Archive for Parent

How To Be An All Pro Dad

Today’s post is going to be a little different.  I don’t typically give plugs to organizations but I am going to make an exception today.  There is a national organization I am a part of called All Pro Dad.  This is designed for dads and their sons or daughters.  The national spokesperson is former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy.  Here is a link where you’ll find meetings in your area.  http://www.allprodad.com.

The crux of the group is for dads to spend quality time with their child.  The meetings are typically once a month to once every six weeks.  Last week’s theme was humility which is a trait that I could certainly use more work.

The meeting is a lot of fun as well.  We started it by watching this truly funny video.  I’m not really into rap music but this one made me laugh.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOKuSQIJlog

It continued with dads standing up in front of the group to announce one reason they are proud of their child.  The children really love the public praise from their fathers. I wasn’t raised with a father and my mother wasn’t a person to give a lot of praise.  I’m certain though my child loves the recognition I give him at this time.

During the meeting, I had an interesting moment.  All the fathers were asked to answer this question to their child.  Who was the most humble person we knew?  After thinking about it for a few seconds, I came to the conclusion that the answer is my wife.  I’ve always thought of her as a humble person but being put on the spot in front of my child was eye opening. These kind of moments makes All Pro Dad special.

The last thing we did before adjourning was a raffle.  The last prize was an All Pro Dad shirt in which I won.  Granted, I would have rather won the prize before the shirt which was a football signed by my favorite quarterback of all time Dan Marino.  Nevertheless, the shirt is super.  On the back, it lists 10 ways to be an All Pro Dad.  Here is the list.

1.  Love Your Wife

2.  Spend Time with Your Children

3.  Be a Role Model

4.  Understand Your Children

5.  Show Affection

6.  Enjoy Your Children

7.  Eat Together as a Family

8.  Discipline with a Gentle Spirit

9.  Pray and Worship Together

10.  Realize You’re a Father Forever

By the time the meeting was over, I felt like I worked with my boy on a great message, had fun, and took a step towards being a better person.  My child said he can’t wait to go again.  I think a lot of fathers would agree that they would like to spend more time with their child.  There’s not a doubt we will be at the next one!

My next article will be on Friday.  All my best to you and your family!

**********************************************************************************

Housekeeping Note

Over the weekend, I received my 1,000th “like” on my Facebook fan page.  It’s a great way to keep up with this blog.  Also, when I discount my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, it is announced there first! You can log into Facebook and find my page at claytonpaulthomas.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

6 Parent/Teacher Conference Tips Not Often Heard

Parent- teacher conferences are a time where there should be a meeting of the minds.  Teachers should be able to lay out their case for the child’s progress academically, socially, and emotionally.  Parents should be able to compare what they are hearing to what is going on at home.  At that point, a plan should come together as to how to work with the child going forward. It should be the ultimate collaboration crammed into about 15 minutes.

When I was a teacher, I was meticulous about laying out my arguments about how a child was performing before a parent walked through my door.  Instead of dominating the meeting, I would lay out these arguments as quickly as possible in order to allow the parent to agree or disagree with my assessment.  Because I have been on both ends of the parent teacher conference table ( I was an elementary teacher for 7 years) perhaps these tips will guide you through a conference.

 

The first tip is for a parent to keep samples of student work just like a teacher.  This is especially helpful if there is a disputed grade in a subject.  Bring the student work to the conference and compare it with the work the teacher presents.

The second tip is to respect the knowledge of the teacher concerning your child but don’t take it as the law.  You have been around your child for years.  At this point, a teacher has had your child two months (give or take).  I’m not saying that teachers do not know what they are talking about.  What I am saying is that you know your child better than anyone.  There’s nothing wrong with trusting your instincts unless the teacher can present irrefutable evidence.

The third tip is to approach the conference as a problem solver.  The last thing a parent should want is to be lectured for 15 minutes about poor grades or behavior then sent home shamefully.  Let’s pretend there is a behavior problem in the classroom.  As a parent, you should be able to present a few effective methods you have used at home for handling discipline. If concentration is an issue, what do you do at home to help your child concentrate?

