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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Parenting Your Teenager: Watch Out for Change Back Behavior



Here's the scene:

Mom and Dad have decided to lay down the law and actually enforce some of the family rules.

They share this with the kids who moan and groan and protest.

Mom and Dad are shocked and bewildered that the kids are not eager to cooperate with the changes.

Something that will never happen

I know it sounds crazy, but we act like we believe it is a reasonable thing to expect. We lay down the law, and we are stunned when our kids do not say, "Oh thank you Mom and Dad, I've been just waiting and hoping and praying that you would get stricter."

Not gonna happen.

And if it does, get in touch with me right away because something is waaaaaaay wrong.

The cost of changing things

When parents decide to tighten up on a few things, the kids realize that the party may be over. Instead of accepting it, they are going to test you, to see if you really mean it. This is called "change back behavior."

The kids are testing you to see if you really mean it and really simply trying to get you to change back to the old system.

This is why it is so important for parents to make sure that whatever changes they begin, that they are ready to see it through for the long haul.

If you start to change things and then give in to the pressure of the change back behavior from the kids, you have made things worse than if you had done nothing at all.

Making changes is a good thing to do. Just mnake sure you stick to your guns.

By Jeff Herring

Monday, September 12, 2005

Co-Sleeping - Is It Right For You And Your Baby?



Since civilization began, mothers have taken advantage of the convenience of sleeping with their babies. It has only been in the past two centuries among industrialized and Western nations that sleeping separately from your baby has become appropriate. Research shows that infants who share a bed with their mothers cry less often and nurse for longer periods of time. Co-sleeping will provide extra nourishment at night and added protection for your baby. Sleeping with the mother gives the baby a steady supply of feelings and sensations that could possibly compensate for the neurological immaturity an infant has at birth.

Co-sleeping may provide some protections from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Infants who sleep with their mothers sleep less soundly and have an increased awareness of the maternal presence. Some SIDS death have been associated with arousal deficiencies in the part of the infant. The increased arousal of the infant by the presence of the mother could make a difference in the number of SIDS deaths experienced in this country each year, although this has yet to be proven scientifically.

The habits of the parents must be considered in determining if co-sleeping is right for a particular baby. Smoking, drugs, or alcohol are the predominant factors in cases where the baby is accidentally smothered. Co-sleeping has been practiced for thousands of years until relatively recently. The benefits of co-sleeping are numerous while the disadvantages are few. Use your own judgment and take into consideration your lifestyle when deciding if co-sleeping is right for you and your baby. The changing views of the past several decades have made the practice of co-sleeping undesirable in some cultures. Our ancestors routinely slept with their babies as a means of protection and convenience. Only you can decide if co-sleeping is appropriate for your family.

By Jennifer Houck

Teach Your Child to Live for Maximum Potential




At times, everyone feels a little depressed about life, and children are no exception. Just like you, children often experience “the same old grind.” They get up for school, day care, or camp to travel the same road each weekday. Some children even look forward to weekends in the same way their parents do.

How can you put some excitement into life and teach your child to be successful? Sometimes, parents have to be spontaneous and break the routine up a bit for “family time.” Make it a point to eat together and spend quality time doing new things.

Never say negative things about your life or how boring life is for you. Children can really tune into this, and they always copy their parents. They reflect negative thinking and can hold themselves back by worrying about the risk of failure, just like an adult. Instead, teach them about the endless opportunities that arise in every day life.

Life is full of challenges, and your child has to learn to overcome the fear of failure. This is where you come in - by measuring your child’s progress. You should always point toward his, or her, past successes for positive reinforcement.

Remember the story of the “Tortoise and the Hare?” Teach your child that slow and steady always finishes the race. As an adult, you know that finishing anything is a “bench mark” along the road to progress. A child will give up on a challenge, when they are too far out of their “comfort zone.”

Giving up is a last resort. For example: Look down the road at the many challenges your child will face in college, military service, or at work. You want to establish a “track record” of success now.

Even when challenges and problems have your child in a state of fear, you are obligated to encourage your child to move forward and do their “personal best.” Every successful person has had to face their own fear, in order to see the endless daily opportunities that life has to offer.

Teach your child that life is full of excitement - by making the choices of exploring and trying new things, as long as they are reasonably safe activities. The experience of learning is more important than the chance of failure.

The end result will be that your child has positive memories of accomplishment, and the knowledge that he or she can always count on you.


By Paul Jerard

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Finding Your Spirit in the Kitchen Sink



It felt like my nerves were scraping against one another.

It had been one of those rare nights in which everyone had gone to bed at a decent hour and woke up at just the right time. But I felt jangled and all tossed up inside. My eyelids felt like sandpaper and all I wanted to do was crawl into a corner, draw my knees to my chest, and crack open a thick, meaty book, not emerging again until I had turned the very last page.

But it was Wednesday and my little girls had other plans - as they always do.

"Mommy, Callie is getting bigger." Cassidy said.

"Yes, she is honey."

"Mommy, I said 'Callie is getting bigger.'"

"She sure is, honey."

"Callie, Callie, Wallie. You are getting bigger," she sang to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot."

Normal conversation sounded like shouting, and Cassidy's everyday make-it-up-as-she-goes-along songs seemed way too loud.

