Kids and Cruise Vacations - Do They Mix?

So, you have been working hard. You're tired and need a vacation. Does this sound like you? After a long period of dealing with the pressures of work, a relaxing cruise could be just the thing you need. Picture yourself relaxing on deck as the ship cruises through the ocean, occasionally stopping on shore giving you the opportunity to take in the beauty and culture of interesting places. What better way to enjoy good food and enjoy the leisure activities you never have time for at home.

Don't let us discourage you from taking such great ocean trips, but we will introduce a little reality to this ideal vacation image. This enchanting cruise vacation can easily be disturbed by kids on board splashing in the pool while you are trying to relax and get some sun. Or, there are always the older kids running around the deck chasing each other providing you the opportunity to test your reaction times and cling to the railing to avoid going overboard. It is during these times that the relaxing vacation you had dreamt of will feel very far away and unimaginable.

Now, this may sound somewhat insensitive, but there is some truth to the fact that holidays with children and relaxing vacations do not blend well. If you have kids yourself, you do not need me to tell you. Even if you don't, though, you know from experience that they can be tiring at times. If a luxurious, peaceful cruise is what you had in mind, a group of pre-teens swarming around you will definitely not add to your expectations.

Do not cross a cruise off your list of vacation options, though. Try looking at alternatives so that you can find a cruise that meets your vacation needs.

For instance, choose a cruise line that does not offer children-specific activities. Families will likely opt for those cruise lines that offer family activities so that their kids are busy giving them more time to enjoy the vacation. Families often choose cruise lines that offer special family packages or offers. Cruise lines offer these packages to win over the younger people for their future cruising needs and also to meet their ticket quota. Many parents often bring their kids along when they know that their kids will be taken care on the cruise ship, even if they were not originally going to bring them.

Also, do not travel during the school holiday times. Parent are less willing to take their kids out of school for a cruise which means the better time to go on a cruise is when school is in session. If you prefer not to have kids running around the deck, it would be advisable to not go during the summer, spring break season or the Christmas holiday.

Finally, you may also want to avoid choosing specific cruise lines such as Disney, Princess and Carnival Cruises. These cruise lines tend to attract younger people with special kids and teenage programs all year around. The best choices would be the Celebrity, Radisson or Crystal cruise lines.

Home Schooling Through High School - Is it the Best Way to Raise Children?

Many parents asked me why I homeschooled my two kids through graduation. They questioned the practical value of homeschooling our children, especially in high school. Through the years, we have encountered many questions about homeschooling. And I would like to help address these issues. Otherwise, when these are left un-answered, these issues will linger and add to the confusions and misconceptions about homeschooling.

First and foremost, homeschooling my kids provided me the opportunity to help shape their education. Spending long hours with allowed me to gain better understanding of their needs and appreciate their specific traits and tendencies. I did not only have the opportunity to raise them as good members of the community and better servants of the Lord but spend some precious time with them throughout their high school years.

Understanding my teen age children proved to be important as this helped me assess their preparedness, social, spiritual and academic inclinations and their love for learning. This had also blossomed to better parent-child relations. Had I sent my children to traditional public schools, these opportunities would have been lost.

Homeschooling my kids also facilitated their learning processes. They studied and learned at their own pace, making the learning process a more exciting and adventurous one. But most importantly, they continued to have friends and nurtured relationships. In other words, my experience in homeschooling my kids proved that better and quality education is possible while making their teen age years exciting and adventurous.

I can say this because I spent the best years of my life homeschooling my children and experienced first-hand the built-in advantages of the homeschooling system. So, to those who are asking why I homeschooled my kids, let me ask you this instead: Why aren't you?

Anxiety and Its Impact on Kids and Teens in Today's World

Anxiety Symptoms in Children - The Severe Impact They Have in Today's world.

Today we are able to survive illnesses that took the lives of millions of people 100 years ago, thus the human life-span has increased considerably.

Today the development of technology and modern machinery has relieved us of the back-breaking labor that, less than 50 years ago, crippled the majority of the young work-force resulting in their early and painful decline into old age.

Today with the rapid advancement in computer science medical researchers are able to delve further into the human anatomy, and because of this new and unique technology they are now able to break the codes of diseases that once we never even knew existed.

Yes, for anyone living in the modern day world of quantum science and wall-to-wall entertainment, via computer screens and in-home entertainment centers, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the vast majority of the population of the Western World is showing ever increasing signs of psychological stress and anxiety.

Anxiety in Children Today..

Today adolescents, and children in their early teens, are more likely to develop mental disorders than they were 20 years ago. Even though today less than one in ten adults have an anxiety disorder, the harsh reality is, as high as twenty percent of 12 to 16 year-olds will develop some type of mental health disorder - and one in five of these children is at risk of developing a severe disorder - and specifically, the studies show that girls tend to report more anxiety disorders than boys.

It was also found that regular occurrences of anxiety in adolescents significantly interferes with their ability to handle a wide range of everyday activities: relationships with young friends; social competence; getting on, both personally or academically, at school - and if left untreated these anxieties can develop into a chronic disorder in their adult life, and in some cases even develop into a clinical depression, which sometimes leads to suicidal thoughts.

Every Child Experiences Anxiety in The Early Stages of Development..

In the early stages, as part of their development, every child experiences some form of anxiety. Usually the anxiety will be caused by normal fears: fear of the dark; fear of going to school for the first time; fear of being left alone. As part of their development most children usually learn to cope with these fears and eventually work through them - but when anxiety symptoms in children are overlooked, or misunderstood, the anxiety usually prevents them from enjoying the normal day-to-day experience of being young and alive.

If you recognize anxiety symptoms in your child and you would like more information, please visit:

After suffering anxiety and panic attacks through my teens and into my early twenties, I was living in New York making my living as a television actor when, for the first time, cast in my first a theatrical stage production, I was forced to face up to the fact that I had a serious disorder. Up until then I'd self medicate when the pressures became too much, using alcohol and prescription drugs to alleviate my insecurities, but having to go on stage in front of a live audience every night, that's when I knew it was time to find a cure. Knowing now how disruptive anxiety and panic attack disorders can be, in the hope that it will help parents help their children, I have created a website that deals exclusively with understanding anxiety symptoms in children and teens.

Kids And Teens: The Activities They Want To Be Involved In

The things that kids and teens love to do are somehow different from the things that adult people do. This is basically because they see things and think differently as well. Although there are kids and teens that also love to do some serious and boring stuff like reading books and novels, you can never expect that others will also do. Those that are still in childhood and teenage stage love to get themselves involved in fun and colorful activities together with their friends.

Normally kids and teens love to play different types of games that suit their age. In this kind of activities, they will surely have fun and enjoy even if they are just playing very simple and easy games like bean bag toss or cornhole game. Aside from spending some time together with their families, they would also want to be with those who are of their age. This is because they easily get along with each other provided that they have the same things in mind and they are seeing things in a similar perspective. Although they are just playing, unconsciously, they are also developing their skills and personalities. They will learn to create plans, strategies and adjust on their environment. If parents let their children out and play with other children, growing up will not be very hard for them, compared to those that are forced to stay in their homes for whatever reasons. There is really nothing wrong with being a protective parent but it will also make a child very dependent. Thus, if given a chance, parents should let their children be children.

On the other hand, aside from outdoor and indoor playing games, most kids and teens would also love to cook and bake especially if its summer. If they will just stay at home doing the usual stuff that they do every single day, they will most likely get bored. So, to let them enjoy their summer, parents should enroll their children in different types of summer activities. As mentioned earlier, cooking and baking are just some of the most popular activities that kids and teens will surely want to be involved in. Mixing the colorful ingredients and decorating cakes/pastries will be very fun and interesting for them. But for those who are more into sports, swimming, badminton, basketball and other sports will be best for them. In this way, they will be able spend their time having fun and enjoying while making some new friends and learning new things even if school is over.

Parents undoubtedly know what is best for the children regardless if they are still kids, teens and even adults. However, there are some times wherein they also have to consider the thing that their children want to do. Parents should also listen to their children in order to make the relationship between them healthier and so that their children will not grow up as rebels. They should not the ones who are always talking; they should also learn to listen.

Home Schooling - Socialization and Personal Relations

Whether you are home schooling your child yourself, or in an online school, the question will inevitably come up about their socialization. You may hear this from relatives, friends or acquaintances. You may also have these nagging doubts yourself.

Socialization is a broad term. By this, does one mean that the student will not be exposed to diverse cultures, and nationalities? The implication here is that the home schooled student may not be prepared to cope with democracy in this country.

Dr. Brian Ray of the NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute) in 2003 studied the question of civic involvement of adults who had been home schooled. He found that twice as many home schooled adults were involved in civic organizations as public schooled adults. It was also found that 76% of home schoolers voted in the last 5 years compared to 35% of those not home schooled.

