Tag Archives: parenting tips

ADOLESCENCE JUST A PHASE? HOPEFULLY – 10 TIPS FOR DEALING

hugs

Parenting a teen whose behavior is unacceptable is like hugging a cactus. Nothing  seems to work to improve things? Not even hugs?  Laugh if you can and then read on.

Parents are told teen angst is a phase, but when it goes too far, parents need to think lots more.  What is too far? Criminal behavior, chemical addictions, physical cruelty to animals, small children and other people, self-destructive behavior.

If you feel this is what you are dealing with, the following tips will help:

Parenting Tip One: Is it as bad as your think?   Use this five point scale to decide just how out of control your teen is.

5  Your child has been arrested for a felony, has run away more than once; drinks or drugs; has no friends; dropped out of school; threatens suicide; harms self with cutting or head banging; beaten up by others or has unexplained bruises.
4  None of the above but has been stealing from you, lying, breaking curfew and out all night; possibly having unsafe sex; travels with peers who have been arrested or are known drug users; diets although not fat; sullen and depressed most of the time.
3  None of the above, but lies: at least one friend doing drugs or arrested; breaks curfew and has been out all night at least once; won’t tell you where going or what doing: appears depressed half the time; school problems.
2  None of the above, may tell white lies; needs nagging to do what needs doing; rude to you; depressed some of the time; some school problems, but passing most things; breaks curfew, but never stays out all night; has only one or two friends.
1  You are worried but after taking the test realize you child is basically okay. This may be a sign you are over worrying. Start working on you. Get my eBook Parents Are People Too.

Parenting Tip Two: Make sure you have done all you can do, then let go. When  you have done all you can do and a child  is continuing to spiral out of control, adults must stop trying to control.  That is what is meant by “Letting go.”  This does not mean letting go of concern or love for the child; it mainly means  holding to house rules, and not rescuing if the child s/he gets in trouble.

Parenting Tip Three: Get support. Letting go is not easy and once you start making the necessary changes, the child will  become even more difficult as a way of testing your resolve. You will need lots of help from people who care for you and the child. Some of these service providers may want to serve on the team and this is acceptable only if you feel they are supportive of you as well as the child.

The best way to garner support is to create a Child and Family Team.  Such a team should be made of family, friends, various service providers, professionals, and any one else who knows the child and will support you.  Any school counselors, therapists, or social workers working with child should know you have formed a team and be kept informed of it’s actions.

You might also want to tell the principal of your child’s school.  Why?  The child may complain and try to get you reported to the child abuse hotline.

If the child appears to be engaging in criminal behavior outside the home, adults should befriend the local community affair’s police officer and tell him/her of the above plan.  It would also be wise to share your concerns that the child is engaging in criminal activity, although some parents and care-givers will be reluctant to do so.

Parenting Tip Four: Be very clear about what matters: safety and respect  tops  the list. An out of control child is not safe, endangers others,, and has no respect for self, others, or reasonable laws.  Worry when these rules are broken, worry lots less about the smaller rules.

Parenting Tip Five: When rules that matter are broken, strip away a  privilege.  No money even for lunch at school;  no use of telephone including cell phones; no house key; no use of no goodies in his/her bedroom—radio, tv, games.

No listening to explanations, which is a privilege to those who respect others.

If you have been doing the above to no avail, move on to the next tip.

Parenting Tip Five:  Write and deliver a Declaration of Emancipation.  Such a document  give the child freedom from your rules, but make the child fully responsible for her or his life. Detail the  responsibilities you will be turning over to your child. Say something like:

”You seem to feel you are old enough to set your own rules.  I am granting you that right, but know that as an adult you will have to take care of your own needs and accept whatever consequences life hands you.”

 “Because you are not yet eighteen, I am obligated by law to provide you food, minimal clothing, and shelter.  I will not do anything more, including bailing you out if you get arrested or caring for your child should you get pregnant or get someone else pregnant.  You also need to know I will contact the police if you bring any criminal activities into the house or engage in criminal behavior while at home.”

