Monday, December 31, 2012


Have you ever looked at someone else's family and thought, "How on earth do they get their kids to be so well behaved all the time?" As you know it doesn't just happen.  There is no 'Genie in a bottle'.  It is hard work.

It has a little bit to do with the child's temperament they were born with. Some parents are lucky in that way, but even those angel-faced kids have moments of pushing boundaries and causing your blood pressure to rise to boiling point. But what do you do if you have a child or children born with a strong will and feisty behavior?  One, that from the moment they were born they were a handful. These children have been affectionately termed as "high needs" and given a bad rap from day one.

It is important to remember that the goal of your children is not to make you miserable. They are often just acting out of pain, frustration, boredom, and/or anger. Children haven't learned to be conniving and vindictive yet. They are simply acting from instinct. Our human instinct is to survive and be loved. That goal, in and of itself, leans towards selfishness. We know what we want and we want it now! When someone tells us we can't have it, it makes us desire it more. We are very persistent beings until we are distracted by something more appealing or coerced to believe we don't really want or need the thing we hunger for. 

So, with that said, parents who have angel kids at the restaurant that just sit there and eat their dinner without drawing negative attention are very blessed. Those children are a product of both nature and nurture. They have been taught the right way to behave in public. I'm sure there were many times they misbehaved on the way to being the angel face you see today.

Consistent parenting is the key. Here's what you can do:

* Decide on the values you want for your family e.g. honesty, loyalty, obedience, forgiveness,
   integrity, trust
* From those values, explain your expectations to your children.  What will these values 
   look like in your home?
* Train your children and allow them to make mistakes
* Praise them for getting things right. It is far better than constantly being negative
* Give them responsibility around the home
* Set consequences - the more severe should be reserved for those values you feel most  
   strongly about
* Be consistent - both parents must stand together. Don't over-react to the little things

Your children want to please you, so it is vital to give them lots of quality time, praise, love, and intellectual and physical stimulation. If they are a small child and have little attention, they tend to get bored and act out. When they are a teen and have too much time on their hands, it is easy for them to drift along with peers that are similarly bored or angry and get into trouble. As children's needs are met, you will find less protest or rebellion from them. (Of course, I'm not talking about kids that may have a behavioral disorder. They have an entirely different set of issues that cannot be dealt with in the same way).

This is a topic that cannot be fully addressed or answered in a small blog post. There are so many different dynamics that come into play including divorce, loss, abuse, spoiling, medical conditions of family members, city or country of residence, community support and so on. If you have a contribution or question concerning this topic please feel free to comment below on this blog or go to our Forum and pose a question.

Here is an interesting article from the United Kingdom:

We believe successful families are

1. Parent directed

2. Family oriented

3 Outwardly focused

By Kristee Mays and Sally Burgess

Monday, December 24, 2012


    •  A hand made card
    • A long distance phone call just to hear a voice
    • A hug
    • An "I really love you"
    • Some warm cookies sent to the neighbor
    • Some chocolate for the mailman
    • A smile to a stranger
    • A note of appreciation
    • Help in carrying someone's shopping
    • Opening a door
    • Treating someone to the movies
    • Inviting someone to your home
    • Christmas ornaments with your family's names on it
    All of the above says "I really thought about YOU"

    Friday, December 21, 2012


    In a past age, people did not have the option to travel far.  Even now I am astonished when I hear that people living in say, Tennessee, have never ventured beyond its borders.  Our families are scattered all over the country and often times the world.  It is ever more exciting when we have the opportunity to gather together.

    What happens when we get together?
    • We catch up on all our news
    • We become excited with others' achievements and they equally enjoy ours
    • We meet new family members
    • We share hugs, smiles, gifts and stories
    • We have an opportunity to forgive and forget
    • We remember back when...
    • We renew our commitment to one another
    • We share our love
    • Sometimes we say goodbye for the last time
    Gathering together strengthens the ties that bind us together as families.  It is also a time to think of those who do not have anyone to share time with.  Our families should not be an exclusive club but have porous walls.  We need to be actively looking for those without families to share their lives with.  When we do this our kids learn to think of the needs of others also.

