parenting

Information about Depression and Your T(w)een

Statistics

Did you know that only 30% of Teens and Tweens who are depressed are actually getting treatment?

Did you also know that Teen Depression continues to rise every single year?

Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 attempts by young people grades 9-12.  

AND 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs! 

With depression on the rise that means the Teen Suicide rate is on the rise. 

Many teens do not get treatment until  they become actively suicidal.  This means they are making comments to someone about their thoughts and plans to kill themselves, or they have already made an unsuccessful attempt to suicide aka take their own life before their parents seek treatment.

How Do we Stop This Trend?

Become more knowledgeable about depression in our teens and tweens and create less Stigma around getting treatment!!!!

Start Here

Complete this survey (it's very quick) to help me understand what you need more information about.

From your answers, I will gather information to create more education for YOU.  


I will be able to provide future workshops to present in our community and resources to better help you and your Teens/Tweens.  

You can also LEAVE A COMMENT and ask any questions you may have about Depression.  


ALSO…

There are only 3 Spots open in my Teen Girls Group.  Click Here to sign your teen up!

 AND IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY

Click Here to receive my free email series on Connecting with Your Teen.  

 Thanks for your help!

Talk to you soon, 

Dayna


My Kids Don’t Clean Up!

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Are You Raising Slobs?

I love when my house is clean and tidy.  It keeps me from feeling stressed and allows me to sit down without thinking about what I should be doing instead.

But, my family is not so concerned about how the house looks.  

It’s a constant warfare trying to get my kids to clean up their messes or pick up trash instead of step over it.  

So, for 2019, I’ve made it their personal goals to learn not to be a slob.  

Yep, this year will be the year they will learn to be more responsible and helpful.  

But guess what, they will not learn it overnight.  And, it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part.  Gasp…

However, it’s very important to me that when they are adults, their spouses do not question their slobbish tendencies.  Because guess what? That directly reflects on their parents. Yep! Guess whose responsibility it is to teach your kids how to keep things tidy and clean?  Yours!

The earlier you start the better!

But you also have to stay on top of it.  You cannot be lazy about this or they will be lazy.  Most kids are not naturally organized and tidy, unless you’ve  been working with them since they were able to clean up their first mess.  

So in the art of training, I have some tips for you.  

There is no right way to do this.  Pick what works for you and your family.  

There is a wrong way...not doing anything and just doing it all yourself.  

Here are a few things I’m going to start doing right now:

#1 They are responsible for clearing the table after supper.

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#2 The kids will alternate  washing dishes after supper while I supervise (for a little while) to ensure they are learning the correct way to do dishes.  

#3 I’m putting up signs throughout the house to remind them to :

  1. Empty the trash before it’s overflowing!

  2. Wash their dishes when they bring them to the sink!

  3. Wipe the toilet seat if they sprinkle it!

#4 I used to do this one and somehow stopped: instill a 10 minute tidy up daily before bedtime.  

#5 I also used to do this and quit (insert eyeroll): what gets left out, goes in a trash bag.  They can a) earn it back in 24 hours or b) it gets donated.

Here are some other tips from Focus on the Family.  I especially liked #1 and #6. I may import those into my plan too!  

And here are some ideas for keeping up with chores that I’ve pinned over the years!

Happy Training!!!

Dayna

P.S.

Do you also struggle with a family of slobs?  Let me know in the comments the 1 thing you want to teach your kids about tidyness.    


My Child Is Cussing at School

 So you’ve gotten the dreaded call from school….

“I need you to come into the office, so we can talk about _____’s behavior.”

“We have a problem…”

Your child has gotten angry at another student and called that student an explicit name…

You are embarrassed—angry—humiliated—scared—frustrated—(____) about walking into that school! 

The use of cuss words today is common and is all around you.  Some people are very obnoxious about their expression through cuss words and others attempt to be respectful of others and choose to only cuss in situations they feel are acceptable.

Children learn new words daily and their vocabulary is growing rapidly.  This new vocabulary comes from parents, siblings, grandparents, peers, television, and the list goes on.  They are bombarded with new words daily.  Children do not usually understand what these new words are or what they mean.  They may use them when they are angry because they heard someone else say the same word in a fit of rage.

So how do you nip this in the bud if your child uses foul language to express himself?

