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Thursday, June 15, 2017

She is Pregnant! 15 Things Dad Can Do!

One thing is for sure you love you wife and she is going to have your baby. I do not think there is anything more likely to bring out a man's urge to protect. Your family is expanding and no doubt you have a variety of feelings, concerns, and thoughts all competing for attention. However, during this wonderful time there are some things you can do. Here is a list of 15, to start you off.

  1. Your urge to protect needs to be logical. She is still the strong, smart, capable woman you fell in love with. So, recognize though she is in the family way and will appreciate the extra care and attention. She is not a child so do not treat her like one.
  2. Morning sickness is hard. You know how your wife is when she is sick treat her that way. If she likes to be babied and pampered by all means do so. If she prefers to be left alone, occasionally ask if she need help or how you can support her, otherwise leave her alone.
  3. Expect her to be exhausted. The lovely little one growing inside her is pulling on all her systems to grow and thrive. We always say a woman is eating for two. In fact, she is breathing for two, her heart is pumping for two, she is even walking for two. You get the message. In addition the baby only grows while she is sleeping, because that is how the body works. This means her sleeping will greatly depend on what stage of pregnancy she is in. Some if it has to do with trimesters. But, mostly it is dictated by the baby.
  4. Make sure she is fed. Because she is doing everything for two. She will be hungry more often. Pay attention to her cravings and try to keep those things on hand. Also, buy fresh foods like fruits and veggies she can grab and snack on. This is not a time for low fat diets encourage her to eat and drink full fat products.
  5. Pamper her as much as she will let you. Remember she is pregnant and not sick. However, carrying a child is hard on the feet. So, a foot massage a couple of times a week is great. Sleep can get difficult being a body pillow for her is awesome. But, if she is the kind of girl who does not like to be touched while she sleeps. Buying her a body pillow and sleeping in the guest room may be a great way to allow her to get some rest. Be sure to ask her if you sleeping somewhere else will help her rest better. Be sure she knows you are trying to pakmper her not reject her.
  6. Women have body issues. Your wife is growing round. If she is having more than one baby it will happen pretty fast. Tell her she is beautiful. I have heard from many men their wives are sexier to them when they are pregnant. Tell her that and mean it.
  7. Sex will not hurt the baby, but the subject could make you relationship harder. You know your wife's sexual appetite. Sometimes, this changes during  pregnancy talk with her about how she feels about it. Hormones make a big difference it may ramp up or down, be prepared. Recognize it has more to do with hormones than how she feels about you or your relationship.
  8. Hormones are ruling her life. The fact she is pregnant releases a slew of hormones, and the growth of the baby produces a variety of hormones ongoing at differing times. Which means her brain is constantly being washed over with hormones. The result of this is called pregnancy brain. This ongoing wash causes women to have a type of brain fog. Their clarity is not as sharp and they can become forgetful.
  9. Go to Doctor visits. This is your wife and your baby considering pregnancy brain you want to be there to hear what the doctor has to say. This way you know how to support her. Please avoid statements like the doctor said too often. But, gentle reminders will be appreciated.
  10. Help design the nursery and recognize her need to nest. Many women will start wanting to talk about the nursery almost immediately after finding out they are pregnant. This is the nesting instinct, respect it. Listen and contribute ideas. if you are a handy guy talk about making somethings for the baby. Most parents want the new baby close so a cradle or bassinet would be a super project.
  11. Recognize you are both scared. Becoming a parent is an overwhelming thought, let alone a reality. Talk with her about your fears and listen to hers. Read or listen to books together about parenting. Help plan things like finding childcare, doing product research on which is the best crib and crib safety, check out car seats, look into insurance needs, plan a 529 plan. Coordinate your maternity leave, see how your 12 weeks can dovetail with hers. The first few weeks are heard plan to be there.
  12. Read to the baby. The first sense to develop in utero is hearing. Infants are often born recognizing the voices of their parents. As your wife sits or lays down put your head near her stomach and read. It would be fun to re-visit all your favorite childhood books. Going out and buying them would be a great way to begin building a great library for your child.
  13. Birthing Coach-are you good under stress? Labor and delivery is no place for the weak or faint of heart. This is the one place I am going to use this phrase-be a man and be willing to recognize your limitations. Do you want to man up and be there for your wife and child of course you do. But, can you do so realistically. Are you one who faints at the sight of blood. If they have to do an emergency c-section are you willing to be there? No judgement here if you feel you can do it goes for it! But, if you just feel too overwhelmed by the process talk to your wife about letting her mother, sister, or best friend do the job. Just have an open honest conversation about it
  14. Read the books Gift of Blessing/Gift of Honor. These two books one by Gay Smalley and the other by John Trent help men think about their roles as husband and father and gives them the tools to do it well.
  15. Seek the counsel of other men. Being a Dad is not a project of isolation. Other men have been there. Talk to the men in your life about being a father and how they handled things. Share the joy, sorrows, and challenges of being a Dad with the other dads in your life.
Of course these things are just the tip of the iceberg and over the course of time many more ideas will come. Your are joining the ranks of parenthood. You can do this!

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sex, Vaccinations, and the School Bus

Did you know in the 21st century the average age of the first sexual experience is between 10-12. In 2010, the #1 sexually transmitted disease for girls 10-14 was gonorrhea of the throat. I found this out when writing my course called Parenting and Mentoring Teens. It was during this time I discovered The story many tweens were participating in sex in the rear of school buses. Remembering my middle school years I was not really shocked; however, I am concerned. when I was in middle school HPV was nonexistent. Now, someone can develop a very difficult to detect cancer based on something they did in middle school.

