6 Things Every Mom Needs to Remember

My oldest child is heading to college this fall. That translates in mom talk to, “Friends beware. Spontaneous ugly cries may occur.” It also means I’ve gotten a little bit (okay… a lot bit) sentimental. While meandering down memory lane, I remembered two friends of mine. They were both older – one a grandmother with gray hair and dimples. The other an energetic empty nester. Every visit these ladies slipped in some piece of mothering advice before they left. Their perspective changed my perspective of how to raise my kids and I’m so grateful for it. Guess it’s time to pass that good advice on.

Things to Remember…

 

1. Don’t Stress About Keeping a Clean House.

It’s a phase. You’re not a slob. One day those sticky handprints on the glass are going to make you smile.

happy messy kids

2. Happiness is Not About Stuff.

Name brand clothes, yearly vacations, and presents overflowing under the Christmas tree aren’t necessary. Kids can be happy with a lot less than we think. Never go in debt for a kid’s want. Wanting is a motivating and healthy thing for every child.

 

3. Date Your Spouse.

Find a babysitter you trust and get out of the house! Weekly if you can. One day the kids will be gone and you need to still like your spouse! Dates can be as simple as going on a walk. Strengthening your marriage will strengthen your whole family.

 

4. Date Your Kids.

Your kids need time with you too. Not time with you and the baby. Not time with you and their little sister. Just you. Go grab a one-dollar ice cream cone together. That’s enough! Find ten minutes regularly that’s all for them. Doing this with my kids when they were young made them more willing to talk to me about the tough stuff when they were teens.

kids helping make dinner

 

5. Teach Them How to Help Themselves.

Chores teach hard work. Saving money teaches discipline. Talking face to face with unkind friends teaches bravery. Asking a teacher for help teaches self-reliance. Don’t save your kids when things get hard. Walk beside them and teach them how to save themselves.

 

6. Praise, Hug, Repeat.

Let the little things go. Praise the good more than you correct the bad. I know I would feel awful if someone only pointed out my mistakes while I was learning something new. Our kids are still learning how to be kind human beings. Be gentle, fun teachers. They’re going to turn out great.

love your children

 

 

About the Author

Hey! I’m Jenner –  a mother of four. A Texan. An author. And the wife of a beautifully bald elementary school teacher. I’m a wee bit obsessed with Christmas music and love writing. My writing has appeared in Jack and Jill, Friend, Ensign and Highlights magazines. You can also find it on storybird.com.  Catch me on my blog or follow me on Twitter here: @slushpilestory

 

 

 

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Guilt-Free Ways to be a Less Distracted Parent

My daughter loved the classic Curious George books when she was about two. Those stories are from another time when parents apparently had nothing to do. Each runs at least fifty pages. Fifty pages. To make matters worse, she had memorized the stories, which meant I couldn’t fudge it and skip over large swaths of text.

We’ve all been there, I’m sure, stuck doing the repetitive stories or imaginary scenes dreamed up by our kids. I have a love-hate relationship with these moments: sometimes I really need to get something else done. Other times, I am happy to spend time in a child’s silly world. But what was the difference? I wanted to figure out how I could enjoy that playtime more and still get dinner on the table in time.

 

Figure out what your child is asking for

All kid needs attention, affirmation, and love from their parents. Each kid is different in how they need to feel that love, though. Some children love being physical—wrestling, cuddling, or touching. Others need verbal encouragement. Still others want you to watch them as they accomplish something.

You know your kid best. When does she light up when you watch her draw? Does he keep asking for tickles? It doesn’t matter if it’s as mind-numbing as another round through Curious George. Choose to share a period of time when you play in their world, instead of asking them to live in yours.

Plan ahead to play

I know there are demands at work and home. But giving unfocused attention to your children is just as important. It’s also limited: I will be doing laundry for my entire life (ugh) but I only have a handful of years with these small kids who want to make messes of paint and playdough.

It sounds silly, but I schedule playtime with my kids. Doing so allows me to commit to focusing on them for a portion of my day. If I don’t designate protected time, my unending to-do list starts breathing down my neck. Other tasks seem so much more productive, seem so much more worthwhile than throwing a tennis ball on the roof. But when I pre-decide to play, I can shut up my to-do list for a little while. I’ll get back to it eventually.

