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Read an Excerpt
Parenting Back In Your Hands
You Can Do It Too: A How-to Road Map and Journal for Your Child's Success
By June Wilson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 June Wilson
All rights reserved.
The Power of Right Thinking
Before our children can be the best, we need to be the best. We may ask ourselves what it means to be the best. Is being the best related to working hard and feeding and clothing our children better than other parents?
Several factors determine what is best. Let's speak about the best as having the power for right thinking. We are all unique, we are all knowledgeable, and some of us have more disposable income than others. Yet we all have influence. We influence others, including our children, by what we say, do, and believe. Since this influence is so profound, we have to find ways to inspire, instill trust, shape or mold beliefs, and create value. We have to tell our children they have value; they, too, can be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and law enforcers. They can work in the White House, be mechanics, and own businesses. Our children need to know they can achieve anything, as long as they put their minds to what they desire, work hard, maintain good moral character, and remain true to themselves. As parents, we can guide them. But we must remember that sometimes what we want them to be successful at is not the role they want to play. My grandmother always told us, "No matter what you choose to be in life, just be the best you can be. Be number one."
Our children must be trained in right thinking. They need to know that to do the right thing means to do right even when they are not supervised. Teaching our children good morals, ethics, and respect for oneself and others builds their confidence and strength. Lessons have to be taught at home. We cannot and should not leave it all up to society or schoolteachers.
We parents are the leaders of our homes. We are management. The standards we set for ourselves and our children must be communicated. Our children, while at home, need to know who is in charge. At work, the boss or our manager tells us he or she is in charge of this operation. If we do not follow set guidelines, there are consequences. The same must be true when it comes to the standards we set at home.
Our work has just begun. Let's do it now.
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Parent-Child Assessment Results and Contractual Agreement
What I shared with my child:
The shared values instilled:
Communicating with Our Children
It's important to understand that the success of communication may be affected by cultural diversity and perceived social constructs, but the goal of communication is shared information. We achieve success when communicating by what we say, how we say it, how the recipient receives our message, and how the message is understood.
This chapter will include information and tips that will help you ensure your communication with your children is successful communication. The first step is preparing ahead of time. The following two lists will help you do that.
Evidence-based tips for communicating with our children:
Pick a right time and place.
Select a clean, quiet, comfortable environment.
Sit at a table where you can place this book.
Have pen and paper readily available.
Establish the who, what, where, when, why, how, and what-if contingency plans of discussion. Before beginning the communication, know:
Who will be a part of the communication (in this case, parent and child)
What the two parties need to communicate
Where they should communicate
Why they are communicating
How they should communicate
What if ... (plan your response to various situations that might arise)
Reasons for the Discussion
Discussions help you build lasting relationships with your child. They also help ensure your child understands the message you are conveying and vice versa. Ask your child to repeat what you say and explain it to you. This is especially helpful in homes where the child was born in the United States and the parent in another country.
Topics for discussion may include:
School activities, projects, or interests
New technology used at school
Building relationships with parents
Building relationships with teachers
Building relationships with peers
Guidelines for Effective Communication
When communicating, especially with children, it's important to use open-ended, rather than closed, questions. A good example of an open-ended question is, "What can you tell me about ...?" Fill in the blank with any topic you want to discuss with your child.
Discussion Topic One: What Is Culture?
Culture is made up of the beliefs, attitudes, customs, values, shared traditions, and rituals that may distinguish one group from others.
It is important for us to understand and respect differences. Our culture can have a direct impact on our behavior and performance.
Sometimes one may say a person is "cultured" because he or she has certain attributes. These may include being well-grounded, courteous, or well-mannered; dressing appropriately; and not using slang.
Cultural intelligence as it applies to discussions between you and your children means discussing both the culture in which you live and the culture you as a parent come from. Use this list as a guide to the topics that will help you and your child understand both cultures and, thus, have successful communication:
Parent's place of birth
Child's place of birth
Body language and gestures
Power of words
Volume of voice
Eye contact – This is essential if the parent was born in a country other than the United States. In some countries, it is said that eye contact during a conversation may be insulting, while in others it may show confidence.
What we eat (local foods)
What has impacted my culture?
My culture was influenced by my native island of Trinidad, my American citizenship, living in New York and Florida, working in the financial industry for numerous years, and working in the health industry since 2008. Other influences include my education; my environment; the people in my life, including my American-born daughter, my parents and relatives, friends, and mentors and coaches; the cultures these people bring into my life; and my traditions.
