Archive for the ‘Helping Families’ Category

We must not give our children too much

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Your children need your presence more than your presents.  – Jesse Jackson

Privileged Texas teen Ethan Couch was charged in the deaths of four pedestrians while driving drunk.

His attorney used the ‘affluenza’ defense claiming that he had a sense of entitlement and was irresponsible.  His poor behavior was due to the fact that his parents did not set proper boundaries.

The judge gave the teen 10 years of probation for the fatal accident. Prosecutors were seeking the maximum 20-year prison sentence.

In the season of giving, you may want to give your children less in terms of material things.

You may want to consider the four gift rule:

  1. 1 thing they want
  2. 1 thing they need
  3. 1 thing they wear
  4. 1 thing they read

You are probably done shopping now.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Move over childhood obesity; we’ve got bigger problems

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Even though the economy isn’t cooperating with many of their career choices, the parents of young adults are confident they will find their way.

But there are many adult children not quite ready for prime time, and it doesn’t appear they will be any time soon. I use the term ‘adult children’ for those kids that have gotten older, but have not necessarily grown up.

To see if this term applies to your child, see if you recognize any of these traits:

  1. Inadequate social skills; eye contact, shaking hands, or the art of conversation
  2. Poor work ethic – they don’t get it that the first rule of business is showing up
  3. Little desire to use their education or learn anything new unless it is promoted by popular culture
  4. They lack confidence, though ironically have a sense of entitlement
  5. No sense of responsibility or accountability

It would be easy to write about the cause and how to prevent it, but I want to take on the greater challenge of how to fix adult children. 

One of the best ways to teach social skills is to model them.  A good way to do that is making family dinners together a priority without the interference of technology.  

Occasionally invite dinner guests with diverse backgrounds encouraging stimulating conversation. Get subscriptions to newspapers and magazines such as Time or Newsweek and discuss current events. Remember the intention is about building up, not tearing down, so their messy room is not a good dinner topic. 

Does your adult child have a job?  If so, don’t feed their excuses as to why this job isn’t right for them, and don’t bail them out financially.  If they want something, they have to work for it.  That includes car insurance, cell phone bills, gas money, movies, clothes, anything!  Explain there is a difference between finding your passion and paying your bills.  

Doing something well and feeling confident is a great way to boost self-esteem.  It could be a hobby or volunteer work, which would put them on the giving end for a change.

One of our roles as parents is to have our children contribute first to the household, and then to society. Identify household jobs and hold them accountable to do them.  The vast majority of people would like to live in a clean home.  If your child is the cause of the mess, take several very large, black heavy duty garbage bags, load up and toss.  You should only have to do that once.

Though adult children need to take ownership of their lives, they still might need your help in getting there, no different than if your child was ill.  It’s challenging, but hang in there. 

For those of you with younger children, begin with the end in mind, best illustrated by a wonderful Jesse Jackson quote;

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.”

Have a safe, healthy and Happy New Year!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Sorry I have been out of touch for a while.

The last time I wrote was on Veteran’s Day, November 11th 2010 where I mentioned Operation Gratitude, a program to thank those who serve in the military.

Next came Thanksgiving and the good news that my son would be home from Iraq for Christmas, which gave us the most wonderful reason to be thankful.   With both my children home, Michael from Iraq, and Noelle from college, it was an amazing holiday with a very white post holiday Christmas that hasn’t quite stopped yet.

There is good to everything, even this overwhelming snow.  In picking up where we left off…this week Michelle Obama appeared on Oprah to discuss how we can help military families.  Stay tuned, here is where it all ties together….

With the snow, out came the neighbors who shoveled more than their own front walks, cars, and driveways.  They started talking again, sometimes even meeting for the first time, or burying the hatchet (or shovel so to speak) to help each other.

No level of social networking can ever be as helpful, or real, or needed, as the human touch.

I think the snow is very symbolic as to what can happen.  Think about this, a single snowflake is small, unique and beautiful, but look what happens when snowflakes stick together.

Just imagine what we can do if we all stick together!

For now, let’s take the lead as Michele Obama suggests, and look to meet our neighbors in need, especially the families of those serving in the military.

As Plato suggests “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Have a wonderful week, and there will be more on this topic!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

How to help someone who doesn’t think they need any

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

What if someone stuck on a train track ignored you as you tried to pull them up to safety?

People feel that way when they try to give advice to the parent of a child heading down the wrong track. They see their words ignored, and know that no action will be taken.

In the blog post ‘Are you building or ruining the relationship?’ I suggested that other parents really don’t want to hear your advice unless they ask for it.  That is true since the advice is usually related to personal opinion about how to raise children.

