Monday, December 30, 2013



Boys don't cry.  Man up!  Stop being a baby!  You're acting like a girl!  Stop being a sissy!  Boys are tough, but girls are cry babies.  Stop being a girl's blouse!

I wonder where all these emotive sayings came from?  Are boys not allowed to show their tender emotions?  In fact, are they allowed to HAVE tender emotions?

Looking back over the centuries, I think our expectations of the roles of male and female have changed for the better.  We have gone from the caveman with a club over his shoulder going out to kill to feed the family, to father going out to work all day while the 'little woman' stayed home.  She did all the housework, caring for her children and waiting on her husband when he came home from a hard day in the mines or at the office.  Then came the 2nd World War when many women had to go to work to support the war effort.  After that came more a mixing of gender roles.  Along came Barbie and Ken and later action figures for boys.  That took a bit of getting used to!  How many fathers can you remember saying, "My boy is not playing with dolls!!!"

As time has gone by the roles of men have definitely morphed.  These days we have a number of stay at home fathers.  It may be that Mom can earn more money than Dad so he opts to stay home with the kids.  It may be that he has lost his job, so acts as caregiver or even home-schools his kids.  Wow!  That is indeed a change in gender role, and many mothers are happy about it.

So, does the cultural merging of gender roles allow men to show their feelings?  I think there has been a slackening off of the macho, tough exterior we expect of men.

However, I cannot say the same for young boys growing up.  Why do men discourage their boys from showing a soft side?  Possibly it is because they are preparing their sons to have to take that same age-old responsibility and be the protector, the solid, unshakable rock and leader in their families.  Fathers appear to be proud of their sons when they play hard-out sports like football and wrestling, but what is their reaction when their son wants to be a dancer?  Remember the movie 'Billy Elliott'? 

If we don't acknowledge that our boys have a tender side, and say the injurious statements to them like, "Stop being such a baby!"  Their only recourse then is to stuff their feelings down inside to smolder.  They are likely then to continue the same pattern with their own sons, often finding it difficult to show tenderness to their wives.

Listen up!  We all have feelings.  God made us that way on purpose.  Girls have had the opportunity to wear their hearts on their sleeves over the centuries.  Because of it men have labeled women as being 'emotional' suggesting a trait of weakness.  Men have stuffed their feelings down in an attempt to show they are tough and can handle any mountain that comes their way.  The British call it being stoic or having the 'stiff upper lip'.

It is not a sign of weakness to admit we don't know what to do and to ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness to show our emotions.  Boys and men should cry, should hug one another, should discuss how they feel and bring out their issues with guy friends.  Girls and women have being doing it since time began and they seem to be wired to do so.  Over a cup of tea or coffee and over the social networks women and girls bare their souls to one another, comfort each other, laugh and cry together - and go on.  Men tend to 'suck it all up', internalize it, stew on it and rarely deal with it.  Mix that with a hefty dose of testosterone and loneliness and it may come out as violence to self or others.  Societies where males are encouraged to show tender emotions men seem to be better adjusted and suffer less emotional disorders.  I'm so glad to see changes in the way men are expressing their emotions, even on the football field!

Please encourage our boys and men to do the same.

Written by Sally Burgess

Saturday, December 28, 2013


We had a question from a young mother recently. She was concerned that her 5 year old son had broken a friend's toy:

"Yesterday, James was playing at our neighbor's house before Christmas dinner and broke his toy gun by mistake... just not thinking his actions through, no bad intentions. When I heard about it I immediately texted the mom and offered to replace the toy gun, to which she replied, "Don't worry about it, it was just a cheap toy."

 If one of James' friends broke one of his toys, I wouldn't expect that child to replace it. I would tell James that it was his responsibility, that he made the decision to let the other kid play with his toy and that accidents happen. On the other hand, if I loaned something of mine to another adult and they broke it, there are some things I would tell them to not worry about, but there are some things I would expect them to replace or at least pay for.

I feel like I want James to use his money to replace the gun. He currently has enough, but he's been saving up for a specific toy. Should I listen to the mom and not worry about replacing it, or should I make James replace the toy? One option I thought of was I would pay for half of the toy gun, so it wouldn't take as much of James' saved money. We could also help him do lots of extra chores during Christmas break to quickly make more money, and hopefully buy the toy he has been saving up for. 

I keep going back and forth and could use some guidance."

Thanks very much, Jennifer
This is our response to such a scenario:

Talk the situation through with with your child.     

a) If he seems remorseful and didn't break the gun in anger, out of spite or through 
    sheer recklessness, then it was an accident and explain that accidents do happen. 
    He does need to say he is very sorry that it happened. In this case his savings should 
    stay intact. He could possibly offer his friend one of his toys or do a chore for the 
    neighbor if you felt it was appropriate, but if it was an accident, such an action is 
    up to you.  

b) If he did not tell anyone about breaking his friend's toy gun and someone had to get 
    him to admit he did it, then that is a different story. He needs to know it is better to 
    be honest and say exactly what happened, apologize and also make amends. Explain 
    that if he tries to hide doing wrong he will lose friends. To made amends, he needs to 
    use his own money to replace the gun, or do some chores for you so he earns the 
    money to replace the broken toy. 

c) Talk to him in general about being careful with toys or personal possessions 
    belonging to someone else. 

 If a child within a family breaks a sibling's toy, similar advice is advised. It is also a good
 idea to try and identify the cause e.g. 
1) Is the child jealous of the toys another child is getting?
2) Is this child becoming angry because he/she feels they are not getting enough 
3) Are the children spoiled with too many toys and are not respectful of them?  
4) Was it an accident? 

Deal with the root cause as soon as possible to restore harmony in the home.

By talking these situations through, it teaches your kids the right response when accidents happen. This should also teach him how to react in a forthcoming incident if a friend comes to your place and accidentally breaks something of his.

Written by Brian and Sally Burgess

Monday, December 23, 2013


We went to the home of some friends who were grandparents some years ago and it was just a few days before Christmas.  When we walked into the living room, there stood a huge and beautifully decorated tree.  Under the tree and literally covering about 4ft in circumference on the floor, were piles upon piles of gifts.  We couldn't believe it.  We were totally speechless.  We wondered what kids could do with just so much stuff in 3 months let alone one magical day.

OK, so we can't stop grandparents and significant others' compulsive urge to go crazy with gift-giving at Christmas time, but how can we cope and manage the huge influx of toys? 