    By Sally Burgess

    Monday, December 17, 2012


    I am not sure where the concept of a Christmas Wish List came from but I wonder if it had something to do with having to remember all the things you wanted when confronted by Santa at the Mall?  When we were children there was no such thing as writing down every conceivable thing you wanted.  I can see that there is no harm in allowing kids to write things down that they want, and being told they could only have two or three gifts from the list.  But many parents cave into the pressure of buying everything on the list which gives the child the idea there is a money tree growing outside the back door!

    Points and suggestions
    • It is important to create a Christmas shopping budget and stick to it.  A guide line would be to only buy what you can pay off your credit card by the end of the January following.
    • Kids will survive without the latest in fashion in clothing or toys.
    • Encourage your kids to make gifts for one another and for you. When a gift has been hand made, it means much more than a store bought item and it is usually infinitely cheaper to produce.  Kids can create all sorts of things that are fun to play with. Make cookies and put them in sealed jars as a gift for friends and relatives.  Inexpensive and tasty.  We have done it and it worked a treat.
    • Suggest each child choose a gift from their list to give away to another child
    • Grandparents love to give gifts to their little ones which often results in a huge pile.  Take half of them away and store them for 6 months, then bring them out and store the others.
    • Have the children go through their toys prior to Christmas to donate to Goodwill.
    ** The more 'stuff' kids get, the less they appreciate and look after it.

    We need to teach our kids the principle that it is more fun to give than to receive.  Expose them to the feeling.

    By Sally Burgess

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    BUT WHY???

    How many times a day do we hear the words "But why?" from our eager young children? If you had a nickle for every one, you'd be rich, right? When my children were small they would often ask, "Why?" and "Why not?" Unfortunately I did not always take the time to give them a reason as to why I didn't want them to do something.  In fact, I have to confess to defaulting in frustration at times to, "Because I am a mean Mom. Now don't ask me again!" What I didn't realize was that if I had explained at the time, not only would they have an immediate answer but the reason could have positive long-term  effects. Why? (There is that question again!)

    Explanations are teachable moments. They give you the opportunity, as a parent, to highlight danger and to encourage your kids to think about consequences and therefore learn to make wise decisions both now AND when you are not there to ask.

    a) Example: Mother to a 4 year-old. "No, you may not ride your bicycle down the driveway and here is why. You may not be able to stop in time, fly out into the street and a car might hit you."

    b) Example: Father to a 15 year-old son or daughter. "I am not letting you go out to Tony's party with your friends because we do not know the family well enough to know there will be adult supervision. There may be alcohol or drugs there, and though we have told you the dangers of these substances, we cannot be sure you will be safe around others who use them."

    If you do not have time to give an explanation as to 'Why?' immediately, tell your child that when you have finished the task at hand, you will tell them why. 

    By Sally Burgess and Kristee Mays

    Saturday, December 1, 2012


    We are a mirror to our children. We discover who we really are when our children reflect what they see.

    The video above says it all. It is up to us as parents to model the right behaviors and values so that our children don't repeat the cycle of destruction that we may have left. If you have had bad modelling of parenthood in your own life, it's not too late to make a positive change in your parenting. In fact, your children will respect you for it and likely hail you a hero in their life. If you have a drinking problem, smoking addiction, abusive personality and so on, you are likely a product of your own upbringing and don't know any different. Do you want your children to do the same thing when they grow up? If you are miserable or depressed, so will your children be. If you are happy and charismatic, so will your children be.  If you tell a little white lie to get out of a parking ticket or to get out of attending that dreaded community meeting, your children will do the same. If we want to see change in this world, we have to raise children that are going to make a difference.

