Archive for the ‘Parenting 101’ Category

We need to listen before we can empathize

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

He opens his wallet and pulls out a picture of an adorable infant.  “My grandson,” he said beaming with pride.  “How wonderful for you,” I reply.   He then says that his daughter plans to stay home because she wants to raise him.  The hair on the back of my neck stands up, but I say nothing.  He has no idea that he just insulted all women who return to work after having children.  He doesn’t realize that working mothers raise their children and work.  I can’t expect him to understand that any more than he can understand what it is like to be pregnant.

But I expect women to be more supportive of each other.  We have come far and are able to make choices. There are women that have to work, women who don’t have to work, and women who choose to work.  Hillary Rosen was criticized for the comment that Ann Romney never worked a day in her life was taken out of context.  She wasn’t critical of Ann Romney for making the choice to stay-at-home, she simply wanted to point out that due to the economy many women simply don’t have that as a choice.  The critics didn’t listen.

No one should be judging what is right or wrong; it’s only your choice.  Let’s reserve judgment for jury duty.

In the meanwhile, focus on your own physical, spiritual and mental health and on being really good parents. Yes, there I said it!  Let’s not forget that fathers are the other half of the equation we call parents which is not dependent on whether or not moms work.   

Viva la choice!

Have a good week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Parenting in America

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I’ve always felt that it is a mistake to call the birth process labor.  In retrospect, that is the easy part; what follows is the world’s most challenging on the job training, in the world’s toughest training ground – parenting in America.

A good friend once told that me if you say yes to a child who has just asked 27 times to have a piece of candy right before dinner, and you give in, you just taught the child that 27 is the magic number.  This means the next time a child asks for something and you say no, the child will ask at least 27 times before giving up.

For this reason, I was fascinated by the recent WSJ article, “Why French Parents are Superior”.  I’ve watched parenting in America and witnessed rather lengthy negotiations parents have with 4-year-olds over various issues including a store purchase, leaving a playground, or eating a certain food.

Parenting in America

“The thing that impressed me most about America is the way parents obey their children.”

–King Edward VIII

When did American kids take over?  For parenting in America to get better, parents need to remember who is in charge.  It isn’t stifling your child’s creativity or imagination to sit at the dinner table and eat what is put in front of them, or to be part of the dinner conversation without the help of an iPad to keep them quiet.

The French, it seems do what our parents did; have a stern no and a glaring stare, and it seems they can do this and let their kids behave like kids.   If you find yourself apologizing to friends that you can give them eye contact until the kids are in grad school, then let’s take more than the French fries, and French toast and take a tip from French parents.  Same day expedited rush birth certificate texas replacement copy services.

And the next time you are having a meaningful conversation with your spouse or a friend and a child interrupts, you can always use the old standby, “the adults are talking”.

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®

Positive Pushing Audio Workshop

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

We are at that point in the school year where a familiar argument can be overheard.  It usually follows your eight minute parent-teacher conference where you are told that your child is very bright, but not working to his potential.

“You’re pushing him.”

“No, I’m not, you’re babying him and he won’t learn to be accountable and responsible for his work.”

“You set the expectations, and now you expect him to reach them.  What if he can’t?”

“And what if he can, but you’re just allowing him to be lazy?”

This free audio workshop by Dr. Jim Taylor is one of the best discussions I’ve heard on this topic.  I suggest that if you are having this discussion, you both listen.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

You’ve got to be carefully taught

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

You’ve got to be carefully taught

-from the1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific

There is a connection about two stories coming from New Jersey recently; both interestingly, relate to Facebook.

On technology’s positive side, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donates $100 million dollars to Newark schools.  Weeks later, the Facebook status of Rutgers Freshman Tyler Clementi’s is “jumping off the bridge sorry.”

Adolescent brains cannot possibly evolve as quickly as the technology at their fingertips.  They don’t understand the power though they marvel at the audience reach.

