Emotional Credit Line

Old piggy bankNow, perhaps more than ever in our lifetime, things are tough. Money is tight, prices are up, revenues are down, globalization, the Internet and mobile technology change almost everything we know. As a result, pressure is mounting and many parents struggle to cope with it.

In the past week, two things happened that made me think of using buffers or “lines of credit” as a strategy for reducing pressure, both financial and emotional, and keeping ourselves sane, while being better parents for our kids.

The first thing was Eden’s presentation of her research on corporal punishment. You may remember we invited our readers to participate in this research, which examined the links between parents’ disciplinary methods and things like the number of children in the family, age differences, financial situation and more.

When she analyzed parents’ and children’s’ responses to her survey, it occurred to Eden that stress may be a mediator between the various characteristics of each family and the amount of physical punishment used by the parents. Turns out, it is. She found that when parents experience more stress in their life, due to having more kids, having them close together and/or not having enough money to support them, they used less positive reinforcement with their children and were more abusive towards them, both verbally and physically.

Read more about how to reduce financial stress

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Anorexia: Love Your Body

Model smiling with diet symbolsWomen with Anorexia have issues with their body image and a feeling of helplessness and inability to control their life. The combination of these challenges makes them seek control in any way and not eating seems to them a great way to gain control.

Society around us obviously contributes a lot to the negative body image and self image girls have during childhood, through their teenage years and later on into adulthood. The image of an anorexic teen girl can be misleading. There are also many women are anorexic who need help.

One way of healing is learning to love your body.

Loving your body is giving yourself the permission to feel good physically and it must be done slowly, with love and with patience. If you are a parent or someone who wants to help an anorexic person, just saying, “You need to love your body”, will not make the required difference.

The best idea is to help the anorexic person search for good things – positive thoughts, encouragements, small bits of progress and every little achievement – to help change their perception of their life’s reality.

Read more about loving your body and curing anorexia

Predictably Happy Kids

Little baskeball playerAs parents, we are supposed to do what is best for our kids. One of the biggest choices we all need to make is how to develop our kids when they too young to choose for themselves. Obviously, without being able to see into their future, this could be a case of the blind leading the blind.

But maybe it does not have to be.

In the past few days, I have been reading an excellent book called Predictably Irrational by Professor Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at MIT. In one of the chapters, he describes experiments that show humans are so sensitive to loss they do everything they can to avoid losing even things they could have, but do not actually have. One of these things, he says, is options.

In his description, he give parents’ decision-making about their children’s development as an example of how irrationally expensive it is to keep our kids’ options open. If you do the math, he says, you see that spreading the family resources over 4 different activities each week, say ballet, piano, art and karate, means your child makes 1 unit of progress in each of them every week, as opposed to choosing just one activity, say piano, which would allow the child to make 4 units of progress every week and become really good at it.

I was tempted to agree, and this post was almost about how much his point made sense, but then Eden and I went for our morning walk (it is so great she starts late on Wednesdays) and reviewed her life, the lives of Tsoof and Noff and those of other kids we know, and my view of this issue changed completely.

Read more about how to help your kids succeed

New Year Recipe

Happy new year greeting

2012 is approaching and we would like to wish you a happy new year. There are so many cooking shows on TV and we have decided to write out wishes for you as a recipe for a great and happy new year.

May your next year be very tasty!

  1. Take the twelve months of the year and clean them well from feelings of jealousy, hatred, frustration, stinginess, greed, stubbornness, selfishness, anger and sadness.
  2. Slice each month into three equal parts and make sure you dedicate a third of each day to working, a third to sleeping and resting and the rest to spending time with people you love, having fun, doing good deeds and having joyous memories, happy dreams and wishes.
  3. Add three teaspoons of optimism, a cup of faith, a tablespoon of patience, some tolerance and a pinch of respect for yourself and others.
  4. Soak with lots of love, decorate with good intentions and heaps of attention and serve every day with a good word, a smile and a warm heart.

Bon appetite!

Happy New Year,
Ronit, Gal and Eden
Family Matters

Living in a Dress Rehearsal

Kids with party hats and balloonsKids are little philosophers practicing the theories of the great philosopher of all times in real life. They live in the simplest stage show that is their life, without much sophistication and with no budget. This is ability smart, knowledgeable and experienced grownups need to learn from their children.

