10 Smart Ways to Give Your Child Choices and The Benefits

There are so many reasons to give your child choices.  Depending on your parenting style, you may or may not be apt to do so.  Either way, you can train yourself to become intentional about making sure your child has plenty of choice in their day.  As a matter of fact, when you give your child choices and let them make decisions you will see your relationship with your child thrive.  You will see your child empowered and wanting to cooperate.  In the end, you’ll be looking for more ways to give your child choices.

The idea of giving my child choices was some of the best parenting advice I’ve ever received.  The older the child, the more choices they need.  By the time they move out, they should be making most of their choices, so they are well equipped for the real world.

 

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This post gives parents understanding of why it is best to give your child choices and ideas and script for giving children choices that will empower them. Either way, you can train yourself to become intentional about making sure your child has plenty of choice in their day.  As a matter of fact, when you give your child choices and let them make decisions you will see your relationship with your child thrive. #parentingtips #howtohaveabetterrelationshipwithmychild #parentingadvice
Some of the Benefits of Giving Your Child Choice

Giving children choices and empowering them to make their own decisions will help prepare them for life. 

In particular, the early years are the best time for children to begin to learn about making choices and consequences.

Certainly, the ability to choose is the lifeblood of being human. 

Giving kids a CHOICE also:

  • Builds respect
  • Strengthens community
  • Invites cooperation
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Capitalizes on kids’ normal human need for power and control
  • Builds trust
  • Positive impact on cognitive development and moral development
  • Teaches responsibility
  • Develops a cause and effect awareness or all actions have consequences

The more choices a child gets to make while living under your roof the better off they are.  Wouldn’t you rather your child receive an understanding that negative choices breed negative consequences while they are living with you and you are able to coach them through or support them rather than after they move out?

Ultimately, it’s giving their prefrontal cortex a jumpstart.


Tips On Giving Choices to Children

  1.  Don’t give too many choices.  Due to brain development, too many choices can just lead to overwhelm.  Usually, 2 is enough.
  2. You should be fine with whatever the child chooses.  If not, this is probably a loaded choice which is manipulation, not a choice.  Example:  Would you rather do your homework now or stay home tomorrow from the pool and do it?  Just say, if you don’t do your homework now, you will do it during your pool time tomorrow.  This isn’t a time for choice.
  3. If the child doesn’t make a choice in a timely manner, make the choice for them.  Let the child know.  If you don’t choose, I’ll be choosing for you.
  4. Be consistent.  If you give dinner choices 3 times and then quit, that’s hard for a child to understand.  Keep the line of trust open.  you can say, “I’m not able to give you a choice on your veggies tonight.  We only have green beans.  When I go grocery shopping, we will have more choices.” 


10 Smart Ways to Let Your Kids Have Choices

#1.  Let Them Choose What They Do First

When it really doesn’t matter what order something is done as long as it’s done, make it a choice.

  • Math or reading
  • Sort the clothes or vacuum
  • Let them decide what order ya’ll do the errands
  • Practice piano before or after snack

 

#2.  Let Them Choose What They Wear

This is one that drives some parents crazy.  Make up your mind not to let what your child wears ruin your mornings.  Pick your battles.  For all you know, your child may start a new trend!

  • If you are going somewhere that attire really matters, give choice A & B if possible.
  • When it comes to jackets, natural consequences work best.  Put it in the backpack or the car.  When a child gets cold enough, they usually give in.  It’s not the time for, “I told you so.”  But you can mention it next time they refuse to wear the coat.
  • Clothing tells a lot about a child’s individuality.  Try to control it as little as possible.  Does anyone remember Juliann’s choices in Big Daddy?

 

 

 

#3.  Parenting Hack:  Do You Want to _____ Now or In 5 Minutes?

This works wonders.  It’s crazy how they’ll cooperate when they feel empowered.  Oh, wait!  They’re human!!

  • Brush your teeth
  • Bathe
  • Eat
  • Leave
  • Turn off the TV, Ipad…
  • Clean the playroom

 

#4.  Give Your Child Choices at Meal and Snack Time

This isn’t always possible, but when it is, do it.  If all the choices are healthy, it really doesn’t matter.  I have done the research, and just because a child receives choices on what to eat, does not mean that they will expect their wife to cook them something different.  Children are still developing their pallet on taste and texture.  Have empathy. 

Secondly, think about it from the child’s point of view.  What if someone told you when, where and what to eat 24/7?

  • Do you want spinach or carrots for your veggie?
  • How would you like your waffle? cut up or whole?
  • Do you want your Cheerios in a large or small bowl?
  • Would you prefer milk or water?
  • Do you want your bread toasted or plain?

Related Post:  How to Get Kids to Love Thier Veggies

 

 

 

 

 

#5.  Let The Child Choose What Activity You Do Together

This one does Double Duty! Not only is this giving them a choice, but you and your child will build a stronger connection.  

  • I have 20 minutes to give you one-on-one time.  What do you want to do?
  • I’ll play anything with you.  What would you like to play?
  • I feel like playing a board game.  I’ll let you pick the game if you’ll play with me.
  • Would you like to ride in the stroller or the wagon?

Related Post:  Children:  They Don’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care

 

#6.  Allow Your Child to Choose the Book They Read or You Read to Them

ASAP!  As soon as a child can show you what book they want, let them start to choose.  Not only are you empowering the child with choice, but the benefits of a child choosing their own book are endless!

