How We Celebrate Spring and Still Have a Ski Race

April 9, 2009 at 7:00 am | Posted in children, Families, Holidays, moms, parents, Self Esteem, spirituality, Thoughtful Thursday | Leave a comment

It is Thoughtful Thursday and

I am with my children at the last
of the ski racing events of the year!

It is a CanAm and only

  • 30 US girls and 30 Canadian girls
  • 30 US boys and 30 Canadian boys
  • aged 11 and 12

Kind of a special and elite group of skiers!  I am one proud mama for sure!

Anyhow….

Yes, in April here we are while
many of you are celebrating
spring and Easter, we are
still in the last throws of
ski racing.

SO what does that do for our celebrating spring?
Celebrating Easter?

Its really easy,
we celebrate spring by
breathing the spring air,
feeling the sun on our faces
with different energy.
WE watch the snow go with sadness
that our wonderful snow sports life MUST
come to an end.
And with excitement that we will
be on our bikes, hiking
and swimming outside soon.

And Easter, that is easy for us as well.
Since the early Christians had
no real date and they borrowed some other
holidays to fill the day,
We have begun to celebrate on the
Greek Orthodox Easter.

It is 6 weeks later- allowing us
to be fully with the holiday.

These ways of alternating our
lifestyles to fit the needs and
desires of our family,
yet staying with our
morals and values
gives my family AND me
the ability to live and breath
with our spirit, soul, self esteem
soaring.

My children
are able to be confident,
yet relaxed.
capable yet not pushy
confident yet not arrogant,
respectful of themselves and others.

My kids are not special.  Yours can be
the same way.

As you go through your days,
weeks, months,
find what fits with your family.
believe your values and morals
are the best for your family.
And let others have their
values and morals.

Have a great day,
and of course
parent with passion, purpose and integrity,

Grace

PS I really have enjoyed that
some of you are putting comments on the blog.
It really energizes me and I know
it energize others as well.

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How is Food is the beginning of Thankfulness?

November 26, 2008 at 7:40 am | Posted in attitudes, Families, parents, Self Esteem, spirituality, Wonderful Wednesday | Leave a comment
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It’s Wonderful Wednesday.  And this is such a special day because, as you know, it is the day before Thanksgiving.

 

I have been having you focus on one thing to be thankful for this week.  To really get involved with why that particular thing is worth being thankful for.  How this thing is connected to your whole life.  Not just fulfilling the basic need you have been taught to think about, but how this thing is a true part of your ability to live with passion, purpose, and integrity.

 

Mine has been food.  Of course food is necessary to live.  No one can live without food forever. Even Mahatma Gandhi had to eat after three weeks.  But we in our lives are not suffering from horrible cultural norms, devastating political outbursts, or even true financial disasters, and although there are natural disasters, we have a very strong support system to help our citizens get back on their feet.

 

So how is food connected to more than my ability to stay alive?  How does food connect to every aspect of my life?  Food is a huge process.  It is a daily task.  Food is a way for my family and friends to be together.  I still have at least two meals a day together as a family.  At the time of preparation there is usually one child who is miserable about something.  That child comes to me in the kitchen and whines, complains, shouts, cries, or stands around with the silent treatment.  The kicking has pretty much stopped.

 

And while I prepare the meal, I can help that child learn and understand how to cope with such atrocities as a sister taking back her favorite shirt, being pushed over out of spite, or just being grumpy for no reason.  I am sure that without meal prep I would still have children who needed support and guidance, but it is during meal prep that some of my most nurturing moments occur.

 

The meals themselves are filled with conversations.  You can imagine with the age spread of aged 8 to 16 at home full time, and having guests regularly. Over the 24 years I have been a parent those conversations have changed, mutated, and developed.  Some themes continue, others come and go.  Many of my fondest memories are when we have been eating.  Memories are a vital part of my spiritual well-being.  When I am stressed, down, overwhelmed I can find a memory to bring me back into perspective. 

