Tag Archives: parenting

Intent of the Day: A Little Time for Yoga

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Any time for yourself? Any time for health? We understand that you can be running low on hours even with daylight savings starting our days a little earlier. When it feels like there is absolutely no moment to rest and invest in yourself, that is exactly when you need to do it. So our intent for today? It is to find a little time for yoga.

Don’t think you can make it happen? Here are 3 people to inspire you: Continue reading

Could My Child Be a School Bully? Tips for Concerned Parents

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No parent ever wants to consider the possibility that their son or daughter could be one of the mean popular kids at school, those who shun and dismiss anyone who’s different.  I call them Elite Tormentors, and the caring, compassionate popular students who stand up for the underdog, Elite Leaders

What are some of the warning signs your son or daughter may be in danger of turning into an Elite Tormentor? Pay attention to your child’s demeanor on the phone. Does it sound like he/she is making a joke at someone else’s expense or gossiping about another student? When he and his friends text one another, are they putting down other classmates? Has your child recently started excluding any of their old friends from social activities and when you ask why, they don’t have a plausible answer?

If your child is posting regularly on Instagram, have they posted any photos that humiliate another child? Be curious. While you may not wish to invade your child’s privacy, if he/she is taking advantage of that privacy to hurt themselves or someone else, as a parent you need to pull rank, lovingly demand access to their social networking and texting activity, and retain that access until you’re comfortable they are not the cause or on the receiving end of anything harmful emotionally.    

Another effective technique for outing an Elite Tormentor is to casually have a conversation with your child about who’s popular at school and who’s not, coaxing her into revealing the names of those students who struggle to fit in or who strike her as lonely.

A week later, ask her if she’d like to host a party, suggesting it might be nice if, along with her friends, she invited a couple of the forgotten ones, too. If she agrees despite what her friends may think, she’s not an Elite Tormentor. In fact, she’s probably an Elite Leader. If she won’t because she’s fearful her friends would freak but feels badly about it, she’s most likely a bystander. But if she recoils at the thought or acts indignant, perhaps even laughs, chances are you’re living with an Elite Tormentor. 

If your suspicions are confirmed, here are a couple suggestions: Continue reading

Five Keys to Nurturing Creativity in Your Child

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Every parent has heard it—the howl of the bored child. “Mom, I don’t have anything to DO!” or “Dad, come play with me!” Despite a closet filled with toys and the electronic gizmos of the moment, children everywhere are flopping down in abject misery at the prospect of filling up their free time.

Is it a parent’s job to provide constant stimulation and to solve every problem? Actually—no. In fact, if you constantly entertain your child and solve her problems for her, you are stealing from her the ability to be creative, to exercise her imagination, and possibly, to contribute new ideas and solutions to the world we all share.

Why is creativity important? Beyond the arts we often associate with creativity—things like music, art, drama, and literature—creativity is necessary for solving problems, especially new problems. Divergent thinking, sometimes called “thinking outside the box”, is the potential source of cures for disease and solutions to world problems such as poverty and hunger.

Be forewarned, though: Creativity can look an awful lot like misbehavior. It can be messy and inefficient—and the world would be lost without it.

How can you nurture creativity in your child? Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Savor the Little Moments

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Savoring small moments doesn’t start and stop with an encouraging needlepoint pillow on your couch. It starts with intentional steps to slow down and capture something that might otherwise easily go unnoticed. It’s the extra time you got to stay cuddled up at home because it was raining outside. It’s the way your kids laugh when you know they’re doing something that’s going to get them in trouble. It’s the last minute coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while who wants to share good news. In some mindsets, they are distractions, obstacles, agenda items. In a world of mindfulness and awareness, they are moments, pauses, gifts.

We intend to savor the little moments.

You too? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

The 4 Letter Word We Need to Stop Treating as Taboo

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That’s right, I’m talking about HELP When my first child was born we had issues breastfeeding. It took two weeks of misery, tears, frustration, including a trip to the hospital for jaundice, pumping to get my supply back up because he wasn’t actually nursing and constant breakdowns before I finally hired a lactation consultant.