 

#7.  Let Your Child Have a Choice of Extracurricular Activities 

  • If the child is pretty young, you can give them a choice between 2 activities. 
  •  Let your child choose their summer camp.
  • Children need some choice in how they socialize with their peers.

 

#8.  Every Child Deserves to Choose How They Play.  It should be a childhood right.

Free play.  As in the child chooses what they play.  Certainly, the jury and the research have been out on the remarkable benefits of free play for years. But for many reasons, every year statistics show that our children get less and less free play.  I encourage you to pay attention to what’s happening in your own home.  How much free time is your child averaging a day?  Is their day overscheduled?

Create a mix of free time and structured time in your child’s daily routine.

People usually look forward to the weekends.  Why?  Because they have free time.  They get to decide how they spend their time.  The same is true for children.  They are happier when they take control of some of their time.  Not to mention the benefits of free play are amazing!

 

P.S. Any type of screen is not free play.

 

#9.  Children Can Solve Their Own Problems

Instead of solving your child’s problem, give them a chance to solve it on their own.  You can coach them through without taking control.  Specify the goal, but allow the children to decide how to reach the goal.

When you are intentional about letting your child solve their own problems, they begin to learn the effects their choices have on their life.  

For siblings, teach and model words such as collaborate, compromise, take turns, and solutions.  Parents can do their best to be a mediator who neutrally facilitates problem-solving rather than being a referee.

  • You had the car and now he wants it.  How can ya’ll compromise?
  • One of you wants to play upstairs and one of you wants to go outside?  There’s only one me.  Does either of you have a solution?
  • It’s a fact. The more you practice the better you will be.  If you are nervous about the recital, you may choose to practice more.
  • You’ve been crying at bedtime that you’re hungry.  How can we make sure you’re not hungry tonight?
  • When you don’t get your way, you scream at us.  That’s unacceptable.  What else could you do to let us know you’re upset?
  • You say you want to be spelling bee champ. In order to win the spelling bee, you will need to choose to study more than everyone else you’re competing against.  Furthermore, if you choose not to practice, don’t act shocked when you’re not a champ.

 

#10.  Consider Offering a Choice Between Incentives

Incentives are not always the answer.  We want our kids to do things without expecting rewards.  However, it doesn’t hurt for them to get something every now and again for doing as they should.  In reality, if businesses didn’t offer paychecks, how many employees would show up?  

  • If you sort the clothes for me, you can have 10 extra minutes of TV or stay up 10 minutes later.
  • One I used personally that worked:  If you potty train, you can pick 2 places for us to take you.
  • If ya’ll help me get this living room cleaned up so we can leave, we’ll have time for a sno cone or an ice cream. 

Call to Action

As you can see, it is worth being intentional about giving your children choices.  There are so many ways and reasons to give your child choices,  why wouldn’t you?  Finally, when you become intentional about giving choices, your family will reap the benefits.

 

To be notified when new posts are made and receive the weekly newsletter, subscribe to This -N- That Parenting List.

Subscribe To The Tribe

 

This post gives parents understanding of why it is best to give your child choices and ideas and script for giving children choices that will empower them. Either way, you can train yourself to become intentional about making sure your child has plenty of choice in their day.  As a matter of fact, when you give your child choices and let them make decisions you will see your relationship with your child thrive. #parentingtips #howtohaveabetterrelationshipwithmychild #parentingadvice

 

 

 

Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!  Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS

 

 

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6 Proofs That It Is Brilliant to Use High Contrast Books For Babies

High contrast books for babies have become more and more popular and with great reason!  The best thing you can do to visually stimulate your baby’s vision and brain growth is to use black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors for at least the first 3 months. In addition, it won’t hurt to include them for 6 months.  Study after study proves that babies prefer looking at high contrast colors over everything else.

How to Use High Contrast Books and Items For Babies in the Beginning:

  • Due to an underdeveloped retina, keep objects and your face around 8-10 inches from the baby’s face, so the baby can focus in as best as possible.
  • Black, white and red is the best to use on EVERYTHING.  According to research, pastels are a waste of time, especially in the beginning.
  • You can and should consider high contrast for your clothes, the baby’s toys, books, the mobile, crib bedding, room decor, blankets, items that you put around the car seat, and footsies.  Preferably dark and light stripes.
  • The movements of people and objects should be repetitious and slow and graceful.
  • Use these items during the time you play and give attention to your baby.  If they start to fuss, it means they’re tired of it, and you can try again later or tomorrow.  Don’t overstimulate before nap time.

 

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This post gives 6 benefits of using high contrasts books for babies and other black and white items, and I include all of our favorite high contrast items. The best thing you can do to visually stimulate your baby's vision and brain growth is to use black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors.  #besthighcontrastbooksforbabies #bestboardbooks #baby #parentingadvice #baby #childdevelopment #braindevelopment

 

What Are the Benefits of High Contrast Books For Babies?

