imconfident

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.

What are you giving this Christmas….Presents or Presence?

We all know that Christmas is a time for giving presents and that can be a good thing if the presents are simple and come from the heart.  However, many people believe that they have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts so they will be loved and appreciated.  A big screen TV, a new expensive designer outfit, gold jewelry, the latest gadget or gimmick.  Doesn’t it mean you love someone more if you spend more money???  No, this is certainly not true.  It is just a false belief that tricks you into parting with your money, makes you feel bad and often puts you in debt.

It is far more important to give your PRESENCE on Christmas rather than PRESENTS.  Think about it.

  • Is a child happier when they are surrounded with piles of new toys and have nobody to play with OR are they happier when they have one game to play with someone they love?
  • Is a wife happier when her husband gives her a diamond bracelet and then works overtime to pay for it OR is she happier when her husband gives her an inexpensive pair of earrings and then spends time watching TV with her every evening?
  • Is a friend happier when she gets the newest I-phone from her friend and doesn’t see her for 6 months because she is too busy OR is she happier when her friend takes her for coffee once a week and spends time chatting with her?

Spending time with people spreads more happiness than spending money on people.  What are you giving this Christmas…..Presents or Presence?

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Are your words powerful?

Have you ever stopped to consider how powerful our words can be?  Everything that we say can have a huge impact on other people and even ourselves.  Just one little word or phrase can heal a person’s life or it can destroy it.  When we use words that are kind, loving and supportive we can lift people up and make them feel good.  On the other hand, when we say words that are mean, nasty and vindictive we can tear people down and make them feel bad.

Think about words that people say to you:

  • When you felt lonely and a family member said something loving to you, how did it make you feel?
  • When you were feeling down and a friend said something encouraging, did it lift you up?
  • When you were having a bad day at work and your boss told you that you did a good job, did your day go better?

Remember those times when a family member spoke to you in anger or someone at work criticized something you did or a friend told you they were too busy to have coffee with you.  How did those words make you feel?

We should always be careful with our words and choose them carefully.  Don’t let unkind, careless or cruel words come out of your mouth.  Think before you speak especially when you are stressed, tired, angry or upset.  Those are times when even the nicest person can be thoughtless and let words slip out that should never be spoken.

Saying unkind words to ourselves is also a bad thing.  We can be very cruel to ourselves, speaking words we have heard other people say to us or about us.  We need to challenge our self-talk and make sure we are not hurting ourselves with our own words.  What other people say is only a reflection of who they are and not who we are.  We believe a lot of things that are just not true.

We need to understand how powerful our words are and make sure we use them to lift people up, encourage them, support them and show our love.

 

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Simplify your child’s life…and your own

We live in a world that is complicated.   Daily pressures cause us to try to do way more that we should.  We try to pack so many things into 24 hours that we are exhausted at the end of the day.  Work, family, daily chores, meetings, sports, other activities….it is all too much for many of us to handle.  The stress we feel is handed down to our children when we place our own expectations on their little lives.

Children are not allowed to be children anymore.  They are pressured into growing up quickly and filling their time with endless activities.  When I was small, life was simple.  I spent hours playing by myself and using my creativity to do projects like painting, sewing and knitting.  Toys and games did not fill my room and I wasn’t bored.  Instead of spending hours playing on a computer or an i-pad, I was outside riding my bicycle or having adventures in my backyard.

I see children today who are involved in so many things that they don’t have time to enjoy their childhood.  Their schedules are so full of activities like sports, dancing, martial arts, video games, parties and other events that they don’t have time to use their own creativity.  Then when they do have down time, they go to rooms full of toys and games and are bored because they have nothing to do.

Parents often smother their children with too much, thinking it shows love.  We all want our children to have nice things but when it is overdone, it can result in emotional problems.  Kids feel frustrated, stressed, unsatisfied and feeling entitled to having everything they want.   We should give our children less stuff and allow them to have more free time to build their creativity.  We should give our children less activities and more family time.  More is not better.  More is stressful.  We need to simplify the lives of ourselves and our children.

Here is a great article I just read that explains more deeply what happens when we simplify life.http://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/

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Are you raising the child you want or the child you have?

We are all different.  Everyone is unique and special in their own way.  No two people on this earth are exactly the same and we should celebrate our differences.

When we have children, we often expect them to be like us and when they aren’t, we either try to mold them into a “mini-us” or we constantly battle with them because they don’t act the way we want them to and they drive us crazy.

We should raise our children as they are and not try to change them into the person we want them to be.  They are not us and they never will be.  We can force them into our mold and have them become an unhappy, unfulfilled adult.  Or we can encourage them to use their abilities, guide them through difficult situations to achieve their potential and support them when they fail.

Children are a gift.  Allow them to be themselves.  They are not perfect and neither are we.  Just love them.

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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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The countdown to Christmas…..

Cmas mouse and candy caneChristmas is almost here.  Are you ready? Are the decorations all in place? Are the presents all bought and under the tree? Are the guest preparations all done?

We can get so busy at Christmas that we forget to take time and think about what this season really means.  There is nothing wrong with decorating, buying gifts and enjoying ourselves but Christmas is not just about decorating our homes, unwrapping colourful gifts, eating scrumptious meals and having big parties.  Sometimes we get so carried away that we end up stressed out and deep in debt, having spent money on things we don’t really need and often don’t even want.

