Tag Archives: advice

What’s your story?

We all have a story.  If you’re alive you have a story.  You may never have thought about it before but you have one.  You might even think your story is pretty boring but you’d be surprised.

A couple of years ago.  I was asked to speak at a woman’s retreat at our church.  They had been asking me for a couple of years and I always put them off saying I really didn’t have anything to say.  I couldn’t imagine doing a whole retreat.  I didn’t have that much information to impart.  I’m not a Bible-teacher, I’m not a scholar, I’m not a renowned speaker.  I agreed to pray about it and let them know.  Prior to that I realized that I enjoy doing training for my teachers at school.  I researched some fun ways to teach certain subjects to the teachers and I really enjoyed doing it.  And I got some feedback that it was a fun day of learning.  So, why was I able to do it?  I think it was because the subject matter was something I know about.  I work with children everyday and have worked with them for over 20 years and I know my craft.  As I was thinking about that, I thought about the women’s retreat and I thought about what I would say to the women.  My Pastor at the time was talking about how we all had a story to tell about our life and that we should share it with others.  Also, the marketers that I work with also talk about telling your story to your clientele so they get to know you.  And I thought that I could probably tell my story.  The story of my life, of my spiritual journey to know Jesus as my personal Savior and how that decision has impacted my life’s journey.

Well, long story short…I did it.  I spoke an entire weekend, Friday night, Saturday 3 sessions.  It was amazing!  I was able to tell about my life’s story and people genuinely listened and, I think, enjoyed it.

We all have a story to tell.  We just have to be inspired to tell it.  What I realized is that when you tell your story to others, you open yourself up to more intimacy with that person.  A connection happens.  You don’t have to tell all the details of your life and what you want to keep private you keep private.  But, allowing yourself to share with another person is liberating.  It has the power to change your life!  Really!  Don’t take my word for it, share your story with someone and watch what happens.

Give it a try!


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 3

Wow, this boundaries class is really good.  I would highly recommend to parents to buy the book, Boundaries For Kids.  It is such a great tool to have in your parenting arsenal.  We’ve all said it before…we wished that children came with a “How to” manual.  Oh, but wait, there are many of those on the bookshelves at the store.  They just don’t come at the hospital when you take the baby home.  I know you are busy parents but the things in this book may save you a lot of pain and heartache when put into practice.  Now, on to what I’ve learned this week.

Motives drive our behaviors.  We ultimately want our children to WANT to do the right things for the right reason, not because we will punish them if they don’t.  Doing something to avoid punishment is a good motivator for a lot of things but having the moral character within is a better reason for most things in life.

Standing over our children and nagging them may win the battle but will lose the war.  Kids will only stay in line while you are watching.  External restraint must become a part of their character.  Behavior that is externally driven is the mark of a child, not a young adult.

Tactics like guilt or loss of relationship will end up hurting more than helping a situation.

How do you help your children develop good motivation?  First your child needs to be rooted and grounded in love.  Love first, set limits second.  Children can only grow when that connection is strong.  Be empathetic, Give support and provide balance.  This is what love means.

There are 4 stages of Motive Development

1 Fear of consequences – There are always consequences.  Lack of allowing your child to experience the consequences of their actions will keep them in the child stage when we really want them to mature and grow.  Stick with your boundaries, be fair but consistent and empathize with your child’s emotional reactions.  When a child expresses that he is only doing something to avoid punishment, praise him/her and then help them to the next step.

2. An Immature Conscience – The next step is a child beginning to internalize his experiences with his/her relationships and this begins to develop their conscience.  Your child is learning to be motivated to love and be good by internal forces, not just a swat on the behind.  Stay consistent, love them and be attentive to changes in their behavior.  If you are showing love, empathy and being supportive and balanced in your discipline, then a child will accept your boundaries and they will become theirs.

3. Values and Ethics – At some point, your child will begin to ask many value-laden questions.  Be prepared and ready to explain what you believe about how people should conduct themselves in the world.  Practice explaining the “why” in terms they will understand.  As your child begins to work out his/her own ethics, keep bringing them back to reality principles like, “That goes against what you and we believe”.

4. Mature Love, Mature Guilt – Our ultimate goal is getting a child to move from the ethical questions of right and wrong to the highest motive:  LOVE.  Never over-criticize or withdraw love from your child.  Children who are internalizing boundaries need to move beyond “this is wrong” to “This hurts others or God”.  Your role is to help them freely choose who and how to love and to freely love.

There are 3 motives for Good Behavior – Don’t undervalue any of the these motives.

1. Pain of consequences for irresponsibility

2. The “rights and wrongs” of behavior

3. What pain his/her actions may cause his friends and God.

Happy Parenting!!    – Mrs. T.

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.

Secret to Success!

If you took a survey of parents of young children and you asked them what success looked like for their child when they became an adult, what do you think they’d say?

Well, I think that they’d say they wanted them to be happy, successful in a career or job that they enjoyed.  Maybe some would say that they’d make plenty of money so they wouldn’t ‘want” for anything.  Maybe some would say married with children or own a house and  a car.  Well, whatever your definition of success in life is, the question remains…how do I get my child to that place.

Wow, what a good question.  If only there were an instruction manual that came with the child when they were born.  You know, like you get when you go to Ikea and purchase a set of shelves. only way better.

So, let’s explore how you can guide your children to becoming that successful adult.

First off, I’ve seen, in my many years of working with children, far too many adults who don’t know the answer to this question.  And the reason I know they didn’t know, is because of how they let their children treat them.

Successful adult children are not allowed to be the boss of their parents.  You won’t believe how many children I see that are allowed to be the boss of their parents.  Parents end up bowing to the small 4 year old child instead of being the parent.  They ask them what they want to eat and what they want to do, when then want to go to sleep and whether or not they want to go to school, etc. 

Successful adult children have learned that they don’t always get their way.  And they start learning this as young children who don’t always get their way.  Now, I’m not saying you can’t allow your child to get what they want sometimes.  But as a parent you need to be the one in control guiding them and giving them the choices that are appropriate for a young child to make.  I could write a whole book on this topic but suffice it to say, if you want your child to be successful as an adult, then make sure they know that you are the boss and you control the choices.

Stay tuned to my blog for more on this subject.  But if all parents could get a grasp on this one secret to success they would see a big difference in their children and be setting them on the path for success.  And, after all, isn’t that what we want for our children?

Keep honing those parenting skills!