The Mystery of Parenting Unraveled

The Mystery of Parenting Unraveled…

Mastery of life is not a precondition to becoming a parent. We assume the responsibility of teaching someone else how to do what we have not yet figured out. We teach, even as we learn through and with our children.

Source: Abby’s Road: The 1st rule of parenting is there are no rules – The Forecaster

parentingOften as parents and even as grandparents we literally muddle through the challenges of raising children and grandchildren

Why?

Because aren’t we all a work in progress…always learning new things and new ways of becoming better versions of ourselves?

So why do we have so many rules and tips on parenting floating around the web?

It is always helpful to have lists and guides in the form of rules and tips when we are insecure. Raising a child is one of those skills which can make even the best of child experts unsure of themselves and their skills.

Remembering there really are no hard and fast rules to raising a child is a place to start when you first bring your little helpless baby home. Preparing is helpful to keep your own sanity intact but so is listening to your gut.

Being present in your child’s life is unspeakably important as is teaching them kindness and empathy.

But knowing that every child and parent dyad is unique and respecting differences will help you sustain yourselves as you parent over the years to come.

 

Parents, Are You Sick of Parenting Tips Yet?

Parents  Are You Sick of Parenting Tips Yet?

At any given moment, I have a pile of parenting information on my desk, nightstand, and kitchen table.

I have my favorite tipsters and I also have my favorite tip.

parents

Make your primary goal as parents

to help your child develop empathy and

kindness in their hearts

 rather

than focusing on controlling his/her behavior.

Raising a child does not come down to following a list of tips. Parenting and grand-parenting really stems from the heart. It has to do with treating children with respect and empathy which is sometimes easier imagined than accomplished. Children imitate their parents and we often hear our own words come out of their mouths sometimes to our embarrassment.

If your goal is to have a well-behaved child with core qualities of kindness and empathy, you will need to encourage him to appropriately express his thoughts and emotions while listening and using these moments to treat him with empathy and kindness.

What do you think? How do you encourage your child to express himself?

 

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Welcome back!

Do you play catch up on the weekend? This weeks pics are short and sweet to read while you take a much needed break from the weekday routines.

Baths…are they really necessary every day for kids? What is the routine in your house? Do you wash your child’s hair every time they shower or take a bath? I never really thought about this too much but it must be a topic of discussion so here are some guidelines.

My grandmother told me that back in the day Saturday night was bath night and their tubs were in the kitchen because they had to heat their own bath water on the stove. That was tenement living in NYC in the early 1900’s.

Weekend BathtimeContrary to popular belief, babies don’t need daily baths, according to Laura Jana, MD, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It’s not until they begin crawling around in sandboxes and other places, and start eating solid foods, that they get dirty enough to merit a full-body wash. “Bathing is really necessary only to clean your child off when she gets dirty,” pediatrician David Gellar, MD, told BabyCenter.

Source: Do Kids Really Need a Bath Every Day? The Great Debate

How do you promote creativity in your children and grandchildren? This week I read that kids are better off with lots of arts and crafts in their play space than a bunch of toys. I would not argue with that except there are definitely toys that creative while being fun. I am thinking about STEM ‘toys’ in particular robots like Dash and Dot, and Legos. How does your weekend stack up when it comes to creativity?

05Lcreativity-master675

Re “How to Raise a Creative Child” (Sunday Review, Jan. 31): What Adam Grant says about the relationship between freedom and creativity is so true. But now I fear that the tiger moms and dads will decide that they can mass-produce creative children merely by cutting back on rules and letting their children follow their hearts. I would argue that the sources of creativity are deeper than that: Creative children tend to have creative parents who encourage and value creativity in their offspring.

Source: On Freeing a Child to Be Creative – The New York Times

This is a great short article about kids and money and the effects of managing it even at an early age and keeping the conversations about spending alive as the years go on. A very worthwhile read even for adults who have money/materialism issues.

TEENS-facebookJumbo-v2

Children are ever-changing beings, but when it comes to money and materialism, too many parents think that their older offspring are not malleable at all.

Here are the 6 Steps:

  • Foundation
  • Conversation
  • Wants and Needs
  • Keeping Score
  • Money Mentor
  • Keep Money Conversation Alive with Children During the Years Ahead

Source: Six Steps to Curb Materialism in Your Kids – The New York Times

Okay…now I know this is Super Bowl Weekend, so enjoy if you that is your thing. I like the commercials and the snacks! What about you?

