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Encouragement for Single Mothers

They grow up fast.

Update-Jamie Says Good-by

Well! It’s been one week since my son, Geramie left for boot camp. My youngest son, Jordan, continued to add to my ever growing Mama’s pride with academic awards. What a month. The lesson being taught is that love is what really matters in this world. The mutual love and respect between my sons and me means everything as does love of the rest of my family. Struggles and sacrifices as a single mom are now distant memories as I see my boys who are now men choosing such noble paths to take. I am beyond proud of them both and thank all who helped us get to this point. Praise to God who has been and continues to be my rock —-feeling blessed.

When Do Parents Intervene?

Carla Starts Kindergarten

Our four and a half year old, Carla, could hardly wait to go to school. Youngest of three children she watched her brother and sister go off to school each day. She was a few days too young to begin Kindergarten in public school so we looked for a good private school. We found an excellent school nearby. A kind competent teacher taught Kindergarten. We enrolled Carla. She loved school.

An Unexpected Change

About six weeks after school started, Carla’s teacher unexpectedly resigned. Another teacher took her place. Very soon we saw a change in our little girl. She didn’t want to go to school any more. One day after school she walked slowly toward the car, her eyes on the ground. She wouldn’t talk. Alarmed, I tried to find out what was wrong.

That night when I tucked her into bed, I said,”Honey, I know something happened today. Do you want to talk about it?” She burst into sobs. “Oh Mommy, I must be very bad.”

I was shocked. “Why did you say that? You have never been bad.” “Because,” she blurted tearfully, “The teacher spanked me today.”  “What?! Why?” “I don’t know.” By now she was in my arms shaking with sobs and I was furious. She really didn’t know why the teacher spanked her.

Finding Out

The next morning Carla did not go to school alone. I planned to find out what had happened and stay all day to watch this teacher teach. When I confronted the teacher she said something like this: Carla is so shy and afraid she will make a mistake. When I told the children to draw a cat under the letter C, she  just sat there and started to cry. I was shy like that when I was a little girl. I thought I might shock her out of it by spanking her.

She Shocked Me

I spent the day in the classroom. I told Carla on the way home her father had decided to get a puppy if she wouldn’t mind staying home another year. He needed her to keep the puppy from feeling lonely. She agreed to do it. The teacher was fired a few weeks later. Most of the time parents need to help their children learn to solve their own problems age appropriately. Sometimes, as in this example parents need to be their children’s advocates.

Don’t Talk Back

Talking back--Good or Bad?

Do Your Children Talk Back?

I am guessing this admonition began in the era of parenting when children were to respond, “Yes sir. No sir.” Sounds close to what was required of slaves. Is there a difference between unquestioned obedience and honest questioning? On the face of it, “talking back” could be a good thing in some situations when the child honestly wants an explaination for what he is expected to do. On the other hand, when the child is being manipulative, whining, or disrespectful it can be very annoying.

Model Respectful Behavior

Tired, overworked, short of time parents can be vulnerable to losing rational control. Easy to say, staying calm will get you the best result, but it is much harder to do. If you can manage to stay calm and talk in a firm voice, you can repeat your request a couple of times with no explaination. It is important not to give in and not to defend your position. Avoid saying, “you need to….” Modeling respectful behavior is far more effective than demanding it.

Whining

Whining works only if it gets attention and leads to getting a response. Try to avoid giving the child attention when whining other than saying, “when you talk in your normal voice, I will be able to hear what you are saying.” Lower your own voice rather than raising it.

We want our children to share their feelings and thoughts, but we want them to learn to do that in a respectful way. If parents do not talk to their children in a respectful way, chances of children learning to do it are slim.

 

Parent’s Book of Me

Identify your many faces

Advice from Virginia Satir

Children are often asked to make a book of themselves. Maybe this would be a good exercise for parents to do for themselves. Virginia Satir wrote a book called “Your Many Faces”. She starts the book “I want to get you excited about who you are, what you are, what you have, and what can still be you. I want to inspire you to see that you can go far beyond where you are right now.”

