Archive for Helping Families

New Year’s Resolution – To Stop Reading Email

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Happy New Year!

Hopefully, as Michelangelo suggests, we are all still learning.

From a personal perspective this year, I learned an incredibly valuable lesson as I often do, from my children. That lesson was what we wish for our children may not be their wish. Though we want their good health and happiness; we need to realize that happiness has to be on their terms, not ours.

From a professional standpoint, the past year brought a myriad of new ways to socially networking with old and new friends. Or did it?

I think all the information overload and news, whether mundane or newsworthy gets lost in the sheer volume of it all.

1. If you send a holiday card to undisclosed recipients (and I’m on that list) I don’t feel all that special.

2. If I receive emails that require I pass it on to eight friends in the next ten minutes or terrible ills will come upon me, I am able to dismiss it and still make it to dinner.

3. And as important as your email message might be, whatever the subject, the bottom line is that nobody cares about your ‘stuff’ as much as you do.

This is largely due to the fact that there is too much going on. For the New Year and new decade, I’m choosing to take a step back or perhaps sideways.

Just as the holidays brought cards and pictures to my mailbox, which were more meaningful than email good wishes, the email newsletter you receive from me will come to your mailbox. Yes, I mean snail mail. We’re going to test this with a February newsletter on a topic you will really be interested in – raising socially conscious children.

In order to receive this newsletter, please be certain that you are registered as a Parental Wisdom® member with a full and complete mailing address.

• If you’re just signed up with an email account, we won’t have your address so we can’t mail it to you. Here is the link

• If you have found the information from Parental Wisdom helpful, then be sure to send a note to your friends. Please note, see point 2 above and don’t warn them about terrible things happening to them if they choose not to join. They’ll be fine.

This is one of a number of enhancements you’ll see this coming year. I look forward to our on-going conversations, and very soon you’ll see how we’ll be enhancing our ability to have real conversations as well.

If you are new to Parental Wisdom listen here

The very best to you and your family!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

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Experience the joy of parenting

“When we are centered in joy, we attain our wisdom.” – Marianne Williamson

As we celebrate the birthdays of our first born, we are also celebrating our anniversary as parents. As you think back, what do you remember?

If I had to sum up my feelings to one word, that word would be joy.

I find myself nostalgically thinking of all the things we did and I can’t help but smile. Not that we were perfect parents, or our lives were perfect, but it was real, and we really enjoyed bringing up our children – every step of the way, even when they were teenagers. We didn’t rush through the stages, anxiously waiting to get to the next one, but really lived in that moment.

Joy is something that is easily spread around, which means that if parents are enjoying the ride, so are their children. I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of your favorite moments of parenting; this would make a wonderful book!

Care to contribute your favorite moments of parenting?

Let me begin…

1. Each year on their little boy’s birthday, a picture is taken in his dad’s button down shirt. Same shirt, every year. They will continue to do that to see how he grows into it.
2. Celebrate every holiday, and include decorations, food and discussion about why that holiday is being celebrated. Presidents Day then isn’t about a sale, but your children will remember the log cabin you built from pretzel logs, as you discuss why Lincoln is still remembered.
3. Cutting down the Christmas tree each year has all the makings of the next National Lampoon Griswold’s movie, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
4. You attended every Thanksgiving Day football game at the local high school regardless of the weather, and went back home and prepared a Thanksgiving feast together as a family.

P.S. If you aren’t yet a parent, but remember things your parents did that you really enjoyed; that counts too!

Love to hear from you!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato

time mag

When asked what he would do if he had one hour to save the world, Albert Einstein responded by saying that he would spend the first 55 minutes understanding the problem and the last 5 minutes solving it.

Hope you got a chance to read the great article in Time magazine on how schools are helping families understand and participate in their children’s education.

Let’s continue to peel this onion back and understand the real problem as to why parents might not be present at school.

Culturally, parents might feel their job is at home taking care of their husband and children. Being out at night attending a meeting takes them away from their families.
Single parents carry a heavy burden and often feel overwhelmed. Time is limited, and there is no partner to share the questions and problems with.
The perception is involvement in parenting groups is geared around fundraising and asking for money, rather than offering information about the school and various programs.
Language is often a barrier.
Some parents feel embarrased by their lack of education, and not even knowing what questions to ask.

I applaud these programs and we should all continue to understand the challenges and help our little villages whenever we can.

