Dr. Phil’s show is sordid, but sometimes nuggets of wisdom emerge


An icon illustrating a parent and child

An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate to admit this, but I do sometimes turn on the Dr. Phil. TV show.  It’s really sordid. Sometimes,  I wonder if his guests are merely actors pretending to be real people.

I didn’t fully watch his show today, but at the end of the show, he had  a psychologist on who had some good tips for listening to your kids.

Listening to your kid’s concerns and problems is one of the most important thing a parent can do.  It’s called paying attention to them.

Remembering the chaos that surrounds children makes it sometimes difficult to give them your full attention. Fulfilling their physical needs sometimes takes precedence over their emotional ones.

Today’s parents have to be exhausted. Both parents, or only a single parent,  have to work full-time jobs to make ends meet. Some parents are working more than one job. I can’t imagine how hard it would be today. Gas prices, food prices, and all those valid problems.

I think cell phones, computers, I-pads and all that technical stuff has to make it even harder to talk to your kids.  It bothers me when I’m out somewhere, and people are paying more attention to their phones than their kids. It’s a little frightening. Some of those kids have forlorn expressions on their faces.

What really bothers me when  both parties, the child and the parent, are busy on their communication devices. Then, they don’t seem to be together at all.

Tips for listening to your kids

Put all that stuff aside when your kid is talking to you. Fully look at the child. One thing the psychologist pointed out is that children can read your body language and your facial expressions. They’re going to pick up on whether you’re really listening.

Do reflective listening. See if you can tell how the child is feeling. Reflect this back by saying, “I know you’re feeling hurt, or I think you’re feeling…… Don’t make it phony. (I had a friend who always used to say, “I hear you.” Finally I asked her if she’d gotten that expression in her graduate course.).

Be supportive. I think that’s also important. Try to see their side of things. Then discuss it with them. You may not agree, but at least know how they’re thinking

What do you think? How do you listen to your kids? Please don’t do it holding your i-phone!

TV’s Supernanny is cool: A Review. Ten of the best techniques I’ve gleaned from the show.


I am fascinated by the Supernanny.  She’s the English Nanny who helps rescue people being over-run by their kids.  What’s most fascinating about her is that she doesn’t have any kids, but she seems to have a good understanding of what makes kids tick. No matter how assertive she is with the children,  the kids seem to love her. She knows the difference between being stern and mean. (It is TV) It just proves that kids are looking for authority figures, not friends.

This lady has good ideas. I was watching a marathon of these shows yesterday. Why I should be interested after I’m all done with mothering bewilders me. Maybe I’m just glad I didn’t live with abusive kids.

These new parents have a lot on their plates. It takes two incomes to raise kids these days. It’s a lot of responsibility, work and time.  I think maybe we’ve lost sight of what’s important. I think our mothers, father, and grandparents had a better idea.

I’m not saying I was the perfect mother, far from it. Luckily, my kids came out all right, but I  could have used some of the techniques I see proposed on this TV show.

Ten Valuable Techniques (I’ve watched

Supernanny

Supernanny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Supernanny teach hapless parents.)

1 .When disciplining the child, get down on their level. Have them think about what they did wrong, then have them apologize. (I actually did use this technique. It was in place in the medieval times. )
2. Put some authority in your voice, so they know you mean business.
3. Make them go in their corner or room for one minute per age.
4. If they get out of bed at night, just put them back in their beds. The first time, say something, but after that don’t talk, just put them back in bed.
5 .Don’t let them use bad language, kick, hit or abuse the parents. It should never be tolerated.
6. Keep a good routine going. Give them thing to do that they will like. (Don’t just expect toys or TV  to completely entertain them.)
7 .Make sure your house is safe and that they can’t get into trouble.
8. Give them responsibility.
9. Take time to play with them.
10 Take time to listen to them.

Clinging Child

The story that I found unbelievable was about a little boy who was clinging onto his mother. She couldn’t walk 10 feet without him putting up his arms and demanding that she pick him up. She never turned him down.  He also decided what time his  mom and he should go to bed.  When he got tired, he happily crawled in bed with Mom and Dad (already asleep).

Supernanny gave Mom several  techniques to un-cling little 2-year old.  Mom was unwittingly promoting these  clinging habits. Dad wasn’t helping because when  he came home from work, he had transition time which never ended. He sat on a chair all night and watched TV. As soon as he became engaged with his kids, things began to improve.

It all came out all right. (At least on the TV show.)  The clinging  child  finally went to sleep in his own bed, disengaged from his mom and stopped throwing tantrums every time she put him on the floor.

If the kids featured on Supernanny are messed up, it’s easy to see who is responsible. It usually goes back to Mom and Dad.

