Teen Sex: Not Allowed!

Young couple

Recently, I saw a client who was very concerned about her teen daughter getting closer to a boy she was spending time with. She suspected they were having sex. She was completely panicked about it and started preventing her daughter from seeing her boyfriend. Her daughter was 16 years old and had been seeing this boy for over a year. I asked my client why she was worried and she didn’t really know how to answer. In her mind, teen sex was out of the question. Teens should not have sex and that’s it.

My client had many issues with sex that she never had a chance to discuss with anyone in her life, not even her husband. It was one of those things she never believed she would ever discuss with anyone. It was private, done behind closed doors, quietly, so no one would hear or know. Especially not the kids.

I told her about a story I wrote. It was about a group of teens discussing the topic of parents having sex. One of them discovered, by accident, that his parents were having sex and the story is about how they deal with this “discovery” as a group. I wrote this book (to be published yet) after listening to my then 15 year old daughter and her friends having this same discussion: do parents have sex? I was very proud of my daughter, who was the one saying, “of course they do”. Most of the other kids felt sick just imagining it.

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

Respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship

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 6 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

Do Parents Let Their Kids Play Violent Video Games?

Blame video games

Recently, I received a question from a mother who said her teenage kids wanted to watch violent video games and they claimed other parents allowed their kids to do so. They thought she was just being mean and ignorant of what was happening in the world. “I do not like the idea of them playing violent and sexist video games but I feel helpless”. Her idea was to design a questionnaire for parents and see if her teenagers were right. She asked me what I think of her idea. Here is what I wrote to her:

Your experience is quite normal and it is wonderful to read that there are people like you still out there, advocating for children to be engaging in healthy activities!

Feel free to set the rules in your house. Your teen is a teen. He does not set the rules. You do! He is welcome to make different rules in his house!

You don’t need a questionnaire to back up what you already know is right. You can be the captain of your own family ship, regardless of what other parents do.

Kids cannot buy their own games, computers, iPhones, etc. You have a lot more power than you think! I have clients who found amazing result when they put their kids on a technology diet for a week. Their kids were suddenly like new! If they can’t use your credit card and don’t know your PayPal password, you have nothing to worry about.

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 6 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

Positive Character Traits for Children: Watering with Weed Killer

magnets of emotions stuck on a forehead

The previous Character Traits posts focused on what parents should say to instill positive character traits in their kids. Character traits are like plants or trees that grow over time – all they need is for parents to plant good beliefs as seeds and provide reinforcement as water. Unfortunately, some parents use weed killer as water. This ensures this plant will never grow big and strong and even makes room for some nasty “bad” plants to grow.

It is amazing how the seeds of character sown in childhood can have a long-term impact. Some of my grown up clients (aged 25 to 65) are being held back by some very old and poisonous trees that creep into everything they do. It is as if there is a space in the brain dedicated for each good trait. As soon as the area has been poisoned by weed killer, nothing good can grow there. If a person feels fundamentally inadequate, this becomes part of their identity. If anything were to suggest that they are adequate, they will subconsciously resist with all their might. The subconscious minds is a tricky thing and it takes time and courage to access and heal.

This post is part 4 of 6 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

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.

Developing Good Character Traits for Children: H to Z

Little boy smiling in the sunshine

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 6 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children: A to G

Parent watering a child

This saying is as true for grownups as it is true for kids. We are what we think. If you want to know who your kids are, ask them what they think of themselves. Whether they think they are smart or not, happy or not, friendly or not, they are always right.

If you want to build their character, you need to instill character-building thoughts in their minds. Their thoughts become words, their words become thoughts, and their thoughts become actions. These actions become habits that become their character. Their character determines their destiny.

As I said in the previous chapter, a belief is like a seed, if you repeat the belief over and over again, it is like watering the seed. When the child hears the belief expressed enough times, the seed develops strong roots and becomes a conviction, like, “I am a very responsible kid”. The child stops thinking of it as a behavior and it becomes a character trait, a personal quality that they possess, “I am a very responsible kid”.

Here are examples of thoughts that will help build your kids’ character. If he/she adopts these thoughts/beliefs, they will turn into character of time. It is important to talk to kids about their character, what it means to them and what it means to you. Give them examples of times when they have shown a particular trait in a nice way and how it helped them in life. If you cannot find examples from their life, give examples from your own life, when you showed this trait and how it helped you in life. This will make it is easier for them to adopt the trait.

This post is part 2 of 6 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

Language Acquisition: Do Young children Need a Second Language?

Language Books

For years, people have been researching the acquisition of languages. One aspect mentioned in some of this research is the distinction between Primary (“mother tongue”) and Secondary language. I believe this distinction is essential for maximizing the power of learning another language.

Primary and secondary languages are stored in different places in the brain and through a different process. First, second and third primary languages are learned by creating patterns from a load of seemingly random information, while secondary languages are learned by using the primary languages as reference and building a “translation net” to map the secondary language back to them.

Experts still argue about the critical age for forming primary languages, but they all estimate it to end between the ages of 7 and 12. This leaves the early childhood educators to deal with this important channel of education in the most critical age – the early years.

From the Life Coaching Deck: If-then Parenting Style

Here

Ashley was a very successful woman. She was brilliant and smart. She had been in a very solid and stable relationship with her husband of 12 years before they decided to have their daughter Mira.

When Mira was born, Ashley was 39, with a booming and successful business that took her away from home 2-3 days a week. Her husband Daryl decided he would take over the responsibilities of caring for Mira. He changed jobs and started working from home. Ashley continued to travel 2-3 days a week.

This seemed like a good arrangement in the beginning but the gap between Ashley and Daryl increased and they often had arguments about the best parenting style for Mira.

I met them both when Mira was 1 year old. At first, I thought they wanted to do the parenting program with me. After a while, I realized each of them was trying to convince me that their parenting style was the better one and that I should tell their partner this.

This post is part 1 of 11 in the series From the Life Coaching Deck