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Category Archives: Home and Family

How Can You Best Foster Self Esteem in Your Teenager

1). Give them clear rules to follow. All children, no matter what age, respond best to clear instruction. Your teenager may balk or fight over your rules, but this is par for the course. Clear rules communicate the value you have for your child, and when your children know they are valued, this is the first building block of self esteem.

2). Balance out criticism with appropriate acknowledgements. When your child does something well, say so. Acknowledge their skills, talents or abilities, and be sure to pay attention to the positives rather than only the negatives.

3). Let them make some of their own decisions. Teenagers learn good decision-making by actually making decisions. Allow them to make decisions with your guidance. Ask them to share their lines of thinking with you and their reasoning. Help them see where their reasoning or judgment might be better.

4). Keep in regular contact with them. Although teenagers are likely to be self-centered and self focused, be sure to talk to them anyway. Ask about their day, find out what they are feeling, and share information about your day and your feelings too. No matter how much your teenager wants to isolate or disconnect from the family, work to keep them engaged and involved.

5). Be proud of your teenager, and tell them so. When your child accomplishes a goal or is awarded an honor, take the extra step to let him or her know how proud you are. Words make a huge difference; don’t just assume that they already know.

6). Support your child during a conflict. When your child is in conflict with another, find a way to support his/her viewpoint while maintaining your personal integrity. Your child will not always be right; but he or she will not always be wrong. Being supportive of your child during conflict provides a strong foundation for meeting all kinds of challenges.

7). Examine your own self esteem and feelings of limitation. If you have struggled with your own self esteem, take care not to impose these same struggles on your child. Children are very susceptible to absorbing their parent’s opinions and belief systems, so take care not to impose your own negative beliefs on your child.

8). Be consistent. If you want to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child (and you probably do), be consistent with your rules and your approach. It doesn’t matter so much what the rules are. It matters more that the rules are always the rules. Don’t criticize your child for something one day and praise him for it the next. Children don’t gain self esteem in the face of constant change.

9). Remind your child of your support. It’s like the old saying, “give them roots to ground them, but wings to fly”. Let them know you are there to help them whenever they need it. Again, this feeling of support and constancy will help them become more confident in the world.

10). Finally, celebrate their uniqueness. Every parent has cherished dreams and goals for their child. This doesn’t mean that the child will want those same dreams and goals for him or herself. When there is a gap between desires and reality, you, as a parent, must bridge that space by letting go of what you desired and truly, deeply loving who your child is.


The Signs of Behavioral Disorder

Tantrums are not usually anything to worry about. They’re a way of expressing frustration and most children have them in their early years (from age one to four). They can be loud and violent, and it’s normal to find them upsetting or embarrassing.

Sometimes, if you can tell your child is about to have a tantrum, you may be able to distract her by getting her to look at something or giving a favourite toy.

Young children, especially those aged five and below, are often energetic, noisy and excitable. Usually this liveliness is quite normal.

Sometimes, active and noisy children can be quite a handful, talking all the time, not doing as they’re told and seeming very restless. This kind of overactive behaviour is more usual among boys. Although this can be hard to deal with, it’s only when a child’s behaviour is extreme that it suggests a behavioural disorder.

All children are naughty – scribbling on walls, fighting with siblings, cheekiness and ignoring requests are all part and parcel of growing up. Sometimes this behaviour is isolated to one-off incidents, or it may be a phase your child is going through.

Naughty behaviour may be caused by your child testing your reaction to find out what’s allowed or triggered by a change in her environment (eg worries about school). It may be down to jealousy of a sibling or it may be a way to attract your attention.


Tips to Communicating With Teens

# If you want your child to talk with you, then give him a reason to trust you. Keep his confidence. Ask him if what he tells you is something between the two of you or if it is okay to share it with anyone, including family members. Honor his wishes.

# When you listen, be there 100%. Erase any other thoughts or postpone them until later. Let your mind be free to focus on what your teenager is communicating – spoken and unspoken.

You can be there, fully at 100%, when you are not listening to that Little Voice in your head tell you about your child or what he is saying. Instead you will actually be listening to the words of your child, his emotions and his complete message! Big difference. Huge impact for both you and for your teen.

You must be free from agendas to be there 100%. You have no idea what your teen is about to tell you nor do you have any idea what he wants in coming to you, so ask.

