September 25, 2007


Yesterday I drove by a golf range that had a sign posted out front that read:

Golf Lessons
Half Hour for $40.00

Next door to the golf range was a church with this sign:

Parenting Seminar
How To Understand Your Teenager
Saturday, 10- 1 Cost: $10.00

I'm not a sports fan so I wouldn't consider paying that kind of money for a half hour golf lesson. But as a parent and as a professional who works with families I would certainly pay or encourage another parent to invest $10.00 in a parenting seminar.

Parenting is one of the most challenging roles you can ever take on. Learning how to be a good parent takes an investment of your time. Additionally, investing in seminars, buying books, etc., can be helpful and put you on the path of becoming the best parent you can possibly be.

September 22, 2007

Affirmations For Children

A child's self-talk does not just happen. It emerges based upon what they hear from other people, especially their parents.

When children hear words of encouragement they learn to respect themselves.

When they hear words of criticism and blame they learn to feel worthless.

Here are some examples of affirmations to tell your child that will encourage their self-talk to be positive:

You Followed Directions

You Like To Help Others

You Stayed Calm

You Have Great Ideas

You Are Special And There Is No One Else Like You

September 19, 2007

Positive Affirmations

Find some positive phrases that speak to you and repeat them several times over the course of the day. This will help you develop a new thinking pattern and will encourage your self talk to become more positive than negative.

Here are some affirmations you might want to use:

This Too Shall Pass

I Am Doing My Best

I Can Stay Calm Under Pressure

I Choose To Be Positive.

What positive affirmations do you find helpful?

September 18, 2007

Self Talk

Self talk is an internal dialog. What you say to yourself effects your feelings and your actions. Your self talk can be positive or negative depending upon your outlook on life. People who practice positive self talk are more confident and successful. People who use negative self talk lack confidence and have low self esteem.

Learning to control your self talk will make it more positive than negative. Find some positive phrases that speak to you and repeat them several times over the course of the day. It will help you develop a new thinking pattern.

Let's say that you're trying to get into the habit of walking 5 times a week and have been successful for two weeks. The next week you only walk 3 times and your negative self talk says you're a failure and you can't do it. Your positive self talk would say that you accomplished your goal two weeks in a row and that you've had a minor set back but you'll get back on schedule next week.

Which self talk would be more encouraging?

Positive self talk is a simple thing that, when incorporated into your daily routine, can make big changes in your life.

September 14, 2007

Active Listening

Often when your child is talking to you, you don't listen attentively. You might be distracted or thinking about something else. An important skill for parents to learn is "active listening."

When you listen actively, you send your child the message that they are important enough to have your undivided attention. Problems can be solved and perhaps even be prevented if you take the time to use active listening.

How to actively listen:

· Stop what you are doing.

· Look at your child.

· Give your full attention.

· Listen to what is said.

· Comment on what you think you heard.

Active listening focuses on what your child is saying. It does not mean you agree with, but rather understand, what they are saying. It will validate what your child is feeling and will strengthen your parent-child relationship.

September 13, 2007

Encouraging Children to Listen

The best way to teach children to be good listeners is for parents to model listening. Families spend a lot of time in the car. I suggest you turn off the radio or the CD player and encourage your child to talk to you about where you are going and what might happen when you get there.

When at home turn off the TV and talk with your child about things that interest him or her. Talk about some of the things each of you did that day. Soon these special times of talking and listening will become a pattern. A pattern of healthy communication.

September 11, 2007

Take Time To Nurture Yourself

Think of the last time you got on a plane. Do you recall the instructions from the flight attendant?

"Passengers should be advised to don their own oxygen masks before assisting children with their masks."

Often, parents think they are being selfish when they put their own needs ahead of their children's. How effective can you be at parenting if you don't?

What measures do you take to nurture yourself? Do you read, get a massage or go to lunch with a friend? Find something that you enjoy and fit it into your schedule.

September 7, 2007

September 6, 2007

More Parenting Reflections

How would you respond to the following statements?

