Tag Archives: parenting children


Parenting Children: What If Your Child Could Fly?

It's really easy to tell yourself about all the things you can't do. Same goes with your child-how easy is to think of all the things she can't do yet? She can't read yet, he can't get along with friends, they're not independent enough...

I want you to stop for a minute and think of all the things your child can do. Now tell yourself, and your child

I can do this.

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Parenting children

Parenting Children: 8 Steps to Helping Your Teen Model Success

Everyone wants their children to be successful. Some children seem to naturally gravitate to success: they are the Willow Smith's and Bill Gates of childhood. They are the ones with lemonade stands in kindergarten, and a profit- turning blog at 10.

But what about the child who has potential, but needs a little help getting there?

One of the most effective ways to help your child be successful is to show them how to model success. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an example for your child. Instead, it means helping your child find someone who is fantastic at what your child wants to do, and following in their steps.

Modelingobserving and mapping the successful processes which underlie an exceptional performance of some type.

Modeling success can be broken down into eight steps:

1) Help your teen discover what they’re interested in.

This isn’t always as easy as you might think it is. While a teen may spend all of his time playing video games and watching television, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s destined to be a game developer or movie reviewer.

If your teen has an idea of what she’s interested in, you can start from there. You can also try books, magazines, or groups in your area. Many times high school teens can audit courses for a small fee at a community college, or they can try their local community center, which sometimes has all kinds of unusual classes.

Your teen could also fill out a free online career aptitude test These are great for identifying potential interests, and will also give you a list of possible careers to explore. Even though you’re not interested necessarily in finding a career –although the best career is one that your teen naturally enjoys – the list will give you a good idea of where to start.

2) Pick the best model in the world. This is easier to do than it once was – with the web, you won’t have to worry about flying to Italy to study the world’s top sculptor. You do, however, need to make sure you choose the best. Why go for second when you can have number one?

3) Find a live person to mentor.

You may not be able to get time with number 1, so you might have to settle here for Number 2 or 3. It still may not be easy to do, but encourage your child to interact in whatever way they

can, be it twitter, commenting on a blog or web site, or attending events. It may take time and your child may need to drag you along for supervision, but its well worth the effort.

4) Learn everything about what they do to be the best

This is a lot easier to do than it used to be. In addition to books, articles, and a web site, you might get lucky and be able to watch a few free online video courses given by them. Don’t give up if you can’t find any videos; networking might turn up videos from a fellow admirer.

5) Don’t just mindlessly do whatever they do.

It’s well known that only 20% of the effort we put in something will give us 80% of the results we want. There are always a few critical things they did that took up a lot of effort but gave the most results. Make sure your teen does whatever they can to uncover what those things are.

6) Model what they don’t do.

Being successful means doing some things, and avoiding other things at all costs. There’s no need for your teen to repeat the same mistakes, so encourage your child to find out, through taking careful note of their model’s history and actions, and even by asking outright.

7) Take the good and leave the bad.

No one’s perfect. It’s a fact that can be painful to realize, especially when you find flaws in someone you’ve admired until then. There have been numerous leaders and innovators who’ve lead admittedly less than stellar lives – personal and otherwise.

Having said that, you might want to consider if you want your teen modeling themselves after someone who is particularly offensive. Since they will be literally immersing themselves in the other person’s world, they are likely to be influenced by them, even if it is unintentional.

If on the other hand, the person in question has made some mistakes, and even admits to them, you can point this out to your teen, encouraging them to find other models that fit into your teen’s and your family’s values.

8) Be yourself.

Modeling can only take you so far. At some point, your teen will need to stop imitating and take a step out on their own. Doing this will not only let their true personality shine, but will also be the key to real success.

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Parenting children

Parenting Children: 3 Tips On How to Parent From the Inside-Out

There’s a story that I like to tell parents who approach me for help parenting their children:

A young couple approached a well-known, respected educator in their community for advice on parenting their young son. The educator rubbed his cheek thoughtfully, and then asked, “How old is your son?” The couple answered hastily, “He’s only 5 and a half.” The educator shook his head sorrowfully and replied, “Then you’re about 5 and a half years too late.”

You would think that after thousands and thousands of years, people would have this parenting thing down pat. Granted every child is different, but they are, after all children. How hard could it be?

Well the answer is that if success in parenting depended only on understanding your child, you’d be more than halfway to home base. The problem though, is that parenting is as much about who you are as it is about who your child is.

