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Motivating Our Children

March 10, 2011

 

I home schooled a friend’s daughter for two years. As a thank you gift, she gave me something she created, a family honor plate. It is a ceramic plate with a crown in the middle and the 7 fruits of the spirit written on the thick outside rim of the plate. The words written are as follows: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Anytime, a member of the family display one of these virtues, they get to eat off the honor plate. It’s a great way to reinforce the importance of good character.

Comments: 8

Embarrassing Moments

March 29, 2011

I was in the grocery story with my daughters, 2 and 3 years old at the time.  All of a sudden I hear my oldest yell “Mommy, where is his leg?”  In a panic I scramble to see what she is talking about.  A man in a wheelchair has lost his leg from the thigh down.  I am mortified!  I hush her and she screams, “WHY?”  I walk down the next aisle and quietly explain that you should not ask things about people in front of them.  It may hurt the man’s feelings if he thinks we are talking about him.  Then I explained that he may have had an accident and lost his leg.  While I know sometimes it is tough to demonstrate the right tact in these instances, don’t shy away from taking the time to explain these delicate situations to your children.  Understanding why people may be different breeds acceptance.    

 

I know every parent has been embarrassed by something their child has said in public.  What is the most embarrassing thing your child has said and how did you handle it?

Comments: 5

Children Picking Up Bad Habits: Funny or Embarrassing?

April 11, 2011

Children Picking Up Bad Habits: Funny or Embarrassing?

Think about how much time and energy we invest in teaching our children manners. It is always (or at least always should be) on our minds. As we live our daily lives we are constantly reminding our children to say please & thank you, use a napkin, chew with your mouth closed, leave the room when passing gas and if you accidentally show bad manners at least say excuse me. We say it over and over and over again like an annoying broken record. But this is what it takes to engrain good behaviors.

I am reminded of something my niece would do when she was seven. She picked up this strange habit and I can still visualize her acting it out. Every time a person passed gas, she put her thumb on her forehead, opened her hands wide and wiggled her fingers. It was hilarious at first but then when she did it in public, I would shrink with embarrassment. My whole family worked to break the habit which took way too long to undo. Who taught her this awful habit? How could her good manners be undone so quickly?

 

Moral of the story: Be careful who influences your children. It can be hard to undo the damage.  

Think about how much time and energy we invest in teaching our children manners. It is always (or at least always should be) on our minds. As we live our daily lives we are constantly reminding our children to say please & thank you, use a napkin, chew with your mouth closed, leave the room when passing gas and if you accidentally show bad manners at least say excuse me. We say it over and over and over again like an annoying broken record. But this is what it takes to engrain good behaviors.

I am reminded of something my niece would do when she was seven. She picked up this strange habit and I can still visualize her acting it out. Every time a person passed gas, she put her thumb on her forehead, opened her hands wide and wiggled her fingers. It was hilarious at first but then when she did it in public, I would shrink with embarrassment. My whole family worked to break the habit which took way too long to undo. Who taught her this awful habit? How could her good manners be undone so quickly?

Moral of the story: Be careful who influences your children. It can be hard to undo the damage.  

Comments: 7

The Honest Student and Perfect Parenting: An Oxymoron

May 23, 2011

So I am sitting in Starbucks doing my homework and I overhear the woman next to me calling around to find work.  Even though I am trying to complete my paper, her complaining on the phone is much more interesting than my paper on integrating math with science and technology.  She gets off the phone and I strike up a conversation with her.  I ask her how the job search is going.  Her reply is “Tough times, I can’t even get a job at McDonald’s.” She confides in me that she has a minor blemish on her record that is making it difficult for her to get hired.  We discuss the woes of the economy.  I look in my purse to see if I have anything I can give her, coupons, freebees, anything...  

