To Discipline or Not To Discipline, That is The Question?

We as parents have a multitude of things we deal with on a daily basis. Naturally, we want all our encounters with our children to be enjoyable and memory worthy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Have you ever been out eating or at the grocery store and you see a child throwing a tantrum. I have encountered parents disciplining their children on the spot. I have also seen children discipline their parents on the spot. And we as viewers are judging either outcome. According to Parents Magazine here are some beneficial ways of disciplining your unruly children in public.

Who hasn’t cringed while listening to a mother yell at her child in a fast-food line? Worse yet, who hasn’t been that mother, trying to discipline a misbehaving child when everybody around her is all ears — and all too eager to pass judgment?

Children will disobey. Be disrespectful. Whine. Hit. Lie. And not always in the privacy of their own home.

Disciplining your child in public presents certain challenges. For starters, who wants anyone — from the checkout clerk at Wal-Mart to the crowd at Chuck E. Cheese’s — to think her child is bossy, bratty, or even downright bad? Yet no parent wants to embarrass her child in front of others.

We asked child-behavior experts for their tips on dealing with these seven everyday, could-happen-to-you situations.

1. It’s your 6-year-old son’s birthday. As your mother-in-law expectantly watches him opening his gift, he ungratefully tosses aside the pajamas she has bought for him and asks what else there is. Your mother-in-law looks crestfallen.

Is your mother-in-law truly dejected or just a little disappointed? Probably the latter. You shouldn’t read too much into this situation: Your 6-year-old is just being honest, if tactless, about his feelings. If your mother-in-law is waiting for a great big hug and an enthusiastic thank-you, she may have unrealistic expectations. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t call your child on his behavior. “Start teaching your child to think of others’ feelings, even if it goes against his impulses,” says S. Mark Kopta, Ph.D., chairman of the psychology department at the University of Evansville, in Evansville, Indiana, and coauthor of Right vs. Wrong: How to Raise a Child With a Conscience (Indiana University Press, 2000). You can give him a brief reprimand at the time, but later, after everyone has gone, try role reversal. Sit your child in his grandmother’s chair, and pretend to open the gift with the same reaction he had. Ask your son how such a response would make him feel.

2. You’re shopping at the mall with your 3-year-old daughter. She begs you to visit the toy store, then insists that you buy her an expensive gift. When you say no, she throws the mother of all tantrums.

Taking a child into a toy store without first setting limits is like walking onto a minefield: Expect an explosion. “Prevention is key,” says George Scarlett, Ph.D., a child-development expert at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts, and author of Trouble in the Classroom: Managing Behavior Problems in Young Children (Jossey-Bass).

Dr. Scarlett suggests talking to your child about the shopping trip before you get to the mall so she’ll know what to expect once you arrive. You can say something like “We’re going to the mall, and there will be a toy store there. We can go in today, but we can’t buy anything.”

What if you didn’t have such foresight and your child is having a major mall meltdown? “Get the stage lights off the child, and bring the curtain down,” advises Kyle Pruett, M.D., a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. Take her out of the store, even if she’s kicking and screaming, and have as little interaction with her as possible until she calms down. “Keep your words and chastisement to a minimum — she won’t hear you anyway,” Dr. Pruett says. After the tantrum has ended, you can say something like “This was hard on both of us. Now let’s enjoy ourselves.”

3. You take your kindergartener to a birthday party, and he begins bossing the other kids around.

First, ask yourself whether this is typical behavior. If it’s uncharacteristic, figure out whether your child is hungry, tired, or sick — conditions that can make him act out. If you’ve seen this type of behavior before, resist the urge to step in: In this situation, your child’s best teacher may be the other party-goers. If you don’t intervene right away, he’ll learn from the other children that he can’t control them. They won’t pay any attention to him, and they’ll find other kids who share.

4. Your 4-year-old wants to go to McDonald’s for lunch. You say no. In front of the entire library, she screams and hits you.

There are two strategies for defusing the tension. The first is a middle-of-the-road approach: With a firm, you-can’t-budge-me voice, tell your child that you’re not changing your mind, then take her out of the library.

A slight variation of this approach would be giving her an immediate time-out and some sort of repercussion later. “I would quietly take her out of the library and give her a time-out in the car, telling her that we’ll talk about the situation when we’re home,” Dr. Kopta says. “At home, I’d say, ‘Because you yelled and you hit Mommy, you won’t be able to watch television or play with your kitchen set.’ ” Then take away something that she really enjoys.

Option No. 2 is to use deadpan humor. “You could say something like ‘I see you’re not happy, but we’re still not going to McDonald’s,’ ” Dr. Pruett says. “It helps keep you in control.”

Nonviolent tantrums are okay to ignore, says Dr. Kopta. “They don’t hurt anything except some eardrums. But I consider hitting more serious. Ignore it once and you might get hit twice the next time.”

