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Welcome to the EP Parenting Blog


This is the place to read blog posts from our experts and from EP's team of dedicated Parent Bloggers, who write about their own experiences raising their children. Comment, ask questions, and share advice. If you're interested in blogging for us, please click here.
Aug
27
Posted By:

In the day-to-day of parenting, it can be excruciating to keep my mouth shut at times. Since I clearly know what is best, it seems like it is my duty to share that with my lovely children. If I don’t tell them what to do and how to do it, how will they learn?

When they were very young, my hawk-like vigilance seemed absolutely necessary; it appeared to be a sign of good parenting. I decided what they should eat and how much. If they refused my choices, I amped up my efforts and tried cajoling, encouraging and occasionally bribing. At some point, likely when they had a large enough vocabulary and a sense of how the world worked, I started to question my strategy. If I served healthy food and they declined to eat it, who actually had the problem? I started to see that if I tied my need to be seen as a great mom, to what they ate or wore or said or did, I was always going to fall short.

I took a vow to be quiet. If they didn’t like what I made for dinner (which was always made with their preferences in mind), I shrugged. I wasn’t going to be hungry.

This strategy worked well for quite a few years. The fears of not being good enough rose up once again when I realized they were going to be in high school, the precursor to college and adult life. What if my hands-off approach meant they wouldn’t pass their classes or take the ‘right’ ones, or that they might fail at sports and not get a coveted scholarship? What if they make bad choices without my wise guidance?

Perhaps you already know where this is going. My son failed pre-calculus, refused to take Advanced Placement courses and eschewed even the mention of sports. I stopped checking his grades and GPA— they tended to make me want to cajole, encourage or bribe him again.

It got harder to keep quiet because the stakes got higher. Nothing happened when they did not eat the broccoli on their plate.  Allowing my son to fail classes was much more difficult. Good thing I had been practicing all those years. “Guess you will have to take pre-calc again,” I shrugged. He just nodded.

Yes, he passed it the second time. No, he didn’t get an A. Did retaking the class make him try harder? Not really. He was still making choices and I was still keeping quiet.

Apparently my kids possess the ability to learn from their mistakes. That is, if I let them make mistakes.

Perhaps it is the term ‘mistakes’ that impedes us. What if we just called it growing up? My son is taking calculus this year and he is taking the Advanced Placement class. He has learned that he actually does have the skills to do the work, and he has learned that he likes the AP classes. He recently told me he wishes he had taken more AP classes during high school. Not because they count towards college or competition with his peers but because he tends to like the teachers and students in them; it’s his tribe. If I had made my son take them during high school, he may have come to the same conclusion or he may have just opposed the whole thing because I made him. Either way, he would not have had the opportunity to learn from his own choices, and I wouldn’t have learned how to keep quiet.

 

Anna Stewart is a family advocate, writer, speaker, facilitator and single mother of 3 unique kids. She is passionate about helping families learn to advocate WITH their children and teens and supporting those with AD/HD. Anna is the author of School Support for Students with AD/HD. Visit her website and Facebook page here.

Aug
22
Posted By:

For some single parents, the weight of the world often sits squarely on our shoulders. We are responsible for an incredible amount of things, duties, and actions. It’s not enough to pay the mortgage, be smart when making a purchase and keep the floors relatively clean – we are also responsible for our children. Now this isn’t exactly a newsflash, but let’s look at it a step further. Let’s say your child is in elementary school and you get a call from his teacher. He’s been acting up in class, not listening to her and disrupting the daily flow. How do you feel? I will tell you I’ve received those calls – more than a few times. I immediately felt like a balloon that had lost its air. My son’s misbehavior felt like my failure. Obviously I hadn’t taught him proper behavior, or how to control his impulses. I would ruminate over this situation until I wore a groove of negative self-talk into my brain.

