Helping children handle grief

Death is one of those lessons we hope our children will not have to experience early in life. However, given death is an inescapable fact of life, we know our children will eventually need to deal with it. When and how we discuss death with our children will depend on their ages and the circumstances.

Tear Soup is a wonderful children's story about how Grandy deals with her grief by creating a soup. This book is well loved by adults and children alike who have suffered a loss. This book can provide a bridge for discussing death with your children.

When consequences aren’t working

One mom was fed up with her 2-year-old son Sam continually wanting to play in the dirt of a large indoor plant. Every time Sam started playing in the dirt, his mom slapped his hand and told him "No!"

Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to deter Sam. It wasn’t long before he was back in the dirt and getting his hand slapped once again. Mom really knew the consequence wasn’t working when Sam was playing in the dirt, saw his mother coming and held out his hand to be slapped.

Apparently playing in the dirt was worth a slap on the hand! Mom finally solved the problem by moving the plant to a place Sam couldn’t access. She then took Sam outside and showed him a place where he could dig in the dirt.

How do you know when the consequences you are giving your child for misbehaving are ineffective? You'll see the behavior continue and likely escalate. It's then time to take a step back and figure out a better approach.

Disagreeing on Your Parenting Approach

Couples rarely talk about how they plan to approach parenting before they have children. They may not even realize they have very different opinions on how to raise their children until certain situations make it obvious. These differences can cause serious marital stress.

By default, most people parent their children the way they were parented. Given each partner was raised in a different family, there will naturally be differences in their parenting approaches.

Taking a parenting class together or reading a parenting book can provide a basis for discussing various parenting topics. My husband and I benefited greatly from taking a parenting class together and discussing what we were learning.

You and your spouse/partner can now take an online parenting class from the comfort of your own home for just $59:
It’s a great investment in both your relationship with your children and with each other!

How You Unintentionally Encourage Misbehavior

Do you ever find yourself feeling exasperated with your children’s continual misbehavior? If so, you’re like many other parents! You may even feel like shouting at your kids “Why can’t you just behave!”

So why do your children behave the way they do? According to the late psychologist Alfred Adler, all behavior serves a purpose. The most basic purposes are for two things:

  • Belonging – feeling a sense of connection
  • Meaning – feeling a sense of significance

When your kids are misbehaving, they often feel a greater sense of connection to you because you pay a lot of attention to them. They may also feel a sense of significance because they know how to push your buttons and make you react. Now there’s some power!

Let’s look at how this works in a couple situations.

My Children Don’t Listen

Do you ever find yourself having to repeat the same thing multiple times before your children actually listen? Children who don’t listen often have been unintentionally taught not to listen.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Sharing the Love!

One of the most wonderful things about children is how open and loving they can be. Valentine's Day gives us a reason to pause and consider how we show our love to our children.

My family's Valentine tradition is to enjoy a special meal together. This is the one time a year we have lobster and steak for dinner - yum! We all look forward to enjoying this meal together. As our children have become teens, it's a nice tradition that makes the day special with or without a boyfriend/girlfriend in the picture.

What special things do you do for Valentine's Day?

Good chores for preschoolers

Is your preschooler responsible for some simple household chores? If not, now is the perfect time to start! Starting chores when children are young and enthusiastic helps establish the expectation of helping out in the family.

Most preschoolers are not very good at chores but they are often eager to help. Here are some chores that many preschoolers can handle:
  • Carrying groceries from the car to the house (not the eggs!)
  • Putting clean laundry away (especially easy items like socks and underwear)
  • Bringing in the newspaper or mail
  • Putting the silverware and napkins on the table
  • Tearing up lettuce for a salad
  • Picking up leaves and branches from the yard
  • Picking ripe fruit
When our daughter was 3 1/2-years-old, we gave her the responsibility of cutting up strawberries to go on pancakes. Using a regular table knife, she was happily occupied for at least 30 minutes getting a bucket of strawberries cut up. She was proud of her contribution to the breakfast and we were thankful too!

What chores does your preschooler have?

Retiring from bathroom duty

One of my colleagues was asked during a recent presentation about when she should stop helping her son wipe himself after using the bathroom. When she asked the child's age, she learned he's 10-years-old! The mom was concerned he'd get a rash if she didn't help him. While this might happen, he'd quickly learn from the consequences.

Sometime before your children are 5 or 6-years-old, you should be completely be out of their bathroom business. It's important for your children to take control over their own bodies. It can help kids to start with toilet paper and finish off with a flushable wipe. They'll learn to do a good job after enough practice!

Are your kids begging you?

Are your kids begging you to buy things? If so, the marketers are being effective in teaching your children one of the best ways to get you to break down and buy it - beg!

Did you know that kids under age 12 influence the spending of 700 billion dollars per year? The documentary "Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood" explores how marketers work their magic with children. They did a wonderful job pulling together data showing the negative impact it has on kids. You can watch a preview version of the entire film on the Media Education Foundation's site.

I enjoyed watching this movie and hearing from various experts regarding how marketing has changed. I didn't realize that researchers actually watch kids take baths to figure out how they interact with things like soap. The extent of their research is a bit disconcerting!

Sugared Cereal Is Not Healthy For Kids

Did you know that  sugared cereals have more sugar per serving than frosted cakes or donuts? Yikes! Dr. Michael Greger's article, &qu...