Focused Fridays: Sister Competition

November 30, 2007 at 11:23 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Holidays, moms, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Focused Friday Question:

I understand that Christmas is supposed to be about joy and Jesus and all that, but I really have a hard time getting past the present giving stuff.  I have two kids and my sister has two kids.  They are all about the same age.  She goes out and gets all kinds of fantastic things.  And lots of them.  There wouldn’t be anything wrong with that except that she makes sure we count how many presents we are giving to each of our children and how much we spend.  If I get less or spend less then she makes comments like, “I guess you just don’t really care about my kids since you are getting less for them than I am for yours.”  I would like to get her kids presents that I think are special for them.  I don’t want to be in this seeming contest.  But I don’t know how to get out.  This is my Christmas Crunch– Keeping up with my sister.

GEM Parenting Answer: 

Thanks so much for this question.  For many there is some under lying need to be sure that gift giving is reciprocated equally.  This means, “I get as much as I give.”  And that defeats a basic concept of high self-esteem.  To help you with your situation of the gift giving competition I have three suggestions.  But first I want to let you know about my sister.  She is the most generous person I know.  I am blessed with her.  For every present I give her family she probably gives my family four or ten.  No joke!  But the difference between my sister and yours is that my sister has never made me feel like we are in a competition.  And I want to let you know how you can get out of the competition and enjoy your sister’s generosity.

  • The first thing to do is to change your own mindset.  If you think of this as a competition it will be.  It is that simple.  If instead you decide to think of your sister differently, the competition will end.  Your sister cannot compete with you if you do not compete with her.
  • The second thing I want you to do is also a mindset change, but with some action added.  Each time your sister gives you the guilt trip about not being as good as she is change that around.  First, in your thoughts, decide that your sister is generous.  As you receive gifts for your family imagine she has done it for the love that she has for your children.  Then tell her how wonderful she is and you are always blown away by her generosity. 
  • The third thing is to allow yourself to be yourself.  I know this sounds funny, but for your own self-esteem I want you to give yourself the gift you deserve and want.  Choose the presents for your sister’s children with all the care and selectivity you want.  Be thrilled that you can give them what you do.  And every time your sister starts in with a competition you are now ready with three ways to step out of the way. 

When you change your mindset and actions to display gratitude for the gifts and appreciation of your sister you raise your own self-esteem.  You no longer need to worry about how you compare to others.  You are just fine as you are.  Not only do help yourself but also you help your children understand that gift giving and receiving is a process. And to give and receive with pleasure is the best way.

Now have fun getting the presents you want to get.  Enjoy the generosity of your sister.  And have a wonderful holiday.

Thoughtful Thursday: Avoiding the Christmas Crush!

November 29, 2007 at 11:33 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Self Esteem, siblings, Thoughtful Thursday, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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In our Thoughtful Thursday, GEM Parenting presents the podcast Avoidng the Christmas Crush.  This podcast outlines how you can have a wonderful Christmas season without fatigue, media pressure, feeling overwhelmed or inadequate. How you can have the attitude and joy that everyone else envies!

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at Thoughtful Thursday:  Avoiding the Christmas Crush

Get your copy of Thoughtful Thursday:  Avoiding the Christmas Crush today and start to feel thankful for the spirit of Christmas again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Wednesday Wisdom: Preparing For the Holidays

November 28, 2007 at 11:47 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Wednesday Wisdom! 

Its that time of year when all around you are the warning signs that Christmas is coming.  You go into any store or mall and you are faced upon arrival with a lovely sign and on it are the countdown shopping days till Christmas.  Now if that doesn’t stir up stress and anxiety I simply don’t know what will.  But wait there’s other stuff.  There are your personal memories of your childhood.  There are the traditions you have developed.  There are the presents and things you want to get, but just haven’t found either the time or place.  And somehow you just have this overwhelming feeling of how to make it all happen. 

I am not going to stop all that pressure.  But I am going to give you some ideas of how to handle it so that you can actually enjoy the process of getting ready for the holiday.  And incidentally, if you celebrate Hanukah you are not exempt from any of these pressures any more.  There are three specific strategies that will get through the season with enjoyment rather than stress, fatigue, and anxiety. 

