Tag Archives: parenting

To set goals, you need to look at your life. Here’s what I mean. (Or how to deal with Wanting to Have a Social Life, with Friends)

I’m not going to say that your goal setting is wrong. But it’s likely you are setting goals without looking at how you spend your time.  So let’s start there.

Write down what you are doing or think you are doing every day, week, month. Really think about this and take the time to document your life this way. Be as quantitative as possible. Then categorize those activities. After you do that, ask yourself: do you want to spend the same amount of time doing those activities in the future? If you don’t, do you want to spend more time or less time?

Let’s take someone named Alison. Alison thinks her goal is to be a better parent. However, when she looks at what she is doing, she finds she is spending most of her time working to become a partner in her firm. That’s her real goal: promotion.

Now Alison is multifaceted, as we all are. She doesn’t need to abandon one goal to work on another. She decides she does want to get promoted, but she does so in the context of also being a better parent. So she shifts some of her time and focus towards more parenting, then works to track that over time to see whether she really has internalized that as a goal.

The time and effort and focus you spend on something tells you what your goals are. Even if you don’t know those are your goals. I discovered this some time ago when I was tracking my todos in an app called Remember the Milk. I was the opposite of Alison. I thought I wanted to get promoted, but I spent most of my time focused on being a good parent and not enough on getting promoted. Eventually  I was content with that. I accepted that I would like to get promoted, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my parenting time to that. And I liked my work as it was. From time to time I would be disappointed to see others rise in the organization while I stayed the same, but quickly I thought that was ok. I was meeting my goals.

Likewise, I ran marathons for a long time, and I thought my goal was to run more. But over time I realized that what I got out of marathon running had slipped away. It just became a chore and my goals changed from being a marathon runner to being healthier. Maybe as my life changes I’ll go back to running marathons.

There is a famous poem by Kenneth Koch  called You Want a Social Life, With Friends that addresses this:

Koch is strict here but the thinking is the same. Setting goals helps you move forward in life only if the goals you set align with your values and interests and the time you spend on that. Trying to do everything is difficult when resources  are limited. So think about the time you have and set better goals.

For more on setting better goals, read this piece.

(Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash)

Which Is Better, Rewards or Punishments? Neither

Good piece if you are struggling to change behavior in children: Which Is Better, Rewards or Punishments? Neither – The New York Times. But honestly, what is good for changing children’s behavior is good for changing any one’s behavior, including your own. 

I recommend you read the piece: it has good examples. But in a nutshell, you should:

  • Motivate Instead of Reward
  • Help Instead of Punish

There’s one other piece of advice in the article. I’ll leave it for you to find out what it is. You can do it! Just click the link above. You’ll be glad you did.

(Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash)

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How to get more cooperation from your kids regarding chores and morning activities

For people struggling with their kids while they work from home, this piece from The New York Times in 2018 might help. I think a lot depends on the personality of the child, but for some of you, it just might be the thing you need. In a nutshell, they did this:

We devised a personalized morning checklist for each child — with their input. And we created a breakfast menu and a lunch menu, just like the ones they give you in hotels. We’re talking the works here. For breakfast the children can have cereal, muffins, eggs however they want, smoothies. You name it! And the lunch menu is equally expansive. Each night the kids complete their menus for the next day’s breakfast and lunch.

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Questions to ask your parents before they die are not just for parents

This is a good piece, and the list of questions here are certainly ones you’d like to have answers to: Questions to ask your parents before they die – Rossalyn Warren – Medium

I have a book called The Parents Book and it is has even more questions like this. I have not filled it out, but I really want to. Chances are my kids would want to have answers to some of these things. Family members would likely want that too. Regardless of whether or not you are a parent, or not, consider answering a list like this and put it with your Will and other essential documents. Your loved ones will be glad you did.

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When the homeless man is your son

I have read this often and think of it frequently, especially given my current status:  First Person: When the homeless man is your son – Orange County Register.

It’s a really good piece, and something you either don’t think about or don’t want to think about as a parent. Sometimes the world chews up the thing you love and try to care for, a tornado that comes through and destroys what you love, despite your best efforts. Tornados and other tragedies know nothing of your virtues and care nothing for the love you show.

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How Parental Love Impacts Flourishing Later in Life

A very good piece for parents to read. How Parental Love Impacts Flourishing Later in Life | Psychology Today

Parenting is a long term play, though it might not seem some days. And some days the effort you put in doesn’t seem to make a difference. But it does. Read that for those days when you wonder if you are doing anything right as a parent.

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Great advice for parents of older teens/young adults


Can be found here:  How Should I Talk to My Son About His Career Dreams? – The Atlantic. 

Being a parent is never easy, no matter what age your kid is. There is lots of good advice for people with infants and young children but not much for when your kids are older. Glad to see pieces like this and to promote them.

Hang in there, parents!

(image via pexels.com)

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This is good parenting advice: don’t kill your kids even though you want to sometimes….

If you are a parent and don’t need this advice: Parenting Advice: Don’t Kill Them – Ijeoma Oluo – Medium, then kudos to you. You are first among humans.

And if you aren’t a parent, your opinion hardly matters.

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Bill Murray’s advice on being a father

From a 2012 Bill Murray Interview in Esquire comes this:

If you bite on everything they throw at you, they will grind you down. You have to ignore a certain amount of stuff. The thing I keep saying to them lately is: “I have to love you, and I have the right to ignore you.” When my kids ask what I want for my birthday or Christmas or whatever, I use the same answer my father did: “Peace and quiet.” That was never a satisfactory answer to me as a kid — I wanted an answer like “A pipe.” But now I see the wisdom of it: All I want is you at your best — you making this an easier home to live in, you thinking of others.

Sounds right.

On parenting and the freeing and closing of your mind

There are stages in parenthood when your children occupy all of your mental time, and when they do, you may find your mind is closed. If before parenthood you found yourself open to contemplate and examine ideas, after parenthood you may find that your ability to do that has shutdown. I found that for certain stages of the life of my child, all of my time was spent either focusing on their care or worrying about them. But then there were stages when they settled down and there was less to worry about and my mind freed up again.

If you are a parent and you find yourself wrapped up in the state of your child, you should believe that that will pass, and while you never stop thinking about them, you will find you think / worry about them less. This is a good thing.