SAYING NO

The courage to say no. Courage to say no comes from an understanding of your own boundaries and the fact that saying no actually saves you from personal or professional harm. It is better to say no than to say yes and be crushed under the stress of possibly producing poor product or disappointing the requestor. When we say ‘yes’ instead of ‘no,’ it’s because we’re afraid of disappointing someone, or we think it will affect how we are looked at as an employee or friend. A YES in that situation isn’t a sincere ‘yes.’ It’s not an honest ‘yes.’ It’s a YES out of fear. So a NO that is coming from healthy boundaries is better in the short and long run than a yes that is fear driven. It takes courage to say NO.   We can keep from saying yes when we mean no. Take a breath. Give yourself a minute to think and say to the person, “I need to think about that for a moment,” or “I need to see whether its possible. I need to check my calendar.” Being an automatic YES without any intervening thought trains everyone in your circle to request things of you because you always say YES. Taking the time to be honest with yourself and therefore the requester over time will lessen the requests and your stress.   I learned how to say NO when I got breast cancer. Being a “do-er” and a people pleaser for 55 years had me at an automatic “YES”. Once I was in Chemo and Radiation, I had to say NO because I didn’t have the energy. It came as a surprise to me that the people closest to me, whether personally or professionally, didn’t have an issue with me saying ‘no.’ I was so in my head about disappointing others than I was really in fear of what NO would mean in terms of my relationships.   When to Say No   In our culture, it is the norm to give an immediate answer to a request. Because of that we sometimes don’t think or take into consideration our own needs and boundaries. Having a sentence or a particular body language that allows you to think before you speak is probably the most important first step in the process. Having had that time to think, your explanation will come from a point of sincerity which always lands much better in the requestors mind and heart.   A few good sentences to use if the unexpected request needs you to quickly answer are: 1) "I'm sorry, I'll have to check a few things before I can give you an answer," or 2) "I'm not sure if a can do that. Can I get back to you?   Both of these allow you to defer a definitive 'no' while you prepare your reason.  Respect dictates you get back to the person who asked, but at least you will have [...]

2018-01-07T18:55:24+00:00 By |

Why Won’t My Teenager Listen to Me?

When my siblings and I were in elementary school, our family always ate weekday dinners together. During dinner we talked about everything. Everyone in the family had a chance to talk about problems, successes, and minutia of the day. My folks insisted that if we wanted to be listened to, we had to listen to everyone else, including them. Our listening training came unusually early in life, and it has served the three of us quite well. What my folks did was to create an environment conducive to sincere communication. They knew that if they wanted their children to listen to them, they needed to listen to us. How did my parents know how to create this environment? My Mom had a mother who was a superb listener, and when my Dad married Mom, he gained a Mother-in-Law that listened so effectively to him, he was able to add effective listening to his communication skills. So what is the basis of good communication with children? By the age of 6, your child is already copying how you communicate. If you communicate with other adults or older children respectfully, and listen for understanding and not to advise or prescribe, then your child will copy that behavior. Their first learning of what is okay and not okay in speaking and listening comes from you. Imagine your child coming home from daycare excited to tell you what they did that day. You, busy sorting mail, prepping supper, texting, or talking on the phone, ask them to wait until you are finished without telling them how long that might be. All they can see from their perspective is that everything you are doing is more important than listening to them. Their self-esteem takes a hit. If this pattern continues, it becomes the communication norm for that child. Unless the communication norm shifts for some reason, your child brings the lessons learned from your communication behavior into their formative and teenage years. Their experience of “What I have to say isn’t important,” has become fact. At this stage, when having important conversations with your child is critical to their self-esteem, ethical, and critical thinking growth, this long-standing norm is blocking the way. "The most important way to talk so your child will listen is to listen to your child," says New York City psychoanalyst Gail Saltz, MD. "If they feel listened too, they are more likely to be able to listen and will feel more understood, have more trust, and be more interested in what you have to say." Here is the great news. You CAN change the communication norm in your family. It will take time and practice, but it is possible, and the results become apparent in short order. No matter what type of family system you have: two-parent, single-parent, blended family, or grandparent caregiver, the norm can shift and a new one created.   Understanding What is Happening The first step parents can take to improve family [...]