Here are some suggestions:

Before Christmas
Sit down with your kids and decide which of their old toys they are willing to give away and which they wish to keep.  Have your children go with you to give their old toys to some organization or to give to some play group as their act of giving.  This will help them understand and enjoy the gift of giving.

Put old toys the kids want to keep into a 'time capsule' where, every three months, they can swap them out.  Decide on and keep to x number of toys out at a time.

On Christmas Day
Put some gifts in their bedrooms to open for when they first wake up.  (When they finally get to sleep after the anticipation of Santa coming, they always program their internal clocks to awake at some ungodly hour.  We all did it).  Just make sure the gifts you leave in their room are noiseless and do not need your instructions to get them going!

If you have numerous gifts from different sources, instead of giving all the presents out at once, how about letting your kids open some in the morning, some after lunch time and the remainder in the early evening.  This way they will get to enjoy each gift more than just tearing the paper, taking one glance at them and then reaching for another. 

Teach your kids to read any accompanying cards or tags that are on the gifts before opening the presents.  If they are too young to read you could do this until they are able to do it for themselves, thus establishing a tradition of respect and gratitude.

General toy management suggestions:
Only make available a certain number of toys at any given time so you don't lose sight of the beds in your children's rooms. 

Show your kids how to look after their toys.  They need to know how to care for fragile toys and how to maintain mechanical or technological toys.

If you see your child mistreating a gift, put it away for some time and only reintroduce it when the child agrees to care for it appropriately.  For example, if they leave a bicycle out in the front yard where it could be stolen or they leave a skateboard in a place where someone could trip over it and injure themselves, remove it and tell your child why they must show more care and consideration.  This will teach them to be responsible for their possessions.

Provide storage space or bins where all of their current toys can be kept in an orderly fashion and teach your kids from a very early age how to pick up and store them.  Once you have order established it needs to be your kids' role, not yours, to keep their rooms and play areas tidy and to put all their toys away.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Thursday, December 19, 2013



I never had an imaginary friend myself, but my cousin Lizzie did.  In fact, she had two; ‘Little Bill’ and ‘Jail’. Lizzie was an only child with older parents and I suspect that 'Little Bill' and 'Jail' kept her company by taking the place of siblings she never had.

Imaginary friends come in all sizes and can be casual visitors, constant companions, human or otherwise.  Perhaps 'Thumberlina' or the seven dwarfs started off as imaginary friends and became children’s stories?

Invisible friends can be good company for preschoolers in particular, and once they develop a wider social network than home, their 'friend' may quite naturally disappear.

Imaginary friends become useful indicators to parents on what their kids are thinking and feeling and may well be worth looking into.

Your child may tell you that his friend is:
  • Frightened of the dark.
  • Feels lonely or sad.
  • Feels guilty for telling lies.
  • Has been hiding things or sneaking food out of the fridge.
  • Doesn’t want to go to summer camp.
  • Hates carrots.
  • Wet your child's bed.
  • Hit someone at school. 
If the child starts acting in a perturbed manner, then it is certainly worth looking into.  Alex, my niece’s 4 year-old, has an imaginary friend named ‘Sydney’.  As Alex is the 5th of 7 children he certainly isn’t short on playmates. However, 'Sydney’ appears to be a dark friend who tells Alex to do naughty things all the time.  Maybe Alex feels as though he is not getting enough personal attention.
Parenting expert Amin Brott sets out the following rules for imaginary friends.  I have added some examples.
  • Don’t let the imaginary friend be your child’s only companion. 
  • Don’t let your child use their 'friend' as a crutch to blame for wrongdoing. 
  • Treat your child’s imaginary friend with respect.  Don’t dismiss the friend as a
  • Don't tell your child that 'Brewster' just left for China and isn’t coming back.
  • Don’t use their 'friend' to manipulate your child e.g. “Brewster isn’t scared
     of having a shot so you shouldn’t be either.”
Imaginary friends are a fun and healthy way for small children to extend their imagination.  In almost all instances these 'friends' become fond childhood memories once children expand their friendships and develop busy lives.  It is not healthy to continue to avoid the reality of life – to live in fantasy.  If you think your child may be in this category, then get expert help.  Otherwise, just go with the flow and enjoy your children and their imaginary friends.

Written by Sally Burgess

Monday, December 16, 2013


I have just seen a very interesting talk about the way advertizing is, and has for years been, creating a very skinny 'norm' in women.  Remember 'Twiggy'?  She was a painfully thin English model.  I am also concerned that tween and teenage girls are also being so subtly dictated to by similar advertizing.

Nashille playwrite Scott Crain made the following comment this comment on Face Book:

"Ads sell more than products...they sell concepts of normalcy."

While my heart breaks for this topic in regards to ladies, there are greater implications here that are no less troubling.  It's more than just the dehumanization of women.  It's the dehumanization of humans.

It's one thing to covet a world that someone else lives in; and yes, terrible things are stored up for those who refuse to be happy.  But we're beginning to covet a world that NO ONE lives in, and that's much scarier.  It's consciously deciding to live for a while in unreality, and the human mind isn't built to sustain that.  It leads to obsessiveness.  To mania.  To dark green ugly diseases.  We're doing it with our song lyrics.  With our Face Book posts.  With our Christian films.  We're throwing an Instagram blemish-smoothing filter on the world, which is effective in "fixing" a flawed photograph.

But what are we going to do about mirrors?"

The mirror does say it all, but why shouldn't we be satisfied with what it portrays?  When it comes to my health, I say 'yes' to making necessary changes I see in my mirror.  However, I think that parents need to have a long and hard look at their kids' attitudes towards image, for image sake.

Written by Sally Burgess


As I look at Christmas gift ideas being advertized this year I cannot help but become increasingly concerned.  There are so many different kinds of technological 'toys' being offered that I fear kids are becoming even less likely to participate in physical play than ever before.

How can we get our kids up and outdoors, enjoying both physical activity and face-to-face communication with others?  How can we create a balance between sedentary or restful play and hard-out exercise like running, riding, climbing and hiking?

Evaluate -
1.  Observe your children's activities in general.  How much time do they spend:
     a) Sitting watching TV or movies?
     b) Playing games on the Internet or Ipad?
     c) Talking on the phone to friends?
     d) Reading books or researching information on the Internet?
     e) Doing physical exercise - e.g playing outdoor sports?
     f) Spending time outside in imaginative play, alone or with friends?
     g) Talking face-to-face with friends and family?

