Parenting CAN be Fun & Easy

Parenting can be fun and easy.  I loved, it.  It was the best time of my life as those little people provided me with so much joy and laughter.  I even enjoyed disciplining as I came up with punishments that were funny, well, to me.

One of my favourites was “Mom Makeover”.   What teenage boy wants to be putting make-up on his mother?  I’d say, “It’s either a one day ban on video games or a 30 minute Mom Makeover, your choice.”

The goal is to only have to discipline on rare occasions.  You want your children to be self-disciplining and accountable for their actions.

The biggest problem I see with kids lately is “Self-Entitlement-itis”.  They’ve been so spoiled and gotten away with so much that they expect that to continue when they’re out in the real world.  It’s quite the slap in the face when they realize that’s not the case.

Parenting sessions may be for you.

Happy Parenting,

Lisa

How to Discipline a Difficult Teenager | Parenting Teens

Surprisingly few parents ask me how to discipline a teenager.  I get more questions about how to cope with a teenager.  I guess discipline seems unattainable.

Can you discipline a difficult teenager?  Yes, but it’s very different from how you discipline a toddler, child or tween.  

The first step is to check yourself.  Are you acting or reacting?  In other words, when your teen lashes out do you react or just stay calm?  If you’re reacting, you’re diving off the emotional cliff with them.  If you’re acting (staying calm and controlled), you are not elevating the situation.

I admit I’ve never raised a difficult teen as I had that mutual respect cemented early on, but I’ve certainly worked with a lot of very challenging teenagers.  What they all have in common is that they are all Me Me Me.  They don’t stop and think how their words or actions are affecting others as they really don’t care.  They’re totally self-absorbed.

They have tunnel vision which all focuses on what they want.

What you have to do is dive into that tunnel and create a diversion. 

So, you’re now calm and ready to create that diversion?  Let me explain how this is done.

Let’s say you have a 14 year old girl who goes out drinking at parties and comes home wasted, if she comes home at all.  You say,

You’re too young to party all night.  You’re also too young to be drinking, that’s just a fact.  What’s going to happen from now on is that I’m still going to let you party, you’re just going to be calling me every 90 minutes so I know you’re okay.  I’m also going to be picking you up at an arranged time and location.  The pickup spot can be a few houses away from where the party is so as not to embarrass you in front of your friends.  Does that sound fair?

It doesn’t matter how she reacts, you’ve just calmly explained there’s going to be a shift.  The most important thing for you to do is to STAY CALM.  Not just that, but no eye rolls, no frustrated sighs, absolutely nothing that she could interpret as a negative reaction to her.

You are now setting yourself up as a calm, controlled leader.  You’re also showing that you’re fair as you’re still allowing her to party, just on your terms.

It takes time to gain the respect of a teenager, you have to be patient and willing to put in the work.  

When I first started mentoring teenagers I didn’t have a clue what to do.  I’d been through some training but it didn’t suit me so I had to figure out my own way.  One thing I decided right away was to never open up their files.  I didn’t want to get to know them through their past mistakes.

I’d say:

I have 3 rules:

  1.  No swearing in front of me
  2. You have to say thank you at the end of each session
  3. You have to give me a hug at the end of each session

They often broke the first rule but they never broke and second and third ones.  The thank you’s and hugs were often strained but they happened.

I was setting myself up as a calm leader, someone who respected them but still had boundaries.  That’s all you’re doing with this first step.  

I’m here if you need some guidance to get through this, it can be challenging.

Lisa.

“She’s 9 Going on 19” | Parenting Tweens

When parents say, “She’s 9 going on 19”, I  say “Wait until she’s 19, then we’ll talk”.

Tween girls vary greatly.  Some are wallowing in childhood while others just can’t wait to grow up.  That can make them easy to lead astray by older kids they’re trying to impress.

No tween girl (9-12 years) should be doing any of the following:

  • Social Media
  • Wearing Makeup
  • Dating

Moms often get caught up in shopping and mani-pedis with their little “girlfriends” rather than taking them to parks, skating rinks, etc.  Young girls need moms, not 35 year old girlfriends.  Of course it’s okay to take a 9 year old girl shopping, get mani-pedis, etc.  But mix that with some good old fashioned kid stuff to keep balance.

If you accelerate her childhood she could miss out on some important childhood milestones which help prepare her for those challenging teen years.