2018-01-02T16:27:45+00:00 By |

How to raise confident kids

HOW TO RAISE CONFIDENT KIDS   In a world where social media, entertainment, technology, and other outside influences can guide our children’s thoughts and behavior, how do we raise confident kids?  Parenting is no longer just about providing the basic needs of food and shelter, it’s is about protecting our children and teaching them the skills to navigate the world with strength.   Children are susceptible to unprecedented levels of stress due to fear instilled by the politics of the day.  Fear induces physical and psychological strains on children that undermine their ability to act with compassion and strength. I have two teenagers about to leave the nest and want them to be mentally and physically strong in the midst of this very chaotic world so that they can lead successful lives both professionally and personally.   Here are some tips to help you raise confident kids:   Exercise Discretion   Kids don’t need to know everything.  Whether you’re stressed about finances, the threat of nuclear war, or why they don’t have a date to the school dance, keep it to yourself.  Also, be mindful of the conversations you have when they’re around.  Even if you’re complaining to your best girlfriend about your mate, don’t have this conversation within the vicinity of your children.  Conflict creates a negative energy that adults are better skilled to process.  You made need to vent, don’t pollute your child’s air.   Too Blessed to Be Stressed   You don’t just want things to be okay, you want THEM to be okay, even if some things aren’t.  You may not live in the best neighborhood, but there may be a network of friendly neighbors you may not get in a wealthy suburb.  If the cable goes out, keep the TV on and enjoy the broadcast network programming you get for free.  If they don’t get invited to a party, make sure there’s something fun for them to do instead.  If they feel good about themselves and their circumstances at home, it will be harder for anything or anyone to make them feel different when they’re out.   Social Media & Entertainment   Although you may want to maintain your child’s privacy in terms of their social media accounts, be aware of who they follow, the music they listen to, the shows they watch, and the information that they are receiving. If you see something troubling don’t denounce, discuss. Family time doesn’t always have to be for a movie night or your favorite sitcom. Watch the news or a documentary together so you can discover and deal with some of the issues of the world together.   Live Your Best Life   You know when you’re on an airplane and the security message tells you to put on your oxygen mask first, then assist your child. As parents we have to be in a GOOD place ourselves in order to dish out advice to our children.  We serve our children best [...]

2018-01-08T20:07:46+00:00 By |

Dear Mrs. Preteen

Dear Mrs. BFC   My 12-year-old, always sweet, loving and honest daughter has suddenly turned into Regina   from Mean girls…What is happening???? Signed Former Mom of an angel now dealing with….   Dear Former Mom of an Angel   Ok, take a moment to remember yourself at 12 years old. That’s probably hard. It’s as if child birth literally rips away any lingering memories of our childhood selves save for the warm and fuzzy parts where you were a cherub of cuteness. Guess what, it’s highly likely you were an absolute jerk to your mother at some point and you yourself went through this phase, try to remember what it felt like to suddenly have everything you thought you knew turned on its head. That’s what’s happening to your daughter.   This period is a rite of passage for teenage girls. It is the moment in which we fully separate from you, MOM…Yep, it’s happening. Your daughter is becoming an individual. With her own thoughts and opinions, ideas about who she wants to be, how she wants to show up in this world and she has a whole lot of other influences that are way cooler than you are…and she really doesn’t want to be like you right now anyway, no matter how awesome you might be.   It’s time for you to pick any one of these Top Warrior Moms and embody them…quickly https://www.livescience.com/14055-top-12-warrior-moms-history.html   I chose Isabella I, unifier of Spain…   Because…you’re going to need a whole lotta mojo to keep your warrior princess in check during this part of her journey.   We could all use a refresher course in emotional intelligence, compassion, empathy and patience and our kids won’t learn these important lessons with a lecture or sending them to their room, especially now with hormones running high, doors slamming and the utter catastrophe’s occurring daily in her life.   She needs you, now, more than ever, to keep your cool, wield your sword and your love even handedly with the skill and precision of the Warrior Mama within you. You’ve got this.   Here are some helpful tips and reminders to carry in your pocket book (And don’t worry you’re going to have good days and bad days, be patient and don’t be hard on yourself – this is hard.)   Step 1: Teach them cause and effect of their actions and behaviors. Allow them to fail, let them know when their behavior has crossed the line. Look we are all jerks every once in a while, and right now your daughter is being flooded with emotions she doesn’t know how to deal with. It’s really intense, so allow, breath and choose your battles.   Practice: Mom, you do not have to react to every eye roll, snarky come back or moment of sass… the more you choose your battles the more she will learn to do the same. When it matters, set boundaries and if she breaks them, [...]

