“Are you going to be doing a workshop that is open to the public?” “Do you have a new book coming out?” “Will you speak at our convention, professional development event, parent conference?”
You have asked and the response is, “yes.” At the bottom of this newsletter is the answer to your questions. I am going to be on holidays for the remainder of the month so there will not be another newsletter until July.
It’s Summer — The Kids Get to Take Out the Garbage.
It happens often. I’m speaking to a group of parents of young teens when one parent says to me, “She’s fourteen years old and won’t even start supper. What can I do?”
My response is a question: “When did you start teaching her how to cook? And when did you start expecting her to help with meal preparation?” All too often this is greeted with a blank stare and a repetition that after all she’s fourteen years old and should be able to start dinner.
It’s not inherent. While a youngster will reach puberty no matter what we do, she won’t suddenly have the skills we think should follow. I’m over sixty years old and can’t run wire to an electrical box. But I know lots of people, men and women, who are quite able to handle this task. At some point they were taught, they did it with some sort of supervision and now it’s a skill they have. This is how we develop skills.
There are many reasons why we need to involve our kids in the running of the house. The obvious one is that when they are ready to live on their own, they will need to know how to cook and clean. A more immediate reason is that, believe it or not, this will help them to develop positive self-esteem. Kids love to be needed in the running of the house, they feel good when they learn a task and succeed, the whole family benefits and they love to work with their parents.
When my son Foley was about two-and-a-half, he helped his Dad, John, put up drywall. John put a can of nails on a small, sturdy stool. He asked Foley to please get him a nail. Foley would reach into the can, bring the nail to his father and watch as he hammered it into the stud. And the job was over. Now, he had a choice; he could stay and continue working with his dad or go and play. He chose to stay and for two hours he diligently brought nails, one at a time, to his father. Now, was this the most efficient way for John to complete this job? Of course not. Usually he would have had the nails handy in the pocket of his apron and hammered away. But efficiency should not always be the goal. The drywall did make it onto the studs, our son learned about the role of nails and drywall in creating a solid wall, the two had a great afternoon together and for years afterwards both could look at the wall and know they had built it together.
If your kids aren’t already helping out around the house, summer holidays is a great time to make a start. I’m not suggesting that you put your kids on an eight-hour housework day, but there is some extra time. Not all jobs are as satisfying as putting up drywall, but learning how to cook can be immensely satisfying. Book some time with them in the kitchen so you can start to teach them how to put a meal on the table.
There are some tricks to getting your kids involved. The first is to reconsider your standards. Your kids won’t do it to your standards. Guaranteed. But as long as they are doing their best, relax. If you spend all your time re-doing their work, they just aren’t going to try to do well.
Teach them how to do the job. We often assume that because what we are asking is, by our reckoning basic and simple, that they will just know how to do it. Whether it’s setting the table, picking up their toys or separating eggs, they need to be taught.
And give your kids choices. They need to do some work around the house but can choose whether to dust the living room or wash the kitchen floor. When kids have some choice of chores, they are more willing to do the work.
They don’t have to like it. We often don’t, so why should they? Have you ever wakened on a lovely Spring morning, yawned and grinned and said to yourself with glee, “Wow, today I get the clean the toilet!” Not likely. But you do the job. It’s very liberating when your child whines “But I don’t like doing my laundry,” and you respond, “I didn’t say you had to like it, you just have to do it.”
Get started now. Let your children be productive family members. Don’t ask too much, but do ask. Everyone will benefit. Your children will grow to become capable young adults and you will find the workload much easier to handle when everyone works together.
Bringing Parenting Today to your event.
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.
A New E-Book
Why is it that Jeremy and Olivia who are siblings are so different? Every child is unique and usually shows their particular temperament right from birth. What’s a parent to do?
Watch for a new e-book due out in July called Vive la Difference; Raising Children with Different Temperaments.
You’ll find out in this newsletter the minute it is available.
Save the Date
For those of you in the Lower Mainland, you will have the opportunity to attend a workshop in Burnaby on September 11, 2013.
Details will follow, but I can tell you that it will start at 6:30 pm and the topic is “I Like Me!”
Child self-esteem is a topic of growing importance in our society as we see our young people struggling to develop a positive self-image. Children and adults who feel good about themselves are happier and more successful.
In this workshop you will learn:
• why simply loving our kids us not enough
• why some common parenting practices are backfiring on us
• practical ways you can help your children to develop high self-esteem
The presentation deals with the difficult and abstract concept of self-esteem and will offer a blueprint for success. It is appropriate for parents of children of all ages.