#1. Brain Development: 

Newborns’ brains contain very little myelin.  Myelin is the protective covering that surrounds fibers in the brain called axons.  Their main function is to protect and insulate the axons and enhance their transmission of electrical impulses.  They are the reason babies process information slower than adults.  Most areas of the brain begin adding myelin in the first 2 years of life in the areas that receive the first input from the eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth.  Source

 

#2. Eye Development:

Bold black-and-white images stimulate the development of the optic nerves. Focusing on such visual stimuli trains newborns’ vision, teaching the eye muscles and brain to coordinate and function properly. Consequently, research has proven that black and white contrasts register powerfully on baby’s retina and send the strongest visual signals to a baby’s brain. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development.

If you provide continuous visual input into baby’s eyes, the retina strengthens, the optic nerve grows, and the visual part of a baby’s brain thrives and develops significantly.  Source

 

10 Best Genres for Ages 0-1 Year Olds

 

 

#3. Improved Attention Span:

The repeated sight of appropriate objects will help to increase your baby’s attention span. If your baby is able to focus on one object, information about that object gets to the cortex.  Coincidentally, this will form a pathway for stimulating brain growth.  Source

 

 

10 Best Genres for Ages 0-1 Year Olds

#4. Enhances Their Tracking Abilities:

Tracking is when your baby moves his eyes to follow an object.  Tracking helps your baby to learn where an object is in space and how it differs from its background so that he can reach for it. He discovers that objects have permanence by seeing that they move, yet remain the same.  Since you are using high contrast which the baby prefers, the baby will more likely follow the object for longer periods of time with ease.

To start with move objects left to right.  Near 3 months, you can start to move objects up and down.  Once your baby masters following these movements, the last directions to try are horizontal tracking skills.

 

#5. Extends Tummy Time:

When parents place high contrast objects around the baby during tummy time, the child focuses on the objects for longer periods of time and stays content.  In addition, you can open the books to Baby’s favorite pages and stand them up around Baby during tummy time.

 

10 Best Genres for Ages 0-1 Year Olds

 

 

#6.  A Content Baby

Last but not least, when you are intentional about using black, white and red items you will find that your baby is content in their environment.  This is because they are soothed by the high-interest contrast that holds their attention.  Above all, research has shown that these color patterns cause babies to relax.  Keep high contrast items in your diaper bag to bring out during long waits and in the car for longer trips.

 

The Best High Contrast Books For Babies and Some Other Goodies to Go the Extra Mile

We personally used high contrast books for babies and other black and white items with our children, we give them as gifts and have recommended them to expectant friends.  The choices below are from all of those involved.  We used the items below throughout our children’s first year.  Let it be known that I am an Amazon Affiliate.

 

The first 3 are the best black and white books for newborns.

 

 

 

 

 

high contrast books for babies

 

 

This black and white book for infants folds out accordion style and is great for tummy time.

high contrast books for babies

 

 

 

high contrast books for babies

 

 

 

Finger Puppets are a HIT for a long time!  We still use ours.

high contrast books for babies

 

Importantly, reading nursery rhymes helps to stimulate a babies interest in sounds, and to develop listening skills. Additionally, singing the nursery rhymes helps to develop early language skills, and strengthens the emotional bond between a parent and their baby.

high contrast books for babies

 

 

 

Particularly, I love Manhattan Toys, and this mat is a must.  We used it on the seat in the car for Baby to stare at from car seat.  Not to mention, this mat has a hidden mirror for a peek-a-boo effect, along with a teether, squeaker, crinkle paper, and jiggle pull ring and 2 magnets for attaching to magnetic surfaces!

 

 

 

We also had the Art For Baby Board Book, and I like to give Baby’s First Sights Gift Box of Infant Toys as a “My First Time to Visit Baby” gift!

 

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As you can see, there are many benefits to using high contrast books for babies along with all the other cool items that are now offered to parents.  Now it is up to you to choose some items for your baby.  Add all of these items to your baby registry.  Ultimately, it is up to you to be intentional about using them. So your baby can reap the advantages and thrive and develop by leaps and bounds. 

Furthermore, I encourage you to read 10+ Best Board Book Genres For 0-1-Year-Olds to have a full grasp on the books that will make the most impact with your child the first year.  Make the most of your time with your baby by using what works.

 

 

 

To be notified when new posts are made and receive the weekly newsletter, subscribe to This -N- That Parenting List.

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This post gives 6 benefits of using high contrasts books for babies and other black and white items, and I include all of our favorite high contrast items. The best thing you can do to visually stimulate your baby's vision and brain growth is to use black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors.  #besthighcontrastbooksforbabies #bestboardbooks #baby #parentingadvice #baby #childdevelopment #braindevelopment

 

 

 

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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!  Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS

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Children Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel

Maya Angelou wisely said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  This statement has so much insight.  This thought is a sensible affirmation to apply in parenthood.

What if we were intentional about how we make our children feel?  Maya Angelou said that we forget what people say and what they do.  I want to suggest that with our children- what we say and do will influence how they feel!

How do we want our children to feel?  Valued, respected, confident, strong, loved, positive, kind, helpful, and supported.  However it is you want your child to feel, your words and actions need to be aligned.  It sounds common-sense, but it’s not always easy in the heat of the moment.  Let’s be intentional on what we say and do with our children.  To be aware and give attention to how we make our children feel will have positive effects.

Let it be said, I do believe there are plenty of variables that impact your child’s behavior and how they feel that have nothing to do with you.  But for the long term, we can take some responsibility.