1. Recognize where they are learning this from.

Are they hearing you talk this way?  If so, you may just want to rethink how you are expressing yourself in front of them as you are their primary teacher.  If your child belts out a “bad” word when he drops his ice cream on the floor and his response to you when you ask where he heard that from is “You said it”-be prepared for how you react to this.  If you yell at your child for using a word they are learning from you, then what are you really teaching them?  Instead, let him learn to admit when he’s wrong and correct his behavior by stating

“You’re right.  I did say that, but it was wrong and I shouldn’t use those words.  I’m going to do better.  I don’t want you using those words because they are not acceptable.”  Be honest and admit when you are wrong.

2. Monitor what they are listening to and watching.

If we do not guide their little eyes and ears, no one will.  The things they will learn will make lasting impressions, so give them guidance and ensure they are exposed to age appropriate television and music.

3. Do not laugh.

For some, hearing a child cuss seems funny and cute.  I assure you- a child cussing is far from cute, and laughing only encourages them to continue to do it.  It’s not so cute when you are getting phone calls from teachers because your child is calling them derogatory names or cussing out other students when they are angry.

4. Help them learn to express themselves with appropriate words to label how they feel.

“You are really angry.  Tell me what happened before you said ____________.” Help them find more appropriate ways to label the person they may be name calling.  “It hurt my feelings when……” “It made me angry when…..”.

5. Replace those bad words

Give them other options that will keep them out of trouble. Using funny words can also help to decrease the anger behind it.

6. Set boundaries with visitors.

If Uncle J comes over to watch the ball game, and he tends to get a filthy mouth when his team misses a play, then let him know in your house you would need him to watch his language.  Most people are receptive of this and if not, then you may need to be choosier about who is visiting with your children.

Remember that YOU are the primary example for your child and how they handle conflict and relationships.  Think about this for a minute…

 

*Comment below and share what you will start doing TODAY to be a better example. 

Talk to You Soon,

Dayna Sykes

Licensed Child & Teen Therapist

 

P.S. Share this post with a friend who needs help in this area!

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Let Me Be Real for a Second...

Can I be real with you for a second? I have been finding it very difficult to create content for you guys.  I believe it stems from feeling like I’ve been put in a box.  I want to help you with your family and your children and provide practical tips and advice, but I also want to reach into the deep darkness that women experience and help you see the light at the end of that tunnel you have dug for yourself.

I, for some reason, have placed myself in this box where I have created rules that I cannot share my faith or I have to be very careful about how I share it, but in reality, it does not make sense.  In my everyday life, I want to portray my faith in God and give a since of hope to others.  I can only do this because God has blessed me with this ability to listen and give Godly guidance.  Even though others may not see it as a godly approach, everything I do I want to come from Him and be for Him.

So when I give you support and offer advice, KNOW I am doing this from a Godly perspective.  My parenting advice and experience comes from the only way I know how to parent, which is through discipline and training from scripture.  Sure I have been trained in different areas and I've read lots of parenting books, and with all that knowledge, I still know that the only true successful parenting comes from God.

I’m not trying to sell you a simple guide to parenting.  There are no 5 miraculous things you can do to become successful in parenting and raise a child that has no struggles.

I am trying to provide you with loving, supportive guidance that comes straight from a biblical perspective.  Yes, the training and work experience help my position---But these are all things God has provided in my path that He alone is directing (when I allow it).  I want to help you moms out there who are struggling with guilt, shame, feelings of loneliness.  I want to reach out and help you see that there is a way to happiness and peace in your home.  I want to provide a safe place for your children and teens to share their struggles and take that burden off your family when you are at the end of your rope and do not know where to turn.

My goal is also to provide a safe place for mothers of all ages and phases to be able to share those thoughts we often keep in our heads and never let see the light of day.  Fears. Dreams. Anxiety. Goals. Guilt. Desires. Anger. Frustration. Shame. Doubt. Excitement.

I want to create a community where mothers can come together and feel supported and loved.  Where you can gain a sense of connection and combat the isolation we experience sometimes. Even when we are surrounded by our family, it can be a lonely place.  You may feel disconnected and needing female insight.  Maybe you are struggling in many areas and feel you have no one to talk to because of fear of being shamed or judged.

