Following a Positive Path along the Parenting Journey

Parenting is a long journey, a little like going on a long hike through the mountains. There will be ups and downs. There will be many paths to choose from some which will ultimately lead to beauty and others which are a dead end. How do you know where to go next?

People who have been through this valley or up this mountain before can provide incredible help. When hiking through an area without a clear path, the path is often marked by small piles of rocks called cairns. You can make your parenting journey easier by looking for the cairns along the way.

For general information parenting classes and parenting books can be wonderful resources. When you are dealing with a very specific issue, the internet allows you to find people who are also dealing with that same problem. What have you found to be the most helpful for your parenting journey?

Using Filtering Software to Protect Your Kids From Internet Porn

Shelly lamented to me about her 8-year-old son losing his innocence after going to a web site his school buddy gave him which ended up being a porn site. This was not at all how she wanted him to be introduced to sexuality. What he has seen cannot be taken away and she truly regrets that the computer wasn't set up to prevent him from going to that site.

This is an all-too-common scenario. If you have young kids at home, be sure to use internet filtering software on all your digital devices.

You can read more about internet filtering on Common Sense Media's site. For reviews and customer comments on various internet filtering software, check out Top Ten Reviews.

Truly Understanding Someone Else

If you truly want to connect with your child or someone else, you need to focus your attention on that person. You have to put down whatever you're doing, including any digital device that you may be using, and look at him or her.

Child psychiatrist Daniel Siegel explains that to know what’s really going on with others we need to begin with having eye contact. The muscles around our eyes are directly connected to the emotional parts of our brain which is why the eyes provide a window into someone's mind.

Siegel points out the other things you need to observe in the person are:
  • Facial expression
  • Tone of voice
  • Posture
  • Gestures
  • Timing
  • Intensity of response
All these factors will give you insight into truly understanding that person. If you are communicating using email or texting, most of these factors are absent which is why truly feeling understood is difficult. Spending face-to-face time with your children will increase your understanding of them and their feeling of being understood.

Helping Kids Resolve Conflicts

Have you ever noticed that children often seem to be on a mission to create conflict? The minute one child picks up a toy another child decides he absolutely must play with that same toy right now. Boom - it's time to solve another conflict!

Learning Life Skills through Conflicts

Conflicts provide rich learning opportunities for children. By continually placing themselves in clashes, children work on developing important life skills like:
  • Stating their position and understanding of a situation
  • Negotiating resolutions that are acceptable to those involved
  • Appreciating someone else's perspective
  • Establishing boundaries
  • Exercising self-control
Children learn these important life skills when they struggle to resolve their own conflicts. If you jump in and solve the problem for your kids, it reduces their learning opportunity. A better approach is to act as a mentor when your children come to you with a problem.

Guiding Children to Solving Problems

Resisting the urge to solve your kids' disagreements is not easy. In her book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, Becky Bailey describes a process to help children solve their own problems.

(Read the rest of the article on Priceless Parenting)

How do you nurture the soul of your family?

Paying attention to what nurtures your family is one of the most important things you can do. When family members don't get enough of what they need - whether it is sleep, outdoor time or healthy food - things get out of balance.

It can be challenging to slow down enough to notice what's contributing to your family's overall mood. In her book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, Renรฉe Peterson Trudeau describes how to do just that.

"As we slow down, pause, inquire, do the work that's needed to heal, and invite our wise selves to have a voice, we begin to experience more space around our problems and how we see things. We create breathing room in which we can choose how and when we respond to the screaming toddler, the teenager who just broke curfew, or the partner who seems constantly distracted.

As we begin to heal our inner world and come into greater wholeness, our outer world changes, too. Our choices and circumstances shift and align with our values, so we live with greater integrity with who we really are."

Her practical ideas are filled with examples from her own family and others about how they've found more connection and less stress. If you want ideas for nurturing the soul of your family, this book is a great place to start.

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...