Archive for the ‘Helping Families’ Category

Getting Divorced? What to Tell your Spouse Before You Tell the Kids!

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Ever go on a vacation without making plans in advance? The consequences are usually disastrous. If you fail to plan ahead regarding newspaper and mail delivery, feeding your pets or watering the plants, knowing where your destination is and reserving your accommodations, your vacation is likely to be filled with disappointment, frustration and even heartache.

What about preparing your children for your pending divorce? Do you have a plan – or are you going to wing it without any prior thought? For children, divorce is a monumental life experience for which they have no preparation. The very foundation of their security – their love for Mom and Dad – is being thrown into turmoil. Everything they knew and accepted as part of routine daily life is going to be affected in one way or another.  They don’t know what to expect and have little source of comfort other than their parents who are announcing the devastating news. Virga Law Firm will get a compassionate legal advocate to protect the best interests of you and your children.

How can you help your children through this process? First, sit down face to face and talk to your children’s other parent, as if their lives depended on it. Regardless of your involvement with attorneys or other legal resources, this should be a conversation between two parents who love their children and want the best outcome for them.

Agree to set aside the emotional drama of your feelings for one another at this time … the hurt, anger, resentment, jealousy, competition, frustration, regret … and focus on just one issue: How will we tell our children about the divorce?

Put yourselves in your children’s shoes.

Picture each of your children and talk to each other about how each child is likely to feel and react to the news. Put yourselves in their shoes and feel their emotions with deep compassion. You know your children. Discuss their ages and personalities. Are they likely to blame themselves … erupt in anger … beg you to stay together … want to run away and hide? Find a place of agreement and be prepared with the most comforting words and reassurances that will resonate with each child.

Remind them they are not at fault.

Many children feet responsible in some way for their parent’s relationship problems and divorce. They need reassurance, again and again, that the problem is not about them – even if you’ve been fighting about parenting issues. Assure them it’s not their behavior that caused your conflict – and there is nothing they can do to make things different. You can say something like, “Mom and Dad have been having problems. We don’t agree about certain key issues and that creates conflict. So we are going to make some changes, but none of this is your fault and never was.”

Reassure them that Mom and Dad will always be their parents.

Your children need to understand two things at this time. Mom and Dad will always love them – and will always be their parents. It is important to emphasize that no matter what changes occur over the weeks, months and years ahead, Mom and Dad will still always be their real parents and no one else will replace them. Tell them you both will always be there for them, no matter where you live or how things should change.

You can say, “No matter what happens, no matter what changes occur, one thing is for certain. Mom and Dad will always love you. That will never change. Regardless of where we live, what we do and how old you get. You can count on that. And don’t ever forget it.” Make sure you live up to that in the arrangements you will be making.

Focus on change, not on blame.

Divorce is a scary word. It is wise at this time to talk to your children about change as a natural part of life. “Everything in life keeps changing. You grow bigger, stronger and smarter every year. The seasons change. You change grades and schools as you get older. Change means things will be different in some ways. It doesn’t mean things will be bad. Often change can make things better, and that’s what Mom and Dad want to do.”

Explain that it can take time for us to get used to changes, like starting a new grade with a new teacher. Other times change gives us a chance to do things in a new and better way, like trying a new sport or a hobby you grow to love.

Mention that the changes in our family are not about who’s right or wrong or who’s good or bad. “Mom and Dad both tried their best to resolve our problems. The old way didn’t work for us and now we will be trying a new way for our family to live so there’s more peace, calmness and happiness for us all. Let’s think about how we can see the changes ahead as a new adventure — a brand new chapter in our lives. It may not only be different – it may be better!”

Be confident and consistent.

Children are often frightened when faced with new experiences – and divorce is a monumental challenge for them to grasp. Keep reminding your children that everything will be okay. “Mom and Dad are working on all the details so you don’t have to worry about anything because Mom and Dad have it all under control.”

This isn’t the time to go into a lot of specifics. You may not have many answers yourselves. Keep the message very generic. “We’ll have new ways of doing some things … some new responsibilities … some differences in our schedules. But life will go on. We will get used to the differences. Some of them we may even prefer. And after a while, we’ll look back and say, life is different than it used to be, but it’s all okay. Mom and Dad are okay, you’re all okay, our family is okay and we still love each other.  And that’s most important of all!”