So, let me say, I was not surprised when I heard a few short years later about a vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) for girls of this age. Are you shocked? Dismayed?  I am talking about these things because we live in a world where oral and anal sex are considered preferable because there is no risk of pregnancy. I talk about these things because many assume having they can push talk about sex until later. When children not only may know more about sex, than you think many may have participated in sexual activity as young as 10.

For those of you with children age 9-14 it is time to sit down and have a frank discussion about sexuality, relationships, Gardasil, and cancer.  I am a big believer in abstinence. I do not buy into the lie people can not remain celibate. Sex is an urge not a need. Teach your children the difference. Please do not give them a mixed message. Either you expect them to care about themselves, their bodies, and the other people in their lives enough to abstain, or you do not. Just in case is permission, whether you like it or not. It is this which allows others to get into your child's head and make what is not acceptable the practice of everyday life. riding home on the school bus However, this is not the place to quote lay down the law. This is about building a safe place to talk about uncomfortable things. Make this conversation as low key and relaxed as possible. Practice talking about what you want to say with your spouse or significant other until you become comfortable enough with it you can be relaxed with your child.

This is the number one place you need to be real and authentic with your child. Be willing to share your mistakes. what you felt and how you either did or did not resolve the issues. Sex is not only part of life it is the act which creates life. Therefore, we need to talk about it in the context of what is real personal and emotional. Sexuality is the deepest form of communication between partners which exists on the planet. If there is not connection it turns what is supposed to be rich and fulfilling; into something ugly and sad. Teach your children what you know and how you learned it.

This is not giving them permission. It is giving them the information they need to protect themselves. Knowledge is power. Being open and honest with your children about this topic gives them to tools they need to protect themselves with so much more than a shot.

Believe in Parenting

Monday, June 12, 2017

Motherhood a journey, Not a destination

Congratulations, you are going to have a baby, or two. LOL! The excitement and fear you feel are both normal and healthy. Taking on motherhood can be a mind blowing prospect. Yet, I encourage you to take it one step at a time. The #1 thing you need to be a great Mom is to just relax and be yourself.

Authenticity is the ability to line up your beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions and live accordingly. If you concentrate on it and loving your child, the battle is much less stressful. The rest us about the love, respect, nurture, and care you give on a daily and consistent basis. Remember, 85% of what your kids will learn from you will be from seeing what you do and how you do it. So, invite them into your world and do things with them. Keep in mind also what you say to them in the young years will become the ongoing tape in their heads when they are your age. Speak kindly and tell them the whole truth about who they are. Give them the benefit of the doubt and help them to correct mistakes and issues.

In the Miley Cyrus song "It's the Climb" she sings it best "it is not how fast you get there, or whats on the other side It is the climb." You have 365 days a year to love on your kids. Ultimately, motherhood is the journey you take with your child as they grow from the helpless babe in your arms to the full grown adult who will leave your home after deciding the next steps of their journey.

Here and now I encourage you to not only enjoy this time of pregnancy. But, the wonderful journey you are about to embark upon. Love and be true to yourself! You have got this, enjoy the climb and

Believe in Parenting

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Gestational Diabetes: What to Eat?

Gestational Diabetes is a hormone imbalance where the Pancreas starts making not enough insulin for both Mom and baby. It usually dissipates once the infant is born. Maintaining health in the meantime really does depend on Mom's diet. Being a diabetic myself I want to share with you the strategies I use. This blog is to help you as soon as you get home. It will help you until you can get further medical help.

Carbohydrates are the number one issue for diabetics.  This is because the pancreas is responsible for keeping the sugar in the bloodstream even. Every carbohydrate becomes sugar in the blood. The key here is to avoid simple carbohydrates. The darker the carb the better. Because simple carbs digest very quickly in the body. For instance, sweet potatoes are better than any other kind of potato, pumpernickel bread is better than white or even wheat. Sprouted bread is great, make sure you get a name brand like Ezekiel or something from a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to be sure it is not full of pesticides.

Grains Some grains are better than others for slower digestion of the sugars in the food. The key to remember is the closer a grain is when it comes out of the ground when you eat it the better. Therefore, eating steel cut oats is better than packaged oats. Here is an article from the Huff Post of 17 yummy looking recipes. Brown rice is better than white rice. I use the following recipe for brown rice.

1 cup of brown rice
3 cups of water
1 carrot washed not peeled
1/2 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients in a cassorle dish and cover. Bake on a cookie sheet for 45-55 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Remove veggies before eating. Or you can cut the vegies into bite sized pieces before cooking makes a great side dish.

Sugar is the one thing most folks have issues with replacing. Sugar substitutes can be horrible. Both on the pallet and in the body. Natural ones are better. The two I interchange are stevia and monk fruit. I have developed a taste for both. Some people do prefer monk fruit as it seems to taste less bitter. For stevia I love Sweet Leaf  brand. They have so many products available it boggles the mind. They have everything from loose powder, packet, tablets, and liquid water enhancers, to flavored sweeteners for your variety of needs. I love to add the vanilla drops when I make smoothies, or a squirt of chocolate and caramel in my coffee for a treat. Monk fruit mostly comes in powder form I have tried Monk Fruit in the Raw. But, another brand some friends use seems just as good it is called Lakanto

 Milk I have learned most Diabetics have a hard time with cow's milk. The lactose carries a lot of sugar. However, if you are going to drink cow's milk stick with whole milk. In the skim milks they add sugar to replace the fat so it tastes better. You can try drinking other kinds of milk. Almond, coconut, goat, and cashew are the most popular. I drink Califia Farms an almond milk. I have tried most brands this has the feel of cow's milk in the mouth, which is why I like it. Califia also carries creamers, cold brew coffees and other items. Many of which you will have to order online. I have tried coconut milk,  and have used it from time to time. However, like the oil you have to like the strong taste of coconut. Goat's milk is another which I like but get it in a carton not canned because it picks up the tinny flavor. Consider goat milk is drunk by most of the world. Also, rice milk is an alternative. I have not tried it so I have no hints on it.