 

How do we want our children to feel?  Valued, respected, confident, strong, loved, positive, kind, helpful, and supported.  However, you want your child to feel.  Your words and actions need to be aligned.  It sounds common-sense, but it's not always easy in the heat of the moment.  Let's be intentional on what we say and do with our children.  To be aware and give attention to how we make our children feel will have positive effects.

My Family Will Never Forget How My Grandmother Made Them Feel

Several years ago, I spoke at my grandmother’s, my Momo’s funeral.  She was a simple woman.  A woman that we all loved and respected. She is the mother of 10 children and grandmother of over 20 grandchildren.  I interviewed some of her children, their spouses, and my cousins when I was planning for what I was going to say.  I didn’t think about it then, but one day while reading Maya Angelou’s quote, it came to me.

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Of all the people I’ve known, Momo was the best at this.  Everything my family said about her when I interviewed them reflected this.  She made them feel very special.  Whether it was the way she exclaimed your name through a smile that filled her face when she saw you, making your favorite dish or dessert, or knowing that you were in her daily prayers, you felt better after being in her presence.

All she had to offer was herself and her talents. By using her gifts and walking with the Lord, she positively impacted those in her presence.  What she said and what she did leaves us remembering with gratitude how she made us feel.

 

 

If Our Children Will Never Forget How We Made Them Feel, How Can We Positively Impact This?

When I created the slogan for This -N- That Parenting, Trying Not to Wing Building Wings, I wanted to send the message that this blog was about being intentional in our parenting and family culture.  It is inevitable that we as parents are going to do things that are going to scar our kids for life.  It goes without saying. 

By no means is this post meant to insinuate that we bend over backward to make sure our children are happy, happy, joy, joy, 24/7!  I am referring to the overall generalization of our impact on our child.  How would they say you make them feel?

My point is to leave as few scars as possible. How we live out our own life is what impacts our children first and foremost.  After that, what we say to our children and what we do with our children will ultimately play a huge role as well.

 

#1.  Live With Integrity

Brene Brown says, “Here’s what I think integrity is: It’s choosing courage over comfort. Choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy. And practicing your values.” 

I’ve always heard that integrity is who we are when no one is looking.  Once you have kids, it’s no longer just God who is always listening and looking.  Our children know how consistent we are with what we say, who we say we are, and how we live it out. Overall, what they witness and experience leaves them with a feeling of confusion (Do as I say not as I do.) or confidence.

 

#2.  What We Do With Our Children Influences How We Make Them Feel

We have to connect with our children.  We’ve all heard that children spell love, t-i-m-e. It is true.  Ask your child, “What is your favorite thing to do with me?”  The answer is going to have something to do with giving them your time and being present.  The activity doesn’t matter as much as the way we leave the child feeling.  Did they feel heard, valued, respected, and loved while we spent time with them?

I have many ideas on how to connect with your child and the benefits of each in  Children:  They Don’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care.  If you are not being intentional about connecting with your child you will definitely want to read that.

 

 

How do we want our children to feel?  Valued, respected, confident, strong, loved, positive, kind, helpful, and supported.  However, you want your child to feel.  Your words and actions need to be aligned.  It sounds common-sense, but it's not always easy in the heat of the moment.  Let's be intentional on what we say and do with our children.  To be aware and give attention to how we make our children feel will have positive effects.

 

 

#3. What We Say To or About Our Children Influences How We Make Them Feel

Peggy O’Mara said, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me is a bunch of bull.  Words can and do hurt.  When our words enter the ears of our little ones, we are either building up or tearing down. Basically, we decide how we let someone’s words affect us, but it is a challenge to erase them from our memory.

It would do parents good to remember that our words are a self-fulfilling prophecy for our children.

Besides the information in the 2 aforementioned articles, the following bullet points are great reminders about our talk.

  • Name your child’s behavior and not name call the child.  Instead of calling a child a liar, you can say, “I know what you are saying is not true because I walked in and saw you putting the toy under your bed.”
  • Do not compare your child to others, especially their siblings.
  • Talking about your child as if they were not there will never serve your relationship.  In fact, it breaks so much trust, it’s not worth the venting.  Find a trusted friend who you can discuss your child’s behavior with when the child is nowhere around.
  • To call your child any name in front of others or to put a name on their clothing is to set someone’s judgment on the character of your child before they have the chance to prove themselves.  Here again, if you say, “Terrible Twos”, you will get just that.  If you dress them in a shirt that says, “Here comes trouble”,  you can expect trouble, and so will others!  Is that really the reputation we want our child to have.

#4.   Articles to Read That Tell How to Leave a Lasting Impact

 

Call To Action

Our children will never forget how we made them feel, and it will have a lasting impact on their lives.  I want my kids to feel valued, respected, confident, strong, loved, positive, kind, helpful, and supported.  I bet you do too.  However you want your kids to feel.  Have a plan to make it come to fruition. 

In order to ensure we are successful at this, we have to constantly be working on ourselves, our integrity, how we talk to our children and what we do with our children.  The message we send them needs to center around our family’s core values.

 

 

To be notified when new posts are made and receive the weekly newsletter, subscribe to This -N- That Parenting List.

