Parenting Trick That Works for the Whole Family

There are so many self-help parenting books on the shelves with conflicting ideas. It’s no wonder parents don’t even want to try that route anymore. One under-publicized but well-acclaimed reference titled Children the Challenge (Penguin Books, 1990) by Rudolph Dreikurs, is a foundational, reality-based resource that enables parents to make the right decisions based on rational philosophy. That’s what makes it so viable.

Destination parenting is not just a way to parent. It’s an outlook, a way to live – and parent – easily, effectively and guilt-free.

No One Intends to be a Bad Parent

No one ever intentionally raises children in a way that sets them up to be unsuccessful. Most people, in fact, speculate that they will make excellent parents, believing they know how to do it. Then, somehow, 16 years down the road, the sound of sirens fills the night air and the parent’s confidence flies out the window.

What happened? Who cares. That’s not what’s important. What is important, is today, this hour, this minute, it is time to effect change.

A New Look at the Meaning of Growing Up

The term growing up isn’t necessarily talking about increasing in height. It can mean becoming optimistic, creative, capable, and successful human beings. That doesn’t mean bringing up a generation of egocentrics who are never corrected. It just means allowing children to experience real and immediate, reasonable and loving consequences for whatever they do.

Correcting mistakes does not make you a bad parentIf a youngster rides his bike beyond what is allowed, the bike needs to stay in the garage for the rest of the day and a new effort can be made the next day. That’s enough. Not a month’s punishment where the crime is long since forgotten but the parent’s meanness isn’t. No hand on the hot stove to teach about burners. Kids know when the consequences they receive are fair, and, complaints aside, boundaries help children feel safe and know their parents or caregivers love them enough to teach them important things. That is what creates confident children, not free reign allowing anarchy.

Why is Parenting Called Child “Rearing”?

If parents continue to lead older children from in front, by pulling them towards the parent’s goal, youths will often pull back and get lost trying to find themselves

If they are coached and encourage from the rear, children will see that their parents have faith in them, therefore they must be capable, and they will act on that premise. They will choose a path forward and may even seek out words of wisdom. They may make mistakes, the same mistakes their parents made, but that is their right, just as it was the parent’s will and rite of life at the same age.

It is good and healthy for parents to demonstrate that another’s behavior is not their fault. That way the children take on the responsibility of their actions. If their room is messy, they have to live in the mess. If they leave a mess in the common area of the house and someone doesn’t like it and unconfrontationally throws the things in the garbage, that was a natural consequence being the teacher.

If illicit drugs are found in the house, drugs are illegal and the police must be called so the parent isn’t complicit in a crime. It’s a legal requirement, not a parent being nasty. A further consequence, if there is a no-recreational-drug policy in the home (which there should be), is that the youth will need to find alternative accommodation. Hounding and criticism are mind-numbing and relationship killing. If it doesn’t work, why do it?

Correct With the Future in Mind

Some parents feel it necessary to force children to eat everything that someone else laid out for them even if it is so much it causes the child to feel sick. Teaching a child to put things in his body he doesn’t want imprints a behavior that is concerning when peers are passing around alcohol and drugs.

Destination parenting works in the best way parenting can work. Not perfectly, but most fairly, and most successfully because everything is done with the eventual goal in mind. Most confident adults weren’t belittled as children by the big people they looked up to. Happily successful adults weren’t told as children they were no good and would never make anything of themselves.

Dreikurs suggests that treating a child as if they bear the quality traits the parent wants them to have predisposes the child to behave accordingly. If they are told they are bad, they have that to live up to. Just like adults, children enjoy being respected and listened to, and they will take pride in acting like someone who deserves respect when they know it’s attainable.

Parenting probably is the most difficult of jobs, but it arguably is the most rewarding. By keeping destination principles in mind, rearing children in love with reasonable and fair consequences who are confident and capable is at least a clear path with great potential.

Dealing with Children & Teens who Talk Back

All children will backtalk at some stage in their lives. Backtalk is a normal stage of development in children. They are still learning to deal with conflicting emotions inside of themselves and assert their independence. They want to be assertive yet not get into trouble but are unsure of how to do it. The easiest way seems to be talking back to their parents! For parents, the key to dealing with backtalk is to have patience, understanding, and self-restraint.

