Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Quality Always Beats Quantity

Celebrate a balanced work and home life!

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Find a Better Work/Home Life Balance

Juggling work and family life is a constant struggle for more and more working moms and dads. If you don’t quite believe me, check out for some shocking results of the Annual Mother’s Day Survey which includes current data on how much parents’ work life is taking a toll on family relationships.

Most of the time, moms and dads work on “overload”. Effective and efficient parenting takes time, sustained inerest, and effort. At the same time that parents’ working hours are increasing, emotional problems are on the rise among children. We live in an age of blurred boundaries and vanishing time. The “art of parenting” suffers in this type of existence. As a parent, you need to learn to get this important balance of work and family time in proper perspective by following some doable suggestions from a mom who’s been there.

On the home front start by:

Turn off the cell phone if only for an hour during dinner with your family. Appreciate what is going on daily in each others’ lives.

Turn off the computer and TV. Play with your kids. Listen to them.
Engage in some quality time with them that require parent-child interaction.

Set certain time periods, they don’t have to be lenghty, when you can can enjoy one-on-one time with each of your kids. Remember, that quality beats quantity all the time!

By going through these motions, you will be consciously willing yourself to slow down by talking with and most importantly listening, really listening to your kids.

At work, consider these suggestions:

Explore alternative work arrangements, perhaps a flexible schedule: coming in later or leaving earlier, and working through lunch.

Learn to say “no” and don’t feel guilty about it. You can’t possibly do everything. It is extremely important to manage your workload without taking on additional duties, and ask for help when necessary.

Get organized. Prioritize what needs to be done at work and at home. Do what’s important first. If you run out of time, you’ll get to those other lesser things of imortance at another time, when you’re not experiencing a time crunch in your busy schedule.

Simplify your life. Create balance. A good idea is to write dowm all the activities in which you and your children are involved. With your kids’ input, rank these activities from the most beneficial and desired to the least important and not so desired. Estimate how much time it would take for the top five to seven activities. Include practice, preparation, and travel time.

You must consider another vital factor: the value of each activity. Tutoring and enrichment classes improve self-esteem. Sports can help advance self-concept and team building skills, and can encourage good health and longevity practices. Music and art lessons stimulate an interest in and an appreciation of the arts, creativity, confidence, and high self-esteem. Take time from your extremely busy schedule to plan a more balanced one for you and your kids. If you do so, you will secure a plan that will not frustrate you or them. It will, also, definitely prepare you today for tomorrow’s success in a more, resourceful, calm, and timely manner.

Above all celebrate your life! Carve out some “me time” either by establishing quiet, calm time in your daily routine, or by engaging in a favorite pastime. Either can be very beneficial and energizing, especially when your physical and mental energy is depleted due to the many demands of your over-loaded schedule.

Then take a deep, long, breath and enjoy your new, more authentic, and balanced lifestyle!

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Reasons For Inappropriate Behavior Part 1

The following examples are common reasons for kids’ misbehavior. They may be exhibited at one time or another during the growing years. The characteristics of each behavior may be seen at home, school, or in both environments.

Attention Seekers
If kids believe that they cannot get attention in a useful way, then they will seek it out by misbehaving. They will do something annoying, such as kicking a table leg, laughing out loud in class, or interrupting when you are talking to someone or when you are on the phone. Some kids seek attention in an entirely different way: they do nothing! For example, when told to do something whether at home or school, some just stare out the window, or continue doing what they were doing before the direction was given. Children who do nothing are not “acting out”, but they are still crying out for your attention in a way that they know how to.

Here are some strategies to use if your kids are attention seekers:
Ignore the annoying behavior. Don’t over react by raising your voice or throwing or slamming things. Don’t look upset in any way.

Give choices: “When mom is on the phone either watch TV or play in your room.”

If choices don’t work, do mention consequences: “If you continue to talk loud when I’m on the phone your TV time will be reduced tonight.” or “If you keep hitting your brother, your bedtime is 1 hour earlier tonight.”

If consequences are needed, don’t renege! Follow through on them, no matter what, even if you don’t want to use this method of teaching kids right from wrong. If you don’t keep your promise, you give kids license to ignore you again in the future. They will know that they can get away with it and will do what they want no matter what you say.

This is my action plan when kids seek attention inappropriately:

Control Seekers
When kids feel that the only way for them to belong is to be the “boss”, they are seeking control. These children not only want to be in charge of a situation, but they also desire to dominate and overrule adults. When kids tell you: “You can’t make me do that!” or throw a tantrum, they are attempting to force you to behave in a particular way. Frequently, your response to this misbehavior results in its escalation. When you get angry and fight back, it begins an argumentative cycle; but if you do give in, the behavior stops. Avoid acquiescense. It will only happen again if you yield to their control. Stressed responses further reinforce their misbehavior in this particular situation and future ones.

Successful strategies for dealing with control seekers.
Be silent at first. Then firmly explain what exceptable behavior should be.

Present consequences and follow through with them if the inappropriate behavior continues.

Leave, or have the child leave, the room or situation.

Do not confront kids who are seeking control.

Be patient and engage in another activity. They will soon come to the conclusion that the behaviors that they are displaying are not giving them the “payoff” that they were expecting. The behavior will then
be lessened or stopped altogether.

A common behavior for kids seeking control is talking back. Back talk is surely a sign that something is amiss in your adult-child relationship. Sometimes it occurs because kids are dealing with unsettling issues and do not know how to share them with adults, or ask them for help. However, regardless of the reason kids talk back, it is still very disrespectful. When they do it and get away with it, they receive the message that it is acceptable to be disrespectful to you and other adults.

Proper comunication is the key to remedying this very annoying habit. Act quickly and consistently when kids talk back, and state firmly that it is not acceptable behavior. It is especially important not to empower them by arguing about the issue that triggered it. When children are chronic back talkers, you have your work cut out for you. They not only need to know that back talk will not be tolerated; they need to be presented with a list of consequences that will occur if their disrespect continues.

Be very clear about the rules you set for kids. Set fair but firm limits for them. Then, if they push the limits and the rules are broken, you must follow through with those consequences if the inappropriate behavior is to be replaced with more appropriate ones. If for any reason you back down on the consequences or change them in any way, your attempt to change the behavior will fail!

This is my action plan when kids seek control inappropriately:

Next Blog post: Reasons For Inappropriate Behavior Part 2 will include Seeking Revenge and Giving Up.

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