Thursday, December 16, 2010

Creating A Safe Haven

Making Your Home a Place Your Kids want to Be

Parents sometimes do not realize how important it is that their home be a place their kids want to be. Most, if not all of the problems our children face can be solved in the home. The culture we are a part of, that we are bringing our children up in is a culture which hurts them. It does not teach them that they are good, worthy, valuable and important. This culture equates success, beauty and goodness only with external appearances and accomplishments. The effects on our children are showing up at earlier and earlier ages...eating disorders, addictive behaviors, etc

It is in our homes we can make the difference. It is impossible to change society, but it is possible to control how are children are affected by the world. Parents can do this in the home by creating a Safe Haven. Home is the place for nurturing and teaching. It is where parents have the power to prepare their children to feel good about themselves. If they leave home with confidence, they will be able to effectively handle whatever the world throws at them.

Three Components of the Safe Haven

Aura of peace and calm
No yelling
No crticizing
No demeaning
Positive Understanding/Caring Atmosphere

Place where ideas can be shared freely
*Children need to be allowed and encouraged to express their opinions without criticism
*Beliefs need to be discussed openly
*Parent need to be teachable. You can learn a lot from your child

Atmosphere of Love
*Unconditional love is always present
*Love needs to be expressed on a daily basis
*Parent attitude towards child exudes patience and understanding

Sounds wonderful, but impossible. It is possible. How do you do it? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You take this one step at a time.

1.Pick one item on the list of Safe Haven components
(If you finish the 3 Safe Haven Components listed above...congratulations! There are many more in the Safe Haven-Chapter 2-in ParentFix)
2.Work on it for an hour, a day, a week.
3.When you have that under control, pick another item on the list.
4.If you blow it, go back to the first item and start over.

Remember the parent is responsible for the atmosphere in the home.

You will be amazed at the changes that can occur within your home, just by taking the first step. The happiness in your children will keep you motivated to create a Safe Haven.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In this world of technology, are we failing to teach our children necessary life skills?

I recently read an article published in the AP by Beth Harpaz entitled "Are we raising a bunch of idiots? Many parents believe that this generation of kids are a generation of idiots or nincompoops. I strongly disagree and here is why:

This is a unique world our children are growing up in. Very different from the experiences most of us as parents grew up with. It is important to remember the skills they are learning will benefit them in ways they need to survive. Technology is here to stay and I believe as a parent you need to embrace it and praise your kids for how quickly they have mastered computer skills, texting, graphic arts, etc. (With all the computer games our kids play, eye/hand coordination must be at an all time high!)

Think about it... generations before us had none of the modern conveniences we grew up with. Pioneers had to make everything by hand to survive. They had to farm to eat, sew their own clothing, build a fire to get warm, haul water to wash dishes or bathe. What would our ancestors think of us? Our generation would also be considered lazy and ignorant. After all, how many of us know how to milk a cow? We all have to adapt our skills to meet the needs of the world we live.

Having said that, there are skills kids need that may be pass them by. It is important to remember that as a parent, you are ultimately responsible for the education of your child, whether it be in school, life skills or social skills. When it comes to our schools, our school systems are not perfect. But, if you get involved and stay positive your child will excel.

Specific Skills Your Kids May Need Help With:

With the use of GPS systems your kids may need to learn Driving or Directions

Solve it: While your child is getting driving hours, take the time to get out a physical map of the city and or state. Go over it with your child, showing them points of interest: The capital building, ski resorts, E-Center, major cities, etc.

Because of Twitter/Texting your kids may need to learn how to talk to adults.

Solve it: Talk with them about current events that interest them. Invite interesting people to dinner and have conversation.

Because of Video Games your kids may need real life experience

Solve it: Plan fun activities that your child would enjoy away from the computer, preferably outside...skiing, bowling or swimming.

Because of doing so much homework on the computer your child may not know how to write

Solve it: Buy some cute cards and hand write thank you notes together.

Because of all the modern electronic conveniences, your kids may not survive if the power goes out.

Solve it: Take a day or a weekend and try roughing it. No TV, no cell phones, no microwave, no dishwasher. Make it fun and a teaching moment about how other generations lived.