Both stories tie back to parents and what is taught at home.

The Newark school system presently spends $24,000 a year per student, yet only one in two graduate high school.   By adding $100 million are we throwing money at the wrong problem?  The best teachers and state of the art technology in the classrooms cannot offset what happens at home if a child’s education is not made a priority and reinforced.

In the case of Rutgers’s cyber cruelty, Dharun Ravi or Molly Wei could not have imagined a tragedy like this, but what was their intention, to be funny or to entertain?  Compared to the failing Newark school system, these students both had terrific grades and SAT scores indicating that education was indeed important at home.  But how do they measure up in other qualities, such as tolerance, understanding and empathy?

The unwritten rule of parenting is that you don’t talk about someone’s child because you are really talking about someone’s parenting.  I get that, and the fact that parents can’t be everywhere, and anybody’s child is potentially going to make mistakes.

But there are answers if you take the time to understand the real problem.

One place to help understand the real problem is Parental Wisdom® which offers something you can’t get anywhere else.  Multiple expert responses to parenting questions so you can choose the best solution for your unique child and situation.  When you are present as a parent and notice something wrong, the time to correct it is before it unravels out of control.

Our advisors donate their time and talent to respond to parents’ questions.  We are writing a collaborative book to help parents focus on the kind of person they want to raise.  Parental Wisdom® members will receive a free copy of this e-book that offers a proactive approach to raising a person you would love to meet.

For the present problem, here are a few solutions that can help you and your child deal with cyber-bullying, whether they are the victim or the bully, and to help you as a parent understand this frightening new world.

Jill Brown – It’s My Locker

Barbara Gilmour – Cool Kind Kid

Naomi Drew – Learning Peace author of No Kidding About Bullying

We are evaluating all these works for the Good ParentingCM Seal.  Please complete the contact us form if you would like to participate in the evaluation (you must be a member), and be sure to enter your phone number and time zone.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. -Mother Teresa

Have a great week, and be sure to talk with your children about this important 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®

Wishing You a Very Happy Back to School

Monday, August 30th, 2010

It dawned on me as we stood in the aisle…it would be our last trip for back to school supplies.  My youngest child was starting her senior year in college.  For so many years, this was one of my favorite traditions.

We always shopped early to avoid the back to school rush.  Truth be told, I went early because I couldn’t wait and loved the  brand new notebooks that snapped as they opened, the highlighters, post-its, a new dictionary (not sure if that was necessary), were there that many new words?  The sneakers kept safe in their box for that very first day to be worn with a specially selected outfit, and those amazing pictures taken the first day each year by the tree outside to measure their growth.

Years flew and there I was making this special trip for the very last time.  I realized by my daughter’s eye roll, she didn’t appreciate me sharing that with the clerk asking if we needed assistance.  I didn’t need assistance, but I desperately needed a tissue.

One thing I want to share with anyone with a child:

  • Entering kindergarten or first grade
  • Stepping into middle school for the first time (they are going to stress over the combination locker)
  • Stepping into the halls of a scary high school where she can’t imagine getting from one side to the next in time for classes
  • Just drove away on ‘move-in’ day and hope that your college freshman will wake up himself and go to class

The new school year is always a new start.  The teacher has a blank grade book, and all students begin with an A+ in each class.  Where they go is up to them.

Now, a note from Dr. Vicki Panaccione before the stress sets in….

Having a hard time juggling everyone’s hectic schedule?

  • Here are a few helpful tips:
  • Keep a big family calendar where everyone can see it
    • Use a different color marker for each person in the family for a quick and easy way to see who needs to do what, when and where

If you have more than one child, allow one or two after-school activities per child

  • That way your kids are not being overloaded
  • And neither are you

Take short cuts:

  • Make and freeze meals ahead of time
  • On busy nights, use paper plates
  • To avoid the last minute scramble in the morning,
  • Have your kids lay out their clothes,
  • Pack up the back packs and
  • Get out the lunch money before they go to bed.