2.  Take a good look at what your kids are asking for, for Christmas.  Is there a natural
     balance between tech and physical games or toys?

Action -
1.  Work out a weekly program that is divided into sedentary as well as active play.
     e.g. Create time for family games and energetic outdoor activities.  Nominate time
     for quiet play or reading.
2.  Spend time finding out what your kids' interests really are and how you can help
     make their dreams come true.
3.  Encourage healthy friendships where kids benefit from each others' interaction and
     not be negatively influenced.
4.  Allow xxxx time for passive TV/Movie watching and technological games.
5.  Make sure your kids get fewer rather than greater numbers of tech. games and activities.

Written by Sally Burgess

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I saw this list of tips on Face Book and was encouraged by the source person to share it with as many as possible.  I thought this info would be very important for parents and for parents to pass on to their kids.

1. The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to the
    attacker then use it!  Suggestion:  Dig the attacker really hard in the ribs or stomach.
    Using your elbow makes it hard for them to grab your wrist and hopefully he will already
    be gasping for air!

2. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO THEM.  Toss it
    away from you.  Chances are that they are more interested in your wallet and/or purse
    than you, and will go for the wallet/purse.  RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick
    your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.  The driver won't see you, but
    everybody else will.  This has saved lives.

4. Don't just sit in your car with your door unlocked at the end of a shopping trip.
    A predator could be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get
    in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.  AS SOON AS
    If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF!  Repeat: DO
    NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead put your foot down hard on the accelerator and speed into
    anything, wrecking the car.  Your Air Bag will save you.  If the attacker is in the back seat
    they will get the worst of it.  As soon as the car crashes bail out and run.  It is better than
    having them find your body in a remote location.

5. Getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: 
    a) If possible get an escort out to your car or walk out with some family group.
    b) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and
         in the back seat.
    c) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door.
         Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the
         women are attempting to get into their cars.
    d) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger
         side.  If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car you may want to walk
         back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
         IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (Better to appear paranoid
         than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs.  Stairwells are easy target areas,
    especially at night.

7. If a predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!  The
    predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most
    likely WILL NOT be a vital organ.  RUN, preferably in a zig-zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP!  It may get you raped, or
    killed.  Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who
    ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women.  He walked with a cane,
    or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is
    when he abducted his next victim.

9. Crying baby scam: If you hear a crying baby outside at night, DO NOT open the
    door!  It could be a baby's cry recorded used to coax women out of their homes
    thinking that someone dropped off a baby.

10. Water scam:  If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside
    running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE!  These
    people turn on all your outside taps full blast so that you will go out to investigate
    and then attack.

11. One from me:  Never go jogging in isolated places alone.  Never jog with earphones on.
    You cannot hear someone coming up behind who may attack you.

Think and be safe before exposing yourself to danger.

Source: From the FB site of the 'Stronger Longer Weight Loss Group'.  Some comments
             added by me for clarification.

Edited by Sally Burgess

Friday, December 6, 2013


My uncle always used to say, "If you don't eat dirt you'll die," and I have come to agree with him.  I am not talking about digging spoonfuls out of the garden and swallowing them, although I have seen a guy demonstrating that very thing to make his point about the valuable properties of dirt in our diet!

No, I am talking about the obsession of sanitizing our hands and all surfaces in sight for fear of being exposed to germs.  Do you know that this is a huge advertizing gimmick to compel 'good' parents to protect their kids against all germs - well at least 99.9%, so the advertizing says. This is ridiculous!  It doesn't even make sense.  How will our bodies ever build up immunity if we are constantly shielding them?  Medical research is showing that because so many people are using disinfectants out of an obsession to be germ free, bacteria are mutating so much that there are now some infections that antibiotics won't cure.  That's alarming!

40 years ago my Doctor told a group of us pregnant women to make sure we passed our babies around to everyone, even those with colds.  He stated that exposure to coughing and sneezing was an advantage.  He was a total believer in early exposure to germs.  He also said that our babies would be more protected from getting sick if we were breast feeding them at the same time.

May I suggest that you stop constantly wiping down all surfaces and sanitizing your children's hands.  Sure, they should wash their hands after using the bathroom and before they eat, but let them get in the dirt.  They love it and it is good for them.

Note:  The picture above was taken with permission at a beach in New Zealand.  We had just arrived in the country and planned to walk along the beach front.  We saw this little girl, completely oblivious to the world, playing in the muddy water.  Her parents were sitting nearby laughing at how much fun she was having.  They didn't care that she might be ruining that pretty little pink outfit she had on.  They realized the value in exploring the texture of mud and just having fun.  Good for them and good for her!

Written by Sally Burgess

Sunday, December 1, 2013

DON'T FORGET OUR NEW Chat Room Session on Monday Dec. 2nd (USA time)!!!

Hi all.

With such a great response last month, we are excited to continue our monthly Chat Room Session to provide on-the-spot advice and conversation about issues that we are all facing as parents. It will give you the opportunity to join the conversation and ask the questions you've been dying to get answers to. We will begin these monthly sessions at 8pm-9pm U.S. Central Standard Time or 3-4pm Auckland, New Zealand time.

It's as easy as going to our website at and clicking on the "Chat" tab at the top of the page and then clicking on "Join the conversation".

Just join by choosing one of the following options.

Joining as a "Guest" allows you to choose your name and be anonymous if you want to.

We can't wait to connect with our readers and support you in your parental journey.

***Please note that if we have a lot of questions and we can't get to your question within the hour, we will be happy to answer your questions via email. Or you can choose to join in the next week.


Last week our daughter Kristee made a great point.  She said, "Why do we have to die before our friends and family say what wonderful individuals we were when we were alive?  Why can't we have our eulogies before we die so we can appreciate what people say about us?" To make that point she started telling all her friends and family on Facebook what they meant to her.  The response was an avalanche of 44 friends and family who wrote beautiful 'eulogies' back or 'LIKED' what she said. It was quite amazing really.

Over Thanksgiving dinner we had the opportunity to express our thanks for our many blessings.  It has also encouraged us to appreciate the people who enrich our lives.  Were you the recipient of appreciation this Thanksgiving?  Didn't it feel good?  I bet you will never forget those words of praise.