    Inner qualities such as integrity, loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness, respectfulness, forgiveness, obedience and charity are the true values that create our real identity. When we possess these characteristics, we become great family members, friends, employees, team members, parents and role models in society. Such principles help us stand strongly against decaying societal values.
    These characteristics start with us.

    We need to:

    · Choose the values we want for our families.

    · Model those values to our kids (i.e. be respectful in the way we talk, do the right thing whether others are looking or not.)

    · Train our kids on each value, forgive initial mistakes and praise them for getting it right.

    · Keep at it until each value becomes an individual auto response and family norm.

    We are our children's ambassadors to the world. Without us, they will look to society for the values to define them. Let's develop our kids into loving, giving, joyful, respectful, able, valuable members of society so they can make the next generation better than ours.

    By Kristee Mays and Sally Burgess

    Sunday, November 25, 2012


    Provide and label boxes for toys and other item storage:
    If there are spaces or containers already allotted for toys, clothes, bikes etc, it is much more tempting to put them away.

    Set rules:
    When your kids have finished with one set of toys, they should put them away before setting up something else.  When they take their clothes off after school or at night they should put them away at the time.

    Tell them AND show them what to do:
    Model your expectations.  Be a tidy bunny yourself. From a very young age kids can be shown how to fold up their clothes and put them in a drawer. They can also put toys in designated places. You can show them which clothes should be hung on a hanger or placed in a drawer and then watch them do it.

    Give them plenty of warning:
    It is not reasonable to expect a child who is totally engrossed in something to suddenly stop and clean up. Instead say, “In 15 minutes it will be dinner time and I want you to have put your toys away before we eat.”  Do not plead.  State what you want done clearly and the timing in which you want it done.

    Praise them for doing a good job:
    Kids love to please you. Say, “Thank you for picking up all your toys when I asked and for doing it willingly.  I appreciate it and now we have time to...”  When you recognize their efforts by telling them they have done a great job they will want to keep pleasing you.

    Create incentives to comply:
    “When you have cleaned up your room you can ask Jennie over to play.”
    “When you have picked up your toys we will make that cake I promised.”
    Note: Do not offer your kids money to do chores around the house.  They should understand that we work together to make the house tidy and clean as part of being a family.

    Reduce the distractions:
    If they are being slow, turn off the TV or take away whatever else is distracting them.

    Set consequences for non-compliance:
    Tell them beforehand what the consequences will be e.g. “There will be no going out to play until your room is tidy/these toys are put away.” Stick to your guns.  Tell them once only.  Make sure they are listening.  Have them repeat what you just said if necessary.  Be consistent. The minute you weaken, you have lost. 

    Don’t do the job for them:
    It is easy to fall into the trap of doing your kids’ work for them because it is quicker and easier that way.  Don’t do it – or you will be doing it forever and they won’t have learned those vital life skills!

    Thursday, November 22, 2012


    We've been blessed with a child
    The birth of a child is a miracle in itself.  When you look down at that precious life in front of you, so perfectly formed, and so innocent, you realize that this baby is a gift.  Whether your child is naturally born, or has been adopted or fostered, they are equally precious.  We can be thankful that they enrich our lives as much as we enrich theirs.

    We have a young life to shape
    What a privilege to have the ability, right and responsibility to shape a child's life! It’s exciting to see their personality, natural gifts and talents emerging. How amazing it is to be able to help our children find their purpose, to nurture and guide them into their full potential. Although sometimes difficult, it is still very rewarding. Children will be what we allow them to be, so here’s a salute to you in your endeavor to raise extraordinary kids.

    We have a young life to be proud of
    When our children do their very best in school or achieve an award, it is such a thrill. It gives us a great feeling of satisfaction knowing we have significantly contributed to their successes! When we go to a report card conference and our child’s teacher says, “I wish I had a classroom full of children like yours”, we can be justifiably proud. When our children are in a school play or a concert we feel like telling all the other parents around us, “That’s my child!” When our child graduates High School or College we want to shout it to the rooftops. When our children overcome difficulties and make a successful recovery after failure, we can be especially proud of them. Yes, be proud of your child, and be thankful too!