It seems to me that the larger question is the type of socialization that occurs in public school vs. home school. The development of social skills is mostly dependent on with whom one spends most of his time. In public school, this time is spent with same-age peers. Those taught at home are influenced by family members, clergy, and in controlled groups by coaches, dance teachers, and scout leaders.

The problem with peer dominated socialization is that children and teens are strongly influenced to "fit in" and be accepted by the other kids. This can be a dangerous form of pressure. Your child may become defiant to adults, use drugs or alcohol, join a gang, commit acts of violence and many other dysfunctional activities. Even with solid moral values at home, the child my ignore his conscience and put himself in danger.

Public schools attempt to counter these pressures by teaching children sexual health, "stranger danger", and "just say no to drugs". When the role models for behavior are other peers, and pressure is THAT powerful, these lectures will fall on deaf ears.

For high school aged kids, dating becomes an area of stress in traditional schools. Who is dating the athlete or cheerleader? The popularity of a teen's date for the dance is massively important. The social hierarchy among teens can become all encompassing. Then there is the pressure to be sexually active. This can lead to extremely mixed up values for our teens who are experiencing physical changes at the same time.

Parents should realize that a peer dominated social environment is temporary and abnormal, and will not resemble the complexity of life in our society after public school. In fact, the home schooled student with diverse activities, is living in a much more realistic social environment than the public schooled student.

ADHD and Teens

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a true medical condition that affects how a person concentrates, stays focused on an activity or the ability to sit still for periods of time. Often not diagnosed in childhood, it may be diagnosed in teens. ADHD teens can be less mature than other teens, be more disruptive in class, and have trouble organizing and getting assignments in on time.

The fact that an ADHD teen can be easily distracted makes driving especially dangerous. Having a licensed adult in the car to limit distractions such as noisy friends, the radio or cell phones can make driving much safer. This is something that needs to be taken into consideration when your child reaches the driving age. Do you think he/she is mature enough to handle a vehicle without being distracted? Just because they are the legal age, doesn't mean they are ready.

Teens may be more apt to try drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their condition. I see this in my line of work as a juvenile intake officer for the county in which I live in. Many of the kids that are arrested say they have ADHD and are on medication because of it.

The ADHD teen does have some control over how they can receive help. They can speak to their teachers; explain their situation so the teacher can react appropriately. Perhaps sitting in the front of the class to limit distractions, giving the teen an activity break when the hyperactivity becomes too much. More schools are learning to help the ADHD teen by allowing them more time to take tests.

Another option is home education. This allows the teen to study with less distraction and take breaks when needed. Each subject can be tailored to the level the teen is on and they can learn at their own pace, with mastery in mind. Home education also allows more time for teens to study things that they are truly interested in.

So what can be done? Several treatments are available; most doctors will suggest several different treatment methods instead of just one medication. Counseling may help the ADHD teen, with the family communicating altogether. Regular exercise is also showing promise in reducing hyperactivity symptoms and a change in diet can help minimize symptoms, if not take them away all together. Encouraging the ADHD teen to communicate their condition to their friends and explain it to them promotes a healthier social life. Friends usually forgive if they know what's going on.

ADHD teens can be very bright, creative people. Encourage any positive activity that focuses the ADHD teens attention. Help them discover what they are passionate about, then support them in all they do to become successful in that area.

There is no one single solitary cure-all answer. And one-size-fits-all doesn't work with ADHD, or any teen for that matter. Tailoring a total treatment plan is something your doctor can do or he may refer you to an ADHD specialist.

Discover How to Help Your Kids Do Well in School

Nowadays kids are more into enjoying their days with their own activities rather than spending time revising their school works. Kids spend more time with outdoor sports or TV programs to kill time each day.

But most parents are not at home to guide their kids in their studies or their activities because both their parents are working in order to meet their daily expense or needs. This in return affects the growth of their kids.

With parents not around, kids health are also affected because their food intake are not healthy. If food is not healthy, their brain growth are not healthy too. When brain is not healthy, it will affect their progress in school.

In order to solve all this problems. parents need to sit down and talk what as parents they should do to overcome this problem. There are few things parents can do...

1. One parent work for income and the other stays at home
2. Talk to kids during dinner or after dinner
3. Spend time with their kids like playing games or going to library
4. Asking the kids how was school and what they encounter in school
5. Propose anything that can bring the whole family to do certain house activities.

By doing all or some, the kids will feel belong and knows that their parents care or interested in their activities or whatever they do. The bondage will be stronger and it will be easier to communicate when a certain situation arise.

Make communication the key to have a good family bondage.

I am here to share the knowledge and experience I had with my family and others whom I meet.

Young Kids and Money

One of parents' frustrations is kids wanting things without understanding that "money does not grow on trees". The dilemma of whether or not to explain to kids about money, bills and finances grows as the kids develop and have more requests and greater needs.

Unfortunately, handling money is not something we learn at school. Just like many other life skills that we find necessary in adulthood, money management is also neglected while lots of energy is wasted on high levels of math.

If you examine the curriculum your kids are covering from prep to year 12 you can understand why many of them will go to university or get tertiary education but only one kid per class will be wealthy. Are you ready to make sure it is your kid?

Handling money is something we all need long before we leave home. When friends have brand-name shoes or a computer game and your kid wants them too, your kid's ability to understand money is going to be very handy. So if you wonder when it is the right time to learn about money, my answer is: the minute your kid can count to 10.

Children can be taught at a young age that money is their way to get the things they want in life. It is, after all, your way of getting the things you want in life.

Tips to teach kids about money
A bit of history

The first thing you need to do in order to teach your kid about money is to explain the history of money. Tell them about how people used to trade with their neighbours: "I will give you apples and you will give me carrots". Then they realised that some things take longer to grow, so they decided that some things are worth more. This evolved when they came to the market to trade for the things they wanted. Money came to be when people weighed pieces gold or silver and would trade for it by weight (just think of the British currency called "Pound", or the Israeli currency called "Shekel", which means "something that is weighed"). Explain to your young kid that money was a great thing that happened to us because we can buy whatever we want and not just what our neighbours grow.

Pocket money - weekly or in return for chores

Decide if you want to give your kids pocket money every week or as a reward for doing chores. Stick to at least once a week, because young kids' perception of time is not fully developed and 7 days seems to them like a very long time.

Some believe that giving pocket money should not be a reward. Others think that it is a good way to teach kids that money does not just fall from the sky and that we need to work for it. If you have difficulties finding chores for young kids, remember that small things like making the bed, helping clear the table after dinner and helping with the laundry can be fun chores that will teach kids responsibility and sharing.

Whatever you choose, stick to your schedule and always, always hold a ceremony of giving your kids their money.

Emotional chores

If you do choose to give money based on chores, remember you do not have to reward your kids for things they do for you. You can always reward them for things they do for themselves. "Emotional stretches" are a good reason to reward young kids (and older kids and teens and even adults...). Give them coins each time they manage to do something that was hard for them. Being nice to a sibling, doing their homework without being told, taking a shower by themselves, waiting patiently when mum or dad are on the phone... Every time they do something that is hard for them, reward them to promote their good behaviour and personal growth.

Pocket money rules

When you choose to give pocket money as a reward, remember that the rules must be understood by everyone involved. Kids must understand how much you give and for what. If your child can read, make a list of the chores (and/or emotional stretches) with their matching reward amount. If your child is younger, draw pictures or cut them from a magazine and draw circles to represent the coins they will get for each task. Having an understanding will prevent bargaining and allow both parents to handle the situation in the same way.

Money management

Kids must know what falls into the category of what they need to purchase and what comes out of mum and dad's budget. Think about this before you start teaching your kid about money. You must be clear with yourself whether you pay for food, for snacks at school, for sweets, for treats or for anything else the kids ask for. Whatever you decide is good, as long as you have a good explanation for yourself and you stick to it.

Piggy bank

Get your child a box to put their money in. Any piggy bank that does not allow the kids to take the money out is a cruel thing for your kid. It does the exact opposite of what money management is all about. Money is not there to keep. It is there to use wisely.

Less is sometimes more

Young kids find it hard to understand that a $1 coin is worth more than 20 coins of 5 cents each. It takes a while for them to understand that the value of the money is not measured simply by the number of coins. Therefore, always use the smallest coins to give them money, to give them the feeling they have plenty of money. Around the age of 6, when they learn the arithmetic of money at school, they will learn the value of each coin. When they do understand this, start exchanging single cents for 10 cents, 10 cents for 25 or 50 cents and 50 cents for dollars, etc.


Get your kid a wallet to take with them whenever you go out. When a young kid takes a wallet with them for shopping, this is the greatest lesson about money management. When you go shopping and your kid asks for you to buy them things, refer them to their wallet and explain what they can buy with the money that they have. Always show them the options, "This costs this many coins, the other thing you want costs that many coins", and teach them to choose. When they see the money going out of their own wallet, they are not so enthusiastic about buying things, and if they are still enthusiastic, the feeling disappears after the first time when they realise they have no money left in their wallet.


