The legacy grandparents need to leave behind

September 8th, 2018

When you photograph people in color you photograph their clothes.

But when you photograph people in black and white you photograph their souls.  – Ted Grant 

Looking at old family photos we recognize the elders in younger days. Today, their smiling faces are lined, hair gray, thinning, waistlines thicker.  They sit together at family functions laughing at stories from the past.  

What they would love best is to share their stories with the kids. They would love to entertain, be heard, and be relevant.

The Western culture stigmatizes aging, while others including Greek, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Native American and African-American cultures revere and respect elders. Their wisdom and advice is sought in their communities, and they often care for their grandchildren.

Sunday, September 9th is Grandparents Day.  

Save your money and spend your time with them.  If that isn’t possible, talk to them, or better yet, listen.  Their stories are the treasures they leave for you and your children.  

As a very special gift, interview them and share their stories with your family and the world for free using Storycorp

Happy Grandparents Day!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®



Growing our future heroes

August 26th, 2018


With the passing of John McCain, we have lost the best example of service and courage.  He served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.

In reading the memorials, there was a recurring theme that I felt would be best represented in a word cloud.

In John McCain’s own words…

“It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy.”  ― John McCainCharacter Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember

“We are taught to understand, correctly, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity for action despite our fears.”
― John McCain

“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”
― John McCainFaith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir

When asked what he hoped people would say about him when he’s gone, John McCain simply said, he “hoped they would say he served his country…and he served it honorably”.

For us, three questions:

  1. Are we teaching our children values that matter?
  2. Are we giving our children so much, that they don’t think of service to others?
  3. Are we growing our future heroes; are we growing the next John McCain?

Senator McCain, you have served your country very well, and we thank you for your service.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®



Summer Time Fun (from far away)

July 29th, 2018

Though we are not near our grandson, this is how we stay in touch.

If you would like more summer time ideas, reposting this from last year.




Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


It’s hard to move on with Toys “R” Us gone

June 29th, 2018


Back in March when the news of Toys “R” Us closing was new, I wrote about how parents could go on building memories with children.

Today, when all the stores are closed, I realize how sad the adults are.

  • We remember with excitement what a treat it was to take our children to Toys “R” Us
  • We can relate to the anxiety of new parents shopping for their first child at Babies “R” Us
  • And for some of us, we got to do it all over again for grandchildren

The nostalgia is what we will miss.

We understand the loss of a store that was uniquely multigenerational.  I don’t know of another retailer that meant so much to families.  It gave a whole new perspective to the lifetime value of a customer.

Much will be written and studied about the demise, but as an insider I will tell you the people that worked there loved the brand and working with each other.  But it wasn’t enough.

For those getting ready to write white papers, let me get you started.  Santa and moms have a great return on investment.  The leadership just didn’t believe it.

Godspeed to the 33,000 workers who gave their all – you did your best for all Toys “R” Us kids.

Parental Wisdom®

Tina Nocera, Founder

Free speech vs. free thought

May 30th, 2018

Hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things. – Leslie Jones

Parents are thanking Roseann Barr for her incredulous racist rant. There are so many life lessons for our kids.

  1. Blame anyone/anything on your behavior, even Ambien.
  2. Your free speech is costly. It can cost you your reputation, $100 million in ad revenue, and the jobs of hundreds of people that depend on you.
  3. There are times when you can’t come back from something you say.
  4. A common enemy brings people together. You accomplished that.
  5. It’s bad enough. Know when to stop talking or tweeting.


Some mistakes are very costly. The biggest mistake is thinking this could ever be ok.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®



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, it’s no wonder that parenting sites like Knowledge First Financial offer loads of tips and suggestions, 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:


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


  • 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


  • 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.


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. Polaris Teen Center 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 or call 1.888.417.1444.