The fourth tip is for parents to understand that teachers aren’t the only professionals in the room.  All parents should be treated like professionals because when it comes to your child, you might as well have a PH. D.  If you feel like you are being talked down to or belittled by a teacher, you can choose to address it on the spot.  If you are not confrontational or if you have a situation that catches you off guard; going to the principal is always a good option.

My fifth bit of advice is to not get too excited or too depressed about the results of a parent/teacher conference.  A conference is simply a snapshot in time.  If a conference goes well, be happy for your child but understand there is still more work to do.  If a conference doesn’t go well, that’s fine in most cases.  There is  plenty of time to turn the problem around.

Finally, here’s the key once a conference has concluded.  Follow up with the teacher (in the next couple of weeks) by phone or email to make sure that the game plan from the conference is being implemented to everyone’s satisfaction.  Often, I had parents who I would not see again until the next conference 5 months later.  It’s much better for all parties (especially children) when the parent clearly demonstrates they are keeping their finger on the pulse.

I hope you liked today’s article.  Don’t forget that there are many other lessons parents can learn from my parenting book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.  Feel free to read the preface located right below my picture.  I hope the lessons you will learn from the book will serve your family well.  Here’s the direct link to the book from www.lulu.com:   http://tiny.cc/8gs8o

I also wanted to announce that over this past weekend, I receive the 1,000th comment on www.claytonpaulthomas.com.  For everyone who has ever cared enough to leave a thought on my website, I truly appreciate your time and effort.

My next post will be on Tuesday.  Have a terrific weekend.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Teaching Responsibility Isn't Easy

Teaching responsibility is one of the more difficult aspects of raising children in my opinion. Some parents are very proactive.  For example, some children are given a set of chores around the house they are expected to complete.

But, responsibility goes further than that.  Responsible children have to make choices during difficult times.  Whether or not to cheat on a test or whether to lie to a parent about where they really were on Saturday night are examples.

I don’t have a one size fits all answer when it comes to responsibility because it depends on the age of the child and the temperament of the parent.  What I do have is a story from this past weekend which illustrates how difficult teaching responsibility can be.

Sunday morning, I woke up to take my children home from a great weekend with my cousin and his family.  After I drove 3 1/2 hours to get home, I discovered water underneath my floor boards because my refrigerator had leaked while I was away. Because this is a family blog, I’ll only say my mood was general unhappiness.  I felt a lot like this man though.

My oldest child had a flag football game at 1:00pm so I rustled up the energy and off we went.  He played his best overall game of the season and made me very proud.  In the fourth quarter though, he missed a flag on fourth down and one.  The opponent went on to score a touchdown and his team lost.  Both of us knew he messed up and my heart strings just broke for him.  After the game, he cried and I felt horribly.  He asked if he could go home with my wife which was fine.  This is when the really hard part of the story begins.

After we got home, I asked him for his mouth guard but he said he didn’t have it.  It’s a requirement of the league to have a mouth guard so this was a problem.  After looking in my wife’s car and around the kitchen, he was convinced he lost it.

After having such a long and emotional day, the last thing I wanted to do was make a decision on how I was going to handle the problem.  But, that’s what I had to do.  After a deep breath, I decided going back to the ball field with my child to try to find the mouth guard was a better idea than showing my frustration to my 7 year old child.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find the mouth guard so I had another question to answer.  Who was going to pay for the $20 replacement?  I decided that since my child had lost it, he should pay for it.  That was a tough decision though because we had had a long day, all 7 year olds make mistakes, and his money is mainly from past birthdays.  Heck, I had no desire to even drive to the sporting goods store to make the purchase.  Nevertheless, we went, found the replacement, and he used his money.

By the time we returned home, I was exhausted.  I remember telling my wife that I was going to take a nap.  I told my child before I laid down that if he found his mouth guard, we would return the new one.

