Tag: Affordable Mistakes

No More Hassles Over Picking Up Dirty Socks

No-More-Hassles-Over-Picking-Up-Dirty-Socks

Dirty Sock Dilemma

After a long and tedious day I finally started to wind down, hours after I had hoped to.  I started to head to bed only to find a heaping pile of filthy clothes, shoes and socks, right in the middle of the family room. I wanted to scream. I wanted to pull my sleeping barbarians from their beds and give them the scolding of a lifetime. I wanted to know why my children hadn’t cleaned up after themselves…they weren’t being raised by wolves. They are very capable of cleaning up after themselves, they just choose not to.

Instead of nose-diving into complete frustration, I decided to try a little trick I learned in a recent Love & Logic® class I attended. I picked up all of the shoes, socks and dirty clothes, hid them in my closet and went straight to bed.  There was no need to get mad or create drama at the end of my long, tiring day. Tomorrow would be a new day and I was ready to try out this technique on my children. They had no clue they were about to be my personal guinea pigs and I was hopeful the experiment would work.

A Penny for Your Socks

As morning broke, the house was full of its customary commotion and, as the kids were almost ready to leave for school, I mentioned that I had picked up their dirty clothes and shoes the night before. Normally they wouldn’t care that I had cleaned up after them, however; when I mentioned I would be willing to sell their items for $.50 each, a look of curious disbelief came over their faces. After all, they needed their shoes for school which put me in complete control. With a wonderful sense of calm and a renewed appreciation for my general awesomeness, I calmly traded shoes, socks and jackets for money. They protested slightly before relenting and pulling out the money I was owed. With little to no fighting or arguing, I was able to teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget and save my sanity in the process.

Underpaid and Overworked: Welcome to Parenthood

Let’s face it, parenting is a thankless job. You’re constantly pulled in multiple directions and expected to take care of everyone else’s needs without considering your own. You cook, clean, bathe, clean, shuttle, console, clean, did I say clean? It’s a never-ending battle of maneuvering the same mess from one location to another. It’s the constant struggle of picking up the same toy 37 times a day, only to step on it 5 minutes later. When you consider all the annoyances of daily life as a parent, it’s no wonder we lose our cool from time to time.

With a little practice, though, it’s possible to stay cool and teach our kids a lesson at the same time.
Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

When is it Okay to Rescue?

Young girl with life ringThose who know Love and Logic™ know the damage done by C.H.P.S.
“Chronic Helicopter Parent Syndrome.”

Parents who chronically rescue their kids from the consequences of their poor decisions create kids who are chronically irresponsible and chronically unhappy.

“You are so weak that you can’t survive without me” is the unintentional yet very real message sent by this parenting style.

While this is true, are there any circumstances when it’s okay, or essential, to rescue our kids?

Absolutely! Foster W. Cline, M.D. provides some “rules for rescue.”
• Don`t hesitate to rescue when life and limb are in danger.
• It’s fine to occasionally rescue really responsible kids.
• It’s typically a big mistake to rescue irresponsible ones.
• It’s often okay to rescue when your child doesn’t expect it.
• It’s almost always unwise to rescue when your child demands it.

Good parents rescue their kids from time to time. Why? Because they realize that some day they may need to be rescued by their kids!

The great challenge for all of us is to determine whether doing so fosters love and mutual respect, or dependency, resentment, and irresponsibility.

Dr. Charles Fay
©2010 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Getting Kids to Pick Up – With No Nagging!

A dad I work with just announced to his 3 little boys that he has a new plan for a “Sunday Shelf.”

Getting Kids to Pick Up Their ToysHere’s how it works:

• When the kids don’t pick up their stuff as asked, dad picks up for them and puts everything on the “Sunday Shelf.”
• On Sunday, he pulls it all out and charges them x cents for each thing he picked up.
• If the kids protest, he says with empathy, “This is how it is in the real world… you can either pick up after yourself or hire someone to do it.  Looks like you chose to hire someone.  There’s always next week and you can do it differently if you’d like.”

After Dad explained the new deal, 7 year old Ethan complained, “That doesn’t sound like such a good deal for us, Dad.”

Words like that are a great indicator that you are giving your kids opportunities to be responsible and well-prepared for the real world as an adult.

And one more thing….

Dad does the “Sunday Shelf” fee collection just moments after giving them their weekly allowance to make sure they are able to pay their fines.



Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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This is Not a Dress Rehearsal


On my kids’ first day of school this year, I first dropped off my high schooler.

Gasp. How can I have a kid that old?

I always thought being the parent of a high schooler was for grownups! Heck, I remember when I thought that having a child in elementary school was for grownups. As I sent off my son to fend for himself in the big new world of public high school, I thought about how it seemed like just yesterday that he was a babe in my arms.

After dropping off my middle schooler, I was off to the elementary school for my 3rd grader’s first day of school. I stood there, looking at the sea of little kids milling around, and thought “oh my goodness, there are still so many active years of parenting left.”

