Archive for the ‘Self Reliance’ Category

Self-Reliance – Raising a Child You Want to Meet at Age 25

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Oz-end

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

In order to survive and thrive, babies have complete reliance on their parents. As they grow and learn, we need to help them build self-reliance.

What is self-reliance?

A person who is self-reliant is self-sufficient, able to think and function independently, is not risk-averse and solves problems rather than worries about them. Such a person would trust his own judgment, rarely needing to consult others for advice or guidance. A self-reliant person has better control of his life and can handle any curveball that life may throw his way.  This is exactly what we want to build in our adult children.

Here are strategies that can be used as a starting point, and consider age appropriateness.

  • Give kids responsibility – and hold them accountable for completing tasks.
    • Don’t do things for your children they can do for themselves. Three-year-olds can make their beds. An easy way to do that is to take three pictures as an example and hang the pictures by the bed.
  • Let them problem solve – be your child’s coach rather than sage.
    • For a middle school aged child with a problem with friends…Ask them, “What’s bothering you?” Let them explain and then assure them… “I know you can figure this out.” Give them time and ask, “How do you think you can fix this problem?”
  • Make room for mistakes – nothing is perfect, especially not at first.
    • They are learning self-reliance so they aren’t going to get it right all the time, whether it is how to make the bed, take the garbage out, set the table for dinner, or put windshield washer fluid in the car. Don’t jump in to ‘rescue’ them or hover over them. We learn by our mistakes.
  • Other ideas:
    • Begin with small tasks. Don’t say, “Clean up this room.” But instead, “Put the Legos in the bin.”
    • Encourage ‘free-play” throughout the day. Children need time to make their own rules, pretend and establish boundaries.
    • Schedule daily chores – children should learn early they are part of a family and that means helping with chores. Create a chore chart, with pictures for younger children.
    • Provide options when possible. Choice should be limited for younger children, and can increase as children mature. This helps them become independent thinking. This often begins with choices in what they are going to wear.
    • Give them stretch goals – ask them to do a little more than might be expected. That can be great for their self-esteem. You may even want to plan what new things they can try for the week. As an example, think of household skills, cooking skills, financial skills, or life skills.
    • Recognize them for things they’ve done well, but don’t recognize them for things they haven’t; the praise will be meaningless. Say, “Great job on putting all the Legos away!” or “Thank you for bringing the dinner dishes over.”

Since I opened with a classic movie line that helps reinforce the concept of self-reliance, I would like to close with one as well.

From Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

Professor Henry Jones to Indiana Jones:

Did I ever tell you to eat up, go to bed, wash your ears, do your homework? No, I respected your privacy and I taught you self reliance.

Follow us all week for additional tips follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  As always, please share your thoughts because we are all in this together!

See you next week.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#parentalwisdom #self-reliance #valueoftheweek

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The pendulums sweet spot

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

There is something to be said of settling in the middle.  I don’t buy in to the nostalgia of how great it was in the 1960’s where every mom was home and kids were out all day playing, only coming in for dinner.

But I was a kid that experienced that kind of childhood, which was the greatest childhood in history.  Not opinion but fact.

Why?

People had more kids (baby boomers are those born in 1946 to 1964) so there were more kids around.  More kids around means more opportunity to play.

Then in 1964, 40% of the population was under the age of nineteen which created the opportunity/explosion of marketing to and for children.  Before all the toys, books, entertainment and activities, kids entertained themselves.

The biggest challenge we face today is a child’s lack of ability to play

I’m talking about the kind of play that is non-supervised, no fees or uniforms involved, where the kids themselves figure out what they’re going to play today.  The kind of play where kids get so dirty, at the end of the day the bath water is black, and they go right to sleep because they are exhausted from having fun.

That doesn’t happen anymore.  Why?

We are afraid

Instead of locking up the bad guys, we lock up our children and keep them inside and in front of electronics.  This holds back their ability to move and play, and argue and make up, and be friends again.  It is important to be cautious, and be careful, but don’t be afraid.

