Positive Mom, Positive Kids
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Everything doesn’t taste like Chocolate Cake
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My friend Leslie has a funny saying when it comes to whining and tough times. It began when her daughter Amanda wouldn’t eat her vegetables, but she loved chocolate cake. “Why do I have to eat my vegetables?” Amanda would complain. Finally in exasperation Leslie said, “Amanda, every food can’t taste like chocolate cake!” The saying stuck and now their family uses the phrase as a reminder that sometimes life is hard. It can’t always be fun and games.
As school gets back in the swing of things, we may need to remind our own kids of the chocolate cake life lesson – we are not going to enjoy and love every part of our day. Just as there are parts we don’t like, there are also activities and people that we do like, and we need to focus on those. This may be a great time to start a thankfulness journal with your kids. Every morning at breakfast, each child can say at least one thing they are grateful for that happened within the last 24 hours. Write then down, and you can’t say the same thing every day.
When our kids have a rough day, it is important to listen to them and be sad with them. Don’t try to sugar coat over their feelings. That’s like trying to cover your broccoli with chocolate sauce. No, remember everything can’t taste like chocolate cake! Instead, recognize the hurt or the pain and then begin turn their eyes and thoughts to the good that can possibly come from their challenge. Consider the strength they will have as a result. Use each difficulty or worry as an opportunity to pray with your children. Help them to grow stronger and learn through each broccoli moment, and reassure them that chocolate cake is sometimes on the menu for dessert.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty (chocolate cake) or in want (broccoli). I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Words in Italics added – obviously)

Read more like this in: A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining

A Positive Plan For Creating More Fun, Less Whining
By Karol Ladd / Thomas Nelson

Do your kids sometimes come down with the “I’m bored” bug? Thousands of years ago, King Solomon prescribed a cure: “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22. Now Karol Ladd offers positive encouragement and step-by-step, age-specific ideas to help you create a fun home atmosphere and build lasting memories! Paperback.

Planting Seeds of Contentment and Weeding out Whining
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I hope you enjoyed last week’s blog with a humorous twist on how to raise a whiner. This week, we will look at the flip side – how to plant seeds of contentment into our kids hearts.  If we are going to be intentional about raising content kids, we need the proper tools to not only weed out the whining, but to till the soil and then plant good seeds.  Let’s consider several ways to counter attack the weeds of whining with the beautiful flowers of contentment and gratitude.

It may seem obvious but one of the most important tools to help us dig out the roots of whining is wise, loving and consistent discipline.  When we are thoughtful about disciplining our kids, we do not breed rebellion. Instead we begin to develop a confident obedience in our children. Now this is not a blog on discipline, but I will offer a few thoughts to keep in mind.

The integrity of our word is vital. Our “no” must mean “no” just as our “yes” must mean “yes.”  If we say, “No, you may not have that candy bar,” but then it turns into “maybe” and eventually “okay, go ahead,” we teach our kids that if they persist in their whining long enough we can be worn down. On the other hand, if we say we are going to do something, then we need to follow through to the best of our ability. We should be wise in what we say we are going to do, and then to the best of our ability follow through with it.

Other tools that help us plant good seeds are: the example by which we live, a heart of understanding and the lessons we impart.  Our example speaks volumes.  Yes, our kids learn how to act and live as they watch our lives in action.  If we want grateful, content kids, they need to see it being played out in our own life.  They need to hear us thank God for his provision, even in challenges.  They need to see us reach out in compassion to others instead of only thinking of ourselves.

A heart of understanding helps us to effectively teach and discipline our kids instead of exasperating them.  We need to examine the child, recognizing that each child is a unique creation of God.  A wise teacher recognizes different learning styles and teaches to the heart of the student.  We must be deliberate about teaching our kids the fear of the Lord and strong moral values.  These lessons may happen over dinner time or at a family devotion.  Lessons can erupt as you spend time together on a family trip or running errands.  Sometimes we teach lessons through a planned time and other times those lessons surface through teachable moments.

The tools of sound discipline, good examples and wise lessons prepare the soil of our children’s hearts and create fertile soil for us to plant positive qualities.  What are those good seeds we want to plant in place of the weeds of whining?  Here are a few that will keep complaining at a minimum.

Flexibility.  Plans change; situations don’t always turn out as we hoped they would, people fail; therefore, one of the most important lessons our kids can learn is to adjust without complaint.  Now this is hard for some of us adults, and yet it is a life lesson we need to teach our kids early on, so they can learn to roll with the punches rather than complain about them.

Compassion.  Grumbling and whining seem to dwindle as we get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the needs of others.  When we care for others and reach out in love we no longer see our own little problems in the same light.  Chapter Ten in this book offers fun and creative ways to reach out and bless others in need.

Forgiveness.  The Lord’s prayer says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  The apostle Paul also reminds us to “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”[i]  As we recognize our own sinfulness, we know the importance of forgiving others.  We are all sinners, we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness.  As we realize the grace that has been extended toward us through Christ, we can’t help but have grace toward other people.

