Tag Archives: tips on parenting

WHEN TO LIE TO CHILDREN

Honesty is usually the best policy, but when bad things happen to others, children need comforting. Sometimes that means lying.

I didn't cry when Santa died for me, but I was angry, my parents had lied to me.

I didn’t cry when Santa Claus died for me,my brothers killed him.  I was upset, angry at  my mother for lying to me, and feeling stupid.  

parenting thoughts

All parents lie.  Even when they don’t lie, kids upon reaching adolescents think parents have lied about at least one or two things. I urge honesty.  But also think there are times to lie to your children.  When bad things happen to others is one and the prospect of your death, another. 

PARENTING TIPS

First about the prospect of  bad things happening to your child.  When a child becomes aware of news events about bad things,  Fred Roger’s mother gave the best advice.

She said …. “look for the helpers, there are always helpers. ”

Follow this up by teaching your child to be one of the helpers.  If you can help another when bad things happen you are strengthened.  Build resilience in your child by having him or her help when disaster strikes anywhere in the world. How can vary, but a toddler can help you put stamps on a donation letter, a two-year old can put coins in a charity box or help you pack a care package.

Next about your child’s fears about you dying.  These start when the child has a pet die or another loved one die.  Some children ask directly, others don’t. Use those occasions to say something like, “We all die, but I intend to live a long time so I can dance at your wedding and hold your children in my arms.”  The younger the child, the more that will satisfy. 

When your children are able to read if you are asked about the possibility of your death, say  “I work hard to stay healthy, I want to dance at your wedding.”   Follow with a question about what is worrying them.  

When adolescence comes,  take the time to talk to your kids about your will, and who would care for them if the worse happens and you die.

If you have an illness that is clear and is moving you closer to death, the task becomes trickier.  Mostly the above advice applies, but you might want to add one of the following thoughts:

Living as much as I can right now.
Loving you as much as I can right now. 
Memories keep us all alive. 
Now is good. 
Remember me, and know I always love you.

Finally, here are five things you can do to help a child of any age deal with your death.  

  1. Have a will and as much life insurance as you can afford, particularly if your children are young.
  2. Make your own funeral plans.
  3. Create a memory book with each child.
  4. Write an I love you and am proud of you letter for each age and stage.  Include these in the memory book.
  5. Write a good-by letter, either one for each child or one for the family.

stay strong

It may seem the above strayed a bit from lying.  Reality check, we all deny that bad things will happen to us and our children. We deny that we will at one time or another die.  Finally, we are all tempted to keep our children innocent as long as possible. Human nature, and for the most part a way to keep going.  

But also can turn into a big lie if something bad happens; that could leave a beloved child feeling lied to and betrayed.  

Making peace with the horrors of life and the fact that bad things like dying  are part of life is healthier.  Discussing those facts with awareness of age and stage strengthen those hurt or left behind if you die.  

For more specific tips about lying , see yesterdays’ blog or get my When Good Kids Lie.  Buy it now or wait to get it free this week end.

WGKLieFree

Help me share my knowledge. If you found this post helpful like, comment, share, or endorse me. If you  buy or get one of my eBooks free please review.  even a few words helps me.  And yes, even a bad review has value.  Of course,   good reviews are particularly helpful.

Here is a link too a post I wrote about how to write reviews. But even a comment on my blog or Facebook pages helps as endorsements.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER ONE: ADVICE IS ADVICE  and only works for some parents  some of the time.   Moreover, what works for one child in a family might not work for  another child in the same family.  You must experiment to find what works for you and yours.  Good luck.

DISCLAIMER TWO: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well known learning disability and 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.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

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LIES: GOOD, BAD, OR UGLY

Honesty is usually the best policy, but not always and is sometimes used as a weapon. More parenting advice about lying.

Quotes about honesty

White lies are kind, but can lead you to being colored blind to all lies. Honesty delivered kindly and with loving intent is best.

PARENT ADVICE

Teaching children to be honest and kind is tricky.  The best way is to work toward that goal yourself.  For more tips, see yesterdays’ blog or get my When Good Kids Lie.  Buy it now or wait to get it free this week end.

WGKLieFree

Help me share my knowledge. Like, comment, share, endorse, write a review if you buy or get one of my eBooks free. Reviews are particularly helpful. Here is a link too a post I wrote about how to write reviews. But even a comment would help as I can use it as an endorsement.

STAY STRONG

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER ONE: ADVICE IS ADVICE  and only works for some parents  some of the time.   Moreover, what works for one child in a family might not work for  another child in the same family.  You must experiment to find what works for you and yours.  Good luck.