 

And there is the clean up time.  This is the never-ending scourge of my life.  There are always dirty dishes, counters, tabletops… I can go about the clean up process with anger and bitterness that I am still stuck with doing it or must nag and constantly remind my kids to do their part.  But I can get past that.  I can see that all this mess is a product of abundance.  And this abundance is not just the quantity of food and dishes we have, but the abundance of living we have.  My family does everything with real gusto.  It comes from our souls and spirits., and the food mess is daily evidence of this.

 

The process of getting Thanksgiving dinner on our table began on Monday.  We made our menu. Yesterday we went shopping.  Today we do prep for many dishes and help my mom with her pies. (She will make four from scratch- crust and all and her 80th b-day is tomorrow.)

 

Now you really know how I have taken food and looked to its roots as to why I am thankful for it.  It is not only my nourishment for my body; it is the nourishment for my values and morals.  Food is more than a simple grab it and eat it thing for me.  It is a process that brings my most sacred and special feelings and emotions out in the open. 

 

Being thankful, living with true integrity to your values and morals is a process.  It cannot be done in one quick instance.  It takes your heart and soul, your actions, and your mind set.

If you haven’t set this process in motion, start now.  Let yourself grow with your thankfulness.  Be the most thankful person you can be, but start with only one thing to be thankful for.

Be thankful with Passion, Purpose, and Integrity,

Grace

Rejuvenate Yourself this Thanksgiving

November 25, 2008 at 10:50 am | Posted in Families, Holidays, parents, Self Esteem, spirituality, Terrific Tuesday | Leave a comment
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Good Morning 

 

It is Terrific Tuesday.  Two days before Thanksgiving.

Are you focusing on your thankful thought?

Have you had a chance to see how this one thing is connected to your soul and spirit?  As you go through the readying for our national sacred holiday, it is important to allow yourself to have the joy of being alive, of being a parent, to step out of the box and let the confines that have help you to a life with anxiety, frustration, and overwhelm to melt away.

 

Every culture, civilization, and religion has a structured period of time for giving thanks.  This process of giving thanks is an integral part of being human.  We are hard wired to give thanks.  The funny thing is that without the structure of holidays and formal routines many of us let go of giving thanks. 

 

This year put all your energy into giving thanks.  When you give thanks from your deepest emotions to your lightest thoughts to your fleeting insights, you rejuvenate yourself.   That’s a big part of what this whole Thanksgiving thing is about-rejuvenation.

 

Today my family is going shopping for food, and if you were able to read yesterday’s email you will know that food is my focus this year.  As we get each item I will give thanks for our food.  I will use the symbols of food, and the dishes we make, to bring me in connection with my true thankfulness.  I will regain my own perspective of why I live and parent with the intensity I do.  I will let the overwhelm, anxiety, and stress of the year gently float off my back.

 

I want you to use the process of Thanksgiving to rejuvenate yourself.  Let your tensions go.  Know who you are.  Rejoice and give thanks.  Allow the love and support from yourself and others to permeate you this Thanksgiving.

 

Have terrific Tuesday,

And

Parent with Passion, purpose, and Integrity,

 

Grace

 

New Way to be Thankful

November 24, 2008 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Health, Holidays, Self Esteem, spirituality | Leave a comment
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Once again it’s Motivational Monday.  And this is such a special Monday because it is just before Thanksgiving.  As I always do before Thanksgiving, I get pretty emotional about all that I have to be thankful for.  And this is no different this year than other years.

 Recently our country’s economic stability flew out the window.  We are all feeling the pressures of financial instability.  And this was warping my ability to be thankful.  But yesterday I had an epiphany. 

 I realized that as an adult I have been poor, then I was poorer, then I had a decent living, then I actually was in the upper middle class economically, and now I am back to having a decent living.  Most of these changes came about because I had done things to foster them.  So when my economic standing reversed simply because of general economics I felt I was in a terrible state. 

