Smoking Parents – Smoking Kids

Man and the benefits of stopping to smokeMy dad was a smoker. He was a heavy smoker, consuming 1-2 packs of cigarettes a day. I remember my older sister having many fights with him over this. She complained, he tried to quit for couple of days and then went back to smoking. I did not have an opinion about it. All the men I knew smoked. It seemed natural to me. My mom was a very silent complainer. She never smoked but could not change his mind. In some cultures, smoking is much more acceptable and is a status symbol. It was a manly thing to do.

One day, my dad discovered that my brother, who was 14 years old then, stole his cigarettes and smoked with his friends. My dad was furious and started screaming at him. I was about 11 and I remember us standing there and accepting that my brother did the wrong thing. But then, while he was screaming his head off, my older sister, who was 15 years old at the time, said to my dad, “How can you tell him he can’t smoke and it’s not good for him if you smoke so much yourself?!” (I always admired her guts). The amazing thing was that he stopped screaming and walked furiously out of the house. It was the last day he ever smoked. Unfortunately, my brother still smokes today, even after he had a heart attack at the age of 45.

Parents who smoke hurt their kids, not only by making them passive smokers, but also by setting an example that they can never take back. Do you know how many times since then I have heard my dad asking my brother to stop smoking? Thousands. Unfortunately, he was too late.

In some cultures, smoking is very acceptable and is even a status symbol, “the manly/cool thing to do”. A few years ago, we went to visit my family and my uncles were there, all of them smokers. One of my uncles asked Gal, “Would you like a cigarette?” Gal said, “No, thank you. I don’t smoke”. Then, he asked, “Would you like a beer?” and Gal said “No, thank you. I don’t drink beer”. My uncle looked down at him and said, “You don’t smoke and don’t drink. What kind of a man are you?”

Read more about how to stop your kids from smoking


The Wonders of Ritalin

Medicine tabletsMatt was a troublemaker. He disturbed the class, made lots of noises and fought with the other kids in class. It was unbearable. His teacher tried different methods to stop this behavior, but nothing helped, so he invited Matt’s presents for a talk.

Matt’s parents came to see the teacher and he told them about his failed attempts to calm him down and keep the order in class.

“I’ve tried everything I could and exhausted my options”, said the teacher and asked Matt’s parents about his behavior at home.

Matt’s dad said, “We’ve tried everything ourselves. We punish him, we bribe him, but nothing helps”.

“Have you tried diagnosing him?” asked the teacher.

“I don’t believe in diagnosing. It won’t help. It’s not practical,” said Matt’s mom.

“Well, how about giving him Ritalin?” suggested the teacher, “It will calm him down”.

“Where do we get Ritalin?” Matt’s dad asked.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll arrange this for you. Matt will take one tablet every day before he comes to school and everything will be OK”, said the teacher.

“Well, that won’t work”, said Matt’s mom, “Our mornings are very hectic. My husband leaves home early and I rush the kids to school. Who’s going to make sure he takes his tablet?”

“OK, then I can help you with this”, said the teacher, “I will give him the tablet myself when he gets to school”.

Read more about how to deal with troublemakers

Ritalin: The Easy Way Out of ADHD?

Ritalin: so much easier than parenting

If you are a parent of a child who has been diagnosed or suspected as having ADHD and you are considering putting them on Ritalin, this post is for you! I have written about ADHD in this blog before, hoping to empower parents to take control over the health and wellbeing of their children and making sure their kids do not become a label. I hope today’s story and video will help you make more informed choices about ADHD and Ritalin.

I have been working in the special education field for 25 years. My amazing mentors and teachers warned me that one day, the inflation in the use of drugs to solve academic or behavioral problems like ADD, ADHD, emotional struggles and even tiredness will be so high that my job would be to stay on guard and offer parents alternatives and hope. I took this job description very seriously, but never in my darkest and most pessimistic dreams have I seen it becoming as big or as scary as this.