I had exhausted everything in my arsenal. For a living, I write articles to help parents celebrate everyday life with young children, to renew our spirits, to revere the process of parenting. But all those little things I write about that never fail to revitalize my spirit had all, well, failed.

One of these techniques - and one that had always worked in the past - is to wheel the kids through the rural Rocky Mountain valley that surrounds my home. A summer stroll straight uphill always gets my heart pumping, my legs burning, and my mind re-centered on joyful mothering. But not today. My everyday panacea was cut short by a nasty, from-out-of-nowhere hail storm.

After a mad dash over the river and through the woods back to our little cabin, I tried another favorite method of returning my mind to the place it should be.

I tried to sink into the presence of my girls. To be grateful for their spirit and their presence by simply focusing on being present with them. There's something about my five-month old that always does it. Callie has reached that magical age at which the only thing she needs on this green and blue rock - beyond the occasional dose of milk - is to look up at you and see a smile.

When she does, her arms and legs start to pinwheel and her face sends forth beams of energy that can only be defined as pure joy. This is no garden-variety grin. What she offers is not so much a smile as it is an "explosion of face." I challenge anyone to stay in a blue funk after looking at that for 15 minutes. It always works. But not today.

Today it is Cassidy who is eliciting such an expression from her sister. Callie is in her swing while I find some dry clothes. Cassidy has decided the mechanical swing isn't doing it. She helps to push.

"That's pushing too hard, honey." I try to keep the sharpness out of my voice.

The swing bumps the wall behind. "Cassidy, she doesn't like that!" I say, just as her sister erupts in giggles.

My credibility is shot. So are my nerves.

"Into the car." I say. "We're going on an adventure." This may sound exciting - and it's meant to - but it's just code for "We're leaving the house." And I hadn't yet decided where we'd end up.

We pull into the parking lot of Mommy's "Special Place." A place they've never been before, though they've seen me enter it enough times as they continue on to the park with their dad. This is the place reserved for my occasional weekend retreats into those thick, meaty books.

It is one of those rare coffee shops with a man behind the counter who is friendly enough to know your name and tuned in enough to know when you don't want to chit-chat.

When we get there, he gives Cassidy a huge cup of cherry vanilla Ben and Jerry's, which melts before she eats it. The spoon leaves a sticky pink trail as it travels from the cup to the table, up to the window, and into her lap, somehow not making it anywhere near her mouth.

I mop the drips with a Kleenex while bouncing Callie, who is a little bored after her sticky-fingered sister finds diversion in a four-year-old who has taken to bouncing up and down the back stairs.

Now I know why I haven't taken them here before. This is my place (a place I hope I'm still welcome). So we climb back in the car. I start to drive slowly. Maybe they'll nap. Nope.

I unload them into the house. What now? My husband and relief pitcher won't be home for hours. That's when I spot my sink, and I think about the Flylady. At http://www.flylady.net, the Flylady offers a helpful system for getting your home organized and orderly, thus stamping out domestic CHAOS, which is Flylady-speak for "Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome."

The first chore in Flylady Land is to clean your kitchen sink. The theory is that a shiny sink will give you a sense of accomplishment, even amid your clutter. The Flylady says, "When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you and a smile will come across your lovely face."

That's a pretty tall promise, but what have I got to lose? Out come the bleach, Comet, Windex, scouring pad, toothbrush, and rubber gloves.

"I want to help," Cassidy says, climbing on the counter and grabbing for the sponge. I mutter something about this being a Mommy Job and march her over to watch a self-made tape of her new hero: Dora the Explorer. Callie goes down for some "tummy time."

Then I scrub that sink until it shines. After 15 minutes, it's as though the silly thing comes alive and winks at me. And a smile does come across my face.

Maybe it was the 15-minute break afforded by Dora the Explorer. Maybe it was the ability to put both my babies down and focus on a project long enough to see it through to its completion. Maybe it was this part of the world, however small, that I could control with a scouring pad and some hot water. But it had some kind of spillover effect to the rest of my day.

In retrospect, I'm really not sure what possessed me. My sink wasn't all that dirty and the last thing I wanted to do on a day like this was clean. But, of all things, cleaning my kitchen sink cleared the air in my little cabin that day.

I've said many times that finding delight in your role as a mother is dependent on your ability to take care of yourself. It's about easing yourself down from the curtains you've been climbing because no one can do it for you. It's about pushing yourself to be mindful amid tasks that so easily lend themselves to mindlessness.

And I never thought I'd say it, but there are days when time spent scrubbing your kitchen sink is time spent honoring yourself.

You know you've found such a task when you can once again feel yourself settling into that core of joy. The place from which you radiate grace and love and light straight from your soul into the soul of your children, the way mothering was meant to be.

This is a reminder that practicing self-care isn't about booking a cruise or a day at the spa. It's about finding the re-centering tool that resonates with you at this very moment, and staying attentive for the cues that point you toward the right one.

The right tool for today will be different than that of yesterday. It's up to you to hunt for it, and to delight in the search.


By Susie Cortright

I Can't Find My Homework, Mom! "Ask My Dear, and It Shall be Given
to You!"



Do you believe in asking God, or whatever higher power you choose to believe in, for the answers you need, when you need them? Read below for an enlightening story about my 11 year old daughter's missing homework papers.