 

Give 100% focus, and then go do your thing

The act of giving a child our attention is a generous gift. We can buy a toy or send them to a great school, but we can’t outsource sharing our attention with our children. But we have actual tasks that need to get done—dinner doesn’t appear magically at my house, either.

Once I given my child that pre-decided, focused time, I give myself permission to do what needs to be done. Too often, I have found myself giving 50% focus to my kid and 50% on what I’m trying to accomplish. That split focus leaves me irritated and unproductive. (I also tend to burn things.) My two-year-old tends to act up when I’m distracted, forcing me to give him my full, but negative, attention. When I have chosen to give him 100% focus, he feels loved. Then, thankfully, he is more likely to play on his own while I cook dinner or send an email.

Parents know, deep down, that they are often distracted while spending time with their kids. Sometimes it feels like we don’t have any other choice. Ultimately, though, we can choose to carve out specific windows of time during which we participate with our kids in their world.

This doesn’t happen accidentally. Deciding ahead of time becomes a commitment on my planner. Instead of my kids getting the scraps of attention that I have on the edges, they get all of me for a deliberate part of the day. The result? They feel loved and I feel like I am becoming the kind of parent I want to be.

About the Author
Laura Thrasher is the co-founder of HeartPlanner.com, a tool for parents to make small wins in the most important areas of life. She is passionate about helping others make the most of their time. Laura is a writer, marketer, and mom of two. Feel free to connect at laura@heartplanner.com.

 

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Charlize Theron Parenting is All Of Us

My favorite kind of parent are those who don’t pretend life is glitter and butterflies all the time. Let’s be honest: if your kid has never been in timeout or had that mean-fast-parent-walk head towards them, you should get some sort of medal.

I’m pretty real when it comes to my kids, their attitudes, my attitude and why sometimes the kids aren’t my favorite little people in the world. I know I may have taken it too far when family members start reminding me, “They’re good kids.” This is true. But today they need to be “good kids” in their room. With the door closed.

It’s this kind of real talk that made me fall in love with Charlize Theron just a little bit more.  Let’s all take a moment and relish in her parenting honesty:

Yeeessss!!! Kids will be kids. Sometimes their insanity and endless giggling makes me laugh and smile, but after the 15th time out of bed when “I just want to watch my grown-up show!!” things get real.

Parenting is hard. Being a kid is hard, too. When your kid acts up, he’s not the devil or the worst kid in the world. He’s normal! When you get mad because said kid acts up, you’re normal!  If we can’t laugh at our reality, then what on earth are we doing? I’ll tell you what we’re doing–slowly dying inside because of the guilt, stress and anxiety we’re causing ourselves.

So the next time you want to post on social media about what a blessing and joy your kids are–go for it. Just don’t forget to add in those posts where you’re over it. Trust me when I tell you the parental troops will rally because you. are. not. alone.

And just in case you don’t believe me, here are some my favorite Instagram parents you should be following.
 

@SimonCHolland

 

A post shared by Simon Holland (@simoncholland) on

 

@mommycusses

 

@kidsaretheworst

 

@howtobeadad

 

Kids, man. Dang.

A post shared by HowToBeADad.com (@howtobeadad) on

 

@fatherofdaughters

 

Monday’s are always difficult, and not just because it’s the start of the working week. @mother_of_daughters heads offbat 4.45am to have a break from us to work, leaving me in charge of coordinating both the am & pm routines which can be more challenging than starting a fire with a tray of ice cubes. As the sun rose, everything was fine, but I can only assume that Ottie urinated in delilah’s imaginary tea in the home corner at nursery, as upon arriving at home this evening, world war 3. Delilah silently decided to use Ottie as a budget floor mop & dragged her by the hair through her own dinner like a plough, forcing me to reluctantly dust off my invisible referees outfit once again & quite literally keep them at arm’s length from eachother until bedtime. Who else out there just loves Mondays? #thatgirlcanholdagrudge #dadreferee #catfight #twins #comehomeclemmie #toddlerhairtransplantrequired #fatherofdaughters #dadlofe #fod #instadad

A post shared by Simon, also known as FOD (@father_of_daughters) on


 So when you feel like you are sucking it up at this parenting gig, I suggest you find yourself a nice, dark closet. Bring your favorite treat and/or drink and hide away for 10 minutes. Maybe 20. Or at least until it gets eerily quiet and you have no choice but to find out what depths of hell have quietly awoken. Best of luck. Just know I fully support you and whatever choices you make today. I especially support you if it means you ignoring the laundry to giggle with someone who needed extra love (even if that someone is you).