I go back to my paper and she starts asking me about my class.  She says she is taking a class too but has no time to write a paper because she is so stressed.  She tells me how she has paid some company in California to read a book for her and write a paper.  Now I have heard of people getting their work edited but what she is doing is not the same.  She is cheating!  I asked her if it made her nervous to plagiarize.  She said it didn’t because she didn’t think her professor would ever find out.  My intent was not to insult her, but what came out of my mouth next was "I guess tough times make it hard to do the right thing.”  Surprisingly, she wasn’t insulted at all because in her mind what she was doing was acceptable.  We talked a little while longer before she had to leave.  I learned she had a son and I started to wonder if her values and morals would rub off on him. 

Like I often do, I began to reflect and started to wonder about how many things I possibly do wrong that I am not aware of.  I think back to an incident when my husband and I got into an argument because I was late meeting him.  I was trying to squeeze in another task before leaving the house.  I was baking for a bake sale at my church and wanted to drop-off the cookies on my way to my husband's office.  Seemed my husband should have understood because I was doing something good.  He didn't!  He reminded me that being late demonstrated inconsideration for another person's time, his time, in this case.  He was right.  From my own perspective I felt like I was doing something good for my church.  But as so many of us do, we forget that there is another point of view that we need to take into consideration.  It may be that I am good in one sense but acting inconsiderately in another.  Having good intentions is not enough for good character.  Nobody can be fully self-aware which is why we need the honest and loving feedback of others to keep us pointed in the right direction.      

I am thankful for my few closest friends, my family and my husband because they keep me in check, constantly making me a better person with gentle persuasion and constructive criticism.  I realize that as a parent I am the single most influential person in my children’s life and from that I get my humility.  I welcome the world’s opinion because I take from it what I need to make my family the best it can be. 

My motto:  Feedback, reflection and then correction make for good character, good parenting and great kids.

Share a time that you thought you were doing right but weren't?

 

  

Comments: 2

Opposites Working Together

June 02, 2011

My husband and I are truly polar opposites. I am sensitive; he has a hard outer shell. I love hugs; he would rather “high-five”.  I devote my time and thoughts to serious matters like education and bettering society. My husband is happy if we have enough money to afford fishing trips and the buy-in for the World Poker Tour. I want my kids to excel and change the world for the better. My husband is happy if they are not on drugs or pregnant by the time they are 18. I have no idea how and why we got together but here we are...together.

Who has the better perspective from which to raise our children?  I contend we both do…together.  You see by ourselves we are a bit extreme, but together we strike the perfect parenting balance.  (OK, maybe not perfect, but it works for us.)

I used to hate that my husband and I were polar opposites. Now I am coming to see how it benefits my kids and our family as a whole.  Since we disagree regularly, the compromise is usually the perfect thing for everyone.

Good parenting is the functional medley of collaborative efforts.  Parents spend the most time with their children and therefore we are the best evaluators of their needs. However, we cannot think of everything, so we need constructive feedback from others.  Being from a large and very close family, I have no problem getting feedback on anything I ask…and even things I don’t ask.  Below is a phrase that states the way I filter feedback without hurting feelings.  I have never spoken this out loud, but always use it as a way to manage advice:   

We appreciate the advice. We heard it. We evaluated it. We plan to use some of it but we are the best evaluators of how and when to implement your advice because we are the only ones who have all the facts about our life.  Thank You. I appreciate it and I will let you know if I need your help implementing it.

…and if that doesn’t work, I just stop answering my phone for a few days. 

My husband and I are truly polar opposites. Iam sensitive; he has a hard outer shell. I love hugs; he would rather “high-five”.  I devote my time and thoughts to serious matters like education and bettering society. My husband is happy if we have enough money to afford fishing trips and the buy-in for the World Poker Tour. I want my kids to excel and change the world for the better. My husband is happy if they are not on drugs or pregnant by the time they are 18. I have no idea how and why we got together but here we are...together.