The problem started when my daughter took a break from her homework to eat dinner. She asked me if she could take it in her room and work on it while watching TV.

(Not a good idea, BTW). Even the best of us moms have our weak moments. :o)

Anyhow, by the time dinner was over, there was no homework to be found.

As with all lost items, I suggested the usual mom replies. "Retrace your steps." "Think, where was the last place you wrote an answer down on it."

She spent 15 minutes of looking, another 10 minutes of tears for fear of getting detention, during her first week of middle school, (for not turning in homework.) All the tears and whining in frustration were followed with another 10 minutes of both of us looking, and still no homework.

Can you relate?

I bet as a mom, you have probably, been there, done that, if not with homework, with a child's shoes, your car keys. etc.....

I had recently been reading and studying up on manifesting your life, and creating the life you want by projecting a positive attitude, following your intuition. I had been real motivated and psyched with what I was learning.

"Okay mom, I thought to myself," "now you can put all this philosophy to the test."

I said,

"Let's kneel down on the floor right now, and ask God to help us find your homework." She started to giggle as if to say, but she knew not to dare say it out loud, "Yeah right, Mom!"

We knelt down and I lead her in a short but to the point prayer. Although small in time, it was still filled with gratitude but we did request immediate help to find her homework.

I can see some of you laughing at me, as this story unfolds.

As soon as we were done, I stood up. I told her to take a deep breath and relax. I did the same. Then I went to the kitchen. I thought to myself, "maybe she was still hungry and brought the homework out here while looking for something else to eat."

I started to walk to the refrigerator. :o) Well who knows, it could have been in there. But before I even got that far, I glanced over to the counter, and there sat her homework packet, on top of the toaster.

I picked it up and took it back to the living room. Now remember, I told her to take a deep breath and relax. She wasn't even through relaxing and I had already found her homework.

Needless to say, my daughter had a hard time believing that I hadn't known it was there all along.

She did know that though, because she had heard my anguish and frustration just minutes earlier with her misplacing it.

Was it just coincidence? Did I just get lucky?

I believe we create our own luck. I have been studying hard lately to eliminate negative thoughts and replace them with power affirming thoughts instead.

I believe God did just what I asked him too. It was my intuition that led me to the kitchen with the thought about her maybe being hungry. The fact that she might have been looking for food when she set down her homework led me straight to the toaster.

In my humble opinion, it was God who planted those thoughts into my mind, because we asked him for some help. When He answers us so quickly, it is really almost impossible not to believe and have faith.

If it was only that easy to have the same type of faith if we were to ask to win the lottery, (which I don't feel is really an appropriate prayer,however). To believe that he could remove all thought, or doubt in our minds that we wouldn't, it might just happen too.

How many of you can honestly say, when you buy a lottery ticket, it is an absolute winner, that you have not one flickering of a doubt that you will have the winning numbers? You would have to have miraculous faith to do this.

You can't really, because it is next to impossible for the human mind, knowing the odds of actually winning, to eliminate all traces of doubt in that particular scenerio. Some of those thoughts are buried so deep in your subconscious that you are not even aware of them.

In contrast though, it was fairly easy for me to have faith that God could help me find my daughter's homework, because I knew it hadn’t grown feet and walked out the door. :o)


By Laurie Meade

Friday, September 09, 2005

Healthy Baby Food - When is the Best Time to Start Consuming
Juice?




Mother's milk is the best choice for healthy baby food. However, there will be a time when the baby needs much more nutrients as they grow up and mother's milk can not accomplish it anymore. This will be the time your baby needs some soft food from cereal, fruits or vegetables.

As Dr. Bernard Jensen said in his Juicing Therapy book that the best time for your baby to start consuming juice as healthy baby food is when their weight has been two times heavier or more compare to their born-weight, that is about 7 kilograms. At this point, babies are able to consume up to 64 pounds of bottle milk.

Some doctors have some different opinions about this idea, that is when babies attain the age of six months or at any other time when babies can hold their own plastic straw cup.

Apple juice can be the first choice for your healthy baby food after mother's milk, besides, you can choose one between white grape or pier juice. Remember that home made juice is the best. Strain the juice well and carefully to ensure your baby does not take the juice waste. Mix the juice with purified water in 1:1 portion.

You can also add one teaspoon of green leafy vegetable juice to your baby's milk bottle once in two days. Spinach, broccoli or parsley are perfect healthy baby food, they are source of Ferrum (which milk alone can not accomplish), electrolyte and chlorophyll. Anemia case in babies who are merely feed more milk and less soft solid food is not impossible thing.

Therefore, this green vegetable juice is one thing you have to pay a lot of attention, one teaspoon only not more, you have to consider its high concentrate, too.

It is important to notice that, if your baby react to some certain juice by diarrhea or vomiting, leave and wait for some another one-month and then try again. If the problem still persist, you better talk to your doctor.

As your baby growing up and they are getting more and more body weight, reduce the water content in their juice gradually so that finally they will consume the wholly juice.

By Ida Sagita

Spending Time With Your Baby - Making The Most Of Joy



When you first bring home your Bouncing New Baby, you will surely feel you want to watch over her and be with her much of the time, especially if you are a first time parent. Newborn babies are fascinating even if they are not yours; when they are your own, that special feeling takes off into the stratosphere. You may feel tempted to hold them, watch them and chat to them the whole time; even when they are asleep you will enjoy standing silently over them and observe them in their slumbers.

Those first few days are a magical time, but then a transformation may take place. For the first few nights, the night feed may be a novelty, and you may even feel "great, she's awake, I can see her again". But then sleep interruption may start to irritate you rather than be a signal for pleasure; tiredness begins to take a hold as your sleep is disturbed so often. Night feeds, cholic, bringing up her milk; all can contribute to an interrupted night. Insufficient sleep mixed with aggravation can start to eat away at that feeling of wonder you had when your baby first came home.

Your baby has not changed; but you have. She is the same gorgeous baby you brought home from hospital. Her simple life is evolving only very slowly to her; it is yours that is changing most rapidly. Those rapid changes, maybe mixed with a new level of tiredness you have not felt before, represent the first exertion of pressure on that very special relationship - you and your baby.

Then there is day time. The old day to day pressures are still there; the need to rush around to the shops, worrying about money, wondering how to deal with work, job and baby; the car not starting, the leak in the pipe under the sink, the washing machine seizing up under the constant use. The days spent wishing you could get a good night's sleep, wishing you were back at work earning more money, and being with your work colleagues. The time you spend thinking: "where's my life gone? I have no control anymore. That baby is my jailer in the day time and tormentor at night."

Stop! That is a train of thought you must either not board, or at least get off at the first station. It is a train fuelled by self pity, and heading down the track to unhappiness for you, your partner, and your baby. You are the only one who controls your life; you choose between the track to contentment and joy, or to discontent and misery.

Remember, that baby loves you more than anyone else ever has, unless you have had a baby before. Her devotion, her admiration, and her dependence are total. It is for you to decide whether that is something to cause resentment in you, or the overwhelming joy that it should. That little miracle of a baby is the biggest responsibility you have ever had, but she can also be the source of the greatest pleasure and joy.

Compare your baby's devotion with your work colleagues you miss; in 10 years time you will probably have lost contact with most or all of them. Your workplace is like a busy junction where people cross over. Your work? If you are employed, your bosses will ditch you as soon as they need to if they see a "better" alternative. Your car, your washing machine, your leaking pipe; do you really think they are important compared to that unique and potentially wonderful relationship that is in your arms, the relationship with your baby?

You make the choices; you take the actions. You have experienced in the first few days with baby at home that there can be sheer joy and excitement; wonderment and appreciation. The baby loves you to bits; you can love her to bits too, and put the exterior trivia in their rightful place. Or, the baby loves you to bits and you can wallow in resentment because she's interrupting your life, demanding attention when you have a leaking pipe or a car that won't start.

In black and white, on paper, it's a simple choice; but how can you make that choice and achieve the right balance in your life? Think about it quietly for a while; somewhere on your own. Think of the pleasure the baby gives you in those precious moments when you do not feel stressed. Then, make a conscious decision to perpetuate those moments; to make each moment you have with your baby, infant and child a moment when you and she are there simply for each other.

As your baby grows, there will be countless moments of development that can bring you a lot of pleasure and pride; learning to walk, getting out of her crib, her kisses and cuddles, her first word and every new word thereafter; her expressions, mimicry, her laughter and her first attempt to dance to the music on the radio; her attempts to control and manipulate you, and learning to use her charm to get her own way. All can be moments of intense pleasure, if you allow them to be.

Such developments you can allow to merge into the noisy background of life's trivia, and miss the joy they can bring you. In so doing you are increasing the chances of an unhappy baby, and an unhappy you. Or, you can make each moment you spend with your baby one for you to enjoy to the full, shutting out life's trivia for those times you are sharing with your offspring. In so doing you would increase the chances of a happy baby and a happy you.

You make the choices; you take the actions. For your own sake and the baby's, spend as much time with your baby as you can, and set out to enjoy it to the full. Shut out the trivia that are trying to spoil your unique relationship, and your life will be considerably better for it.

It is not always possible, but try to organise the trivia around your time with baby. The more you give her precedence, and willingly, the more happy you will both be. Enjoy every single moment of watching her development. It is something that cannot be repeated.

By Roy Thomsitt

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Will Kids Eat Vegetables? Yes, They Will!



You have made the decision to grow your own vegetables. It's a lifestyle and health choice. You want the best for your family and there are no shortcuts on the way. Good for you!

So now you've got all these wonderful fresh vegetables growing in your garden how do you get the kids to eat them? We should be eating 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Many adults don't get the full servings required and you know the kids are getting a fraction of that.

If you've got problems getting vegetables into the kids, try a few of these strategies...


Start them young with a wide variety of tastes. If you get them between 2-4 years of age you're more likely to capture them for life.
Set a good example. If you snack on fruits and veggies, then your children are more likely to follow your lead.
Try to prepare interesting after school or between meal snacks. I used to prepare a selection of cut up fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and two squares of chocolate. Okay, the chocolate always went first, but then they moved on to the good stuff to fill up.
Keep mixing it up. Prepare new types of vegetables or prepare them in different ways. Let them try just a small bit. If they don't like it, fine. Just keep serving the stuff up.
Never make your dinner table a battle ground. It's not worth it. If they are not forced to eat something they hate, they are more likely to continue trying different foods.
When all else fails, disguise it. Shred some carrot or zucchini into pancakes or hash brown potatoes. Blend vegetables into soups, pasta sauces or on pizza.
Involve them in the process. Take them shopping and let them pick out the veggies. Have them help plan and prepare the meals. Get them into their own gardening project!
And for something really left field, try this sweets recipe.