 

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Science Says: Less Is More In Toyland

Picture this:

Your three small children are quietly playing side by side with a transformer, plastic pony, and a set of plush blocks, respectively. They’re focused and quiet, happy to enjoy their activities, occasionally sharing in an imaginative transformer+pony+block merger.

Now open your eyes and scan the kids’ actual toy room. The horror! Toy boxes overflowing with dozens of dolls, trucks, and buzzing whoozawhatsits long since forgotten, broken, or traded in for the latest favorites. A fresh fight breaks out as you attempt to clean up battle wounds from the last one. Another child cries out in boredom because there is NOTHING TO PLAY WITH IN HERE!

Okay, okay…maybe it’s not that bad at your house. But that first image we conjured? Looks like it’s a real possibility according to research done at the University of Toledo.

In the study conducted, researchers observed 36 children in a room where some were given 16 toys and others were given only four. They observed that the toddlers with fewer toys played longer and with more creative exploration with a single toy than the kids who were provided with 16 toys. The study further noted that extended focus on one toy allows for a variety of ways to play with that toy, which reflects cognition, perception, coordination, and ideation—all important developmental qualities.

The discussion of the study also stated that “an environment that presents fewer distractions may provide toddlers the opportunity to exercise their intrinsic attention capabilities.” And in a world where an increasing number of children are being labeled with attention deficit disorders, it may be worth noting that attention is a muscle-like quality with the ability to be strengthened based on a more, shall we say, boring play room.

It’s never too late to pare down and let the kiddos focus on more fun! Plus, you can always gather up some of those toys for donation and kill two birds with one perfect stone.

 

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Moms, Get the Big Stuff Right

Every mom worries about failing her kids. We wonder what we will do if our kids turn against us, grow up to hate us or end up disliking their lives. These are natural worries, but these fears can drive us crazy. 

They can also drive us to focus on minor details, hoping that if we can control the small things, the big stuff will fall into place. But, posting the perfect “first day of school” picture on Instagram or making sure that our son gets the right football coach won’t improve our parenting. It will just give us a false sense of control.

So, I have a suggestion. Why don’t we forget the multitude of small parenting details and start focusing on getting the big things right. I believe that when we do this, life goes a whole lot better for moms and their kids. Here’s where we can start.

Be Kind. I’ve pulled the car over a few times in my life with a backseat full of fighting kids. I know firsthand how hard being nice can be. So I think that it’s important to train ourselves to be nice.

moms get big stuff right parenting

Personally, I need some alone time in order to keep myself calm and less irritable. Some moms need to work a little, exercise, pray more or go out with friends periodically. These aren’t selfish things. They are important because they help us be kind, and being patient with our kids is crucial to good parenting.

Speak Well. We often spend more time with our kids than anyone else, so they hear everything we say. They hear us talk to friends, our husbands, parents, and neighbors. And of course, they take to heart what we say to them.

Words are powerful. They can heal relationships or crush them, shape the identity of your children or deeply injure it. Pay attention to your words and the tone that you use.

Love Unconditionally. As much as we’d like to believe that we are good at loving our children unconditionally, the truth is, we’re not always very good at it. We always want more from our kids. We want to show them that we love them, but we also want them to succeed and love us back. 

Loving them when they’re flunking fifth grade, not liked by any of their friends or doing things to embarrass us is tough. But loving them when no one else will is what being a good mom is all about. That’s where we shine. 

Be Tough. The kids who I see in my practice who get in trouble aren’t the ones with strong mothers. They are the ones whose mothers have no spine.

parenting moms get big stuff right be tough

Forgoing discipline, failing to stick to rules and blurring boundaries makes kids crazy. Kids need to look at their moms and see stoicism. They won’t listen to a mother who is a pushover, who can’t make up her mind or who has no convictions. But they will listen to a mother who knows who she is and makes no apologies. 

Assert who you are, and your kids will stay close by your side.

