8 A’s of Effective Parenting – Mark Merrill’s Blog

Affirmation

When we affirm a child’s feelings, it gives them a sense of authenticity. When our children are sharing their feelings or opinions, they want us to listen to them, identify with them, and affirm them. [Tweet This] It would go something like this. Your son comes home and says, “Man! My math teacher made me so mad today, he said I wasn’t trying.” Well, your instinct might be to try to downplay the situation like this, “Oh son, he probably didn’t mean anything by it. Let it go.” Or you might say—before you even address his feelings—”Now son, were you trying? Maybe he had a point.” Or, “You’re a big boy now; you can’t get so upset about things.”

Those are all attempts to control or fix the situation. Instead try, “Son, I am so sorry that happened. How do you feel about it now?” Then just listen, let him know you understand how he’s feeling and thank him for sharing his feelings. In doing so, you are telling him that he can be real and authentic with his feelings and with you. Even when we don’t agree with our children, we can still affirm their feelings and them as individuals.

Acceptance

When you give unconditional acceptance, you give a child a sense of security. This basically comes down to one principle that must be conveyed to our children: “I don’t love you because of what you do or achieve, I love you because you’re my child.” Our love and affection should not be based on grades, behavior or achievements.

Appreciation

When we express appreciation, it gives a child a sense of significance. Appreciation is one of the most powerful motivators for right behavior in our kids. [Tweet This] So the more we “catch” our children doing things right and we express our appreciation, the more motivated they will be to behave better. You can express that appreciation by saying something like, “Thanks for telling me the truth about what happened. I know it wasn’t easy, but I really appreciate the way you are owning and taking responsibility for your actions.” Appreciation can also be expressed by writing a short note of encouragement to your child. Here are 7 Notes You Should Write to Your Child.

Applause

When we applaud our children, it gives them a sense of confidence. As parents, we sometimes get so focused on instructing and disciplining our children that we forget to applaud them. Your applause can literally be putting your hands together for your child at their recital, their game, their school. It can also be with your words. These 6 Short Sentences Your Child Needs to Hear You Say will help you get started.  We must be bold in applauding our children.

Availability

When we are available to our children, it gives them a sense of importance. We can say all we want about how important our children are to us. But if we’re not available to them, our words will ring hollow. Sometimes, our automatic response to our kids when they approach us is, “Not right now, I’m busy.” But our children should come before our TV watching, our hobbies, and our work. So when our kids come to us, our response should be to stop, drop, and listen. Stop what we’re doing, drop to our knees, and listen to them, hug them and play with them.

Apology

When we apologize to our children, it gives them a sense of trust. Over the years, there have been many occasions that I have apologized to my wife, Susan, and our five children. Fessing up about our mistakes, confessing when we are wrong, and asking for forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of humility and strength. Trust is earned, and one way to earn the trust of my children is for them to know that I am completely trustworthy and honest. Admitting my error and apologizing for it helps earn that trust. It shows them that I’m the real deal, not a guy who always thinks he’s right.

Affection

When we show our children affection, it gives them a sense of lovability. All children want to feel like they are lovable. If they don’t get love from you, they will get it somewhere else. Here are a few things you can do to show affection. Wink at your daughter across the dinner table. Give big hugs to your son. Develop a bedtime tuck-in routine for your children. Hold your daughter’s hand. Have a special nickname for each of your kids. Wrestle with them on the floor. Give them piggyback rides.

Accountability

When we hold children accountable, it gives them a sense of responsibility and self-control. Children need the disciplines of responsibility and self-control to function successfully in life. As parents, we mustcreate rules and boundaries for our children. Once those guidelines are set, we must be consistent in enforcing them.

http://www.markmerrill.com/8-as-of-effective-parenting?utm_term=markmerrill&utm_campaign=MM+Blog+Post&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20303082&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–U3dG8DxXpldH3cc1S78YdyC75sJkcFSD3Kdt4btP5KucNViSD7GT3NRcAdBJrbJrkGi6NpsQ3bk5mzoAThTwpBwevDQ&_hsmi=20303082

Advertisements

10 Essentials for the Successful Dad via Mark Merrill

Love Your Wife.
Actively loving your wife is incredibly beneficial to your children. The number one source of security for kids is when they know that their dad loves their mom and is committed to her for life.