Kids do not have tomorrows. The younger they are, the more limited their understanding of time and the harder it is to explain to them what they will gain tomorrow if they just try a bit harder or wait a little bit longer today. One of parents’ biggest frustrations is their inability to explain why to try harder today for some imaginary tomorrow. Kids, on the other hand, do not understand why they should try harder, because from their point of view, fun is the best way to navigate through life and “hard” and “fun” do not go together.

Kids’ attitude to fun as a compass is perceived by grownups as a limitation, a lack of perspective and experience. I wonder sometimes who is missing perspective. Kids, the artists of living in the now, whose present is full of fun, or their parents, the champions of living in the future, whose present is an endless cycle of anxiety?

Children invest all their energy in what they will achieve in the short term. Adults, convinced they need to delay their gratifications, exaggerate this and without meaning to, they have invented the opposite of enjoinment and fun and have turned their life into a dress rehearsal for the “real thing”.

Read more about how to enjoy your life

Everyone can do it (with expert help)

Success seminarThe first thing you learn about starting a business on the Internet is that everyone can do it. I remember the first seminar I attended. You may have had the same experience yourself. It is a free event that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales in one day. The food, the venue and the free gifts are nothing compared to how many suckers come to those events for the promise of sitting on the beach in a swimsuit with a laptop, sipping cool drinks and watching the dollars appearing on the screen every day and every hour.

The suckers’ slogans

Gal and I went to our first event as life coaches. It was an awesome weekend. It was a great seminar and I learned a lot. For 2 days, they promised the world “Be your own boss! Work 3 hours a day! Money will be coming out of your ears!” and … “Everyone can do it!”

I have to say I almost believed them. I wanted to believe them with all my heart, but because our life coaching course had promised exactly the same thing, I had the suspicion there was a pattern there. Luckily for us, it was not a test of our trust. We just did not have $10,000 to buy the product on offer. We were shocked that our fellow coaches spent so much money just weeks after they had spent thousands of dollars on the life coaching course.

If you have ever heard these slogans about trying to build a business on the Internet, be warned, someone is convinced you are a sucker and might be taking you for a ride.

Read more about how to succeed in life

I Want to Be a Billionaire

clip_image002_thumb[1]Some time ago, the kids and I discovered a song about being a billionaire by Travie McCoy (sung with Bruno Mars), most of which goes like this:

I wanna be a billionaire so <beeping> bad
Buy all of the things I never had
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen
Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights
A different city every night oh I swear
The world better prepare
For when I’m a billionaire

Call me a pest, but after hearing them sing it many (many) times, I thought it might be a good chance to bring up the topic of money. Ronit and I believe that kids should be exposed to various topics at different ages simply because they are part of life. They may not “get it” every time, but they “get” a little bit more and develop their understanding over time. This way, they have fewer surprises when they become adults and have to take care of themselves.

The issue of money is no different.

Read more about kids and money

Give and take

BubbleSometimes, I want to achieve something and I think I know how to achieve it, but when I ask someone else for their opinion or help, they just say, “You can’t do that”. I find this very frustrating.

Let me explain.

When I see a goal and a way to get it, my mind has something to hold on to. I can look at my vision from different angles, improve it and work with it, but it is there.

As soon as the other person rejects my idea, it is as if a bubble popped in my mind and left nothing. I then have no way of getting what I wanted. The other person has taken my vision away.

And that stinks.

Here is an example.

Read more about how to resolve conflicts

From the Life Coaching Deck (2): The Meaning of Life

Meaning writingBriana was a young woman in her late twenties. She came to life coaching to find purpose and reason. My discussions with her revealed a very mature young woman. She reminded me so much of my own daughter. Life smiled at her – she got along with everyone and you could not pick a fight with her even if you wanted to. Yet, she was so smart that every job became boring a couple of months after she started it and she felt lots of confusion about her career choices, because she did everything very well, but without passion.

I have decided to write this post and share with you not Briana’s success at finding purpose, but the process she had to go through, because I think there are many people who think and feel exactly like Briana did and that blocks them from finding their purpose. That leaves them feeling like something is wrong with them, when in fact, no one has ever taught them how to find their purpose.

Here is a self-test for purpose. Let’s say you have all the money in the world, you can do anything you want, you do not have to work for a living, you are in perfect health and until the day you die, you can live anywhere you like, any way you like and have any lifestyle you like. What will you do with your time?

If you have no answer for this question, start searching for it right now. You see, Briana failed the purpose test over and over again, because every time I asked her about it, she looked at me with an embarrassed smile and said, “I don’t know”.

Read more about how to find your purpose