious. I can still smell it and taste the sweetness. We froze it and enjoyed applesauce for months. It’s a sweet memory that showed my kids to be adventuresome in the kitchen, and perhaps, in life. We worked together and took turns.

Self-esteem and self-confidence can’t be bought at Target. Self-esteem and self-confidence have to be developed and nurtured through trial and error, encouragement. trying again, and celebrating success.

Summer offers the luxury of extra time to explore and get messy. Indulge them and yourself. You’ll be surprised at the results.

What are some of your summertime memories where you got to slow down, try something new or make a mess?

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.

Let kids feel the impact of their decisions at the mall

June 4, 2012
Tweens and teens love to go to the mall and hang out. A mall is an ideal hangout place for tweens and teens- mingle, mix, shop, eat, laugh, see and be seen. Tweens and teens live for the mall. Allow them that freedom and to learn to spend and shop within limits and their budget. Tweens and teens can learn the natural and logical consequences of their spending decisions.

Tweens and teens love to go to the mall independently. It’s a fairly safe venue to practice independence, spend wisely and have fun with their friends.

“Owen called from the mall and said, ‘Dad, would you bring me money?'” said a friend at a party, when parents kibbitz about our favorite subject — kids.”I had dropped him off at a friend’s house and didn’t know he was going to the mall. Now he wanted one of us to drive 20 miles each way to deliver the money. I said, ‘Hit your friends up for a loan.'”

Hurray to Dad for setting a boundary and encouraging his only child, age 13, to solve his problem and learn better planning. With an only child, it’s easy to fall into the trap of indulgence because you have the time and money, and want to avoid guilt, the parental poison.

It’s okay to say “No” and allow him to learn from poor planning. It falls under “natural consequences,” also known as “giving him enough rope to burn but not enough to hang.”

The little “burns” of an empty pocket and asking for a loan, teach tweens and teens to take responsibility and better manage their affairs.

Avoid undermining the lesson by saying, “I told you so.” Asking questions or I-messages will preserve the relationship. “I was surprised you were going to the mall. Did you know that was the plan?” Or, “My Dad taught me to always leave home with money in my pocket, just in case.”

Teens can revel in the the freedom of independence and the responsibility that goes with those first mall expeditions. It’s an excellent opportunity to make spending decisions, and find out which friends can be counted on to share their resources.

A true “natural consequence” means that parents do not have to interfere with one of the most powerful teaching tools. If needed, encourage kids by saying, “I bet you can solve that problem,” or  “Do you have any ideas?” or “Ask someone for a few bucks.”

You can do it. So can your kids.

How long can the cocoon last?

March 5, 2012
empowering children, when to have a knife? how safe is safe. Keeping kids safe. Chores, discipline, how to decide, using family meetings and encouragement for toddlers, tweens, teens and school age

Bree is cutting cantaloupe with a very sharp knife. At what age should children be given knives to use?

This picture caused a stir among the workshop room full of parents, day care providers and child-health professionals at a conference I presented at in February in Rhode Island.Comments included: “Just looking at that knife makes me nervous!”

“I’d never let my preschooler have a sharp knife.”

“Is she standing on a stool?

Later, I called my nephew Sean, father of knife-wielding-3-year-old-Bree and reported the women’s response. The audience was female except for one man, who didn’t object. Sean chuckled and said, “Some of my friends’ kids live in a safety cocoon. They never touch knives, scissors or fire.”

Wow. Why deprive children learning about the power of knives, scissors and fire under a parent’s guiding hand? They must live in a sterile bubble where parents hover, ensuring Junior never encounters danger, challenge or failure.

One of the best things we can do for our children is to let them play with knives, scissors and fire — talking about and taking safety measures, teaching how to use knives and matches safely, and how to operate kitchen appliances and basement tools.

I remember the intense heat of a huge campfire my brother Danny built on a camping trip when he was 17 years old and I was 12. The four of us kids compared all subsequent campfires to that glorious blaze, created with our parents nearby, silently watching. Danny, Mary, Brian and I worked as a team to gather wood, stoke it up and make a bed of coals that lasted until morning.

When another nephew and niece visited our home a few years ago at age 16 and 11, they lamented the ban on fires at the summer community on the Chesapeake Bay. I gave them permission to build a fire on our waterfront, and they were thrilled. Fire, knives and scissor have power.

Kids need practice at living life. Practice includes risk and sharp objects and gaining confidence and competence that “I can do it.” When we make too many decisions for our children, protect them from all things lethal, and intervene when hazards lurk, how will they learn what it feels like to hold a knife and use it responsibly?

What do you think? Are your kids allowed to build a fire in the backyard, cut cantaloupe with a knife, and play with matches and candles while you’re around? How do you handle danger?

Source: www.bestautolenders.com

Earn new habits through repetition

January 9, 2012

working out at the gym is good for mental health for mothers and fathers and parenting because good parenting is all about taking care of a family, and the family starts and ends with moms, usually. Mommy care is essential. Creating good parenting habits is part of being a positive parenting and positive discipline with adlerian methods. "Dr. Alfred Adler" knows how to advise parents, 100 years later. If you have a difficult child or teen with a behavior problem, super nanny susan can help with private consultations. You can learn to improve your child's behavior through positive parenting, encouragement, family meetings, and natural and logical consequences.NOTE: Join us at a Positive Parenting Seminar, “Act Don’t Yak” on Monday Jan. 9, 2012, 7-9 pm in Littleton. Click here for info.

