All posts tagged vicki hoefle

Your Kids WILL See Porn

I receive so many great questions from parents each week and now, with their permission, I will be sharing them with our parenting community along with my thoughts on the subjects. I think it’s important that we leverage our collective experiences and as the Adlerian community would say, you can solve problems one at a time or you can solve the problem one time. Here is to making life simpler for everyone in our community.

trust child

I received an email from a distraught and frightened mom the other day who discovered her 11-year-old son had searched “sex” and “naked girls” on his computer and had ultimately seen pornographic images and videos. This is not the first time I have heard from a parent in this situation, and it won’t be the last. So hold on to your hats, as most of you know, I don’t hold back.

Sex and porn

Two topics I mention many times in classes, blogs, presentations, and my books because this is the
world our kids live in and the world we must parent from. If you have kids ages 11 and older they have most likely seen porn. They might be looking at it right now up in their room on their laptop. Did you hear me? YOUR KID IS LOOKING AT PORN. Don’t fool yourself by thinking that your sweet little 11-year-old son would NEVER, doesn’t even know it exists, and is satisfied with the birds and the bees talk that you had two years ago. He has seen porn. She has seen porn. Yes, this applies to our daughters as well. Children are curious about sex. They are curious about body parts. They hear about oral sex and might even have some friends who have experienced it.

Overcome your fears and release the judgement

This is normal. This is natural. This is the world our kids live in. The question is will you be part of this world or not? It is time to be honest with yourself, muster up the courage to face reality head on, and be involved in this stage of your child’s development. You (and more importantly your child) will be more prepared to face the reality in which we live. Are you going to sit back and hope they don’t come across porn or are you going to assume they will (or already have) seen it and face that reality with a clear head and open heart?

Identify the part that trips you up. Identify the fear that keeps you in denial. Identify the belief that paralyzes you. Identify, embrace and solve that problem, so you can support your child as he/she develops and matures.

Get Educated

Remember, knowledge is power. As a parent, you want knowledge on the subject so you feel confident talking about it with your kids and you want your kids to have knowledge so they can make informed decisions. This applies to every area of life with kids – sex, porn, technology, drugs, cheating, stealing, relationships, and so on.

Specifically when it comes to talking to your kids about porn Amy Lang has a great article, How to Talk to Kids about Pornography on her blog, Birds and Bees and Kids.
https://birdsandbeesandkids.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-pornography-2/

Also check out Laci Green on youtube. She doesn’t hold back and is in touch with the world today and the issues our kids are facing.
https://www.youtube.com/user/lacigreen/videos

Talk to friends and create a support system

If you are still feeling a bit sheepish, reach out to your friends. I usually tell you the opposite- Don’t bother asking friends and neighbors “advice” about your kids because your kids are different than your friends kids and you are a different parent. Two kids could be displaying the same behavior, but for completely different reasons, so what works for Suzy and her kid won’t work for you and yours. However, with a topic like sex/porn, all parents will walk through this in a similar fashion. Most parents are nervous, unsure, terrified, unclear on how to talk to their kids about this and tend to just start lecturing and putting stricter “rules” alongside the technology usage. So in this case, it can be a great thing to talk to your friends. You’ll find you are not alone and you might learn a thing or two, yourself. It’s also important that while you don’t shame your kids during this phase, that you also don’t shame yourself. The mother who reached out to me most recently expressed feelings of shame, failure, embarrassment, and was just defeated. She didn’t talk to anyone about it because she felt like it reflected so badly on her and that her friends would think less of her for being a mom who “let that happen on her watch.” Get over it parents – Be real with eachother. Stop judging others and they will stop judging you. Your kids are their own separate entity – not always a direct reflection of you. And again, the fact of the matter is, your friends kids have probably seen porn too and they just don’t know it. Stick together on this journey. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It IS something to be educated on and prepared to handle with your children.

Jump in and try it

When I tell parents to “talk to your kids about sex/porn,” I don’t mean just once. I mean constantly – like every other day. Talk to them about it so much and so casually, that the topic is just as normal to talk about as what they ate for lunch or how they’re doing on their science project. Ask questions about what he knows. Offer information before she asks for it. I’m not suggesting you drill your kids with questions and accusations. I’m suggesting the opposite. You’re at the counter chopping carrots with your daughter and you might say, “so, who’s having sex in the 7th grade?” Or you’re in the car with your son and you have the chance to say, “Let’s talk oral sex.” He knows that it’s out there and he’s heard about it. Ask him about that. Keep talking and keep asking questions, until your kid is so over the topic that when a friend suggests they look at naked pictures online your kid says, “no thanks, I’m all set with that. My mom talks about it every single day.” And then chat about it some more. It’s not a sit down, eye to eye, serious and scary conversation. It’s just a reality – it’s sex, it’s hormones, it’s puberty, it’s masturbating, it’s porn. It’s also love, and relationships, and intimacy and pleasure and boundaries and body awareness and communication.

Remember, our kids are growing and changing and investigating. If we want to receive an invitation into their lives and stay connected as a trusted ally, so that we can be the source of their sexual education, it takes work. Work on our parts to stay open and non-judgmental, to parent from a place of confidence and poise, create a support system and keep practicing. You won’t get it right the first time (or maybe even the second or third), but keep at it. I trust you would rather be honest with yourself and take steps to connect with your sons and daughters about what their reality is, instead of hiding under your covers pretending that it won’t happen again or didn’t happen at all.

#growingagrownup

I’d love to hear from more of you. If you have a question or an area that is challenging you, please go to our contact form and send it in. We’ll do our best to answer it via email and we’d love it if you’d give us permission to post on our blog to help others.

Many Thanks

I receive many heartfelt and thoughtful thank you’s each week from parents whom I have worked with, or who have taken my class or read one of my books. The thank you’s come in all shapes and sizes and I love and appreciate each and every one of them. Being a parent is the most important thing in my life and helping others learn to parent from their best and foster deep connections with their children is what I am incredibly passionate about. So to hear that parents are having success with their journey, or that they have landed in a place of confidence, faith and connection with their children, means the world. Thank YOU for the thank you’s. xo V

Angelou

Vicki,

The conversations we have had have been such a blessing for me. I’d like to share some thoughts in hopes that my realizations and reflections might be helpful to another parent out there.

I’m at a point now in my parenting, where I can look back over past situations and mistakes that I have made with a much clearer understanding. Rather that dwell on guilt or shame around past parenting mistakes, I’m choosing to use it all as a learning experience so I can continue growing with each experience and be the best parent that I can be for my children. Yes, I’ve made mistakes, but recently I have had many more successes.

Through working with you and learning about your methods and philosophies, I am at a completely different place in my relationship with my children. I am now able to trust my gut. Trust myself. Trust my abilities and my judgement. And most importantly, trust my kids. There was a point where I made all the decisions for them, never asked for their input, didn’t consider their preferences or choices. Now, I trust their choices. Everything we do begins with a conversation so that everyone is heard and feels valuable to the group. No rules are set with out their input. I have a new found faith in my children that I don’t think I had before. I realize that the process is more important than the outcome  so rather than focusing on them doing something “right” or “just so” or how I would do it…I focus on their process, what they are learning, how they are growing, and sending them the message that I am right there with them and see them growing right before my eyes. Some small but powerful changes in my parenting have created a shift in our relationship that feels so much more connected, respectful, meaningful and long lasting.

I think these days I send the message to my kids that, we’re all in this together. You make mistakes, I make mistakes. As long as we have faith and willingness to own our mistakes and learn from them so we can try a different way next time. We’re a team now, and I can’t thank you enough for your support and help in getting us to this point.

Daily Routine Samples

A huge part of setting up routines is knowing what the heck kids could be doing on their own! Often we don’t even realize we’re doing things that the kids are perfectly capable of doing. Many parent find a sample routine helpful. Here are three basic routines that a child can follow. Of course you can adapt it to meet your child’s ability but all of these are reasonable, and believe it or not, possible (just ask our community of parents).

proper-quote

Morning Routine – The mornings can be nightmares for many parents. Kids running late, breakfast on the run, backpacks left behind, missing clothes, power struggles and yelling. It’s not what we want, but it’s often what we get. As parents, we understand that the morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, so it is important to start on the right foot. So what’s the secret to smooth mornings, take offs that are timely and kids who are ready and excited about their day?

EXAMPLE:

Mom and Dad have two kids, ages 4 and 8. They don’t all follow the same exact schedule together as a team, but they get through the morning on their individual agendas. And they do it daily. And it works because everyone knows what they are supposed to do from the moment they wake up!

 

Anna /Mom – 45 years

6:00 wake up

6:10 Coffee with husband

6:30 Shower and dressed

7:00 Checks email and organizes day

7:15 Helps Rachel check the weather

7:20 Breakfast

7:35 Helps Rachel unload the Dishwasher

7:45 Goes back to bedroom and stays out of the way

7:55 Turns on music so Rachel knows its time to leave in 5 minutes

8:00 Goes out to car and leaves – whether kids are in the car or not.

8:05 Henry & Anna have agreed that on the ride to school, they will not listen to the radio – they will

visit. Mom supports Henry’s natural rhythm and “allows” him to sleep in and Henry agrees not to listen

to the radio and chat with his mom.

 Rachel – 4 years

7:00 Rise and Shine to Tinkerbell Alarm Clock

7:15 Down the stairs – checks the weather

7:25 Breakfast

7:35 Helps mom unload the dishwasher from the night before

7:40 Pack Backpack & snack for preschool

7:45 Brush teeth – before getting dressed because sometimes she dribbles on her shirt when she spits

7:50 Back upstairs to get dressed and relaxes

Rachel is particularly organized and created a routine that allows her to read quietly in her room for 5 to

10 minutes. She and her mom have agreed upon a signal that it is 5 minutes to take off and Rachel

comes down the steps – puts on her coat and boots/shoes/sandals and heads to the bus/to the car.

Henry – 8 years

7:45 Bolts out of bed

7:50 Down stairs fully dressed

7:55 Grabs a piece of fruit or poptart for breakfast

8:00 Packs backpack complete with travel toothbrush and toothpaste and Listerine breath strips

8:05 Runs out the door putting shoes on and carrying family garbage to the garage

If you are wondering why mom is not more involved in the morning routine its because the children have been trained. Mom understands that if a child can do it, she deserves the space to do it. If you would like more information on training children, please check out Chapter 3 of the PonT home program.

Classmate pupils running outside.

Afternoon Routine – So the kids get off the bus or you pick them up from day care. Maybe you are in the kitchen waiting to greet them with warm tollhouse cookies and maybe you are strapping them into car seats and seat belts for another long car ride. In any case, the afternoon can be stressful for everyone in the family. Taking the time to create an easy, uncomplicated afternoon routine that helps everyone transition from an individual focus to a family focus is crucial.

School Routine – Along with buying new pencils and notebooks, “back to school” also means a return to routines, alarm clocks, and the responsibilities that many of our children left behind with the last bell in June. There are all kinds of systems families can use, and Parenting On Track is about progress, change, and the long-term goal of encouraging independence and self-reliance in our children.

EXAMPLES:

This single Mom of 3 kids, ages 6, 8 and 10, began following the program when her oldest was three. Notice how much the children do on their own and how much quality time is worked into the routine!

Valerie – 48 years

(3 days a week the kids ride the bus home and 2 days a week she picks the kids up and drops the oldest at a local skate park where he is part of a program that mentors younger kids.)

When the kids ride the bus home: 3:00 – Connect with kids when they get off the bus or pick up afterschool to deliver to extracurricular activities – (3 kids 10 minutes each listen and download)

Hillary – 6 years – Comes home and makes snack

Jared – 8 years – Jumps on bike and does round up with kids in the neighborhood for an hour of tree climbing

Elliot – 10 years – Gets ready for neighborhood carpool to skateboard park

When mom picks the kids up

Hillary – Has packed a snack that she put in the car before she left for school

Jared – Needs a chance to unwind and has agreed to play a video game in the car as long as he turns it off when they arrive home.

Elliot – Spends time talking with mom since he will be gone for another 2 hours.

At Home

Hillary – finishes up snack and completes afternoon contribution – helps mom prep for dinner and gets ready to do her nightly reading

Jared – comes in from playing with friends – cleans up for dinner

Elliot – comes home from skateboard park in time for dinner

After Dinner

Hillary – does nightly reading

Jared – does contribution and homework

Elliot – does contribution – this guy does his homework in the am before school.

End of Day

Bedtime Routine – Most parents I have worked with over the years spend anywhere from 20 to 2 hours with their kids saying goodnight and the majority of the parents tell me they hate it. They also tell me they feel guilty for feeling this way. They tell me how they imagined bedtime would be when their children were infants, but how frustrated they are that that image never materialized. You know the scenario – a last cuddle, prayers, maybe a book, a kiss, I love you, and out the door the parent goes. But that isn’t the reality.

The reality is that most parents and kids have created routines that actually divides them rather than bringing them closer. We all want our last moment with a child to be a special and deep connection. So how do you get that?

EXAMPLE:

Jan and Bill – 3 Kids – Ages 3, 6, 11

Aidan – 3

Bedtime routine begins at 7:00

Aidan decides who will go upstairs while he gets ready for bed which includes:

o Reading a book downstairs with mom and dad

o The other kids are in their rooms so that Aidan has a chance to connect with mom and dad and begin to relax before bed. They learned the hard way that if the other kids were flying around the house, Aidan resisted saying goodnight.

o Washing teeth

o Taking a bath

o Pajamas on

When he is in bed, 7:30 – 7:45, he calls to the other parent to come up for kisses. Both parents share one appreciation with Aidan and often times he returns with an appreciation of his own. They have maintained the one sentence rule so that Aidan doesn’t turn this into a 30 minute ordeal. Early on, they decided they would leave the room quietly if Aidan started making mischief with the appreciations. They reported that within 3 days, they had established one of the nicest bedtime routines. Final kisses and lights out by 7:45. Jan and Bill decided they needed 15 minutes to themselves to regroup after putting Aidan to bed and found this a time to start their wind down for the night.

Megan – 6. Megan is a night owl and comes alive just after dinner. Her parents have figured out that she doesn’t require as much sleep as most kids and can maintain a great attitude with as little as 6 hours of sleep.

7:00 – 8:00 is when Megan gets herself ready for the following day. The house is quiet and she has agreed to leave mom and dad alone with Aidan. She also does her contribution during this time (unless it involves vacuuming).

8:00 – 8:30 is for reading with mom and dad. Megan doesn’t have homework yet, so this is still a time to connect alone with her parents.

8:30 – 9:00 she is ready for downtime and has a room full of options. The family has agreed to tv on weekends, but not during the week. Downtime includes legos, crafts, and any other interests that might capture Megan’s attention.

9:00 – Call mom and dad up for final kisses. Megan isn’t in bed yet. But she is ready to say goodnight. Mom and dad gave up fighting with her about lights out when they realized that she could self regulate her sleeping.

Josh – 10. Josh is a meticulous kid who like order and consistency.

7:00 – 8:00 – Homework

8:00 – 9:00 – Gets ready for following day: includes making his lunch, unpacking and repacking his backpack

9:00 – 9:30 – Connect with the folks before turning in. They have begun chatting at the dining room table giving their conversations a more serious tone. This allows Josh the full attention of his parents and for them to talk in private and venture into adult topics.

9:30 – Upstairs for a shower and bed.

Mom and Dad have from 9:30 on every evening to connect and then to end the evening as they see fit.

What routines have you put in place for your family and how are they working for all of you?

Use the Force: Follow a Child’s Natural Rhythm and Preference

Anyone with kids has probably noticed the 5:00 hour is somehow a portal to the dark side. There’s no getting around it. It’s been called “the bewitching hour”, “arsenic hour” and reversely, “happy hour” by parents who choose to check out while the chaos ensues.

Gilmans

Joking aside, this is the perfect example of how to use natural forces to your advantage. Maybe, asking the kids to sit down and crack the books at 5:00 is asking for a meltdown—one that could be avoided by simply going with the flow of natural productivity. Homework at 3:00? Possibly. Homework at 6:00? Doable. But homework at 5:00? Probably not. The point is, it’s important to notice your child’s natural rhythms and preference and then leverage them to create seamless routines that support an instinctual nature. If your child is squirrely at 5pm, that might be a good time to invite him into the kitchen and have him make his lunch for the following day. Perhaps your child is a morning person. Invite them to make lunches before the bus. Got a late sleeper? Develop a routine that will have them prep their stuff before they go to bed so they get up and follow the same process right out the door.

There are some influences that can’t be changed, but there are many small adjustments that will lead to a much smoother flow throughout the day. And remember: expect hotspots around the am and bedtime routines, transitions to leave the house and getting “stuff” together for sports and activities. No matter what your rhythms and preferences are, understanding them and working with them will make each and every day more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

Finding the right rhythm may take some time. Here are some ideas to get you going.

  • Identify the night owls and the morning larks.
  • Identify the rabbits and the turtles.
  • If a conflict ensues regarding an activity at a certain time of day – this is your key.
  • Have faith. Try it out. Give it time. And TRUST.

Getting The Kids Involved

Getting the Kids Involved Means Letting them Participate 

work is worthIt sounds super obvious to most parents that if you want kids to follow a daily routine, they have to help create it and then feel supported as they practice mastering the routine on their own. Well, that’s not always how things play out. We often “let” the kids participate when it’s convenient for us or when they are doing things “right” but as soon as they fall behind, or don’t do things exactly the way we want them, we step in and muddle everything up. Creating, executing and mastering routines takes time and while the kids are practicing, life happens. But if we can shift our thinking, if we can let the routine lead the day, we’ll find that children can take on more responsibility, become less dependent on us for everything and we can all enjoy that time between activities vs. rushing and hurrying things along.

What does this mean? It means, if your child is supposed to pack a backpack for school, you wont jump in and do it as the clock starts ticking louder and louder. And so, yes, you’ll be late. Yes, your kid will wear PJ’s to school. Yes, they won’t have a lunch if they don’t feel like making one. Once you learn to let go, the child will know you trust they can do it and that’s when the magic happens. Obviously, allowing a kid to go to school hungry because they forgot their lunch or left their homework behind, is a hard lesson to learn! Most parents think they just can’t let that happen. But they soon find out they can and it only happens once or twice.