Thankfulness.  Gratitude is a sure fire way to diminish our worry and complaints about what we don’t have.  Teaching our kids gratitude is a valuable life lesson.  They can hear and learn thankfulness from our mouths during each day as we say, “I’m so thankful for …”  We can encourage thankfulness around the dinner table as we say Grace and thank the Lord specifically for His blessings.  As soon as our kids are able to write we want to teach them the importance of writing thank you notes.  And each night as our kids go to bed, let’s review some of the things we can thank God for that day

Contentment.  Being content is not based on the things that we have or even the people in our lives.  Contentment is a heart issue.  We can teach our kids at an early age the difference between needs and wants, by helping them identify the two.  If you hear your daughter say, “I need …” Talk to her about it and discuss the necessity of the item and if it is something she actually needs or simply wants.  It’s okay to get our wants sometimes but it is important to know the difference. The apostle Paul addresses the issue of contentment and tells us the key to having a content heart.

…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity, in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry,  both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

I may not have the strength to be content on my own power, but I can be content through Christ who gives me strength.  What a powerful lesson to teach our kids!  Turn your eyes toward the Lord when you feel an urge to grumble or be discontent.  Ask the Lord to give you his strength to be content no matter what the circumstances.

 

This is an excerpt from A Positive Plan for More Fun, Less Whining. On sale this week for 99 cents! Really! Check out the Summer Blow out sale below!

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A Positive Plan For Creating More Fun, Less Whining

By Karol Ladd / Thomas Nelson
Do your kids sometimes come down with the “I’m bored” bug? Thousands of years ago, King Solomon prescribed a cure: “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22. Now Karol Ladd offers positive encouragement and step-by-step, age-specific ideas to help you create a fun home atmosphere and build lasting memories! Paperback.

How to Raise a Whiner
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whiner

At this point in my life I haven’t met any parents who actually want their kids to be whiners. Very few people intentionally invite the annoying sounds of “I want…” or the irritating complaint of “Why do I have to?”

So how does it happen? How do well-meaning parents gradually find themselves with sniveling, whining, negative kids? It’s really quite simple. The truth is that whining comes somewhat naturally to us all; we rarely need formal training to add it to our attitude arsenal. On the other hand, it takes determination to raise content kids.

In a way bad attitudes are like the weeds in our garden. We don’t plan on them or particularly want them there, but like it or not they will overtake our garden if we let them. If our intention is to have a beautiful garden, then we must guard against nurturing the weeds. Instead of allowing them to grow, we need to pull the weeds and plant something beautiful in their place. Since the weeds of whining pop up in our kids without much effort, we don’t want to encourage their growth. On the other hand, we need to plant seeds of joy, gratitude and peace that will take root and grow into healthy happy adults.

By taking the approach of “How to raise a whiner” I hope to help each of us as parents recognize some of the possible ways we inadvertently allow grumbling and complaining to grow in our children. The tough truth is that whining kids grow into rather unattractive adults. It is not only in your family’s best interest, but in the interest of society at large that you weed the whining from your family garden. Your friends and extended family will be grateful. And of course your kid’s future spouses will thank you too! Here’s a tongue in cheek look at how to grow a good strong grumbler. Don’t worry, next week we’ll look at how to plant seeds of contentment into the hearts of our kids.
Lesson One: Give into the Whining
You’ve had a hard day and you just don’t want to hear it any more. It certainly is easier to give into the nagging than to say “no” to your child and deal with the consequences of crying and screaming. So go ahead. Give in. Give him what he wants. It will make it easier for you to give in the next time he whines for something, and that time is probably just around the corner.
Careful now. If in a weak moment you decide to tell your kids “no” or “wait your turn,” they may learn qualities like patience and self-discipline. If your goal is to raise a whiner, those positive qualities will never do. Immediate gratification and giving into desires is what you are after. Your best strategy for raising a whiner is to reason with your little grumbler and eventually give in. It will fortify his resolve to continue his demands, and it will help him develop stronger negotiating and manipulation techniques.

Lesson Two: Scream Back At them
“STOP IT!!! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER WORD!!!! JUST BE QUIET!”
Now your child knows she has your attention! And that’s just what she wanted; your attention. As you scream, your child will temporarily stop whining and you can feel great about weed-wacking the problem, even though the roots of whining are still there. The good news is you have taught your kids two indelible lessons in the process. First you have shown them that screaming is a very powerful tool. There’s a good chance they will follow your example and use the power of a scream next time they want something.
Secondly, the loud attention you give to whining teaches your kids a good solid way to get your attention. Now mind you they don’t consciously plan this out, and they don’t necessarily enjoy your loud screaming, but next time they feel they need your attention they know just how to get it. Whine, whine, whine and boy do you give them your full attention.