Subscribe To The Tribe

 

How do we want our children to feel?  Valued, respected, confident, strong, loved, positive, kind, helpful, and supported.  However, you want your child to feel.  Your words and actions need to be aligned.  It sounds common-sense, but it's not always easy in the heat of the moment.  Let's be intentional on what we say and do with our children.  To be aware and give attention to how we make our children feel will have positive effects.

 

 

Follow with Bloglovin

 

 

Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!  Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS

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8 Truths About Teenage Brain Development Every Parent Must Know

Your teenager’s behavior does not have to be a mystery to you. The basics of teenage brain development are worth understanding.  After infancy, the brain’s most dramatic growth spurt occurs during adolescence which typically describes ages 13-19.  All of this change in the teenage brain has teenagers wondering how they can deal with themselves just as their parents are wondering how they will ever get through the teen years. 

But when you understand teenage brain development, it can help you to empathize with teenagers.  Your teenager is not out to get you.  They are not your enemy.  In fact, chances are, your teenager is doing the very best they can.  There’s A LOT of emotion going on.  You can count on that!

I challenge you to make a decision to support your teen throughout this period of change.  I encourage you to make a pact with yourself that you will NOT  join in on any “Teen Behavior Rants” with others.  If you know about Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:  Kids Will Become What You Say They Are, then you know it’s not worth the risk.

 

 

My purpose for this post is to help you to understand teenage brain development and it's effects on the child, so you can offer them empathy and realize that it is an important time for you to support your teenager and model dealing with emotions. #teenagebrainfacts #myteenagerhatesme #myteenagerisoutofcontrol #myteenagerisdrivingmecrazy


New Technology: A Blessing For Discoveries About Teenage Brain Development

Scientists, researchers and psychologists are now able to study the brain in unbelievable ways.  This has led to more insight into child development and the development of the brain than ever before.  My purpose for this post is to help you to understand teenage brain development and it’s effects on the child, so you can offer them empathy and realize that it is an important time for you to support your teenager and model dealing with emotions. 

Study after study shows parents have the most influence over their teenagers when it comes to the decisions teens are making.  Though their peers have influence, parental influence overrides their peers.  That is why you need to be smart and intentional about how you are influencing.

The Teenage Brain Goes Through Intense Change

As I mentioned in 7 Facts About Your Child’s Prefrontal Cortex That Are Gamechangers, the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that plays a huge role in all the processing, is not fully developed until the age 25.  The teenage middle prefrontal cortex goes through a recalibration around age 14.  This is why you may start to see the same behavior in your teenager that you saw when they were a toddler. To take it a step further, the limbic system, the area of the brain that controls emotions also undergoes major changes at the beginning of puberty.  

What does all of this mean?  If you are the parent of a teenager, you are probably experiencing what it means.  Mainly, it means that it is super hard to control your emotions much less understand them.

Frances E. Jensen, a professor of neurology explains, “It’s a paradoxical time of development. These are people with very sharp brains, but they’re not quite sure what to do with them.”

As a result, I want to pass on some facts that will give you insight into teenage brain development, why they may be behaving as they are and how you can support them.  Let it be noted, these are positive changes going on with your teen’s brain. It’s all about perspective. 

Consequently, I‘m sharing the changes your child is going through that may be an unknown variable for behaviors that have hindered the parent-child relationship.  Some of what I have decided to share overlaps.

Truths About Teenage Brain Development

#1.  Teens are going through a time of wanting to express themselves.  This is the first time in their life that they begin to question, Who am I? 

  • For instance, a teen may decide to experiment with hair color and different clothing. Try to be as supportive as possible.
  • They now have the tools to start forming a personal identity which includes self-concept (what they believe about themselves) and self-esteem (how they feel about their self-concept, do they feel approval from others, do they feel SUPPORT from others).  Just being aware and supportive can move their needle forward.
  • The 5 developmental tasks they will be using to figure out their personal identity are: 1) becoming independent  2)  achieving a sense of competence  3)  establishing social status  4)  experiencing intimacy  5)  determining sexual identity.
  • Now that you are aware of this info. it should come as no surprise that teens are showing a high interest in these 5 areas. 

 

#2.  They express themselves through debate due to new reasoning and logic skills. 

  • Don’t take it personally or as a test to your authority.
  • Ask open-ended questions that invite debate.
  • When they share their thoughts, be supportive.  Never mock or criticize.  

#3.  Teens become very interested in fairness or justice.

  • Chances are their viewpoints will seem extreme.  Black and white.  Not much grey area.
  • Allow them to talk.  Just because you listen does not mean you agree. 

teenage brain

 

#4.  Teenage brain changes cause teens to spend an immense amount of time thinking about themselves.  Their actions and their appearance.  They believe others are thinking of them as well.

  • Understand that they are not SELFISH!  This is a stage of teenage brain development. Just as when they were 0-5 and mainly thought about themselves, except this time it is about identity.
  • It is imperative that teens get enough sleep.  Find out more about the facts and consequences here.  

#5.  Teens begin to develop an ability to better understand abstract concepts at a deeper level.  They may take up a cause such as becoming vegetarian, spiritual beliefs, women’s rights, etc.

  • Be supportive and encourage them to join the movement so long as it is physically, mentally, and morally safe.  This can help them take some of the focus off of themselves. 

#6. Save the drama for your mama!  Teens have different brain experiences than adults when trying to read and express emotions.    A teenager mainly functions in the limbic area while adults are using their limbic area and prefrontal cortex.