 “I will provide you with life’s necessities, not only because it is required, but because I do care about you. I cannot support some of your behaviors, but  I will always work with you when your requests and behavior are responsible.”

 “I do have to lock the door to stay safe, and I will let you in when you come in at my set curfew or if I hear you, but as you know I sleep soundly.  Also know that the neighbors have told me they will call the police if you create too much noise in trying to wake me.  I understand Covenant House has a shelter that will put you up if you can’t get home by my bedtime or you might sleep  out at a friend’s house.  Do keep yourself safe.”

Use you Child and Family Team to plan when and how to deliver this to the child.  Do not do it alone, you  need  team members with you when you deliver the Declaration to your child.

Parenting Tip Six: Whenever the child says s/he will straighten up, do not cave in too quickly. Privileges need to be earned back one by one. Have the  child meet with one of the other adults on your team and draw up a plan for winning and keeping your trust.

Schedule a time for you to hear the plan within a reasonable time frame. Meanwhile, the child must continue living as an adult.

Parenting Tip Seven:  Show you care with small  “niceties” such as:

  1. Cooking a child’s favorite food once in a while. Saying, “I thought you might like this.”
  2. Putting  on child’s type of music or TV show once in a while.
  3. Leaving small and unexpected presents on his/her room on the bed.
  4. Inviting to movies or other family outings.
  5. Celebrating birthday and other holidays as if the child was behaving.
  6. Considering a very small “love allowance.”  Such allowances are given no matter what the child’s behavior.

Parenting Tip Eight: Consider having the child live somewhere else.  

  1. If you and the child’s other parents are not living together, and the child has been living with you, consider vesting custody with the other parent. This  might work, particularly if that is what the child would like and the other parent agrees and has not been previously found to be a child abuser.  If the child wishes to live with the other parent and the other parent does not agree, don’t get drawn into a fight.  Just tell the child to discuss that idea with the other parent.
  2. A relative who wants the child and the child wants to live with; a friend’s family.
  3. If you are wealthy, try a private school or a good camp or wilderness experience.  Proceed with caution, as many are unregulated and sometimes abuse their residents.
  4. Placement in a private psychiatric facility – insurances including Medicaid often cover the costs.
  5. Consider a drug rehabilitation program if a child drinks or drugs.   Works best when the  child admist to using and is willing to go. However, sometimes works when forced on the child.
  6. Job core has worked in some situations.
  7. Child welfare agencies might provide  placement. The downside? You might be  found to be neglectful, but that is preferable to allowing the child to continue to rule the roost in your home in dangerous and unacceptable ways.
  8. If the child is arrested and in detention, most often Juvenile Justice authorities will want you to take the child back home.  You will need to be in immediate contact with the discharge planning staff.  Make it clear that without lots of support from juvenile justice, you do not feel you can keep him/her out of trouble. With the support of the court and fear of detention, some youth straighten up.
  9. You will do best at brokering for the child to live else where, if a lawyer represents your interests: the courts will provide one  to protect your child’s interests.
  10. Make the probation department part of your Child and Family Team.
  11. Some children want and can be declared emancipated minors. They can seek help from their lawyer if this is their choice.

Parenting Tip Nine: Control your feelings.  Out of control children are comforted if you show upset. Some even want you to blow and get abusive. Why? It lets them rationalize their behavior. If you are crazy or abusive then their bad behavior is excusable.  I call that  Gotcha War. 

Staying calm when a child is defiant is not easy. My eBook Self-soothing to Create Calm is full of quick and easy exercises that properly learned and practiced keep you from blowing your cool.

Remember you can read Amazon eBooks on any of your devices by using this free application.

Parenting Tip Ten: Not sure this is what you need,  but still worried? Remember this is a last resort. You may not need to follow the advice given above.