Moms, you’re doing a great job! Hang in there, focus on love, kindness and discipline and most of all, don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

About The Author

Pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books, Dr. Meg Meeker is the country’s leading authority on parenting, teens and children’s health. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, certified by The American Board of Pediatrics and serves on the Advisory Board of The Medical Institute. She lives and works in northern Michigan where she shares a medical practice with her husband, Walter. They have four grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. To read more from Dr. Meeker, visit her website here.

 

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Dear Anxiety, You Are Paralyzing.

Dear Anxiety,

 

I see you.

 

In the last two years I have gotten to know on a pretty close level. You have come in and out of my life. We are not friends. To be honest, I kind of loathe you, actually. More recently, you have become a daily battle for me. You can take any moment, any situation, and use it to bring some of the greatest panic and fear I have ever experienced. It’s been a tough season for me as a Mother. I am trying hard to be strong, to be brave; to find my value in who I am as Mom. There are times I feel lost in raising tiny humans, but I know I am doing a good job. I know that Motherhood is not having the right answers. It is sometimes simply winging it and not having a clue what you are doing.

However, if I am being entirely honest, the days you sneak up on me I have a pretty hard time seeing just how good of a job I am actually doing, especially when I feel like I should have the right answers. I should know how to handle tantrums. I should have a well behaved children. You are a master at speaking lies to me. You are crippling. You instill fear. You cause me to worry about things that may never even happen. There have been days when I can’t even take my kids to the park because I am afraid they will be kidnapped.

You are paralyzing.

dear anxiety hate you

I first encountered you after the triplets were born. You used sleep deprivation to suffocate me. I had no amount of energy and could never catch up on my sleep. The panic attacks kicked in and swallowed me whole. At the time, it was hard for me to even recognize and admit how difficult things were for me as a new Mom. I wasn’t enjoying the season. I waited for so long to become a Mother and you hijacked my heart with guilt and told me lies about who I was as a Mom. You stole moments I could have shared with my babies. I felt so lonely, so misunderstood.

I hated you then like I hate you know.

Eventually, I saw what was happening to me. My husband, friends and family-they saw it too. And I got the help I needed to learn how to manage you.

And yet, here we are, two years later, and I see you trying to poor the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion over me once again. You are using the terrible twos to make me question myself as a Mom and if I can even handle this tiring and often thankless job. You use tantrums to suck every piece of patience right out of me. You constantly steal the grace I should have for myself as a Mother and exchange it with panic and guilt. You use Mom-shamers to steal my confidence. You know all the tricks to make me believe untruths about who I am as a Mom.

However, the difference between two years ago and now is, now, I know how to face you a little better than I did before. I know the importance of being vulnerable even when it is hard, even when I don’t want to. I know that I have to talk about the fact that right now, I am having a hard time enjoying this season of Motherhood; and that it is okay. I have to cling to the people I trust most in my life; the ones who don’t judge me when my kids are throwing yogurt across the room during breakfast and enjoying a lollipop before 9am. The ones who still love me even when I lose my temper. The ones who know I am just as mortified when my kid bites theirs. The ones I can share my secrets with and know they are safe there.

dear anxiety

I know when my husband says, “Go to target. Buy a new dress. I will get the kids to bed tonight,” I need to let him because he means it. I see you and so does he. I have been incredibly impressed by the actions he took to ensure we could walk through this season together and find solutions to help me through some pretty tough days. He made the big moves. He was willing to be there for me however I needed, to help me through this strangling season.

I know that I have to be willing to face you even when I am ashamed of the events of the day and how I responded to the whining, biting, fighting, crying, and hitting (And yes, sometimes all of that happens within minutes of each other). Those are the days when my Mom anger kicks in, guilt takes over, and I am entirely ashamed of who I have become and how I have responded. Any kind of grace I could have had for myself is gone. Those are the hardest days. I have learned how important grace is. I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t have all the right answers. I fail every day. And that is okay. That is grace. I have to pray. I have to pray hard and know that God chose me to a be a Mom to my babies because He knew I could handle it.

dear anxiety parenting

I know when it is time to make a Doctor’s appointment and talk about medication to help. To be honest, this step was probably the hardest for me. It is hard to walk into the Doctor’s office and admit that you don’t have it all together. However, I know that sometimes going on medication is just the best way to manage you. There is no shame in that. And this time around, I knew I needed to take those steps to get the help that I needed in order to get through my days a little better.

