February 2011 Update

Since the last blog entry in November, Richard has spoken at several West Side schools, covering a variety of parenting topics. We also continue to have free parenting seminars here at our office two Wednesday evenings each month at 7 pm. Be sure to check the parent network calendar on our website for dates and topics. Remember that even though these seminars have a specific topic, you are welcome to bring any issue into the discussion. Out next seminar is tonight, Wednesday February 9, 2011, and the topic is “Emotional Quicksand- How (Not) to Stay Stuck in Conflict With Your Teen.” Sandwiches and coffee will be served.

We had a lively discussion at the Marquez Elementary School about honesty and how to build trust in relationships with our kids. Some parents shared their resistance to tell their young children about their previous marriages. Richard maintained that age appropriate details, shared openly and honestly is one way of creating a safe environment for children. Sharing your life story builds trust and intimacy in relationships. It encourages others to share in kind. Of course, cultural differences are taken into consideration and respecting each family’s unique dynamic is honored.

At Palisades High School Richard talked about anger. Richard stressed the importance of having clear guidelines in your family of what behaviors are encouraged and what are not. Setting up a framework of “these are the things that are important to our family” can preclude the cycle of anger and acting out. Conversations about Honesty, Integrity, Perseverance, Responsibility, Respect, Empathy or whatever your family holds dear, can set a tone for your family. When a crisis arrives, and the dialogue gets heated, you can refer to your family values and maintain that the “discussion” must stay within the confines of ‘Respect’ or that you are willing to wait until it can be handled with that in mind. Staying neutral as a parent is key to keeping things cool and modeling that shows that conflict can be handled respectfully. This ultimately gets better results. Allowing anyone to treat you disrespectfully enables that person to continue to abuse you. This has a very negative impact on all players.

We are still recommending “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, and “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, as great reads. Chapter Two, on sleep in Nurture Shock is fascinating and likely will encourage you to re-think the sleep patterns of your teens at home.

Best,
Kim