As single parents, we become gun shy whenever someone tells us our child misbehaved. It’s as though huge neon arrows are pointed at us so the world can know our kid messed up; therefore, we did too. Maybe married parents feel this way too, I don’t know. But I do know this. There are so many negative assumptions and stereotypes about single parenting. For example, the term “broken home.” That one makes me cringe. My home is not broken; it just looks different from others. Anyway, my mission as I started this solo mom journey was to not be that stereotype. I shunned it and did what I could to prevent anyone from labeling my sons or me. Now sometimes there’s just no way around it. People are going to assume and judge and we just need to hold our heads high and keep living. But the truth is, every time something happens that has to do with our child misbehaving, it knocks the wind out of our sails.

Now that my sons are on the verge of young adulthood, I don’t get those phone calls anymore (thank goodness, as it would mean bigger issues). I am proud of the young men my boys have become and the paths they are forging into the world. But every once in awhile, ghosts from the past show up like a monster behind the door at a haunted house. Case in point – I was at a graduation party with my best friend and fellow single parent of boys. We were enjoying the celebration along with some cake when our kids’ youth pastor arrived. He’s a wonderful person and really good with youth and loving them up. We were reminiscing, as you do at these types of events and he began telling stories about our sons with a huge smile on his face. However, these stories all had the same theme – they were all about how our sons had screwed up , how they didn’t follow rules and got caught.  I felt the oxygen begin to leave the room little by little with each story, until I found myself highly irritated and no longer interested in graduation cake.

My best friend and I talked about this afterwards; why were only the negative stories told? Collectively we have four sons and yet we did not hear any good stories or positive comments about any of them. While our boys are certainly not perfect, they are good people and we are incredibly proud of them. Certainly there are plenty of encouraging stories that could have been told about them, because let’s face it: every parent shines when their child is complimented. Heck, hearing positive things about our kids can put enough fuel in our tank to last for miles. But since that didn’t happen, and even though our boys had grown past those moments, my friend and I both felt those old familiar biting feelings of failure. We didn’t do enough, we weren’t good enough moms, and our kids came from a broken home.

Do you share these feelings? How do you handle them? Here’s my request for today:  in the next few days, let’s all encourage other parents by telling them something we love and admire about their kids. Or how much we respect the parents for the thankless work they do raising children. From now on, let’s tell only positive stories.

 

Renee Brown is the tired yet happy mother of two young adult sons, Sam and Zachary. Almost an empty nester, she loves sharing her single parent experiences with the goal of providing hope and encouragement to those struggling on that “long and winding road.” Renee lives in Minneapolis, works in advertising, and also blogs for Your Teen magazine.

Aug
20
Posted By:

Sometimes transformation can be hard to see when you are in the middle of making changes in your life.  There was a situation soon after I started down the Peaceful Parenting road when I realized, “Hey, this stuff’s really sinking in!” Today, I want to give you a “Before and After snapshot” of the major changes I have made in the past versus the ones I make today as a newly reformed Peaceful Parent.

The Situation

For whatever reason, my son (10) was carrying a half-empty gallon of paint from one room to another. With that gallon, he was also carrying another full gallon and a pint, haphazardly stacked upon one another.

I was on the computer finishing some schoolwork and looked up, just in time to see him running through the house with the three containers. As it turned out, the lid of the half-empty container of paint was not properly secured. Before I knew it, my son trips and falls, and black paint (yes, black) was all over the light-tan living room carpet.

The “Before” Photo

There was once a time when this would have been just the thing to send me off the deep end. The situation might have gone something like this:

Boy runs through, wielding paint. He trips and spills paint everywhere. I lose my cool and proceed to yell at him, saying things like, “Why can’t you be more careful” or “What the hell were you thinking?” I might have even smacked him in the back of the head to ‘knock some sense into him,’ just as my father had so lovingly done for me when I was a kid.

Next, I would start barking out commands. Get me this! Get me that! We need to get this cleaned up now! It’s going to ruin my carpet!

Then, he would start crying. I would tell him to quit whining and help get the mess cleaned up. Stress levels would rise to the point that I would tell him to leave and I would clean up the mess myself.

Side note: As I wrote this segment on paper, I realized it was the first time I had spelled out an all-too-common encounter between my children and me. Writing it down made me feel disgusting and ashamed; like a monster looking in the mirror for the first time. I even considered removing the section from this post.

