Tara Kennedy-Kline Tara Kennedy-Kline
Listen in to this week's Stop Raising Einstein Radio show with guest Gina author of "Shut up About Your Perfect Kid!" www.blogtalkradio.net

Tara Kennedy-Kline's Blogs

Tara Kennedy-Kline
I have a bit of a "sparkle chaser" issue. Those who know me are laughing right now...I get it. But I have a hard time staying focused on the things I need to complete in a day (or an hour or over lunch) because I am easily distracted and change passion quests quickly. But I must admit, I do get quite a lot accomplished in a day. Mostly because many years ago I started keeping a "list of 10" every day.

Each night I write down 10 things I want to start, work on or complete the next day. Although I am not always focused on the time...I have become very good at determining how much time I will need to check off the items on my list and my days are typically pretty packed; though I do leave room for incidentals or "stuff my family will throw at me at the last minute".

Here's my problem (or my reality in this case) My family believes that because I work from my home, I have nothing to do all day. So because I apparently lie around the house and drink coffee and watch Oprah spin offs all day, they feel perfectly justified in assigning me chores, projects, tasks and responsibilities to take care of "for them" to make their lives easier.

What the heck?! Right?!

But the worst part of their offense is, they don't even ask me nicely! I can't tell you how many times I've gotten "HEY! If you aren't doing anything ayway, can you go blah-blah-blah for me?" Or
"Hey, do you think you could pull yourself away from your exhaustive schedule to go blah-blah-blah for me?!"

OH SUUUURE! Why not?! Since you asked me so nicely, checked with me about my plans and didn't insult me at all...I'd be happy to do that "FOR YOU"...NOT!

I actually went almost an entire week without doing one load of laundry, washing one dish or making one trip to the grocery store because I went on STRIKE due to "disprespectful working conditions and lack of team effort" (Yeah, that's right...I went UNION on their a$&es!)

So today, when my husband said "Hey...since you aren't busy today, I need you to take me to get my car."

My reply was "Honey, if you had asked me if there was time in my busy schedule to help you out, I would have carved that time out for you. Unfortunately, my schedule has just filled up, so I guess you'll have to walk."

And then my Reality hit me:
If I am going to ask someone to do something for me, I must be sure to treat them with respect, honor their schedule and ask them kindly. Otherwise, I must be prepared to hear "I'm sorry, I'm too busy to help you with that right now."
Tara Kennedy-Kline
Here's the story...

I'm on the phone with one of my friends and we are discussing our children and school (shocked?! I know...)
So she tells me about her child's recent decline in math grades and how it's become pretty steady ever since the last report card. We talk about how this child has been told that the grades are unacceptable and how the child has been given many opportunities to be "quizzed" at home and how they insist the child study every single night and so on...yet the child keeps reacting belligerently and "mouths off" and gets "fresh" when asked to show the work or walk the parents through the problem.

The last straw was a D+ on a test.

At her wits end, my friend told her child they must retake the test and bring home no less than a 96% or the child would have to explain the grade to the father (not a pretty scenario) then the child was sent to their room to STUDY for the test.

OK...I get it. This is a smart kid and failing is just completely out of the realm of acceptability...but insisting on an A when they just brought home a D is not (in my opinion) a reasonable request. It also introduces far too much stress into an already volatile situation which will only serve to degrade the child's self esteem & beliefs and will not get anyone's goals met.

I told my friend that what I believe needs to happen is she and her husband need to find out what is really happening with their child. Obviously, there is a method, formula or process which is not being understood and no level of threatening and studying is going to move this child past their block.

I liken it to handing someone assembly instructions written in a language (let's say Chinese) which is foreign to them and expecting them to complete the project. It wouldn't matter if I handed them an entire book written in Chinese...if they can't read the language, they can't read the language!

Even if I send them to their room to study for an hour and tell them over and over how smart they are that isn't doing them any good either. An hour later when I test them on what they read, they may get a few of the questions right just out of luck...but they still do not UNDERSTAND what they read. It would take a person who understands Chinese to sit with them and teach them the language before they could ace the test.

And that sums up my Mom Reality Bytes #13 for 2012:

When it comes to assisting my kids with dropping grades or failing tests, I must put my emphasis and effort into getting to the root of their misunderstanding (or block)and teach/walk them through it rather than punishing them by forcing them to focus on the things they don't understand.
Tara Kennedy-Kline
So, I'm talking with one of my really good friends about her child and a recent experience they had around money and she asked me my opinion. Because I had just spilled my guts on my pal Regena's "Mad Money Mojo" teleseminar, I felt I was in a pretty good place to give her constructive feedback...so I listened.

Here's what happened: Her child was given a gift card for Christmas, but the items he wanted to buy were not at the same store as the gift card...so Mom agreed to give the child cash in exchange for the card as she knew she would be able to use it later. When the person who gave the child the card found out about this, they immediately got angry and said that the child should NOT have been allowed to spend that money and that he should have been made to "put it in the bank and save it".

