Archive for the ‘Talking to Your Children’ Category

Parents, Prepare Yourself For, “I’m Bored, There’s Nothing to Do!”

Maggie with her teenage children

Well, summer of 2012 is upon us and as parents we begin to sweat near the end of May as to what our children are going to do with themselves all summer long. I know that within two days of summer break I am going to hear, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do!”

Leave a List
I leave a list every morning with my three teenagers explaining their “chores” for the day and yet, I hear the vacuum running when I pull into the garage 8 hours later. Now, I understand that between the hours of 6 am when I am getting ready for work and 2 pm when I am still at work, that my kids are getting their much needed sleep and that not a lot can be accomplished before this time of day. Staying up until 2 am or 3 am creates this discrepancy in sleep patterns for the summer. I yell out at midnight, “Some of us have to work in the morning,” yet the TV is still blaring at 3 am. I get it, its summer break!!!  And yet, if I sleep in until 7 am on a weekend, my kids have been known to poke at me and say out loud, “Is she alive? She never sleeps this late. Who’s going to get our breakfast?”

Am I Crazy if I Repeat Myself 700 Times?
The list of chores I leave is very easy and yet so complicated to complete within the 8 hours that I’m away from our small, but comfortable home. I say small to emphasize how few chores I list and how quickly they actually can be accomplished by three teenagers. Vacuum, pick up anything laying on the living room floor and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher! I must say 700 times in the summer, “Rinse your dishes and put them in the dishwasher.” As you know, nothing smells worse than breakfast milk in a cereal bowl from 2 days prior. Cocoa Puffs become the size of mini golf balls and Trix become an art project in my sink as a variety of colors swirl from side to side, pretty, but still smelly.

Ahh, Time with Teenagers
So, I attempt each day to give the kids something to do, something that will give them a sense of accomplishment and something that will allow me to spend more time with the kids when I get home…ok, they are teenagers, I am kidding. But, it will allow me to finish the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, without interruption!

Maggie is a single mother of three children, ages 13, 16 and 17, who attend Corunna Schools. She and her children live in Owosso.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

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Helping Our Children Weather Defeat, Adversity and Disappointment

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek
Memorial Mommy Blogger

Children will always have opportunity to face difficulty in their lives. And the ways they deal with it are as varied as their personalities, development of coping skills, etc. As a parent, I find I want to make the hurt go away as soon as possible. But no matter how I console them, it really is about giving them time and choices.

Here are a few of the things I have learned in my 30 years of parenting that have helped my children.

  1. Triumph with them even in their defeat. Give them praise for their effort and strength of character to try.
  2. Convey that you love them and are proud of them just for being who they are.
  3. Hug them and reaffirm them with physical affection. Look in their eyes.
  4. Be genuine in your words. Comedy only helps if that is their personality. Otherwise, refrain from making jokes.
  5. Divert their attention to positive solutions or alternatives.
  6. Let them cry and express themselves while not allowing them to get into self-destructive statements or behaviors.

I’m sure you may have some great suggestions as well. But there are just a few of my best to get you started on building happy, healthy children.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Helping Your Children Discover Their Gifts

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek, Memorial Mommy Blogger

I remember when I was a girl, I had so many big ideas about all the things I would do some day. I look back now and see how adults around me squelched my ability to blossom. They seemed to take my exuberant personality as more of a nuisance. It took many years before I could enjoy and revel in my person hood. It is so important to encourage our children to love who they were created to be. Here are some ways I have found that not only promote children in their gifting, but help them discover what their gifts are.

  • When you have an inkling they like a particular activity promote it
    My oldest son loved to draw. He would make his own comics and stories. We made it a point to make sure he had lots of art supplies in several mediums—crayons, paints, markers, different kinds of paper, books on drawing and lots of comics he could read. He has become a very talented artist and I am still amazed at his creativity.
  • Help them participate in activities they love
    Join a team, take a class, buy an instrument. Watch for areas they seem to really take to. Recently, we won a bowling party and the kids and I enjoyed the package together on a school break. We rarely bowl. My daughter, who had never bowled before, rolled one great score after another. We all had a great time. We are going to keep bowling. And next season she can join a team.
  • Express exuberant praise for a job well done
    Mention their accomplishments to friends and family and watch them beam with joy!
  • Go to their special performances and, make sure they know you value their efforts
  • Take time to listen to what they are saying – really listen
    I always say to them “I am listening.” This solidifies that I care about what they say. 
  • Hang good papers, art projects, cards they make in a prominent place
  • Let them try different activities and gauge their interest
    School lessons can be a great place to explore poetry, a certain subject, a time in history, or a famous character. My one son did not like to read. He did the minimum requirements needed. He always complained about the stories we read, until we read a book about Thomas Edison. I found he enjoyed reading about real people in history. His personality was such that he found fiction ridiculous.
  • Help them overcome obstacles that make them feel less confident
    Do they struggle with reading, or sports, or using a screwdriver? Give them opportunities to explore and try that difficult activity in a safe non-competitive way. You can always employ the help of someone else. Maybe a grandparent or friend to teach basketball skills, or build a bird house, etc. A friend of ours paid for her son to take a class to help with his reading and he blossomed through it!
  • Don’t take on the guilt
    If their interests are something hard to obtain like surfing in Michigan, or going to a school you can’t afford, don’t take on the guilt. I was sure I wanted to climb mountains as a girl, and I realize now that was not for me. Adversity, disappointment, and failure, if dealt with as an opportunity to grow, can be as powerful as success. Dr. Dave Williams of Strategic Global Missions says, “Failure is NOT fatal.”

