Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

Teaching Your Kids To Be Joyful

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

One of the best lessons we can all teach our kids is to experience joy as much as possible in their lives. Life is meant to be happy! When you build your life in a positive way, you attract more opportunities to experience good things and you will meet more people who radiate joy in their own lives.

Not everyone will agree on this point, as some people believe that life is about hard work and duty. They feel that joy is fleeting, something to be experienced rarely, or only something that fortunate people experience. I have even heard people say they are too busy to be happy. These people may be friends, other parents, or even teachers. This negative outlook can have a profound impact on your kids as they observe this attitude and behavior in others. Your children will be inspired by the joy you live in your own life.

As a parent, you want your children to know that being happy is a part of their natural state of being, and that each of us is in charge of maintaining our own happiness.

This can be a difficult concept for kids and even many adults to grasp, as we often want others to be in charge of our happiness and blame them if we’re not. The bottom line is that each and every person is personally responsible for how they feel.

Of course, we all experience things from others that we don’t like, and your kids are no exception. There may have been a bully at school who called them names. A teacher may have spoken sharply to them in class or blamed them for something.

It may seem natural and unavoidable to feel bad when things such as these happen, but as often as people say, “Someone made me feel bad,” the truth is that they are being reactive and reactions can be changed with practice.

You can teach your kids to notice how they are reacting to other people. Kids can develop an awareness of how they are feeling and learn to make a choice that is not a reactive one.

When you tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS),you will be able to tell if you’re connected to your highest knowledge of what is right for you. This awareness helps you recapture your own joy by choosing reactions that feel good.

It’s important to know that you have the ability to fill your life with as many joyful experiences as possible.

No one can take your joy from you. Show your children how to value all the joyful moments they experience and store them in their hearts and minds. These happy moments build a strong foundation for their lives. Help them know they can tap into these memories in the future to keep your sense of joyfulness strong.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

Taking Time With Your Kids Now

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Everyone has likely been given advice to “live in the moment” and worry about the future when it becomes the present. The challenge for many people is that they’ve also been told they have to plan for the future that they’re supposed to be unconcerned for.

Is it possible to do both? Not worrying and being prepared seem like opposites and doing both seems like a paradox.

It’s important for a parent to plan for the future. You obviously want to know that your bills are taken care of and that your family is okay. For many parents, this also includes putting money away for the kids’ futures. You may be saving for private school, college education, a wedding, or all of the above. On top of that, you may worry about what will happen to your kids if you suddenly weren’t there to take care of them.

The problem with planning for the future is that time goes by very quickly. If you spend the majority of your time being responsible and taking care of the kids without being fully present in your day to day moments, you may wake up one day and realize that your life and the lives of your kids have passed without enjoyment.

Remember the song, Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin? It tells the story of a father and son. It starts at the birth of the child, and continues through the boy’s life.

The little boy adores his father and just wants two things: to spend time with him and to be just like him. And he does.

“I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind,”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time.
“You see, my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu,
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad.
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

This poignant song from the 1970’s can remind you of the importance of taking the time with your kids now, the song reflecting opportunities missed. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a life outside family time with your own passions and interests. Once in a while you may miss your child’s soccer game.

It means you learn to have balance in your life. Yes, plan for the future, but live today as if the future may never come.

How do you make this balance work when you feel like you’re being torn apart by conflicting priorities? The best way is to tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS). It will help you know what’s truly important to you by guiding you through what you’re feeling toward any given situation.

This may be very different from what is important to your boss, your parents, your spouse, and even your kids.
There will be times when you feel guided to follow a career path that temporarily takes more time away from your family. Conversely, you may feel guided to turn down a job opportunity because the timing for you and your family isn’t right.

Your IGS will steer you in the right direction, allowing you to live your life to the fullest and be happy when your son or daughter grows up with happy memories of time spent together.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

Involving Your Kids In Choosing A New Home

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Whether you are moving to a new area because of a change in your job or you just want to purchase a new house in the same town, there are many factors to consider when choosing the special place you and your family will live. Parents often feel that selecting a new place to live is entirely up to the adults in the household.

Yet, encouraging your kids in as much of the process as everyone is comfortable with has many benefits. Involving your kids can help them make a faster transition and ultimately feel more at home in their new surroundings, quicker.

By including them, you not only empower your children, but you’re also making your move more harmonious. You may even uncover some aspects of a certain property that are really important to your family that you had not considered before you asked your kids for input.

Your kids can be involved in many facets of the housing decisions and it can be a bonding family experience. Ideally, it can be fun to get the entire family involved before you even start looking.

There are certain things that you as a parent will take into consideration that kids may not even recognize as part of the decision making process. Most parents want their kids to be in what they consider “good” schools,and safe neighborhoods are also a priority.

On top of that, parents will have the financial considerations that most children are oblivious, too. Everyone wants a nice, safe home, at a price that they can afford.

There is a process you can use to gain clarity in your decision making regarding a new home. If you are unhappy with your current situation, as a point of contrast only, write down what you don’t like about where you live now. Then write down what you would like to have instead. Your dream list!