When I became a stay at home mom, almost 8 years ago, I struggled through so many phases all alone.  On the outside, it looked like I had it all together.  Even when you came into my home, it was clean and organized.  I never shared my fears, anxiety, or struggles with anyone.  This led to some serious bouts of anxiety and depression.  (Do you know I almost erased that word depression?)  Isn’t it so hard to share those parts of yourself with others?  It wasn’t until I started taking steps to care for myself mentally, spiritually, and physically that I was able to get through the fog and see light.  Now don’t get my wrong, I loved being home and taking care of my children and my family!  I still do!  This is why I do not work full-time hours.  However, there is a loneliness that comes with being home all day every day with super tiny humans and no adults to talk to.

Before I became a stay at home mom, I was a work 60 hours a week and try to parent and take care of my home mom.  I SUCKED at it!  I mean majorly!  My house was always a disaster.  I felt guilty for always leaving my child with someone else, even though it was my mom-in-law who I know loves my children dearly.  I struggled with worldly desires vs. Godly desires.  I was not a patient person at home because I had given ALL my energy at work.  Can you relate?  That is not the life for me anymore!

I’m sharing this because I want you to know I have lived both sides of this as a mother and wife.  I too continue to have struggles in my own life with managing all the demands of the many roles women play.  I get it!  I’ve lived it!  I’m still living it daily.

If you are looking for someone to give you honest and caring guidance or for a place to connect with other women who get your struggles, then don’t wait to reach out.  Let me know you are ready to get connected by responding below.

Let’s work together to connect women- moms- wives and help them see they are not alone in this Big Confusing World!!!

 

 

Have a Blessed Day!

 

How do we teach our kids patience?

Image result for patience is a virtue Checking out at the Dollar Store today, I noticed that a movie recently released was already on DVD for sale.  I commented how quickly this came out and the cashier and I had a quick discussion about "the good ole days" when movies took FOREVER to be released.  Then if you waited to see them on DVD, you had to wait until it was in stock at the local video store.  Of course this sparked a conversation about how kids these days have it made.

They NEVER have to WAIT!!!!!!!

They can have instant access to just about anything they want to do or see.  They have instant access to peers and you through text messaging and social media.  They can stream content anywhere they want and don't have to wait through commercials.

I love this life too, but let's face it, it has some downfalls.

Have you noticed how easily kids are bored and how little patience they have?

I mean, they cannot even wait a minute for your conversation to end.  They want immediate responses to everything.  If you don't respond to a text right away, they start texting you multiple texts:

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Did you know that patience is not a natural human ability?  It is something we have to practice to get better at.  Do not feel pressured to fall into the new expectations of immediately gratifying your kids' every desire.  Teach them patience!  Their boss will thank you one day!!!

Enjoy the process!

Dayna

 

2 Major Changes in Parenting That We Struggle With

Sometimes life gets a little overwhelming, and you find yourself just going through the motions and losing enjoyment for things that used to matter.  This is called burnout.  People get burnout at work, which usually happens when you experience high stress over a long period of time with no breaks/vacation/self care days.  People feel burnout in school when they are struggling with a high load/stressful relationship/discouragement/many years of this on repeat.

Today I'm talking about burnout at home, which looks a lot like burnout at work.  You find yourself going through the motions of preparing meals, laundry, cleaning, helping with homework, sickness, driving kids from place to place, cleaning, laundry, cleaning, laundry....You see where I'm going with this?  As parents, it can get overwhelming and just TIRING.  At some point, you find yourself hating all the mundane tasks, thinking negatively about everyone who is not pitching in on the to do list, and ready to just throw in the towel.

2 things have changed in our parenting society.

1 . Moms are still the main caretaker- Moms work full time jobs and lots of times are doing the majority of the work with taking care of the house and children.  (I know there are some families who share-rare, and I know there are families where roles are reversed.)

2. Parents are not teaching there Kids to help out at all!

Why do we continue to live like this?  The stress is unreal.  Moms (just replace with dad if you must) get labeled as "drill sergeant", "nagging", "always in a bad mood", "no fun", "buzz killers".  You know the answer to our problem lies in our homes.  It's right there within your reach.  Family!  It's time for parents to regroup and put your family to use.  Moms-you are not the only ones who can fold laundry, scrub toilets, or run a vacuum.  Divvy up the to do list.