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Do you know what the “growth mind set” mean? I wasn’t quite sure but this post explains the emphasis on learning not just the goal. Do you agree?

That’s far from the real message of the research surrounding the growth mind-set. The exclusive focus on effort has been misplaced, says Dr. Dweck, whose book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” delivered the phrase into popular culture. The emphasis should be on learning as an active process, not a goal. “We’re not just saying ‘effort’ anymore,” she says. “We also talk about using good strategies and getting help from others.” Part of a growth mind-set is being willing to learn how best to learn. “Parents may be familiar with the growth mind-set, but they may be using it toward the goal of the next test grade or school application. That’s not what it is. It’s about learning and improving and loving the process. Those other things come about as a byproduct.”

Source: ‘Nice Try!’ Is Not Enough – The New York Times

 weekend benchempty-300x210

As we get older it is harder to make “people connections” . There are some things that can help with the feeling of being lonely.  Gretchen Rubin has some suggestions in this post which is helpful to keep from being lonely even if you are alone. This is a great read for those stuck inside this weekend during “Snowmaggedon2016”.

One major challenge within happiness is loneliness. The more I’ve learned about happiness, the more I’ve come to believe that loneliness is a terrible, common, and important obstacle to consider.
Source: Lonely? 5 Habits to Consider to Combat Loneliness. | Gretchen Rubin

Gift_of_the_good_Engough_Mother_socialsharing

As a clinical social worker I am in love with the concept and theory known as the “Good Enough Mother” developed my Winnicott. Our failures actually help our kids. You will enjoy this post.

 

Each time we let our children down, and they get through it, they get just a little bit stronger. That is the gift of the good enough mother, and it’s time we all embrace it.

Source: The Gift of the Good Enough Mother | Seleni Institute

This weekend here in Chicago we are escaping “Snowmaggedon2016”. I have to say that I am happy about our weather even if it has been bitter cold. This week we have been in a deep freeze with a smattering of snow almost every day. After many years here in the midwest it is still something that comes along with winter that I could definitely do without.

I hope that all of my friends and everyone in the East stays safe this weekend during this horrible blizzard. It is not just the snow accumulation it is the wind and storm surge along the coastline that makes this storm so dangerous.

Please be safe and warm everyone!

My Weekly Review

Weekly Review

week in review

Each week, so many interesting reads come across my feed that I want to share. It is truly impossibly difficult to sometimes choose which ones to include here.

Right now, my day in brief review so far, I am in the midst of doing laundry and there are six minutes left in the last cycle so, here I am blogging.

I have managed to complete some morning chores, making beds, straightening up, grocery shopping and dish doing along with some phone calls while driving.

This week, the news has been horrible particularly the last 24 hours. A commercial jet blown out of the air without warning is a horrendous tragedy for the world and especially for the family and friends of those killed while simply flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia.

Washing machine has stopped…gotta go…temporarily No iron shirts in the dryer.

How do you answer your grandchildren and children’s questions about things they are hearing on television concerning various tragic stories and serious world events. The Mother Company offers some suggestions:

 

Many of us keep the news away from our young children, though those with family and friends directly affected by tragic events don’t have that luxury.   None of us want our children to live in fear, but we know they need to be prepared and have some understanding of how the world works.

 

Are we experiencing a modern parenting crisis? A British nanny believes that we are and she suggests 5 reasons for the cause of this crisis.

I generally am quite an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not prone to drama. That’s why when I say that modern parenting is in serious trouble — crisis, even — I hope you’ll listen, and listen carefully. I’ve worked with children and their parents across two continents and two decades, and what I’ve seen in recent years alarms me. Here are the greatest problems, as I see them:

 

Wrinkle Guard is warning me…gotta get those shirts out and on hangers.

 

After reading Emma Jenner’s 5 Causes of the Modern Parenting Crisis, I wrote a response on Today’s Grandmum over at ChicagoNow

The parent-child relationship is so much more complicated than it looks. The five reasons that the British nanny discusses are just part of what goes into raising children.

5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis | Today’s Grandmum.

 

These are my top three selections for review this week.

There are many more fascinating family, parenting, kids, and food articles to name just a few topics that I enjoy. It seems I cannot get enough time to read all of them

I hope that you get a chance to click on at least one review, if not all and you enjoy reading them.

What are some topics that you love to read about on the internet?

Each week, I will try and select some good articles that relate to parenting, kids and various other topics.

Look for “My Weekly Review” each Friday!