Lesson Three: Grumble and Complain About Your Problems
As we mentioned in the previous lesson, kids learn best if they can watch your own example, so if you really want a bumper crop of complainers you will need to complain on a regular basis. You know the old routine, “This restaurant never gets my food right.” “The music at church is too contemporary.” “The coach doesn’t rotate the players enough.” “The neighbors won’t keep their yard clean.” “The school isn’t training their teachers properly.” “No one is ever sensitive to my feelings.” “If only this or that.”
It’s pretty standard procedure for most of us. Just be sure your kids don’t hear you expressing thankfulness for anything or they may learn gratitude (a definite disadvantage for a whiner). And be very careful that your kids do not pick up on the times when you choose to look at the good in a situation. Then they may begin overlooking negatives and seeking out the positives in a circumstance or a person. By all means don’t let the kids focus on the positives or they may miss the negative stuff altogether.
Lesson Four: Shield them from Difficulties or Pain
Guard your kids carefully so that they never get a difficult teacher or lose a tryout or have a coach who won’t play them on the A team. If your children begin to feel any sort of disappointment or pain, pacify them immediately by buying them something or blaming it on someone else. If you really want to go the extra mile, step in there and yell at the coach or spread rumors about how bad the teacher is and try to get your precious angel moved to another class.
Pain and challenges in a child’s life may lead to qualities such as strength, perseverance and compassion toward others, which are certainly qualities that are unbecoming of a whiner. Your baby deserves the best and you make sure you give it to him. That old adage about “learning lessons through the hard knocks of life” is only a crock (at least you need to keep telling yourself that). Getting one’s own way without any challenges or difficulties teaches much more valuable lessons such as the “me first” and “I deserve” attitudes.
Lesson Five: Blame Others
“It’s okay, it’s not your fault.” This age old concept helps our kids advance to a higher level of complaint and moves them into the category of “I couldn’t possibly be wrong.” Fortunately the blame game allows them to get away with just about anything they want. For example an outburst of anger at the restaurant isn’t little Ashley’s fault, it was the waitress’ fault because she didn’t bring out the right flavor of ice cream. Or “Sammy grabbed the toy out of the other little boy’s hands, but it was because the little kid wouldn’t share it with him.”
Blaming others offers a child an entitlement for whining and delivers it on a silver platter with his or her name engraved on it. The mere hint of personal responsibility would begin to strike at the very core of complaining. Keep that self-centeredness intact by steering clear of any sort of self-discipline or self-sacrifice. Forgiveness and understanding of other people’s faults is out of the question and would only lead to your child showing kindness or compassion.

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing,
so that no one can speak a word of blame against you.
Philippians 2:14, 15

 

Stay tuned next week as we talk about ways to plant seeds of contentment into the hearts of our kids!

This is an excerpt from A Positive Plan for More Fun, Less Whining

Entertaining Royalty
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princess week

You always knew your kids were little princesses and knights in shining armor, but now you are going to let them play the part.  This is also a wonderful week to encourage love and service in the hearts of your kids. Talk about the fact that the best leaders are those who serve others and think about the needs of others. Use this week to pray for those in positions of authority and pray for the people they serve.  Now, here’s a way to make your home into a royal palace.
• Create crowns. Cut them out of poster board (or pick some up at Burger King). Decorate with sequins and hobby jewels. For girls you may want to make a fair lady’s hat (simply spray paint a little cone party hat and staple netting material to the top).
• Dress up Clothes. If you don’t already have a dress up barrel of clothes at your house, now is the time to start one. First go to your own closet and pull out old formals and dresses that are out of style or you don’t wear anymore. Old Bride’s maid dresses are perfect. Pull out some of your husband’s old shirts or vests (probably better ask him before you put it in the barrel). You may also want to visit a thrift store for items to fill your barrel as well. Don’t forget to look for sales after Halloween as well.
• Scepters. Use a card board hanger tube or a paper towel tube for the scepter. You can then stick or glue a Styrofoam ball to the end. Decorate with sequins, jewels and/or glitter. You can also make shields by cutting out and spraying cardboard boxes. Helmets for your little knights, can be made by cutting the handle out of a plastic gallon milk jug and covering it with foil or spray painting silver.
• Castle Creations. You can make a castle using a big moving or storage box (cut out windows and a draw bridge if you like) or you can drape a sheet over a table and make a special castle lined with pillows. You may even want to allow the kids to keep the castle up all week. They can act out stories or simply play in their castle.
• Watch stories that include princes or princesses. The Princess and the Frog, Shrek, Anastasia, Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, or for older kids, The Princess Bride.
• Books: Today I’ll Be a Princess, Princess and the Pea, Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees?
• Royalty in the Bible. Read about King David (II Samuel 5:1-5) or the Story of Solomon as he was visited by the queen of Sheba (I Kings 10), or read the exciting story of Queen Esther from your Children’s Bible.

962131: The Complete Illustrated Children"s Bible The Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible
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