Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Are Our Children TOO Entitled?


It frustrates me that so many kids today feel "entitled" to the best of everything. It's a hard notion for me to grasp because I wasn't brought up that way. It seems to me that such a focus on "stuff" can be a huge defocus from the values that matter most. How do we break out of this "Me, Me, Me" thing with our kids?

I understand; I wasn't raised that way, either. (Every day of my life I'm grateful for that.) While I lived at home, my dad worked in the oil patch and my mom was a housewife. Money was generally pretty tight. Thinking back on it now, my sister and I grew up in a home that often struggled financially.
(I believe it broke Dad's heart to tell me that, aside from providing a place for to me to live, plus food and laundry, he was unable help me with college tuition and books. So I continued to live at home, worked part-time at the local radio station and commuted to junior college.)
In my career of working with young people and their families, I've encountered youngsters whose folks truly were poor. These kids never spoke of wanting the newest video game console, or the most popular clothes, or a new car when they graduated high school. They spoke instead of having enough to pay the rent, to have enough food in the house, and the opportunity to be the first in their family to graduate high school. When they did want something else, it was not for themselves, but for a younger brother or sister. I am convinced that, if we can help these kids break the cycle of poverty, they will become the salt of the earth, with no hint of entitlement. That makes helping them achieve stability and significance in their lives a double blessing.
As parents and grandparents, we naturally want our children and grandkids to have what we never had at their age. But is it possible to overdo it? Of course; it's easy to create entitlement issues in the process. We don't do it to spoil our children; we just want them to have the breaks, opportunities and "stuff" we didn't have. Unfortunately, it can work against our best efforts to create sensitive and responsible adults.
One "cure" for entitlement in our children (we're talking about a junior variety of grandiosity here) is to help them understand that life not a perpetual gravy train; it can be difficult for many. One child service agency I worked with had youngsters doing volunteer work at a homeless shelter during school's mid-year holiday break. It helped them to reset their perspective. They learned the value of service to others and the importance of being tolerant of the circumstances of less fortunate people.
I can still remember taking my son, Jamie, with me on a trip to downtown Houston. He was about 10 or so at the time. We walked around looking for a place to have supper. Jamie saw people going through garbage cans looking for something to eat. It touched him to the core. It had never occurred to him that people could be that hungry and that desperate. He never forgot what he saw there, and he's a more grateful and generous person because of that experience.
Often, it's the lessons we don't plan that stick with us the most.
Many young people don't really have an accurate idea of the value of money. It's not their fault; they just don't know what a dollar is in terms of the work and effort it takes to earn one. Challenge them to learn this lesson first-hand by establishing a goal for something they want and working to get it themselves. For adolescents, a part-time job, even if it's just for a few hours a week, can be an experience greater than what they earn. They learn even more about being tolerant, they learn how to get along with the boss and coworkers, and they learn how to talk to the public. How can you put a price tag on that?
While rags to riches seem to be an American staple, we should caution our children that there are riches to rags stories, also. Things can change quickly.
The Road of Life has many twists and turns in it, and we never really know when trouble and difficulty might hang around longer than we want. Those twists and turns are managed best with a grateful and humble heart, plus the wisdom in knowing that very, very few of us were raised on the Good Ship Lollipop.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7923679

Friday, August 16, 2013

Defiant Children and POWER STRUGGLES!


Do you have a defiant child? Do you feel like no matter what you tell your child to do, your child won't follow through with requests? One key to managing your defiant child is to END THE POWER STRUGGLE! In fact, make a commitment to end the power struggle today! Everything doesn't have to be a fight. Some things are just not worth the battle. So many parents get wrapped up in the idea that their child must be MADE to listen to them-that every time their child disobeys them, then the child must be punished. I'm here to tell you that managing your child's behavior isn't about disciplining every single thing your child does wrong. Instead, it's about having a parenting plan that will change your child's behavior over time.
Here are some guidelines to get you started managing your defiant child:
*Start tracking. For a week or so, jot down in a notebook everything you and your child fight over and when these fights occur.
*Categorize the data you collected and look for patterns. Do you fight with your child frequently over bed time? Is your child more defiant when it comes to what they wear or what they eat?
*Rate the defiant behaviors in order of most important to address to least important to address.
*Focus your discipline of your defiant child on the behaviors you feel are most important to address, and let the other ones go for now. This is where you begin to end the power struggles with your child. It's far more important to get your child to stop hitting his sibling than it is to have him make his bed daily. End the power struggle over the bed and focus on disciplining the hitting behavior at first.
As a parent you can't fight your defiant child all of the time on every misbehavior that he or she engages in. If you try, your life will be a constant battle, you'll be exhausted, and your child will never learn to respect you. Learn to let some things go, for now at least. Focus on what is most important. Fix those things and the other smaller problem behaviors will begin to fix themselves over time. Remember changing your defiant child's behavior won't happen overnight. It likely took many months or even years for your child to develop these habits and behaviors and it will take several months of hard, focused work on your part as the parent to undo them. But remember, the longest journey starts with a single step! Get started today and in a few months your child's defiant behaviors will most certainly be diminished and you will be a much happier parent in the process.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7915396

