Teen Drinking Party

CocktailWe encourage our kids to have two parties a year – one at the beginning of the year to allow them to get have a great start for the school year and meet new friends in their new classes and one on their birthday. Every year, our kids have a great year.

Last month, our son Tsoof had his birthday party. Tsoof is 15 years old, but most of his friends are 16 or 17 and some of them have already started driving. When they come in the door, Tsoof’s friends always say they have been waiting for the party since the last one, because they always have a great time dressing up, playing games, singing and dancing.

This year, when he gave his friends invitations to his party one girl asked him, “Will you have drinks at your party?”

Read more about teens drinking at parties

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Who Knows?

Little dog, big dogMotivation can be external or internal. That is, a person can be prompted, encouraged or coerced to do something by somebody else, or they can do it for their own reasons.

Kids, being so young and dependent, begin their life by mimicking their parents and other carers and by following their instructions. “Those big, loving, all-knowing creatures that take care of me must be right, so it’s best to be guided by them”, they reason.

This quickly develops into obedience, even when following the instructions might cause discomfort to the child. “It’s a small price to pay for the big person’s love and besides, maybe the big person is right and this is good for me?”

I find with my kids that their principals, teachers, coaches and other instructors tend to encourage conformity and submission to authority and I have to deal with it sometimes and help them strengthen their internal motivation. You will recognize this has happened to your children when they start talking about getting away with things, instead of whether or not those things should be done in the first place.

Read more about kids’ motivation

Success is Showing Up

Alarm clockI am a very busy person. I plan every day ahead. I know exactly how long it takes me to get from one place to another and I know how much time I am going to spend in any one place – at work, at university, at home, with friends, at dinner and on the bus. It is not because I need to feel a sense of control (maybe just a tiny bit), but in order for me to be able to squeeze in all of the things I want to achieve in a day, I need to be well organized.

I love being with friends and can accommodate almost any arrangement given enough time. I am always happy to rearrange my schedule to meet friends and spend some quality time. I also live at home with my parents and it is only fair that I share my plans with them so they can plan accordingly.

My timetable is pretty full almost four weeks in advance, so in order for me to make plans with friends, I need to know when and where we are meeting at least a few days beforehand. It helps me with my own sense of organization and allows me to be able to plan my time.

In the last couple of years, I have added more things to my schedule and my need for concrete plans seems to have become greater. A few of my friends have even commented on it, saying I needed to “live a little” or “be in the moment” or plain “don’t be so needy” when I have insisted on a definite time.

This got me thinking that maybe I was taking my time management a little bit too far. Maybe I need to be a little less uptight. Not everyone is as busy as I am and not everyone needs to be as organized as me, so I decided to cut everyone some slack.

Read more about the value of good time management

Handy Family Tip (10): Early is on time

ClockLast week, I wrote how important it is not to confuse being on time with doing things at the last minute and how you can lose opportunities by doing things at the last minute (“on time”) without taking spares or considering unplanned events, mistakes and accidents.

This second chapter will give you ideas of how to change it.

How to win in the game of life

Here is a story I tell my life coaching clients:

Every week for 20 years, an old man goes to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and puts a note in the cracks of the wall asking God the same thing, “God, please let me win the lottery”. Thousands of people come every day to pray to God and put notes with wishes for God. The tradition says that every night, God sends his angel Gabriel to bring him the notes. This old man put the same request every week, but nothing happened.

Read more about good time management

Handy Family Tips (10): On time is late

Pocket watchMany times, the concept of “on time” is translated to “at the last minute”. Running a family is very similar. When your “on time” means “at the last minute”, you are going to have lots of problems, stress and heartache, not to mention raising kids with that philosophy who grow up to miss opportunities and fail in situations that otherwise could be very successful.

My son Tsoof is studying composition at Griffith University’s Young Conservatorium with Ralph Hultgren, who is a very inspiring person. Ralph is a very talented musician, composer and probably an excellent teacher, because he has managed to build one of the best music schools for young people in Australia.

