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