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.

Top Tricks & Tips for Planning Your Party Menu

With the season of holidays and festivities approaching, the parties will be in full swing. You might also be planning on throwing the best party. Being the gracious host, you would want to serve the best to the guests and ensure to please and satisfy everyone. The focal point of any party is its food. In some ways, it becomes the deciding factor as to whether the party was a success or not, whether the guest left the party with a smile and warm heart or a grumpy face. Well, parties should be fun for both the guests and the host.

It is horrible to leave the host suffering and stressed about the party. To de-burden and destress the host, here are some tips and tricks on planning the party menu. Just by getting some basics rights you can have a party that shall be remembered for good and for long. So let’s dig in.

●    Follow the Season

The best way to begin planning the party menu is following Mother Nature. Go with the season you are hosting in. Like for summer parties go for cold salads, crispy vegetables with dips, grilled chicken instead of anything substantial like a deep fried or oven baked chicken in curry. On the flip side, all these things like roasted meat, heavy curries, comforting soups are the best winter menu options. So it is best to plan the party menu based on the season.

Colorful Christmas dinner●    Pick a style

Having some kind of base for the menu makes the planning part a lot easier. Thought through on the style of the party. Whether it is formal or casual, sit-down or buffet, indoor or outdoor, and likewise. Having a style in mind simplify the selection dishes to be served. On a buffet dinner serving food that requires the compulsory use of fork and knife may not be very comfortable for the guest. Though this can be done for a sit-down dinner. Similarly, the dishes will vary on the style.

●    Be Acquainted with your Skill Set

When hosting a party, there is always a pressure to put the best foot forward. You might be tempted to serve the world-class gourmet meals to the guests. The idea sounds exciting, but the stress involved in preparing that gourmet meal fades the fun and charm of the party for you. Instead be reasonable and practical and pick one such gourmet dish that you ace in. You can also plan for all Christmas menu and fill in traditionally prepared baked and roasted recipes with the modern twist

You might excel in making a whole lot of cuisines, but it is sensible to bring forth only your best signature dish. Cook only one or two such dishes and that would be enough to please the guest. For rest of the menu, you can hire a chef or get food delivered to you from an expert chef’s kitchen. You can get more information on personal chef service in New York at

●    Star Item

When planning a menu, you might have to encounter a lot of restrictions and barriers. Some might be on a diet, some might be allergic to something, and some simply have health issues and so on. All these things limit the scope of the dishes. It becomes a challenge to build an entire menu that will be loved by all.

Some will find something others something else. It is hence best to select one such dish that will be the star of the party and an ultimate crowd pleaser. Analyze the guest list and evaluate as per your understanding of their taste that one dish that will be relished by all. You will easily be able to find that one dish that will top the party.

●    Coordinating

Like we discussed above that picking a style or a theme for the party makes the process simpler, on the same lines it also lays down the base for coordinating the menu. By coordinating one can be sure to have a bright and colorful platter. This is color coordination. Having all the dishes of the same color will make the platter dull and unappetizing. Try and add different colors to the dishes. Along with coordinating colors go for texture coordination. Do not run for serving too many textures in one plate. Try balancing one texture with another. Coordinating the menu will make the platter look visually more appealing and tempting.

●    Prepping and Setting

It is always wise to do some meal prep in advance. Maybe a day or two ahead of the party you can make some things and avoid doing any detailed cooking on the day of the party. Do go dishes that do are hands-free and do not require last-minute prepping. Also, do not go for dishes that require intricate serving style.

●    Budgeting and Listing

Budget by far is the most crucial element with planning a party or its menu. The budget decides how far one can go in having the fanciest meal laid down on the table. It is not that on a small budget you cannot have a good menu. Just planning this as per the budget will get you the best results.