By the time I woke up, I was greeted with a surprise.  My child had found his mouth guard. It was in my wife’s car he swore he had already looked through.

There are a lot of lessons to be taken from this story.  The first lesson is that teaching responsibility doesn’t revolve around a parents’ convenience.  We don’t get the luxury of picking and choosing when to teach these important lessons.

The second lesson is equally if not more important. Had I not placed the responsibility on my son to find the mouth guard and pay for it, he probably wouldn’t have made the extra effort to look in the car again before it was too late.  Once the new package is opened, it cannot be returned.

Finally, going forward, my child was taught that dad is not going to bail him out with $20 when he doesn’t keep up with his belongings.  I wonder how much money that lesson will actually save me (and him) for the foreseeable future.  I guess only time will tell.

Have a terrific week and I will write to you again Friday.  Don’t forget lessons like the one you read about today are in my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.  It can be purchased through this link.  http://tinyurl.com/3fkzasp

Using the promo code tango305 at checkout will also give a 15% discount.   Best wishes!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Anxious Moments or Something More

I am very excited to write to you today! I want to thank everyone who sent a parenting question.  I will be answering questions not chosen privately by email.

The question I chose from “Billy” asks if I have worked with children who had anxiety issues and what strategies I used.  I like this question because it is a bit tricky and I enjoy a challenge.

First, please understand it’s difficult for me to group children who have anxiety together. That’s because anxiety is an extremely broad topic.  Some children I worked with have shown signs of anxiety because of something that happened in school.  Depending on the circumstances, symptoms didn’t last very long.  Others though showed anxiety from severe abuse suffered long before they were in my care.  The symptoms were treated with medication and lasted for years.

I read from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America that it may be time to see a doctor if the issues last beyond a month and there are several treatment options.  I am not a medical professional but that seems like a good rule of thumb.  For the sake of this blog, I am going to pretend that the anxiety issues are less than a month old.

My first question to Billy is where does anxiety stem?  Did the child watch a scary movie?  Was there a death in the family?  Is there an upcoming test in school that has the child on edge?  Is there something on the child’s mind he/she doesn’t want to talk about but is driving them crazy? (Drugs, pregnancy)  Getting to the heart of the matter is often a good first step in anxiety relief.

My oldest child once hid a poor school note from me for two days.  The anxiety climaxed when he became physically sick while at school.  Basically, his teacher had confronted him because I had obviously not signed the note. Once I picked him up and he finally told me what happened, consequences were assessed due to the behavior but his anxiety was instantly relieved.

A second step to help a child relieve anxiety is to be a supportive listener.  When I was a child, I had a lot of anxiety issues due to not being popular and bullied at school.  My mother went with the “it will pass someday” philosophy.  Granted she was correct.  But, that “someday” turned out to be years later.  I can vividly remember examples of days when my stomach would be in knots and constant tension in my head that wouldn’t seem to go away.

Children I have subsequently worked with over the years have had the same issues I felt.  I found that being a good listener and advocating where I felt it was appropriate really assisted in anxiety relief.  When a child knows you are there for them and believes you can help, anxiety will typically be decreased.  The key though is the belief in you.  If a child doesn’t believe you can or are really willing to help, merely talking to you probably won’t be enough to relieve the anxiety.

On a side note, it is important to know a little anxiety is not a bad thing.  For example, anxiety can keep a child attentive while taking a test.  It can also give a child an extra pep in their step while on a football field.

There are a lot of things I am leaving out because this is a complex issue.  I encourage Billy and everyone who is interested to check out this website from the aforementioned Anxiety Disorders Association of America for more information.  I believe you will find the general tips helpful.  http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children-and-teens/tips-parents-and-caregivers/help-your-child-manage-traumatic-

Housekeeping note:

I want to thank the people who take the time to read my material and pass it along to others.  Some of my recent articles have received more attention on Facebook and Twitter than I have ever seen. I’m thrilled you think enough of my work to share it with the people you know and love.

