False Hope Can Take You Off Track

Don’t Hold Out With False Hope

Do you rise each morning with the wide-eyed optimism that your child has finally hit that ‘magic’ age where they suddenly become more responsible?   If you haven’t taught your child  this quality all along, then you are experiencing “false hope.”  We all know what false hope means, but we may not be aware we’re practicing it until it’s too late.

Humans have a tendency to continue to hope for things even when no action has been put into place to illicit that desired circumstance or behavior.  It’s like looking at a pile of dirty dishes and believing they will clean and put themselves away on their own.

However, when it comes to parenting holding onto false hope can be damaging to our kids.  Continuing to watch our children practice poor habits day in and day out won’t change the reality of it, no matter how much we “hope” it will change.  This is only compounded when we take false hope a step further and assume they will outgrow it.

Have you latched onto false hope with your parenting techniques?  If so, this tool of  self-deception may be comfortable for a time, but eventually you will have to wake up to the realities in front of you.  If your child hasn’t done his homework without being nagged for an hour beforehand, leaving him to his own devices and hoping he will change is only creating a bigger problem and denying the reality of the situation.

How To Be Super Mom

Being super mom 24/7 isn’t possible. We all know that but some of us still want to try once in a while. Attempting to wear the cape is easier than you think. Read on to find out how.

The first step to being a super mom is organization. Yes I understand that being organized doesn’t sound like fun, but when your life and home is organized everything runs smoother. In turn you have more time for fun activities with your child/children.

Make sure everything in your home has a place. Even if that means you have a junk drawer, or a paper drawer. Everyone has one. When everything has a home you don’t waste time looking for things and when cleaning up instead of finding something a home you know where it belongs. Next make your calendar your friend. Write everything down from school plays to Dr appointments to work and sports schedules, etc.

We’re almost at the fun part. Now instead of waiting for an opportunity to have some fun, go through your calendar and schedule it in like a Dr’s appointment. No more excuses find the time. It can be family night once a week or family fun day once a month. You choose depending on your schedules.

Okay this is the fun part. Keep an empty jar and fill it with all your ideas. If you don’t have any ideas yet visit websites to get some inspiration. You can pick crafts, activities, day trips, baking, whatever your family is into. Now you fill the jar with all the ideas you gather and when it’s family night your ready, no more thinking on the fly.

You can either have your kids pick out what they want to do, or pick one out at random like a lottery. Or you can pick out what activity your up to depending on how long of a day you had. Maybe offer the option for the kids to leave suggestions on stuff they’d like added to the jar. It’s also excellent bribery, “If you get straight A’s you can add that to the jar.”

There you have it you are on your way to being a super mom. Remember you don’t need to spend a lot of money or do anything too extravagant. Doing things out of the ordinary in itself is fun. Ask a friend the last time they planned a picnic for their kids or went on a nature walk. Try to remember your favorite childhood memories and use the them to inspire your creativity.

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See Also Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com

Raise a Good Citizen: Teaching Civic Values

by Leslie Garisto

Don’t expect your child to truly learn how democracy works at school. It’s your job to make politics personal.

(Image Source: meredith.com)America’s birthday is this month, so here’s a quick question for you: What year was the U.S. Constitution written — 1776, 1787, or 1792? Not so sure, huh? The bad news is that with what’s happening in U.S. classrooms, your kid is even less likely to know the answer. (It’s 1787.) The National Assessment of Educational Progress recently released The Nation’s Report Card, and the civics marks aren’t pretty: Only 22 percent of 8th-graders and 27 percent of 4th-graders were “proficient” in the subject.

Given that so many young people are ill-informed about how our government works, it’s not surprising that they’re largely unengaged in politics. In the 2008 presidential election, despite the excitement surrounding Barack Obama’s historic candidacy, only 49 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds showed up at the polls, compared with 67 percent of voters ages 45 to 74. Maybe that’s because they’re out of touch with current events: Up to 60 percent of teens pay little or no attention to daily news coverage, according to a report from the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, a research center at Harvard University.

All these numbers add up to an alarming national problem of civic disengagement, and our educational system is partly to blame. Until the 1960s, civics — the study of how government works and the rights and duties of Americans — was a yearlong class in most schools. If it’s taught at all today, it’s far more likely to be folded into a single-semester high-school course in social studies.

“Civics has been on the decline for a very long time in schools,” says Margaret Branson, associate director of the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit charged with getting kids engaged in democracy. “And in recent years, the No Child Left Behind Act has forced schools to emphasize reading and mathematics at the expense of subjects like civics and government.”