It often feels awkward to tell someone what you love about them.  The important thing is to do it.  When you declare your gratitude or praise someone, it gives them a great sense of worth.  Face to face communication allows you not only to say what you want, but also to reach out and hug that person as your endorsement.  Everyone loves affection.

You can also write your feelings down on a card and send or give it to that other person.  I have many cards of love from my children and also some from friends or from work.  I never threw them away.  They are in my 'brag' file and whenever I feel a need to, I visit those words of love - it is the gift that keeps giving.

How can we teach our children to express their love and appreciation toward others?
Here are some suggestions.

a) Train your children to be positive in their everyday conversation, rather than being critical and 
     making hurtful comments.
b) Make it a habit (say once a month) where the family sits around the table, and one by one say
     something positive about the person to their right.  (Get them to look that person in the eye
     when they speak).  Do not allow any negatives.  One month you could have the positive
     statements and the next month each person could say what they are grateful for.  By doing
     this you will enhance family life, your children will grow up being grateful adults and you and
     your children will always know they are loved.
c) Make supporting one another's interests and successes, a family thing.  Celebrate achievements
    together.  Parent to parent, parents towards kids, kids to one another and kids to parents.
d) Get kids to write notes of love and appreciation to external family and friends.
e) When friends and family visit your home or your family visits theirs, teach your kids to greet
    them with a smile and tell them you are pleased to see them.  It should be an expectation that kids
    are included in greeting others, rather than them being ignored by adults, or their being allowed to
    ignore visitors.

By encouraging family members to express their love and appreciation, they will continue this very
important ingredient in giving others value.
Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Monday, November 25, 2013


My daughter sent me this gorgeous photograph of her 2 year-old-son and his little friend walking along the sidewalk together, holding hands in the sunshine. As I looked at it, many thoughts ran through my mind as to what this scene suggested. Here are some of them.

a) It is always comforting to walk through life closely linked to a trusted friend. What makes a trusted
    friend? Someone who loves us warts and all! Someone who will always think the best of us and
    want the best for us.  To be a trusted friend, we need to be that person to them.

    We need to help our children find friends who have a positive influence on their lives. We also
    need to make sure that our children learn how to be good friends.

b) There are so many happy memories to share as friends … all those ‘remember when’ stories around
     a shared BBQ in the back yard.

     It is important that we create happy memories for ourselves and our kids. It may take a little effort
     to go camping, exploring, hiking or being silly on the beach. Believe me, those are the times our
     kids remember most and it doesn't have to cost a lot.

c) One of the little boys in the picture is looking back and the other is looking forward. How great it is
    to walk confidently through life, looking excitedly forward to the future! Are we cultivating
    enthusiasm and hope in our children?

    Do WE feel positive about the future? Sure, the economy is tending to rattle our cages at the
    present time, but pessimism doesn’t help create a positive atmosphere at home. Sometimes, as
    parents, we need to check the home temperature just to see how the ‘happy barometer’ is faring.
    Stress leads to tension and fear, and with those feelings it is difficult to be positive.

    So, what do we do about it? How about thinking what we have rather than what we don’t have.
    A sense of joy does not require money or material things, but being thankful for what we do have.
    That is each other, along with good friends. 

d) The other little boy in the picture is looking back at the shadows they are casting on the sidewalk.

    We can ALL leave long shadows behind us. How about shadows of the things that helped us to be
    successful? Definitely, being a great role model to our kids. Totally, making a determined and
    positive difference to those around us and, most of all leaving a spiritual heritage that lasts for

Written by Sally Burgess

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Fall is a most beautiful time of year here in Nashville, TN.  The trees are breathtaking as their leaves turn to the most stunning colors in the fall.  Once there are no leaves left, it starts looking very gaunt around here - ghostly even.

Seasons create variety.  If it was always summer we would get sick of the heat; always winter and we would yearn for being able to get out and enjoy the sunshine.  Changes of season are necessary for our planet to evolve and rejuvenate.

All the experiences we go through are necessary for the healthy growth and development as a family.  Sometimes we feel the excitement and anticipation of new things ahead. Sometimes we feel frustrated or sad.  Many times, the most difficult times, in hindsight, created the greatest opportunity to prove that we are stronger than we think we are and we actually made it to the other side! 

So, how can we take advantage of the 'seasons' in our families?
In the winter:
We can stop, rest and contemplate where our family is going e.g. Who are we?  What do we
represent?  Where are we going?  We can create goals for ourselves, evaluate how we spend
our time, decide who our friends really are, or what the atmosphere is like in our home -
positive or negative.  We can take the time to make adjustments for the better physical, spiritual,
emotional and social health in our homes.

In the spring:
We can take the time to learn new skills, develop new hobbies, learn to play an instrument or play a
new sport and plan vacations.  Just look at all the new growth around you and ask what you can do
to rejuvenate yourself, activities you could do and words you might say that might bring new
personal growth to your family.

In the summer:
We can just jump out of bed and make the most of each day - just 'do it'.  We might use our, 'out there,
go ahead' times to encourage others to join us.  The days are longer and you can achieve more in one
day than you can in the short days of winter.  We can get involved in voluntary activities as a family
and spend more time having fun with our children. 

In the fall:
For those living in the northern hemisphere it's back to school for your children and college students. 
It's a time for intellectual renewal.  It's a time when you can take stock of your own personal growth. 
Maybe it's time for you to start some retraining for the workforce once your children are at school or
the last child leaves home for those parents who made the choice to be stay-at-home moms/dads.  It's
a time to be talking to your children about careers even if they are in lower grade school.  It's never too
early to talk about what the jobs are, the requirements, benefits and choices there are in the work force. 
The Internet can be very helpful in this regard.

In the seasons where we struggle, we need to know we are never alone.  When we cannot always find the answers and when situations are beyond us, there is always help available.  We needn't get stuck in one place.  It is important to take the courage to say, "I need help", and reach out to the experts.

The great thing about seasons is that they do change and we know that before long spring, full of new life, is around the corner.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Friday, November 15, 2013


Parenting reminds me very much of this picture!  You are the horse carrying your family, navigating your way through varied terrain.  Sometimes it is easy.  Sometimes it feels like you are laboring up hills or skidding down  slopes.  Sometimes obstacles get in the way or you feel too exhausted and frazzled to keep going.  Sometimes you are afraid that if you make a mistake and fall off the path you will lose your way back.  Sometimes you feel alone with no-one to share the ride.  Many times the path seems to go on and on and ON like it is never going to end.