  • Teens are only correct about 50% of the time when trying to judge and predict someone else’s feelings.  Communicate feelings to expand their vocabulary and awareness.  Model and discuss that all feelings and emotions are OK.  It is the way they are handled that is not always OK.
  • Due to different parts of the brain firing off for its own good and not necessarily working cohesively, it will often times seem like teens are overreacting or reacting irrationally.  They are functioning out of the emotional part of their brain, but their judgment part isn’t kicking in much.  Therefore, it just seems to be all emotion.
  • Consider emotions during PMS, pregnancy, and menopause.  It feels like an out of body experience.  How do you expect to be supported during these times?  That’s how you can support your child. 

 

#7. Teens are vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors.  From drugs and alcohol to sex and dangerous situations, it takes teens quite a bit of risk to get a rush.  Around the age of 17, they will begin to develop more impulse control and thinking about long-term effects.

  • All things considered, the best that parents can do is to be aware of this lack of judgment and continue to parent.  Model and assist your child in developing decision-making skills. 

#8.  Social anxiety may increase because teens are starting to be able to see themselves from other’s perspectives and they consider other people’s thoughts and feelings more.  They tend to worry about what others are thinking of them.

  • Often encourage your teen to spend time with those who share their values.
  • In addition, you can offer the idea of joining clubs or organizations.  All members are invited to meetings.
  • Parents often times want to protect their child from their anxiety, but it is suggested that you encourage their socialization while supporting them through the anxiety.
  • Above all, if the anxiety has you highly concerned, seek professional help. 
Call to Action

Let’s be teen advocates. The 2 best resources to further understand your teen are The Teen Years Explained and The Teenage Brain

Whether your teen acts like they want to spend time with you or not, chances are your teen desires your attention a lot more than they let on.  Tell your child that you would like to spend some time with them.  Let them choose what ya’ll do.  Don’t go into the time with any predetermined agenda except for ensuring that your teen feels seen, heard, valued and unjudged by you!  Repeated time spent in this manner will promote connection between you and your child.

For all those reasons, show empathy to teens now that you have learned about the transformation going on with their brain. Pass this article to anyone you know who has a teen or works with teens. 

More than that, share this article and the resources below with teens.  Neurologists, other brain researchers, and psychologists started going into schools and presenting teens with brain research in order to help them understand what they are going through. You too can help inform teens. 

As the neurologist, Frances Jensen told attendees of her workshop, “This is the first generation of teenagers that has access to this information, and they need to understand some of their vulnerabilities.”

 

The information in the post is a synthesis of the following resources:

The Teen Brain, Harvard Magazine, Debra Bradley Ruder

Why Teenage Brains Are So Hard to Understand, Time, Alexandra Sifferlin

The Teen Years Explained:  A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development, Clea McNeely and Jayne Blanchard

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults, Frances E Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt

 

Be sure to leave a comment.  Like and Pin the article.  Now share the article and bless someone who would benefit from this information.

 

 

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My purpose for this post is to help you to understand teenage brain development and it's effects on the child, so you can offer them empathy and realize that it is an important time for you to support your teenager and model dealing with emotions. #teenagebrainfacts #myteenagerhatesme #myteenagerisoutofcontrol #myteenagerisdrivingmecrazy

 

 

 

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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!  Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS

 

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The Ultimate List of Inspirational Parenting Quotes

Obviously, people love quotes because you see quotes EVERYWHERE  printed on EVERYTHING these days.  I too love quotes.  This inspired me to compile some of my very favorite parenting quotes.

Quotes can be beneficial in many ways.  They are pieces of wisdom condensed into one or a few sentences, which can resonate with the heart of the reader. Parenting quotes have the power to bring hope, faith, inspiration, and motivation to the parents reading them.  Many parenting quotes contain great advice. Therefore, they make awesome learning tools.

Quotes are best used when they are read several times.  If the quote influences you in a positive manner, you can write it down or print it out.  Place the parenting quote in an area where you will see it often.  You can even print it out and create a T-Shirt to spread your favorite quotes. Repeating quotes is a way to use them to your family’s advantage, learn from them and make them a part of who you are as a parent.

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

Parenting Quotes

Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. ~Riney Jordan

God hasn’t just sent you to do his work in the lives of your children; he will use the lives of your children to advance his work in you. ~Paul David Tripp

Any child in his right mind will test the limits.  That’s his job.  He’s pretty new on the planet, after all, and he’s figuring out the rules.  The most common reason that children test the limits is that they really want to find out where those limits are.  Children need the security of knowing that someone more experienced and knowledgeable is looking out for them.  They don’t feel safe when we don’t guide and nurture.  That’s why we often say that children will keep pushing until they find our limits.  ~Dr. Laura Markham

Never fear spoiling children by making them too happy. Happiness is the atmosphere in which all good affections grow.  ~Thomas Bray

Children will become what they are told they are. ~Dorothy Delay

Every day in a hundred small ways our children ask, ” Do you see me?  Do you hear me?  Do I matter?”  Their behavior often reflects our response. ~L.R. Knost

I wholeheartedly believe that when we are fully engaged in parenting regardless of how imperfect, vulnerable, and messy it is, we are creating something sacred. ~Brene’ Brown

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes


Families are like branches on a tree.  We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.  ~Unknown

 

In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul.  ~Unknown

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

Your children need your presence more than your presents~Jesse Jackson

 

Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be SOMETHING YOU DO, but SOMEONE you raise!  ~Unknown

 

Children should not be burdened with making us happy, nor blamed for making us sad or angry.  Children are not responsible for how we feel.  We are. ~Larissa Dann

 

Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her. ~Uri Bronfenbrenner

 

Respond to your children with love in the worst moments, their broken moments, their angry moments, their selfish moments, their lonely moments, their frustrating moments, their inconvenient moments because it is in their most unlovable human moments that they most need to feel loved.  ~L.R. Knost

 

 

 

Yes, I Want The Ultimate List of Inspirational Parenting Quotes Printable PDF!