Vegetable Fudges

I know it sounds really bad, but it's really good! It tastes like a veggie free zone, so if you really feel like you have to sneak it into family and friends, do it with dessert!

Different vegetables and fruits can be used in this recipe to vary it. You can add apple; chocolate; carrot; beetroot. Try your own varieties and see what happens.

The base recipe is this:

3 heaped tablespoons of butter
2 cups sugar
1 x 400g can condensed milk

Prepare a greased square slice pan or dish. Heat the butter and sugar very gently and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add half a cup of finely shredded fruit or vegetable, then add the condensed milk.

Stir constantly and keep the heat low or your mixture will burn. After about 20 minutes your mixture will be bubbling throughout. If you want to add chocolate at this stage, you can. Six squares of cooking chocolate should be about right. Once it's completely blended throughout, pour into your dish and let it cool.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Don't despair, just keep trying. You know that you're serving the best tasting vegetables on the planet when you grow them yourself organically. One fine day, your children will reminisce about that...



By Judy Williams

Plenty of Time





Most mornings, we revere a quiet pace around my home. We celebrate slowness. But today, it is almost noon, and we are late, and I can't find my keys (though I know I had seen them on the counter just moments before). I am suspicious.

"Cassie, have you seen my keys?"

"Yes, I've seen them." My three-year-old is sprawled on the couch with her feet straight up in the air. She taps her boots together.

"Where did you see them?"

"They are right to the left of behind."

I try again, this time lowering my voice: "Where are my keys, honey? I don't want to be late."

She gets up. She picks up a ballpoint pen from the table and hands it to me. "Here are your keys, Mommy," she manages to say before collapsing in hysterics.

She looks up, still laughing. (I'm not). "Oh, now that was a silly joke, Mommy," she laughs some more. "That was a pen. Not your ke-e-e-e-eys." She pulls her baby sister under the table with her. They are both giggling.

Ten minutes later, I had found my keys (where I, not she, had left them), and got on with the business of loading the baby in her car seat, finding the preschooler's "might-needs" for the day, and stashing them into the appropriate places for later. For the older one, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a "monkey juice," so named for the orangutan that once graced the Tang pouches. For the younger one, crackers, cantaloupe, and a juice sippee cup. And I've finally remembered our library books.

Apparently, hurrying is antithetical to a preschooler's very nature. On her way to the car, she stops to hide on the front porch. Then she makes a pit stop into her playhouse. Then she pauses to tell me that potatoes don't have blood, but that she does. As Cassie stands in the driveway reliving yesterday's paper cut and the ensuing Barbie Band-Aid, I resist the urge to check my watch.

It is then that I have to remind myself that my sense of urgency is, today, self-serving. I'm a busy mom, but I work hard to keep my days with the kids "business free." And today, we are going to a simple playgroup. At this playgroup, we all drop in and out. No one is watching the clock to see when we arrive. And no one in particular is waiting for us.

I realize, all at once, that my self-created melodrama is strangely comforting to me. It's a reminder of those days before kids when someone was waiting for me to arrive somewhere. When my false sense of urgency was reflected back to me.

Then I wonder, at this time, what I'm modeling to my kids. Because we can't simultaneously be frazzled and calm. We can't simultaneously be agitated and attentive. We can't simultaneously be fragmented and mindful.

I realize that I could be taking a cue from the child and not the other way around. And so I give myself a gentle reminder of the reasons we have consciously chosen a slower pace for our family. How nourishing it can be to give a child - and her parents - time to contemplate. Time to allow the day to play out on its own. Time to accomplish things one slow activity at a time.

We have just hit the highway when Cassie yells from her car seat: "Mommy! We forgot to play the 'Three Little Pigs'!" She gasps in mock horror, leaving me to wonder where she got her sense of drama.

"We'll play when we get home," I say. "We'll have plenty of time."

And so we do.


By Susie Cortright

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Will Kids Eat Vegetables? Yes, They Will!



You have made the decision to grow your own vegetables. It's a lifestyle and health choice. You want the best for your family and there are no shortcuts on the way. Good for you!

So now you've got all these wonderful fresh vegetables growing in your garden how do you get the kids to eat them? We should be eating 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Many adults don't get the full servings required and you know the kids are getting a fraction of that.

If you've got problems getting vegetables into the kids, try a few of these strategies...


Start them young with a wide variety of tastes. If you get them between 2-4 years of age you're more likely to capture them for life.
Set a good example. If you snack on fruits and veggies, then your children are more likely to follow your lead.
Try to prepare interesting after school or between meal snacks. I used to prepare a selection of cut up fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and two squares of chocolate. Okay, the chocolate always went first, but then they moved on to the good stuff to fill up.
Keep mixing it up. Prepare new types of vegetables or prepare them in different ways. Let them try just a small bit. If they don't like it, fine. Just keep serving the stuff up.
Never make your dinner table a battle ground. It's not worth it. If they are not forced to eat something they hate, they are more likely to continue trying different foods.
When all else fails, disguise it. Shred some carrot or zucchini into pancakes or hash brown potatoes. Blend vegetables into soups, pasta sauces or on pizza.
Involve them in the process. Take them shopping and let them pick out the veggies. Have them help plan and prepare the meals. Get them into their own gardening project!
And for something really left field, try this sweets recipe.