If you go with your kid somewhere and they did not bring their wallet, use the opportunity to teach them about lending and let them borrow some money until you get home. Only lend them amounts they can return and make sure they give you the money back the minute you get home. If they have their wallet with them, but not enough money and they ask for a loan, make sure they understand what this means. Again, time is not something they understand and if you tell them, "That means that next month I will not give you your pocket money", they might not understand. Just like in real life, teach them that things that require loans also require more time to think about. In these cases, not giving them the loan, or giving part of the loan is better for your kids than being nice and giving it to them whenever they want.


The first time your young kids ask you for a loan, be happy, because now you can teach them about savings. Only when kids want something beyond their financial means can you explain why saving money is a good idea. Teach them to always put 10% of their money aside. At a young age, they will not understand what 10% is but tell them it is a tiny piggy bank in the piggy bank of money you keep there for emergency. This is the money you keep for something big or special that you want later. Tell them to put 1 out of every 10 coins in the tiny piggy bank. Saving is a good lesson in waiting, something that is hard for young kids, because their perception of time is not fully formed.

Young children can learn about money from as early an age as 3. Having a healthy attitude towards money is important to help your kid grow with skills that school is not going to give them. They are going to need them desperately the minute they leave home. If you think they are too young to know about money, remember that one day they will have to pay for your nursing home...

The Benefits Of Parent And Teen Coaching


Do you feel like your teen or pre-teen is a complete stranger?

Have the lines of communication been severed?

Is your teen making poor choices or struggling in school?

Do you feel all hope is gone?

Are you running out of options?

There is HOPE!

Today many pre-teens and teens are more attached to their peers and to the peer culture than they are to their own families. Many are making poor decisions that negatively effect their lives, and yours.

What can parents do to prevent the diminishing attachments between themselves and their kids?

How can parents create a world at home that allows kids to feel a "connectedness" that they more readily create with their peers?

Is it possible to reconnect?


Many of today's kids have been thrust into a blended family situation that might not be blending so well. When families merge together there is an incredible amount of change and with change comes resistance. Adjusting to two part-time environments can be very difficult for kids.

Is it possible to create peace in an environment filled with anger and blame?


The fact is ... many of today's parents were raised in homes where they felt silenced, like they didn't measure up and that's not what they wanted for their child. Yet they struggle to find ways to open the lines of communication with their teen. As a result many parents have lost hope.

It is time to Stop - Take a Breath - and Reassess!

With the support of a skilled coach parents and teens can coexist in an environment rooted in Trust, Support, Respect, and Understanding - an environment free of punishment and undeserved guilt.

Coaching creates:

Harmony when once there was Discord

Joy when once there was Despair

Peace of mind when once there was Confusion

Parents can increase awareness to their own power to choose thoughts and behaviors and learn to ask themselves:

"Am I choosing to do something that will increase the distance between me and my child?"


"Is what I am about to do going to pull me closer to or push me further away from my child?"

By making the shift to Appreciate - Understand - Support - Respect our children and our spouses, teens and pre-teens can experience healthy connections in the home with parents and outside the home with their peers.

Kids mean more to parents than anything else in this world! As parents there is little time left before their teens leave home, little time to reconnect and save them from years of wondering, "Did I do all I could have done? Could I have done more to create a closer relationship with my teen?" Time with teens is precious, let's not waste it! What you do today could pave the path to a wonderful, loving, meaningful relationship with your child that will take you through all the days of your lives.

Parents, there is an Option, THERE IS HOPE! Coaching produces measurable results!

Parents have the power to make things different, to change patterns, to create harmony in their own homes.

When parents lose hope and consider placing their child or teen in a program, I suggest they:

Stop - Take a Breath - and Reassess!

While some parents have found programs to be of benefit, some have found it only made matters worse. The Troubled Child/Teen Help industry is unregulated, it has no standards or guidelines, there is no Federal governmental oversight, and anyone can open a program for kids.

Let us learn from the experience of others who have said, "If I knew then what I know now I would never have sent my teen away!"

Since each family has its' own unique situation and no two families are alike, coaching is a great alternative that gives parents power to parent their teens and to create the home and family they so desperately desire!

My philosophy:

I believe that within each parent lies the Power to effectively and lovingly parent their teens and pre-teens. And within each Teen lies the Power to be productive, caring, and loving members of their family.

Coaching is anchored on the belief that people are Creative, Resourceful, and Whole, and that within each of us lies the Power to reach our full potential. Once we are able to Unleash that Power we can achieve our own personal, self-defined outcomes.

Coaching is an ongoing Partnership. It is a Journey to Discover who you are and who you truly want to be. It is a Process that produces Profound, Measurable Results. Clients come to coaching because they are looking for Change or have important Goals they hope to attain.

Coaching creates Harmony when once there was Discord - Joy when once there was Despair - Peace of mind when once there was Confusion.

Most people strive for a better quality of life. They want more Joy and more Quality Time with their Children and Teens. Coaching can help them Unleash the Power Within so they attain their Goals and Dreams!

How to Deal With Lying in Children and Teens

I believe that with kids, lying is a faulty problem-solving skill. It's our job as parents to teach our children how to solve those problems in more constructive ways. Here are a few of the reasons why kids lie. (Later, I'll explain how to handle it when they do.)

Why Kids Lie

To establish identity: One of the ways kids use lying is to establish an identity and to connect with peers, even if that identity is false. Lying can also be a response to peer pressure. Your child might be lying to his peers about things he says he's done that he really hasn't to make him sound more impressive.

To individuate from parents: Sometimes teens use lying to keep parts of their lives separate from their parents. At times it may even seem that they make up small lies about things that don't even seem terribly important. Another reason children lie is when they perceive the house rules and restrictions to be too tight. So let's say you have a 16-year-old who isn't allowed to wear makeup, but all her friends are wearing it. So she wears it outside the house, then lies to you about it. Lying may become a way for her to have you believe she's following your rules and still do "normal" teen activities.

To get attention: When your child is little and the lies are inconsequential, this behavior may just be his way of getting a little attention. When a small child says, "Mommy, I just saw Santa fly by the window," I think it is very different from an older child who says, "I finished my homework," when he really didn't. Younger children also make up stories during imaginative play, or playing "make believe." This is not lying but a way for them to engage their imaginations and start to make sense of the world around them.

To avoid hurting other's feelings: At some point, most people learn how to minimize things in order not to hurt other people's feelings. Instead of saying, "I love your new shoes," we might say, "Those shoes are really trendy right now." But kids don't have the same sophistication that adults do, so it's often easier for them to lie. I think as adults, we learn how to say things more carefully; we all know how to minimize hurt. But kids don't know how to do that. Lying is a first step toward learning how to say something more carefully. In some ways, we teach them how to lie when we say, "Tell Grandma you like the present even if you don't, because it will hurt her feelings otherwise." We have a justifiable reason-we don't want to hurt someone's feelings who's gone out of their way for us-but we are still teaching our kids how to bend the truth.

To avoid trouble: Most kids lie at one time or another to get out of trouble. Let's say they've gotten themselves into a jam because they did something they shouldn't have done. Maybe they broke a rule or they didn't do something they were supposed to do, like their chores. If they don't have another way out, rather than suffer the consequences, they lie to avoid getting into trouble.

Again, in my opinion, the overall reason why kids lie is because they don't have another way of dealing with a problem or conflict. In fact, sometimes it's the only way they know how to solve a problem; it's almost like a faulty survival skill for kids.

I believe it's really the parent's job to differentiate the type of lie their child has told, and to make sure that it isn't connected to unsafe, illegal or risky behavior. This gets to the whole point about picking your battles. If you see your child say to another child, "Oh I really like that dress," and they later tell you in the car, "I really don't like that dress," you might say something to them, but you might also let it go, especially if this is unusual for your child. If they're lying about something that's risky or illegal or really unsafe, you definitely have to address it. And if it's to the point of being really significant-like a lie about risky sexual behavior, drugs, or other harmful activities-you may need to seek some help from a professional.

So pick your battles. Decipher what's really important versus looking at what's normal. And again, that often depends on the developmental age of your child. A four-year-old is going to make up big whopping stories as a way to be creative and begin to figure out their world. It's a normal developmental stage. Seven- and eight-year-olds are going to do some of that as well, but they may have more black and white thinking. So they might say, "I hated that lady" when they simply disliked something that person did. I think you can let those kinds of things slide or just gently correct your child. You can say something like, "Do you mean you didn't like what she did yesterday?" This type of stretching of the truth is really the result of concrete thinking because kids in this age group don't have good skills to say something else more neutral or tactful.

I don't believe lying in children is a moral issue. I think it's imperative not to take it personally if your child lies.Most kids don't lie to hurt their parents; they lie because there's something else going on. The important part for you as a parent is to address the behavior behind the lie. If you're taking it personally, you're probably angry and upset-and not dealing with the more specific information concerning the behavior.

