Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Current Parenting Trends

children-playing

With the many demands of family life today, many busy and stressed parents are relying on current parenting trends not often favored or employed by parents in the past, namely TV Babysitting, Helicopter Parenting, and Child-Led Parenting to help the households to run more smoothly.

While I personally understand how difficult it is to satisfy your family’s needs as well as your own, I am, however, a proponent of a middle-of-the-road approach to each of these current parenting trends. Unusual times call for unusual methods but in moderation….that is the key to successful parent-child interactions and most important great parent-child relationships.

TV BABYSITTING

I think most moms and dads will agree that the TV can be an enticing babysitter. With so many entertaining, educational programs available today, permitting your kids to watch TV exposes and teaches them many new things they would not ordinarily come across at their young age in your home.
What is important when using the TV as a babysitter is to balance this popular current parenting trend with social interaction that is crucial to developing well-rounded kids.

HELICOPTER PARENTING

I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “helicopter parenting”. This current parenting trend describes parents who hover over kids, ready to fly in and save the day for even the slightest issue. From arguing with teachers who they think have “offended” their kids, to making every choice and decision for their kids. How exhausting that would be for any parent and especially how embarrassing it would be for the kids. Children need to learn to make their own decisions and fight their own battles. It’s perfectly OK to step in, and sometimes interject yourself in some situations that you know that your kids could be physically or emotionally harmed. A good rule of thumb is to first ask your younger kids if they need some help in handling a tricky situation that you’re observing.

CHILD-LED PARENTING

Child-Led Parenting is a current parenting trend when parents are super sensitive to their kids’ needs. If kids give a parent a hard time at the set bedtime, the parent would permit them to go to bed when they want. Mealtime is another example, kids would choose what they want to eat and when. The main idea with this current parenting trend is that kids are not machines and should be given freedom to make their own choices.

While I strongly believe that kids should be given 2-3 manageable choices of their parents’ choosing, but I can see that this parenting trend could be very disruptive to a smooth family schedule and environment. Young kids developmentally can’t possibly understand that a set mealtime and sleep schedule is necessary for the overall smooth running of the household. Although there are times when a concession is in good order, but not a steady diet of the kids setting the household rules! It can also present an undesirable situation where the kids rule the home, rather than the other way around! Remember, everything, every current parenting trend should
be employed with good judgement, discretion, and above all moderation.

What do you think about the current parenting trends? Do you employ any one of them? Are they successful in your given situation? How?

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7 Best Parenting Inspirational Sayings

Are you being a positive influence on your kids? Even when you try, and give it your all, you still may find yourself in the middle of uncontrolled circumstances and old ways of doing things. The most important way to love and nurture your kids is to reflect a positive attitude. This is crucial because your children look up to you and say what you say, and do what you do. You are the most important influence in their little lives.

In striving to be a positive role model for your kids my pick for the 7 Best Parenting Inspirational Sayings may help you. Take some time to read them, think about them, and reflect how you can incorporate  at least one or two of them into your daily life with your kids. You may be delightfully surprised at the unexpected results!

1. One thing I know for sure about raising children is that every single day a kid needs discipline….but also every single day a kid needs a break. —–Anne Larmott

2. There are only two lasting bequests you can give your children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.—–Goethe

3. Tell me I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me, and I learn. —–Benjamin Franklin

4. The most beautiful sight in the world is a little child going confidently down the road of life after you have shown him the way.—–Confucius

5. Learn to look at the world as your kids do, and you’ll see an entire universe of new possibilities.—–Unknown

6. The most important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil. —–Walt Disney

7.  All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. —–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Parents, Do You Wish Your kids Were Different?

Parents, it’s natural to expect your children to take after you: fun-loving, responsible, balanced, appropriate in all situations. It’s difficult for parents to see their own children having problems of any kind: low grades, being shy in social situations, or exhibiting occasional inappropriate behaviors in social situations but keep your kids in mind. It is a bit narcissistic to want them to be exactly like you, or wanting them to be perfect. Accept your children’s uniqueness, and cherish them for who they are and not what you want them to be. Realize that they are good kids, and let go of the things that you think they’re not.