DISCLAIMER TWO: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well known learning disability and 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.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

THE LIARS CLUB – WE ALL BELONG

Lying is a fact of life.  All teens belong to the Liars Club. Most likely so do you, certainly the majority of advertisers, most other people trying to sell something, the media, and 99.9% of all politicians lie.

IMAGE FROM: Marie Lamba’s blog

Here is a quote by Teddy Roosevelt, one of our better thought of Presidents,  proving my point. “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

I hate lies, but know even just by keeping quiet about some things I lie lots. Moreover, there are kind lies, honorable lies, mean lies, and cruel lies.  When I lie it is usually to protect someone else’s feelings. Nevertheless, I hate lies and try to avoid telling even the kinder ones. Is it really kind to tell someone a dress looks good when it does not?

PARENTING THOUGHTS ABOUT LYING

Lies are viruses which might do no harm sometimes, but also can spread like a cancer and destroy much that is good, particularly relationships.

PARENTING TIPS FOR TEACHING HONESTY

Tip one: Until children can read, they are not always clear on the difference between wishes and reality.  Don’t expect or worry about lies for the very young. If you know it is a lie, label it as imagination or a wish.

“You are wishing I won’t get angry that you broke a dish.”

“You are imaging there is a monster under your bed, imagine chasing him away.”

These are the steps needed to lay the ground work for sorting out the real versus the not so real. You can also label cartoons, the puppets on most children’s shows as not real, but fun imaginings.

Tip two: Once you know your child can tell the difference between real and imaginary, make the importance of being honest the topic of a family meeting.

Don’t have family meetings? Start having them now.  Get a jump starts by reading my eBook How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting. Costs less than a fancy latte and is better for your family.  Meanwhile. end of that commercial and back to lie prevention.

Tip three: Remember as Mark Twain said, “There are lies, damned lies and statisics.”  Rating is an Emotional Fitness Exercise so you can focus on what matters.  Given the prevalence of lying, outlawing  lies won’t work. Better to teach the difference between white lies, harmful lies, and damned lies.

Tip four: Label and rate lies that you know are lies, including your own.

“I really don’t like Grandma’s hair that way, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings., so I told a white lie.”

“That is gossip, nasty mean gossip, kind people never tell nasty lies about others.”

Tip five:  When kids can read, so they can start figuring out true from fiction, use television shows you watch together as a ” Catch the Lie Game”

Tip six:  Another commercial.  My eBook When Good Kids Lie is full of more information about how to handle lying. Really worried? Buy it now for 99 cents. Not so worried or a bit broke?  Get it free this this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

WGKLieFree

A PLEA FOR HELP: Help me share my knowledge. Like, comment, share, endorse, write a review if you buy or get one of my eBooks free. Reviews are particularly helpful. Here is a link a blow post I wrote about how to write reveiws.

Why I hope you will help:  My parent advice combines two streams of knowledge most other “experts” have not experienced.

The first: life as a foster parent housing youth in trouble with the law.  My husband and I offered short term care to nearly 400  while the courts decided their fates.  We were called a non-secure detention home.  Most of our kids were good kids, others were criminals – burglers, theives, rapists, an arsonist. Most of these eventually ended up in prison as adults.

The second.I am also a trained clinician and licensed therapist. For over ten years I directed the Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s mental health mobile crisis teams throughout the poverty ridden South Bronx. I trained New York City’s crisis teams as a consultant. I taught graduate level courses at the Columbia Universisty School of Social Work for over twenty years.

All of the above to say I combine  practical and clinical knowledge as no other parent adviser can or does.  I also know my advice is only true for some, some of the time.  You have to pick and choose from all advice, which is why I try to provide lots and lots of tips and choices.

STAY STRONG

Parents have two jobs: To teach right from wrong and to preserve a caring relationship with their child. Lying threatens important relationships.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER ONE: ADVICE IS ADVICE  and only works for some parents  some of the time.   Moreover, what works for one child in a family might not work for  another child in the same family.  You must experiment to find what works for you and yours.  Good luck.

DISCLAIMER TWO: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well known learning disability and 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.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

SHE ELEVATED ME

Jean Tracy, a parent expert I envy for how much she helps parents, used part of my Parents Are People Too book in a blog post.  I am posting it because she  pushed my worth to a higher level, a skill parents need to learn

Which Values Must Children Learn from Their Parents?

Friends_d
   Learning Values from Parents

When you teach your children values, which ones would you like them to repeat at your funeral? Our parenting expert and author, Katherine Gordy Levine, has researched some of the wisest sages of our time and is here to share them from her book, Parents Are People Too. She’ll even tell us what she said at her mother’s funeral.

Eulogy from Your Children

Which would you rather have your children say at your funeral?

  1. Mom taught us how to love.
  2. Dad pushed me into achieving the Eagle Scout Award.
  3. Mom showed by example how to help others.
  4. Dad read us bedtime stories.
  5. Mom made us succeed by hitting and yelling.

