When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Friends

Let’s face facts: sometimes you just don’t like some of your child’s friends. You’re only human after all and there are going to be people you just don’t resonate with well.

While that’s definitely okay, it can be challenging when your son or daughter’s BFF grates on your nerves. Chances are, you can handle an irritating friend even if you don’t understand the chemistry. You may not particularly enjoy having them around, but you love your children, so you try to be patient and deal.hold onto the jumprope

Sometimes it isn’t that the friend in question is irritating. They may just be so different that you’re uncomfortable.

As much as you like to think that you’re open-minded and accepting, there may be cases where someone’s so different from your experience that it’s a challenge for you to warm up to them.

These differences may be cultural, religious, or social. Depending on your background, it may be a challenge to accept or figure out how to communicate with a person from a different country or culture. It may feel like you don’t like this person because you don’t understand them or you have a fear that they might pull your child away from you and your own comfort zone

But what if it’s more than a personality issue? What if you’re concerned that a new friend is a bad influence on your child or even dangerous? Do you leave it alone or do you interfere?

Unless your child’s life is in immediate danger because of a friendship, it might be a good idea to take a little time before taking any action. As hard as it is to accept that your studious daughter who’s never gotten into trouble in her life has fallen for the bad boy in town, you sometimes have to accept that opposites attract.

Forbidding relationships, whether they’re friendships or romances, rarely work out the way you hope they do. More often than not, your fight against the union strengthens their resolve to be together rather than draw them apart. Instead of fighting it, you might want to step back and consider whether or not you’re making an honest, objective assessment of the troublesome person. Or could it be that there’s something else going on that’s influencing your feelings?

For example, if the new friend reminds you of someone from your past that history could unfavorably color your views. If the person from your past was a bad apple you may project that onto your child’s friend, no matter how wonderful the friend truly is.

That’s not to say that your instincts are incorrect. It could be that you’re picking up on subtle (or not so subtle) clues that are setting off alarm bells.

One of the best ways to know if your reaction to this person is accurate or if you’re projecting things from your past is to check in with your Internal Guidance System (IGS). As challenging as the relationship may be, your IGS will help you to see it for what it is, including how it may be a benefit to your son or daughter. You may find that by tapping into your IGS, you clearly see the person behind the different clothes, long hair, or foreign appearance, and see what your child sees — a wonderful human being.

As much as opposites do attract, it’s also true that people generally gravitate towards others with whom they have something in common. While it may seem like two incompatible statements on the surface, it really means that you can find important things in common with someone who seems quite different in other ways.

Your child deserves your trust in choosing their friends. They may befriend people you don’t care for. And as much as you’d prefer to love each and every one of their friends, it’s actually healthy for them to have a wide variety of people in their life.

It speaks highly of your child when they can see beyond the things that separate people and see the uniqueness in others even if they do pick their bad apples now and then. As hard as it may be for you to step back and watch that happen, it’s about their life and their unique path. In the end, they may learn some of their most important life lessons from the very people you wanted to keep them from.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.


Making and Recording Family Memories

As the holiday season approaches, it can be a great time to look back on the past. What do you remember from the year? What do other members of your family remember? It can be very interesting to compare these memories and it’s often surprising to hear how differently everyone remembers the same events. Even more surprising is how something that was so important to one person may not even be remembered at all by another.

There will also be family memories for you to share.

They won’t be remembered exactly the same way because everyone in the family experienced them through their personal filters, but you can all make an effort to create and record more of these memories by talking about them, together.

Not only can this be fun in the moment, but it can bring you a lot of pleasure in the future when you look back together or individually.

When families are young, there’s often a lot of recording of family moments. In the past, this was done with cameras and old home movies. There were photo albums or shoeboxes filled with pictures of the first baby’s early years and big events. Then as the family grew, there were fewer pictures of each child. Not because you love the oldest child more, but because you had your hands full.

When your children are very young, it’s possible to direct the activities as well as how and when you record them. Consider your personal preferences and have activities that fill you with joy. At the same time, pay attention to how your children react. They’ll give you great clues even at early ages about things they like to do and things that don’t light them up.

It’s always wonderful when everyone’s having a great time and when each member of the family is doing something they love to do, but rather than stressing out about having the perfect activities and creating the best memories, just try to have fun.

Think about your own childhood. What do you remember the most? If your parents are still alive, you can ask them what memories they thought they were creating. It can be an eye opener to realize that adults often work hard at making happy moments for kids to remember, but the best part of that time may have just been being together with their parents. Hopefully, this knowledge lets you relax a little bit and focus on being there rather than creating the perfect event.

As the kids grow up, you can include them in making choices about activities that will become fond memories in the future and how they would like to record those memories.

When it comes to recording these events, here are some suggestion to keep in mind:

  • Capture the memories in a variety of ways, rather than relying solely on one method. Technology has a way of changing and if all your memories are recorded on video, you might not be able to view them in the future unless, you find a means of converting them to the new media. Remember VHS tapes?
  • Take photos and videos, but focus more on the people and less on the scenery. Be sure to include everyone, even the camera-shy people in the shots. Not everyone has to be in every picture. Allow every family member a turn behind the lens. That way, no one’s left out. And you never know… You might instill a love of photography or filmmaking one or more of your kids by doing so.

As much as one person might enjoy being the director, remember you’re creating family memories, so you want to document that the entire family was there.