And remember that your spouse is not the enemy. You are on the same team. When my wife, Susan, and I have disagreements over things like disciplining our children or finances, she’ll often say to me, “Remember, I’m on your team.” Marriage is the ultimate team sport. You and your spouse were designed to complete each other, not compete with each other.

If you are not married to your child’s mother, your patience and kindness towards her are still crucial to your kids.

2. Spend Time with Your Kids.
How you spend your time is a reflection of what’s important to you. You value your kids by being with them and making memories that will last a lifetime. As my five kids were growing up, I tried to be intentional about spending one-on-one time with each of them doing things that they enjoyed. I often put those times on my calendar as very important appointments. Remember, it’s not just about quality time; it’s about quantity time.

3. Be a Role Model.
I cannot overstate the importance of a father modeling the type of behavior he desires in his children. Role models don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk of honor. Want to be your children’s hero? Then be what you want your children to be.  These 5 Ways Parents Can Be a Role Model for Kids will help you be a good model for your kids to follow.

4. Understand and Enjoy Your Children.
Like you, every child has unique DNA, unique fingerprints, and a unique personality. In order to be the best father you can be, you’ll need to understand your children as individuals and learn to show them you appreciate what makes them unique. Take note of what each of your children needs from you the most. One may need encouragement. Another may respond better with affection. Kids grow up quickly, so just enjoy being with them.

5. Show Affection.
Children long for a secure place in this fast-paced world. They find it most often in the warm embrace of a parent. As children grow, so does their need for acceptance and a sense of belonging. Dads meet that need in a way no one else can when he offers a hug or a kind word, and expresses his appreciation and love for his children. If nothing else, make sure to say, “I love you” every day.

6. Secure Your Family’s Financial Future.
Financial stress is one of the leading factors that tears families apart. In order to put your family in a position of strength, you have to shore up your finances. First, hate debt. Do everything you can to get out of it as quickly as possible. Then, make sure you establish a budget that not only trims expenses but also allows you to save and share with those in need. Have proper insurance. Finally, make sure you live and teach these frugal principles to your children as well.

7. Eat Together as a Family.
Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family dinnertime. Yet the communication and unity built during this time is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a meal together—breakfast, lunch, or dinner—provides structure to an often hectic schedule. It also gives kids the opportunity to talk about their lives. This is a time for fathers to listen as well as give advice and encouragement.

8. Discipline with a Gentle Spirit.
True discipline is a function of a father’s love for his children, which is why it should never be hard-nosed or harsh. The goal of discipline is not to intimidate or tear down, but to mold and correct. Correcting your kids should be done in private, and you and your wife should be unified in how you discipline. Strive to be consistent.

9. Pray and Worship Together.
Families that have a healthy prayer life and take worshiping God seriously help their children understand that there is an ultimate authority in their lives—an authority who loves them and who provides moral absolutes for them to live by. Every child needs to know that there is right and wrong, good and evil. Living under the authority of God will give them that knowledge.

10. Realize You’re a Father Forever.
Someday every father must let go. As he allows his children their freedom to direct their own lives, a good father realizes that he doesn’t abandon them at a dorm room, a wedding altar, or the door of their first job. He continues to love, encourage, coach, and convey his wisdom to his children forever.

http://www.markmerrill.com/10-essentials-for-the-successful-dad/

The Chronicles of Ian Karlo: lessons learned from a three year old

En Español abajo!

IankarloOur son, Ian Karlo is turning three today. He is such a happy little rascal  and growing up to be a big boy.  I have been lucky to be around him more than I did with Karymar during her first years due to my job. The time spent together has taught me some valuable lessons that I intent to apply in my daily life.

Ian’s typical day starts waking up in such a happy mood.  We  seldom realize when he is up until we hear him talking in his room. We open the door and there he is, beaming at us with his big noble smile. Nothing seems to bother him. He is happy and ready to play.  Lesson#1: every day is a new day of fun and play. Enjoy life, like a child does.

However, breakfast is everyday morning battle. Ian Karlo doesn’t want his cereal, he demands his milk.  He can be as swift as any martial artist evading the spoon but when it comes to his milk he is as docile as a teddy bear. We had to be very patient around breakfast time with him. Over time, we have come to many ways to persuade him to eat other foods with songs, dancing and down right negotiating.  Lesson#2: be flexible but be persistent.

Our little man has a growing curiosity about how things work, particularly anything that turns or rotates. He loves to watch how a ceiling fan rotates. In fact, any fan will get his immediate attention. He flips his stroller up side down to spin its wheels.  Toy car tires are his specialty; he just loves to remove the tires rendering the toy partly disabled. He then comes to show me that his car is broken and demands that I repair it. He accepts no replacements nor cares less about any rational explanation about why they toy is broken. He only stops nagging once the toy car was back in one piece.  He is growing up to be a man demanding only results, albeit childish ones. Lesson#3: be curious about life and demand only results (real ones).

My big boy loves motorcycles. Any motorcycle on the road is Papi’s motorcycle but his big thing is cars, cars, and more cars.  I am talking particularly about Cars, the movie.  The little man wakes up every morning and aside from calling out to “el abanico” (the fan) , he calls out for his “ipap” (iPad). He knows how to work the iPad better than we do, switching from Cars movie to another and even selecting an app he likes. This goes on and on all day. He has a huge collection of cars, motorcycles and trucks. He doesn’t go anywhere without a handful of cars and his “ipap”. Fact: children handle technology better than most adults. It’s like second nature to them.

 

We celebrated his birthday with his favorite theme “Cars”913039_10151423378346799_2031776107_n

and I prepared a little slideshow to enjoy and remember. We love you Ian Karlo, happy birthday!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Nuestro hijo, Ian Karlo cumple tres años hoy. Él es un niño feliz y travieso. He tenido la suerte de estar cerca de él más de lo que pude estar con Karymar durante sus primeros años debido a mi trabajo. El tiempo que pasamos juntos me ha enseñado algunas lecciones valiosas que tengo intención de aplicar en mi vida diaria.

Un dia típico para Ian Karlo comienza al despertar de buen humor. Rara la vez que nos damos cuenta cuando el esta despierto hasta que lo oímos hablar en su cuarto. Abrimos la puerta y ahí está él, sonriendo a nosotros con una gran sonrisa noble. Nada parece molestarle. Él es feliz y esta listo para jugar. Lección # 1: cada día es un nuevo día de diversión y juego. Disfruta de la vida, como un  lo hace un niño.

Sin embargo el desayuno es la batalla de todos los días. Ian Karlo no quiere que su cereal, el exige su leche. Él puede ser tan rápido como cualquier artista marcial evadiendo la cuchara, pero cuando se trata de su leche es tan dócil como un oso de peluche. Tuvimos que tener mucha paciencia a la hora del desayuno con él. Con el tiempo, hemos llegado a muchas maneras de persuadirle a comer otros alimentos con canciones, bailes y directamente a la negociación. Lección # 2: se flexible, pero se persistente.

Nuestro hombrecito tiene una curiosidad acerca de cómo funcionan las cosas, especialmente todo lo que gira o rota. Le encanta ver cómo un abanico de techo gira. De hecho, cualquier abanico tiene su atención inmediata. Él vira su coche de bebe al revés para hacer girar sus ruedas. Las gomas de sus carritos de juguete son su especialidad. Simplemente le encanta quitarle las gomas dejando el juguete parcialmente inservible. Luego viene donde mí para enseñarme su carrito de juguete roto y me pide que lo arregle. Él no acepta sustitutos ni se preocupa menos de una explicación racional de por qué el juguete se rompio. Él sólo para de insistir una vez que su carrito de juguete esta reparado en su totalidad. Mi niño está creciendo para ser un hombre que exige sólo los resultados, aunque sean infantiles. Lección # 3: siente curiosidad por la vida y demanda resultados (los de verdad).

Mi niño grande ama las motoras. Cualquier motora en la carretera es la motora de Papi, pero lo de el es carros, carros y mas carros. Me refiero en particular acerca de Cars, la película. El bandido se despierta cada mañana y aparte de señalar el abanico , pide por su “ipap” (iPad). Él sabe cómo funciona el iPad mejor que nosotros, cambiando la película Cars por otra de Cars e incluso seleccionar una aplicación que le gusta. Esto sigue y sigue durante todo el día. Él tiene una gran colección de carritos, motoras y camiones. Él no va a ninguna parte sin sus carritos ni su “ipap”. Hecho: Los niños saben  manejar mejor  la tecnologia que la mayoría de adultos. Es como una accion instintiva para ellos.

Celebramos su compleaños con el tema de “Cars” y prepare una presentacion para disfrutar y recordar. Te amammos Ian Karlo, feliz cumpleaños!

6 A’s of Good Parenting by Mark Merrill

In Celebration of our daughter’s lucky number 7  birthday, I like to share Mark Merrill’s post on good parenting.  Happy Birthday Karymar, we love you!

The 6 A’s of good parenting:

1. Affirmation

When we affirm a child’s feelings it gives them a sense of authenticity.

Have you ever heard the old saying, “Laugh with those who are happy and cry with those who are sad?” It means that when our child is sharing his feelings or opinions, they want us to listen to them, identify with them and affirm them.

It would go something like this. Your son comes home and says, “Man! My math teacher made me so mad today, he said I wasn’t trying.”

Well, your instinct might be to try to downplay the situation like this, “Oh son, he probably didn’t mean anything by it. Let it go.” Or you might say—before you even address his feelings—”Now son, were you trying? Maybe he had a point.” Or, “You’re a big boy now; you can’t get so upset about things.”

Those are all attempts to control or fix the situation. Instead try, “Son, I am so sorry that happened. How do you feel about it now?” Then just listen, let him know you understand how he’s feeling and thank him for sharing his feelings.

Even when we don’t agree with our children, we can still affirm their feelings and them as individuals.

2. Acceptance

When you give unconditional acceptance you give a child a sense of security.

This basically comes down to one principle that must be conveyed to our children: “I don’t love you because of what you do or achieve, I love you because you’re my child.”

Our love and affection should not be based on grades, behavior or achievements.

3. Appreciation

When we express appreciation it gives a child a sense of significance.

Appreciation is one of the most powerful motivations for right behavior. So, the more we “catch” our children doing things right, and we express our appreciation, the more motivated they will be to behave better. You can express that appreciation, by saying something like, “Thanks for telling me the truth about what happened. I know it wasn’t easy, but I really appreciate the way you are owning and taking responsibility for your actions.” Appreciation can also be expressed by writing a short note of encouragement to your child.

4. Availability

When we are available to our children it gives them a sense of importance.

We can say all we want about how important our children are to us. But if we’re not available to them, our words will ring hollow.

Sometimes, our automatic response to our kids when they approach us is, “Not right now, I’m busy.” But our children should come before our TV-watching, our hobbies and our work. So when our kids come to us, our response should be to stop, drop and listen. Stop what we’re doing, drop to our knees, and listen to them, hug them, play with them.

5. Affection

When we show our children affection it gives them a sense of lovability.

All children want to feel like they are lovable. If they don’t get love from you they will get it somewhere else.

Here are a few things you can do to show affection. Wink at your daughter across the dinner table. Give big hugs to your son. Develop a bedtime tuck in routine for your children. Hold your daughter’s hand. Have a special nickname for each of your kids. Wrestle with them on the floor. Give them piggy back rides.

6. Accountability

When we hold children accountable it gives them a sense of responsibility and self-control.

Children need the disciplines of responsibility and self-control to function successfully in life. As parents, we must create rules and boundaries for our children. Once those guidelines are set, we must be consistent in enforcing them.

What are some ways you can demonstrate these six A’s to your children on a daily basis?

http://www.markmerrill.com/2010/12/02/6-as-of-good-parenting/

12 Questions Parents Should Ask Themselves Every Day « Mark’s Blog

Time spent with our children is the best investment in their future as individuals. Often times work and things in life disguised as problems , take valuable time away from sowing a good bonding between parent and child. Any positive deposits we make, helps build their character, self-esteem and even social skills which will have a tremendous impact in the child’s growth as a valuable contributor to society. How to keep our priorities as parents in check? well, I like Mark Merrill’s blog on 12 Questions Parents Should Ask Themselves Every Day « Mark’s Blog. It definitively put things in clear perspective on how I spend  time with my kids.

