The ABC's of Parenting - by Leah Davies, M. Ed.
A. Accept and value yourself and your child.
Be consistent, honest, fair and firm as you relate to your child.
Concentrate on what you like about your child and comment on it.
Develop interests of your own.
Encourage your child to discuss ideas and goals, expressing the belief that he or she can do many things well.
Forgive your child's mistakes, which are a natural part of learning.
Gladly share your time, affection and support.
Help your child feel safe and secure.
Interest your child in work by complimenting his or her efforts.
Joyfully take pleasure in life.
Keep harsh criticisms to yourself; avoid using "should" and "ought."
your child experience the results of his or her behavior.
Model by example those qualities you want your child to have.
Negotiate privileges and responsibilities, avoid overindulgence.
Offer some choices, allowing your child to make decisions.
Problem-solve with your child, listening carefully to his or her thoughts and feelings.
Quit blaming, shaming and threatening.
Respect your child's right to grow at his or her own rate without being pushed or compared to others.
Share household tasks among all family members so that your child makes a contribution and feels a sense of belonging.
Take time to read with your child, thus instilling a love of books and learning.
Use a photo album to record pleasant family memories.
Value honesty, kindness, dependability, truthfulness and caring.
Weather trials together as a family.
Examine your attitude toward your child.
Yield to professional advice concerning healthy living habits.
Zestfully participate in a variety of family traditions and activities.
3 Parenting Tips For Raising A Champion
by Brad Kearns
In my book "How Tiger Does It", which explores the peak
performance attributes of Tiger Woods and how to apply them to your own goals, I devote a chapter to the concept of parenting
and explore the fascinating and unusual example of Tiger Woods's upbringing with the yin/yang, East/West influence from his
respective parents, Earl (of mainly African-American heritage and raised in Kansas) and Tida (born and raised in Thailand).
The Earl-Tiger dynamic and his child prodigy golf experience has been well chronicled. Often however, the sound-bites pulled
from the story predominate over what I feel are the most important and instructive lessons that one can learn from Tiger's
Yes, Earl used to make noise during Tiger's swing, and used to deliberately cheat during their one-on-one
battles--all in the name of rattling him and forcing him to develop focus and competitive toughness. Yes, Tida used to crack
the whip and not let him play golf until his room was clean and homework was done. These examples are intriguing, but they
are superficial elements of his story and his development as the world's greatest athlete. Avoid the prevailing cultural dynamics
of over pressurized competitive experiences for youth, which commonly leads to alienation and rebellion in later years.
1. Nurture your child's pure motivation and natural potential. Resist the temptation to project
your dreams or society's regimented expectations upon your child--including the popular idea that achievement in formal education
or sport is the end-all route to success and happiness. Instead, encourage and facilitate your child's pursuit of her own
dreams, with the ultimate goal being to raise a happy and well-adjusted kid. Emphasize fun, appreciation of the process and
the development of honorable character above competitive results.
2. Be a good caddy.
You must not take shots for your child (I think you know what I'm talking about, helicopter parents), but you can help them
navigate the course of their choice and encourage them along the way. Pay close attention to signals from your child about
what's fun and what's not, and how much is enough. This will prevent burnout and rebellion when they grow older and gain more
freedom. Be sure that you exhibit high energy and motivation levels towards your caddy role and devote sufficient time and
interest to the job. By doing so, you will model to your children that family is more important than anything.
3. Place high expectations on your child. No, not to produce results, but to give an honest, sportsmanlike
and maximum effort in competition. By emphasizing these high ideals, you will help your child overcome the perils of superficial
motivation and attachment of self-esteem to results. Instead, they will develop the physical, mental and emotional resilience
to become tough competitors. Show them a world with strict boundaries for behavior, structure, prioritization and general
lifestyle balance, so that they have an open road to pursue their competitive potential. Do everything you can to support
them in their own journey, but make it clear that they will have to make their own way, regardless of how much wealth, power
and influence you have.