    We have the possibility of having grandchildren
    What a blessing grandchildren bring to our lives! As grandparents we can love on them and play with them.  We can enjoy them more because we are relaxed and have more time than we did with our own children (and they will tell you that!). We can have fun times with them and then send them home to their parents. You couldn’t do that with your own children! It’s wonderful to see the similarities of behavior being passed down through the generations.  Be thankful for grandchildren in your future.

    We have the opportunity to leave a positive legacy
    We look back, and we are thankful for the lives of our children and what they achieved through the years. We see our grandchildren grow and see them eventually become parents. We are grateful that major sickness or accident hasn’t taken them from us. Not everybody is so fortunate. In older age we sit, as it were, on the edge of our seats surveying the pageantry of our lives.

    I’m sure that you’re like me and will be full of thanks for all the blessings we’ve been given and for the lives we’ve been able to influence. I want to depart this world with immense gratitude, to leave behind a positive legacy that will change generations to come.

    By Brian Burgess

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012


    Some of my fondest memories growing up were the fun things we did as a family. Camping trips, singing together at various competitions and venues, playing on the farm, traveling around with my parents and their band. Such great times! Of course, because I grew up in New Zealand, we never celebrated Thanksgiving (The 'Mayflower' never made it that far south!), but we had wonderful family traditions nevertheless.

    Not everyone is so enthused with family-based holidays. For some, it means they have to face the memory of the loss of a loved one. Perhaps they don't have a very good relationship, if any, with their family or loved ones. It could be a really lonely time. These are even greater reasons to make sure that the relationships and traditions you create with your own spouse and children are fun and full of the things you may have felt you missed out on growing up.

    As a fairly new Mom of two children aged 29 months and 14 months, we have to start creating our own family traditions. For instance, where to spend Thanksgiving and what we will include on our table. Do we go to family out of town, or will we invite them to stay with us? Do we make a tradition of inviting others who may not have family nearby, or do we spend Thanksgiving feeding the homeless who don't have family instead of the usual family get together?

    Whatever it is that you want to create as a tradition, ask your family members to come up with something that you are all happy with and start your own wonderful trail of happy memories. Your kids will always remember these times and treasure them growing up.

    We are going to spend Thanksgiving out of town with my husband's family this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

      What are the family traditions that you love? Blog us.

    Here are some links for fun activities for the family on Thanksgiving:

    Monday, November 19, 2012


     1. Have a plan – think ahead about your child’s needs.
    - Are they tired before you start shopping?  Do they need a nap?
    - Are they hungry – have you got food and drink with you?
    - Are they in pain? Are they unconfortable - too hot - too cold?
    - Have you got things to distract them?
    - If they get agitated what will you do - do you have an exit plan?

    2. Discuss Expectations - If they are old enough to comprehend, before you set off for the store tell them where you are going
    and what your expectations for their behavior will be.

    3. Treat or no treat? - Let your child know beforehand that if they behave as you have asked, you will reward them. Rather than a treat at the store (which is costly and sets you up for potential future meltdowns at the store) you could exchange the reward for something good at home.  "Because you have done as I asked; you walked without running ahead, you didn't touch things on the shelves and you didn't ask for a treat at the store, I am going to let you choose what you want for dinner tonight. Or, I am going to let you have more time playing in the bath. Or, I am going to read you two stories at bedtime."

    4. Watch for the signs of agitation -  If you've checked all the above scenarios and the meltdown is already starting, try distracting them with fun activities like, "Who can spot the first person wearing a hat?" Or, "What colors do you see?" etc...If nothing is working and they are now having a full-fledged meltdown, remove them as quickly as possible. Calm yourself – count to 20 slowly. When your child stops crying, explain your expectations again. Depending on their behavior, continue shopping or take them home. Be prepared that you may have to cut your shopping trip short and deal with their behavior. It's a pain, but worth it in the long run.

