Monday, July 31, 2006

Goal Setting with Your Kids

I thought Monicka wrote a terrific goal setting article for our latest newsletter, about how her eldest daughter managed to create the trip of a lifetime to Australia.

It's not available on the website yet, as only subscribers to our newsletter get the first sight of new articles (it'll be on there at some point).... but if you've not already subscribed please give us a try and read all about it! Here's the link...! Kids Goals Parent Newsletters

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Your Child's Emotional Well Being

The Detriments of Worry and Guilt
Last summer, my then thirteen-year-old daughter Suzannah (not her real name) chose to have a meltdown of all places the produce aisle of our local grocery store. She seemed to be fine when we left to go shopping but within ten minutes of entering the store her whole personality seemed to change. She was stomping around and appeared to be very angry. I asked her to calm down and that just seemed to make matters worse. The volume of her voice had increased so much that other shoppers were pausing to check out what the commotion was about. Finally I had had enough and grabbed her firmly by the arm and took her back to our vehicle to try and calm her down. We both sat in the back seat and for the first fifteen minutes she refused to tell me what the problem was. I was determined to get to the bottom of what had set her off and finally she told me what was bothering her.

Savannah confessed to me that the summer before she had taken something from a convenience store that we had stopped at, to pick up a few supplies for a camping trip. She happened to come across a small toy ring and had pocketed it unbeknownst to her Dad and I. I don’t know what possessed her to do such as thing as I had always told her that it was wrong to steal and I thought she had gotten the message loud and clear. The point I wish to make is not so much that she took the object in the first place which was definitely not appropriate, but rather how long she had held on to the guilt about taking it. Instead of coming to me or her Dad and telling us after the fact, she held it in for over a year until she couldn’t take it any longer. She told me after she took it she hid it in the ashtray of our vehicle and hoped no one would find it. She said that she felt so bad about it but couldn’t tell us what she had done because she was worried about the repercussions. The guilt ate away at her day after day until finally she couldn’t contain it any longer and that was what caused the meltdown in the store.

I truly believe it is important to teach our children that they can come to us whenever they have done something wrong. They need to know that no matter what they have a safe place in which to unburden their soul if need be. I felt so bad after Suzannah told me because she didn’t need to suffer like that. Of course I would have made her return the ring and tell the store manager how sorry she was, but ultimately the punishment that she chose for herself was far worse.

Let your children know that they are loved no matter what and they should always feel safe to tell you if they have done something wrong. Guilt and worry are wasted emotions and can cause great harm a child’s emotional health. Show your children that mistakes are a part of life and what is most important is that we learn from them, so that we never repeat the same one.

Have an awesome day!! KidsGoals


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Kids and Puppies and Positive Reinforcement

When our puppy, Eddie, first came home to us he was a scared little thing, missing his doggy family, and hid under the kitchen table and wouldn't come out!

Soon he settled in and accepted us as his new pack, and was an adorable but mischievous bundle of fluff. His teeth were sharp as needles and he played rough so I had lots of nips on my hands! He stole socks and ran away with them, and chewed everything he could lay his mouth on.

But there were also plenty of times when he was being delightful. When he would chew on the toys we gave him instead of the furniture and our clothes, or come running when he was called, or even just lie quietly and calmly watching us as we went about our chores.

Why is it so tempting to punish bad behavior but let the good behavior go by unmentioned? I made myself a rule that for every time I told my pup off, I would find at least 10 times when he was being good and I could proactively praise and reward him.

With a puppy it's easy to know what to do - scratch him behind the ears, talk to him in a loving voice, give him biscuits.

Why not take the time to find out what rewards would motivate your child, and resolve to find more things to praise than to punish?

Check out Monicka's great article on how to use Positive Reinforcement

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

On line Support

Have you ever felt like you were the only one going through a certain situation and no one could possibly understand?? Would you be surprised to hear that you are not alone and somewhere in this vast world someone is going through exactly what you are.

