Winning Parenting

Three amazing teenagers. How did that happen?!? Parenting tips from the pleasantly surprised.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Think - Feel - Do

Are you a Thinker, Feeler or Doer? When you make decisions, you lead with one of the three. We all do. The other two areas are involved as well, but our preference leads the way. 

The best decision-making starts with knowing yourself. Understanding why your kids do what they do, comes from knowing how they make decisions. 

Thinkers love time to consider the options. 

Feelers thrive when given space to express themselves. 

Doers need to be active to relate the best to others. 

Which are you? Which is each one of your children?

Imagine a Doer dragging a Feeler to an activity to motivate them; or a Thinker using words to explain something to a Doer; or a Feeler asking a Thinker to ‘just listen’… You’re smiling. I know why! We all Think – Feel – Do right past each other nearly every day. Imagine if the Doers learned to slow down, the Feelers learned to analyse options, and the Thinkers learned to get their hands dirty.

It can happen. As we parents model the ability of stepping out of our comfort zone - to relate to our spouses, extended family, friends and children – our kids will see and copy us. Kids learn how to deal with things outside of their normal processing patterns when they see it done by significant adults.

For some “just do it” works great. For others “Take time to care” motivates. And for others “Think it through” rings true. Learning to relate to each kind of thinker will help us be the best parents possible.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Respect Full Home

We all want our children to show respect to others. The best place to learn this is at home from the people they spend the most time with – you!

Here are some strategies for building your home into a place of respect.

Respect yourself. You are a marvellous person! Me believing this about you will not get you nearly as far as you believing it of yourself. Each of us is uniquely beautiful in many ways. Value yourself and your kids will feel this self-respect and emulate it.

Respect them. Display awards and trophies the kids have earned. Have a display wall where the children’s achievements are presented for all to see. Showing you are proud of them helps them to be proud of themselves and others.

Respect space. Have established space that ‘belongs’ to each person. Have shared space. When in shared space, respect the needs and wishes of others in that space. When entering private space, ask permission. Respect the space you are in. Children will feel and follow your lead. Talk about the various kinds of space in your home and how our interaction in that space shows respect.

Speak well. Speak well of your kids to them and to others in front of them. Say kind things about them in private and in public. In short, be truly proud of your kids and it will come out in your language. Talk them up!

Listen well. When a child speaks positively about themselves, notice and affirm them. When they speak negatively about themselves, notice and help with kind words. Ask clarifying questions: “What happened?” “Who was involved?” “Where were you in this?” Listen. Ask healing questions: “What are some positives?” “What will you do next?”

Start over. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. Always talk about moments of disrespect and agree to start over – respecting each person by respecting ourselves. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chores?!?

Having regular chores is great for developing responsibility. Sometimes getting kids to actually do their chores can be more of a chore than the chores themselves. So, what can we do to inspire chore success?

Competition. Create some playful competitions that result in a variety of rewards. Base the games around accomplishing the tasks needing to be done.

Scavenger Hunt. For the littles, give them a prize for collecting a certain number of toys. For the bigs, hide a few toys in hard to find places and reward them when the specially hidden toys are added to the rest of collection.

Crank up the music. While everyone does their list of chores, turn up the family’s favourite playlist and enjoy some bop-bop-bopping along with your cleaning.

Shopping list. Let one of the kids control the shopping list. They can give the others (you included) items to gather. Tell the list manager to tick off the items when they are delivered to the trolley.

Make it fun! We’ve all heard it – I’m bored! Keeping the boredom to a minimum is the key to accomplishing tasks, chores and routines.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Love Them Hard

As I scrolled through Facebook, I saw a picture of a past workmate who went through a messy divorce which, necessarily, sent the father of their children away. All revealed, he’d left years before. As she stared into the distance, a slogan shouted from her shirt: “Find your tribe. Love them hard.”

I could feel her pain.

Finding our tribe isn’t always easy. But one thing is sure: our children are fellow tribe members. They are ours and we are theirs. Love them hard.

