Archives for General Parenting category
It was early in the morning and still dark outside. A colossally foolish jogger, donned completely in black, decided to cross the street in front of my SUV which was travelling at 40 miles per hour. Thanks to my attentiveness I slammed my brakes, swerved, and skidded to a halt. The jogger ran off into the darkness and I breathed a sigh of relief while simultaneously screaming an expletive. As I began to drive away, Read more… »
Whether it is over the family dinner or during an otherwise monotonous car ride, the following ideas can help parents find out whom or what influences their child’s opinions, how school is or isn’t expanding their child’s knowledge base, and ways to influence a child’s principles or vision. And who knows? Parents and kids may bond a little too! Read more… »
An October weekend in 2010 brought three heart stopping games for college and professional football players, teams, and fans. During a Saturday Army / Rutgers game, Rutgers player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed below the neck after a hard hit in which he ducked his head. On Sunday in the NFL, the Falcons played the Eagles, and the Steelers took on the Browns. Four players were seriously injured due to “head first tackles” that are clear violations of the rules. Now I’m aware that there is some controversy as to how “violent” or “clean” these hits were, but that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about parenting and we’ll get to that in a moment. Read more… »
It was 1972. Walter Mischel was a researcher at Stanford University and he was curious about the human ability to delay gratification. He gathered four year old children and one by one placed them in a room with a solitary marshmallow. The children were told that if they could refrain from eating the marshmallow while the researcher left the room (roughly 20 minutes), that they would be given a second marshmallow. About 30% of the children were able to wait. They along with the others were tracked for over 30 years and the tales of their lives are very telling. Let’s take a look. Read more… »
April was stress awareness month so I am writing about it in May! You’ve likely heard that it takes 30 days to make a habit. I used the 30 days in April to conduct an experiment that would help me combat life’s little and even some big stressors. Yes, Even a Life and Parent Coach has stress! And though stress is normal, I wanted to deal with it before it made me unhealthy, unhappy, and unbearable.
My experiment trialed three techniques that were really very simple. The only hard part was to conjure up enough will power to succeed. I’ve been called… ahem…. “stubborn,” so I used that as a strength and made my experiment a smashing success. The 30 days of April yielded a positive sense of personal control, a more optimistic outlook, and a feeling of calm that made me happier and more pleasant to be around. Here are the three strategies I implemented:
1. Deep Breath at Traffic Lights and 10 minutes before Bedtime: A simple Google search on the benefits of deep breathing will surrender countless articles expounding scores of health and mood benefits. Here are 5 of those benefits in no particular order:
Gives pause for clear thinking.
Exhalation releases tension and anxiety.
Decreases pain. No wonder moms giving birth are taught breathing exercises!
Increases positive moods by releasing pleasure inducing neuro-chemicals in the brain.
Rhythmic breathing is more effective in reducing toxins from the body than shallow, stressed breathing.
I deep-breathed at every red traffic light for an entire month. I told myself that I could create peacefulness. I visualized exhaling difficult angst-producing people and situations. I did this again before bedtime and since I wasn’t driving, I could close my eyes to add a calming beach visual in which warm rays of the sun would empower me. 30 days later, deep breathing comes spontaneously as a quick “go to” strategy to manage feelings of stress. By quickly regrouping, I can problem solve my way to positive outcomes. Not only do I feel more in control, I truly feel healthier.
2. Just say “no!” People will ask us to do all sorts of things. Can you bake 50 cupcakes for an impromptu neighborhood party? Can you volunteer to coach soccer? Would you come to school to decorate for the party, read to the kindergartners, chair the annual fundraiser, etc…? Like many moms, guilt derailed me to say “yes” to countless volunteer roles. I finally figured out that saying “yes” to everyone and everything made me say “no” to my own downtime, family time, and sanity. In April, I learned to limit my volunteer activities to two that brought me joy. Saying “no” to others meant I said “yes” to more time for my family and fun. I’ve finished two books and had time to connect with my old hobby of oil painting. Once again, I felt more in control and powerful to create peace and recharge my spirit.
3. Create boundaries to reduce multitasking: Like anyone, I have segments that make up my day. My work time was bleeding over into family time, personal time, and even chores / errands. My laptop had escaped from the office and became a third wheel where it wasn’t welcome! Were the emails or tweaking PowerPoint presentations really that urgent? No! I told the computer in my office to “stay” and shut the door. I also shut out thoughts about work, stressful people, or stressful situations. This wasn’t easy but with practice I was able to be mindful and focus on the pleasure in everyday activities. It worked! Not only did I bake a perfect spinach and gruyere soufflé, I enjoyed my “me time” and family time without irritating, unnecessary distractions.
Making stress disappear isn’t realistic. Since I don’t want it to swim with me all day long I place it into its own segment of the day. There I deal with it with a targeted plan of action and kick it to the curb!
So what do you think? Would these strategies work for you? How do you successfully attack your stress?
This month’s post is a “must see” video for parents. If you use your smart phone to take pictures of your children, learn how to control your phone’s settings to keep kids safe from online predators.
About a year ago, I worked with a client whose 9 year old (we’ll call him “Jacob”) was trying to deal with the pressures of being a little league baseball pitcher. Despite the self imposed pressure of throwing more strikes than balls or hits, he had to deal with the periodic setback of a poorly played game.
During one particular game, Jacob was slow to respond to a bunt that rolled toward 1st base. After finally retrieving the ball, he dropped it, picked it up again, and then threw it to 2nd base where the batter had swiftly run. Jacob grossly overthrew the ball into the outfield which allowed the batter to come all the way around 3rd base and reach home plate to score a home run. That run broke the tie and resulted in Jacob’s team’s loss of the game. Read more… »
The birthday celebration table was full of family and friends when eight year old Caroline blared “you’re so stupid” at her six year old brother. He had just allowed a double scoop of chocolate ice cream to fall off of his cone and on to the carpet. Before her mother could render the telltale parenting “apologize right now” glare, Caroline recalled her family doctrine. The third entry states “The Hughes family will not publically “diss” or embarrass other family members.” She swiftly turned to her brother and said “I’m sorry. You’re not stupid.” Mom breathed a sigh of relief. The laminated piece of paper framed on their refrigerator door alleviated an escalation of sibling angst and the need for her to be the big bad consequence giver!
A family doctrine can be a vital tool in cultivating family harmony and positive values in kids.
The title for this post is inspired by Linked-IN’s “Brain
Insights”, a group about Brain Development and Positive Parenting. There, a talented group of experts connected to
discuss their strong beliefs regarding the perils of screen time in toddlers
“Inspire the Genius” and “It’s Cool to be Smart” are
marketing messages of the Vinci Touch Screen Learning System (recommended age 4
and under). These messages are designed
to target the emotions of parents who then open wallets and recklessly spend
$479 for the promise of “genius.”
To Vinci’s credit some of their other products have earned
awards and their website clearly states the following: “The American
Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV watching before a child reaches the age
of 2.” But Vinci left out some very
important sentences. Read more… »