Making It Work – 5 women authors listen and talk about how to make your job, family and life work!

September 16, 2012

“Stress Free School Mornings for Parents and Kids” – Let’s Talk Live, DC – News Channel 8 , Monday 7/25/11, betw. 11-12.

September 16, 2012

There’s No Crying in Baseball, But in Pre-K and Kindergarten……..

September 10, 2012

Remember the movie, “A League of Their Own” when Tom Hanks delivered that memorable line:  “There’s no crying in baseball.” Of course, those angry words were uttered as he berated one of his players severely who then began to cry.  I might be crying too after a tongue lashing like that.

But, when children are three, four and five years old, it’s not surprising or even unusual for them to cry in pre-K and kindergarten.  In fact, many children in the early grades do cry every day for a little while. My niece, a very kind and experienced pre-k and kindergarten teacher,  told me that often when one child cries, the entire class begins to cry!  It’s not that they’re being treated harshly, it’s simply a time of transition, a new experience that children may find stressful. And, when you’re a young child, what else do you do but cry when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Although their tears are as real as their feelings, I’m pretty sure many parents feel even more uncomfortable and stressed during this time.  Picture mom and dad dropping off their sad, little person, who of course, will eloquently explain how bad they feel, how they can’t stop crying, how much they “hate” it and they don’t want to go school.  Now if that doesn’t make you want to hug them and drag them off the school bus, I don’t know what does.

Take heart, good parents.  Then take a very deep breath – several in fact.  Know that this too shall pass.  New situations require adjustments, learning new skills and honestly, suffering with it a little bit until figuring out what to do next and how to manage.

Think back for a moment, if you will, when you’ve faced a difficult challenge in your life.  At first you were confused, possibly angry or overwhelmed. When you had some time to  chill out and think about it, you’ve often learned how to cope more effectively and move forward.  I call that building resilience.  Isn’t that the very same skill we hope to foster in our children – the ability to deal with life’s ups and down and come back a little stronger every time.  In  quoting from my book, Strong From the Start – Raising Confident and Resilient Kids, I offer this suggestion. “When we (parents) step back, we allow our children to step forward.”  It keeps us from stepping on our children’s figurative toes and encourages them to grow more confident, more resilient and stronger with every challenging experience.

Keep loving them, supporting them and letting them know you believe in them.  Have a little faith and patience.  They won’t let you down.

Want to Keep Your Children Safe? Support Their Personal Radar!

June 25, 2012

In the most traditional sense, radar is a system of detecting the presence, direction, distance and speed of aircraft, ships, etc., by sending out electromagnetic waves that reflect off the object back to the source.  In the least traditional and technical sense, personal radar is a seventh sense, you might say, that can detect potential danger in our midst.

With regard to our children, this unique radar is one they can always tote around in their emotional backpacks. Personal radar is lightweight and easily accessible.  It’s omnipresent,  free of charge, and useful for people of all ages and in every manner of circumstance.  Serving as an invincible,  impenetrable shield, it sounds off a silent alert that your kids feel viscerally – deep down in their gut – leading them away from potentially perilous scenarios.

Although it may sound as if I’m talking about super-heroes , I’m not.  Every, regular kid and adult, for that matter, already possesses personal radar.  All we need to do is to encourage our kids to pay attention to that funny feelingreally pay attention to and act on it when they feel unsafe.  Understandably, we want to raise polite children, but safety trumps good manners every time.   You’ll likely remember your own parents saying, “Better safe than………..”

As the years go by and our kids are on their own more and more, their personal radar becomes a reliable, useful asset for them.  When we realize we can trust our kids to be aware of and act on their gut instincts, it lowers our stress levels enormously.   Undeniably, they’re still kids and will do some not so “brilliant” kid things at times.  But, when it comes down to real personal safety, the more we encourage them to use their personal radar, the more they’ll trust it.  Then, we can all begin to get a good night’s sleep.

Pay me!