Sumptuous dinner with familyIt is advised that when deciding the menu, jot down the ingredients that will be needed in all the dishes. Buying things or ingredients you already have will lead to wastage of the items and money. The listing will also save time on grocery shopping and ensure nothing is left out to be purchased last minute. The list will also help to note things that might be needed to buy on the same day as the party. Hence having separate individual lists will make the whole process a lot easier and fuss-free.

To Sum Up

To have a stress free and fun time at the party planning in advance is the key. Proper planning will make things organized avoiding any last minute hassles. By keeping the above tips and tricks in mind, it is without the doubt that will be able to throw the best party leaving everybody’s hearts warm, smiles wide and bellies full.

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.

Handling Your Kid’s School Supplies When on a Tight Budget

School supply lists for children, regardless of the age, has expanded from the basics of pencils and paper to much more. When money is tight at home, it can be frustrating to figure out how to obtain all of the required supplies, especially when a family is on a very tight budget.

Treasure Hunt – Find Existing School Supplies at Home

Before heading out to the store, a family should have a treasure hunt to find any school supplies that may already be at the home. This can become a fun activity for the family and everyone can participate. Make sure everyone who is helping with the treasure hunt is given a list with two to five items as well as the quantity needed for each.

Encourage everyone to look around the house and consider all possibilities (i.e. items from previous school year that was not used or rarely used, items purchased in September on clearance, etc.). Put all found items in a sack or box.

Smart Shopping – Best Deals for School Supplies and Stationery

Smart mons plan ahead when buying school suppliesOnce a family has determined what is already available on-hand, the next step is to find the best deals for the school supplies that still need to be purchased. Listed below are some ways to find the best deal:

  • Check weekly sales ads from all stores that sell needed items (i.e. grocery stores, department stores, pharmacy stores, dollar stores, hardware stores, office supply stores).
  • Purchase items when on sale and stock up (hint: many stores such as Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, even Menards will have excellent deals).
  • Buy school supplies when the family’s state has a sales tax holiday (remember not all states participate in a sales tax holiday).
  • Use store coupons (i.e. Target, Staples, Office Max, etc.).
  • Use manufacture’s coupons.
  • Combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons.
Get Assistance to Buy School Supplies

No matter how many school supply items are found around the home, families still struggle with purchasing the rest of the required items. For some, it’s a decision between buying school supplies or putting food on the table. In this situation, families can ask the child’s school, church, and/or other community organizations for help. Never be afraid to ask for help.

There are many ways to stay on budget and yet purchase school supplies for children. From having a treasure hunt at home to buying supplies on sale with coupons, school supplies can be obtained and keep a family on a budget. It can become quite an adventure to search for needed items in which the entire family can help with.

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 Learn the Piano in under Three Months

Is it possible to learn the piano in under three months? Yes, it is possible!

It takes hard work, but it is possible to learn the piano in such a short time. But before you do this, you must devote time to getting familiar with chords and rhythms. It may surprise you to know that once you learn the chords and rhythms, it can be a breeze to learn piano or any musical instrument.

A good piano teacher can motivate a student to learn it on a faster paceBut how do you get started? Do you have to enroll in expensive classes to help you in your piano learning journey? Do you have to quit your job to devote your full time to learn the piano? Or, do you need to take memory-enhancing supplements to help you absorb information faster?

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to help you learn an instrument in the quickest amount of time, even if you avail of the piano teachers & lessons in New York City. You cannot expect to be good with the instrument just by browsing through chord sheets or listening to classical music. And above all, you cannot buy knowledge. You cannot expect to learn everything you need to learn just by enrolling in a class. You have to put in the effort to practice and follow through with your lessons.

If you have always wanted to learn the piano and you want to be able to play pieces in under three months, here are some tips to help you reach your goal:

Kids can learn fast when enrolled in a piano class1. Be motivated enough to want to learn the piano in under three months

Learning an instrument within this short period is challenging, so for you to get past the many hurdles, you need to be highly motivated to do it. What makes you want to learn the piano in under three months? Are you planning to propose and you want to play the piano as you sing your couple song? Do you want to audition for your school presentation? Know within you why you want to learn the instrument, and stick to that goal. If you are self-motivated into learning it, then you will not get easily demotivated by difficult lessons.