I did a presentation at the New York City Elementary Schools Principals Association meeting on how to bridge the gap between math and home. To read the notes, visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and read Bridging the Gap between Math and Home.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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Getting Divorced? What to Tell your Spouse Before You Tell the Kids!

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Ever go on a vacation without making plans in advance? The consequences are usually disastrous. If you fail to plan ahead regarding newspaper and mail delivery, feeding your pets or watering the plants, knowing where your destination is and reserving your accommodations, your vacation is likely to be filled with disappointment, frustration and even heartache.

What about preparing your children for your pending divorce? Do you have a plan – or are you going to wing it without any prior thought? For children, divorce is a monumental life experience for which they have no preparation. The very foundation of their security – their love for Mom and Dad – is being thrown into turmoil. Everything they knew and accepted as part of routine daily life is going to be affected in one way or another.  They don’t know what to expect and have little source of comfort other than their parents who are announcing the devastating news.

How can you help your children through this process? First, sit down face to face and talk to your children’s other parent, as if their lives depended on it. Regardless of your involvement with attorneys or other legal resources, this should be a conversation between two parents who love their children and want the best outcome for them.

Agree to set aside the emotional drama of your feelings for one another at this time … the hurt, anger, resentment, jealousy, competition, frustration, regret … and focus on just one issue: How will we tell our children about the divorce?

Put yourselves in your children’s shoes.

Picture each of your children and talk to each other about how each child is likely to feel and react to the news. Put yourselves in their shoes and feel their emotions with deep compassion. You know your children. Discuss their ages and personalities. Are they likely to blame themselves … erupt in anger … beg you to stay together … want to run away and hide? Find a place of agreement and be prepared with the most comforting words and reassurances that will resonate with each child.

Remind them they are not at fault.

Many children feet responsible in some way for their parent’s relationship problems and divorce. They need reassurance, again and again, that the problem is not about them – even if you’ve been fighting about parenting issues. Assure them it’s not their behavior that caused your conflict – and there is nothing they can do to make things different. You can say something like, “Mom and Dad have been having problems. We don’t agree about certain key issues and that creates conflict. So we are going to make some changes, but none of this is your fault and never was.”

Reassure them that Mom and Dad will always be their parents.

Your children need to understand two things at this time. Mom and Dad will always love them – and will always be their parents. It is important to emphasize that no matter what changes occur over the weeks, months and years ahead, Mom and Dad will still always be their real parents and no one else will replace them. Tell them you both will always be there for them, no matter where you live or how things should change.

You can say, “No matter what happens, no matter what changes occur, one thing is for certain. Mom and Dad will always love you. That will never change. Regardless of where we live, what we do and how old you get. You can count on that. And don’t ever forget it.” Make sure you live up to that in the arrangements you will be making.

Focus on change, not on blame.

Divorce is a scary word. It is wise at this time to talk to your children about change as a natural part of life. “Everything in life keeps changing. You grow bigger, stronger and smarter every year. The seasons change. You change grades and schools as you get older. Change means things will be different in some ways. It doesn’t mean things will be bad. Often change can make things better, and that’s what Mom and Dad want to do.”

Explain that it can take time for us to get used to changes, like starting a new grade with a new teacher. Other times change gives us a chance to do things in a new and better way, like trying a new sport or a hobby you grow to love.

Mention that the changes in our family are not about who’s right or wrong or who’s good or bad. “Mom and Dad both tried their best to resolve our problems. The old way didn’t work for us and now we will be trying a new way for our family to live so there’s more peace, calmness and happiness for us all. Let’s think about how we can see the changes ahead as a new adventure — a brand new chapter in our lives. It may not only be different – it may be better!”

Be confident and consistent.

Children are often frightened when faced with new experiences – and divorce is a monumental challenge for them to grasp. Keep reminding your children that everything will be okay. “Mom and Dad are working on all the details so you don’t have to worry about anything because Mom and Dad have it all under control.”

 This isn’t the time to go into a lot of specifics. You may not have many answers yourselves. Keep the message very generic. “We’ll have new ways of doing some things … some new responsibilities … some differences in our schedules. But life will go on. We will get used to the differences. Some of them we may even prefer. And after a while, we’ll look back and say, life is different than it used to be, but it’s all okay. Mom and Dad are okay, you’re all okay, our family is okay and we still love each other.  And that’s most important of all!”