IMG_6573Over time, once your children realize you’re going about the routine and that you trust them to manage on their own, they begin to master tasks that lead to confidence and capability. After the peaceful, relaxed and orderly routine is established, you’ll never look back!

Are you ready for a routine?

Kids CAN Do So Much! With a solid routine and less interference, kids of all ages CAN and WILL:

  • get dressed
  • make lunches
  • bring a backpack
  • get ready for bed quickly
  • wake up for school on time
  • finish homework
  • brush their teeth
  • feed the pets
  • and so much more!

Head’s Up! It’ll be bumpy for just a short while. Once you master the routine, it’ll get smoother and sweeter. In the beginning, you’ll have to focus on these few things:

kid workPatience. Don’t step in, even if you’re late.

Correcting. If a kid packs three granola bars for his lunch, hey it’s a start. It’ll get better- don’t get caught up in the little stuff.

Let go. You’ll just have to sacrifice a few events (like bball practice or dinner out) in order to learn the routine.

Once it’s in place, it’ll be just fine.
Trust the kids. Just trust them. They will find a way if you’re not there doing everything for them.

Parenting Land Mine

As anyone who knows me can attest, I was a free range parent long before the words helicopter parenting, tiger mom or free range were part of the parenting landscape.

I parented with 2 things in mind.

1. keep the relationship with my kids strong, healthy, honest and robust

2. foster their independence in every moment

challenge

Yes, I received dirty looks from shop-keepers and store-clerks when my kids were allowed to roam inside their establishments unsupervised while I stood outside and waited for them. The scowls turned to smiles as my kids navigated the aisles without breaking anything “fragile” and then opened their purses and paid with their own money for the little treasures they found in these stores. Fostering independence comes with scowls and skepticism. That’s okay. It didn’t stop us.

I got phone calls from coaches who informed me that I needed to make sure my kids had all their “gear” and were at practice 15 minutes before practice – huh? I politely declined their invitation and let them know that I was committed to raising independent kids who could figure out how to manage something as simple as a pair of cleats, shin guards and a water bottle. As far as getting to practice on-time, I
suggested that perhaps they might also like to foster a bit of independence in the kids they were coaching and ask the kids to make sure they were to practice when they were expected to be there.

As the kids got a bit older, I supported their innate desire to wander further from home (and truth be told, I was a bit nervous the first 42 times they suggested it). But with training, some guidelines and practice, I knew it was the right thing to do if I was really going to stand behind my (here it is again) value to raise independent kids who would one day become adults.

Did I take unnecessary risks? Hell no, but I would bet Danielle Meitiv didn’t think she was taking unnecessary risks either time she supported her kids in walking the short distance home from school.

vicki-training kids blog

I find it remarkable that there is a conversation suggesting that these parents be bullied into changing their parenting style because of the fear that CPS will get involved. I wonder where the world would be today if the woman suffrages ran home because they were scared of a little controversy and backlash from the powers that be. If I was inclined, I could probably think of a dozen or more instances in history where people stood up for their rights at the risk of imprisonment, but maybe parenting is different. Maybe in fact, more of us should parent according to what our neighbors think is appropriate or at the very least, parent according to popular culture norms and our biggest fears, which at present seem to be that an organization established to ensure the safety of children might threaten you with taking your children if they disagree with your parenting style.

Am I the only one that sees the intrinsic danger in where this is going? Fortunately for me, my kids are grown. Unfortunately, in the next ten years they will begin their own parenting journey and it is my great hope that as a society we find the balance needed in order to raise a generation of people who can make informed decisions, are invested in their communities and take personal responsibility for their words, attitudes and actions. But maybe that is asking too much as well. Maybe, along with raising independent children, we should abandon these other traits and be satisfied raising compliant children who do what they are told by people who are not their parents.

What is happening to the Meitivs is another example of how extreme and out of balance parenting has become. At one time, there was a code of conduct among parents that read something like: Do not judge, lest you be judged and help out when you can. Simple. Now it’s judge everything, especially if you know nothing about the people or the situation, share your opinions and judgments openly and often with as many people as you can find and turn your back on a parent who in any way parents in a style you deem unacceptable. It’s a minefield out in the parenting world and anyone who claims that parents stick together is living under a rock. Yes, of course there are wonderful tribes to be had, but more often then not, parents are finding themselves alone, judged and changing the way they parent in order to, in the case of the Maryland parents, keep their kids at home where
they are most certainly safer than they would be in Child Protective Services or Foster Care.

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I don’t believe this is happening to this family because of who they are or what they are doing necessarily. I think that the spotlight is on them in order for us to begin a
dialogue about the new age of parenting and how we must all adapt, work together and support each other if we are to raise children who flourish as adults.

With all that has been written about the hazards of over-parenting, helicopter parenting, micro-managing kids, the real crime is crippling children by parenting from a place of fear, guilt, and shame.

Siblings Part 3: Tips To Bring More Joy

stop the fighting

Watching your kids play nicely together, hearing a shared giggle, watching a potential fight averted, because of some savvy negotiating between your 6 and 8 year old is just about every parent’s idea of a dream come true. But raising kids who truly enjoy each other is a process that takes years. It’s important that parents recognize that building on small moments, bringing a child’s awareness to the moments that “work” with a sometimes pesky sibling, providing situations in which kids can practice solving problems around play, will go a long way in creating sibling relationships that will stay strong and loving for years to come.

Personally, I made the decision when my kids were young, that if I could choose between kids who got along between 2 – 18 and kids who were close from 18 to 80, my choice would be the later. One of the major trip ups for parents around kids getting along when they are young, is the belief that we parents are responsible for those relationships. Maybe if we did more of one thing or less of another, we could guarantee our kids would be each other’s best friends for life – pinky swear. But nothing could be further from the truth. Take a page from your adult experience and trust that by following these easy but powerful 10 tips, you will indeed raise kids who truly enjoy each other’s company more with each passing year. And yes, you will witness this before they leave home.

appreciate

1. Appreciations: Just like suggesting to someone who has a head ache that they drink water, before they run to the doctor for an MRI, using appreciations as a way to combat sibling squabbles is often overlooked because of it’s simplicity. But as a mom who raised 5 kids in a blended family dynamic, this was the key to my kids not only enjoying life together under one roof, but the reason the 5 of them are still as thick as thieves as young adults.