2. Enroll in a class

Unless you have a perfect pitch (which is pretty rare), or you are a musical prodigy (which is also even more unusual), then you need someone more knowledgeable to guide you. You can get that by attending a piano class conducted by an excellent teacher. Focus on getting a piano teacher who has already established a name for himself/herself. Forget about the music school’s advertising, gimmicks, or facilities. Your focus must be on partnering up with a good teacher who can guide you through the whole learning process. He/she may get surprised with the timetable that you want, but surely, it is possible to make it happen.

It is no easy feat learning the piano, more so wanting to learn it in under three months. However, it is doable as long as you have an excellent and passionate teacher, and you have the full dedication and patience in learning the ropes of the instrument. Whatever your age is, you must choose to let go of your doubts and ego, so you get to grow phenomenally as a piano student.

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.

Pros and Cons of Private vs. Public Schools

During times of economic uncertainty, the option of sending children to non-public schools represents a significant issue for parents. Public schools are free and, in most cases, offer a wide range of student opportunities geared toward either college preparation or the workforce. With the advent of state-sponsored college-credit programs such as internet-based courses facilitated by state universities or “early colleges,” public schools can provide upper-level academics that frequently compete with non-public alternatives. Private schools, however, still offer many advantages that the public schools simply cannot touch, and these benefits are attractive to parents willing to sacrifice.

Children in a public school classroomThe Benefits of Non-Public School Education

Many private schools flourish because of their reputations. Often decades in the making, the very “name” of these institutions evokes a distinct sense of pride. Some private schools, notably Catholic high schools, develop superb reputations based on athletic success. Although they are often seen as elitist, such schools command clout in the academic community. Reputation is an important consideration.

Private schools have lower student-teacher class ratios than public schools and teachers foster strong relationships with both students and parents. Teacher feedback is expected and is far more frequent than in most public schools. Private school facilities are frequently more modern and technologically advanced. Non-public institutions usually command greater resources, often tied to very active PTA organizations.

Above all, private schools tend to have a vested interest in seeing their students advance to a successful college experience. In many cases, these include top-tier universities. To accomplish this, private school faculties often represent teachers with advanced degrees in their subject areas, although they may not be state licensed or certified.

Public School Advantages over Private School Alternatives

Because many public schools are large, they frequently offer more choices to students regarding courses and have more excellent resources and staff in addressing the needs of special education students (this may not be true in rural school systems or systems in one-industry towns that have suffered major job losses). All public school teachers must be state-certified and most systems pay the necessary fees to have teachers nationally board certified.

Private school students in their uniformsSome argue that the public school experience provides a higher degree of student diversity and socialization. Additionally, public schools offer many upper-level courses from honors to Advanced Placement and some classes feature the International Baccalaureate program. Whether the No Child Left Behind law ultimately prevails or has any merit in mandating realistic outcomes, it has forced schools and communities to take stock of local education. Hence, superintendents and school boards are looking at the public school process far more critically. This can only benefit students in the long term.

Public schools provide transportation, something many non-public alternatives cannot match or if they can, on a limited basis only. This includes “activity” buses used for athletic transportation as well as field trips.

The Pros and Cons of Public versus Private Schools

Parents and students need to view all of the pros and cons carefully (recognizing that such choices are often student-driven). Is a more disciplined environment worth paying tuition? Are smaller class sizes worth the added expense? For parents that want to see their children have an “edge” over public school students in college, these reasons often justify the financial sacrifice. One option parents should consider is Early College.

On the other hand, parents recognize, depending on their particular public system, that public schools can do just as good a job of educating students if the right choices are made regarding course selections and extracurricular participation. Students with a strong work ethic can thrive in any educational environment, mainly if they have strong family support.