Protein is a great friend of the diabetic. Because proteins cause carbohydrates to be more steadily absorbed by the body. I suggest if you eat a carb eat protein too. Fish, meat, nut butters, cheese, and eggs are all considered proteins. Then there are beans and legumes which are considered both a carb and a protein. Quinoa is the only grain which is also a whole protein. It is a good alternative to eating rice and oats. I use the same recipe  for Quinoa as brown rice (above). Another great thing about protein is that the number of proteins in a product lessens the carb count. If the proteins on a product is at 5 grams (g) or above you can subtract one carb per each gran of protein over 5. So if a product has 15 g of protein and 25 total carbs you can say the food has 10 g of carbs.A serving of protein is about the size of your palm.

Fruits and Vegetables generally it is best to stay away from high glycemic fruits such as bananas, and dried fruits. Juice of all kinds are also not recommended. Because if the number of fruits it takes to make one glass of juice. One orange may have 15 carbs, the five oranges in a glass of juice has 45. When eating fruits reach for preferably fresh or frozen berries, oranges, apples, cherries, grapes. kiwi, plums, peaches, nectarines the list is extensive

You also want to watch for waxy and starchy vegetables. These include things like beets, peas, corn,  and white potatoes. Instead, you want to reach for fresh or frozen peppers, broccoli leafy green vegges, okra, parsnips, radishes, cucumbers, onions, rutabaga, the list goes on and on.

Important Rule for eating carbs-There is one basic rule for women eating carbs 15 g of carbs per snack, 30 per meal between 90 and 120 per day. Keep in mind this includes grains and fruits. One piece of fruit is generally 15 carbs (10 grapes). Most veggies are low on the carb count. But, if you are eating frozen check the label to be sure.

How often to eat is also important to keep your blood sugars on level. Everyone eats differently. However here are two rules of thought. Eat breakfast. Even if you only drink a smoothie your body needs the protein. If you are drinking cows milk. There is a yogurt drink called Kefir usually sold near the yogurt cups. Put 8-12 ounces in the blender. Add whatever fruit, a pinch of salt and stevia to make a good smoothie since it is cold no ice needed. My fav is strawberries with chocolate stevia. The other is eat steadily all day. 3 meals and 3 snacks or eat a snack of at least three food groups every 2 to 3 hours.

Water  Drink one half of you body weight in water each day. This will help your body process sugar and it is the only substance which cleans you kidneys. Adding some lemon, orange, lime, or other fruit in with you water can help. Remember, stevia makes water enhancers. Also, I love coconut water. It helps with blood pressure. So, make 8 oz a day one of your servings.

I hope this gives you a general guide of what to eat. Here are some other suggestions:

  1. Go to visit a dietitian and let them help you draft a more detailed eating plan.
  2. Limit your caffeine and carbonated drink intake. (If you must have a soda there is a company called Zevia which makes soda sweetened with stevia.)
  3. Drink ginger tea, and ginger ale. (Make your own by boiling a 1 inch piece of ginger a quart of water and add stevia. You can add just a touch for tea or enough to sweeten it for adding carbonated water to make ginger ale. I also like ginger lemonade. Add the juice of 4 lemons and into the ginger 'syrup' and two quart of water.)
  4. Sleep your body needs sleep as a diabetic your body needs sleep in order to process the sugars out of your body. Also, this is when your child grows. If you can work in a 2 hour nap with 8 hours a night. Or 10 hours a night all the better. Keep in mind you will need more sleep as your pregnancy ensues. Towards, the end of your pregnancy you will begin to feel all kinds of energetic. Curb the desire to use it for hours of getting things done. This energy is your bodies way of gearing up for childbirth. If you use it up it will be harder on your body to give birth. Also, dehydration causes childbirth to be more difficult. I suggest once you start labor drink coconut water until you can not drink and go to ice chips.
I really hope these tips help. Congratulations on your baby and as they grow I know you will do all you can to love and support them. You can do this!

Believe in Parenting


Thursday, June 1, 2017

How to Talk to Kids about Death

Let’s just get it out there: nobody really wants to talk to kids about death. Death is a part of life none of us really want to deal with, and helping children deal with grief can be really difficult,  as a parent. So, how does a help when your child has suffered a loss?

First, deal with your own grief and sadness. Remember, we are the models for kids. How we deal with death and grief is how they will deal with it. We must determine how we feel about death and dying, preferably before we have to help children deal with it. Talking to kids about death is important, but we can't do it until we have had a conversation with ourselves.

Questions to ask yourself about death and grief:

  • What do I feel about my own mortality?
  • How did I handle my last bout with grief and sadness?
  • What do I believe about the afterlife? What do I want to teach kids to believe? What do my employers believe, and how can I support them in dealing with grief and sadness?
  • What do I want to tell the children about remembering the (person or pet) we need to say goodbye to?
  • Could I benefit from group or individual grief counseling?
I suggest that, as you think and talk about these questions with your loved ones, you keep a journal. Doing so will allow you to revisit your decisions and not have to rely on your memory. Organize everything you think of as associated with grief in one spot, so it is easy to grab and use. Once this is done, you will be more relaxed and less stressed, should something inevitable happen.

Now that you have thought about your position on death and grief, you are better prepared to help the children.