Instead of rushing around trying to beat the countdown to Christmas, stop and reflect on the reason for the season.  Christmas is about love and sharing, a celebration of Jesus’ birth.  We should be spending our time with families and friends instead of spending our money on expensive gifts and wasting time shopping.   Do yourself a favour this Christmas and invest your time instead of your money.  The payback is so much bigger and more rewarding!

Show more love to your family and friends.

Forgive all the past hurts and mistakes.

Tear down any walls and repair any broken bridges.

End off this year with some wonderful memories that will warm your heart for months to come.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

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What kind of example do you present to your children?

Happy Family Laughing in BedDid you realize that your children are watching everything you do and listening to everything you say?   Whenever they are within hearing range, they hear our words and they watch our actions.  Children look up to their parents and want to be just like them.  They look up to their parents for instruction and believe that they are the example they should follow.   Their young minds are trying to digest tons of information while discovering what is going on in the world around them.

It is really important that parents are presenting a good example to their children.  If parents have bad habits, children will often pick them up.  If parents use negative self-talk, children will learn how to speak negatively about themselves and others.  If parents are easily angered, children will have little patience.   If parents obsess about their looks, children will become very self-conscious about their self-image and have little esteem.

When children have positive role models they will become responsible, caring adults.  This doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect parents because there are no perfect parents.  We all make mistakes and we need to show our kids that it is okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and keep growing.  The key is to try our best to be the kind of parent that we want our kids to become.

  • If we want our kids to be responsible, we have to be an example of responsibility.
  • If we want our kids to be loving, we have to be an example of love.
  • If we want our kids to be kind, we have to be an example of kindness.
  • If we want our kids to be patient, we have to be an example of patience.
  • If we want our kids to be a person of integrity, we have to be an example of integrity.

What kind of example are you presenting to your children?

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How do you treat other people?

We all want people to be nice to us and treat us with respect.  Unfortunately there are a lot of people who don’t even know how to treat other people with respect because they haven’t been treated very well themselves.  Kindness can be contagious so maybe we could start the ball rolling.  If we started being nice to other people and treating them with respect and kindness, it might affect them in a positive way.  Of course, it won’t happen instantly but in time, our good example might just help teach them how to be nice.

So how do you treat other people?  When someone is hurtful and mean, do you respond in the same way or do you respond with kindness.  Being negative in a negative situation will never have a positive outcome!  Let’s start showing people what it looks like to have a good attitude and be a kind, loving person:)  What have you got to lose?  Maybe some negativity?

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How to help your teen build esteem

We should never measure ourselves against other people because we are all unique individuals.  We can’t possibly be the same as somebody else and we are not supposed to be.  Many of the people we are comparing ourselves to, are often very insecure about themselves.

Teens need to develop confidence and increase their self-esteem so they will be able to stand up to negative peer pressures and make good choices in life.  As parents, we can help our own children and any teens we are connected to.  Here are some ways that we can help them build esteem:

  1. Show love – Take very opportunity to show how much you love your children.  No, they don’t just know!!! You have to tell them and show them.  A child who feels loved at home won’t go looking for love in all the wrong places.
  2. Be encouraging – Life will always have problems and teens are very sensitive when they fail or do something wrong.  They need to be encouraged to keep going and know that you will support them.
  3. Have an open mind – Teens need to know that you that you are listening to them and that you are not going to judge everything they say.   You may not always agree with what they are saying, but they aren’t you and they will think differently.  Be honest and open.  Teens will talk to whoever with listen, so make sure that person is you.
  4. Be a positive role model – Teens always watch the people around them to see how they speak and act, so we need to make sure we are presenting a positive example for them to follow.  Be the person you want your teen to be.
  5. Choose your words carefully – Your words have the power to impact your teen in a positive or negative way.  Once your words are spoken, they can’t be taken back, so be very careful you don’t say something that is damaging.  Say things that remind them of their great abilities and strengths.
  6. Spend time with them – Teens do like to spend time with their parents as it makes them feel valued.  Plan some special times as a family and also one-on-one, to build a closer relationship.  Make sure you aren’t spending time criticizing them or they will prefer to spend time with someone else.

The teen years are very difficult and your teen really needs your love and support.  Be there for them and help them navigate through all the challenges they face.  You will face obstacles and often feel like nothing is working, but if you keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to maintain a good relationship, your teen will feel your support and know how much you care.

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Our biggest problem is right under our nose

Have you ever stopped to consider the power that you have in your tongue?  Just one small part of your body speaks volumes about the type of person you are.   When you open your mouth to speak, you can reveal a lot about your character.   Your words can show love or hatred, calmness or anger,  encouragement or criticism, modesty or boastfulness.  Your words can tell the truth or they can lie.  Your words can help or they can hurt.  It all depends on what kind of mindset you have.

If your thoughts are mostly positive, they will produce positive words, positive actions and positive results.  However, if your thoughts are mostly negative, they will produce negative words, negative actions and negative results.

What is going on in your mind?  Are positive or negative thoughts floating around?  If they are negative, it is time to start thinking about what you are thinking.  Be aware of your thoughts, stop yourself before anything comes out of your mouth, and try to change anything that is negative into something that is positive.   At first it may be hard, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.  Just taking a few seconds to breathe and think can stop you from saying hurtful, damaging words or doing something that you might regret.

Our biggest problem is right under our nose.  The tongue is so powerful and we need to learn how to control it.

 

 

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