Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Terrific Tuesday! Why I parent each child differently


I'm a firm believer that we need to raise each of our children differently because we all have different needs, motivations, and perspectives.

I often hear people say, "I'm not sure what happened to Sally, we raised all of our kids the same way but she came out differently!"  I have heard parents say to their child, "I don't know why you're angry, Joshua got the same treatment and HE'S not upset!"

We all have different needs at different times.  The more we try to "be fair" with our children at EVERY juncture by spending equal time, giving the same exact consequences, and giving the same kind of love, the more we're going to isolate our children.  Let me be clear, parents need to be in charge and make sure that their children know healthy boundaries and make sure their children follow the family rules with similar consequences when they deliberately make a very bad choice.  However, we also need to take time to think about how each of our children think and conduct themselves individually, especially when talking to them after they have 'cooled off'.

Here's an example.
Nathan and Jerry are twins.  Technically, they should be at the same level because they are the same age, however, Nathan needs more help communicating his needs and Jerry is more independent and seems happier. Because of Nathan's challenges he may need more reassurance than Jerry.  That's not to say that Jerry should be ignored.  Jerry's needs are different.  We all have different times in our life when we have different challenges and needs.  We all have different LOVE LANGUAGES and our needs may be met differently at different times.  The more we can really LISTEN to our children, the more we will understand their behaviors and needs.  This isn't always easy.  Here are some reasons to give your child a unique approach.

1.  We all have different needs and we want to be special and unique in our own way.  My daughter and I have a private talk time EVERY day.  Build in a time when her and I can talk about any problems she is having.  After we read together, we turn out the lights out I ask her if she has any questions for me or any problems that she's having at school or at Daddy's house.  She really likes this time and asks some great questions.  

2.  Understanding birth order.  
(This picture is thanks to Bring it on home blog)

Birth order is very important because we want to be sure that we are challenging our kids in different ways.  For example, the youngest child needs to be a leader at times and be expected to be responsible (even though they are the youngest) and the oldest child may need to be a follower and not have to worry about being responsible all the time.  The middle child may need more dates with a parent individually or praise for being a leader or being a silly follower and not just being the peace keeper.


3.  Everyone reacts differently when we're angry.  We all do things for a reason.  Sometimes we need attention, sometimes we need validation, sometimes we need love, and sometimes we need boundaries.  As adults, some of us have a tendency to shove our feelings inside when we're angry, others may act out aggressively.  Some of us get depressed, others get experience anxiety but we all struggle with HOW to express our anger or frustrations appropriately.  Teaching children appropriate ways to express their anger (especially by YOUR example) is the best way that we can help our kids navigate their feelings when they encounter challenges in their life.

4.  Offering different rewards for outstanding achievements.  As parents, we want to reward our children (when they go above and beyond the call of duty) but it's important to remember that we don't all appreciate the same things.  One child may enjoy a simple long walk with a parent as a reward while another child may want cash or a toy (no, it's not bribery, it's incentives!)

The bottom line is, taking the time to REALLY understand your child's individual needs is what really matters.  If we are careful to not label them as "the needy one" or the "the easy one" and instead help them to feel confident and self assured because they are special and unique they will feel valued and be more likely express their feelings appropriately.

Friday, October 10, 2014

5 Fun Things to Do in Chester County this Weekend


1.  Rotor Fest at The American Helicopter Museum
Saturday, October 10th 10-430
*rain or shine
Check out the airshow (which really looks cool!)  
$15 for adults, $10 for kids under 12, Free for kids under 2
**3 AIRSHOWS DAILY!

2.  Longwood Gardens  Pumpkin Playground
$20 for adults, $10 for kids age 5-18 and Free for kids age 0-4

Small haunted house, dancing, hula hooping, and fun!!
$8 per person

4.  Eagleview Fall Fest in Lionville
Saturday, October 11th 1-4
Live music, vendors, activities, and more.
*Cost is free but asked to bring a canned food donation

5.  Weaver's Orchard Family fun days
Well, I admit, it's not in Chester County, but it's a short drive and this definitely seems worth it (especially THIS weekend!) 


Enjoy food, hay rides, pick-your-own fruit and plenty of kids’ activities including face painting, obstacle courses and a clown. A Family Fun Day will also be held on Columbus Day Monday!

Enjoy:

  • Delicious food
  • Live music
  • Pick-your-own apples and pumpkins
  • Hay rides
  • Apple cannon
  • Pumpkin painting & face painting
  • Straw pyramid (ages 5 and older)
  • Barrel train
  • Inflatable obstacle course
  • Farm yard play area
  • Farm animals & alpacas
  • Meet-and-greet with Posey the Clown
Cost: $8 per child and $4 per adult

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Know someone going through a tough time? Maybe they need a little reminder!

When I was going through a divorce, my friend gave me a charm like this and it meant so much to me!
You could also have this personalized with any message you would like...how about faith, hope, or even a special date when something happened!  
Click here to order!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dad and Beatle...A Love Story


My friend Donna Spina recently posted pictures on Facebook of her brother and Dad while they were visiting from the weekend before.  I immediately sent a message to Donna and said, "Please, tell me more about your Dad and brother's relationship!"  I knew just from looking at the pictures that there was a great story....and I was right. I asked Donna to write this post so we can all enjoy this love story...

