Parenting Blog

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"Dr.  Laura....I've already given up on my New Year's Resolution to be a more peaceful mother because I've blown it over and over...and it's only the first week of the year! -- Sylvia

How are you doing at keeping your New Year's resolution? 

(a) Great!
(b) Not so great.
(c) I've given up on keeping my resolution.
(d) I gave up making resolutions a long time ago because they always fail.

If you answered anything other than (a), join the club.  Change is hard.  If it were easy, we wouldn't have invented the idea of using the new year to give us some momentum.  READ POST

Thursday, January 09, 2014 | Permalink

“Why do you want your child to hurry up? Because you're done and figure he’s had long enough to finish? Because you have something else to do? If so, can that wait so that you can give your child the time he needs? Because you've promised to be somewhere? ... If you are constantly rushing from one place to the next (doctor’s appointment, haircut, playgroup, music lessons) have you taken on too much? Should you plan more downtime in your schedule so you have more time to be patient? More time for play and cuddles?” - phdinparenting

Now that kids are back in school and activities, are you noticing that life is too busy?  Most of us take it for granted that we're always rushing from one thing to the next. That we have a never-ending to-do list that keeps us from catching our breath, never mind catching a sunset together.

But it costs us.  And it costs our kids even more.  Our society is so hooked on adrenalin that we don't acknowledge the high price our children pay for our lifestyle.  Rushing our children through life:  READ POST

Thursday, October 03, 2013 | Permalink

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.” -- Martha Graham

Raising a child takes so much out of us that we often sacrifice most everything else that's important to us. But if we don't stay connected to what keeps us energized, we run dry.  READ POST

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | Permalink

"Don’t look at it as exercise — instead, play games and have a ton of fun! The main thing is just to get outside every day and do something you think is fun. You can play sports like soccer, basketball, or badminton. You can play games like freeze tag or ride a bike or do running races with your friends or family. You can go on hikes with your family or go swimming or paddling. Do lots of different things, and again, focus on having fun, and doing it often.” – Leo Babauta

You're a parent, so you don’t have time to exercise, right?   I can relate.  But moving our bodies is a basic part of self-care.  We can't talk about nurturing ourselves without figuring out a way to get physical. 

We all feel a lot more energetic when we move and stretch.  It changes the chemistry of our bodies so we're happier, more relaxed, and we burn more fat.  We not only look better, we feel better -- and so we "act" better as parents. Exercise is the best stress reducer there is, after deep breathing and getting enough sleep. What more incentive do you need?

If you can motivate yourself to go out running, or to the gym, and you can leave the kids with your partner or trade off with a friend, you’ve got it covered.  But if you’re like the rest of us, you need to find fun ways to be active while you're WITH your children.  Luckily, you have children to be active with, so you have a head start!   READ POST

Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Permalink

"For people who won the lottery -- and a lot people think that's the golden ticket to happiness -- within a year of winning the lottery, they've returned to their original happiness set-point level. Shockingly, the same was also true of people who became paraplegic. Even when bad things happen, within a year they had returned to their original happiness set-point. The really important thing is our happiness set-point. That set-point is 50% genetic, so you're born with that. It's only 10% based on your circumstances, and the other 40%, which is the part we can really do something about, is based on our habits of thought and behavior. Just like you can raise the thermostat at home to get warm on a cold day, you can actually raise your happiness set-point to become happier, and you don't have to become thinner, richer, or smarter to do it." -- Marci Shimoff

Did you know that we all have a happiness set-point, and no matter what happens to us, we tend to hover around the same happiness level for our whole adult lives?

But we can change our set point. Research shows that we can develop constructive habits that create happiness: managing our moods, positive self-talk, finding joy in daily details, practicing gratitude, cultivating optimism, connecting with others. Note that most of this is about managing our thoughts and attitudes.  Since all emotion is stimulated by our thoughts, we can change how we feel just by changing our thoughts.  

Sound hard?  No harder than playing the piano. Like any other skill, it takes daily practice.  In the beginning, you'll have to work hard to get anything that sounds like music, but in a year, you won't believe how much happier you are.  So why not start being happier right now?    READ POST

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Permalink

“You can complain because roses have thorns; or you can rejoice because thorns have roses”—Ziggy

"The opposite of complaining is gratitude. We should talk about things we are thankful for rather than things we are unhappy about. Our minds are like steering wheels, they take us in the direction we point them. If we focus on negative things, we will notice and attract more negative things in our life. If we focus on positive things, we will move in the direction of greater happiness and more success." - AComplaintFreeWorld.org

Research shows that when we listen to complaints of any kind, we get demoralized.  Whether we're making the complaints or listening to them, our minds start on a cycle of negative thinking.

So why do we complain?

Sometimes to get attention or connect with others by commiserating.  Sometimes to avoid taking responsibility for something: It's not OUR fault!  Sometimes simply because it's the story we tell about our lives.  "You won't believe how awful my day (week, year, life) was."

Parents and kids often complain as a way to lobby each other to behave differently.  With parents, it could be called nagging.  "I can't believe you left your jacket on the floor again!"  With kids, it's an attempt to elicit parental intervention of some sort:  "He's picking on me!" or "All the other kids' parents let them!"

Challenge your family to live this week complaint-free.  Put a jar on your counter.  Every time anyone complains, that person has to put a quarter in the jar, and express gratitude in place of the complaint. 

"Not chicken again!"
might become "I am so grateful we get to have a healthy, hearty dinner and that Mom cooked it for us!" 

"I hate picking up the things you kids leave strewn around the house" might become "Dinner will be ready in ten minutes.  I'm so glad that you kids will have all your things picked up first so I can feel peaceful as I  serve everyone dinner...  I love that everyone in this family is learning to clean up his own messes."

"Can't you ever brush your hair?" might become "I love having such a beautiful daughter!"

"My boss did it again!" might become "I am grateful to have a job and a paycheck to feed my family."

 At the end of the week, donate your quarters to charity.  You'll be amazed how much money you raise for your favorite charity as you re-train yourself.

May your week be filled with the miracle of gratitude.  READ POST

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 | Permalink