    5. Praise good behavior - Kids love to please you. Verbal praise is often more meaningful and longer lasting than treats as a reward for meeting your expectations. There's nothing wrong with giving store treats every now and then, but kids will often learn to expect a treat every time, which in turn, becomes bribery. It's important to teach kids from an early age that life is not like that in the real world. We are shaping their own set of expectations from day one.

    What are some of the ways you have successfully prevented or dealt with a public meltdown?

    Sunday, November 18, 2012


    Written by Kristee Mays
    When you are a parent to ANY children, be it biological or adopted, there are many times that you want to tear your hair out in frustration. Whether they are climbing everything in sight, pushing each other over, screaming and running through the house, painting the walls or pulling their diapers off for fun, it's enough to send any parent to a psychiatrist! With me, being a mother of both a biological child and an adopted child, I have found that it is difficult to correct behaviors equally. I suppose that's true in any type of family. For parents of adopted children especially, there is a different approach that either is intentionally or unintentionally made. This can cause your children to compare your love for them based on the way you treat them versus how you treat their sibling. There are so many underlying factors behind each adopted child's life story that need to be taken into account when considering discipline or correction, as well as love and affection. There are some great resources out there to help you achieve the best relationship with your child. Here are just a few:

    **Please note that these books apply to different issues, country of adoption and age groups, so make sure you get the appropriate book for your needs. It's best to read the reviews to find the one that best suits you.

    A Mother For Chocco by Keiko Kaska
    In On It by Elisabeth O'Toole

    Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray
    The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis

    Adoption Parenting by Jean MacLeod
    The Family Of Adoption by Joyce Maguire

    Parenting the Hurt Child by G. C. Keck and R. M. Kupecky
    Raising Abel by Carolyn Nash

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    COMPETITION!!!! Sign up NOW and receive prizes. See details below.

    Welcome to our blog page.  We would love for you to participate in our

    What are the prizes?
    1st prize - Brian's book "Kids Don't Come With Manuals"
    2nd prize - A bundled package of all 5 CD's about raising your kids
    3rd prize - 1 free CD of your choice
    **For an explanation of what each product is about, please visit the product page.

    What do I have to do to win a prize?
    Just be the first 3 people to register and ask a question or leave a comment on our new forum page. Click here to register. Once you have registered, just click on the Index button to start participating. Please be sure to include your email when registering so we can contact you. Good luck!

    Kids Don't Come With Manuals

    Who's In Charge. You Or The Kids?
    Surviving The Storms: The Strong Willed Child and Child Anger
    Family Values: The Glue That Holds Us 

    Training Your Kids For Excellence
    Successful Transition: Blended Families

    Saturday, November 10, 2012


    Wow, that is a big'n to realize isn't it!  What we sow into our children becomes what they sow into theirs!

    Our attitudes become theirs; our values become theirs; our biases becomes theirs; our beliefs become theirs.  The way we deal with failure, the way we deal with anger, their decision making ability, the way they respond to others' needs - all stem from us. 

    Hmmm.  Yes, I know that when they get to an age of making up their own minds, all this can change.  However, we have been their role models and we have been their teachers.  They say a nut doesn't fall too far from the tree.  Let's make sure we are good nuts!!!!

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012


    I was staying with a friend in Sydney when I saw something that really amazed me.  She gave her little 18 month old Josh a plastic bag of trash and asked him to go and put it in the trash can in the kitchen - and he did!  He lifted the lid and just threw it in like he had been doing it for years.

    Sometimes we parents just do things because it is quicker, easier and less messy than getting our kids to do it. Just because they can't express themselves coherently doesn't mean they don't understand what we are saying.  We can give toddlers responsibilities.  They can put toys away, pick up their socks or pull the cover up on their bed. 

    Every child loves to hear the praise of their parents so, when they do something you ask and they hear, "Good job, buddy" they want to keep doing it.  It is a win-win situation.