I joined a gym in November to get in shape. Many people are joining gyms this month as part of a new year’s resolution. We all know that words [and resolutions] are cheap — watch the feet [and the follow-through].

The same is true for parenting.

Pumping iron is repetitious and sometimes boring, much like parenting. With a positive attitude and eye on the long-term goal, pumping the iron of parenting habits will bring rewards.

Dads are very important for parenting skills. Fathers give self-esteem, support the mother and provide a backbone to a family. Mother & fathers and parents need to take time to nurture their relationship by going on regular dates and away for at least one weekend a year. Take care of your marraige or else it will go away.

Bob is the best. While raising the four kids, we made sure to carve out "we time" to keep our marriage going. It was a good habit, like going to the gym.

I’m headed to Paris for a week with my starter husband of 31 years. (We started young) and I’m worried about keeping up my new exercise and eating habits.

The same is true for parenting. Vacations interfere with setting up good habits. Dessert looks too tempting. We skip a few days of our new routine. The days and desserts pile up and we give up. The new habit is forgotten.

Which is why we need to read blogs, connect with parents at parenting workshops, read parenting books, evaluate what you’re doing, co-parent from the same playbook, and get parenting coaching.

A couple I’m coaching privately, I’ll call “Meg and Mike,” long for a closer family. They’ve crossed the first of four hurdles described by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron: Recognize, Refrain, Relax, Resolve.

It takes courage to recognize that what you’re doing isn’t working. In seminars, I tell the story of hitting a low point over a pair of green boots with my son Ian, then 2 years old. His brother was 3 and a half, and his sister 5 years old. The green boots incident motivated me to get serious about new parenting habits — in spite of excuses — holidays, sliding backwards, missing days, messing up and beating myself up for past mistakes.

The bottom line: there are no perfect parents, perfect people or perfect bodies. We go to the gym because we feel better and make incremental progress, that isn’t always easy to see. We know it’s good for us and will protect us if we succumb to that dessert and miss a few days of workouts. So we keep at it and look at the long-term goal.

As it is with parenting. The long-term goal is important. We will slip and slide along the way. We must have faith in ourselves and our kids while building better habits for a positive family environment, and a healthy lifelong family connection.

Model a positive attitude when you’re powerless

October 31, 2011
halloween storms remind us how important it is to set a positive attitude as part of positive parenting. What you DO is more important that what you SAY. There are plenty of chores when the power is out. Work together as a team. Encourage their efforts. Use the extra time to have a family meeting. You can discipline children without getting angry. Children, tweens, teens, and teenagers respond to positive parenting.

Power outages call for creativity. That a measuring cup of milk heating on the wood stove insert for a mochachino.

Settling in for three to seven days without power in Ayer, Mass. with 640,000 people, reminds me of the importance of parents setting a positive family attitude.

My friend “Jill” grew up as the oldest of eight children in a family that struggled to make ends meet. On days when there was no food to eat in the house in the 1950s, when milk and bread were still delivered door-to-door, her father would steal food to feed his hungry brood.

Jill’s mother then toasted the bread, heated the milk, poured it over the bread and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar to make an old-fashioned treat called milk toast.
Here’s where attitude came in. As she served the milk toast to her children, Jill’s mom said, “Mmm. Isn’t this good?” and passed on the priceless gifts of attitude and gratitude. They had something to fill their bellies and it tasted good. Any food on an empty stomach tastes delicious.

Parents convey attitude towards our children non-verbally more than with words. Children pay more attention to what we do over what we say. Attitude can be conveyed in body language, what we don’t say, and how we say it.

I copied my mother’s attitude towards sarcasm. My mother made it clear to her nine children what she thought of sarcasm, calling it “the weakest form of communication.” Avoid sarcasm if you can, and If your family uses it to communicate, put “sarcasm” on the family meeting agenda and talk about the pros and cons of sarcasm. There aren’t many “pros.”

It’s easy to be happy and patient when things are going our way. When raising children and keeping long-term relationships going, it’s the challenges, disappointments and hardships that test our character.

My biggest challenge in raising four kids was to learn to manage my anger, develop patience and learn positive parenting skills like encouragement and family meetings. Parenting is THE most difficult and most important task most of us will do in our lifetimes, with the longest lasting legacy.

I remember one winter when my children, then ages 8, 6, 4, and 1,  had back-to-back cases of chicken pox and strep throat. I was home all day and night for nearly a month. In those days, the phone was my connection to other adults to keep my sanity.

My mother provided a friendly ear, and encouraged me by saying with a laugh, “You’re developing character, Susan.” She instilled in me the priceless gift of, “You can do it” which carries over to every aspect of my life. Surprise Halloween storms and unexpected bumps of parenting provide many opportunities to develop a positive attitude and character.

Have some fun with your kids this week. Use the extra time to have a family meeting, one of THE most powerful parenting tools to develop your child’s critical thinking, self-esteem and confidence, make a strong family connection, set a positive family atmosphere, enhance communication and practice teamwork and mutual respect.

Family meetings are worth the investment of time and energy. See my free tip sheet and other postings on how to hold them. You’ll be glad you get into the habit.


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