  1. What have you have inherited?
  2. What you would have liked to inherit?
  3. What you most dislike inheriting?
  4. What would you like your children to inherit.?

September 5, 2007

Parenting Reflections

Take a few minutes to reflect on what parenting means to you. Grab a pen and paper and post your thoughts to the following statements.

1. Three things you enjoy doing with your children.

2. Your favorite parenting moment.

3. What your children would say they like about you.

4. The best thing about being a parent.

September 4, 2007

Using "I" Messages

One way for parents to model good communication skills for their children is to use "I" messages.

There are three parts to an "I" message.

1. I feel_________________(use an emotion)

2. when_________________(describe a specific situation)

3. because_______________(say how it affects you).

"I" messages tell your child how you feel. It's more effective than yelling. It teaches your child more appropriate ways to share their feelings and solve problems.

September 3, 2007

Logical Consequences

When you discipline it’s vital to be consistent. Consistency shows your child that you are serious and dependable. Discipline is not effective unless it’s done consistently.

In order to be consistent you need to have a plan. Without a plan you will simply react when your child misbehaves. Yelling, threatening and not following through with consequences are not effective. “No video games for a week” might be uttered in the afternoon but an exception will be made an hour later.

With a plan, you will react differently and your discipline will be more effective. Your plan should include consequences. Consequences enforce the rules, make a child accountable for his actions and help the child learn and change. A consequence is related to the behavior and must outweigh the pleasure of the disobedient act.

For example, a seven year old is tormenting his sister. The parent says, “Since you are not treating others kindly, I’m canceling your play date with Brian this afternoon.”

Consequences need to be different for each child. Once you find a consequence that works you can almost guarantee that after a period of time it will no longer be effective and you will have to find another one. Consequences will also need to be altered as your child gets older.

Spend time discussing the rules and expectations with your child. Spell them out and stick with them. Children will follow a rule better if you have explained why you have the rule.

Finding consequences that work requires time and thought. The investment in effective, fair discipline is crucial to your child’s growth and the dividends will be great.

September 2, 2007

Look How Far You've Come

Do you deal with your problems or do you deny them? It’s much easier and less painful to deny them. If you deal with your problems it will involve a lot of soul searching and the journey to healing will include pain. The thought of that pain is enough to scare some people into denial. If they don’t think about it then it won’t hurt so much.

Those who decide to take the journey to a peaceful place will suffer as they drudge through the muck and the mire. Often, while moving forward, there will be times when they find themselves stumbling and perhaps even sliding backwards. Yet they continue because they want that peace that awaits them on the other end of the journey.

It can take weeks, months, even years depending on the severity of the problem. One day they wake up and realize the journey has come to an end. They feel lighter, as if a heavy weight has been lifted from their shoulders. They no longer smile to hide the tears; they smile because they feel a true inner happiness. Perseverance has paid off. All of the tears, pain and sleepless nights are now but a distant memory. Joy has taken the place of the pain.

It’s a sense of satisfaction, a sense of pride in knowing how far you’ve come.

September 1, 2007

Grandpa Butch

I adored my grandfather. I was his only granddaughter and he doted on me. One summer he built me a play house complete with a sliding glass window. None of my friends had glass windows in their play houses and I felt so special.

I was seven and at my grandparents home the night my mother went to the hospital to give birth to her third child. We anxiously awaited a phone call from my father. I already had a younger brother and I desperately wanted a sister. When the call finally came and my father announced it was a boy I was devastated and couldn’t stop crying.

My grandparents tried every trick in the book to calm me down. Finally, Grandpa Butch suggests that if I stop crying he will take me into town in the morning and buy me a new red wagon. That was music to my ears. I dried my tears, put on my pajamas and went straight to bed.

Grandpa Butch always kept his promises to me so the next morning, after breakfast, he drove me into town and we went to the hardware store. It no longer mattered that I didn’t get a baby sister. I had a brand new, shiny red wagon.