  • Collect postcards from places you visit to augment your own pictures. Often the image will be much better, but it won’t have your family members in it. You can write short notes on the back of the postcards too, either of what you did that day or about anything interesting that happened. By combining postcards and personal pictures, you can get a full memento of the experience.
  • Journaling is another way to help capture memories. Encourage each family member to create a journal or travel book of their own. You may elect to share your journals with each other or allow each person to have their own private book, opting to share only selected portions.
  • If you’re artistic, you might consider making scrapbooks from photos and various trinkets picked up along the way. These can be physical or digital. The advantage to the digital books is that they don’t take up a lot of room, but again, you may become a victim of technological advancements. You may consider having a physical book created from your digital photographs for that reason.

Holding a book, photo album, or scrapbook in your hand is a different experience from watching a video or slideshow. While old home movies are making a comeback, many people like to be able to control the experience, lingering and speeding through sections at their discretion.

Consider your family members’ skills and interests both in planning activities and in recording them. Having some books to hold or home movies to watch in the future will be fun, but the most important part is just in having fun family experiences together.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Turning Disappointment into Success

As a parent, it’s always hard to see your children suffer through a major disappointment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could wave a magic wand so they never have to experience hurt or rejection? On some level, of course, but realistically speaking, this isn’t possible. failure sign in palm

Not only that, it’s not even healthy or helpful.

Instead of waving away these disappointments, you should instead help your kids see how they can turn disappointment into success.

Yes, you can actually use disappoint as a way to get what you want.

Disappointments can come in lots of shapes and sizes. Perhaps your son didn’t make the varsity sports team he had his heart set on. Maybe your daughter didn’t get into the college that was her first choice.

Whether it’s a loss in athletics, academics, your budding politician didn’t get elected class president, or your musician didn’t make the band, this is part of life. These losses are felt deeply, so don’t minimize them or try to sweep them under the rug or fix the problems with an ice cream cone. Give your children time to mourn.

How long do you let them mourn? That depends. Try to check in with your Internal Guidance System to see what feels right to you based on the situation. In most cases, you will get a good clue if you keep your heart open and pay attention to your kids. Sometimes it will be literally over in a few minutes. Other hurts might take longer.

Once you feel that your son or daughter is ready to process this disappointment in a different way, you can start to help them tap into his or her own IGS.

Help your children focus on the experiences that they wanted. What does that want feel like? What exactly about it were they imagining? By tapping into their Internal Guidance Systems, they can decide if what they wanted was about having a level of prestige, if it was because their friends are doing whatever this is, or maybe because they just thought someone might like them better.

Once he they know what feels good to them and what they wanted to experience, they can use their IGS to explore other ways they could experience the desired feelings.

If your son wanted the experience of being on a team with his buddies, can he build another type of team? Or can he be a supporting member without actually playing? If it was about his athletic ability, can he redouble his efforts with a goal of making the team next year? Or would he like to shift his focus to a different sport or a team outside of school?

Now, he has shifted his energy away from his disappointment or feeling like a failure. Instead, he is focusing on the positive feeling that he wanted to experience. He’s thinking about ways he can still capture that feeling. By moving his energy from the negative to the positive, he is actually allowing for these experiences to come to him.

In the moment there was hurt, disappointment, or maybe even anger. By tapping into their IGS, your children are able to use that disappointment to help fine tune what they definitely want. Shifting their energy enables them to attract what they want, so your children can learn to turn any disappointment to success!

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

“Do I HAVE To?” Teaching Kids to Respectfully Set Boundaries

Every parent has more than likely had the experience of making a request of a child only to hear the long-drawn out whine back, “But Mooooom, do I haaaaaaave to?” clothes on stairs

While you want your children to recognize their own value and to be in alignment with their true selves, it can be unpleasant and frustrating when your kids push back.

Setting boundaries is an important skill for children to learn. They need to practice these skills so later it will be easier to stand up for themselves in the face of pressure from their peers, a boss, a significant other, or even their community.

In most cases, setting your boundaries can be done in a way that is respectful of all parties. It allows your children to be their authentic selves without causing harm to another.

The best way to do this is to teach your kids to check in with their Internal Guidance System before they respond.

Setting boundaries is not an adversarial situation. It is a way for both parties to be heard and state their needs as opposed to putting up a metaphorical brick wall. By keeping the dialogue open, new solutions may be reached that neither party thought of, thus allowing everyone to be happy.

You can help your child practice this skill with a little role-playing.

One subject that frequently results in battles between children and parents is subject of room cleaning. The parent wants the room to be clean and they don’t want to have to clean it for their kids. Most kids don’t want to be bothered.  Whether their room is clean to Mom or Dad’s standards is just not important to them.

There is no better opportunity for both parent and child to practice respectfully setting boundaries.

Imagine you are walking by your son’s bedroom. Looking in, you see that it is a disaster area. Clothes are strewn all over and you can’t even see the floor. Check in with your IGS to see how that feels. Now ask your child to imagine the same scene. When he senses your reaction to the mess, how does that feel to him? More than likely, neither of you are feeling too happy right about now.

Now imagine you walk by your son’s room and it is neat as a pin, but you had to do all the work to get it there. How does that feel for you? And how does it feel to your son?

Have your son check in with his IGS and determine what is important to him. It may be that he wants his privacy and space and doesn’t want you to come into the room.  It doesn’t bother him if his room is a mess.

Check in with your IGS to see what is truly important to you. You may discover that you can tolerate a little mess, but you can’t deal with his having food in the room that could attract pests.

Once you have both determined what is important, you can work out a solution. One possibility is for him to keep his door closed so you don’t see the mess, but he won’t have food in his room.

By learning to set boundaries while respecting others, you teach your children important life skills. They learn to express their needs and to assert themselves. They also learn to listen to the needs of others and to seek out solutions rather than to win an argument.

It can be surprising how what you often thought was your “line in the sand” will actually shift when you take the time to really listen to each other and check in with your IGS’s.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.