Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘parents’


Parenting can become overwhelming, to say the least. HavingMe in a Tree other people who not only support your role as a parent, but act as positive influences for your child can alleviate a lot of stress and can reap amazing benefits.

These external influences are non-parental adults, who are good listeners, supporters/cheerleaders, and understand youth development. These people can include that strict, yet kind violin teacher who helps your daughter build self-confidence, or your neighbour who hires your son to walk her dogs and subsequently teaches your son responsibility. These people can have a tremendous positive effect on your children by

• demonstrating leadership

• giving encouragement

• challenging your child

The challenge here is to name at least three non-parental adults who are positively involved in your child’s life. IF you can’t, there are plenty of places to look to recruit these influencers: church, community centres, extracurricular activities, coaches, other family members, neighbours, or even friends.

No matter where your child’s non-parental adults come from, ensure that they are a positive influence, share your values, and ultimately aid you in raising your child.

Journal Of Extension: The Important Role Non-Parental Adults Have with Youth Learning Leadership


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.


A year ago it became obvious that my children had become very attached to the laptop and their iPods and cell phones. They were spending nearly every free moment on-line, playing games, texting and facebooking, instead of reading and learning new things.

After attending a family literacy event at my child’s school, I was reminded of the importance of reading and learning with my children. I decided things needed to change. I knew it was going to be a battle but I decided to start slowly, initiating small changes.

family reading

Family Reading Time is Very Valuable

First we started going to the library and used book store often. Then we cut down on the time spent in front of a screen. We even added a games night. My husband and I also agreed that we wanted our children to become avid readers and learners, and that we needed to model our love of reading and learning to them as often as we could.


A survey by Studentawards Inc., a Toronto marketing and scholarship firm, has found that family is extremely important to young people. Spending time with family was one of the top priorities for the 2,500 high school and post-secondary students from across Canada who participated in the survey. In a press release on, Studentawards Inc. expressed surprise at the results, indicating that family may be more important to today’s kids than generally believed.


Taking a road trip can be a fun way to spend time together. You can plan your road trip as a family and decide where you’ll stop along the way. Just don’t forget to think of things to do in the car before you get on the road.

Spending eleven hours in the car with a seven-and four-year-old could be difficult. But my parents decided to brave it with my nieces, reasoning that their first road trip to Calgary would keep them busier than hanging around Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a week. Luckily they are experts at finding things to do in the car. (They once hauled my two siblings and I across the U.S. for a month)

Here are some of their favorite things to do in the car. Use them when you run out of activities and car games to play in the car:


American teen Abby Sunderland’s dramatic end to her attempt to sail solo around the world has many people accusing her parents of irresponsibility. Although the elder Sunderlands told the Los Angeles Times that danger is everywhere, it’s a fact that many of us would never allow our children on the high seas alone. But whether we agree with the Sunderland’s decision or not, we have to admit that 16-year-old Abby has responsibility down pat. What can we learn from the Sunderland family that might help us raise the same kind of super-responsible kid?

I don’t know Abby Sunderland or her family. But we can use what we do know to deduce a few things that may have contributed to this young woman’s ability to be responsible.
Here are some things I plan to keep in mind for my kids: