Tag Archives: parenting

Kids whose time is less structured are better able to meet their own goals

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Kids whose time is less structured are better able to meet their own goals.

Interesting article with possible learning implications. I wish the study had involved more than just 6 year-olds and I look forward to the longitudinal study! I’m utterly convinced that building those executive function skills is crucial for future happiness and life success.


Old School Parenting? 6 Ways to Help Build Confident and Capable Kids!

Climbing Rocks_JordanFear. Anxiety. Risky-play. Frustration. Hunger.

These are what we parents try to protect our children from… right?

This is something I have really been struggling with, lately (with twin teenagers!). We all want to see our children develop into confident, capable, responsible individuals that exercise good judgment. Yet, I feel that every time I step in to ‘help’ my children avoid a potentially painful consequence I’m also preventing them from learning valuable lessons. It really is a balancing act!

A recent Huffington Post Blog post by Christine Gross-Loh really hit home!

From: Flickr user Brandy Shaul http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoologist/

From: Flickr user Brandy Shaul http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoologist/

  • Risky play helps kids develop a sound sense of being able to judge what they can/cannot do.
  • Waiting to eat until you’re truly hungry (and eating together as a family) is healthier (as opposed to continuous grazing).
  • Frustration and delayed-gratification help kids develop patience and self-control.
  • Learning OUTSIDE of the classroom may be more important than classroom learning. Play, music, art and life skills are essential!
  • Hurrying independence by encouraging independent sleep does not an independent child make!
  • Making children very aware that their ‘family responsibility’ or obligation is to work hard at school actually helps their achievement and motivation.

I highly recommend reading Gross-Loh’s blog post AND remembering to keep the idea of moderation in mind.

Fear, Anxiety, Risky-play,  Frustration, Hunger, and Delayed Gratification are good for our kids! Moderation is the key.

Quick Post – Great ‘Support’ Advice for Parents AND Students!

ImageLinkedIn… I’ll give it a plug because that’s how I arrived at the article I want to share with the world, today! First, though, a little sidenote on how wonderful technology can be… A fellow admin colleague at Graded in BrazilBlair Peterson, Tweeted about an “Inside Higher Ed” article. I received the tweet (which had a link to the article) in my LinkedIn feed AND presto!

So… read the article!!! It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my own children and the steps (and missteps) we take as parents. It’s easy to say… “accept people for who they are”. In fact, it’s simplistic because on one level we absolutely MUST accept others for who they are AND we must empower them to reach further than they think they can. This results in a constant tension between pushing our kids and accepting their efforts. I’ve heard some parents say, “I accept only your best effort” and that may be where the balance is.

What do you think?

We shape lives… we shape values!

As a former Character Counts™ Trainer I try to stay ‘up’ with the latest in character education and I subscribe to Michael Josephson’s weekly commentaries. In a recent commentary called “Shaping Values, Shaping Lives”, Mr. Josephson discussed the opportunities and aggravations that all parents face when it comes to trying to raise children well.

As educators, we have a special responsibility and unique opportunity to help make this world a better place… one classroom at a time. In fact, our influence on children’s success in school is on par with parents and exceeds the famous ‘peer pressure’ that exists:

For both boys and girls, the researchers found that social support from adults, particularly from teachers—in the form of encouraging engagement in school, emphasizing the value of an education and facilitating participation in extracurricular activities—could counteract the negative influence of peers.

(From, “Teachers, parents trump peers in keeping teens engaged in school“.)

There’s a lot more than just common sense to support the age-old statement by Henry Adams, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Together, we make an enormous difference!

Parenting into the ‘stormy’ years

From: "Teen Party Theme for the Hep Kids - Find Cool Ideas." Tips To Raise Our Kids The Most Caring And Correct Ways. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. .

It’s that time of the year again… PTA Coffee Talk on Tips for Parenting Teens.  I have been invited to cover ‘the school perspective’ and our drug testing philosophy and policy.  I consistently return to the same conclusion regarding where many problems develop from – clear, open communication.  Find a problem and you’ll likely find, at its root, a breakdown in honest communication.

If the problem is so easily recognized, why is it such a problem?  Are we really a species of atrocious communicators? I blame it on ego and emotions – a truly volatile mix for hormone charged teens! So! How do we parent our teens through these turbulent, stormy times?  Here’s some tips I plan to share with out PTA:


  • Teach responsible decision-making to our teens.
  • There’s always a choice.
  • When it comes to partying,  ask questions centered around these three words: Who, Where, and Expectations; ultimately leading to one of these three choices – stay sober; get drunk; do drugs.

e.g. Who is going to be there? Who is ‘responsible’? Who knows about the party and who doesn’t?; Where will the party be (in a house or hotel with ‘private’ rooms; in a club)? Where will the ‘responsible’ people be?; Are there expectations that the party will be short or long? What are the expectations re: drugs and alcohol?

  • Stay informed – first and foremost with your teen; other parents; the ‘net’; and, the school (teachers, counselors and principals all add to the picture)

Ultimately, we’re all in this together!  We want a happy, healthy, successful teen – ready to take on the ‘real’ world.

"Lorraine Cook's Homepage." Loraine Cook's Homepage. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. .

Here’s some resources I’ve found useful:

  • “Parenting Help Me” is a blog maintained by several parents with diverse backgrounds – it’s very open and wide-ranging, at http://www.parentinghelpme.com/
  • The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, sponsored by the US Government, maintains an informative, ‘heavy’, American biased website at http://www.theantidrug.com/ called “Parents, the Anti-Drug”.

Resources from a previous post can be found here.


Parenting! The hardest job in the world?

Many say parenting is the hardest job in the world… Many say it’s the best job in the world…  Both can be true.  We do know that parent involvement with children’s learning has a huge impact on their success in school (see the PTA report: “Report: The Positive Relationship Between Family Involvement and Student Success“).  Yet, involvement, especially for busy parents with ‘isolationist’ teens isn’t easy.  It takes an incredible amount of patience, courage and common sense as well as the ability to balance the ‘Big Picture’ with individual actions and allowing room for kids to make mistakes.

There are  parents out there with the attitude of, “Let the school deal with my kids – I’ll deal with them at home, only”.  Schools can’t parent kids, though – ESPECIALLY when parents are ‘too busy’ to deal with their children.  That’s when problems occur.  Thankfully, the VAST MAJORITY of parents understand and support the assertion that parents must be involved.  Still, the trick is moving from supporting the idea to employing strategies that enable parents TO be involved.

I haven’t done a research study on parenting trends in the US compared to international schools.  Nevertheless, when I compare student-family relationships in international schools to what I knew in the ‘States I see some very different patterns.  Far more single-parent’s raising kids in the US; far more absentee/proxy parents in international schools.  It’s the absentee and/or proxy parenting that worries me most.

The best strategies in the world cannot replace spending quality time with children.  Open, honest communication that sets clear expectations is the key to all healthy relationships.  Again, how well can communication occur when one is not around?  Obviously,  there are other factors that influence teenage behavior and it’s up to each of us, as parents to decide how best to model the values we hold dear.

Below, I have included some links to some parent resource websites that I have found useful:

Cosby Values: Balancing Parenting and Education

CosbypicMy wife and I grew up watching Fat Albert. My kids have grown up with Little Bill. You could say that Bill Cosby values are part of our family values. They include having the courage to be yourself.  Bill Cosby lives the values he preaches and he has come under some criticism for it, lately.  He has certainly earned the right to speak his mind as a parent of 5 children and an educator with a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts.

Most of what Cosby preaches is common sense: Cosby on Parenting 1:

How can we educators support good parenting? I have some suggestions.

  • Support communication: keep parents in the loop and encourage parents to establish a routine of communication with their children.
  • Encourage responsibility: Don’t do anything for a child that they can’t do themselves.
  • Encourage social awareness: The world is changing rapidly, yet, there are still huge divisions between rich and poor. In many respects, today’s children of the educated are far more privileged and have far more resources at their disposal… help them put those resources to use to benefit those less fortunate.
  • Encourage environmental awareness: The legacy of environmental destruction we leave our children must be reversed – as parents and educators it’s our duty to inculcate this in our children.

Show good character.  Live good character.  Be a positive role model.  If you have any additions to this list, feel free to say so.

Dr. Ben Carson has held Bill Cosby up as a positive role model.  We need positive role models. Dr. Carson also speaks of how he feels society has changed in terms of a reluctance to show some civic responsibility…


And, finally… Cosby humor.  Laughter really is the best medicine and it helps us reflect on life’s bigger picture.  AND