I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Are you a multitasker?

In today’s society, multitasking is a normal way of living.  We chat on the phone while cooking, cleaning or doing laundry.  We send emails or text messages during a meeting or appointment.  We watch television while playing a game or reading a book.  Being able to do several things at one time gives us a sense of accomplishment and we believe it adds value to our lives.

However, research shows that multitasking is not an efficient way of living and it can even add a lot of harmful stress.  It doesn’t really save time and in fact it actually wastes time. When we move back and forth between tasks we are actually losing valuable time switching between the different things we are working on.  Multitasking can also cause you to make mistakes because your brain is focused on more than one topic.  You can also miss out on a lot of great things in life because your brain is trying to work so hard on keeping things straight.

Multitasking can also harm your relationships.  When you are trying so hard to accomplish several tasks, you are not tuned into the people around you.  You may be having a conversation and decide to check your phone or read your emails, which sends the message that you are not interested in what the other person is saying.

If you actually timed how long it took to accomplish 3 different jobs while multitasking or doing them individually, you would discover that it was faster to do them one at a time.  You would gain the time it took to switch back and forth from one job to another.  When you focus on doing just one thing, you will do it better and quicker.

You may consider yourself to be a great multitasker, but in reality, you are probably just wearing yourself out.  Multitasking does not make you a better person.  Slow down and enjoy life.  Do one thing at a time.  Do less and do it better.

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What does your tone of voice indicate?

Studies show that about 90% of life’s daily friction is caused by the wrong tone of voice!  This means it is not just important that you choose the right words when speaking with others, it means that you also need to be careful about the tone you use.

How do you communicate with your family, friends, co-workers and other people you meet?  Does your voice indicate anger, frustration, irritation, disappointment or does it indicate love, calmness, reassurance and/or support?  It makes a huge difference how you say things.

Look at this sentence, “I’d like to speak with you if you have a moment“.  If you say this in an angry or irritated voice, it conveys the message that there is something wrong and the person you are speaking to will be very apprehensive about meeting with you.  If you say it in a friendly manner, it conveys the message that you are going to have a pleasant conversation.

Instead of speaking to people in a voice that is angry, disappointed or frustrated, try to keep your emotions under control.  Take a minute to think about what you want to say, calm yourself down and then speak lovingly and calmly.  It takes ongoing practice but the results are so worthwhile.


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What kind of parent are you?

To Build (or Break) a Child's Spirit - by Rachel Macy StaffordThe way you parent your children mainly depends on what kind of environment you have been raised in.  Most parents will use the same methods of parenting used by their parents and grandparents even though they may have hated the way they were raised.  Every child wants to please their parents and they will try to model their behaviour.  They may even believe that this is the way normal parents behave if they  have never encountered a different approach.

There are basically 3 types of parents. The terms vary depending on what information you are reading, but I like to use the terms powerful, permissive and responsible.  Each one has a different impact on the child as to what kind of parent/child relationship they have and what type of parent they will become.  Think back to your own childhood and determine what kind of parent you were raised by.

  1. POWERFUL parents are those who make their children behave by controlling them with angry words or forceful actions and punishments.    They make most decisions for their child and allow them little freedom.  They use their size to intimidate their child and may ignore, harass or even physically abuse them.  Children of powerful parents behave out of fear rather than love and will eventually grow to resent their parents, often rebelling in some way.   They will grow up with insecurities and fears and will likely raise their children using anger and intimidation.
  2. PERMISSIVE parents are those who allow their children to do almost anything they want.  There are few or no rules and parenting is inconsistent.  They make things as easy as they can for the child, often doing things for them that the child could easily do themselves.  This robs the child of self-respect and self-esteem and invites rebellion.  Children of permissive parents often are confused and make poor choices because they have no guidelines to follow.
  3. RESPONSIBLE parents are those who convey love and show respect to their children and other people.  They provide their children with opportunities to make their own choices and hold them accountable.  They use consistent, loving discipline and lead by example.  They encourage, support and protect their child and help them develop good self-worth.  Children of responsible parents learn how become a responsible adult by watching and modelling the positive characteristics of their parent.

Powerful and Permissive parents have a negative affect on their children.  Most of these children will struggle in school, work and in their relationships.  They will likely become the same type of parent with their children or in some cases, they can go to the other extreme.  Children raised by powerful parents might become permissive parents because they don’t want their children to be controlled and will allow them complete freedom to do what they want, falsely believing this is showing love.  Children raised by permissive parents might become powerful parents because they believe that children need rules and may go way overboard in taking control, causing the parent/child relationship to suffer greatly.  Neither method works well.

