Do You Really Parent with Love? Bet not!

October 13, 2008 at 6:39 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Its Motivational Monday.

And I want to share wth you the fundamental aspect of parenting.  You guessed it.  it is love.  Not too surprising, except when you think about how many times you mix up hate into it.  For instance, when you find your kids annoying, irritating, overwhelming.  When your let them know what a brat they are being. When you know that they are driving you crazy.  

You are letting hate in and using it as your parenting guide when you are so stressed out by what to do that you can’t sleep at night.  Or maybe you scream at your kids.  You may even ridicule your kids.  Or you may hit, slap, or spank them.

And worse than all these you may ignore your kids.  

This day and everyday this week remember that you do love your kids. Keep a little running count of each time you feel love towards your kids.  This can be a simple tally on the fridge.  

By taking the time to truly notice and make a mark of loving your children, you will bring your focus back to the true essential nature of parenting.

Be sure to parent with passion, purpose, and integrity

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Creative Crayon Club: Christmas Crafts

December 8, 2007 at 11:59 pm | Posted in children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Holidays, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to the Creative Crayon Club!

There are three wonderful Christmas craft ideas here to give you some much needed time with your family and relieve the stress of Christmas!  Enjoy.

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Hanger and Christmas Cloth Wreath

You need:

  • Wire coat hanger
  • Yard of Christmas cloth
  • Bag to keep cloth strips in
  • Scissors

To do:
Tear the cloth in strips about 2 inches wide.  This is great fun for little hands.  You can start the tears and then you child can rip the rest.  Or you can each pull from different sides.

  • Save one strip to be long.
  • Cut or tear the strips to be about 4 inches long. 
  • Put them in the bag right now.
  • Bend the coat hanger into a circle.
  • Take the long strip and cover the hook.
  • You may need to do this with little ones. 
  • To secure hold the strip over the end of the hook. 
  • Wrap the strip around the end and work back to the circle part of the hanger.
  • To secure the other end tie small strips over this end.
  • Tie each small cloth strip around the coat hanger
  • Do this until there is no space left to tie strips.

You can do this just about anywhere.  If you are going to do this out and about use a cloth bag so the hanger won’t split the plastic or paper.

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Hand Print Christmas Tree

You need:

  • Poster Board
  • Green paint
  • Red Paint
  • Large paint brush
  • Christmas Stickers and star stickers
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper

To do:

  • Have poster board flat on paper towels where it can stay for a few hours.
  • Paint your child’s hands.
  • Place the painted hands to make prints.
  • Start at the top with one print and work down making it wider with each row.  You know the shape of a Christmas tree

Use the red paint to write Merry Christmas

Use the paper towels to dry hands before leaving work area.

Let tree dry completely
Add stickers for tree decorations and presents under the tree.

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Clove Orange and Apple

You need:

  • One naval orange or Macintosh apple
  • Several bottles of whole cloves
  • Yard of Christmas ribbon

To do:

  • Cut ribbon in half
  • Tie two pieces together in middle
  • Tie ribbon around orange/apple so it has not at bottom and not at top with loose ends to hang it with.
  • Push cloves in the arrange/apple
  • Keep them slightly apart. 
  • As the orange/apple dries out it will shrink

Hang –it will smell wonderful!

If you have a favorite Christmas activity that you do with your children and family, then please share with us!

For more information about how to use holidays to boost natural self-esteem or to learn about natural self-esteem go to feel free to contact Grace E. Mauzy at grace@gemparenting.com.

Thoughtful Thursday: Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas

December 6, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, Thoughtful Thursday, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday!

Todays Thoughtful Thursday podcast “Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas” is about how to have joy for the Christmas Season while keeping your wallet intact, your waist line the same, and having simple fun that leads to building high self-esteem in your family.  

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at Thoughtful Thursday:  Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas.

Get your copy of “Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas” today and enjoy the joy of the Christmas season 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.

Crayon Color Club: Advent Calendars for Gifts!

December 1, 2007 at 4:06 am | Posted in Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, relationships, Self Esteem, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Two Advent Calendars to start your Christmas season.  Here is a printable copy of this activity:  Advent Calendars!

1.  Advent calendars.  I have two fun ides.  The first is great if you have some candy around (especially old Halloween candy)

  • You need two pieces of heavy paper, green markers or crayons, 24 candies for each child, tape or glue gun
  • Cut the papers in the shape of a Christmas tree
  • Color one green.
  • On the green paper cut 24 window flaps.  ONLY CUT THREE SIDES. 
  • Number each window with 1-24. So it shows on the green side
  • Now place this over the other paper.
  • Mark where the windows are with light pencil on the plain tree. 
  • Glue or tape the candies on each marked place on the plain tree. 
  • Place the green tree over the plain tree.
  • Tape the edges of the two papers together.

There you have your own advent calendar.  (You open each window everyday before Christmas ending on Dec 24.)

If you want to get a bit fancier you can add some lines of the story of Christmas to this.

  • Before you start the trees with your kids write or copy a short story of Jesus’ birth with each line separate from each other.  You can only have twenty-four lines. 
  • Number the lines in order. Cut these out and fold them up. 
  • Tape them to the candies. 
  • Proceed with the directions above. When you open each window you have the story. 
  • Have another piece of paper to tape these lines to so you can soave the sory and read the whole thing Christmas eve.

One more idea you can have these lines NOT in order and have your children put them in order as they get a new one each day. 

If you have more than one child you can have the story lines be in multiples of 24.  And spread the story between your children.  Have a large piece of paper where you can tape the story lines as you go.  If the lines are not in order you may want to keep them in an envelope to put together on Christmas Eve

2.  The other Advent Calendar is a paper chain.  It is simple to make and especially helps younger children to understand how long it is till Christmas comes.  The simplest way is to have red and green paper.  Cut these into 24 strips total.  Make a chain using tape or glue sticks.  Each day tear off a loop of the chain.

For older children they can add decorations to the chain.

For a more elaborate idea write the title of a Christmas song on each loop and when you remove the loop sing the song.  This is really FUN.  You can repeat the songs if you don’t know 24.  And if you have more than one child you can put the same songs on all the loops.  This makes for some fun Christmas caroling.

For more information about how to use holidays to boost natural self-esteem or to learn about natural self-esteem go to feel free to contact Grace E. Mauzy at grace@gemparenting.com.

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.

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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