How do we navigate this push-pull, zoom-plod through this chapter of our adult lives? On one hand, it seems like time flies by… and that’s what all the “older” people tell us. On the other hand, some days of parenting can last forever and find us counting the hours until bedtime stories are over and lights are turned out.

Perhaps the best we can do is to create snippets of time where we are fully present in the moment. Right here, right now with our kids. Two things that I’ve found help me savor the here and now with my kids and have left me with sweet memories of being fully present:

1. Say Cheese!

It can make such a difference if we just stop and be intentional about looking our children in the eyes and smiling at them throughout the day. In my family, if the kids start to leave without eye contact, I will say, “Eyeballs!” That is their reminder to stop and look me in the eyes. It’s my reminder, as well, to look at them. In our times of zoom, zoom, zoom, it can feel so good to stop and look in the eyes of the most precious little people in our world.

2. Stop and Feel the Love

Parenting involves so much giving, caring and work. Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in all the tasks of parenting that we forget to really feel the love in our hearts for our beloved children. We can get grumpy when we forget to do that. A woman whose parenting advice I respect, Joyce Vissell, once suggested that each day, just for a few minutes, we close our eyes and picture our child at his/her sweetest. Then take a moment to see and feel all the love we feel for that child pouring from our heart to his/hers.

When it comes to parenting, “The days can last forever, but the years fly by.” I hope we’ll have fewer regrets when we look back if we make sure to live some of those moments to the fullest… as though this life is the real thing and not just a dress rehearsal.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Things I Wish I Would Have Known

I recently received an email from a dad who has taken one of my early childhood parenting classes.

He asked if I had a list of things that parents of younger children should know “not to get hung up on.” I surveyed a number of my friends with older kids and got so much great advice! Here is part one of what they had to say:

Ann, mother of 3 kids, ages 14, 12 and 9 wrote:
Don’t get hung up on making special meals for your kids; serve them only what you eat; don’t get stuck in the “my kid only eats mac and cheese” disaster.

Don’t feel guilty about not signing up for all the activities there are for young kids these days; my only caveat is that it’s good to start early with music because it’s hard to fit it into your schedule later on if it’s not already there.

Don’t get hung up on buying new toys all the time to keep your kid occupied; it’s better to keep fewer toys out so it’s not so overwhelming, and to recycle.

Do read to your child and don’t get hung up on having your child read before kindergarten; kids learn how to read at all different times and earlier is not necessarily better; enjoying reading is more important than learning how to read early.

Do insist on respect and kindness.

Stress less: parents often teach best by modelling good behavior rather than directly teaching it.

 

Beth, mother of 3 kids, ages 20, 16 and 10 wrote:
I think its important to be informed as a parent and balance all the literature and advice with a sense of what works for you as a mother. Don’t try to make your children happy, be happy first. Share your interests with your children. If they take to one of them, you’ll have something to share together for the rest of your life. Remember that children age, mature and become adults and that you are doing a good job to help them become contributing members of society. They’ll spend 60 years as adults….20 as children… even though a temper tantrum can feel like it’s lasting 60 years in a grocery store. 🙂

 

Freddie, father of 4 wrote:
Don’t get hung up on insisting that a kid wear a coat because you think you’d be cold without one.

Bed time flexes with the events of the day. The chance to be out doing something interesting trumps a rigid bedtime. You might pay a price the next day, but eventually they’ll catch up on sleep.

Remember that kids tend to balance their diets over the course of a week – not a day. But… if you want your kid to like fruits and vegetables, they have to live on them for the first couple of years.

Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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The Meanest Mother in the World

My son, Robert, and his girlfriend, Jenna, were here last night. Jenna asked me what I was reading, so I did a quick explanation of the updated version of Parenting with Love and Logic.

After hearing this explanation, my son said, “So that’s who is to blame!” I laughed and asked innocently what he meant. “Oh, you know. When I was growing up, it was more work to get in trouble than what it was worth.”

I have heard the same complaints from my daughter. She used to tell me I was the meanest mother in the world. I didn’t yell. I didn’t scold. I didn’t say I told you so. I let them know how sorry I was that they were in trouble or had made a poor choice.

Or worse, I was told, I would make them wait until I was ready to listen. But I think what they were both telling me was that they believed, at the time, that forcing them to think and solve their own problems was cruel and unusual punishment.

But now that they are adults, they are both very good problem–solvers and take ownership of their decisions.


Jim Fay
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Dad and Shopping

Marge’s kids had a history of keeping her upset during shopping trips.

They ran all over the store and were frequently lost. They had trained her to keep her eye on them to the expense of her doing her shopping.

Contrast that to my own dad, who trained his kids to keep their eyes on him instead.

We’d enter the store and as he went through the front door of Republic Drug he’d be saying, “Well guys, try to keep up. I’ll be moving kind of fast. Hope you don’t get lost, but if you do, find one of the security guys over at that desk. He’ll probably help you find a way to get home. I’ve never seen a kid lost for more than a few months.”

