And now onto the very tricky topic of advice

April 15th, 2018

Advice is hard. Sometimes you’re asked for it and the person doesn’t take it. Sometimes you need it, but don’t necessarily like the person’s suggestion. It’s all very tricky. You know, it usually begins with:

  • You must . . .
  • You should . . .
  • I’d advise you to . . .
  • I think you should . . .
  • You could . . .
  • You know what you should do…
  • If I were you, I’d…

Not to mention, we have concerns when we’re on the giving and receiving end of advice:

  • The person giving advice will suggest something that worked for them. That doesn’t mean it will work for you.
  • If the advice comes from someone close to you, how do you respond if the recommendation is awful?
  • If you ask for advice, you are not obligated to follow it.
  • What if your child does something wrong (I mean really embarrassing) and you need advice? How do you ask for help and not have others think badly of your child or you as their parent?

Should I keep going?

Even the great advice columnists, Dear Abby and Ann Landers (who were twin sisters by the way) did not speak for many years. Yet, they gave out advice to strangers on resolving conflicts.

Not to give you any advice, the bottom line is that advice should do three things:

  1. Validate your feelings, without making you feel bad
  2. Help you see a different perspective
  3. Offer a potential solution

Because so many moms are hungry for advice throughout this life-long job, here are my top 10 favorites:

  1. It’s ok to ask for help, even if it’s just so you can take a shower.
  2. You are going to make (many) mistakes, but your children are rooting for you to be a good parent. Kids are smart that way.
  3. Because you work outside the home, it doesn’t mean someone else is raising your kids. You are doing that.
  4. You will always love your children, but they will do things to make you not like them at times. It passes.
  5. Enjoy the little moments because when they grow up, that’s what you’ll talk about around the holiday table. That is especially true if the moments include making epic parenting fails. #waitingformykidstowritethebookaboutme
  6. Don’t compete with other parents or measure your kids against other kids the same age. Even if they’re not talking or walking the same time as their toddler friends, they’ll all end up potty trained when heading to college.
  7. Celebrity moms have advantages that you don’t – time for workouts, trainers, chefs and photo shop. Worry less about your body and instead focus on being a healthy, happy person as an example for your kids.
  8. Many times, a helping hand is better than dispensing advice. Think of the toddler meltdown on the checkout line in Target. It happens to all of us. Instead of a judgmental glare, offer to watch her cart when she takes her kid outside to cool off a bit.
  9. Don’t lose who you are when playing the lifelong role of mom. Being a mom is important, but you are still so many more things!
  10. As the great Dr. Spock said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

“It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.” -Erma Bombeck

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

How to go on after Toys “R” Us ceases to exist

March 25th, 2018

At the heart of every family tradition is a meaningful experience.

We had a wonderful family tradition in the early 90’s.

On Friday evenings after work, I would pick the kids up from day care, take them to the Chinese restaurant and put in our order.  We would then walk next door to Blockbuster to choose a movie and head back to pick up the food.  While heading back we did this sort of conga/salsa dance move singing a little homemade song to the words ‘Chinese food and movies’.

Friday’s were sacred and totally dedicated to family time after a busy work week.  All the week night rules were out the window.  We popped the movie in the VCR, sat in front of the TV and ate our Chinese food.

The tradition lasted until Blockbuster went out of business.

But their failure to evolve as a business was not going to impact our family tradition; we simply moved to Netflix.

Now, with the liquidation of Toys “R” Us many family traditions will change. Where they would have headed to the store to celebrate a good report card, birthday, or holiday, that special trip just won’t happen again.

But you don’t have to lose the joy because you lost the toy.  Instead build memories with experiential gifts.

Why reward the report card, when you can reward the effort?  If your child just completed a dinosaur diorama, take them to a museum that features dinosaurs such as The Museum of Natural History.

Why just give a book as a gift, when you can give a whole experience? One of the best gifts my daughter received from family was the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, celebrated with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and lunch in Brooklyn.

If you are one of those amazing sports families, you may want to consider planning a trip to the hall of fame of your favorite sport.

There are many opportunities where families can stay close to home, and for little money attend local festivals, or support the local high school by attending concerts, plays and sporting events.  This also teaches kids they are part of a community.

Rather than worrying about your kids’ use of technology, host family game nights.

Why wait for the big holidays?  You can celebrate everyday holidays so there is always something to look forward to.