I am in the trenches of Motherhood trying to hold onto every bit of patience I could possibly have for my kids. My days spent with three pretty active testing your limits two year olds are filled with all kinds of challenges. The days are getting better and you and I aren’t as close as we used to be, but it is still hard. However, the beautiful thing is, is that God always makes beauty out of our ashes. It is seasons like this that change you. They allow to grow and become a stronger, wiser version of yourself. They give you hope and remind you just how great of a Mother you actually are. And that is what I will choose to take away from this incredibly exhausting, yet entirely empowering season of Motherhood.

Sincerely,

The I still don’t always have it together Mom

 

Desiree Fortin is a Mom to almost 2 year old triplets. Her journey to become a Mom was not easy, but it is one of hope and beauty. Desiree is a blogger and photographer.  You can read Desiree’s blog, visit her on Instagram, or visit her Facebook page to learn more.

 

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Don’t Give Up On Me Because I’m ADHD: A Letter From My Son

My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 8 years old.  I knew something was different from the moment he was born.  As my first born, my pregnancy was met with story after story about how I should cherish the time in the hospital because the nurses can care for infant in the nursery allowing me some recovery time.  Or nap when the baby naps and make sure you are feeding them every 2 hours; sometimes you may even have to wake them up to eat! And so many more…

Can I just tell you how wrong every single person was about my newborn experience?  From the moment my son was born he would eat, nap for 45 minutes, wake up for 45 minutes, eat and repeat.  This did not change until he was 6 months old.  Sometimes at night I would get a 2-3 hour span, but if I had any light on (even in the next room), a car drove by, my husband breathed heavily or the TV glowing he would stay awake and do spin moves (at 1 week old) to see the TV or find the noise.  He also started walking around 10 months old and was climbing out of his crib at 11 months old.  He kept me just as busy (if not more) as he was.  I could tell by the look on other parent’s faces that my son was not the typical newborn or toddler.

Fast-forward eight years and it makes a lot more sense. My kiddo is just my busy-bee and once I understood him more, it was much easier to be patient with him.  It was also at this time that we made personal and family decision to place him on medication.  His ADHD was not only affecting his schoolwork, but it was affecting him socially.  He didn’t understand why kids had a hard time with him at recess or in class–and try figuring out a way to explain it! However, the first day he refused to return to school after an incident with “friends”, I knew we needed additional help.  Medicine was a blessing.  Simple as that.  A blessing for him, his education, his teachers, his friends, and most importantly…for him. I could actually follow a conversation with him for the first time in years. When I asked how he felt he quickly replied “My head doesn’t feel all buzzy any more!”.

(Source)

As each school year approached, he knew that we would need to have conversations with his teachers about his behavior. You can only “island” a kid’s desk so many times before he realizes something is up.  Halfway through 6th grade we needed additional resources from the school and teachers to ensure he had a successful school year. We talked with our son a lot about what he wanted and felt he needed. It was during this time I asked him to write a letter explaining his ADHD and how he felt. I wanted to see his perspective.  Here is what he presented to me:

“I’m 11 years old and I have ADHD.  No, I don’t mean just A.D.D. ADHD is different because it isn’t just my brain that works faster–my body in general works and moves faster than most other kids.  I’ll admit that to some this can be seen as a blessing or a curse.  I say it is a blessing because it allows me to figure out problems, improve on other ideas and see things in other ways faster and more effectively than some. I have the energy to keep trying and trying and trying.  I would like you to know that some times (in my case) I don’t realize what I am doing and I need someone to snap me back in to reality. Things like tapping my pen on my desk, wandering around the room, or tearing up paper.  Also, a lot of the times, when I seem spaced out, like I don’t have a care in the world, it is actually those times when I don’t feel engaged in the activity or more simply — I AM BORED. I need to move and be involved as much as possible to keep my focus locked on. Please try and involve kids like me in the subject or game that is currently happening. Even if it takes a bit more work.  Whatever it is, just get our attention.