Ideally both Mom and Dad should tell the children together and agree in advance about the messages you are conveying. If you’re having the conversation alone, you must stay neutral and not talk disrespectfully about the other parent that your children still love. Focus on your children’s feelings and reactions. Respond compassionately in the best way you can.

These core messages are the foundation your children will depend on when they are feeling frightened, sad or insecure. Repeat them often in your own words and your own style. You’ll be rewarded in countless ways as you and your children encounter and overcome the challenges of life after divorce.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is the author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!  Acclaimed by divorce professionals, the book provides fill-in-the-blank templates that guide parents in creating a family storybook with personal photographs as an ideal way to break the news. For more details, a free ezine, articles, coaching and other resources visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

© Rosalind Sedacca 2009 All rights reserved.

5 Tips to Prevent Scarring Your Kids After Divorce!

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

 By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Divorce need not wound and scar your children if you put their emotional and psychological needs first when making crucial decisions. Some parents don’t understand that every decision they make regarding their divorce will affect the well-being of their children in countless ways. The emotional scars are not only harder to see, they’re also much harder to erase.

Here are five keys to helping your children move through and thrive after divorce.

1)    Remind them this is not their fault.

Children tend to blame themselves for divorce, no matter how bad Mom and Dad’s relationship has been. The younger the child, the more likely this is so. Sit down together and talk to your children, emphasizing that they are in no way at fault. You can say something like: “Mom and Dad don’t agree about certain key issues and that has created conflict. Even when some of the issues are about you, it does not mean you are to blame. You are an innocent child who we both love. Sadly, Mom and Dad disagree about certain important issues — but not about our love for you. You are not in any way at fault.”

2)    Focus on change — not on blame.

Divorce is all about change within the family structure. Often those changes can be beneficial and create a more peaceful environment for your children. Never burden them with adult information and judgments. Focus instead on the fact that change is an inevitable part of life and not necessarily bad. Let your children see that everything in life keeps changing. “You grow bigger every year. Seasons change, clothing styles change, your school classes change. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to changes, like when you get a new teacher or try a new sport. In time you may come to like these new changes. Let’s give it a try.”

3)    Respect your child’s other parent.

When you belittle, put down or in any way disrespect your ex – regardless how justified it may feel – it hurts your children in deep and long-lasting ways. Children innately love both their parents and feel a connection to them. When you insult their other parent it creates confusion, guilt, sadness, insecurity and low self-esteem in your children. Instead, remind them that Mom and Dad will always be their parents and will always love them. No one will replace Mom or Dad either. “We will both always love you and be there for you, no matter where we live or how things should change.” Then strive to do the right thing on their behalf.

4)    Let your children continue to be children.

While it may sometimes be tempting, never confide adult content to your children. They are not psychologically prepared to handle the emotional complexity. Save venting for trusted friends, a divorce counselor or support group.  Also never ask your children to spy, act as messengers between both parents or provide inappropriate details about the other parent’s home life. Again, this pressure’s them in many ways – none of which are positive. It is not their place to assume adult responsibilities or help you to find evidence against your ex.

5)    Make decisions through the eyes of your child.

Before making any decisions regarding divorce issues, think about the consequences for your children. Ask yourself, what will they say to me about this when they are grown adults? Will they thank me for the way I handled the divorce – or be angry and resentful about my attitude and behavior? The choices you make will affect your children for years and decades to come. For their sake, take the high road and be a role model they will want to emulate.

                                                            *    *    *    *

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!  Her innovative approach guides parents in creating a personal family storybook, using fill-in-the-blank templates, family history and photos, as an effective way to break the news with optimum results. For more information, free articles, free ezine and other valuable resources visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

© Rosalind Sedacca 2009 All rights reserved.

 

 

Pets Help Kids Through Divorce: 6 Reasons Why

Monday, September 7th, 2009

kids pets

Can a pet be helpful to your children during a divorce and the transition after? In my opinion, without a doubt! If your family has one or more pets, let your children have access to them as much as they desire. There is a great emotional benefit to them and your children are fortunate that the pets they love can still be in their lives.