As he said this, he never looked back. Needless to say, we stayed close. Not only did we believe that his word was good on these shopping trips, but any other time he opened his mouth, as well.

It wasn’t until years later that he admitted to us that he had talked to the security people before he took us shopping, and these trips were nothing but training sessions.

He was a strong believer in the idea that advance training could save him a lot of time and frustration later.


Jim Fay
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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“Mom, I Lost My Jacket”

“Mom, I lost my jacket,” my almost 12 year old son told me.

“What? Grandma just gave that to you last week,” I accusingly replied.  “Where did you last wear it?  Have you looked in your room?” “How could you have lost it?”  I ranted on.

Then I caught myself.  Whose problem is this?  What happened to my empathy?  I tried to recover my Love and Logic senses and said,  “So that’s pretty sad – losing your jacket so soon.  What are you going to do about it?”  But it was too late, my son had switched off his thinking mode since I had clearly taken over. He simply replied, “Nothing.”

I reflected on my missed opportunity.  I could have used empathy and hugged my son with a big “This is so sad, you loved that jacket from Grandma. I could have helped him solve his own problem by asking, “What are you going to do about it?”  Then we could have grabbed a hot cup of cocoa and brainstormed together ideas for him to look for his jacket.  We could have had a special mother-son bonding time working together to solve his problem.

So instead of beating myself up, I decided that in parenting, if we take the time to reflect on our mistakes, we are more prepared for the next time – and in parenting, there are lots of next times! And, since he did find his jacket, he’ll probably misplace it again and this time I’ll be ready for it.

Shelly Moorman
©2009 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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The Love and Logic™ Vaccination Plan

Our world is getting more complex and dangerous for kids every day. How do we best protect them so that they will survive?

Resist the urge to overprotect!

Like vaccinations for physical disease, parents who apply Love and Logic allow their kids to develop decision-making “antibodies” by being exposed to plenty of small temptations, by being allowed to make plenty of small mistakes, and by being loved enough to be held accountable for their poor decisions.

It makes sense that if our child is about to run into a busy intersection or jam a fork into an electrical outlet, we’re going to step in. But how do we respond when the temptations they face have much smaller, more affordable price tags?

Lucky is the child whose parents are brave enough to let them make the mistake of wasting their allowance on bubble gum. Even luckier is the child whose parents also hold them accountable by refusing to give in when they beg for more cash.

Lucky is the child whose parents are brave enough to let them make the mistake of watching TV instead of finishing their science fair project. Even luckier is the child whose parents love them enough to resist the urge to do the project for them.

Yes! Lucky indeed is the child who understands through experience that every decision has its consequences.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Charles Fay
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Connor Forgets His Snack

We had been struggling to keep second grade Connor focused on his “morning school routine” list as he is a major dawdler, as most are. So one morning I realized both my husband and I were reminding him of checking his list, “Do you have your snack? Have you made your lunch?  Where’s your water bottle, etc”. Annoying for us and him I’m sure. I told my husband that we needed to let him fail and so we decided to stop reminding and let him focus on his tasks.

Last week was a perfect Love and Logic teaching moment. We had the “set him up for success” conversation the day before, discussing what tasks needed to be done in the morning and then put our plan into action.

The next morning I modeled out loud,  “Ok, what do I need to do this morning?” Connor was wandering around. I made breakfast, we ate. I said “I’m done, so I put my dishes in the dishwasher. Now I am going to brush my teeth.”

Connor was still eating. I got ready and sat in the chair where he still was and announced “Bus is leaving it 10 minutes”. He finally got up and went to his room and then went to the bathroom. I announced, “5 minutes”. Then the doorbell rang and it was the two neighbors that we walk to school with. I told them to go ahead without Connor since he was running late.( I am now laughing inside because this is going to go just as planned.)

He came out of the bathroom, wandering around, and said “Who was at the door?” “The neighbor’s,” I said. He said “WHAT! WHERE ARE THEY?” So I calmly told him that since you weren’t ready, they should go on ahead since I didn’t want them to be late for school.  He said “MOM! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?”  “Well you weren’t ready, so I’m waiting on you”.

You have never seen a 7 yr old move so fast! As we head out the door he starts to get in the car and I say “We’re walking.” “WHAT, we’re going to be late!” he says. I say “probably so” and calmly start walking up the street. He is now running and wants me to run too but I don’t.

We get to school with five minutes to spare, but here’s the best part. He is unpacking his backpack and realizes he forgot his snack and water bottle.  He says “Mom, we forgot my snack and water bottle!”. His voice tapers off a bit as he says water bottle. And then just looks at me, hangs his head, and knows it was he that forgot it. I said, “Yeah, what a bummer, love you, have a great day” and walked away, smiling. I just wish I had a camera to capture the look on his face.  As I walked out of school I was laughing and patting myself on the back for allowing him the experience of this logical consequence.

Then next morning and since every morning since he is proudly telling me or his dad that he’s got everything ready.

Shelly Moorman
©2009 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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