Parenting 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

Filed under Parenting, Teenagers by  #

As the Christmas season comes to a head we at More4Kids want to wish you and your family the best of the Christmas season. May your Christmas wishes come true and may you and yours experience the true joy of the holiday. Pause for a moment and contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. If you can teach your kids this one simple truth, imagine what a blessing they will be when they grow up and walk in this truth.

Jesus is the reason for the season. The first Christmas gift came from God, Himself. He gave mankind his only Son to offer us a way back to Him. We exchange gifts in honor of Jesus’ birthday every year. We give to each other to express our love and gratitude. Because God loved us so much He sent His son to us to blaze the trail right back to Him. Can you imagine when you get to spend your first Christmas in Heaven?

Our Christmas wish for you is that you help your kids see the best in others in the same way God sees us. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas and help them to walk in Christmas joy not just on December 25 but in all of 2016 and 2017. It’s not a joy that occurs due to happy circumstances. It’s a joy that lives within our hearts. We hope you experience this with your family no matter what life my bring your way.

READ More on Christmas Blessings and Wishes

Filed under Family by  #

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

The real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with the whole Santa Claus shebang, or does it? Too often the real meaning of the holiday season is lost in the commercialism of the time. We get carried away by all the holiday parties and festivities we forget the very simplistic reason we celebrate Christmas at all. But the Santa Claus belief and the total retail extravaganza is a big part of the season and for many children it’s the magic that lights their eyes on Christmas morning. The best way to teach children about the real meaning of Christmas while still allowing the magic of the season to flow is to talk to them about what occurred over two thousand years ago.

Put the emphasis on the truth that we celebrate the holidays in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. There are many parallels with the birth of Christ and the way the people react to the way we celebrate. These are the points we need to make clear to our children.

First, read the story from the Bible and teach your children about the birth of Jesus Christ. Take your time explaining each step of the story so that your child will have a clear understanding from the angel appearing to Mary and Joseph, to the miracles surrounding Mary’s pregnancy, to Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist, to the trip to Bethlehem. Important to share with children are the special visitors the baby Jesus received after his birth and the giving of the gifts.

READ More on Teaching Children the Real Meaning of Christmas

Filed under Christmas, Holidays by  #

by Dominica Applegate

If you’ve found out that your teen is addicted to drugs or alcohol, chances are you have plenty of mixed feelings. You may be angry that he has been lying to you, scared that the drugs will harm him, confused as to why he got addicted, and so on. It’s normal for parents to struggle with various emotions when they find out their teen has picked up an addiction.

Among the tough feelings, there are decisions that you must make concerning your teen and the addiction. Of course, some of your decisions will be based upon whether your teen is cooperative or not. Some teens, when their parents find out they have an addiction, are ready and willing to get help in order to stop. Other teens may not feel they have an addiction or simply don’t want to stop using.

As you go forward through this rough patch with your teen, take some time to learn what you can do for yourself and your teen when it comes to recovery. One thing is for sure: You’re not alone. You may feel disappointed, scared, angry, or confused, but know that there are other parents who are in the same shoes and many substance abuse professionals that are willing to help however they can.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you navigate through this time:

  1. Do not enable

To enable someone means to say or do things for them that allow them to continue on in an irresponsible or destructive manner. When it comes to alcohol and drugs, as a parent, you want to watch out for enabling your teen son or daughter to continue using.  Sure, you may think that you’re doing some things out of love, but if it is helping your teen ditch responsibility, it will not help him.

For example, let’s say you give your teen an allowance and he keeps spending it up quickly. You believe he may be using it for alcohol or drugs. He keeps coming to you for more money and tells you that he needs it for food, clothes, or school supplies. Basically, he is lying, but you feel like if you don’t give it to him, he will get angry and throw a fit. He’ll tell you that you’re a lousy parent, so you keep giving him money. This is enabling him. This is helping him to continue on being irresponsible for his allowance money.

Another way parents enable is by justifying their teen’s actions when under the influence. Maybe the police show up at your door questioning the whereabouts of your teen the other night and you lie and say he was home in order to protect him. This enables your son to keep doing mischievous things and feel like he can get away with things without facing consequences.

  1. Have a heartfelt conversation

Sit down with your teen and have a heartfelt conversation about the addiction. Let him know your concerns. Let him know what you would like to see happen. You will have to come up with consequences and perhaps discuss things like rehab, 12 Step meetings, and counseling. Try not to judge harshly as you have a conversation. Your teen will likely shut down if he thinks you are coming at him with judgment and anger. Remember that addiction is a disease. Yes, you may be angry, but do your best to talk out of concern and not so much anger. He may be more apt to share and be open this way.

READ More on My Teen Is Addicted To Drugs? What Can I Do?

by Shannon Serpette, mother of two and award-winning journalist

I love my children with all my heart, and I truly do enjoy spending time with them. But I wish I could space that time out a little, and not have too much togetherness all at once. That’s right, winter break, I’m talking about you.