General Tips for Helping Kids after a Death

There are several things you can do to support children during times of grief and sadness.
  • Communicate. Talk about your feelings and theirs, read books for kids about death, grief and sadness together. Give the children words they can use to discuss their feelings.
  • Be physically affectionate. On purpose, give more hugs, and let children be close while reading, watching TV or movies, or playing games.
  • Be active. Provide a variety of activities for children to get involved in. Children need physical and mental distraction, and trying new activities in addition to their favorites may help them to move on.
  • Pay attention. Pay close attention to how the child seems to be processing through their feelings of grief.
  • Consider grief counseling. Discuss any plans for children to attend a children’s grief support group. Grief counseling is vital if the child experiences the loss of a parent.
One important thing to keep in mind when n children experience a death is that children are naturally egocentric, which means that - right or wrong - they believe they are linked to everything that happens. It is a safe bet  the child somehow blames himself or herself for the death. For example, a child may think: "I did not finish my vegetables and that is why my dog, Scooter, died."

When talking to kids about death, emphasize that death is part of life and that no one is to blame, but that the child especially is not at fault.

How you handle your approach to death and grief will largely depend on the age of the children.  If a child's grieving behaviors last for more than three months, it is time to speak with the child's pediatrician about intensive specialists for children's grief counseling.

Talking to Kids about Death: Birth to Age Three

Many people make the mistake of thinking of children and grief as incompatible at this age; people believe that infants and toddlers do not have emotions like the adults. This is not true. Babies can and do feel grief and sadness, especially if the loss is of a parent or caregiver. Infants and young children who are sad, stressed and showing signs of grief may begin to:
  • Show signs of lethargy
  • Complain of frequent tummy aches
  • Become cranky and clingy
  • Take a developmental step backwards, such as a potty trained child having more accidents, or a child's talk reverting to babble or baby talk.
Book suggestions:
Are You Sad, Little Bear?: A Book About Learning to Say Goodbye by Rachel Rivett
What Happens When We Die? by Carolyn Nystrom
These two books about children and grief can help to give you the words to use to talk to kids about death, as well as the basic concepts to help advance the child's understanding of death.

Talking to Kids about Death: Ages Three to Five

Children of this age tend to exhibit their grief in a variety of ways, especially depending on the child's maturity. Do not assume the child will grieve by being sad - instead, remember that the stages of grief include anger, denial, and bargaining.

Children of this age may rebel, use their imagination in new ways and to the extreme, or attempt to make "deals" more than before. Responsibilities for adults may be less about talking to preschool-aged kids about death, and more about listening to them.

Kids of this age experiencing grief tend to:
  • Be crankier than before the loss
  • Cry more easily than before the loss
  • Seek out more comfort than before the loss
  • Revert to a previous developmental stage
  • Display some personality change. Usually a shy, quiet child becomes loud and belligerent, or an animated child becomes more reserved.
Book Suggestions:
Always and Forever by Alan Durant.
The Purple Balloon by Chris Raschka
These books are age-appropriate to help children actively discuss their grief, while showing them that other people experience death and have empathy for their feelings.

Talking to Kids about Death: School Age (Kindergarten-5th Grade)

Children this age are still egocentric and can blame themselves for illness, tragedy, or death. However, the older a child gets, the better he or she understands the differences between cause and effect. Grief counseling can be especially important for social adjustment during school years. School-age children want to do succeed,  get along with peers, and do activities they enjoy. Parenting school aged children while they deal with a loss will definitely include supporting them through any social adjustments.

Sadness and grief in children of this age often show as:
  • Lethargy or lack of interest in activities
  • Feeling sick often
  • Crying easily and often
  • Lack of interest in being with peers
  • Wanting to stay home from school
  • Waning grades
Book Suggestions:
Rudi’s PondCharlotte’s Web and The Secret Garden are all books which explore the way children and families deal with sadness, grief, fear, and loss.

Explore Grief Counseling Options

Don't underestimate the value of sharing and expressing grief with others. If you feel your child  is struggling with overwhelming grief, do everything you can to support their recovery. A licensed grief counselor is often the child's best resource if all other options are exhausted.

Dealing with grief is a part of life which is difficult for us all. Do not hide your grief, sadness, confusion, anger, or other emotions surrounding death. Share these with your children, while modeling healthy ways to handle tough times. Talking to kids about death is important, and showing them compassion for their loss teaches them important skills they need for their emotional maturity.

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

#1 Thing Parents Need

The #1 Requirement Every Adult Needs to be an Exceptional Parent

Over the course of my career I have worked hard to help adults really work at becoming the best parents they can be. I was sitting with a Dad in a restaurant and he asked me a question. What is the one thing I can do to be a great Dad? I said to him let me think about that for a moment. When I got back I said to him “Be their living example. He asked me what I meant and I gave him a general answer. Later, in another session we revisited this question and I told him this. Be as much yourself as you can be. Over the years this has begun to shape my whole philosophy of parenting. I now say the #1 thing every adult needs to be an exceptional parent is Authenticity.

I define authenticity as living a life in which your beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions are all aligned. I say this because 85% of what children carry forward in their lives are the things they observed their parents doing. This is important because; it is not what we say which our children carry forward into life. It is what we do. When we tell our children not to lie. Then ask them to tell someone on the phone we do not want to talk; to tell them I am not here. We confuse them. Ultimately, they will do what we do and not what we said.

There is an old saying “actions speak louder than words”; this is the exactly what children learn. We do and act according to what we really believe. If we say not to lie, and then we lie we have told our children lying is okay. I realize this is an inconvenient truth. However, I truly believe learning to live an authentic life makes a true difference in our lives and the lives of our children. So, how do we live authentically

Becoming authentic is a journey. I have worked on this for years. Here are two links to help you get started. The first is a 500-word Luminary I wrote for Inspire Me Today. The second is the first in my blog series on becoming Authentic. Happy reading!

Believe in Parenting

Gift Guide for Empowering the Child 's Brain

Giving great gifts is both a talent and a skill. As parents we want to give our children gifts they will love . If it is a toy we want to see them play with it endlessly. However, finding such a gift is not easy. I have been giving this a lot of though and I have come up with what I think is a great idea for gift giving. I am combining the theory of Multiple Intelligence with gift giving for children ages 2+. I have divided the tow gift giving guides into two separate documents. One for ages 2-5, and one for 6+. I hope you find these guide helpful. Happy Shopping!