Have a super weekend and I’ll write to you again Tuesday.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Children and Beer Caves

One thing I have noticed over my years of working with children is the attitude their parents take concerning the exposure to alcohol.  Before anyone believes that I have a holier than thou approach, the truth is my ideas are fairly convoluted.  For example, I don’t drink around my children.  But, my wife will have a glass of wine with dinner occasionally and it doesn’t bother me in the least.  My friends also drink around my children at parties and I’m not put off by them either.  Not drinking around my children is simply a personal decision.  My goal for this post is for parents to simply think about their attitudes about alcohol and their children.

Last weekend, my wife ran out of wine.  Therefore (being the hunter gatherer of the house) I went out to correct this atrocity.  When I went to the liquor store though, I saw something that was a bit unusual.  A mom, dad, and two children (probably ages 8 and 5) walked out of the store’s beer cave with a cart full of beer.  While there are some people reading this thinking what bad parents they are, there are others pumping their fists thinking, “Now that’s what I am talking about.” Though I don’t want to judge this family, I question the message this act sends to their children.

Though I have had the same attitudes about alcohol, that doesn’t mean I am immune to an alcoholic story.  For example, about a month ago, my family attended my god son’s birthday party where alcohol was served.  I was in the yard watching my 4 year old when my 7 year old approached me.  He asked if I would open his bottle of lemonade.  I wasn’t really paying attention so I said “sure.”  When I took the bottle, it felt ice cold.  I looked down to discover it was a bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  What was funny was that the other guests had thought I had sent him to the cooler to get it for me.  Of course, this was an innocent mistake.

Minutes before I started writing this post yesterday, I asked my 4 year old what he wanted to drink with his lunch.  He usually drinks chocolate milk but I am out of chocolate (I know- I know- poor parenting). Anyway, I asked what else he would like and he pointed to a bottle of Mike’s Lite Hard Cranberry Lemonade.  After a small chuckle, we settled on a Capri Sun.

I’m not about to tell parents where to draw the line on this issue.  But, out of all my convoluted opinions, I do have a strong one.  Our children may not always listen to what we say but they ALWAYS watch what we do.  Having a drink while socializing may be one thing but I can’t see why a parent would want to be drunk around their child.  If nothing else, a person’s ability to parent would have to be less than when he/she is sober.

Many of the children who I worked with at St. Joseph’s had problems with alcoholic parents.  Perhaps that’s where my disdain truly lies.  When I was growing up, I never saw my mother have a drink- let alone be drunk.  It’s certainly a lasting image I’ll always keep.  Please be responsible around your child no matter what your attitude is about alcohol. Here’s my final piece of advice. Make sure if you have to have your young child with you while you load up your cart in a refrigerated beer cave, be considerate and pack a sweater.

I’ll check in again with another post on Tuesday.  Until then, give the kids a sober hug!

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Story for Mothers

Today’s post is a story of when breaking a rule isn’t such a bad thing.  This was one of those moments I needed to keep my flexibility meter up.  While enforcing rules (in general) is vital to maintaining a disciplined household, knowing when to be flexible to very important as well.

A couple of nights ago, I had placed my 4 year old to bed.  In my home, once a child is placed in bed, they are expected to rest and go to sleep.  Although my older child can read (no televisions in bedrooms) in his bed, I haven’t implemented that policy for my younger one yet.

As the story goes, around 30-45 minutes had passed after I placed my children to bed. My wife went upstairs (where the kids sleep) to change into her pajama’s.  It took a lot more time for her to change than usual but I didn’t question anything.  I had had a long day and was exhausted.

The next morning, I mentioned something about the prior night in passing.  What happened was my wife peeked in on my 4 year old.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite asleep.  He looked up at her and sweetly asked, “Mommy, will you rock me?”  Though Lauren and I have the same general bedtime policies, she gave in.