But here is my epiphany: I am still just as wonderful now as when I was poor or sort of rich.  My values have not changed due to going up or down the economic ladder.  I have held onto my morals very tightly through theses changes.  As a matter of fact, these changes have allowed me to really know that who I am, what I do, whom I am friends with, what I do for leisure are my values and morals.

It’s kind of like being grounded again.  Not what some parents to do punish their kids, but that spiritual kind of grounding; that way of being at peace with your surroundings, your soul, really at peace with yourself. 

When you allow the outside circumstances to guide and force your core to change then you are setting yourself up for constant disappointment.  You actually lower your self-esteem.  You are a puppet to your surroundings, everything from your kids, spouse, childhood family, neighbors, and the mass media.

I want you to start today and think about what you are truly thankful for.  Start with just one thing.  Keep it simple.  This one thing can be anything.  It can be the most important thing OR it can be the simplest thing, OR it can be the first thing that comes to mind. Focus on that one thing.  Pay complete attention to one thing you are thankful for.  Do that today.  This one thing will sprout into other things. 

Only let those thoughts that you know are completely a part of your soul and spirit, your core values and morals to get attention.  In other words, there are the regular things-family, clothing, shelter, job, friendship- that we are thankful for, and as you focus on the one thing you have chosen, let your thoughts and feelings understand why this is so special.

Here is how being thankful for food spreads for me.  Food alone is rather basic, but food spreads to the ability to nurture and be nurtured.  Food spreads to my interest in health and physical achievements.  Food is intricately connected with my belief in being the best I can be-I am the food I take in and give to my family.  Food is basic to my soul.  Without food my spirit would wither.  I connect my values and morals to food.  Food alone and especially all its attachments are a necessary part of what I am thankful for.

You see how something so basic actually has such deep and far reaching tentacles.  Food is a part of my soul as well as being necessary to live.  By being thankful this way you put a purpose to the process.

Today as you begin your thankful thinking be simple, yet focus on what is deep and spiritual to you.  Give yourself permission to be thankful outside the box.  Be passionate about what you are thankful for. 

And of course have integrity about your thankfulness.  Be true to your values and morals.  Learn about what they are through this process.

Have fun with your thanks and Parent and live with Passion, Purpose, and Integrity

Grace

PS: I do have a very nice podcast at http://www.GEMParenting.com/store called Thanksgiving the Gentle Holiday.  You might really like to listen to it.  You need to scroll down a ways to get to it.

Motivational Monday

July 7, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Posted in children, Families, GEM Parenting Secrets, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, Self Esteem, spirituality | Leave a comment
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Wow what a great weekend I just had. I hope yours was great s well.  I spent time with family, went to the beach, hung out at home, did house projects, went to church at the beach and finished the weekend off with a trip to the Museum of Natural History in NYC with two of my kids and husband.  

This week I want to talk with you about how to use the eternal energy and spirit to reduce your stress and anxieties of parenting. 

Look at yourself.  Really take a good look.  Are you so overwhelmed that you can’t see your connection with all eternity?  Are you lost without any spirit or soul? 

Why am I asking this?  Because if you are parenting without any soul, spirit or connection with the eternal energy, then you are truly alone. 

And being alone as a parent puts you as risk of really srewing things up.  Not just for yourself, but for your kids as well. 

 You see with all the stress and anxiety that you are giving to yourself- yes you are giving this to yourself-then you are creating an atmosphere for your kids that almost forces them to look outside for approval.This is your best way to make your kids never be satisfied with themselves.

So for today I want you to think about the first part of the Serenity Prayer. 

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 


Courage to change the things I can;


And wisdom to know the difference.

 

When you use this prayer as part of your parenting you will see that you are part of a whole.  That what you do at this very moment will have little to do with your child as a whole. 

If you constantly try to make things happen, alter the way things are and distrust the world around you and most importantly distrust yourself, you will set yourself up for complete disappointment.

Now truly contemplate, meditate and pray the Serenity Prayer for your parenting.

Let us know how using the Serenity Prayer helps you today with you parenting.  Please add your comment in the comments section.