Take another look at this picture.  It struck me as a beautiful shot.  I think it tells its own story.  It is the beginning of a new adventure, full of promise.  The path has been well trodden by others, even if you have not been there before. The grass is soft providing you a soft cushion to land when you fall.

It is easy for parents who have grown children to agree that the parenting adventure was well worth setting out on.  We forget the struggles and the insecurity we felt in being parents for the first time.  We all say we wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I encourage you to remember this picture and enjoy all the positives and possibilities of parenting.  If you need help when you feel you are losing your way, there are many resources around you that can help carry you through.  Grab them and keep going.  The end is worth more than we can say.

Photo used with permission of Karen Cafe

Written by Sally Burgess

Monday, November 11, 2013


We are always very grateful when people tell us what great children we have.  Even though they have just clocked over 38 and 40 years old and have families of their own, we still think of them as our 'kids'.  Some have told us we are just lucky that they didn't cause us any grief in their teen years.  Our response to that was that there was no luck involved and that it was a lot of hard work!

On reflection I must say that we did not always make the best parenting decisions.  We did make mistakes.  We were not always consistent and I confess to letting my frustration turn into some pretty unfair discipline at times.  But our kids survived it all and fortunately they do not seem to remember the mistakes we made as readily as they recall the fun holidays, projects, hobbies, friends, trips, studies, goals, aspirations and successes that have turned them into the fine individuals and parents they are today.

Sometimes we chastise ourselves too much.  All I can say is that, in our case, our positive actions must have outweighed the negative ones, because our kids have turned out to be great parents to their own children.

If we had our time over again there are some things we would have put in place when we first had children that would have avoided some of those inconsistencies I mentioned.

1. Even though we had strong values in our heads, we should have written them down and agreed
    together what priority we would have made each one.
2. To prevent inconsistencies in disciplinary decisions, we would decide and stand together on the
    type and level of consequence for particular infringements.
3. I would be more aware of potential squabbles the children had and divert their attention before the
    arguments escalated.
4. I would instill the 'count to 25' rule before responding to an issue with the kids.  That way I would
    be in better control of my frustration.
5. I would admit my mistake to my kids when my response was inappropriate and apologize to them.
    (It is not a sign of weakness to say you are sorry to your children.  It shows them that we all make
    mistakes and that apologizing is the right, fair and mature thing to do.  Of course, being sorry is
    evidenced in the fact that we change our behavior).

Take heart!  Kids are robust!  We don't get to practice parenting until we have kids and we often
make decisions 'on the fly' that are not particularly fair.  This is where we are likely to make the wrong
response.  With preparation, practice, acknowledging our lack of good judgement and repairing the
damage, we can be pretty confident that the smudges do come out of the clothes.  In other words, it
will come out in the wash.

Written by Sally Burgess


Thursday, November 7, 2013


It is National Adoption Month!

When I read this post from a young adoptive mother, it touched me so much I thought I would share it.

"Adoption has changed my life for the better in so many ways!

I didn't know it was possible to love another human being as much as I love my son. I wholeheartedly love my husband, my parents, and all my family; but the love between a mother and her child is something special.

From the moment I brought him home, I had this instinct to protect this little one from all the dangers of life. That protective instinct has grown into a love and bond that just cannot be put into words.

It matters not that he (my son) wasn't born of my flesh. He was born in my heart, and our bond is spiritual.

I am in wonder as I realize that this is how our Heavenly Father must feel about us. We are not literally born of His flesh, but born from His heart, His creative nature. He loves us more than we can ever comprehend.

Adoption is a wonderful picture of God's plan for mankind."

Posted by Sally Burgess

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday night CHAT SESSION

Thanks to all those who joined us this evening for our parenting chat session. We had some great questions and look forward to hearing from more of you next month. We will be doing these sessions on the first Monday of each month, for an hour, starting at 8pm U.S. Central Standard Time. So our next one will be Monday Dec 2nd. But if you want it more often, we are open to that. Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks again everyone!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


    All children are real children whether they are biological, fostered or adopted.
    They are all equal.

    His birth/bio parents decided to have him adopted.  We are his real parents.

    If the parents want to divulge that information, that is fine.  However, that is a personal question.
    There are plenty of websites that list costs for adoption whether it be local or international.

     Just because a child has been adopted, doesn't mean he is a reject or second class goods.
     If he does have any issues, they are nobody's business unless a parent chooses
     to divulge such information.

    Maybe yes and maybe no.  Some parents want to offer a loving home when they already have
    biological children.  Some adopt when they cannot conceive.  If you have to ask, then
    you don't know the family and, therefore, it is an inappropriate question. This can be a very
    sensitive topic and is best not to bring up.

    I don't know how many times we have heard that statement.  In some cases, adoptive parents
    do get pregnant after adopting.  However, it is infuriating and sad to have to explain that you could
    get pregnant, but kept having miscarriages, or have some medical condition that prevents you from
    ever getting pregnant.  In the same vain, it is never a good idea to say, "See! You adopted and got
    pregnant.  I bet it's because you relaxed and weren't so stressed out."  This is assuming that the
    mother couldn't conceive at all, when a large majority of adoptive parents have endured multiple
    miscarriages.  So, saying that she was stressing out too much previously only makes her feel like
    she was at fault for losing her babies.  And that is unfair and medically unsound!

    Is this a little tid-bit of information that is going to be uplifting and helpful?  I think not.  Keep such
    information to yourself.

    A statement like that to adoptive parents often sparks a feeling that the child has been given a
    massively huge favor.  Every child deserves to have a happy, loving and secure family.  They are
    not rejects.  They are precious little people who, given the right environment can make a huge
    contribution to the world around them.  Adoptive parents will often say they are truly blessed to
    have their adoptive child as part of their family, not the other way round.

  • As an observer, you do not have the right to know the intimate details of a child's adoption.

  • Adoptive parents are happy to tell their adoption story when they know someone is genuinely interested.  Ask open-ended questions, thus allowing them to tell you as much as they want and no more.  The same prying, boring, inappropriate, pointed questions become frustrating and 'old' to adoptive parents, especially coming from people they do not know well.  Be respectful and read the signals when adoptive parents have shared all they want to for now.

  • It's also important to avoid discussing adoption around an adopted child.  That topic may not have been discussed with the child yet and may lead to a very uncomfortable and premature conversation with the parent and child. 

