Happy parents raise happy kids

Archive for the ‘Poll’ Category

Shaming Kids: Good Parenting or Not?

Child wearing a sign around his neck do not trust me I will steal from you as I am a thief

From time to time, I hear or read about parents who shame their kids in public as a way to “teach them a lesson”. I think Shaming kids is a very bad idea.

Shame is one of the most debilitating feelings. It can make people, young and old do horrible things. Many grownups I work with are trying to overcome a combination of guilt and shame which is impacting their lives. These feelings are born in childhood, when parents use this combination as an incentive, thinking, “If I shame you enough, you will feel guilty and the guilt and shame will prevent you from doing it next time”.

I grew up in a house that thought where shaming kids and using guilt were major tools in the parenting tool box. If parenting practices are the tools, my parents used a hammer. Yet my parents grew up with parents of their own who used this hammer as an educational tool. They thought that if they just didn’t hit it as hard as their parents did, that makes them better parents. Their attitude was, “I am better than my parents” because of this. As a child, when a hammer hits your head (metaphorically speaking), the thought that your parents had their heads hit harder does not make the pain go away. Funnily enough, telling me how much shame and guilt they felt growing up did nothing to ease the pain either.

As a child, I was ashamed of my grades. My parents thought that shaming me would make me want to do better at school, but rather than working harder, I diverted all my energy away from learning and succeeding and towards hating them for it.

Raising Older Parents

Older couple sitting on a bench watching the sunrise

Recently, I travelled overseas to visit my family. While there, I spent a fair bit of time with my parents who are both getting on in age. My father is 80+ and my mother recently turned 73. Surprisingly, my dad is the healthier of the two. My mom on the other hand, has been not healthy for as long as I can remember her. First it was high blood pressure, then diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, osteoporosis and the list goes on.

Even though my visit was only for a short time, my mother and her health issues were a drama once again. Thankfully, she is not what you would call “sick”. As in, she does not have a fatal illness or anything like that. She just always seems to be in pain, or complaining about her physical condition. She visits her doctor regularly and often ends up telling them exactly what she wants them to prescribe for her. If you ask how she is, she will immediately start telling you. My sister, who is a social worker, says this is simply part of getting old. That may be, but my dad is older than her and he is not like that. I have met other people the same age, and even older, that were not like that either. I find it hard to accept that this is part of getting old.

Kids, Santa Claus and Tooth Fairies (poll)

Tooth Fairy

This week, my 9-year-old daughter Noff went to a play day with 4 of her friends. The parents who came to pick them up also had a bit of “play” time socializing and having a nice pizza and some watermelon.

The discussion was about kids, Santa Clause and fairies. We talked about the right time to tell kids who really puts the money under their pillow and who really buys their gifts for Christmas. I had taken part in similar debates and they always become passionate, as did this one.

Is it honest to tell kids about Santa and the Tooth Fairy?
What should we say when they ask? (Liar, liar pants of fire!)
When is the right time to tell them about the role their parents play in this?
What will they think when they find out we are the real fairies?

Who’s Your Favorite Grandparent? (Poll)

Grandkids with grandparents

For the 21 years of our oldest daughters’ life, we have been contemplating the issue of our kids’ relationship with their grandparents. You see, our kids have grown up far away from their grandparents most of their life, but their relationships with one side of the family is stronger that with the other side.

To my surprise, the relationship to grandparents has nothing to do with how nice the grandparents are or what culture they are from, how nice you are, how nice your kids are or where you choose to live around the world. It is linked more closely to evolution – that survival mechanism of humanity to keep the dynasty and strengthen it. Grandparents invest in the grandchildren they are convinced are theirs.

In 1998, a researcher named DeKay came up with a theory to explain findings from researches conducted two years previously (Euler & Weitzel, 1996 and Boon & Brassoni, 1996) who claimed that grandmothers on the mother’s side invested in their grandkids the most. DeKay came up with a theory linking the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren to certainty. His theory was that grandparents invest in the grandchildren they are certain are their offspring. In other words, the grandparent who has less doubt of being genetically related to the child and therefore to the grandchild, is more likely to invest in this relationship to support his or her “breed”.

Avatar: The Right Age (poll)


Recently, Gal and I saw the movie Avatar. It was a very good movie and ticked most of the boxes for me – it was visually stunning and for a visual person like me, watching it in 3D was an amazing experience and the messages were very clear and very much in line with my philosophy about nature and spirituality.

I could not stop thinking of another amazing animated film I had watched with my kids and loved very much called FernGully: The Last Rainforest. Avatar was a magnificent replication of the messages in FernGully using technology that had not yet been invented in 1992 and a futuristic spin.

When I went to the cinema with Gal, it was packed. To my surprise, there were many young kids there, as young as 3 years old. It immediately made me wonder about the right age to watch that movie (or any movie, for that matter).

Although I had no problem watching FernGully with my kids at the age of 5, I was not sure about letting my 8-year-old daughter watch Avatar. The level of violence in the movie was above and beyond what I thought an 8-year-old kid should be exposed to.

What do You Want for Your Kids?

Fairy Godmother

I have written about what is important to parents many times and I know that for some readers, it is not enough to read me saying that for hundreds of parents going through the parenting workshops, happiness and all forms of happiness are more important than what they spend most of their energy on (academic success).

Do not get me wrong. I do not know any parents who care about their kids that would say, “I want my kids to be failures at school”. We all want our kids to be academically successful. After all, whether we like it or not, we think their level of success says something about us…

Unfortunately, many parents think academic success is the entry ticket to “real life”, but although I believe it is very important, I think it cannot stand by itself and we need a balance between academic success and happiness.

What do you think?

How to Discipline Your Kids

Mother disciplining child

I get asked many times about disciplining kids. I hate the word “discipline”, because I believe kids do not need to be disciplined, they need to be loved and cared for, supported and encouraged. Discipline has nothing to do with being happy – not with being a happy kid and definitely not with being a happy parent. In fact, parents with discipline questions are unhappy and know their kids are unhappy too.

I guess most of the parents who ask me about discipline really mean they want to know how to help their kids behave in a way that will make life easier for them. After all, kids learn their behavior from the people around them. The challenge that people have with discipline is that instead of it being a method of guiding kids towards the desired behavior, it is used as a way to control them. But kids are very smart and when you use controlling methods to manipulate them, they quickly start using the same techniques to manipulate you, which is very annoying.

TV Diet (8): How Much TV is Too Much?


As the name of this series of posts suggests, your family may need to go on a TV diet to minimize the damage done by excessive watching while still getting the benefits TV has to offer.

The best way to start any diet is to find out how much and what kinds of food you consume, so to start your TV diet, first you need to know how much TV you and your kids are watching.

Most parents think their kids watch too much TV and fight a lot with their kids over it. Finding out about your kids’ viewing habits can help you greatly in your parenting by having your facts straight.

This post is part 8 of 18 in the series TV Diet

Happy Birthday to Family Matters (poll)

Birthday kid blowing birthday candle

Two years ago, we launched the “Family Matters” website. Wow, when I look back, I realize so many things have happened since. Now, we have 438 posts (all original material from our own experience with our own kids), and lots and lots of comments. We are very proud and happy to be making a difference in so many families’ lives.

What Parents and Kids Fight about

Kid on mobile phone

Having conflicts between parents and kids is one of the main issues that parents raise in our parenting workshops. No parent in the world dreams of arguing or fighting as parts of parenting. When kids are born and their parents watch them for hours sleeping in their crib or rattling toys with their tiny hands, none of them imagines ever fighting with this little creature that they loved so much.

Ronit Baras

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