However, I suggest taking  what might be helpful and keeping the rest for future reference. Hopefully, you won’t need to go the whole ten yards.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.

Katherine

This post was inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt, Phase

OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST

These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

LINKS OF INTEREST

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Please rate this material. Doing so helps me. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.

Katherine

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Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up to be Entitled – Parenting Tips.

Age and stage fact: Kids until a certain age think what is is what should be, so giving kids too much too soon breeds entitlement. Not healthy for anyone.

Quotes and cartoon about entitlement

Parents want their children to be happy. Normal, but not healthy. Research shows acceptance and gratitude work better. Moreover, children do better when allowed to learn on their own and that often means letting them struggle and sometimes fail.

PARENTING TIPS

Tip one:  Get you own expectations in order.  Here’s what the writers of the Declaration of Independence said about rights (entitlements), “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Life at its most basic means water, food, shelter, warmth, and adequate health care.  Liberty  meant not being a slave and having choices so you can pursue happiness which was not  guaranteed.

(For a little perspective recall that at first only free men who owned property were thought entitled to these rights.  Moreover, although progress has been made, more needs doing. Also recall that most of our fore fathers were slave owners.  Throughout history, in all cultures slavery of some was justified by seeing some as entitled and others as not so blessed.)

Tip two: Do a happiness inventory. What makes you happy and for how long? Most studies show that two things contribute to happiness once basic rights have been met: a sense of being good and sense of being competentMoreover, there is a greater sense of competency when one works hard and stuggles to achieve something.

Tip three: Know and emphasize the rules that matter. Those rules: safety for all; respect for all living beings, respect for property, and respect for reasonable laws.

Start your teaching good manners as soon as your child starts talking. The first ones to teach:”Please “and “Thank You,”  helping others, cleaning up after yourself.

Part of rule setting is helping your child gain a sense of mission and the healthiest mission is following the “Golden Rule” as preached across the ages.

What-matters

Tip four: Set and use SMART goals then teach your children to do the same as enter their pre-teens and teens.  My eBook “Know your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals detao;s jpw tp set SMART Goals, but here is a quick peek at the smart goal process.

smart goals

My eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals give you more details. Buy it now, it costs less than a latte.

 PRACTICE KINDNESS

Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt:  

Exhale.Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright.

Many times, many ways. But it all turend out okay given time enough.

LINKS OF INTEREST

 Emotional Intelligence  (en.wikipedia.org)
The EFTI Store (eftistore.com)

 

 

Two Phrases that Disarm Negativity – Parenting Advice

The joy of parenthood seriously diminishes the joy of marriage. Surprised? Then you probably do not have children.

Crying baby and upset parents.

Babies add stress and lots of work, so no surprise that 68% of marriages deteriorate when baby comes home. The crying, the lack of sleep, the jangled nerves are real, but for many unexpected. This rude awakening  starts when baby’s cries cannot be soothed.

Did you know that nature designed a baby’s crying to torture adults.  Studies show that adults react to crying babies with raised stress levels that can reach painful levels.

Why? Because the adults so tortured are motivated to  stop the crying. Most do so by tending to the baby. Most also experience great relief when baby can be comforted. When the crying cannot be comforted the parental stress keeps growing.

Here is an interested fact: how the adults think about (interpret) the baby’s crying is a reason in baby beatings. A crying baby that cannot be comforted makes all parents feel out of control. Stress grows is you need to feel in control. Most such baby beatings are done by men and by men who think the baby is crying on purpose and just to “get” the man in one other way.

The correct interpretation, of course, is baby is in pain. If hunger satisfies the pain, all is good, if it doesn’t, then the adults need to be able to tolerate the on going crying without blaming themselves. They need to do what they can to comfort the baby and then accept children are not controlled by parents.

To reduce their stress, parents need to put baby down in his or her crib, shut the door and leaving the sound of the crying.  The experts suggest checking the baby every ten or fifteen minutes.