2. Adler’s Golden Rule: “ I use Adler’s “see with their eyes, hear with their ears and feel with their heart” to help my children understand a sibling they are struggling with. Inevitably, there is a moment of empathy and awareness, which translates into a more relaxed and accepting dynamic. This has become the foundation for conversations when one sibling is struggling with another’s choice of behavior.” Mother of 4 children, ages 7 – 16.

sibling rivalry, ignore behaviors

3. No Blood – No Break – No Foul: “I stay out of every single squabble that doesn’t include blood or break. And yes, it’s tough. Especially in public. It’s easy for parents to get pulled into the tussle and as soon as I’m there, I can see the entire dynamic change. It’s no longer an opportunity for my kids to work together to solve the problem, it’s about me trying to decide who needs to change or do something different and the relationship between the kids takes a psychic hit. I would say, that at this point, my kids spend less than 10% of their time squabbling for more than just a few minutes. They have strategies that work for almost every occasion, including walking away, writing it on the problem board, negotiating and sometimes, just throwing themselves down on the ground and hoping for a sympathetic sibling to concede the toy.” Mother of 3 children, under the age of 5

4. Use Reality as your Guide: “I had kids who were very physical and it really concerned me. I thought that the fighting defined the relationship and it scared me. Over time, as I learned to watch the kids in other situations, I realized that they had a high degree of respect for each other and often times worked together in ways that I overlooked. I think it’s important for parents to really challenge their beliefs about what it means for kids to enjoy each other because truly, I think it can sometimes be a bit Polly-Anna. And today, my kids are as close as any siblings I know.” Mother of 3 children, ages 25 – 19

5. Get an accurate idea of how often your kids get along and how they “do” getting along. Most parents admit that when challenged to do this, they recognize that the kids get along more then they give them credit for. So take a deep breath and relax. Remember to acknowledge when the kids are working together or enjoying each other and be specific so they can use this information again and again.

6. Give them a break from each other. Even kids can get sick and tired of hanging with the same folks for too long. Sometimes it’s that simple. Allow them time alone, with other friends, with parents one-on-one and don’t get caught up in the “it’s not fair” song and dance.

7. If you have friends with older kids (like young teens) leverage them. They can teach your kids the importance of getting along with their siblings in a way that we, the parents, can’t. Hearing a story from a 10, 13 or 16 year old about how awesome they think their sibling is, or a time when their sibling came to their rescue, can go along way in helping shift your child’s perspective towards their pesky sibling.

8. Stop fretting. Most kids do enjoy each other. They might not show it the way you want them too, but they are young, they are doing the best they can. Allow the relationship to grow over time, slowly and naturally. Watch that you aren’t comparing or judging and that your expectations are in line with reality.

9. Keep your own childhood out of the picture. You aren’t raising yourself and over compensating for a lousy relationship with your sister will only guarantee that your kids struggle to create meaningful relationships with each other. If you model for your kids what a healthy relationship looks like, sounds like and feels like, they have a much better chance of establishing a healthy one with their siblings. Trying to force kids to get along usually back fires and causes more fractures not less.

10. Take pictures of the times people are enjoying each other and post them around the house. When kids start to squabble, bring them over to a picture and ask them to remind you of what was happening in the action. Along with this, make sure appreciations during Family Meetings includes when kids are rockin it out together. Remember, whatever you pay attention too – you get more of.

jens kids

Remember to pace yourself. It’s not nearly as important to have young children who have developed the skills which makes it possible for us to get along with people day in and day out for years, as it is to help them build a strong foundation that will grow with them over time and solidify the relationship they have with their brothers and sisters.

Siblings Fighting? Making Small Tweaks Can Change the Game

sibling rivalry, ignore behaviors

Here are the 3 simple tweaks (the first step) you can make to break the cycle of fighting in your home and create a little more peace, harmony and enjoyment from all that I promised you.

1. If YOU are still trying to GET your children to get along, the solution is simple: STOP. (In the next post I’ll share the most powerful strategy there is for eliminating the majority of the fighting in your home.) But first, I want you to stop getting involved and observe.

2. Because kids fight for their parents, the solution is to just watch what happens when you act like you don’t notice and walk out of the room or act like you found something more interesting to pay attention to. That doesn’t mean you ignore a situation where you think someone is in serious jeopardy of being hurt, but it does mean you learn to ignore the fighting that is designed to engage YOU. I walked around with headphones on and pretended to listen to music. This drove my kids nuts, but within a few short minutes, they were either dancing with me, or laughing at my taste in music. In either case, the fighting stopped and we could move on with our day.

mail.google.com

3. If you are doing things for your children that they could do for themselves, the solution is to: Invite, Train, Encourage and Support your children as they begin to engage in navigating the hills and valleys of their own lives. By inviting, training, encouraging and supporting your children, you will begin to notice that EVERYONE is in a new relationship with each other and that no one seems all that interested in fighting with anyone else.

If you just realized that you do too much for your children, I invite you to learn more about how to implement the Timeline for Training Strategy.

Young Adults Leave The Nest, But Not For Long.

 

 

I came up with a motto, a slogan to help me parent. And it was this: It is my job to make sure that when my children turn 18, I have trained them in everything that they need to learn so that they can open the doors, walk over the threshold, and enter young adulthood with confidence and enthusiasm. I have 18 years to prepare them. It is my job to teach them how to run their life so they don’t need me any longer. But so many kids leave home at 18, young adults, and find themselves at college and don’t know how to manage their lives, how to navigate their lives, how to make simple decisions, how to organize. And they’re forced back home. And I can’t think of anything worse for those kids to admit that they couldn’t make it on their own, or for their parents who have to say “come back home,” knowing that in some way it was their fault. If you find a child who has to come home because they couldn’t make it, this is a chance to start fresh. Look back and ask yourself what areas of this child’s life did you do for them because you thought it would be too hard or they would make a mistake or they would make a mistake and it was just easier if you did it for them. And teach them. It’s not going to be fun, because they see themselves as adults, but they already know that they’re missing some of the life skills that they need to be successful. Sit down, have a heart-to-heart, make a list start at the top, and teach them everything they need to now. Set a timeline that says, 6 months or a year from now we’re going to try it again. This is not the worst thing that will happen to you. Together we’re going to figure this out. We’re going to get you ready to go this time. And you’re going to give it another shot.

PRE-ORDER your copy of The Straight Talk On Parenting HERE

Adios! Saying Farewell to JJ

jj4Jennifer & I would like to send warm wishes to Jamaica Jenkins aka “JJ” on her next chapter!

She’s been a talented, engaging and bright part of our Parenting on Track / Duct Tape Parenting family for nearly five years! Jamaica’s helped us through many projects, including the writing of Duct Tape Parenting and the sharing of our ideas through pinterest, facebook, twitter and the blog.

Cheers to our snarky, funny friend. We’ll miss having her around our social spaces but she’ll be back to visit from time to time!

XO and Best of luck!

-Vicki & Jen

Adios JJ!

3 Secrets…

pediatricianYour pediatrician NEVER told you.

There’s no instruction manual so take these to mind when you’re navigating life with little ones:

  1. Children are done baking at 5.
  2. Children don’t grow out of, they grow into.
  3. Children always do what works, parents consistently do what doesn’t.

The Takeaways:

1. Start as early as you can! Kids will be far more cooperative if they get a jump start in the art of cooperation, feeling empowered through contributions, and supported by parents who know that the journey is for the kids – not mom and dad.

2. Don’t feed those weeds. I know, it’s hard but they won’t wake up one day NOT being the “whiner” or the “noodler” they’ve been labeled and catered to! Help them grow INTO confident, competent young adults with TRUST, FAITH and DUCT TAPE to stay out.

3. Remember, children are simply brilliant at doing whatever it takes to make it work for them- even if we don’t like it! If all those bandaids over bullet wounds worked, we’d be out of business. See the cleverness in the chaos and encourage change- but don’t slap quick fixes on temporary issues. Take time for training and stay focused on the relationship- then the kids will choose what works for the entire family.

Watch This or View MORE Parenting On Track Sample Chapters

Kid Quotables via @Flockmother

Quotables

Last week, we shared an inspiring post by @flockmother that showcased how great it is when we invest in the relationship with our children.

This week, we’d like to share another wonderful post from her blog that showcases how our children do benefit and they do appreciate it when we, as parents, aren’t all “up in their business.”

If you’d like to read more from @flockmother, you can read her journey here: 12 1/2 Weeks: Parenting On Track- One Family’s Story.  If you’d like to learn more about the Parenting On Track Home Program, click here. (PS We only have a limited number left so look while you can! Now, on to the GOOD STUFF.  Shared with Permission From the Post, Quotables

You know you’re a Parenting-On-Track family when you hear:

  • “Mom, come on! Let’s go! I don’t want to be late for school!”
  • “She’s not willing to clean the sink, so I’m going to do it for her. Can I use the yellow sponge?”
  • “I found out that when I’m left alone, I like to clean. We cleaned the kitchen, now we’re going to clean the house.”
  • “Ok, if you’re willing to play Frisbee later, then I’ll get my work done now.”
  • (As I started to give advice): “Mom, please don’t. I’m so tired of people telling me how to do stuff all day at school.”
  • “I have a problem. I haven’t been getting to bed on time lately. I think if I go to bed too late there should be a consequence.”
  • “Mom, stop staring at me like you know I’m about to figure this out.”
  • “I take pride in having a mom who doesn’t tell me what to do.”
  • “My family is awesome.”

Read ALL the  inspiring quotables and other true stories, HERE.

News: Vicki Hoefle

It’s the weekend! Let’s celebrate with a little showcase of great news and reviews we’re seeing in response to Duct Tape Parenting and Vicki Hoefle.

Reviews

First up is a book review by Simply Stacie. She’s doing a giveaway of the book – so go ahead, enter to win if you’d like! She says,

“I have three children ages 4, 5 and 7 and I have read a lot of parenting books over the years. Duct Tape Parenting is a refreshing change from many of the parenting advice books that I have read because it offers a “less is more approach to raising respectful, responsible & resilient kids”. Written by Vicki Hoefle who is the creator of the Parenting On Track™ Program, this parenting guide for children of all ages offers a wonderful alternative to “helicopter” parenting…” Read the review post, here.

 

Next in the lineup is a review by the hilarious and tell it like it is, Cindy Pierce.

She says,  “Vicki Hoefle’s book is out! I am thrilled to have her message in book form that fits in my purse. I can take it anywhere and soak up her parenting wisdom bombs. The anecdotes and solutions are a reminder of the triggers in our family that cause us to derail with regularity. Having the book is helping us get back on track more easily.l….Read the review, here. Oh, and check out her book Finding the Doorbell, here.

Featured Review (Amazon)

This review is by a very well respected author, expert and father. Gavin de Becker, Author of Protecting the Gift and The Gift of Fear had this to say (and we are very appreciative of his words!).

Gavin de Becker wrote: “Vicki Hoefle is an important teacher in my life. As a father of ten, my only complaint is that I didn’t have the book years ago. DUCT TAPE PARENTING teaches us to focus on building the best relationship with our children. Though that could seem obvious – it isn’t, as demonstrated by the fact that most parents focus on stopping or compelling specific behaviors. We would never approach any adult relationship (read: respectful relationship) that way, focusing on changing specific behaviors…” – Click here to read the review by Gavin de Becker.

Click here to read the other 80 + Amazon Reviews!

News

Ask Vicki on VT Mommies

Vicki has a Vermont parenting column! She’s answering YOUR questions at VTMommies. Please, swing by, check out the column, submit a question and “like” VTMommies on Facebook to stay up on the Vicki Hoefle Q & A.

WCAX – News bit about getting out the door in the morning.

 

Click HERE to watch!

 

 

Vicki Hoefle: Book Club!

vicki2When we heard that several of YOU were planning on reading Duct Tape Parenting in your local book groups, we thought, gee, that is awesome. Then we thought, gee, let’s connect with YOU folks.