Here are a few examples:

January

  • Science Fiction Day – Jan 2nd
  • Sunday Supper Day – Jan 14th
  • Kazoo Day – Jan 28th

February

  • Random Acts of Kindness – Feb 17th
  • Margarita Day – Feb 22nd (ok, that’s clearly NOT for the kids!)
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day – Feb 26th

March

  • Dr. Seuss Day (Read across America) Mar 2nd
  • Pi Day – Mar 14th
  • Take a Walk in the Park Day – Mar 30th

April

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Day – Apr 2nd
  • Teach Children to Save Day – Apr 20th
  • Take our Kids to Work Day – Apr 26th

May

  • Star Wars Day – May 4th
  • Teacher Appreciation Day – May 8th
  • Take your Parents to the Playground Day – May 20th

June

  • Drive-In Movie Day – Jun 6th
  • Flag Day – June 14th
  • Meteor Watch Day – Jun 30th

July

  • Mac and Cheese Day – Jul 14th
  • Toss away ‘Could Have Should Have’ Day – Jul 21st
  • Cousins Day – Jul 24th

August

  • Friendship Day – Aug 5th
  • Bowling Day – Aug 11th
  • Tooth Fairy Day – Aug 22nd

September

  • Day of Encouragement  – Sep 12th
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sep 19th
  • Family Health and Fitness Day – Sep 29th

October

  • Do Something Nice Day – Oct 5th
  • Mad Hatter Day – Oct 6th
  • Magic Day – Oct 31st

November

  • STEM/STEAM Day – Nov 8th
  • Philanthropy Day – Nov 15th
  • Day of Giving – Nov 27th

December

  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day – Dec 8th
  • Nobel Prize Day – Dec 10th
  • Thank –You Note Day – Dec 26th

Here are 62 ideas I posted last year, that are especially helpful as you plan for summer.

Personally, I am deeply saddened by the store closings.   I so enjoyed taking my children there, and I was looking forward to taking my grandchildren there too. I worked at Toys “R” Us for many years with amazing and talented people who will not only lose the traditions, but their jobs.

Change is the only constant, but we need to teach our children resilience.   I hope these ideas help all of us move on.

Wishing you the very best,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

It’s time for the adults to be quiet

February 27th, 2018

A child can teach an adult three things… To be happy for no reason. To always be busy with something. And to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires. Paulo Coelho

You remember the saying, ‘the adults are talking’ well perhaps it’s time to listen to the children.

The eloquence and empathy demonstrated by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students is truly encouraging.

Perhaps these children can succeed where adults’ efforts have not been realized.

We say, after (fill in a tragedy) if there has not been change, now, then when?

The adults mobilize, march and move on without impacting change. The victims’ families don’t get the luxury of moving on. Instead they get our short-term thoughts and prayers.

The children will not stop until there is change; they are relentless.

Let’s playback a scenario we can all relate to:

Scene – child and adult in a toy store

Child:       Can I have this?

Adult:      No, I don’t have any money.

Child:       You don’t need money, you have credit cards.

Adult:      I don’t have any money on my credit card for toys.

Child:       Sure you do.  You just bought shoes.

Adult:      I needed shoes.

Child:       I need this toy.

Adult:      You have toys.

Child:       You have shoes.

Adult:      Yes, but.

Conversation continues for 10 minutes more…..End scene with parent and child at checkout with a toy.

Like I said, they are relentless.  I have hope – the kids got this, and they won’t give up until they get what they want.

 

Have a great week, and have hope.

Sincerely,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Please look at me; listen to me

January 31st, 2018

While technology puts the world at our fingertips, we need to connect with people. This is accomplished by simply paying attention.

The difference between hearing and listening is paying attention.

  • A pregnant woman steps on the E Train and is left standing. She isn’t offered a seat, but it’s not due to a lapse in manners.  No one was paying attention.
  • 156 women and girls that had participated in USA Gymnastics said in court that Larry Nassar sexually abused them over the past two decades as they were in his care. Despite their repeated concerns and complaints, the institutions that employed Nassar, including the US Olympic Committee, and Michigan State University turned a blind eye to the abuse.  Let the finger pointing begin.

Just pay attention.