The way she explained the situation was beyond question to me.  In essence, she said that the day will come when he’ll never ask to be rocked again.  Now, there may be a cynic or two who will question her decision on the basis of breaking routines.  But, here’s what I have learned after years of working with children.  You have to be clear to a child on your rules.  Your child has to be clear on the rules.  Then and only then can you take a jackhammer and smash a rule occasionally.

Tonight, of course, I’ll place the children to bed and make sure my wife stays the heck away from them.  (Ha Ha- just kidding)

Have a fabulous weekend and I’ll write to you again Tuesday.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Taking Pride in Yourself

Regular readers of this blog know my focus is on helping with their children.  I take a lot of pride in knowing what a difference I have made through your comments and emails. Today’s topic will be a bit different but very effective if utilized properly.

One aspect of parenting underutilized is taking pride in you.  By this I mean not just as a parent but as a person.  Many people I know don’t want to toot their own horn because it is not in their nature.  Regardless, if you aren’t tooting your own horn for the good you do- who will?

Now, you may ask why this is important.  The answer is pretty simple.  You are modeling for your child what pride looks like.  This is different than when the child does something good and you clap for them.  When you take pride in something you do, the child receives a visual which is totally different than the feeling the child gets when they take pride in themselves.

Here is an example of what I am getting at.  I take a lot of pride in writing this blog and my children know it.  Because I take pride in my work, my children look up to me in a different way than if I were only doing this because it was my job.  Don’t get me wrong, a parent can certainly take pride in their career.  I’m saying that because I take pride in myself with blogging, I give my kids another reason to be proud of me.  Because my kiddos are proud of what I do, it helps in other areas such as academics, athletics, and discipline.

Another way to think about this is to picture a dad you know who doesn’t have a job and responds by getting drunk all the time.  Do you believe the father is proud of himself for what he is doing?  Do you think children with this type of father can take pride in what their dad is doing? If your answers to these questions are “no” then we are on the same page.

Therefore, my message to you today is this.  Think about something you do every day that you are proud of and let it show in your actions and in your work.  When you do this, your child will respond positively to you which will cause a lot more happy times in the long run and fewer problems as well.  Also, be proud of what you have accomplished with your parenting.  Though we’ve all made mistakes, giving ourselves a pat on the back for the good we have done for kids is well deserved!

I’ll check in with you again Friday and I hope you have a great week!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sink or Swim (Part 2)

I hope everyone is having a terrific day.  Before I get into this post, I want to welcome the readers from the Feed Me Friday blog hop.  I’m happy you are here.  I also hope you will pass the post along to others if you know parents who could benefit from today’s topic.

Last Tuesday, I discussed how important it is to be vigilant around the pool or lake.  It would be a good idea to take a quick look at the blog if you have an extra minute in order to understand the particulars of this post.  http://www.claytonpaulthomas.com/archives/378

Today, I want to discuss my extended family and how they lost track of a two year old.  My grandparents had 16 children. (No, that is not a misprint).  In the area and time they lived, having large families was commonplace.  Of those children, 12 of them had at least 3 children each.  I have about 50 cousins.  But, one of my uncles (Cliff) died when he was two years old.

Years have passed and there are some variations of this story.  Regardless, what happened was Cliff found his way to the pond on my grandparents’ farm, fell in, and was retrieved too late.  His grave is next to the resting place of my grandparents.

For years, I have been a bit cynical of his passing.  I always wondered how so many people could have lost track of Cliff.  But, on the other hand, my aunts and uncles are very responsible people.  While Cliff was going to the pond, many of them were involved in various chores that are associated with a farm.

Any traces of cynicism left my mind permanently when my youngest child fell into the pool at Calypso Cove and stared at me with eyes wide open- drowning.  The thing is accidents will happen in the blink of an eye.  When our children are near water, we really have to put down the Ipad, the book, and the phone in order to pay attention.