In those cases, it is a parenting style you don’t like.  You may feel the parents are not raising a (fill in the blank), happy, responsible, independent, caring, etc. child.  But again, that is your opinion.

Then there are the cases where there is real cause for concern.  Nothing has happened – yet, but when you try and talk to the parent into get help for the child, they do nothing as this Parental Wisdom® member describes…

I am the single mom of an eight-year-old girl. She recently had a friend over; that girl is nine. My dad was watching the girls while I was at work.

When I came home, my daughter was in the pool and the other girl was inside on the computer. I reminded my daughter that I didn’t want to happen when friends are over. I went in to see the girl and she jumped up and away from the computer. I suggested both girls take showers before dinner and checked the history on the computer. The girl was looking at porn videos! I asked my daughter if she did this too and she said yes and started crying. Then I asked the other girl why she did this and how she knew where to look. She said she saw this on TV at her dad’s house (her parents are divorced).

I called the mom who in turn called the father who replied that he didn’t have time to talk about this. This little girl was also caught stealing from purses at a dance recital. I have repeatedly suggested to the mom that this little girl gets professional help, but I don’t think she will do anything about it. The reason I have her around my daughter is that I hope she will see good influences, but now I am concerned about having my daughter around this bad influence.

My question to Parental Wisdom is I have great concern about this little girl. At what point does someone report to child welfare? I can only think that if she has such troubled behavior at age nine, what will happen when she is a pre-teen?

See our expert advisor’s responses

The highest wisdom is kindness.  – Yiddish proverb

Have a good week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Through rain or sleet or snow…

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Despite inclement weather, I can count on getting my mail.  This reminds me of the quote made famous by Woody Allen, “80% of success is showing up.”

But is it?
I get my mail, but I also get everyone else’s mail and assume they get mine as well.
No, it isn’t enough to show up – you have to get it right.
In parenting, it’s not just about being there; it’s about being present which is very different from just being there.
  • Are you engaged in discussion?
  • Are you interested?
  • Are you having fun…yet?
When your children grow up, what kind of home will they say you had?
  • Are you the yellers?
  • Are you the ignorers?
  • Are you not there at all?
  • Are you the fun family?
A country has a flag; and a company has a mission statement.  What will they say about your home?  You get to choose the kind of family you are.
How about we all make snow angels and have a cup of cocoa?

Have a great day!
Tina Nocera, Founder

Too much reliance on my GPS

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
I’ve been used to my GPS constantly correcting me and requesting that I make a legal U-turn when possible; but the other day it simply didn’t work.  There I was, left to fend for myself.
Quite frankly I am directionally challenged, and not able to look at a map and figure out where I am or where I’m headed. At that point I realized how much dependency I put on the GPS, and now it failed me.  In reality I failed myself by not having enough of a foundation to figure things out.  I realized that without the GPS, I was lost.
There isn’t any difference in the world of parenting.  Our job is to give our children a good foundation, but it’s the confidence they build in handling situations that creates one of life’s most important characteristics; self reliance.  Much like me without the GPS, your children will be lost without self-reliance.
Think about how we teach children to ride a two-wheeler.  You put the training wheels on and then kept loosening them up little by little until they are confident enough to take the ride without any training wheels at all.
p.s. Great hint – -when you’re running along side the bike, it’s a great idea for you to be in rollerblades.  It makes the job so much easier!
Here are some ways to make sure that you’re heading in the right direction in teaching self-reliance (no pun intended):
  1. Let the kids make some decisions as early as possible.  So what if they’re wearing stripes and polka-dots?
  2. Demonstrate that you are always solving little problems and learning along the way.  Aren’t you?  After all, who figured out how to install the new TV?
  3. Move from being ‘the all wise and powerful’ mom or dad to a coach.  Tell them less about how they should do something, and instead raise questions they could answer for themselves.  “Why do you think your friends responded that way?”
  4. Be a great support system.  They might need your encouragement to try again, or a little harder, or in taking a slightly different approach.  If they come to you for permission to give up, don’t make it so easy for them.
  5. Responsibilities are very important for building self reliance.  Even with very young children, assign chores that make them part of a family that works together.  For example, for a child as young as age 3, take digital pictures of them making their bed; 1) put the pillow in place, 2) smooth the sheets and lift the blankets, and 3) lift and smooth out the comforter.  Laminate the pictures and put them near the bed so they can see how well they did.
Reminder – – We’re getting ready to test a newsletter that will be mailed to your home.  In order to receive this newsletter, please be certain that you are registered as a Parental Wisdom® member with a full and complete mailing address.
If you’re just signed up with an email account, we won’t have your address so we can’t mail it to you.  Here is the link to sign up, and don’t forget to share this with your friends.

TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT THE HAITI DISASTER

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

From Dr. Vicki Panaccione

Kids are being bombarded with disasters on a regular basis. Whether it’s war, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist bombings and now the earthquake in Haiti, it seems that there is always something horrific happening in the world. And, as you find it difficult to process what’s going on around us, imagine what your kids are experiencing.

There is exposure everywhere…on TV, radio, newspapers, internet and in the classrooms. So, the question becomes: What do I tell my kids? Kids will react differently and harbor different concerns depending upon their own developmental stage, temperament and personality. Understanding your own kids’ mindset will help you decide how much to say and what to do. Obviously, different age kids will require different depths of information.

  • Toddlers do not understand what’s going on. You may tend to project your feelings onto them and be concerned about their feelings. However, they are oblivious, unless they feel emotional cues from you. If mommy or daddy appears to be frightened, grief-stricken or overly-emotional, toddlers may temporarily appear that way as well, because you are upset.
  • Preschoolers are able to understand the basics of what is occurring, yet don’t really have emotional connections to the events. Again, they tend to pick up your emotional cues. So, avoid displays of fear and grief in front of them, and they won’t feel any effect of the tragedy.
  • School-aged kids do begin to understand and are more likely to be exposed to the events. They may become anxious, experiencing fears of personal safety. These youngsters want to know, “Can this happen here?” “What will happen to me?” Provide lots of reassurance. If you don’t live in an earthquake zone, the possibility can be easily negated. If, however, you do live in an area of earthquake possibility, explanations can be made about the preparedness of the city, the better construction of the buildings, etc. Don’t tell your kids that it can’t happen, if indeed, the possibility exists. Let them know how you are prepared, and discuss plans for evacuation, etc. • Older kids may struggle with the spiritual and humanitarian issues, dealing with the loss of human life and the confusion of their God allowing this to happen. These kids need to be allowed to vent, and listened to…just listen. Allow them to have their feelings, even if it’s anger toward their God. It is fine to share your similar concerns, and discuss ways that you can be of service to the people in distress.

Here are some ways to help:

  • First of all, remain calm. Remember your reactions will be signals to your kids. Take care of your own needs, so that you can be more available to tend to your kids’ needs. • Keep news exposure to a minimum. While it’s tempting to stay transfixed to the TV, kids do not need to be bombarded with the gory details and horrific photos. This will help prevent emotional overload. However, don’t stick your head in the sand…kids are being exposed to the story almost everywhere.
  • Give your kids current information in language they can understand to alleviate misinterpretations. Do not try to shelter younger kids; they are picking up information and/or sensing parental concerns. However, answer their questions without elaboration. Don’t overload them with information beyond their emotional level to process.
  • Allow your kids to join in discussions and encourage questions and expressions of opinion. If they are watching TV or reading the news, help them process incoming information by discussing and “debriefing.” Ask questions and explore kids’ understanding and perspective.
  • Attend not only to their questions, but also to their behavior. Kids cannot always identify their stressors or relate their behavior to a particular stressor. Be aware of any significant change in behavior or personality, increase in somatic complaints (headaches, stomachaches, etc.), nervous habits, crying, nightmares, excessive clinging, etc.
  • Anticipate some regressive or acting-out behaviors; do not be overly concerned or critical. Recognize them as possible signs of stress. Some kids may display younger behaviors such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, tantrums. Academic performance may suffer; withdrawal from social activities may be noted. Provide reassurance and unconditional love.
  • Allay fears. Be sure kids know they are safe. Use visual aids (i.e.-globe, map) to convey the distance between your kids and the disaster. If there are family members away from home, be sure that their locations are noted, as well. • Allow time for play. Play is one of the most important channels kids have for dealing with stress and mastering their anxieties. Taking the role of an aggressor increases their feelings of control over their world. Younger kids may also find it easier to express their feelings through drawings.
  • Give your kids lots of physical affection. Allow them to be more dependent upon you during this time of stress. Kids need comfort and reassurance even more when stressed.
  • Encourage your kids to get involved. Taking action can alleviate feelings of helplessness and anger. Participation can range from praying, sending care packages, donating money, clothes and toiletries to the Red Cross. Find out what your local religious institution or community is doing to help with the recovery and get involved.
  • Seek professional help. If you see your kids becoming overly anxious, or behaviorally affected, and are at a loss as to how to deal with these issues, call your pediatrician or seek the services of a child psychologist.

