5 Must Do’s in Parenting


Part of being a good parent or one who is intentional in their parenting is teaching your kids to be good people, creating a genuine character that will carry them far in life.  The best way to do this is to be a good example. When your kids see that you are doing the things that “good people” do, they will automatically catch on.

You don’t have to be Super Woman, or Mother Teresa, you just have to practice responsibility, kindness, compassion and caring. Depending on your own beliefs about what it means to be good, and perhaps the influence of your faith, being a good person might not be exactly the same for you as it is for someone else.  That is why believing in yourself, your ability as a mom and knowing your family best is important.  This is exactly what I share in, “Becoming the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be.”

You are your kids first and main teacher.  It carries a bit of pressure, or at least I think so!  Often I fail with being the example I want for my kids.  I blow it – yell, loose my temper, say ugly things – yep, that’s me.  I have gotten better over the years and learned techniques that help with diffusing my escalating frustration, but I am still very human and blow it.  Then I apologize and ask for forgiveness, over and over again.

But there are some things to keep in mind as you progress through your parenting journey, which will help keep you on track for training your kids.

Teach your kids about gratefulness

While your family may not have everything as far as material possessions go, you probably have lots to be grateful for. I can often get caught up in the everyday too and forget to be grateful for what I have and have been blessed with. It’s important to show kids that while life can sometimes be worrisome or disappointing, there are still many good things to be happy about. You can take the lead by expressing happiness about all the good things you have and avoiding too much complaining about what you don’t have.

Sharing with my kids the days when my health is ‘cooperating’ is one example of a gratefulness that has nothing to do with a material item.

Teach your kids about responsibility

As adults, we have to be responsible for a number of things. If we don’t take responsibility, we can suffer some fairly uncomfortable consequences, like penalties for not paying bills on time, or the consequences of not showing up for work on time. You can do your best to set a proper example, and talk to your kids about what it means to be responsible. As they get older, you can give them tasks to be responsible and consequences, both positive and negative, for choosing to be responsible.

In life there are already many consequences set up for being responsible and making the ‘right’ choice.  In nearly every choice there is a logical positive or negative consequence, the sooner your child learns this the better.  As I came away from visiting my daughter at college and shared some things with me that she was experiencing over the last few weeks, it was hard to see how her choices led to some unpleasant outcomes.  Standing by and allowing those consequences to spill out is hard…..but necessary.

Teach your kids about kindness

Being kind involves feeling empathy for others, or putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. It means reaching out to others with a smile or a friendly word.  If you are involved in a home church, this can be seen with the different ways to serve others and volunteer both your time and resources.

Treat others with respect

You’re children will learn that treating each other with respect is an important element of being a good person when the see you doing it.  We often think getting respect has to be earned, but I’ve found that when we offer respect to others, even our kids, we are giving the example of how this is to be shown.  As my kids have gotten older, I am glad I took this approach.

Be compassionate and caring

Show your children that compassion for others is easy to show and makes a real difference in the world. You can participate in a charity as a family by contributing to food banks, visiting nursing homes, even helping with park clean ups (compassion and caring for the earth). You can offer to help an elderly or disabled neighbor plant some flowers, or take a batch of cookies or a homemade casserole to someone who is recovering from an illness.

The possibilities are endless, so many people need assistance, it just takes us to make the first move to offer.

It is hard to be the best example all the time, but realize that what you do in your home now effects your kids forever.  Slowing down, re-organizing thoughts, routines and systems in order to truly be the right kind of example is key. Please don’t take this post and turn it into your own guilt trip party – this is just a gentle reminder for us all!  No one is perfect and we all need reminders!

How do you re-set when things get off track?  

Simplify your busy life with eMeals

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Dealing with Sibling Fighting


If you’re like most moms of more than one child, you are probably tired of hearing, “He touched me” or “She’s on my side of the car.”

You may also be weary of the bickering and name-calling that are so prevalent with siblings. Even though these ideas are not the only ones parents have come up with, these six strategies for helping siblings get along may be just what you need to get a little peace and quiet in your home.

House Rules

Establish house rules about acceptable behavior and be prepared to follow through with agreed-upon discipline if they break the rules. (I talk about House Rules in my FREE mini-parenting series!)  This is one of the first items I cover when talking with moms about any type of pattern changes that need to happen in the home.  When your children know what is expected of them and that you will dole out consequences when necessary, they may be more willing to adhere to the rules better.  Even so, you know exactly what to do and are not caught off-guard when things start to down spiral. [Read more…]

Four F’s of Summer Parenting


As you read this I am driving 700 miles round trip (in one day!) to bring my daughter home from college!  WOOT!  I am really excited to have her back at home.  It has been a year of growth for both of us and I think our relationship will never be the same….in a good way!

Which had me thinking that summer is just around the corner.  In our neck of the woods school does not get out until late June, but I know in other areas of the country the count down is nearly into single digits!  You are either excited as a mom, or dreading it.

Things tend to change in the summer, less structure and routine can cause frustration – unless you have some set principles in mind. Just because it is summer doesn’t mean you are off duty as a parent or should your kids expect to backslide.

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. [Read more…]

Is it Disrespect?


Disrespect:   dis·re·spect  (from Dictionary.com)

1. lack of respect;  discourtesy; rudeness.

2.  to regard or treat without respect;  regard or treat with contempt or rudeness.

I find it interesting how families can determine and define ‘disrespect’ among their children.  Some families have very little tolerance, while other families can hardly find a way to communicate with each other without being disrespectful.

I would say disrespect among our children is escalating – I know that for those of us who are in the 30-40 age range we could certainly say, “I would never have gotten away with speaking to my parent that way!”  The eye-rolling, the deep sighs when asked to help out, the flat out, “no.”  So why is it allowed now?

The reality is that you can and should expect respect in your home among family members indeed just as much as you would expect it dealing with others outside your home.

As I work with two different families over the past month, the topic of disrespect and bad attitudes among their children surfaced.  Both moms wondered at what age to make a big deal of it, or was it just a stage the child had to go through.  Often times, there are stages of behavior that will pass and you will not need to expend a lot of energy on to combat, but others will aggressive action and consistent patterns of behavior – on your part as the parent to help curb it from escalating out of control. [Read more…]

Don’t Rush In


As I enjoy some family time this week and take some time to heal an injured right arm (not suppose to be typing!!), I wanted to share with you a post that was a favorite of you readers a little over two years ago.  It is always a great reminder.  In addition, be on the lookout next week as I launch my new Weekly Household Planner for 2012 – you won’t want to start the New Year with out it!

Isn’t our goal as parents to help develop problem solving skills in our children? 

I think as busy moms, we often forget and take the easy road and solve problems for our kids.  By repeating the habit of giving answers to our children instead of allowing them the opportunity to figure something out on their own we are really creating MORE dependent children rather than creating self-reliant adults.

Another way to think about this reminds me of what ScreamFree Parenting author Hal Runkel says, “Everywhere you see reference to parents raising kids…..but really, aren’t we in the process of raising adults – not kids?” 

I tend to keep that little tid-bit of reference tucked into my mom tool belt to help remind me of the situations that I want my kids to work through and solve on their own.  Allowing your children to struggle and solve problems is a true gift, you cannot develop problem solving skills by reading about them, it is all in the experience. [Read more…]