Remember those "Question Authority" buttons that were popular in the 1960's? Some baby boomer parents take an ideological stand against any role distinctions that are "given" rather than earned. After fighting against oppressive power structures in their young adulthood, they are reluctant to demand honor and respect from their children simply because of their status as parents. For other parents, their own childhood experience of "not having been heard" leads them to be cautious about being less than perfectly attuned and deeply respectful of their children's feelings and needs. Yet, paradoxically, parents who listen terribly hard all the time and strive for equality and fairness in everything SOMETIMES find themselves with demanding, greedy, anxious children.
Our children see so much prejudice around them - between blacks and whites, haves and have-nots, even thin people and fat people. How can we work against the prevailing atmosphere and teach our children tolerance? Guest Expert Paula Green, Ph.D., says: Studies show that the three areas in which children learn tolerance or intolerance are the home, school and the media, in that order. Even if you have a progressive home, intolerance, as you pointed out, is in the air and children absorb it like sponges. The globalization of trade and capital has also produced the globalization of humanity. We see so much more diversity now.
As parents, we take our love for our children as a given. But do we consider whether the way we talk to our children communicates that love to them? Many of us have a tendency to use "negatives" when talking with our kids. "Don't do that," "Stop," "No," "If you do that one more time then...." Do these phrases sound familiar? If so, then it may be time to consider another approach...positive parenting. WHAT IS POSITIVE PARENTING? Children crave attention. It shows that they are important and that their parents care about them.
"Breathing in, I am calm. Breathing out, I smile. "Next time you are angry or jealous of your brother or sister, or when you are unhappy with a friend, stop and do this exercise." This advice was addressed to a group of children by a student of the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, internationally renowned Zen master, peace activist and Nobel Prize nominee.
The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents:Guiding Your Children to Success and Fulfillment by Deepak Chopra
Dr. Deepak Chopra, the well-known author and lecturer on East-West spirituality has once again translated fundamental Eastern spiritual laws into easy to read Western language. The book is addressed to parents who wish to raise children with values that both satisfy spiritual needs and create the experience of abundance. The book explores specific ways to practice the Seven Spiritual Laws as a family, how to convey these laws to children of different ages, and how to embody the laws in age-specific activities each day of the week.
Dear WholeDad: My 12-year-old daughter has an outstanding talent for dancing. I'm not saying that just because she's my daughter. I am able to judge my children's potentials quite accurately. I believe that she herself knows that she has the ability to create an outstanding career in this field. And yet she refuses to display her gift in any public way. The only times she is prepared to dance is in the informal setting of our nuclear family. No words of positive reinforcement will persuade her to develop her skill. On the one hand I cannot and don't believe in forcing my kids to do things that are not part of their mandatory education, yet I fear that if I cannot convince her to maximize herself, she will regret not having "seized the day" when it is already too late.
It was 10:40 on a school night, the end of the last shift of the day, which had seemed more difficult than usual: homework and bath time had been laborious and fraught with resistance, bedtime was now forty five minutes late. And so I cannot tell you why I and my sons, Ariel, 11 and Ben, nine, were all in Ben's bed when I opened The Secret Garden and began reading aloud. One of my early fantasies of motherhood had been to share this childhood favorite with my own children. But now it was 2000 and I had two boys who were competent though not avid readers, well entrenched in the popular cultures of television and computers. They are boys who spend most of their days playing sports or running around with other boys.
I have been married to my second husband for seven years. The oldest of our four children is from my first marriage. My ex-husband left when I was four months pregnant with my son, so he has never seen him or had any contact with him. My husband and I started dating when my son was four months old, and he adopted my son six months after we were married. The boy is now 11, and we are not quite sure how to explain to him that his dad is not his biological father. How should we go about this? Although my husband and son have a wonderful relationship, my husband is quite concerned that our son will no longer think of him in the same way once we tell him, or even worse, he will want to see his biological father.