What I am referring to is the forums. Pick a topic, or a physical or emotional problem and there is a forum out there for it. I have nothing but good things to say about forums because I met my good friend Cassie on of all places an Australian friendship forum. I also belong to a weight loss forum and find amazing support from women and men of all ages who struggle with keeping the pounds off. It is good to know that you are not alone and it is an incredible support system. You are never judged and when you falter there is someone to get you right back on track. Another plus is that sometimes you don't feel like you can tell anyone, even your spouse or your best friend. On a forum you can remain totally anonymous. No one has to ever know anything personal if you don't wish to divulge that kind of information. You can tell all, purge your soul if you will and never feel like it is going to come back to haunt you. Once you post your problem other people can read about it and offer advice or just kind words, it is like therapy online.

On the topic of forums Cassie and I have discussed the possibility of providing one on our kidsgoals site. We will keep you posted as that develops.

Have a wonderful day


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reading - a great Kids' Goal for the Summer Holidays!

As a kid my most favorite thing in the world was reading, so it seems incomprehensible to me that not all kids are that way inclined. Reading has so many benefits, that it's a fabulous activity to encourage. Of course playing with other kids is probably the most important thing children should do during the summer holidays, what better way to enjoy themselves and develop great social skills, but EVERYONE should have at least some time for reading!

The local libraries in my area are doing all kinds of reading-related activities for kids, with "missions" to read certain books they recommend and so on, and I thought a Reading Goal would be a great idea for kids during the holidays.

Ideas for a good Reading Goal:

1. Relate to a subject your kid loves and can get passionate about.
2. Include some participation from you, like "book discussion" or simply doing some reading together or to each other.
3. Include a satisfying step of "ticking off" mini-steps as they are achieved!

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Kids, Goal Setting, and being Kind

Helping our kids be kind and likeable people ... is that a great goal to set??

One thing I try to remember in dealing with others is that I don't know everything about their situation. If someone does something hateful to me, are they really being horrid or are they, perhaps, just having a horrible day themselves?

A story that really drove this thought home with me is one that I thought others might find helpful, perhaps to relate to their older kids during discussions about personal goals to do with having friends, or being likeable.

I will tell the story in my own words as best I can, just as I remember being told it. It has been seared on my memory ever since.

"I was traveling home on the train from work one day. The train was full of tired commuters who just wanted to sit in peace. Unfortunately we were all driven to distraction by two young children. They were running around, shouting, pushing, kicking the chairs and basically cheesing everyone off in their attempts to destroy the train as noisily as possible. To everyone's annoyance, the children's father sat there ignoring them completely, as though he was unaware what his brats were up to. Unshaven and looking rough, I judged him to be drunk or on drugs, and looked down at him disgustedly.

"I was about to say something to this parent - and it was not going to be very polite - when he suddenly seemed to come awake, and caught me looking at him. Realization dawned on his face and he spoke to me - brokenly - and said, 'I'm sorry about the children. We have just come from the hospital, their mother has just passed away. I don't know what to say to them.'"

"I have never been so thankful before for having bitten my tongue, and I always remember that poor man, whenever I see someone acting in a way that seems unacceptable to me."

On the topic of friendliness, you might enjoy Monicka's super article on how to help your child make friends.

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Thursday, July 06, 2006

What Really Matters

As a loving parents our goal is to do right by our children. Lavish them with all the love, support and encouragement that we may never have received from our parents. We also want also want to give them all the material things, the latest video game or newest toy that all the kids are talking about. While that is all well and good the most important thing that you can give your child is your time. You may think that a new bike or game will put a smile on your child's face but if he has no one to ride that bike with or play that game with, the joy will be short lived.

My 9 year old son is a prime example of how easy it really is to make a child happy. He seems to take great pleasure in the simple things, such as running through the sprinkler with me on a hot summer day or helping me make a pot of chili for dinner. The important thing is not what you do with your child, but rather that you do it together. All a child really needs to be happy is to know that he is worth your time and that he or she is important to you.

As Maya Angelou said so succinctly, "Does your child see your face light up when he walks into the room?"