Believe in Parenting

Book Launch Postpones until June 8

The best laid plans of mice and men often come slowly or not at all. Fortunately, for me my plans are simply delayed a week. Computer glitches and technical difficulties aplenty have slowed down the launch of Education From the Cradle. All the glitches have been corrected and the book will be made available on June 8th. The introductory price of $9.99 will stay in place until June 9th, So if you were waiting you have and extra 8 days to get it at that price. The cost will go to it's regular of $14.99 on June 10th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Graco Seat Recall

If you are a parent of a child in a Graco car seat. take the time to check the information below and check your child's seat. Graco is asking parents to check and report if you have a model. They are saying replacement parts will be available 7-17-2017. There have been no injuries as of yet. However, I think it would be wise for parents to check the model numbers and if need be get a new seat. If you cannot afford a new seat many fire departments around the country help parents get seats.  Also check this website for more ideas.

The most important thing is for your child to be safe. If you buy a new seat be sure to keep your old Graco seat and the receipt for the new one. I am sure a class action law suit will be coming down in the future. You want to be sure to be able to prove your costs and be reimbursed should this occur.

I am glad Graco is stepping up to let people know about this issue. I am also sure they chose to let people know before they had the solution so parents could make their own decisions on whether to replace the seat now or wait for the kits. I applaud their honesty. I emplore you to check and be sue your child is safe. the information is in the chart below which I got from the Graco website.

This recall includes the following Graco My Ride 65 car seats in the table below:
Graco My Ride TM 65 Model NumbersAffected Manufacturing Date Range AND Webbing Tag Code 2014/06
19081527/23/2014 through 7/27/2014
18130746/20/2014 through 7/27/2014
18726915/16/2014 through 8/1/2014
18534787/11/2014 through 7/27/2014
18716897/5/2014 through 7/24/2014
18775355/26/2014 through 7/27/2014
18130157/3/2014 through 7/24/2014
17943345/20/2014 through 7/15/2014

Believe in Parenting

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book; Education From the Cradle: Choosing Quality Childcare

E-Book Launch June 1 

Pre-Orders Available $9.99 

goes to $14.99 June 2


I have been in the field of Early Education since 1987. I obtained my Masters degree in 1995. Over the years I have talked to and advised many Mom's about finding good quality child care. Ever since President Obama started talking about high quality early childhood education; I felt it important to help parents understand what that means in common language. The following is the books introduction. I hope you like it.

I have never met a Mom or Dad who liked the idea of leaving their child in a center. In fact, as a center director I have hugged a crying Mom leaving her baby with us more times than I care to count. It is hard leaving your small, helpless child in the care of strangers. I know this and I have great compassion on the millions of Mothers’ who live the reality daily. It is one reason why I wrote this short manual! Let me tell you a story about the main reason.

In 1993 after I left grad school, I got a job at a government installation running their child care center. I was the employee of a Non-Governmental Organization who ran centers all over the country. This company had an extremely high quality of care. I wanted to work with people who were as dedicated to the growth and development of young children as I was. As a director, I spent 40 hours a week working with and supporting staff. While also taking care of center logistics. I also worked between 15-20 hours a month after hours doing things like ordering supplies and payroll kinds of work. A year later the company lost the contract. I applied with the new company. I did not get the job. It was about three years later when one of the staff called me and asked me for a reference. I swung by the center to give it to her. As I entered my heart sank. The center was more than half empty. What was once a bustling center with 145 children and 50 staff members had severely shrunk. I am being generous when I say I saw about 70 children and 15 staff. After giving my former employee her reference. I stepped into the directors’ office. She said,” You are Barb Harvey, right? You used to be director, here?” I said, “Yes, what happened this place seems a little empty.”  Her reply stunned me then and even now I have tears in my eyes remembering her response. It was this: “I was on the original committee who was examining candidates. They gave you a courtesy interview. But, before you even entered the room it was decided they could not hire you. Your standard of care was way too high.” Now, let me tell you, what I heard? The company was only willing to do just so much for the children in their care. The results were obvious, the parents had sought out other places for their children. 
I do not ever want to see a parent or child end up with a group of people who are only willing to go so far in educating the children in their care. You and your child deserve better. This guide is here to help you avoid centers who are doing just enough.

This book gives you my view into what it means to have quality in early education.  I also provide exercises, tips, and information about education in general. This will give you the information you need to help your children to succeed.--

It is my hope this short book will help parents choose high quality child care. I am giving the jargon, basic early childhood quality information tips and questions to ask because it is not easy to spot those who give basic and not quality care. High quality care is available, you just need to know exactly what to look for, and I give you that in this book.

Believe in Parenting

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Week 10 Parenting and Mentoring Teens

Welcome to Week 10

Last week we discussed making a shift in your parent-child relationship with the teen in your life. We talked about being an influence rather than primarily a teacher. A mentor still teaches, however they also coach, counsel, negotiate, and communicate. The shift takes place as we put more responsibility on our children to begin making their own decisions. We are talking age appropriate decisions here. But, we will get into that later. Right now I want to concentrate on the mentor role.

Teaching-here teaching changes tremendously.  When a teen was a child teaching was all about telling them exactly what to do, when, how and not necessarily why. However, teens need to know why some things are they way they are.  Parents need to teach teens what they will need to stand on their own in life.  This includes self-care, finances, banking, paying bills, taxes, a work ethic, and other things children will need to understand how to get along well.  The teen years are where teens begin to understand the pressures and responsibilities of the adult world.  Parents teach them and then back-off and allow them to develop their own way

Coaching- This is the next step after teaching children the things they need to know and letting them move on to do it their own way. A parent then becomes a coach.  Help teens by giving them suggestions and even preferences for how to deal with issues, problems, or planning.  Teens are given some rope to work with parents decide how much rope and can help teens to develop by letting out and pulling back on the rope as needed.

