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


Happily Wealthy Family: No Flights Policy

clip_image004[4]_thumbMoney is very tight in many families. We want so many things for our kids and for our family that it seems like there is never enough. This week, I had sessions with many clients who wanted to improve their financial situation. One of them earned $50,000 a year and owed $42,000. One was a single mother who had spent all her savings on tutoring. Another one spent a fortune on supplements and health professionals, and all the rest told me variation of the same story: money is tight.

Every family may reach a point in life when there is just not enough money to survive the next month. It is inevitable that some life circumstance will change the flow of money that we count on to manage our daily life. If you go over your life and ask yourself when your supply of money was at risk or when it stopped entirely, you are likely to find that it happened a lot.

We were in this situation many times in our life. It happened when Gal’s company had a wave of redundancies, whenever his contract ended somewhere in the world and we had to move ourselves from one county to another (no income, lots of expenses), after September 11 2001, when Gal had cancer and took time to recover and when we had something big and special that ate into our savings, like going overseas to see our families. Every time we stopped working, our family was at risk of not having enough to pay the bills.

Saving for a rainy day was always our solution for those situations, but saving is never enough. Sometimes, a big wave comes along and wipes you out. Gal lost his job twice after we had bought a property. We are not fortunetellers.

Read more about how to save money

Troubled Teens: Terrible Times

Typical teenage boyIn the last three weeks, I gave you a sneak peek into teenagers’ minds. Many parents say to me, “If I only knew what’s happening in their mind…” and I think they have only forgotten what was on their mind when they were teens, or maybe they have forgotten the struggles their friends had during the toughest periods of their life – adolescence.

Here are the last 5 typical teenager thoughts and tips to prevent or eliminate them.

I prefer to be alone

“Thank God they are going away this weekend. I can have the house to myself. I can watch TV as much as I like, play the computer as much as I like and eat whatever I want. Freedom at last!”

What parents can do

When kids reach the teen years, they loves to be on their own sometimes and it is normal and healthy for them to be on their own. Even bringing a babysitter to stay with them (to take care of the other kids, of course) can give them that sense of freedom and it is not a sign of your good or bad parenting.

Having an evening when they can do something different is very attractive to teenagers and as a parent, you need to provide them with opportunities for such time. I remember myself at the age of 15 having the time of my life when my parents were away for the weekend. I did all the same things I did when they were there, but it felt better. On evenings when they went out, we played hide and seek in the dark and I still have wonderful memories of those special days.

Read more about how to handle troubled teens

Troubled Teens: Scary Times

clip_image004_thumb[1]This series is meant to help parents of teens and parents of kids who are turning into teens understand what teenagers think and what they go through as part of this tough period of their life. Each “twisted” thought is followed by something parents can do to help their teenagers and everyone else involved.

As in previous chapters, here are 5 things teens think and feel that scare them and make them act weird, and what you can do about them. I hope it will help you find alternative ways to address the issues and prevent them from keeping those thoughts any longer.

My parents are cruel and weak

“I think my parents are cruel. They hate me. They scream, shout and always tell me I’m wrong. They brought me into the world to torture me. They are weak. How can I trust them when I need help if they are so weak?”

What parents can do

When children are upset, they may think that you are behaving the way you do with the ultimate purpose of hurting them. Many parents mistake discipline for power when in fact, abusing your power and yelling, shouting or telling kids they are wrong are signs of weakness and may cause your children, especially teenagers, not to trust you to support them when they need help. This is because using pressure and force is all about you, not them.

Read more about how to deal with troubled teenagers

The Value of Community

Homeless person sleeping with dogWhen I was growing up, there was a strong sense of community in everything. The people in my parents’ generation told stories of small places, where they knew everyone and did most things in a group of peers of families. Today, most people live in big cities, many live away from their hometown and family. Many people move every few years. Community is a luxury.

During the Easter break, we watched the movie Canvas with the kids. It tells the story of a family in which the mother has Schizophrenia. The father works as a builder for a rich jerk who buys speedboats and cars, but pays him too little too late, so they do not have enough money for medicine, which their basic health insurance refuses to cover.

The film shows how being poor and sick can have negative effects on your life and spin it out of control so quickly that it is super hard to recover. Because people expect certain behavior from adults, the mother creates a scene, which gets them thrown out of public places, like restaurants. Business owners may empathize with someone who sees imaginary people, but they still have a business to run.

The boy, being young, cannot truly understand what is happening to his mother. Unfortunately, neither can his schoolmates, who bully him for it. Also unfortunately, the father is a simple man who struggles to get by and lacks the emotional tools to help his son relax and cope with the mother’s strangeness and absence, let alone the additional social burden he has to endure.

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The Hunger Games

Frightened kids in The Hunger GamesThis week, Ronit and I watched The Hunger Games. We knew the general plot when we entered the cinema, but we came out feeling sick, not only because the film was excessively violent, not only because those who were violent in it were teenage children, but mostly because it was such a strong portrayal of modern life.

Both Ronit and I slept very badly that night and had very scary dreams.

In the movie, there are 12 districts full of poor workers who can barely get enough food to eat. Their life is mud (literally), they are dressed in light-blue working uniforms and live in fear. These districts are ruled by “the capitol”, a magnificent and decadent city, where people spend their time dressing to impress and trying to find things to entertain themselves. There is police/army force, dressed in white, which swiftly handles any disruptions.

But the main instrument of power is TV and there is one particular show in TV everyone must watch to remember their place in this futuristic society – The Hunger Games.

There were many similarities between The Hunger Games and our life, which I wanted to share with you. This will be depressing, so after that, I will also share with you how you, me and other parents can make reality different, for us and for our kids.

Read more about how to free yourself and your kids

Money for Nothing

Poor Farmers in AfricaFrom time to time, we get a knock on the door and someone asks for a donation to charity. The amount of money is up to us and the minimum is typically small. The person is pleasant and often seems like one of the people who would benefit from our donation to this charity.

But to me, this is money for nothing. Sure, research shows that people get a sense of generosity and feel good about themselves when they give money at the door, in the office or secretly in some other way. I still think this is a short-lived feeling that keeps injustice and bad management in our society long term.

I believe that the fundamental ingredient missing from the charity model is self-respect. When a person cannot provide for themselves and relies completely on others for food, shelter and clothing, their sense of identity changes and they begin to see themselves as dependent and incapable of supporting themselves. If this goes on long enough, they end up feeling worthless.

Even if you have never been poor, maybe you have lost your job at some point or your partner has. The feeling of loss of self-worth can be debilitating. When it goes on for long enough and when the loss was big enough (like a top executive being laid off at an age that makes finding another job unlikely), some people even kill themselves. Standing in line for a social security handout is humiliating for anyone used to productive employment.

Money for nothing makes the recipient feel worthless.

Read more about how to promote self-respect with your money

From the Life Coaching Deck (5): Making Money Addiction

Money stackWhen I was about 15 years old, I learned the hard way that sometimes you want things and only when you get them, you realize they were not what you wanted. Addiction is like this too – you want something and shortly after you get what you want, you realize it was not what you wanted.

As a life coach, I talk a lot about wanting. I believe wanting is essential in life. It is the driving force of our existence. But today, I want to tell you about a session on my life coaching deck that reminded me again why the question “Why?” is as important as the question “What?” Chris, one of my wonderful clients, taught me a wonderful lesson about what happens when you do not know why.

All I knew about Chris was that he was a businessman in his early fifties, married, with no kids and a lack of motivation who was looking for a life coach. Nothing special. We all have those periods in our life when we just find it hard to get up in the morning.

This is what I told myself when I prepared for his session. The first time he came, when I opened the door, I saw from the corner of my eyes a classy Mercedes Benz parked outside. Well, the first thing I could think of was “Oh my god, what a beautiful car”. I have to say it made me more curious about the reason he came. I thought that car was the result of lots of motivation.

“Why are you here, Chris? What do you want?” I asked him.

He looked confused. “I really don’t know. I think something’s wrong with me”.

Read more about addiction to making money

Parents Doing Business

Happy familyI had my first business at the age of 25. I finished my Special Education studies and opened an Early Childhood Center that became a very successful business within a short time. I was a mother and a wife and had a mortgage, a car and a personal loan for my business.

If you hear parents tell you that kids are an obstacle for them, I can tell you that having kids is a bad excuse for not doing business. When the kids grow up and leave the house, they will be left with their excuses. So when they have to explain why they have never done what they have always wanted to do, they will start saying, “It’s too late now”, which is just another excuse.

If you are thinking of starting a business and will need to juggle business and family, it is a good idea to discover what you will have to do to succeed at it. Some people are not cut out to own and operate a business. Others do not know how to balance a home and a business. Managing your business, your home and your parenting well requires some skills and attitudes that will determine the success of your business, the quality of your family life and even your health.

Unlike people who do not have kids, business parents risk a lot more than their own time and money. They risk their relationships with their partners and with their kids, as well as the quality of preparation their kids get for life. You go into business because you want a better life for your kids, not to destroy your relationship with your kids, so do it right!

Read more about how to be a good business parent

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.

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