Rude behavior in children must not be toleratedManaging Children who Backtalk

In dealing with backtalk, it is essential that parents model the behavior they wish to see in their child. Children always learn behaviors from someone. By establishing a relationship with children based on respect, parents can nip backtalk before it gets out of hand. Here are some steps to try to end the habit and have respectful relationships with your children.

Set clear rules: What is most important to you? No put-downs, muttering or condescending gazes? Be firm in your tolerance and announce the rules to everyone in the household. Post them in the kitchen for reference.
Decide not to take it: Always follow through with consequences of undesirable behaviors. Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior have children who are not rude. Of course, this works two ways – treat your child with kind and understanding behavior.
Explain it: Help your child express his emotions more acceptably. Discussing negative emotions and feelings with your child helps him to accept them, release them and understand why he feels them.
Establish a code: For times when you are in public or when friends are around, let your children know they are nearing the disrespectful zone with a prearranged signal. This could be a phrase or a gesture. Follow through with consequences for misbehavior.
Don’t get in the act: As tempting as it is at times to say something rude back to your child, don’t. By practicing patience and understanding you are setting an excellent example instead.

Teach Respect to Children

Never forget it takes two people to argue, your children cannot argue by themselves. Choosing your battles goes a long way in teaching respect to your children. State your case once and allow your child to state his and set the consequence or walk out of the room if need be. This shows children your word is “final” and will not be changed, though you value their opinions. The result is respectful children and adults.

Keeping Healthy Kids with Exercise Disguised as Playtime

Children enjoy play and find every chance possible to get physical. When too many hours are spent in front of computer and television, health suffers. With diabetes fast becoming an epidemic, it is sound advice to get moving.

Fun Exercise Ideas for Kids

The first step toward fun, physical action is to take the idea of work out of the equation. Banning the additional word “exercise” might also be beneficial. Focusing on a play is what will get and hold a child’s attention. Below of suggestions for getting started.

Allocate time – Just like anything else, physical fitness can be scheduled in. An early morning walk with the kids especially when summer might allow for a relaxed schedule is terrific. Grab a stopwatch and time younger kids as they run from one point to the next. Note their improvement with each passing day.

Replace the unhealthy – Shave just a half hour off television and computer and replace it with some form of exercise. Label it “fun time” and watch the kids join in enthusiastically. With younger children, a dance hour with hip-hop music is well received.

Weekly silliness – Once a week have a water balloon fight complete with chase or a hula contest. Encourage kids to come up with ideas and even incorporate games where a timer is used. A simple 10-point list can be a starting point, use the one provided and add on over time.

  • Helping kids lead a healthy and active lifestyleFrisbee/Frisbee Golf
  • Hide and Seek
  • Relay Races, sack races, timed racing
  • Skipping
  • Touch Football, flag football or soccer
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding, rollerblading, scooter
  • Hiking/Camping
Safety Precautions and Kids’ Physical Activities

Many parents worry about injury with active kids, yet physical fitness is, in fact, preventive medicine. Heart health begins with kids exercising the muscle through aerobic activity and play is the remedy to the onslaught of many potential future maladies. Developing a love of hiking, camping or swimming at an early age encourages a fit, active adult. Obvious precautions should be taken when kids are involved in activities and noting the tips below can help.

  • Never swim alone
  • Hike with a buddy
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, especially helmets
  • Teach children how to use 911
  • Get CPR certified (this is a wonderful family undertaking for older kids)
  • Follow all safety rules
  • Walk/run against traffic but bike with the flow of traffic
  • After dark, don reflective attire
Parents Set the Example

Active kids find life easy when a parent is a leader. With many adults in dire need of more exercise, setting a good example for children should be paramount. Skip filling time with empty computer and television and get involved with the kids. Grab a basketball and shoot a few hoops if running is too strenuous or take a short walk. Parents and children can partner in a quest for a healthier lifestyle, and the outcome may well be fewer medical bills and better quality of life.

Revealing Divorce to Your Kids

Loss and separation, leaving, and disruption, all spin nightmares into the very being of children. How does a parent disclose this life trauma to a child? A style of disclosure depends on the age of a child. How one communicates to a seven-year-old, is much different than disclosing to a seventeen-year-old. For this, we will primarily focus on revealing to adolescents and upward in the age range. If there have been family meetings as part of the norm, then a family get together would not be too unusual.