One expression Ralph has used with his students and stuck with Tsoof was:

“On time is late and early is on time”

Read more about good time management for success

Bullying (2): Scary Statistics

Teen bullyingBullying has become a problem in our society. As I promised in the first chapter of the bullying series, I will share with you today the facts and figures about bullying and they are very scary. But I am not writing this to scare you, just to create awareness to this epidemic of violence in our society. I also believe that parents and educators, who are the majority of the readers of this site, have the power to change it.

Bullying research

I have spent a long time reviewing information about bullying, much of it on various government sites, so where the source is not mentioned below, some government agency has publicly confirmed it.

  • A study done in 2007 on a group of 6th Graders found that 89% of kids had experienced some form of bullying and 59% of the students had participated in some form of bullying

Read more about bullying

Stubborn Kids

Kid making a faceI know a lot about stubborn kids, because I was famous for being stubborn as a child myself. Only later in life, when I studied education, I realized that people call their kids “stubborn” when they themselves do not give up and follow their kids’ instructions or rules. That made me think that

In order for a child to be stubborn and insist on doing something, you need to have an adult that insist on doing something else

I learned this amazing thing from a young kid who was about 2 years old at the time (he is 22 years old now). Let me tell you, learning it from a kid is much more humiliating than learning it from other adults, so I hope you will be able to learn it from reading this if you do not want to have to suffer the humiliation of “losing to a rug”.

Read more about how to deal with stubborn kids

Five Minutes Past the End of Your Nose

College graduationNowadays, I am faced with deadlines almost on a daily basis for my university studies and at my job. This brings on considerations such as what to do first and when to get started. I also have many opportunities to go out and forget about all the things I have to do. There are great things on TV, lots of friends to chat to, parties to attend and books to read. I could really forget about assignments and deadlines and just go out. Going on from Dad’s earlier post Do it NOW, I want to chat to you about the value of planning ahead, of thinking five minutes down the track and the importance of this for children (and teens and young adults).

There was a wonderful saying in the classic 60s movie Mary Poppins. It goes something like this:

Sometimes a person, through no fault of his own, can’t see past the end of his nose

Of course, Mary Poppins was referring to the fact that people sometimes don’t accept things that aren’t part of their world. But this saying is always associated in my mind with the fact that sometimes children can’t fathom that while they get what they want right now, there are consequences to their decision.

Read more about how to teach your kids responsibility

"Yes" parenting

Angry little girlParenting can be really challenging at times. Any parent will tell you that sometimes the challenge is so big they feel out of control – not control over your kids, but control over your reactions to what your kids do or do not do. After all, you are the “captain” and it is your job to run the “ship”.

The discussion about discipline covers many topics – the rights of the parents, the strictness of the discipline, the collaboration between parents (or lack thereof), the alignment of values between home and school (or lack thereof) – the list of philosophical discussions is very long. I have found out through my workshops that parents have only that much ability to discuss the philosophical issues of parenting and most of the time, they just ask, “Ronit, what can I actually do?”

In the first years of my work with parents, I worried about that. I said to myself that without understanding the philosophy behind things, they would not be able to manage the next challenge, but I was wrong, because parents can be awesome even if they cannot explain their theories and even if they do not have a deep understanding of the human mind. Some things just make sense to them and if they try them and they work, they just continue doing them successfully.

Today, I want to talk about a parenting technique that has worked for me like magic. It has helped me a lot not to get into arguments with my kids or with the kids I have coached.

I learned this technique from my dad – not from him being a role model of it, but from him being a role model of the opposite…

Read more about positive parenting

Kids in Power Prison (2): The great debate

clip_image002[4]This is part 2, where you will find out what happened at the camp when I gave the group of student leaders power over their friends.

Boys vs. girls, late group vs. those who came on time, punishment vs. forgiveness. The hot debate lasted for a whole hour, but in the end, did the children pass the power test?

It was scary for me to see how easy it was to fire them up, divide them and move them towards forgetting where they were, who they were and what was important for them. Many of them just surrendered to the feeling of power and control, but not all.

Read more about the kids’ power test