How to Eliminate the Top 7 Parenting Struggles

Father holding his young sons

Last month, I wrote about the top 7 things parents struggle with: emotions, social pressure, information overload, money, relationship and physical body. I think that if parents knew how to manage these things in their life, it would be easier and more enjoyable for them to parent their children to be happy, healthy and successful. Here are 7 tips to improve your skills in each area and eliminate the respective parenting struggles.

How to manage your emotions

Whenever you have a strong feeling and feel you are about to burst, stop! Examine the feeling, ask yourself “what is that thing I am feeling now?” giving it a name will slow you down and move you from your primitive brain – the fight or flight mode to the “thinking” mode. It will make sure you are more composed in your relationship with your children.

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Top 7 Things Parents Struggle With

A family lying on top of each other

I recently did an interview for a radio station about parenting. They wanted to know what were the top things parents struggle with. I have seen hundreds of parents over the last 28 years. If I had to list every struggle, the list would never end – parenting is hard! So, I figured the best thing to do would be to group challenges by category.

Parents today struggle with seven main things. Not surprisingly, parents today struggle with roughly the same things their parents struggled with in the past. Today, they just give it a different name, maybe to feel a bit more modern or advanced. Same struggle, different shape.

Parents need to take on a management role as soon as they have kids. Unfortunately, not everyone is a good manager and parents often struggle with it. If they were lucky enough to learn if from their own parents, cool! If not, they may struggle with it as a parent. Unfortunately, people spend more than 16 years of their lives in educational institutions that are obsessed about teaching them to manage their homework but not any other part of their lives.

School does not teach us to manage our time, our emotions, our friends or relationships, our physical body, our money or a budget. So it is no surprise that people struggle with it in their teens and then they struggle with it as adults raising kids. They then can’t teach their children how to manage any off these things either, because no one can teach what they don’t know.

Here are the 7 main challenges parents experience.

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Teen Life Sucks (or Does it?)

Baby toes

Sometimes, when I talk to teens, they tell me that teen life sucks.

It is sad to hear them say that at a time in their lives that is supposed to be wonderful, interesting and exciting. The teenage years are when they form their identity and it is sad to hear that they came to the conclusion that teen life sucks.

It is sad because if they believe it sucks, they are more likely to feel that it sucks. If they think teen life sucks, their subconscious will create a self-fulfilling prophecy, and their life will actually “suck”. It is not the thought that makes it true, it is that subconsciously, the thought will lead to action that will make it true. Whatever you believe, this is your reality.

I love those Buddhist quotes and there is one in which the Buddha said it perfectly, “Wherever you go, there you are”

My motto is that in life, you get what you focus on. If you get up in the morning and you focus on what sucks, you will get exactly that, life that sucks!

Teen life is complicated and involves many aspects. Yes, there are components that do not work the way we want them to. Sometimes, they work to our advantage and sometimes they do not. It is still a far cry from considering teen life as sucking completely.

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How to Destroy Good Character Traits for Children: G-Z

A golden link in a silver chain

In the previous chapter of the character traits series, I explained about the beliefs we try to instill in our kids. We need to focus on encouraging the characters we want our children to have, not try to prevent the characters we don’t want them to have. If good character traits are like plants, the fear that your child will develop a bad character is like watering the plant with weed killer. The character will never grow. For good character to grow and flourish, we need to water it and give it nutritious and healthy fertilizer.

In the last chapter, we listed traits from A to F, that we want our kids to have. We talked about some of the major weed killers that prevent these good character traits from growing. This chapter will cover the traits from G to Z.

Generous – “Don’t be a sucker”, “People will take advantage of you”, “Why would you waste your time on that?”, “What will you get from helping them?”, “If you do things for people for free, they’ll expect you to do it for free forever”.

Gentle – Aggressive behavior and the use of force, threats and harsh discipline will prevent kids from developing gentleness as a trait. Saying things like, “Stop being a girl (for a boy)”, “I am make the rules. You do what I tell you or else…”.

Grateful – “You are ungrateful”, “It is not worth doing anything for you”, “I do things for you and you do not appreciate it”, “You need to beg me to do that”, “I am ashamed of you”, “I will help you only if you do what I tell you to do”.

This post is part 6 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

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How to Destroy Good Character Traits for Children: A to F

Little girls dressed as snow white

In the last chapter, of the Helping Kids Build Character Series, I explained the nature of watering with weed killer. There are certain things we do as parents that prevent good character traits from developing.

If you want to encourage good character traits in your children, there are some important things you should do differently.

Here is a list of good character traits that will not develop in the presence of bad beliefs (“weed killers”). Read them. If there are phrases on the list that you recognize in yourself, try removing them from your day to day speech. See if you can replace them with more positive phrases.