And please don’t lose sight of your #1 priority—

  • Family comes first—even if it means doing away with an activity or two.

For additional tips log in to Parental Wisdom® and locate the email under Free Stuff The Promise of a New School Year.

Have a terrific first day of school!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Reasons why parents are smarter than BP

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Mazel Tov!

A new cap has been successfully placed on the top of the busted oil well.  The job of a  Monday morning quarterback is always easy, but perhaps BP could take a page from successful parents.

Being a great parent is as simple as paying attention to the little hairs on the back of your neck.  By that I mean parents are aware of subtle changes in behavior; responding and monitoring situations appropriately before things get so out of control that the top blows off.

In the case of BP, you can take that literally.  In the case of parents, here are a few scenarios where situations spiral out of control making them equally difficult to recover from when parents are not paying attention to the little things:

  1. The CEO that isn’t invited to his daughter’s wedding
  2. The seven-year-old that curses out his parents
  3. The 15-year-old who falls face down in the street because he is high

Sometimes a simple reminder is all that is needed.

Please visit Parental Wisdom® to get a copy of the free report “Parenting Rules to Live By” from my book Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals®.

It’s a perfect souvenir for the most valuable piece of real estate in America – your refrigerator door!

Have a great day!

-Tina Nocera, Founder

Please read this before you tell the kids

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Welcome our guest blogger – Rosalind Sedacca, an advisor to Parental Wisdom®

July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month. In recognition of the challenges divorcing parents face, divorce professionals across the nation have teamed up to provide parents with free gifts and other bonuses related to divorce, parenting and transition issues.  Visit the link above to access valuable information and tools!

Getting Divorced?

What to Tell your Spouse Before You Tell the Kids!

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.

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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.

  1. 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!”

  1. 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.

*    *    *    *

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! 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  All rights reserved.

Are you building or ruining the relationship?

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Question: What do these situations have in common?

  1. The three-year-old having a meltdown on the check out line at Target
  2. The seven-year-old who could put in more effort at school
  3. The eighteen-year-old high school senior looking at colleges

Answer(s):

  1. They all create a certain amount of stress for parents
  2. They are NOT life threatening
  3. They ARE relationship threatening

What does that mean?

These situations become stressful because we sometimes care more about what other people think, and as a result let that influence the way we handle situations with our children.

Let’s reset the scenarios a bit:

Why is the three-year-old having a meltdown?

Did he nap?  Is he hungry?  Did you plan a marathon shopping day and this is the tail end of the six-hour trip?  Did she see something the store put as an impulse item that they want?

The looks from other people on line do not matter!

All that does matter is your relationship with your child.  The meltdown usually starts low and slowly, so you can plan your exit strategy, even if that means abandoning your shopping cart.  Make the best decision you can given that set of circumstances.

The same could be said of the effort of a grade school child.  You’re right to ask the child to do his/her best in school, and choose to be a good role model in terms of work ethic.  But realize that education works best for those who are good at following rules.  Don’t get stressed about your child not having straight A’s and instead be more concerned about their love of learning and ability to think for themselves.  When family and friends ask how the kids are doing, it’s OK they are healthy and happy.  You don’t have to ‘report’ on their report card as if it measures how well you’re doing as a parent.

The high school senior looking at colleges has more stress than he or she can handle.  Don’t let the opinions or questions of caring and concerned family and friends add to that stress.

Think of the questions they are being asked:

  1. What college are you going to?
  2. What major are you choosing?
  3. What do you want to do for the rest of your life?

Really?  Do those questions seem reasonable?

I would like to be the voice of all parents in response to family and friends and strangers with good intentions:

Thank you for your concern, now please mind your own business.  Amen!

To see the patented Parental Wisdom® concept and multiple answers to these and other questions, you can learn more and become a member.  It’s free and you are anonymous.   It really is a better mousetrap.

p.s. This is the kind of advice you should share with your friends.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder