Just One More Thing – Before You Leave Home – Review

15
Nov
2013

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Just One More Thing – Before You Leave Home

I was given a copy of this book for my honest review, which you will find below.

Did you ever wish you had a manual telling you just what you really need to impress upon your kids before they leave home?  As a parent, we can often question ourselves and our ability to equip our kids with what they need to succeed.  If you need some parenting input from a couple who’s been there, you won’t want to miss this book!

Now, I have already had one child leave home and go off to college, things have went fairly well with all things considered.  But after reading, “Just One More Thing – Before You Leave Home” by David and Bernice Gudgel there are a few areas I wish I would have concentrated on a bit more to make things even smoother as my daughter left home.

It can be a daunting process of preparing your child to leave home and really be a “grown up” and ready for adulthood.  Hopefully you’ve been already sharing your perspective on life, morals and values as your child matures, but this book gives a specific outline of topics to cover which are a perfect gauge to make sure you are on the right track and not missing any big points

The book is outlined as a resource for parents, but also written with the goal of a parent and child working through the book together, with some discussion questions in a “think if through” section, which I love.  Practical questions and thoughts to really bring home the message of the chapters.

Just One More Thing is filled with practical advice to help teens transition out of the house and into the rest of their life as capable and responsible adults.

In the book, the Gudgels use stories, perspectives, and dialogues to discuss 30 indispensable topics.  You’ll find chapters on a variety of chapters, including:

  • Choices
  • Convictions
  • Love
  • Money
  • Spending
  • Lie Purpose
  • Priorities
  • Moral Dilemmas
  • Failure
  • Practical Skills
  • and Sex 

This book is like a “life manual” and I even found it good to review some of the topics the author was sharing – even at my age of 46!  

If you have a teenager in the house and are wanting to prepare for the years to come with allowing your child to mature and grow and become an adult ready for adulthood, grab a copy of this book and set aside some time to read it.  Then as your child approaches the time to venture out on his own, spend some time reviewing the material together.  

I certainly wish I had this book before, but I have it now – and still have 3 kids at home!

For more information on this book and the author, please click here.

4 Tips to Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child

5
Sep
2013

4 Tips to Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child
School’s back in session and things are beginning to look a bit more serious. Gone are the carefree days of summer, now everyone is back to work, back to a routine, and back to responsibility.

As moms, we are born encouragers. We want our kids to succeed. When kids succeed, they feel good about themselves, which feeds into self-esteem and more. So what steps do we take to get them on track to being their best?

Children will do what is expected of them. If you set high expectations for your children, they will generally live up to those expectations. Expect very little of them and they will give you very little.

As a parent, it is important to find the right balance of setting expectations that are high without setting your child up for failure or causing undue stress on them when they are unable to reach those expectations. It is a balancing act and you know your child best and can make the appropriate guidelines for him. We too often doubt ourselves. I talk about this in my book, Become the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be, and how we truly need to believe in our own instincts as moms and the knowledge only we have about our children.

Here are a few things to consider when setting those high expectations for your child.

Your child is an individual.

Look at your own child’s strengths and weakness, interests and talents. Set your expectations based on the individual. There are many charts, averages, statistics, and data that are out there to tell you what the average child of a given age should be able to do, but no child is simply average.

Each child is unique.

Most children do not fit neatly into any given mold and their unique abilities should be considered when you are setting high standards for them. Consider developmental norms along the way, but remember that your child is one of a kind.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way with having children from three different sets of parents in my home. I used to be under the thought process that every child was pretty much the same if you parented them the same. Well, I can now say, that is completely untrue! Parenting, personality, nurture, nature – it all plays a role in how your child functions and what strengths and weaknesses he will have. Being aware and open to this is important.

Don’t set your expectations based on yourself.

You may have been lousy at math as a child, so you subconsciously expect your child to be lousy at it too. Your child will undoubtedly live up to that expectation. This really relates to looking at your child as an individual. It is important to avoid setting expectations that are too low simply because something was difficult for you as a child.

Be clear and consistent.

Give clear expectations for the long-term and set milestones along the way. Show your child what is expected for the future. Perhaps going to college is a long-term expectation, but be sure to break the long-term goal into short-term goals along the way. For example, strive to maintain good grades and complete homework assignments regularly. Celebrate the short-term achievements and allow your child to enjoy the success. They will learn that they are able to reach the expectations that have been set for them.

If cleaning a room up before moving on to playing with things in another room is your “norm” – then make sure that is something that is clearly related. Be sure to be as consistent as possible with expectations too. So many misunderstandings occur everyday simply because we do not communicate well. I not only find this in my relationship with my kids, but it certainly comes into play with my husband.

Erase the all-or-nothing attitude.

While it is important to set high expectations for your child, be sure to let him know that falling a little short of them doesn’t mean he is a failure. When you reach for high standards, you still make great progress, even if you don’t exactly hit the mark. We can easily fall into a pattern of perfection if we do not learn to appreciate and applaud the journey to make progress.

The work that took place while reaching for those standards is valuable in itself. Praise your child for the effort and the accomplishments reached along the way, being specific with characteristics that you see along the way rather than general praise, like a “good job”. Instead recognize when they’ve taken extra time to complete a task with skill or used problem solving skills to fix their own mistake.

Parents who set high expectations, communicate those expectations clearly, and encourage their children to reach for them along the way do a great service for their children. Their children learn that they can do more than they may think, hard work pays off, and they are loved no matter what they do.

As moms, we play a huge role in teaching our children how to be the best they can be!

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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The One Thing

26
Mar
2013

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:

Grab my new ebook for only $.99 – TWO DAYS ONLY – MARCH 25th & 26th!  Now, back to our regularly scheduled post!

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We can easily become overwhelmed with the behavior of our kids; we get frustrated, feel like a failure and get really angry when they continue to do the things we’ve asked them to stop. [Read more…]

6 Common Parenting Mistakes

6
Nov
2012


Let’s face it – children don’t come with instruction booklets.  Over my years of parenting I’ve had my opportunity to make plenty!

We’ll talk about the 6 most common mistakes parents make and how to avoid them!

  • Do as I say but not as I do
  • Comparing One Child to Another
  • Doing Nothing
  • Bribing
  • Great Expectations
  • Lack of Consistency [Read more…]