2018-01-02T12:38:32+00:00 By |

HOW TO NOT RAISE BRATTY KIDS

Every grandparent has a “walk three miles in the snow” story about how hard things were in their day.   Our parents tell stories of life without microwaves, remote controls, and cell phones that have become modern-day conveniences of people of nearly every income level.  I even find myself reminding my kids that back in the day “there was no internet, we had to go to the library.”   One of the goals in life is to make things better for future generations. But what about the generation who has grown up with so many modern conveniences and technological advances, the only real struggle many of them know is that one time the cell towers went down and they had no wi-fi for several hours?   You want your kids to have the things you didn’t, but you also want them to be polite and grateful and not have the feeling that they are “entitled” to the life that has been afforded them.   Here’s how to not have bratty kids:   You Can’t Always Get What You Want   That child that is throwing the tantrum in the store may be too accustomed to things going their way.  Kids need to know that not getting what you want is part of life. They don’t always have to be perfectly happy.  Resist the urge to satisfy their every desire even if you have the means to do so.  Accepting things you cannot change isn’t easy, it takes practice.  Give them plenty of it.  It will prepare them for the real world and make them more patient adults.   The Rules   Human beings are creatures of habit.  Kids need bedtimes, curfews, meal requirements, snack restrictions, chores and other guidelines and responsibilities to establish discipline. Draw a correlation between what they want to do and the rules that they need to follow.  They may not agree with you, but at least they know there is a method to the madness of adolescence.   Peer Pressure   Peer pressure can be as tough for parents as it is for their children.  Do not follow other parents’ lead in making decisions for your child. Resist the urge to give kids what others have, simply because they have it.  Set your own boundaries and timelines for your household.  Don’t fall victim to keeping up with the Joneses, even if you can afford it.  Sometimes you are the one who needs to just say no.   Raise the Stakes   You know what your child wants, give them a time table and a set of goals to accomplish in before the obtain it.  Don’t just give it away.  Set age limits for them to get a later bedtime or curfew.  If you can afford to get them a car at sixteen, make sure they have to get good grades first.  If their quinceanera is about to be MTV worthy, make sure they spend time volunteering and helping out their grandparents on [...]

2018-01-07T19:33:02+00:00 By |

Arkansas School Starts Offering Yoga and Meditation Instead of Detention

A school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, has joined many others in turning to an alternative method of discipline. The Success Achievement Academy has stopped using in-school suspension as punishment. Instead, the directors started using yoga as a means of helping students relieve stress and recognize responsibility for their actions. But does yoga instead of suspension work? Yoga Instead of Suspension is Working Carlillian Thompson, the principal at Robert Coleman Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland, would probably argue that yoga and mindfulness meditation are more effective than suspension. Her school began offering yoga and meditation in 2016. The program, called Mindful Moments, was spearheaded by Ali and Atman Smith of Holisitc Life Foundation. “They actually taught the students how to redirect their negative energy into something positive. ” shares Carlillian Thompson, the principal at Coleman. In an interview with CBS This Morning, Thompson claims her school no longer has to use in-school suspension. At Coleman, all children practice mindful breathing and stretching two times per day. The Success Achievement Academy followed this example and implemented the same practice for its K-8 grades. “We did a lot of research on their school and not only how they handled discipline, but they’ve actually put it in their curriculum and that’s what we’ve done here,” stated Todd Rhoades, director at Success Achievement Academy. “What really got our attention in Baltimore, they went to zero suspensions for an entire year. Suspension does not work for our students.”   “They are getting help with learning how to breathe and meditate and to relieve stress, and then part of that not only is there deep breathing there’s also a restorative piece to it, they take responsibility for what they did,” Rhoades added. At both schools, educators now turns to mindfulness in conflict resolution, instead of punishment. “There’s violence going on the in the neighborhood. There’s drug abuse in the neighborhoods. So it’s just there’s all these things just getting dumped on these kids. And they need a way to kinda deal with it,” stated Ali Smith co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation. To see the local news story about yoga at the Success Achievement Academy, click here. Is Yoga Too Much Like a Religion to be Used in Schools? Despite these successes, there are communities where parents are not comfortable with the use of yoga in schools. Below is a discussion on TV show The View about a community in Georgia, where parents were outraged that the school started teaching yoga to students. What do you think? Does it makes sense to try yoga instead of suspension? Or are yoga and meditation too spiritual and we should keep them out of school just as we’ve done with religion? About the Author Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 [...]

2018-01-02T03:56:21+00:00 By |