Creative Crayon Club: Activities to do with your Teen

May 31, 2008 at 8:49 am | Posted in attitudes, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, lying, moms, Mothers, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, spirituality, sports, teenagers, teens, Tweens | 2 Comments
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This is out last Creative Crayon Club dedicated to parenting teenagers for a while. It has been a great deal of fun to put these together for you.  I would really love it if you would comment about your favorite thing to do with your teen.

Here are a few things for you to do that can help reduce lying in your house.

Household Projects

Give your teen a choice of household projects that you two will complete.  Pick one, create a time line for the project, and get to work.  Teens thrive on simple projects that give them the respect and responsibility of an adult.  When you do the project together you can have conversations that impart your values and morals without actually having to set up the conversations. 

Join a Club or Group Together

This can be anything from fly fishing, scuba diving, walking club, art group.  There are millions of things to do.  Find something that both of you want to try, but haven’t.  This put you on an even keel.  You are joining the group as two adults.

Find a Needy Group You Can Volunteer For

You can make a meal once a month for a shelter, find books to give to an under privileged school, better yet read once a month to some group.  Again, the list is endless.  Find some way to be the givers on an equal basis.

There is a thread to all these ideas.  Be active with your teen.  Don’t try to be their friend.  Find things that allow you to be together, without being peers.  As you treat your teen with respect, your teen will have respect for you.  And your teen will see that you are someone whose opinion they value.  When they feel valued they will be less able to lie to you.  It is also important to be sure that you remain the parent- the adult.  When you do these things the bottom line is that you give your teen the opportunity to develop into an adult with self respect and high self esteem.  

What is your favorite thing to do with your teen?  Tell us in the comment area.

Motivational Monday: Prom Problems and Issues of Teen Gatherings

May 19, 2008 at 7:34 am | Posted in attitudes, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Focused Fridays, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, Health, How To, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, peer pressure, relationships, Safety, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, teenagers, teens, Thoughtful Thursday, travel, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom, Welcome | Leave a comment
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Welcome to GEM Parenting

We are in the middle of Teenager Month.

This week we are going to be talking about Prom Problems and Issues of Teen Gatherings.  And the idea of Prom Problems can really be stretched to Teen gatherings.  So if you have already had your prom, but want to understand how to help your teen be part of teen gatherings, with the ability to be cool, but safe, then join us for the week.

Prom Problems and Issues of Teen Gatherings really begin when parents decide that it is somehow not their place to be involved with these private gatherings of teens. There is nothing further from the truth than that.  At this time in your teen’s life they need more interaction and guidance than any other time.  The tricky part is that when they were young you felt you could be in charge.  Now after all these years your teen understands what buttons to push and how to push them, and they are becoming independent.  So there is a slippery slide into giving up, worrying without action, looking the other way and hoping things will come out OK.

If you find you are at a loss as how to be part of your teens social life without being that oppressive over protective parent then I want you to stay with me all week.  Social gatherings can and often are the scariest part of being a teen-for both parent and teen.

When we talk this Wednesday evening at GEM Parenting Secrets I will take my motto, Every Child is a GEM, to help you understand how you can be involved yet not stifle your child.  In fact what we will talk about will actually give your teen the freedom to stretch and grow!!

If you have a teen you know that teen gatherings are such an important part of their life, yet they can cause severe and life long negative changes in your teen.  To join this teleclass please use this link and follow the instructions for registration in the yellow box on the top left. http://www.GEMParenting.com.

In this hour-long teleclass I will be discussing:

How the six main dilemmas facing parents of teens are also the demons that demoralize teens and preteens – enticing them make inappropriate and negative life altering changes in social gatherings

  1. Peer Pressure
  2. Media Influence and pressure
  3. Friends changing
  4. Education tracks
  5. Drugs/Sex/Alcohol/Shoplifting
  6. How to set limitations, guidelines, and still create more freedom

Rather than letting your teen just go forward into this unknown scary time where there is a great deal of manipulation and uncertainty, join with your teen to have a strong force that allows your kid to be cool, but safe and be able to make healthy decisions.