Today, we are happy to announce that if you are reading Duct Tape Parenting with your book group, Vicki Hoefle would love to join you! She will personally participate in a scheduled call to connect, answer questions and be part of your conversation!

How This Works

Basically, you decide to read and discuss Duct Tape Parenting with your friends or in a book group. Then,  you contact jennifer@parentingontrack.com to schedule your call with Vicki! She can do skype, video chat via skype or call-in conference call.

What You and Your Book Group Will Get From This

  • A real conversation with Vicki, to answer your group’s Q&As
  • Insight to key concepts your group is focusing on
  • A personal connection to Vicki and her philosophy
  • MAGNETS for the entire group (we’ll send up to 10 magnets to one group leader)

What We’d Appreciate from Your Group…Would You Be Willing To?

  • Give us feedback on your overall reading experience
  • Write a written review of the book on amazon.com (one review per group member)
  • Send a list of areas you’d like more info (family meetings, training, etc).
  • Answer a general survey (so we can create a study guide based on REAL reader experience)

We promise it won’t be anything heavy (no 5 paragraph essays, we promise!) and we won’t sell or abuse your book group’s contact information. Our goal is to dive into your conversations and hear how real parents are connecting with the book, its strategies, thoughts and ideas. We are going to use this information to craft a great study guide for future book clubs like yours!

We’d love to have you, the first round of Duct Tape Parenting readers, help us map out what is next.

If you’re interested, please email jennifer @parentingontrack.com. Note: offer good until end of 2012, because we’ll be working on that study guide early 2013 :).

News: Vicki Hoefle

vicki-headshotWhat Has Vicki Hoefle Been Up To? (Hint: A Lot!)

The past few  months have been busy! Duct Tape Parenting launched, reviews began steadily coming in, our cool-as-beans fans showed up online to share our links, sites and images. Vicki’s family visited Vermont, the team traveled to Utah and California and in between all the energy-filled adventures, Vicki made appearances, conducted interviews, submitted guest posts an gave solid advice around the web. So, for your weekend delight, we’ve compiled all the recent press and news into ONE post.

Sit back, put your feet up (pour a big glass of wine if you’d like- afterall, it’s Friday- right?) and browse! Oh, and feel free to share, like, comment and tweet to your heart’s content. (BTW, all the links can be found on our handy dandy Vicki Press Pinterest Page)

Free Range Kids

5 Simple Ways to Let Go and Raise a Resilient Child, by Vicki Hoefle

Hey there Free-Rangers! I want to give a quick kudos to you for encouraging your children to take reasonable risks. It takes courage to foster independence in a world that prefers to hover and hyper-protect. By stepping out of the way and trusting them, you are enabling resiliency, confidence, courage and independence in your kids. Thank you and keep up the radical faith, folks! Read the Entire Guest Post Here (Notice all the comments- sweet! Feel free to chime in).

ScoutMob (San Francisco)

How to Have Kids and Continue to Be Awesome in SF

It’s not easy having kids, especially in a city as youthful as SF (that’s a nice way of mentioning Peter Pan syndrome). But just because you’ve got little ones in tow doesn’t mean your favorite city spots are off limits to you. It’s just a matter of taking a little Urban Parenting 101. Read the Entire Article Here

Chicago Tribune

Scaling back, gaining more. A parent’s thrifty ways can produce a bounty of benefits for the kids. by By Heidi Stevens, Tribune Newspapers

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s what parents are spending less on these days:

Back-to-school stuff: About 65 percent planned to spend the same or less than last year on supplies, etc., according to America’s Research Group, a retail industry analyst.

Baby gear: The “play and discover” market — toys and goods for children younger than 1 has dropped by a third since the recession hit in 2008, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research firm.

Read the Entire Article Here

Radical Parenting

Happy Parenting doesn’t happen by magic. It takes practice. by Vanessa Van Petten 

Taking a less is more approach to raising five kids helped us all enjoy the transition from childhood to tweenhood to young adulthood (ages 18 – 23 living on their own or at college).

I came up with some simple rules that guided us on our journey and supported each of them as unique individuals discovering their place in the world.  These rules also translated well to the tens of thousands of parents who I have worked with over the past twenty years as a parent expert and coach. Read the Entire Guest Post Here

 

Christian Science Monitor

Parenting advice: Author Vicki Hoefle says to stop micromanaging By Stephanie Hanes

Whether it’s Tiger Mom, Bringing up Bebe, or Dr. Sears (not to mention the slippery slope of mommy/daddy web forums), American parents are awash in advice, criticisms, and suggestions for how to raise their kids.

But given the conflicting messages that these parenting theories entail, we wouldn’t blame you for throwing up your hands, chucking the self-help books out the window, and burying your head under the pillow while the toddler runs wild.

Still, we’ve found that, a lot of times, the experts have some really good ideas. And seriously, who doesn’t need a little bit of parenting help now and then. In the spirit of public service, then, we at Modern Parenthood thought we’d start a new, semi-regular feature on parenting books and theories, with tips and ideas straight from the parenting gurus.  Read the Entire Article Here

 

 

Michelle in the Middle

In this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, founder of Parenting On Track™, we talk with Michelle Icard creator of middle school programs that support kids as they navigate the ever changing social landscape of middle school. In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Listen to the Podcast Here

 

 WCAX News

Raising kids can be one of the best, most challenging, most fun things to do.  There are new developments everyday as your child changes.  But one parenting expert says what should not change is your parenting style.

 

Vicki Hoefle is a mother of five.  She just wrote a book called “Duct Tape Parenting: A less is more approach to raising respectful, responsible and resilient kids.”  She spoke with Kristin Carlson.

Watch the Interview Here

 

 

Rutland Herald

Duct tape parenting? Vt. author offers family fix for sticky situations

Author: By Kevin O’Connor

Can’t tame your wild child with stares, scolding or strict discipline? East Middlebury educator Vicki Hoefle has written a new parenting book with a more bracing suggestion: Duct tape. Yes, you read right. A sticky strap across the mouth, hands, arms, feet – whatever the problem area. “What you need to know is that the duct tape will be for you, mom and dad,” Hoefle’s book clarifies. “You can actually tape yourself, but… Read / Purchase the Article Here

 

 

Take the Duct Tape Parent Pledge

Duct Tape Parenting PledgeToday, we’ve decided to do something FUN.