Vegetable Fudges

I know it sounds really bad, but it's really good! It tastes like a veggie free zone, so if you really feel like you have to sneak it into family and friends, do it with dessert!

Different vegetables and fruits can be used in this recipe to vary it. You can add apple; chocolate; carrot; beetroot. Try your own varieties and see what happens.

The base recipe is this:

3 heaped tablespoons of butter
2 cups sugar
1 x 400g can condensed milk

Prepare a greased square slice pan or dish. Heat the butter and sugar very gently and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add half a cup of finely shredded fruit or vegetable, then add the condensed milk.

Stir constantly and keep the heat low or your mixture will burn. After about 20 minutes your mixture will be bubbling throughout. If you want to add chocolate at this stage, you can. Six squares of cooking chocolate should be about right. Once it's completely blended throughout, pour into your dish and let it cool.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Don't despair, just keep trying. You know that you're serving the best tasting vegetables on the planet when you grow them yourself organically. One fine day, your children will reminisce about that...



By Judy Williams

Plenty of Time





Most mornings, we revere a quiet pace around my home. We celebrate slowness. But today, it is almost noon, and we are late, and I can't find my keys (though I know I had seen them on the counter just moments before). I am suspicious.

"Cassie, have you seen my keys?"

"Yes, I've seen them." My three-year-old is sprawled on the couch with her feet straight up in the air. She taps her boots together.

"Where did you see them?"

"They are right to the left of behind."

I try again, this time lowering my voice: "Where are my keys, honey? I don't want to be late."

She gets up. She picks up a ballpoint pen from the table and hands it to me. "Here are your keys, Mommy," she manages to say before collapsing in hysterics.

She looks up, still laughing. (I'm not). "Oh, now that was a silly joke, Mommy," she laughs some more. "That was a pen. Not your ke-e-e-e-eys." She pulls her baby sister under the table with her. They are both giggling.

Ten minutes later, I had found my keys (where I, not she, had left them), and got on with the business of loading the baby in her car seat, finding the preschooler's "might-needs" for the day, and stashing them into the appropriate places for later. For the older one, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a "monkey juice," so named for the orangutan that once graced the Tang pouches. For the younger one, crackers, cantaloupe, and a juice sippee cup. And I've finally remembered our library books.

Apparently, hurrying is antithetical to a preschooler's very nature. On her way to the car, she stops to hide on the front porch. Then she makes a pit stop into her playhouse. Then she pauses to tell me that potatoes don't have blood, but that she does. As Cassie stands in the driveway reliving yesterday's paper cut and the ensuing Barbie Band-Aid, I resist the urge to check my watch.

It is then that I have to remind myself that my sense of urgency is, today, self-serving. I'm a busy mom, but I work hard to keep my days with the kids "business free." And today, we are going to a simple playgroup. At this playgroup, we all drop in and out. No one is watching the clock to see when we arrive. And no one in particular is waiting for us.

I realize, all at once, that my self-created melodrama is strangely comforting to me. It's a reminder of those days before kids when someone was waiting for me to arrive somewhere. When my false sense of urgency was reflected back to me.

Then I wonder, at this time, what I'm modeling to my kids. Because we can't simultaneously be frazzled and calm. We can't simultaneously be agitated and attentive. We can't simultaneously be fragmented and mindful.

I realize that I could be taking a cue from the child and not the other way around. And so I give myself a gentle reminder of the reasons we have consciously chosen a slower pace for our family. How nourishing it can be to give a child - and her parents - time to contemplate. Time to allow the day to play out on its own. Time to accomplish things one slow activity at a time.

We have just hit the highway when Cassie yells from her car seat: "Mommy! We forgot to play the 'Three Little Pigs'!" She gasps in mock horror, leaving me to wonder where she got her sense of drama.

"We'll play when we get home," I say. "We'll have plenty of time."

And so we do.


By Susie Cortright

Parenting Your Teenager: Driving is a Right......... Right?



Q. My teenage son is turning 16 early next year and he's already lobbying us for a new car. He says all his friends are getting new cars, that he deserves one because it's his right when he turns 16, and he won't drive what he calls a POS car. Do you think he is trying to manipulate us, and what do you think we should do? And since he won't tell us what a POS car is, do you know?

A. What to do depends on what you want to accomplish.

If you want to teach your son that he can pester and manipulate you into giving him his way, then by all means get him a new car.

I know that's not what you want to teach him though. What you have is an excellent opportunity to teach some important life lessons.

But first, let's get that POS question out of the way. POS stands for "piece of s---" and is just another one of your son's tools in his manipulation bag.

2 important principles

There are at least two important principles to teach in this situation. The first is the vast difference between rights and privileges.

Your son believes that getting a new car is his right as a 16-year-old. It's not. In fact, turning 16 does not even entitle you to a driver's license. It does make you eligible for the privilege of getting a driver's license.

