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While I was preparing for my upcoming parenting course I started wondering why some parents don’t take advantage of such opportunities.

Busy familyThen I remembered, so well, my struggle with my inner critic before I updated from my simple cell phone to an expensive smartphone, that required a more expensive “data plan”. I didn’t even know what a “data plan” was! I questioned myself endlessly, as I tend to do over expensive purchases. “Do I really need it? Is it worth the expense? And yes, I even answered myself! “I’ve gotten along just fine without it.” “Other people seem to be doing fine without these gadgets.” “It will take too much time to learn about it.” Truthfully, I even felt shame that I knew nothing about smartphones. I felt embarrassed and stupid that I didn’t even know what questions to ask.

When I finally decided to ‘just go for it’—to find out about these smartphones—I remember so well my sense of awe when the salesperson, Stephen, wisely and patiently took his time to show me all the features of what became my first smart phone. A couple of times I even exclaimed, “Wow!” Compared to my boring cell phone this smart phone was definitely SMART—and could make me smarter! These days successful, effective business leaders know that updating is a smart move.

So what does this have to do with parents not taking advantage of parent education opportunities? Well, I wonder if some of the reasons why parents don’t attend parenting workshops are the same reasons why I was reluctant to get a smart phone. I have heard parents say, “Parents should know what to do. It’s just common sense.” “It’s only parents in trouble who need parent education” or “I don’t have time.”

Yet, many of my clients know that keeping updated on the latest information about how to help children grow up to be happy and resilient is a smart move.

For instance, our parents could only have dreamed of the tools available to parents today — tools like learning the skills to become your child’s emotional coach, tools for discipline that promote a child’s self-discipline and self-motivation, strategies for dealing with tantrums effectively. Just learning this one thing—how not to be a “helicopter parent”— whose kids grow up to feel “entitled” or feel too scared to grow up and go out into the real world of work—could prevent a lot of future suffering.

Both parents and children have less stress and enjoy their life together so much more when parents learn such skills.

Just like the smart phone helps us cope with the digital age and the fast pace of our lives,  research-based parent education can help you to prevent your child from going down the slippery slope of internet addiction, a growing, serious problem with youth today. (This is just one of the parenting problems parents, in the past, didn’t have  to worry about.)

Being updated on the latest information on helping children grow up to be happy and resilient is a smart move. For example, some styles of parenting are outdated and make parenting harder. The authoritarian style and the permissive style—or as Barb Coloroso, author of “Kids Are Worth It” called them, the Brick Wall and Jellyfish models of parenting—are outdated and costly to you and your child. You can still use them but they are ineffective and time-wasting, producing poor results. They are as outdated as the typwriter! As with a smart phone, there are more options and more applications in parenting to make your job effective, enjoyable and efficient.

To carry this analogy just a little further, there is so much to learn about raising kids. As I have often said, “Parenting is all learned, not inherited.” The bad news is that learning on the job is inefficient and outdated. The good news is that you can learn how to talk so kids will listen (Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlich), and how to be respected and connected to your children even when you set limits. And you will smile, knowing that not much else in the world really matters more than raising children who believe in themselves and have the gifts of self-respect, inner strength, and a strong moral compass that will guide them throughout their life—even through the hazards of adolescence.

Stephen Covey once commented “There is so much good we that we can do in the world and it all starts in the home.”

 


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The Countdown Begins!

I’ve been teaching/coaching parents for more than 30 years. Yet when the countdown begins for my next workshops my heart still bubbles with joy and anticipation. I look forward to meeting everyone, new faces and old. Even more so, I look forward to sharing the research, information, and resources that have  helped so many amazing parents to be the parent they dreamed of being — calmly managing the most difficult situations.

Knowing that we all want the best for our kids, I teach skills that will help you to stop yelling and shaming. We all know the intense pain of being shamed as a small child, feeling like we are flawed and unlovable.young girl trying to block out sound of parents arguing When we shame our kids we promote behaviours like lying because many kids would rather lie than feel the pain of being shamed.

Children are people too.

The primary difference between healthier families and controlling or permissive families is that parents in healthier families allow children to grow up as persons in their own right.

“If you bungle raising your children, nothing else matters much in life.”

—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

I enjoy giving parents up-to-date tools that work. I relish parents’ comments afterwards, like “I did that, Win, and I was amazed — it really worked.” These simple tools do work, and perhaps more importantly, they leave your child’s self-esteem intact too. I love to use the analogy that just as you would never use a typewriter again — once you’ve used a computer — you won’t want to  use outdated parenting tools again either, once you learn about these effective, time-efficient tools that truly make parenting easier and more enjoyable!

canstockphoto-2It’s just amazing how — if you make what seem to be small changes — you can change your relationship with your child forever. It will be calmer and more peaceful. And your child will want to co-operate, and listen to you because your child will trust you more. These skills and resources will hold you steady right through the adolescent years.

