Tag Archives: forgiveness


Spend family time this weekend learning to play your child’s favorite video game or watch their favorite TV show or movie with them. With them is the key word and boosts not just their IQ, but their EQ or Emotional Fitness. 

Here is a Forbes article discussing research into this topic.  http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/91-percent-of-kids-play-video-games-says-study/ It’s worth reading, but the key point remains: with  makes the difference between wasting time and what the experts call teachable moments. As the article points out, this goes for all media.

Parenting tips for using the media for teachable moments.

Tip one:  Remember age and stage.  With kids who are not reading yet, particularly with toddlers and preschoolers, you basically want to teach right from wrong behavior.  As I have said elsewhere, short and sweet does the trick.

Think kind, cruel or mean, safe or dangerous. I would also suggest Make Believe, Not Real, and Against the Law. Don’t get hung up if the little ones do not understand the words or the bigger picture.  In time they will and you are planting important seeds.

 As children age ask them to label the behavior.

With teens, ask them to explain the labels they give and start teaching critical thinking.  You do that by pointing out complications as well as asking for the downside or opposite points of view.

Tip Two: Use video games to teach what some call life skills and what I call Emotional Fitness. How? Cheer the winning points, offer some “That’s Life” sympathy when frustration mounts, and always show how you handle failure as well as getting frustrated.

Tip Three: When a game stops being fun, stop playing and teach that games must be fun or else put a side.  Winning is not everything.


Break time for most of us comes on weekends. However, whenever it comes, make certain you plan an extended laugh and play time with your friends and family, more me-time than usual, and a bit of time quiet time to strengthen your connection with higher thoughts about what matters

As always remember what matters, be grateful, and practice kindness by sharing and caring, For all you do to make the world better, thank you; you are making an important difference.


DISCLAIMER: Although built upon evidenced based practices, there is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser. You are the expert on you and your child; the rest of us experts on many different things.


I just read four consecutive articles on Psychology Today, all of them bashing mothers. I will not link you to those articles. I trashed them. Parents and therapists need to stop this tirade of parent bashing and in this blog post I’ll explain why and discuss how you can be fair to yourself as a parent.

A picture about the joys of parent bashing.

 Image found on Pastordk’s blogspot. 


First a quote by Augusten Burroughs, American author of Running With Scissors, a quote that most psychologists and parenting gurus would do well to think about.  Then a few thoughts and some advice.

If you have one parent who loves you, even if they can’t buy you clothes, they’re so poor and they make all kinds of mistakes and maybe sometimes they even give you awful advice, but never for one moment do you doubt their love for you–if you have this, you have incredibly good fortune.

If you have two parents who love you? You have won life’s Lotto.

If you do not have parents, or if the parents you have are so broken and so, frankly, terrible that they are no improvement over nothing, this is fine.

It’s not ideal because it’s harder without adults who love you more than they love themselves. But harder is just harder, that’s all.

This is a reality based quote, not an ‘awfulizing’ quote. The psychologist Albert Ellis coined the word: ‘awfulizing’.  You awfulize when you turn the proverbial molehill into a mountain; you make a broken fingernail into an amputated arm; or parental mistakes into life long rants.  I am of the sad belief far too many therapists do just that when listening to their patients rants about parents.

Therapists who awfulize parental mistakes  probably do so  because most were wounded themselves as children and have not moved beyond those hurts that all parents inflict on children. Instead of moving on, these keep parental behavior in the floodlight of therapy practice.

Oscar Wilde noted, “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”

Theodore .Reik, Author of Listening With the Third Ear, believed until a person forgives their parents AND hopes their parents forgive them, no matter what the person’s age, they remain a child.

So blaming, bashing therapists and parenting gurus, please grow up.

I personally believe forgiving and hoping you will be forgiven is usually accomplished when our dreams of being the kind of parents we wanted to be crash and shatter. When is that?  When the reality based parts of our brain  realize we are making many of the same mistakes our parents made.


Check reality:  Some parents need bashing, probably to be arrested, and then  convicted of their crimes. Read the book A Boy Called It for an example.

If you have sex with your children, beat them so they break and bruise, you are engaging in criminal behavior. Criminal behavior needs stopping.

If you are continuously emotionally bruising and battering a child, while that is easily proved to be criminal behavior,  it should be bashed and stopped.  The child protective  laws calls such behavior emotional abuse.

Now here is a problem related to emotional bruising. We all do it. In one way or another we all hurt our children and hurt them badly.