 

My Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Each week so many interesting reads come across my feed that I want to share. It is truly impossibly difficult to sometimes choose which ones to include here.

summer review

That being said, here is my review for last week. I will try to post these each Friday for weekend reading…instead of a summer novel.

My favorite by far, is this article about keeping your child safe from ticks and Lyme Disease while they go off to camp. I am amazed I did not research this one myself as I am obsessed with all diseases that could affect my kids and now my grandchild. I admire this mom’s approach to prevention against a very serious disease threat.

The season of sleep-away camp is upon us, and in our house that means it’s time for the yearly pesticide ritual.

 

 

How are you raising your kids and grandkids? Do you encourage their dreams or are you more of a realist? Personally, I love to dream and think that it is nice not to thwart creativity by being too much of back to reality thinker especially when it comes to children.

 

 

My parents never allowed me to set boundaries on my aspirations. They encouraged travel, they pushed me into new experiences, and they never laughed at any of my lofty goals, even when they knew my dreams were outside the bounds of reason. They listened as I spoke of opening an orphanage in Russia, of writing ten best selling books before I turned 30, and of somehow still getting that ever elusive Oscar.      


Now this is going to be a very controversial case. But the sad fact here is that many kids unfortunately die in hot cars during the summer months because they are left for even a short time alone in a sweltering vehicle. Please never leave a child alone in a vehicle for any reason as it is simply not safe and in many states it is illegal and you could be charged with child endangerment.

 

To the authorities in suburban Cobb County, the vehicle is the place where Justin Ross Harris murdered his 22-month-old son, Cooper, by leaving him in a rear-facing car seat for about seven hours on a warm Southern day.

 

 

These are my top three selections for review this week. I hope that you get a chance to click on at least one if not all and that you enjoy reading them. Each week I will try and select some good articles that relate to parenting, kids and various other topics.

Look for “My Weekly Review” each Friday!

 

Just Say No is Not Always Enough!

When “Just Say No” is not enough.

just say no

I have a book on my nightstand written by Betsy Brown Braun, “Just Tell Me What to Say”. It is a guide book of answers to our kids’ questions.

This morning, I read this great post by a mom, who wrote about how teenagers may need a guide with the same title.

Our teens are in dire need of our assistance in forming the words to respond to their peers, who have already or are inevitably going to introduce them to drugs and alcohol along with other “bad” behaviors.

Let’s help them develop a script of answers and sayings when they want to “Just say NO” with an explanation that saves their friendships and perhaps even dissuades their friends from making “bad” choices.

Here are some we decided upon together:

When you notice a lonely kid: Hey! Here’s a seat for you. Come join us.

When someone offers you a beer: No thanks. My family’s genes and alcohol don’t mix well. Can’t risk it. (This was how he felt comfortable explaining that alcoholism runs rampant in our family and makes drinking even riskier for Chase than for the average bear.)

When someone offers you weed: My mom used to smoke pot when she was younger and now she can smell it from a mile away. She checks my clothes every night. Can’t do it, man. (That’s the one that won, but I liked: HEY! How about we put down these joints and go volunteer at the dog shelter! He liked the first one. Whatever, his show.)

When someone starts texting while driving: Hey, I just saw a movie about a kid who got killed because he was texting and driving. I don’t want you to get killed because I plan to ask you for many, many rides in the future. Pull over if you need to text — I’m not in a hurry.

You find yourself in a sexual situation you’d prefer not to be in: Hey, I like you too much for this to go down this way.

A kid is being teased by another kid in the hallway: Hey. I don’t want anybody to get in trouble here. Why don’t you follow me out of here? I’ll walk you to class.

Someone is about to drink and drive: Don’t risk it, man. My dad’ll get us home — no questions asked. He’d rather pick us up here than in jail.

I don’t know if my ‘tween will use these life preservers we made together. But when that moment comes he will know that they’re available if he wants to save himself. And when he leaves the house in the evening and I say to him, just like when he was two, Use your words tonight — I know he’ll have words to use.

via The One Conversation That Could Save Your Teen’s Life (And Your Own) | Glennon Melton.

 

Thank you to Glennon Melton for this insightful article about how to “Just Say No” in a way that will not cost a teenager too much angst.

We all know, saying “NO” is only part of the conversation.

Let’s move forward as parents and grandparents and give out kids the words and explanations to go along with the  “Just Say No” advice. It could make a huge difference in how they travel through the challenging world of adolescence.