Let me give an example. Think about your offspring. If you have one child, think about the thing that he does that annoys you the most. If you have more than one child, think about which child gets on your nerves the most. Now ask yourself what exactly it is that annoys you about them.

Have an answer? Now ask yourself, is it really something to get so upset about? Probably, you’ll answer, not. The reason it upsets you so much is because this is an area you need to work on within yourself.

The first step in learning how to parent children effectively has to start from you. That’s why I like to call it parenting from the inside-out. Here are 3 tips you can follow that will help you parent your children from the inside-out:

1. Choose a character trait that you’re weak in, and work on it.

You don’t need to be perfect to be a parent, but you should at least be trying to get there. How would you react if your daughter said, “Mom, I’m only trying for a 75 because it’s impossible to get an A in that class anyway?”

Instead of berating your child for inconsideration, laziness, or willful disobedience, imagine the effect on your child when she sees you clamping down on sarcasm. The example you set will be more powerful and longer-lasting than a 2 minute tongue lashing.

2. Decide what you stand for, and stick to it.

You know you need to set boundaries for your children. But setting boundaries that are arbitrarily based or nitpicky details often doesn’t work. Your children need to see the “big picture” of what your family believes in. Being clear about what your values are (and I don’t care who or what you are, you’ve got to believe in something, whether it’s PC or not) will help your children act responsibly even when you’re not there to tell them what to do.

And one more thing: no gray areas. Children up until the age of 9 are quite concrete. They just don’t handle gray areas well. State your values simply and clearly, and don’t wimp out when the going gets rough.

3. Start young.

Why wait until your child is a teenager to start sharing your values with them? This is probably the only chance you’ll have to say what you stand for without having to face the teenage equivalent of the Appeals Court.

Some people have this bizarre notion of waiting until their children are older so they can “understand things logically” or even better, “make their own decisions about what is right.”

Interestingly enough, these are the same people who zealously ban Twinkies and playground trees (the overhanging branches could be dangerous), and who forbid their children from playdates, trips to the park, or other excursions for fear of molesters, kidnappers, and other such folk.

So, ready to start? Leave a comment, and let me know what you plan to work on first.

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Parenting Children: 7 Ways to Fail At Parenting

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Parenting! What better way to perpetuate our finer qualities than to produce little people with our genes written all over them?

Get it halfway right and you could have dozens of little namesakes wandering around, making the world safe for democracy. Fame, glory, and your surname engraved on a star in Hollywood can all be yours if you dare to go that extra step.

Sounds fantastic right?

It is actually.

But what about those of us who would rather go quietly, quietly into the night? How can we make sure we will never be accused of raising children who think of others before themselves - yes, those nerdy little types that actually open the door for the person behind them on their way into their local Woolworth?

Well folks, I have just the thing for you. Because parenting is such a weighty responsibility, you'll have lots of opportunities to ensure that the arrival of your children at any public or private venue sends whole crowds of startled citizens rushing out the door.

So get a pen and paper, and get ready to take notes: follow this method properly and you'll be almost guaranteed a book gone viral and an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

1. Be as timid as humanly possible

Why make waves with the little people when you can make friends and influence people with the dishrag approach to life? Save yourself valuable time and energy by giving in right away, especially when you have the convoluted notion that you are correct.

Next time your seven year old complains about his penmanship homework, send a note to the teacher stating that in the interest of promoting healthful development in your child, you have now banned all writing instruments from your household.

2. Don't teach your children any values

We all know that values -even universal ones- are the last remaining vestiges of a primitive race. Step boldly into the future by declaring all values relative. After all, if the Greeks and the Romans could do it, why can't you?

3. Never give into individualism. Shamelessly copy the latest fads and fashions featured in this bright new world of ours

Things like standing up for what you believe in and a strong work ethic should have really been banned long ago. It is so much easier to go with the flow and just do what the Jones von Heusen nee Albertson-Smith Chaney's are doing.

In fact, experts in a highly secret think tank are already working hard on this exciting new frontier. The next time your pre-teen goes shopping , she'll be able to skip right up to the salesperson and ask sweetly, "I'll have a Miley Cyrus size 3 please."

4. Always put your children's interests before others-even your partner

Children are the next generation, and as such you must always sacrifice your needs before theirs. So what if studies show that high-priced day care programs have little effect on the IQ of children of college-educated parents? Those studies were obviously funded by conspiracy theorists who don't want your child to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

So if you need to take an extra job just to cover the cost of that Harvard nursery school, then go right ahead and do it. Those new video phones are great for nights out with your hubby, and you can always find a babysitter to watch the kids after school.

Just make sure she's over the age of 25, has a dual degree in child psychology and development, and lives at home with her parents. You can't be too sure nowadays, what with the high crime rate and all.

5.  Never Set a Good Example

If you've carefully followed these instructions until now, you should be the proud parents (maybe even grandparents!) of a tribe of really obnoxious kids. Fortunately for you, there are still a few tweaks you can make that will produce children truly unique in their absolute disregard for others.

Never setting a good example is a little-known twist on that popular slogan "always keep them guessing." Make sure your children never know exactly what is important to you - especially where it really counts.

Doing this properly requires talent, finesse, and a true gift for mediocrity.

Since you'll need to maintain this facade every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, we recommend that you send your parenting partner, your child's teacher, and all child-raising staff to a special holiday in Barbados, where they'll be able to pick up the finer details of this process free from distraction.

6. Treat your kids with kid gloves

After all the effort you've invested in raising your little proteges, you should be extra careful not to expose them to any pernicious influences. Never let them out of your sight, even when they're asleep. You may, however, feel free to occasionally close the shower curtain while you use the facilities.

7. Run like mad and don't ever look back

If after all this, by some horrible stroke of luck your children actually turn out as decent, respectable citizens, you should run as far and fast as you can, denying all responsibility for this gruesome outcome.

With all of the careful thought and effort you've invested, you certainly can't be accused of having anything to do with this unfortunate turn of events.

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Parenting Children: Do You Make These Mistakes When Your Child Misbehaves?

It’s frustrating when children misbehave. Not only do we feel angry at them for deliberately breaking the rules, we worry for their safety, perhaps obsessing a little about whether they’ll somehow manage to grow up to be responsible human beings.

It’s easy for us to make the mistake of thinking that punishment is the only way of disciplining our children: then the battle becomes a fight to determine “who’s stronger.” Some children respond by assuming they are “bad” and need to be punished in order to be “good.” Others end up feeling so discouraged and powerless that they lose faith in their own abilities. And a third group simply does what they want anyway-making sure we don’t find out about it.


Most parents would never admit to calling their children names, but if you’ve ever accused your child of “laziness,” “sneaking around,” or “irresponsible,” then you’ve done just that. Assigning a label to a person never motivates anyone. It just leaves them feeling angry or beaten.

It also doesn’t show tell them clearly what they need to do in order to make amends, which should be the ultimate goal of discipline.


How often do you accuse your child of “always” doing something?  What we really mean is that we are upset about having to deal with a situation that we thought was already under control. You may be disappointed and angry at your child, but saying “always” is not only unfair, it’s probably untrue.

The Memory-Like-An- Elephant Syndrome

Sometimes parents, trying to avoid a confrontation, ignore a child’s particular misbehavior. Eventually, though, the child –sensing their parents are ignoring them – starts to act up more, forcing the parent to discipline them.

Then the parent suddenly blows up, and starts meting out punishments for the present behavior, and all the previous ones as well.

What the heck is that?

How would you feel if your boss came up to you one day and said, “Bob, that was a really lousy sales presentation you did.  Seeing that presentation reminded of that screw up you made in 2008 with that new lead…and come to think of it, you messed up that sales call last year too. I think you’re in for a reevaluation.”

Love- Al Capone Style

Sometimes we’re so fed up with our kids’ behavior, we decide to try and threaten them into good behavior. The problem is that this works only once; after that we’re forced to escalate, and the whole thing turns into a power struggle.

Not pretty.

In the end, both sides end up entrenched in their positions, with no way to bow out gracefully. And you probably won’t even remember how the whole thing started anyway.

The Holy Roller Syndrome

Our intention might be to let our kids know how serious their actions are, but lecturing and moralizing are infantilizing and a turn off. Kids (and parents) never feel inspired to change when they are ranted at, rather than spoken with.

This is not to say that you can’t tell your child what the consequences are of their actions. You can.

But the time to do that is NOT when they are angry. They won’t be able to hear you anyway.

The Comedian is IN

Sarcasm may be in on your favorite TV show or movie, but it’s deadly at home. No one likes being laughed at, or being the butt of a joke. Young children usually don’t get the sarcasm anyway, and older children either feel hurt – or inspired to respond in kind.

