Showing posts from 2014

Are You Raising Applause Seekers?

I believe in praising the good works of young people.  I commit "Random Acts of Pride".  I wonder at what point do we cross the line and create adults who require the praise of others?  We all know them – adults who need others to approve of their lives and acknowledge their actions.  Why didn't they integrate a feeling of pride that would lead them to be more self-confident adults?
Little children love when you clap for them.  My niece, who is 1 ½ years old, plays a game.  She jumps on her mother’s lap and then applauds so we will all applaud with her.  She looks around the room to make sure we are all clapping and we do.  I've seen adults do a grown up version of this.  They state something about themselves and then look around the room to see the reaction.  They hope for the same thing that my niece does – a room full of acknowledgement.  I hope someday that my niece takes a giant, fun leap in her life and feels that applause without needing it from us.  I hope s…

The December Opportunity

I was recently on a trip to Washington, DC with a wonderful group of 10th graders.  After seeing the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby, one of the students said that he always wanted a Chanukah bush.  I told the student that you can respect and enjoy the beauty of other people’s traditions without having to make it your own.  On the same day, my colleagues showed me an article about a product being marketed to Jewish families that is very similar to one sold for those that celebrate Christmas.  Then, I walked into a store and saw blue and silver garland on the small shelf of Chanukah items.  When I was standing there, a woman walked over and said, “Isn't it great that our kids aren't left out anymore?”  No.  They were never left out.   It isn't their tradition.  We have beautiful traditions of our own. 
Why is there such a need to ensure that our children have everything that everyone else does?  It is so powerful that we cannot even stick to our own religious traditions…

It’s Time To Abolish Time Out

Three generations ago, adults said, “Children should be seen and not heard.”  The next generation knew better.  Two generations ago, spanking was more universally viewed as an acceptable means of punishment.  The next generation knew better.  One generation ago, time out was seen as the solution to unacceptable behavior.  Today, we know better.  Time out – sending children to be isolated – teaches the wrong lessons.  It is time to abolish it. When we send children to time out, we do teach them.  We teach them that when things don’t go well, you go away from me.  When things get emotional, you will be isolated.  We teach children that we do not want to deal with them because we have sent them away.  Is it any wonder that when our children are teens and we want them to tell us what is wrong, they go to their rooms?  We taught them to do that.
Time out is not a logical consequence for any action.  It is not specific to the inappropriate event.  It may stamp out behavior for now but, in …

Technology Breaks Benefit Kids, Too

I am preparing to take a technology break – no email, texts or social media, nothing that requires me to look at a screen – for the next 5 days.  I am setting up “away” messages and scheduling posts.  I am letting family know how to reach us in the event of emergency.  Thinking about not using technology has caused me to notice how much it is being used around me.  I must be more aware because it is on my mind.  It is like when you buy a car and you start to notice all of the same makes & models on the highway.  I walked through a store today and noticed all of the children using technology.  Parents were shopping and children were looking at screens.  Children were swiping, poking, touching and listening.  They were being read to, challenged and entertained.  They were sitting so still with their eyes on the screens. This ability to entertain children with technology is fairly new.  It didn’t exist when I was raising my boys who are now 17 and 21 years old.  I remember carrying …

Fear Based Parenting – A Scary Trend

I recently drove past a church’s sign that said, “Are your goals about your hopes or your fears?”  What a great question, especially for parents.  Our words and our reactions to our children become how they think of themselves.  Our fears become their insecurities… and today’s parents are full of fear.  I speak to parents all the time in my role as a school director and on the road when I am hired to speak about parenting.  Their fears worry me because I also work with many children and teens who suffer from anxiety, depression and/or self-destructive behaviors.
Parents need to think about from where their parenting is rooted.  Is it rooted in hope and acceptance?  Is it rooted in fear and insecurity? Parenting goals need to be based on the reality of your child’s development and abilities with an eye on what really matters for the future.  When we hold our children for the first time, we dream of them having a happy and healthy life.  A happy and healthy life includes following thei…

Teaching about Thankfulness While Respecting Cultures


Words Matter


THE Best vs. THEIR Best: The Pressure Filled Quest of Today’s Children