Here's an example. Let's say your child didn't do his homework but he told you he did. When you find out that he's lying, he admits he didn't do it because he was playing sports with friends after school. If you yell at your child about being betrayed and say, "How dare you lie to me," that's all you're going to be able to address. You're not going to be able to deal with the real issue of your child needing to do his homework before he plays sports. The bottom line is that your anger and frustration about the lie is not going to help your child change his behavior.

So lying is not a moral issue; it's a problem-solving issue, a lack of skill issue, and an avoiding consequence issue. Often kids know right from wrong-in fact, that's why they're lying. They don't want to get in trouble for what they've done and they're using lying to solve their problems. What that means is that they need better skills, and you can respond as a parent by helping them work on their ability to problem solve.

How to Address Lying: Staging a "Lying Intervention"

While it's important to address the behavior behind the lying, if your child lies chronically or lies about unsafe, risky or unhealthy behavior, I think it makes sense to address the actual lying by having an intervention. A "lying intervention" is really just a planned and structured conversation about the lying behavior. This lets your child know what you've been seeing, and gives you a chance to tell them that you are concerned. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Plan ahead of time: Think about how you're going to intervene beforehand. Plan it out ahead of time with your spouse; if you're single, ask another close adult family member to be there with you. When this issue came up with our son, my husband James and I planned out what we were going to say, how we were going to react emotionally, and even where we were going to sit. We decided we were going to be neutral and that we would be as unemotional as possible. We made a decision about what the problem behaviors we wanted to address were. We also decided what the consequences for our son's behavior would be. We did almost all of this ahead of time.

Don't lecture: When you catch your child lying, remember that lecturing is not going to be helpful. Kids just tune that out. They've heard it over and over-and when you start lecturing, the kids are gone. They're no longer listening and nothing changes. So what you need to do instead is to identify what it is that you're seeing and what you're concerned about.

Be specific and talk about what's obvious: When you're talking with your child, be specific about what you saw and what the problems are. You can state calmly and in a matter of fact way, "If the lying about homework continues, this will be the consequence." Or "It's obvious you snuck out last night. There will be a consequence for that behavior." Remember, it has to be a consequence that you can actually deliver on and are willing to follow through with.

Don't be too complicated in your message: Keep it very focused and simple for your child; concentrate on the behavior. And then tell him that you want to hear what was happening that made him feel he needed to lie. (You are not looking for an excuse for the lie, but rather to identify the problem your child was having that they used lying to solve.) Be direct and specific. The intervention itself would be quick and to-the-point; you don't want to lecture your child for a long time. This is just ineffective.

Keep the door open: Because the lie is most likely a way your child is trying to problem solve, make sure you indicate that you want to hear what's going on with him. He may not be ready to talk with you about it the first time you raise the subject-and this is where the neutrality on the parent's part comes in. You want to be open to hearing what your child or teen's problem is. You want to create a safe environment for him to tell you during that intervention or that first conversation. But if your child is not ready, it's important to keep that door open. Create this environment by being neutral and not attacking him.

If You Catch Your Child in a Lie...

If you catch your child in a problematic lie, I recommend that you not react in the moment. Instead, send him to his room so you can calm down. Talk with your spouse or a trusted friend or family member and come up with a game plan. Allow yourself time to think about it. Remember, when you respond without thinking, you're not going to be effective. So give yourself a little time to plan this out.

When you do talk, don't argue with your child about the lie. Just state what you saw, and what is obvious. You may not know the reason behind it, but eventually your child might fill you in on it. Again, simply state the behaviors that you saw.

So the conversation would go something like, "I got a call from the neighbor; they saw you sneaking out of your window. You were falling asleep at the kitchen table this morning at breakfast. But you told us that you were home all night."And you might then say to your teen, "There's going to be a consequence for that. You're not going to be able to stay over at your friend's house next weekend. And we're concerned about where you went." Leave the door open for him to tell you what happened.

Remember, state what you believe based on the facts you have. Do it without arguing, just say it matter-of-factly. "We have this information, we believe it to be true and these are the consequences."Keep it very simple and hear what your child has to say, but be really firm in what you believe.

A Word about "Magical Thinking"

Be aware that kids and adolescents are prone to engage in "magical thinking." This means that when your child gets away with a few lies, he will start thinking he should be able to get away with them the next time. Often that just feeds on itself, and the lies become more and more abundant-and absurd. Your child might convince himself they're true in order to get out of the trouble. I also think kids often don't want to believe they're lying; no one really wants to be a liar.

So you'll see kids who've gotten caught smoking at school say, "No, I wasn't smoking"-even though the smoke is still in the air. And when you're a kid, you think that if you keep repeating the same thing over and over again, it will be true. But it's your job as a parent to say as matter-of-factly as possible what you feel is the truth. Acknowledge the lie, but give the consequence for the behavior, not for the lie.

Realize that most kids are not going to lie forever and ever. There is a very small percentage of kids who lie chronically. That's more difficult for parents to deal with, and it requires professional help. In all my years in working with adolescents, there were very, very few kids that I met who lied chronically for no reason. Usually, kids don't lie arbitrarily; they have a reason for doing so, no matter how faulty that reason might be. Your child really does know right from wrong, but sometimes he overrides the truth.

I'm a parent too, and I understand that it's hard not to take that personally or be disappointed. But just remember, your child is trying to solve a problem in an ineffective way. Our job is to teach them how to face their problems head on, and to coach them through these confusing years. Over time, I believe they will learn to do that without lying.

Kids and Energy

I'm not sure why, maybe because it's spring, I'm getting a lot of questions and stories about kids and energy. I'll put them all under that broad category but there have been several different subcategories discussed: kids and ADHD, kids and anger management, and kids and computers.

Kids and ADHD

Let's start with kids and ADHD. There seems to be a big trend here in the US of drugging our children so they can "control" their behavior in school. I am NOT in favor of this practice.

Why is there such an epidemic of ADHD diagnoses in our children? I don't want to oversimplify but I believe one reason is that our children don't have the opportunities they had in previous generations to run around and expend their energy.

In years past, kids got to play in the parks, in the streets and in their own yards. Today, that happens less and less. Parents are too afraid to allow their children to be outside unsupervised, and rightly so! There are predators out there who would do your children harm. However, kids still need to expend their energy, somehow.

So, many times the activities available to them at home are sedentary, such as playing video games, watching television, talking on their cell phones or using the home computer. None of this provides opportunity to release energy, unless your children are like my niece who paces vigorously while talking on the phone.

Then we send them to school and expect them to sit down and be quiet. In addition, many schools are reducing the amount of physical education time for our kids and I've even seen recently that some schools forbid children to run at recess or use certain playground equipment because they fear of physical injury lawsuit. Is it any wonder our children are having difficulty?

Now I know there are parents and teachers out there who have stories of children who have been helped immensely by the addition of Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta or Dexedrine to their daily diet. If you know a child who is being helped by his or her medication, I'm not saying to discontinue it but for every child who is being helped, I believe there are at least three others who are still exhibiting all the ADHD behavior the medication was designed to reduce.

There have been studies done on placebo medications that show that in double blind studies, when neither the patient nor the doctor knew whether the patient was getting the actual drug or the placebo, the ones getting the placebo actually did better. Is it possible there is a placebo effect with some children?

If your child displays what you or the teachers believe is an excessive amount of energy, do your best to create situations where that child can expend energy. I have two boys who could both have been diagnosed with ADHD as children. They were very physical. Luckily, I lived in the country during a time when parents sent their kids out the door to simply "play." I also spent a lot of my spare time running them around to different athletic events-YMCA soccer, wrestling, flag football, T-ball, basketball, you get the idea. This definitely helps.

Kids and Anger Management

I spoke with a woman over the weekend whose son is 10 years-old and she says has anger management issues. We didn't really get into his specific behaviors but it caused me to reflect on some inherent differences between males and females.

I think that from very early on, boys and girls deal with their anger differently. As a general rule, girls need to talk about it to feel better, while boys need to work it out physically.

So if you have daughters, you want to teach them verbal skills to be able to work out their frustrations but with boys, you will need to provide opportunities for them to work out their anger physically-maybe with a punching bag, racquetball, running, or martial arts. The list of possibilities is truly endless but don't expect your boys to "talk about it," at least not until they've had the opportunity to release the anger in a safe physical manner.

Kids and Computers

This week, a mother contacted me about her child disobeying her limits with the home computer and sneaking time beyond her allowed limit.

In this situation, the mother had a need to protect and nurture her child. She wants to be able to loosely supervise her daughter's time on the computer to possibly prevent her from falling prey to adults who victimize children by finding their victims on the Internet. She also wants to support her child's need for physical activity so she restricts her computer usage and encourage outside physical activities instead. Is this mother wrong? Absolutely not.