So,when you kids don't know how to do something, teach them. None of us know it all. Have fun and teach your child the skills you feel are important. Learning can and should be exciting

Monday, October 25, 2010

Understanding tweens to teens

How do you approach the change of tween to teen

Not only is this a very puzzling time for you as a parent, it is a very confusing time for your child. Emotional outbursts, meltdowns, and stupid decisions will leave parents dumbfounded as what to do.
(How many teens does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. Your teen holds the light bulb in the socket and the whole world revolves around her.)

Question from a recent workshop:
“I find myself getting angry with my kids much too often. I can't seem to help myself – they really know how to push my buttons. When they purposely disobey me, or are outright disrespectful, I fly off the handle. How can I control my own anger when it's the kids' misbehavior that makes me so mad?”

Educate yourself about the development your tween is experiencing
It is easier to be patient and understanding with your tween if you know that most of their behaviors are the result of a physical change.
According to Dr. Jay Giedd (who has devoted the last 13 years using MRI’s to peer inside the heads of teens) the brain develops in stages. The final part of the brain to develop is the part capable of making organized decisions. For example, Do I finish my homework, or clean my room or go see a movie with my friends? Most teens will choose the movie. Which drives a parent crazy thinking their child is irresponsible. (Sometimes as an adult I think it would be good for all of us if occasionally we could all drop our responsibilities and be spontaneous like a tween.) Be patient with your tweens as they learn to be responsible There are some things you should do when when you try to reason with a teen. they will comprehend when you give immediate results. For example, “If you choose to drink alcohol on the weekends, you will probably get kicked off the football team.” Rather than “Your health will suffer” or “You will end up an alcoholic, living on the streets.”

Remember that your teenagers behavior is not just his pigheadedness to drive you crazy. In reality, they need you to teach them and be patient with them. Think about it. Is it your children's misbehavior that makes you angry? Or is it your view of their behavior that creates angry feelings? There's a big difference. The first question suggests that you have no control over your emotions or actions. The second implies that by changing your view you can change your reaction.

Top Four Tween Behaviors that Drive You Crazy and Solutions
Behavior: Emotional Outbursts (Flipping out at a simple request from mom, Blaming parents for making them late, or saying mean things to mom or dad)

Time out is for big people. too. Put some space between you and the child who's pushing your buttons. When you feel your anger rising, put yourself there! A few minutes away from the source of your angry feelings can help you calm down enough to address the situation rationally. Nothing can be solved in a fit of anger. You'll be better off if you take the time to calm down and then approach your child from a position of strength
Behavior: Sleeping In All The Time
What's normal? Learn more about child development by reading a book or taking a class. If you learn that your child's current behavior is age-appropriate and normal, you'll be less likely to overreact to the behavior. It's amazing how alike children are, and just knowing that your kid is responding in a typical way can help you handle the issue with a level head. There are many books, the internet and psychologists you can consult. (Parents go crazy when their kids sleep in late or all day long. In an adult, the melatonin in your body increases in the evening creating your body to start shutting down. In the brain of a teen the melatonin is programmed for a later hour than an adult. That is why they stay up late and then struggle to get up in the morning.)
Behavior: Stupid Decisions (Tween driving without a license)

3. Act – don't react. Take the time to think about the things that make you angry. Put together a list of family rules. Enumerate the consequences for breaking the rules. Communicate clear expectations to your children. Decide in advance and with your child what methods of discipline you will use. If you have a plan up front, you'll be less likely to lose control when your children misbehave. For example if you find out your son has been driving the family car and he is not yet 16. In this situation, ask your self why your son is stealing the car? He obviously is excited about driving. So take him out driving. This will give you the opportunity to teach him how to drive correctly. Drive with him often. So often he begs to stop. The stupid decision he has made will stop.
Behavior: MeltDown (Crying, Stressing Out, Not able to deal with a situation)
4. Hug 'em. When you find yourself ready to put your hands around your kid and shake him, DO put your hands around him – and love him. Embrace him in a hug. If possible, do this in front of a mirror or reflective window. A few minutes of quiet, while you embrace your child, will often temper your angry feelings with the strong feeling of love between you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Mom, Can I ...?"