If you are interested in adoption or adopting a child, there are lots of great resources on the web and also local agencies that can take you through the process.  Please feel free to ask Kristee any questions as she adopted her son internationally a couple of years ago.

Written by: Sally Burgess and Kristee Mays

Saturday, October 26, 2013


We think our kids know how to manage their 'stuff' once they leave home.  However, I can vividly recall finding out that one of my young relations had no idea that you couldn't write checks without knowing how much money was in the bank.  When the check bounced she was shocked.  So was her husband when he discovered she had no idea about the principles of managing money other than cash.

Kids don't learn purely by osmosis.  The really important things have to be taught and practiced until they can prove they understand how to manage the situation.

Be the kind of person you want your kids to be.
     a) Train them from an early age to do all household chores.  Encourage them when they do a
         great job.  Encourage them to work as a team and help one another.
     b) Give them specific responsibilities e.g. managing their own allowance, doing the shopping
         and bringing back the change.  Explain how to manage credit cards and check books.
     c) Teach them to cook, including shopping for the ingredients.  Make sure they clean up
     d) Teach them basic vehicle maintenance, including repairs and what to do in case of a breakdown
         or running out of gas.
     e) Have them do their own laundry, and iron their own clothes.
     f) Make sure they are respectful not only to you, but to anyone in authority.
     g) Insist on them being on time, keeping to time and respecting others' time.
     h) Take turns at total care of a family pet.
      i) Teach them the skills involved in being a good friend and and how to be one.  Teach them how
         to manage conflict.
     j)  Have your kids involved with you in voluntary work in the community so they appreciate
         serving others.

Your kids want ongoing support and encouragement.  It is one thing to practice at home, but quite another to be totally responsible as an independent adult.  By all means help them make wise decisions, but don't habitually bail them out of trouble.  They need to learn the consequences of their decisions. 

Written by Sally Burgess

Monday, October 21, 2013


OK, so why do we yell at our kids?  Here are some reasons people give.

  • They won't take any notice unless my voice reaches 110 decibels.
  • That is what my parents did to me.
  • I am angry and I want them to know it.
  • Sometimes they need to be afraid of me.
  • I see danger and I want to warn them.
Do you remember the best technique some teachers used to get our attention in the classroom?  Yelling!  The students went quiet.  We all stopped because we weren't sure what was happening.  Then we spoke with low, controlled voices and we knew the teacher meant business.


Kids will often tune out to what is going on around them.  They may even miss warnings of danger.  Kids will often yell back at their parents or at their siblings, because that is the behavior that seems to be the 'right way' to handle situations in the home.  Kids can then grow up to do the same thing to their kids.  It may lead to the children finding it more difficult to control their anger.  When angry words are spoken they are often uncontrolled, distorted or untrue.  Cruel words can never be taken back.  Even an apology cannot erase such words from the recipient's mind.  As the song says, "Forgiving you is easy, but forgetting takes the longest time."  Uncontrolled anger causes insecurity and a lack of trust.


The best way to get your kids to respond to your requests the first time is to:
a) Tell them that you are not going to yell at them anymore.
b) Tell them clearly what your expectations are...that from now on you will make your requests
     only once and if they do not comply, selected consequences will be applied. 
c) Have them repeat your expectations and the consequences so you know they really understand.
d) Make sure that you are being fair with your timing when it comes to asking them to do something.
    If it is right in the middle of some fun activity you have allowed them to do, then they will be
    quite reasonably frustrated and grumpy if they are pulled away from it.

Helpful further reading:

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Being shy can be a crippling thing.  It can cause us not to venture beyond the bounds of what is totally familiar, to feel inadequate and to never have the opportunity to develop our full potential.

Is shyness due to our genes, or is it learned behavior?  It certainly is puzzling to find one shy child amongst gregarious siblings.  We have one introverted son and one extroverted daughter.  Our son is not shy, however.  He just prefers his own company.  Our daughter feels starved if she cannot socialize on a regular basis.  Anyone who knows me would say I was a total extravert, yet I can be very hesitant and unsure when facing new experiences.

According to Dr Bernado J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, there are three components to shyness:

     a)  Excessive self-consciousness - overly aware of yourself in social situations.
     b)  Excessive self-evaluation - tend to see yourself negatively.
     c)  Excessive self-preoccupation - concentrate on all the things you are doing wrong when around

These would appear to me to be learned rather than innate behaviors.

     a) Being overly criticized as a child or young person.  When others' expectations of you are too high
          you may never feel you can do anything right, and it is natural to give up trying.
     b) Having had even one negative experience in social situations, particularly as a child or teen, the
          ridicule or shame forces you into your shell.
     c) Neglect where parents or those of influence have never trained you and you are left to learn by
          your own mistakes.  This can be very damaging.
     d) Parents who lack confidence can pass this trait onto their children.

  • If you are a shy parent, discover where the shyness has come from and get help to overcome it.
  • Refrain from labeling your child as shy.  Labels stick and discourage confidence to step out.
  • Concentrate on your child's strengths to build their confidence.
  • Encourage your child's efforts rather than concentrating only on the results.
  • Walk through new situations with your kids.  
  • Help them build friendships and integrate into larger groups.

For more suggestions on overcoming shyness check out the following source document I have used.

Written by Sally Burgess

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The question of whether the risks are greater than the advantages regarding child vaccinations is a hot topic. A child in the womb is naturally protected from diseases and, once born, that protection is partially continued through breastfeeding.

Over the years vaccination schedules have changed due to the risk of exposure to diseases of the time.  For example, polio and TB were a real concern in earlier years and have been drastically reduced due to vigilant vaccination.  Currently, the vaccination schedule in Western countries includes Diphtheria,Tetanus, Whooping cough, Polio, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B, Pneumacoccal conjugate,  Rota-virus, Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

a) Personal protection from serious diseases.
b) Prevention of the spread of these diseases through the community.

a) Possible lifelong harm for some from the content of the vaccines.

a) Serious possibility of contracting the diseases.
b) Personal harm from the effects of the disease.

In 1986 the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed in response to a large number of lawsuits being filed claiming vaccines were causing adverse reactions including brain damage and death. The Act served to shield medical professionals and vaccine manufacturers from liability if an individual suffered injury from receiving vaccines. The Act mandated that vaccine injury claims be filed with the US Court of Federal Claims rather than filed directly against physicians or vaccine manufacturers in civil court. The Act created an Office of Special Masters to make rulings on petitions for compensation. Unlike civil court, those filing injury claims are not required to prove negligence or failure to warn - they only need to prove that a vaccine caused injury.