Several factors that influenced my daughter and me
Following standards and rules
Putting God first
Our stories: A culture set by my mother
I do not recall my biological dad living in the same house with us. My mom had one natural brother and no sisters. One grannie lived with us in the city, and my other grandmother lived in the countryside of Trinidad. My biological dad was a quiet, calm, and respectful man. He loved his children and was always part of our lives. He died in 2009. My dad believed we should always love ourselves and others. We loved both our mom and dad.
My mother was a strong, friendly, well-dressed, and hardworking parent. She never complained about going to work every day to provide for her children. She was always filled with vitality and enthusiasm. She wanted to enjoy life to the fullest. On weekends, she played music at home and taught her children to dance. At times, our dance partner was a broomstick. Yet we all had fun. At birthday times, we would sometimes make our own birthday cakes. Did my mom have the money to buy a cake? We were not told. Since I had attended cake-decorating classes, I was able to put my newly formed skill to use. Mom loved clothes and looked great at all times.
Mom handled the finances. It was amazing that she was always able to pay the bills, given that employers on the island did not pay very well. She patterned her business skills after her mother's. My maternal grandmother lived in the countryside. She rode her bicycle to sell clothing and household items to people in and out of her neighborhood.
The members of my family were happy to have each other. We went to school, listened to music, danced, went to movies, visited the library, and read books. Reading books enriched us with pride and a sense of belonging. This learned behavior has been embedded in our lives to this day.
Children learn from their parents. They watch their parents even when parents do not realize it. My mother did not leave us in front of the library. She went inside with us and helped us choose age-appropriate books.
In today's world, parents often spend a lot more time at their jobs than with their children. It is understood that we have to make a living. In New York, I rode two or three trains to go to work. I used the New York subway. In Florida, I drove for hours to get to work. On Saturdays, I did household chores. I know and feel your pain. I understand. Some families have only one breadwinner.
I wonder how I would have felt if I had been dropped off at the library and my mom had not come inside with me. As a child, I understood my mother was a working parent, and I was happy she took the time to share my library experiences. This is part of the culture we must maintain for our children. Things like shared library trips are opportunities to build lasting relationships with our children, to help them develop communication skills, to encourage and inform them, and to spend quality time with them.
Education and School
Reading, writing, science, and mathematics are basics for a functional education. When my daughter was younger, I read aloud to her and then had her read to me. This resulted in her developing good reading habits, eliminating shyness, and comprehending what she read or what was read to her. Because she'd read aloud, her pronunciation was excellent for a child her age.
I recall the day my daughter went to her first college class as a little girl. She was happy to go to Kingsborough Community College, where I had enrolled her in a creative writing class and a drama class for children. She felt like a "big kid". It was a summer program, and my daughter was overjoyed. I believe this also helped and encouraged her to write.
Our stories: Grannie's life lessons
My grannie was like a stay-at-home mom. She created a culture of love that helped us kids build self-esteem and confidence. Grannie always said, "Bend the tree while it is young." She taught us table manners and the importance of maintaining a nutritious diet. Grannie was adamant we learn correct table settings, especially the placement of the knife and fork. There was no slurping of soup or leaving the table before everyone had eaten his or her food. Some days, we had to walk with books on our heads because Grannie wanted us to walk upright to acquire a good posture. She was our charm school coach.
Grannie encouraged us to associate with people of integrity and good moral character. She emphasized that children should be obedient and respectful to parents and elders. And we were.
As for my mom, she dressed us for success at all times. We had a new outfit each week because mom had the designing and sewing skills. Dad, a shoemaker by trade, taught us the importance of not putting on raggedy shoes and being aware that, even if a person's shoe is old, the shoes must always be kept clean.
We loved and respected our parents, Grannie, and mother's only brother. Grannie would pinch your ear if you decided not to follow her rules. Grannie took us to a police station so that we would learn what discipline for breaking the law would entail and ensure we'd avoid of going to jail. Grannie would lock the door and not allow us to come back into the home as punishment for misbehaving. We would not dare call the cops on Grannie because we knew that the cops would have to take us with them.
Grannie rarely smiled but would do so with pride when anyone remarked that we were well behaved. She commented that she did not bring up any "vagabonds." She loved all children, and when children made a habit of misbehaving, she blamed the parents for not bringing them up in a right manner that would produce a good child.