However, in order to give an accurate account of the considerable improvements that have been made, the “before” is just as important and necessary as the “after.”

The “After” Photo

The “After” photo of this situation was so much better. It was less stressful. There was no violence, no manipulation, no guilt.

Here’s how it went down:

Boy runs through wielding paint. He trips and spills paint everywhere.

Then I tried something different. I used a new tool; one that is so ground-breaking, I suggest every parent in the world learns how to harness its power.

I took a deep breath.

That’s it.

A deep breath.

Suddenly—armed with a new parenting philosophy and a moment of thought—the situation was much easier to handle.

Internally, I was still freaking out and stressing about how to get the stain out. But externally, I was a warm summer breeze, barely disturbing a leaf on the trees (bonus points if your comments on this post have a cheesy rhyme like that one!)

I got up from my seat and helped him figure out how to clean it up. We quickly put the lid back on the can and contained the spill as fast as possible.

I could see he felt bad about it. There was no need for manipulation. No sighs of disappointment.

I gave him calm instruction to get paper towels, wet rags, etc. and we cleaned the main spill. Then, to get the stain out, we looked up a method online that used products we already had around the house.

He apologized of his own volition and I reassured him that it was ok; that accidents happen and that running in the house is probably not a great idea.

Conclusion

Just like in weight loss and home improvement projects, it is important to periodically take a “Before and After snapshot” of your parenting skills. They allow you to look back and see how far you’ve come and the changes you’ve made. They allow you to gauge your progress and note where more improvements can be made.

This has been a critical part of the transition process from my old authoritarian parenting ideologies to the new Peaceful Parenting philosophies.

So, looking back, what changes have you made in your parenting that would be worthy of a “Before & After snapshot”?

 

After unwittingly failing as a parent for over a decade, Daniel Wagner, father of four, was hit with some eye-opening facts and philosophical arguments that were impossible to ignore. From that point forward, he has been doing everything in his power to spread the word about Peaceful Parenting; offering perspective from both sides of the parenting debate and helping parents avoid making the same mistakes. To learn more, head over to the Parent of Progress website and pick up a free copy of his new eBook: “Mindset Shift: Are You Making These Parenting Mistakes?”

Aug
15
Posted By:

As a teacher, I see parents carrying their children’s backpacks to the bus stop all too frequently. I also witness more parents driving their kids to school because the child “woke up too late” and the parents do not want them to experience the natural consequences of missing the bus. Why are parents doing so much for their children nowadays? Is it because they have a hard time saying “no” when their child asks them for something? Is it simply easier to do it themselves versus nag their child to get it done? Or do parents feel like they have failed if they don’t provide things that would make their child happy?  Most importantly, if you notice yourself doing too much for your child, what steps can you take to change that?

Don’t do for your kids what they can do for themselves.   Loving your kids does not mean doing everything for them—some of the greatest learning experiences and feelings of pride come from doing things yourself. Allowing a child to figure out how to do something independently gives them a feeling of self-confidence. This achievement can lead to the realization that they are capable of doing other things successfully as well. Now, a child may not complete the task correctly on the first, second, or even third try.  By being a source of encouragement and coaching your child forward, you can teach them how to become resilient and persevere through failure.

Allow children to experience the natural consequences of their actions.  I’ve seen parents involved in every aspect of their child’s schoolwork, from helping with homework and different projects to making sure each is done correctly. Parents take control of organizing their child’s binder from start-to-finish, then they go through the child’s backpack and make sure everything is ready for the next day. These are all great intentions and useful up to a certain point in elementary school. There comes a time, however, when a child needs to assume responsibility, make choices and suffer the natural consequences for their actions (or lack thereof).

Let’s say a child forgets to complete a homework assignment or loses it. The parent has a choice in how to respond.  If the parent “rescues” the child by completing the assignment or by making excuses for the child, this takes away from any opportunities the child has to learn from mistakes and to become an independent decision maker.  If the parent steps back and allows natural consequences to occur instead, it can provide a great learning opportunity and life lesson.