If you don’t already have a pet, I recommend getting one – but only if you are in a position to be responsible to that innocent animal during this time of additional stress in your life. If a family pet is out of the question, please consider giving your children time to play with the pets of friends and family. Take them to petting zoos. Allow them contact with other life forms that can give them joy at a time when they are likely experiencing stress and insecurity.

In the United States alone, close to 65%, or about 71 million households have pets. Statistics from the National Pet Owners Survey say 39% of these households own at least one dog and 34% one or more cats. This should come as no surprise since pets can be a blessing in the life of any human being at any age.

Here are six key benefits a pet provides for families coping with divorce:

1. Unconditional Love: It has been proven again and again that pets are a source of support and unconditional love for children. During and after divorce, when there is so much instability and insecurity in a child’s life, a beloved pet can be the bridge to sanity. While much around them may be changing, sweet Fluffy is still there to love them and be by their side.

2. A confidant. Children like to talk to their pets. For most children pets are a trusted friend in which they can confide and share their deepest fears. This is truly a gift to children and greatly helps with emotional resiliency. Pets are nonjudgmental. They listen attentively. They “understand,” And they always love you back. Isn’t that what your children need at a time like this?

3. Security. Pets have been shown to help children better cope with challenging times within a family including divorce, illness and death. They feel less alone and abandoned. The relationship with the pet provides a deep sense of security that can’t easily be duplicated. In early childhood a stuffed animal often serves much the same purpose. But kids rarely outgrow their bond with Fluffy, even when they mature into their teens.

4. Bridge to adults. Pets can bridge the emotional and communication gap between adults and children – especially when Mom and Dad are preoccupied with so many other time-consuming details during and after a divorce. They are a valued part of the family, a source of calm as the family moves through the storm of post-divorce transition.

5. Stress Reduction. Medical studies have shown that pets are just as beneficial for adults. Walking and talking to your dog or petting your cat can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, not to mention overall stress. Pets also are a great source of laughter and joy, a reminder that there are other aspects of life that are still wonderful to experience.

6. Best Friend. Pets also provide unconditional love, nurturing and comfort to adults who greatly need it as they transition through the grief of divorce. They’re a best friend when you’re alone and an appreciative ear when you want to vent or shed tears.

Connecting to other life forms is also a wonderful way to get a perspective about our place in the universe and our responsibilities toward others. When life can feel life it’s crashing in around us it is valuable to remember we share this planet with other beings who depend on us for love, sustenance and nurturing as well.

*     *     *

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love. For her free articles, blog, valuable resources  on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

Paying our dues to be part of the village

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

jaycee

A story in the news this week horrified parents. It brings a few thoughts come to mind:
• How this happened
• What caused it to be uncovered
• And, as members of the ‘village’ what we can do to prevent it

Background
An 11-year-old girl is abducted on her way to school 18 years ago, as her step-father looked on unable to deter the kidnappers. During that period, she gives birth to two daughters fathered by her captor. She is released due to the follow through of alert security guards at the University of California at Berkeley when her captor displayed suspicious behavior while visiting the campus to distribute religious material.

Today
With new school supplies, clothes, sneakers and backpacks, families across the country are excited about the start of a new school year. At the same time, we have to question the safety of our children; specifically as it relates to walking to school. Communities trying to combat childhood obesity encourage families to allow their children to walk to school, but this story could cause major setbacks in this endeavor.

If a safe, community focused approach is taken, we can keep our kids safe, and allow them the freedom and enjoyment of walking to school. Visit International Walk to School in the USA to learn how.

Keeping all of our children safe
There is a belief that a society is judged by something called the “burning building theory.” Here’s how it works. If your child was in a burning building, no doubt you would rush in to save him. But, a society is judged by the willingness of its community members to rush in to save someone else’s child. That is where the concept of the village comes in.

If the village has any chance of working, we need to recognize we’re all in this together. A candle provides a good example of how this works. When used to light another candle, the first candle doesn’t lose its light; in fact, it intensifies. So if each one of us can take care of our own family, and do just a little bit more, we can move the village concept from a wonderful idea to reality.

Experted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals® by Tina Nocera

If the security guards were not observant, or did not follow through on their suspicions, Jaycee Dugard would still be a captive.

