Sep 032014



Torn front wheel of a bicycle after a crash wi...

Torn front wheel of a bicycle after a crash with a car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I was packing for a trip with the TV on in the background.  Instead of heading to bed early so I could be fresh for my trip, I stayed up to jot some thoughts about a  bike accident.

Were there flames, fatalities or drama?  On the surface there was nothing unusual about the incident.  Or so it seemed at first.  A young boy was riding his bike, hit a pothole, fell off and broke his wrist. He had a bike accident and his Mom is suing the city.

[Tweet “Were there flames, fatalities or drama?”]

When asked why the city should be held responsible she replied “Hellooooo.”  That was the entire comment.

Of course I feel for any child with a broken bone — it hurts. It’s unfortunate. And I understand parents feeling angry when children suffer: those feelings are normal and natural. And of course cities and towns should to their best to make necessary road repairs.

Kids fall off of bicycles and get hurt. It happens: neither riding a bike nor conquering gravity are particularly easy skills to master. But a broken wrist in not a fatality. Painful? Inconvenient? Scary? Sure — so are lots of opportunities for growth.

Intended or not, actions have consequences — even driving our bikes in unexpected directions.

Have you ever been frustrated by making repeated requests about basic chores or responsibilities?  Laundry that doesn’t make it to the hamper?  Book bags that don’t get cleaned out?  Toys that aren’t put away?

At that point some parents are able to let certain laundry go undone, permission slips unsigned and toys “‘go missing.”  It’s generally an effective way to stop nagging and help kids connect the dots between the request and the consequence of not following through.

However there parents who offer to serve detention for their kids and even one who drove the get-away car for her “baby’s” robbery…  sometimes parental love gets in the way of more rational thinking!

[Tweet “Sometimes parental love gets in the way of more rational thinking!”]



P.S.  I think extreme examples can be useful in checking our own decisions so  I’ve got a collection of old news articles here. They’ve sparked some lively conversations in parenting groups.  (And, please, if you’ve got one to add, send me the link!  I love this crazy collection.)






Jul 302014
English: Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula.

English: Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Tweet “There can be long-term benefits to changing a child’s short-term economic expectations.”]


When it is difficult to make ends meet there is a particular parental struggle that doesn’t need to exist:  it is not necessary to feel guilty about setting limits on previously over-indulged children.  In fact, even if you haven’t established a precedent of over-indulgence, there’s no need to feel guilty about setting economic limits.  Like any tough situation, this one holds potential for some valuable learning:  there can be long-term benefits to changing a child’s short-term economic expectations.

Of course it can be difficult to say “no” to someone we love – and all parents want to be able to give their kids the best of everything.  But how do we define “the best”?  Can it be in the skills that we introduce and allow them to practice?  How about the benefits of budgeting?

Here are a few:

  • Setting priorities:  What is it they want the most?
  • Money management:  What is the relationship between saving and spending?
  • Planning: What will it take to get it?  What resources to they already have?  Which ones will they need to develop or find?
  • Self-determination: Are they willing to work for it?
  • Research:  Is there a way to get a better price on “the thing”?  Is it ever on sale?  Can it be found second hand?
  • Problem-solving: If they’ve not saved enough money how will they earn more?  Odd jobs?  Yard sale?

Giving your children a chance to learn the benefits of budgeting is a gift that will last far longer than… well… just about anything on their list!



Apr 112014


A book for parents who want to raise good grown-ups

A book for parents who want to raise good grown-ups

You love your kids.  You want to see them grow into prosperous, self-reliant, fulfilled adults who reach their goals and give to others.  You probably also have a mental picture of what you don’t want them to become.

But what separates high-achieving adults from those who fail?

It’s not all genetics, talent or luck.  It’s something that every parent (or grandparent or foster parent or coach or teacher or mentor) can provide.  It’s the Four Foundations.

In What Kids Need to Succeed: Four Foundations of Adult Achievement you’ll see that high achievers share a common childhood experience:  four critical life lessons were passed on to them in their early years.

After all, you’re not raising a child…. you’re raising a future adult.

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