Link to Autism:
On July 9, 1999, in response to growing concern over a link between vaccination and autism, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the US Public Health Service (PHS) recommended that Thimerosal (a preservative containing mercury - a known neurotoxin) be removed from vaccines "as soon as possible."

Link to brain damage:
Between 1988 and 2009, the United States Court of Federal Claims Office of Special Masters has awarded compensation to 1,322 families whose children suffered brain damage from vaccines.  (We personally know a child who was vaccinated and within days suffered convulsions resulting in severe brain damage).

Please read the source below as it discusses studies and progress of arguments to and fro regarding the value of vaccinations for children.


It is a very difficult situation that young parents face, trying to decide which is the best decision to protect their children.  Will vaccinations harm or help?

All I can suggest is that there is a great deal of information on the Internet these days that will at least enlighten you.  A discussion with more than one health professional and both sides would also be advisable.  Just remember, too, that the drug companies will usually not admit liability and have copious finances to lobby against those who would try to prove links between vaccinations and damage to children.  They often report findings from research they have conducted or financed. So, how can the truth be known?

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Canada geese fly in 'V' formation for a very pragmatic reason: a flock of geese flying in formation can move faster and maintain flight longer than any one goose flying alone.  Synergy is a law of nature.

We have a lot to learn from these geese.
  • By flying in 'V' formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
    =>People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
  • Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
    =>If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as we are.
  • When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
    => It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese.
  • The geese at the back honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. 
    => We need to encourage others and to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.
  • Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him.  They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group. 
    => If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.  It's all about team work and community.


a) The 'V' formation for families begins with strong parenting - leading from the front; providing
    direction, solid family values and positive role modeling.  Parents hold each other up by sharing
    the lead and backing one another up at all times.

b) When families are working as one unit they will go further, quicker. They help one another to
    achieve both family and individual goals.
c) When families work as a team they alternate hard and light chores.  When the work is done there
    is more time for fun.

d) Every family member needs encouragement.  Just like the geese, we all need to 'honk', or cheer
    each other on from behind.  You notice the geese at the back do all the honking.  Coming from
    behind is a selfless position to be in.  No-one is fighting to be at the front or be the 'best'.

e) If one family member is struggling the family gathers to help the 'wounded' one.  The family
    group can also provide a sense of normalcy in the 'wounded' one's life so they do not feel left
    out or left behind.  Families are committed to one another, no matter what.

Written by Sally Burgess

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I wonder why some people get so hung up on mothers breastfeeding their little ones in public?
  • Does it make some men feel embarrassed or awkward?
  • Could it arouse an unwanted sexual response in some males?
  • Is it just 'not proper public behavior'?
Let me say this.  In New Zealand and Australia where I come from, breastfeeding is as natural as anything else.  Mothers don't bother covering themselves with some big blanket or coverall.  They do show discretion by at least covering their breast with whatever they happen to be wearing e.g. a T shirt or shirt.  Nobody cares.  No part of the breast is exposed any more than it would be by wearing a low cut blouse.

What does the law say about public breastfeeding here in the USA?

After doing a little research I found a whole slew of information from the source provided below.  Since I live in Tennessee this is our local Government stance on the matter:

"Tennessee permits a mother to breastfeed in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding.  (The act) specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901.

(Check out from the link below, what the law is in your State).


President Obama signed into law the following regarding Moms being able to express breast milk in work time.  Here it is in part.

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, on March 23 ....... to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk........ The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.

So what is your stance on the controversial issue? Are you for, or against public breastfeeding?

Written by Sally Burgess

Friday, October 4, 2013


 I think it is very sad to think that if I asked a group of adults what their purpose or passion in life was, two thirds of them would probably say they didn't know.

  • What do you love to do?  
  • What really floats your boat or winds you up?  
  • What really gets you going - once you start you don't want to stop?  
  • What are you really good at?
Hmmmmm!  Has that got you thinking?

When I was a kid I loved sewing.  I would make most of my clothes and sew dresses for my little sisters as well.  I also loved to knit.  I mastered those things through the enjoyment of performing them.  I tried drawing, but I wasn't really good at it so didn't pursue it.  I also was not good at sport.  Was that wrong?  No.  It just didn't click with me.

At school I was good at writing stories because I discovered I had a very fertile imagination.  I struggled with math and in particular math puzzles e.g. if the train wheel measures x and the track is x long, how long would it take the train to get to the other end moving at x miles an hour.  Ahhhhh!  My brain stopped dead at 'If the train wheel measures x.'  It still does!

There were strengths I discovered myself, but there were some skills that others observed in me that I didn't know I had.  Singing was one of them.  If someone in those early days had not said, "You are really good at this," and gave me opportunities to sing, I may never have found my absolute passion, and reached goals I never thought possible.

I had an Aunt who was my hero.  She was a nurse and I decided when I was only 6 years old that this was what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I never wavered from my goal and did whatever it took, including hard study, to be a nurse just like her.

Ask yourselves the above questions.  Ask trusted others what they think you are good at?  They often see strengths or traits in you that you didn't know existed.  Some of these strengths may end up to be hobbies because they don't earn the money to put the necessary food on the table.  But it is doubly great if you find your passion makes money also!  Either way, we ALL have strengths that drive us if we let them.

1. Observe what your kids gravitate towards.  From their earliest years they will show often a
    fanatical interest in certain things e.g. the computer, drawing, playing with cars or planes like our
2. Expose your children to all sorts of experiences and activities to see what they enjoy the most.
3. Explore their interests with them, but only a few at a time.
4. Encourage them.  If they are showing a real aptitude for their interest, see how far they go with it.

1. If your kids show interest and you are paying for lessons, don't let them give up just because they
    are sick of it or  it takes too much effort.  At least make them complete a term or season e.g. piano,
    football.  They need to learn to be committed.  Tenacity creates expertise.
2. Some activities are just fun to pursue and others are necessary to life and future careers.  Kids can't
    just ditch math or English because they don't like it.  They have to reach a certain proficiency or it
    effects their futures.  If they are struggling, they will have a negative attitude.  Try to get them extra
    tuition.  Praise them for their effort, not just their grade or results.
3. Do not force your kids into following interests/careers just because you were good at it - or worse,
    you couldn't succeed, so, 'by George, they will!'  That is called, 'living your dreams vicariously
    through your kids.'