Although most situations aren’t quite this serious, there are times where we question whether or not we should say something. Here is a recent question posed by a Parental Wisdom® member that illustrates that point.

I was looking out my window this morning, and noticed a father walking quite a distance ahead of his little girl who appeared to be about 2 years old. It was easy for a car to turn into a driveway and since the little girl was so small the car wouldn’t see her and she could have been hit, or the little girl could have run into the street. My concern is, should I have said something to him? We are all cautious of correcting other parents’ behavior, but what if something could have happened to that little girl and I didn’t point it out to the father? In light of a recent tragic crash involving a mom who apparently was driving intoxicated, I am taking the concept of accident avoidance more seriously. Your advice?

To see answers from our expert advisors, click here

What do you think? Comment below.

Chats with Champions

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

dr vicki
Hi!

I wanted to share a message with you from Dr. Vicki Panaccione, a Parental Wisdom advisor.

From Dr. Vicki:

I have the immense honor and pleasure to invite you to listen in on an amazing parenting call on Chats with Champions. Blair Singer, author of “Little Voice” Mastery and adviser to Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad/Poor Dad), will be interviewing me, Dr. Vicki, the Parenting Professor™, about ways to help parents be teachers – not preachers—to their kids. Blair and I are currently working on “Little Voice” Mastery for Parents, focusing on helping parents send clear, positive messages to their kids that will enable them to feel confident and capable throughout their lives.

This interview is one in a series of calls that members of Blair’s exclusive All-Access Club have available on a monthly basis. Since Blair and I want to get our message out to as many parents and professionals as possible, he is making a very generous offer so everyone can have access to this call. Now through August 31st, you can gain entry into his exclusive All-Access Club for only $1. Additionally, you will receive two free bonus downloads: Learn to be Debt-Free and Wealthy, and Code of Honor for your organization.

Below are the details for dialing in. I hope you will be able to join us for this amazing call! We are excited to be bringing his “Little Voice” Mastery insights and techniques to parents all over the world!

Dr. Vicki F. Panaccione, the Parenting Professor™
PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Founder, Better Parenting Institute
321-795-9218
http://www.BetterParentingInstitute.com

Here’s the scoop:

Want to Raise Your Child to Be Happy and Successful?

Learn how with Dr. Vicki Panaccione…the Parenting Professor™

Join Blair Singer* on his next Chats with Champions call,
where he will interview internationally renowned child
expert, Dr. Vicki Panaccione — otherwise known as the
Parenting Professor™. A Ph.D. child psychologist with
25+ years of clinical experience, Dr. Vicki will share
insights to help you become a genuine teacher–not a
preacher–to your children. Mark your calendar and be
sure to tune in to this amazing call.

Chats with Champions Call

with Dr. Vicki, the Parenting Professor™

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
5 p.m. PST; 8 p.m. EDT

http://www.heasleyandpartners.com/all-access-club-benefits.html

Dr. Vicki is a consultant for the innovative
http://parentalwisdom.com/ and Nickelodeon’s
http://www.parentsconnect.com/. She’s the author of Your Child’s Inner Brilliance…Parent’s Guideto Discovery and What Your Kids Would Tell You…If OnlyYou’d Ask!, and contributing author (with Tony Robbins, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Bill Bartmann and others) of the best-selling book, Wake Up and Live the Life You Love…The Power of Team.

*Blair Singer is the author of the revolutionary new book,
“Little Voice” Mastery™ – How to Win the War Between Your
Ears in 30 Seconds or Less –and Have an Extraordinary Life!
He is founder of Little Voice Mastery Institute, the virtual
learning center that helps people move beyond their “Little
Voice” that undermines their happiness and success, to
become the bigger, more powerful people they were meant
to be. Blair now speaks to tens of thousands of people all
around the world on “Little Voice” Mastery and how it can be
applied to better your life personally and professionally. He
is also the CEO of SalesPartners Worldwide, a global network of
mentors and business builders who work one-on-one with
businesses and corporations to help them achieve double digit
growth in any economy.

