Posts Tagged: resolutions

Alyson Schafer discusses children and chores and the challenge of raising a responsible child

Have you ever pulled your hair out trying to get your children to be punctual, do their chores or finish their school work?  I joined CTV Morning Live in Winnipeg to talk about Raising a Responsible Child.

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

My Parenting Fail Hat-Trick

There are some days that I feel pretty great in my role as parent. Maybe I’ve handled a difficult situation calmly or I’ve made a meal that everyone enjoys and there’s no squabbling at the dinner table. Then there’ll be a day like last week that makes me feel like I’m failing as a parent.

My daughter sent me a text, clearly articulating all the reasons she was upset with me.

1) I had made her a sandwich that had cucumbers on it (she hates cucumbers). 

2) The night before, I had forgotten that she was working and needed the car, and told my husband he could take it.

3) She’d had a really important day at school yesterday, and I hadn’t asked her about it at dinner.

Wow. Having all those things pointed out so matter-of-factly hit me hard and I did my best to try to smooth things over. I thought I’d deal with the lunch fiasco first, in a light hearted way. “Well, you’re lucky, I forgot to make sure your brother was up and out the door early for band practice, and he didn’t even GET a lunch!” and, “Wait, you hate cucumbers? I thought you hated CARROTS!” Then came my helpful advice, “Just pick the cucumbers off.” When attempted humour and defensiveness didn’t work, I turned to justification for the next two issues. “It’s so hard to keep everyone’s schedules straight,” and “I was going to ask you about your day, but you mentioned it before I had a chance.”

If it had been just one thing she wouldn’t have felt so upset, but THREE? That was a parenting fail Hat-trick! She felt unloved and for that, I was heartbroken, and I felt guilty. I asked if we could get together that night and talk about it. She said “whatever” but I took that as a positive sign (ever the optimist)! She had a poetry book that she’d ordered that had just arrived at our local book store so I made a special effort to pick it up and bring it home as a peace offering. When I knocked on her door with the book in hand, she was thrilled. We hugged, I told her that I loved her and that I was so sorry that I’d made her feel badly. She apologized too and assured me that we were good.

Here’s what I learned that day:

1) Perception is reality. My actions made it seem that my daughter wasn’t important to me so that’s how she felt, even though that’s the farthest thing from the truth.
2) Healing starts when you say you’re sorry.
3) It was never about the cucumbers. That was just the final straw.

Do you have any experience with parental guilt or parenting fails to share? Come on, we’ve all got ‘em!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

Making New Years’ Resolutions? How About a Family Report Card for 2013?

Happy Holidays!  I imagine a lot of you will be making New Year’s resolutions. I was thinking about how ambitious and yet ambiguous something like “have a better family life” is as a goal to set. How would you know if you did “better” in 2013 as a family?

That’s when I remembered some interesting research on healthy families by Curran and Dolores.  They discovered that healthy families have 15 similar attributes. Here they are:

15 Traits Shared by Healthy Families

  1. Communicates and listens
  2. Validates and supports each other
  3. Teaches respect for others
  4. Develops trust
  5. Has a healthy sense of humor and has fun
  6. Shares responsibilities
  7. Teaches a sense of right and wrong
  8. Has a strong sense of family, with rituals and traditions
  9. Balances the interactions among members
  10. Has a shared religious background  (I’ll have to write more on my thoughts about this later)
  11. Respects the privacy of each other
  12. Values service to others
  13. Promotes family meals with conversation
  14. Shares leisure time
  15. Admits to and seeks help with problems
    (Curran, Dolores Traits of a Healthy Family, Winston Press, 1983)

If these traits were subjects on a report card, how did you do for each in 2013?

If you wanted to improve your grade in each subject area for 2014, what would you need to do? Can you turn those thoughts into concrete, measurable action steps?  What will it look like when you reach your goal?

Hopefully with some imagination and using these 15 traits as starting place, you’ll be able to set some really concrete and attainable goals for your family life in the year ahead.

Happy New Year and may you have a joyous year ahead!

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

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