Dr. Vicki is available to answer your personal questions regarding this matter. Contact her through: www.BetterParentingInstitute.com

New Year’s Resolution – To Stop Reading Email

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Happy New Year!

Hopefully, as Michelangelo suggests, we are all still learning.

From a personal perspective this year, I learned an incredibly valuable lesson as I often do, from my children. That lesson was what we wish for our children may not be their wish. Though we want their good health and happiness; we need to realize that happiness has to be on their terms, not ours.

From a professional standpoint, the past year brought a myriad of new ways to socially networking with old and new friends. Or did it?

I think all the information overload and news, whether mundane or newsworthy gets lost in the sheer volume of it all.

1. If you send a holiday card to undisclosed recipients (and I’m on that list) I don’t feel all that special.

2. If I receive emails that require I pass it on to eight friends in the next ten minutes or terrible ills will come upon me, I am able to dismiss it and still make it to dinner.

3. And as important as your email message might be, whatever the subject, the bottom line is that nobody cares about your ‘stuff’ as much as you do.

This is largely due to the fact that there is too much going on. For the New Year and new decade, I’m choosing to take a step back or perhaps sideways.

Just as the holidays brought cards and pictures to my mailbox, which were more meaningful than email good wishes, the email newsletter you receive from me will come to your mailbox. Yes, I mean snail mail. We’re going to test this with a February newsletter on a topic you will really be interested in – raising socially conscious children.

In order to receive this newsletter, please be certain that you are registered as a Parental Wisdom® member with a full and complete mailing address.

• If you’re just signed up with an email account, we won’t have your address so we can’t mail it to you. Here is the link

• If you have found the information from Parental Wisdom helpful, then be sure to send a note to your friends. Please note, see point 2 above and don’t warn them about terrible things happening to them if they choose not to join. They’ll be fine.

This is one of a number of enhancements you’ll see this coming year. I look forward to our on-going conversations, and very soon you’ll see how we’ll be enhancing our ability to have real conversations as well.

If you are new to Parental Wisdom listen here

The very best to you and your family!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

Experience the joy of parenting

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

“When we are centered in joy, we attain our wisdom.” – Marianne Williamson

As we celebrate the birthdays of our first born, we are also celebrating our anniversary as parents. As you think back, what do you remember?

If I had to sum up my feelings to one word, that word would be joy.

I find myself nostalgically thinking of all the things we did and I can’t help but smile. Not that we were perfect parents, or our lives were perfect, but it was real, and we really enjoyed bringing up our children – every step of the way, even when they were teenagers. We didn’t rush through the stages, anxiously waiting to get to the next one, but really lived in that moment.

Joy is something that is easily spread around, which means that if parents are enjoying the ride, so are their children. I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of your favorite moments of parenting; this would make a wonderful book!

Care to contribute your favorite moments of parenting?

Let me begin…

1. Each year on their little boy’s birthday, a picture is taken in his dad’s button down shirt. Same shirt, every year. They will continue to do that to see how he grows into it.
2. Celebrate every holiday, and include decorations, food and discussion about why that holiday is being celebrated. Presidents Day then isn’t about a sale, but your children will remember the log cabin you built from pretzel logs, as you discuss why Lincoln is still remembered.
3. Cutting down the Christmas tree each year has all the makings of the next National Lampoon Griswold’s movie, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
4. You attended every Thanksgiving Day football game at the local high school regardless of the weather, and went back home and prepared a Thanksgiving feast together as a family.

P.S. If you aren’t yet a parent, but remember things your parents did that you really enjoyed; that counts too!

Love to hear from you!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

time mag

When asked what he would do if he had one hour to save the world, Albert Einstein responded by saying that he would spend the first 55 minutes understanding the problem and the last 5 minutes solving it.

Hope you got a chance to read the great article in Time magazine on how schools are helping families understand and participate in their children’s education.

Let’s continue to peel this onion back and understand the real problem as to why parents might not be present at school.

Culturally, parents might feel their job is at home taking care of their husband and children. Being out at night attending a meeting takes them away from their families.
Single parents carry a heavy burden and often feel overwhelmed. Time is limited, and there is no partner to share the questions and problems with.
The perception is involvement in parenting groups is geared around fundraising and asking for money, rather than offering information about the school and various programs.
Language is often a barrier.
Some parents feel embarrased by their lack of education, and not even knowing what questions to ask.

I applaud these programs and we should all continue to understand the challenges and help our little villages whenever we can.

I did a presentation at the New York City Elementary Schools Principals Association meeting on how to bridge the gap between math and home. To read the notes, visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and read Bridging the Gap between Math and Home.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom