October 9th, 2007

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside.  I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
” Because I said so, ! that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me IRONY
“Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
“Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times.  Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
“Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
“Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
“You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP.
“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
“You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
“Shut that door behind you.  Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”

The Role of Rituals

October 9th, 2007

Many parents grew up in the 1960s or ‘70s when “Go with the flow” was the mantra. Structure was out; spontaneity was in. Sure, we shook off the bonds of conformity. But what did we replace them with?
Too often we let go of the rituals that families need, rituals that instill honor, dignity, and cooperation—and can help bind a family together regardless of its size. A ritual is a special way of doing things that’s full of meaning and is repeated over the over.
Family Signature
Taken together, these ceremonies give, at the least, something of a signature to a family and, at best, they weave a web of life that can support our kids in troubled times. They help build cohesiveness and a sense of a shared, repeated experience.
If you don’t create rituals, you’ll leave a vacuum, and today’s edgy and often vulgar pop culture will fill that vacuum with objectionable TV, music, movies, and Internet activities.
Here are some rituals you might want to try:
•    Pray, meditate, or have “quiet time” together – This is all about slowing down and relaxing together
•    Take control of your TV – Institute a “No TV on Tuesdays” rule.  Or some other night of the week on which     the tube stays silent and talking is encouraged.
•  Adopt a service project – Require all family members to get involved in at least one community project per     year and keep the family apprised on their progress.
•  Explore ethnicity - Choose one day a month to sample other cultures and cuisines.
•  Show your kids the value of regularly saving and investing. -  Set aside some money and work with them on investing in say, a mutual fund or     some individual stocks. See my website www.DrMA.com   for ideas on financial education for young people.

Praise Generously and Genuinely

October 9th, 2007

Home is where both losing and winning habits are learned and ingrained. As a parent, you have the power to model and reinforce healthy habits in your children, like a coach or trainer, not a dictator or drill sergeant.

If you need a nudge to become more complimentary and help your kids overcome bad habits and develop new, positive ones here’s a simple two-step plan:

Step 1: Many different behaviors, some small and seemingly insignificant, make important contributions to relationship satisfaction. List 10 positive things that your child does that please you.

2. ________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________
4. ________________________________________________________
5. ________________________________________________________
6. ________________________________________________________
7. ________________________________________________________
8. ________________________________________________________
9. ________________________________________________________
10. ________________________________________________________

Step 2: Show him or her the list.


October 9th, 2007

We are becoming more and more violent today and there is no simple answer. There is no gene for violence and aggression is a learned behavior. I think it is in a large part due to the following factors:
We are a country that is simmering in anger; we are a world on guard and that fear is transmitted to our children and causes in them a physiology of fear. The pace of the world we live in does not allow us to truly nurture our children.
Each child is born with a unique temperament and personality and the biology of the brain tells us that there are enormous changes and growth during adolescence.
These changes contribute to the progression of aggression that we see in kids today.  They are     growing up too fast and being robbed of their childhoods.
The availability of weapons and the effects of alcohol and drugs all contribute to violent and homicidal behavior by children.
Young teens who watch more than an hour of television a day are nearly four times as likely to commit aggressive acts in later years.

  • Do have a family meeting with a contract of no violence/no harm
  • Do not control your child; control your child’s behavior

check your parenting style
-role model the behavior you want

  • Do calmly identify the triggers that preceded child’s inappropriate behavior

point out thoughts, feeling, reactions
-name new behaviors

  • Do state your rule and give reasons for the rules

-give consequences for broken rules
-enforce discipline when rules are broken

  • Do not hesitate to use community resources:

-social/ environmental and legal