Brad Kearns is a former national champion and #3 world-ranked professional triathlete. He also is a popular author, speaker
and coach in the fitness world for the last 20 years. Books include Breakthrough Triathlon Training, How Lance Does It and
How Tiger Does It. Brad operates a non-profit kids fitness program called Running School. For more information visit bradkearns.com.
source site: click here
to Get Kids to Listen
by David Alan Kingsbury
Rather than speaking from a distance or yelling from another
room, take the time to move close to your child. Young children live in a world that is highly focused, a world filled with
distracting sights and sounds that absorb the child's attention at every turn. By moving close, bending down and making eye
contact, you become the center of attention, making the child much more likely to notice and respond to what you say. If the
child seems distracted, touch him gently to indicate that what you want to express is important and that he should listen.
Research indicates that 55 to 70 percent of all communication is nonverbal. Concerning speech, only 7 percent of your
message is related through the words you use. The rest is communicated by the tone of your voice.
If you want your child to listen to what you have to say, then
you had better be ready to listen to her. Children can detect when you aren't being genuine or when your responses are callous
Communicate with your feelings to form an emotional bond and give your words a more powerful effect. If
you want your child to get excited about a trip to the zoo, demonstrate excitement when telling her about it. If you want
her to express remorse for misbehavior, convey sadness and disappointment through your tone of voice. Similarly, when your
child responds, listen actively by repeating what she says and matching her emotional inflection.
A child's verbal skills are not nearly as advanced as an adult's.
For this reason, avoid using big words or speaking quickly. Short sentences filled with key words work best. To minimize confusion,
specify exactly what you want your child to do. Vague statements about cleaning his room should be replaced with direct instructions,
such as "Put your toys in the toy chest." Not only does this give the child a sense of direction, but it also limits other
actions he may take when confused about the task.
Beyond this, children have feelings and may disagree with your instructions
if what you ask them to do doesn't make sense to them. When you tell your child to be quiet, he doesn't realize that his favorite
toy is disrupting your phone call. To the child, it looks like you are commanding him not to have fun. Therefore, take a moment
to explain why you are asking him to obey. When the child understands that what you are saying is necessary or beneficial,
he will be much more likely to agree and may even demonstrate an eagerness to comply.
Consistency is essential when disciplining a child. If you let
her tantrum rage unchecked in one instance and scold her harshly the second time, she will quickly become confused and resentful.
Rules give children a sense of security and stability. However, children naturally "test the limits" of those rules, partly
to secure your attention and partly to determine if their world truly is stable and predictable. Don't disappoint them during
these times of testing.
By disciplining swiftly, consistently and compassionately, you will earn your child's respect
and she will be much more likely to listen when you speak. Fail to do this and your child will begin to feel that rules are
little more than an irrelevant nuisance, seldom enforced and entirely negative. Help your child to understand that your rules
exist because you care about her safety and well being and let her know that, just like in the real world, there are consequences
for breaking the rules. This form of "tough love" will help your child to build character and integrity. Additionally, it
will insure she listens when you speak.
David Alan Kingsbury holds degrees in both Psychology and Pastoral Care from Campbellsville University. He counsels ministerially
with an emphasis on Cognitive Therapy and Family Systems, having addressed such issues as drug addiction, sexual abuse and
interpersonal conflict. David has published two university-level pieces as well as numerous freelance articles on culture
& society, mental health and travel.
source site: click here
It's in the news....
4 Ways to Be a Good Role Model for Children
by Christa Gatewood
1. Showcase Positive Values
If you want to teach your children right from wrong, lead by
example. Values and morality are learned primarily through personal experiences and witnessing the behavior of others. Consequently,
if you want a child to learn values such as generosity, respect, honesty and forgiveness, model those values for them. Be
conscious of everything you do in the presence of children. Avoid gossiping, swearing, fighting, lying and other negative
behaviors they could pick up. Children are like sponges, and it only takes one bad word to have a "potty mouth" on your hands.
Values are also taught implicitly by how you choose to spend your time. If you want a child to value family, you have
to make spending time with the family a priority. Likewise, if you want a child to feel a sense of responsibility to the community,
you need to model community service. This can be done by making volunteer efforts visible, taking your child with you to make
donations to charity and doing things to help the environment like recycling, picking up trash or conserving energy.