Remind them only once.  You probably don’t like to spend your time being a nag, and your child probably doesn’t like hearing you constantly nag. So what’s the solution? Clearly state to a child what it is you would like done and the deadline for completion. If you see that the child delays starting the task, provide one friendly reminder to him/her and include the consequence for not completing the request.

Don’t make excuses for your child and allow him/her to accept responsibility.  It is important for children to make up their own minds and accept responsibility. If they are seeking constant feedback and reassurance from others, they will have a difficult time finding their own strength and sense of self-confidence.

One big mistake I’ve seen parents make is excusing their child for not completing homework or something else. Saying, “We didn’t remember to remind them” or “It was a long night last night and my child was very tired” are enabling factors that children pick up on. It is important to realize that these “excuses” make kids believe the parents are responsible for the child’s work. This is simply not true!

As a child gets older, the stakes get higher and responsibilities grow. Forgetting a homework assignment may result in getting a zero, but being irresponsible at other tasks in the “real world” such as being late to work, driving on the road, or handling machinery could result in more serious repercussions. Teaching a child accountability early on in life is paramount to creating a responsible adult.

 

Douglas Haddad, M.S., C.N., Ph.D. (aka “Dr. Doug”) is a public school teacher in Connecticut and has worked with children in a variety of capacities as a coach, mentor, tutor, nutritionist, and inspirational speaker. He is the Learning Disabilities expert for About.com, the author of the child guidance book Save Your Kids…Now! and co-author of a health and wellness book Top Ten Tips For Tip Top Shape. He regularly speaks, writes, and blogs about self-empowering topics for parents and children including his Success Strategies for Regaining Control Over Your Life…NOW! and his Happiness Formula for Achieving Anything. Visit his website at www.douglashaddad.com.

Aug
13
Posted By:

What do you do when your child tells you about some risky behaviors that a friend of theirs is engaging in, and you know the friend’s parents?

This is a question that terrifies many parents of teenagers. When one parent has an, “I know something you don’t know” piece of information, it can become a wedge in an otherwise beautiful friendship between two parents. The holder of this potential landmine of information may think, “I would want a parent or friend to tell me if my teen was engaging in risky behaviors.”

If your teen is sharing this information with you, you should feel very encouraged by the strength of your relationship. It means that your teen finds you worthy of his or her trust and thinks you can help in difficult situations. Your first and most important allegiance should be to your teen and his or her safety. This is something worth protecting, because it means you may be able to impact not only the safety of your teen, but perhaps someone else’s teen as well.

Say your teen comes to you with a story about a friend who got pretty drunk at a party. Feeling worried for their friend, they share this story with you. They feel uncomfortable and lack the experience and strategy to deal with it in an effective way. They don’t need your judgment; they need your help. What happens is you go right into “the lecture:”

“You are not allowed to ever go to that house again!  If I ever find out you have been drinking or taking drugs, you will be grounded. I don’t want you hanging out with those kids again.”

After a speech like this, you can be assured that your teen will NEVER come to you again for help. They may even start seeing his or her friends without your knowledge or permission. If you immediately call the parent of the kid(s) they told you about, you can also be assured that your teen will NEVER come to you again for help. Here’s what you can do instead.

First, commend your teen for coming to you in the first place. Say, “I really am glad you can tell me this stuff.  I know you are worried about your friend; maybe we can figure out together what might be a good plan of action.”

Now comes the strategy session. Do not try to solve this for your teen—work on it as a collaboration. Come up with alternatives and scripts so they are prepared when this situation happens again—and it will, despite your warnings, punishments and threats.

Risky situations will always be present in the lives of teens. You can’t protect them from these situations, but you can give them the information and strategy that will help when they are in the thick of it. If they’re worried about a friend, then you can help them figure out how they might be able to help that friend before you get on the phone and call the parent.