The first and foremost is to understand that Christmas is a season.  It is not really an individual day.  In the past, and in many countries still, Dec. 25 marks the beginning of the holiday and Jan 6 marks the end.  It is officially a 12-day event.  Therefore, you do not need to have everything done in one day.  And you can use days prior to Dec 25 for parts of your celebration.  The important thing to remember is that Christmas is a process of days rather than a single day event.  In my family we have a Christmas Eve celebration, we have Christmas day, and we have a celebration on Jan 6.  This gives me three distinct days to have all the fun and presents. 

  • Ok you say that’s fine, but I still have all the stuff to get ready to do before Christmas.  And those shopping days are just getting fewer and fewer.  The second thing to do is actually make a list of everything you want to buy, do, make, who to send it to, everything that is connected preparing for the holiday.  I think it best to do this on the computer.  After you have written down your list put the things in categories.  I like to put them in order of the three weeks before Christmas.  Then I break it down even further.  And I will put things in days to be accomplished.  This way I see that I have lots to do, but I see that I can manage to get things done.  The important thing to remember when you set up your list is that Christmas is a process. 
  • With this list there is a part B.  This is not the third thing to help to prepare for the holiday.  You use the list as a guideline.  By that I mean it is your helping piece of paper.  It is not your master.  Yes, I want you to print it out.  Make a few copies.  Separate out the weeks and the days.  And as you accomplish each and every task on your list give yourself congratulations.  You deserve to feel good about getting ready about Christmas.
  • This brings me to the third strategy to help you get through the process of preparing for Christmas.  This is about attitude.  I said you would be able to enjoy the holiday season with less stress, fatigue, and anxiety.  I want you to think about someone you really admire; who accomplishes amazing things.  It could be a sports figure, one of your children’s teachers, a clergy person, or a regular friend.  Because I asked you to think of someone who does amazing things, this person will not be someone who sits around most of the time.  This person is extremely busy.  Yet they rarely seem stressed, fatigued, or anxious.  And this is because of their attitude.  They are so full of the enthusiasm for life that they create enough energy to accomplish what they need and want to do.  These people look at life as a gift.  They don’t look at events as burdens and difficult tasks.  Even the most mundane things can be created to be enjoyable and thought of as useful.  If you make up your mind to enjoy the process of the holiday season this year, you can become one of the people that are admired by those around you. 

If you hit a slump, be assured that the person you thought of also hits slumps.  But the difference between amazing people and ordinary people is that amazing people do not let this slump stop them, control them, or overwhelm then.  As they old saying goes, they pick themselves by the bootstraps and get back on the horse. 

This holiday season let yourself love and enjoy each and everything you do, be it big or small.  You may be tired at the end.  But this tired is not fatigue.  It is a great feeling of accomplishment, sharing, and most importantly joy.

Ready for the release of Thoughtful Thursday “Avoiding the Christmas Crush”? 

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Transcendent Tuesday: Children Helping Reduce Stress

November 27, 2007 at 11:44 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Transcendent Tuesday, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Transcendent Tuesday…

The theme for this week at GEM Parenting is how you make your life easier and less stressful as you move into the Christmas season.  So many parents work throughout the year to make Christmas as memorable as possible for their childrenMothers baking, shopping, decorating, wrapping….and the list goes on and on.  Father’s frantically working to assemble presents for the first moment of glorious happiness when your children rush downstairs to see that shiny new bike or dollhouse from Santa on Christmas morning. 

All Ts are crossed and all Is are dotted right?

Or…maybe not!  Often times, by investing a few minutes of time with your children, they can experience the glow of Christmas and give you a few minutes of help.  Some suggestions of tasks that children can help with are signing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, making lists of things for the store, going through the pantry for donations to the food shelter, and boxing baked goods for gifts.  Remember, at this time, the goal is not a perfectly wrapped gift or calligraphy signed Christmas cards, its fostering your children’s self esteem and involvement in the holiday season.

What is your favorite way to involve your children in the Christmas season?  For a few more suggestions, be sure to visit the Academy for Coaching Parents blog on Handmade Gift Wrap!

Get ready for our audio release of “Christmas without the Crunch” to learn how you can have a wonderful holiday season without fatigue, media pressure, feeling overwhelmed or inadequate. How you can have the attitude and joy that everyone else envies!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Monday Motivation: Christmas without the Crunch

November 26, 2007 at 11:35 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Motivational Monday

This week we are going to start you off on the Christmas season without having a Christmas Crunch.  You will learn tips and strategies to help you enjoy the season and make it the magical holiday you have always wanted to provide for your family.