That bit of advice, did not work for my youngest son. He needed to cry for thirty or forty minutes in order to fall asleep. checking only added to crying time.

The frustrations of parenthood do not end when baby outgrows crying and starts to walk and talk. Very soon comes the terrible twos which can extend into the terrible threes, fours, and eventually the terrible teens.  What to do? Read on.

PARENTING Thoughts and tips

Parents reduce negativity  as their child moves toward adulthood by the constant use of two phrases: “Please” and “Thank you.”

Properly invoked those words reduce parental stress in two ways. “Please” recognizes the limitations of the ability to control and for many is the heart of prayer – a plea to God, the Force, or the Universe to help. For the child, it provides carries the message  that s/he does have a choice when it comes to behavior.

“Thank you” essentially does the same.

The CARE plan sets out the proper use of these words, but particularly the use of “Thank You.”

The CARE Plan

Making amends after losing control.

As noted in the Poster Coach, the “Please ” can be said angrily. Angry words are a warning signal and much better than pretending you are cool, calm, and collected when you are seething.

Think back to your childhood for a minute. When did you know you had to toe the line. Your parents probably had a standard signal. It might be a raised voice, a lowered voice, a raised hand, or a pointing to the closet were the  switch were kept.

Until the kids know you really mean what you are saying, it is all a game to see how long they can keep doing what they want to do.

A bit of anger as an “I’ve had it” signal is not evil. Tom Phelon’s One, Two, Three Magic works better however.

But as I note in my book Parents Are People Too, parents are not always calm, cool, and collected.  So when you start seething, see that as a signal you might need to take a time out and if that is not possible to start praying to the God of your understanding until the child gets the message and does what is asked.

Then comes the  “Thank you.”   That, however, needs to be said without anger. It needs to be a generous recognition of the child’s better behavior. Mostly it can be part of ending on a positive note, but  it can also be said as the child begins to behave.

How does this reduce negatively in children?

John Gottman, the guru of relationships and a recognized researcher, is most famous for his five to one rule.  Lasting relationships have five pleasant exchanges for every negative one.

Negative interactions include: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, stonewalling, detachment, withdrawal of affection, and punishments.

Positive interactions include laughing, playing, and creating things together along with  rewards, forgiveness,  and making amends.

The balance is what matters and because children have to be kept safe and civilized and prepared for life in the real world, the balance can be toward the negative. The younger your child, the more you say “Please” and “Thank you,” the more you empower and make amends and correct the balance.

There is a bonus. Kids model you and your words become their words, your behaviors, their behavior.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt:    Third Rate Romance: Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.

It does relate however as for many new parents the betrayal of the joy of marriage by parenthood is ironic and in truth not so funny. But with humor snd effort, it can be overcome. Stay strong.

Links of Interest

CRITICAL THINKING MATTERS – PARENTING TIPS

When did you stop believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or the like? When that happened , you were thinking critically and more realistically.

critical thinking quotes

Being able to think realistically improves the odds you will have a safer,  and more content journey through life. All parents want that for their kids.

George V. Coelho, developmental theorist lists three things as necessary for successfully coping with life’s ups and downs:

  1. Coding reality – see what is, not what you want to see.
  2. Comforting yourself when reality is not to your liking.
  3. Feeling you have choice.

Those three attributes are also part of what is called Emotional Intelligence (EI) EI is defined as  a set of abilities related to the understanding, use and management of emotion as it relates to one’s self and others.

Parents play an important role in fostering a child’s EI including the ability to code reality.

Reality check:  Young children do have poetic moments, but thinking that makes great thinkers could get them killed.  Why we make our small children hold our hands crossing the street or in parking lots and discourage playing with matches.

All humans start their lives caught in tunnel vision. As we age hopefully we see wider vistas. However, Thomas Phenlon, a parenting guru I admire, notes that one of the biggest ways parents harm children is by treating them like miniature adults. That means thinking children are critical thinkers.  Not true, critical thinking, what some call intelligent thinking develops as children age.

