Children Learn What They Live #12

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


Even when we don't state our feelings explicitly, our children are experts at knowing what we approve of as well as what we don't. We might need to become more generous and less critical if we truly want them to flourish.

By the way we express our approval, we can influence what our children come to value and like about themselves. In this way, we contribute both to their developing identities and to their emerging morality.

Our approving remarks – "Go ahead," "Stay with it," "You’re doing great!" – send a reassuring message and encourage children to continue with their efforts.

We need to support our children's developing self-esteem so they can like themselves on their own terms. This will help them hold firm to what they know is right when outside pressures challenge them.

If our children grow up to be responsible human beings who make their decisions conscientiously and in good faiths, we should be pleased, regardless of whether or not we agree with every specific decision they make.

We need to be on the alert when a child seems to be constantly seeking approval. What he might really need is love and affection.

When older children ask for our approval about a choice they're making, they're letting us know they respect us and have confidence in our judgment. Don't miss this opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue.

We make it easier for our children to gain our approval when we have realistic expectations of them, when we are firm but flexible, and when we create with them a family setting in which their contributions are respected.

The child who is anxiously seeking your approval may really need more special time together – time to be closer to you.

As our children mature, they will develop their own standards and values, and they may not always be the same as ours. Part of letting them grow up is accepting that sometimes they will act independently of our approval.

Our approval encourages our children to feel good about themselves, both for what they do and for who they are.

Given a supportive and nurturing environment, our children are free to bloom into their own best selves and grow up with the knowledge that they are loved and valued for their own special qualities.

Ultimately we want our children to develop the inner strength to do what's right, independent of their friends' – and even our – approval.

Life is easier and more fun in families where approval and acceptance are the norm. We all feel better about ourselves in this kind of atmosphere.

Television and movies offer us many opportunities to let our children know what kinds of behavior we disapprove of and to open up discussions about possible alternative behaviors.

The more we include our children in negotiating family rules, the better they will accept our disapproval when they misbehave. Asking their opinion about how to enforce the rules can lead to much better cooperation.

As parents, we need to be able to give our approval freely and easily. This will provide our children with a model for their own marriages.

Our children want and need our approval – don't withhold it for fear of spoiling them. Instead, give your approval generously, even when it's for something little, like remembering to clear their place from the table or to hold the door for someone.

A positive sense of self will play an important role throughout our children's lifetime, influencing their marriages and their relationships with their children.

Children Learn What They Live #11

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


We want our children to strive toward goals and achievements – but not to feel they have to work for the fundamental right to be accepted and loved by us.

Accepting your child's inner being is part of loving her unconditionally. This doesn't mean we have to accept everything our children do. We can, and should, still set limits.

The way Mom and Dad treat each other and show how they care for one another can provide a powerful model of acceptance and love in family life.

Love is the soil in which our children grow, the sunlight that determines their direction, and the water that nourishes their growth.

The ability to give and to receive love is a measure of our own health and well-being – it is contagious.

Children who are surrounded with the warmth, caring, acceptance, and love they need learn how to love themselves and others.

Children learn the most basic message about love – that they are wanted and accepted – in their families.

When we respect and support one another in our marriage and in our family, treating each other with warmth and affection, we give our children a model for how to build and sustain a happy life.

We want our children to feel loved, no matter what. They need to know they don't need to do or be anything special to earn our love.

The need to be touched is perhaps one of the most fundamental, universal, and powerful needs in our lives – as important for the newborn baby as it is for his grandparents.

To be accepted by others, your child has to learn to fit in, follow the rules, and be accepting and friendly. He can learn all that in the family first, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that he does.

While children need to be told they are loved, they also need to be assured through hugs, kisses, gentle pats, and snuggling that the words we speak are real.

The example parents give their children through their everyday interactions with each other becomes a template – for better or for worse – for the relationships they will have when they marry.

It may be impossible for us to fully express all the love we feel in our hearts for our children. But do try – your children need to hear these words, over and over again.

Even when you reject his behavior, make sure you accept the child. You can make this distinction very clear to him by saying, for example, "Hitting is not okay, even when you’re very angry. Let’s find another way to solve this problem."

All kids need hugs, pats, squeezes, and kisses. For the very young, these expressions of our love make it real for them.

Your acceptance and love will give you child the certainty and confidence she needs as she enters the larger world, beyond the family.

We want to fill our children up with enough love to sustain them throughout their lives.