This de-emphasis on the importance of citizenship could be costly in the long run. As adults, our kids are likely to face unprecedented challenges, from exploding health-care costs to global warming. Whether they’re able to come up with workable solutions will depend, to a great extent, on their willingness to be informed and active participants in the political process. “If you don’t know how government works, you give up the right to govern yourself,” says Rushworth M. Kidder, Ph.D., founder and president of the Institute for Global Ethics, a nonprofit educational and advocacy group.

During the past several years, a growing number of educators and policy makers — including President Obama and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — have pushed for young people to become more involved in our democracy. Their political education needs to start right now, with a presidential election that will help determine their future (and our nation’s) mere months away. Even young kids are ready to learn about their rights and responsibilities.

Be a Model Citizen

The best way to teach kids about our government is to demonstrate your devotion to what the entire system represents. That means voting regularly (it’s estimated that half the kids in America live in a household where the parents don’t vote), serving on a jury willingly when you’re called, obeying laws (even if you don’t always agree with them), and working for change — whether by attending a demonstration or posting a petition on your Facebook page. “Anything that shows you’re confident of your own role as a citizen will have a lasting impact on your child,” says Branson. Eileen Wolter, of Summit, New Jersey, makes a habit of voicing her opinion to elected officials, and now she’s getting her 6-year-old son, Luke, involved. When he noticed a pile of empty beer cans near a playground, she and Luke counted them, took a photo, and sent it to the local paper. “They published it, and he was very proud of himself,” Wolter says. “It taught him a big lesson about caring for the community.”

Start With the Basics

Make sure your preschoolers begin to learn the vocabulary of democracy. “Talk with them using words like ‘laws,’ ‘meeting,’ and ‘vote’ in the context of family life,” suggests Jane Bailey, Ed.D., dean of Post University’s School of Education, in Waterbury, Connecticut. Also help your kids develop the ability to talk about an issue that they care about and to listen respectfully to the perspective of people with whom they might disagree.

One of the best places to teach these lessons is at the dinner table. Choose a topic that might affect your kids directly — an upcoming vote on after-school programs, for instance, or a change in your community’s recycling laws — and then present both sides of the issue (“The schools want to offer more fun activities, but there may not be enough money in the budget for these things right now”). Then ask for their opinion. According to results from The California Survey of Civic Education, discussing politics with their parents was one of the best ways for children to develop a lifelong sense of civic engagement.

See More Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com

Speaking Honestly About Children’s Mental Health

by Diane Debrovner

(Image Source: mydevstaging.com)It’s been said that “a mother is only as happy as her least happy child,” and it’s so true that children’s mental health affects the whole family. If your child suffers from anxiety or depression or ADHD, you want to get her the best treatment just like you would if she had diabetes or asthma or cancer. And yet, stigma still does exist, and can get in the way of addressing a child’s problem. In our recent survey of more than 1,600 parents conducted in partnership with the Child Mind Institute, 48% said they think parents are to blame for children who exhibit disruptive behavior.

In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, there has been a call for improved mental health care—and mental health advocates are seizing this opportunity to talk about the importance of effective diagnosis and treatment. Indeed, our survey found that 60% of parents are concerned that kids who have a mental illness like Asperger’s Syndrome or depression are more likely to hurt themselves or others, and 61% of parents said that parents of children with mental health problems should not be allowed to have a gun in their home. However, the truth is that most violent crimes are not actually committed by people who are mentally ill, and kids with mental health issues can grow up to lead happy, productive lives when they get proper care.

“The Newtown shooting has lead to a national conversation about mental health—not just to prevent potential violence, which is very rare, but to prevent suffering, which is very common and often very treatable,” says Parents advisor Harold Koplewicz, M.D., president of the Child Mind Institute. “What we hope will come from the tragedy is openness that starts in each family and community, when we acknowledge our worries about our own children, and help make other parents feel safe enough to speak up about their worries, too.”

One piece of good news from our survey: 66% of respondents do believe that parents are now more likely to seek help if their child’s behavior worries them. We’ve also been encouraged to learn that an increasing number of pediatricians now have mental-health professionals working right in their office. Not only does that make access to care easier, but it sends a message that mental heath is just as important as physical health.

You can participate in the Speak Up For Kids campaign and learn more from the online events being hosted by the Child Mind Institute in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

See More Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com