Invest in your children’s gifts, talents, and abilities and watch them blossom into magnificent citizens. They will become encouragers of others around them. And promote opportunities for others to grow as well.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

 

Keep Those Lines of Communication Open With Your Children

Laura Jafri

by Laura Jafri

There are so many challenges to being a parent and raising children, especially in today’s society. It’s so important to keep communication lines open with our children.  Growing up in present times is so different from the days when I was a child.

There is so much out there available to our children. The internet is a wonderful creation but it can be a curse too. I can think of so many times that I have Googled something and a million options pop up. A very innocent search can invite a number of unwanted answers.  I cringe to think of how many
times that may happen to my children.  It takes a lot of supervision to raise a responsible child.  

My friend, Marianne, touched on this wonderfully in her last blog.  At our house, computers are not allowed in our children’s bedrooms.  Video game systems also must be in a common area of the house.  My kids always have to ask if they want to use the computer or play a game.  My oldest son has a television in his room.  We put it there because my elderly mother stays in his room when she comes to visit.  She likes a TV in there in case she has trouble sleeping at night. My son is not allowed to watch TV in his room unless he asks.  He rarely does because my kids really only use their rooms to sleep in.  We also have a block on all our televisions in the home. If the program exceeds a TV14 rating, it requires my husband or myself to punch in a code.

So how does this all relate to talking to our kids?  I want my kids to always feel that they can talk to me about anything.  I’m not stupid.  I know that there will always be things that my kids don’t tell me or ask me.  However, I want them to know that they can always come to me.  They should feel that they can talk to me or ask me anything.  My children are still young.  I know that the tougher days are ahead of me.  I have tried to lay down a foundation so that when the day comes, they will come to me.  I am starting to see the benefits of this with my oldest child.  He is a teenager now and the difficult questions in life are starting to surface.  I don’t want my kids to learn about life from the World Wide Web.  I definitely don’t want them to learn from their friends.  I think that it is great to have friends to talk to, but I have no idea what values have been instilled in them, so why would I want my kids to learn from other people’s parenting?

I have always told my kids that it is so important to talk about their feelings. Even my 9-year-old approaches me sometimes and says, “You know how you said I can talk to you about anything?” I even got to use that line on him this week when he did something I didn’t appreciate.  

I hope I’m doing the right thing.  I’m learning as I go along this parenting journey.  I guess I figure it can’t be too bad to take the time to talk to, and truly listen to, our children.  I learn just as much from them as they learn from me.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, and Talk Some More

By Tracey Heslip

Tracey (standing) with (l-r) Rachel (14), Jackie (in red) (17), and Kayleena (19)

Tracey (standing) with (l-r) Rachel (14), Jackie (in red) (17), and Kayleena (19)

I have three teenage girls and yes, my husband’s hair is grey. People tease him about having a shot gun by the front door.

When the girls were very young, I started reading about the teen years. Jim would say, “They’re only toddlers now, what are you reading about stuff like that for?”  I felt that I needed to prepare for the teen years very early on. I really prayed about how I wanted to approach the very trying, peer pressure years.

First, I wanted very open communication with my girls; I wanted them to feel like they could come and talk to me about anything and everything. Secondly, I wanted them to be very educated. I didn’t just want to tell them no, I wanted them to know why I was telling them no.

It’s not enough to let the public school system or your child’s peers educate them; it’s our job to set standards. Decide early on how and when you are going to talk to your children. You don’t have to give them everything at age 10, but give them enough so that when they’re sitting on the bus and the kid next to them is telling them everything, they feel comfortable enough to come and tell you. That way, you can answer questions or tell them what you want to tell them. If you think you just can’t do that—it’s too “awkward,” think of how awkward it would be if your child comes to you pregnant, or you get a phone call from a parent saying that your child is drunk.

It’s our responsibility, as parents, to educate and protect our children. Educate yourself first; find out what kids these days are up against. There are tons of books out there to help you. My girls have participated in peer study groups offered through the Pregnancy Resource Center. Most of the studies are Bible based and have girls from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. This has assured them that it’s not just mom and dad telling them things,  there are others in their peer group who have the same goals and morals.

Some of the studies are done with books by Lisa Bevere, an inspirational speaker and author who tells girls they don’t need a boyfriend to identify them and that they are beautiful just the way they are. 

A topic often discussed at our house is courtship verses dating. We have taught our girls that dating is for the purpose of marriage. If you can’t see yourself being married to the person, or them being the father of your children, you have no reason to be with them. It used to be that a boy had to ask permission from the girl’s family before “going out,” and that they went out in groups. We, as a society, and parents, have gotten away from traditions and formalities. Now, the guy pulls in the driveway and honks the horn, or they hook up at functions without the parent’s knowledge. I am not going to be a mother that says my kids would never do that. I know that they have free will. However, I have the peace of mind that I have given them ALL the facts.

Please, please, PLEASE, talk to your children. Start young with age-appropriate information. Build a foundation that will follow through to the teen years and into adulthood. I can guarantee that you will never look back and say, “I wish I had never talked to them about that.”

Note: This blog has been edited from the author’s original submission.

Dateable: Are You? Are They? By Justin Lookadoo & Hayley DiMarco 

How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It’s Best to Start Early, but It’s Never Too Late—A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents by Linda & Richard Eyre

Kiss the Girls and Made Them Cry by Lisa Bevere 

Fight Like a Girl by Lisa Bevere

Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.