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Tips for Grievers

December 21st, 2017

Guest Blog Post from OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center

‘Tis the season to be merry but for grievers the holidays are fraught with emotions and decision making may be complicated. There are memories of holidays past and concerns about how to spend the holidays this year. Here are some suggestions for grievers, keeping in mind that different choices can be made again next year:

o   Maintain traditions that feel comforting and let go of those that no longer feel right

For example: if the thought of preparing your typical holiday meal is too overwhelming, take the year off and order in or go to a favorite restaurant instead

o   Create new traditions or meaningful rituals

For example: design or purchase a new holiday decoration that you will hang in memory of your loved one

o   Make a toast in memory of your loved one

Chances are everyone at the table will be aware that the person who died is not there…so why not share sentiments together

o   Remember that it is okay to laugh, cry, sing or dance whenever you feel like it

o   Prepare special foods or bring their favorite dish to a holiday party

o   Allow yourself time alone as well as planning time to be with others

o   Do some volunteer work that would be meaningful to your loved one

Families with Children are reminded that the children are grieving too! Far too often children are excluded when decisions are made about which holiday rituals and traditions from the past to uphold and when creating new ones. Offer opportunities which will help them maintain their precious memories and engage in joyful, child centered activities that allow them to enjoy still their childhood.


For example:

o   Decorate plain paper with holiday themed stamps or stencils and wrap a toy to 
donate to an emergency shelter or hospital

o   Bake holiday cookies to serve to guests or deliver to a retirement community

o   Design and laminate a decoration featuring a photo of your loved one


If you are supporting someone who is grieving, here are some suggestions:

o   Understand that people react in different ways. They may want the closeness of 
friends at times and need space at other times. Invite the person to social events and 
allow them to change their mind at the last minute.

o   Start the conversation. Use the name of the person who has died and share your 
memories with them.

o   Make a donation in memory of the person who died.

o   Offer to sit with or just “be” with the person who is grieving while they write letters, 
wrap presents, or address holiday cards.

o   Know that it helps just to offer a listening ear. You aren’t expected to say any magic 
words that will make them feel “all better.”

May this holiday season bring you comfort, strength, peace, and hope.

About OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center is one of the nation’s most respected organizations for grief support and education. For over 24 years, OUR HOUSE has helped thousands of grieving children, teens, and adults as they embark on their journeys to hope and healing after the death of someone close. Support groups specific to age and relationship take place in the safe, warm, and nurturing environment of their centers. OUR HOUSE is a leading provider of grief education, offering workshops, seminars, and in-service training to mental health and medical professionals, clergy, educators, and other members of the community who interact with bereaved families. The OUR HOUSE grief education program is part of the curricula for students at USC’s Keck and UCLA’s David Geffen Schools of Medicine.  To learn more, please visit www.ourhouse-grief.org or call 1.888.417.1444.

The imperfect perfect family

November 28th, 2017

norman

 

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” Friedrich Nietzsche

The problem with Facebook is that you believe what you see.

The photo of the perfect table setting, golden brown turkey, and what appears to be well behaved children.

It’s not real.  

Families, on the other hand, are very real – imperfections and all.

We survived Thanksgiving and are heading into Christmas, which has considerably more stress.  Before you go down that rabbit hole, think more about how to have less stress.

If the person matters to you, and you can’t think of something they need (honestly, do any of us need anything?) then spend time with them.

My grandson is teaching me that a game of hide and seek is just about all a person needs to be happy.

Back to the imperfect families – despite miscommunications and mistakes you are still better off having them in your life than not.

Now back to decorating….

Tina Nocera

Founder, Parental Wisdom®

Time to start new traditions

October 29th, 2017

Michael & Matthew

Planning the perfect costume, only to have your child change his/her mind two days before.   Pulling the kids off the ceiling from the incredible sugar rush as they ate their way through their trick or treat bag. Rushing out of work in your Kohl’s holiday sweater with the pumpkin pockets so you would never miss a single Halloween parade.

As I think back on these moments, I smile and realize it was my time with my kids, and look forward to the realization that my adult children will get to build their own memories and traditions.

Where we pulled ideas from magazines, they have Pinterest. We took dozens of pictures of the kids and their friends in the hopes we had a single keeper; they post directly to Instagram, Facebook, and share Snapchat stories.

In the end, parents both past and present gets to have their moment. And despite how we get there or how it is shared, it is a tradition that each family gets to build, and the way each family creates their own culture.

Why does that matter you might ask? So that many years from now, you sit around a holiday table, and laugh about how perfectly imperfect it all works out.

And you smile happy tears that you had those moments. They are after all, your new traditions!

Happy Halloween!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

How to show you genuinely care

September 28th, 2017

“If you’re helping someone and expecting something in return, you’re doing business not kindness.” Unknown

Recently I held the door for an elderly woman leaving a Wells Fargo bank as I was entering.  She seemed preoccupied and didn’t return my smile. While I was being helped, this same woman came back to the counter and asked about her recent transaction.  The employee was visibly annoyed that she had to remind the woman she withdrew $100 from her savings.