I worked with a parent recently whose son’s close friend was cutting herself. This girl called the boy night after night as her anxiety reeled out of control, needing his voice to keep her calm and safe from hurting herself. The boy’s mom was beside herself with worry. Her son pleaded with her not to call the girl’s parents. He felt so responsible for keeping this girl safe, which of course was a losing battle. We worked on a plan so that the next time he was on the phone late with this girl, his mom would immediately call the girl’s parents and let them know their daughter was in crisis. This way, he could blame his parents’ involvement on catching him on a late night phone call, thereby protecting his friendship with this girl.  Most importantly, the new process helped get the girl the much-needed help from her parents, who had been completely in the dark about this scary issue. This mom accomplished two goals: protecting the relationship she has with her son and recognizing the importance of getting this girl the help she needed to stay safe.

Your job is to keep your lines of communication open with your teen. If the situation is life threatening, or threatening to others, then this does require a call either directly to the parent or the school’s guidance counselor.  If you are going to do this, tell your teen ahead of time so you can work on a plan on how to handle it together after the information is shared.  The guidance counselor can call the parents and say, “Some concerned parents have shared information I think you ought to know about your teen’s safety.” Using the school as your go-between allows you to keep your teen out of the loop and protect your trust with him or her, while still looking out for the safety of the other child. If you see risky behavior with someone else’s kids first-hand, you can feel comfortable sharing the information with their parent(s). For example, you can say, “I just picked your teen up from the party, and they’re high. I wanted to get him home so you can make sure they’re OK.”

If you are friendly with your teen’s friend’s parent, then you might also use a more indirect approach when having coffee with your friend. “So what do you think our kids are into?” Or, “I have been hearing that there is a lot of drinking and pot smoking going on where our kids are hanging out. Let’s come up with the same strategy with our kids, so we’re both on the same page.” Now you can open up a conversation about your worries without divulging any particulars your teen has shared with you. Your goal for this conversation is to gently nudge this parent into becoming aware of possibilities. Your relationship with your teen is THE MOST IMPORTANT goal. Helping your child stay safe may help their friends to be safe as well.

 

Joani Geltman, MSW is a leading parenting expert, with four decades of experience in working with youth, including as a psychology professor, school counselor and social worker, a family therapist, and a parenting coach.  She has recently published the book “A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out”.  She holds a Masters degree in social work from Washington University and has been quoted or published by USA Today, Psychology Today, Boston Globe and The Washington Post.  Find out more by visiting joanigeltman.com

Aug
06
Posted By:

As a kid, one of my favorite things about  the new school year was back to school shopping. I loved picking out new pencils, crayons, paper, markers and other supplies. Shopping for new clothes was even more enjoyable. I went to parochial school until the sixth grade, so before middle school I was focused on new shoes, socks, and a couple pairs of pants and shirts for “gym day.” Even though my selection was limited, I still delighted in getting new things. I transferred to public school in the seventh grade, which meant no more uniforms. It was a bit of a culture shock, actually, because other than the kids I played with in the neighborhood, I didn’t have much interaction with kids who didn’t also wear uniforms. I had no idea what the “in” style was.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t even realize there was an “in” style (this was before MTV and social media). My clothing choices were usually t-shirts and jeans. Truth be told, other than a time in the late 80’s when I flirted a bit with fashion, my style hasn’t really changed much from that.  Sad to say, but it’s true.

Back to school shopping for my kids has been a whole different story. Both of my kids have been very particular about the clothes they wear, even at a young age. While I may have been able to get away with buying their clothes with little input when they were 5 or 6, the game changed completely when they got to be about 8 or 9. Then they wanted clothes in which they could make a statement, whether that statement was, “look at me; I look like everyone else” or “look at me; I’m an individual.” As they got older, their clothes got way more expensive too: jeans in the $40-$50 range, shirts about the same, shoes near $100. As a single parent, I had to put some serious limits in place or else I’d go broke from buying these clothes.

I’ve talked with many parents on the Parental Support Line who find themselves in similar situations with their kids.  I also frequently overhear the interactions of other parents and their kids when I’m out with my daughter. The conversations often go something like this:

“But, mom, I have to have this shirt.”

“It looks like three other shirts you already have. And, it’s $50”

“No, it doesn’t. This one has shorter sleeves. And, what difference does it make what it costs? I have to have this shirt or everyone will think I’m lame.”

