The Four “F’s” of Summer Parenting

26
Jun
2014

Summer-Parenting-Strategies

I brought back a popular post from a few years ago to share with you.  I am away at the International Young Living Convention in Salt Lake City and honestly, I had all good intentions about writing a blog post for you all – but it didn’t happen.  I am sorry.

There is so much learning going on for me, about new oil blends released and amazing new products that I am trying soak in every single minute of learning so I can share more ‘oily news‘ that I know will bless your family.  So I pray for grace and for the new readers you will see this as new information and for my lovely treasured blog followers, let this be a gentle reminder for you.  🙂

Here are my four F’s of parenting for a  summer full of fun and less frustration, and yes, they are good all during the year too!

Be Firm

Clearly state expectations and consequences and adhere to them when your child acts inappropriately.  It can be easy to allow behavior to escalate or get out of control in the summer when you do not clearly state expectations and also remain consistent.  We tend to slack off a bit when things are more relaxed, but we all know the end result – not necessarily good.  Make sure you keep consistent and your kids will have a much better idea of how much they can trust what you say and if you mean it.

Fair

Consequences should fit the crime.  Have a few consequences that are in your back pocket so that you can easily respond to situations rather than allowing things to slide by.  In the case of recurring behavior, consequences should be stated in advance so the child knows what to expect and your consistent follow through is key to your child making better choices.

Fun

Even though summer can often lead to more work for us moms, find your own groove to create a routine that will allow you to be the “fun mom” and enjoy making those great memories instead of always being stressed over wet kids running through the house or eating s’mores for dinner!

Flexible

Learn to go with the flow – you will provide a great example to your children when they see things not going as planned and you are willing to quickly change gears.  If you have an outside activity planned and you wake up to rain, make sure you  have a back up plan you can quickly engage without a lot of drama!

Summer is a time to enjoy a change of pace from the school year. It’s an opportunity to focus on different interests or activities that you don’t have as much time for during the rest of the year.  

Back To School Study Habit Tips

16
Sep
2013


Are you in the midst of battling homework and setting up expectations for the school year?   It can be rough, especially if you have a child who is dead set on trying to make his own path and go against all your rules.  I talk in detail about homework, setting up a homework station and more in my Back 2 School Survival Guide and wanted to share a few ideas for those who might just be experiencing some frustration right about now!

When we were kids, if we didn’t do our homework there were severe consequences.  I can remember being grounded so many times – do kids even get grounded anymore?  Today, with TV, video games, sports and other distractions available for kids to put off studying and completing homework assignments it is even more important to encourage and expect strong study habits at the beginning of the school year.  When you take the time early to set up those expectations and consistency, it will pay off. [Read more…]

Teaching Our Kids Optimism

22
Aug
2013


If you could take small steps now to point your child toward a life which would likely include lower stress, better health, more confidence and a more positive outlook, would you be interested?

There benefits of optimism are shown over and over again.  Researchers like Martin Seligman have been studying optimists and pessimists for years, and they have found that an optimistic world view carries certain advantages.  One example:

In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists.

There is much to say about the whole nurture or nature philosophy, and one I am learning about with children from 3 different sets of parents all under the same roof.  It is interesting to see how you can influence your child’s tendency toward an optimistic outlook or pessimistic thinking – I do truly believe optimism can be a learned behavior. [Read more…]

Back to School Topics with Teens

13
Aug
2013


There is a lot to be considered with Back to School Expectations and I talk about this in my Back 2 School Survival Guide,  but with teens you have a few areas that may not be relevant for younger kids.  It is important to set boundaries beforehand so they know what is expected as they continue on with their high school studies and into college.  It is critical to address topics before the issues become a point of battle.  Clearly defining expectations and consequences gets everyone on the same page.  Parenting teens changes the playing field a bit and being prepared will help you a lot!

Curfew

A specific curfew should be set on school nights and weekends.  This has been helpful for us to implement so that we are not caught off guard with certain situations that leave us feeling unprepared.  School night curfews are fairly easy, but this can become more difficult when your teen enters the job market.  If they are choosing to have  a job, then making sure you can set expectations for both curfew in regard to ‘fun’ activities as well as ‘job’ activities.

This past spring it was interesting to see how our son who had recently gotten his first job learned to balance his responsibilities at home, his studies and his commitment to his boss.  No amount of lecturing on my part really could help him.  I asked if he’d like my suggestions, but nagging him to do his school work and or to go to bed early on nights he wasn’t working were not in his best interest.  Allowing our kids to fail is hard, watching him get up tired and weary in the morning because of choices he had made with his time was hard, but that truly is the only way to learn.  Experience versus lecturing.

Homework

This can be a huge area of contention for students and parents.   I have a strategy that has worked well for us with our older children.  At a certain point in your child’s student career you have to be willing to hand over the reigns to them.  This can mean something different for different kids and families and you certainly will know your child best.  For us it worked well to slowly transition all areas of managing their own school work to them – which began at the end of elementary school.  Instead of having a certain “homework” time period set aside, they were given the opportunity to do it on their own time frame, as long as it got done.  When they blew it, they fell back under my rules and regulations.  After a while they were given the chance to try again.  It only took a short while, but they managed to do their work on their own and learned a valuable time management skill.  They also learned about making choices and how a wrong choice on their part could affect them.

I cannot express enough that it is a process and you slowly give the reigns over.  I am so happy to say that with our second high schooler, he has proven himself to be responsible, realizes the outcomes of his sometimes poor choices and he takes responsibility for them rather than blaming others.  In my opinion your child has to take complete ownership of their high school career, otherwise they will get to college and continue to look to you to manage their time and may have the perception that they can blame you when things don’t work out.

After-School Employment

With regard to an after-school job, I think it needs to be made clear that if school work begins to suffer due to the extra time taken to fulfill a job commitment, then they will have to give notice to their employer.  Keeping the priority on school first and foremost is where the focus needs to remain.  These years prior to college are critical for teens to learn time management skills, prioritizing what is important and what should take their time and also managing money.  Take it from a mom who has sent one off to college and seen some mistakes I’ve made in the process, you will want to do what you can to help foster these skills.

Report Cards

This is the defining moment.  If your teen brings home a report card that signifies he or she is not doing well, things start to get ugly.  Why not decide ahead of time some expectations before the school year begins.  This could be as general as an expectation for a ‘C’ in certain classes or other criteria.  You know your child best, so decide what area they are strong in and set those expectations and perhaps have different expectations for areas they struggle in.  Encouraging them to do their best – period.

When a report card comes home with less than desired outcomes, we’ve found it very helpful to sit down and have an adult conversation with them, no accusations, no condemnation, but rather a joint discussion on reasons why the grades are low and find ways they can be improved. In the course of the discussion, we’ve had two way communication that has resulted in our child coming up with problem solving techniques on their own, rather than us just telling them what they should do.  When you allow your child to have some control over a situation and the outcome you are giving them a powerful skill.

One thing I love to share with other parents who have teens, is to be clear on what your goals are when you send your kids off on their own after they graduate.  I want a self-sufficient adult who can problem solve, feel confident that they can come to me for help when their ideas run dry and know that I will be their biggest supporter, regardless of their progress.  Believe me, we’ve been challenged in this area this past year and it is hard.  We can take the time to build skills in their lives, but the results may be less than what we truly desire for them.  Remember, just because your child may make choices and performs different than what you feel they should doesn’t mean you should do anything less but love them.

We can love our kids BIG and still make choices to not help them continue to make the same mistakes.  If you have a teen or young adult child who is trying your patience and keeping you on your knees, know you are not alone!

What area with your teen causes the biggest conflict?

 

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Four Tips to Better Consistency

6
Aug
2013

You find yourself exhausted and instead of going to battle with your 6 year old about not running around the house jumping up and down on the furniture, you just decide to let it go.  Yesterday your toddler had to finish eating their lunch before having any afternoon snacks, but today – even though you said it, you don’t feel like following through.

Sound familiar?

As we venture into the Back to School season, I thought it would be the perfect time to re-focus on one of the most important strategies a parent can use in their home.  Consistency.