Here is some good news for all. Intelligence is limited by our genes.  Not a politically correct notion, but wishing won’t change that we are not all equally endowed with intelligence.  Part of intelligence is Emotional Intelligence meaning thinking about what your feelings are suggesting and knowing when to act on those suggestions and when not to.

The good news? Emotional Intelligence is learned, not gifted and can always be improved.

More good news: Studies show that Emotional Intelligence is more important in living the good life than intelligence in general and is more important than money, education or social class in getting ahead.

PARENTING TIPS

Tip one: . You need to keep age and stage in mind.

  1. Pre-school aged children cannot think beyond  the feeling of the moment.
  2. School aged child cannot think beyond what can be seen, heard, or touched.
  3. Starting with the preteens children  become more and more able to think about abstract things like possibilities and  varying points of view. This shift in thought explains why teens are often so critical of parents
  4. As the child moves into adulthood, life experiences  improve judgement, something teens often lack.

Warning: The guidelines are general and some never become critical thinkers; others do it earlier than the above parameters.

Tip two: Do not worry  about a pre-schooler’s fantasies; at the same time, point out the make-believe stuff. Label play and make-believe as pretending or imaging. Do so in a calm matter of fact way.

Tip three:  Keep the fun in fantasy.  Saying “It is fun to believe in make-believe” when hanging up the Christmas stockings will not in any way diminish the child’s pleasure, but does pave the way for when s/he begins to understand what is real and what is not.

Tip four: Allow as much choice as possible, but label choices  “You have two choices” works well when  you can let the child pick one or the other.  Then label the child’s choices; “A wise choice.”  or ”Not the best choice.”  Also hold to safety and other major rules as “Not a choice.”

Tip five: Once the child stops believing in the Santa Claus or similar myths, start asking as you watch movies or media together “What’s real about that?” or “What’s fantasy about that?” Also be quicker to point out twisted thinking.   The following are  fairly easy to spot when you hone your critical thinking skills.

12 Examples of twisted thinking aka #fallaciousarguments

Tip six:  As the preteen or teens are entered upon continue the discussions suggested above, but go deeper.  The easiest  way to encourage deeper thought is to say “And” when the child or teen seems to have reached a limit in thinking critically.

See this post on sneaky hypnotism for other ideas.

Tip seven: As always your child models you. So you need to hone your critical thinking skills.   Parenting tips five and six, done with your child strengthens your EI as well as your child’s.

 There are other ways. Any activity that involves you in debates about differing view points  works.

Playing games of logic and doing puzzles.  My six-year-old grandson has just discovered UNO which combines luck and logic. It is also a game that can be fun for children and adults. And there is always chess. Many of our foster children liked to play chess with David.

 I do lots of puzzles.  I enjoy them and do them as one of my Daily Emotional Fitness Exercise “Laugh, Play, and Create.

But having fun is not enough to keep critical thinking abilities  improving.  The experts say, such puzzles only improve you thinking skills if they are challenging, so push yourself. I always do those that are above my level and “cheat” by getting help from the answers, only I do not call it cheating, but learning.

Now is also time to talk a bit about computers, TV and social media. I advocate the use of all three, but with an eye to moderation and safety.

My grandchildren love videos. Early on they have been exposed to  a number of the Baby Einstein series and  Signing Time  which teaches sign language being their favorite. They watch them during quiet time, so I can sneak in a quick power nap.

I know some parents ban all such things, but that only adds to their glamour. One of our neighbors why back when my kids were growing up. Banned TV. All three of their sons now work in Hollywood, producing movies and televisiou shows. Moderation is always a better choice than fanaticism.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt:  Pick Your GadgetYour local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?

However, it does have some relatedness. Right now my gadget of choice would be an electronic keyboard. Why? My grandkids love making music and are ready for an upgrade.  Surfing Goodwill. Wish me luck.