January 5, 2011


It's important for our children to learn about money and banking. Children don't seem to understand the concept of money. They don't know that it takes hard work to pay the bills and save for disposable income, etc. That's a difficult concept to grasp since they don't see the work or see the money going into the bank.

They have no idea of what things comparatively cost. Well, how would they? They don't work and they only see us pulling out our wallets for groceries and goods at the store. Where does that money come from? And how come John gets an XBOX and I don't? That is totally unfair to them. Where's the justice?

It is hard for them to understand and even harder for us to explain why how this works.

Give kids allowance and open bank accounts for them when they are young so they can learn to control spending. Teach them some allowance goes into the bank to save, some goes to charity and some is to spend.

If a child has his or her own money, then the sense of control comes when they are able to buy what they want. (Even if it is something you'd rather not want them to have -within reason, of course).

The learning comes when they want something and don't have enough in the bank or they witness the bank account balance dropping everytime they withdraw.

These are trial and error moments but ones well worth experiencing.

March 8, 2010

Backing Off

I did a talk on Hyper parenting the other night. This is such an interesting subject these days. Thought I'd send a few thoughts your way.

Some parents seem to believe that if they aren't involved in their child's life 100 % of the time, then they are doing something wrong.

If we never loosen the grip on our children how will they learn to live on their own away from us? When we do all for our kids, we rob them of their own sense of accomplishments and the learning they experience when they make mistakes. This can lead to low self-esteem.

One way to back off is to connect with ourselves. It isn't being selfish. Don't look to your children to get your emotional needs met. Find other adult relationships, especially the one with yourself. If we depend on our children for our needs then we rob our children of their own childhood. There's enough pressure out there as it is for our children.

How will the quality of your life be better if you take time for yourself? Take a yoga class or read a book. Connections with our significant other is crucial. Children are actually happier when parents are happy.
* msabcmom - flickr

January 30, 2010


Tips to get more calm in your home - set clear boundaries:

1. It is difficult at times to agree with your partner on how to parent. You really can't be together on all issues, but limits and setting routines are a good place to be agreeable. Discuss limits you want to see in your home with your partner at a calm time perhaps when you are out for a walk or a dinner. Kids know how to play off of both of you (as if you didn't notice), so it is important to present a united front on these issues. It is comforting and safe for them to know that parents are 'in charge'.

2. Be consistent. If there is no cookie before dinner, then stick to that. The one time you allow that cookie...well, you're back at square one. Your child knows that you do fold...just how far do they have to go to get that cookie? (Remember, they have more energy and stamina than you!)

3. Limits start when they are young, like brushing teeth or not jumping on the couch. When they mature, you need different limits. For example around homework, curfew, electronics. Ask your child for their input. (Kids cooperate more when they are part of the process.) It shows we have confidence in them.

4. Don't change everything all at once. Pick 2 or 3 things you would like to change and focus on those for now. Build your confidence up as well. You will see that when we react differently to situations instead of doing the obvious, kids will change as well.
*artisticcoshop - flickr

January 3, 2010


After the holidays, it may be a good reminder to bring simplicity back in your home life. It is hard for us parents to know how to handle the fireworks when our children have had too much sugar, acquired too many toys, and clothes. Innocently, we thought they would enjoy getting those presents and stuff!

Kids can become unruly, cranky, and whiny. This happens with over-stimulation. It could be over-stimulation in getting alot of 'stuff' or having a busy schedule, perhaps they are exposed to inappropriate information and images on TV or other media.

We can help by ensuring kids have:
  • good nutrition
  • routine
  • good sleep
  • time to just be

Can we take a step back and allow our children to get bored? That could stimulate them to explore, and play and just be kids.

Simplicity is being content with the basic gifts of life.

*photo: 4 Get Me Not - flickr

November 19, 2009

The Moment

This is something I need reminding. Life is so busy it's easy to get swept away in it without being mindful of what's going on in the moment.

John Lennon..life is what happens while you're busy making other plans...

In spite of our best intentions, we run on automatic pilot to the point where we become stressed and pressed for time.
The richness lies in the moment

We are social beings. We are in relation to others...that's where we learn, we teach, we attach, we grow, we believe. We need each other, we want people's time and acknowledgement. So do our kids....they want time and space with you.

Having undisturbed time with your children for even a few minutes a day is the only place you will learn who they are. How else can you connect? You can't hear them when you are busy doing work, or chores...Have you ever said. "I'm listening, I'm listening." while you're cooking and washing dishes at the same time?

Connecting in the moment not only allows you to be open and in wonder with your child, you learn get to be open and in wonder with yourself too.
*flickr photo: neloqua

November 10, 2009

Relationship Matters

As parents, we give many instructions to our children. 'Put on a sweater, clean up those plates,' etc. If we want our children to cooperate we must have a foundation of trust and respect. We have to have a healthy relationship. If we don't, we will find resistance.