"At what age should I let my child...." is a difficult question for every parent. Especially when you have kids that push to move ahead faster than you, as a parent are ready to let them. Kids are all unique and will want different things at different ages. Here are a few ideas to help:

1. Plan Ahead. Teach your child to live in the present.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" This biblical quote(you don't have to be religious to use it) is something I used many times with my children. It is important to remind children that they will never be the age they are right now,ever again. So enjoy it. Live in the present because you can always go forward, but never back. I used it for topics such as dating, driving, sex, shaving legs, wearing makeup. Talk about it with your kids, preferably before they reach the age they think they are smarter than you.

2. Set Rules Together
This means you must communicate. When your child comes to you with a request, sit down and talk about it. Ask questions and figure out why your daughter wants to wear makeup in kindergarten. You don't want to make your child odd, but you also don't want your child to be the trend setter other parents hate.
Be reasonable. If you try to be understanding and reasonable your child will also try to abide by the goals you have both set. This is your opportunity to explain your beliefs and your fears. For example, explain why you want them to wait to single date until they are 16 years old. Girls will probably not understand that they are not secure in their ability to say "no" to a good looking young man before then. Boys are just not ready to take on the responsibility of a girl friend before 16, maybe even 21! Hanging out in large groups is fine and probably a lot more fun. If you can calmly discuss the reasons with your kids, they will surprise you with how mature they can be.

3. Do it Right
Teach them how to appropriately handle the behavior they are requesting. Don't expect because they know enough to ask permission they know what they are doing.
*When your daughter starts wearing makeup, teach her how. (Too much make up is not flattering or makes her look like a "ho".)
*Texting. Teach them when is it not appropriate to text? While driving or during class.
* Drivers License. (Take the time to drive with them. )

4. Give them an out.
Sometimes children think they are mature enough to handle a particular behavior and realize they are not ready. Parents are the perfect scapegoat. Let them out with some dignity. You do not need to say "I told you so."
*Sleep over. if they want to come home early, give them a cell phone to use
*Party that goes wild. Before they go, tell them if at any point they want to come home you will pick them up and not question why.

5. Pay Attention. It is through your child's behavior that you learn of your child's needs.
If you refuse to ignore the above steps and react out of anger with a statement such as, "Absolutely Not! " and/or "Because I said so" you are setting yourself up for failure. Anger will not change the behavior, it will only put a temporary end to the request. The behavior will eventually resurface in another form at a later date. Why? Because the behavior of your child is an exhibition of a need that requires fulfillment.
When a baby is hungry, she cries
When a toddler spies a toy he wants, he takes it.
When a teenage girl dresses risque, she is looking for the attention of teenage boys and she has found a way to get it.
Don't get angry at your child, help them. Tell them how much you love them and then teach them.

6. Safety First to ease your mind while children are spreading their wings.
Know your child's friends.
Know their friend's parents
Make sure your child has a way to contact you at all times and you them.

Remember, your goal is to teach correct principles so they can eventually govern themselves!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to School-Teaching Kids to be Self Sufficient

It seems that just when you have adjusted to a summer schedule, school begins for fall, which means a whole new routine. When school starts, moms have more time and freedom, which is a welcome relief. But it can be quite stressful when your child comes home at the end of their first day frustrated with problems. Remember your child is facing new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and plenty of new expectations. Whenever there is change involving new opportunities, there is also excitement, tears, frustration and confusion. Sometimes as parents we expect our children to handle these problems on their own. Most children need help learning organization skills. If you can teach your child to be self sufficient or more organized, you can lesson the frustrations.

As a parent, your goal is to teach your child organization skills so eventually they will be self sufficient.

Acknowledge that each child will have new problems as they return to school. Your goal is to solve each problem as they arrive calmly. By doing this you are teaching them problem solving techniques that will benefit them throughout their lives.

1. Discuss the problem with your child.
2. Discuss possible solutions.
3. Let your child choose the solution.
4. Help your child accomplish the desired solution

Example Problem:

Lost notes from a teacher or missing homework assignments.

