What Do Our Kids Want From Us?


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

Is Shame Based Punishment Effective?

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook


Is publicly shaming our children an effective way to bring a positive change when they’ve made serious mistakes?

Experts and this real mom say no.

Kids need to be able to trust that their parents will watch out not only for their physical well- being but also care for their emotional health. Our job is to provide loving guidance not humiliation that demeans our children.

It’s ok that our kids feel guilt over their bad decisions, guilt drives us to change. Guilt says: you did something wrong, but shame says: you ARE something wrong.

Shame based punishment teaches kids to devalue themselves and their worth.

Publicly humiliating a child is so destructive because most of the time, the world doesn’t let us have the mercy and grace we need to move on from our mistakes.

Shaming our kids destroys their self-esteem and studies have proven that children with a healthy self-esteem will:

  • Have a larger network of friends
  • Have courage to face difficult situations and
  • Have the self-confidence needed to step up to the challenges of stepping out as a leader.

Shame-based punishments may work in the short term, but in the long term, it can be a vicious cycle.

My heart goes out to the parent whose child is constantly making really bad decisions, it can feel quite helpless and I’m sure the signs only come out after buckets of tears and helpless feelings.

But I still believe that there is a better way than public humiliation.

How often has humiliation provoked you to positive change?
Does throwing your dirty laundry in the face of all your friends at work or church compel you to want to do better or make you feel like shrinking back and isolating yourself?

What does a bully do? He/she humiliates. By using humiliation as punishment, parents resemble a school yard bully. Though I know this would never be their intention.

Sometimes I think that publicly shaming our child is less about them and more about us. It could be that a parent wants to deal with their own embarrassment of their child’s behavior and they think that this kind of public display will show the world that they are a good parent.

Street corners are not the only place for this kind of shame, Facebook is the new street corner so we also need to be careful that our Facebook posts are not embarrassing our kids.

But what does a parent do when faced with a child that refuses to listen?
Each situation is different but I encourage you to get to the root of the WHY they are doing it. See if you can find a way to address the heart of the issue.

And consider how you can discipline instead of punish them. Discipline comes from the word disciple and is done with the intent of moving forward in a positive way it encourages growth in someone. Punishment is always based on the past and not on a positive future.

As a Christian I look to Christ, He never humiliates or shames us, in fact He took our shame and punishment. However, He does discipline us.
Jesus showed us over and over that grace was more effective than scorn and punishment.

And in the Old Testament:

For further information on the dangers of shame I encourage you to check out Brene’ Brown’s website, videos and books.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: Shame based punishment

You can listen to my ‘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

Wrapping Up the Five Love Languages

Today we wrap up the series of Real Moms segements on the Five Love Languages of Children.

The five basic love languages that the book talks about are:

  1. Physical touch
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Gifts
  5. Acts of service

This might help you figure out which love language speaks love to your child the loudest:

  1. First, pay attention to how your kids show you love because our kids are likely to express love the way they want to receive it.
    Are your little ones giving you lots of compliments or saying “I love you” often, this could indicate that they want words of affirmation from you.
  2. And then pay attention to how they are showing others that they care about them.
    Does your child love giving gifts to their teacher or do they like to give toys away to their friends? This might be a clue that they thrive on “receiving gifts.”

The bottom line is that our kids need all 5 of these love languages, but will most likely respond best to one over the others, so that means that as parents we need to be bi-lingual when it comes to the love languages of children.

Real moms really love their kids and we just want to do the best we can at raising them to be healthy adults and this is a great tool to have in our mom belt to do that!

To hear this and the other segments, click on the Star 105.7 tab.
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

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