The parents don’t seem to have any insight in what they’re doing to create these little monsters. Some parents are afraid of their kids not liking them, some are too lazy to tend to their kid’s needs, and others just don’t know what to do.

It seems peculiar that they don’t teach these kinds of skills in school. I think it’s needed now, more than ever.

Your thoughts?

A Baby Boomer’s humorous look at newer innovations: the modern baby ultrasounds


Head of a fetus, aged 29 weeks, in a "3D ...

Head of a fetus, aged 29 weeks, in a “3D ultrasound” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone I vaguely know, posted a picture of their baby’s ultrasound on Facebook. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The ones that really creep me out are the three-dimensional pictures.  I think it’s very Science Fiction like, and kind of odd. Should you be looking at the kid before it comes out of the womb?  It seems like you’re invading the embryo’s privacy in some way.

It was bad enough when your parents showed you naked on a blanket. Now, they can show you actually developing.
It’s mind boggling to know that we  all start out looking like something from another dimension.   It’s one thing to be pregnant and know there’s something going on. It’s another thing to actually watch it. This whole process reminds me of a “Twilight Zone” episode.  (For all you baby boomers out there!)

Along with showing the parent’s monthly ultrasounds, the doctors also draw comparisons between pieces of fruit. The little embryos are compared to naval oranges, avocados, bananas, and a variety of foods.

Maybe it helps the parents get used to the idea of having a baby, and it is a good conceptual tool. What do we usually do with pieces of fruit? We eat them. Now, that’s creepy.

Baby boomers did experience this a little bit

When I’d go to the doctor every month, he would put me on the scale and take my urine to check out if I had some kind of disorder or other. I still hear my doctor saying, “you’re not eating for three are you?”   They did do one ultrasound per pregnancy. Once in a while it revealed the sex. In my case, it never revealed anything to me except the fetus was developing normally.  That was a reassuring thing to know.  It seemed like Science Fiction to me, even back then.  (I recently found one of these pictures, but I couldn’t remember which kid it was.)

I didn’t know whether any of my kids was a boy or girl before they arrived.  The only tooI I had in those days was the Drano test which really didn’t work. You mixed Drano with urine and it either turned blue or brown. Blue was a boy, and brown was a girl. My husband and I tried it each time and it was highly inaccurate. But it did bubble, make a sizzling noise and stink to high heaven.  You had to make sure you weren’t near it when it bubbled.

What’s next?
Twenty-four hour surveillance of all the potential baby’s movements which you can play for all your friends and relatives, and a soundtrack to go along with it? Maybe a prenatal beauty contest awards ceremony?

I do think all of this is really cool, but I’m wondering how necessary it all is. How much does the extra technology cost? Am I being overly skeptical?

What do you think?

Thanksgiving: A Time to Treasure your Family


I have some happy memories of Thanksgiving when I was a little girl. My immediate family would gather round the table. This included my grandparents, my parents and my two sisters.  I was the youngest!  I felt very happy and loved in my family, and enjoyed those celebrations.

Although both my parents had big extended families,we never shared Thanksgiving with them. It was a pretty simple holiday. My mother insisted on being  alone in the kitchen preparing the meal. We knew to stay out of her way.  If we went near her or her preparations, she would get really upset. She wanted everything to be perfect.

It wasn’t a totally traditional American menu because it always included chopped liver, and Matzah Ball Soup. We had the other things: stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans with mushroom soup,  cranberry sauce, a salad, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

My mother never changed the menu.  It was the same every year. Later, my sister added her cherry jello mold (with sour cream) which I later added to my own celebration. Unfortunately, I never wrote down my mother’s recipe for matzah balls, chopped liver, or stuffing. I’ve made all those things, but it never tasted like my mom’s.

One day my oldest sister offered to take over the Thanksgiving celebration. (By this time, one of my sister’s and her husband had moved out-of-town.) My mother was happy to relinquish her role as hostess.

Now, our celebration included my two nieces, my brother-in-law,  and their dog, Gus, who gleefully ate all the scraps. (By this time, my grandparents were long gone.)

Eventually, my family scattered, and Thanksgiving together came to an end.

I did get everyone together for Thanksgiving in 1979, but it never happened again.

Siblings: TOS

Siblings: TOS (Photo credit: rbarenblat)

Nothing lasts forever, even families. The best thing to do every year is be thankful for what you do have, and savor every moment together.

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

I’d welcome comments about your childhood Thanksgiving celebrations! What’s your happiest memory?

