Mom writing a letter to her child

Mom writing a letter to her child

by Stephanie Partridge

It started out as a simple project, write letters to the people I love. It ended up becoming a cherished heirloom for my children. I had a writing project and, after writing the article explaining the process, I wrote a few letters to include as examples. It was supposed to be very cut and dry, get in and get out then move on to the next project. But I could not move on. The words kept swirling in my head, tugging at me heart. I have lived with this need to write. It isn't as if I have a choice, there is something deep inside me that drives me. I have to write.

But something was moving inside me this time, something different. I sat down, pen in hand (yes, I still use a pen and paper for recording many of my thoughts) and began to write. At first they were thoughts, impressions. Soon, however, they became letters. They became letters to my children.

When I started, it was a rather generic letter that I could send to all three of my children. But as I wrote, the letters became unique for each child. It was as if they had taken on a life of their own. I first wrote to my daughter, Micah, a sweet, loving girl. She would do anything for you, never complaining. She is always smiling and likes to make others smile as well. She loves animals and is in a special program at school for animal sciences. She wants to be a veterinarian.READ More on Letters to your Child: A Gift of Love from the Heart

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Letting Them Do It on Their Own
by Jennifer Shakeel

Important to teach children the joy of solving their own problems

Important to teach children the joy of solving their own problems

One of the biggest struggles we as parents have is not trying to figure out how to be the best mom or dad in the world, because we are all wonderful parents in our own rights… but it is to encourage our children to be self sufficient. When we see or hear our child is having a difficult time with something we immediately want to reach in and take care of it for them just so they are happy. What we don't realize is that in the long wrong, we really aren't helping them at all.

I know as a mom that every time one of my kids is having difficulty trying to figure something out, or just had a disagreement with one of their friends and they are sad… or mad… I want to be supermom and make all wonderful and easy in their life. However, I also know that as a mom the best thing I can do is help them figure the situation out on their own. Part of it is growing up in the school of hard knocks I guess. My father was real big on making us do things on our own. I will never forget the time I climbed a tree. I was so excited, he stood there while I was climbing to make sure I didn't fall… but when I said that I needed help getting down, he looked at me and said "You got up there on your own, now get down on your own."He turned and walked away going into my grandmother's kitchen. I swear I sat there and cried forever… then I got real mad… and eventually got out of the tree on my own.READ More on Parenting and Helping Our Kids be Self-Sufficient

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Anything Worth Having is Worth Waiting For

by Jennifer Shakeel

Boy learning the virtues of patience

Boy learning the virtues of patience

One of the greatest virtues that we as parents can teach our children is patience. I know that in our hectic lives where we are often surrounded by the chaos of work, being mom and dad, driving to practices and games as well as trying to be a husband or a wife to our spouse… patience if often far from our mind. We have all been irritated at the time it took to get through a drive thru for a sweet tea, but we as adults also understand the importance of being patient.

The best things in life are the things that we had to wait to get. For example, each one of my children and my husband, all four of them I had to wait for… and I now I don't know what I would do without them. You tend to not take for granted things that took patience to get. This is an appreciation that is missing from many youths of today. I hate to say… but the people that are at fault for this… the parents.

I understand the reason, for many if they just give in to what their child wants when they want it… it is one less headache they have to deal with. But as that child gets older, the demands are going to be greater… and honestly they are going to end up being very frustrated as adults when things don't go their way. While it is far easier to start when they are young to teach them patience… it is never too late to start.

This begs that question, how do we teach our children to be patient? Here are a number of tips that you can try, these are tips that I have used and they worked on two of three children. The third one is only 8 ½ months old, so she is still a work in progress.READ More on Parenting Tips of the Week: A Lesson in Patience

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Mom helping daughter apply makeup

Mom helping daughter apply makeup

 by Stephanie Partridge

I will never forget that day.  My bright, beautiful 13 year old daughter bounced into my room and sidled up to me, unable to conceal that gleam in her eye.  She could barely contain herself (she has always been a very happy, bubbly, smiley girl) as she whispered, "Mom, I want to start wearing makeup."


My little girl was growing up.

Now granted, she had played dress up and "worn" makeup.  But this was different.  Now she wanted to wear makeup "for real."  In a flash, her young life sped through my mind.  I saw her, at this moment, playing with her dolls and the next wearing makeup.   This led to a slippery slope (in my mind) of high heels, prom dresses and (gasp!) boys.  It wasn't supposed to be like this!  She was supposed to be my little girl forever!  Of course, my imagination far exceeded the reality of the situation.

I stopped my racing, panicked mind, took a deep breath and smiled (a sickly smile, but a smile all the same).  "Why do you want to wear makeup?"  I asked, looking at her beautiful, peaches and cream complexion, wondering why in the world would she want to put makeup on that gorgeous face.

"I want to be beautiful like you."  She replied simply, as if I should have already known that.READ More on When your Daughter wants to wear Makeup: Lessening the Trauma (for yourself!)

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by Patricia Hughes

Happy Family of Four enjoying quality family time!

Happy Family of Four enjoying quality family time!

Years ago, I heard Bill Cosby say in a stand up comedy routine that parents don't care about fairness, they just want quiet. At the time, I had no children and it was just funny. Later, as a parent I saw it again and recognized it as a pearl of wisdom. All parents want a peaceful home.

