Archive for the ‘Helping Families’ Category

Who’s to say when you should mind your own business

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

While in a PG13 rated movie splattered with gratuitous violence, you witness a parent slapping a toddler knowing full well the toddler is smart enough to know he shouldn’t even be watching the movie.

While parking your car in a Dunkin’ Donuts lot, you see two young children with the window opened just a crack as their mom stands on the long line for coffee.

Selfish parenting, child abuse and neglect is not only about broken bones, bruises and abandonment. With the publicity surrounding the Texas polygamist-sect kids, one has to wonder exactly what does constitute a reason to step in.
The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the state offered “legally and factually insufficient” grounds for the “extreme” measure of removing all children from the ranch, from babies to teenagers.

The state never provided evidence that the children were in any immediate danger, the only grounds in Texas law for taking children from their parents without court approval, the appeals court said.

Think about the everyday situations you encounter where you aren’t certain if you should say something with the slight chance your response will be met positively; far more likely that you will be told to mind your own business.

The question is when is it our business? If the courts can’t figure it out – how can we?

Your thoughts? Please leave a comment, I’m really interested in what you have to say.

Mandatory Parenting Classes? Who’s Teaching?

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

If Rockland County Legislator Jacques Michel, D-Spring Valley has his way, before couples can walk down the aisle they will be required to take parenting classes.

Three questions comes to my mind
1. Who’s teaching?
2. If we truly believe that every individual is unique, then we have an unlimited number of unique possiblilies. How can we possibly predict on the right way to parent considering that each person was parented differently?
3. Why assume that all people planning for marriage even want children? In a perfect world, people wouldn’t have children because it would be the next logical phase in their lives, or because they got tired of people asking them when they were planning to start a family.

The best reason to have children is because you really want children and have clearly thought through the decision.

The beginning is the most important part of any work. – Plato

But how do you think through something as unique as the experience of parenting? It begins with knowing yourself. This short list of questions may be helpful to review before you decide to have children.

10 Things to Consider Before You Have Children…

1. Would you want to have you as a parent?
2. Have there been times when you could have been more generous?
3. Do you treat the people that matter in your life as well as you should?
4. Is your relationship with your spouse strong enought to withstand the stress of children?
5. What sacrifices are you willing to make to be able to afford children?
6. What family traditions will you carry on, and what new traditions will you both create together?
7. What is your idea of quality family time?
8. How will you decide how to share family holidays?
9. Do you believe it is your job as a parent to tell a child what to think or how to think?
10. Is there something about your spouse that makes you look forward to becoming a parent, or is there something that has you concerned?

Exerpted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals®: Contemporary Advice for Parents by Tina Nocera

Another Reason Families Love Steven Spielberg

Monday, May 12th, 2008

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPTJ4v6KPrg]

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn,
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe,
But tell me story and it will live in my heart forever.

-Indian Proverb

One of the many happy memories I have of my children when they were little, was my son Michael walking around town with a Fedora as shopkeepers would call out, “Hi Indy.” My son loved the Indiana Jones movies so much, that at four-years of age, he wanted to be an archaeologist-adventurer.

A good story teller gets you to believe. As a family, together we enjoyed every movie Steven Spielberg made because you were told a great story and felt a part of that story.

Last night, with children now young adults, we went to the movies and saw the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie with a fully grown Indiana Jones – and we can’t wait to once again enjoy it together.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

Follow the leader

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

At what age are we guilty?

Police questioned a group of Georgia third-graders about a plot to kill their teacher, apparently because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair. The nine students at Center Elementary School are too young to be charged with a crime under Georgia law, a prosecutor said. They include girls and boys, ages 8 and 9. Authorities withheld the students’ names.

Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said school officials alerted police Friday after a pupil tipped off a teacher that a girl had brought a weapon to school,

Police seized a broken steak knife, handcuffs, duct tape, electrical and transparent tape, ribbons and a crystal paperweight from the students, who apparently intended to use them against the teacher, Tanner said.

He called the plot a serious threat; Center Principal Angie Coleman said, “This is an isolated incident, an aberration. … We have good kids”

I’m sure (at least I hope) the situation will be closely scrutinized. Did the children watch violent programs or play violent video games? Were their parents lack about rules and limits? Was personal responsibility not taught?

Of all the issues raised here, I have a few thoughts:

Why did the other children follow the leader?
What is stopping our children from having the courage to stand up and stop such behavior?
Use this topic as a conversation starter with your children. Discuss with them what they should do if they heard about a potentially violent act.

If you want to avoid this, you may want to read 12 Steps to Raise A Juvenille Delinquent, written by the Houston Police Department. You can find it on Parental Wisdom’s Free Reports.

By the way, after you talk to your children, give them a big hug.

What do you want to protect most in the world?

Monday, April 7th, 2008


Easy answer – your family.

You take great care twice a year in checking the batteries on the smoke detector. You talk to your children about stop, drop and roll, reinforcing what they learned in fire safety. You’ve done all the right things. But there was one thing you didn’t count on – that your children will not wake up to the shrieking sound of a smoke detector.

More than half of young children, who die in home fires, are asleep. One possible reason, as an experiment shows, smoke detectors just didn’t wake children up. As Rebekkah, age 12, sleeps peacefully; she terrorizes her parents; she didn’t wake up even though the smoke detector had been going off for two minutes.

Experts know that in a fire you’ve got to escape quickly. The deadly smoke and flames spread in an instant. After two minutes, your chances of escape and survival are critically diminished.

What was learned in the experiment is that the same sound that immediately wakes adults, doesn’t disturb children. According to Dr. Sanford Auerbach, Boston Medical Center, “[childrens]
brain waves are different, their sleep patterns are different, their stages of sleep are different.”

