Archive for October, 2012

We Do Family!

October 25, 2012

Did you ever read, hear, or see something and then think to yourself: “I wish I had said that!”? Have you read something that moved you to the point where you just wanted to place it somewhere so that you could read it from time to time and have a gentle reminder of what is Paramount in our lives?

For those of us who believe that ‘family’ is Paramount, this little phrase might qualify for one of those moments. I found it in an advertisement from the Real Simple magazine from February of 2012. I have thought these thoughts many times, and many times have said to myself, “Yes!”

Consider these words for guidance in living within a real family with real simple approaches to life.

“We do second chances!
We do grace!
We do real!
We do mistakes!
We do ‘I’m sorrys’!
We do loud very well!
We do hugs!
We do family!”

How about that?


Importance of being Patient

October 18, 2012

    Tired parents!  Tired kids!  Budget shortfalls!  Work not going well!  We see many around us who are becoming more depressed than we remember them being!  Times are tough!  All of these factors and many more can drive every bit of patience out of our systems and at this time, especially, our children need that display of patience from us.  So, let’s take a look at a couple of tips you might consider as you interact with the kids – tips which don’t need to cost anything!!  Why would we want to be patient with our kids?  Gives us all time to slow down and to give some thought to what we really want for our kids.  Gives us time to think about how we want our kids to treat others (they’ll take their cues from us!).

   1) Ask your children questions which encourage them to think about what they want – and then LISTEN to their responses.  This can become a great time to begin to teach the differences between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.
   2) Say ‘Thank you’, and ‘I love you’, and ‘You make me happy when you ______’, and any other expression of gratitude toward your children.  They can’t hear this too often!
   3) See if you can ‘do’ things the way the child does them.  Helps the child to know how to make decisions for him/her self and learn from those decisions.
   4) As hard as this seems when we’re stressed and tired, we need to resist controlling our kids!  If you think for a moment of the most influential ‘teacher’ from your past, I’m guessing that person (a mom, a grandparent, a teacher, a supervisor) allowed you freedom to control your own life and that permission helped you in many ways!
   5) Laugh and have fun with your kids!  Be kind to them and they’ll learn to be kind to others!
   6) Let your children know – often – that you enjoy being with them and show this in your responses to them! This is so important that I should have put it first on the list!!

     When you exercise the patience and the insights to do these six things, you’ll feel better and your children will grow into responsible and productive adults!  And, I’m going to guess that will help you to feel better about everything.

Children and Cursing

October 4, 2012


    Today, more than ever before, our children are going to be exposed to profanity – to cursing – to using unacceptable words.  Watch the television shows where children are portrayed as ‘with it’, or ‘cool’, or any of the other words we use to give young ones special status – special attention.  As I child, I seldom heard any cursing – especially from my own family, even though my grandfather worked on a railroad section-maintenance crew and my father worked in construction.  I thought the sky would fall the first time I heard my father say, “Damn!” when a stone he wanted to use as a protective cover for a cistern fell into the water below.     

   So, when our children use profanity or other unacceptable words, how do we respond so that this behavior is erased rather than encouraged?  A few suggestions from Chelsea Fitzgerald, a counselor, and from me, another counselor. 

   First before we get into any instructions for teaching our children – a couple of warnings:  1) Never overreact when you hear those unacceptable words (this will make the problem bigger than it needs to be!); 2) Recognize that children may use cursing to express shock, anger, dismay, and other emotions; 3) Be aware that in many settings, the cursing might be strictly forbidden – school, church, youth groups; and 4) Bad habits can be difficult to correct.    

   A few instructions from Chelsea and from Jim:
      -Children crave attention – and they would rather get attention by using foul language than to be ignored.  Spend time with the child, giving each child an abundance of attention in a positive setting.
      -Converse with your child about the importance of respecting others and that cursing may be seen as offensive by many.  Help children to understand that profanity can be as offensive as telling someone – ‘You are really fat’, or ‘You are ugly’.  
      -Teach children amusing, secret codeword phrases to use instead of profanity.  One of my friends who was five years my senior used the expression, “Oh, Foot!” when he might otherwise have cursed.  Imagine the attention he got when dropping an expensive dish at a banquet and saying his coded expression of disappointment!
      -Be consistent!  Let me say that again:  Be Consistent.  Under no conditions will we allow our children to go astray in this a area – this is non-negotiable!!
      -Watch your own language!  This is important since little eyes are on you even when you think they’re not watching – little ears are tuned in even when you think they’re not listening.  Be a proper example!  No exceptions!!
      -Draw attention to every instance when a child uses appropriate language when the curse or the profanity could have been stated.

The behaviors little ones see in their environments become the behaviors they will adopt as their own!