Archive for May, 2010

Tell Me What To Do Next

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

This week USA Today ran a story questioning why moms judge one another and their parenting.

I hope none of us are out there waiting on our next move to be based on the opinions or judgment of others.  That makes no sense because you are the expert of your children.

I guess that is what I love best about Parental Wisdom®.  You ask the questions, anonymously and for free, and get back multiple expert answers so you can choose what works best for your child and situation.   Something you can’t get anywhere else – – that is why it is so unique it’s patented.

Parenting after all is like arts and crafts – art because the people involved always make it new, and crafts because the longer you work at it, the better you get, but only if you listen to yourself.  With our help, you can get the answers you need to figure it out, so the problems aren’t being swept under the rug.

To listen to the audio on this post, click here tell me what to do next

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So how are you doing?

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

“So how am I doing?”

That was a frequent question posed by Ed Koch, the popular three-term New York City Mayor.

As a parent even though that is such a great question, how do you know how you’re doing?

I have never been of the mindset that straight A’s are the barometer, yet when you meet someone and ask about the kids that is the answer you’ll most likely get.  The reason this is top of mind is that we’re in the midst of college and high school graduations where these measures seem to matter.

But then I think about all the friends and family that are having babies and I wonder as they hold their beautiful little newborns, do they think about the kind of person they will raise?

What if you met your little tiny baby 25 years from now – what kind of a person would you like to meet?  What qualities should that child possess?  Even more interesting what if you could reverse engineer that child and focus on the qualities that you feel matter?

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

The Parental Wisdom advisory group will be writing a collaborative work on this subject.  Each of us will write about a specific quality and the book (yet untitled) will not be sold, but will be given away to all our members.  I invite you to send me a note with the qualities you feel matter in our efforts to raise good people.  As an example, you might consider self-reliance, empathy, confidence, fun-loving, etc., though I am not trying to limit your thoughts in any way.

Please send your emails to my by Monday, May 31st – we are very excited about this work.

p.s. my bumper sticker says Proud Parent of a Good Person – I’m happy to send you one.  Just make sure your mailing address is up to date (you must be a Parental Wisdom member) just login and check your profile.  Drop me a note and I’ll put one in the mail.

How To Connect with Your Teens through Travel

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

By Luisa Frey

Creator/editor of www.teentraveltalk.com

What’s one of the biggest issues facing parents of teenagers?

Disconnect between parent and child.

We all know the feeling of wanting to be closer to our young adult yet mostly we end up butting heads because of their desire to be treated like an adult but not really acting like one. Inevitably, we often feel the void that this disconnect causes.

However, I’ve discovered one sure-fire way to connect with my teen – through travel. While we can’t be on the road 24/7, I’ve found over and over again that when my teen daughter and I are away from our daily routine, we turn into different people – ones who don’t see each other as a “parent” or as a “teen” but instead as a complementary duo. And we actually have real conversations instead of those which escalate into shouting!

So what are my secrets to selecting a trip that facilitates connecting with my teen?

LET THEM OWN PART OF THE PLANNING PROCESS

Last winter my daughter and I were going through a very difficult time. However, one day she walked into my office and said, “I want to go to Salem, MA with you next month since I’m doing a history paper on the Salem Witch Trials.” My first reaction was, “No way, we can’t afford that.” But then I realized that she actually wanted to spend time with me and that I was going to move heaven and earth to make this trip happen!

So I gave her ownership of the planning process and told her to choose a website to help her plan it; find out which attractions were open in the winter; price an affordable hotel; and decide how many days we needed to stay there. The next day she marched in with an itinerary she had created and an affordable hotel suggestion.

Needless to say, I booked the trip and it proved critical in getting our relationship back on track.

TURN “CAR RIDES” INTO “CONFIDES”

Our road trip from New Jersey to Massachusetts gave us plenty of time to talk, listen to music, or just be in the same space for a period time without one of us having to run out the door like at home.

Since then, I have discovered that my daughter opens up most when we are in the car and I am driving. Perhaps it’s because teens do not always feeling comfortable looking an adult in the eye when they talk about deep matters. With me behind the wheel, that scenario is facilitated.

USE THE POWER OF THEIR PEERS

Let’s face it – teens are most influenced by their peers and not as much by mom and dad. Why not use teen influence to help you plan a trip that your teens will enjoy? What parent wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a family trip that their teen labels “lame” ahead of time? Instead, you can nip “baditude” in the bud by getting your teen enthused before you even leave the house.

One way to do this is for you and your teen to check out www.teentraveltalk.com. This blog is written by teens for their peers and parents and details trips that get the teen stamp of approval. It also features articles that are written by teens and their parents regarding trips that had some tension around them. These articles give advice from the teens as to what they would have liked to have done differently on those specific trips. Lastly, it includes teen and parent forums for asking family travel questions which are answered by teentraveltalk.com’s teen bloggers.

ACTION IS A MUST

When you check out teentraveltalk.com, you’ll see a recurring theme: teens love trips that feature ACTION! They do NOT want long car rides, sitting in a cathedral in Europe, nor too many museum visits. They want to be out there doing cool, active things. This can range from horseback riding in Costa Rica to walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

However, action needs to be tempered with time to “hang out.” This is not the same as down time on a plane or in a car. Instead it means unstructured time to listen to their iPod, watch a movie, munch on some snacks, or hang out at the beach.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO KEEP THE MEMORIES ALIVE

During and after your trip, use the alluring power of social media to keep the trip memories alive. My daughter LOVES taking photos – thousands of them. The photos are great documentaries of what we did and what we saw. They also are the impetus for us to stand around her computer after a trip – her little brother included – and laugh at some of the fun moments of our trip.

Of course these photos then turn up on my teenager’s Facebook page. While some of us parents are not privy to our kids’ Facebook pages, you should feel honored that the trip you went on with your child actually landed up on her/his wall. Sounds like your teen might actually want to take another…and another trip with you after all!

I Matter

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Respect for ones parents is the highest duty of civil life.  -Chinese Proverb

A few weeks ago, I heard something on the news that was so shocking that I was pretty sure I heard incorrectly.

I didn’t.

A Freeport teenager charged with crashing a van into a house, killing a woman gardening, told police she didn’t feel so bad after learning the victim’s age.  Kayla Gerdes, 18, was quoted in a written statement to police saying: “The thing that made me feel not so bad was she was old.” The comments were reported by Newsday, citing court records. She added: “I mean 70 years is a long time to live.”

It’s been a long time coming.

Recently, I noticed a family including a mom, dad, grandparents and three children out to dinner.  While the mom and dad spoke with their parents, the three children wore the glow of hand-held video games.  They were not invited to be part of the conversation, but instead quietly occupied so the dinner experience was pleasant but missing a perfect opportunity for the children to connect.

If your children are not taught to respect the elders in your family, then the elders in your family will become just as this young woman said, old.

What grandparents want is the opportunity to know and love their grandchildren, and even better to share their wisdom and history of family.

With this coming mother’s day and father’s day, save money on the shirts and scarves, and encourage your children to give the purity of their attention.

Teach your children that we all matter.

See “Creating a Family Culture” –Parental Wisdom – Reports

Do you have a point of view on this topic?  Visit the Parental Wisdom forum to start a topic.  See I Matter.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®