Children who are secure about being accepted and loved have the inner strength they need to pursue their goals and to extend themselves to others.

Children Learn What They Live #10

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


If they learn to appreciate themselves even from a very young age, our children will have an internal source of emotional support and nourishment that is always available to them.

We can model behavior that strikes a balance between kindness and frankness, honesty and diplomacy, by showing our children through our own actions how to negotiate the delicate but important social interactions we encounter in our daily lives.

When we praise our children, we also provide them with a model for how to notice and express their appreciation of others, and of the world around them.

There will always be times when we will be disappointed in our children, or they will be disappointed in themselves. An extra hug can let our kids know that we are always on their side, no matter what.

We need to remember that it's not our aspirations for our children that will determine their lives, but their own goals and dreams for themselves.

Heartfelt praise is a reward in itself. To feel appreciated is to feel very special. Every child needs to feel this way.

Some children need more praise than others, and there are times when all children will need more attention and nurturing. Our physical closeness and the sharing of feelings can offer the comfort and reassurance children need to get through difficult times.

While walking around your neighborhood, help your child learn to appreciate the beauty of nature by pointing out the various colors, shapes, and smells that enrich our experience of the world.

When we appreciate and praise our children, we show them how to appreciate and celebrate the world around them.

As our children become emotionally mature, we want them to learn how to look within themselves for some of the support and encouragement they need as they grow toward independence.

Praise creates a warm glow on your child's face – and in her heart, as well.

We can feel free to give our praise generously. Praise is invaluable when it comes to bolstering a child's emerging sense of self.

If a child seems to be especially hungry for praise, she may be needing reassurance that she is loved.

In order to offer our children meaningful praise, we must first notice and be aware of when they are doing their best. We can also praise them when they choose to refrain from unacceptable behaviors, especially when we know it's hard for them to do so.

The more specific we can be in our praise, the more our children will learn what behaviors or qualities we value in them. This is more helpful than just telling them how wonderful they are.

Appreciation is the core of love. Don't underestimate its importance!

Praise is a form of celebration. Celebrate your child, your family!

Think of praise as another way of expressing your love. Make sure that the praise you offer is meaningful. "I like the colors you chose" means more than "What a beautiful picture!"

We can always find something to appreciate about our children, even at the end of a really tough day. And those are the days when doing so is most important.

Children Learn What They Live #9

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


There will always be moments when we lose our patience with our children. But we can recover, regain our composure, apologize, and forgive ourselves.

By finding-and holding on to-the serenity that we need to be patient with our children, we can create a home in which the daily struggles of life may be challenging, but are not overwhelming.

Growing up in a family that teaches tolerance for different ways of doing things and different opinions prepares children to enter a world full of new ideas with greater openness and acceptance.

A tolerant attitude is usually a more relaxed one. Children thrive when they are allowed, and even encouraged, to be patient with their own mistakes and the 'goofs' of others.

When we take the time to listen to our children, patiently and carefully, we are teaching them how to be tolerant and helping them become a more understanding person.

We may need to apologize to our children - sometimes even several times a day - for being impatient with them. Fortunately, children are forgiving, especially with parents whose hearts are in the right place, and who are trying to do their best.

Our children will learn how to be tolerant of others by living in a family where differences are accepted and respected.

The lessons in tolerance that you model to your children will reach beyond your home – into the neighborhood, throughout the community, and out into the world.

When we allow plenty of time for our children to complete a task, rather than rushing them, we are demonstrating patience.

Being tolerant with your children doesn't mean seeing how much aggravation you can take. You have a right – indeed, an obligation – to set limits.

Saying "be patient" to your child isn't quite enough. As parents, we need to show them how to do so. When they're very young, we can help by distracting or entertaining them. When they're older, we can teach them to take deep breaths to calm themselves.

Ideally, tolerance means more than just "putting up with." It means accepting others and treating them with patience and kindness. This is what our children need from us.

Vague expressions of time – "in a little while," "in a few minutes," "soon" – are difficult for a small child to understand. Try making a connection between the amount of time a child must wait and concrete events in a real world – "when Baby wakes up," "after lunch," or "when the big hand is on the 12."

Don't get impatient with yourself when you're feeling impatient. That's a double whammy! Let it go and relax. You’re doing the best you can.

Don't leave things for the last minute and get caught in a rush. A certain amount of planning ahead makes maintaining a patient attitude much easier.