Counseling- Coaching and counseling are very close however they are different in that coaching is about what to do. Counseling is about how you feel or are reacting to a situation. Parents need to keep calm about whatever situation a teen is facing and help them to fight their own battles and work through their own issues.  

Counseling is the time to help teens work these things through and give them the tools they need to work things out. Parents can be supportive and helpful, but they should refrain as much as possible from taking sides or jumping into the fray.

Negotiating- Parents should set rules on issues that are non-negotiable.  However, the things that are not nailed down should be open for negotiation.  For instance, if week-end curfew is 11:00, but you really don’t care if they stay out a little later on Friday or Saturday night, that could be occasionally negotiated.  Trust is a large area in negotiation.  Parents and teens need to be open and honest about what they want and need.  Negotiation is not arguing.  Parents should never argue with a teen.  Parents who remain calm and resolute will gain a teens respect.  Just let your no be no and stick to it.  

Negotiation is a calm and focused discussion based on mutual respect and firm reasoning not emotional outbursts.  If a teen begins to argue a parent should end negotiations until the teen is calm.  Understand that emotional outbursts are part of a teenager’s make-up, however, that does not mean you have to put up with them.  Make sure you point out the drama and let them know negotiations can re-start when they are calm.  You can also shut down negotiations period if they continue to argue.  If you shut down negotiation don’t back down maintain a consistent and firm resolve.  When you say something mean it.

Communication (listening)-Parents can help a teen by listening and truly hearing what is being said.  It is important to first deal with what is being said and then to deal with parental issues once the teens issue is dealt with.  It is important to keep open communications.  Most teens feel that parents do not listen and are frustrated.

Parents can make the mistake of putting their own feelings before that of their children forgetting that teens are indeed still kids.  They need all of the care and support they can get.  Listening is the best way to do that.  Keep in mind that teens are not likely to communicate with an audience.  In addition, teens are not likely to sit down and have an eye to eye discussion.  Parents can help by setting up an activity to do together.  Whether it is making dinner or golfing teens are more likely to talk if they are given opportunities to do so without direct eye contact or worrying that someone might overhear.

Both eye contact and ease dropping can be intimidating for someone especially when you care what the other person thinks of you.  Teens really do care what their parents think.  Even if they say they hate you they still care what parents think.  So, parent can show their best support by caring what their teens think.  Simply listening with an open mind can get teens to know you care.


  1. Take some time and think about the five areas of mentoring. How will you use them to shift your relationship?
  2. Talk with all the adults responsible for supporting your teen about wht this shift should look like and how it will change the dynamics of your relationships.
  3. If you are married discuss who will take on the primary role of mentor. Sometimes it is the same sex parent. However, if the teen has a closer more openly communicative relationship with the parent of the opposite sex they may be a better fit as mentor.
  4. Take this week next two weeks and think about the shift and begin to think through having a discussion with your teen about making this shift. Consider how it will change your whole family dynamic and prepare yourself and your signficant other for the changes. J

Take the next few weeks to journal about how you fee and think of your teen entering into the adult world. What things do you want them to know and how can you get it across to them without beating them over the head with it. In two weeks I will post on how to begin the conversation.

Believe in Parenting

Friday, April 28, 2017

Week 17: Talking about your Journey

Welcome to Week 17

Last week I asked you to consider the journey you have made over the last 15 weeks. One of your exercises was to think of four people you would like to sit down with and discuss your journey. This is a continyuation of examining your path to Authenticity. Being able to talk about the changes in clear terms so someone else can get where you are coming from is an important prt of the process. 

I listen a lot to talk show host Denis Praeger. He often says agreement is not necessary however clarity is essential. I agree. What you are really shooting for here is not for the folks to agree with the changes you have made instead you want them to be clear on the changes and why you decided to make them.
We live in a deeply divided country at the moment. This is as much a political as it is an ideological divide. Someone I love dearly and I are on opposite sides of the divide and quite stringently disagree. However,k we each understand the others point of view and on some level are willing to agree to disagree. You may find yourself in a similar situation as you begin to discuss these changes with others. Though, I hope you have been sharing your steps along the way; which will make the process much easier.

Before you meet with anyone decide on the one change which is most important to you. This is the challenge I am giving to you. Discuss this change with four people in your life and journal about the conversations. I am going to give you two weeks of silence to accomplish this task. I want you to take this time to continue reflecting on how far  you have come. Take into account any constructive criticism you have been given and examine it to see if and how you can incorporate it. If you get nonconstructive criticism, and you may. Once the anger dies down, look over what was said and take the things which will benefit you from the conversation and ditch the rest. 

You are not responsible for someone else's journey this is about being true to yourself!

Once you have done this exercise I want you to begin think about how you can pass this experience on to your children. When we resume our journey in two weeks I will be incorporating more exercises about how to start your children on this journey of authenticity. Good Luck and if you need me I am only an email away!

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Week 9 Parenting Teens: The Shift

Welcome to Week 9

A few short years ago you brought this helpless, squirming, squalling infant into the world. Now, just a few years later they have minds, dreams, and goals all their own. It would be easy to simply tell them it is my way period. On of the favorite parental sayings is; "As long as you live under my roof...". However, I ask you is this the best way to get them ready for the adult world they will be entering in a few short years? The answer is NO!

What is a parent to do?

The opening quote I used as we started this journey applies now.