Example Solutions:

1. Organized Backpack
2. Organize an area at home for school assignments
3. Organization at school for locker or desk
4. Buy a planner and show your child how to use it
5. Go online to check student's progress


1. You are "teaching". Do not expect that your child automatically knows how to organize or be self sufficient.
2. Have patience, especially with those kids that are lacking in organizational skills. Do not expect perfection immediately
3. Stay calm. This is not a problem that should destroy the relationship
4. Your child wants to be successful. Your child wants to be self sufficient. Help them to find that success.

Parenting Workshop
Thursday, September 16th
Barnes and Noble
10180 South State Street
Sandy, Utah
7:30 p.m.
Register online at

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Responses to the Summer Challenge

I got such a kick out of the responses I got on my webpage to the summer challenge we gave to parents on Studio 5, that I thought I would post a few on this blog. All I can say is "Way to go parents!". Just the fact that you took this seriously and gave it a try is amazing. Here goes:

I took your summer challenge. I gotta admit, I did not believe it would work. But I was at my wits end with the fighting and arguing going on with my three little boys. Instead of getting done all the things on my list, I changed gears and we spent every morning doing activities my boys wanted to do. I can’t tell you the change this brought about in our family. The boys are not fighting anymore. They actually get along and play together. I even found I started looking forward to our morning activities. I really found I had a fun summer and was a lot happier playing with my kids.
Rebecca Johnston/SLC

I liked your ideas on Studio 5 about fixing relationships. I have two teenage boys who will hardly talk to me. The ignore everything I say. I figured this summer would be a good time to try and figure out what was wrong. I took your advice and started writing down our conversations. You were right. All I was doing was nagging them. I was shocked to see how negative I had become. So it was hard, but I quit saying all the negative stuff. Instead of telling them to shut off the television, I sat down and watched TV with them. We went and got slurpees every day. Something I normally never do. I was amazed how they started talking to me. I think when they realized I could be a nice person, they actually wanted me around. I’m not perfect at this yet, but I will never let our relationship go back to what it was. Thank you for that simple solution!
Jeanie Sharp/Bountiful

O.K. I know I am a bit rigid and it was my husband who suggested I try your challenge. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have always felt bad that my kids would rather be around their dad. I’m tired of being the “not fun” parent. But I did it. I played hooky all summer. The house is a mess and I feel like we have not gotten anything responsible done, but we had the best time. I didn’t realize that it was me who was making my youngest daughter be so stressed out. She told me yesterday that this had been the best summer of her life! I actually will be sad to see them go back to school. Although it will feel good to get the house cleaned up.
Trisha Thompson/Draper

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adjusting to Summer Parenting

Summer can be tough on Mom's as they head back to work while the kids are at home for summer vacation. This is tough. Moms express not only a lot of worry about what their kids do all day long, but a lot of guilt. As a mom you may be overwhelmed with guilt. It really does you no good to wallow in guilt. Use it to analyze your motives. It may cause you to initiate change that is best for you and your family.

For example: Are you working for extra money? Ask yourself "Do I really need this money? Is your time better spent with your kids?

Can you work less hours or job share for the summer? If you truly analyze your motives, change things up, then your guilt should ease.

If work is necessary to put food on the table or make house payments, then you can get rid of the worry by planning and be involved with your kid.

1. Activities to keep kids having fun and busy which also keep the parent involved even though they are at work:

Visits to the library for interesting books (summer book club within the family) Combination Activities that include TV and Outdoor: Watching the Tour De France and Biking; Watching Wimbledon and Playing Tennis Find a swimming pool membership where there is supervision and a lifeguard Computer classes you can work on together. Child goes to class and then teaches the parent after work

Guilt and Worry are not necessarily bad if they help you bring about change. Worry Wisely. Worrying can be a good thing. It helps you deal with problems before they become disasters. But make it productive worrying. Productive worrying catapults you into action and brings about positive results.

It is always important to express to your kids that you would rather be home with them than working. It will make you as a mom feel better too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Best Places To Put Your Parenting Energies

Summer is an excellent time for parents to try something new with their kids. As I present parenting workshops there is one common thread in each workshop. I am seeing families under so much pressure, I think things are going to explode With all the continual pressures that currently exist in our families, it is important to figure out the best places to put our parenting energies. This requires parents to make a few changes. I challenge parents to try the following four ideas throughout the next three months of summer. As parents, I believe you will see changes in the dynamics of your family.

