Category Archives: PARENTING SKILLS

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

I’m baffled!  For many years now I have seen an alarming trend in parents to “not parent” their children.  I’m not sure where this is coming from.  Is it the fact that we now live in an amoral society and morals and values don’t have a constant meaning?  Kinda of like a “You have your morals, I have mine” kind of mentality?  Or is it that a parent who got bad parenting doesn’t know how to parent?  Maybe it is that we just want to be “friends” with our children and make sure they like us so we “let things go”.  I could go on and on with a lot more reasons that I think but suffice it to say that many parents just don’t know how to “parent” their children.

So, I’ve been pondering on this today and, really, many other days before this one and here’s a little advice from someone who has raised her own children (along with my husband, of course) and who has helped to shape and mold many hundreds of children in the last 20 years of working in childcare.

Children need guidance!  Children need discipline!  Children need someone to tell them right from wrong!  Children need someone to teach them.  Children need someone to love them SO MUCH that they will do whatever it takes to help them to learn how to be a great person.  Because, really, what is it that we want from our offspring?  We want them to love and be loved.  To be respected by others, to be able to self-regulate themselves.  We want them to have compassion and wisdom and empathy for others.  We want them to be confident and likable.  Again, I could go on and on but you get the picture.  The question is “How do we as parents help our children achieve these attainable goals”?

And here is the answer.  We, as parent,  must guide, direct, love, challenge, discipline, correct, lead and help them.  That is the ONLY way that they will be the kind of adults that someone wants to call their friend.

If I had a friend that hit me all the time, I would discontinue our friendship.  (And maybe have them arrested.)  If I had a friend who constantly interrupted me when we talk, I would cease talking to them.  If I had a friend who talked about me behind my back while smiling at my face, I would not be their friend.

Parents, do you want your children to be like a good friend?  Do you want them to thrive and excel?  I know the answer is YES!  Then my question to you is “Why don’t you do those things that will help your child achieve this goal”?  What is preventing you from being the parent that you need to be?  Fear?  Boredom?  Busyness?  Maybe you just plain don’t know how to do it?

Mom and Dad, if this is you.  I encourage you to get moving.  Read some books on the subject.  Ask a trusted friend.  Get counseling.  Seek out someone you trust to help you.  Children do not come with a manual on how to raise them.  (I wish they had.)  But God did give us some great older parents that we can look to and ask for advice.  They are out there, willing to give you some help if you just ask.

My door is always open to help you navigate this tricky road called parenthood.  I may not know all the answers but I do know who and where to ask for help if we can’t find the answer together.  I hope you’ll knock on my door soon if you are struggling.  I would love to help you in any way that I can.

So maybe soon I’ll hear, Knock, knock.

And I will be glad to answer

Who’s there?

Blessings, Mrs. T.

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What Just Happened!!mp

Have you ever seen that “Friends” episode where Rachel decides that Monica is going to make all of the decisions for her life.  Because of some bad choices she was making in her life, Rachel decided that was a good idea.

Unfortunately in my line of business, I see this happening quite frequently with parents and children.   Some of the conversations go like this…”Johnny doesn’t want to go to Extended Care today but I need him to go because I have an important thing I have to do and I can’t bring him.  But he doesn’t want to go.  I don’t know what to do”.  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  What?!?  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person needs to do something important and can’t bring her child with her but asks her child what he wants to do.   What does a child know about important meetings and adult needs.

Here’s another one I hear.  “Sally, don’t run.  It’s a parking lot, you might get run over.  Sally!  Sally!  You need to hold my hand.  Sally!  Sally!  If you don’t want to hold my hand then you can’t run.  Sally!  Sally!”  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person reasoning with a child about their safety.  What does a child know about keeping themselves safe.?

Does this make sense in anyone’s world?  A child does not have the capability to make the right decisions for his/her life.  And a child certainly doesn’t have the capability to make the right decisions for an adult.  God fashioned children to rely on their parents for guidance and discipline.  Hebrews 12:5-11  This is the BEST scripture about discipline.  It says that as father/mothers we discipline our children because we love them, as God disciplines us because He loves us. Proverbs 3:11-12 says it too.  So does Dueteronomy 8:5.  I’m sure there are many more.  It’s in the Bible so many times because God wants us to get it right.  It directly correlates to how a child will grow up, be respectful of others and then will be able to pass on this legacy to his/her children.

Does that mean we never give children the right to choose.  Of course not!  We do it all the time here at the Preschool.  “What color would you like to paint your picture?”  “Do you want to play on the swings first or the monkey bars?”  “Would you rather sit in Mrs.T’s office or play on the playground with your friends?” “Which choice do you want to make?”