If you haven any desire to help your teen through social gatherings, better than you did, then this Wed evening’s GEM Parenting Secrets is for you. We will be looking at ways to use positive intervention to help your teen develop and mature away from self demoralizing and self demeaning behaviors and toward behaviors that will instill a wonderful sense of well being that is independent of all the demands on teens these days.

Hope you will be free to join us.

Terrific Tuesday

Come back to gain some wisdom from our expert guest.  Here at GEM Parenting we really like to share views and ideas from others. 

Wednesday Wisdom

We call this Wednesday Wisdom because this is the day you get the real GEM Parenting Wisdom.  In the morning you can come check out the article that I have written.  And in the evening you can come join us for Live With Grace- GEM Parenting Secrets.

As you can see we are going on from last week where we talked about My Teen Screwed Up In School, What do I do?

And incidentally, Tame Your Teenager is still going on, so to be sure to be part of both check out Thoughtful Thursday.

Again we are expecting a lively discussion – parents of teens can be quite expressive!  If you want your teen to be safe and mature then you have got to join us!  Don’t forget your own troubles.  Don’t make your teen go through years to undo what they did as a teen.

To have the opportunity to have your personal questions answered and elaborated upon you have got to join us.  If you don’t it is not our fault when things screw up AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.  Find peace and stability for your family.  Join us.

This teleclass will be at 8:30pm eastern/5:30pm pacific.  You can register right now at http://www.GEMParenting.

I want to warn you, this will be filled with content, wisdom and inspiration.  We do have a nominal charge ($6 -it just helps with overhead) And you can be anywhere with a phone, so you don’t need to worry about what to wear or worry about much.  A teleclass is simply a seminar done by phone.

Thoughtful Thursday

Now if you simply can’t make the live teleseminar, we will have the podcast available for you on Thursday.  And if you are unsure of what a podcast is, it is a recording that you can down load to your computer or mp3 player.  This means you can listen to it at your leisure-while sweating away at the gym, taking a calm walk, driving wherever you go, or curled up in your jammies with a cup of relaxing tea.  And you do not actually have to listen to it on Thursday.  This is the day we release it. 

So if you are attending Mark Todhunter’s Tame Your Teenager Series then this is the perfect option for you.  Stay with Tom on Wed, and get the podcast “Prom Problems and Issues of Teen Gatherings” to build up your knowledge and parenting skills.

Feedback Friday

I have a Free radio show every Friday at 12:30 pm EDT (9:30 am PDT) You have got to come because I almost always have a few more thoughts I didn’t get in or new thoughts that came to me after I was done, and of course this is the day I do live Q&A.  Be sure your question is addresses- send in your question now.

And just to let you know, next week I am going to be talking about Teens and lying.  Know any teens that lie?  (Or should I say don’t lie?).  Send in those questions as well.

There is no better way for me to help you than for you to send me your questions and concerns.  And that is my number one goal-help you be a happy, relaxed, reliable and responsible parent.  So please take a moment and send me your question.

 

And of course Saturday is…

Creative Crayon Club

Here I am going to provide you with activities and ideas you can do with your teen.  These will not be how to talk about problems and issues, but how to DO things together, create things and play on a new level.  Your teen may have had social problems so it is your duty to find ways to help your teen be a GEM in another light.  On Saturday we will be sharing things to help you find new facets in your teen GEM.

Enjoy your week!

Thoughtful Thursday: My Kid Screwed Up in School – Teleclass

May 15, 2008 at 10:54 am | Posted in children, dads, Divorce, Families, Family Time, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, teens, Thoughtful Thursday, Tweens, Welcome | Leave a comment
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What you missed…

GEM PARENTING SECRETS PRESENTS:

My teen screwed up in school! What do I do?

Featuring Grace Mauzy, M.A., & Guest Expert, Linda Silbert, Ph.D.

