Published August 29th, 2014 by

Sometimes, as a parent, you need all the help you can get. No person is born knowing how to parent.

Although we do have parenting instincts that come natural, people also rely on research, read books, and get information from their experienced family and friends in order to discover how they’re going to parent and what types of parents they’d like to be. Here are some tips we got when asking others their best advice for succeeding as a parent:

Don’t Do Everything for Them

Too many parents get used to doing everything for their children at a very young age and never get out of that habit. Instead of enabling their children to be more self-sufficient and take care of their own things, many parents fall into the trap of doing everything for their kids because it’s faster and easier.

However, days become weeks which become years and these habits are hard to break, especially for the child that never learns to clean up for themselves or complete tasks alone. It’s much easier to teach at a young age than to make a drastic change when they’re older.

A good example of this is teaching kids to speak on the phone. My parents used to make us call to order food when we’d order takeout. This taught us how to interact over the phone at a young age. My roommate in college didn’t like to talk on the phone with anyone, which impacted his ability to find a job. We’re not saying they’re correlated, but he was never forced to order food as a kid. Couldn’t have hurt for him to make a call or two when he was younger.

Don’t Break Your Promises

My oldest child was once overheard explaining to his younger brother that he should trust Pa (his grandfather) because Pa never lies. When he says something, he means it.

This can have a big impact on a child and be a great example of how that child should be when they’re adults. Children develop many of their habits and mannerisms by emulating the people in their lives. Be a person they can look up to and develop great habits from. Start by saying what you mean and meaning what you.

As we say in our family, be like Pa!

Teach Them About Teamwork

This is especially effective if both parents are still in the house. Show them that you both are a united front. They can’t manipulate one parent against the other to get what they want. They’ll still try it from time to time so make sure you and the other parent are on the same team and can back it up.

Also, don’t be afraid to include them in joint tasks. Teaching kids that it takes everyone to keep the household running properly will them take care of themselves when they get older. Here are some tasks to include them in:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Yard work
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Games
  • Talking with adults
  • Learning
  • Reading
  • And much more…

Don’t Stop Listening

Kids are pretty good at telling you what they want. If you’re listening, you’ll be able to solve many problems before they arise and will allow you to better understand your child, what motivates them and what demotivates them.

Parenting is a 24/7 job that you’ll do for the rest of your life. You’ll never be perfect but with the right balance of love and distance, you can teach your youngsters how to grow up to be great people that are reliable, self-sufficient , and can return the favor to their children.

Happy parenting.

Published August 22nd, 2014 by

Divorce can be one of the most difficult things for a child to go through.Ask any adult that went through it when they were a kid and they’ll tell you how difficult it can be and how it’s changed the way they look at relationships as an adult.

Unfortunately, divorce comes with a lot of emotion. You’re going to have to put your kids through the process. If you have a plan and dedicate time to it , there’s a great chance that your kids will look back and not have bitter memories.

Consistency

Even newborns want consistency, it’s a basic need for most people. When you decide to divorce, you’re changing up that consistency, which is often the scariest time for children. They begin to ask questions like, “Will I still see mommy/daddy?” because they’re not sure how this is going to work.

The first thing you need to do is create a plan with the other parent and share it with your kids so they have an idea of what’s going to happen. Then, and this is most important… Stick to it! Nothing will scare the kids more than the unknown. Let them know that everything is stable and you guys have control of the situation, even if you don’t.

Compromise

It’s going to be difficult to work with the other parent but it’s essential that you both make some compromises in the interest of the kids. This plan has to be made with as much logic as possible and try to leave your emotions out of it. This plan has to cover issues that you both find important, as well as the issues that are important to just one parent.

If you’re resisting the other parent’s requests, you need to ask yourself if you’re doing it for you or for the children. If you’re pushing back in the best interest of the kids, then you may be doing the right thing, but make sure it’s not due to spite or negative emotions towards the other parent. Most parents can’t work together to create a plan because they can’t get along. They spend more time pointing fingers than problem solving. Try to be the bigger person and get a plan created in the best interest of your children.

Outside Help

If the two of you can’t compromise, it’s in your best interest to hire a trained mediator who will work with both parents to get a plan put together. The mediator is impartial, they won’t take sides and they’ll help you both get setup for success by discussing implementation of the plan – an often overlooked part of a parenting plan after divorce.