Next I would like you to know that if people think that ADHD means that ADHD kids are always bouncing off the walls and always not listening to anyone or anything, please understand that even when that happens, we are trying our very best. It can be really hard at times. Please try to get our attention and involve us in whatever it is that you’re doing.  Just put in some effort and it will all pay off. That’s what I would like you to know about ADHD and kids like me.”

 

adhd letter from son

What his letter taught me is this: I am trying and please don’t give up on me.

Simple as that.

I’m trying, guys. Please include me. I’m doing the best I can.

My heart hopes that I remember this on the tough days. My heart hopes that his teachers and friends can see and know this. If my ADHD son feels this way, I can almost guarantee someone else’s ADHD child does too. Let us all be a bit more patient and take the time to ask our child how they feel and what they need.  They’ll tell you every time.

 

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Is corporal punishment an acceptable form of discipline and when does it become child abuse? — to the specific — Is it befitting of a Christian to physically discipline a child?

The answers vary depending on who is asked,  Although “Prov 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

Some believe “Taking privileges or punishment, but if a child is willfully disobedient, defiant or disrespectful, I still think corporal punishment is effective.” However that is where some experts and other faith leaders disagree.

“It is important, he said, to live by example, whether that be encouraging prayer or preventing violence — a lesson that can be drawn from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

“What matters for us is asking, was Jesus the sort of person who would push or hit people to get his point across?” The truth is plain before our eyes. We know the difference between right and wrong.

 

When the book of Proverbs can be cited by both supporters and detractors of corporal punishment, it’s not surprising that right and wrong gets muddied.

Discipline is about building character and any action should be aimed in that direction. “When you violate a kid’s physical boundaries like that, you are setting them up to be pushed around as adults or to push others around. It is not the kind of character we want to build, however we discipline youth is a topic worthy of discussion, it is also one of the hardest to address because it touches so many sensitive areas including parenting style, religion and race.

“You can’t tell a parent they are right or wrong as to how they discipline their child,” often many parents become frustrated with their child’s disrespectful behavior. “We can give them tools and offer assistance to help them do things a little better,”

It is necessary to teach children that their actions have consequences, but to do so with respect. “We have to add respect to our relationships even if it is a younger child,”

“Parenting involves taking care of someone who may not understand that care. The parent is doing what they are doing out of love.”

 

Tips for disciplining children:

 

–Don’t punish. Reward.

–Don’t criticize. Praise.

–Put the relationship first. Being right is not what matters.

–Talk less. Listen more.

–Understand the world from their perspective.

 

Keba Richmond-Green, M.A., is an Author, Therapist, Accountability Coach, Advocate, Speaker & Mentor. For over 10 years she has been dedicated to the empowerment and education of youth through her no-nonsense approach by promoting accountability, responsibility, and integrity.

Keba’s motto “plant a seed and watch it grow” has allowed her to connect and influence many young people’s lives. Her vision, strategic execution, and analytic skills help her to work with youth to help them find their purpose and individuality. The only way to affect change is the willingness to change yourself. Learn more about Keba Richmond-Green by visiting her website here.

 

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Rules For My Son

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.

2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.

3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.

4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.

5. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.

6. Request the late check-out.

7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.

9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.

10. Don’t fill up on bread.

rules for my son father wagon

11. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.

12. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.

13. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.

14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.

15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.

16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.

17. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.

18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.

19. Never turn down a breath mint.

20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get ’em.

21. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.

22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.

23. Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.

24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.

25. Eat lunch with the new kid.

26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.

27. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.

28. See it on the big screen.

29. Give credit. Take the blame.

30. Write down your dreams.

*This was a list consolidated from my favorite sayings at this (Source).

For more rules like these, check out the book Rules for My Unborn Son and Rules for My Newborn Daughter by Walker Lamond.

 

About the Author

Aaron Conrad is a husband, father and follower of Christ. His thoughts, inspirations and insights can be found on his personal blog at http://www.aaronconrad.com.  In a addition to his website, Aaron also contributes to blogs at I Am SecondWhat’s In The BibleJelly Telly and Compassion International. Aaron spends his days living the dream as the Director of Business Development and Marketing for Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports.

 

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Have Kids That Struggle With Anxiety? These 4 Strategies Will Help

It’s hard being an anxious kid. You already have to worry about making friends and doing well in school, and then you add anxiety? It doesn’t seem fair. Kids spend all day in school being judged on their intelligence, but when you are stressed, you can literally lose IQ points. You start overthinking and overanalyzing why Jack was mean to you at recess or in the hallway and you can’t pay attention to your teacher. Or your mind goes blank and you can’t think about anything.