Podcast Ready
For Download!
Only $6.00

We discuss the mistakes and problems your teen has made from different perspectives. Learn different ways to use positive intervention to help your teen develop and mature away from self-demoralizing and self-demeaning behaviors. Let’s get your teen moving toward behaviors that will instill a wonderful sense of well being that is independent of all the demands on teens these days.

For only $6.00 you can listen to this teleclass and receive all the materials that go with it.

Join GEM Parenting Teleseminar

This podcast includes a downloadable 1:30:52 min. audio, GEM Action Guide, Expert Article, and Grace’s Personal Article.

Tomorrow, Friday, May 16 at 12:30 p.m. EST, please join me for my FREE 30-minute live radio show at www.blogtalkradio.com/gemparenting for Feedback Friday on this week’s topic. You can call me live at (646) 478-4032, chat in the chatroom with other parents or myself.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Live With Grace Teleclass: My Teen Screwed up in School. What do I do?

May 13, 2008 at 7:27 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Family Time, GEM Parenting Secrets, Health, How To, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, teens, Thoughtful Thursday, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | Leave a comment
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GEM Parenting Presents: My teen screwed up In School. What do I do? Teleclass

Set Your Calendar

Live with Grace Teleclass

Wed., May 14, 2008
8:30 p.m. E.S.T.
Length: one hour

 

Featuring Grace E. Mauzy, M.A., and Guest Expert, Linda Silbert, Ph.D. of www. stronglearning.com
Educational ~ Motivating ~ Interactive

We will discuss the mistakes and problems your teen has made from different perspectives. Learn different ways to use positive intervention to help your teen develop and mature away from self-demoralizing and self-demeaning behaviors. Let’s get your teen moving toward behaviors that will instill a wonderful sense of well being that is independent of all the demands on teens these days.

For only $6.00 you can be part of this teleclass and find out the best ways to handle the mistakes teens make and ways to deal with problems teenagers face.

Join GEM Parenting Teleseminar

By registering for this teleclass, you will reserve your space on the call, receive special call-in information, and access to downloadable GEM Action Guide, Expert Article, and Grace’s Personal Article.

Teriffic Tuesday: Promoting Genuine Self-Esteem in Your Child

May 13, 2008 at 6:49 am | Posted in 1, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Focused Fridays, GEM Parenting Secrets, Health, How To, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, teens, toddlers, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | Leave a comment
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Promoting Genuine Self-Esteem In Your Child

 Promoting self-esteem in children is an ongoing process for parents. By adding just one word-genuine-the focus is sharpened and the process is more clearly defined. Genuine self-esteem is based on true worth and accomplishment, whereas ‘inflated’ self-esteem, the opposite, results from heaped on, baseless praise. Promoting inflated self-esteem is easy. Promoting genuine self-esteem requires a little more thought and planning. Here are three big steps parents can take to facilitate the process: Accept, Support and Respect. As the first two are closely related, we’ll discuss them together.

 ACCEPT and SUPPORT.

 Accept and support your child. As a parent, you are your child’s most important significant other. More than anyone else, you help to establish how your child feels about himself. School personnel, family, and peers have some influence on your child, but yours is the most important. So, how do you help him feel good about himself? By genuinely accepting and supporting your child for whom he is. Here’s how.

  •  DO let your child know you think he’s great. Self-esteem grows through your words and actions. Use language that will build his self-esteem: “What a great idea!” “I’m proud to be your mom/dad.” “I can depend on you.” And, be sure your actions support your message.

 Children use us as mirrors. If we think and convey to them that they are wonderful, they will think and believe that they are wonderful. If we think and tell them they are stupid, they will think and believe they are stupid. Our children internalize our words and actions.