5. You take your 5-year-old to the park. When another little girl won’t get off the swing to give your daughter a turn, your child calls her stupid.

Keep your comments short and simple. “Point out with a tone of voice that’s not overly angry that those words hurt people’s feelings,” Dr. Scarlett recommends. “You could say something like ‘Those words are mean. They are junk words, and junk words are not allowed.’ ” Resist the urge to lecture. Your child already knows the words are hurtful — that’s why she used them.

6. Your 2-year-old is possessive of his Duplo blocks. Whenever other toddlers try to play with them during mother-child playgroups at your home, he pushes the children away.

Don’t get too worked up — your child is just displaying normal toddler behavior, as any mother of a child that age will undoubtedly recognize. Toddlers are just learning to share. To minimize conflict, patiently tell your child that he has to take turns with the other kids, or try to divert his attention from the blocks, Dr. Scarlett suggests. To prevent a confrontation, you might want to have two sets of blocks around the next time. Though it’s fine to set the sharing groundwork now, don’t expect miracles. “It takes four or five years for children to really grasp the concept that sharing is good,” Dr. Scarlett says.

7. You’re at a restaurant having dinner with some of your extended family. Your preschool daughter is playing with and tossing her food. Your relatives look disgusted.

Your preschooler is doing what kids that age do when they’re bored or need attention. The fix: First, tell her firmly that it’s time to eat, not play with her food, Dr. Pruett says. At the same time, engage her in the conversation or give her some activity to do, such as counting the people in the restaurant who are wearing red shirts. You can also bring crayons or a small toy to the restaurant to help keep her busy. The more included your child feels in what’s going on at the table, the less likely it is that she’ll make a missile out of her meat loaf. If that doesn’t work, give her a warning, Dr. Kopta suggests. If the food fiasco still continues, remove her from the room and give her a time-out. As for your family’s reaction? Try not to take it to heart.

Happy Parenting!!!

Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Abuse

keep child safe pic

Q: When should I start talking to my kids about safety?
A: As soon as they can start to understand!
* At 2 or 3 years old.
* Use age-appropriate language.
* Explain that NO ONE should touch them under the clothes.
* If someone touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, TELL MOMMY!
* Put this into practice by respecting the child’s body, feelings, privacy, etc.
* Don’t make kids give hugs or sit on laps if they don’t want to: this teaches them they don’t have a right to their own body.
* These rules apply to everyone: Uncles, aunts, brothers, EVERYONE.
* Review this with your kids regularly, especially when there are houseguests, etc.

Q: What do I say to my big kids?
A: Teach kids about sex openly, often, and young.
* At age 7 or 8 teach kids about their bodies. Both genders should learn about both genders.
* Use the real words: vagina, penis, etc.
* Keep talking openly about sexual issues throughout adolescence.
* If sex and body parts are a big secret, they will be less prepared to know how to deal with a scary incident that involves sex and body parts.
* If sex and body parts are a big secret, they will be less comfortable telling you things or asking you questions.
* Reaffirm that they are to tell you if anything happens, and you will support them.

A family environment that has good boundaries, openness, and trust will reduce the risk of covert problems of all kinds. A family environment that’s full of secrecy and poor boundaries will allow every kind of problem to flourish. Boundaries are physical AND emotional!
* Respect your child’s body.
* Respect your child’s feelings.

Q: What do I do if a child discloses abuse to me?
A: Don’t freak out!
* Believe them.
* Support them.
* Call CPS.
* Do whatever you need to prevent further abuse.

Q: What do I do if I see overly sexualized behavior in a child?
A: Sexualized behavior that is age inappropriate or socially inappropriate is a possible symptom of sexual abuse.
* Consider calling CPS.
* Keep your own kids safe: closely supervise when they’re together, or don’t get together.

Sexual Abuse Myths:
* Most children get molested by strangers: No, the vast majority of perpetrators are known and trusted by the family. Friends, relatives, neighbors.
* Only men molest children: About 90% are men, but that means 10% are women!
* Only girls get molested: The majority of reported cased are girls, but about 25% are boys. Boys are also less likely to disclose, so they are underrepresented in the statistics.
* Children only get molested by people much older than themselves: No, a large portion of sexually abused children go on to abuse other children. Both boys and girls.

Financial Abuse in a Relationship!!!

When you here of someone being abused, generally one thinks of physical and/or emotional abuse. The other day I was listening to the radio and I heard them speaking of financial abuse of a spouse. Naturally, I begin thinking to myself this can never happen, right? Well, perhaps back in the 1920’s… before women were allowed to work. After hearing them go into detail regarding financial abuse of a spouse, I must admit I’m guilty as well.  The following or the things discussed: 1. Refusing to give your spouse money for basic essentials because you feel that he/she is not doing their fair share. Usually the spouse is not working and therefore dependant on the other for financial assistance.  2. Having a secret bank account and/or hiding money from your spouse. According to the conversation it is okay to have separate accounts if your spouse is aware and in agreement with this fact. 3. Being untruthful to your spouse about your current salary. 4. Lastly, buying things and hiding them from your spouse or making your spouse believe that it was something you had purchased awhile back. So, this last one I admit I have done a time or two but I never really considered it abuse. This was an eye opener for me!