Make a Book of Yourself

Compiling this book of you would mean collecting pictures of yourself from birth until the present. Include excerpts from journals and diaries, letters sent and received, pictures of you interacting with friends and family, recurring dreams and fantasies. See if you can identify your many faces.

How does God and spirituality fit into who you are? Who had a part in forming your perceptions about yourself and good or bad parenting? How are those perceptions working in your own parenting and grandparenting? Do you judge your many faces as right or wrong instead of recognizing the potential they have to help you become a better parent and human being?

Important to Accept and Manage Your Many Faces

Satir shows in her book that we need to recognize and accept all of our many faces and then to learn to manage them well. That can be effective in becoming the best parent you can be. Some parents don’t accomplish this until they become grandparents. They become wonderful grandparents, but not so good parents. They miss so much of the joy.

 

 

 

 

Fostering Self-Esteem in Children

Making Emily feel important

Self Worth Determines How We Live

We need to feel loveable

We need to feel competent

We need to have a sense of belonging

To Develop Self-esteem…….

Children need to be treated like a unique separate person

Children need focused attention

Children need trust

Children need acceptance without judgment

Children need to have their own feelings and perceptions

Children need to be heard with understanding

Children need to be loved and respected

Children need to manage themselves and their belongings

Children need to be children

Rate Yourself as a Parent

If you haven’t made goals for your parenting, start with fostering self-esteem in your children. How are you doing? What do you need to give more attention? Focus on each child. What does the child need more of? Accidental parenting may not give your children what they need.

Open Adoption Gives Bella Rose Two Families

(continued from last week’s post)

Robin Marvels at Life Changes

Our precious baby girl is now one and a half years old. Her life has changed us and her birth  family as well. We see each other often. I text them pictures and updates. We communicate and keep our relationship open and honest. That’s how open adoptions work. Our little girl will grow up knowing her birth story. Two families and their extended families love and adore her. What a blessing. It’s all about love! It is why a 20 year old selfless young lady decided to place her baby for adoption. It is why we, as parents, want her to know and have a complete understanding of why her life is just a little different from that of her friends and classmates.

I Can’t Imagine Life Without Bella

Adoption has made our family complete and brought Gary and me more happiness than we could ever imagine. We have our birth mother to thank for that. I came across a quote that touched me deeply. “A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” I will be forever grateful and love that woman for giving my daughter life. Open adoption is a newer adoption concept most people don’t understand. I personally hope and pray that more couples will choose to go this route when deciding to adopt.

 

Tribute to Fathers

Celebrating fathers

Are Fathers Getting Better at Parenting?

Fathers’ Day brought many beautiful tributes to fathers to my facebook page. Some of them brought tears to my eyes. Here is an example written by Kathy Eisenhower:

“My father would tell me stories as a little girl after he would carry me upside-down to bed.  Lots of giggling, I remember. He talked to me about the Bible and told me God was my friend and that He was with me all of the time in a very real way, not like in all of the stories. He helped me survive math in all 16 grades. He taught me how to grow a really good tomato: 50%  Kellogg’s Amend, 50% manure with a drip system. When I was a teenager, he would wait in the Sunrise Rollerland parking lot at 1 a.m. to pick me up from my late shift. He attended all of my events growing up, His quiet confident leadership always advocated for what was good and right. He made endless trips to Dairy Queen and always knew what to get me before I asked–Pepsi freeze. His patience, constancy, and strength have been a pillar for my family all these years–even still today. I love you, Dad. Happy Fathers’ Day.”

Watching the Process

In my family I have seen two fathers, open to learning, become better and better at parenting. My husband has always loved children, but he had to learn how to develop loving relationships with his own children. When he retired he became a caretaker for his grandchildren. His children and grandchildren adore him and so do I. My son-in-law has also had to learn. He owns his  mistakes and spends time with his girls. Time invested in learning and being with his girls make him a better father. Parenting brings rewards he will treasure as he grows older. His grandchildren will adore him just as his daughters adore their grandfather.