In Her Chapter on ‘Goals and Missions – Knowing What’s Important,’ Katherine shares 4 common core beliefs. She calls them one-liner templates for guiding your child’s life. Which one of these would you want your children to adopt?

  • “To thine own self be true.”
  • “Winning is everything.”
  • “The one with the most toys wins.”
  • “What will the neighbors think?”

Did you pick number one?

Katherine goes farther by naming these 3 common core beliefs across cultures:

1. Help those in need; be caring.

2. Treat others fairly.

3. Only some people are worthy of caring and fairness.

How did you feel about the third one?

3 Authors Katherine Recommended for Teaching Values:

1. Victor Frankl, who wrote about surviving a concentration camp in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, said that those who survived best believed in the service of others.

2. Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, cleverly puts forth the ideals of caring and justice.

3. Dalai Lama shared his core belief by saying, “My religion is kindness.”

Three Values Katherine Shared at Her Mother’s Funeral:

1.” She gave us the gift of loving life’s, small pleasures. She taught us to love the first snowfall, a shooting star, a piece of sea glass, the sunset.”

2. “She always knew exactly how to comfort the hurting child, how to make all children feel special.”

3. “She often bought and sent to you small reminders of her love.” (From pages 117-124)

Katherine ends with the question, “What do you hope your children will say about you?”

Follow Jean Tracy at Kids Discuss by clicking here

Jean took my ideas and raised them.  That is the art of being a caring person.  It should be the goal of every parent, every lover, every friend, every one of us.

PARENTING ADVICE

Praise alone is not enough, but the right praise at the right time, strengthens immeasurably.  What did Jean do that was right praise?

  1. She lives the values she hopes others will live.
  2. She made personal contact.  
  3. When we first began to know each other it was via internet postings; she did not automatically dismiss me because of my dysgraphia: many have.  
  4. She was open about what she wanted. Her goals were to share, care, and promote herself as well as others.   This was always clear.
  5. She kept promises; she returned favors. 
  6. She always thanked me for anything I did
  7. She always did more to help me than I asked for or expected. 

PARENTING TIPS based on Jean tracy’s modeling

  1. Live the values, you want you children to live.  That is the big one and hard for many, but it remains vital.
  2. Make personal contact. Hug, play, talk to and listen.
  3. See all the good.
  4. Worry less about mistakes and errors and more about the relationship.
  5. Know your goals for your child  and make certain sharing and caring are what matters most.
  6. Keep your promises.
  7. Return favors
  8. Say thank you as often as you can.
  9. Do more than is expected, but less than is needed. 

PARENTING TIPS

These are my additions:

Tip one: Do not be afraid to criticize or punish, but do so only for the big rules: safety of self and others, respect for self and others, safe guarding valuable property, and respect for reasonable laws.

Tip two: Make all punishments fit age and stage.  An infant is never punished. Temper tantrums signal the need for time outs. Jo Frost aka Super Nanny does them best. Phrelon’s One, Two, Three Magic does a great job of enhancing time outs. His best advice? Reminding parents children are not miniature adults and that parents talk too much to kids under the age of twelve.

When school starts the age of Lets Make a Deal. Concrete rewards and withholding such rewards become useful tools. Time out should switch to time in your room to think things over. One, Two, Three Magic still works.

Teens also respond to rewards;  extended curfews, money, car keys, cell phones, and computer time serve this age as useful tools for rewarding or withholding rewards.

This also is when the advice in Parent Effectiveness Training (PET)’s guru Thomas Goron should be applied. Not before.  PET and the other communication gurus are primarily responsible for treating children like adults and talking to them too much, but only because their ideas were not applied according to age and stage.

Tip three: No matter what the child’s behavior – for teens and adult children in particular, keep the love going, but do not tolerate abuse.

Tip four:  Keeping the love going means keeping your cool.  My two most recent books 12 Easy Exercises for Taming Mad, Bad, and Sad Feelings or Self-soothing, Create Calm in Your Life. are about staying calm and cool.

Tip five:  Parenting is a process and the rewards and problems vary for each age and stage. Keeping a long-term perspective and remembering what matters are vital in getting you and your loved ones over rough patches so you can enjoy the rewards.

stay strong

As Elizabeth Stone noted, ““Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Do not beat up emotionally on yourself or others when things go wrong.

The Parents Are People Newsletter will soon be published.   A quick read, the newsletter will add a new post,  contain some news, a poster coach, a  joke, or  a quote for thinking about what matters. Sign up on the sidebar.  

As usual for all you do to support me, thank you.

Katherine

TWO DISCLAIMERS

The first:  Although based on what are called evidenced based practices, the 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.

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.