We all want to be a good parent or do we?

What does it take to be a good parent?

a good parent

What does it mean to be a good parent? We all want to be a good parent or at  least we try or think we are one.

Being a good parent means something else for everyone. For some  being a good parent is giving your children a good time, others a wholesome education and environment, while for others it means being there for your children. However, when we say we want to be a good parent we probably mean to say that  we are hoping to parent well and bring up our children  to be responsible, caring adults that will contribute to our community, environment, culture or nation.

Yes, that is when we look at the final result. Of course it takes a long time to get there however we got to start when they are young! It is a process and of course does not happen overnight, yet small steps become big accomplishments, and these small steps is what we initially see as parenting well.

What contributes to being a good parent?

  • expressing love
  • creating structure
  • being a role model
  • taking care of all physical and emotional needs
  • providing for our children, such as an education and things they need ( that is in italics for a reason we are not looking to unnecessarily spoil them, something extra is nice when it is done occasionally not on a day to day basis..)
  • give your children your full attention, be there for them

What can we do to be good parents?

  • don’t feel guilty when you slip
  • make easy resolutions- things you can keep
  • enjoy motherhood
  • take care of yourself as you are taking care of your kids
  • check in often with your children and yourself

I know it sounds so simple, however it really isn’t! It is so much easier to yell at a child when we feel frustration and pain. However we must remember that yelling does not help us raise good children. It might be our first reaction to something a child did that we did not like  and if we slipped, apologize and pick up the pieces and start again. Hopefully it will become a habit. Yelling does harm a child if it is not done often and the child feels the love and concern and knows that parent is there for them.

Children need to know that we love them even though they make mistakes and yet children need structure to know what is OK and what isn’t. It is a fine balance, a teeter totter you will have to trot, however the results are worth it all.

Remember- being a good parent is a lifetime of work, even when the children are grown, all living things need love to blossom! You can never say ” I love you too many times!”

 

Can you teach others to take initiative?

Did you think taking initiative is simple as 123? Think again! It is a work in progress to teach others to take initiative, if they were not born with “that gene.” Yet do not fret there are ways you can teach it to others!

take initiative

What does taking initiative even mean? To take initiative is usually to start something such as  a plan or action. If someone takes initiative it means they are usually the first ones doing that specific task. Sounds fun? It certainly isn’t for some people! Taking initiative might be difficult for many.

What are the obstacles to taking the initiative?

  • lack of self confidence
  • lack of know how

Most of the time a person is afraid of failure and ridicule resulting from lack of self confidence that does not allow them to be the start of a project, goal  or idea. We need to change this mindset to get others to take initiative.

Many people have great ideas yet they are afraid to share them so how can we get it heard? Of course, building self confidence will help but so will showing others how to take the initiative to get something started.

Showing children and adults how to step it up is easier said than done, though it certainly can make things much easier for you as a mom, teacher, educator or supervisor.

How can you get others to take initiative?

  1. Give others the tools. Break down tasks for them on a simple level.

    Child: ” There are no tissues in the bathroom”
    Mom: ” Do you know where we keep them?”
    Child: “Yes”
    Mom: “Can you reach them?”
    Child: “Yes”
    Mom: ” Can you please go get some and place them in the bathroom?”
    Child: “OK”
    Mom: “Thank you for your help, now next time you need some tissues you know where to find them.

    See how the task was broken up by making sure child knows what it is needed, knows where to find it, has the tools for retrieving it ( can reach it) and a push for the next time ( compliment).

  2. Model it– If you want others to learn, do it yourself the first time. It may sound weird yet it works! Talk out loud as you go about a task. ” Oh I see that next week there is a deadline, in order for us to meet it we must accomplish abcd….” or” I see the bathroom is lacking tissues that means I must go get some…”
  3. Take a step back– acknowledge the issue and let others step up. ” I see we need some tissues…”
  4. Compliment and Comment– If someone starts to take the initiative, compliment them for it fuels them to continue and wanting to do it more often. Do not say how it can be done better, believe me they will learn.

” Take the initiative by allowing others to take initiative”

 

 

Is it OK to lie to children?