Fostering the belief that privileges are in fact rights leads to a raging sense of entitlement. Fostering a belief in privileges leads to a rare sense of ownership, appreciation and perhaps even stewardship, which is taking good care of what you have.

The second principle is the sometimes hazy difference between wants and needs. A need is a "must have" for survival, or to accomplish something important. A want is something you would like to have but can live without.

Your son might need a car to get safely from place A to place B and you may also want to stop chauffeuring him. He may want a new car, but he does not need one. Even if you can afford to give him a new car, I think that would do him more harm than good.

Sit down with your son and tell him that you have discovered what a POS car is and assure him you have no intention of getting him one. Similarly, you have no intention of getting him a new car either.

Briefly - and I mean short and sweet briefly - explain the difference between rights and privileges and wants and needs. Then tell him that you will be glad to help him find a Point A-to-Point B car.

If he wants anything better, tell him that for each dollar that he saves over the price of a basic Point A-to-Point B car, you will match it.

He will not walk away from this conversation jumping for joy. He will walk away with the beginning of some very important life lessons, which is really the best 16th birthday present you could get him.

By Jeff Herring

Parenting: 5 Ways to Show Love to Your Children




1. Spend time with your kids. We spell love L-O-V-E. Children and teens spell it T-I-M-E. The myth that the quality of time is more important than the quantity of time spent with children is just that - a myth.

We would not buy this lie if a surgeon told us, "I was not able to spend as much time as I would have liked on your surgery, but the few moments I did spend was really quality time."

We want both quantity and quality. So do our kids. I've worked with many people who have provided everything for their children except themselves. How nice and big your house looks from the outside is much less important to your kids than how it feels to be on the inside of your home.

One of the best ways to spend time with your children is to let them lead. Set aside the time, and then do what they would like to do. Let them lead. You could find yourself doing things that look funny, but so what?

Set dates with your children. Block out a chunk of time, and protect it just as you would an important business meeting.

2. Discipline your children. Discipline is not just spanking or grounding, though there is a place for both. Disciplining is loving correction. If you are not able or are not willing to discipline your children, you might consider whether you really do love them. Disciplining your kids is not fun, but it is love.

The child who grows up in an anything-goes, my-kid-can-do-no-wrong kind of home grows up with weak choice muscles when it comes to right and wrong. Teach your kids the difference between making good choices and making bad choices. You make bad choices, and bad things happen; make good choices, and good things happen. Teach this and model this, because it's the real world.

3. Show your kids how the world works. Most of the successful people I know have had someone in their lives teach them how the world works.

Three of the most important things we need to know and are taught so little about are:

how to have a successful love relationship;

how to be an effective parent;

and how to make and manage money.

If you don't know how to teach these things, then learn how. Showing your children how the world works demonstrates love because it imparts values to them. If you don't do it, there are plenty of people in the world who will, but they may have an agenda that does not include the best interests of your children.

4. Love your spouse. The first place your kids learn how to love another person is by watching you. Do your kids see affection or disrespect?

5. Watch your words. The words we speak to our children can be encouraging or discouraging, a blessing or a curse. I've worked with many clients whose entire self-image was centered on what their parents told them about themselves.

I know competent people who deep down believe they are losers because they were told so by their parents. A single word or phrase can last a lifetime.

If you have spoken words that were less than a blessing to your children, clean it up. Apologize. Have the conversation. Tell them you do not see them that way, and then show them that you don't.

If you are having trouble finding words to bless your children, start with: "I'm so glad you are my child, because ..." and then go from there. It's also important to back up your words with actions.

By Jeff Herring

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Seven Keys of Being a Father




Is there a fathering instinct?

Celebrated child development expert Erik Erikson maintains that adults have a fierce desire to protect and nurture the next generation. This is the generative nature of parenting– to nurture and protect the next generation

We recognise this desire in women as the maternal instinct. Men’s strong desire to look after the next generation is best recognised through their protective instincts. Man as hunter and gatherer has always had the survival of his family and community as a motivating force.

But the generative notion of fathering extends way beyond protection of children. Generative fathering means that men help the next generation not just to survive, but to thrive and grow. It is in the wellbeing of the next generation that traditionally men have left their mark.

This generative or instinctive notion of fathering has been lost in recent years as men have spent less time around their children. Fathers may be born to the task of raising children but they need to be around children so they can nudge fathering out them.

Too often fathers see themselves as playing a role, when the essence of fathering is actually embedded in their own psyche and linked to their child’s development. According to Erikson there are seven tasks that a father carries out to ensure the well-being of the next generation. It is a brilliant framework that helps men move away from playing roles and gets them to focus on the needs of their children. The seven tasks of fathering, also known as fatherwork, are:

1. Ethical work: Men commit to acting in a child’s best interests. Research shows that when men make a strong commitment to look after the well-being of their baby then they will sustain long-term involvement and support for their child. Ethical work is shown when men make decisions about work and careers with their children’s best interests in mind.

2. Stewardship work: This aspect of fathering involves men providing for children and also helping them develop the resources and independence to look after themselves. In many ways this shows itself when dads take on a teaching role, which tend to do when they spend time with kids. Listen to a man when he interacts with his son and inevitably he will be showing him how to do something, even if it is how to kick a football.