  • DO accept your child’s inherited physical endowments. Nobody, thank goodness, is physically perfect. So encourage your child to accept his or her physical appearance. Children are acutely self-conscious about their physical selves-a girl might be embarrassed by her large nose, a boy about his pimples. Your child might even hate the very qualities you find adorable-his big ears, or her curly hair-so convey your acceptance of his or her physical endowments. You might be quite proud of your child just the way he is. But does your child know this? He needs to, even when nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Remind him every day that you support him, and show him the same through your actions.
  • DO be open and available. Are you approachable? When you are working at home, watching television, or doing housework, is your body language telling your child that you don’t want to be bothered? Or are you showing her that you will listen if she has a problem? Of course, there are times when you are doing something important or taking care of your own needs. You can’t be accessible twenty-four hours a day, and you don’t have to be a problem-solver all the time, but you do need to be someone your child can count on to talk to when the need arises. It will help her just to know you’re there, ready to listen and not judge. If a child perceives that a parent is too busy, disinterested, or annoyed to hear her, then her problems, no matter how trivial they may seem to adults, may overwhelm her.
  • DO recognize and applaud effort. Did your child bungle an art project? Miss a ground ball in a baseball game? Spill a mixing bowl while trying to make cake batter? You know that the effort he puts into the activity is far more important than the success or failure of it, but he probably doesn’t know that. So tell him! Even better than saying, “That’s okay, it’s the effort that counts,” would be to say, “I’m proud of you for trying to make a cake; most kids your age would never tackle that. And you got the ingredients just right!” or “I can see that you threw away the art project you started. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. But I’m proud that you took on such a difficult task.”
  • DO be receptive and helpful with your child’s personal problems, and seek help from professionals when appropriate. It takes only a few minutes each day to ask how your child feels and then listen attentively to what he or she says. Instead of asking general questions about school activities, for example, you could try drawing out your child to see if there are any personal problems you are unaware of. So instead of asking, “How was school today?” you might ask, “Was school better today? Yesterday you said that your teacher kept you in during recess. Did you go out today?” If the answer is yes or no, try to ask more leading questions, such as “What changed today that made things better (or worse)?” and then continue from there. Or, instead of asking, “Did you do your homework?” try asking something like “You said last week that you had a history report due. How is it coming?” If it seems that things are not going well, you may want to offer help or suggest some alternative strategies such as after-school assistance or engaging the services of a capable teenager or professional tutor.
  • DO offer opportunities to pursue individual interests. Your child can’t find areas to explore her individuality if she is not exposed to different activities. When notices for clubs or sports leagues are posted or handed out in school, encourage your child to enroll if she shows an interest. And get her presents that suit her interests. If she is interested in building, why buy her dolls? Children are often scared to try new things. By encouraging (but not forcing) them to try out new activities, we can help them discover areas in which they may express their individuality.
  • DO encourage your child to evaluate the opinions and values of others instead of submissively adopting them. It’s a sign of low self-esteem when a child accepts without question other people’s ideas and values. Encourage your child to weigh each situation instead of mindlessly going along with the decisions or opinions of others. At the same time, encourage him to seek support for his own ideas. This way, your child will learn to determine whether or not a value or opinion is of worth to him, and thereby gain power over his own decisions. This will help his self-esteem as a child, and will serve him well when he is older, when more potentially damaging ideas (such as drug use, sex, or prejudice, for example) will be presented to him.

 RESPECT

 Let’s turn to the third step, respect. Respect your child and she will learn to respect you. This old tale, “The King and His Sons,” says it well.

One rainy day, the king took a walk with his two children. He held an umbrella in each hand to cover and protect each child. A bystander approached and said, “Why are you protecting your children from the rain? You are the king! They should be protecting you.” His highness sagely replied, “If I do not show them respect, how will they learn to respect me? How will they learn to respect others? How will they learn to respect themselves?”

When children are treated with respect, they learn to respect themselves and others. So treat your child as you expect to be treated. Respect that is genuine, and not simply permissive, promotes self-esteem. It satisfies your child’s esteem needs. It makes her feel important-that you hold her in high esteem, and that you value and respect her as a person.

There are many ways you can show your child respect through your actions and words. Here are some important things to keep in mind.