So what do you think?

Lent, A Season of Cleansing!!!

Black-family-praying

For many years now, my family and I have observed and practiced Lent. I know many see Lent as an observation for Catholics but this is not the case. Many different religious denominations practice some form of Lent. My family and I do not go to service for the placing of Blessed Ashes (on Ash Wednesday) but we apply the meaning of Lent into our daily lives. Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day,  ( the first Wednesday following Mardi Gras) or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days  prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. We as a family have additional pray time together, give up some food item that we absolutely love and something else that maybe time consuming as we reflect on our personal relationship with God. This year I have given up chocolate, meat on Fridays and Candy Crush. I think it is a small sacrifice to show our Savior my admiration and love for all He has done and continues to do for us.

Long-Distance Relationships

Long-distance relationshipsLong-distance relationships require effort, dedication and endurance – nothing for the faint-hearted. Now I’m not saying it´s impossible, if you’re actually both strong enough and have the same will of fighting for it, it can work. A long-distance relationship is in general a relationship that takes place when the partners are separated by a considerable distance. No one is geographically undesirable anymore but many are geographically challenged with the goal of maintaining love at a distance. People tend to think long-distance relationships are one of the hardest possible ways of loving someone. Not seeing your significant other for long periods of time takes a huge toll on your emotions and feelings. I truly believe that if you can make it through long distance, you can make it through anything. The hard part is actually making it through. A long distance relationship is not always rainbows and butterflies. By putting time and effort into your long distance relationship you can form and sustain a healthy long distance relationship that can bring you a lot of joy and happiness. Relationships are much like plants, they need constant nourishing. When you are together, this type of nourishment comes easily through the activities and time spent with each other. However, when you are away from each other this becomes more difficult to accomplish.

Some things that can help increase your success in a long-term relationship:

Keep the visits and calls coming.
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open, so make sure both of you are still psyched about making time for phone calls and weekends together.

Stay honest with your partner.

Staying honest with your partner will help keep small problems from becoming larger ones. Openness can add new levels of depth to your relationship without causing it to crumble. The quality of the relationship is more likely to increase if both people develop the ability to share feelings openly with each other.

Talk about the future.
Try to find a point in the future when you will live in the same city. Even if it’s a year or so off, establishing a point in time when you can see yourself in the same city will take a lot of pressure off the relationship and help the future not look so bleak.

Don’t leave angry.
If you get in a fight during the time you are together, try to work through the issues before you separate again. It’s best not to let any heated issues linger since it may be a while before you are together again.

Little things mean a lot.
Plan romantic weekends away, write love letters, send naughty e-mails, surprise your partner with a candlelit picnic at the beach, or arrive at her/his place with a dozen handpicked flowers. Although it may feel like you’re already going out of your way just to be in the relationship, make the extra effort to show your girlfriend/boyfriend that you do not take him/her for granted.

I believe that there are a few more other things that you could do to improve your long-distance relationship. During a conversation with your partner discuss together what you both can do to improve the long-distance relationship.

 

 

Family History as Means to Individual and Family Happiness

family generations

I am not a genealogist. I have never been interested in family history or the research involved with finding it. HOWEVER, I must confess that I am convinced that getting to know your family history is good for the soul.

In one of my grad school classes we were assigned to make our own genograms–just a fancy name for a family tree, done in a specific way. We each presented ours in front of the class, and it was clear that nearly every one found the project to be enlightening, even healing.

My husband has gotten bitten by the family history bug over the last year. He has found ancestors that go all the way back to emperors of Rome! He’s found documents and information about grandfathers he didn’t even know he had. This has given him a greater sense of having roots, knowing where he came from.

My sister has been doing family history for several years. She has found living cousins and second cousins we didn’t know existed and started new relationships with them. She connected my dad with relatives he hadn’t seen 50 or 60 years. She has found so much information on deceased relatives that feels like she knows them personally.

And so, despite my reluctance to be a family historian, I submit that knowing your ancestors is good for the soul. Sometimes it can heal mental wounds. You can find a legacy of strength and resilience, or you might find an explanation for why you are so “crazy.”

Ancestry.com is the site that my husband and sister have used the most. It has a two week free trial period at tryancestry.com. After that you have to pay to continue using it.

I searched Pinterest to find some creative ways to show off your family tree, once you find it. Pinterest and Google Images have tons more. Check out these cute ideas:

family tree 6family tree 5family tree 3family tree 4Family Tree Chalkboard