Right or wrong, she was determined that we would know right from wrong. Grannie did not condone fighting, but she always wanted us to stand up to our opponents, and this made us strong. Another of grannie's pet peeves was rowdiness indoors; no one was allowed to jump on the furniture.
Our parents taught us what was expected of us, what would and would not be tolerated, and what the consequences for our actions would be. We were a praying family, so there were consequences if we did not go to church on any given Sunday. No church meant no movies. We were taught that money was useful but it wasn't everything. More important was being able to hold your head up high and not bringing shame to yourself and the family. Our grannie always made us feel that no one was better than us. Our parents' guidance helped greatly throughout our lives.
Music was also part of our culture. My mother's only brother, my beloved uncle, had a passion for music; he inspired not only his family members but also his friends. I loved the time I spent listening to music and appreciate my uncle's wisdom and his advice that we should listen to all variations of music, regardless of the artist's race, nationality, or birthplace.
When parents, grandparents, and extended family members invest time in children, they embed in them the knowledge they are loved, hope and faith for endurance, confidence, resiliency, and leadership skills.
Develop your own skills to pass them on
Our environment and culture did not encourage great communication skills. The pervasive thinking of parents at the time had it that children were to be seen and not heard. In New York, I started one of my goals to build my communication skills. I developed and enhanced my communication skills while working in New York.
Let us eliminate any fears we may have and develop our children's skills from an early age. Helping your children develop important skills is in your hands. I know you can, you will, and you must do this for them.
Tips for creating the optimal learning environment Parent
Hint: Now is the time for role-playing. Yes try it. If you have the skill already, do it again. If you do not have the skill, try and try again.
Scenario: Let your child read out loud. Do it consistently and often. You will see a marked improvement in many aspects of his or her life.
Maintaining a few habits in your home will ensure your children are as healthy and open to receiving a good education as possible:
Put God first
Foster and build your children's self-esteem
Teach your children to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water
Show your kids you love them
Hug your kids daily and as often as you can
Create a space of mutual respect
Teach your kids to respect their teachers too
Forming a Mutual Bond with Teachers
Parents need to visit their children's schools regularly. Meeting with teachers and counselors will enable you to become familiar with them. In addition, we ought to be aware of each child's individual ability to learn and behave well in a classroom and other settings when you, the parent, aren't around. Getting involved with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) will put you at the forefront to hear the positives and negatives of the school and to know what areas of the school and its teaching methods could benefit from improvements or developments.
When I was a chairperson for my daughter's PTA, I met with all her teachers. I spoke to them and inquired about what was on their classroom agendas. I encourage other parents to get involved. The other members of the PTA and I were able to work with the teachers to make improvements that benefited our children and their education. The teachers would often update us.
In addition, as parents, it is our responsibility to remind teachers that all children are unique and may have been exposed to different ethnic groups and levels of education.
Working to maintain a good rapport with teachers will help build good relationships parents, teachers, and children.
* * *
Parent-Child Journal: Cultural Sharing
Discuss your culture with your child. Record what you've shared here. The cultural experiences my child and I share:
The fun quotes my child and I share and their meanings:
How our cultural discussions benefitted us:
* * *
Grannie's Quotes (and their Meanings)
Bend the tree while it is young. (Train children at an early age.)
Money devil. (Love money to your own destruction.)
Ignoramus. (Lack of knowledge.)
You can do it too. (You have the ability.)
Other Grannie Sayings
Your sins will catch up with you sooner or later.
Don't hang your hat where your hand cannot reach. (refers to living within your means)
Live fast, die young, and make a pretty dead.
Show me your company, and I will tell you who you are.
A fool and his money will soon be parted.
Even a pretty face could have dirty tricks up his or her sleeves.
I will give you enough rope to hang yourself.
My daughter's dad and I shared not only parenting, but also all other tasks. Her dad helped her with her math homework. I was responsible for reading, writing, and all other subjects. The homework duties were assigned in accordance with our own skill sets. He was excellent in mathematics, so that was his area of expertise. He loved his daughter and always wanted her to exceed too.
Excerpted from Parenting Back In Your Hands by June Wilson. Copyright © 2015 June Wilson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Purpose Statement, x,
Chapter 1 The Power of Right Thinking, 1,
Chapter 2 Communicating with Our Children, 4,
Chapter 3 Thinking Positively, 25,
Chapter 4 Boundaries, 31,
Chapter 5 Embarking on the Journey of Success, 39,
Chapter 6 Real Stories, 64,
Conclusion: A Successful Journey, 75,