A Father and His Only Son
A Touching Tale Told by His Daughter

It was on September 6, 1960 that my brother was born in a small suburban hospital a short distance from Philadelphia, PA.  The doctor regretfully informed my father that his new son had Downs Syndrome.  This diagnosis was withheld from our mother for two weeks. Somehow, her intuition sensed something was not quite right.
The sixties were a much different time for a special needs child and their parents. Due to a lack of skilled training and programming, structured family and financial support, or just understanding, professional medical guidance recommended the child be placed in an institution to not burden the family. The belief was special needs children would not live long anyway.  With the nature of institutions in those days, that was a guarantee.
My parents would not hear of such a course of action. Named for his father, Joseph, rather “Jophus” (my childlike pronunciation) came home to us.  It is a nickname, among others, that has stuck.

To this day I marvel at my father’s unwavering, unconditionally loving acceptance of his only son. 

He has never once talked about the “what if” Jophus was not different. 

With all the sincerity in the world, he says he would not change a thing. In Dad’s generation, some fathers were known to have abandoned the family to avoid the perceived disgrace. 

Not our Dad.

A Miracle.  A new, wonderful, much sought after school was built in our area just for boys like Jophus. The education and care promised could make his quality of life even greater. With much effort and endurance, my parents were successful in getting Jophus, then 9 years old, a coveted spot. One drawback. He would only come home every other weekend.
I remember the first night around the dinner table.  Just like the characters in Dickens fabled “A Christmas Carol”, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, the emotional impact of that empty seat proved too much for my father. 

It was the first time I ever saw my Dad cry.

The Blessing. Dad was a lifelong expert auto mechanic.  He loves everything with an engine from cars, to motorcycles, boats, and airplanes. His workplace was down the road from the new school and his skill proved integral to help his beloved son and the transition.  When servicing their small fleet of vehicles, Dad used the opportunity to secretly peak in on Jophus and even partner with his less than enthusiastic son make the workshop “quota” of bagged rubber bands. To Dad, the good deed of donating his time would also be insurance reflected in my brother’s care.

Two Peas in Pod turned BFFs. Growing up, Dad and Beatle (as he was also called) spent much quality time together. Side by side at any dinner table (“Get a good seat” Dad tells Beatle), car rides (going fast over bumps just to hear Beatle say “wheeee!”), motorcycle rides (to ask for one Bean mimicked the throttle wrist action that makes the bike go forward), Saturday afternoons at the field flying model airplanes Dad built in our basement (his flying friends would help watch little Jophus and “bury” his dirty diapers), and summer fun on the water (many radios went overboard and are at the bottom of the ocean). At family gatherings, a quick glance around the room would find them sitting together or walking while holding hands. 

Dad bought only one new car that he still owns today, his entire married life. Guess what is on the vanity license plate?  “JOPHUS” My mind’s eye conjures up these images and it still makes my heart melt.
My mother once asked me if having a brother like Jophus had ever held me back in any way. I answered without hesitation, absolutely not. He made me a better person.
What was the effect being the Big Sister to such an Eternal Innocent Child? Let’s start with Gratitude.  The list of what I was able to learn, do, go, experience as a result of being born “normal” is too long to itemize.
Patience, kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, humility, and unconditional love knowing Jophus did not have a choice in his Being but I do. Despite those inherent limitations, he courageously fought back from chronic respiratory illnesses, learned to be a gentleman like his father, communicated his needs despite being non-verbal, and grew into an endearing, affectionate little man who makes people laugh with his unexpected humorous antics. At 54 years old, less than five feet in height, and a bit of a Santa belly, he continues to amaze us as to what he knows and the new things he still learns. “He is so funny; you never know what he will do.” Dad often says. Jophus picked us to be his keepers. That’s the greatest reward.
Throughout his life our now 84 year old Dad authored many funny phrases to put a lighthearted spin on things.  “When Beatle grows up I am telling him what you said.” “That’s my boy!” he joyfully exclaims to introduce Jophus or as he enters a room. If accused of not thinking clearly, Dad will say in his own defense “I am saving my brain to leave to Beatle”.  Try as he might, that will not be possible. Dad has memory issues now. Still, my favorite is how Dad sums everything up with “My Beatle is perfect.”
This fabulous father and his superbly special son share an indivisible bond that endures growing older and the physical challenges which accompany the cycle of life.  Whether it is play time, nap time, or even when time runs out, I will be forever thankful for smart phones.  In a swift click the magic in the moment is captured creating a treasured memory to re-live over and over again.

This was a guest post by Donna Spina.  Donna is a business, personal growth, and Entrepreneural Transition coach.  She is also the co author of:

“Woman Power: Strategies for Female Leadership” (forthcoming Amazon, September 27, 2014)

“The Happy Law Practice”
Expert Strategies to Build Business While Maintaining Peace of Mind (Amazon’s #1 Hot Release on March 25, 2014)
 To learn more about Donna, please visit her at Coaching Indeed