10 good reasons to have children


Cute Kids in Children's Costumes

Cute Kids in Children’s Costumes (Photo credit: epSos.de)

1. You are patient, kind, and love children. You find them fascinating and fun.

2. You have a strong marriage or relationship  and want to share your happiness by having children.

If you’re single, independent and secure,  that may work too.  (I’d like to hear from you if you’ve accomplished that.)

3. You are a mature adult, and can put yourself second to others. It is amazing how you can have room to love your children. It’s a great feeling, natures’ way of putting you lower on the totem pole.

4. You like to get on the floor and play. It doesn’t hurt if you like play-doh, paint, and all that fun stuff. How about those little people toys?

5. You like fun activities like going out to the zoo, dressing up, and watching plays.( Ones they put on), There’s nothing like seeing activities through a child’s eyes for the first time. How about the surprise and delight when they get on that merry-go-round for the first time?   It’s like being a child yourself….all over again.

6, You aren’t having a child to recreate your life. They are not there to give you a second chance at athletics, academics, or a social life.  (Please don’t yell at your kid when they’re playing sports.)

7.You don’t care about having the best clothes, vacations, etc. Unless you are wealthy, of course!

8. You don’t mind tending the sick occasionally. It comes with the job description. Have a relief person when you get sick yourself.

9. You don’t mind being a disciplinarian. It is necessary. It’s the hardest part about being a parent.

10. Be prepared for your heart to break when they get more independent, and would rather spend time with their peers. You’re only a hero to them for part of the time.( When they get older and realize your human too, it’s always a little sad. )

Was I good at all these things? I would have to say no. . My report card would show I had weaknesses and strengths, like anyone.  But, these are conclusions I came to when all was said and done.

Maybe it can help you.

Anything to add? Disagreements? Please comment!

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10 Good reasons not to have children….some observations from a mature woman


Child 1

Child 1 (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

Let me clarify this by saying, I liked being a parent, but I’ve seen other people who shouldn’t have even thought about it for a moment.

As my children will tell you, I was not perfect, but I did my best. (Besides I had a husband who was very well-suited for the job.) I think it always helps when there are two of you, but I guess it’s not necessary.

Here are my observations. I can do this because I am very mature, and don’t care what anyone thinks.

I invite you to agree or disagree with me!

Don’t have kids if…..

1. You are basically selfish. There’s no room for selfishness here, only unselfishness.

2. You are trying to save your marriage. Children will topple over a shaky marriage, and it’s not fair to bring them into a bad situation. Only bring children into a good situation.

3. You are lonely…. get a dog or cat instead. They can’t speak, and will give you unconditional love.

4. You have a low-level of frustration. Nothing will try your patience more than little kids. Your frustration will plunge to depths you didn’t know existed. (However, if you’re lucky their cuteness will keep you from losing it altogether. I guess it’s nature’s way.)

5. You just want to dress them up like a little doll. Chances are they won’t share your taste. This preference for clothing shows up quite early in life. When they figure out what you like, they’ll go the opposite direction. (Besides when they’re infants they may spit up on the outfit.)

6. You are lonely. Don’t put another person in charge of keeping you from loneliness. It isn’t fair, and it doesn’t really work.  (Have you seen Octomom, she looks very busy! As you can see if you read the link attached to this, she’s resorted to porn.)

7.  You want to live as a millionaire. (Does this really need an explanation?)

8.  You want a friend . Good parents look at their children as their responsibilities not as friends. You want to fit in with your friends who have children. Your children might not get along with your friend’s kids. Then, you won’t see them at all.

9, You want someone to give you comfort in your old age. Sometimes that works, other times, they may live on the other side of the world. You shouldn’t bring people into the world to take care of you.

10. You freak out when you hear a lot of noise, or smell unpleasant odors.  Be prepared to be around a lot of noise and smells, at least in the formatiive years.  Sitting in a quiet odorless room may be a rare pleasure.

Any additions to this list. Feel free!

We are Family: The Columbus Ohio Group that gives: The Harmony Project


The Harmony Project led by David Brown gave everyone in Columbus, Ohio, a fun day of participating in a flash choir. It was all kinds of families: traditional, non-traditional, and just good friends. The definition of family is changing!

Come to our concert on July 18, and July 19th at the Southern Theater. You can buy tickets at OH CAPA,www.capa.com
We are 200 strong. This show will be fantastic, I guarantee it!

We raise money for projects in Columbus! Instead of talking about what we can’t do, we just do it! This group has been giving me joy since 2010. I can always count on attending either a rehearsal or an event, and coming home with a positive feeling.

Our amazing leader is David Brown. He is the conductor, and you can just see from this video how much positive energy he conveys.

*if you were there, look at the gallery, and then watch the video!