We are competitive

We put them in every kind of summer camp that will help improve their math scores, reading scores and batting average.  So not only are there fewer children these days, but the ones that are around are not available to play because they are scheduled.

We are overwhelmed

We have so much to do, that we put our kids in front of electronics as a means of babysitting and/or entertainment to give us time to get tasks done.  Include them in the tasks, because they are part of a family, and that should be cooperative.

We are Julie the Cruise Director

We fill their lives with activities and events, so there is no time for boredom. Boredom is good, as Mr. Rogers famously said, “You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.”

 What can you do right now so the pendulum swings back more toward the middle?

Notice I’m not suggesting that we go to the 1960’s.  I believe the sweet spot is in the middle.  Life is different today and many moms need to, or choose to work, and having a choice is a good thing.  The electronics are not bad, and in fact teach our children interesting things that take them to incredible places.  It is the moderation that we need to better manage and focus on free play, because we are not doing much of that at all.

  • Can you get the ball rolling with some unstructured evening activities?
  • Is there a community basketball court?
  • Can you get your kids to organize a baseball game?
  • Can they have a marathon board game event?
  • Break the record for the most hula hoop players?
  • Are they able to do any of these things without adult intervention?
  • And parents, instead of sitting in those sports chairs that have a holder for a cold beverage, get moving yourself!  Bring a bocce game or bean bag toss and play with the big kids, aka the adults.
  • Take up a community cause to help other children.  There is no feeling as wonderful as helping someone else.

The best way to begin is to run the idea by your kids, and ask them what they think.  Get them to organize it, and then when you get enough momentum, be a voice in your community.  If it takes off, ask the school to open the gym on Friday nights for Family Game Nights in the fall.

Then, we can get back to the best part of the 60’s – the village that we all so desperately need and miss.

“You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.” 
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

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Constraints help us be more creative

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Next week, parents and teachers join forces to celebrate Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss, who is known for writing children’s books.

Teachers dress up and plan activities demonstrating the fun of reading.  Though geared to students, there is a lesson we can all learn from Dr. Seuss.

In 1960 his publisher at Random House, Bennett Cerf, made a wager with Theodor S. Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) that he could write an intelligent, entertaining children’s book only using 50 words.

Geisel won the bet and $50; one dollar for each word. Despite the limitation of words, over 200 million copies of Green Eggs and Ham have been sold.

Kids of all ages can learn how constraints help us be more creative.

Constraints are often used as an excuse for not moving forward.  Instead, let’s embrace them and come up with creative solutions.  Don’t buy your child a creativity kit, which is an oxymoron, but rather give them things you have around the house and ask them to create something.  You might be surprised at the result. Talk about how limitations helped the ground crew bring home the astronauts from Apollo 13.

In business, we look for reasons that stand in the way of us being innovative.  We don’t have the time or money, or we haven’t vetted out ideas properly, or don’t have the right talent. I’ve written this before, but if we wait till all the lights are green before we leave for work, we will never begin.

As our children’s greatest role model, what is it that you would love to do?  Get started despite the constraints, and your children will follow your lead.

You may even want to fry up Green Eggs and Ham!

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

If everyone gets trophies then trophies become meaningless

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

 

This time of year, there are many commencement speeches, in fact no fewer than 37,000 which is the number of high schools alone in the U.S.  

But the speech by Wellesley High English teacher David McCullough Jr. is blunt and honest because he told students they “are not special.”

Here is a brief exerpt from his speech:

“Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That’s 37,000 valedictorians … 37,000 class presidents … 92,000 harmonizing altos … 340,000 swaggering jocks … 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs,” he said.

He added: “Even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.”

McCullough makes a statement on parents who overdo it in a modern society focused on collecting achievements. “You’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble wrapped … feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.” But he adds in a video on Wellesley Channel TV YouTube page, “You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless. … We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement.”

The point is that learning is wonderful, mistakes happen and experience makes you stronger.  All time is borrowed so make the most of it.  Work backwards as to how you would want people to talk about you in this short time we call life. 

You Only Live Once, but as the speaker says, that doesn’t mean you have to get YOLO as a tattoo. 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

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.
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