At home, the choice could be, “Billy, why don’t you pick where we eat tonight, Chuckie Cheese or Perkins”.  Well, we know how that would go, don’t we?  Or how about, “Tonight, Bobby, I’ll read 3 books before bedtime.  Which books do you want me to read?”  “Do you want to help unload the dishwasher or help fold the clothes.”  “Do you want green beans or broccoli with your meal?”  “Would you like to go to the park or go to the mall?”  “Sally, which dress do you want to wear to church?”  The sky is the limit on ways you can empower your child to make choices.  To help him/her make decisions about their life and take a turn making decisions for the family.  But NEVER decisions that usurp the authority of the adult.  This is a slippery slope and one you do not want to start sliding down.

I’ve raised 2 of my own children and one older teenager and had experience with almost 2000 children in my 20 years of working in childcare.  I know children!  I know what works and what doesn’t.  And when I can’t figure something out about children I go to experts to help me.  If you’re having problems, let me help!  I know together we can work out a solution.

Parents, don’t abdicate your authority to children.  Lead them, guide them, encourage them, discipline them.  This is your right and your duty.  God made it that and he said so in His Word and that’s enough for me!

Boundaries For Kids – Week Two

Here’s the second in the installment of what I learned from my class.

There are 5 obstacles to effective Boundaries:

1. – Depending on the child.  As parents, we have to be careful of “needing” our children to fulfill our unmet needs.  This can cause a lot of problems for the child as they grow.  It can also lead to manipulation by the child, as they learn to get what they want by withholding their ability to meet the parents needs.  Parents need to find ways to have their needs met that don’t include their children if they want to grow healthy children.

2. – Over-identifying with the child.  A parent’s painful feelings are not always the child’s painful feelings.  When a child falls, it might be more traumatizing to the parent than to the child.  A child who doesn’t make the basketball team might not need a parent to talk with the coach.  Failing a test doesn’t mean the parent should intervene and get the teacher to ease up on the child.  Allow the child to determine the level of their need.  If we over-identify with the child, we may not be allowing a child to pick him or herself up after a defeat to move forward.  We may end up creating an adult who can’t handle their own problems.

3. – Thinking love and separateness are enemies.  As parents, we are going to disagree with our children.  It’s a given.  We are not going to like everything they like.  And we are going to have to confront them from time to time about their actions.  Doing this does not mean we don’t love them.  Love is always there no matter the circumstances.  We want to help create children who grow up to be adults who can stand their ground regardless of whether or not the world around them thinks they are wrong.  We want children who can think for themselves not because the parent is right beside them.

4. – Ignoring and zapping – You know how when we bottle up our feelings inside and then after a time we just can’t hold them in and we blow?  This is not a good way to deal with a child.  It ends up being worse than the situation demanded.  Dealing with the issue with your child right then is much better than pushing it back and back and then blowing up.  If we can get a handle on this, we will be raising children who can problem solve.

5. – Being worn down. This is a tough one.  How do we keep ourselves from being worn down, tired, stressed, beaten.  Well, if you figure this out, please let me know.  But somehow we have to find out what works for us because having kids and being worn down don’t go so well together.  Are there certain routines you can put in place that can give you some downtime so that you can be refreshed before dealing with the kids.  Even 15 minutes of resting your eyelids could help you deal with a tantrum.  Or giving the kids a 30 minute playground time before heading home from school might just give you and them the added de-stressor they need before dinner and homework.  Learning to do this and teaching your children to do this will help them as they become adults as they put these practices into their lives.

Happy parenting!  – Mrs. T.

Boundaries For Kids – Week One

Last week I took my first class in Boundaries For Kids and here are a few things that I learned.

We are the ones who help our children to develop character.  We want our children to be loving…responsible…free…initiating…respectful of reality…growing…oriented to truth…oriented to transcendence (to serve God rather than yourself).  And, you ask, how do we do all that?  Well, the answer is by giving our children good boundaries.  Saying No as well as Yes.  Allowing them to wait to gratify their desires.  Helping them to own their feelings, attitudes and behaviors.  Kids are blank slates.  Who is filling in those blanks?

You have 3 specific areas of influence:  1 – What you say – the boundaries that you try to teach your children   2.  What you do – the boundaries that your children see lived out every day in the home.   3. Allowing experience to lead to internalization – not always rescuing them from the consequences of their actions.

The 3 roles of a Parent

Guardian – providing a safe environement.   Manager – Making sure things get done.   Source – You are the source for all good things for a child.

There was so much more we learned and not enough time or space to write it all down.  Our second session is tonight.  There’s still time if you want to come to the class.  Wednesday nights at 6pm.  There’s still lots to learn.  Join us!

Keep working on those parenting skills.