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We need to find our passions to reach our true potential.

The above picture is of a 6 year old boy in the pilot seat of a large plane.  His grandfather is a pilot and so is his Daddy's brother.  I wouldn't be surprised if this lad isn't headed in the same direction!

Written by Sally Burgess

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NEW!! Chat Room Session starting Nov. 4th!!!

Hi all.

We are so excited to announce that we will be starting a weekly Chat Room Session to provide on-the-spot advice and conversation about issues that we are all facing as parents. It will give you the opportunity to join the conversation and ask the questions you've been dying to get answers to. We will begin these weekly sessions on Monday Nov. 4th from 8pm-9pm U.S. Central Standard Time.

It's as easy as going to our website at and clicking on the "Chat" tab at the top of the page and then clicking on "Join the conversation".

Just join by choosing one of the following options.

Joining as a "Guest" allows you to choose your name and be anonymous if you want to.

We can't wait to connect with our readers and support you in your parental journey.

***Please note that if we have a lot of questions and we can't get to your question within the hour, we will be happy to answer your questions via email. Or you can choose to join in the next week.


 Child stress is on the rise and for all sorts of reasons.  It might be an unhappy or broken home situation, a health condition, inconsistent parenting, expectations set so high the child cannot succeed or they might be plain tired.

One reason for child stress is scheduling their time with too many extra-curricular activities e.g. after-school sports, drama, dance or music lessons.  They have been at school all day and can barely get any homework done before they are whisked off to some other activity which requires concentration.  Their brains cannot sustain constant over-stimulation and they can easily become tired, frustrated and despondent.

Kids need time to just have fun.  They need time to rest, relax and recuperate and not have their hours scheduled to the extent that there is no spontaneity.  Kids also need time to develop their imagination and this won't happen if they have no time to read and free-play.  (Neither will it happen if they are sitting in front of the TV.)

It is not necessary for a child to learn to play every instrument in the orchestra - even if they want to.  Sure they need to be exposed to all sorts of activities to help them find their passion.  However, this needs to occur over time, one or two activities at a time.

We need to look hard at our kid's daily program.  They should have rest periods between each activity.  They get up so early for school and often do not have a regular bed-time.  We need to protect them, not overload them.

While we want them to reach their full potential, this will not happen if they feel constantly hurried from one thing to the next.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Friday, September 27, 2013


When we had our babies we lived in what we termed "Diaper Valley!"  The subdivisions were filled with young parents around the same age.  Many of us only had one family car which our husbands took to work.  If we wanted to go anywhere we put the kids in strollers and walked.  We were always over at our neighbor's homes and if we had any issues with kids or sleepless nights, we talked about it over tea, coffee and large slices of cake.  There was comfort in knowing that we were all experiencing the same fatigue, worry, childhood illnesses etc.  None of our worries got out of hand because we nipped them in the bud while they were happening.  We didn't feel helpless because we had our own neighborhood social network.  We cared for one another and for each others kids.

For all sorts of reasons these days new parents can feel isolated.
  • Couples are more inclined to work longer.  Women are often 35+ before starting their families.
  • Their income allows them to buy homes that are not necessarily in subdivisions.  
  • Many new mothers are going back to work 6 weeks after their child is born so comradeship is not the same. 
  • The population is more mobile.  Many move because of job opportunities.  They don't know anyone.
  • Their families are scattered around the USA or in our case, overseas.  Their support systems are missing.
  • There is a lot less 'Mayberry'-type neighborliness now. TV tends to keep people inside and phones and texting stops the face to face communication we once had.  We are not interacting with our neighbors.
When parents don't get the opportunity to discuss behavioral issues, they often think they are the only ones who are struggling.  They become so busy they haven't time actively to look for parenting help e.g. go to seminars.  They blame themselves because they can't work out why their child has changed from compliant  to disrespectful in no time flat!  They look at other families with envy while their own kids are screaming up and down the aisles of Walmart.  How much can they take?  When will it end?

Aside from wanting to personally escape to the Bahamas, here are some suggestions for getting help:
a) Try and get together with other young parents at a mall for coffee or some other central place where you can get moral support from each other.
b) Join a young mothers' group so your kids can play-date together.
c) Look up parenting sites to get specific answers. 
d) Buy or borrow books on particular parent issues e.g. Asbergers, autism, asthma, Downs Syndrome. ADD.
e) Join special needs groups for support and help, as per d) above.
f) Ask your church or other organization to run parenting seminars at their location.  Encourage your friends to go, also. You will get help with creating strong family values, discipline that works, getting the greatest potential from your kids, managing strong-willed children.

You need never feel alone. Individuals and organizations are there to help you. 

Please feel free to check out the many resources on our blog and website -

Written by Sally Burgess

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


A school in New York decided to replace the rusty old boundary fences around its playground.  The students had always played right out to those fences.  They would even hang onto the link fencing to watch traffic and pedestrians go by.  When the old fencing was pulled down an interesting thing happened.  All the kids grouped together in the center of the playing area and would not venture near the boundary because they were afraid.

My father had an 11 p.m. curfew on my going out as a teen.  Although I grumbled about it sometimes I knew that if I wasn't home by 11 p.m. he would start to worry and if necessary, come and find me.  He loved me enough to care that I was safe.

Boundaries are set to help kids feel secure and to help them know exactly what is expected of them.
  • They need to know the point of unacceptable behavior (the boundary) 
  • You need to draw the line where you want it according to your values and beliefs.
  • Parents need to set consequences for breaching boundaries.
  • Kids need to know precisely what those consequences will be beforehand.
  • Parents need to apply those consequences consistently.
  • If the consequences do not work, then more stringent consequences should be set.
The process of boundary-setting creates an opportunity for kids to learn to make wise choices.
The parent is no longer the big ogre.  The child is the one making the decision.  The parent acts upon that choice.

When parents set clear boundaries, there is MUCH less likelihood of a subjective or inconsistent response e.g. grounding a child for a week for a minor infringement or ignoring the infringement altogether.

When kids make the wrong choice the consequence should be applied, followed by a discussion with the child about how to make the right choice next time.

When kids make the right choice they should be acknowledged for doing so.  They really do want to please you.

Written by Sally Burgess