The Chronicles of Ian Karlo: Dos años

April 16 2012 marked the second birthday of our son, Ian Karlo. Dos añitos!  Our baby is still a baby to us. We love his smile, his noble eyes and everything else about him. Up to this date, Ian Karlo does all the things a child of his age do: he likes to run not walk, grab anything he can get a hold on claiming is his and then throws them around like a boss. He graduated from his safe start swimming classes and loves and I mean loves the water. He absolutely loves cars and motorcycles too making me a proud Dad. He rides around the house on his Harley Davidson motorcycle and know where to turn the bike on and off. He flips everything that has wheels upside down to see the wheels turn. His vocabulary has expanded since the ear tubes. His words of choice are: “eche” for milk in Spanish, vroom-vroom every time he plays with his cars or  making sounds like a truck when he plays with his Tonka truck. He says nite-nite, oh-oh, bye-bye, “aimar” to call his sister Karymar, “aqui” for here in Spanish, “a comer” to eat and pretty much repeats everything you say to him. He melts me down everything he calls me ” Papi” with a long “Paaaapiiii”. He likes to draw too with his two hands and at the same time.He is also another resident on duty letting us, Mom and Dad, know how important he and his big sister are in our lives.  We had a little “Sponge-Bob” theme birthday celebration at our house with family and friends. Now he is getting into the so-called “terrible two’s”  but we are not worried. We know he’ll do it his way and under the watchful eye of his big sister, he will be okay.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To My Children, Para Mis Hijos

You are important to me. I love you. You will grow to be a person of character and integrity. You are obedient and very intelligent. You will lead your life following your heart for what is right and good. You will be the person you want to be and do what your heart tells you without worrying what others might think. Your efforts will never be in vain and you will lead a life full of passion, of service to others, full of happiness and good health. You will enjoy of having many true friends because you will care for them and respect them for what they are and they in turn will do the same for you. You will treat others with compassion and justice. Love everything that God has for you every day and take care of the animals and the environment that surrounds you. Be an exemplary human being and many will seek your companionship. More importantly, love yourself because you are special and unique being. God loves you and we, your parents, love you very much.

Tu eres muy importante para mi. Te amo. Creceras para ser una persona de caracter e integridad.  Eres obediente y muy inteligente.  Te guiaras en esta vida dejandote llevar por lo que es justo y bueno. Seras la persona que quieras ser y haras lo que el corazon te dicte sin importar lo que digan los demas. Tus esfuerzos nuncan seran en vano y llevaras una vida llena de pasion , de servico hacia el projimo, llena de felicidad y buena salud. Disfrutaras de la amistad de muchos amigos verdaderos por que tu cuidas de ellos y los respetas como son y ellos haran lo mismo contigo.  Trataras a tu projimo con compasion y justicia. Ama todo lo que Dios te ofrece cada dia y cuida de los animales y la naturaleza que te rodea. Se un ser ejemplar y muchos buscaran tu compañia. Mas importante, amate a ti mismo por que eres un ser especial y unico. Dios te ama y nosotros tus padres te amamos mucho .

 

The Chronicles of Ian Karlo: Safe Start

Ian Karlo recently graduated from his first swimming class program, offered by the local YMCA. The Safe Start  is a 10- minute per day, 8-week long program aiming to introduce the child to the water, teach him how to turn over and float safely in case of accidentally falling in a pool. Since the beginning, my boy Ian was not a happy camper. He hated the water. Soon as he saw his teacher Noreen, he cried until his face was red with fury.  He knew somehow what was coming. For us it was heart breaking watching him treading water but we knew it is a necessary measure for his safety. We did the same with Karymar when she was just 6 months old. As she grew older , we saw a significant change in her confidence and behavior. We wanted the same for Ian but we had to delay his start on the program well after his first birthday.  It  took him 12 weeks to float and turn in the water but we saw the change in his behavior after the first 8 weeks. He was more  outgoing and taking more risks. We were glad that we did it and so happy to see him turning over and float as soon he hits the water. Now, he loves the water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.