6 Ways to Create a Thriving Home Environment


What is a thriving home environment?
A thriving home environment is all the circumstances, conditions, or factors that enable and encourage your family to thrive.
Your daughter can be fabulous, but if she is planted in stressful or negative soil she is not going to thrive.
I love to garden, but not during the Houston summer. The triple digits of heat and humidity are relentless, and take a toll on plants and flowers. Even though I consistently water the plants, they wither and turn brown under the extreme heat. These same plants in April are green, growing, and budding with flowers.
What's the difference? Why did these plants flourish in April?
The weather conditions were perfect for the plants to thrive in. It's not the plants fault; it was the environment that made the difference.
Just like the plants, your daughter is going to flourish in the right conditions.
See it's tempting to blame everything on your daughter, but there could be some things you can change in the home environment that will help her thrive.
I believe a thriving home environment is bigger and more influential than all your teens' drama or negativity. Instead of you and your family getting sucked into her drama vortex; she can be drawn into the health, love, optimism and encouragement of a thriving home environment.
It's easy to focus on what you don't want at home, instead of focusing on what you do want.
I wish the fighting would stop. I'm sick of her attitude and anger.
It's important to be intentional about what you do want. I want to enjoy my family and spend quality time with them.
And here's the deal. This is not a onetime thing. It's good to constantly reevaluate the home environment, because the busyness of our daily lives can take over.
6 Ways to Create a Thriving Home Environment
1. Get clear about what you want for your home
How would you describe a thriving home environment in one word?
Peaceful, positive, safe, warm, respectful, fun, loving, connected, playful, organized, relaxing.
2. Have a No Drama Policy
The foundation of a Thriving Home Environment is emotional and physical safety. When there are constant screaming, threats, belittling or shaming words, no one can thrive. This is why everyone in your family needs to agree to a No Drama Policy
Establish a No Drama Policy.
Drama is when one or more persons gets emotionally flooded and loses control. This lack of control comes in the form of yelling, raising your voice, throwing things, slamming doors, pushing, threatening, shaming, name calling, and throwing out obscenities. It is crucial that you get your partner on board with this.
In order to implement a No Drama Policy your family needs a "Calm Down" strategy.
A key factor in the "Calm Down" strategy is giving each other space. You need space to calm down. After you calm down, then you can have conversations with other family members. But the first step is to calm down.
For example if your daughter comes home from school upset, don't pry right away. Let her find her own ways to calm down. She may calm down by listening to her iPod, Facebook, TV, exercising, and chatting with her friends.
But this needs to happen for everyone in the family, not just your daughter. Everyone in the home needs to identify their strategy for calming down. This could be listening to music, praying, meditating, talking to friends, going for a run, going to the gym, or reading a book. "Calm Down" strategy is finding something that will distract you, so you are physically able to calm down.
3. Be a stress buster by cultivating downtime
Stress is the big enemy. It robs your family of joy, love, and laughter. 90 percent of all conflict in your home is caused by stress. Because of this you need to intentionally decrease stress.
There are many ways to decrease stress in the home but one huge way is by cultivating downtime in your home. A healthy family is not just a productive family. It's a family who can chill, relax and rest. This is where the Kodak memories come from. They sure don't come when you're stressed.
Downtime just doesn't happen, it's being eaten up by over packed schedules. Today, you have to move mountains of activities to get it in your schedule.
Downtime can transform your family for 2 big reasons. It decreases pressure which allows your body to relax, and it cultivates positive connections and experiences in your family.
When you are relaxed you are more present to the people around you. I saw this all the time when I was a youth minister in the 80′s. Kids would entertain themselves doing absolutely nothing and they were hilarious. They would do stupid human tricks. You know the girl who can put her leg behind her head. They would throw ice on each other.
Though this looks like a complete waste of time to parents, the kids were de-stressing, relaxing and having positive experiences with each other.
4. Create a "teen friendly" atmosphere.
"Teen friendly" doesn't mean that you have an olympic size swimming pool in your backyard or have a movie theatre inside your home.
It doesn't mean that you slip a beer to a kid, or turn your head when they are in the backyard.
Quite the contrary, a thriving home environment has clear rules and boundaries that protect the teens.
A "teen friendly" home is when kids know you like them and that they are welcome. There needs to be a relaxed atmosphere where the kids feel free to lounge around, raid your refrigerator, laugh loudly, play their music, and have fun. If they sense tension and distance from you they will find another house to hang out in.
5. Create a Family Mission Statement
Get your family on board by creating a mission statement. At a family meeting ask them what they want the atmosphere of the home to be like. Have them throw out one word or sentence that would describe what it would be like.
Example: I want my home to be a place of order and beauty. I want everyone to feel comfortable in our home. I want to be able to chill with my friends.
6. Be intentional encouragers
When you live with someone, especially a teenager it's easy to see the negative. It may feel natural to point out what's wrong with her or any other family member, but it does not build a thriving atmosphere. If you are going to have a thriving home environment, encouragement, praise and gratitude needs to far outweigh the "helpful" criticism.
Turn this around by being intentional encouragers. Challenge yourself to say one encouraging thing a day to everyone in your family.
Here are some Tips for helpful praise and encouragement
*praise the effort is more helpful than praising underlying ability
*specific praise is more helpful than generic
*praise should be sincere
*praise should not be overdone
What is your first step to creating a Thriving Home Environment?