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What to do when grandkids blame you?

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Blaming other people is a kid thing.  Most outgrow it, but addicts don’t. So when your grandkids blame you for their birthparent’s problems remember that it probably originated from something mom or dad said to them–or because of immature and wishful thinking. Instead of stressing, take up their challenge. Picture yourselves engaged in a Scrabble™ game.  Grandkid starts play with ‘blame’, daring you to respond. While it may be tempting to take the “S” from your letter rack and stick it under the “B”, don’t do it.  Open up the playing field by finding words/mental phrases that help you keep your emotional balance:

B –  Bring it on…this is an opportunity for us to talk.

LLies and love.  I can deal with both.

AAnalyze, Attitude, Approach, Action, and Accountability. All skills I will teach you to help you walk a different path than your mom/dad.

M-E – as in Me.  I count too.  I will earn your respect, but until then I will settle for your showing me, and others in authority, respect because it’s the right thing to do.

Bring it on.

Keep them talking because then you know how they feel, what they’re thinking, and whose influencing them (mom/dad, a certain teacher or friend). Listen to what they are saying, and what they are hiding.  Don’t lecture. Ask non-judgmental questions and keep your responses brief. Correct only vital misinformation in an age/stage appropriate manner. Better to come in the backdoor another day when they aren’t so emotionally charged.

Lies and love.

Children of addicts and alcoholics have lived in a world of lies.  Lies from mom/dad. White lies from family (possibly even you?) trying to protect them, and the unintentional lies of promises broken from a society that says, “We’ll keep you safe.”  YOU have to break that chain. Always be honest or they will never re-learn how to trust.

Love won’t blind them long term to their parents’ faults or their actions.

They will eventually see the lies by their parents, and the distortions in their thinking, for what they are.  They will realize there isn’t anything that they can do to make their parent choose them over drugs.  Painful. Only years of being there–saying what you mean, and meaning what you say– will lead them to understand you are the good guy in their lives and never deserved all their verbal abuse.

“A” game strategies.

Teaching good life and communication skills will benefit your relationship with them, and every relationship they have (work, family, friends) for the rest of their life.  Help them analyze what they see and hear, develop healthy attitudes (ethics and values), learn how to approach others (communicate),and take both appropriate action and accountability for that action.

It’s a lifetime learning curve so don’t worry if you occasionally blow it by getting upset…or if they don’t seem to be listening.  Develop strategies and stick with them.

Show them appropriate ways to disagree without hurting others. Limit digital contact with parents if every tweet, text, or phone call undoes your progress.  Try to be there for as much face-to-face contact as your legal circumstances allow.

Pick your battles and consider possible consequences of your words before engaging. Sometimes grandkids are just venting, sometimes testing, and sometimes headed off a cliff. Triage and dismiss petty comments with a “You may be right.  I might have misunderstood or let’s ask your mother next visit okay?” Don’t skip the important discussions but do it on your schedule unless their is urgent concern about mental or physical safety.  Lysa Terkeurst in her book, The Best Yes says that repeated choices become our circumstances.  Avoidance is a choice.

If they hear you saying to them and others,  “I may be wrong.  Convince me.  I was wrong.  You are right,” they’ll start eternalizing it and processing their own feelings and emotions differently.  Eventually you’ll hear them incorporating good communication skills into their conversations with others and with you.

M-E

Lyrics from Kelly Clarkson’s song,“Piece by Piece” who had a rocky relationship with her birth father:

But piece by piece he collected me
Up off the ground…
And piece by piece he filled the holes that you burned in me.

It is a compliment when the grandkids you are parenting feel safe unloading on you; blaming you.  Doesn’t feel very good, can’t let them get away with it, but it is progress. Never give up. Mosaics are magnificent when all the pieces are finally in place–but the process is long, and requires not only creativity, but patience.

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Children

5 Tips To Help Structure Your Teaching Approach For Your Home Schooled Child

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Home schooling can be a lot of fun, especially for both children and parents who are tired of the traditional way of educating a child in a prototype format.