She checked everything and let me know he was too small to latch, gave me a plan to get him bigger, a hospital pump to rent, and my piece of mind back. Best whatever money it was that I ever spent.

I asked myself over and over, why did I wait so long? I could have made that so much easier so much sooner and would have been more present for those first two weeks. Instead I reached the point of frustration where I understood why someone would shake their baby (I never did! But I saw how it could happen.) Continue reading

My Daughter’s Trip to Dubai

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Two years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from high school.  As her mother is from Australia, my daughter took a year off between high school and college, and spent the year traveling and working in Australia.   She really grew from the experience in a number of ways, and it gave me a great excuse to travel to Australia to see her.

At the end of this year, another daughter of mine will graduate from high school. Like her older sister, this one has the travel and adventure gene in her, as well, and wants to set off for her own journey, with Dubai as one of her destinations.   As the protective father, I had to do my research on the most populous city in the United Emirates.  To be sure, I have a very good friend who has been there several times, and he has raved about it over and over.   According to him, Dubai has so much to offer, so many opportunities located in one large city; many such opportunities that most large cities simply do not.

So the Daddy in me did my due diligence and began my research.  As one who used to snorkel in Australia, I was excited to see that Dubai offers beautiful waters and awe inspiring snorkeling off their coast.   Indeed, there is the opportunity to really get a fantastic view of the coral reefs, along with a number of wrecks on the ocean’s floor for my daughter to explore.  Yet, what she wants to do most, it seems, is sky dive. Now, I am not that brave. I have experienced just about everything, but that is not one thing I have on my bucket list. It is on hers.   She wants to jump out of a plane and sky dive.   As one who has lived the motto of Carpe Diem in all I do, I admire her desire to do this, and encourage her. I just won’t join her, myself!

Despite the fact that we know people who live in Dubai, and who can help look after her if she should visit, I needed to check to see if Dubai was a safe for my daughter.   The protective father in me was relieved to see that it is.

When my oldest daughter left our small town of 4,000 people, nestled in the middle of rural Georgia, I had many a person ask me how I felt about my daughter traveling the world and being away from my family for an extended period of time.   My response was that I was excited that she had the opportunity to see the world, immerse herself in new cultures and customs, and learn from a global perspective.  I was excited for the chance for my daughter to grow from all of these experiences.   Since her travels, she has come back, and has a greater appreciation not only of the world, but for what she has in life.  For my next daughter, I am just as excited.  Whether she travels to Dubai, or another part of the world, I am eager for her to discover the world, and discover herself.

Countdown to Hotel Bliss: Traveling with Adult Kids

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As a mother of two kids who travels for work, our family has experienced a variety of hotels, motels and resorts over the years. My girls are now young adults and it is a very different world when it comes to choosing a great hotel to enjoy during out travels.

We have gone through phases, starting with the classic small, affordable hotel where amenities were not the most important considerations. The kids were small and we didn’t need much.

As they grew older we needed more activities, restaurants and overall space. And finding a location that provided nearby events and things to do was paramount to keeping kids entertained.

However, a major change happened around the ages of 17. Suddenly the typical resort locations became the least attractive option. Hotels became less of a place to sleep, play and hang out to something totally different.

I noticed my kids had 3 primary requirements they had to have in our accommodations and I was surprised to find these factors actually were not difficult to find. We just had to know where to look. Continue reading

The Secret of Life. Pray It Forward.

A photo by David Schap. unsplash.com/photos/W5TJpNKI9c4

All parents are looking for the silver bullet to parenting. We know we need to give our kids continual instruction on honor, truthfulness, integrity, kindness, patience and loving the unlovable. They need to be held accountable for their actions. Learn to restrain their impulses to throw temper tantrums. Be able to resist peer pressure to experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol. But the question remains, “What can we teach our kids that will prepare them for any crisis that is sure to impact them some time in their lives?”