Mediators are usually successful because they remove the power struggle between the parents and start by focusing on the items that both parents agree on. Once both parents have said yes a few times, they’re much more likely to say yes again. Mediators are also great substitutes to divorce litigation. If you’re just beginning to explore your divorce options, consider looking into mediation. Mediation is much cheaper than litigation which is a win-win for everyone, especially your children.

For more information on mediation, read Mediation Law in Cook County: An Alternative to Litigation

Evaluate

Your kids are going to grow and need different things from both of their parents. Your post-divorce parenting plan should change, as well. At the least, consider scheduling time to adjust the parenting plan once a year.

Keep in mind, what’s most important is making sure you take care of your children’s mental, physical, and emotional needs. Things are going to change over the next few years but you’re both parents and need to make sure you can work together and ensure your kids remain healthy and happy through this emotional transition.

Published August 9th, 2014 by

One of my biggest frustrations in life is viewing parents that don’t want to be parents. I believe that being a parent is one of life’s greatest privileges and get very frustrated when people that don’t want to be parents, take out their frustrations on their children. With the great privilege of being a parent, like all other great roles, comes necessary duty.

One of our greatest contributions to society, and to future generations, is how we teach our children and show them how they’re supposed to parent when they’re in this situation some day. What could be more vital to overall wellbeing of your grandkids than to teaching your kids how you can parent well?

We’ve all seen it… The mom in the grocery store that smacks her kid upside the head because he asks for a box of cookies. The family at the restaurant where the kids is about to fall out of his child seat but the parents don’t notice because their heads are stuck in their cell phones. The kid at the park that yells to his dad to check out how well he does the monkey-bars but the dads too busy looking at, and flirting with other moms to enjoy that precious time with his child.

Unfortunately, these parents are so self-absorbed that they blind themselves from being able to see how important that time is with their kids, probably because the parents didn’t want the kids in the first place or are still kids themselves – either by age or maturity.

I’m the person that wants to walk up to these parents and swat them upside the head, hoping to knock some sense into them. What really upsets me is that these are always the parents that post to Facebook and Instagram about how great their kids are, how much they love little Johnny and being a parent, and are “so VERY blessed” to be a mother or father. Except as they’re typing it, their child is trying to get their attention or is in dire straights and needs their attention but the parent doesn’t really care about that. All that parent cares about is one of their Facebook parents telling them that they’re great parents and how lucky little Johnny is to have parents like them.

It’s sick and these people need help.

What really scares me is I wonder how these kids are going to grow up. Are they going to be just like their parents, and if so, can we afford more generations like this? Or, will they do a complete 180 degree turn and be the smothering parents?

The only thing that can be certain is that these kids are going to make their parents pull out their hair when they enter high school. That’s when all the unsupervised kids in that area go to one place for the majority of the day and form groups with other kids that are just like them. These kids will influence each other and will probably be the first to take part in drinking, drugs, sex, and who knows what else.

By that time, the parents may be willing to pay a little more attention, and may even force their attention onto the kid. But by then the kids will be used to not getting attention or being supervised. They’re ready to move on with their life and they won’t feel like they need their mom or dad to help since they’ve been wandering around on their own for years, already.

If you’re worried that you’ll become on of these parents or that you’ve already become one of these parents, I recommend taking some time to focus on your patience with your children. In fact, let your kid get the occasional box of cookies. You dragged them to the grocery store, which is boring as an adult let alone being a small child. The best thing that could come out of a grocery store trip is a box of cookies. Offering them a treat at the end of the trip, in return for good behavior, is a great way to ensure your child behaves and enjoys the trip to the store.

The future of your children, as well as their youngsters, depend upon the kind of parent that you are. Recognize that raising kids is among the most important things you’ll do in your life. Please, take that seriously and offer your youngsters the moment, focus, and love that they require, and enjoy doing it. The day you come to be a parent is the day that life stops being everything about you. So please, if you are a moms and dad or ever plan to be one, cherish it. The whole world will be happy you did.

If you need a “kick in your butt” to get started paying more attention to your kid, listening to the song int he video below. It always reminds me how short life is and how important a solid relationship, built around love and patience is between me and my children. Enjoy, and remember they aren’t little forever. Facebook can wait… SHARE this page if you agree.