3. Developmental work: This aspect of fathering refers to the notion of helping children deal with either sudden change, such as a death in the family, or normal developmental changes, such as moving into adolescence. Dads who do this work well support their children though difficulties and respond with understanding to changes in children’s development.

4. Recreational work: This aspect refers to men’s promotion of relaxation and learning for their children through play. This aspect of fathering tends to be a strong point for many dads, who are the kings of play. It is well-recognised that men play differently with children than mothers, which is fixed in the biological matrix. Men’s domain is rough play, sometimes destructive play and often involves a challenge whether intellectual (e.g chess) or physical.

5. Spiritual work: This aspect of fathering involves men helping children develop values and a set of beliefs that will act as a compass as they move through adolescence and beyond. This involves counselling, teaching and advising. Many readers may remember their own fathers delivering stern lectures, which comes from this aspect of fathering. Good intentions, but poor delivery.

6. Relationship work: This aspect of fathering involves men helping children and young people form relationships and friendships. We do this by sharing our love and thoughts, by displaying empathy and understanding for a child and also by facilitating a child’s relationships with others. In recent times men have stayed out of this area but it is a part of fatherwork.

7. Mentoring: We complete the cycle by ensuring that we support our own children in their own generative work. This involves giving help, support and ideas for our own children when they move into adulthood. In recent years men have fallen down badly in this area as too many men have shallow relationships with their own fathers.

This framework for fathering has depth and breadth. It works on an instinctive level, but many influences come to bear to prevent this instinct and intuition from informing our action. Often it is useful to ask yourself – “What does this situation with my child require of me?” If a child is having friendship issues at school then relationship work is needed. If a child is feeling stressed and needs to relax then it is time for recreational work. If a child gets worked up through play then it is important to do some stewardship work and ensure a child calms down and regains control before bed. If a child is changing schools then it time for some developmental work, to help him or her cope with change.

If you are a father (mothers can do the same thing), reflect on some of the interactions that you have with children, and determine in which area of fatherwork do they fit. You will find that there is an area for each situation. As you respond to children’s needs think about the type of fatherwork you are doing. You will soon discover that you are involved in a variety of very important work. And it will change the way you think about fathering and provide a strong guide to how you should respond to children’s future needs.



By Michael Grose

Is Your Behavioural Change Strategy Working?




How can I start getting my children to help out at home?’

Many parent ask me this question. My answer is simple – “It depends!”

Achieving a behavioural change in children is dependent on their age and stage of development, their temperament and attitude, and how set in their ways they are.

Let’s look further at the above helping at home scenario. If the children are four years of age or younger then encouraging them to contribute to their family’s well-being is relatively easy. Most children want to help at home in the early years so it is a matter of parents providing opportunities for them to help and also showing them how they can assist in positive ways. Helping out and independence are habit-forming so the message for parents is start early and hang in there. Young children can help set and clear away meal areas, clear away their toys and help make their beds. Don’t get too fussed about the quality of their endeavours. They wear L-plates in the early years and the prime lesson for them is that they help their family and contribute to their own well-being.

Older children who may have done very little to help can be tough nuts to crack. How do you get a ten year old to help out if he or she has barely lifted a finger to assist in the previous decade? Basically, there are two methods parents can use to get some change in children when habits are entrenched. Either you try to achieve major change straight away or you work away at the margins to affect change.

A parent trying to promote independence in a child can go ‘cold turkey’ and insist that they get themselves up in the morning, make their own lunch, empty the dishwasher and do forth. This is a major change. Parents who take this approach frequently offer rewards such as pocket money or provision of special treats in exchange for help, however rewarders and bribers should be wary. Any parent offering rewards in exchange for help will need deep pockets as today’s jellybeans soon becomes an electronic toy or something equally expensive. Besides they are teaching children to think ‘what’s in this for ME, rather than WE.’ Such parents may be replacing one habit (dependence) with another (self-centredness). !!. I suggest that parental insistence that their children help backed up by sincere and genuine appreciation when they have done the right thing are strong motivators for most kids.

Alternatively, parents can work at the margins and get their children to help little by little. For instance, packing their own lunch may precede making it. Unpacking the cutlery may precede emptying the whole dishwasher. Cleaning ten toys away may precede cleaning the whole room if they have never done it before. Using this method the helping habits sneaks up on children and takes them by surprise.

Either approach is legitimate however sometimes when parents meet with resistance from children or change seems so overwhelming it is better to play around at the margins and go for small changes. We often use the same principle to put some order in our lives when everything seems chaotic. Sometimes just cleaning the clutter away in a bedroom or tidying a desk can help us feel in control and a little clearer when life seems totally disorganised.

Working away at the margins is a strategy many parents have used successfully when they want to get some behavioural change happening at home. Even if children seem totally out of control look for small areas where you achieve some change. Maybe start with them using better manners when they talk with you or insisting they sit at the meal table until everyone has finished. Often small successes bring monumental improvements. Positive change tends to have a snowball affect. Like a snowball rolling down a slope it gathers momentum and increases in size very rapidly.

So what is your usual change strategy? If you get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start then try starting small and working away at the margins. Start where you know you can experience some success and the change will accelerate.


By Michael Grose