Fortunately, there are new voice activated smoke alarms that will soon become available that allow a parents voice to be heard instead. The same experiment conducted with the parent’s voice instead of the shrieking sound had the children up on less than 15 seconds.

Stay tuned as we’ll be watching for further news on the new products.

For now, watch this video; I’m sure you won’t forget it.

Capitalizing on teachable moments

Monday, March 17th, 2008

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A good reputation is more valuable than money.
– Publilius Syrus 100 BC Maxims

In the midst of our incredibly busy days, parents search for something called quality time. But time is time, and each week we are given exactly 10,080 minutes; no more, no less. Time is the great equalizer – it doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have.

How we spend that time is what matters. Interestingly, we often spend time in things we can document, quantify or measure, such as activities like sports, school, chores, and work. But what matters more are the things you can’t measure, such as the impact of teachable moments. We need to look at those opportunities as gifts and capitalize on them.

Thank you Former Governor Spitzer. Thank you for giving us the opportunity the explain to our children the difference between little and big mistakes. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask our children a simple but very important question,

“What do you think your reputation is worth?”

Since we are surrounded by popular culture, what used to be considered infamous is now immediately considered famous. We are in the parenting fight of our lives and need to find opportunities to reinforce our values despite the world’s perceptions of values imploding around us.

The young woman in the Spitzer case stands to make millions from the publicity. Again, discuss with your children what her reputation is really worth? A new show called Moment of Truth offers large money prizes for true answers. Unless you’ve lead a Mother Teresa-like existence, I would suggest not trading your reputation and family embarrassment for dollars.

Despite your best attempts, you can’t be around your children all the time, so the next best thing is to make sure they are thinking before they act. No doubt they will make mistakes, but have discussions that reinforce the values you want to instill so you can at least minimize that possibility. I know you think children sometimes don’t listen, but they do. After all, if we didn’t listen, how could you explain that when we grow up we all sound just like our mothers or fathers.

As you end your discussion, put this seed in your child’s head;

“Before you do something – think, would you be proud or embarrassed for us to learn about it?”

That will tell them all they need to know.

Limiting Marketing to Kids

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

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A few years ago I asked my nephew what he wanted for Christmas. He didn’t know. I asked him if he watched Saturday morning cartoons, because I remember when my kids were little that’s where they saw the toys they might like.

He told me there were no toy commercials, only food commercials. He was right. And the commercials bombarding our children promoted foods and beverages that were high in fat, sugar and salt.

Finally, consumer organizations world-wide will pitch a proposal to limit the amount of food marketing to kids. The group is calling for a ban of radio or television advertising of these foods between the hours of 6am and 9pm, and a ban on marketing the same kinds of unhealthy foods on social networks and other new media. Additionally, they are calling on a ban of promotion through toys and gifts and the use of celebrities and cartoon characters.

If you would like to hear about the new reality parents face, and actionable ideas, visit Parental Wisdom® and listen to our Park Bench® broadcast entitled Feeding Our Children to Death.

Just a Blip on the Screen

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

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I’m always talking to parents, and inevitably there are frustrations that come with the territory. One mom was frustrated about toilet training, another about a child not helping around the house, while another was tired of the constant mess.

As our children get older, we see a bright future, and they may decide that our vision is not theirs. Parents want college for their kids, because as one dad told me, “The only thing more expensive than a college education is not having one.”

And then our children may decide it is not for them. They would rather backpack across Europe, play the guitar or learn a trade. Major disappointment and embarrassment for parents.

No different than the frustrations of the parents of younger children, just a later time. But if you’re really smart, you’ll understand that it is just a blip on the screen. The important thing is the relationship you have with your child.

We don’t remember days, we remember memories. Make sure the ones you’re building are not filled with hostility

Mom on Strike

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

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As I read the article about the arrest of Melissa G. Dean, 33, Florida mother of 4 children ages 17, 16, 14 and 13 for leaving her children home alone, it quickly dawned on me that she was a child herself when she became a mother.

Even for those of us who waited until we felt ‘ready’ to have children, whatever ready means, I can’t imagine how challenging it is not only to be a teenage mother, but to be a teenage mother repeatedly.

Parents, please create a village for yourselves as a means of support. This job of parenting is too hard to do alone. We all need people to rely on and count on. For all of the daily parenting questions that arise, where you need to be your child’s advocate and not break any confidence, you can reach out to Parental Wisdom.

As Plato said, be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Let’s Educate Not Legislate

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

 

The work will teach you how to do it. -Estonian Proverb

Imagine if we taught our children to be good people the same way we are taught to be good parents. If done the same way, we would wait until they did something wrong, criticize, possibly incarcerate and then instruct.

Somewhat counterproductive, right?

That is what I think about the recent attempt to ban spanking in Massachusetts.

When we first become parents, our hope is that parents raise good people. On the surface that seems relatively simple; almost too simple. In reality, it is simple for a very short time; when our children are completely in our care, before the outside world has an influence. The bottom line is that parents are never taught how to be parents, and many of parent the way we were parented. If our parents spanked, we learned to spank and fear it will become out of control because we’re not the parents who go anywhere near abuse.

By doing a little homework on the topic of spanking we would learn that it is harmful. Children that hit are children that hit others; the lesson is that it is ok for the bigger person to hit. Furthermore, if we are spanking, we have probably lost our temper, which teaches our children it is ok to lose our temper, and does put us in the danger zone to become abusive. But still creating laws against spanking is simply wrong.

Consider education before legislation.