Saturday, September 06, 2008

Cell Phone Battles

So, I’m at a local high school, it’s the end of Back to School Night and I’m putting away my StandUp Parenting display at our table. I whip out my cell phone and place a call to my husband, letting him know I’m on my way home.
Three girls with ‘Volunteer’ tee shirts rush up to me exclaiming, ‘Oooh – no cell phones at school!’ They are shocked – shocked! The crisis was averted when I explained that I wasn’t a student, it was after school, um, really, it’s okay!
In the last few years our local schools – middle and high schools in particular – have developed standards for cell phone usage to combat the cheating, bullying, drugs and porn that are just some of the distractions that cells introduce to class and campus.
And the standards, though they vary from school to school, are tough. One infraction and said cell may end up in the office. Some schools allow the student to retrieve it at the end of the day, others require a parent’s presence.
This should encourage us. Why? Remember the StandUp sheet on motivating early/mid/late teens and adults? One can motivate changes in behavior by requiring you child to earn (or suffer the loss of) a privilege or item. Cell phone rates high on most kids list of ‘wanna haves’.
The encouraging note is this – if schools can take away a student’s phone – so can we. Should you? Will it precipitate a crisis that you’re prepared to handle? Can you afford not to, in the long run? Well that’s a topic that you can explore in your StandUp Parent Support Group. Good Luck!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Making A Moving On Plan For Summer

Summer is upon us – and the wails of ‘Now what?’ can be heard from parents throughout the land. Doesn’t matter if the child in question is 10, 16, 24 or 44, the lack of regular structure can throw us and our kids into a tailspin.
What do we do when our kid is out of school? How should we plan a vacation when our out-of-control child is so disruptive and disagreeable? My kid refuses to get a summer job – now what? We discovered we are living with a vampire – wait! No, just my teen who has developed a pasty complexion from playing countless hours of video/computer games. How do we cut down on this behavior?
Let me throw some ideas your way that have been useful to me and have also been brainstormed by our StandUp Parenting group over the years.
First – I just love the resource cube that we have put together for our group. We’re all on the lookout for summer activities for kids of all ages – this includes adults! Volunteer opportunities, summer job fairs, classes, camps, youth programs at the local park or community center – these all are fair game. The activity you find might be for your StandUp child or yourself. When the behavior of your young person is off the charts taking good care of the rest of the family is just the ticket. Send the ‘other’ kids to camp. Volunteer at camp yourself where the teens actually like you!
Second – I take great comfort in the encouragement of my StandUp friends. We invite one another to family functions, we’ve walked, rode bikes, played croquet and danced together. Wow! Some of our parents have actually developed relationships with our Acting Out Kids and have invited them along on activities, taken them to college searches, invited them into their homes. Young people who have been acting out have been willing to go to the Art Museum, Public Gardens and spend time quilting with groups of StandUp parents. Kids who refuse to get a job are more than happy to do odd jobs for StandUp parents.
Third – Get together in your group and brainstorm using your resource cube, your resource parents and your combined calendars. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.
Have a great summer!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Me and my M'bira

So I’m in a marimba band. Why? Keeps the brain cells perking along in my old age. We’re learning a new piece called Ru. Although it was written by a young American, the style is African. The song is introduced and ends with a simple melody played on the m’bira – that’s the instrument I’m holding. As you may have guessed, I volunteered to learn the couple bars of music involved. Sounds easy enough, huh? Wrong!
I’ve already learned a couple of songs on the m’bira and I should have known. Truly, I should have…
To bring you up to speed, the m’bira is played with both thumbs and the right index finger. Except for the far right seven keys, none of the notes are sequential – in other words, they don’t go: do, re, me, fa, etc. More like the chiming of a clock – up, down, up, down. Add to this little list – the songs are, well, African – not Western by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never heard a m’bira song that I’ve recognized.
So how do you learn a m’bira piece? That’s just the question I asked my teacher during my second lesson on Ru. I’d had three weeks to practice and I was still drawing a blank a good deal of the time.
‘Memorize three notes. Practice them over and over and over. Then learn three more. Practice. Put it together. Practice some more.’
I know this! Baby steps! I thought back to the years that I’ve spent in StandUp and realized that I would come away from the group with ideas that didn’t necessarily make a lot of sense at the time. They felt strange. They were hard. And I kept forgetting. But my group encouraged me to take baby steps and keep at it.
My yelling became a quiet response. My arguing became ‘Nevertheless’ or ‘Oh!’ Little by little, step by step, it all began to make sense.
I still depend on my group to help me focus on my goals for the week and continue to make baby steps in new areas. Check out our website in the sidebar and join us, won’t you?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Meanest Mom?

'Meanest mom on planet' sells son's car
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the "meanest mom on the planet."
After finding alcohol in her son's car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old's misdeed with everyone -- by placing an ad in the local newspaper.
Read the rest of this great interview here:
'Meanest mom on the planet' places ad explaining son's goof /
This news release gave us plenty to talk about this week in just about every place that I’ve spent time – church, gym and StandUp Parenting Support Group. Everyone – and I mean everyone thought the woman should be given a medal.
The second comment was, hey girl, we thought you were the meanest mom on the planet. Well, just for the record, I merely called myself a mean mom. Mind you, I did claim, when my kids were in elementary school, that I had attended Mean Mom College and graduated at the top of my class.
It all started when we had a couple of challenging foster boys who began to accuse me of being a Mean Mom. Cut me to the heart. For awhile. Then I began to take a new tack – ‘Oh, thank you!’ I’d exclaim, wiping an imaginary tear from my eye. 'I worked so hard in Mean Mom College. It’s working!’
That response brought the accusations to an immediate standstill. After all, how do you respond to agreement from Mom?
Back to Jane Hambleton – I notice that she stated two simple rules about the car for her son. I also noticed that when her son broke one of those rules she didn’t accuse him, argue with him or warn him. She took action. Wow! I'm impressed. Easier said than done.
Could I do that? Should I? When? How?
Come on down to your local StandUp Parent group (or request a six week class), and get the support you need to take the action you want to take this week.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Years Progress Through Journaling

Are you going through a particularly rough patch in your life? Not just because of your Acting Out Kid – perhaps health issues, relationships or job stress is impinging on your ability to cope with daily life. In addition to the ideas and support I found in my StandUp Parenting support group, I started journaling.
Scientific research has proven the health benefits of journaling. When you journal you:
- decrease the symptoms of many health conditions including asthma and arthritis.
- Improve cognitive functioning
- Strengthen your immune system
- Work against the stress in your life.
How did I start journaling? I got myself a notebook (big or little – anything that I like and will use works for me now). With an ornery teen and young adult in my life, I made sure it was something I could squirrel away from prying eyes - I had a locking file cabinet that I could use as well. A friend uses his computer to set up a journaling file and I sometimes email myself my thoughts each day (I make sure my files are password protected).
I wrote. At least a sentence. At least once a day. My feelings, my fears, my hopes and dreams. I wrote about my past – childhood, marriage, education, job. I wrote prayers. I love to include inspirational bits I pick up here and there. At times I'd just list the things I'm thankful for. Thinking about the positives in my life can brings balance to my perception of my experiences.
When I combine my journaling with Group Educational Activities such as the Fantasy Family and Who Is In Charge?, I've found that I have a powerful method for change in my life.
So begin the New Year with baby steps towards health and healing - get back to your StandUp meetings and find ideas that will work for you.