It does not however, necessarily mean that if you opt to home school your children, you can teach your child whatever you want to teach and do whatever you want to do.

Like the formal method of teaching in schools, home schooling is also a process that parents have to learn and understand in order to provide their children the benefits of the program.

Hence, parents who have decided to home school their children but do not know how to format an overall plan in order to come up with the best structure in teaching their children, here are some tips that that might help you:

1. Knowledge about the benefits

It is important to know the reasons and the benefits for which you have opted to home school your child. 

Once you are aware that you and your child are more benefited in home schooling than the usual type of schooling, it would then be easy, for you to a make a curriculum that both you and your child will appreciate.

2. Have a goal and devise some motivations

It is better if you outline your goals at the outset. Identify what you want to achieve with your children as well as for yourself. Doing this you will be inspired and focused while teaching. Your goals act as your guide in formulating the necessary approach to teaching.

3. Determine a budget

Many parents think that since home schooling provides a cheaper means of educating their children, it’s alright for them to spend on expensive books, in spite of other cheaper options. 

Home schooling materials are indeed, important in order to provide the best teaching methods. However, it does not always mean that you have to overindulge your children.

Set a budget for your home schooling program. Many items on the Internet could help you to come up with the best strategies and methods without too much expenditure. 

4. Know your child’s capacity to understand and the way he learns things

Though many home schooling programs and methods are available on the market today, nothing comes close to perfection in providing your child the best education if you do not know how you and your child should go about the program. This can only be done easily if you are familiar with your child’s style of learning.

You have to identify the curiosity level and interest of your child in order to decide on the best approach to teaching that would motivate your child.

Why most children do not excel in school is because the method of teaching is inappropriate to their interest and level of curiosity. Hence, focus on this aspect is necessary.

5. Communicate with your child.

Communication with your child helps you identify the things that bother them and the areas where they need improvement. Most parents are so focused on providing their children the best education that they forget that the best education that they could provide is to listen to their children’s needs and from then guide them however they can.

Most parents forget that the essence of learning is based on the child’s wish to study. Usually parents have the tendency to push their children into the direction that they think would be the best for them.
By this, the children wind up miserable because the things that they need, are not provided simply because their parents failed to understand their children.

The teaching approach in home schooling compared to the usual method used in the typical schools is that parents should concentrate on the child’s learning style, interest. Parents should have the ability to understand what they want to learn. Only by this method can they teach their child in the best possible manner whatever is necessary.

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Children

Parenting Pro Tips 11 ways to drive your teenager nuts

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Today’s topic: how to drive your teenager completely bull-goose loony, in just a few simple steps (without receiving a phone call from Child and Youth Services or your local equivalent). We both have considerable experience in this matter, and have decided, out of the goodness of our hearts, to share it with you.

Why would you want to know how to drive your kid up a wall? If you’re asking this, you’ve probably never actually had a teenager. Trust us. At some point, you will need this information.

Okay, your kids may have already left home, but with a little creativity you can probably find ways to apply at least a little of what you’re about to learn, even if your children have long since fled halfway around the globe. So settle in, and get ready to take notes. There will be a test.

Friend your kid on Facebook.

No caption needed, really. We think the image says it all.

For some teens, this will be taken as an act of aggression, equivalent to hiding their iPhone or implementing the parental control setting on your TV cable box, such that they only have access to one channel: the Ontario Legislature Channel, to be specific. (Actually, this isn’t a bad idea, either. We might be speaking from experience.)

2. Once you’ve friended your kid, look around for his or her friends, and send each of them a friend request, too.

This works best if you actually know who your child hangs out with, but it can be fun to branch out, too. Friend everyone your kid knows on Facebook, regardless of who they are! After all, you want your kid to be popular, right? And when your teen’s friends see how open and welcoming her parents are, they will be unbelievably impressed. Your kid’s cool factor will skyrocket.

3. If any of your child’s friends reciprocate and friend you back (don’t laugh, it has happened), make sure you post on their Wall.