Because there will be days, months even when everything seems lost. When they suffer the inevitable heartbreak. When they fail to make the team. When their friends have deserted them. When they’re rejected by their favorite college. When even God seems far away. And these are just the teen years.

We all know there will often be times in adulthood when money is tight. Jobs are lost. Marriages are rocky. Health is failing. Loved ones leave us. And loneliness collapses souls. Continue reading

The Importance of Laughter and Play for Children in Foster Care

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It was noisy.

The seven year old was laughing. Laughing very, very loudly. Running through the house, the little blond haired boy was chasing our five year old daughter. Indeed, both were laughing, and the noise was echoing through the entire house. It wasn’t long before they begun this game of chase that our three year old joined in.

It was noisy. And, it was beautiful.

For the first time, our seven year old son from foster care was laughing. In fact, it was the first time the seven year old had even smiled in our home. Andrew had been living with us for four months, placed into our foster home due to severe and horrific abuse from the hands of his mother; his mother, the person who was supposed to shield her own son from all harm. Instead, his mother had abused her son so traumatically over a long period of time in his short life that Andrew had never really been given the opportunity to laugh. This innocent seven year old child had never known what it was like to, quite simply, have fun; never given a reason to smile.

The first months of Andrew’s time in our house often saw my other children, both biological and adoptive, try to invite their newest foster sibling into their world of play and imagination. At each invite, and each opportunity, Andrew would instead cling to my wife and I, choosing not to engage with the others. When either my wife or I were in the kitchen cooking, in the bedroom folding clothes, or other house duties, the seven year old would stand closely next to one of us. If either of us were sitting down, the child would sit next to us. Either way, he would never speak, simply cling to us, in his own world of trauma and anxiety.

Today, though, was different. For some time, Andrew was watching some of the other children playing in the lounge room, while my I was in the other other room, taking care of the dirty laundry. Perhaps it was the consistent approach from my children; perhaps it was his curiosity; perhaps he realized that his siblings from foster care were not going to hurt him. Whatever it was, Andrew finally joined in, and when he did, it was as if the flood gates of laughter had opened. I watched in amazement as this seven year old, this seven year old who never once expressed any emotion of happiness, joy, or amusement, was laughing. This seven year old boy was healing.

Laughter and play are wonderful ways for children in foster care to begin their healing process, as they help these children in need cope with their stresses, traumas, and anxieties. Indeed, as children in foster care begin to find a sense of humor, they will find it to be a resourceful tool they can use. As Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. states,
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” Continue reading

The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting During Rehab

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Parents understandably want to be their children’s biggest advocates. When a child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction hangs in the balance, that’s never truer. During rehab especially, that natural parental impulse to do anything to help can kick into overdrive. A well-meaning effort to support a child’s recovery, often amplified by a sense of guilt or responsibility for that child’s substance abuse, can feed a strong “over-parenting” reflex to save a child.

“Helicopter parenting” is the term clinical psychologists have attached to this phenomenon. It’s a fitting way to describe unhealthy parental hovering over a child’s every move: like pilots at the controls of a Black Hawk military aircraft, some parents at the first signs of a threat launch a full-scale air assault or swoop in and deploy a quick getaway for their child. And parents of children in rehab are especially vulnerable to this form of parenting, because they know their child’s risks of relapse pose harmful and potentially life-threatening consequences.

But what parents of children in rehab also need to know is that an “interminable ‘swoosh-swoosh-swoosh’” over their child’s every move can pose even greater dangers to that child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Knowing what these pitfalls to lasting sobriety are is key to boosting a child’s chances of success in rehab and beyond.

Helicopter Parenting and “Failure-to-Launch” Children
Helicopter parenting in rehab can result in the following dangers, all of which can account for a child’s failure to launch toward lasting freedom from drugs or alcohol: Continue reading

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