 

 

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

Having a baby dragged me, kicking and screaming from the world of self-absorption. ~Paul Reiser

 

The best security blanket a child can have is parents who respect each other.  ~Janet Blaustone

 

I looked on childrearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it. ~Rose Kennedy

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

When you parent, it’s crucial you realize you aren’t raising a “mini-me” but a spirit throbbing its own signature. ~Dr. Shefali Tsabary

 

Parenting has nothing to do with perfection. Perfection isn’t even the goal, not for us, not for our children. Learning together to live well in an imperfect world, loving each other despite or even because of our imperfections, and growing as humans while we grow our little humans, those are the goals of gentle parenting. So don’t ask yourself at the end of the day if you did everything right. Ask yourself what you learned and how well you loved, then grow from your answer. That is perfect parenting.  ~L.R. Knost

 

There are two gifts we should give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings.  ~Unknown

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

Play is the language of childhood.  Speaking our children’s language may sound like nonsense to us, but it sounds like love to them.  ~L.R. Knost

 

Nurturing never happens in a rush.  ~Emma Scheib

 

In all kinds of ways- if we are willing, our children take us into places in our hearts we didn’t know existed. ~Dr. Shefali Tsabary

 

A lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves.  ~Banksy

 

So often, children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes, yet we adults have them all the time.  None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.  ~Rebecca Eanes

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

You can’t teach children to behave better by making them feel worse.  When children feel better they behave better. ~Pam Lee

 

You will never look back on life and think, “I spent too much time with my kids.”  ~Unknown

 

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you.  No matter what.  If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big because to them all of it has always been big stuff.  ~Catherine M. Wallace

 

Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one. ~Glennon Melton

 

Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him. ~Dr. Henker

 

Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children.  ~Charles R. Swindoll

 

Our children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.  ~Lisa Wingate

 

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother, and the most important thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father.  ~Anonymous

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

The parenting journey holds the potential to be a spiritually regenerative experience for both parent and child, where every moment is a meeting of spirits, and both parent and child appreciate that each dances on a spiritual path that’s unique, holding hands and yet alone. ~Dr. Shefali Tsabary

 

It’s not difficult to take care of a child; it’s difficult to do anything else while taking care of a child.  ~Julianne Moore

 

Kids don’t remember their best day of television.  ~Unknown

 

Parents are often quick to judge whether or not behavior warrants a punishment, but when we pause to listen to what the behavior is saying about our child’s feelings and experience, a whole new world opens up to us and our children.  ~Rebecca Eanes

 

As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.  ~Ruth Bell Graham

 

The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior.  The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior.   ~Unknown

 

To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you means you’ve done your job.  They are not ours to keep but to teach how to soar on their own.  ~Unknown

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.  ~Haim Ginott

 

Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry. ~Unknown

 

Discipline is helping a child solve a problem.  Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem.  To raise problem solvers, focus on solutions, not retributions.  ~L.R. Knost

 

If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. ~Abigail Van Buren

 

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.  ~Robert Fulghum

 

The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.  ~Unknown

 

Be who you needed when you were young.  ~Unknown

 

There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.  ~Marianne Williamson

 

This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth.  For what they believe is what they will become.  ~Brooke Hampton

 

A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to.  ~Robert Brault

 

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. ~Peggy O’Mara

 

Call to Action

Undoubtedly, there are tons of smart parenting quotes.  I encourage you to get The Ultimate List of Inspirational Parenting Quotes PDF, print out this list and put it somewhere it will inspire you.  Furthermore, share it with other parents.  Be a light in their day by passing on these messages of inspiration and motivation.

 

 

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This post contains over 50 of the most inspirational and smartest parenting quotes. Get your PDF of quotes to inspire you daily on your parenting journey. #bestparentingquotes #inspirationalparentingquotes #parentingadvicequote #motivatingparentingquotes

 

 

 

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Is Your Family Ready For a Dog?

Santa brought our boys Maltipoos for Christmas.  Yes, they EACH got a puppy.  Many parents ask me how it is going and whether or not I recommend getting a puppy for a toddler and preschooler.  What parents want me to tell them is if their family is ready for a dog.

Previous to making a decision to get the boys dogs for Christmas I read a ton of articles to try and answer this question for us.  I too wanted to make sure we were ready to get a dog before we took the plunge.  Most of the articles and research I read said to wait until a child is around age 6 to get them a dog.