Based on flimsy research

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

parenting1

When the family is in order, all the social relationships of mankind shall be in order.
– I Ching

I’ve watched shows like Dr. Phil where a seven-year-old is hitting and cursing at his parents and find myself wondering…how did it get that bad? It couldn’t have started out that way? Do we hope for parenting advice that at best is based on flimsy research?

Like a pull in a scarf, any problem left unresolved can unravel. As parents we face little problems on a daily basis. We have to pay attention and resolve the little problems before they get worse and overwhelm us.

That is where Parental Wisdom® comes in. In the past, parents lived in a sort of village, seeking advice from family and friends. Today’s families live further apart and deal with more complex societal issues. Parents turn to experts, but the idea of a one-size-fit all solution to parenting problems just doesn’t work if we really believe we are unique.

The traditional method of turning to family and friend for parenting advice presents a different set of problems:

Has that person had experience with that particular situation? After all, our moms didn’t raise us in the same media and marketing intense world.
If someone offers you advice and you don’t agree, now what?
Do you have to ‘report’ back to them?
And most importantly, as your child’s advocate, what if your child does something you simply don’t want to share? Then where do you turn?

To understand Parental Wisdom imagine a place where you could ask all your parenting questions, and where you, the real expert in knowing your child best, are given multiple opinions from trusted, credible sources so you can choose which advice works best for your unique child and situation.

Imagine that you can be anonymous and this unique service is free.

You have a good imagination.

Parental Wisdom is so unique, it’s patented.

    Once a parent, always a parent.

Questions start before the first baby arrives and continue well past grandchildren.

Here is an idea of some of the questions our nearly 100 expert advisors respond to:
My 18- year old son who is a high school graduate shows no responsibility….
I know baby’s cry a lot, but our newborn (6 day old) baby has cried through the night and all morning…
I have two boys that share a bedroom, closet, bunk beds, and toys. They are ages 7 and 8. When its time to clean their room, they begin arguing that they’ve cleaned up their mess but the rest is their brother’s mess…
My nine-year-old is having problems with our next door neighbor’s daughter. There is a lot of nasty name calling and sometimes it gets physical…
I have been divorced for almost 2 years and have joint/legal custody of my 4 ½ year-old daughter, while I am the primary parent of residence, our divorce decree states that we are to make medical, religion and school decisions together, however…
My 13- year old daughter has a boyfriend that I don’t like. I want to forbid her to see him but I’m afraid she will date him at school behind my back….
My 15-yr old daughter was caught cheating with her cell phone on a physics test…
At what age would you allow a child to have a Facebook?
I have an 8 yr. old son who was badly bullied in kindergarten and till this day, he still feels uncomfortable in school even though it is a different and much better school…

Where do you turn to find answers?

Here is a short video on Parental Wisdom. Please forward to your friends.

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Today – modern villages are needed to raise a child

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

eight-babies

Not too long ago, I was presenting a parenting seminar at a local mom’s group. At the end of the discussion a very pretty and very pregnant mom raised her hand. “Does it get any easier?” In unison, all the moms in the room said, “Yes!”

It turned out this teary, exhausted mom was two weeks away from having her fourth child and busy caring for her five-year-old, three-year old, and 18-month old children, with no help.

I knew this community, and interestingly part of the town’s name was ‘the village’ so helping was second nature to them. Going out on a limb, I asked this mom if she had ever been on the ‘giving’ side. She nodded and explained how she had run a program at church that helped members in need.

Why is it easy to help others, yet difficult to ask for help?

As the African proverb suggests, it does take a village to raise a child. Today’s villages use modern tools such as Google Calendar. Volunteers sign up to make meals, coordinate trips to doctors and guarantee sufficient coverage. For families dealing with family illnesses, or financial struggles the situations are tough, but not insurmountable. They are in temporary need of help and fortunately, people rally to their aid.

Other families that need help are high profile such as ‘Jon and Kate plus 8’ and next we’ll meet The Hayes Family on TLC’s ‘Table for Twelve’ but because collectively, we like these families, they get help from sponsor companies providing vans, homes, diapers, juice, clothes, etc.

Compare that to Octomom, where simple math meets complex issues.