It’s the time of year children love and parents fear. My children are 9 and 11, and they are the best of friends. Except when they aren’t. And when they aren’t, my fear of winter break is upgraded to terror.

If I’m making my children sound like monsters, let me clear up that misconception. They really aren’t. I always hear from their teachers about how well-behaved they are. But I’ve learned that being well-behaved doesn’t matter during winter break – it’s like the Bermuda Triangle is for compasses. It takes everything that is in working order and disrupts it.

It doesn’t matter how good your children are, winter breaks are a recipe for disaster. If you live in a place where the weather turns brutally cold during winter, like I do, you can’t just send your kids outside every time you get annoyed with them or every time they get irritated with each other.

When the temperature is nearing 0 degrees, no amount of screaming can tip the scales of my annoyance meter enough to send them outside. And if they can’t go outside, they don’t know what to do with themselves, and I completely understand why.

They feel cooped up. They’re experiencing a massive case of cabin fever. There’s nothing for children to do but aggravate each other when it’s just them stuck in the house, and they don’t have a lot of outlets for their aggression. I mean there’s only so many hostile NERF battles I can tolerate. I’ve had enough orange darts whiz past my body that I feel like diving to the ground and covering my head every time I hear a loud click.

READ More on Your child’s winter break doesn’t have to break you

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

Ideas to Show Christmas Love

Young, old, big, or small, we can all make a difference and that is a wonderful things to teach our kids.

Christmas time brings out the altruistic nature in a lot of people. We want to show our love in different ways during the holidays more so than over any other time of year. This is especially helpful if you have friends or family who need extra tender loving care, such as shut-ins, the elderly, invalids, or those who are having a rough time. Showing extra love over Christmas will help teach children about the love and care of others. Here are a few good ideas in extending Christmas love through the holiday season.

Visit

A visit may sound too easy, but people, especially the elderly, really enjoy having visitors who will come and sit down and just talk with them. Take the time and spend a couple of hours visiting with someone who may not receive many visitors. Ask questions about their life and let them talk. Give them a hug.

Bring a Meal

Everyone appreciates having a home-cooked meal (or even take out) brought to them. Prepare a delicious meal and bring it to a shut-in or to a family in need. Take supper to a young family who works hard. Invite a family over for a meal. Any way you slice it, food is always a hit. People appreciate having a meal when they don’t have to cook it.

Be a Maid for a Day

Funds not available? You can always give of yourself and your children can help. Offer to clean the house of a friend or relative as a holiday gift. This teaches children the act of serving others as well as chore skills.

READ More on Christmas Kindness – Ideas to Show Christmas Love

by Shannon Serpette

My family isn’t shy about sharing their opinions. We love each other fiercely and annoy each other frequently. I have four brothers and four sisters, and we don’t always see eye to eye. When you factor in all our spouses and children, that adds up to a lot of people crammed in one house during family get-togethers. You can’t turn around without bumping into someone, and that leaves a lot of opportunity for saying or doing the wrong things.

For me, going to a family get-together can only produce two results – it can be a wonderful night where everyone has a great time, or it can resemble gang warfare with two conflicting sides recruiting members and allies. We know how to push buttons on each other that no one else knows exists. You can leave a gathering feeling shell-shocked, betrayed and disillusioned. Not exactly how anyone wants to end 2016.

When you are dealing with people you’ve known your whole life, it’s easy to be hypersensitive and defensive. You need to realize that before you walk in the door.

The key to a successful family gathering is having a game plan. To make sure everybody gets out alive and the family name continues for future generations, here’s a few ground rules you should all abide by.

Avoid the political talk: Nothing can submarine a jovial mood faster than a Clinton/Trump debate at a family gathering. You can come from the same gene pool and have wildly different views on politics – believe me, I know all about this one.

Getting into a heated political discussion with your family is a recipe for disaster, and it will only lead to headaches, hard feelings and, after all the damage has been done, your debate still won’t matter because the election is over. So do yourself a favor and pick a topic less volatile to talk about, which could be almost anything in the world.

Now isn’t the time for an intervention: Is your sister enjoying the wine a little too much at the party? Has everyone noticed that has been a recurring theme as of late? This isn’t the time to bring it up. Saying “Merry Christmas, we all think you have a drinking problem” isn’t going to help your sister any. All it will do is create unnecessary tension and give your sister one more reason to refill her glass.

If you’re truly concerned, wait until after the holidays and have a private conversation with her.

Don’t make the night a statement about religion: Trying to force everyone to say grace before a meal or spending your evening attempting to strong-arm a relative into attending a holiday mass with you will become an unpleasant battle of wills. Not everyone shares your religion or worships in the same way.

READ More on How to Survive a Family Gathering

Filed under Christmas, Holidays by  #