When you catch yourself wishing that your kids were different: “Why is she so loud and rough?” “Why is he so obnoxious in school?” “Why can’t she keep friends?” “Why is he so quiet and shy?, try to see things from your kids’ point of view. How would you feel if someone was always hovering over you and telling you to do this and that, this way and that way? And be honest with yourself; is being like you in their best interest? Ask yourself: “Am I being so hard on my kids because I didn’t accomplish certain things when I was young because I didn’t have the capabilities or the opportunities?”

I not advocating that you ignore behaviors that harm your kids or others. It is your responsibility as a parent to teach your kids right from wrong, and respect for themselves and others. Letting kids be kids, and be themselves is important in their development. It also helps you get a better perspective of what a great parent you really are, and how extraordinarily OK your kids truly are! It also rids you of any guilt that your kids are not measuring up to an arbitrary standard of yours. Without all the negativity to get in the way of a positive relationship with them, you can successfully focus on getting to know each of your “one-of-a-kind” kids even better.

If you identify yourself living vicariously through your children, you may try to manipulate them into filling the sense of lack in your own life. It is manifested when you say: “I want you to achieve what I never did.” “I want you to receive straight A’s so you’re accepted into an Ivy League University so I can be proud of you.” “I know what’s best for you.” “Don’t disappoint me.” The ego’s dysfunction comes to light with statements like these. Opposition from your kids in similar situations gives you, sadly, a renewed force to continue this inappropriate behavior. Think about what you’re saying and doing to your kids. The relationship foundation that you have and maintain with them sets the tone for all other relationships in their lives.

Expecting to live vicariously through your children isn’t fair to them or you. It’s your responsibility and totally up to you to discover the resources within you to make you happy, and not rely on your children to do so.

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How Happy Are You? Part 2

You are unique and capable of extraordinary things! Finding pastimes that are best suited to you is one of the great adventures of life, and a source of much happiness. Remember, you and only you can make you happy. If you are truly satisfied and joyful you experience it all as your real, authentic self. Happiness can be sustained beyond just experiencing something wonderful at any given moment. Many times you judge an activity by how you feel about it beforehand instead of how you feel after the venture is over. Many times you don’t feel like practicing for a marathon, but you do it anyway. Once this task is over you’re usually glad that you kept to your rigorous training schedule. Your sense of satisfaction and well-being lasts for a long time after the actual workout is over. That’s happiness! In every moment of your life you choose happiness or not!

When you choose happiness over passing pleasure, it is sustained independently of your circumstances in life: money, material things, past successes, and future opportunities. Happiness can’t be found by pursuing happiness! Many people refuse to think about it, or even believe in this idea. If you set out to find and savor happiness, it will elude you every time.

Happiness is not an an end itself, nor is it an experience. It is truly a by product of every situation, at every step, and at all crossroads on your adventure through life. Is there an aliveness and enjoyment for you in what you are doing and experiencing now? When you are completely absorbed in your favorite pastime and really present in the moment, the result is one of high energy and intensity. An added bonus is that stress is absent, also. Check it out for yourself! You’ll become a believer!

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How Happy Are You Now?

Recent research suggests it’s not a fancy lifestyle or money that makes you happy, but rather any effortless pleasure that strengthens your relationships or gives you a positive sense of control. Many things that can make you happy are inexpensive and well within your reach. There are some easy and powerful ways to bring more joy to your life: five minutes of down time in the middle of the day, a longer but more scenic ride home, a picnic lunch, saying thank you for even the smallest things, and really meaning it, saying NO to one more thing on your to-do list, dancing to your favorite music. You get the picture?

Just do it…something….carve out some time from your busy schedule, and create some peace and relaxation for yourself…and don’t feel guilty. You need it…you deserve it!

Make a list of things that bring you joy. Do you even allow yourself to enjoy the small pleasures of life? Give it some time; soon your thoughts will flow and you’ll wonder, from where did all these amazing ideas come? The answer is quite simple-from your spirit, your real self. It is the wiser you….speaking softly. Be open to the possibilities. Only you can make you happy!

 

Photo by Lance Neilson, cropped, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Single Parents – You Inspire Me!

HydrangeasSingle parents, you inspire me! You amaze me! You have the toughest job in the world. I believe you don’t ever get the credit you deserve for single parenting . While I believe, also, that you are not looking for any accolades, high fives, or pats on the back either, but I think it would be so nice for someone to notice and acknowledge your journey and you doing it all alone.