Who has the better perspective from which to raise our children?  I contend we both do…together.  You see by ourselves we are a bit extreme, but together we strike the perfect parenting balance.  (OK, maybe not perfect, but it works for u

I used to hate that my husband and I were polar opposites. Now Iam coming to see how it benefits my kids and our family as a whole.  Since we disagree regularly, the compromise is usually the perfect thing for ever

Good parentingis the functional medley collaborative efforts.  Parents spend the most time with their children and therefore we are the best evaluators of their needs. However, we cannot think of everything, so we need constructive feedback from others.  Being from a large and very close family, I have no problem getting feedback on anything I ask…and even things I don’t ask.  Below is a phrase that states the way I filter feedback without hurting feelings.  I have never spoken this out loud, but always use it as a way to manage a

We appreciate the advice. We heard it. We evaluated it. We plan to usesome of it but we are the best evaluators of how and when to implement your advice because we are the only ones who have all the facts about our life.  Thank You. I appreciate it and I will let you know if I need your help implementing it.

…and if that doesn’t work, I just stop answering my phone for a few days. 

  

 

 

 

Comments: 3

Threats or Natural Consequences?

June 13, 2011

It occurred to me the other day that some types of ineffective discipline can often resemble bullying. I asked my daughter to listen to me otherwise she couldn’t have her after dinner treat. She responded: "Mom, what do treats have to do with listening?"

I realized that she was right! What do they have to do with each other?  She is expected to listen out of respect not because she will be rewarded with desert. Rather than using threats as discipline, it may be more effective to just allow the natural consequences of misbehaving act as discipline.

Punishing by natural consequences prepares children for the real world. Punishing by threatening, being vindictive, or any other motive may get the immediately desired result, but it ultimately teaches poor character development and isn’t true discipline.

Often, bad behavior has natural consequences. Here are some examples:

  • Not picking up barbies from the floor- dolls may get lost, stepped on or broken.
  • Not listening when told to hold your ice-cream cone still - icecream falls to the floor, cannot be eaten, and must be cleaned up
  • Procrastinating by not completing chores in a timely manner - miss out on fun play-dates because end up spending fun time on chores instead
  • Fail to brush teeth when told to –friends may not want to play with you or get too close.
  • Poor manners—will miss out on play-time because parents may choose to leave play-date early so their children won’t be exposed to a bad example
  • Going to bed too late—too tired to enjoy the day and have to go to bed early the next night 
Comments: 3

Training Children To Form Productive Habits

June 20, 2011

 

My daughters finish their breakfast and run off to play in the living room.  I can feel my pulse rate increasing.  "Why didn't they put their bowls in the sink when they were finished eating? I think to myself,  "How many times do I have to tell them to pick up after themselves?" 

Then I stop and remember my own advice.  I don't want them to feel ashamed because they forgot. I am still in the training stage and not the punishing stage.  During the school year, we are rushed to get ready for the day.  The girls eat breakfast, run to dress and brush their teeth.  I pick up their plates for them because we are in a hurry. This inconsistency will prolong my training.

What does it take to get children to prompt themselves to pick up? Children may know to do something but that does not mean they will actually remember to do it on their own. Should parents criticize during these habit forming stages? Is it damaging to point out failure before the habit is formed? YES…

It is damaging and often counter-productive to children's habit forming skills. Pointing out a failure for which children have no control over gives these children a feeling of incompetence. My children know how to put their bowls in the sink but they forget. They don't know why they fail; only that they do. Knowing to do something is completely different than actually doing it. It is our job to help children develop habits by repetition in instruction. After many months of reinforcing instructions, and only after children have developed the habit, are we allowed to discipline over failure.

Developing constructive and useful habits is a tedious process that starts with us, the parents.