Consistency:  conformity with previous attitudes, behaviour, practice, etc  (source)

Consistency is key to successfully teaching your child right from wrong when disciplining them as well as creating a trusting relationship between the two of you.  If you say one thing one day and the complete opposite the next, it is hard to create a set of concrete expectations.  Your child is not sure when you really mean what you are saying or if they can get you to change your mind.

Being consistent keeps small misdeeds and bad behaviors from later becoming bigger issues and escalating into worse behavior.  Your child understands what has happened in the past when they’ve made a certain choice when you are consistent and issue the same answer or consequence again.

You have to stand firm and mean it when you say, “Turn off the television,”or “no dessert after dinner because you didn’t eat your dinner.”

“It comes down to integrity – meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise.”  Hal Runkel, author – ScreamFree Parenting

 

Consistency teaches your child there are defined consequences for their choices and inappropriate or unacceptable actions or behaviors. Inconsistency when disciplining makes you directly responsible for your children’s misbehavior and doesn’t teach them how to be responsible for their actions.

OUCH!  

Can you look back and see when this has happened in your own parenting?  I know I can.  When I fail to step up to the plate and be consistent, things quickly fall apart.  My child learns a new way of manipulating me, which doesn’t do anyone any good.

Consistency is one prime principle covered in the Becoming a Calm, Cool and Confident Mom Online Course.  Often times  I try to make my parenting journey more difficult, trying to find quick and easy solutions to the behaviors that frustrate me, but I lose the basics.  Making sure I am consistent is one area I need to constantly keep focused on.

Consistency is about being strong and standing firm, even when doing so is extremely difficult or exhausting.  Yep, we moms know – those long days and endless battles can completely take us down.  It is easier to just ignore behavior or allow the “easy” solution, even though it goes against what you truly want to build in your child.

How do you re-focus on your ideal to be consistent?

Evaluate Honestly

What areas are you battling and struggling with right now with your child?  We cannot change our kids or make them do anything, but you can change how you act, respond and effectively parent.  What can you do differently to not feed into the defeating pattern that is going on?  I know for me and my youngest, I have to re-evaluate my  ability to slow things down for him when he begins to become very emotional.  He has trouble regulating his emotions and I can feed into this inability with my reactions.

Yet, if I am the one acting like a grown-up and able to slow his motor down and keep things from escalating, we have a much better outcome.  I have to honestly look at what my part is in the behavior pattern and how I can best help him learn techniques to manage his emotions.

Staying Calm

When you are practicing consistency it is imperative that you remain calm in your approach.  If you raise your voice and go off the deep end, you lose all credibility with your child and the situation will often go downhill much faster.  When you are able to display a calm demeanor when dealing with your child, your words will go ten times farther.  Do you find when you whisper that your kids are more receptive?  If you have not tried this approach, do so today.  If I see a situation cumulating into a bigger mess, I will lower my voice and kneel down close to my child and it breaks that escalation.

Standard Responses

Think of certain patterns that happen in your home and come up with set phrases that you can draw from.  Instead of getting caught up in the battle, you will have a set phrase tucked right in your tool belt.  In our home right now, one of our phrases is, “Worry about yourself.”  I cannot tell you how many frustrating situations have been avoided because I grab that phrase and kindly dish it out. We also use the word, “Maybe” quite a bit in our home, this keeps me from committing to something that I may not be able to follow through on.  When you say yes to something and then are unable to follow through, it sends a clear message that your child cannot trust what you say.  No one wants to set that kind of tone.

Careful Consequences

Don’t let your anxiety drive your word choices.  In the midst of a situation, it is okay to think about what you want to say and what kind of consequence is realistic.  I know, in my early years of parenting, I would often go off the deep end and make ridiculous statements about my kids, “having no TV for a week,” or something just as ludicrous because I was trying to get the shock factor in my favor – it never worked and honestly, made me look really ineffective as a parent.

Your child will consistently test the boundaries and ‘push the envelope’ with you to see if there’s any play in those consequences. By standing firm you are showing there is not and that you expect them to do nothing less than take responsibility for their actions.

There are no shortcuts to consistency.  Providing consistent discipline is exhausting, frustrating and certainly not the easiest way to do things.  It is difficult.

How might your increased consistency improve your relationship with your child?

 

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