Over the years, I have worked with many parents who succeeded in changing the seeds they were planting, from poisonous communication and planting helpful beliefs. Being a parent can be a burden and a blessing. If you were the one who watered your child’s character with weed killer (rather than nutritious water), only you have the power to change it.

Parents have an amazing power. I have seen many kids and coached many people about beliefs. Working with parents has always been the best solution because me telling a kid “your parents love you” is meaningless compared to a parent saying “I love you”.

This post is part 5 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

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How to Save Your Kids from The Consumerism Trap

The Consumerism Trap

The world we live in promotes consumerism all the time. Sometimes, I feel like I need to take my kids to live in a hut or a cave, far away from civilization if I want to prevent them from falling into the consumerism trap. Just recently, the big shopping center closest to us was rebuilt. It is now more than doubled in size. I often have meetings there, in one of the cafes. I always look at all the people rushing past and wonder to myself, “Don’t they have anything better to do than just spend money here?” Of course, my excuse for being there is that I came there for work!

The scariest thing is going to the supermarket with my kids. We buy most of our groceries from two different supermarkets. To get from one to the other, we need to cross the entire shopping centered, which is shocking. Every window tells you why you must have that dress and that you are nothing without those shoes and that you are not cool if you don’t buy this and that you are fat if you don’t use that product. It is completely shocking and terrifying. People we know talk about how they do not have enough money for basic things, and yet their kids seem to have the latest iPhones and the latest brand name jeans that they bought for a bargain at $140 at a half price sale. They are totally over the moon that they can help their kids be considered cool for that price.

My main problem is that this excitement will last for a week at most. After that, the cycle of “buy me!” will start again, because we live in a society that teaches children to be consumers. We live in a society that convinces kids (and their parents) that they are inadequate and that they need to shop in order to survive! It is a trap because it turns desires and wants into needs. It is a very strong, well oiled and sophisticated machine. It gives us that idea that “I can only be happy when I have this item”. As parents, we want our children to be happy from every teeny tiny thing they possibly can enjoy. We are helpless before such a well rehearsed trap.

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Developing Good Character Traits for Children: H to Z

Love. the seed that produces the fruit of the spirit.

Good character traits are what every parent wants for their kids. We all know and believe that this can set them up for good, healthy, successful and happy lives. If we let go of the belief that character is something we are born with, something that is carved in stone, we realize that we, as parents, have the power to instill positive character in our kids.

We can give our kids those traits that they are going to need to run a happy and successful life, by instilling strong beliefs that support and build these good character traits.

In the last chapter, I gave examples of good character traits from A to G and what beliefs will support them. Here are the H- Z (well, H to W at least) traits and the beliefs that will support them.

This post is part 3 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

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How to Be Happy in Life: The Happy To Do List

Happy to do list

Happiness is a choice! This is my motto in my life and in my work. I coach many people on how to make this choice and find their own happiness.

One of the strategies in bringing happiness into our lives is to get into good habits that make us pay more attention to the good things we already have. It makes us feel happy about what we have in life and attract more of it through our focus.

Together, my clients and I come up with a simple “happy to do list” – a list of things they can do to change their happiness level within 3 weeks. This list follows the rule that it only takes 21 days to make a habit.

This Happy To Do list is written in past tense. It’s more of a list of accomplishments to tick once they are achieved. When you go over it, instead of seeing things you still need to do, your focus is on your successes.

I promise that if you do this every day, then after three weeks, you will feel happier.

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The Stress Pill: The Final 30 Causes of Stress

There are many causes of stress in our life. In the previous chapter of the stress pill series, I listed 30 causes of stress, which you may choose to avoid. Here are some more scientific evidence-based beliefs, ideas and thoughts that increase your level of stress.

1. Be dependent on others! We are not meant to be alone and it is only fair to expect others to do things for us. If you can count on someone else to do the job, then let them do it. Avoid going to new place on your own and never associate with new people. Always go to new places with a friend. If your friend is not coming to school for example, do not go to school that day because your productivity will be low anyway. Alternatively, you could recognize that you are unique. Your desires are your own. If you wait for someone else to do things for you, you may never get them done.

2. Everything that went wrong is your fault! Even if you had no direct connection to it, think that it is your fault. You could have done something to change it, so why didn’t you? Take the blame for everything. It makes you a sage! Unfortunately, it makes you tired and stressed too. Despite what you might think, not everything is related to you, and not everything is your responsibility to fix.

This post is part 4 of 4 in the series The Stress Pill

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The Stress Pill: 30 More Stressors

A pile of pills

In the previous chapter of The Stress Pill, I described some ways people make themselves stressed. I call them “stress pills”. Others call them Stressors.

Here are another 30 tips on how to increase your daily dosage of stress. Of course, if you can avoid them, your stress level will go down and your happiness will go up.

This post is part 3 of 4 in the series The Stress Pill

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