Ideally both Mom and Dad should tell the children together and agree in advance about the messages you are conveying. If you’re having the conversation alone, you must stay neutral and not talk disrespectfully about the other parent that your children still love. Focus on your children’s feelings and reactions. Respond compassionately in the best way you can.

These core messages are the foundation your children will depend on when they are feeling frightened, sad or insecure. Repeat them often in your own words and your own style. You’ll be rewarded in countless ways as you and your children encounter and overcome the challenges of life after divorce.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is the author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!  Acclaimed by divorce professionals, the book provides fill-in-the-blank templates that guide parents in creating a family storybook with personal photographs as an ideal way to break the news. For more details, a free ezine, articles, coaching and other resources visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

© Rosalind Sedacca 2009 All rights reserved.

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5 Tips to Prevent Scarring Your Kids After Divorce!

 By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Divorce need not wound and scar your children if you put their emotional and psychological needs first when making crucial decisions. Some parents don’t understand that every decision they make regarding their divorce will affect the well-being of their children in countless ways. The emotional scars are not only harder to see, they’re also much harder to erase.

Here are five keys to helping your children move through and thrive after divorce.

1)    Remind them this is not their fault.

Children tend to blame themselves for divorce, no matter how bad Mom and Dad’s relationship has been. The younger the child, the more likely this is so. Sit down together and talk to your children, emphasizing that they are in no way at fault. You can say something like: “Mom and Dad don’t agree about certain key issues and that has created conflict. Even when some of the issues are about you, it does not mean you are to blame. You are an innocent child who we both love. Sadly, Mom and Dad disagree about certain important issues — but not about our love for you. You are not in any way at fault.”

2)    Focus on change — not on blame.

Divorce is all about change within the family structure. Often those changes can be beneficial and create a more peaceful environment for your children. Never burden them with adult information and judgments. Focus instead on the fact that change is an inevitable part of life and not necessarily bad. Let your children see that everything in life keeps changing. “You grow bigger every year. Seasons change, clothing styles change, your school classes change. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to changes, like when you get a new teacher or try a new sport. In time you may come to like these new changes. Let’s give it a try.”

3)    Respect your child’s other parent.

When you belittle, put down or in any way disrespect your ex – regardless how justified it may feel – it hurts your children in deep and long-lasting ways. Children innately love both their parents and feel a connection to them. When you insult their other parent it creates confusion, guilt, sadness, insecurity and low self-esteem in your children. Instead, remind them that Mom and Dad will always be their parents and will always love them. No one will replace Mom or Dad either. “We will both always love you and be there for you, no matter where we live or how things should change.” Then strive to do the right thing on their behalf.

4)    Let your children continue to be children.

While it may sometimes be tempting, never confide adult content to your children. They are not psychologically prepared to handle the emotional complexity. Save venting for trusted friends, a divorce counselor or support group.  Also never ask your children to spy, act as messengers between both parents or provide inappropriate details about the other parent’s home life. Again, this pressure’s them in many ways – none of which are positive. It is not their place to assume adult responsibilities or help you to find evidence against your ex.

5)    Make decisions through the eyes of your child.

Before making any decisions regarding divorce issues, think about the consequences for your children. Ask yourself, what will they say to me about this when they are grown adults? Will they thank me for the way I handled the divorce – or be angry and resentful about my attitude and behavior? The choices you make will affect your children for years and decades to come. For their sake, take the high road and be a role model they will want to emulate.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!  Her innovative approach guides parents in creating a personal family storybook, using fill-in-the-blank templates, family history and photos, as an effective way to break the news with optimum results. For more information, free articles, free ezine and other valuable resources visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

© Rosalind Sedacca 2009 All rights reserved.

 

 

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Pets Help Kids Through Divorce: 6 Reasons Why

kids pets

Can a pet be helpful to your children during a divorce and the transition after? In my opinion, without a doubt! If your family has one or more pets, let your children have access to them as much as they desire. There is a great emotional benefit to them and your children are fortunate that the pets they love can still be in their lives.

If you don’t already have a pet, I recommend getting one – but only if you are in a position to be responsible to that innocent animal during this time of additional stress in your life. If a family pet is out of the question, please consider giving your children time to play with the pets of friends and family. Take them to petting zoos. Allow them contact with other life forms that can give them joy at a time when they are likely experiencing stress and insecurity.

In the United States alone, close to 65%, or about 71 million households have pets. Statistics from the National Pet Owners Survey say 39% of these households own at least one dog and 34% one or more cats. This should come as no surprise since pets can be a blessing in the life of any human being at any age.

