Monday, January 15, 2018

Establishing Healthier Eating Habits

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat healthy? If so, you have plenty of company! While it seems like it should not be that difficult to have children eat plenty of nutritious food, for many it’s an ongoing struggle.

When there’s tension around what your kids are eating, it adds stress to every meal. It doesn’t have to be that way. Changing your approach so that healthy eating is no longer a battle is worth the effort.

Recognizing Eating Issues

How do nutrition-smart parents raise kids who exist on mac and cheese, yogurt, goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets? Your nutritional knowledge can unintentionally help you justify feeding your children junk food. If you find yourself saying “well at least it has Vitamin C”, you’ve fallen into this trap!

Do you need to adjust your family’s eating habits to be healthier? These signs indicate a need to make some changes:
  • You find yourself begging your kids to eat just two more bites.
  • You battle with your kids over eating enough fruits and vegetables.
  • Your children are overweight.
  • Your children often aren’t hungry at meal time.
  • You justify poor food choices with saying things like “at least it has protein”.
  • Your children typically eat something other than what is being served for dinner.
  • Meal time is filled with tension.
  • When you eat at someone else’s house, you bring special food for your child.

If any of these signs resonate with you, it’s time to make some changes.

Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

Dr. Dina Rose discusses helping kids eat well in her book, It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. She focuses on teaching your kids healthy habits that will last their lifetime.

Picture Courtesy of Pinterest Search for Vegetable Recipes

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Raising Moral Children Without Relying On Religion

Raising kids means eventually being asked some tough questions. They'll ask questions ranging from the meaning of life to what happens after we die. To keep it interesting there will also be many questions in between!

If you are raising your children in the same religion you were raised in, these answers may be readily provided. What happens if you've rejected the religion you were raised in? How do you provide guidance in life's big questions when you're not sure yourself?

In her book In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World, Maria Polonchek describes her journey. Raised in an evangelical Christian home, she started questioning many of her religion's beliefs as a teen. She describes her process of leaving this church and searching for other ways of answering life's big questions.

When one of her young sons asks "Who is God?" she realizes that she doesn't have pat answers like her parents did. How can she and her husband raise kids with moral values without the support of a church? She discusses her thoughts and feelings as she searches for answers.

They discover the Unitarian Universalist religion which supports diverse beliefs. By the time they first go to this church, their oldest twins are 9-years-old and prefer other activities on Sundays rather than going to church. Because of her own upbringing, Polonchek was reluctant to bring her kids to any church before they were able to reason on their own. Unfortunately by the time they are able to reason, they can give plenty of reasons why they should not have to go to church!

Interestingly we raised our kids in a Unitarian church because it allowed both my husband and my beliefs to co-exist. I wanted our kids to have a foundation in religion. The Unitarian church provides an excellent educational program including exploring various world religions.

If you are exploring how to raise moral kids without relying on religion, Polonchek's book will give you ideas from her path.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Supporting Kids Through Heartbreaking Rejection

Being rejected hurts. You love your kids and never want to see them hurt. Unfortunately you cannot prevent your children from experiencing rejection. Whether it’s not being selected for a team or not having a date for the dance, feeling rejected is painful.

Your response in these situations can provide a healing salve for your child’s wounds or deepen the pain. When you let them know that you value and love them regardless of what has happened, you provide comfort. Knowing they always have your love is a powerful antidote.

Threatening To Remove Connection

Everyone has a deep need for connection with others. When children want to hurt others, one way they do it is by threatening to remove connection.

Words can hurt. This is especially true when they are words of rejection. Even young children know the power of saying things like:

  • "I'm not your friend anymore."
  • "I don't want to play with you."
  • "You're not invited to my birthday party!"
  • "I hate you!"
Saying these things is often a child’s way of expressing anger or frustration. When you hear kids saying something like this, begin by acknowledge their feelings. You might say “You are mad that she won’t share that truck with you. It’s not ok to say mean things. What else can you say to let her know how you are feeling?”

Kids need lots of practice developing their interpersonal skills. When you hear kids saying something unkind, help them find healthier ways to express their emotions.

Experiencing a Crushing Blow

Trying out for a team takes courage. Unless your child is guaranteed to make the team, there is the risk of failure. Responding when your child makes the team is easy. The difficult part is how you respond when your child does not make the team.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Improving Your Family Dynamics

How have things been going for your family this past week? When were you feeling happy and content? What situations left you feeling frustrated, angry or sad?

When you reflect back, think about what has gone well and what parts feel out of alignment. If you could change anything what would it be?

Acknowledging Problems

Recognizing what isn’t working well is the first step in making a positive change. When parents report their biggest challenges, they describe problem behaviors like:
  • Not listening
  • Throwing tantrums
  • Disobeying
  • Hitting people
  • Back talking
  • Being a picky eater
  • Sibling fighting
  • Being disrespectful
  • Not getting homework done
  • Arguing and questioning
If these behaviors make your list too, know that you’re not alone! While your kids will behave in ways that you would like to change, the only real change you can make is to your own behavior. Don’t despair! When you focus your energy on changing your own behavior, you increase your influence on your kids’ behavior.

Responding in Better Ways To Your Kids’ Challenging Behavior

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sage Questions For Teens Graduating From High School To Ponder

Do you know someone graduating from high school? Are you looking for a meaningful graduation gift? Hal Runkel's new book, Choose Your Own Adulthood is a perfect match!

Graduating from high school is an important milestone in anyone's life. There are many choices to be made and the decisions determine the direction of one's life. When Runkel's daughter was leaving for college, he handed her a book he had written to help guide her. Now he's sharing that wisdom in this book.

The book discusses choices and guides you to considering the ramifications of different decisions. How will you handle dating? What will you spend your time pursuing? What are your principles and how will they guide you? How can you get focus on the work you most value? What does it take to finish a project or save for your future? What are the benefits of being real instead of trying to be perfect? This book will help your teen think through these important questions and more!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Parenting Wisdom From Special Needs Kids

Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher, founded Special Books by Special Kids to share the unique personalities of his students with the wider community. While his videos do capture these kids' personalities, they do far more than that. They demonstrate how to treat kids in ways that encourage the very best in them.

This parenting wisdom page pulls together a few videos that do an exceptional job demonstrating key components in raising kind, caring kids.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Improving Family Harmony By Increasing Positive Interactions

How are you feeling about each of your children? There are times when you probably find it easy to love your kids and appreciate their wonderful qualities. Undoubtedly there are other times when you may struggle to find positive things to say to them.

One mom lamented that it was hard to think of anything positive to say to her 13-year-old daughter. She felt her daughter was not working up to her potential. She found herself nagging and correcting her daughter which had led to her daughter not wanting to be around her mom.

Intimate parent-child relationships are filled with ups and downs. When your children are behaving well, it’s easy to be with them and show them love. However the real challenge comes in maintaining a positive relationship when they are not behaving the way you would like.

Building Loving Relationships

Do you find yourself feeling angry or frustrated by your kids more often than you’d like? How do you create the warm loving relationship you desire?

One key ingredient is making sure you have more positive than negative interactions with them. Dr. John Gottman has researched couples to learn what makes relationships last. Gottman found that “The magic ratio is 5:1. In other words, as long as there are five times as many positive interactions between partners as there are negative, the relationship is likely to be stable.”

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