I know it’s tricky.  My daughter and I were both “born old” as my Mom used to say.  Never had tantrums, were always easy to reason with, even as toddlers.  Just had old souls.  Tough not to treat that type of child like a mini adult.

You may think your tween is really mature for her age, but just wait until the teen years hit and you see the difference.

Let your kids be kids for as long as possible.  Don’t rush it as it all goes too quickly anyway.

If you need help finding and balance, check out my coaching. 

Happy Parenting, Lisa.

Young Girl gets her Period at School and thinks she’s Bleeding to Death | Parent vs. School

A teacher told me about a very young  girl in her class who got her period.  The poor little girl was terrified as she thought she was bleeding to death.  The parents told the school it was their job to teach their daughter about personal stuff so they had to deal with it.  

Here’s a blog that was very popular with teachers and principals:   Stop Expecting Schools to Parent.

I think this trend of expecting schools to teach manners, sex, nutrition, etc. started back in the 1970’s.  That’s when parents started becoming pleasers rather than leaders.

The generation gap was closing, it was easier to relate to your children as friends.  Everyone was talking the same, dressing the same, listening to the same music, etc.   That’s all great but things got messed up a bit too.  Kids still needed leadership which was often forgotten.

Whenever a mom says, “She’s 9 going on 19” I say, “No she’s not.  Wait till she’s 19 then we’ll talk.  For now, she’s just a 9 year old little girl who needs a mom, not a 35 year old girlfriend.”  I usually recommend they stop all the manicures and go to the park instead.  (Hmmm … that’s tomorrow’s blog.)

More on this transition in my TEDx Talk.

Not only are schools being forced to take on more parenting responsibilities but they are given less power to discipline.  Their hands are tied.    More here.

When my kids started school I said to their teachers, “If my kids ever step a toe out of line, don’t punish them.  Call me and I’ll do it.”  The teachers loved that as knew my kids were going to be easy.  From my perspective it wasn’t that I was trying to make their jobs easier, just that I didn’t want strangers raising my kids.  Teachers are just people like the rest of us, some are nice, some not so nice.  They’re there to teach my kids about academics, maybe some sports and music, anything else is just a bonus not an expectation.

On a side note, about 40% of my clients are teachers.  They’re brilliant at teaching 30+ kids in a classroom but they struggle with all the same parenting issues you do at home.  And just because so many of my clients are teachers it doesn’t mean they struggle more, they’re just more likely to reach out for help.  They’re learners, they see me as Parenting School :).  Teachers/principals are also the parents most likely to hire me to prevent problems rather than to fix them.  Mostly when heading into the teen years.

Funny Story:  When my son was a teenager he said, I’d never rob a liquor store as would be terrified Mom would get to me before the police.  DON’T LET HER TAKE ME!!!  PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LOCK ME IN THE HOLE AND THROW AWAY THE KEY!!!”

Now I know most of you wouldn’t expect the school to teach your daughter about her period, but think about everything else.  Are you going to let them teach your sons and daughters about manners, kindness, nutrition, sex, etc.?  Don’t you want to do that yourself?

Happy Parenting, Lisa

 

Where do Teens learn about Sex?

Most of the teens I’ve coached have learned about sex through pornography. 

That teaches them the mechanics, what goes where, etc.  But here is what porn doesn’t teach them:

  • birth control
  • STD’s
  • relationships
  • respect
  • responsibility

Check out my TEDx talk to understand just how common it is for teens or even younger children to watch porn.  There are no accurate statistics on this for obvious reasons but believe me when I say that it’s hard to find a teenager who hasn’t seen some form of porn.

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about them watching porn, but you can make sure you become part of their sex education.  Talk to them to and from school in snippets here and there, keeping it casual.  The more you do this the easier and more natural it’ll become.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is to ALWAYS include emotions in the discussion.  That way they’re more likely to attach sex to feelings rather than to just see it as a physical act or a way to be popular.

Oh my, the stories I could tell you about what kids have told me.  I’ve stopped saying “I’ve heard it all” as they keep coming up with more stories about sex games at parties … ugh.  The more shocking the stories the less likely they were to ever have talked to their parents about sex.  Teens to talk to their kids about sex rarely have irresponsible or degrading sex.

So please make sure you are your kids’ main source of sex education.

Happy Parenting, Lisa