Can we live at peace with ourselves when we lie to our children?

lying to children

I feel the question is loaded and deserves a loaded answer. Though all I will simply say – it depends. Yes, it really depends! When asking others when and for what reason they will lie to their kids the answers will vary.

There are many reasons why we lie, and they do not all fall into the same level of lying.

Why many of us lie to children:

  1. to protect our children
  2. to protect ourselves – it is easier to lie than to say the truth, not wanting to deal with the consequences of saying the truth ( tantrum)
  3. social/ polite lies- said to be “nice” or not hurt others.
  4. imaginary lies- lies that fuel that imagination not said to hurt others yet to create fantasy- (tooth fairy)

Lying hurts our children, and it hurts us as parents. It breaches the sacred trust our children have in adults and their caregivers. When children ” catch” a parent in a lie, it can cause them to lose their respect for that adult. Such as if you tell a child” if you do not leave the park with me now, I will leave you here for the night…” and they know it is not true causing  your words to have little effect on them. The reason you told the lie was to get them to listen yet you are undermining yourself. Rather if you tell them ” if we do not leave the park now we will not be able to visit for the next week..” and you follow up on the consequence your child will know your words are not empty nor a lie and they better listen if they want to visit the park again.

However, it gets complicating. When a child suffered a loss of a pet and wants to know where their beloved pet is. Your response should not be a lie either, it should reflect the age and the level of understanding of your child. Telling the truth will not hurt them as long as it is said appropriately. Gauge their reaction and if it is too much for them then stop. Telling them that their pet ran away or will come back another day will once again break your child’s trust.

Acceptable lies:

When lying to a child for imaginary reasons such as the tooth fairy it usually is acceptable. However it all depends on how you do it. Allow children to discover the truth when they are old enough to understand. When they start questioning you can ask them- ” what do you think?”. Let them discover the truth and do not deny it.

Lying for protection:

A child does not need to know the ins and outs of why mom and dad are divorcing but lying to a child the reason why is not acceptable, tell them what they need to know on their level. You do not need to explain nor tell the whole truth give them the basics. Children are easily perceptive and can easily smell something fishy, if you lie to them.

To compound our feelings of guilt when we lie, many parents justify their lying. There is never justification in lying! It is harmful! In addition, lying becomes habitual. Change the way you talk now and allow the truth to become a habit. It may be difficult at first and uncomfortable for it may seem much easier to lie, however if you continue to lie you will suffer its consequences! Such as children who lie or broken relationships and breached trust. Build your relationship with your children by telling them the truth.

“Telling the truth is an art,  an important skill to learn and master.”

 

Managing Children’s Behavior

How to Manage Children’s Behavior:

managing behavior by building strong homes

Children need consistency, rules and routines to flourish. In short, all they need is a stable environment.

It sounds simple, it might be simple however it takes some work to establish that. Let us take a look at the framework for a stable environment whether it is a classroom or home.

Managing children’s behavior by building strong homes and classrooms:

  1.  Routine:

Consistency helps children know what to expect and know your expectations of them.

example: bedtime should be consistent, classroom schedule should be consistent

  • Of course, there may be changes and a need to tweak your schedule however it is something that should not happen often, such as you came home late from work and dinner and bedtime is running late. It happens don’t fret yet make sure it does not happen too often.
  • Help children by giving them a time frame. If it is almost bedtime, let the child know, ” five more minutes to play and then we have to go to sleep”, if it is clean up time or lunch time give the children the opportunity to transition smoothly by reminding them: ” We have 2 more minutes to play, after we play we clean up and then we have lunch.” This feeds into the children’s structure and they know what to expect.

2. Rules:

In order to establish a smooth running home or classroom, rules must be in place. It may be difficult to enforce in the beginning yet you need to be consistent and stick to them!

Remind children of the rules if they break them so that they get into the habit of following your rules. I prefer if teachers do not teach the first few weeks in school and work on establishing their routines and rules for this will establish a smooth classroom, with everyone knowing the expectations of them and therefore cutting out possible frustration and anger in the future.

  • If you see the same rule is constantly broken check to see if your expectation is not too much and too hard for children to fulfill.
  • Remind the rule especially in the beginning of establishing the rule:” When we come home we hang up our coats.” ” Remember, when we go outside to play we wait on line for our turn on the swings.”