In short, relating to your children means remembering they are people do.  Even though our job as parents is to teach children the right values, and the right behaviors they need to be responsible people, we need to lead the way by modeling responsible, respectful behavior.

At the end of the day, that means we need to put our feelings to the side, and do what we know will lead to lasting change and happy, responsible children.

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Parenting children

Parenting Solutions: 5 Tips to Helping Your Child Learn to Problem Solve


There are several tools you can use to help your children learn how to be problem solve:

1.  Let your child handle the little problems on their own. When your child looks in the fridge and complains their brother ate the last piece of pizza, don’t automatically suggest a solution for them. Answer, instead, “Wow, that’s a real bummer! And you especially saved it until after you finish studying!” Sympathize, look and act concerned, but don’t step in with a ready answer.

Your kids will probably get annoyed with this initially, since they’re used to having all of their problems solved for them:

 “Where are my shoes?”

 “I don’t know, I haven’t seen them.”

“But I need them!”

“Maybe you can wear your sandals.”

“No I can’t wear my sandals! Nobody wears that kind anymore!”

As you probably remember, many times kids aren’t happy with the solution we give them anyway. By not giving them an easy answer, you force them not only to work through the problem on their own, but also to take responsibility for the choices they make.

2. Lead them to the water, but don’t make them drink. If you find your child absolutely seems stuck, ask leading questions to help them along. In the above example, you could respond, “What do you think you will do? Will you eat later or do you think you might eat something else?”

Asking a question is very different than making the same suggestion of, “You could eat later or you could eat something else.” In the latter, the child will often reject it, simply because they are in a bad mood, and a statement is easier to reject. A question on the other hand, begs to be answered, if not right away, then after they have finished ranting and raving about evil siblings that should be ejected into outer space.

If they continue to rave and insist you find a solution for them, you can redirect their attention by asking, “What did you decide to do?” This puts the ball right back in their court.

3. Encourage them to evaluate their choices. The second most important thing to making your own choices is to periodically evaluate how those choices are working out. If you know your child was faced with making a choice -even an easy one like the example above- ask them a few hours later what their choice was, and how it went. This teaches them that choices are not something carved in stone. They are meant to be examined, evaluated, rolled about on the palate like a fine wine.

You can help your child learn to evaluate the effectiveness of their choices by asking questions like: What did you decide to do in the end about that boy who was bothering you?” Is it working out? Is it helpful? Is there anything you’d rather do differently?” Be careful not to be judgmental about a choice they’ve made.

Remember, it’s their choice, and if it isn’t a good one, they’ll find out soon enough. Your child will be better able to accept the consequences of a poor choice, and consider making a new one, if he views it as his own. Your job here is to reflect his answers, and show that you understand, sympathize, and support him.  

Don’t give advice unless your child truly asks for it. Try and respond, “If it were me I would..” Be as brief as possible, and keep a careful eye on how your child receives the information. Deep down most children view their parents as all powerful. Sometimes even if you give them a great solution they might feel that they are not powerful/smart/strong enough to implement it. In our family I often send the child off to a sibling, suggesting maybe they have an idea of what to do.

4) Give your child more responsibility. Encourage your child’s independence by giving him responsibility consistent with his age and level of maturity. Many parents underestimate exactly how much responsibility their child is capable of handling. For example, in the country that I live it is very common for children as young as four to go to the store on their own and buy bread, milk, or some other basic commodity.

Even though there is no danger of kidnapping, child predators, etc, I was still very reluctant to let my children attempt such a feat. I grew out of it soon enough when I realized how self-sufficient those children were. They knew the value of money, they knew how much change to expect, and they were rightfully proud in helping out their families.

I did a complete turnaround, and by 12 my daughter was able to do a complete weekly shopping for the entire household. She learned how to comparison shop, look for good bargains, and would often on her own add items that were needed but that I had forgotten to put on the grocery list.

You may not feel comfortable going that far, but there are plenty of other small “jobs” you can give your children. A 3 year old can help separate out her clean clothing, and a four year old would be thrilled to wash out his plate and fork. A 6 or 7 year old can learn how to sew on a button, and as long as he can read, is more than capable of doing his own laundry.

Most parents make the big mistake of waiting until their children are older before the give them responsibility. Those same kids who at 3 and 4 were begging their parents to help will take a lot of convincing at 11 when asked to help pitch in. Why should they want to help? They’ve had it easy until now.