May 29, 2012

It’s amazing how early kids learn about money and how to go about getting it.  Just read a post on FB that’s a fine illustration of a child’s understanding of payment for services rendered.  The only problem with that is he’s five years old and although he may be joking, he’s asking his mother to pay him to help with the laundry!  If you’ve read Strong From the Start – Raising Confident and Resilient Kids, you know what my answer to this child might be.  Chapter 5 is entitled – “You’re Still Numero Uno – meaning parents make the major family decisions that keep the family functioning reasonably well. If I may quote from my book; “We’re all in this family, this household and this life together.  We all work to make it work.”  Simple, clear and yet an extremely effective way to keep parents from feeling so totally overwhelmed, exhausted and sometimes even resentful, every day.

In order to build resilience, strength and confidence in our kids, we need to allow them to be a contributing member of our family.  Put more succinctly, expect them to help.  As young as they may be, there’s always a little something they can do.  Besides, the more they do, the more they believe they can do.  You’ll be encouraging confidence in your kids and getting a well-deserved little break for yourself.  As they say in today’s parlance – it’s a win/win. In addition, you wouldn’t want to send that young man off into the world without some very basic life skills – doing this own laundry being one of them.  Otherwise, he may still be bringing his laundry home to you or worse, to his grandmother.  I’m not kidding.  Some young people do just that when they’re in college!

It’s a good idea to begin allowing your child to become confident, learn new skills (not perfect at first, but that’s okay) and be a contributor to the family function early on.  Day by day you’ll be inspiring him or her to be the thoughtful, competent and self-assured person you know he/she can be.

What Makes A Family?

May 11, 2012

What actually does make people a family?  Is it a common religion or culture, beliefs, gender, children, or simply a shared household? Do separate households count as a “family?”  What about single moms or dads raising kids?   And, of course, there’s the grandma raising kids when their mom or dad isn’t around – are they a family?  How about those parents who’ve never said “I do,” but are the parents of a child – are they still considered a family?

Recently, there’s been so much discussion about marriage and family that it makes our family kitchen table spin.  Now that the baby is able to sleep through the night we have something else to keep us awake.  But honestly, it’s really quite simple when you give it a moments thought.

A family is love.  It’s made up of people who love one another, whoever that other may be.  Whether it’s the traditional, nuclear image we have had in our psyche for generations or two men, two women, a single adult, a grandparent or two people who love each other and would rather not or cannot increase the population, they’re all family to me.

Let’s not get so distracted by our interpretation of the word family that we forget the true meaning of it.  A family is love.  I’m sticking with that explanation.

Wanna give your kids back?

April 17, 2012

There are those days.  Days when you wonder if you could possible give your kids “back.”  The question is whom would we be giving them to and how soon would this happen.  I can hear your answer – now!

Who hasn’t been there?  I’m pretty sure a good many of us parents have.  For years I’ve always said that if it became socially acceptable to put an ad in the newspaper or online, parents might be tempted to write:  “Free to good home – one lively, healthy child.  All shots.  Available immediately.”  Some days it doesn’t sound like such an outrageous idea.

If you’re having one of those days or even months, hold off on the ad.  Better days are coming.  Besides risking very official looking folks, your neighbors, friends and/or your mother showing up on your front doorstep with worried looks, know that this difficult parenting phase will pass.  Being a parent is a demanding and challenging job.  Certainly, not to be attempted by the faint of heart.  It takes energy, patience, intelligence, skill, self-confidence and plenty of love for about eighteen years and that’s only for starters.  The need to be loving, patient and possess a good deal of smarts goes on indefinitely.  The second phase is when we parents continue to support our kids, even when their choices are not exactly what we  had planned for them.

If we allow some time to pass, we’ll likely come to believe that our kids are people we might actually want to hang out with and we’re proud of.  Patience, patience, patience is key.  And whatever you do, definitely do NOT ask your mother if she ever thought of “giving you back!’