I read about Wells Fargo’s post scandal scrutiny and $185 million fine for opening more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers’ permission.  John Stumpf, the CEO, apologized and accepted full responsibility for unethical sales practices.  The source for deceptive practices stemmed from incentives and goals meant to motivate their workforce.

But their values claim they have a Culture of Caring SM.  They cared enough about that catchphrase to have it registered as a service mark.  Here is this vision from their site.

Culture of CaringSM

Our success has as much to do with attitude as aptitude — what’s in our hearts, not just our heads. Our success depends on how much we care for each other, our customers, our communities, and our stockholders. Our culture is reflected in the essence of our brand: “Together we’ll go farSM.” We want our team members to feel proud of working for a company that truly cares about people, goes the extra mile to do what’s right — in good times and bad — and believes that “better” is possible for everyone. Central to our culture are the following mindsets: • Caring. Caring is core to who we are. We always want to be warm, welcoming, and humble; to take the time to listen and genuinely understand; to have empathy during the tough times; and to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Perhaps Wells Fargo needs to do more training.

For the rest of us, this should serve as a wake up call.  Are we using our words to teach and not demonstrating behavior that supports our talk?  That is not a mixed message, but a very clear one.  When raising children, they will do as you do, not as you say.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What legacy will you leave behind?

August 29th, 2017

Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. – Princess Diana

Parents wonder if our children hear our words, learn the lessons we try to share or see the actions we model. Yet sometimes we see a glimmer of hope as they perform a random act of kindness for a classmate or ask you to help a stranger.

At those times you secretly smile and think, ‘ah yes! It is working.’

Well if you ever have doubt, I suggest you look at Prince William and Prince Harry 20 years after their mother, Princess Diana’s death. Even though they were still relatively young when she died, they witnessed how she genuinely cared for those less fortunate and take up their own causes today.

Our children shouldn’t believe they are the center of the universe. It’s likely they are fortunate and should be encouraged to help others. There’s a commercial that really bothers me where a little girl asks viewers if she is cute and responds herself saying, “I think I am.” But then goes on to say that mom and dad can’t play with her because they are busy cleaning. Is it just me or does anyone else think that the cute little girl can help mom and dad? She gets to learn what is like to do a little housework and help mom and dad so everybody can play!

If we are concerned about the polarization of views in this country, a unifying view could be that kindness always makes things better. Anyone disagree with that?

Start kids thinking early about helping others. One way is to sponsor a child through Children Incorporated. Their mission is to provide resources to children in need in the United States and abroad. They passionately believe that children everywhere deserve education, hope and opportunity. Our kids may need to know every child doesn’t start out with the same advantages.

Like Princess Diana, our legacy is that we should leave the world a better place for our children. It may be a small start, but much like Saturday chores, why not make them active participants?

Have a great week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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When you realize you are friends with your children

August 20th, 2017
Tina and Noelle

Tina and Noelle

Well before the Gilmore Girls made it popular to be friends with your daughter, Noelle and I had a relationship based on mutual love, respect, trust and laughter.

Now I’m realizing how much I’m learning from her. I don’t worry about keeping up with the digital age because she recommends websites, blogs and podcasts I should subscribe to, and provides valuable insight such as the groundbreaking decision that Allure magazine is no longer using the term anti-aging.

We do things that girlfriends do like sharing clothes and going to our favorite mall we affectionately refer to as our ‘mother ship’, even at a time where malls are becoming passé. We do it for the experience we’ve always enjoyed, which begins with shopping and ends with lunch because well, doesn’t that order makes sense?

She explains why the Khardasians are marketing geniuses because everything they touch turns to sold, and why she is moving from Snapchat to Instagram stories because she is always just ahead of the curve (remember kitten heels Noelle?)

She tells me what is cool, but at the same time suggests I not use that word.   We discuss politics on a daily basis, because there is always something to talk about, and there is a concern about the future, and the children she will have one day, and what we can do to make a difference.

We have our many traditions, including our favorite movies, Hokus Pokus for Halloween, Love Actually for Christmas and The Ten Commandments, reciting each line as we prepare our Easter raviolis. And the tradition of wishing you happy birthday at the exact moment you were born, August 21st 5:09am even if you took a day off!

Together, we may not be changing the world, or are we?  If everyone spent time building quality relationships with family and friends, that may be just the spark needed to start peace with others.

Even though parenting experts suggest not being friends with your children – I disagree. My daughter Noelle has made my life better, and who wouldn’t want a friend like that?

Happy birthday my sweetie – I love you with all my heart, and remember, I will always love you more.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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