The Responsible parent is the best method of parenting.   The parent works with the child to build a loving relationship.   Mistakes are made but lessons are learned and the child develops a positive perspective on life.

It is also extremely important that both parents use the same parenting method.  There needs to be continuous communication between the parents so they discuss and work out any problems.  When parents use different parenting methods or the parents are divided on any matter, parenting WILL fail.  Children are a lot smarter than we think they are.  They will divide and conquer every time.  Make sure you are working together as a team to raise your children in the best way possible.  And if you make a mistake?  Well, you are human and nobody is perfect.  Apologize, start over, do whatever it takes to keep those lines of communication open!

So what kind of parent are you?  And what kind of parent do you want your child to be?


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Make 2016 a year of fewer regrets

Everyone has regrets.  Being human causes us to say or do things that we wish we hadn’t said or done.  This can cause relationship problems with our families, friends, co-workers and any else we come into contact with.  We have to think carefully before we speak or put our words into actions.  We can also regret NOT saying something to a loved one or NOT doing something that we dreamed about or following a goal.

In different studies, people were asked what their biggest regrets in life were.  Many of these people were older or dying and they all seemed to have similar regrets.  Here are the top five listed:

  1. I wish I hadn’t spent my life trying to live up to other people’s expectations.  We all want other people to like us and we will do our best to fit in even if it takes away our own uniqueness.  We believe the lie that if we make other people happy than we will have lots of friends and be happy.  Our childhood dreams drift away and are forgotten.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so much.  We all need to make money so we can survive, but money doesn’t buy happiness.  Working long hours robs people of valuable time they could have spent with their family and friends.  Sadly all the money they accumulated does not replace a close, loving relationship.
  3. I wish I had told people how I felt about them.  Many people try to hide their feelings or don’t know how to show their love to others.  This can send a wrong message to their loved ones that they don’t care which will cause them to go through life feeling unloved, unwanted and unappreciated.
  4. I wish I had worked harder on my relationships.  Life can become so busy that we don’t take the time to keep in touch with family and friends.  Special occasions often get missed because people can’t find the time to get together.  Even families can have so many activities going on, that they rarely share a meal or spend much time together.  As we get older, we have more time, but it may be too late to re-connect with people that we have pushed aside for so long.
  5. I wish that I had made the choice to be happy.  Many of us don’t realize that we have the choice as to whether we will be happy or unhappy.  Of course, life happens and there are situations that will cause us pain and misery.  But even during difficult situations, we still have the choice as to how we can react.  We can remain in our pain and dwell on the negatives in our life or we can deal with the pain and move on with a positive attitude.

The problem is, many people live their lives, not paying attention to the fact that life is passing them by and soon they will have regrets.  Start this new year right, think about what is important in your life and then take action.

  • Work hard, but not so hard that you don’t have time for your loved ones.
  • Live up to your own expectations and follow your dreams.
  • Tell your family and friends how much you care about them.
  • Build strong relationships.
  • Choose to be happy.

Make 2016 a year of fewer regrets!

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One day at at time

 We often try to set goals or make a promise to do something that will happen in the future.   This might be to quit a bad habit, start a new venture or plan a big event.  It is great to plan for the future but trying to focus on something that isn’t happening right now, can often be too overwhelming to manage.

What we can do is focus on just ‘one day at a time’.   Tell yourself, you can get through today and don’t think about tomorrow or next week or next month.  Most of us have enough will power to commit to doing something or not doing something for just one day.   Then the next day, you focus on another ‘one day at a time’ and keep going.  This is a positive way of working towards your goals and dealing with your struggles.  Write your daily goal in a journal or on a calendar so you can keep track of your progress.

  • Are you trying to stick to a diet?  You CAN eat healthy foods just for today.
  • Are you trying to stop smoking?  You CAN go without cigarettes just for today.
  • Are you trying to stop criticizing?  You CAN go for just one day without criticizing.
  • Are you trying to exercise?  You CAN exercise just for today.
  • Are you trying to de-clutter your house?  You CAN work on it today.

Just focus on doing something for one day.  You CAN do it!  When you reach the end of the day, put a big check mark in your journal or on your calendar.  Make sure you congratulate yourself for doing a good job.  Then tomorrow, do it again ‘one day at a time‘ and remember to pat yourself on the back.  See how many days you can keep going.  The more you manage, the easier it gets.

If you just can’t make it through one day, don’t be discouraged.  Some days we will fail at meeting our expectations but this just means we are human.  Everyone slides backwards sometimes but when we do, we should just keep going and try harder to accomplish the task.  Give yourself a pep talk and start again the next day!  Slow and sure wins the race.

Remember, just one day at a time!!

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