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April 30, 2018
Weekly Parenting Tip

Top Ten Parenting Ideas #6: Decisions in Advance

We meet many families that have gone through much worry and grief because of a single bad decision that one of their children made. Kids get blindsided by peer pressure that they had not anticipated or prepared for. The best way to prevent this from happening is to work with young children (from about age 8 to 14) on making their own list of “Decisions in Advance.”

Set up a special page in their journal with that title at the top and ask the child what kind of decisions he can make right now, even though she has not faced them yet. Kids will come up with things like “I will never smoke” or “I will graduate from college” or “I won’t ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.” Before letting the child write down any advance decision, do some role-playing where you imagine a situation a few years down the road where there is a lot of peer pressure regarding that choice. Ask the child exactly what he would say or do in that situation. When she has really thought it through, she can write it down and date it and sign it on her list of decisions in advance.

For additional detail on how to do this:

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April 23, 2018
Weekly Parenting Tip

Top Ten Parenting Ideas #5: A Family Economy to Combat Entitlement

We often ask parents what they think is their biggest parenting challenge. The number one answer is “Entitlement Attitudes.” The best way to deal with this widespread problem is to understand that we give our kids more by giving them less, and to set up a work and initiative-teaching family economy where kids earn money rather than get handouts.

For ideas on how to do this:

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April 16, 2018
Weekly Parenting Tip

Top Ten Parenting Ideas #4: Family Mission Statement

Most businesses have them—a clear statement of mission, of goals, of what the company wants to be. Families should have one too, a family vision statement, created together by parents and children thinking together about what they want their families to become. We started with a list of the words that we hoped would one day describe our family, then we winnowed it down to a descriptive paragraph, and finally down to a three-word mantra that everyone felt good about and bought into. The words were “Broaden and Contribute” and a couple of years later our children gave it to us one Christmas as a beautifully framed calligraphy and gold leaf plaque that hangs in our family room to this day. It has brought us together and influenced each of us in our choices and our ambitions.

For how-tos on creating a meaningful and uniting mission statement as a family:

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April 9, 2018
Weekly Parenting Tip

Top Ten Parenting Ideas #3: Family Traditions Calendar

If we want our family culture to be stronger than the peer culture, the internet culture, the celebrity culture and all the other cultures that swirl around our kids, we need fun and compelling family traditions. Most families have traditions—the trick is to refine them and anticipate them and emphasize them more than ever before. One good way to do this is to make a family traditions book or calendar and let the children illustrate it. For more detail and expansions of this idea go back and review the March 12 post and also see:

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April 2, 2018
Weekly Parenting Tip

Top Ten Parenting Ideas #2: The Five-Facet Review

How do I nip my kids’ problems in the bud and recognize their gifts in time to cultivate them?

Try having a “Five Facet Review” once a month where you sit down as a couple and go through the five aspects of each child. “How is Tommy doing physically? How is he doing mentally? Emotionally? Socially? and spiritually? Analyze and brainstorm together about each of the five. Take notes. Formulate some need-meeting goals for the month ahead. Make it fun, go out to a restaurant on a date and confine your agenda to your kids!

If you are a single parent, do it with a grandparent or someone else who knows and loves your kids. When done well (and regularly) this habit can help you recognize oncoming problems before they are too hard to solve, and can help you notice the gifts and aptitudes of your kids in time to cultivate and develop them.

For how-to details:

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