Her daughter, on the other hand, has a desire to be on the computer. All her friends are on there and want to know why she isn't. They don't have limits while this girl does. This girl is quite accomplished on the computer and can build website pages for her friends. She also has a high need for freedom and doesn't like being restricted and the computer is plain fun to her. She gets her love & belonging, power, freedom and fun needs met with the computer. Is she wrong? Absolutely not.

How does it get resolved? I think the way to resolve this issue is for the mother and daughter to sit down and talk about what each other needs and wants in the situation. If the child can convince her mother that she has the skills and knowledge necessary to protect herself from predators and she agrees to engage in other healthy activities each day, then her mother could relax her restriction on the amount of time she has on the computer.

In this case, and many others like it, the daughter wouldn't be able to meet her freedom need with the computer if there wasn't a rule to break. Sometimes we create the very behavior we are trying to stop with the rules we make. When a person has a high need for freedom, they will inevitably break the rules, particularly the ones they don't like or that don't make sense.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you'll ever do and the stakes are incredibly high. We all do the best we can and hope for good results. Fortunately, when we have good intentions are kids generally survive in even thrive.

Child Rage: Explosive Anger in Kids and Teens

Screaming fights. Destructive behavior. Volatile moods. Do your child's anger and rage make you feel exhausted and out of control? In a recent Empowering Parents poll, Angie S. commented, "I walk on eggshells around my 15-year-old son. It's embarrassing to admit, but I'm afraid of his explosive temper." In that same poll, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they end up "losing control and screaming back" when their child's anger reaches the boiling point. But matching your child's rage with your own angry response is not the answer. Janet Lehman, MSW, explains why-and tells you how to form a plan to help you handle their behavior.

As a parent, one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do is manage your child's behavior when they are in an angry, volatile mood. Whether you refer to it as a temper tantrum or extreme rage, I believe the most important thing you can do is create a "Rage Plan" to help you handle your child's behavior. The following 5 steps are the basis of this plan:

1. Make sure the area around your child is safe. Make sure that the area your child is in is safe and that no one can be hurt if and when he lashes out. Remove yourself and any siblings from the area. Reduce any stimulation in his vicinity. Turn off the TV, lower the lights. The idea is to let your child wear himself out. (This step applies to adolescents as well as to young children.)

2. Try to get calm: Even if emotions are running high, work to calm yourself down. Talk to your child in an even tone of voice. Tell him that his behavior is unacceptable and that you'll speak with him when he's calmed down. Model good behavior for your child. Remember, kids learn from their parents, which is another reason you want to remain calm. You're teaching him appropriate ways to manage stressful situations.

3. Don't respond to name-calling or verbal abuse. If your child is screaming things at you, calling you names, or saying you're "the worst parent in the world," do not respond to it. Simply leave the room or send him to his bedroom. Don't yell back at your child because it will bring you into his rage and make you the focal point of his anger.

4. Talk later, when you're both calm: The time to talk is when you and your child are both calm. If he's yelling in his room, he should not be getting your attention, period. Though it seems like you're ignoring the behavior in some ways, later you will definitely want to let your child know that his behavior is not acceptable.

Tell him there are better ways to deal with anger than losing control. You might also have your child make amends if he broke something or hurt someone else. If your child is very young, you may want him to draw a picture that says, "I'm sorry." If your child is older, you want to ask him to do something more meaningful for the person he wronged.

5. Give consequences for behavior, not the anger: Never give consequences for the feeling of anger-focus on the angry behavior instead. It's important to give your child the message that it's okay to feel angry. If your child is screaming and yelling but not breaking anything or hurting anyone, there would be no reason to give consequences.

If your child has just begun to lash out in rage when angered, it's likely that these five steps are going to work fairly well-especially after you go through them a few times. Your calm, matter of fact response is going to teach him that explosive anger is not the way to deal with his frustration. If the behavior has been going on for a long time and it's more ingrained, however, prepare to go through these five steps repeatedly until your child knows that you mean it.

Long-standing Rage

Some kids' rage is long-standing-in other words, they've been engaging in this type of behavior repeatedly, sometimes for years. This is when you need to learn about your child's triggers. Once your child has calmed down, talk with him about his explosion. Ask, "What happened before you blew up today?" If your child comes home angry after school in a volatile mood, you might have to call his teacher and find out if there was a problem that day. Ask pointed questions like, "Was my child picked on? Did he do poorly on an assignment? Was he disciplined in class?" But remember, even if your child had a terrible day at school, it doesn't excuse his behavior at home. After all, there are other ways to deal with having a bad day than by calling his siblings foul names, screaming in your face or kicking a table over.

Many parentsofoppositional, defiant kids walk around on eggshells around their children, trying not to upset them.I think it's completely understandable why you would get into that habit. But remember, your child isn't learning to behave differently when you do this. In fact, by getting you to tiptoe around him, he's teaching you to behave differently-he's training you to anticipate his angry outbursts. So instead, do the things that you would normally do-don't alter your behavior to suit your child's moods. And again, have that rage plan and respond to your child's behavior accordingly.

When you talk to your child about his triggers, always ask, "How are you going to handle this differently next time?" That's the real purpose of looking at triggers-to help your child better understand them so he learns to respond differently the next time he gets angry or frustrated. The most important thing to remember is that helping your child deal with his anger now will help him manage these feelings later on in his life.

Destructive Behavior

With some kids, their explosive anger escalates until it becomes destructive. If your child breaks his own things during one of his rages, he should suffer the natural consequences of losing those items-or he should be made to replace them with his own money. Even a young child can help with the dishes or do chores around the house to earn things back. If your child is older, he can pay you back with his allowance or money from his part-time job. This is a great lesson because your child will clearly see that his behavior caused the problem: He threw his iPod against the wall-now he doesn't have one.

Let me add that if your teenager is breaking your things or being very destructive in your house-threatening you, punching holes in the walls, kicking in doors-this is another matter entirely. If your child is doing significant damage when he loses his temper, or if you're feeling unsafe, I recommend that parents call someone in, like the police. Look at it this way: If you don't do anything to protect yourself, other family members, or your home, what's the message that's being sent to your child? He will learn that he's in complete control-and that the best way to get what he wants is to be destructive.

If your child or teen has developed a pattern that includes breaking things, part of your plan would be saying to him ahead of time, "If this happens again and I feel unsafe, I'm going to have to call for help. I'm going to ask Dad to come in, call the neighbors, or the police."

You Can't Talk Your Child Out of His Rage

Keep in mind that you should never try to talk to your child in the middle of a rage or tantrum. Any attempt to respond to him at that point will just wind him up and reinforce his anger. Additionally, your child is not listening very well at that time. Your attempts to reason with him, lecture or talk to your child about the issue at hand aren't going to sink in if he's in the middle of a rage.

Instead, give short, clear, calm directions. Say, "This is not Okay. You need to go to your room until you can get it together." If you have screamed back in the past or reacted angrily to your child, really practice that calm voice. If this is a challenge for you, try practicing what you will say ahead of time.

Does My Child Have a Mental Health Problem?

If at any point you feel like your child's behavior is beyond a normal temper tantrum, or if you really can't hang in there any longer as a parent, be sure to seek the help of a professional. I want to stress that having these behaviors doesn't necessarily mean that your child has a mental health problem. Child anger is a normal emotion but one that people usually have a difficult time expressing and responding to. Whenever there is a doubt in your mind, talk to your child's pediatrician or trusted health care professional.

Here are some times when you should seek a professional opinion:

  • If your child doesn't respond even though you are consistent with your plan of action. Often the counselor will help you continue to work on your plan and will reinforce these ideas during counseling.

  • If your child's trigger doesn't seem to be rational or make sense

  • If your child isn't able to deal with his triggers, counseling might be in order. If anxiety is the trigger, for example, he will need a better way to react when he feels nervous or embarrassed.

Remember, you can always change your behavior as a parent. Don't beat yourself up if you didn't handle things the way you wanted to when your child lost control in the past. Maybe you screamed back or gave in when they had a tantrum or lost their temper. But none of us automatically knows how to deal with everything our kids do-it's easy to panic. So give yourself a break and practice your plan and your calm response to your child. It will take time at first and you will have to do it repeatedly, but it will work eventually. Don't feel bad if you were less effective in the past; you can always start being more effective today.

Millionaire Kids? New Ways Kids and Teens Are Earning Sizeable Income

The sluggish economy is affecting just about everyone, especially kids. These days kids want and need everything from fashionable clothes to iPods to evenings at the movies.

As any parent will tell you, none of this stuff is cheap. And with adult paychecks having to stretch further and further, any income kids and teens can bring in is much appreciated.

But the days of lemonade stands and mowing the occasional lawn may be in the past. Today kids of all ages are pulling in sizeable incomes working in the small businesses they own.

Thirteen year-old business owners? You bet. Kids, teens, and "tweens" are running everything from service businesses, to ingenious product retail operations, to online mail order extravaganzas.

Most of these businesses are cheap to start. Kids and/or their parents don't have to shuck out a small bank account to get the new business started.