Post early, post often. Post things on your own child’s wall, too. You wouldn’t want your kid to think you value his/her friends more than him/her, would you? Exactly. Oh, and “like” everything your kid does. Even those pics of your kid barfing at last Saturday’s party. This is called “unconditional positive regard,” and all the parenting books recommend it. We do, too.

4. Some parents aren’t sure what they should post.

We suggest that you simply respond (in a sensitive manner, of course) to whatever issues your kid (or their friends) seem to be experiencing that day. For example, if your teen mentions that they found it hard to get up that morning, you could say something like, “Yes, Snookums really was a fuzzy-wuzzy gwumpy bear this morning, wasn’t he?” Your child will appreciate your sympathetic approach. Pet names are optional, of course, but they do help to convey your caring message.

5. Don’t forget: teens love it when we speak their lingo.

It shows them that we are real killer-diller hep cats. And kittens. So sprinkle your posts liberally with slang and text-speak. For example, let’s say you want to respond to a picture of your kid at a recent party. Instead of saying, “My goodness, son, you look like you were inebriated!” try posting, “Yo! Dude!!1! PARTAAAAAY!1!” This may not be English, but trust us, your kid will know what you mean. And will love you for it.

6. Deliberately mis-pronounce words that have only one possible pronunciation.

A favourite word to mess with is “psychological”, which, when you give it a little effort, becomes “psy-ko-logg-ih-cal“. When they say get annoyed and try to pronounce it the other way, look at them with pity in your eyes and condescension in your soul and reply, “but that’s not logg-ih-cal“.

7. Lie.

A lot. When a big holiday comes along, like, say, Easter, who would blame you if you sat inside your locked bedroom and ate all the chocolate eggs and jelly beans? I mean, you’ve had them hidden in your room for a week prior, you’re only human, you just wanted one…and next thing you know, your face is covered in chocolate, you’ve got tinfoil in your teeth and your tongue is every colour of the rainbow. Well, oops. Sue me. I ate them and I enjoyed every pre-diabetic moment of it. But now it’s time for the Easter Egg Hunt and the cupboard is bare. This is when lying comes in handy. Tell your little kiddies that the Easter Bunny’s flight got delayed and she’ll be coming tomorrow with her baskets of joy, not today. Once you’ve placated them, run down to See’s Candies and stock up again, making sure to buy extra just in case you, um, want more.

7.1. Lie to make your life easier. I read a good one the other day: when the ice cream truck drives through the neighbourhood ringing its bells, tell your child that they only do that to announce they’ve run out of ice cream.

This is brilliant in its simplicity and cunning. I’m surprised our mother didn’t think of it back when we were young.

8. Whenever your kids ooh and aah at someone else’s startling act of genius, like winning an Olympic gold, for example, claim that you won one as well.

The bigger the story, the better. How to ease into this fabrication: “Well, Johnny, I actually invented that lightning bolt stance when I broke the 9-second barrier at the 1934 Olympics in Timbuktu. It was written up in all the record books, you know and the government gave me free cheese for life.” This one works a treat as well: “Oh my god, it’s much more difficult than it looks, wearing that lingerie, stilettos, and those angel wings down the catwalk—do you have any idea how heavy wings are???” Kids love this. Trust us.

9. Make sure to vacuum their room early and often.

Don’t do it while they’re out, as they may not notice your efforts, and won’t have the chance to thank you properly. Rather, wait for the right moment, such as when they’ve been out late the night before, and the room smells like stale beer. While you’re vacuuming, it’s a nice touch to sing along with the vacuum cleaner. Kind of a “whistle while you work” thing. It’s easy: just open your mouth and go, “EEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeEEEEEEEEEEE…” as loudly as possible. We promise you, they’ll thank you for the clean living space. They may also offer you their allowance if you JUST. PLEASE. SHUT. UP.

10. On the dance floor, be the Parent With the Mostest by knowing all the words and actions to YMCA or The FunkyChicken.

If you feel ambitious, go look up the latest viral video on YouTube, Gangnam Style.