The voices tend to rise towards the end of the exchange. Sometimes you’ll hear snippets of, “I hate you! You are ruining my life!” or “You are so unfair!” said just loud enough for the people nearby to hear. The parent may feel put on the spot, which is the probably the intent. Perhaps there’s an internal dialogue going on as well, where the parent questions if she is being unfair, or wonders if her child may actually be left out because she doesn’t have the right clothes.  We all want the best for our children and part of “the best” is “fitting in” and being liked by their peers.

It seems as though the kids today want everything, and more of it. They want what everyone in their social group has and what they see on TV and social media, whether it’s the latest clothing, shoes, cell phone or other tech gadget. Forget keeping up with the Joneses. For today’s kids, it’s keeping up with the Kardashians—and they have a heck of a lot more money than the Joneses ever had. So, what is a parent to do in this age of excess and entitlement?

First and foremost, set some limits around what you will and won’t pay for, regardless of how old your child is. When my kids were around the age of 9, I started setting a back to school budget. I would purchase whatever school supplies they needed and they had a specific amount of money they could spend. I gave them as much free rein as possible on what they bought for back to school clothes. If they wanted to blow their entire budget on a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, and a shirt, they were welcome to. Once the money was spent, though, there would be no more money for clothes coming from me until Christmas. There were a couple of times when they did just that and blew their entire clothing budget on a few expensive items. On those occasions, they did try to renegotiate the terms, promising that if I would buy them just a couple more items, I could take it out of their allowance or it could be a future birthday present, or they would do extra chores to pay me back. Take it from me: paying it forward in this way is not advisable. Once the item is purchased, all promises tend to be forgotten. I know this from personal experience.

Understand, your kids ARE going to push back against these limits so don’t be surprised by that. You may hear you are ruining their life, how much they hate you, or what an awful parent you are. You are not an awful parent, nor are you ruining their life because you set limits and don’t buy them the newest thing they want. Expect to feel a little guilty, like you’re not providing enough for your kids. We all have these moments and they pass. Sticking to the limits you set is going to do way more for your kids than the $50 shirt, the $150 boots, or the newest cell phone ever will.

My kids are now older. My son is 19 and my daughter will be 18 in December. This will be my last year of back to school shopping with my daughter. There’s a bit of wistfulness in that, but I’m still setting a limit on how much I’m willing to spend on back to school clothes—regardless of how melancholy I may feel.

 

Denise Rowden is a parent of two teens: a 17-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son.  She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from USM and is currently working on her Life Coach certification from ICF.

Jul
31
Posted By:

I love summer. It is such a fun time to spend with the kids, hangout and relax.  We have a less stressful schedule, eat easy dinners and participate in fun, outside activities. With that said, I also despise summer.  Gone is the simple structure of the school year. My kids get bored, act lazy and are unmotivated to do much other than swim, watch TV and eat.  Keeping my kids busy and engaged over the summer is a challenge and I am always looking for new ideas.

A few things I’ve done to keep my kids busy in the summer include creating a list, turning on the music and setting a timer.  Each week, I create a short list of 3 to 5 things I want both of my children to accomplish such as folding clothes, taking out the trash and cleaning up their rooms. Then we turn on some upbeat music, I set a timer and off they go to complete their tasks.  The timer keeps them on task so they don’t get sidetracked, the music gets the energy flowing and the list gives them a sense of accomplishment as they cross off items one by one.

I also keep a running list of things I know they want.  I try to ask questions to find out what things are important to them, and then I can use it to motivate them.  For example, if they want to see a new movie that’s coming out, I’ll put that on my list. Or if there is a special snack they see on TV, I add it to the list. Then I’ll use this information to get my kids involved in chores.

Once I know what they really want to have or do, I’ll incorporate that knowledge in a way for my kids to earn rewards by getting things done around the house.  I try to find both little things and big things that they want and then I’ll create a weekly achievement chart. Each week, they can earn points for finishing tasks or exuding behaviors I want to see from them.  Each “prize” or thing that they want gets a point value and each task also has a point value. For example, a trip to the movies may cost 20 points and taking out the trash earns 5 points each time it is done.  As they accumulate their points, they can exchange them for the prize they want.