    Friday, November 2, 2012


    I heard this the other day from our Pastor and thought it was well worth passing on:

    The four friends you most need are:
    1. The DEVELOPER - the friend who brings out the best in you
    2. The DESIGNER - the friend who mentors you as a personal hands on coach
    3. The DISTURBER - the friend who challenges you, shakes up the status quo
    4. The DISCERNER - the friend who brings spiritual insight into your life

    Do you have friends in your life that could be described as developers, designers, disturbers and discerners? If not then it is a great idea to seek them out.

    We need to be parents firstly to our children but, in the above sense, our role is also to bring out the best in our kids - help them reach their potential. We need to be their role models in showing them rather than merely telling them the way. We need to make sure our kids are not coasting along. We need to rattle their cages, and encourage them towards greater things. We need to be sensitive to their needs and respond when they are troubled. We need to create strong and healthy communication lines with our kids so they know they can always come to us for help and advice without fear of being chastised.

    Monday, October 29, 2012


    A very warm 'Hello' to you.

    We are so pleased you dropped in. A special welcome to those from our own home country of New Zealand - although we live in Tennessee.

    We trust you will enjoy our blogs and tell others to come and also check us out. We are really looking forward to chatting with you and/or meeting you at one of our seminar/sessions whether here in the US or elsewhere in the world.

    To find out more about bookings or product, follow the link to our website. Thanks so much - Sally and Brian Burgess

    Friday, October 26, 2012


    Today, while traveling home from Chattanooga I heard a most inspiring story. It was about an 11 year-old boy named Ben who runs triathlons. Although he doesn’t like to practice much, his mother says he is always inspired by the competition and really gets into it once he is in the race.

    On this particular day, Ben had completed the swimming and cycling sections of the race and was half way through the running section when his right leg felt ‘wobbly’. The screws in his prosthetic leg had come loose and before he knew it, he hit the asphalt with a thud. A young man named Matt, a youth volunteer for the event, saw what happened and ran to Ben’s aid. He asked the boy if he needed help. When Ben said, “Yes,” the young man hoisted Ben onto his back and started running. Ben held on to him with one arm round his helper's neck while grasping his prosthetic leg in the other. Ben’s parents realized something was wrong when the commentator of the race announced that one of the competitors, a disabled boy, had fallen.

    It certainly was a sight to behold when, amidst tears and cheers, Ben crossed the finish line aided by his new found friend Matt, flanked by some of Matt’s Marine friends who ran in formation alongside.

    It only took a moment for that volunteer to step out and help a young boy fulfill a dream. Sometimes it takes more time than a simple step. It might even take some real sacrifice, but the effort on our part means an immeasurable amount to the recipient. We can make all the difference to those around us by offering simple acts of kindness. We can teach our kids to be like-minded by showing them how the little things make a huge difference to others.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012


    When you think your eyeballs are going to fall out from lack of sleep; when you you think your kids have jumped on your last nerve; when you think your teen will never 'get it', when you think you are losing your sanity - it is hard to imagine the words of the great country music song, "You're gonna miss this!" could possibly be true.

    Believe me, when you look back, it is truly amazing how easy it is to forget the frustrations and remember the great times you had as a young family growing together.  You will remember the excitement of holidays, the pride in your children's achievements, the hugs and cuddles that came so naturally from your little miracles.

    Monday, October 22, 2012


    No matter how old our kids are they are still our precious babies.  I don't think we can ever tell one another enough, as families, just how much we love and appreciate them. 

    I sang at a show last night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and the compare of the show couldn't say enough about his family.  He was so proud of them.  A smile, a call, a kiss, a hug, a little card - everything counts.  Here is a pic of Brian and I with our daughter Kristy who did a fabulous job of my make up for the show last night at the Ryman.  I love you dearly, Kristee.  You are a wonderful Mom, a caring thoughtful person, a fabulous graphic designer (just look at this blog site) and my best girlfriend.  We also have a very dear son but will add a photo of him soon - he lives in New Zealand.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012


    Before you can create boundaries, kids need to know exactly what behavior you expect from them.  It is just like making a cake.  You put in all the ingredients and as long as you follow the instructions, the cake should turn out well.  If you throw the mixture on a flat sheet, it will run all over the sides and there will be a terrible mess to clean up.  The sides of the pan equate to the boundaries.  The consequences (overflow) will occur without fail, if you don't make your boundaries clear.