Doesn’t this look like a fun little dance move? You will definitely be Top of the Pops with your kids if you can nail this one. (Image from allkpop.com)

Your kids will be unbelievably impressed if you can emulate these dance moves—especially if you dress the part! Don’t be afraid to attempt a little air-guitar, either. Most kids will be riveted to the spot by your awesome moves. This is not the time for lip-synching. Sing loud, sing proud.

11. When the waiter comes to take your order at a restaurant, make sure you say in a plaintive but loud voice, “Mummy needs a liddle drinkie.”

Kids think this is quite hysterical, especially if it’s breakfast time. Don’t be surprised if they fall off their seats with laughter. This tip works, whether you’re ordering from McDonald’s or a 5-star Michelin restaurant. For extra bonus points, you can follow them around while they’re shopping in their favourite hip, happening places, wailing, “But [insert kid’s name here], slow down! Mummy needs a drinkie-poo!” This is sure to bring the house down.

If you follow these helpful tips, developed by us through years of hard work and diligence, you are guaranteed results of a spectacular nature.

It took us 30 years to perfect the ability of driving a teenager wonky—after reading this, you’ll be able to achieve the same positive results in just hours. You’re welcome.

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Children

Eating Healthy with kids

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One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to make sure that our children are eating healthy. It’s especially difficult during the school year when they are rushing off to school and after school activities. With the easy availability of fast food and ready to eat meals and snacks making it less time consuming to eat unhealthy foods it becomes and uphill battle to keep our kids healthy.

There are some things that we can do to make the meals our children eat healthy and yet still have enough time to handle the other things in our lives. All it takes is a little bit of time to get started on the right track and the knowledge to know what we are doing.

First let’s talk about snacks. How easy is it to just grab a bag of chips or a candy bar and use it as a quick snack after school? It’s very easy and also it’s not very healthy. Instead of a bag of chips or something similar instead hand your child a bag of baby carrots or a bag of apple slices. Both of these now come in convenient snack size bags that can be found in the produce area. If your child wants something a little sweeter there’s always the classic standby of a box of raisins. For a little bit of a change there’s even yogurt covered raising that are readily available.

Breakfasts are hard because the family is rushing around trying to get out of the house and it’s convenient to grab whatever cereal is available and call it breakfast.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we need to take the time to look at the cereal boxes and look for ones that are a bit healthier. Some things to look for when looking at cereals is how much sugar they contain and how many calories per serving. Look for cereals that are low on both of those items. 

Lunches are a little bit harder but still not difficult. One of the things to watch for when choosing lunch foods is healthy ingredients and as close to all natural foods as possible. The more processing a food has the less healthy that it is. Another thing to look for is organic food this food is made with ingredients that are grown in a more healthy manner and contain less harmful chemicals than other foods do. There’s such a wide range of foods available that it’s relatively easy to find something that your child likes that is still good for them.

Salads are a great choice for both lunches and dinners with the variety of things available it’s no problem to use a little bit of creativity and keep salad meals new and interesting. Don’t limit yourself to the things that you would normally put into a salad, tomato, cheese, eggs, and carrots are all great in salads but why stop there. 

Cranberries, almonds, walnuts, mandarin oranges, slices of chicken or ham, and avocado are all healthy ways to spice up a salad and make it more enjoyable to eat. Actually just about any fruit can be used to give the salad a little bit of texture and flavor.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little and find out what your child likes the best. 

On to desserts because after eating all that healthy food the last thing that you should be doing is grabbing a big sugary dessert. Instead of the traditional desserts of cakes and pies or items like that there are much better alternatives. A nice bowl of fruit adds a nice sweet treat after a meal and has the added benefit of providing extra vitamins and nutrients that your child needs. Mix it up with a little cream for an added treat or slice a bunch of different types of fruit and mix them all into a bowl for a taste explosion.

There are a lot of different things that we as parents can do to make sure that our kids are getting healthier foods to eat and lots of reasons why we should. The examples that we set about eating are what carries through as they get older and sets the standards for how they’ll eat as adults. We want to give them the best possible foundation to start with and that includes a healthy diet.

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