Raising children is a lot of work. Many times it is thankless. What is it that gives you the strength to continue, and push on when you are tired and burned out? I’m sure above all LOVE motivates you, and that comes from deep within yourself. But, what motivates you externally? Sometimes an inspirational idea can help you renew yourselves, and hopefully then you will be filled with the needed strength to fulfill your life’s purpose as a parent – to raise you kids with love, care, ethics, balance, and resiliency – a tall order to be sure! And you do it, every day, 100x a day, and ask nothing in return but to be loved and respected by your kids.

TulipsInspiration comes in many forms. However, the root of all inspiration is the idea that your life is meaningful. Inspiration is knowing that what you do matters deeply to your children, and the universe. When you have that feeling that your actions are meaningful, you will become filled with the strength and vigor to fulfill your life’s purpose whether you realize it now or not.

My wish is that my blog posts, help to inspire you. I hope my “words of wisdom”, tips, techniques, and proven strategies will guide you, and will be useful tools in working with your precious little ones to achieve better results and more positive relationships at home and school.

Yes, I hope to inspire you! But, please, don’t ever forget that YOU inspire ME to keep doing what I’m doing – continually reaching out  to you busy, overworked moms and dads, hoping that in some small way I can lessen your worry, anxiety, and fear as you raise you children to be the best that they can be on a daily basis.

Please comment and let me know what has helped you on your journey. Inspire Me!

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Parenting and The Power of the High Five

High FiveAn inspirational parenting tip that really rocks is the power of the High Five! I recommend that you test the high five upon arriving at your next social gathering, parenting or interacting with your kids, or when a someone helps you out of a trying situation. You will be pleased with the results!

I started using the High Five in my classroom many years ago. Over the years I came to realize I was able to make a lasting impression using the High Five when my students started to give each other this gesture with enthusiasm. They would eagerly comment on the affects of giving and receiving High Fives.

Interestingly enough, the High Five is not an archaic tradition. It has become a key aspect of american culture. It is thought to have occurred for the first time publicly when Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke during the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game on October 2, 1977 in Dodger Stadium.

I have noticed in several different situations and in most circumstances the High Five makes everyone appear much happier and  more connected. It also helps in facilitating to open the lines of communication when they were previously strained.

I have been an avid proponent of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs throughout all of my professional career. I shared them in most of my parenting presentations. After food, water and shelter, Maslow  includes, love, belonging, and self-esteem as high ranking human needs. The High Five is a spontaneous, quick way to communicate to someone that they are important, unique, and deserving of your attention.

Another key component of the High Five is the physical connection. Tactile communication has been researched and found to increase cooperation, and emotional give and take. It is also a sign of trust and acceptance. What’s really cool about the High Five is that is crosses all social boundaries, age, education, religion, and race. It works with almost everyone!

It still amazes me how doing something I do all the time can have such a huge impact but that’s what inspiring others is all about and that’s why I love it! And so, today’s inspirational parenting tip is to check out the benefits of the High Five in your life and see what happens! You will be pleased with the results. Try it, you’ll like it! Leave me a comment on what happens! Make my day!

 

Photo by Sean Dreilinger, www.flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/,  – high five from an unknown cheering parent

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We Do LOVE!

On the soulseeds.com blog archives I came across “Seed of Authenticity”: “In this house we do real mistakes. We do I’m sorry. We do second chances.

We do fun.

We do hugs.

We do forgiveness.

We really do loud.

We do family.

We do LOVE!”

While visiting my granddaughter and her mom and dad I found these warm and fuzzy
affirmations the rule of the day in their home. They are not just nice and inspirational
sayings to them but  real rules of thumb for their everyday living. What a great environment for them
to share and raise my granddaughter in her formative years. I truly am a grateful grandma
(G.G.) for this. I, personally, especially love the family hugs!

I think that it’s important, and would like like to address one of the elements that may
give you, as a parent, a little more trouble than  all the rest of the authentic affirmations
presented.  Let’s talk about your kids making mistakes…..

It is most important and helpful to talk to your kids, and discuss that their failures and mistakes are
stepping stones to success. Encourage them to role play with you as to how the situation in question
could have had a better outcome. If you are really brave, switch roles with your kids when play acting
or role playing. Permit your young ones to be you, and you then take their role in a situation
that calls for a better choice of outcomes. This will be an eye opening experience for you to say the
least!

