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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Competition

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

With the beginning of school, comes another season of sports of all kinds for our youngsters. We have come to believe that competition is good for us.  But research show that “offensive competition.” which involves aggressive gamesmanship, can be counterproductive. A study conducted at the University of Texas disclosed that people who were more concerned with winning than with performing well had lower levels of achievement.  If you are competitive or your child is competitive, consider the following:

  • Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”
  • Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.
  • Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback.  Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.
  • Help others to achieve their goals.

Rules for Being Human

Sunday, November 24th, 2013


  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is the process of trial-and-error and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”
  4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
  6. There is nothing better than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
  7. Others are simply mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you make of them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you have to do is look, listen and trust.
  10. You will forget all this.

Author Unknown

Making Time Count

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

time.gif (19378 bytes)What is the one thing you give your child that you can never replace? Time. You cannot buy it, sell it, rent it or change it. All you can do is use it!

You cannot change the quantity of time you have, but you can change the quality of your time.

  • Write down the things that are most important in your life. Chances are that your family will be at the top of the list.
  • Try to remember how you have spent your time during the past few days, hour by hour. Does the way you spend your time reflect your priorities? How much time was spent with your children? How important were the things that you cannot remember?
  • Make a plan for how you will use your time in the week ahead. Write it down. Include time with children in your plan. Check to see how you did at the end of the week.

We do what we think is important. Deciding what we think is important can be the first step in making time count.

How Not To Argue with Your Kids About Homework

Monday, November 18th, 2013

You remember those days: they want to do something else or just not do it at all. You want to help them make sure homework gets done, but sometimes you ask if it’s even worth the fight. It doesn’t have to turn into an argument. Whether its about homework, staying out late or doing their chores…you CAN avoid an argument with your kids.

First, Three Basic Rules About Rules:

Make sure the rules are clear. Are your expectations about what is supposed to be done, and more importantly, HOW it’s supposed to be done the same?

Make sure the rules are consistent. If homework is supposed to be done everyday before television, there are no exceptions (unless, its agreed upon ahead of time).

Check to make sure these rules are still in place and reinforced on a regular basis.

How NOT to Argue (this goes for your kids, your spouse, your family).

Some keywords to remember are:

  • Validate: Acknowledge you are listening. You can do this by paraphrasing or repeating what they’ve said to you. This comes in handy when the comeback is “You’re not listening to me!” Sometimes by repeating what they’ve said first, they realize they may not have a valid argument after all.
  • Deflect: Sometimes kids will purposely try to start an argument to get out of the chores or responsibilities. They may try to provoke you by ignoring you, starting an argument (how many times have you heard: “But that’s not fair!” or “So-So doesn’t have to do this”). Stay focused on what the issue is. The issue is not that you are unfair or a “slavedriver”, the issue is that the homework was supposed to be done by five o’clock. Repeat this rule (“Even if you think its unfair, the rule is no T.V. before your homework is done.” “You may have more chores than your sister, nevertheless, the rule is you must get them done.”)
  • Absorb: If they still attempt provoking an argument, stay cool. Act like a sponge. Whatever is said, simply absorb it. You can do this through “Uh-huh,” “I see”, “Yes,”…but the decision stands. Do not attempt to be drawn into their provocations. If you lose control, you lose the power of the rule. Remember what the issue is. Remember it’s o.k. to become angry for both yourself and your child—you’re both only human. But do not take it personally or allow it to become a personal attack.

Sometimes parents worry that by doing this, they are not allowing their children to express themselves. You can validate their feelings by saying “I can tell you’re angry, but my decision stands.” Sometimes this can be prevented if all of the rules are expressed clearly before the situation arises. It helps if consequences are spelled out for specific actions. (“If your homework is not done by five o’clock, you will not go outside for the rest of the day.”) Some parents (and teachers) have even drawn up “contracts” with their children, spelling out the exact expectations for performance and behavior and the consequences/rewards for each. Make the child part of this progress and ask for their input on what these should be.

These are some suggestions that may help prevent arguments in the future. Many times families repeat the same arguments over and over, on an ongoing basis. While these suggestions are not guaranteed solutions, they may be a start in providing better communication with your family.