Keller was just a fourth grader, but he quickly found a way to earn $50 or more per week. His mother took him to a store where he could purchased candy wholesale. Then Keller resold the candy to other kids after school.

School administrators were fine with the little guy's entrepreneurial spirit and the kids absolutely loved the opportunity to purchase their favorite sweets, often at a discount over local stores. After expenses, the 4th grader cleared $15 to $20 per day.

Nelda, a high school junior, knew she had a smart business idea when she overheard a restaurant owner complaining about all the customers who wanted home delivery. "The owner didn't have the time to deliver orders to people, so I offered to do it for her. Now I deliver meals to people all over town. My delivery business takes just two hours each afternoon and earns me several hundred dollars each week," she said.

Meanwhile, Markus, a 13 year-old 7th grader, is earning an impressive income offering closeout items on eBay. Markus gets the items from his uncle's store, then sells them on eBay and keeps a large percentage of the profit for himself. The store owner is happy to see items move and Markus is able to save about $700 per month for college.

These are just a few examples of the many solid, doable business ideas for kids. There are literally dozens of proven ideas that are being used by kids of all ages to earn anywhere from pocket change to an adult-sized income.

And this is perhaps the most important time in decades for kids to learn how to run their own businesses. Even a very small part-time venture can teach a child the vitally important aspects of being an entrepreneur.

In this day and age when jobs are getting harder and harder to come by, knowing how to start and operate your own business that makes good money is a skill to last a lifetime.

Of course, kid-approved businesses can be run part-time, leaving youth plenty of time to be kids. When a young person's idle time is filled with an interesting business that gives them the money they need, tasks like homework and household chores are easier to schedule in a disciplined way.

Also, most families simply need more income. If a child can bring home the cash they need to pay for items they want, then everyone in the family benefits from the additional cash flow.

It's an old-fashioned value that is suddenly more vital today than ever.

Kid Calmer - 5 Ways To Calm Kids And Teens To Reduce Stress

In order to have calm kids, we must understand how we are calm adults. Obviously, we have given thought to personal balance, healthy environments, peace of mind. All we have to do is walk down Main Street, Anywhere, USA and count the spa, tai chi, massage, yoga, acupuncture and other studios that dot the body of merchants to see how important serenity is in our lives.

1. ENVIRONMENT. What our location looks like, how spacious it is, the surrounding smells, our comfort level in the space and more factors affect how calm we are. The temperature of the building we are in or the placement and type of lights in the classroom all have to do with our peace of mind. When these factors are physically built into the arena where our kids spend their time daily, we are using the first way to calm kids.

2. POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM. Although it is nice to be in a nurturing but empowering atmosphere, not all schools or institutes, where kids receive a large part of their education, provide these traits. Some believe in the tough love type of teaching, where the student must keep up with the teacher. Other teachers consider it a responsibility to reach the pupil. Depending upon how a student learns, these two standards make a tremendous difference in the peace of mind of the student. If the student learns and evolves well through "the very old school method" of getting the ruler to the hand for not understanding the lesson, and the school provides this; the student's self-esteem will be positively affected by these lessons. Likewise, if the student learns well from an instructor who is determined to teach without embarrassment or learning from fear, and the school offers the more compassionate side, again, the student will learn. In the scenario where the student's innate nature and the method are mismatched, the student can experience stress which may lead to negative self-esteem.

The fix lies with the discipline watcher, the teacher, the principal, the coaches who must be on the lookout for students in stress. Some students will act out; others will not; some will look stressed or sad or angry. The knowledge managers, meaning all the staff in a school, can notice, say a kind word and provide a program that addresses peace of mind. Having the "adults" take on the responsibility of monitoring their charges is what being responsible means But, once recognized, then what? And is it possible to be a diligent observer and provider with under-staffing and overwork? The answer, IMHO, is, "Yes."

3. MIND-SET. It is the school's responsibility to prepare the student's outlook on socialization, commerce, art, and fitting in or out, whichever the student chooses. It is also the school's responsibility to discuss the state of well-being. Yes, this is work for "at home," but it is not exclusive and must be discussed in school. Many public and private schools have a difficult time with the fine line not to cross between what belongs at school and what belongs at home. Students can't excel without personal balance. So the topic of how to maintain and accelerate calmness makes sense to be available at school.

Take writing and penmanship as an example. When we are in the process of learning it, we don't really know how it will open up our lives. But after our knowledge of it becomes part of our life, only then do we see its benefit. The same goes for talking about the state of well-being. In school, we are told to put our heads down to rest, to run around the track, to eat nutritionally. Are we taught why all this is important? Do teachers realize that this has to do with mind-set as well as code compliance? It is crucial to mention the state of well-being topic so that the student knows it is normal to consider it and so that, when the student is offered a class in well-being (such as tai chi or yoga), the student will connect the training to the topic and both to her (his) life and gravitate toward it. Also, talking about the topic is an important part of generating the result.

4. STRESS RELIEF TRAINING. It's one thing to talk about how we need to be balanced and another to be taught how to do it. Although a full-curriculum including mind/body training would be great in a school system and should be part of the elective class in phys. ed or health, the best training would be regular, start-of-the-day, daily exercise that became part of the standard day. It should be part of the routine that goes along with checking into homeroom, saluting the flag, placing books in a locker, sharpening pencils, erasing the blackboard. This activity would not be sporadic. It would be ongoing and is preparation for learning and responsible living. This 4th method, stress relief training for kids, is a way to erase the student's internal blackboard so that the student is happy, healthy, feeling well before taking the first step into the daily school schedule. This regular mind/body daily training should be a standard in every educational institution.

5. KIDS CALMING THEMSELVES. The most important part of school relaxation training is for a youth or a teen to be able to take the lesson from school into her (his) own life. Translated, this means that kids hear about and are taught peace of mind at school, are exposed to physical training/mental exercise targeting stress and can easily use this training to balance their lives away from school.

This 5th and most important method of stress relief for kids is also the most challenging. What's easy to do as part of a class is not always easy to do for ourselves. The purpose of training a small segment of stress relief training every day as opposed to one 40-minute class once a week helps us in consistency training. The mind gets used to daily work, the muscles and the mind start to remember the daily calmness. Student gets to consider the topic of peace of mind, and the roller coaster ride of class, then no class, class, then no class is replaced with a daily, consistent body of work which makes the student comfortable with the training itself

CONCLUSION. Relating in-school training to external life is what every good teacher tries to accomplish. When schools openly talk about personal balance as part of life and give kids the tools to calm down, students can maximize these lessons and give them meaning.

Students realize that the way their parents go to the corner spa, tai chi, yoga studio is a type of stress relief. If some type of stress relief training is taught at school, kids can relate it to what their parents do as a normal activity and will be less likely to suppress their stress. They will be empowered, rather than ashamed of how they feel. They will have some idea that working on a mind/body lesson is about beauty on the inside, rather than who can be the most attractive externally. They will begin to establish a foundation in how to be calm through their program at school. Because of this, they will have the ability to call the training up when they are afraid to enter the next grade, when taking a test, to combat peer pressure or bullying, when going on a college interview. when going on a job interview and other times that call for feeling balanced and peaceful.

We, as adults, find many ways every day to keep our cool, calm ourselves, balance our lives. The same opportunities should be afforded our kids at a much earlier age than we had access to it, since we know how important it is. If children learn that stress is normal, they will be ahead of previous generations. When they begin mind/body training as 5-year-olds, they will have less stress at high school time and more temperance throughout their childhood, as teens and as adults. The purposeful experience of working on stress relief will account for greater personal balance in kids today and tomorrow.

The Pros and Cons of Alternative Home Schooling

It's not surprising that many parents who have teens that struggle in mainstream school are considering home schooling as an alternative means of education for their children. While majority of parents don't see this as a viable option, especially if both parents have to work, there are situations where the decision to home school teens can be a beneficial one for teens. Of course, it's not an easy decision to arrive at. It takes a lot of commitment on the part of parents/guardians to make this kind of arrangement work for young people. Whether trying online high schools or going through traditional home school modules, there are definitely a lot of things to consider, and not all parents or guardians are up to the challenge.

What are the benefits of this kind of arrangement? Here are a few:

1. Flexibility in classes- Like most alternative means of education, home schooling affords parents to provide a lot of flexibility in the learning environment. Classes can go slower or faster without worrying about other kids in the classroom. Parents can focus on the challenging subjects for as long as the child needs help on it. It's simply something that's not always possible in a traditional classroom.

2. Flexibility in schedules - Home schooling children gives more freedom to parents on structuring the daily schedule. Some children learn best when they take short breaks every few hours. Parents can adjust this according to what's more effective to their children. Their schedules need not revolve around catching school buses, fixed break and lunch time, etcetera. Many children flourish better in this kind of arrangement.

3. More involvement from the family - When children are educated from their homes, they have a better chance of developing their relationship with their family. Parents get to be more involved in the growth and development of their children, they get to know them more, and they get to be more familiar with their childrens' strengths and challenges.