2. Practice the Golden Rule
To teach a child to respect other people and show empathy, you
have to respect others, including the child. It's sometimes easy for adults to forget that children are also people, but the
only way to teach the golden rule is to live by it. Show understanding for your children's feelings, listen when they are
talking, say "please" and "thank you," accept their apologies and avoid yelling, threats and physical punishments. It's also
important to apologize to your children when you are wrong and ask for forgiveness.
3. Demonstrate Healthy Living
It's impossible to tell your children to do one thing while
you are doing the opposite and expect them to obey. If you want to raise children to be healthy, you must be a role model
for healthy living. Show your children that taking care of your body is important by going to the doctor and the dentist regularly.
Demonstrate healthy eating habits. Cook nutritious foods, avoid too many fatty foods and sweets and make good choices when
eating at restaurants. Show the importance of exercise going to the gym, jogging, biking or taking part in other athletic
activities on a regular basis. Encourage your children to join you. Remember that what you don't do also teaches lessons.
Avoid drugs, smoking and alcohol abuse. If your children find out you're indulging these behaviors, they may interpret that
as permission to also try them.
4. Show a Love of Learning
Raising a child who is motivated in school is easier when you
demonstrate a love of learning yourself. Letting a child see you read regularly, watch educational television or take classes
can instill an appreciation for life-long learning. Having a positive attitude towards education is contagious, particularly
Christa Gatewood studied psychology and communications at Northwestern University, sparking a life-long fascination with
mental health, personal relationships and family dynamics. Well-versed in conventional and alternative approaches to reproductive
health and pediatric medicine, Gatewood has covered health topics for eHow.com.
source site: click here
The Privilege of Being a Parent
by Jo-Anne Cutler
Last weekend I was one of 850 people in my local community
that participated in the National Walk for Kids Help Phone, celebrating this amazing organization’s 20th year and raising,
within just our small group, approximately 210,000 in pledges!
I was so grateful to be a part of this special event
as I have so much compassion for the kids who had placed over 2 million calls last year reaching out to talk about their feelings
and issues. It saddens me and yet at the same time doesn’t surprise me that a percentage of these children didn’t
feel safe enough in their own homes to express themselves.
I have been and always will be committed to help the many
children who can’t find their voice with their parents. If we are controlling or are easily angered or disappointed
in our kids, they won’t feel safe to share their feelings with us, especially if it is an issue they have with us!
wish is for every child to feel safe to share anything and to feel good about who they are, and that hopefully one day we
won’t have a need for a help phone! In support of all of these kids and with it being a few days before Mother’s
Day, I have enclosed an article that I published many years ago that speaks to this; yet whose relevance is no less important
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are privileged and continue to be an inspiration for your children
and your families!
Breaking the Cycle
When I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to be two things in life…a
teacher and a mom. The first came true for me as I taught swimming throughout my high school and university summers. In 1991,
after 3 long years of trying, I finally realized my dream of being a mom! Giving birth to my daughter, this beautiful bundle
of love and joy was an unforgettable moment in my life, as was the miraculous birth of my son just 19 months later. It wasn’t
until I became a parent that I realized that my most sought after desires were so connected.
As my children grew through
the infancy, toddler, nursery, grade and middle school years, I began to see how important a role model I was for them and
did the best I could with the knowledge that I had, however the increased stress that accompanied this new role was sometimes
difficult and I believed at that time that it was my children who caused some of the stress and discontentment in my life!
day, I sent my son to his room for misbehaving and he was so mad at having to stay in his room that he began to slam his door…repeatedly!
I could feel my blood boiling as I rushed to the bottom of the stairs and yelled at the top of my lungs for him to stop! I
realized in that moment that I was acting in a way I vowed that I never would with my children, but something came over me
that was so strong and uncontrollable that I couldn’t stop…I lost it!
I remember another experience with
my daughter when she was 3. She had very proudly made her bed before going to nursery school and as I went about my morning
routine, I straightened out her bed. My godmother was visiting us and as she witnessed what I had done, she said, “Don’t
you think she’s going to notice that she didn’t make her bed that way when she gets home? What she will take from
that is that she didn’t make it good enough for you. Who needs the bed neat and tidy, you or her?” She then commented,
“There is no need to worry Jo-Anne, by the time she is thirty she will know how to make up a bed!” I laughed at
the silliness but also saw the huge message that I was sending my daughter. The notion of having to be perfect was my issue!
remember so many times where I might have had a rough day at work, was so exhausted from running on the treadmill of life,
frustrated with having to do it all myself as a single mom or was heavy with worries about money or relationships issues.