Considering the number of times I read this, you would think I would not have been as surprised as I was at the chaos the pups brought to our home.  Lord. Have. Mercy.  After 4 months I am just now starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.  I am beginning to feel like things have started to calm down some.  I’m not sure if the dogs and kids have improved, but the weather has!  Therefore, the pups get to spend more time outside.  I was asking myself daily, “What were we thinking?  Not about ourselves that’s for sure!”  Now it’s not quite daily.

So, you too may be wondering if your family is ready for a dog!

 

This article gives 10 questions for parents to answer and discuss in order to help them make the decision on whether or not their family is ready for a dog. We feel that you will not have as many surprises as we did if you discuss the bullet points in this post. #familypet #howtoknowifyoushouldgetadot #isyourfamilyreadyforapupppy #shouldwegetourkidsadog

Only You Know If Your Family Is Ready For a Dog

I can not answer this question YES or NO  because every family dynamic is different.  Age of kids.  Parents patience level.  How you expect an animal to be treated. How well your child’s self-control is developed.  So on and so forth.

What I do feel like I am capable of sharing at this point is some questions that Chris and I have brainstormed. I told him that I get a lot of questions about the dogs.  So we decided to sit down and create a list of questions we should have asked ourselves and made a plan for before Santa left the pups.  Questions that would have helped us make a more informed decision.  Things to think about that would have made for a smoother transition.

In all honesty, we had puppy fever.  I’m not sure anything would have brought us to our senses.  But I’d like to think that it would have lessened the shock of the chaos that was about to become the norm around here!

 

10 Questions Parents Can Ask Themselves When Deciding:  Is Our Family Ready For a Dog?

 

#1.  What developmental stage are your children in?

  • Developmentally my children are at the stage where they can only focus on 1 thing well.  It should not surprise me when the dogs are on the loose, the boys act as if they have no idea I’m even speaking.
  • Find out what you can expect from your child here.  If you have younger children, pay close attention to facts 3, 4 & 5. 

 

 

#2.  How much time can you devote?

  • At the beginning especially.
  • It takes quite a bit of training and modeling for your kids how to behave with dogs and vice versa.
  • It is said that if you have to potty train the dogs, expect to take them out every 20 minutes and give them a treat when they do their business.
  • Will you use a kennel? 

 

 

#3.  How often are you at home and who is home the most?

  • Whoever is home the most is who is going to be giving more physical and mental energy to the dog/kid situation.
  • Whoever is not home the most should be supportive and empathetic to the partner who is. 

 

 

#4.  What size of dog would work best for your family?

  • Now that I have talked to others, it seems this area is pretty black and white for puppies and kids.
  • A small dog means the kids will dominate and you will have to worry about the safety of the dog.
  • A medium to a large dog means that the dog will dominate, so then parents are worried about the dog jumping on their kids, knocking them down, scratches, etc. 

This article gives 10 questions for parents to answer and discuss in order to help them make the decision on whether or not their family is ready for a dog. We feel that you will not have as many surprises as we did if you discuss the bullet points in this post. #familypet #howtoknowifyoushouldgetadot #isyourfamilyreadyforapupppy #shouldwegetourkidsadog

 

#5.  How much time can the dog be indoors and outdoors?

  • Think about the approaching season you will be potty training in.
  • The weather will affect how much independent time the dog spends outside. 

 

 

 

#6.  How much time will your family be tied to other commitments?  Think 3 to 4 months in advance.

  • a busy season at work
  • running to extracurriculars for kids in the evening’s
  • Is a sporting season fixing to start?  Gone on weekends?
  • vacations
  • Can dogs go with you at times? 

 

#7.  Have you researched the dog? Read the research and comments and believed it?

  • Most of what we read has been right so far. 

 

 

#8. How much space do you have to give to the puppy?

  • At certain times of the day, you may need to keep the dog and the kids separated, but the dogs still need to be able to roam.  Can you partition an area of your home? 

 

 

#9. Do you realize how much puppies teethe?

  • A lot.  They need plenty to chew on or they will chew on the kid’s toys, items in the house, the house or YOU!
  • Be prepared with a variety of teethers that can be kept here, there and yonder, so they have something to chew on. 

 

 

#10.  Should you get a doggy door?

We are considering this now. If I had it to do again, I think I would have gotten it right away after Santa left the dogs?!

 

This article gives 10 questions for parents to answer and discuss in order to help them make the decision on whether or not their family is ready for a dog. We feel that you will not have as many surprises as we did if you discuss the bullet points in this post. #familypet #howtoknowifyoushouldgetadot #isyourfamilyreadyforapupppy #shouldwegetourkidsadog

Call to Action

Chris and I feel that your family will have a good plan and a good idea of what to expect (as much as possible) if you take the answers to all of these questions into consideration.  I hope you found something here that helps you out if you consider adding a dog or 2 to your family!

Like anything else, it takes kids and adults for that matter, a little time to adjust to change.  I started to see some light at the end of the tunnel, and I am excited about the relationship the boys are building with the dogs and the responsibility they are gaining.

 

 

Make a comment:  I would love to hear about your family’s experience with getting a dog and any advice you have to offer.  Share!
 

 

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This article gives 10 questions for parents to answer and discuss in order to help them make the decision on whether or not their family is ready for a dog. We feel that you will not have as many surprises as we did if you discuss the bullet points in this post. #familypet #howtoknowifyoushouldgetadot #isyourfamilyreadyforapupppy #shouldwegetourkidsadog

 

 

 

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