My grandparents raised children who turned out to be hard working, honest, and trustworthy people.  I am very blessed to call them aunts and uncles.  By all accounts, they had every right to be as proud as parents can be.  Nevertheless, losing Cliff was a heavy burden.  It’s a burden that happens to many families every year.  Simply watching the news or reading a newspaper will confirm this point.  I have heard of or read about four separate drownings over the last two weeks alone.

My message is simple and blunt.  Please pay attention to your child near water.  You’ll never regret it.

On Tuesday, I am going to talk about a topic that is much lighter than today’s post (because I can’t get much heavier).  My youngest child recently tore the front cover off a book- and I am incredibly proud of him.  I’ll tell you all about what happened and why you will want your child to rip off a cover or two as well.  You won’t want to miss this so feel free to include your email address located at the top right hand side of the blog.  The post will be sent to your email inbox as soon as it is published.

Have a terrific weekend!!!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Making Cents (Sense) Out of Dollars

Before I get started, I want to share a story.  When I woke up Monday morning, I had some ideas for a blog in my mind but nothing in stone.  I went to the gym (as is my routine) when I noticed a magazine (maybe it was the Wall Street Journal)  There was an article that dealt with retirement myths.  It was well written and I thought writing a money article for parents may be a good idea.

Later, I was looking through some blogs. I came across a new one with an outstanding post by Joyce Wheeler titled Teaching Children About Finances. (http://networkedblogs.com/hy4SU) I highly recommend it.

Finally, I received an email from our local chapter of All Pro Dad.  It said that the next meeting will have to do with striking a balance between children saving and spending their money.  (There comes a point where I wonder whether someone is trying to tell me something)

Money is a pretty long topic to deal with so here’s what I learned at St. Joseph Children’s Home and how I applied the lesson in my home. Before I get into my stories, I promise you this.  Most schools do not teach money sense to any great degree.  I suspect one reason is that it is not covered on standardized tests to any great extent.  So here’s the question.  Who will teach your children how to handle their money if you won’t?

At St Joseph, we used fake money called Luckbucks.  They were earned based on chores and behavior.  Even our 4 year old residents received these.  If your kids are small, you don’t have to use real money.  Luckbucks were used when the children had group outings or wanted to play Nintendo.  Looking back on it, we probably underutilized them although they were still effective.

I believe children should be allowed to earn money but they should also be forced to spend it.  Usually what I see are kids who earn money but mom and dad still pay for everything.  The point of money is not only to accumulate it but to spend it wisely.  Now, if a child chooses not to spend their money after weighing their options, that’s great. It’s the discretion of the parent in determining when their children should be using their own money.

I had a child at St. Joseph I’ll call Daniel whose sole purpose with Luckbucks was to save them.  He never spent his “money” because he wanted “to be rich.”  In some small way, I hope his attitude towards Luckbucks transferred to life after St. Joseph.  If that’s the case, he could retire very early in life.

Contrarily, my oldest child saves but he has two conflicting goals.  The first is to buy all the things he likes at Toys ‘R’ Us and the second is to save until he accumulates $100.  (This is his Holy Grail of cash)  A while back, he saw a truck in an advertisement that he had to have.  I believe it cost about $25.00.  He asked me if I would get it for him and I refused. (He has over 20 trucks in his playroom)  I told him if he wanted the truck, he’d have to buy it himself.  After some deliberating, he decided to make the purchase.

The reason I decided to tell you this story is because I can’t remember the last time he actually played with the truck.  He’s also brought up the goal of saving $100.00 on multiple occasions since then.  The irony is if he didn’t buy the truck, he would already have the money!  Of course, I remind him of the truck when he brings up the savings goal.  I am not condescending but I want him to realize the financial choices he makes are a big deal.  As he gets older, I’m sure I’ll hammer this point even more.

Thanks for reading and passing this along to other parents.  It is greatly appreciated!