I disagreed completely and my feedback to Mom was "If it were my son, I would have had him divide the money into 3 areas: an amount to spend, an amount to save and an amount to use for "good" (a donation, a gift for another child, food for the foodbank, etc...) We don't split those amounts evenly and it's not always consistent. For example if my son wanted to buy a specific item and was saving for it, he would be able to purchase that item first and then put away/donate the rest.

I believe that practice teaches children that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with having money but at the same time there is much that we can do and accomplish with money other than just spending frivolously...and I believe it gives them a healthy understanding of and feelings about money.

And then, I realized something!

We as parents help our children to form beliefs about money from the time they are very young by the way we talk about it, manage it & spend it around them.

Many children experience a money dialogue that sounds like: "That's too expensive!", "When you get a job, you can waste your money on all the ---- you want." or "Don't give your money away, that was your birthday money." or "Hide that money you got from Grandma...you don't want someone to take it." to "I'm not made of money" or the ever popular " I don't bust my butt working to pay the electric bill so you can leave that light on all day!" But what we need to understand is that all of those statements and comments are creating in our kids a sense of negativity, fragility and scarcity around money!

So my Mom Reality Bytes #12 is:
If I truly believe we get what we focus on, then I am going to teach my children to respect, appreciate and invite money throughout life through:
An understanding of how to make it grow.
Knowledge of how to spend it wisely to get what they want.
And the desire to do what they can to bring joy to others.

Because not only do we get what we focus on, but I believe, when we give, we recieve.

Tara Kennedy-Kline
This realization is going to be short and sweet...

Ok, that's a lie...but it COULD be!

So here's what happened. I hear these two women talking about a couple they know. They are trashing the woman because apparently the man wants to break up with her and she "isn't getting the hint"...but here's the deal; from what I heard, the guy is brilliant at being a complete jerk to her, but he can't seem to just man up and end it!

Inevitably what he is creating is making both of their lives miserable because he expects another person to act on his clues instead of just stating his truth.

It reminded me of the chapter in Stop Raising Einstein where we discuss stating intentions. In that chapter I tell a story of our family as we prepared to leave for an outing. I was flustered and my kids were making me crazy, so when they asked if they could go play, I immediately told them YES! GO!
But 30 minutes later, when I was ready to leave, they were nowhere to be found.

By the time I did find them, I was angry and they were upset because I never said they couldn't "go play" at the neighbor's...I just told them to go play!

If I had been honest with them and told them what I wanted up front; such as: "I need you to leave me alone for 20 minutes...so yes, go play and stay in the front yard." we would have been on the same page and there would be no need for an argument.

"But the problem is that most of us assume people already know what we want. We assume they know what we're thinking...and when they don't, we get frustrated. When you look at it this way, it seems pretty unreasonable of us to assume others can read our minds."

And isn't that exactly what Mr. Cool was doing to his girlfriend? Expecting her to read in to his actions and "get" what he wanted?

So he talks smack on her, gets angry with her, and basically lives his life being pissed off because he doesn't have the courage to tell her what he wants. He allows himself to dig deeper into his hole of muck and take everyone with whom he comes in contact down with him through his complaining and drama...when all he needs to do to free himself is state his truth.

So #11 on my Mom Reality Bytes list is:
"When it comes to expectations...put up, or shut up! If I am not willing to tell people exactly what I want, what I need or what I expect...I give up my right to complain when things do not go as I intended."
Tara Kennedy-Kline
So, I'm on the phone with my dear friend Marlaine and we are talking about the struggles of parenting & motherhood...about our agreement that "no one parenting style is perfect"...and how parents need to give themselves and their kids a break every now and then.

While we chatted, I was doing what most moms do, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, water the flowers...well, not the Christmas cactus because it rarely needs water, and not the orchids because they must get misted, and not the ivy, because it's growing in a bowl of water...just the Calathia. The Calathia is the only one that needs water today...And then it HIT me!

My kids are just like those plants on my window sill! Yes, they are all plants that I brought into my home, but that doesn't mean that I can treat them all the same if I expect them to thrive and grow. If I gave everyone of them the exact same amount of water and sunlight and fertilizer, some of them may survive, but the rest of them would whither away and die. Each one is unique and beautiful and brings something wonderful into my home, but if they are all to grow to their full potential, I need to recognize their individual needs, requirements and boundaries and respect them accordingly.

But wait, it gets better!!!...

Let's say I go away for a while and a few of my plants don't get their needs met...some of those plants may begin to wilt and dull and stop thriving, but just like my kids, if when I come back, I nurture them gently and feed their needs, they will probably be very forgiving. And because I have made them strong by raising them well and giving them healthy roots, I will again have the gift of watching them bloom.

So my Mom Reality Bytes #10 is:
If I really want my children to blossom into strong, healthy, resilient human beings, I will have to release the belief that everything growing under my roof needs to be exactly the same and thrive by my expectations. Instead I have to take the time to understand them, feed them more of what they need as unique individuals and they will, in turn, bring me more joy and life than I could have ever imagined.

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