Parents raise children and influence teens. Pastor John Moore, 2002

It was 2011 as I sat in the Fulton County Juvenile Court Building in a First-time offenders tribunal where I and several other community leaders were working to help keep teens get back on track. We were speaking to a 17-year-old, asking him questions about his thoughts and behavior of the night in question. His mother answered the questions before he could. When he tried to tell us where she was mistaken she would give him a cold look and he would be quiet. As this happened over and over I began to see a little of the issue happening here. This Mom had not made the adjustment her parenting needed and both her and her son were suffering from this issue. Stepping back and making room for your teen to become a rational, thinking person, with their own thoughts, feelings, desires, and dreams begins as they enter puberty. Parenting shifts from instruction to mentoring.

Instructing versus Mentoring

The basic difference between a teacher and a mentor is all about the relationship. A teacher is often the person who trains you, helps you figure out the right answer, and grades you along the way. There can be some personal interaction and it is there often. However, the interconnection between teacher and student is often less personal, than the relationship between a mentor and a mentee. Though the mentor does train, the advisory and counseling role are often much more prevalent in the relationship.

The main goal of a mentor is not to train in what to do or how to do it. Rather the goal of a mentor is to help the mentee figure those things out on their own. The goal is to ensure once they move along the mentee has grown to a point where they no longer need the mentor's continual guidance. They may often turn to the mentor for advice, when they are feeling less confident or need to bounce of an idea.

This shift is not easy. In fact it is often very difficult because along with making the shift is the realization your helpless infant is well on their way to becoming an adult. One of my favorite commercial series comes from Subaru. It starts out with an adult talking with a little child. As the commercial progresses you realize the child is actually an older teen and the parent is seeing them as they were 10 years before. I know this is how you see your teen, however at the end of the commercial the child now a grown up gets into the car and drives away. Your teen is headed in this direction. You want them to be driving away from you ready to take on the world and conquer!

By choosing to pivot now, what you are choosing is to shift the kind of relationship you have with your child and to begin building a new richer relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.


  1. Ask your teen what their dreams are, what they would do if anything was possible and money was no object. Really listen and ask questions about it.
  2. After the conversation, step back and see if ther is anyway you can support them inthe achieving of this dream. Use your journal to jot down ideas.
  3. No matter how unrealistic the dream seems to you. Encourage your teen to dream and work with them to see if they can achieve some measure of their dream.
  1. Use your journal to revisit some of your own teenage dreams. What would it have meant to you if your parents had supported your dream?
  2. Is there a way for you to now accomplish some measure of the dream? Or have you developed different dreams? How can you accomplish some measure of the new one?
  3. Write down how it feels for you to be supportive of your child's dreams? What do you feel in thinking about working towards satisfying your own?
Making this shift in your parenting is going to be a challenge. Your #1 instinct is to protect your child from everything, which could hurt them. However, as a mentoring parent you are now teaching them in a large measure how to protect themselves. If you create a relationship where your teen can come to you for advice and counsel; you will likely give them permission to come to you with all their decisions which will help you to create a more safe environment. 

Believe in Parenting

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#1 Cause of Child Abuse And What you can Do About IT!

Does anyone Else Want To Know the #1 Cause of Child Abuse?

April is the month of the child. This month is set aside to look at all of the issues surrounding children. Nonprofits and Child Advocacy Groups work to bring awareness to all issues which effect children. As a parent educator, coach, and advocate on behalf of children and families. I have a few things I would like to contribute.

My Story

I had just graduated from college and I applied for a job at a summer camp. This was a Kiwanis Camp in Missouri and I loved it. As the Art and Crafts Instructor, I got to plan how children used thier experiences outdoors and turn them into art pieces they could keep forever. By far the saddest part of my job was entering data which showed about 20% of the children at camp were considered the sole member of their family. Why? These were children from local Children's Home for one reason or another could not live safely with their birth families.

Little did I know at the time, this camp set in motion me finding the life's work I am most passionate about.  I have been a parent educator, coach, and parent/child advocate. I started my journey trying ro figure out what children really wanted and I found 97% of these children want to be able to go home to their birth families and be safe and happy. Then I started to look at the root of the issue for why these children could not or should not return home. The answer may surprise you.

The NUMBER ONE issue is parental stress and poor or non-existent skills in stress relief .

 In fact research shows the number of child abuse cases  and the number of families needing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are directly related. This shows just as financial stress causes marital problems; it can also lead to poor parenting choices. One thing to realize is Child Abuse/Neglect effects people from all races, creeds, religions, and social economic levels. We often can see stress better when families need TANF. Nevertheless, stress is not an issue reserved for the poor.

While I support greatly those of my fellow advocates asking for stiffer sentences and greater consequences for the perpetrators of child abuse. It is my personal mission to see it eradicated! The only way to eliminate child abuse is to teach parents  positive parenting and the self-care skills they need to handle stress and stress related causes.

It is my belief most people who suspect parents are hurting their child do not say anything; because they do not want the parent to get into trouble. Here is something to consider. The parent is already in trouble. The old adage hurt people hurt people applies here. The number one instinct of most adults is to protect a child especially their child at all cost from hurt, harm, and danger.

So, if a parent is the cause of the hut, harm and danger there is a serious disconnect. Being willing to step up may be the only thing between they and their child being safe and that child becoming one of the 10 children each day in America who die at the hand of their parent.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Give them the Crisis Text Hotline Number--741741
  2. Talk with them about your concerns and offer to keep the child when they are feeling stressed.
  3. Get them to go to a Parents Anomalous Meeting with you.
  4. Get a group of friends together to support each other with parenting issues.
  5. Give them a gift certificate for Parent Support Classes, Call 2-1-1 in your area for local parenting services.
  6. Anomalously refer them to their child's school social worker or parent liaison for help.
  7. Call the Child Help Hotline to anomalously report abuse 1-800-4-A-Child 
  8. Contact me and I will walk you through what ever you need! 770-256-3281/Barbara@ptanda.org
The worst thing you can do if you suspect child abuse is nothing. Abused children especially those under five brains are irrevocably affected by the trauma abuse places on them. Parents are generally trapped in a cycle which leads them in a trap of relieving stress by causing the trauma which will permanently scar their children and teach poor parenting skills to the next generation. The very least you can do is to report the abuse to your state's child abuse hotline. It may not be as bad as you think. However, let the professionals decide. I am just asking you to love those around you enough to say something; if you see someone in trouble.

