Thursday, February 22, 2018

What We Need to Teach Our Kids After The Parkland Florida School Shootings

After the horrific shootings of innocent students and faculty at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, we've had much-needed discussions on how to prevent such a tragedy recurring.  The answers are complicated and will require both short and long-term solutions.   

As a Parent Coach, this tragedy shakes me to the core.  What can each of us do - especially those of us who are parents?  Wisdom from an article written by Psychologist Laura L. Hayes gets to the core of a major issue facing us individually, as families, in communities, and as a nation.  A few quotes from the article really stand out:

"We are a culture awash in anger....Violence is a product of compromised anger management skills...."

"Anger disorders are a product of long-term anger mismanagement. They are a pathological misdirection of normal aggressive feelings. Anger is, at its essence, a part of the basic biological reaction to danger, the fight or flight response...."

"The truth is, anger management skills are simple techniques that can and should be taught to children and adolescents. We should not wait to teach these skills until verbally or physically violent behavior has become habitual and, often, life-threatening...."

Here is what I'm offering to help you move from Thinking” to Doing”:

GRAB my great 3 part "Overcoming Anger" freebie for you and your family here:

JOIN ME on my Facebook page here:

Very soon, I'm launching a free, exclusive, closed Facebook community to help you parent with the "Long View" in mind.  I'll share wisdom, topics for discussion and calls to action.  You can share wisdom, support,and encouragement with your fellow parents.  Together, we'll help you take action and make decisions today that will better equip your kids for their futures. 

SHARE this post with fellow parents who want to take a stand and transform their families and communities. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reduce Stress & Create Postive, Lasting Change!

What does it look like to EASE your way into the New Year while creating positive, lasting changes?  What does it look like to gently pursue your goals for 2018, without adding undo stress to your already busy lives?

Let’s look at an example, using my weight loss goals.  If you are like me, you may have enjoyed the holidays a bit too much - in the area of eating lots of delicious foods.  One of my goals for 2018 is to lose the few pounds I gained over the holidays, plus about 20 pounds more! 
Wisdom from health experts and my own experience have taught me that I can take two routes.  The more stressful and less successful one will be to cut way back on calories and really ramp up my exercise.  This leads to me feeling starved and deprived and can lead to injuries.  In other words, I’d be setting myself up to fail.  On the other hand, if I EASE my way into this – cutting back gradually and eating healthier foods, along with increasing my exercise levels a bit at a time, I’m much more likely to embrace and create lasting healthier habits.

We spent a good bit of 2017 in our community talking about adopting a Marathon Mindset (also known as Taking the Long View) in how we raise our kids.  Each year, we have a whole 365 days to make changes and growth and develop new strengths. Let’s pace ourselves and make the change lasting and effective for the long haul. 

So ask yourself:  What gentle adjustments can I make over the next several weeks that helps my family EASE toward our goals??  How can I break down these large goals into manageable steps that don’t put additional stress and pressure on us?

I’ve got a great way to engage your loved ones in creating a vision for your family, identify what matters most and identify a few areas to gently work towards better habits.  

Click this link and I’ll send it right out to you:
I know you and your family will enjoy the engaging conversations and activities and feel proud of your Family Vision Board and Values Exercise!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Need Gift Ideas For Your Loved Ones? I Can Help!

With three kids and numerous other loved ones to buy for, Christmas and birthdays are often a challenge for me.  Over the years, I’ve realized everyone is happier if we spend a bit of time planning and shopping around. 

First, let’s focus on your mindset.  Decide a budget and number of gifts and stick to it!  Try to release any guilty feelings – most of our kids have too much already, right? Also, DON'T expect every gift to be a hit – what pleases one kid will turn off another. 

Decide what you’d like to encourage with each gift. Examples are a love of reading, love of learning, creativity, getting outside and being active.  Spread the gifts around in different categories like books, bikes, board games, computer games, outdoor toys, etc. The variety is important for their development and they will appreciate the variety over time. Consider non-traditional and homemade items.  You might create a coupon book with passes for specific events they would like – “free coupon for ice cream with Dad”, “free coupon for playing cards with Mom”.

Here are some gift ideas by category:

             - Books – Giving kids books at Christmas and birthdays encourages a love of reading.  Look for lists of award winning books, such as Texas Bluebonnet awards, Newberry and Caldecott Medals. In addition to popular books, consider classic, age appropriate books like the Dr. Seuss books and “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” series.
             - Educational gifts – Giving kids educational items at Christmas and birthdays encourages a love of learning.
             - Science projects, art supplies, hands on projects, fun and messy things
Kids get a lot of benefits developmentally out of hands on, messy, creative projects – it encourages their curiosity and creativity; educators highly encourage this sort of play.
Consider a science book or simple kit with at-home experiments. For artists, create a kit with paints, brushes, an apron and an easel.
            -  Hobby items – Look for kits or other items from your local craft stores.
             - Fun, active gifts – Get out there and play with your kids with kites, frisbees, scooters, and soccer balls.
            -  Classic gifts – These are classics because of their lasting play-ability.  Slinky, dominoes, play doh and playing cards are great examples.
            -  Board games - Try to choose games that most of the family can and will play and schedule special game nights.
            - Electronics – If you are like most of us, you will choose to give your kids some electronics.  If so, make sure it is age-appropriate.  Ratings (P, PG, PG-13, etc) are there for a reason.  Otherwise, this can start to snowball on you.  Use ratings as a guide and then read up on product reviews and check with other parents to make a final decision.
            - Gift certificates As I mentioned above, create a coupon book for special times with mom, dad, and other loved ones.

Here are some of my favorite websites:

Toy and game reviews:                Oppenheim Toy Portfolio                                 From Time to Play Magazine
GOOGLE "TIA Toys of the year 2017" to see toys that won awards for 2017 awarded by the Toy Industry Association

Educational Software Reviews:

Great websites with unique gifts:                    3D puzzles, unique games, crafts          Great selection of educational and fun toys                Unique toys and crafts                           Great books and other items                            Books and fun, educational toys and crafts                 Variety of items for older kids, great hobby sets and games              Educational and fun
AMAZON.COM is a great place to see what other parents think.
REMEMBER – If, like me, you want the focus to be more on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, exercise a bit of restraint in how much you give your kids. We encouraged the attitude in our kids of "look at the great gifts you got from everyone" rather than "I don't like this" or "why didn't I get more gifts".  Otherwise, like Harry Potter's cousin Dudley, they'll count and compare and complain instead of appreciating what they get!

Please share this post with other parents who might find it helpful.  Merry Christmas and happy holidays!