Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

When is a minute not equal to a minute

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Some of the best ideas I get seem to happen when I’m doing mindless manual labor or exercise. I’m not sure how that happens, but it leaves me free for remarkable ideas to occur.  – Chuck Palahniuk

The January 25th WSJ featured an essay entitled, Why Mom’s Time Is Different from Dad’s Time.

The premise is that even though moms are working more and dads are contributing more, even if the time is equal the tasks are not.

So when does a minute not equal a minute? The answer is when the intensity of the task takes more focus, thought, single mindedness, etc.

When divvying up tasks, most moms will take the dishes because, “The dishes don’t talk back to you.” 

Reading through this, my thoughts trailed back to my childhood.  As the second eldest in a family of six kids, I remember my mother doing the dishes and singing Everybody’s talking at me.

In our multi-tasking, attention grabbing, never quiet present day society, we would willingly gravitate to the tasks that are, for lack of a better word, mindless.

I know I do…call me crazy, but I LOVE ironing!  My mind wanders, but yet at the same time there is attention to detail on the task at hand.

Most would agree that Moms are the CEO’s of the household and in that role, need time for quiet reflection.  So dads, volunteer for bath time after dinner, so moms can get lost in the dishes.

For fun, here are two links:

1.   From the past the classic Honeymooners show “A woman’s work is never done

2.   Present day link from Buzzfeed “Why dads can’t be Trusted to do Anything Right.”

Now, if you will excuse me…the ironing pile is calling.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

I love to watch you play

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. ~Barbara Bush

As we begin school, we begin sports.

I was inspired by this article posted on the Huffinton Post by Rachel Macy.

I loved her message!

The essence is this….our children want us to attend their sporting events, but don’t want to hear our good or bad comments.  They simply want us to be there.   That takes the pressure off them AND off us!

We don’t have to think up motivational comments.  What they love to hear is about how we FEEL about the event, simply and truthfully stated as “I love to watch you play.”

And isn’t that exactly what you are feeling?

What I love is how this message can translate to so many every day and extraordinary events in our children’s lives.  We are so happy to be part of these events and we really do LOVE to watch them play, and read, and cook, and laugh.  The list goes on and on.

Have a great ‘pressure free’ week.

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It’s easier when things remain unsaid, whether it is where to celebrate the next family holiday, or (not) dealing with a difficult neighbor.  Ignoring a situation doesn’t make it go away and certainly doesn’t solve it. 

The easy choice is not having the awkward conversation; unless it matters.  An example is when your teenager is invited to a party. 

Trust, but verify is a good rule when dealing with teens.  Instruct your teen that they are to call you from the house phone when they get to a party.  This way you can verify they are there.   But you need to do one better; ask to speak to the parents. 

Here comes the awkward part which goes something like this:

Hi this is Johnny’s mom.  I just wanted to make sure that

A)        He was invited

B)        A parent was home

C)         There would be no alcohol

Don’t be surprised if there is awkward silence or harsh reply.  But that awkward conversation is much easier to take then the knock on your door at 2am letting you know your child is hurt or worse.

In this case, I would always opt for the awkward conversation.   For those readers with younger children, spoiler alert – parenting teens is really hard, like nailing jello to a tree!

Best wishes,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

The Art of Appreciation

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

It’s been said that every cloud has a silver lining. That is true even with a storm as devastating as Hurricane Sandy

Sometimes it takes a loss for us to appreciate what we already have and what is really important; the safety of those we love and the simple comforts of home. 

This past week, families with no electricity found light in the darkness. Calm from the storm came in the form of uninterrupted time and doing things together like playing board games, cards, reading or telling stories by candlelight.  The game of life took on a very real form.

Many spent their time giving what little they could to those worse off.  I suppose for many Thanksgiving came a little early. 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.   -John F. Kennedy

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Creatively connecting the dots

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

There were a number of stories in the news recently that although different, connect in the ways they address children and creativity. 