How quickly you will see the results that you seek. This little strategy will almost always give you
valuable insight,  and just the right information that you will need to turn a negative situation around to a more  positive one for your young ones. It will make your life, and your kids’ a little easier. You will gain a new and useful understanding to guide your youngsters in the right direction toward appropriate reactions both at home and school.

I’d like to hear from you if this technique even  helped a little to  ease the issue for your kids learning from their mistakes, and helping them make better choices. Keep up your great work trying to improve the quality of life for your kids. You should be commended. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

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Girl Power and Parenting: Developing Leadership Qualities

Super hero girl

If you are interested in Girl Power and developing leadership qualities in the young ladies in your life, this is your lucky day.  A must read is, 3 Next Steps for Developing Girls’ Leadership by Elena Aquilar focusing on student engagement and developing girls’ leadership qualities. The author so eloquently raises the pertinent questions exploring what leadership truly means to young girls.

Leadership is not just about a girl’s role but it’s all about the stance they take and the way they feel and the actions they take in that role. Girls, too, must be clear about their intrinsic value and their options. As a parent, especially, and as an educator, one of your most significant contributions to the world is to empower girls to lead happy and responsible lives. You can do this most effectively  by modeling and offering guidance that will build young girls’ confidence and self-esteem. It is important that you increase your own awareness of the “rules” you present and reinforce to them.

In her book Stand Up For Your Life, Cheryl Richardson, gives great and sound advice when she points out that instead of you, as a child, being trained to follow rules that may have crushed your spirit, imagine what your life would have been like if you had been taught these instead:

* Be informed
* Stick with it
* Stop apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong
* Be courageous
* Think big
* Be ambitious
* Be enthusiastic
* Be proud of yourself
* Keep your expectations high
* Go for it!

Ms. Richardson states that her own life would have been different had she been raised with these types of rules. She notes that she would have spoken up in school when she knew the answer to a teacher’s question instead of feeling insecure to raise her hand. Cheryl also mentioned that she would have performed in the high school plays that captured her imagination rather than relegating herself to the audience while longing to be on stage.

Now is the time to give your kids, especially your girls, the opportunity to omit the “could have been” and the “should have been” thoughts from their minds. Give them a new set of rules to live by! You will have many opportunities during the day to implement and encourage these new rules. Explain them. Discuss them. Monitor and adjust them to your own experience and situation for maximum output and success. Integrate them into your young lady’s daily routine. Watch what happens! You’ll both feel empowered! You go girls!

Photo by Lance Neilson, cropped, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Parents, Let Go of Self-Doubt!

I recently came across Marala Scotts’ tweet: “Once doubt infiltrates your mind it will impede or stop your progress.” After reading this post and talking with many busy parents, young moms and dads, I get this reoccurring feeling  that today’s parents experience self-doubt on many various levels, especially nurturing and guiding their children.

Parents, as soon as you make peace with the fact that you won’t get everything you want in life, the playing field is leveled. While it’s tough to let go of something you want, or want to happen, if you release yourself from the relentless pull of your “if only” thinking, a sense of calm, and even joy, will rush into that mental state instead, notes C. Leslie Charles, author of Why Is Everyone So Cranky? When you can just “be” with a situation but not liking it, things usually begin to slow down, turn around, and reshape themselves for the better.

By letting go in a negative situation in parenting, you decide not to give into thoughts and actions like doubt, worry, or regret that waste your time, and not dwell on what you think you don’t have in your family life.That can be  a real motivator for a more joyful, less stress filled life. Trust Yourself! It is harder to accomplish than it sounds but it can be done with a few simple steps.

To help learn to reduce self-doubt, start to make a list of all the times you went with your intuition – and you were right. Do it regularly. Refer to the list any time you feel unsure about your decision with and for your kids.

The more you practice listening to and acting on your own inner voice, the more you come to trust the wisdom inside of you for parenting. This is a vital key in building the family life you desire. Giving yourself the gift of slowing down, carving out some time for reflection and thanksgiving during your busy day will help you recognize what it is you truly need to create the life that you and your family deserve to enjoy together.

Parents, take some precious time daily to “trust your gut”. Your intuition is usually never wrong. Go for it!

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