Dr. Maryann Rosenthal is an author and international speaker on family dynamics and life achievement issues. Dr. Maryann Rosenthal - Home | Contact
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Carry this affirmative motto with you: My rewards in life will reflect my service and contribution. Invest in developing your own knowledge and skills. The only real security in life is inside us. Take fifteen minutes each day for yourself alone. Use this time to ponder how you can best spend your time for achieving what's most important to you.

Use another motto for your self-analysis: Life is a do-it-yourself project. When your subordinates or children bring you a problem, if they are old enough to reason, first ask them what they think should be done to resolve it. Be certain to assign responsibility for the solution and follow through. Resist taking the easy way out by doing it for them.

Let your children make mistakes without fear of punishment or rejection. Show them that mis­takes are learning devices that become stepping stones to suc­cess.  Break your daily and weekly routine. Get out of your comfort­able rut. Unplug the TV for a month. Take a different route or different mode of transportation to work. Have lunch with people in totally different industries and read publications in totally different fields than your current one. And take the blame for your position in life honestly and openly-- and share the credit for your successes with those who deserve it.

Responsibility training for your children begins early. When children are old enough to understand, they should put away their own toys, play materials, eating materials, and bathing materials. They should be responsible for making their beds, and keeping their personal belongings in order as a regular routine. Never pay children for doing something for themselves; in doing so, it actually robs them of self-esteem and is a form of bribery.
Responsibilities should be set for each family member. For operating the home there should be regular chores, at certain times on certain days.

Payment may be in the form of loving hugs, pocket money, or special privileges. Whatever is done should be checked, approved, and paid for on a relative scale, similar to that which will be encountered away from home. Children and teenagers should have savings accounts and checking accounts, and should go in person to open them and make withdrawals. Dream lists should be discussed enthusiastically and posted in a prominent place. Children should be encouraged to save their money for very special dreams they have had for three to six months minimum, and even longer if possible..

Television should be off unless eyes are on it. Programs should be selected from the TV schedule as to their value, interest, and plot. Alternative forms of diversion should be planned: plays, books, concerts, recitals, museums, seminars, educational DVDs, walks, talks, stories, games -- anything to stimulate the creative imagination and get control. When controversial shows are watched on TV they should be discussed, during commercials and after­ward, with all views listened to, rather than challenged. Surfing the web should be a practice that fits the family values and not a surreptitious activity behind locked bedroom doors.

Until your teenagers fly the nest, it is your respon­sibility to know where they are, who they are with, pretty much of what's going on and when they'll be home. Any friend should be welcomed to your home. The best way to know what kind of environment your kids are into is to invite their friends over and observe, firsthand. The second way is to meet the parents of your children's friends. Set rules that both parents will enforce. Set them in advance with your kids, and ask the kids help assign penalties and loss of privileges for rule infractions at family meetings. Actually, the penalties are usually a lot tougher than the parents assign. Be consistent in your demands and in your discipline.

© 2004 by Dr. Maryann Rosenthal.  Permission to reprint if left intact.

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