# Ask how your child wants to be listened to. Does he want an opinion, suggestions, advice, or does he just want to blow off steam? No guessing allowed! When you guess wrong, you frustrate him by going in a direction he does not want to go. He may see his effort to talk with you as a waste of time and decide not to make that mistake again.

# For accurate communication, ask questions — not intrusive, prying ones, but check-ins to be certain you are hearing the message as your child intended you to hear and interpret it.

Be sure you are hearing what your teen means to say rather than what you want your teen to say or what you think your teen should say. Respond to a thought saying something like, “Is it accurate that you do not like it when X happens?”

If that is correct, he will say yes and if not, then he will state his thought differently. Check again — you want to understand him.

When your child sees that you are truly available and paying attention he just may feel understood — at least in that moment. The more moments he feels that way, the more frequently he will talk to you.

# Listen without judgment.

# Listen without expectation. When you have no attachment to what will be said or the outcome of what you hear, then you are free to pay attention to every word and every non-verbal clue.

Take all that information, check for your accurate understanding, then follow through with the request your child made for how he wants you to listen to him.

Your young adult may share things that surprise or scare you. He may do that to see your reaction — or he may do that because he trusts you enough to be frank and honest. Your challenge is to listen honestly.

If you are surprised, it is okay and, in fact wise, to say so. Note that it is honest to share your feelings about what he said. However, telling him he is wrong or he should have done such and such differently is judging.

You might follow the judgment with a conviction and a sentence. Such actions could cause you to lose the trust that led to his coming to you in the first place. Then you are back to having a teenager who doesn’t talk and likes to fight.

Consider that there is more than one way to do things and there is more than one solution to any problem. When your child tells you about something you cannot understand, ask about his thinking that led to that action. Ask as many questions as you need to so you can see his perspective.

Seeing his perspective is not the same as approving or agreeing with it. On the other hand, you may gain a fresh view on whatever the issue is.

# If your child has done something that breaks a law or a rule in your family, address that issue. Brainstorm for solutions together. Empower your teen to be responsible for every action he takes — or fails to take — in his life.

Pretending not to notice undesirable behaviors will not make them disappear. Follow the same brainstorming techniques to deal with such instances. You will be surprised how simple it is to create win-win outcomes. I did not say easy. I said simple. Success happens after doing it, doing it, doing it, until it becomes natural. Yes, that task may take effort and seem like work.

Actions and results, desirable and undesirable, reflect self esteem. To change behaviors, treat the cause not just the symptoms.


Tips to Turn your Child into A Reader

1. The Early Bedtime trick.
One of my favorite ways to get my kids to read is something they hopefully will not figure out until they have kids of their own. Two words “Early Bedtime”.

You might be wondering how an increase in sleep can help your child to spend more time reading. Well, here’s the trick. Set their bedtime for 45 minutes to an hour before they need their lights out.

Here’s how our bedtime routine goes. The kids brush teeth and use the bathroom. Then I read them their stories. This is all done before their official bedtime. Then, I simply give them an option. I say “It’s time for bed, now. Would you like lights out or would you like to stay up and read for a bit?”

Unless they are really tired, they’ll always choose to read awhile. I do not have to beg nor manipulate them into reading. In fact, they think it’s their idea and they have grown to love their chance for a ‘late’ bedtime. Then, I back off. I don’t try to instruct them in any way, nor help them choose books. This is their time. They can choose whichever book they like and look at it however they like until I come in to kiss them goodnight and turn their lights out. Of course, if they want me to stay and listen to them read, I’m more than happy to comply. Try it. It works.

2. Summer reading incentives.
You can sign up for a summer reading program at pretty much any library in the country. If your local library does not have a summer reading program, then create one at home, with rewards for reading books. You can use a Monopoly (or Life) board and allow your child to move one space for each book he reads. Or if you want to have more fun, let him roll the dice each time he reads a book and have prizes available for passing certain points.

Make sure the rewards are something very desirable. If your child values time with you more than toys, then set a date together doing his favorite thing. If he values a certain toy, let him earn it. Or let him earn a chance to get out of his regular chores. Take him to his favorite restaurant. Just have fun with it and he will, too.

3. Read the book before you can see the movie.
This is a standard in our home. We won’t go see any movie until we’ve read the book. Whether my husband and I read the book to the kids or they read it alone, each member of the family can go see the movie after the book is read. So, if your child is looking forward to seeing the next Chronicles of Narnia movie, the next Harry Potter movie or the next Lemony Snicket movie, they’ll have to read the book first.