Teamwork

Friday, November 15th, 2013
This fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way.

It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock has at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the lift from one another or teamwork makes the difference.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.When the lead goose gets tired he rotates back in the wind and another goose flies point. On good teams it pays to take turns doing hard jobs. The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. What do we say when we honk from behind?

When a goose gets sick or is wounded by gun shot and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the goose until it is either able to fly or until it is dead.

Then, they launch out on their own, or with another formation, to catch up with their group. If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that. Good ideas require the strength of teammates looking out for each other.


Individuality as a Source of Value

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

There is no such thing as a value unless there are people involved. A value is something that provides benefit or opens up the possibility of benefit for someone. Values do not hang like clouds in the air. The have to be attached to people. Values require a constant asking of questions.

  • Who is going to be affected by this?
  • Who is going to benefit?
  • Who is going to be inconvenienced?
  • What will the perceptions be?
  • What are the immediate effects, both short and long term?
  • Will this value be noticed, will people talk about it?
  • Are there any special circumstances where the value will be different?
  • Are there special people for whom this could be a value?

Every educator knows….or should know….that there is no “average” student. If there are characteristics of intelligence, discipline, laziness, energy, trouble making, or boredom, troubles at home, and so on, then an educator knows that every possible combination of these factors will be exhibited in an individual.

The trick is to recognize individuality as a source of value.

By Edward de Bono

Have a Good Laugh!

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Having a good laugh is a great way to reduce the stress of family life.

Create your own “humor first aid kit” for days that don’t go well. Collect items that will make you and your kids laugh….silly books, squeaky toys, cartoons, and funny videos.

Find a special place to tape up cartoons and other funny items….if your kids like silly poems, they’ll love Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row).

Some families like to write stories about funny things that have happened to them….you may want to create your own silly stories.

Every library is full of humorous stories and songs that your children will love. And don’t forget the joke and riddle books. Ask your librarian to recommend a few.

Laughter is not a cure-all, but it certainly helps.

Did You Know?

Friday, October 4th, 2013

By the time children in America grow to the age of 18, they have spent 9 percent of their time in school and 91 percent of their time outside of school. Our schools have been asked to dramatically improve their impact on students and change how they use their nine percent of a child’s time. What about the other ninety-one percent of the time? What else can parents and adults do to better prepare the children of America for what lies ahead?

So Much to Do…So Little Time

Friday, September 27th, 2013
In the fast-paced world in which we live, adults often are hard pressed to find the time to work, manage a household, raise a family and pursue leisure activities….all within the confines of a 24 – hour day. Children are no different. Between going to school, doing homework, working part time, visiting with friends, attending athletic practice, participating in school clubs, taking music or dance lessons, doing household chores and watching a favorite television……a child can find himself without a minute to spare during a typical day.
Children need their parents’ help in learning how to organize their time. By equipping them with some vital time management skills now, they will be better prepared to meet the increasing demands placed on their lives as they grow older.
  • Weekly chart. Map out a schedule each week, with specific times allotted for school, homework, work, chores, extracurricular activities, television, dating and going out with friends.
  • Permanent work space. By mid-elementary age, your child should have his own palace for studying.
  • Organized notebooks.
  • Regular homework time
Learning comes first. If your child starts producing incomplete assignments, neglecting his homework or slacking off in his grades, it is time to make hip drop some activities. If schoolwork improves, he can resume the disrupted activity.
Do not let your child over structure her time after school and on weekends. Children need a few moments to wind down between activities. Encourage them to have a healthy snack, listen to music or read a magazine before rushing off to soccer practice or a music lesson. Remember that part of the joy in being young is the freedom to do nothing at all.

Competition

Friday, September 20th, 2013
With the beginning of school, comes another season of sports of all kinds for our youngsters. We have come to believe that competition is good for us. But research show that “offensive competition.” which involves aggressive gamesmanship, can be counterproductive. A study conducted at the University of Texas disclosed that people who were more concerned with winning than with performing well had lower levels of achievement. If you are competitive or your child is competitive, consider the following:
  • Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”
  • Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.
  • Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback. Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.
  • Help others to achieve their goals.
Dr. Stan J. Katz and Aimee E. Liu