For our part of the season, we at GEM Parenting will have a gift giving swap.  We are finishing up the last technical touches to make this happen.  I want you to check back Wednesday.  That way we can let you know what we are doing and how you can join in the swap.

Remember to give your kids a big hug for me.  Talk with you tomorrow.

Click here to listen to Monday Motivation: Christmas without the Crunch!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Creative Crayon Club: Childrens Natural Self-Esteem

November 24, 2007 at 11:12 am | Posted in Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | 2 Comments
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You often hear “play with your children.”  Well let me tell you that is one of the best ways to help instill their natural self esteem.  And it is so easy.

I wonder why so many parents get all hung up about splashing in the pool or romping in the leaves having a mock battle and then a special tea party that uses play dishes.  I think a great part of it has to do with the fear that parents have in really letting themselves go.  It can be a bit hard at first.  But the best thing to do is follow Nike- “just do it.’  

Whenever I have the fear of not really getting into my kids activities I look at what is going on with me.  Why I don’t want to do their game.  It usually comes to too much stress on my part.  And I feel that I am just not able to stop what I am doing to get down to the kids level.

What happens from this is rather simple.  You give your kids the impression that they are not really important, at least at this moment.  If you do this too many times your kids’ self-esteem will diminish.  Then the downward spiral can begin.

I had the opportunity today to decide to go swimming with my kids or do some paper work.  Well I took the swim route.  Of course the paper work will still be there for me as soon as I finish this.  But what I did for myself and kids will give us all a boost of our natural self-esteem.  It took an hour of our time.  And we have been emotionally, spiritually, and physically uplifted.

So go play.  And know that play is the way to bring natural high self-esteem for you and your children.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Focused Fridays: Mother-in-Laws

November 23, 2007 at 6:44 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, relationships, Self Esteem, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Question:  I am at my in-laws.  I love them dearly, but my mother-in-law is always telling me what to do and how to do it.  I just don’t want to make her upset, but I also don’t want to do everything that she tells me to do.  How in the world can I manage to do what I want to do and not insult my mother-in-law by not doing what she wants me to do?

GEM Answer:  This can be tricky, because you want to keep being on good terms with your mother-in-law, but you do not want to be her clone.  TO be able to do your own thing tell your mother-in-law that you appreciate her suggestions and you will consider them.  Emphasize that you know she did a great job with her parenting because she raised such a wonderful child that you fell in love with and are married to.  It can also help to let her know that you understand that her comments are only because she loves her family so much.  But you are the parent of this family and you will be doing things differently.  You don’t need to be rude.  Just be firm.  And remember this is your family.

It is important for your own self-esteem to be sure of your own parenting.  If you are not then get sure of yourself.  You don’t need to waffle.  There are billions of ways to parent and the one you choose is yours.  If you are unsure of yourself then make a commitment today to follow your own wonderful parenting ideas. 

If you have ideas of how to deal with loving, but over bearing mother-in-laws then please add you comments.  We’d all love to know.

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday.”

Get your copy of “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday” today and start to feel thankful for the blessings of Thanksgiving again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Thoughtful Thursday: Children and Gratitude for Thanksgiving

November 22, 2007 at 6:41 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Self Esteem, siblings, Thoughtful Thursday, Tweens | Leave a comment
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In honor of Thanksgiving, GEM Parenting posts this thought and a hope for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.”–Sir John Templeton

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday.”

Get your copy of “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday” today and start to feel thankful for the blessings of Thanksgiving again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Wednesday Wisdom: Travel Tips with Children

November 21, 2007 at 4:56 am | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Self Esteem, siblings, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | 2 Comments
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As you are aware today is the most traveled day of the year! 

Here are tips to help you through this process with your small children:

  • When you are traveling bring some food along that is juicy yet not messy- Grapes and apples celery and carrots.
  • Bring some food that is sustaining but not salty- cheese and crackers, bread and butter, PB and J sandwiches, 
  • Entertainment is a necessity, but I do not believe it all needs, or even should be, electronic. 
  • You can bring old-fashioned games and activities, such as a coloring book, picture books, and some small stuffed animals.  Have times set up for each of these.  Anywhere from twenty minute shifts to hour shifts. 
  • And intersperse the electronics between these activities.  If your child uses different parts of the brain while sitting the sitting doesn’t seem so hard.
  • Do some silly singing, and especially those songs that have action parts.  You can play head, shoulders, knees and toes, and Little Bunny FooFoo.  You can play on of my family’s favorites- It is called energy.  You wiggle every part of your body while saying, singing, shouting, or whispering energy.  It is pure silliness.  And it is great for you and the kids!