There are also some negative sides to studying from home. Here are a few of them:

1. Time and availability - Many parents these days are both working to earn a living for the family. This makes finding the schedule and the fortitude to homeschool their child a lot more difficult, especially for middle-class families.

2. Financially burdensome - If one parent focuses on homeschooling a child, it adds to the home expenses. Not to mention the fact that there's one less parent who will bring in an income to the home.

3. Stressful - For many parents, sending their children to school gives them quiet moments at home. A break from the stress of dealing with and disciplining the children. Parents who homeschool their kids need to deal with them more often than parents who send their children to school.

Many people are divided over the issue of whether this kind of alternative education is good for children or not. Ultimately, parents or guardians should know what is best for their children. Some children respond well to homeschooling, some don't. Some children and teens have special needs that are best met at home, some don't. What's important is to make an informed decision about it.

Home Schooling - 5 Upsides Vs Downsides

So, shall we open now, the retrospective shutters on home schooling from the dark? In the olden days when main society was bent on the golden belief of getting: a) High grades + b) Good jobs = c) Wealth & happiness, public schooling was as much, at the heart and core center of this ancient paradigm. And though many today still "die-hardily swear by this industrial formula", still one can't help but reconsider the rivaling tides of this new technology and information era where the benefits of home schooling vs. public schooling might be better scaled for modern families.

Upsides of home schooling

1. Keeps up to speed: Since it's out with the old industrial and in with the new informational era, it's vital that we educated our children and future society to keep up with reality and ropes of our modern day system, home schooling through parental personalization can be ideal for such.

· 1stly, the learning style and stage of the child can be properly assessed and applied.

· 2ndly, the parent has control of the wheel and rudder as to steer the child towards the work field, apprenticeship or entrepreneurship and set the environment accordingly.

· 3rdly, there is a plethora of online educational tools and even such, an online university.

2. Safety is key: With the once clean uniform face of public schools, now blemished with unorthodox conduct and behavior due that in nature of predators and hooligans, it's a no brainer why parents opt to spare their precious children the dangers lined-up before metal-detectors, STD's vaccines, and perhaps even teen baby carriages.

3. Family, cultural and spiritual values: In safekeeping with families' traditional and moral ethics, it may be strongly advisable that they consider the home schooling venue as opposed to the public. For instance, in cases where a culture/religion demands contrary dress codes in conflict with the school board, i.e. woman veiled or uniformed as those of catholic schools (supposing are non-existent nearby). It may also serve as a means to enjoy more valuable family time spent.

4. Physical and mental handicaps: For some special individuals who require extra care and supervision on wheelchairs, the mentally challenged, or those whose physical health comes in the way of living and obtaining normal functionality in daily life, school, social classes, and teacher relationships, then perhaps the guidance of family members at home will fill in the gap effectively.

5. Health and agenda prioritizing: Time prioritizing is very flexible in the domestic hands of home schoolers, both for those in authority and their students alike. Where parents have the power of choice over healthier foods than the conventional nightmarish cafeteria, they can even shop, cook, teach essential chores, exercise, be playground active, and get involved in their children's life. Furthermore, it would benefit them tremendously in regards to tax write-offs each season.

Downsides of home schooling

1. Credibility: As mentioned above, guardians play a crucial, predetermining role as to which destination to veer their children unto the final goal objective and influence it upon them.

Thus, where the credentials of government schools are substituted with domestic schooling, with regards to advancing up the ladder of academic institutions and employment, this might be compromised due to lack of credential references on resumes. Therefore already business-owners would fare better in this scholastic category with an intimate child apprenticeship.

2. Affordability: Because not many of us are born into wealthy families who'd forego their kids education with a private tutor, it's recommended that working class folks, who desire to teach their children at home, seek some sort of government charter program that would help assist with income lost towards tutoring time.

3. Unsociability: Drawing a fine line between sheltering vs. secluding your children from real life experiences with peer networks, sports teams, and learning clubs, on the other hand, might in turn force a detrimental impact on his/her psycho-maturity to face crises later on in life, rooting from a shortage of communication and relationship skills. This can be counterbalanced with church and proper community settings.

4. Learning disability: Conversely from the above, in the case where parents may not be in the technical and professional position qualified to diagnose the current teachability index and potential learning curve levels of their students (whether concerning A.D.D. or learning disabilities), then they may seek outside help in private tutors or even go the other public route.

5. Behavioral responsibility: Lastly and again, this all boils down to preconditioned strengths and standing image reputation that the parents have established with the kids, as in the manner of respecting their elders in authority and treating the learning session with prompt, disciplined and respectful behavior. However, if on the out-of-hand side, they happen to be uncontrollable, problematic children/reckless menaces, then perhaps home schooling would not be a better fit. Or would it?

Preparing for Graduation: 3 Critical Mistakes Parents and Teens Make

Here we are, a few weeks away from going back to school and starting over fresh in a new school year, and many students have not even given their future a thought. Perhaps they are caught up in the wonder of television, the excitement of video games or the busyness of the work world. Do you wonder why teens today do not think too far ahead and never anticipate what they need to do to prepare for graduation? Do you ever wonder why some kids never achieve even a small step towards graduation or a successful career? Blame it on pure dreaming and lack of setting goals for achieving their dreams. Many teens lack a sense of personal responsibility and ownership in the future. Parents can help change this trend.

Kids must learn to plan and set goals for their future. Many times, parents overlook this critical component of parenting. Parents must take time to help their children visualize what life will be like in the future. The discussion should be about more than, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" This conversation should be in depth, long range, and cover topics such as career goals, schooling, how to qualify for this career, how to budget for the lifestyle they wish to have, and where the money will come from when they get there. Many times, this small step is put aside as a "one day" conversation, but it is critical and needs to happen as the children are growing up, so they can learn to see beyond the four walls of home and school.

Students must learn to accept responsibility and take ownership for their own direction. Parents need to guide, coach and train children to think in terms of how to create personal action. Sometimes, parents think they are helping children by stepping up and helping. Sometimes, kids take the easy way out and beg for help when, in reality, they can really do it all on their own if given a little extra support, accountability and encouragement. Parents are afraid that if the child doesn't fill out the job or college application then it won't get done...right, maybe not. The next step would be to help the child feel ownership, want the job or college acceptance and take responsibility to get the task done.

Students must also become proactive in dealing with the life challenges and "not fair" moments that may affect his plans. Many times kids lack the ability to be able to outline possible difficulties that may occur as well as the solutions to these difficulties. If a parent always rushes in to fix and handle the situation, the student is left crippled and unable to take action. If the student is given the skills early and taught to be proactive, then he is not easily scared or defeated when challenges occur because he has already prepared for them. The student then is strong and can think ahead and realize that when the next challenge comes his way, he will have a prepared a solution or strategy ready to attack the challenge.

Graduation can be a reality for any student. Parents can make the journey to graduation a little bit more uncomplicated by equipping their kids with these three tools. It's not about telling them what to do; it's about empowering them and letting the student take ownership. Those who learn early to take ownership of the future, set goals and be proactive will be able to clearly set a direction and their target achievements in life, marking where they should begin, where to pause, where to delve a bit, and where and when to stop. By being able to consciously make confident and empowered decisions, success is guaranteed.

Parents and students can easily learn how to set goals, take ownership and be proactive by following these simple guidelines.

Spend some time at least once a week thinking and dreaming of the big picture. Play "what if" games with the child. Help them catch a glimpse of life through an adult's eyes by thinking of real-life money problems or real-life job dilemmas. You will be amazed at how quickly the child responds and starts learning about what it takes to solve life's puzzles.

Ask a lot of questions. Try not to lecture or feed the information to them and put ideas in their head. Yes, adults have lived it, they have the answers. However, it's a known fact that most people learn more by figuring it out on their own. Let them ponder the ideas and questions and come up with the answers - whether right or wrong. Use these as learning opportunities. Keep asking questions to make them think.

Acknowledge and admire the child. If the answer is wrong, encourage and motivate by responding about how well he is thinking through the process. Consider his point of view and commend him on it. If the child always feels he is in the "wrong" or in "instructive" mode, he will tend to shut down. It might be okay in this instance that the answer is not perfectly solved at this moment. Be patient, it's about helping them take ownership and gain confidence in his own thinking.

As we head back into the school year, we can all work to help our kids think a little more about what is required to graduate. We can urge kids to be more proactive in thinking NOW about graduation so they can achieve even a small step towards graduation or a successful career. Perhaps the kids will find a healthy balance between pure dreaming and setting healthy goals for making it to graduation and beyond. Keep in mind that students are more productive and successful in preparing for graduation if parents have fostered a proactive, self-accountable and goal-setting atmosphere. It takes a positive outlook and self-discipline on both parts to follow through to guarantee success. Be sure to be reasonable and be careful of becoming too ambitious in setting up goals as sometimes an unrealistic and difficult path will cause a child to shut down and become discouraged and unmotivated.