What Do You Think?

From where I live, I believe men are realizing how important parenting is. What do you think?

THE US REVIEW of BOOKS

THE THIRD PARTY

             by

EVERETT ANSON

 

“The left wing of the small jet tore through the plane just forward of Steve’s seat. Screams mingled with the screech of tearing metal and exploding cabin pressure. Instantly the compartment became a mass of flying drinks, hand luggage, and bodies.”

A gripping tale with tension and tragedy, this book also includes some sexual content, family challenges, religion, murder, and even political intrigue. It is a real page-turner beginning on page two when something extraordinary happens, provoking the reader to immediately dive in and grab a seat for the ride. Through surprising twists and turns, the author keeps the reader engaged.

Steve, the main character is partially inspired by a dying judge who spouts off, “Our government is just like my life. Honesty and ethics have been so badly compromised that the people have lost faith in it.” Steve retorts, “I don’t know about your life, but the government can change.”

Portrayed as an optimistic “glass is half full” man, Steve later considers running for high office and is demonized, threatened, and slandered. With idealistic values on many subjects, he regales the readers, and his family, about his views on separation of church and state, homosexual marriage, guns, the deficit, reducing the size of government, and his biggest issue—campaign finance reform.

The author writes in an informative, colorful style exposing the routine of one man’s rather ordinary life; then suddenly a new crisis hits, which yanks the reader from their comfort zone to a place of tension and curiosity again. A sinister plot by “patriots” to take back the government plays into some real-life theories that the real terrorists are the right wingers and ex-military, rather than the al Qaeda, who blew up buildings and killed thousands on U.S. soil. More than just a dramatic story, the reader finds political agendas throughout. It will rile up some and impress others.

RECOMMENDED by the USR

 

 

How to Get Children to Talk

Non-judgmental Response to Children

If you want your children to talk to you, you must accept their responses with a nonjudgmental attitude. When a child shares an experience, a reaction, a feeling, a thought, accept it as a true expression of his reality, experience or awareness at that point. You may not agree with what he does or says, because you perceive reality differently.

Children Have Their Own Perceptions

Your children are unique individuals with differing views of themselves and their world. You may be trying to broaden their perceptions and their knowledge of life, but you won’t be successful unless you respect their unique views in the present. If they perceive you as open to who they are and accept them, they will be more likely to accept themselves.

If your 13 year  old daughter says in despair, “I hate my hair. I look awful”, it doesn’t help to say, “Honey, it looks fine. You look very nice.” If you are able to respond  with, “It’s hard when your hair won’t do what you want” , your daughter will feel heard and she will come to her own acceptance of the problem.

Parents Aren’t the Only People in Children’s Lives

You aren’t the only person in the life of your child who has an influence on how they see themselves and the world. Someone wisely observed, “A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.” In today’s world, electronic devices and media of all kinds have increased the number of passersby.

 

FREE SPEECH

Will Rogers said it best, “We have the best congress money can buy.” The same could be said about our president. You could substitute the word, “worst “ in the above and still have it right.

Did you feel during the last election that you did not know for sure who to vote for? I did. There were so many lies being told in print, on the inter net, television and the news about the candidates and the issues that I did not know who or what to vote for. I cast a ballot, but I felt it never mattered what the outcome would be.

There is a saying that whoever tells a lie often enough it will be believed. Money does talk when you spend enough of it to buy adds on the media. It is hard to comprehend, how the Supreme Court could ever decide that money is a form of free speech. If money were not a factor in public decisions on how to vote, why would political parties send money to a charity in Arizona so it could be sent back to California to influence the elections there?

Politicians in Washington do the same thing only on a broader scale. As I have said in my book, “The Third Party”, we will lose our freedom to money interest if we do not have meaningful campaign funding reform.

This is the last time I will write about this subject. I am 82 years old and nobody cares what I say.