Sometimes it’s obvious your child is anxious – she’s nervous because it’s the first day of school or she has a big test. Sometimes, anxiety looks like other things, like a headache, upset stomach, perfectionism, or even anger, disruptive behavior, ADHD, or a learning disorder. If your child’s anxiety is affecting their grades, hindering them from going to school, or otherwise seriously hurting them, do seek professional help.

There are also some things you can do to help your anxious child:

 

Validate Feelings

Kids need to know that what they are feeling is real and valid. Once you validate their feelings and convince them you understand, you can then help them figure out how to calm down. To validate your child’s feelings, you can say:

  • I’m so sorry you are feeling so stressed.
  • What can I do to help?
  • Tell me about how you are feeling.
  • What do you need from me?

Avoid saying “Calm down.” Even though the situation would be made better if your child would calm down and you have your child’s best interests at heart when you say, “Calm down”, the phrase naturally invalidates your child’s feelings and typically results in an even less calm child.

 

Talk about Anxiety

Talk to your child about the science behind the anxiety. Even very young children can understand the basics of stress and kids love learning about their own brains. Talk to your child about the tension that builds up and how it can affect them. Help them notice the signs that they are becoming anxious – heart pounding, getting sweaty, feeling flushed. Then give them the strategies they can use to calm down, namely: BREATHE!

For a good video on anxiety and the brain, check out: Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions? By Kids Want to Know, on YouTube.

parenting anxious kids anxiety

 

Practice Being Calm

We need to practice calming down so that when we get anxious, we can effectively calm down in that stressful moment. So make working on self-calming techniques a daily habit, so that when your child is anxious, she can self-soothe.

Here are a few ways to practice being calm:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation (use an app like Calm or Headspace) or Belly Breathing for younger kids. Use a stuffed animal and have them place it on their stomach. Watch it go up and down as you breathe.
  • Exercise. While meditation and yoga calm our racing bodies, exercise uses up that energy to calm us down.
  • Create a Relaxation Corner. When your child comes home after school, before starting homework, have a relaxation session. Read a book. Do a sudoku. Snuggle with a parent or a stuffed animal. Drink some hot chocolate or tea. Use the relaxation corner to reset after your long day.
  • Release Emotions: Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg suggests releasing emotions by “Blanking it out”: dance it out, cry it out, laugh it out, draw it out, rap it out, write it out, sing it out, drum it out – the possibilities go on. Use that abundance of energy to do something productive. Once you are able to release your emotions, you can move on because you start to deal with your feelings.

 

Provide Predictability and Reduce Uncertainty

Anxious children are often scared of uncertainty or change. They need predictability to feel safe and calm.

For instance, if your child gets anxious about school work, she may be worried about not being smart enough to complete the homework, so she goes blank and can’t answer any of the questions, even though you know she knows the answer. Help her avoid this stress by previewing the homework together first, then taking a break, giving her mind time to think about how to answer the questions without any pressure, and then going back to the homework. This technique takes away the scary, uncertainty of what the homework will entail and reduces the pressure.

The number one way that kids learn is by watching their parents and mimicking their behavior. So start practicing those daily self-calming rituals yourself. Be the calm person you want your child to be to help show them how they can overcome obstacles and stress more easily when they are calm and collected.

 

About Katherine Firestone 

Katherine had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD till her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute to give parents ideas on how to help because success at school is enhanced at home.  

 

About Fireborn Institute 

Fireborn Institute is a non-profit that provides parents with practical and easy-to-remember strategies to help their children in school. Through our lectures, podcasts & handouts, we coach parents on topics such as helping with homework or conquering a messy backpack. Our ultimate goal is to help parents help their kids thrive at school.

 

Resources:

Borba, M. (2016). UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Ehmke, R. (n.d.) Anxiety in the Classroom. Child Mind Institute.

Ginsburg, K. (2015). Building resilience: Preparing children and adolescents to THRIVE. The Learning and the Brain Conference: Boston.

Minahan, J. (2015). Between a Rock and a Calm Place. The Learning and the Brain Conference: Boston.