Here are some tips to help kids develop these habits:

  • Post a note to serve as a reminder. Luckily my kids learned to read in the Pre-K  years so I was able to post a note near the toilet paper that read, "Flush the Toilet". It really worked!  If your children can't read then post a picture.
  • Keep track of all the times children perform the wanted task by using tally marks. Post this in plain view of children as a reminder of success.
  • Establish routines. Routines are a great way to incorporate new activities into an old schedule. The routine acts as the prompt, reminding the child of the proper procedures.
  • Reward children for small successes. Start out rewarding frequently then gradually reward less and less often until the habit is formed and rewards are no longer necessary.
  • Set mini goals for children. For example, see if you can get your child to hang-up his coat for five days in a row. Once the small goal is accomplished, add on a few days to make it a bigger goal.
  •  If all else fails, use the old classic of tying a string around your child’s finger to remind them they are supposed to be doing something…the trick is to get them to remember what that something is.

Oh, and for the record, this list is included in another blog post but can be applied in many situations.  I reposted the list because "repetition is the mother of learning".

Comments: 2

Liberty and Freedom for All? Stupid Things that Children Have Done!

July 04, 2011

Freedom is never given, it is won."  Philip Randolph

 

Stupid Things Children Have Done

 

Max Carnage says, “Two words: Lawn Darts. ”My brother and I used to get 4 Jarts (the real kind with the pointy rusty metal tips), throw them up in the air, and run!”

 

Caricci says, ”I used to like to melt and/or burn things on the gas stove. I still have a scar on my thumb from melting sugar on a spoon. I also melted the plastic cap to something and ruined a burner.”

 

Tanookie says, “ We parachuted off the porch roof with umbrellas and drove our bikes off the garage roof. (About age 8-11)

 

Mommy Teaching: "Our children gain their freedom from proving themselves as responsible individuals.  If they cannot prove it by the time they leave home, are parents to blame?"

 

Stupid Things Children Have Done

 

3.885AM says, "A friend and I found several boxes of shot gun and rifle ammunition in his basement. We proceeded to open a number of the cartages and deposited the contents into a glass jar, about a pint as I recall. We then punched a hole in the lid with a nail and inserted a rather crude homemade fuse, screwed the lid on the jar and placed it in the driveway. After setting up a suitable shelter, consisting of a sheet of plywood leaning against a saw horse we lit the fuse and retreated to our place of safety. No sooner had we reached cover when there was a blast of much greater proportions than we had anticipated. The sheet of plywood was completely covered with imbedded pieces of glass, shot and gravel, some to a depth of about ½ inch. This was not our only brush with potentially terminal stupidity but certainly our most spectacular. We were old enough to have known better, about 15." 

 

IceQueen says, "Plugged scissors into a power outlet (each tip into a separate little hole). There were blue sparks, and the tips of the scissors got melted. The sad thing is, I must have been like 12.

QID says, “I found an unused .22 bullet on the sidewalk one day. Being a curious 12-year-old guy, or thereabouts, I picked it up and took it home with me. After getting bored with just looking at it, I thought I'd try to do something with it. So, I took it down to my father's workshop and clamped in his vice horizontally, so the striker end was facing out, picked up a hammer and smacked the bottom of the cartridge. *BANG* The cartridge flew out of the vice at high velocity, striking my hand and cutting it, and the bullet flew off God-knows-where, never to be seen again.”

 

Lost 4 Life says: “Of course, there was the time we found some dynamite (in gel form) and tried to detonate it by lighting it on fire and throwing it against a tree, or the episode when we went hunting and got about 200 yards apart from each other and started firing our shotguns at each other just because. The one that worries me the most is when the city would spray for mosquitoes using a truck discharging who-knows-what, we would all run through the fog inhaling the funny smelling smoke. Other than that, I was a pretty normal kid.... until high school.”

 

Ol’Gaffer says, “My friends and I detonated a 6-inch steel pipe that was packed full of black powder and had a fuse made out of coiled toilet paper. We took it out to some orange groves outside of town and while most of us crouched down in an irrigation canal, my friend Mike lit the fuse. According the "bomb-maker" the fuse was supposed to go about 10 seconds or so. That was incorrect by about a factor of 10. I have no idea how Mike wasn't blown in half. We could hear the bits and pieces whizzing by above our heads.”