I know all parents want peace because my children like to watch Nanny 911 and the lack of peace is a recurrent theme. This show taught me a valuable lesson, and not just that things aren't as bad in my home as they seem. Whatever the other issues in a family, a lack of peace is always at the core.

A few years ago, I was starting to struggle with sibling fighting, squabbling and yelling. The child not involved in the fight would end up turning up the TV or CD player in response to the noise.  On some days, the noise level was out of control. It was destroying the peace in our family and affecting all of us. We'd find ourselves yelling in response to their fighting and it had a negative effect the parents and children.

Around that time I came across a book that caught my eye in Borders. The book is Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical Ways to Create a Calm and Happy Home by Naomi Drew. That book helped me realize that a peaceful family begins with me. If I wanted to change the dynamic in the house, it was possible. In this book, Drew discusses what she calls three essentials for peaceful parenting that I have used with our kids with success.

The first is to make the home a place of kind words. In our family, the sibling fighting often starts when one of the kids says something mean or puts down another child. That child responds with another insult. The fight soon escalates. To break this cycle, there should be a rule that no person puts down any other member of the family and the rule needs to be enforced.READ More on Parenting: A Peaceful Family Begins With Me

Very proud mom with her sonParenting is all about communication. We are generally aware of what we say to our teens. We try to be positive, not use negative language, try to speak clearly so that there is no question about what you are trying to communicate to them. But did you ever think about what you don't say to your teen? Are there things that you aren't saying to your teen that they want or need to hear? "What do you wish your parents would say to you?"  This was the provocative question posed on a recent website I visited: Words are Powerful: The Love Project.

The answers ranged from simple to complex, from funny to heartbreaking, but through it all, a pattern emerged. There are some consistent things that children not only want, but need to hear from their parents. Words are powerful, but the words we don't say can be just as powerful. Just because you think it does not mean that your child automatically knows it or doesn't need to hear it.

Have you said these ten things to your child recently?

1) I love you!

Of course you love your child, no doubt about it, but when was the last time you actually said it? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing in our jobs, in our personal lives, in our relationships that we forget to say the obvious but important things. Don't take it for granted that your child knows that you love him or her. Say it. Sometimes they just need to hear the words.

2) I am proud of you.

There are things about your child that make you proud. Maybe they have a gentle, giving heart or maybe they have an exceptional artistic ability. Find at least one thing in your child that you are proud of and let them know about it. When you talk about your child to others, what do you say? What elements about him or her do you mention, even brag about to others? If you find that you are only seeing the negative, then it is a good time to find something positive, something good. Then let them know about it. You might be surprised in the attitude change that a simple "I am proud of you" can bring.

3) I support you in the things you want to do in your life.

Your teen is not you. They have different likes and dislikes, they have different interests. To many teens, the feeling that they are not recognized as individuals is very real – and very frustrating. Maybe they grew up in a family of lawyers, but they want to be a writer. Maybe they feel drawn to a different religion or lifestyle. Maybe they grew up in a large family with lots of kids, but have chosen to only have one or two children when they "grow up" and start a family. Whatever the differences are, there is usually at least some anxiety involved when they tell you about it. As a loving, supportive parent, just saying "I support you in the things you want to do in your life" can make all the difference.READ More on Ten Things your Teen would like to Hear you say to Them

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childrens charities - helping kids - Love without Boundaries Interview by Jennifer Shakeel

One of the most heartbreaking things for me is seeing a child that is hurting, lonely and sick. If I could I would adopt every child that did not have a parent, because I believe that every child deserves to have a mom and a dad, a family to call their own. I realize that I am not alone in this feeling, there are many people out there that when they see a helpless child want to reach out and do something, they  just don't know how to go about it.

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Karen Maunu. Karen is the Associate Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries and before I go into what we talked about, I really want you to understand why this organization and this woman are incredible.

Love Without Boundaries is a organization that is comprised of people from all over the world working towards one common goal, to improve the lives of orphaned and impoverished children in China. You may wonder why China, consider this fact. Each and every year there are 17 million registered births in China and each and every year there are innumerable babies that are left unregistered and abandoned by their parents… because they are either disabled and/or female.

In the year of 1979 the Chinese government instituted a new policy in attempts to manage population. That policy stated that married couples were only allowed to have one child. This coupled with the fact that generally speaking Chinese culture sees females and disabled people as inferior compared to healthy males. In the US, the birth defect rate is 1 in 47, in China it is 1 in 8…this is from our demand for consumer goods…the amount of pollution spewing toxins into their environment is causing this. Reference:

Love Without Boundaries is dedicated to making sure that as many children as they can help receive humanitarian aid in Foster Care, Healing Homes, Education, Medical and Orphanage Assistance. The overall goal is to help these children finally have a family to call their own. Believe it or not Love Without Boundaries (LWB) was started in 2003. It was a group of adoptive parents that started LWB in an effort to save a little boy in China. He needed to have heart surgery, without it he would perish. They helped save his life, and it was then that they realized that a true and "pure love for helping children can truly make a difference."

For me, when it comes to charitable organizations, I always wonder why a person chooses one charity over another. It is this question that started my conversation with Karen. Rather than trying to summarize what she said, I think it is important that you read exactly what inspired her. Now, here is the Interview:

READ More on Hope for a Child: Love without Boundaries

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