Parenting children with health issues

I recently spoke to a mom whose teenage son has diabetes. Parenting children is difficult and when children have serious health issues, it’s even more difficult. What do you do if your child is diabetic but doesn’t want to do the things he needs to do to keep his blood sugar under control? How do you handle this as a parent when you know there are potentially dire consequences for your child’s failure to comply?

These questions and more are discussed in this book:

The Parenting Children with Health Issues web site is also a rich resource for information.

Appreciating who they are

Last week I met a mom whose daughter is now in her mid 20’s. Recently her daughter told her that growing up she always tried to hide her struggles and failures from her mom because she felt her mom wanted her to be perfect. Her mom had never intended to give her this message and was very surprised to learn that her daughter felt this way.

Children pay great attention to what their parents focus on. If they hear a lot of praise for their accomplishments but not a lot of appreciation for being themselves, they may conclude that it’s their achievements that matter most.

On the other hand, if they hear “I love you” every day along with comments about their character, they may realize it’s who they are not what they do that matters most.

     “You were really generous to share that with your sister.”
     “You are great at cheering your teammates on!”
     “Your smile always brightens up my day.”
     “I love your sense of humor!”

Take time today to think about characteristics you admire in your children and then tell your kids.

Teens trying to become pregnant

I was saddened to read that Gloucester High School in Massachusetts had a record number of 17 pregnant teens this year. Apparently this happened after a number of them, all 16 and younger, made a pact to get pregnant. According to the article some girls expressed that they felt their parents would be fine with it and would help them out.

My daughter’s Seattle high school newspaper’s recent cover story was on three teens who had their babies while at that school. Each story spoke about how wonderful it was to have a baby and how much the family pitched in to help. There was no mention of any downsides of having a baby while still being a teen.

It appears that many teens are not getting messages from their parents about the serious consequences of teenage pregnancy. The parents of pregnant teens also pay a heavy price. The U.S. Census 2000 figures show that 2.4 million grandparents had primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren.

This data motivates me to talk to my two teenagers about sexuality and the incredible responsibility involved in having a baby. Parents, if we want to enjoy our grandchildren some day but do not want to be responsible for raising them, we need to talk to our teens about this. There are many books which provide wonderful suggestions about talking to kids about sexuality and associated responsibilities. Let the conversations begin!

Avoiding Power Struggles

It's easy to get into power struggles or arguments with your children. However, once you learn what triggers power struggles, you can avoid them.

The article "Avoiding Power Struggles with Your Children" provides some concrete examples of what to say in order to stay out of arguments. Try it out this week and let me know how it works for you!

Making big internet mistakes

It’s important for our children to be able to make mistakes so they can learn from those mistakes. However, the internet enables children to easily make serious mistakes that can follow them around for many years. In this situation, we are wise to discuss the mistakes other people have made so hopefully our children will learn from those mistakes instead of their own.

One mistake we don’t want our kids to make is to post text, pictures or videos that they wouldn’t want everyone to see. The potential consequences were highlighted last week in an article published by The Seattle Times titled “Teens sending nude photos via cell phones”.

Often people electronically send messages or pictures that they think will only be seen by one or two people. However, anything digital is easy to forward or have fall in the wrong hands. It’s critical to teach our children to think hard before pressing send!

New book for expecting fathers

Expecting fathers now have their own guide written by advice columnist and dad, Harlan Cohen. He covers topics from how to make pregnancy a joyous time to tips for dealing with the new baby. This may be the perfect Father's Day gift for that dad-to-be!

Divorcing parents - advice from a divorced dad

I’ve heard people compare going through a divorce to the turbulence of white water rafting. Negotiating the rapids caused by divorce is made even more challenging when children are involved.

Len Stauffenger is a dad who has been through a divorce, remarried and successfully raised his children. He recently wrote a book, “Getting over It! Wisdom for Divorced Parents”, to help others in similar situations.

This book provides guidance to parents who are going through a divorce and are concerned about how their children will be affected.

Stressed over birthday parties?

A parent lead group has created a web site called Birthdays Without Pressure. The purpose of the site is to raise awareness of the problem of out-of-control birthday parties and to offer alternatives.

Birthdays Without Pressure

The way we celebrate our children’s birthdays teaches them a lot about our values. This web site is a great resource for considering less stressful birthday party options.

Parenting: The Most Important Job You’ll Ever Have

I really believe that parenting is the most important job we as parents will ever have. I was fortunate to be interviewed on this topic on the Giving Zone radio show. You can listen to the radio show by clicking the link below:

Giving Zone radio interview

Hear parenting stories and find out what inspired me to create an online parenting class to share these critical parenting skills.

“I’m bored.”

Summer vacation is almost here and parents are likely to hear their children sometime complaining “I’m bored.”

Whose problem is this? If you’re bored then it’s your problem. However, if your children are bored then it’s their problem. Figuring out how to spend free time is an important skill for children to learn. You can let your child own the problem by responding “What are you going to do about it?”

Another approach is to use empathy along with suggestions for chores that would help the family. You might say “How sad. Well, I sure could use your help pulling weeds or cleaning the bathrooms. Which would you like to do?”

It will be fun to see how they solve their problem of being bored!

Fostering Growth using the Mentoring Parenting Style

What is your normal parenting style?  Do you give your kids orders?  Do you do a lot of things for them that they are capable of doing thems...