Creativity on whose terms

For an assignment on persuasive speech, 15-year-old Jessica Barba created an anti-bullying YouTube video and Facebook page about a fictitious 12-year-old girl who commits suicide after being bullied at school.  Her assignment was done so well, the Longwood High School Principal suspended her for five days.   Her father, Michael Barba was very proud of her creativity.  The assignment was, after all a persuasive speech.

No texting while parenting

Two words might be the secret to building a relationship with your children – pay attention.  As simple as that sounds, you might notice parents paying less attention to their children on the playground, in the grocery store and in restaurants.    

I was at a farm stand when a dad and his son came in.  A farm stand is an incredible opportunity to talk to children about cultures, food, colors, weights and measuring, smells and senses and the great things you can make together.  Instead, the little boy took out a hand-held game and the father was on his cell phone.  The loss here was a creative moment and great connection with each other.

Tablets on tables?  

Have you noticed that kids are growing up with poor social skills?  Here comes yet another way to hinder their development.  Restaurants are putting tablets on dining tables to help guests choose their selections, get their check faster and calculate tips.  They noticed that people are reading on their phones anyway.  But the tablets will also give parents a way to entertain the kids so the adults can talk. 

Nothing to do

The answer to the question ‘there’s nothing to do’ was answered; monthly deliveries of packages with things to do for kids, for a meager price upwards of $150 per year.  

As far as I know, creativity doesn’t come in a kit and boredom is a good thing, but no one gets that anymore.

We are having a creativity crisis in this country.  If you look at the situations above, only Michael Barba (dad in the first story) believed in his daughter and supported her creativity.   Too many parents are missing the moments in relationship building and encouraging creativity in us and our children.

That means less stuff, paying attention more and having time to daydream and play; best done outdoors.

Enjoy!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

An apology to my son

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

I would like to open this blog with an apology to my son. 

Now an adult, Michael is intelligent, curious, loves to learn new things, and very closely follows the things he is passionate about.

So why the apology?

From the 4th grade on, at the end of each school marking period, our house was not a happy place because report cards were distributed.  I knew the less than stellar grades didn’t reflect his real ability.  My frustration would heighten especially as he promised the marks would get better because, “This is the new Michael.” 

That never happened.

What did happen was a consistent yet subtle change.  His room was filled with books on the topics he loved; philosophy, religion, mathematics, military tactics, leadership and most of all, music.

When we played Trivial Pursuit, all the adults wanted Michael on their team.  When we watched Jeopardy on TV as a family, I would count all the money he would have won if he had been on the show rather than sitting comfortably in our living room. 

While I was worried about grades and the status of good grades; he knew better than me that education was more about the love of learning.  What was at stake was my relationship with my son.

For this reason I want to share a manifesto written by Seth Godin, my favorite author.  I encourage you to download, print, read and share – Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?).

Godin writes that the education system was designed when education became compulsory and children were moved out of factories.  The objective was to create very obedient factory workers when these same children grew up and would return to the factory.   That approach will not help create new ideas or help find someone’s passion.

The world has changed dramatically, but education has not.  That is a much bigger problem, but like any problem, we can solve it if we understand what is really wrong.

Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

Your problem is much easier to solve.  Don’t let an out of date education system, ruin your relationship with your child, or destroy your child’s dreams.

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Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

To do two things at once is to do neither

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

To do two things at once is to do neither. – Publilius Syrus (c. 46 BC)

Though we brag about our ability to multi-task, I don’t believe multi-tasking is possible unless the second activity is mindless.  For me, ironing is one of those mindless activities.

When we are always connected, that umbilical link to electronics could cause us to miss our most important connection; relationship building with our children.  That is done most effectively by being attentive and present as parents.  The most valuable times aren’t scheduled, but rather the casual moments woven into everyday life. 

Talk about your day, ask about their day.  Look for changes in behavior; engage in a dialog regarding the observations your child makes. 

