Jeremy Olson writes about children and families, and is an overscheduled father of two. His blog tackles the best and worst of parenting, families, health and love. He wants to hear from you - what's going on in your house?
After a 3-year run, the Daddy-O blog is winding down as I move from the children and families beat at the Star Tribune to the health and medicine beat. Thanks to readers for all of their ideas and comments that kept this lively blog cruising! As part of the transition, I am once again sorting through the massive pile of parenting self-help books that come my way.
So here is my third and final installment of "the best parenting advice I gleaned from books I only had time to skim!"
From socialsklz :-) for success by Faye De Muyshondt, regarding the importance of eye contact in an introduction:
Be sure that your kids are making eye contact for the entire introduction. Explain that it's not always easy to make eye contact, but that it is an important indicator of both confidence and respect, and that it also conveys engagement in the interaction. Ask your child to hold eye contact with you or a sibling for 15 seconds and count as you look at each other (also let them know that they can blink, so that it doesn't turn into a stare down!) This exercise bolsters confidence in making eye contact for future introductions.
From Teach Your Children Well, by Madeline Levine, about teaching children the value of hard work:
Do model enthusiasm around hard work. Some parents are so overwhelmed that their kids get the message that all hard work brings is stress and tension. Who wants to join that club? Let your kid know that when you work hard, you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Not every moment, but often enough to make your hard work feel worthwhile.
From The Big Disconnect, by Catherine Steiner-Adair, about the growing importance of family communication:
Family is the language lab of the digital age. Children's tech-connected socializing has taken them out of face-to-face conversations and limited their opportunities to build the basic skills for live dialogue and that entire dimension of interpersonal communication. It is essential that families create ways of coming together and talking about all kinds of issues, matters of the heart, fights, plans for the weekend -- the family equivalent of circle time in school that can offer an opportunity for thoughtful conversations and a process by which they can talk about the things that are really important to them, feel heard, respected and helped.
From The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5, by ML Nichols, about one of the five mistakes parents make with teachers:
Undermining the teacher at home or gossiping. It's not uncommon at the elementary level for things that are said or heard at home to leak back to the classroom. This happens more than you know. A teacher can often tell from a child's words or reactions when parents are not supporting her efforts or are speaking disrespectfully about her. Beware of 'little big ears.'
From The Last Boys Picked, by Janet Sasson Edgette, about what to do if a child refuses to go to a scheduled sport or activity:
Parents worry that by relenting they risk losing their credibility and power. If that happens, then it's more likely to be a function of the quality of the relationships within the family than the parents giving in. With a few exceptions, a person's credibility and power to influence loved ones are suitably robust to stand up to any one bad decision or action. I think parents in healthy relationships with their children stand to gain their respect and establish even greater credibility when they make comments such as, 'I'm not sure what to do here. I don't feel right making you participate in something that you so dislike, but it is important to me that you are involved in something outside the home where you have opportunities to interact with kids your age. Let's figure out a better solution.'
From Raising Financially Fit Kids, by Joline Godfrey, on dealing with peer pressure and money decisions for tweens:
This is the stage when, for kids, the stakes seem huge. To be in or out of the popular crowd matters. To be unique but just like everyone else is the impossible quest, and to be 'cool' is imperative. It is at this point that parents become a critical counterbalance to the power of peers. Just because your daughter says everyone is buying Prada jackets doesn't make it essential for her to have one. And just because that new motorized bike is appearing in every driveway doesn't mean you need to rush out and add one to all the toys already taking up room in your garage. In spite of the rolled eyes and the world-weary 'Whatever,' many kids would be perfectly happy to be out of the preadolescent rat race if their parents would just take them off the hook. If a kid can say to his friends, 'My dad is a jerk and won't allow (fill in the blank),' you get to be the bad guy, and he can still seem cool. Parents who let their kids run the show, abdicating their prerogative as grown-ups, give kids no place to hide from their peers.