Enjoying each season of the year teaches young children about the passage of time and the stages of life, and it instills the idea that change is a natural part of life.

It's up to each of us, as parents, to become aware of our own prejudices so we don't teach them to our children. If we demonstrate tolerance toward others, the generations to come will have a better chance of living together in harmony and peace.

Most of us live with far too much tension and stress in our lives. We'll do better as parents if we're more patient with ourselves.

As parents, we need to be aware of how much we are pushing ourselves. Remember, we are teaching our children how to live by our example. Try listening to your own inner voice, and if you're being too hard on yourself, lighten up.

Children Learn What They Live #8

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


The root meaning of the word encouragement is "to give heart." When we encourage our children, we give them courage – from our hearts to theirs.

When we see our children manifesting a quality we admire – whether it's generosity, kindness, sensitivity, determination, or some other positive trait – we ought to let them know that we notice and appreciate it.

It's important to recognize and praise our children for the small steps they take toward achieving their goals – as well as for the end results.

Help your children find ways to pursue their dreams. We want them to be able to use the power of their dreams to inspire them throughout their lives.

It's important to support our children in what they want to accomplish in their lives, respecting their autonomy and honoring their right to make their own choices. This starts at a very early age, with small things, and often requires exceptional patience and understanding.

We need to maintain our confidence in our children, especially during difficult times – and most especially when they lose confidence in themselves.

Encouragement is like a blessing. It makes kids feel good inside.

Encouragement lets your children know you are on their side. That's important!

Encouragement helps children keep going when things get tough. Every small success builds their self-confidence.

All children make mistakes. They need encouragement to find the courage to start over and give it another try. When you make a mistake, don't hesitate to say, "Whoops! I got this wrong and have to do it another way."

As long as your kids are heading in the right direction, encourage them. Ignore the little things that irritate you, and concentrate on noticing the things they are doing right.

Our encouragement is an important aspect of our child's growth and development, leading to the flowering of confidence, certainty, and the ability to try a new idea.

When we provide our children with a supportive environment, a safe and nurturing place in which to learn, we encourage them to become their best selves.

Each child is a unique spirit, with his or her own special gifts to offer. If we encourage our children to become the people they want to be, we will have the great privilege of glimpsing the world through their eyes.

Children who are confident have an inner feeling that they can tackle whatever is in front of them. They also know how to ask for help when they are having trouble.

Encouragement helps children build feelings of certainty and security that will stay with them and nourish them.

Saying "Watch out or you'll drop that!" gives voice to a negative expectation. Try saying instead, firmly but calmly, "Hold on to it carefully so it doesn't fall."

Sometimes we have to encourage our children even when we know that what they're trying to do is impossible. Protecting them from failure or disappointment is limiting. We need to have confidence that they will learn from their experiences, and to be available to offer a wider view.

It's inevitable that our kids will experience discouragement. When they do, we need to be there for them. Sharing our own childhood disappointments can be comforting for them.

The Optimist Creed

  • To be strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind
  • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best
  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble

To The Love of My Life

I gave this poem to my hubby on our anniversary in 2002... I thought I'd post it here since it's our 11th year anniversary today!

I could tell you I loved you.
I could tell you you're my life.
But I won't because I don't think that would be enough.
Not only do I want to tell you how much I love you,
I want to show you.
You are the reason I live,
the reason my heart keeps beating.
Without you my life would be over.
I never knew I could love someone as much as I love and need you.
Please know I'll never be able to love anyone as much as I love you.
You're the only one for me.
And that's the way it will always be.
Without you my heart would be empty and incomplete.
Every memory I have of you I treasure.
Every thought of you is wonderful.
Thank you for the love you have given me.
Thank you for the lesson of my life I will never forget.
Thank you, love of my life.

Author: Mariana Traferro

IF you are 30 or older

you will think this is hilarious!!!!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning ... Uphill BOTH ways . Yadda, yadda, yadda.

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that...

I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy!

I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!

There was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter. With a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

And talk of about hardship? You couldn't just download porn! You had to steal it from your brother or bribe some homeless dude to buy you a copy of "Hustler" at the 7-11! Those were your options!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it!

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like "Space Invaders" and "asteroids" and the graphics sucked a$$! Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever!

And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died!... Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed!

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on!

You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire... Imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid JiffyPop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled.

You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in the 80s!

The 30+ Something crowd!