This not only takes the stress of bearing all these responsibilities off of one person, but it teaches everyone else responsibility.  If you want mom to have more energy/time for fun/playful attitudes, help her out.  It's exhausting to come home from a long day of working or grocery shopping+running errands+transporting kids to appointments or practices and know you still have to cook, clean up, do homework, make sure baths are done, wash/dry/fold/put away laundry..... before you can fall in bed.  Let's hand out some of these jobs to our loving family members and remember that it's teaching them responsibility.  Take the time you would be spending doing chores and spend some real quality time with your family.

Give your kids a chore today and ask your spouse for some help with 1 item on your list, then tell me how it went by leaving a comment below.

Top 5 Ways to Motivate Your Teen

Top 5 Incentives for Motivating Your Teen

After years of working with teens and parents, I'm hearing the same story repeat itself within each family...

"How do I motivate my teen?"

"Help!  "I can't get my teen to do anything."

"My teen won't help around the house."

"My teen refuses to study or apply herself at school."

"My teen never follows through!"

You feel like you have no control and you are constantly offering empty threats or endless encouragement that doesn't seem to work.

That's why I've decided to create this Top 5 List of Incentives That Will Motivate Your Teen.  Things that we often forget about.  

First let me start out by explaining what an Incentive is...

An incentive is something you add to increase motivation.  And let's be honest, we all need incentives.  An incentive is not a "bribe", which I hear parents frequently complain that they don't want to feel they have to bribe their teens to do anything.  And an incentive Does Not have to cost you money!

Let's  be real!  For us, an incentive to clean the kitchen every night is that we get up in the morning and have a fresh counter to work on.  Our incentive for cleaning the toilet is that we don't have to worry when we have unexpected guests come in and use our bathrooms.  An incentive for getting up and going to work everyday is that we take home a paycheck.

Teens need incentives too, and they are going to be different from me and you because let's face it, they are not adults so they don't think the same way.

So without further delay, here are my Top 5 Incentives for Motivating Your Teen:

1. Device Privileges

Does your teen get unlimited usage on their/your device?  Why?  Who pays for this service? You do right?!  Limit your teens device usage based on the amount of motivation they have to accomplish assigned tasks.  If they are not doing homework, why do they get free reign to text their friends or surf social media?  Besides, this is often what they are spending time doing vs. doing the tasks you have assigned.  Did they refuse to clean the kitchen?  Well then you refuse to supply their network to their friends.

2. Remove Netflix

How much time is your teen spending binge watching their favorite tv series or movie?  I'd say that removing this distraction would certainly free up some time to let's say do some studying or vacuum the living room.  Right?

3. Friend Time

Teens love to hang out with other teens.  Whether it be in the community or setting up camp in each other's homes binge-watching Netflix while eating up all the food in your house.  Let me remind you that this is a PRIVILEGE, not a necessity.  Limit your teens time with friends when they are not following through with your expectations.

4. Car Privileges

This one is a big one!  Guess what-?!  You do not have to provide your teen with a vehicle, gas money, or a ride if they are not doing their fair share around the house or if they are slacking off at school.  Set an expectation they have to meet in order to receive this privilege.

5. Alone Time

While some alone time is healthy for a teen and privacy is important, this is also one of those privileges you earn.  If your teen is not following through, then their attempts to ignore the family and hideout in their rooms should be stopped.  If the family is pitching in on Saturday to clean up the yard, your teen should not get a free pass to hang out in their room and text friends.  There are lots of ways to solve this solution, and if you need some creative help, let me know.

Is there something more specific you are struggling with?  Comment below and let me know what it is.  I am always looking for ways to create content specific to you.

So there you have it!

P.S. Click Here to receive a free mindfulness activity to help your teen cope with overwhelming emotions.

 

JUST IN TIME FOR BACK TO SCHOOL!!!

I am BURSTING AT THE SEAMS ready to share all these Back to School resources for Parents that I’ve been working on!  My wheels have been spinning and I have been writing and creating, writing and creating!  

Back To School

Writing and Creating here!

I will be providing tips on how to help Teen Anxiety.   Back to School resources for parents.  Tips on Parenting children.

I’m in the midst of getting a new website up and going.  We are in the draft stages now and time is ticking down until it is up and going.  I cannot wait!

This new website is going to open the doors for my ability to share more with you and to provide Parenting tips, Parenting Support, resources YOU need for YOUR Teens and Children!

Just a sneak peak at what I’ve been working on:

Free Routine Checklist!

My Top 5 Tips for Battling Anxiety

3-2-1 Approach to Take Control of Your Anxiety

5 Reasons Groups Rock!

…And my Back to School Series:

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Homework!