Breaking it to the kids can be a harrowing experienceI am an advocate of everyone getting together and being honest and truthful about the marital conflict, and the decision to leave. Children are usually very observant and wise. Yes, they will be hurt and upset however all too often it does not come as a huge surprise. When parents are honest, you are role modeling integrity, try to at least have that instead of possible infidelity, or other dishonest behavior.

Allow children to express, consider their feelings to a fault. Do not make this about you. Do not criticize your spouse or try to achieve emotional sides with your children. They will eventually be wise to this ugly manipulation, and it will backfire. Be prepared for emotional distance from them.

Please be very clear that each of you will be there for them for emotional support, financial support, school support, and medical concerns. Whoever is leaving home write letters or emails, to let them know you are thinking of them, they may not be ready for a phone call. Give them time.

Explain to them using analogies of their peers. How sometimes there are conflicts between two individuals that cannot be resolved. It is important to let them know there was an attempt at resolution. Not only are you disclosing a loss to them, however, but you are also teaching them a life lesson. Do not minimize the impact, yet reassure that all life traumas get better with time and BOTH of you will be there for their needs.

Be aware of your own selfish needs and your feelings of guilt. Do not let that spill onto the kids. The children come first. Make that a reality.

Disclosing divorce to children is painful, has long-lasting effects, and usually has some fallout down the road. On the brighter side, children are resilient and bounce back from life traumas; their relationship can flourish with a parent more positively. It does take work, dedication and showing up. Yes, show up for them with all their activities, and life events. Show your children that despite the divorce you will be there for them. Talk is cheap, now show it in behavior. You will not regret it.

How to Encourage Your Kids to Eat Veggies

Kids usually have an aversion to vegetables. Whatever the reason is, it is said that the leading cause for this is the comfortability with the taste. Most kids are given sweets at an early age, so the problem is when they grow older, all they look for is a sweet taste. They say “No” to bitter and bland foods, flavors which comprise many of the vegetables available. If you are not used to these flavors, even as an adult, then for sure you will feel an aversion to them.

Preparing dinner is a good bonding for parents and childrenIf you have been looking for a way for your kids to start loving vegetables, where do you start?

Here are some tips to help your kids eat veggies:

1. Be a good role model

For one, if you do not eat vegetables in the first place, then do not expect your kids to start loving them, too. You, as a parent, must be a good role model for your kids. So, if all you eat for dinner is cornbread and ribs, and you only ever eat vegetables very rarely, then do not force your kids to eat vegetables. If you set a good example, then your children will learn from you.

Before you scold your kids for not eating vegetables, look at your eating habits first. Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are you setting a good standard for your kids? If you have some problems with your food choices and cravings, then correct these first. Once you’ve improved your eating habits, then you can start encouraging your kids to eat vegetables. Instead of bringing chips and chocolates when you are on a road trip, bring fruits and sliced up vegetables instead. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, apple slices, oranges, and bananas are healthy vegetable-based snack options for you and your family.

These may take a while to prepare compared to merely buying chips off the shelf, but do not let this ruin your motivation. The little time that you have to take to prepare these healthy snacks can go a long way for your family’s health. If you are too busy to visit the farmer’s market, meal kits (read: Sun Basket review) are a great alternative to have organic, farm-fresh food ready for cooking.

Making kids love eating vegetables should be gradual2. Never be mad at kids

The worst thing that you can do to kids who hate vegetables is to get mad at them for not eating enough of these. Not only will this instill fear in them, but they will grow to hate vegetables even more because of the bad feeling that you associate with this food group. So, never scold your kids for not eating vegetables, because doing so can instill lousy eating habits, like emotional eating, on them.

The best you can do is to encourage your kids to eat vegetables. Ask for their help when you prepare your meals, make your recipes fun by adding in ingredients that you know they will love, and share meals with them. Encourage this positive environment where they will grow to love eating healthy foods. If on some days they do not like to eat vegetables, try to know why this is so. It may be because they are sick, have no appetite to eat, or they’ve had a long day, and all they have been looking for is a bowl of chicken lollipops. Let them be kids and do not pull out the joy of being one.

It is easy to encourage your kids to eat veggies. All you need is patience and a positive outlook. Make it fun and do not get discouraged when it takes time for them to enjoy the flavors. Serve vegetables for your every meal, and make the recipes fun for everyone to enjoy.