For example, if your current home is right by the train tracks and the noise bothers you, write that down. Then in your list of things that you are looking for in a home, write “quiet” or “peaceful nights.” This can be done as a family activity or you may prefer to have each person create their own list and share ideas together later.

When creating your lists, try to resist the temptation to limit yourself or to “be realistic.” This is the time to envision exactly what you want. If you are “realistic” you may not place enough importance on something because it seems out of reach, when it actually may be included in your next home, if it’s what you really want.

Allow each family member to share what they want to have in a house. Encourage your kids to support one another’s ideas. You may find that some ideas are conflicting, but this may give your family a chance to be creative and see what solutions can work for everyone.

By allowing each child to talk more about what they want rather than just reading a list of features, you are open to creative solutions that perhaps no one may have thought of on their own.

For example, a little sister may want a larger room that she shares with her big sister, while the older sister wants a room of her own. While these two dreams seem impossible to reconcile it may be that the older girl just wants some space to call her own, even if her bedroom is still shared.

Or it may be that the little girl just wants to still feel like she is part of her sister’s life, or that she wants more space and never dreamed that they could each have their own rooms.

Your kids may want a yard, or they may be happier with a park nearby that they can get to without needing a ride from you. If you have an aspiring chef, he may have ideas about what the kitchen should look like, or a part of the garden where he can grow fresh vegetables. Your young artist may want a space where she can let her paintings dry without being in anyone else’s way.

Moving past dreaming about the perfect house, let your kids pick colors and decor as much as possible, even if it’s just in their own rooms. This will help them to feel more comfortable in the new house, and by extension, the neighborhood. Some kids will want to decorate the new room so it looks as much like their current room as possible. Other children will enjoy a totally new look to celebrate their independence, growing up, or just the new experience.

Keep in mind that change can be difficult for anyone, especially children who often feel like they have no choice in the matter. By actively encouraging your kids’ participation in the housing decisions you will make the experience a more positive one for each of you. You will also give them a model of ways they can help facilitate changes in their lives in the future.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

Tools Kids Can Use To Lift Their Mood

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

All parents have experienced the joy of dealing with moody kids. Whether it is because something went wrong at school, they didn’t get enough sleep, they had an argument with their BFF, or that their hormones are raging, bad moods happen, even to the most joy-filled kids.

Of course it helps if you have had previous conversations with your kids about their moods how it affects them in the future, not just “in the moment.” Bad moods affect the flow of wellbeing which keeps things in our lives from flowing smoothly.
Our moods send out waves of energy into the world. Experiences that match the vibration of those waves will come back to us. That is why it is so important that we focus on our moods, and move out of moods that do not serve us, as quickly as we are able to.

A good way to help your child understand this concept is to have them visualize a smooth pond or lake. See how calm the water is? Now pick up a rock and gently toss it into the pond. Watch how the ripples form and move in a pattern of ever expanding rings until they reach something like a boat, the pier, or island that interferes with their movement.

Then see how the ripples change as they are affected by the item they came into contact with, and begin to come back toward you.

Similarly, our emotions send out waves that keep expanding, until they bounce off something that affects their energy and begin to come back to us.

Let’s imagine another rock. It is about the same size as the first, but instead of gently tossing the rock, you throw it into the water as hard as you possibly can. See how much bigger the ripples are? Notice that they move out more quickly?

When we feel intensely about something, those feelings have more energy. The vibrations we send out are more intense, just like the second rock at the pond.

Like all analogies, this one has its limits. The pond illustrates the difference in intensity of our feelings, not the specific feelings. We cannot see a difference in the pond if the rock is thrown in anger or if it is like an exultant slam-dunk that wins the state championship.

Your child can use this visualization to help understand the intensity of their feelings, and why it is important to learn to shift their mood, and energy, especially if they are sending out intensely negative waves into his “pond.”

Kids are not the only ones who suffer from moods. We know that, but it can be helpful to be sure to let our kids know that adults can be moody, too. The happiest of adults can have their moods affected. You can inspire your child by showing them tools you use to shift your own mood.

Writer-director Richard Curtis, who is known for his romantic comedies, confessed recently that he tends to get “the grumps.” As ironic as it seems, his grumpy moods are especially notable when he is writing uplifting movies!

Curtis is wise enough to recognize that he will not be able to get the successful script he is looking for while in a down mood, so he works to cheer himself up. His favorite way of doing that is to listen to happy pop music.

We all have to learn ways to help lift our spirits. Most of us will have several that work, but a particular favorite that we know we can count on to do the trick, like Curtis’ pop music. You can encourage your kids to try different techniques, especially if you have noticed that something has helped perk them up in the past. Ask them to focus on what they love doing. A change in focus is the key to changing one’s mood. Do they love:

~ music
~ playing a sport
~ reading
~ riding their bike
~ swimming
~ playing with a pet

The activity chosen is not important, choosing a shift in focus toward what makes them feel good is.

But don’t be surprised if they reject your attempts to lift them out of their funk. You can’t make the change in mood for your child. You can only encourage a shift in their own mood. You may provide a variety of tools and opportunities, but ultimately the choice will be the responsibility of your child.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

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