What Do Our Kids Want From Us?

summer-camp

Obviously an endless supply of Sourpatch kids candy, DS games, new bikes and a new iPhone would be top on their list, but apparently our kids want a few other things from us too. I’ve been talking with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7 for the last several weeks about survey results of what else our kids want from us. You can listen to my segments on my Star 105.7 page or read about them here:

  • Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in. Come say goodnight. Another good idea is to talk about what they are thankful for from the day. Studies have proven that on common quality of happy people is: gratitude!
  • During dinner, talk about what you could do together on the weekend. Kids love to have something to look forward to! Unless your weekend plans are to clean out the garage, then be nice and skip this one.
  • Let them play outside, A LOT. Summer’s coming Momma, send them out that screen door!
  • Tell them stories about when you were little. Keep in mind ‘little’ let’s not talk about those college years!
  • This one might surprise you, but when kids were asked to look back and tell what they remembered and loved most about their moms…one of the things is that they were thankful that she disciplined them. The reason is that they said: it made them feel like she cared. “She took the time to teach me how to be a good person.”
    I should emphasize discipline- not just punishment. There’s a big difference, discipline is about disciple-ing not just grounding them with no guidance for their future.
  • Give them room to grow.  The older they get, the more we need to step back so they can do things on their own. I think we really start to see this in junior high. They are going through crazy growth and hormonal changes and we are going to need to adjust how we parent them. Instead of doing it all for them, it’s time to start guiding them and being more hands off.
  • To continue the idea of giving them room to grow, one of the biggest ways we help our kids is by teaching them to make decisions. When they’re little, we help them recognize when they’ve made a good versus a poor choice. The older they get we coach them along the path of decision making and help them with three ideas:

As they get older we want our kids to ask themselves these three things when it comes to decision making:

  1. Why do I want to do this?
    You want your children to understand what motivates their decisions.
    Is it peer pressure? Is it selfish?
  2. What are my options?
    When they’re little we can help them by narrowing choices and as they grow we help them see the choices they have.
  3. What are the consequences or benefits?
    Do they really want the outcome of this decision?
    Kids tend to make impulsive, immediate gratification decisions (Don’t we all?!)
    And often when we ask our older kids why they did something wrong, they’re response (if being honest) is that they just didn’t stop to think about the consequences.

 

Ok, so that was a lot to take in, I think you deserve a good cup of coffee and some dark chocolate!

Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.
Proverbs 22:6

If you’re not in the West Michigan area you can listen live on iHeart Radio anywhere in the world!

Check out Tommy and Brook’s page online at West Michigan STAR: Tommy and Brook

Their Facebook page: Tommy and Brook

And their Twitter: @TommyAndBrook

Preventing the Summer Slide

I talked to a friend who’s a teacher and asked her what she would say to moms this summer and without a second’s hesitation she said: “READ! Keep those kids reading through the summer!”
Ugh! Why couldn’t she say: “The beach! Get those kids to the beach this summer!”
Or, “the ice cream shop or the mall! Those kids need more dessert!”
Anybody?
*crickets*
I had grand intentions to be in the library every week this summer picking out new books for my daughter but my big confession is that I’ve only been there once this summer.
So, I am talking to myself and maybe a couple other moms out there and committing to take some time to get her reading this summer and avoid what teachers call the “summer slide.”
Tips:
• Get caught reading! Let them see you reading.
• Have lots of books or kids magazines available for easy to pick up reading.
• Get series of books to keep them interested.

Here is a link to some great age appropriate book suggestions too!

And then, call me and we’ll go to the beach and eat ice cream!

Click the “Star 105.7” tab above to hear today’s segment.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

How Do I Get My Teen To Talk To Me?

We all want our kids to talk to us right?

When they were little we imagined sweet conversations about life, love and how much they appreciated the sacrifices of our parenting. Instead we’re faced with rolling eyes and a child that looks at you like you’ve just arrived on earth from another planet.

We know that every day is not “fine,” and we long for our kids to sit down and share their life for us, but that doesn’t always happen.

One of the biggest reasons our kids shut down and won’t talk to us is that we freak out when they do. I completely understand this. There have been times that my kids are telling me about something that happened with a friend or at a party and I’m sure I turn 3 shades of pale. But even though every bone in my body wants to freak out and go into lecture mode…if I ever want them to talk to me again, I have to remain calm.

My teen is not looking for a life lesson at this moment. They want my ear and my support. These kids are facing a different world than we did and we want them to be able to talk to us.

So you might be thinking: what do I do if my daughter/son is telling me something outrageous or even something that scares me? How do I handle these delicate situations?