We’ve been so focused on launching the book and rallying reviews that we figured it was time to let loose and say a little thanks to our fans. SO, here’s the deal.

The Deal

We posted THIS pledge on Facebook. We’re giving away MAGNETS to the people who click “like” to take the pledge.

HOW TO PLEDGE

Simply go to the image and click “like” – this means you’re on board with the pledge (and no, you don’t have to be a perfect Duct Tape Parent because a perfect parent of any kind doesn’t exist!).

Then, we’ll put all the likers’ name into the hat (we’ll literally use a hat) and ask a kid from one of our collective families to pull names at random. The more LIKES we get the more hip, inspirational magnets we’ll give away!

If you’re really ready to see some cool stuff happen in your family (or you’re already seeing it!), then take the pledge– print it off- and don’t worry, if you fall off the wagon – just use this list as a boost to get back on.

This is for real parents making small changes. It’s about Duct Tape Moments – the small gestures we make (or don’t make for that matter) are the ones that move us into a more balanced lifestyle full of happiness and confidence for mom, dad and the kids.

So go for it. Click HERE. Take the pledge.

Zip it. For the Kids’ Sake

mom-and-dad2Ahoy parents! The tides are changing. Parents, educators, experts and obviously, the kids, have finally come to accept that the entire “over-parenting” approach to raising kids, just isn’t working out. All that structured time? All those heroic homework rescues? All that frenzied energy spent mapping the perfect childhood? Well, it’s all a waste of valuable time and energy. As a mom of five, who didn’t have the luxury to waste time or energy, I was committed to finding an approach to parenting that made more sense for myself and for the kids I was responsible for raising.

Madeline Levine and Faulty Logic

Among experts who are beginning to challenge the over-parenting, over involved approach is expert, Madeline Levine. Levine uses the term faulty logic and states, over-parenting isnt doing what we think it’s doing” and I couldn’t agree more. The question then becomes, so why the heck are so many parents STILL hovering, over protecting, micro-managing, controlling and over stepping their boundaries as parents? And even more curious and relevant than that question is, What the heck can a parent do instead?

Lenore Skenazy on WHY Are Parents Still Hovering

As Lenore Skenazy shares with her readers week after week, fear is being pushed at parents from all sides.

  • Let them play outside? Social services.
  • Let them draw with chalk? Fined.
  • Let them ride their bikes? Jail.

This fear-based thinking which leads to over-protection and micro-managing is easy to adopt (often unintentionally), when parents find they are floating in a current that sweeps them into a sea of worst case scenarios.

The other fear that plays into this hovering approach weighs on parents who are afraid that if they let go, just a little, the family and their kids will fall apart. These parents worry that they’ll look like “bad parents” or they’ll get the hairy eyeball from strangers for the decision to step back a bit and give the kids some breathing room.

In spite of these fears, and many others, parents are re-thinking their approach to parenting and finding ways to show more trust in their kids’ abilities to navigate their lives and rebound from disappointments, frustrations and failures completing a very valuable learning process. For helicopter types though, admitting and working through their own fears takes courage. Those ”what-ifs” and worst cases can pile high and push even the most committed parent back to safer ground.

Like any change, stepping back and taking a less is more approach to parenting takes time, patience and support, so offer a hand and a bit of encouragement when you see someone ready to abandon the hyper-parenting ship for a more satisfying approach to raising great kids!

What Can Mom and Dad Do Instead of Hovering?

If you’re still tempted to hover and you’re looking for a replacement response, you can, for your kids’ sake do one thing: train yourself to refrain. 

Literally, do less. Say less. Interfere less. Thats it!

Stepping back and giving your kids some breathing room isn’t the same as not caring about their safety.  It is a matter of balancing your concern with the reality that in most cases, your kids will be fine.  Instead of worrying about the worst case outcomes, take some time , and give your children the chance to show up and practice (and fail) at their own lives. I used Duct Tape (hence the name of my book!) to keep my mouth shut and my bossy, dictating ways at bay.

  • You may be a saver, so next time, sit.
  • You may be a comforter, so next time, stay.
  • You might be a nagger, so next time, zip it.

It’s not always a valiant course toward independence, but kids learn their own lessons every time we allow natural consequences to do the teaching for us and we refrain from saying “I told you so”.

Remember, our kids don’t need us nearly as much as we think they do (or want them to) and we don’t need to teach every lesson. Our job is to guide without control and to respond to them as the world would. Remember, bribing, begging and giving-in won’t train kids to become resilient adults. Keep this in mind and your decision to sit, stay & zip it will be much easier (even if it comes with the occasional hairy eyeball!)

Happy Parenting Takes Practice

parenting styleThis post was written by Vicki Hoefle for radicalparenting.com. Enjoy!

Taking a less is more approach to raising five kids helped us all enjoy the transition from childhood to tweenhood to young adulthood (ages 18 – 23 living on their own or at college).

I came up with some simple rules that guided us on our journey and supported each of them as unique individuals discovering their place in the world.  These rules also translated well to the tens of thousands of parents who I have worked with over the past twenty years as a parent expert and coach.

  1. Stop worrying about how your tweens express themselves in terms of their personal style (this includes their wardrobe, accessories, hair and makeup, music and friends). Learn to notice character traits and strengths that define your tween as a unique human being.  What you might find troublesome now, will develop into a sense of personal power later on.  Embrace this time of self-discovery and adventure.  This is the time that your tweens can discover what it means when someone says, “be yourself.”
  2. Likewise, ignore parents who give you the hairy eyeball when your tween experiments with clothes, hair, makeup, music, attitude and values.  Let those around you know you are raising a thinking child and giving him/her room to develop self-confidence and independence.
  3. Ignore strangers at the mall, grocery store and restaurants who give you the hairy eye-ball because your tween is lost in their own world, giving you the cold shoulder or looking apathetic when everyone around them looks thrilled to be doing whatever it is they are doing. Learn to wait quietly as your tweens navigate their own feelings and find their own way of re-engaging.   Adolescence is a tough phase and moments of withdrawal are necessary from time to time.

Read the entire guest post, here.