Six critical messages, that children should hear daily verbally or non-verbally are:

1. I believe in you.

2. I trust you.

3. I know you can handle life's situations

4. You are listened to and respected

5. You are cared for

6. You are very important to me.

It is never too late to use these messages and strengthen the bond you have with your child. Make eye contact, hug, nod, smile, sit together. Take time. It's easier to give demands when you are connected.

May 13, 2009

Routine as a Higher Power

There is so much to be said about setting limits and routines for all ages. When we set limits and routines when our children are young, we can relax them as they grow and take on their responsibility.

When asked for ID sometimes, at a bar or when pulled over by a cop, we know it is the rules. It isn't about someone judging you. It's nothing personal - it's just the rules. Objective not subjective. Rules are the higher authority, not personal power.
Think of how many power struggles you could avert by practicing this idea with your children? When your child asks you for a cookie and you say "no-not now-because I said so" you are being very subjective and random. When you get fed up and say "clean up this mess" you are expressing your personal desire for tidiness.
You will likely get better co-operation and less fighting if you create routines and enforce them consistently:
"Yes - you may have a cookie - at snack time. That is when we have cookies"
"Look - the clock says its 4pm, clean up time!"
Being consistent and enforcing clearly understood rules of the house without expressing your personal power will reduce fights and aggression with your children.
* picture: jwlphotography's photostream

May 12, 2009

Texting is a Good Thing?

Most parents roll their eyeballs when you bring up the issue of texting, but there might be something exciting to explore here.
The other day I texted my 16 year old. I was upstairs and she was in her room. "Want to watch TV?" Initially it feels silly typing to the person who is on the next floor, why not just talk? But the effect is different.
Maybe it is something like the old advice to take your kids for a drive when you tell them about sex so you don’t have to make eye contact. Sometimes it just feels more comfortable writing something intimate instead of saying it. We pay more attention when texting then when we are distracted with housework. It can be safer to have meaningful conversations and gain insights into our kids lives, hearts and minds that we may not have otherwise.

Why? Because it is their medium and their preferred way to communicate about some of this stuff. And again, while it doesn’t replace personal interaction, I believe it can enhance relationships.
Don't give up on texting so quickly. You might find some treasures there if you dig.
*Alyson Schafer

May 6, 2009


When should a parent start teaching their child responsibility? Now.
18 mos old - 3 years old: turns lights off while being carried, carry in mail, get kid-friendly snack from the cupboard, pick up toys & clothes, put soiled clothes or diaper in hamper or trash, wash vegetables, tear lettuce, stir, help set the table, feed and water pets, take clothes out of the dryer
4-6 year olds: All of the above, plus - help find grocery items in the store, help fold towels and wash clothes, pour things, water plants, sort white clothes from dark clothes, help plant a garden, assist in meal planning, empty dishwasher and stack dishes on counter.
7-10 year olds: All of the above, plus - get herself up in the morning, help wash and vacuum car, wash dishes, help read recipes, run washing machine and dryer, change sheets on the bed, help with projects around the house.
11-15 year olds: All of the above, plus - cook meals, baby sit, buy groceries from list, wash windows, change light bulbs, make appointments, order out for family, mow lawn.
16-18 year olds: All of the above, plus - run errands, handle their own checking account, maintain car, take care of animals, help younger children with homework.
Chores provide children with purpose. Keep those little hands busy. Getting your kids involved in household tasks early provides for them a positive context that they have a role to play in contributing to the greater good of the family.

February 15, 2009


I went to a lecture the other night called "Why Tots Resist" by a student of Gordon Neufeld's.... (http://www.gordonneufeld.com/ ). I found this concept so interesting, I want to share it with you. The concept here is called 'counterwill'.

Counterwill is the name for the natural human instinct to resist being controlled. You know when someone is driving close behind you, trying to get you to speed up and you slow down? Counterwill!!

Someone in the cashier's lineup behind you at the grocery store, their agenda is bigger than yours and you feel they are pushing you through? Do you then take your time at the till? Counterwill.
Recognize it? It's the same thing when our kids say, "No!" "You can't make me!" "You're not the boss of me!" Or when our teens won't wear that great shirt you bought them because you like it too much. Your agenda is bigger than theirs. You get resisteance. Huh! That's why I can't make a face or a big deal around my teens now. Darn!! I have to pretend alot...pretend not to get too excited or freaked out...

Counterwill is an innate human urge to survive, to be safe, and to know a sense of belonging. It is an internal monitor, that alerts us to any threats--real or perceived--to our sense of survival, safety, and belonging.

So counterwill in children is a "good kind of stubborness" because it happens when they are beginning to take charge of themselves. Their individual self is emerging. It may test us and we may think they are manipulating us or doing it 'on purpose', but remember it is innate.

This may help you to react differently the next time your child says, "You can't make me!"