Here are six key benefits a pet provides for families coping with divorce:

1. Unconditional Love: It has been proven again and again that pets are a source of support and unconditional love for children. During and after divorce, when there is so much instability and insecurity in a child’s life, a beloved pet can be the bridge to sanity. While much around them may be changing, sweet Fluffy is still there to love them and be by their side.

2. A confidant. Children like to talk to their pets. For most children pets are a trusted friend in which they can confide and share their deepest fears. This is truly a gift to children and greatly helps with emotional resiliency. Pets are nonjudgmental. They listen attentively. They “understand,” And they always love you back. Isn’t that what your children need at a time like this?

3. Security. Pets have been shown to help children better cope with challenging times within a family including divorce, illness and death. They feel less alone and abandoned. The relationship with the pet provides a deep sense of security that can’t easily be duplicated. In early childhood a stuffed animal often serves much the same purpose. But kids rarely outgrow their bond with Fluffy, even when they mature into their teens.

4. Bridge to adults. Pets can bridge the emotional and communication gap between adults and children – especially when Mom and Dad are preoccupied with so many other time-consuming details during and after a divorce. They are a valued part of the family, a source of calm as the family moves through the storm of post-divorce transition.

5. Stress Reduction. Medical studies have shown that pets are just as beneficial for adults. Walking and talking to your dog or petting your cat can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, not to mention overall stress. Pets also are a great source of laughter and joy, a reminder that there are other aspects of life that are still wonderful to experience.

6. Best Friend. Pets also provide unconditional love, nurturing and comfort to adults who greatly need it as they transition through the grief of divorce. They’re a best friend when you’re alone and an appreciative ear when you want to vent or shed tears.

Connecting to other life forms is also a wonderful way to get a perspective about our place in the universe and our responsibilities toward others. When life can feel life it’s crashing in around us it is valuable to remember we share this planet with other beings who depend on us for love, sustenance and nurturing as well.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love. For her free articles, blog, valuable resources  on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

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Paying our dues to be part of the village

jaycee

A story in the news this week horrified parents. It brings a few thoughts come to mind:
• How this happened
• What caused it to be uncovered
• And, as members of the ‘village’ what we can do to prevent it

Background
An 11-year-old girl is abducted on her way to school 18 years ago, as her step-father looked on unable to deter the kidnappers. During that period, she gives birth to two daughters fathered by her captor. She is released due to the follow through of alert security guards at the University of California at Berkeley when her captor displayed suspicious behavior while visiting the campus to distribute religious material.

Today
With new school supplies, clothes, sneakers and backpacks, families across the country are excited about the start of a new school year. At the same time, we have to question the safety of our children; specifically as it relates to walking to school. Communities trying to combat childhood obesity encourage families to allow their children to walk to school, but this story could cause major setbacks in this endeavor.

If a safe, community focused approach is taken, we can keep our kids safe, and allow them the freedom and enjoyment of walking to school. Visit International Walk to School in the USA to learn how.

Keeping all of our children safe
There is a belief that a society is judged by something called the “burning building theory.” Here’s how it works. If your child was in a burning building, no doubt you would rush in to save him. But, a society is judged by the willingness of its community members to rush in to save someone else’s child. That is where the concept of the village comes in.

If the village has any chance of working, we need to recognize we’re all in this together. A candle provides a good example of how this works. When used to light another candle, the first candle doesn’t lose its light; in fact, it intensifies. So if each one of us can take care of our own family, and do just a little bit more, we can move the village concept from a wonderful idea to reality.

Experted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals® by Tina Nocera

If the security guards were not observant, or did not follow through on their suspicions, Jaycee Dugard would still be a captive.

Although most situations aren’t quite this serious, there are times where we question whether or not we should say something. Here is a recent question posed by a Parental Wisdom® member that illustrates that point.

I was looking out my window this morning, and noticed a father walking quite a distance ahead of his little girl who appeared to be about 2 years old. It was easy for a car to turn into a driveway and since the little girl was so small the car wouldn’t see her and she could have been hit, or the little girl could have run into the street. My concern is, should I have said something to him? We are all cautious of correcting other parents’ behavior, but what if something could have happened to that little girl and I didn’t point it out to the father? In light of a recent tragic crash involving a mom who apparently was driving intoxicated, I am taking the concept of accident avoidance more seriously. Your advice?

To see answers from our expert advisors, click here

What do you think? Comment below.

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