 

Don’t see what you are looking for?  Leave a comment with a Parenting Struggle you would like help with, and I will provide you with some resources.

 

 

 

P.S. I am in the beginning phase of marketing for Groups!

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Groups Now Open For Enrollment!

Groups Now Open For Enrollment:

Teen Girls Group (ages 15-17)

Life skills for Young Adults Group (ages 17-20)

Parent Coaching Group (Parents of Young Children)

If any of these groups sound appealing to you, call or email me for more information!

Can’t wait to hear from you!

3 WAYS TO GET YOUR TEEN TO TALK TO YOU

 So many times I hear parents say to me “She won’t talk to me!”  or “He stays in his room on his phone.”  The frustration in your tone is heard.  I can feel the pain you are sharing with me.  I want you to know that teens not talking to parents is a normal stage in development, but it doesn’t have to be this way all the time.

“She won’t talk to me….”

Do you wish your teen would tell you what is on her mind?  Do you wish your son would come to you when he has a problem?

I’m going to show you 3 ways to get your teen to talk to you!  Yes!!!  You heard me right….TALK to YOU.  And the best part about it is that they are pretty simple things to do.

So are You ready to do this?

Here it is:

  1. Listen to them

Listen to your Teen!  I’m going to share with you what your parents, grandparents, mentors, and teachers have always told you that stands true with your teens.  You listen with your ears, not your mouth.  Wow!  Aren’t those words of wisdom?  Listen to your teens.  And when you listen—HEAR them!

So what does not listening look like?  Let me give you some case examples:

“That’s the stupidest idea you’ve ever had!  Why would you do that???”

“I don’t care what your excuse is, your curfew is 10:00!!!  No excuses!”

“You did what???”

“I trusted you and…..”

Or….”when I was your age….”

“Why would you want to …..”

Sound familiar?  When your teen decides to come to you with a problem, and you immediately shut them down with a lecture, discipline, or shaming their choices; I guarantee you they WILL shut down.

“Listen with your ears, not your mouth!”

Don’t interrupt them with these parent moments!  Don’t ruin a wonderful opportunity of talking with your teen because you impulsively must have a parent moment.  You both know you are the parent!  Just push pause on “parent mode” for a few minutes and hear them out and don’t interrupt them.  You have plenty of time to parent after the conversation ends.

  1. Trust them.

    trust your teen

    Trust your teen

You have worked for years on teaching this child right from wrong.  They know when they make mistakes.  They know when they are going to be punished.  They know when you are going to be disappointed in them.  Knowing all of this and still coming to you is the ultimate respect in a parent/child relationship.  When your teen feels comfortable saying “Mom, I really messed up.  Can we talk?”  then you know you can trust your child with just about anything.  I know some of you are saying— “like that would ever happen!”  I see your eyes rolling far back in your head!  But it does happen!  There are families who have open communication with their teen.

You can too!

If your teen avoids you when they make mistakes, ask yourself why?  I know the 1st response is probably “Because they know they are in trouble!”  But I bet if I asked your teen, it would be “They don’t listen. (1)” or “They don’t understand.” (Boy I hear that one A LOT!)  LOL!

“Be honest with yourself.  Would teenage you want to talk to you?”

Be honest with yourself.  If you look back on your reactions toward your teen when they do something dumb AGAIN, would you come talk to you?  Do you yell at them?  Do you berate them and belittle them?  Do you point out how stupid they are?  How often do you go to people who treat you like that?  Think about that one for a little while, and then come back and read on…

  1. Stop Assuming

Talk through a problem with them.  Stop assuming they need you to tell them how to handle things. Don’t tell them how to fix it unless they point blank ask you for advice.  Listening and trusting them shows you have confidence in them.  Stop assuming they need you to fix all their problems or that they even want that.

Questions to Ask you Teen:

How do you feel about what Abby did?

What do you think you should do about …?

What kind of consequence do you think a late curfew deserves?

How do you feel about your friends drinking?

By asking open ended questions, you are inviting them to talk to you and teaching them that growing into an adult means making good decisions and you are giving them confidence in knowing they CAN make good decisions rather than assuming they Won’t Do the Right Thing. You are letting them share what they think and how they feel about situations.  You are learning that your teen has a good head on their shoulders and can choose the right path.

