Parenting obstacles

What gets in your way of being the best parent you possibly can be? Sometimes you may just need some new ideas for dealing with challenging situations. If this is the case, parenting classes and parenting books can be wonderful resources.

At other times you already know how you ideally want to handle a parenting situation but revert back to less effective techniques like yelling and ordering your kids around. What triggers this for you?

Is it feeling pressed for time? That’s the trigger for me. Once I feel under time pressure, all bets are off for thoughtful, considerate parenting!

Is it a lack of energy? One mom explained she knew that her strong willed daughter reacted much better when she gave her choices. However, sometimes she just didn’t feel like she had the energy to use that approach and instead just gave her daughter a command.

Is it a certain behavior from your child? One dad realized he was blowing up at his son whenever he saw him playing video games before his homework was done.

Once you know what your triggers are, you can make plans to reduce those conditions. For me, leaving plenty of time to get ready to go somewhere is essential. What helps you?

Kids Popping Parents’ Prescriptions

Do you have prescription pills in your home? Are those drugs locked up? Drug abuse prevention experts now recommend keeping all your medication locked up so that children do not have ready access to those drugs.

According to, “Prescription drugs are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13-year-olds.” Kids mistakenly believe that taking drugs their parents, friends or relatives have been prescribed are safer than taking street drugs.

Is there something you can do as a parent to increase the odds that your child will not experiment with drugs? Yes! reports that “kids who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use.” Talk to your kids and also lock up your drugs.

"Harmless" Spending that Creates Entitled Kids

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! Advertisers teach kids to beg because they've proven begging works.

You also may be unintentionally fueling the begging by giving in to it. In her book, Give Me, Get Me, Buy Me!, Donna Corwin explains her role. "Entitled children are created, not born. I became a Give Me, Get Me, Buy Me parent early on. Not wanting to deprive my princess of anything, I indulged her until she started to get used to the good life. In fact, I trained her so well that, like Pavlov's dog, when we entered a shopping mall, she didn't start to salivate or bark, but she did whine incessantly."

Influencing Your Spending

Did you know that kids under age 12 influence the spending of 700 billion dollars per year? From the brand of macaroni and cheese to buy to where to go on vacation, children have a big say. No wonder businesses are focused on turning children into voracious consumers.

The documentary "Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood" explores how marketers work their magic with children. According to Gary Ruskin, "Corporate marketers have actually studied the whole nagging phenomenon - which corporations do nagging better - and they provide advice to corporations about what kinds of tantrums work better."

How irritating! Parents have it tough enough without marketers providing kids top notch training on how to throw effective tantrums.

Studying Your Children

Marketers take understanding children's buying behavior very seriously.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Instructions for the babysitter

You're excited to finally be going out on a date night! Before you dash out the door, does your babysitter have all the information she needs?

Be sure to let her know important things like:
  • how to reach you
  • who she can call in an emergency in case you are unavailable
  • when you plan to be back
  • what the children can eat and when
  • when the children should be in bed and the bedtime routine

Print out this handy one page "Babysitter Information Sheet" so you can easily fill it out and leave it with the sitter.

Kudos to awesome dads!

Children who have dads involved in their lives are fortunate. There are all sorts of scientific studies documenting the positive impact fathers have on their children – from academic success to increased social skills.

More dads than ever before are staying at home to take care of the children. My husband stayed home with our kids for eight years. I felt fortunate being able to go to work knowing our kids were getting wonderful care. He developed a super close relationship with the kids which has lasted throughout the teen years.

My own dad helped me with everything from homework to fixing my car. He was always super patient – something I’m still working to imitate. Although he died two years ago, nobody else feels so much a continuing part of me as my dad.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dad who’s there for you, be sure to let him know how much you appreciate him on Father’s Day!

Mom of the Year

My Mom was just selected for Mom of the Year in the category of “Mom who does the ordinary with extraordinary love”. How did she win such a big honor? Well, as the only judge, I will say that she won at age 84 because I took time to really appreciate how truly amazing she is.

Since my dad, her husband of 49 years and best friend, died two years ago, she’s taken on learning all the finances and running the house. She’s out in the yard mowing, shoveling or whatever it takes!

For the last 15 years, she’s been visiting her older sister in the nursing home many days a week. She takes care of her grandchildren while their parents are on trips. She still hosts the holiday gatherings.

This past week my 50-year-old brother had a heart attack. It devastated Mom to learn he was in serious condition in the hospital. She called a cab (first time ever) to go to the hospital and be with him and his wife. The next day she went to the hospital and spent the night so his wife could go home.

She would be truly embarrassed to ever receive any award. However, she really deserves this award so despite all her likely protesting … she’s the winner!

What category are you the Mom of the Year winner? Choose one. I see too many moms who are too hard on themselves and don’t honor all their hard work and effort. Today decide where you are the winner and take time to celebrate yourself!

Learning by Doing

Children learn by doing. When your children do a task, they build their brain connections. When we do a task for them, we reinforce our own brain connections without adding to theirs.

Do your children ever complain about not being able to do something? My daughter used to complain that she wasn’t good at making a peanut butter sandwich so she wanted me to do it for her. I responded that this was the exact reason she needed to practice doing it! If I kept making the sandwiches for her, she’d never learn how to do it herself.

Did she thank me for this opportunity to practice? No. However, eventually she did get very good at making peanut butter sandwiches!

How much is your teen revealing on Facebook?

Do your kids have Facebook accounts? If so, do you know how much someone can find out about them?

I’m amazed by how many kids share their Wall with “Friends of Friends”. One 13-year-old girl had “Everyone” for her Wall but backed it down to “Friend of Friends” after I spoke to her mom (I recommended “Friends Only”).

I’m not her friend but I know:
  • She was up the other day at 3:48 AM and posted this fact to Facebook.
  • She’s not getting along with her parents.
  • She has a boy “stalking” her.
  • She recently changed her status from Married to Single.  She's interested in men.
  • She’s going to the school dance on Friday and getting a ride with Ian.
She has 169 friends. Even if these friends aren’t as popular and only have 100 friends each … that’s 16,900 people who have access to her Wall. Do you trust all these people with the information she’s freely posting?

Can I play?

What’s the best way for children to approach a situation where some kids are already playing together and they would like to join? While it may seem polite to ask “Can I play too?” this question is often met with a resounding “No!”

A more successful approach is to help children observe what the other kids are doing and then find a way to enter the play. At a preschool a group of children was making a castle for animals out of blocks. They were taking turns putting various stuffed animals in and out of the castle. When Emily asked if she could play too, they told her no.

Emily broke into tears at which point her teacher wisely took her aside and encouraged her to watch what the other kids were doing. She asked Emily some questions about what they were doing and how she might help. Emily decided she could help by building an additional room for the animals onto the castle. This time she just started building an additional room and was successful at joining in the play.

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...