Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Parents: This One Question Explains A Lot!

The cover art from my parenting handbook:  Available on Amazon.

Do your kids think of you as:

A.  Mean
B.  Cheap
C.  Stupid
D.  All of the above 

Moms and Dads:  You are not doing your job unless you have been thought of as all of the above by your kids at some point!  The correct answer is "D".

This kernel of wisdom was told to me by one of my fellow teachers (thanks, Nancy) and has stuck with me all week.  Truer words were never spoken!

Stay strong!  Parent with loving authority.  Your children want you to set limits and not try at any time to be their friend.  They want and need you to be their parent.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Awful Truth: Parents Need to Grow up!

Saturday evening a group of us went out to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. While we were eating, a little league team of boys in their red uniforms tumbled in along with a large group of parents.  I'm guessing that the boys were all about 9 or 10 years old.  That is when things started to get interesting.

The parents immediately seated the boys at a long table and then separated into a mom's table at one end and the dad's booth across the room.  And that is when the 'parental' interaction ceased.  

The parents did not look up from their respective sides of the room to give these boys ANY attention.  The boys held it together quite well for awhile, eating their pizza and generally behaving.  But as the time wore on, the hijinks began.  

It started with spit ball throwing and escalated to bits of food being thrown and soon it was becoming an all out food fight with chunks of bread being dipped in water glasses before getting launched.  The wait staff at the restaurant picked up on what was going on and creatively interceded with some materials to distract the boys and save the restaurant from utter destruction.  And all the while, the dozen or so parents were choosing to completely IGNORE their boys and their inappropriate behavior.

I and the other parents in my group were left scratching our heads.  When did it become acceptable to surrender your parental duties in a public place to strangers?  Why did these parents feel justified in ignoring their children?  I am baffled!  Are parents so lazy now that they truly have given up on trying to teach their children anything?  I do not blame these boys--the blame falls squarely on the immature and selfish parents who could not be bothered to monitor or even interact with their own kids.  What a shame!

Have you seen other examples of selfish and immature parents?
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Raising your child with a healthy self concept

Each rose is perfect and beautiful, just as it is!

We live in the age of immediate commentary.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the countless other forms of public online forums allow us the ability to weigh in with our opinions and observations in real time.  And not only can we do it, we see it being demonstrated for us everywhere.  Television shows and news reports reference tweets made by anyone with a twitter account.  So what is everyone commenting on?  It seems lately that we are all commenting on other people's looks.  Why are we so obsessed with how other people look?  Frankly, I think this ideology is being sold to all of us.  It is good for the economy.  When people walk around in fear of being judged, what do they do? They spend money, on plastic surgery, haircuts, new clothes, diet programs, health clubs, and any other number of things to "fix" themselves.  The truth of the matter is, none of us needs fixing.  We are all unique and beautiful in our own right.  So how do we fight back against this constant unhealthy tide of judging ourselves and others by appearances?

Let's teach our children the powerful message of love and acceptance.  That is where it all begins.  At home.  At the beginning.  As they are growing and learning about their world.  Don't let the media serve our children up the idea that we all have to live up to some unrealistic vision of universal beauty.  Be the voice in their heads that reminds them that there is beauty in the essence of every person on this earth.  Teach your children that a person's actions and character are much more important measures than bra size or BMI (body mass index).  Let them know that it is not cool to say unkind things about another person.  "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all!" is a mantra that was repeated to me and then my own children over and over again.

Be the parent who teaches your children to look deeper than the clothing that someone wears, or the size and shape of a person's body, into the very heart of a person in order to get to know them. Encourage your children to choose friends who are honest and interesting and loyal and truthful.  And as with anything, you as the parent need to model these behaviors.  Don't gossip about other people in front of your children.  Don't be that critical voice that freely puts yourself or others down in front of your impressionable little ones.  If they hear you criticizing your own body or physical features, it hurts them because they love you so much.  And it also sets them up to do the same to themselves.

The message is clear.  If we want our children to feel good in their own skin, we must help them understand that they are beautiful--as are each of us.  Beauty comes from within.  The rest is merely marketing.  Don't buy into it--for the sake of each of your children and their well being.
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