“Listen…Trust…Stop Assuming”

Most teenagers are going to be fair in their responses.  Now I know there are a few out there that would take advantage of this, but I’ve seen parents look totally shocked when we’ve had these open discussions in sessions and their teen Adults Up!  They assume they know what they would say, but they quickly have to pick their chin up off the floor when this Teen rocks their decision-making skills.

So that’s it!  Listen, Trust, and Stop Assuming. Pretty simple!  If you don’t make it hard.  Your relationship with your teen does not always have to be filled with drama, yelling, fighting, tears, and feelings of doubt.  You can Talk!  You can have a good relationship!  It really does happen for a lot of families.

If you do these 3 things, it allows your teen to trust you and to develop respect for you as their parent.  They will know that no matter what, my mom or dad is going to respect me and love me.

Now go and put this into action!  Then come back here and leave a comment and let me know how it went.  If you struggle, that’s OK.  I’m here to help!  Maybe you feel like your relationship is too far gone and you feel like there is too much damage done.  Damage can be fixed!  At no point in parenting is it too late.  Change can happen at any stage and age.  This doesn't mean change is going to be easy, but the longer you let it go the harder it will become.

Need more specific examples of scripts to use when communicating with your teen?

Comment below with your biggest challenge in communicating with your teen.

P.S. Teen Girls Group will be starting November 9th!  If you would like more information, click here.

NEW RESOURCE ADDED FOR TEEN MOODINESS

Do you sometimes feel like your teen’s mood is unbearable?  You’ve probably heard them say “I can’t help it”…or maybe you’ve thought “she is out of control!” Did you know that we have the ability to control our thoughts?  Our feelings?  And how we react?  Therefore controlling our Moodiness!

Below is a NEW RESOURCE for you to use with your teen to help GAIN CONTROL of your teen’s moodiness!!

Our brain is a very complex organ in our body that controls everything we do.

We can remap how we approach things by making changes to how we think.

In this worksheet, I provide you with instructions on how to walk through your thoughts, feelings, and actions/reactions so your teen can GAIN CONTROL of their mood.  I also provide an example for you!

This tool is developed for teens but can be used by anyone struggling with moodiness.

Download it now  or find it anytime on my Self Help page.

If you need help with your teen, call me at 615-683-1111 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

MUST READ PARENTING BOOK

Raisingkids I’m a little late posting this as I have had my nose in multiple parenting books.  Raising Kids You Actually Like by Sheila Wray Gregoire is a good read.  It’s basic parenting that we all need to be reminded of.  The way we used to be parented has been forgotten and many parents today feel they lack these basic tools to discipline and train their children.  “We have more education and we’ve forgotten.  Provide structure. Provide stability by loving your spouse. Care for your children’s bodies by feeding them and putting them to bed.” (Loc 69)

 

I would like to share a few excerpts from her book…I love her humor and candidness.  If you’ve never read anything of Sheila’s, I encourage you to check out her blog at To Love Honor and Vacuum where she gives advice on marriage, parenting, and sex from a Christian view.

I will let her book do the talking here:

“Power struggles with smaller children are easier to defeat than power struggles with teenagers.  Yet too many parents give up in the early years…” (Loc 101)

“I once read about a dad who dialed 911 when he discovered that his teenage daughter had posted naked pictures of herself on Facebook.  He was desperate, and to him this was an emergency.  The dispatcher, though, wasn’t amused.  She wasn’t in the position to do anything about it, because she wasn’t the girl’s parent.  He was.” (Loc 98)

“…children can’t obey if no rules are laid down.” (Loc 98)

“If we don’t stress discipline when the children are young, then children don’t internalize self-discipline, or values, or even simple politeness.” (Loc 111)

If you need encouragement to remind you that you have the skills and tools to parent your children, then this ebook is a great way to motivate you and remind you that you can do this.

As a parent, we have the job of training, molding, and shaping the lives of our children to become strong, healthy, successful adults.  That’s what we are doing here.  Making responsible adults.  However, if we aren’t disciplining them and nurturing them the way we are intended to, they become irresponsible adults who lack motivation and struggle to develop healthy relationships.  The power is in the parenting.

 

Happy Reading,

Dayna

PARENTING WITH BOUNDARIES

boundariesinkids It’s important as a therapist to have tools readily available to utilize in our work and to provide resources for clients.  I want to provide resources that I know work, so you can depend on me to give you tools that will help you be successful in parenting.