My kids might have wanted to share something exciting with me, needed some attention or were maybe fighting with each other
and I would react by either yelling at them or withdrawing. Then I would feel guilty for my behavior, but it was too late,
the damage had already been done. I love my children with all my heart and my intention was never to hurt them.
have shared similar experiences with me and I have so much compassion for them as I know that I too was behaving the only
way I knew how. I have witnessed both privately and publicly the emotional and physical abuse that takes place on a regular
basis in our world and we need to do something to break this cycle.
We teach our children how to behave by our example
and the cycle we are continuing could be one that we learned as a child. We have long forgotten or maybe buried how we felt
as children when we were yelled at, scolded, felt the disapproval, disappointment or lack of love from our parent. I believe
our children are experiencing the same thing now and they can’t find their voice, any more than we could, to maybe say
to us, “Please don’t yell at me, that doesn’t feel good.” or “ Mom, dad, why are you always
disappointed in me?” “Why won’t you listen to me?” “Why can’t you love me just the way
I know that my life became easier and less stressed when I took responsibility for my feelings and saw
how I imposed those feelings onto my kids. The control, resentment, projection of anger, the shutdown, disapproval and disappointment
all because they weren’t doing or behaving the way I thought they should. In wanting to be the best parent I could be,
I started to take a good look within myself and through the eyes of my children. My mentor helped me to see how I could have
done things differently and how my behavior and reactions impacted how they behaved…not only as children, but would
also serve as a template for them when they became parents themselves. I saw how I was a container of all sorts of feelings
that I had never felt safe enough to express and when my children or anyone else for that matter triggered me, all of those
unfelt emotions exploded out of me and I of course blamed them! I had continued a cycle of unhealthy behavior and I wanted
to do it differently.
I am no different than any other parent and thought I was doing a great job, and I was! I was
doing the best I could with what I knew. My children and I now joke about the fact that they didn’t come complete with
a manual and I fully admit to them that I’m not perfect! I am open to listening to my children now, and when they feel
me getting agitated (remember I’m not perfect!) or my “recovering control freak” side starts to rear it’s
ugly head, my children feel safe to point it out, which reminds me that I am stepping back into my old patterns. This is my
issue to take care of and to let go of. It feels good to be able to laugh now at my own behavior and I am grateful and I continually
thank my children for sharing their observations.
There is a familiar phrase that says, “When the student is
ready, the teacher will appear.”
Our children can teach us so much if we let them express themselves, and create
a safe place for them to share their feelings and try not to take it personally or as a sign of disrespect or back talk.
can honestly say that I don’t yell at my kids anymore. I am so blessed to have such wonderful children as we all are…they
are such gifts and mine taught me how to look at and take ownership of how I showed up in life. Once I shifted everything
in my life did! It’s an ongoing process for me to healthily take care of my emotions and it is so clear to me now that
my ultimate desire of being a mom and a teacher had to be in that order. To learn how to be the best mom I could be so that
I could teach my children and this has inspired our family to Break the Cycle.
Make 2009 your year to become physically
and emotionally fit!
As a personal trainer for emotional fitness, author, speaker and awareness
coach, Jo-Anne Cutler is passionately committed to inspiring and empowering others to find more peace and happiness in their
lives by becoming emotionally fit and in her role as a child advocate, empowering others to be the conscious connected parents,
teachers and role models our children need them to be. She has created an audio program called Breaking the Cycle, is in the
process of writing her own book, is a certified coach using The Inner Workout™ and is also the agent/manager for Colleen
Hoffman Smith who created this transformational emotional fitness program. Jo-Anne is the author of several published articles,
co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol. 2. and 101 Top Child Development and Parenting Articles. She offers
private/virtual/phone coaching and consultations as well as a free monthly e-newsletter. Please visit www.jcconnections.ca
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