    So what do you do?
    • Model the behaviors you want your children to follow
    • Explain and train them on how to achieve your expectations e.g. "respect in our house means ...."
    • Praise them well for exhibiting great behavior
    • Clearly state the boundaries for each requirement e.g. "disrespect is saying hurtful things to one another" 
    • Create consequences for overstepping boundaries and tell your children what they will be PRIOR to issuing them.
    • Be consistent in your praise as well as your consequences.
    Knowing your expectations, where the boundaries are and the consequences of breaching those boundaries, causes children to make choices.  They know your response to positive behavior and also your response to negative behavior.  They choose obedience or disobedience.  An invaluable lesson throughout life.

    Monday, October 15, 2012


    I was listening to Dave Ramsey on Radio today and he said there are several absolutes to encouraging a great marriage -
    • Financial savvy - both have similar commitment to in managing finances well
    • Family savvy - Both commit and agree on how to successfully manage your family - great values and a home where kids to not rule - parents do
    • Crazies savvy - the inlaws and outlaws - avoid arguments about where the Christmas dinner will be.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012


    Great news!  This article of mine has just appeared in the Tots to Teens magazine in New Zealand.
    Check out the link and once there, scroll down the article titles until you come to "Choosing Your Battles"

    Sunday, October 7, 2012


    Polynesian (Maori and Pacific Island) people are famous for the way relationships are developed over food.  No meeting is held or decision made without sharing food.

    Actually, this is true to some extent for most cultures, although the demands of contemporary life (especially in the city) seem to rob many of us of the joy and other benefits that come from the simple sharing of meals times together.

    Often, helping families to turn off the TV to prepare and eat a meal together is a turning point for better communication and improved relationships.

    Quote from Te Kahu Kura Community Trust e-news 10/6/12

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Monday, October 1, 2012


    Most parents experience their toddlers throwing tantrums, pre-teens slamming doors or teenagers exploding with anger. Tantrums, fits and rages are a child’s way of saying, “This is not happening!” “ I will NOT do as you say.”  "I want it and I want it NOW!” They do not have adult rationale, and therefore want to force the situation their way, with explosive anger, to manipulate their parent or caregiver.

    Ø      Toddlers often throw tantrums because they cannot express themselves other than to scream in frustration.  Distract them if possible rather than crate a ‘head on collision’.

    Ø      Tantrums need to be discouraged immediately so they don’t become a habit.

    Ø      Tantrums only work where there is an audience.

    Ø      Never give in to a tantrum for the sake of peace.

    Ø      It is possible to reason with tweens and teens – as long as you catch them before they pass ‘orange’ on their gasket.  Good, open communication with your kids can often encourage them to talk through their frustrations and fears and help them make wise choices.

    Saturday, September 29, 2012


    How easy it is to try to live out our dreams through our children!  We see our kids as a reflection or extension of ourselves, and this is true to a certain extent. We do carry the same genes after all!  However, sometimes our expectations for our kids are unrealistic.  We may expect them to take over the family business, to always be the top of the class, or to finish first in the race even though we never did.

       * Children should not be forced into interest/career roles that do not suit them. They need to be recognized for their own strengths, not other's expectations.

      * Even though it is good to set expectations for children, the goals need to be achievable and include things they personally excel in or enjoy.

      * Every child needs to be valued for who they are, with their own unique skills and abilities.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012


    Children can be indulged in a number of ways:
    a) Lots of “stuff”
    b) Lack of discipline
    c) Low expectations

    Ø      “Things” can’t replace what a child really wants: Quality and quantity time with their parents.  This is FREE!