"Ask - Don't Tell" - How You Can Use Socratic Dialogue in Your Home School

Socratic Dialogue refers to a method of classical home education that was first recorded in ancient Greece by Plato. In two of his more famous works, The Republic and The Apology, Plato records the conversations between the teacher, Socrates, and a variety of students. Although not immediately apparent, these conversations represented a method of inquiry in which an abstract moral concept such as justice, temperance, or virtue was examined through the process of asking questions. In effect, the master Socrates taught the pupil a concept by asking instead of telling.

So, how do you use Socratic Dialogue in your own home school? Well, the parent decides what concept he or she wants to explore and plans a series of specific questions that will eventually eliminate contradictions and reveal underlying beliefs. The questions are intended to help the student discover his or her belief about a certain topic while exposing errors in the student's reasoning. As the child answers each question, the parent scrutinizes the answer and asks if it's consistent with the child's original statement of belief. Often the parent is not looking for the right answer, but rather hopes to assist the child in drawing from his or her own insights and experiences to clarify the child's own understanding.

Don't let the term "Socratic Dialogue" intimidate. I'll bet you use the Scientific Method when performing homeschooling laboratory experiments. Both Socratic Dialogue and the Scientific Method use the concept of induction to arrive at conclusions. Inductive reasoning observes, interprets, and applies. Take the Scientific Method and apply it to an abstract concept through conversation, and you have basically constructed the Socratic Method. Here's an example using the Scientific Method:

  1. Define the question (why does ice float?)

  2. Gather information (glass, water, ice cube)

  3. Form a hypothesis (ice floats because it weighs less than liquid water)

  4. Test your hypothesis (drop the ice cube in the glass of water)

  5. Analyze the data (the ice cube rises to the surface)

  6. Interpret the data (this might mean ice is lighter than liquid water)

  7. Conclude (ice floats because it weighs less than liquid water) or reject the hypothesis and start again

Apply the same 7 steps of the Scientific Method to an abstract concept, and you have the Socratic Method. Here are the same 7 questions using the abstract idea of worship :

  1. Define the question (why do you think the children of Israel worshipped Canaanite gods?)

  2. Gather information (they were worried that Moses wouldn't return from the mountain, they were bored, their neighbors did it, they forgot their past experience with God's deliverance from Egypt)

  3. Form a hypothesis (people turn to other gods when their neighbors influence them, or when they are bored, or when they forget God's faithfulness - your call)

  4. Test your hypothesis (what gods do your neighbors worship? money, power, etc.)

  5. Analyze the data (do you know of kids who blindly follow their neighbors' example? do you?)

  6. Interpret the data (some people allow their neighbors to influence them; some influence their neighbors)

  7. Conclude (some people turn to other gods when their neighbors influence them) or reject the hypothesis and start again

You could apply these same 7 questions to any area of understanding like recurring themes in current events, history, or literature.

Socratic Dialogue is not the same as discussion. In discussion, both parties talk about what they are learning in a two-way conversation that may not have an ultimate goal. In Socratic Dialogue, the home school parent intends to help the child towards self-discovery through guided questions. The basic principle of Socratic Dialogue is "Ask. Don't tell."

Regular Socratic Dialogue trains the homeschooling child or teen to think critically and logically as he explains, rejects, and defends positions. Inductive reasoning, also used in the Scientific Method, becomes a regular habit as the child observes, interprets, and applies his learning to his life. The student is not the only one who benefits from regular Socratic Dialogue. Through incremental questioning, the parent is able to monitor the child's understanding (or misunderstanding) so that he or she can quickly respond with additional training or explanation. Written quizzes are unnecessary because Socratic Dialogue is one big quiz! If the child hasn't mastered understanding of the concept, more work is required until mastery is achieved. Conversation is active and challenging.

Typically Socratic Dialogue is introduced in the home school around the age of 11 or 12 when the child begins to exhibit analytical skills. (When your preteen starts asking "why" regularly, you know it's time for the Socratic method!) Start with a specific question. Draw from the child's prior knowledge or area of current homeschooling study. In the example above, it would be pointless to ask about the worship of other gods if the child had not already studied the applicable passages of the Old Testament. You must know the material yourself so that you can lead the child to the desired conclusion. Think of a map. When you start a trip, you know your final destination, and you plan the route. (Question? Answer. Question? Answer. Question? Conclusion.) Do the same with Socratic Dialogue. Plan the stops along the way, and lead your homeschooling child to the joy of self-discovery! Remember: "Ask. Don't tell."

Home Schooling During the High School Years

Home schooling during the high school years can be a fun and rewarding time for both the child and parent. This time can be used to keep, maintain and even deepen a relationship with your child during a high stress time of their lives. This can be a time to build a trust with your child so that they are willing to listen to council that you would like to share with them during this time of their lives. Also, as a Christian parent it can be the time to guide your child in their Christian walk and to help with any questions that they have so that their relationship with the Lord is their own; which will help them as new choices and decisions come their way in the upcoming years.

As your child enters the high school years record keeping becomes very important. You will want to start recording the things that your child accomplishes so that you can report them for college admission considerations. This is the time to start looking at the requirements of the top three college choices that your child is thinking about attending. This will help in knowing what they require from incoming freshman. Also, check your state requirements in what they recommend a high school student to have before graduation. Some things that we learned along the way is to start a record writing down every book read during the high school years either for school or free reading. Keep up to date with your records; this will help if you need to present them for scholarships or grants.

Keeping track and recording your child's extracurricular activities are just as important as recording the grades of the academic classes. For homeschoolers this is important because sports can also be counted as physical education credit as well as extracurricular. Colleges are interested in a child's outside activities only to show that they are a well rounded person, sports, 4-H, part time job it isn't important to a college what a student is involved in just that they have a well balanced life and are active in academic as well as extracurricular activities.

During this time of your child's development it is important for them to start learning life lessons while they are still in a safe environment and still have you as a sounding board to hear from them and have some input towards their dreams and decisions. This is a great time to teach about finances, if they have a vehicle its time for them to pay for the bills that occur from that vehicle; hopefully there isn't a payment on it; but there will be insurance that has to be paid, gas, maintenance such as new tires and oil changes. All of this is to teach them that as they get ready to step out on their own there are financial things that they will be responsible for and this is a step towards learning this responsibility.

This is a busy, exciting time for your teen. They still have their school work to keep up with; they are busy with extracurricular activities as well as many of them having jobs to help them earn the money they need for their special purchases. Its also a time for teen parents to start paying more attention to record keeping to help our teens take the next step in their educational process as well as being there to listen and give sound advise as your kids contemplate what they will do next in their lives.

Kids And Cruise Travel

To quench your thirst for relaxation after days of strenuous work and hard labor there could not be any better option than long ocean trips on the Atlantic. That gives you the liberty to idle away enough time simply to relax yourself through your participation in different activities befitting the leisure days while you enjoy the tasty food served. Further, you would count for the thrills of touching at intervals attractive foreign lands.

It would not be proper to shatter the dream above just implanted in your head but the harsh reality remains that disturbances may throw you out of gear, for example while you are readying a book on the poolside some kids experimenting with water bombs may spoil your plan. Or, they may distract you with their Super Soakers 9000 when neatly dressed you are heading for the dining room. Or, it may so happen that you have to narrowly escape a fall on the deck caught in the melee of pre-teens chasing each other. At bitter moments like these you will surely loose the charm of relaxing holiday mood nurtured in your imagination.

A bit rude it may appear but it cannot be denied that relaxing vacation and holidays with children hardly go well together. It does not matter whether kids are accompanying yourself or not, you must have the experience how great annoyance sometimes they may cause. A teenage group moving with you can spoil the luxurious cruise planned for your peace and serenity if they are yet to learn discipline.

To select a cruise line that does not provide the kids with fun activities is not a bad idea altogether. It may sound a bit confusing first since absence of any activities to keep the kids engaged may mean that there would be no attraction to hold them from coming into your path. Most likely however the families will prefer those cruise lines that project themselves as friendly to families and therefore the other lines remain less crowded by young people. There are two main reasons why some cruise lines offer special invitation for families. That by winning over the younger people they want to extend their future prospect is the first reason while the second is that to reach their sales target by raising ticket sales such offers are effective tools. Even if the parents had planned to leave behind their kids at home such offer for special attraction for kids can tempt them to change that decision.

Apart from your non-preference of family cruises you can also leave aside school holidays while you chalk out your journey schedule. Normally parents will not like the idea of their kids missing classes only for a cruise's sake. Therefore if you don't want the presence of kids on board with you it would be wise to avoid cruise travel during spring break or Christmas or the summer. Most importantly, think twice before you select Disney, Carnival Cruises, Princes and the like that lures the young at any part of the year by offering special programs for the kids and the teens as well. The Radisson, Celebrity or Crystal lines will be the most wise and botheration-free selection on your part.