1. Plan Fun, Positive Activities on a Daily Basis
*Spend time together often as families, doing something you all enjoy
*It does not have to be an expensive vacation
*Get outdoors to make you feel more vibrant about life
Watch a baseball game
Walk the dog together
Frisbee at the park

All of this leads into number 2 suggestion

2. Strengthen Your Relationship
A strong bond with your child is important. Why?
When your child is confronted with critical decisions, it is the strength of your relationship that will make the difference in your child's ability to resolve them.
Don't assume just because this is a parent/child relationship that all is well or that love/respect occur naturally. Take stock in your relationship.

Ask yourself:
Do we enjoy spending time together?
Do we have plenty of things to talk about?
Are we able to relax together?
Do we share any common interests?

Try this exercise: As you assess the situation, make note of every interaction and conversation. Jot things down. Write down what you say and your child's response.
As you analyze your data, notice the patterns that begin to emerge.
This eye-opening exercise should give you an understanding of your relationship and explain why your children are responding to your requests. If the conversations you are initiating consist mostly of negativity or nagging, the responses you get from your child will also be negative.

Think about the people you as an adult choose to be around.
Why do you think you choose the people you do?
The people I like to be around have something in common with me. Either we like to do the same activities or have vivid conversations or we laugh together. It is not someone who takes the role of a superior or a boss that is telling me what to do.
Too often we as parents end up alienating our children because we become "the order giver". Your children will not want to interact with you if they know that every conversation they have with you will be something they do not want to hear. Yes, you are the parent and the one ultimately in charge of running the home, but try to run your home like a democracy, not a dictatorship.

3. Create a Safe Haven in Your Aura and Your Home.
*A place where there is not anger, no yelling, no contention
*A place of trust, love and fun.
*A place where your children are relieved to be, a peaceful environment.

4. Let Go of Rigid Expectations (Parents don’t want to hear this but once you do it, family life becomes so much easier)
*Get rid of the notion of the perfect family.
I hate to say lower your expectations, but that is sometimes necessary. Family life is sometimes like a roller coaster with highs and lows. Learn to see the fun in it. Children will make mistakes. Don’t get angry or embarrassed. Be patient with them and be proud of their small steps to improve.
*With summer vacation everyone is home. More people means more confusion. Arguments, teasing, fighting will occur. Don’t over react. Many times when arguments arise it is possible to let your children work it out.
*An immaculate house is not always possible. You don’t need to live like slobs, but our homes cannot look like a Parade of Homes model unless you have a full time housekeeper.

Basically I am giving parents an excuse to relax; to have fun and enjoy their kids. I am allowing parents to “play hooky” from their regular schedule for 3 months. Then to assess the aura in their home.

Children who come from homes like this are happy. They have less illnesses. They are successful in school, successful in careers, and successful in relationships.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Identify Inner Strengths

Identify Inner Strengths:

An inner strength differs from a talent or skill. A talent or skill is something a child develops such as musical skill, athletic ability, or artistic ability. Inner strengths are something your children are born with or something they inherit from their parents. The inner strengths we are talking about are qualities like honesty, compassion, patience, determination, persistence.

When it comes to Inner Strengths, children learn more from our examples than from what we as parents preach. They are constantly monitoring our expressions and moods. Babies come into this world without a sense of self, though that self begins almost immediately to be filled in by parents who become crucial mirrors of their children's worth...your reflections of him are the first he experiences. To the young child, you are magnified until you take on the appearance of a God.

Now, that's a lot of pressure for a parent to stop and think about. But it should also give parents a sense of power knowing that you can influence their child for the better. So what actions can parents do to help children with inner strengths?

1. Be an Example

As parents when we try to help our children discover their "inner strengths" the biggest factor is example, specifically a parent's example. Children learn more from our examples than from what we as parents preach. You can't expect your child to develop the strength of respect for others if he hears you yelling over the phone at the cable company for over charging you. You can't get mad at your child for hitting other children at school if you are spanking them at home. Be the best person you can be and your child will emulate those character traits you exemplify.