3. Warm and caring relationship with the children:

Children want to please adults whom they feel care for them. If a child feels you want the best for them they will look to make you happy.

4. Home/ School Alignment

All adults in the child’s life should have the same goals. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, however the general rule of thumb is the child should know if teacher said something mom will agree and vice versa. This holds true for at home as well. If dad said something mom should stand by dad, even though she disagrees. When the child is not around the two parties can discuss it further, however in front of the child they should seem in agreement.

I call it the “run to mom” effect. Many children know that majority of times mom is softer than dad, and if they do not like something they can ” run to mom” to complain or reverse dads decision. However it is important for the child to know they cannot manipulate mom or dad to change their mind.

This is true in a classroom as well. If one teacher says no to something the child wants to do, the other adult in the room, whether it is an aide, assistant or co teacher should respect the first teachers decision even though they might disagree. They can always visit the subject at a later time without the child present.

This builds structure in the child’s life and they see that there are rules to follow.

 5. Expectations

It is very important to take into consideration that all children are different and learn differently. When deciding on rules and routine you must take into consideration that one child may have an easy time  complying while another will find it difficult. It is not because they want to act out, yet because they either cannot accomplish that task, cannot sit so long etc.. therefore when you set rules take each child’s need into consideration.

Just like when you set bedtime in your house children should have different time depending on their age for each age group requires a differnt amount of time for sleep. The same holds true in your classroom.

Remember: ” fair is not equal and equal is not fair.”

Do not get upset when a child broke a rule first see if it is something they can follow.

Example: you require children to hang up their coats when they enter your home/ classroom. This is a reasonable request however you always note that Johnny dumps his coat on the floor near the hooks. You reviewed the rules with him and constantly remind him to hang up his coat and you know that you have a warm relationship with him yet he is still not complying. After further investigation you realize the hooks are too high for him to reach. It is not that he wants to dump them and make you upset!

This is a general framework to give the children the foundation to meet your expectations and follow classroom or household rules. Although it is not a guarantee to always work, for the majority of the children it works. Some children may need additional intervention or assistance.

In addition, while this framework may help on a day to day basis children are people with emotions. They may have had a difficult day and may not follow your rules one day. It does not mean that they are out to disobey they just may need some more attention and care. As long as you are providing a stable environment you are giving the children the tools to thrive.

Special Education – is it us or them?

Are we labeling children for nothing?

I was just by a special education training session this morning. It was intriguing to hear the presenter’s  frustration at how we  often label a child as needy, disabled, ADHD, weak etc. without fully understanding the wide range of developmental stages that there are for each age group.

How can we label a child if we do not know if something is actually age appropriate for that child? The action may not be up to par with the rest of the class, however that does not mean that the child is necessarily weak. Every child grows at different levels and all learn differently. Their action may fall in the range of appropriate actions for that age group, even though you see it differently. A teacher must first learn what is expected of each age group without jumping to conclusions and then can seek appropriate assistance.

children in a box

Are we putting children in a box?

This scared me. I was left wondering if we are the ones whom label children with labels and they do not need to be labeled at all! Are we just labeling them because we do not have clear expectations of that specific age group, while the child may fall in an appropriate range of expectations?

Help! And to expound on her message the presenter gave each of the attendees a few scenarios and asked us to label them as to which age group we find that behavior appropriate for. None of the veteran teachers and educators got them all correct.

Majority of the workshop was based on early-childhood developmental guidelines. However the lesson was clear:

Never judge and label a child. Review and study expectations for that age group and do not jump to conclusions! 

as stated in the developmental guidelines-

“As one teacher explains, “Knowing about
development lets me slow down and
put aside my assumptions in order to see
children as individuals and pay attention
to where they are developmentally rather
than where I think they “should” be. “

Stop putting children in a box!

What are the five love languages?

Learn your child’s love language:

the five love languages

Love makes the world a sweeter place. Everyone needs to feel loved in order to blossom and yet everyone feels love differently. For some a gift expresses that emotion and for others a kiss.