This month, I am reading through Boundaries With Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  When working with children, it’s important that parents are providing necessary structure in the home.  Children need to learn boundaries in order to grow and develop to become successful adults.

For some reason, it seems as the years have gone by that we as a society have forgotten how to set boundaries when parenting.  I hear older adults respond that “young people seem to be telling their parents what to do”.  Youth today struggle with patience, self-esteem, boundaries.  This is not a new struggle, but it is different from the struggle adults today had with technology so prevalent today.  There is less structure now, less accountability, and fewer parents are monitoring activities.

If you are struggling to develop healthy boundaries with your child whether young or teen years, I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of Boundaries with Kids.

IS BEDTIME MORE OF A BATTLE ZONE? HELP FOR THE EXHAUSTED PARENT

It’s 7:00 and you are rousing the children up to go to bed.  They are brushing their teeth in protest; taking their vitamins and getting water in protest, climbing into bed and attempting to wrestle in protest.  Although an hour ago, your child was whining and crying over tiny bumps and minor disappointments due to exhaustion, now they claim “I’m not tired”.

Do you leave the room already frustrated when lights are turned out?  Only to hear the common sound of little feet scooting down the hall to ask you for the 4th time, “will you tuck me in?”  Does your child get up minutes later asking for “just one more kiss?”  Do you find yourself biting your tongue because ‘if they get up ONE more time, they are REALLY going to regret it?!!!!’  But then of course, that one more time comes, and you once again go into the room, tuck them in, kiss them goodnight, and in a firm voice inform them “STAY in bed or you will: get a spanking/be in trouble/lose a privilege, etc, etc………  The list of threats can be exhaustive at times.

Do you ever sit and think ‘it would be nice to have a little quiet time before going to bed, if the kids would just GO TO SLEEP’.  I’m here to encourage you and myself because this is my house EVERY NIGHT.  This is an issue with consistency and limit setting.  I too feel guilt when I get frustrated and my 4 year old whispers in a sweet voice “mommy, I need another kiss?”  But when the morning after comes, I know this is a behavior not a cry for more love.  She gets kisses all day long.  This is a problem with me and my husband.  We have made it her problem just as we made it her brother’s problem when he was younger.  We struggle with what Dr. Canapari calls sleep association disorder and limit setting disorder.

Setting limits around bedtime and enforcing them doesn’t make you a mean parent who doesn’t want to love on your children.  It makes you a strong parent who knows the importance of your child and yourself getting the rest you need.  Children need 11-12 hours of sleep per night depending on age.  And I presonaly need at least 7 hours of sleep to be able to get up the next morning and function.  Intermittent sleep through the night makes us tired and drowsy the next day.  This is the case for children too, so if you have a child that falls asleep pretty easily but can’t stay asleep, this post is for you too.  There are times when my daughter falls asleep quickly and without the battle (although this is not common lately).  However, she wakes up several times per night calling out or crying for me.  I then wake up, and usually go get her and put her to bed with me.  Because of my need for sleep, I have created another problem for her.  She does not self soothe when she wakes.  She requests to lay with me, rub my arm, or rock in order to fall back asleep.  There are some nights when I am awakened because she is reaching for me trying to find my arm an hour later.

As babies, I didn’t mind the co-sleeping arrangement all that much as long as they would sleep and I got sleep.  However, with a preschooler and grade-school child, sleeping with my kids is less than fun and sweet.  I often wake up to a foot in my face or being kicked in the back.  The other night I was dreaming, and my daughter threw her arm across my face, and I jumped up because I dreamed someone slapped me.  To help encourage you, I am going to share how I am enforcing bedtime limits with my child.  I will be referencing Dr. Canari’s sleep training tools.  As well as “Sleep Sense” by Megan Faure & Ann Richardson. This is a book my children’s pediatrician recommended when my daughter was a baby, and I have returned to it several times during difficult sleep issues.  I would recommend it as a resource to keep on your bookshelf if you struggle to get enough sleep and are not a fan of the “cry it out” method.

As we set out on this journey, I would love to know what some of your bedtime struggles are.

MY WORDS OF ADVICE ON DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR TEEN

I’ve been doing LOTS of work with teens these past 2 years in my practice.  Prior to that I worked with teens, but this time around is different.  I get to see them for who they are.  I get their trust and their innermost fears, desires, and regrets.  I am blessed to be doing what I love and helping these young people.