    Ø      Children need to hear the word, “no”, sometimes. They need to treasure what they have and understand there is a cost involved in the things they are given. As the child grows older they need to learn about thinking of others, sharing, being part of a team, obeying the law, working for an employer etc. All of these activities require an appropriate response to the word "no." It involves giving of themselves for the good of others.

    Ø      Children who are given few or no responsibilities may get the impression that the world revolves around them.  They need to feel part of a team that works together to reach an end goal.  When there are low expectations, children do not know or reach their true potential.  They do not excel.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012


    You might be surprised how much negative talk occurs in the home.  As part of training children we seem to say “Don’t” many more than we say “Great job.” Some homes feel like one never-ending war zone.  This kind of environment is very tiring and destructive for both parents and children. 

    It is important for parents not to hammer their children on every little thing wrong. Children will learn much faster if we concentrate on one area of improvement at a time for correction, and at the same time praise liberally for things done right.  Once one area has been mastered, they can move onto the next one.

    Monday, September 24, 2012


    Parents are responsible for providing a safe, peaceful and loving environment for their family to grow and thrive.  Just as an employer establishes guidelines for their employees (and lays down consequences for poor performance), parents need to show clearly that they are in charge, and that a peaceful and happy environment results when every member is adhering to the family’s values and expectations.

    It is a matter of
    a) Knowing what your family values are
    b) Agreeing to stand by them no matter what
    c) Training your children to your expectations
    d) Letting them practice - it is OK to make initial mistakes
    e) Praising them for getting it right
    f) Issuing agreed consequences for non-conformance

    Friday, September 21, 2012


    It has long been known that to be intelligent, gorgeous, wealthy or athletic is to have a distinct advantage in our society’s perception of “success.” When we think back to all the kids we looked up to or heroes we envied – what did they or their families have that we didn’t? Most likely, one or more of the above!

    So, how do we encourage our kids to feel ‘successful’ when they are not the most good looking, most athletic, most brainy, or come from a monied family?

    Ø      Parents need to change the definition of ‘success’ within their families.  Success is doing YOUR best, not having to be THE best.

    Ø      Children should be encouraged to map their own improvement rather than constantly match themselves against others.

    Ø      Children should not be made to feel that if they didn’t win, their effort was worthless.  Notice how, in the Olympic Games each medallist won their medal – be it gold, silver or bronze.

    Ø      When parents set goals for themselves and their family, there is an immense of satisfaction gained from achieving those goals.  The reaching of goals has nothing to do with the traditional meaning of success mentioned above.   It is just a matter of dedication and hard work.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012


    In the midst of separation children are always affected, even though parents often think they are shielding the child from their adult problems.  It might be negative words said to them about the other parent or a conversation that a child is exposed to rather than adults talking their problems though with another adult.
    Ø      Children are not mini adults.  Their minds do not have the ability to discern what they should or not hear, see, read, say or be expected to respond to.
    Ø      When parents include their children in parental squabbles, the child may feel as though they are:
    a)     in some way responsible
    b)     required to take sides when they are unable to do so
    c)      respond in some way to make their parent feel better
    Parents should protect their children from age-inappropriate conversation by ensuring they relay their concerns and problems to another adult - preferably someone who can offer real help.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012


    When we do not know what the rules or boundaries are, it makes it very difficult to function within a family or society with any confidence or security.  Everyone wants to know what is expected of him/her.  Therefore parents need to know what they expect within their families as well as indicating their expectations to their children and to caregivers.
    Ø      It is imperative that expectations are consistent between each caregiver.  A child will be confused until he/she works out who expects what type of behavior.  This can lead to insecurity and may teach him to manipulate the different parties.
    Ø      It is important that boundaries and expectations are carefully explained, and even repeated over and over, until the child understands and complies.
    Ø      It is important that caregivers respond consistently, so that learning takes place quickly and without confusion.  A team talk between caregivers will assist the child greatly in learning what his boundaries are.