Also, during the month of May, Lulu.com (the distributor of Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures)  is knocking off 15% on their production costs so I am passing the savings on to you.  When you purchase the book, please enter the code maysave305 to get your discount.  I really appreciate Lulu for doing that!  Here’s the direct link.

http://bit.ly/iArqFa

Have a terrific day!!!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Handling Failure

I am glad to have you back again!  I am noticing some of my parenting questions getting more difficult.  I think some of you out there are trying to test me.  Well, bring it on because I asked for it.  There is an email address on the right side of the screen all questions can be sent to.  If I don’t think I can answer your question, I’ll send you a return email privately.  Please be patient with me.  I only answer one question per week for now.  On that note, buckle up because this ride will not be pretty. 

Today’s question is from “Amy” who asks “How should I respond to my child who has failed at things important to her?”  Amy mentioned grades and a cheer leading team as examples.

First of all, allow me to be blunt- failure stinks.  What I would like to impart to you is our children do not have the same mental capacity to handle a failing situation like most of us do as adults.  There were times when I was a kid that I failed and my mom (God bless her) would give me the ol shake it off speech in one way or another.  “Shake it off Clay.  It will be just fine.”  Another line used more than once went something like, “It won’t even matter when you are an adult.” (But mom, I am only 11)

I’m not angry in the least at my mom but the truth is she didn’t know what to do or what to say.  I would be willing to bet there are a lot of parents who mean well just like my mom but don’t know what to do as well.

The first glimpse I had at looking at what was perceived as failure through the eyes of a child came at St. Joseph Children’s Home.  I’ll guarantee few parents who read this will understand failure like a child who goes through an adoption fair, doesn’t get “picked” and watches one of his buddies who does.  I won’t get into the process but it goes on for quite a while before the adopted kid actually leaves.  Therefore, everyday the “chosen” kid is still at the home is a reminder for the unpicked child.

Some of the children in these cases were inconsolable for a while. It was really hard on me personally to watch these things happen even if I was happy for the newly adopted child.  This was especially true when a kid looked right in my eyes and asked that familiar question, “Why couldn’t it have been me?”  Another of my heart wrenching “favorites” was “What’s wrong with me?”

I told you that story because I had a general response/attitude that worked for me in these dire times and I hope it works for you as well.  My response was something like “I know things didn’t work out for you but I’m right here and I think the world of you.”  The only reason this worked for me was because the relationship I had with certain kids was top notch.  Anything less, and the kids would have interpreted my words as pure B.S.  In these moments, that is the last thing a kid needs.

When it comes to Amy and her question.  Grades come and go but if they are important to the child, then they should be to you.  Let’s pretend, for example, we are talking about a math grade.  I would display a nurturing attitude with a tough undertone (because that is my nature).  Here’s how this would look.     

I’d put my arms around Amy’s kid and let her cry.  When she was finished, I’d let the child know how smart she is and that we were going to work through this problem together.  In the ensuing days though, if I ever saw the kid slacking on the math work, I wouldn’t be quite as nurturing.  I’d give subtle reminders of how that math grade made her feel and encourage her to stay focused.

Cheerleading is pretty much the same story.  Any time a child doesn’t make a team, it is devastating because of (1) the feelings of failure for not making the team and (2) having to face the peers at school who did.  Although the math grade may be more important to you as a parent, the cheerleading problem may be harder in the eyes of the child.  After all, the math grade is private.

Photo taken at a public event of event partici...
It is not easy to face the girls who beat you in school

I’d like to know why she didn’t make the team by talking to the coach.  (Don’t pressure the coach to include the child on the team).  Find out what she can improve on and attack the weaknesses if the child is willing.  If not, it may be a good idea to find another sport which she is better suited.  Let the choice be hers.

As all of us know, failure is a part of life.  No one succeeds at everything.  But, the effective parent will get down on the child’s level, help them through the pain, and teach towards the future.

Thanks to all who stopped by today.  If you think this post is worthy please pass it along to another family.  

This Monday, I will be back with an education blog.  I am going to write the illusionists piece I premised last Friday and some similarities they have with teachers. Break out your magic wands and hidden keys and I’ll see you Monday.