According to Gary Chapman there are 5 different ways to show love. What can you do to speak straight to your child’s  heart?  Showing them love in their language!

The 5 different love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation – Kind and encouraging words mean a lot to those who fall in this category. Compliments are words gift wrapped. The opposite holds true harsh words and criticism is like a knife cutting through them.
  2. Acts of Service- Receiving assistance in times of need, speaks a lot to those whose love language is through acts of service. This includes being helped with household chores, homework, and other responsibilities. Words like “let me help you” mean a lot.
  3. Receiving Gifts- The idea of receiving a gift and  the thoughts behind it mean a tremendous amount to those whom speak this language. It shows them that they are loved, cared for and mean a lot to the giver.
  4. Quality time- Undivided attention along with quality conversation and actions mean a lot to those who fall under this category. Being fully present for the other person without any distractions such as the phone, TV or food, shows true love to those whose love language is quality time.
  5. Physical touch- a person who’s love language is physical touch likes to be touched. This includes holding hands, a pat on the back, hugs, kisses, and caresses. 

How to find out your child’s love language:

Young children have a difficult time sharing with you what means a lot to them.

As an infant, physical touch and being there for your child is a necessity however as the child grows older they will develop their own love language, which may not include physical touch.

So what should you do to find out your child’s/ students love language?

It may be helpful to have a conversation with your child asking them how they know mommy loves them and listening to what they are saying.

Having a conversation and asking children what they prefer can show you a lot about them-

” Would you like me to massage you now ( physical touch) or should we rather read a book together? ” ( quality time)

“Should I write a story why I think you are special ( words of affirmation) or should we open the gift?” ( receiving gifts)

As you start giving a choice you will see a pattern emerge of your child’s preference. Asking once is not enough!

What is your love language? How do you show and like to receive love?

Children lying, is that a problem?

Is this a lie?

children lying

It’s an ongoing discussion among educators and parents how to deal with children lying. Some see it as as children’s imagination or want for fantasy while others feel children should not go ahead making up stories.

It is a hot and heavy discussion, how to deal with lying. However it is important to know the differences and understand where lying is coming from.

There are many ages and stages to lying and different times to be concerned and times to just to letting it pass.

Let us take a look how lying will look differently for each age group and then we can take a look how to interpret lying without freaking out that your child/ student lied:

Children lying:

2-4 Age Group – Toddlers and Preschoolers little lies:

When a child is young, such as 2 to 3 years of age their lying may just reflect their feelings. If you ask them: “Did you break this?”  their response might be “no”, as in I did not want to do it rather than no I did not break it. You might notice them lying in order for them to benefit something such as fear of your anger or punishment.

” Did you take my ring?”  children very likely might just respond no for it easier to say that than to deal with our anger or punishment.

Young children generally do not know the difference between truth and fiction.

Toddlers are too young to be punished for lying yet they are not to young to be educated about lying! You can gently point out to them- ” I see you are holding my ring.. seems like you took it.” However do not spend too much time on what had occurred and move on.

Preschoolers enjoy living in the world of make believe. At times their lies reflect their fantasy and imagination. It is important to realize that to them it is not always a lie. It is something that feels real and factual.

5 year old children can have make believe friends or siblings. ” My friend, Bella was punished today because she took away my teachers book.” This is something that the child dreamed of and it seemingly is not a lie to her. This is the age where their imagination is hard at work and helps children develop skills and creativity. There should not be much of a concern if your child likes to immerse themselves in wishful thinking.

5-8 Age Group- School-age lies

This is the age group where you can find children saying white lies to either cover up for a friends, avoid embarrassment or punishment.

It is important to realize and understand why children are lying in this age group. It likely is because they are having social or school difficulties that can be helped out with.

At this age, children understand that lying is not right and you can slowly educate them about the importance of saying the truth. Punishing them for the lie will not help the situation that they were caught lying about. Be sure to check the underlying factor as to what prompted them to lie.

Tweens- White lies and big lies:

Occasional lies are not unusual for children this age. They usually lie for the same reason adults do, to gain something or get away with something they did.

This is the age group where you should lead by example and show children it is not OK to lie.

 

So now you caught your child or student lying-

What can you do to prevent lies?