As parents, my husband and I used to spend a great deal of our time hobbling around with at least one foot in our mouths. My reaction to teen problems is often of the knee-jerk variety, and my common sense goes out the window when confronted with teenage angst. My husband goes stonily silent, and gives all comers "the look." So, what is the solution, besides constant treatment for hoof-in-mouth disease? Write it! Five years ago, when my eldest child turned 13, and turned on the puberty fire full blast, I gave her a small, fat, lined notebook. It began with this forward: "My dearest daughter, today, you are on the threshold of adulthood - and I give you this notebook as a means to an end.
My son is 15 years old. He was born with Down Syndrome. In the last 15 years I have amassed enough stories to fill volumes. However, right now I want to just stick to the topic of: Expectations. When Joshua was born the doctors advised us to not "waste our time, energy or money." They claimed that our son would never amount to anything.
MISLEADING TITLE! It doesn't have to be a battle. Here's the good news: It's possible to live in peace with your teen. You may wonder how I know that. Here are my credentials: 1. I am the father of three teenagers - two girls and a boy 2. I was once a teenager 3. As a psychologist who specializes in parent teen relations I have 25 years of experience listening to parents and teens complain, cry, scream and moan about their "impossible" adolescent/parents. I want to share with you my laundry list of thoughts, ideas and practical suggestions on how to relate to a teenager. At the end of this list you can add your own suggestions.
It was almost as if a monster had moved in with us. Overnight, our sweet 14 year old daughter changed from a friendly, loving member of the family into a terrifying stranger. It was like living with Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. She refused to talk to us anymore, she dressed in torn rags that even a trashman wouldn't bother hauling to the dump and styled her hair into crazy designs. Everything we said to her was met with a slammed door, an angry sneer, and a turned up nose. I used to be able to talk with her easily, and we had always loved going shopping together and spending time with each other. We'd been good friends for years.
From a WholeFamily User Dear Jenny, As a child I remember the conversations I would have with my mother. She would hear me, but not really be listening. I used to say that when I grew up I would never be like that - I would always listen to my children. Now I'm a mother of two and I often catch myself doing the same thing to my own children. And I now understand my mother. Have you ever missed what someone was saying because you were thinking about the next clever thing you were going to say? It's something people often do when arguing and often why the argument goes on and on. Nobody is listening to the other! I'm not saying that we as parents are sitting around thinking about the next clever thing to say to our children.
A Letter from Jenny, 16, to her Mother Dear Mom, You did something last night that hurt me very deeply. This letter is being written after a lot of thought, because it's not the first time I've been through this with you. I'd like you to think about the difference between the two words "hearing" and "listening." I Know You Can Hear Me But Are You Listening? Dear Jenny, As a child I remember the conversations I would have with my mother. She would hear me, but not really be listening. I used to say that when I grew up I would never be like that - I would always listen to my children. Continue . . . On more than one occasion I have found myself talking to you, but actually talking to myself.
Dear WholeDad: Three years ago my eldest son Michael, who was 16 years old at the time, asked my permission to go hiking in the Rockies with four friends for a week. Although the planned trip seemed very challenging for kids his age, I felt that he was mature enough to deal with the difficulties he might face. My confidence in him proved to be well founded. Last week my second son, Garth (who is now 16), informed me that he and his friends were planning a similar trip. Although Garth is a wonderful kid I feel very strongly that he is not ready at this stage for such a challenge. How can I tell him without his feeling that I think that he is inferior to his brother? A Before you take any action, you should be 100% sure that your fears about Garth's insufficiencies are founded on an objective assessment of his personality and not on a subjective need to over--protect him- - a feeling that did not exist with your older son.
Having "survived" teenage syndrome of two older children, I am now well into my 15-year-old daughter's phase. Of course, I should know better by this time -- and of course I don't! Knowing all the pitfalls, why do I feel so depressed and at an utter loss when she: * Leaves her room in a totally destructive state. * Screams at me for no apparent reason * Takes everybody's belongings without warning and fails to return them * Treats her younger sister badly and finally... * Totally ignores me at times, with a ruthlessness that only the young can achieve. So...help! Not for HER but for ME!! How should I feel? What should I do? A desperate Mum Jackie Goldman, MS, replies: A First of all, I want to reassure you that the way you feel is completely appropriate.
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