Archive for May, 2007

April Showers brings….stress?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007


This time of year is especially difficult for parents. Doesn’t it seem as if we have to be a number of places at the same time – all the time? Kids sports, school spring concerts and family events seem to collide.

I used to think that holidays were a stressful time of year. But that was BC (before children) and all the events associated with having children that seem to make life more challenging. Here are a few simple ways to make life easier:

Think Nancy Regan – Just say no. But figure out who you should say no to. The people that matter most in your life should be on top of the yes list. You know that already; this is just a friendly reminder.
No it isn’t possible for you to attend two of your children’s games across town at the same time – they haven’t yet been successful at cloning parents. Don’t be guilted by this, and be in one place and pay attention. Each child will get his or her own personal attention from you.
This will sound like a contradiction but it makes sense – get up 15 minutes earlier and still get more sleep. Yes, that means forget the late night talk shows and turn in a little earlier.
Everybody is on the road along with you, so allow more time than you need
Permission granted – so the house is a little dusty – haven’t you seen the poem circling the world via email about the cobwebs and kids? Here is the abbreviated version – The kids grow up very fast so the cobwebs can wait. Any questions?
Ignore the phones – all of them, at least for a little while
Prevention is a cure – fix little problems before they become big ones like low tire pressure, gas in the car, milk in the house making extra copies of keys before you lose them. Hide them or give one to a neighbor..
Does it make sense to buy in bulk this time of year – yes!
Cook ahead and invite the kids to help in the planning and preparation on a Sunday for the week ahead.
Ask them to figure out ways to manage better and then ask them to sign up to help. Who can set the table, take out the trash, fold the towels, etc. Remind them they are part of a family.
Pick your battles
Talk to a calm friend about the things you don’t see that might be causing you unneeded stress
Add an ounce of love to all that you do especially for those that you love
Laugh – research has proven that laughter is a great stress reducer. With kids I’m sure you can find something to laugh about.
Breathe – Live by the airline rule – parents put on your oxygen mask before you put on your child’s. Translation – take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.

Remember – most people are doing the best they can – so are you.

Getting to Parent Heaven

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007


Do you think there is a parent heaven?

You would certainly hope so. After all, there should be some kind of a reward for all this hard but wonderful work.

Nature protects us from initially understanding this job. As you watch nervous first time parents coming home from the hospital they are so concerned about getting the car seat in properly, and then getting the baby in the car seat properly and finally surviving the first night home that they don’t realize something very important.

They are not only bringing home a baby, they are also bringing home a future learners’ permit carrying driver – yes, let me just say it – a teenager. Wheh! Thank God they don’t figure that out or they would take up permanent residence in the hospital under the watchful eye of professionals.

But still, there lessons are every day, and as parenting experiences pile up. Much like the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders, each day you get a step closer to winning, or in our case parent heaven. Naturally there are qualifiers such as going to Chuck E Cheese twice. Anyone that goes once can be excused because you don’t have a clue what you’re getting into. But when you do that second time, you are going with eyes wide open.

If you’ve ever sat through an entire season of little league games that start in March when you’re carrying your thermos of hot cocoa and wearing your parka and the games that end just before the 4th of July in the sweltering heat.

Another express pass to parent heaven is given to anyone that goes to a 4th grade recorder recital. The sounds coming from the stage of fifty 4th graders playing hot cross buns are enough to make your ears bleed. But we’re parents, and we react as if we’re hearing the sounds of the great classical musician Joshua Bell. We are there for our children and don’t mind any of these things at all, in fact they are a privilege.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Mom’s the Word

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Since 1872, the second Sunday of May has been the national observance of Mother’s Day. I’m bringing this subject up on Monday and not waiting until Friday which is too late for you to think about it.

If you forget to pick up groceries on the way home, not good but forgivable. If you forgot to feed the dog, not bad enough for you to end up in the doghouse, but if you forget mother’s day and I can assure you there won’t be a large enough place for you to hide.

According to Dr. John Gray author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, we are from different planets, but let me help you to understand what it is that mothers do.

As you know, there is no job description for the role, but I’ve taken the liberty of putting something together defining 141 roles. You can get a complete copy by visiting Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and print out your own copy of Mom’s Job Description.

The job of a mom is interesting in the sense that you hope that what you do not only enriches your life, but the life of others as well. Current research, much of it contradictory leaves us with a constant nagging sense of guilt and doubt. But we’re smarter than that. You know you’re doing ok, just look at your child.

A young mom I know was feeling uncertain as we all do from time to time thinking she wasn’t doing a good enough job. She and her little three-year old daughter were in the food market when someone accidentally cut the little girl off from her mother not realizing they were together.

In her most polite, but assertive big girl voice she said, “Excuse me miss, but I need to get to my mom.” The woman realizing what happened immediately moved her shopping cart and looked up at the mom and gave her a very assuring smile. The mom felt good and realized that in the behavior of her very polite little girl, maybe she is making a difference.