 


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The Key to Becoming an Effective Parent Today

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Create the home you always wanted.

I have studied, practiced, and taught parenting for more than 30 years.

When my husband and I were preparing to have our first child, I vividly recall feeling joy — and anxiety. My anxiety came from my unhappy childhood memories. Upon reflection, knowing that my parents did the best that they could, and that it wasn’t good enough, I didn’t want to repeat what I my parents did.

In the absence of reflection, history often repeats itself…Research has clearly demonstrated that our children’s attachment to us will be influenced by what happened to us when we were young if we do not come to process and understand those experiences.

– Daniel Siegel

Later, as a public health nurse, visiting 30-50 homes a month — and having started to teach parenting — I began to ask: Why is it that some parents and their children are happier and more successful than others? Why do some have better relationships than others?

Why Are So Many Parents Frustrated and Unhappy?

Why is it that so many parents, who had great dreams, and were over-joyed when their child was born, end up frustrated and mad at their kids? Why are some parents supportive, patient, respectful, effective, and optimistic —  but the majority are yelling, threatening, punishing, and finally, hitting a child because “nothing else works”?

Why is it that a few parents get enjoyable satisfaction out of parenting, and are not rushed, while — at the same time — a great majority are rushed and stressed and downright unhappy?

Why do some children grow up to be happy, competent, confident, responsible, and resilient, and others grow up to be unmotivated, unable to build healthy relationships, and stuck — blaming their parents for all their woes?

It seemed to me that so few parents were realizing their full potential to build their legacy — deep relationships with their children that endured the teen years and beyond! So few were grasping the awesome opportunity they had to truly change the world — by changing how they parented!

Learn What You Need To Learn to Be an Effective Parent

Searching for answers to my questions, I decided to do what I had done to become a successful driver, a successful, competent nurse, educator, speaker, and writer. I decided that if I were to become the parent I wanted to be — feeling happy and confident most of the time, and raising terrific kids — I had to learn what I needed to learn and then practice it until I got good at it.

Successful, effective parenting is not magic. You can learn what you need to know to be the parent you always wanted to be!

 


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The Elf on the Shelf Tradition Is No ‘Quick Fix’ for Raising Children

Elf on the Shelf logoI know discussions about the Elf on the Shelf can really trigger some parents’ intense emotions.1 Amy, of the Funny Is Family blog, reports that fans “swear by the magical properties that turn their kids into well behaved angels from Thanksgiving to Christmas.” She represents a small minority of parents who don’t understand why someone would add to the holiday stress by taking on the work involved in keeping up the holiday hoax, and also protests that this Elf on the Shelf is just one more addition to our bully culture:

We can’t say anything because you’re in Santa’s inner circle? Sounds to me like we’ve brought a bully in the house. Hey kids, it’s okay to let someone treat you badly if they are important. Or if they know someone important.2

In an article in the Atlantic, that I highly recommend for your reading, You’re a Creepy One, Elf on the Shelf, Kate Tuttle writes:

 An object that disappears and reappears is wonderfully fun—but it doesn’t have to be something from a store or someone else’s imagination, much less a committee’s. If you have an Elf, make up your own story about what he’s doing in your house—the weirder the better. Do not like him on Facebook. Do not use him to bully your child into thinking that good behavior equals gifts.3

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A grandparenting class? Why?

You raised your kids and they turned out fine. What could you possibly learn that you don’t know already? The truth is that a lot has changed since you gave birth. The baby gear alone is incredible. My newest grand daughter has a high chair that looks more comfy than my favorite lazy boy chair – and has more positions. Her stroller is so high tech you practically need an engineer to operate it.

You will be learning all the information that the parents of your grandchildren are learning — perhaps more. You will learn the new theories about feeding, sleeping, crying, lying, and handling meltdowns. This is no time to assert that the old ways are best.You can even learn some family rules that will keep you out of trouble.

Questions will be answered, like what happened to punishing, and even spanking kids who are rude and misbehave? Are kids today spoiled? Are some kids discipline-proofed? Are they growing up too fast? Are you too permissive or too strict? What can you teach your grand children that their parents don’t? When should you speak up and when should you bite your tongue?

Getting together with other grandparents can be very reassuring. You will become more clear about your role as in laws as well as grandparents; when it is important to respect the wishes of the parents and when it is okay to bend the rules a little. You will find out that no matter how hard you try to please the parents conflict is inevitable but most conflicts can be resolved if you have some effective conflict resolution skills.

The classes will do one more important thing: they will remind you of the good news about being a grandparent  that you’re really not the one in charge here and nothing is your fault, either. As Roxana Robinson writes in Eye of my Heart

It’s like being told you no longer have to eat vegetables, only dessert — and really only the icing. —

So take a back seat, learn the new ways and enjoy the ride.

So take a deep breath,smile and sign up for a grandparenting class. You will learn a lot and you won’t regret it.


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