Parents want their children to be happy. Parents want their children to be well-behaved and obedient. The hard thing is that, for many parents, it feels as though when you try to get your children to behave well, you end up in conflict, and neither you nor your kids are happy. When you try to make them happy by giving them--even anticipating-- what they want, it doesn't seem to make any difference--they still demand and disobey, never seeming to recognize how nice and accommo
It’s pre-enrollment time! Pull out the Baby Einstein! It’s time to prep your child for that all-important pre-k interview!
Make sure junior can write his name, practice having him say something–anything–when an adult speaks to him, and make sure he’s well-fed and well-rested before heading out to the school of choice. Hopefully you’ll get through the experience without him hitting another child or having a major meltdown, and you’ll be in!
Getting in isn’t really the poi
A good day begins with you getting in front of it. Instead of waiting for your children to wake you up, get up before they do and think ahead. You know your children–you know how they typically react to things, what they like and don’t like, and what they respond well to. You’re going to take that knowledge and use it to both your advantage and theirs. First, settle and ground yourself. Before you face the hordes, sit, bow your head and close your eyes. Visualize a few things
This is a strange and scary time. The kids are home from school, and you’re home from work. Even if you’re homeschooling, things are different and your kids know it– they can sense it even if they don’t fully understand what’s going on. Depending on their ages, each of your children will understand things at a different level, but they will ALL take their cues from you. It’s the perfect opportunity to begin or continue to lay a good foundation of faith in their lives. The thi
Are you familiar with the phrase, “Say the magic words!”? I don’t hear it often anymore, but as a child I heard it almost daily, either from my parents or parents of my friends. It was their prompt to get us to say “please” and “thank-you”, and was every child’s first lesson in manners. Teaching a child to say those words doesn’t automatically make him grateful, but the words themselves are very powerful, and can work almost like magic—especially “thank you.” The simple two-w
When I got started as a mom, I decided I wanted my kids to be well-behaved, obedient, and ready to listen and learn. There were other things too, like reading a lot and using their imagination, but all of it was intended to serve the ultimate goal of their being well-prepared to leave the nest and live meaningful, productive lives. Like most moms, I understood that the time I’d have with my kids was limited, and that I needed to make the most of it. I’m not talking about the
Anyone who has a toddler knows that they’re unpredictable; one minute they can be humming and as happy as can be, and the next they become little Tasmanian Devils, screaming, throwing, hitting, biting, and rolling around on the floor. There are reasons for this, and you probably are not surprised by it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. The fact is, toddlers can ruin your day, and fast. Here are five things I’ve discovered as a mom that may not make for a perf
When you’re a parent, lost in the crazy whirl of day to day responsibilities and challenges, it can be tough to remember the goal. It sometimes seems as though the highest and best thing you can aim for is getting food on the table, and making sure everybody gets to soccer practice or tae-kwon-do on time. As important as it is to keep our children fed, and where they need to be on time, there are higher goals than staving off hunger so that we can make it to extracurriculars.
In the great adventure we call Parenting, most of us want to find solutions that “work”, meaning of course, solutions that will stop the (fill in the blank) tantrums, arguing, fighting, hitting, peeing, not eating/ sleeping/ listening, etc. . . Sometimes the consequences we impose aren’t painful enough to get a child’s attention, but often when a parent finds themselves grasping for the insta-fix, you can almost bet they are worn out and have lost sight of the goal. In the mo
Motherhood is a tough gig. It doesn't matter if you grew up loving babies and dreaming of being a mom, or if, like me, you never really gave it a thought until you were married, it's just plain tough in ways other things aren't. There are multiple reasons for this: lack of sleep, difficulty balancing responsibilities, temporarily giving up on other goals and ambitions, wear and tear on the bod, and so on. Mainly, though, it’s the fact that our culture isn’t kind to us. It doe
My kids hit each other, ate toadstools, lied, threw tantrums, and did just about any other misbehavior you can think of, regardless of the consequences! To be fair, they also surprised me with gifts, hugs, and expressions of gratitude, and provided a steady stream of joy and delight. Even so, respectful behavior was something I was always working to cultivate in them. When I coach parents, I give them a plan for addressing specific behavior issues with their children, which t
We conscientious parents take our job very seriously. We understand it’s a big responsibility, and that we're supposed to bring up our kids to be ready for the future, whatever that means. If we're honest, what we parents really want
is to enjoy our adult children, and for them to want to spend time with us. We want to get along with them and not have to bail them out of trouble--we want our adult kids to be good people who other people respect and like, with a healthy life o
I’m one of those people often called a perfectionist. I suppose I am, although I don’t think of myself that way, but I have to admit I’ve always imposed very high standards on myself and my work. If I had to do something, I wanted it to be done well, or at least to look like it had been done well. Everything from my grades to my appearance and the appearance of my home was a reflection of me, and it was always very important what other people thought of me. Because of this
Hey, Mama! Are you still getting up in the night with your 18-month-old? Or lying in bed with your toddler until he goes to sleep? Do you drive around every evening until your little one finally gives up and conks out? You’re wearing yourself out for no reason. Do you prepare a different meal for your kids than for you and your husband? Do you always have to take snacks along in case of a meltdown? Does your child throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants to eat
Happy New Year, everybody! As I write this, I’m sitting in the living room of my oldest daughter and her husband, in the D.C. area. My daughter gave birth to her first child and my first grandchild just a week ago, making this New Year different from any other, past or future. Our grandson is a handsome, healthy little guy, who wields the power to draw everyone’s adoring attention or cause great consternation and upheaval. Being around a newborn brings back the realization
If you read this column very often, you’ll recognize a common message regarding the unnecessarily complicated state of modern parenting. Mothers face a nearly constant onslaught of messages as to what constitutes a “good” mother, and because of this are often discouraged, dispirited, confused and guilt-ridden. In my last post, I suggested the first step in becoming a more confident mother is to stop reading all the latest books, blogs, and websites about parenting, and rely
As a young mother I was filled with a sense of determination–I was determined that 1) my kids would be well-behaved, 2) they would not disrupt my schedule, but fit into it and, 3) they would not rebel as I’d seen other kids do when they became teens. I was going to do this thing right! My husband and I had attended our first child-training seminar the same day we found out I was pregnant. Yup, we were already seeking advice before we had confirmation of pregnancy. Armed w