My problem is, I am seeing that as a society, we are failing these young people.  We have created a world (with our high tech gadgets, impersonal social society, distant relationships with God if you even believe in God, sex crazed media, and poor values) that is difficult to maneuver for immature minds and fiercely hormonal bodies.  We have very high expectations for them with little back up to support them.

I have parents come to me crying and worrying their girls are going to become pregnant or engage in sex.  The sad thing is that I see kids who are so mixed up in their beliefs because of what they see in the world. How can we ensure what we are teaching them about sex is what they understand when that is all they see around them?  Have you seen some of the television shows geared towards this age group?  Seriously, have you?  If you aren’t watching what your teens are watching, I advise you to check it out.  And yes, these shows are on Channels like Nickelodeon.  Networks devoted toward children and teens are airing shows that, if you have Christian values in your home, you better be monitoring that TV.

Another question I often get from parents is how their child can say they are “bisexual”.  I’m seeing this become a trend with young people.  They are confused about their feelings for their best friends.  Friends that are the same sex.  Yes, they still like the opposite sex, but now they think they like the same sex too.  I find myself pondering on this dilemma often because it’s becoming more and more prevalent.  Most of the young people I see this in are struggling to find love from anyone.  They’ve been hurt by people who should love them the most, and they seek affection anywhere they can find it.  And again, I’m seeing that this world is gearing people towards acceptance of this type of culture.  Where in the past, it was an abomination to be “gay” and no one talked about it, and now that’s all you hear about.  People are on television portraying same sex relationships on almost every show, female artists are singing about how they “kissed and girl” and liked it.  And here we are wondering why our teens are becoming so confused about their sexuality.  So my second piece of advice is: keep monitoring that TV but you also need to monitor their music.  Music is a necessity, I believe, for most teens.  It is how they relate to themselves and the world around them.  However, if they are listening to music that sounds good to them but the lyrics are conflicting with what you teach them, that is an equation for disaster.

Finally, let’s talk about how you as the parent/guardian can support them.  Young people often hide things from their parents for fear of getting into trouble.  We tell them to talk to us about what’s going on in their lives or to talk to us (parents) when they are confused about things they want or are being pressured to do.  However, when they come to us with this information as we have encouraged them to do, we then begin lecturing them and badgering them to tell us everything.  Sometimes consequences are administered to prevent them from continuing to do something deemed inappropriate or to prevent them from engaging in something they are thinking about.  So in their minds, they are being punished for doing exactly what we want them to do, which is to come to us with their problems.  I believe some parents wonder why their children come to me with honesty but won’t tell them anything.  It’s because they know I am not going to judge them and I’m not going to lecture them.  That isn’t to say I haven’t responded in this way before, but if I do, you can believe they are going to shut down.  So my advice to you is to give them guidance, but also you need to LISTEN to them.  Listen to their fears, their conflict, their ideas about the issue.  Many teens know the right thing to do, but they need to talk it out with someone to ensure they know what the right thing is.  At times, they aren’t planning to do what you think they are, some of them are very wise, but they need to talk about it.  You can react negatively to this, and a teen who was not planning to act on their thoughts will as an act of defiance because you didn’t trust them.  I’ve seen this happen.  Listen to them!  Ask them questions about what they think on the issue.  Listen to their thoughts.

My last piece of advice is to talk about issues.  Talk to your teens.  Don’t dodge topics on sex, alcohol/drugs, or other difficult conversations.  If you do, you are losing a chance to ensure they are making sound decisions.  And start early…These issues are not beginning at ages 15 and 16 anymore.  They are beginning in the preteens.  Ages that, in my time, you never talked about it.  They are being pressured before puberty hits sometimes.  Once again, this just shows how much we are failing our young people when their once young ages were only worried about Barbie dolls and transformers, and now they are already hit with information about sex and drugs.

This post is not meant to discourage you but to wake you up to these issues.  Be the parent!  Take control of the direction your children are driving towards.  Don’t say to yourself: “it’s her phone and she has it locked”; “I don’t know the password to her FB page and he has me blocked”; “they stay in their rooms with the door closed”.  No excuses, take control before someone else does and you lose them to the things you want to prevent.

We have to fight for our children so they can live strong adult lives.  We have to advocate for their needs.  Let’s do this together.