Here are some other games that are all ages’ fun in the car.  I am thinking of something- in the car- where we are going- what we will eat- who will be there.   The alphabet game.  Here is a fun variation.  My name is Albert and my wife is Ann.  We live in Alexandria, and we sell apples.  The next person uses words that start with “B”.  You can prompt even very young children to play this.  And another game/song is “Going on a picnic leaving right away, if it doesn’t rain we’ll stay all day.  Did you bring the ________?  (And a child says something)  Yes we brought the __________.  We’ stay all day.  Then you repeat again.  This can be played in a variety of ways.  First is by just putting in any thing for the blanks.  The second is to add the new item and repeat all the previous items.  And the third is in alphabetical order.

And don’t forget the good old standby’s like Old MacDonald had a farm, There was a Farmer had a Dog and Bingo was his name O.   I hope these will jar your memory of the fun songs you sang as a kid.  Because guess what?  With all the technology and electronics these songs and finger plays will still be fun, stimulating, and probably be the best part of your trip.

If you are traveling through bedtime, Stop at about the real time put on your kids pajamas, brush their teeth and have them go potty.  Then in the car do the best you can to do your regular bedtime routine- read them a story, sing.  Then say it is time to sleep.  This will give your kids the security and regularity of sleeping.  Just keep gently reminding them to sleep.  And when they learn the phrase, “I can’t sleep in the car.”  Reply with:  It doesn’t really matter if you sleep.  You just have to pretend to be asleep so I don’t know you are awake.”  And remind them that falling asleep is not for you, but so that they will have fun when on Thanksgiving.  Also you can tell them how much faster the car ride is if they fall asleep. 

I know the phone is really tempting to use when driving, so do be careful, follow the law, and tell people that you are driving.  Tell them you may stop talking and listening if the traffic is difficult.

Also, when you are putting your kids to sleep do not talk in the phone or with other people in the car.  Give your kids about twenty minutes to fall asleep. You may want to put on sleepy music or song to your children.

These are tried and true methods to help the travel be smoother and more enjoyable.  As you travel think of the travel as part of the fun.  Think of the car ride as a special time.  Not a trapped in the car with nothing to do time.  If you get your head around the idea that this can and will be fun, then you will give this to your family.  And for goodness sakes, don’t let those negative vibes from others sway your opinion or actions!  Let your car rides be so enjoyable that you and your kids look forward to then.  I know this can be done as I do it myself and I have lots of friends and relatives who love car rides as well.

Have a safe drive and a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday.”

Get your copy of “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday” today and start to feel thankful for the blessings of Thanksgiving again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Transcendent Tuesday: Teaching Children to Look Up

November 20, 2007 at 11:48 pm | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Self Esteem, siblings, Transcendent Tuesday, Tweens | Leave a comment
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 When you were a kid you spent lots of time looking up. You needed to to talk to any one bigger than you, which accounted for a lot of people. AND you liked to. There are lots of interesting things that are up. The sky for one. It is always changing and different. When I woke up this morning it was a dull grey. Then it became the mot brilliant blue and now it is a gentle light blue. And tomorrow? Who knows.

What in the world does this have to do with helping your child and their self esteem? Everything. The skys the limit you know. Open your heart and mind to know that your child can be all wonderful things, but will never be the same from one moment to the next.

  • Your child will have seasons, calm times and storms.
  • Your child will be brilliant and dull.
  • Your child is such a fantastic mix that if you don’t keep looking up you will loose sight of what is going on with your child.

And the other thing to understand is that as much as you can prepare for the weather- My motto for my family is “There is no bad weather. There is only bad dressing.” You can not control it. This is the same for your children. If you become so involved with your children that you are their extension neither you nor they will actually do as well as if you are sperate and in complete support of them. Support is endless. It is like dressing to watch a ski race in -20f. There is no end to the amount of clothing to put on. But in the end when I dress the right way to watch my children race I am actually comfy in any weather.

So as you go about your day and wonder how it will turn out, just take a moment and look up.

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday.”

Get your copy of “Thanksgiving: The Gentle Holiday” today and start to feel thankful for the blessings of Thanksgiving again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

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