2. Help your child identify or acknowledge their inner strength.

Pay close attention to your children and notice the strengths they have. Talk to your spouse to find out the strengths they have noticed. Then verbalize to your child when you witness one of their inner strengths. They need to hear how unique they are and how wonderful it is that they have that strength. "It is so nice to spend time with you. You are such a calm, patient person." Or "I love your drive. That competitive nature will help you when you are playing soccer."

3. Teach your child how to nurture their inner strength.

We all know that practice makes perfect, so help your child practice using the strengths they have been given. When you notice your child sharing a toy with a friend, Compliment them on doing so. Say something like, "Didn't that make you feel good inside to share with your friend. Look how happy he is." Or "Did you notice that warm feeling inside? If makes you feel good all over when you do nice things for another person.

"Children Learn What they Live"
-Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If a child lives with criticism
He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty
If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Motivate your child

How To motivate your child?

When your children are young they are loaded with motivation. As they grow and receive feedback from parents, teachers and classmates that motivation is altered. Whether it is in spelling, math, music, athletics, the key is to protect that motivation. To stay motivated, your child needs small successes along the way.

First, protect your child by setting your own standards of success
Second, set achievable goals.
Third, make sure your child gets positive feedback

To understand, here's an example of how a parent can protect their child by setting achievable goals:
In grade school it is common practice for children to be given a weekly spelling list of about twenty words. Some children in the classroom will be able to spell all twenty words with ease, while others will struggle with five. If you are the child who studies the spelling words all week and then blows the test week after week, year after year...are you going to be motivated? No. At some point you give up and quit trying.
To find a solution, set achievable goals. Work with your child to figure out how many words he can realistically learn in a week. Five? Then do only five. Explain to the teacher that your child is struggling and needs some success to stay motivated. Work out an agreement with your child's teacher so your child is only required to be tested on five words. Once your child tastes that success, he will confidently ask for additional words as his abilities improve.
We did not all learn to walk at the same age or the same speed, but we all eventually mastered it. There is no decree declaring the day, hour or minute that we must know how to read, write or spell. Children learn at their own pace and on their own time. If you push them too hard, they will become discouraged or fail.

The goal is to give them just enough to succeed, then introduce more as they are ready.
Protect your children so they can progress through life as they are ready.
Protect your child's motivation!

For more help, read ParentFix

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Important Things For Parents To Remember When Dealing With Kids and Technology

1. Technology is important in today's world. It is an incredible learning tool for our children.
2. You cannot protect your child 24/7 from technology.
3. Build your children from within so they can withstand.

1. Keep all forms of technology (Internet, Television) in the center of the traffic in your home. Not in bedrooms, dens, theatre rooms,etc.
2. Join your child in using technology. Connect on Facebook or Twitter. Show interest in the websites they visit. Introduce them to websites you have found. Learn how to text.
3. Discuss the negatives involved with technology on a continual basis.
4. Make sure your child is involved in additional activities away from technology.
5. Have fun with your child. Interact in face to face conversations away from a screen.
6. Be involved with your child.

1. Do not be frightened of technology.
2. Do not set strict limits or become the ENFORCER.
3. Do not leave your children at home alone for long periods of time with nothing to do.

Let me explain the above suggestions. You cannot set strict rules about using the internet, texting or other social media. Why? How do you do it? The problem with making this a hard fast rule is that if you enforce hours of use, you will become the ENFORCER in your child's life. When you set rules that required enforcement (another term for nagging) you set yourself up for failure and destroy the relationship you are trying to build with your kids. Thats not a role any parent should want to fill.

Technology is here to stay. In fact 3 of my 4 boys (adults now) have jobs that require the skills they learned from video games, computers, television and texting. What they were doing with their free time was actually quite valuable. These technology skills they were not learning at school. I couldn’t teach them. They taught themselves some skills they needed to be proficient at in today’s world.