Here is another quote, this one by John Steinbeck from his book East of Eden, “When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”

Sadly, most children, even those with the best of parents, eventually deal with the fallen gods that were once their parents – life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

Check your flaws: Admit you fail to always be a good or good-enough parent. Think of these common examples:

  • Children victimized by adult temper tantrums.  I hurt my children with my temper.
  • Children witnessing your inappropriately expressed anger toward others. Emotionally bruising.
  • Children made pawns in divorce actions or custody cases.
  • Children living parent’s failed dreams. Think of Toddlers and Tiaras.
  • Children hurt or bruised in a hundred smaller ways.

Check the balance: We all fail to be good enough all the time.  The difference between good enough and not good enough parenting in terms of the above list of flaws lies in two things

First: The balance between good parenting and not good enough parenting. My temper tantrums were flaws, and acts of emotional abuse.

Second: Can and do you apologize? The ability to say you were wrong and to apologize turns parental flaws into human flaws and teaches important life lessons.

My temper tantrums echoed my mother’s.And believe me when I realized I was behaving as she had, I sunk into a pit of shame. However, I was able to own up to how wrong those tantrums were and to apologize to my children; and to try to do better. I tried and sometimes failed. My mother never apologized. My father never told me her tantrums were not my fault. It took therapy to get me to understand that.

Have faith: When we realize we fail as parents, it is painful.  It helped me to realize how few parental mistakes are fatal, how strong children are, and how most parents are  good enough parents.

Forgive yourself for being human.

Hug, love, laugh and play lots with your children, young and old.

As always, share and care and thank you for doing so.



The first:  Although built upon evidenced based practices, there is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser. You are the expert on you and your child; the rest of us experts on many different things.

The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog posts. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments.   Life is too short to let problems you can avoid annoy or stress you.


A humorous lead in, but also a reminder that being human probably is something to be grateful for.  Being a well-loved cat might be the best if you are into being petted, fed, and fully accepted even if aloof, cranky, or spitting mad.  A dog might do better for some.  As a child I wanted to be a deer living quietly in the forest.

In the long run, however, I am grateful I am human, and  grateful for all I have been given.  Some have so little gratitude is hard come by.

I am mostly grateful for having a loving family and that means a family that knows the power of  forgiveness and that it lies in the small gestures.

I had to shop a bit this morning, I am bringing a vegetable dish to the Thanksgiving Dinner another grandmother is cooking and needed to buy carrots.

As always I was bantering with the cashier.  She was dressed up a bit under her required Safeway jacket, so I assumed she was heading out to a festive dinner when she got off work.  Wrong.

“Only my mother lives near here,” she said, ” and we don’t get along, we barely talk for which I am grateful.”

Broke my heart.  And as I have been told by some, I probably was feeling more pain then she felt.  She seemed at peace.  But I wish I could have invited her to a Thanksgiving dinner with me.

Saddens me when I see family not talking to each other, not able to spend some time together. Saddens me more when I see how common that has become.

So I am grateful my kids and I have managed to keep our love going through some very tough times.

parent advice

You are the one who teaches a child forgiveness as a tool for keeping the love flowing.  But if you watch your children, most are born with the ability to forgive.  A two or three year old released from time out, rushing to his punisher’s arms for a hug.  Gradually, unless parents take care the easy  ability to forgive fades.

Keeping up a relationship means practicing  lots of forgiveness. Two of the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises  are about forgiveness.  Exercise Ten  is forgiving another; Exercise Eleven is  forgiving yourself.  Forgiveness lies in realizing we are all flawed, all human, all doing our best with what we have been given, all needing forgiveness.

Forgiveness also means  acting in the small ways described by Buscaglia.  The small things keep  love alive.

Stay strong

Life can be hurtful, and those we love often fail and hurt us the most.  When we can forgive, we will find we have much to be grateful for.  For those of you who are enjoying dinner with family, you are blessed, be very grateful.  I am.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.



Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, so I will  off-line for at least 24 hours beginning late this afternoon.  I had intended to schedule my Wednesday post, but inadvertently published it.  I was berating myself and then remembered the message of the High Holidays and of the coming the Day of Atonement. I realized in the scheme of life, sending it early was no sin and just as good as scheduling it to post automatically. Probably better.

Yom Kippur  is the day all observant Jews and many who observe only on Yom Kippur seek God’s forgiveness.  We pray for God’s forgiveness.  The service consists of many confessional prayers because when other Jews sin, the Jewish Community has failed.

Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.   So on these last few hours, I ask if any of you have been offended by my posts, forgive me.  I have done the best I could, and will continue to do so.

Thank you for all you have given me and may you and the world continue to be offered the opportunity to survive and to bring peace between and for all.

Stay strong, be kind, forgive, be grateful, do all you can to bring peace to your heart, your family, the world.