As we age, we mature. Maturity shapes how we build relationships. Good ones. Bad ones. They work because we work on them. Each relationship formed and nurtured grows our tribe. But love isn’t always enough. There are people who do horribly selfish things and fracture their family, leaving a great rift through the landscape of our tribe as they storm out. Unfortunately, maturity doesn’t always come with age. Sometimes age comes alone.

As these damaged destructive people torpedo their way out of our tribe, our children need us. Time is the great healer. Give them time and give them your time. Love them hard.

Some of us – knock on wood – have happy marriages. We have found our tribe and are building strength upon strength. Mistakes will be made. Forgiveness between spouses shows our children that healing is possible. Spouses are people too. Love them hard.

Our children learn how to face life by watching us. Life is all about relationships.

Find your tribe.
Love them hard.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Respectful Kids

We all love to hear other people say wonderful things about our children. 

“Your son is such a gentleman! He helped my boy on the playground today.”

“Your daughter is so thoughtful. She said the nicest thing to my girl today!”

“Your children play together so nicely! How do you do it?”

Children who act in these ways are products of choice not chance. Compassion, respect and honesty are produced in a home of integrity. Just as the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, a child resembles the people with whom they live.

The life of integrity starts at home with a firm foundation of values and expectations. A home of integrity is a place of love and trust. This means we parents treat others (partner, children, neighbours, extended family, the driver in the car that just cut us off, etc.) with kindness. Our words and actions become the words and actions of our children.

Children that treat siblings and classmates with compassion have seen their parents be kind to others.

Students who are trustworthy have been trusted by their parents with age appropriate responsibilities. They have also witnessed their parents trust others and be trusted by others. 

Home is where we learn our values. If we want compassionate, honest, respectful kids we must provide a home where these values are demonstrated daily. 

People of integrity are the product of a lifetime.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Self-Control

The personal ability to set and enforce boundaries is one of the most important life skills. Learn it in childhood and we are set for success!

Protecting a child from consequences arising from their own actions sets them up for immaturity in adulthood. Actions lead to consequences. This is a reality that will never fail. Therefore, the earlier we internalise it, the better off we are.

To teach our children boundary setting skills we need to setup learning experiences for them. One of the most strategic ways to set the stage for learning personal boundaries is to declare and demonstrate that actions have consequences. Be clear and consistent.

So, how do we teach our children to set boundaries? By demonstrating that actions have consequences in their daily lives. If you child learns that leaving their lunch at home means they will not be eating until they return home, they learn to remember their lunch. This is an obvious consequence. Tomorrow’s lunch will be dutifully packed in tomorrow’s school bag!

Positive reinforcement is also very effective. Setting up an “Action/Consequence” sheet on the fridge with tasks/treasures listed in the two columns will help your child gain an understanding of self-directed behaviour. Actions result in consequences. Clean room/TV Time … Dishes away/dinner choice … homework done/friend invite … Set the Action/Consequences and then watch your child take to self-directed behaviour like a fish to water.

Each tomorrow that follows a consequence from my own action is a new day of self-determined behaviour. This is where personal boundaries and self-control come from.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Family Time

The best memories of childhood come from the family time spent together doing meaningful and enjoyable things. Many families today are so busy they have little time to relax and have fun together. 

Time together is something you make not something you find! Decide today to make time for family togetherness. This time can be carved out by making household chores into an interactive activity – a game or competition with points – to spend time together while doing things that need doing. 

Another thing we can all benefit from is making a conscious decision to slow down and cut back – and to expect the same from your kids. We are all too busy. ‘Busy’ is the worst four letter word I know. Believe it or not, current research is showing that procrastination is good for your brain! So, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” 

Eat together at least three meals a week. Some families can do mornings, some evenings. Choose the meals that are most possible for the entire family and set them apart as table time. Only people come to the table. No technology. Just faces and hands. Then talk!

To really step things up, set a night aside for games at the table. Remember, only faces and hands at the table – no phones, iPads, etc. Playing card games or board games for an hour a week as an entire family can help reveal and refine character strengths and weaknesses. A weekly character check-up is a good thing!

As a family reward, after a month of successful table time. watch a movie together on the TV. Allow all the tech and toys. Make some popcorn. And just relax – as a family!