Unlike other jobs where you get you raises, reviews, promotions, benefits and vacations, this is a job where you have to find your own rewards. Keep your eyes open because they’re there every day. The sticky wet kisses on the playground, the toothless smiles from the stage of the spring musicale, the high fives when he rounds third base or the teenager that still talks to you. And yes, polite little three-year-old girls.

Family Traditions

Friday, May 4th, 2007


We recently talked about creating a family culture. From that culture, rituals and traditions begin. Children love rituals because it helps them to feel secure. Have you noticed that when you do something twice, kids immediately call it a tradition? Actually a lot of good parenting can come from watching our children’s reaction to things; both good and bad.

Now I love Friday nights because that means it is the end of the work week, and more time we could spend together as a family. I made it even better by giving myself the night off from cooking every Friday night.

When my kids were little, I would pick the kids up from nursery school after work, we would head over to the Chinese restaurant which was strategically placed next door to Blockbuster. Our tradition started innocently enough, with a little song Chinese food and movies. Next it evolved into a silly little dance, a sort of conga. You had to see this – I’m in a business suit, doing this conga dance and singing this song as I move with my little kids from the Chinese restaurant as we placed our order, then to rent a movie and back to pick up the food. We would come home, get into comfy clothes and veg out. Though my kids are big now, I still carry on the tradition of not cooking on Friday nights.

There are many simple traditions families have like taking a walk or playing cards after dinner. Some have seasonal traditions like apple picking in the fall, berry picking in the spring, cutting down a Christmas tree, indoor campouts, or fishing.

Children value these simple times. What are your favorite family traditions?

You can visit Parental Wisdom and print out the free report Wonderful Family traditions.

Talk to you on Monday. Have a great weekend and Happy Friday!

Creating a Family Culture

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007


When asked how he went about his work, the great artist Michelangleo said that if given a block of stone and asked to carve an angel, he would simply take his hammer and chisel and carve away anything that didn’t look like an angel.

That is an interesting perspective we can use when raising children. What if we could chip away at the behaviors we didn’t want our children to have. Instead, what if we helped to shape the positive behaviors we wanted our children to exhibit? Better yet, what if we focused on raising the kind of a person we want our children to become? Just imagine that you have clay and were able to mold your child.

You have to agree that despite all the outside influences, you are still the greatest influence. I know it is really tough work to raise a child, but think of it this way. It is easier to build a child than it is to repair an adult.

Taking it a step further, think about the kind of a family and home you want? Growing up you must remember different kinds of families. There was the fun family, the yellers, and there was the family whose home was like a museum, where everything was covered in plastic and roped off. Did you ever wonder how that happens? You’re in charge now and you get to choose. But we have to do that consciously and figure out what kind of a family you want.

It begins with a definition of family, which can simply be defined as people loving and caring for one another, no matter where they live or with whom they live. It is helpful to associate language around what you believe, for example, “We are a family that loves each other unconditionally, and encourages differing opinions but always respects one another. We are a family that loves to spend time together having fun.” Make it up – but make it happen. In the case of blended families, this becomes even more important. Consider what happens with a merger and acquisition – two companies come together which is exactly what a blended family is.

Something to think about.

To print out Creating a Family Culture visit Parental Wisdom and click on free reports

Elvis Presley, Socrates and Parenting

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007


Welcome to the very first Parental Wisdom daily inspirational call.

Let’s step back in time. It’s Sunday evening, September 9th, 1956. 60 million viewers representing 82.6% of the television viewing audience, the largest in history are tuned in to watch the very young, very handsome, Elvis Presley gyrate across the small screen.

I would imagine that the topic of discussion over the back fences of America that next day were largely centered around a great concern that the nation’s teenagers were headed down the road of moral decay because of this new rock music. What were these parents going to do? What I wouldn’t give to have that as our biggest problem today!

Every generation of parents believes that they have a more difficult time that the generation of parents that went before them. If perception is reality, than this is true. But to be fair, I’d like to share something,

“Children today love luxury too much. They have terrible manners, flaunt authority, and have no respect for their elders. They no longer rise when their parents or teachers enter the room. What kind of awful creatures will they become when they grow up?”

Socrates 400 BC

Perhaps the more things change, the more they stay the same. But in terms of parenting, can anybody have children? Perhaps there should be some qualifiers Here are a few things to think about before having children.

Would you want to have you as a parent?
Do you treat the people that matter in your life as well as you should?
Do you believe it is your job as a parent to tell a child what to think or how to think?

For the complete list of 10 Things to Consider Before Having Children visit Parental Wisdom and click on Free Reports where you can print out your own copy.

A special thanks to Dr. Rob Gilbert, professor at Montclair State University in NJ and the inspiration behind this concept.