  • DO NOT berate. Berating a child models negative behavior; it does not help her to learn, and it shows her total disrespect. For example, a parent who is helping a child to study for a test might make such berating comments as, “We just did this! What are you, stupid? You’re just not paying attention. Now pay attention!” By the end of the session, usually the child is crying and the parent is screaming. And the child may be heard the next day yelling at her classmate, “What are you, stupid?”
  • DO NOT be sarcastic. Sarcastic remarks are transparent ways of putting someone down, and if directed toward your child, she’ll know it. Many parents don’t realize that the processes of growth and change take time, and their own frustration causes them to resort to sarcasm. But if you show a lack of respect for your child, she will feel unworthy and less motivated to succeed.
  • DO ask your child to do grown-up tasks. There are many opportunities to do so. Asking him to do one at a critical time in his development may be a memorable gift you can give to him. At that moment, he has your respect and trust; he is someone. For example, when the need arises, ask him to answer the phone for you. Even if he forgets to write the person’s name next to the number, let him know that you appreciate his help. Next time the situation arises simply remind him to write down both the name and number. This way, he’ll learn the same lesson without feeling like a failure.
  • DO control your anger. Whether over homework or other issues, many parents become so angry with their children that they end up physically or verbally abusing them. When you get angry at your child, keep this in mind: If you respect someone, do you hit him? Do you curse at him? Do you insult him? Whenever you use physical force or verbal attacks against your child, you show a blatant disregard for his rights and teach him that this is the proper way to express anger and settle disputes. You teach him that it is okay to act on his feelings, when in fact it should be your goal to teach him to think first, and think clearly, before he acts.
  • DO be sure your child is being treated respectfully at school. Not only is it important for you to treat your child with respect; it is also important to be sure that your child is being treated respectfully at school.

As your child’s number-one advocate, be sure she is treated respectfully, both at home and at school. For the most part, teachers and other school personnel are wonderful, hard-working people who care about education and children. But sometimes they too need to be informed. If you see that your child is not being treated with the respect she deserves, call her teacher. Chances are he or she is unaware of your child’s problem and will appreciate your call.

  • DO respect one another. Within a family, parents and children need to strive to develop a mutual respect, which in time extends beyond the family. This is an ongoing process which involves parental role modeling (and usually an endless supply of parental patience and self-control).

Respect is often tested when children slip-up. How parents deal with these slip-ups delivers long lasting messages. Better than flying off the handle on the one hand, or merely shrugging the incidents off on the other, is for parents to deal with each situation, and those involved, in a respectful manner. This involves looking into the causes behind each situation, exploring options, and discussing alternative actions the child could have taken-in other words, maintaining respect. Therefore, when your child experiences some trouble in school, before you begin yelling or punishing, think about what you want to teach her.

In conclusion, in that you as a parent are your child’s most important significant other, you more than anyone else help to establish how your child feels about himself. If you genuinely accept, support and respect your child, and show it through your words and actions, then you are sowing the seeds of genuine self-esteem.

Copyright © 2008 Linda Silbert, Ph.D., and Alvin J. Silbert, Ed.D., all rights reserved.

Why Bad Grades Happen to Good Kids (Beaufort Books, NY, August 2007) came out to rave reviews by parents, teachers, physicians, and other professionals. The book introduces the “groundbreaking” STRONG method, a proven approach that empowers parents and teachers to help struggling students. By focusing on the six areas of the acronym STRONG — Self-esteem, Trust, Responsibility, Options, Needs, Goals — the reader learns how to identify the actual causes of a myriad of school problems and learn proven techniques to resolve them. This little book will surely make school days and home nights “a whole lot better.” The Silberts are founders/directors of STRONG Learning Centers® in New York. They’ve written over 40 books and 20 phonics games for children of all ages. To learn more about their STRONG method and their books and learning centers, visit their web site at www.oureducationalbooks.com. To subscribe to their free e-zine, send a blank email to: subscribe@stronglearning.com

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