Archives for March 2013

Do Happy Families Have Secrets?

Last month I heard an interesting interview with the author of a new parenting book titled The Secrets of Happy Families, by Bruce Feiler. After hearing the title of the book, I wondered if happy families really have secrets. My family is happy and the things we do are not all that uncommon. No secrets here. Then I began to wonder if I was missing something. What more should my family be doing to be happier? So my curiosity was peaked by the time Feiler began describing the main points of his book. He described  a “new” idea that he called “Agile Family Management” which is a concept borrowed from corporate America and is centered around high levels of communication through the “family meeting” which ideally leads to decision making from the bottom up, in other words, let the children in on the conversation. Feiler also suggests that families create a “family motto” together. The family motto should reflect the major values and priorities shared by all family members.

“Agile Family Management” sounds awfully familiar to me. I think it’s what we do when we truly listen to our children and respond with interest and compassion. The “family meeting” sounds like what we do at dinnertime (which Feiler also suggests that we not worry about any longer) when we ask each other how things are going and solve family dilemmas and such.  This concept has also been borrowed by classroom teachers for years. In the field of education we call them “class meetings” and they are very powerful. And finally, the “family motto” sounds like a formal way of restating our family values.

While I find that many of the ideas brought up in the interview are not wildly innovative, it was nice to be reminded of the things that parents can do that will make a difference in the relationships they have with their children. It is this notion that motivates me to pick up the book and check it out. After I do, I will let you know what I think. If you are interested in listening to the interview check out this link to weekend edition that aired on February 25, 2013.


I’m On Your Side

Today’s blog post is submitted by our featured guest contributor, Esther Schiedel.  We hope you enjoy the post and look forward to part 2 of this post from Esther.

“I’m on your side” is a message we want to convey to our children (and to any other people we love).

Parents want their children to grow up to be happy, healthy, and competent adults. Children want to be happy, healthy, competent—and grown up! Same ultimate goals.

However, parenting tends to bring up lots of oppositional situations. Children are driven to explore and experiment to learn as much as they can as fast as they can. Parents are trying to keep children safe, (and fed and clothed and educated and socialized…) and to meet their own needs. There are bound to be some conflicts. It is extremely easy to slip into thinking your child is out to get you–and for your child to feel the same way about you. But acting like opponents can be dangerous as well as unpleasant. Here are some hints on how to avoid or escape from the stalemate.

  •  Take care of yourself. It’s not your child’s job to make sure you get enough rest or the right foods or that you learn how to handle stress—you’ve got to make that happen (by yourself, with the help of other relatives, friends, and professionals).
  •  Enjoy, respect, and celebrate your child’s wonderful qualities and activities. Have fun together. Listen. Play. Express your love for your child every day.
  •  Clarify to yourself and to your child (at an age appropriate level) what your job as the parent entails: to protect, to provide for, and to guide. You don’t have to control everything (indeed you can’t!). But you do have a responsibility to your child that is different from his or her responsibility to you. To be on your child’s side means having your child’s best interests at heart.
  •  Being on the same side as your child does NOT mean that you always agree. (The same holds true for your relationship with your spouse or your best friend). You have your reasons for disagreeing. For example: I used to stop my son from plugging or unplugging cords in electrical outlets when he was a toddler. I was acting in his best interest—I was on his side—even though he adamantly opposed my intervention at the time. He had his reasons for wanting to explore his environment.
  •  When you need to intervene, do it with respect and understanding (when possible). Author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka suggests a helpful phrase to use: “The rule is   —–. I will help you follow the rule.”
  •  Explain the WHY behind the rules and/or behind your intervention. WHY isn’t always obvious to children. Your explanation will not necessarily convince your child—but it is still important to give it.
  •  Work together with your child(ren). Be willing to negotiate. Family rules can be made—and modified—by the whole family. Children are constantly growing. Situations change and some rules need to evolve to fit the new circumstances.

 Ultimately your child will be responsible for his or her behavior. You may not agree on everything as adults, either, but you can still be on the same side.

Esther Schiedel is parent to three adults, grandparent to two boys, and a Certified Family Life Educator. She provides parenting education through classes and workshops through LBCC and through her business, Sharing Strengths. She became interested in parenting education when she became a parent and had a need for more information and support.









LBCC Family Connections Newsletter

The LBCC Family Connections Newsletter, Family Matters, Winter 2013 is now available. In this issue read about topics such as:

  • Co-Parenting tips, for those parents that do not live together
  • managing and taking action against workplace stress
  • tips for hiring a home care aide

To check out the newsletter in full just click on the link above.



Guest Blogger Recipe Favorite

Today’s blog post is submitted by our featured guest contributor, Leonne Bannister.  Enjoy the post and look forward to future posts from Leonne.

I like to cook. I get a special feeling of accomplishment when I’ve cooked something that other people enjoy. Recipes I cook are almost always not my own creation. I’ve been known to hunt people’s recipes down so I can have one for my files. Over the years I’ve collected many recipes and there are several that I use on a regular basis. I want to share them with you.

Now, I’m no “foodie.” I’m not so much into the gourmet end of things, as you will soon notice. I cook food the entire family will eat.  My next few blog entries will be focused on recipes you can share with your family. Try them out and let me know what you think by adding a comment to the blog. Happy cooking!

Snack- Want something super nutritious and delicious for the kiddos (and adults)? This is the snack to make. Something magical happens to garbanzo beans when you roast them. Their consistency changes and they have so much more flavor. The honey/agave add a touch of sweetness that compliments the savory soy/tamari sauce.

Roasted Garbanzos

* 1 can of drained garbanzos or about 2 cups of soaked and cooked garbanzos

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

2 tsp of tamari/soy sauce

2 Tbsp of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of salt

1-2 Tbsp of honey/agave

Black pepper, to taste

**Optional- Add 1 tsp. crushed garlic, a pinch of chili powder or a dash of sesame oil to add a different, more pronounced flavor.

  1. Combine above ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Transfer to a baking dish and roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end of cooking time so they don’t get too crispy. 🙂
  3. Enjoy!

Leonne is a wife and a mother of 2.  She has been a member of the LBCC Cooperative Preschool at the Benton Center for 3 years. She is a part time Parenting Education Instructor with LBCC and a CASA Advocate. She is also on the Board of Directors of CASA-Voices for Children. Leonne enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering in the community. In her “free” time she enjoys exercising and reading.