Try making a family meeting. Write down all the jobs that are done in your house, including things like working and changing the baby. Explain to them that you need their help; it’s impossible to continue as things are. Give examples to back up your case. Then show them how everyone will benefit by helping out. Then let them choose which jobs they will take over. There will be some jobs that they will not be able to do-like nursing the baby-but that’s okay. Having them down on the list will help them see that it too counts as a job, since it needs to get done.

5) Start out small, and add on as you go. With both younger and older children, your best bet for success is to start out small. Don’t expect your child to solve all of his problems on his own, or clean his whole room by himself, if he has never done it before. Not only will he lack the technical know-how to get the job done, but he will feel overwhelmed by just the thought of having to do all that work.

Giving children responsibility is a lot like teaching them to get dressed when they are small. You never start teaching them by giving them all of their clothing and walking away. Instead, you let them finish zipping up a jacket, or pull up their pants. Next time you might let them help with a button or two, or pull up their underwear on their own. And then before you know it, they’re getting dressed completely on their own.

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Parenting Solutions:6 Tips to Creating a Great Family Culture

You hear a lot of talk about creating a great family culture these days. So much, in fact, that "family culture" seems to be either a political tool from the right or a hang-on from the great washout known as the '60s.

In reality, having a great family culture is an important factor in helping the members of your family stay strong and able to resist outside influences. It's about realizing that you are all on the same path, working towards the same goals, albeit in different ways.

Here are 7 tips you can use to help your family understand and appreciate the things that make your family special:

1. Spend time together doing fun things. It's easy to get lost in day to day tasks of running a household. Spending time together haing fun allows you to step out of the taskmaster role and see your children in a different light.

    Choose activities that not only entertain, but that offer an opportunity to work together, or to be challenged. You may be surprised by the   strengths that are revealed.

    2. Know what you stand for. Be clear about what is okay and not okay for your family. Even more importantly, make sure you spend time "talking the walk and walking the talk." Every member of your family should know what values are important to their family. Furthermore,these should be values that are lived by all members of the family - including you.

    3. Know where you're going to. An important part of growing as a family is having a set of goals that everyone is working towards. This can be range from knowing how cook for the family, to making sure to give back to the community.

    4. Be respectful to other family members. It's not uncommon to see family members speak respectfully to the next door neighbor, and then turn around and deride another family member. Make sure every family member learns how to speak and act respectfully towards each other.Establish a "zero tolerance" rule for physical or verbal abuse.

    5. Hang up your family's rules. Whether you sit together and decide the rules together as a family, or whether you as the parent (s) decide  and then present them to your children, actually hanging up the rules makes a tremendous difference.

    Not only are they a reminder of  what is important to the family, but it's a lot harder to argue "I didn't know" when it's right there up on the wall.

    6. Be an agent of change. Instead of blaming others for their lousy behavior, look and see what you can do to change the situation. Accept that you cannot change someone else's behavior. You can try to influence, persuade, or pressure, but ultimately you can only change your behavior.

    So the next time you have a problem with someone in your family (or anyone for that matter), ask yourself, "What can I do to improve the situation?"

    None of these 6 tips are a quick fix: they take time, effort, and a  willingness to carry things through until the end. The results, however, are changes that will be felt not only in your family, but your children's  families as well.

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    Parenting Solutions: 7 Tips for New Moms

    Being a new mom with other small children in the house can be overwhelming at times. You not only need to recover physically from birth, but you need to deal with your children's reaction to the change in the family- and this is all on top of your regular responsibilities as a wife and mother.

    In order to help you get through this period as smoothly as you can, here are 7 tips you can use to help you not only survive, but thrive:

    1) One of the most important things to remember, is to take all the help you can get, right from the start. It's very common for women to try and do everything in the beginning, and then a month or two later conk out from over-exertion. This is not a great idea for many reasons, but it is especially not good because by then no one will be offering you any help.

    Even if this means you might need to pay for a teenage girl to take the kids out for two hours in the afternoon so you can have a nap, then do it. Cut back wherever you can, but this can make the difference between a functioning mommy and a mommy who is on the edge, barely hanging on.

    2)Try and be as organized as you can. Even if you have to make yourself a schedule, do it. That way you will at least be able to delegate to your husband or anyone else who offers help, because you will know exactly what is supposed to be done. Your husband could even look at the schedule and know how to help you without even asking you.