First we listen, remembering that listening does not involve the movement of our lips. (You may need to jump back to last week’s post about learning to WAIT.) Then we channel our inner Oprah and talk about how these things make our kids feel and what, if anything do THEY think should be done about the situation and then while you are having a two way conversation about it, you can give your input.

Ask…do you think it was a good idea for you to stay at that party? How would you handle it different next time? THEN share your opinion in a non-accusing way. Give them the benefit of the doubt…the less you freak out, the more they will open up.

Moms, let’s have honest-open conversations with our kids AND THEN call your best girlfriend and freak out!

Click to listen to segment: Real Moms of West Michigan on Star 105.7
I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Tips on Communicating with Teens

One day we’re wrangling preschoolers, tying their shoes and washing syrup out of their hair. Five minutes later they are taller than us and rolling their eyes when we can’t figure out how to download music on our iPod.

Parenting teens is not for the weak. You have to be strong, have resolve, committed to holding your head up even when your child asks you to drop them off on the service road to the school so no one sees your cool van.

A common complaint among parents of teens is that they won’t talk to them. Their teenager puts the ear buds in and checks out of the relationship. Often we take that not-so-subtle cue and disengage ourselves. It’s true that our kids might need a little more space to spread their wings, but the last thing they need is us stepping away and taking the branch with us while they are still perched on it.

For the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing some tips on the Real Moms of West Michigan to help parents have better conversations with their kids.

This week I want to share an acronym that I heard author Anne Lamott share. In her latest book about becoming a grandma she shares some advice to mother-in-laws that I believe can be hugely beneficial to moms of teenagers also.

W-A-I-T. Which stands for Why-Am-I-Talking?

I think this is a good thing for moms of teens to keep in mind when talking with their kids. It doesn’t mean that we don’t ever share our opinion or give advice but it means that we pause and listen first and maybe ration our wealth of knowledge.

When your child looks at you like Simon Cowell looks at a biker-chick singing a pitchy version of Achy-Breaky Heart, you might want to WAIT. They are not hearing a word you are saying, they just wish the squawking would stop.

Another thing that I’ve been guilty of is:  listening to part of what my child is telling me and then interrupting them mid-sentence and giving them my advice to fix the issue at hand. This includes things which are not even issues to them…just part of their everyday life that I feel the need to interject my opinion upon. Instead I should probably WAIT, listen to what they are telling me and then decide if what I want to say is necessary or just noise.  You may find out that by the end of the story, no input from you was needed at all. Just an ear.

Moms, before we jump in with our pearls of wisdom, let’s think to ourselves: Why Am I Talking?

  • Listen first
  • Be fanatically on their side
  • WAIT

I’d love to hear what tips you have on communicating with your teens.

Next week I have one of the biggest reasons that our teens don’t talk to us. Huge even. Tune in!

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio.
Listen to today’s segment: Real Moms: Communicating with Our Teens 5-1-12

Hot Topics~What Teens Want Most

A recent study done on teenagers by the AP and MTV brought some interesting results.

Here is a quote:
When asked what one thing makes them most happy, 20 percent mentioned spending time with family — more than anything else.

About three-quarters — 73 percent — said their relationship with their parents makes them happy. After family, it was relationships with friends that people mentioned most.

Also confirming existing research, Twenge says, is the finding that children of divorced parents are somewhat less likely to be happy.

Among 13-17 year olds, 64 percent of those with parents still together said they wake up happy, compared to 47 percent of those with divorced parents.

And who were their heroes:
Oprah Winfrey? Michael Jordan? Hillary Clinton? Tiger Woods? All those names came up when people were asked about heroes.
Of public figures, Martin Luther King, Jr. got the most mentions.
But nearly half mentioned one of their parents, with mothers ranking higher (29 percent) than fathers (21 percent.)

Ladies, we are a huge influence in our kids life!

This is confirmed through the answers of these teenagers.

This study encourages and challenges me.

What am I doing with this influence?
Am I spending enough time with my kids?

Psalms 127:3-5
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from Him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
NIV

Our children are a reward from the Lord!

As a parent, I can tend to feel condemned for the wrong things that I do and the ways I feel that I fail my children. However, I believe we all need to focus more on the positive influence and opportunity that God has given us with the children He has blessed us with.

Let’s use this influence to help them become all that God has intended them to be.
My prayer for myself as a mother is that God would help me to guide my children in the direction He has for their life.

I challenge myself and you to spend more time with each of our kids and use the influence God gave us for His glory in their lives!

Now your turn, what do you think about this study?
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