The simple math is:
• 0 job for the sole breadwinner
• 1 single mother
• 6 siblings
• 8 newborns
• 14 children in total
• 15 minutes of fame

The complex issues are:
• Should someone lacking the financial means have 14 children?
• Who was a right to say how many children someone can have?
• Should a potentially dangerous medical situation be allowed?
• What about everyone else who would love to have more children, but feels financially restricted have to pay for someone else’s decision to have 14 children?
• When and how often should a child advocacy agency step in to check on the care the children are getting?
• Who are we to judge?

For now, I hope the surrounding community and sponsor companies help, despite the fact that Nadya Suleman is hardly an ideal spokesperson. It’s not about her; it’s about the babies, and their needed care. Much like a teenage pregnancy, the situation is not ideal.

The controversy and questions will go on, and babies will do what they always do, grow and thrive while the adults are busy talking. We have to realize even though we seriously question her state of mind, and her ability to handle this tremendously difficult situation, she is after all, their mother.

Be kind for everyone you meet if fighting a hard battle. – Plato

Watering the Money Tree as we explain our Country’s Economic Woes to our Children

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Brown legal size envelopes, edges worn with age and use would make their monthly appearance. Each outer label would indicate where the money would go. This is how I remember my father dealing with the family finances. In those days, people were not in personal debt the way they are today. They waited until money filled the ‘wish list’ envelope so they could actually afford what it is they wished for.

“I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart. “ – e.e. cummings U.S. poet (1894-1962)

Exerpted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals®

When asked to inscribe my book, it’s always the same, “Spend half as much money, and twice as much time with your children.”

Never has that been more true than today given the current state of the economy. Rather than feeling helpless, use this as an opportunity to teach your children an important life lesson – how to handle money.

As soon as children can understand, begin to discuss wants vs. needs. You can present that distinction during dinner; you need food, but you want dessert. “Happiness does not consist of having what you want, but wanting what you have.” – Confucius

Give children an allowance so they learn how to manage their own money. Be sure to setup a bank account in their name.

The family is a child’s first and most important experience in belonging. For that reason, make sure children have chores which you can find on Parental Wisdom.

Be a good role model. Teach your children how you manage the household budget and pay bills.

Instead of clothes or toys or electronics, consider family outings or time spent together as a way to reward children.

Encourage your child to select a favorite charity and to spend time and money on that charity.

Counter the overwhelming marketing of licensed products and walk down the aisle with your kids showing the different price of the plain notebook or the one with Hannah Montana®, High School Musical®, Cars®, etc.

Keep the change. A great way to demonstrate how pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters add up is to put the change from your pocket/pocketbook at the end of each day in a large jar. Don’t go to a bank where you dump in the contents and leave with cash. Instead, consider the old fashioned way of sorting and rolling the coins yourself. Make a guessing game of the total and then vote on what to do with the savings. Studies have shown the best conversations with kids happen during an activity.

Make it a practice for everything new that comes into the house, you remove something; preferably giving something to charity. “It’s possible to own too much. A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” – Lee Segall

Involve your children in purchasing activities. With their comfort level in navigating the Internet, you may be surprised how they can investigate the best purchases, especially when it comes to electronic purchases.

Discuss whether or not teens can handle a part-time job without neglecting schoolwork. Have teens set financial goals such as saving for a car.

Explain to students going off to college that credit cards shouldn’t necessarily be banned, but spending must be handled properly. According to a survey in USA Today, college seniors are more worried about debt than terrorism.

Despite conventional thinking you are not defined by what you do, but who you are and how you live your life. If you are at risk for losing your job, make sure you’re kids know that.

As always, the best lessons come from the wisdom of the past and nothing says this better than the following quote:

“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. “

-Cicero, 55 BC

The Promise of a New School Year

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Each new school brings brand new sneakers, book bags and promise. Children start the school year with an A+; they have to keep it. Parents can help in a number of ways.

1. Plan ahead to reduce family stress
Whether it is the weekly meal menu, healthy lunch boxes, or having the school wardrobe ready, it’s always better to plan ahead. Include your children in the planning whenever possible. Rushing through the start of a day can easily spiral out of control.

