Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘Family’


Over the thirty years I worked with families, the number one challenge in helping parents with their children’s behavior was asking the parents to change the way they did things.  Oh, they were usually very willing to give the suggestions a try, yet even when the results worked great, very few parents stuck with them. Gradually, like a slow growing mold, their old ways of dealing with the children seeped in and everything went right back to the way they were. This pattern was repeated so often that I did not close the case until I was sure they were not going to revert to their old ways.

Families have their own particular way of being with one another that can almost resemble a dance. Some dances are like a slow quiet foxtrot or waltz while others more closely resemble a tango or rock and roll dance. And families with many crises in their lives may start with one set of steps and abruptly change to a salsa. Then, when things calm down they return to their original dance, but only for a short time as the cycle is repeated.


Should kids have to do chores to get allowance?

This is a tough one……

Everyone has their own philosophy about chores being linked to allowance. However, I personally don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. I think it depends on what works best for your family.  Try them both! Take note of the results.

Allowance for nothing? Or, chores gets you money!

To pay or not to pay?


Sunday has historically been deemed a day of rest, to spend time with your family – immediate or extended. For some people they take advantage of the day off; the last day of the weekend to do chores they don’t have time for during the week, catching up on paper work, a day of worship or spending time with family doing whatever happens to come up.

Due to changes in our society over the years, for many people Sunday is yet another day of work while their kids are home from school, sometimes by themselves. In this fast paced world we live in is it important for families to take time together? Do you think it makes a difference when family members can depend on at least one day or night they know they will be together to talk, have fun, exchange ideas and generally enjoy each others company? There have been many studies on the benefits of families regularly eating together. The studies conclude families communicate better, have a better understanding of each other and according to this article from ENA “researchers also found that compared with teens who have more than 5 family dinners on a weekly basis, those who have two or less are 3 times as likely to try marijuana, 2.5 times as likely to smoke cigarettes and 1.5 times as likely to start alcohol consumption”. Is it a sure thing, no, nothing ever is, but isn’t it worth the effort…….any and every day of the week?


An important part of family balance is taking time out of your day and/or week for your partner. In our day to day happenings we all find it difficult to carve time for the one we wanted to have a family with. Why do you suppose we leave the scraps for our partners? Surely it’s not on purpose, but there is definitely a variety of reasons. Rachel Meeks says it eloquently in her February 15th blog, “I didn’t realize how often we retreated to our separate computers before, or our separate books, different hobbies, and individual responsibilities.” It’s human nature to take the road of least resistance or the least amount of work and thought, especially when we are exhausted. But it will surely make a difference to the entire family to make the effort. Start with baby steps…….


Is spring EVER going to really come? I don’t know about you, but as much fun as winter can be with all the sparkling snow, skating, ice fishing, skiing, snowmen and snowball fights, I am just a little tire of being cold and slogging through the knee deep white stuff. I for one am SO ready for warmer weather, green grass,  shorts and flip flops. The question is……..what does spring bring for you and your family? Soon the golf courses and attractions will open, but what is your idea of a wonderful spring day? Is your favorite a picnic with delictable foods, a daycation at the nearest national park hiking or just wondering through the new growth and watching for baby animals? Tell us where and what YOU and YOUR FAMILY do. I’m sure you will inspire others with your great ideas.


Well at least not today! Today is National No Housework day! Yeah!!! Take the day off and enjoy some greatly needed down time with your family. Play a game, watch a movie, bake some cookies (not a chore if you do it together). Be inventive…………….or just put your feet up and enjoy being together. Take advantage of a great excuse not to do any chores and start planning how you’re family will divvy up chores from now on. If you’re feeling like you do most of the chores check out this article from the University of Michigan. It might give you some insight.


During the month of April, our focus is on the importance of family. One historical event I found to be interesting was the marriage of Brigham Young to his 27th and final wife on this day in 1868.  There seems to be some controversy as to how many wives and children Brigham actually had. There are reports of up to 56 wives and 57 biological children and by the way, he was the ninth of eleven children. THIS man knew family!

Brigham Young c. 1870

It’s not my job or my nature (hopefully) to sit in judgment, but how on earth does one person have a solid relationship with that many people? Did he have date night with every wife? Were family dinners the norm? How often did he see each of his wives and children?

Having five children of my own the question is often thrown at me “how do you do it?”. I respond by shrugging my shoulders and throwing the question back at the questioner (because most of the time I don’t really know). What I do know is some things are very important to us, to the solidity of our family and we make sure they happen. For instance, most nights we sit down together to eat dinner – not in front of the TV.  Sometimes, okay, often times, it’s not until 8:00pm (a little hard on the digestive system I agree), but important to us never-the-less. It’s the time we get to reconnect and have a decent meal. Everyone has a night to clean up and as of next week everyone will have a night to cook dinner AND clean up (conveniently adding up to seven nights). I enjoy and value this time immensely as I get to watch them interact. We laugh and sometimes cry and mostly enjoy each others company…… least that’s MY take on it (I hope my children feel the same) but mostly we just “be a family”.  It’s all good!


One hundred and twenty four years ago Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller the word “water” and then 30 more words….that day! Or so the story goes.

Anne Sullivan teaching Helen Keller

Few of us can imagine our normal 18 month old being so sick she is left deaf and blind. The Kellers’ world must have been turned upside down and by all accounts their way of communicating changed forever.

Until Anne Sullivan came along the Kellers’ were in a world of turmoil. Their almost seven year old daughter had become wild and violent, throwing tantrums at every turn. She lived in a dark world of frustration, silence and loneliness.


Reportedly on this day in 1878 the first home telephone was installed. Do you think it had an impact on communication? That many years ago most people who knew each other were in close proximity, dropping in for coffee and a chat was, from what I understand, an every day occurrence. However, as the development of various modes of travel progressed it has become increasingly more important for people to be able to keep in touch from greater distances. As family members moved miles away the telephone has allowed everyone to stay in touch much quicker, more effectively and less cumbersome than the hand written letter. Today we have so many ways to communicate, but do we use them as effectively as we should? It’s so important for families to communicate, which means attentively listening. Here is food for thought, we have more means of communicating today than ever but do we communicate more or less with our families?


Can you believe it’s April already!?! Where does the time go? Like many of you, we too are happy to see the signs of spring. A time of renewal. The sprouting plants, regrowth of trees, grass turning green and the birth of animals all around. We are taking this time of renewal throughout the month of April to focus on the family. The importance of family, what family is about and what it means to have a family.

April is full of important dates that focus on family from ‘Find A Rainbow Day’ on Sunday, April 3 to ‘National Siblings Day’ on Sunday, April 10 and we won’t be forgetting Easter, which is always a time to spend with family. This month we will endeavour to discuss family in relation to these special events and provide you with an inspirational morning read to enjoy with a cup of coffee and to give you something to think about throughout your day.


Let’s start with today. April 1, 2011, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day. April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world. It is not a legal holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day that tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness.

It is believed that this day originates from a mistake made in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392) announcing the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. The passage read ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two‘. Chaucer probably meant 32 days after March, i.e. May 2, however, readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “32nd of March,” i.e. 1st April.

Moving on, the importance of this day to family would be to teach your children how to play a practical joke with a good heart. Practical jokes should not be cruel or result in anyone being hurt physically or emotionally. A good practical joke can be funny to all concerned and lighten up everyone’s day.

Here are some harmless ideas!

Put a couple of drops of food colouring in your milk carton.

Wet your hand with water, pretend to sneeze, and sprinkle the water on someone.

Create a sponge cake from a real sponge. Colour it with markers and offer it to your friends.

The list goes on!

And finally we wanted to make you aware of some news we heard today. Facebook has been shut down and will no  longer be in operation as of April 6, 2011.