Mindful Parenting…Solutions for Parents

Hand in Hand Mindful Parenting

Mindful ParentingAlong about twenty years ago, mindfulness came into my life. At the time, my own children were young and day to day living was anything but mindful.

After learning biofeedback techniques to overcome anxiety due to mitral valve prolapse, Jon Kabat-Zinn came into my life through his book

Full Catastrophe Living.

It was life changing and helped introduce me to yoga, which helped to prepare me for my inevitable open heart surgery 6 years ago.

So when I came across Kristen Race‘s book,

Mindful Parenting

I jumped in to see how I could relate my mindfulness practice with my “work” as a grandmother. Nothing is more important to me than family, children and grandchildren.

Kristen Race has helped me to effectively live the mindful life with my granddaughter in today’s fast paced world.

She explains in clear and simple terms how our brains work and how our stress effects  our own overall well being and that of our family. She goes on to give many helpful techniques to implement in our busy lives. Her tips help you to find the balance that is essential to manage stress. Balance is an integral part of living happier lives through “mindful parenting” and “mindful” grandparenting.

This is a book I will continue to read and dog ear the pages for years to come. It is one I will recommend to friends. As a therapist myself, I will recommend it to parents as a must read to help them parent mindfully!

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Mindful Parenting” for review.

Listening to your Children

listening“Are you listening to me”?

Since I returned to Chicago two weeks ago it has been frigid, with a mixture of snow and ice…

I cannot remember when the cold has been this bad for so long…it seems like many years since I made sure I had a blanket and supplies in my car just in case it was needed!

At least, I no longer have a diesel engine car which would freeze and just refuse to go anywhere in the cold.

During the past few weeks, I have taken a hiatus. With all the cold I was beginning to think my brain has frozen along with my keyboard…

A few days ago, I came across an important piece about active listening

There just doesn’t seem to be anything more important than actually listening to our children and grandchildren to help them develop empathy, feel validated and remain willing to talk to us.

As a social worker and nurse, listening skills were paramount while caring for others… listening both with my ears and my eyes. Body language can also tell you how a person really feels and whether their words are contradicted by their bodies.

When I was growing up in the 50’s…there was a mantra…”children should be seen and not heard”.

I was never quite sure what was actually meant by this statement. What I do know, is that as the youngest member of my family, I always made myself known.

Over the years, it seems this saying has disappeared and to that I would say, “good riddance”!

Children speak to us in so many ways…through solo play with their toys, through our interactions with them, through body language and through behavior such as crying and tantrums.

Listening to your child with your undivided attention can derail a tantrum…really!

Making sure you understand what he is trying to tell you with his actions and his words is a very powerful tool…it actually shows your child that you care about how he is feeling.

I know, I feel so appreciative of someone, who really listens to me and is not trying to formulate a response while I am talking.

Children appreciate real listening as well and will continue to seek you out as they get older if you are a good listener when they are young.

So…try active listening…it is not easy. Beforehand, you may have to step back and center yourself rather than scream out loud as you step forward with open ears, eyes and arms.

listening with hugs

Related article:

Active listening improves communication in the parent child relationship.

 

Moms and Sons…

Old Spice has exploited moms and sons and their relationships.

What do you think?

I would be interested in hearing from moms of sons on this one.

Are you that attached to your sons? If you have more than one son, is your attachment stronger toward one son than the other?

This commercial is kind of creepy but is there an element of truth to it?

Are moms wary of their young adult/adult sons developing relationships with girls/women?

After watching this commercial…what do you think about the depiction of the mom…so crazy ….RIght?

Not only does she act crazy but she looks crazy as she watches her son grow up…

Sad…sad…sad!

I have no sons…but I hate this commercial because of the way it depicts the mom.

I know moms of sons. I sometimes think they helicopter too much but not necessarily more than moms of daughters… yet I remember my friend in the early 80’s, telling me that she had to let her pre-school son be a boy as he was climbing around the playground somewhat recklessly compared to our daughters. I was nervous for him but understood what my girlfriend was saying.

She did not want him to be a “sissy”.

Old Spice is this grandmother’s, father’s aftershave so…

Moms, you really have nothing to worry about if your son is using Old Spice…

moms and sons

 Related links:

http://m.blogher.com/hello-oedipus-old-spice-made-some-ads-you

http://selfishmom.com/2014/01/07/old-spice-and-sad-moms/

http://www.momfluential.net/2014/01/07/bad-old-spice-ad/