Things You can Do to Make Safer to Let Your Kids Play Outside

1). If several kids on your street that play together, you can get together as adults and assign on a rotating basis who will keep an eye on all the kids while the others are getting important things done. But do this job with great care. You have precious little future adults that still look to you for safety.

2). Better still, play games with them. Someone who is looking to annoy, tease or do harm, is less likely to do so if active adults are on the scene.

3). Prepare for possible emergency. A family plan firmly in place and understood by all and *drilled*, may be more successful then not having a plan at all. An example of something you can do, is hang a whistle on a string. Every time the kids go out they put the whistle around their necks. They are taught that they blow the whistle hard in an emergency situation only! Tell them the cry wolf story and let them know what the consequences are for blowing the whistle in a non emergency situation. Can you imagine if all parents in your area are grooved in on this and you hear a whistle go off, you may have half a dozen people or more flying out the door instantly to investigate.

4). Last year on the Oprah Winfrey show there was a family that had an emergency plan in place that was quite ingenious. In a prior family meeting they developed a code and I believe it was a number code, but any simple code would suffice. They were told never ever reveal the code to anyone for any reason. It paid off because a man approached their younger daughter and told her, that her parents wanted him to bring her home. She asked him for the code. He could not produce one and instantly she ran and averted a potential disaster. On the show, Oprah tried to get the girl to reveal the code but the little girl remained true and would not reveal it. She was highly praised by Oprah and I thought this was a fantastic plan the parents had come up with. It worked for them and could possibly work for you.

5). Adults are obviously much stronger than children but that doesn’t mean that a child cannot hurt an adult. Karate or Tae Kwan Do classes can be of benefit to boys and girls. It can not only build character and strength, but it can also teach them how to get out of certain grips and holds and where to hit in an emergency situation. It may be enough to get away. Also, it’s a great way to keep them fit and healthy.

6). I think that the best thing you can do is teach your child to be aware. If children learn early on basic safety precautions, it becomes a life long habit. Do you remember as a kid walking down the street, staring at the sidewalk as you were walking? Teach your children not to do that. Have them scan ahead and all around. This will do two things; a) they can spot potential trouble ahead of time and b) it gets you out of your head and seeing the world around you. This is good for you to do as well.

Kids need to play and be social and it’s ok to get dirty sometimes. I see it all the time with my grandchildren that they are the most happy and energetic when they are outside. They actually fight less and work more as a team with each other and their friends when they can safely play outside. Make yourself and your children more aware and for peat sake, have some fun!


Teen Problems

Teen problems are growing. If you think that being a teen today is the same as it was when you were in their shoes, you are probably mistaken. Now, listen to yourself say how strict and how hard life was when you were young. But, you need to realize that teens today face huge, life threatening decisions just about ever day. What they face has a lot to do with where they grow up. Yet do not be fooled into thinking that your child is safe.

In the normal course of your teen’s day, he or she may face any of these things; one or more of them.

Drugs. Think that drugs are simple like they used to be? They are not. Kids today are not just smoking the easy stuff. They are into crack or other strong and deadly drugs.

Sex. Not only are they exposed to it on the television, but they are encouraged by others. They may be engaging in sexual acts that you have never heard of. They may be doing it unprotected as well. At school, after school, on the car ride home – there are many opportunities you do not realize. Teens get pregnant and have babies.

Violence. Today’s teen problems often revolve around violence. They see friends with guns at school or after school. They witness huge fights. They hear threats. They see anger and deal with it daily.

Depression. With all that they see and do, teens face depression today at an alarming rate as compared to just a decade ago. Depression is not something that just goes away, but can cause them harm and threaten their lives.

Driving. Teens drive drunk. Teens drive under the influence of drugs. Teens get in cars that others are driving under the influence. Teens may also be responsible drivers, but share the road with those that are not.

Teen problems that are at a lower level can be just as deadly. They face lying, cheating, emotional trauma, learning disabilities and divorce. All of these things a child will face daily in some cases. In those cases, it is no wonder that they have low self esteems, high drop out rates and some of the students will break under the pressure. Teen problems should be addressed and noticed by their parents first.


Tips to Preparing Great Teen Party

First, as the name suggests, a teen party is for teens. It is surprising how many teen parties turn sour because they are not suitable for teens at all. Consider the teens that you are throwing a party for. Think about their personalities and the things they like to do. Chances are that a teen party will be better if you plan a party that teens will be excited to come to. Do not host a teen party planning to show multiple movies to teens that are too active to sit still for an hour. Plan a teen party filled with fun and unique activities that will offer a variety of options but keep everyone happily busy.

