Thursday, November 17, 2016

"No" is Not a Four-Letter Word

A recent video by author and family psychologist John Rosemond has an eye-catching title:  "Is Your Child Getting Enough Vitamin N?"  In it, he talks about how indulging our children has become a norm, and many children today don't hear the word "no" enough.  Instead of focusing on the basics of what our children need--protection,  affection, and direction--we give in too often to their whims, demands, and wants.

John Rosemond's video on Vitamin N

Another author who writes about parenting, James Stenson, has included this in his list on raising children:  "Realize that 'no' is also a loving word, and your children must hear it from time to time in order to acquire self-control. Children who never experience loving parental denial cannot form the concept of self-denial--and this can later lead to disaster."  His entire list of things parents can do to help build character can be seen here.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Someone to Look Up To: Mother Teresa

Heroes

Our young people need heroes +  Mother Teresa's canonization is coming up = This inexpensive download would be great for your grandkids!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Grandparents' Corner

WELCOME GRANDPARENTS!

We don't have to tell you what a ginormous influence you have over the life of your grandchildren.  Whether you are:
  • raising them yourself or parents are in the picture
  • live in the same town or a world away
  • watch them on a regular basis or just get to Skype on major holidays
…….. you know that your words and example have a strong influence!

Last year Pope Francis spoke about the importance of grandparents, and in this short video we learn how he saved the message his grandmother wrote to him on the day of his ordination:  video
In Grandparents' Corner we'll explore ways you can contribute in a positive way to your grandchildren's lives.  Let's start with one idea from Barbara, who recently took care of her 4-year-old granddaughter and found a way to simultaneously teach her how to make her bed and make a simple morning offering.

Sing Your Bed Made (or how to make your bed while still in it!)

1.  "I rise in the arms of my Father..." 
     Hold the top sheet with your arms outstretched and pull the top sheet tight

2.  "…to walk in the steps of His Son…"
     Pull your feet apart, stretching the sheet straight at the bottom of the bed

3.  "…and rest in the heart of the Spirit till all of my days are done."
     Fold the top of the sheet over the top of the bedspread

4.  Turn the corner back, slip out of bed on your knees and add any other prayers you'd like.

More from Pope Francis

Our current pope has a lot to say about your role.  Click here to check it out!

And from Benedict XVI

Click here to read his address at the assembly called “Grandparents: Their Witness and Presence in the Family.”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Practical Strategies for Positive Parenting

Our speaker, at left, is a mother of four children, ages 4-14.  At our fifth parenting discussion she talks about common sense parenting skills she learned while participating in the RIP program.  It's free, and in it she learned and practiced the skills necessary to handle problem behavior. She calls the program "a lifesaver."

Yesterday, as I walked past the Health and Beauty aisle at Target, I overheard a fight among siblings.  I kept walking past, though I couldn't help but rubberneck:  there on the floor were two well-dressed young children fighting over a toy.  One punched the other hard in the stomach, while the stylish mom turned to say, "Seriously?  We're doing THIS now?"  The mother wasn't young and she wasn't old, and the children--who I had observed earlier throughout the store--appeared normal in all respects.  It was the mother's reaction that wasn't normal.

What happened to behaving yourself in public?  What happened to treating other human beings with respect?  What happened to correcting behavior that is dangerous, disruptive or destructive?  Yikes.  Is this the best we can do?  I wonder if the past couple of generations of families have suffered parenting amnesia, forgetting how to navigate the extremes of too lax and too strict.  I wonder if we are too proud to take a parenting class or two?

Unfortunately, common sense parenting skills are rare to find these days, and it shows.  That's why we could all benefit from programs like RIP, a Regional Intervention Program that teaches parents basic parenting skills.  That was the topic of our fifth parenting discussion, led by my friend Meredith who is a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd instructor with an Atrium of her own, former mommy from our Montessori Mornings, and who went through the RIP program herself.

Yes, I said "all" parents could benefit.  Even with 20 years of parenting six kids and extensive experience both teaching and learning HOW to teach, I learned quite a lot from this lecture.  Of course it's best if both Mom and Dad can come, but any help is better than none!
Luckily, she shared a handout.  Now you, too, can get back to basics!

RIP's Basic Strategies 

  • State Expectations in Advance:  Give one clear instruction.
  • Catch Your Child Being Good:  Give specific, positive attention to the behavior that you want to occur again.
  • Present Limited Reasonable Choices:  Learning to take personal responsibility takes support and practice.
  • Use "When…..Then":  Give a simple instruction that tells your child what he must do in order to earn a desired consequence.
  • Plan Ahead:  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
  • Know What is Reasonable:  Keep your expectations realistic.  (Part of this is understanding child development, part is knowing your child.  If you suspect that your child may have special needs, seek the help of a qualified professional.)
  • Stay Calm:  The more out-of-control your child becomes, the more self control you need to use.  (If you have problems with anger management or depression, seek professional help.)
  • Use Neutral Time:  The best time to talk is when everyone is calm enough to listen.

Extra Stress

Not all couples are on the same page when it comes to parenting.  Understandably, problem behaviors can drive a wedge between you two and create terrible stress.  If you are struggling while your spouse/partner is oblivious, there are good books and websites that can get you started with parenting help, and you may want to seek help as a couple, as well.
  • Mayo Clinic  Has information on parenting a child with ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, etc.
I wish that all parents and teachers who struggle with problem behavior (um, I guess that's all of us!) would participate!



Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tea Time is Time to Practice Food Prep, Manners and Conversation

We celebrated the return of Downton Abbey today with teatime!

Teatime Comprised of Several "Works"

Think of it:  Flower Arranging, Silver Polishing, Food Preparation, Folding Napkins, Grace and Courtesy, and Washing Dishes.  These are all works that can be part of an afternoon tea.  Extensions can include making your own butter, baking biscuits, growing the chives and parsley for the cucumber sandwiches, dipping candles, and making jellies and jams.

Shortcuts:

We really liked these frozen biscuits with clotted cream:


Cucumber Sandwiches:

We cut the bread the night before using this sandwich maker we already had.



Even if you aren't a D.A. fan, this activity could be a great way of introducing another culture (if you are studying England, for instance).  Who knows, maybe it could become a "new tradition" at your house or school, or you could try this for Mother's Day?  Enjoy!

P.S.  We also have a ducky and an elephant creamer left over from our Practical Life days in the classroom.  If you'd like to find those, click here and here.