Believe in Parenting

Friday, April 21, 2017

Week 16: Authenticity Examining the Journey

Welcome to Week 16

Over the last four months we have been embarking on a journey to become more true to ourselves based on what he belief, think, say, and do. Our journey has been to align these four areas into one cohesive whole. It is time to stop and take a real look at the changes the last four months has made in our lives. 

My Journey

These four months have seen me making changes in my life I have lost weight and become more fit. I still have a long way to go. However, I am not of the mindset I need a fit and healthy body which is a lifelong journey I am not feeling overwhelmed or like a loser because I have not hit a certain weight loss at a certain time. Instead, my life is being lived in a way which supports my overall goal. I have also been working on retooling my business. I realized I am too technical in some aspects. I am learning to take my in person personal and bring it to my online engagements. I must say writing this series of blogs has helped me with this.

Change takes time and commitment tp get to where we want to go. This week and next there are no exercises. Instead I want you to review the last 4 months and come to some conclusions on what this alignment means to you and how you have and how you want to continue to change. 

  • Go back over the last 14 weeks of information. I say 14 because week 8 was another reflection time.
  •  Use your journal to write down any thoughts or ideas which come to you about the changes. 
  • Think about where you started and where you are now. 
  • Reflect on how these changes have effected your life and your relationships. First the relationship with yourself then your relationship with other adults and finally your relationship with your children.
Next week I am going to ask you to have some conversations about the changes you have made and how others are reflecting on them. Think about four people you wold like to talk to about these changes and see if you can make plans to sit down and talk with them next week. In next weeks post I will give you some guidelines for your conversations.

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Week 8 Teaching Teens Intimacy versus Sexuality

Welcome to Week 15

We in the western world think of sexuality and intimacy as the same thing. But, the truth is intimacy is a deeper and richer form of life than mere sexuality can ever be. When we teach our teens about the mechanics of sexuality. We teach them about the physicality of sexual intercourse. If this is all we teach them we fail to explain how the mind, heart, mutual respect, and emotions are also involved. We then trap them into a world where sexuality is just a pleasurable act with not real satisfaction beyond the physical. Yet sexuality when coupled with a commitment of heart mind and soul causes a deep, lasting and heart felt connection nothing else can match.

Whether we like it or not our society especially in America is based on sex. It is how we sell products, show our success, and share our lives. Whether we are talking about selling toothpaste, what it means to be a successful man, or what we read in newspapers or magazines we are talking about being attractive and drawing the attention of the opposite sex. I watched a special on ABC News several years ago where a three-year-old said she wanted to be Jasmine and not Belle for Halloween because Jasmine was sexy. I am pointing this out because we need to recognize our culture pushes the physicality of sexuality to our children whether we like it or not.  It is our job as parents to ensure they get the whole picture and not the part they are learning about everywhere else.

This is especially important because as our teens enter into adulthood they will face a phase called intimacy vs. isolation. If they mistake to concept of intimacy for sexuality. This could lead them to a very sad and isolative state. Which may have them separating from others and lacking the skills to create intimate relationships which are not based on sexuality.

Teaching Intimacy

Believe it or not teaching intimacy actually starts with cuddling as a child. I define being intimate as having a mutually respectful relationship with another person based on a mental, emotional and physical closeness that lies beyond the traps of sexuality. This kind of relationships is built by sharing your intimate thoughts and feelings with another person. Here are some things to think about:

  1. Intimate relationships are first built on mutual respect. Where each person loves, supports, and encourages the humanity of the other.
  2. Intimate relationships vary depending on the link between people. The intimacy you have with your best friend will look very different from the intimacy you have with your siblings. Which is very different from the kind of intimacy you have with your spouse. Yet, they are all intimate kinds of relationships.
  3. Though sharing thoughts, feelings, and physical closeness most intimate relationships do not include sexuality. I think this may be where many kids get confused between being homosexual and being close. Just because two males or two females are close does not mean they are sexual. I can be emotionally and intellectually on the same page with a person of the same or opposite gender and not be involved in a sexual way whatsoever.
  4. Sexuality when combined with intimacy create the best form of a relationship which includes the physicality of sexual intercourse.
The challenge of teaching intimacy and sexuality is found in the danger of thinking what physically feels good is more important than what is best for our mind will and emotions. This is an immature attitude which is only combated by helping children understand the value of the feelings of being mentally and emotionally close to another human being beyond the pleasure of sexual relations. This can only be developed by talking about it and teaching your teens the difference between the two.


  1. Use your journal to write about your own feelings of sexuality versus intimacy. We can not teach what we do not understand for ourselves. Get a good grasp on what you feel. If you need to talk to someone else about this I have two great counselors, I can refer you to one from each gender.
  2. Once you have a true handle on your own thoughts and feelings. Have a talk with your teen about intimacy. I guarantee they will think you mean sex. Surprise them. Talk to them about the intimacy you feel is there or missing in the relationship between the two of you.

Use your journal to log how you feel about this whole topic. Keep your thoughts about the intimate relationships you have, your teen has and how you want those all to look and feel. When you are feeling more comfortable you can then move into talking to your teen about how sexuality and intimacy fit together in a whole and happy adult relationship. Journal extensively about what that looks like to you and when you are sure you can communicate it clearly then have that talk with your teen.

Believe in Parenting