Second, no teen party will be memorable without the perfect menu. Everyone knows that teens love to eat, so there is no way to throw a perfect teen party without taking food into serious consideration. Depending on what time your party is going to take place you may or may not have to provide an entire meal to your guests. Perhaps snack foods and finger foods will do the trick. Whatever kinds of food you decide on, be sure that you offer a variety to choose from. Some teens will prefer pepperoni pizza while others would never dream of eating a slice. Have healthy and not-so-healthy options and you will probably be safe. Try to come up with creative food options and you will really have a teen party to talk about. Make icy fruit drinks in a blender and the teens will love feeling a little more grown up.

A third important thing to remember when preparing a teen party is location. Since most teen parties are held in homes it could be fun to plan your teen party at a local park. Teens will enjoy the change and will probably love being outside. If you decide on an outdoor party you will be able to come up with suitable activities quickly and you will even be able to consider outdoor food as well. You can also choose to hold a great teen party at a special location to the teens like a local coffee shop or skate rink.

Remember that any teen party can be special when you keep it focused on teens, filled with food and in a special location. Enjoy planning!

Child Healthy Diet

If your child overdoses with multivitamins with iron your child could become seriously ill or die. All manner of medications must absolutely be kept out of the reach children. If you think your child needs them generic multivitamins are fine but for the most part, children get a lot of their vitamins in their diets.

If your child is either allergic to dairy products or won’t eat them, calcium will need to come from other sources. A consultation with your child’s pediatrician is important. One vitamin daily is all a child needs even if his diet has been questionable for that week.

The absorption of other vitamins could be blocked if there is too much of any one vitamin. For example, too much calcium can prevent the absorption of other vitamins such as iron. Healthy food choices are not a child’s priority you can expect to be giving your child vitamins well into their teens.

Before buying vitamins you should know that opinions about vitamins with iron for children vary greatly. One belief is that you should, in fact, be giving vitamins with iron. Another philosophy is that never should a child be given vitamins with iron in them.

In infancy my own child showed signs of iron deficiency as an infant. Always check with your child’s doctor; my child’s doctor put him on iron fortified vitamins and he is healthy now. A disease called Hemochromatosis is caused by too much iron in the blood.

The iron becomes unusable by the body and it is not washed out of the body easily. It is almost always a fatal disease and can cause serious health issues. Calcium helps build strong bones and muscles and is a very important part of your child’s diet.

Calcium is a mineral. Kids who eat ice cream, yogurt, and cheese or who drink milk usually get enough calcium from their diets. Some do not like dairy products, still others are allergic to them. Children can be assisted in getting what they need by consuming calcium fortified juices, cereals and vitamins.

Drinking fluoride treated tap water and bottled water and/or using fluoridated toothpaste is enough for most children. Your child should not be given fluoride supplements without checking with your pediatrician. Your child’s teeth could be permanently stained if they get too much fluoride.

This defeats entirely, the purpose of the treatment of water and the use of toothpaste meant to protect your child’s teeth. Infant multivitamins in liquid form is available and usually administered with an eye dropper.

The drops contain vitamins A, C, and D and may have added iron. Also they may have other vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B-12. Chewable children’s vitamins are available in the forms of cartoon characters and/or animals. Now vitamins are available in gummi candy and gumballs.

Try buying gum ball vitamins or cartoon characters if your child is difficult about taking vitamins. Your child should always be supervised while he’s taking his vitamins. My son never gets to take his vitamins on his own, I give them to him.

He may or may not take it or he could take too many. Children’s vitamins could be a very good thing but too much of a good thing could be fatal. They should not be left in the reach of children. Eating what is right is not your child’s top priority so giving him vitamins may offset some of that.

Adjustments to child’s diet should always be discussed with your child’s pediatrician, it’s better to err on the side of caution. It’s fine to have fun shapes but your child could think they are candy and they should be kept out of reach of children or locked in a cabinet.


Tips to Help Your Kids Start on The Right Path to Financial Prosperity

# Buy a piggy bank for your younger children. Allow them to choose whatever colour shape or size they wish. Invite them to put their pennies into their piggy bank. Occasionally they may count their pennies and reward themselves if they want.

# Once they have proved themselves adept to handling their pennies, take them to open their own bank accounts. Most major high street banks and building societies have special savings accounts for kids. Depending on their age group, they may be offered some incentives e.g. fun packs, money-off vouchers for CDs, DVDs, computer games, etc.