2. Everything in it’s place
Keys, school papers, book bags, sports equipment, and musical instruments should all have a specific place in the house. Though parents can create the organization, kids need to maintain it. To help kids learn organization, consider purchasing Get Organized Without Losing It written for late elementary through middle grade. It has lots of kid-friendly humor and is written by Parental Wisdom advisor Janet Fox.

3. Set your children up for success
Studies continually show that children that each a good breakfast with lots of protein can concentrate better in school. Get them up a little earlier to start the day right.

4. Provide a study spot
a. Have school supplies in a place that is quiet and free from distractions.
b. Teach them about budgeting their time so projects are ready, not rushed.
c. Review (not do) their homework so you know what is going on at school.
d. Make sure you dig deep into book bags so you can read all school notes.

5. Don’t wait for a red flag or a bad report card before recognizing a struggling student. Contact the teacher before your child gets too far behind.

6. Encourage safety
a. If your child walks to school, make sure he knows how to obey traffic rules.
b. If she rides a bike, be sure she wears a helmet.
c. If he rides the bus, make sure the school district has installed seat belts.
d. Children can only learn if they feel safe. If your child is being bullied, discuss the situation with school officials and insist school programs that teach tolerance and inclusion such as Operation Respect. They offer free programs to schools.

7. Don’t let over-scheduling take away your precious family time. Limit the number of activities you allow your child to participate in.

8. Have dinner together every night. Use this a way for your family to stay connected and to let your children know they belong. Read more about Family Day, which is September 22nd. Pay attention to which subjects and teachers your child talks about. Often those are the teachers that have the most profound impact on your child. Write the teacher a note to let them know their influence.

9. Create an environment for lifelong learning, and teach your children that lessons can easily extend beyond the classroom. Extracurricular and family activities are good ways to help your child learn new things and gain confidence in his or her abilities.

10. Stay involved in your child’s school and participate especially when opportunities arise to meet your child’s classmates such as book fairs or school trips.

11. Keep in touch with your children’s teachers and let them know of any situation that may affect your child in school such as a family illness, recent move, job loss or divorce.

12. When your children challenge your family rules, as compared to their friends’ houses, such as no TV during the week, explain clearly but firmly that things are done differently in your house.

13. Routines are important to children as it helps them feel secure. Consistency is key when it come to bath time, reading and bedtime.

14. Remember you are preparing our next workforce generation. Be sure to instill the importance of showing up and not let your children stay home from school unless it’s absolutely necessary. In the same respect, make sure they understand that being on time is equally important.

15. Make learning real. Show how school skills are needed for such day-to-day activities as cooking from a recipe, balancing a checkbook and writing thank-you notes.

Pee Pee Targets

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Pop quiz

Question: What do toilet training targets have to do with census data?

Answer: Everything.

We start early by giving our kids rewards for doing things they should do. We understood this sort of positive reinforcement encourages children to do the behaviors that we want them to do.

Ah! Therein lies the problem, the word behaviors. Are we raising children or seals?

Somewhere in this generation of parenting, we were told that giving children things to get them to do things was a good idea.

It is not. It is a terrible idea.

To make matters worse the concept of rewards for doing things you should do is creeping into all areas of our life.

School districts are rewarding children for grades by giving them monetary incentives. I was never in favor of giving kids money for good grades and now school districts are doing this.

I remember hosting a school clean up while PTO president as a way to have families connect with each other. A 4th grader, who had just swept the steps came over and told me, “I’m done, what do I get?” I replied, “The good feeling that comes with a job well done.” He was surprised that there wasn’t a ribbon or sticker or trophy.

Companies reward people for doing the job they are supposed to do. Isn’t a job an agreement to do certain tasks for a certain salary? If that is the case, then rewards only come into play when the job objectives are exceeded, not met.

More recently, the Census Bureau is looking at ways to increase the response rate, including the use of prizes as an incentive. The incentives can include winning an iPod, getting a Starbucks gift certificate or cash.

We have lost our minds. The reward for doing anything is intrinsic. The reward for your child getting good grades is about how he feels about working hard or even trying his best to get well deserved grades. The reward about peeing in the potty is that great feeling that comes with learning something new.

Whether the reward is stickers or candy or money please think about this. How and when will you wean them off the reward and simply get them to do the right thing?

After all, isn’t teaching our kids to do the right thing is a key objective of parenting?