 

"Liberty is the right to choose.  Freedom is the result of choice."  Henry David Thoreau

 

Stupid Things Children Have Done

 

Largo62 says, “I don't know how I made it to sixteen, much less sixty. When I was about seven I stuck my finger into a light socket to see what would happen. I thought the jolt would rip my arm off.”
 


At about eight I was playing in the backyard and saw my dad's old push-type lawn mower leaning up against the house. I started spinning the blades with my finger to watch them spin. On about the third try I didn't get my hand out of the way in time, and cut the pad off my index finger. Hospital trip number one (to try to stitch the tip of my finger back on). The flesh grew back, and there's no scar.”

 

Gotpasswords says, "When I was 8 or so, an older brother gave me a clock motor, which was connected to a power cord with wire nuts. I plugged it in, and the motor turned. Wondering how it would work if connected a different way, I connected all the wires together under one wire nut and plugged it in. POW!"

 

Lovejoy says, "There are ten kids in my family, and six of them are boys. We did about as much dumb stuff as we possibly could. Fourth of July was spent blowing up models of army men stuff that we had built for weeks prior to the holiday, and then we had Roman Candle fights with metal trash can lids as our shields. Phosphorous hurts when it strikes your bare leg!

 

Tommyturtle says, "Here's yet another example of how stupid I was when I was a kid...I of course have matured greatly since...ha!
I was playing with fireworks like everyone else only I didn't stick them into a bottle or can...I would light them and HOLD them until they were almost ready to go off then throw them up in the air.

 

What could possibly go wrong?  One of them went up...up...up...then angled downward BEFORE it finally ignited then it shot a million miles an hour right at a car that had just turned the corner on our road.

 

Can it get worse? Yes it can...the LADY driving had her drivers side window open and it went INTO her car...then it exploded!

 

SciFiSam says, "There was the time my best friend and I, aged seven, put an entire pack of Hubba Bubba into our mouths and tried to blow the biggest bubbles in the world. The bubbles we blewwere bigger than our heads - which meant that when they burst, the gum went all over our faces and hair! We tried to get it out with soap, water, even tissues and butter - in the end we looked like half-plucked chickens greased for the oven, with a Head&Shoulders marinade. Our Mums were not pleased, especially when they had to cut some of our hair off to get rid of the gum."

 

Cjgurl427 says, "I have no idea what posessed me to do this. When I was three I was at a barbecue at my parents' friends' house. I was wandering around the patio, and for some reason, decided to *sit* on a large cactus. Ow. My mom spent the entire evening picking cactus needles out of my cute little toddler ass."
 

 

Mirror Image egamI rorriM says, "I touched an electric fence, just to see what it felt like."

 

Kallessa says, " We used to ride our bikes (stingrays) as fast as we could down the alley (a gravel alley) and then put on the brakes really hard so that we would skid. And if you turned the wheel and put your foot down, you could skid in a circle, at a slant--real cool stuff. But the stupid part came when I did it barefoot and in shorts. Gravel embedded in my foot, my ankle, my shin and my knee. Where there wasn't gravel, there wasn't any skin, either."

 

BadBaby says, "Didja ever fix up a sail out of mom's best sheets and go and sailing?
Among other things, I played in the irrigation canals, jumped into the shallow end of the pool from our second story window, and lay down on the highway near our house to see how close cars would get before putting on their brakes. My poor parents; I was considered the 'good one' in our family.

 

Astralbovine says, "I attempted to scuff my barefeet on an old wooden deck. I got a big 3-inch splinter embedded in my foot and a hole in my sole (har) for a good month and a half."

 

Dana27 says, "I remember once we were convinced that a person could not consciously make themselves breath through their nose when they were underwater. (We were about 8 at the time and god only knows why we thought this.) So at the community pool we all took turns submerging ourselves under the water and trying to breath. Sometimes you have to wonder how anyone survived being a kid. 

FEEL FREE TO SHARE A TIME WHEN YOU DID SOMETHING STUPID AS A CHILD.

Comments: 1
 
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