I am angry and I want to cry from frustration, because we have lost one more child to a form of organized crime. I am writing this post to recover, to remind myself of my job description, to try and save other children from a horrible fate and to offer hope, only this time I need that hope myself.

Read more about what Ritalin does to children with ADHD

When Good Parenting is a Luxury

clip_image002[4]_thumbThis week, I ran another Happy Parents Raise Happy Kids program at a local primary school. I had been in contact with that school for over three years now and had run various programs for students and teachers. For three years, ever since our first program, the principal, Cherie, had been trying to organize this workshop and looking for funds to make it happen. While most schools have a parent body that pushes for the workshop, Cherie had had to do it on her own.

As you can imagine, I started the day feeling frustrated with the time it took to arrange the workshop, but here is the story of what happened to the parents and me that got me to a completely different feeling in the end – gratitude.

8:30 am

I set up everything in the beautiful Resource Center next to the Junior Playground. Cherie said she was not sure how many parents would come. In some of the events she had organized for parents, only one or two of them had come. For this workshop, she had personally contacted each of the parents who had been struggling with their children.

“Ronit, we have many struggling parents”, she said to me several times. The school’s academic achievements had been low for many years and the last professional development with the teachers had shifted something in the dynamic of the school and in the academic achievements, so Cherie thought the parents were the next piece of the puzzle.

Read more about this special parenting workshop

Bullying (31): How to stop parent bullying

clip_image006_thumbParents are the most important agents of socialization in our society. Unlike teachers, who are the second biggest influencers on children, the same parents are around their kids while their teachers change. It is only sensible to think that if we want to support kids’ health and wellbeing, we need to support the most important people in their life – their parents.

I came up with the idea of supporting kids by supporting their parents about 20 years ago when I had an early childhood center. I could increase my young kids’ success and confidence whenever I got to the parents and made the partners in the process of education. There was 100% correlation between the success of the child (1½ years old to 4 years old) and the level of their parents’ involvement. My young students could read, do math and solve 60-pieces puzzles. They had the fine and gross motor skills expected of kids 3 years older than they were. At first, their parents did not believe their own eyes, but I just sent all their games and work sheets home so they could see their kids were able to do everything I said they could.

After 25 years in education, I can dare to say that investing in the parents is the most effective investment in children. And as with any investment, the sooner you start, the greater the returns.

I believe that government organizations should be investing in parents, but until that time, I will use this blog to help parents help themselves.

Here are the next 5 tips to help parents stop the cycle of bullying, help themselves and help their children be confident and avoid being bullied, being a bully or being a silent bystander.

Read more about the best anti-bullying

Supplement Your Life

Food supplementsModern times have put us in charge of our health and wellbeing and as parents, of the health and wellbeing of our kids. Gone are the days of the good old doctor who knew everybody by name and actually cared about them. House calls are certainly a thing of the past.

  1. We must take responsibility for our own health, because nobody else will do it
  2. We must take responsibility for our children’s health, because it is part of the “job description” and they are important to us
  3. We understand that being healthy is a prerequisite to doing well at school and at work, to staying alive longer and to enjoying life
  4. We live a lifestyle that is faster than ever and far more stressful, which is bad for our health
  5. We eat food made to taste good, not to be nutritious, which means that most of us do not get what we need out of it
  6. We need to prevent physical and mental issues and keep ourselves balanced, rather than treat symptoms
  7. We already use chemicals to overcome our challenges and we are typically aware of their effects (good and bad) on our body and mind

So why not use food supplements?

We are not experts, but we have found value in some food supplements, despite having to overcome the feeling we are self-medicating. We have tried superfoods and spices, as well as pills and capsules. We have tried “natural” products and “artificial” ones, and we have not found the complete answer yet.

Maybe if we parents get together and discover the best ways to supplement our life and the life of our kids, we will all be healthier, happier and more successful.

Read more about food supplements