    3)Cook double recipes. It's not much harder (and even a little cheaper) to double a recipe when you're cooking. That way you can have a ready made meal for those days when you just don't have energy to even stay awake. Invest in quality storage containers, and label whatever it is you put in there, so you don't end up with a mystery container.

    4) Limit the amount of clothing your kids wear. It may sound strange, but I have found that having more clothing does not mean less laundry. Through some mysterious mechanism it happens that you end up doing the laundry just as often as you always did it, but now you have more to do. Better to stick with 5 outfits for everyone, and use your dryer. It may not be as ecologically sound as hanging up your laundry, but it gets the job done.

    5) Make a regular weekly time to get out of your house with your husband, alone- no kids allowed. You can do this even if you have a nursing baby; just go around the corner for a walk and an ice-cream, if you have to. It's easy to get lost in child care with so many little children, but you are a wife first and then a mother. You need to invest in your relationship with your husband in order to have a strong marriage.

    6) Make a regular time daily for yourself. Even if this means being able to take a 5 minute bath by yourself while your husband holds down the fort, do it. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your family.

    7) Give your children something special to do when you do a chore that really needs your attention. If you find dinner is burning because you keep having to deal with your children, or you find yourself averaging about 2 washed dishes every half hour, then consider pulling out a special toy to keep the family occupied.

    My favorite is playdough; I don't mind the mess, and I make my own batch so if it ends up in the garbage anyway it's not the end of the world. You could also let them join in helping you around the house; washing sliding doors, walls, or doors is a great one as long as you keep an eye out on water usage.

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    Parenting Solutions: Self-Esteem and the Learning Disabled Child


    One of the most important issues that parents worry about is maintaining their child's self-esteem. If your are the parent of a child with learning disabilities, then your worry is compounded by the knowledge of the very real challenges your child faces every day.

    Whether you look in a parenting magazine, an online forum, or read the newspaper, it seems that everyone is worrying about making sure their children have high self-esteem. Interestingly enough, however, high self-esteem seems to be a relatively modern phenomenon: there seems to be little reference to it in the popular literature as recently as pre-World War II.

    Why is this? Were parents less concerned about their offspring than they are now? Some would argue that "in those days" families were so busy surviving, they didn't have time to worry about the items higher up on Maslow's hierarchy. After all, if you're not sure whether you'll be able to feed your children, your'e unlikely to spend precious time (or money) on making sure they feel good about themselves.

    However, even if you look at the more well-to-do classes, there is still very little mention of making sure the progeny felt good about themselves. Correspondence, advertisements, and popular literature still show a paucity of references to self-esteem. Parents wanted their children to be happy, healthy, and to be able to provide for themselves. They expressed concern over passing valuable family traditions on to the next generation. But feeling good about themselves seems not to have been an issue.

    Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this. The post-World War II generation was the start of a time period where the structure and function of each family member changed radically.

    For many families, fathers became the breadwinners. Women stayed mostly at home, raising their families. Children, whose bread-winning capabilities were no longer relied upon, were finally allowed to be children: they had time to play, read, pursue hobbies. School became accepted as a way of improving one's self; it was the gateway to prosperity and a better life.

    Suddenly even the average person had "leisure time," and enterprising businessmen rushed in to fill this heretofore unknown need. Perhaps it was then the pursuit of happiness changed from being a dream to an expectation. Even more importantly, happiness changed from being something you achieved on your own, through worthwhile accomplishments, to something others gave you.

    This is what is at the root of all of our troubles with self-esteem today. We say we want our children to be happy: to feel good about themselves, to be happy with who they are and what they can do. But if they must look to others to fulfill this for them, then they will never truly be happy. Not only will they want more "happiness," but they will feel entitled to it.

    Furthermore, we confuse happiness with other more appropriate terms such as "joy" or "satisfaction" or even "fulfillment." These are things that the most endowed webkinz site cannot give our children. Hard work, giving back to others, sacrificing for the good of a cause outside of themselves-these are difficult feats that cannot be bought at your local mall.

    However, it is precisely these opportunities that our children need to have  in order to have high self-esteem. If we can allow our children these opportunities, they will learn they can make a difference in the world, despite their various "handicaps." A report card full of low grades, a teacher's sarcastic words- all of these will pale eventually in comparison to the good they know they can give back to the world.

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