  1. consider age– remember if they are currently living in the fantasy world, leave them be!
  2. why are they lying- what is the underlying reason? At times you help the situation you can prevent lying ( such as a child saying they do not have homework because they do not know know how to do it)
  3. be a role model
  4. allow children to tell the truth without punishing in the heat of the moment- make it safe to tell the truth
  • Remember children lying is not the end of the world- how you deal with it can be!

 

Keep the praise flowing!

Hey, how well do you praise others?

Do you know that it is a skill to praise well?

Think about it, when someone praises you, you sometimes feel a warm bubbly feeling rising up within you, and other times it totally just passed you. That  shows that praising is a skill, not all of us can do it well.  However we can easily learn to make others feel great! Read on!

People praise others when they like what is being done. Praise gets that person to repeat that behavior that you enjoy for every person likes to be praised and will want to be praised again. It actually helps you to praise others because it will cause that person to repeat the behavior to receive the praise again.

So how can we get praise to cause that warm bubbly feeling to rise?

You got to FIRE it up!

Praising with fire:

praise well

F– Focus- the praise should be focused on something specific, such as ” I like the way you cleaned up your toys.” Instead of “nice job.”

I – Immediate- say it right away! As soon as you notice the behavior, this shows that you are excited and appreciative.

R– Real- the praise has to be real and genuine. You got to mean what you say. If the dinner was not so good find something else to praise such as the time it took to cook , never lie when you praise. Children and adults can tel! the truth!

E-Enthusiastic- When praise is said in a way that shows excitement and appreciation it means much more. Praising with a high five, a smile, thumbs up goes a long way!

 

Go to statements for praising well:

Saying thank you for…

I like when you…

great sharing…..

the __________________ was delicious

Remember the more specific you are the more the child or adult knows what to do next time to earn that enthusiastic praise and response from you.

What is your parenting style?

Do you have a parenting style?

different parenting styles

We all have different personalities, likes and dislikes causing us to have different parenting styles. However it is important to meet the basic needs of each child.

The four parenting styles are the ones most commonly referred to and parents usually fall in range between two of them. It is important to note that if you see yourself in a style that may not be healthy for your child to seek assistance.

Let us find out your parenting style and give you the tools to parent effectively:

The four parenting styles:

  1. Authoritative– High parental expectation of the child while being supportive and understanding.
  2. Neglectful- not recognizing children’s need for basics, such as warmth, food, clothing, physical affection
  3. Permissive–  parents whom like to indulge and spoil their children
  4. Authoritarian– demanding parents without support, expecting children to meet demands without showing them how to attain them and giving them the tools

Indicators of the 4 parenting styles:

Authoritative:

  • structure in the household- bedtime routines, rules
  • reasonable consequences if a rule is broken
  • open communication with child without fear of punishment

Neglectful:

  • child’s needs are not met whether it is physical or emotional
  • no knowledge of child’s feelings, personal and social life
  • not present for child whether at home, school functions and/ or events

Permissive:

  • inconsistent rules
  •  lack of structure or routine- for there is a want to please the child
  • bribing children
  • afraid of child’s outburst or frustration

Authoritarian:

  • strict household rules that never bend
  • unreasonable demands of the child
  • insisting the child listen without explanation
  • child is not allowed to make decisions or choices

Authoritative parenting helps children grow into responsible adults with a sense of security and understanding. Although at times it may be difficult for a child to accept parents demands they usually see that it is coming from a place of caring for the child and not selfish demands from the parents. Neglectful parenting is harmful for the child, for without the basic needs a child cannot learn and grow properly.

Neglectful children tend to grow up and neglect others for they did not learn proper relationship and communication skills.

Children whose parents were permissive throughout their childhood years have a tendency to be lacking in self control and grow up into demanding adults. They had seen that as a child by whining or complaining they got their way, thinking it might work as they grow older. They usually are self centered and do not respect authority.

Children of authoritarian parents may be noticed by low self esteem, constant anxiety and a wish to please others.

Although as parent we usually mix and match parenting styles it is important to keep in mind the effects of each style. Know that structure and support help build a child while the lack of it may break a child.