It is fun to watch the healthy competition that comes out when the kids are motivated to get what they want. Sometimes, they even try to outdo each other to see who can earn the most points and win the biggest prizes.  Maybe I really do love summer after all.

 

Diahana is a Health Coach who loves coffee (and a newly found favorite tea), spending the day at the beach with family, and her iPad Mini! She is energetic and passionate about creating a community that leaves you feeling energized, focused, happy and purposeful. She recently published a new ebook, Mommy Summer Camp, which you can purchase by going to her Etsy Store.

Jul
30
Posted By:

It’s that time of year again—the time when there’s a great deal of change happening! With some of it, you have a long time to think about what’s coming.  With other changes, you may not have much time to think, and jumping into the changes happening around you can be very stressful.

Every now and then we come away unscathed, but other times we need to find a way to breathe and move on.  These last few weeks brought a whole heap of transition into my life.  We had two graduations and the unexpected passing of our dog, Hunter.  The first two transitions were met with joy and a little sadness since one of my kids will be going off to college in August, which is thankfully only a half hour move from home. For me, having him go out of state would have been more than I could handle.

The other graduate will be going to High School, which he is much more prepared for this year. Getting him to this point was a bit of a challenge—last year when my husband traveled quite a bit, my son played video games through all his 8th grade tests, midterms, and finals. He truly thought there would be no repercussions!  Boy, was he in for a surprise when his report card came at the end of the year and he was repeating the grade. When we presented him with the idea of repeating 7th grade, he did not want to hear of it.  When it came down to the wire and there was no other choice, however, he faced that challenge with his head held high. His grades have soared and his attitude is something I commend.  He did it! He faced that challenge with determination and maturity. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but having friends in that grade helped him get through.

I have heard it discussed more than once, and I know a few friends who debated the issue of holding their child back due to age and immaturity.  In all cases, the end result was something we could all be proud of.

The sad transition came last week when our dog Hunter was nowhere to be found.  After looking for two hours by car and by foot, we found him hidden deep in a hole under a bush with not much life left in him.  With no sign of sickness in the morning or the afternoon, we rushed him to the ER and had to put him down.  It seems a tumor burst inside of him that no one knew he had, and he held on so that we all could be there for him.  He has been a part of this family for 10 years, so his presence is missed around here: his bark, his twirling and his outstretched body when you are trying to sleep. There is a void, but two other dogs in the house have helped us get through.

I will leave you with this to help you when you are in a time of transition. It is from my book, “From Half to Whole: A journey to overcome the battle scars of adoption and living to tell about it” in a section called, “What I have taken away from this…..”

Trust others to help you through.

 Many great ideas come from talking and confiding in others.

People have a different perspective when they are not involved.

Along with ideas, people can give you support. We all need that when transition hits.  Who do you have that helps you through?  Call them, say “Thank you,” and then be there for them the next time they need you.  Like Ellen says at the end of her shows, “Be kind to one another.”

We all get that thrill of transition that hits us whether we want it to or not, and when it comes a knockin’ we need to face it and rise above—just like my son did.

Kudos to him.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a Total Transformation customer, you can access the Parental Support Line for help with these and other challenges you’re experiencing with your child. Support Line specialists have helped hundreds of parents through numerous changes and transitions, and they can help you, too.

 

Regina Radomski lives with her husband and their three children live in Northern NJ. Regina is also the author of From Half to Whole – a journey to overcome the battle scars of adoption and living to tell about it, a raw and honest look at the trials and tribulations of her family’s struggle to adopt and raise two young boys from Poland who came to America with a few stuffed toys in their backpacks and the trauma of their past.  Regina is also the founder of Fillin’ the Blanks, a program offering support and solutions during the adoption process, and she is an Elite Life Coach and the NJ chapter coordinator of PAPA (Polish Adoptive Parents Association).  Regina is currently starting an Adoption Family Planning program to help empower pre- and post-adoptive parents during their journey.  For more information on Regina and her program, check out her website: http://www.reginaradomski.com/