In addition to all the social internet, computer, and television time, we went skiing every Saturday, played football as a family, roller bladed, ice skated, camped, hiked, went to the beach. The kids were signed up for sports programs, music lessons, dance, karate, and many other things they showed interest in. If you want your kids to put down their cell phones and shut off the computers or get off with them. Go have fun with them. In other words, give them a reason to take a break from technology. Ideas for parents would include: Install a basketball hoop and go out and shoot baskets with your kids. Trampolines are sometimes considered a no/no, but we had hours of fun jumping with the kids and sleeping outside overnight. Use facebook together as a family. It is fun to send messages and keep in touch on their wall.

Setting rules and hours for tech use and demanding they follow them is a very lazy way of parenting. (My opinion) I recently spoke with a couple of men, husbands and fathers, who still get in trouble with their wives for playing video games on a regular basis. You know what I found out? Those boys had strict rules placed on them as teenagers and were limited to the time they could spend playing video games. It didn't stop them. They would sneak around to friend's houses just to play. It looks like they are still trying to do the same thing as adults.

One caution. Porn is a problem for our youth. Computers should be out in the open. The ills of technology should be discussed as a regular topic between parent and child. With the parent explaining why porn or gambling can and will do damage. After raising 4 boys I know that I cannot be so naive to believe I can protect them from seeing porn. But if you prepare them for it and make sure they understand the sadness it will bring into their lives, they will shut it off themselves.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Teaching Children

There is a never ending list of things we should be teaching our children. As parents we begin with the best intentions, but failure can seem amazingly imminent when our children react negatively to our methods. The problem is not in our desire. The problem lies in our technique. I love the following story:

A mother scolded her child after he stepped past the corner. She had repeatedly told him not to go beyond the street corner. With a tear streaked face the child looked up and asked, "Mommy what is a corner?"

So often our children have no idea what we are saying or what our reasoning is. It is so important to make sure we talk to our children and help them understand what we are teaching and why. This usually takes a bit longer and requires patience. It is beneficial to us as parents to explain our reasoning to our children. Through it, we realize the importance of what we are teaching. Saying, "Because I said so..." is not an explanation and should make us question the validity of what we are teaching. Remember, example is always the best teacher!

Read more about teaching your child reading the book ParentFix.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How to Enjoy a Teenager

The questions I get asked the most often are about teenagers. All parents have been teenagers, but how quickly we forget what it was like. I decided to blog today with basic advice to the parents of teenagers. Here goes:

How to Enjoy a Teenager

1. Change Your Expectations--We often look at teenagers in their adult bodies and expect them to act like adults. We must remember they are still children. One minute they will show the maturity of an adult. The next minute they may flip back into child mode, acting irresponsibly.

2. Show Understanding and Patience--The teenage years are not only puzzling times for you, they are very confusing for your child. Puberty is unpredictable. The strange behavior you are observing has to do with their changing physical bodies and hormones. Their bodies are growing faster now than at any other time of their lives. They often become confused and forgetful.

3. Sleep is Important. Teenagers internal clocks are different. Let them sleep when they need to sleep. They have to get up for school, let them sleep in on weekends or after school.

4. Peers Are Important. Get to know your child’s friends. You are still the most important person in your child’s life, but growing up is much easier if your child has friends to commiserate with. Make sure your child’s friends are welcome in your home. You may not always like your child’s friends, but don’t criticize them to your child. When you belittle your child’s friends, your child will feel you are attacking them personally. For example: If one of your daughter’s friends smokes, tell your daughter you disapprove of the smoking. Do not say, “I don’t like your friend.”

5. Educate Yourself and Be Teachable. Every single child is unique and so the teenage years will be different for each child. No parent knows it all! Read books, take classes, meditate and pray. You will learn more from this teenager than he does from you.

6. Have Fun. Spend time together. Your child will do this with you if you are not nagging, criticizing or coming up with a list of things for them to do. If you are struggling with an activity you both can enjoy, try food. There is not a teenage boy I know who will turn down an offer for food. For girls try food or shopping.

7. Listen. There is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. Instead of always trying to give advice to your teen, try listening to them. You will learn a lot about your teen if you can keep your mouth closed.

If you allow it, the teenage years can be the most rewarding years you spend with your child.