# Many kids think, “money grows on trees”. Let them know that YOU working brings about this paper and metal stuff called money. Whether or not you work or you have inherited a large fortune, do not encourage laziness in your child. I am sure there are loads of chores around the house, washing the dishes, cleaning the rooms, etc. Give your kids an allowance but let them work for it. They also need to be able to work for free sometimes to learn the value of hard work.

# Many relatives nowadays tend to give money for birthdays and Christmas especially for the over 10s. At this age, their tastes are constantly changing (what a 12 year old and a 60-year-old see, as being “the in thing” is usually very different!) Encourage them to save 10% of their money gifts. If they are older and have a paper round or something similar, again encourage them to save 10 % of their earnings. This may be only a small amount but it is a good habit to get into. If you are reading this now, as a middle-aged parent, imagine how much you would have in the bank today if you had saved 10% of everything you had ever earned. Scary stuff!

# Managing money does not mean hoarding it and locking it away forever. It simply means being careful, spending wisely, and acquiring a regular savings habit. Teach your kids that donating money to worthwhile causes is a noble thing to do. This could be to the local hospice, the homeless, or to a charity of their choice. This would help them become more rounded, more respectful of others regardless of the situation and become more appreciative of their own lives and their own prosperity. They would learn that the money returns to you in more ways than you could imagine.

# Encourage your child to purchase a journal or a diary where they can record their dreams and desires. This allows them to dream big and look forward to their lives ahead-filled with prosperity. There is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth to fulfil these desires. Money is not evil!

# “Filthy lucre” and “Money is the root of all evil” are phrases you will often hear people say. Ignore them. Money actually brings enormous good into the world. Creating wealth helps create jobs for others. Investing in business helps to bring solutions into people’s lives by way of innovative products and services. Acquiring a great fortune allows you to donate more money to charity – or even start your own trust fund. Therefore, as you can see money is neither good nor bad – it is what you do with it that makes the difference.

# One of the oldest wealth-creation maxims is, “It takes money to make money”. Unfortunately, it also takes money to lose money. Teach your kids the value of caution when entering into financial affairs. Remember the golden rule of any high-risk venture. Only invest what you can afford to lose. Moreover, let them know that many self-made millionaires started with literally nothing.

# Debt is one of the greatest social diseases of our time. The price to pay for the “have now, pay later” philosophy is that you certainly will pay later. Unfortunately, some high street banks have contributed to this philosophy. My own bank had posters in the branch stating “why wait, have it now!” Debt imprisons you in a job you do not like, creates stress and anxiety in your life, and erodes your wealth creation program. You will never become rich while you are in debt. Teach your kids the value of delayed gratification. “If in doubt, go without”.

# Your financial health is really the difference between how much you earn and how much you spend. It therefore makes sense not to pay any more money for something than you have to. Teach your children that bargain hunting does not make you a miser just a sensible individual. If you see the same item in two different shops with a 20 pounds price tag difference, from whom are you going to make the final purchase?

# Eventually everyone is offered a “sure-fire” method of making a fortune, whether it is the three-card trick, an once-in-a-lifetime investment plan, or some time-limited business opportunity only available to a select few… Always check these “opportunities” with a fine toothed comb. Do not part with any money and remember – if it is too-good-to-be-true it is usually is. Teach your kids that wealth creation is a simple and timeless process based on common sense.


The Signs of Teen Depression

Knowing some of the signs of depression is necessary. All parents should keep a look out for these conditions.

  • Pulling away from the things that they used to love to do.
  • Not eating well. While they may eat normally, they may lose weight. Or, they may not be eating at all.
  • Not sleeping well. Waking up still tired is not okay.

Pulling away from friends and social situations. This is a key sign of teen depression. Teens are social creatures and need constant interaction. If they are not allowing it to happen, they may be depressed.

The blues that last. While everyone feels bad sometimes, teens with depression feel bad most of the time. You need to get them some help in these cases.

Teen depression that is serious can lead to additional problems. Teens that are depressed may be more likely to do drugs or drink alcohol. Teens in this situation are less likely to do well in school. They may retreat so much so into themselves that they may become ill or may attempt to harm themselves.

One of the scariest things about teen depression is how well they can hide it. Many teens will face bouts of depression, but those that have too many will hide it well from you. If this is the case, you may never realize how much trouble they are in until it is too later. Parenting a teen means making it your business to know.