If you are divorced and don’t have the opportunity to have daily meaningful conversations, then use the same technology the divides us to connect to your kids.  Use the phone, email, texting, or Skype to let them know that you love them. 

Whatever your situation, don’t miss moments by falling prey to the many distractions calling for our attention.

Remember, you are building a child and even though it is hard work, it is much easier to spend the time and energy on building a child than it is to repair an adult.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Three Simple Ways to Stop Bullying

Monday, October 31st, 2011

“Promise me you’ll always remember…you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin to Pooh

Was it so much easier a generation ago to be a kid?

You probably didn’t think so at the time if you suffered much the same taunts and teases as kids do today.  The difference between then and now is that we could go home, close the door, and find people who loved you, even with your own fair share of sibling battles.

Today, there is no where to hide.  Bullies find you everywhere, at all times, and if online; forever.  But imagine if bullying were approached like a drug problem, where both supply and demand is simultaneously approached.

Here are three simple ideas that you can put into effect right now:

  1. Let your child know he/she is loved unconditionally by everyone in your household and more in terms of extended family.  See the wonderful quote above by Christopher Robin that says it all!
  2. Arm your children with a powerful weapon to neutralize the bully.  Bill Cosby’s The Meanest Thing to Say has empowered many four- to eight-year-olds to resist the schoolyard bully. Cosby encourages young readers to respond to taunts simply by saying, “So?” instead of giving away their true feelings or responding aggressively. While “So?” will not always disarm a bully, it is one terrific tool for children to put into their social-skills toolbox.
  3. Here is a very effective exercise.  Draw a line in the room and have everyone stand on one side.  Now ask anyone who has ever been bullied to step over the line.  You will find that (just about) everyone steps over which in itself is a powerful emotion.  What this does is recognize the bully has also been bullied.  With schools facing budget cuts and at the same time required to present anti-bullying programs, there is a wonderful, free program offered by the folks at Operation Respect.

There is no hurt as difficult as when our children hurt.  Hopefully, this little band-aid can help make it go away.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera

Founder, Parental Wisdom®

 

Remembering meatballs on Sunday morning

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

It could have been yesterday. 

Vivid memories of stopping for meatballs on the way home from church.   I still can smell the  wonderful aroma and remember that as a kid thinking the pot must have been bottomless.

Reminiscing is bittersweet because it represents a time we will never see again.   For those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up during this time, it’s difficult to explain to our children.  Your entire family lived within walking distance, and Sunday was the day you got to see them all.   

Today, we share pictures and moments on Facebook, have conversations on Skype and provide frequent updates in less than 140 characters.  We’ve moved away from family; so much further than just a few city blocks.

It’s different, but we  are still able to connect; something the families of 9/11 can’t do.

Make the most of each day and let the people you love know how you feel.  And let’s hope the next version of the web gives us the ability to smell the meatballs via Skype and Facebook.

For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that you use it so little.  – Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

Never Forget

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

When are you finished parenting?

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Parents hope their babies will soon start walking, while parents of toddlers wonder when they can resume eye contact at family functions.   Parents of middle school students long for the days their kids can drive so the family taxi can take a rest; that is until their teen actually begins driving.  This means parent cat naps on the couch waiting for the new driver to arrive safely home.

But do you understand you’re never actually done being a parent?  There is no finish line. 

Just ask the mom of an Airforce Major trying to comfort her sobbing daughter 2,000 miles away because of her pending divorce.  Ask the dad who tries to help his son find a resolution as his insurance company drops him because of two accidents the day before a hurricane.   Or the mom of the brand new inner city school teacher as he faces daily struggles he couldn’t possibly have anticipated, but hangs in there because he wants to make a difference.

The challenges grow with your child.  When they are little, it’s easy to put a band-aid on what hurts, and make the hurt go away.  The saying, “little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems,” is very true.  

It’s nice when your adult child calls for advice, but very stressful if you don’t have an answer.  Still, it’s wonderful that they call, and sometimes all they really need is someone to listen. 

 We can do that. 

 All the best,

 Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®