Thursday, September 4, 2014

Are You Over-Scheduled and Do You Over-Schedule Your Teens?

Do you feel over-scheduled? Overwhelmed? Too busy? Exhausted? We all feel that way from time to time. And we can be really bad examples for our kids by over-scheduling our lives to the hilt.

     We hear the above statements all the time.  But when kids and teens complain of being over-scheduled and overwhelmed, we should definitely pause to take a new look at our lives and re-prioritize them. Our kids are way too young to feel over-scheduled. And if we, as parents, teach them that it is okay, or worse, meritorious to be busy all the time, we can be setting them up for a life time of exhaustion and lack of success. Not only that but they will feel dissatisfied and stressed out all the time.

     That is not the way to bring up kids and teens who are happy and enjoying themselves. Instead, we should bring up healthy, fulfilled and happy kids and teens. But how can we stop our kids from being chronically over-scheduled? Here are a few tips to do so:

·         Don’t always compare your kids and teens to your friends kids and teens. Instead, treat your kids as unique individuals who can decide for themselves what they will and will not participate in.

·         Sit down and decide (with your teens and kids) what kinds of activities they would like to participate in.  A few ways to determine which activities they would really like to participate in is to list their likes and dislikes.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself and your teens or kids:

1.      What does your child enjoy? Does she enjoy playing sports? If so, what kind of sport?
2.      Does your child enjoy music or dancing? Again, be specific. What type of dancing or musical instruments does she enjoy?
3.      Does your child want to do extracurricular activities?  Or, are you pushing them to overdo it all the time.
4.      Does your child feel overwhelmed at school anyways? If so, make sure you don’t tack on even more stuff on for her.

·         Decide on trying ONE activity for a few months. Don’t commit your child or teen to years or months of activities. Just choose one for a limited time. Then talk to your teen again and discuss how things are going. Be honest—in fact, encourage your child or teen to be brutally honest. And if the activity isn’t something that she is truly enjoying, perhaps allow your child or teen to either try some other activity or not do anything.

·         Encourage your teen to have time for him/herself.

It is important for parents to remember that it isn’t always important for kids and teens to be part of many extracurricular activities. Sometimes, they should be encouraged to experiment with what they like and dislike, and let their intuition be their guide. How else will they develop their intuitions?

So, as parents, we have a responsibility not to push our kids or teens and over-schedule them. We should show them by example that it is okay to take some time out to rest and relax. We don’t want to overwhelm our kids from an early age and develop the wrong habits that can last a lifetime. We want to teach our kids to be their best, and if that means being at home and doing things that they really enjoy, than that’s okay too.

Irene S. Roth

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Empowerment Show with Irene Roth - How Important is it to Empower Our Teens?

Join Host Irene Roth Today at 6pm Eastern - 5pm Central - 4pm Mountain - 3pm Pacific for a discussion about families, communication and much more. The discussion is open to callers and comments/questions in the chatroom.

The World of Ink Network brings you shows each week on topics such as books, writing, author interviews, self-help and much more. Today on The Empowerment Show, Host Irene Roth will be discussing the importance of empowering teens and how it is very important for parents to empower teens to be their best. Teens struggle quite a bit nowadays and they have many problems adults didn't have when they were adolescents. The culture demands certain things from adolescent girls and boys. But it is important for them to do more than mimic what their peers and culture is saying and doing. They need to become authentic individuals.

By taking these steps and joining in on today's discussion, parents could help their children become the best they can be. Call in or post comments in the chatroom, along with your questions, because we know as parents, you want help your children be authentic adults as well--individuals who know what they like and dislike, by following their inner voice.

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Listen to the show here!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our One Click Culture

We are always looking for signs that we are acquiescing to the craziness of this one-click culture. When we adhere to the notion that there is something out there to chase, we lose perspective, make choices against our better judgment, and ultimately we get careless.

    This is as true of teens as it is for us. We all want, and seem to need, quick fixes. But are quick fixes always the best way to proceed? I believe that these quick fixes can lead to a lot of difficulties for us and our family. But what’s more by relying on quick fixes, we are teaching our kids that they should expect these fixes to make them happy and fulfilled.

    This mindset can create a lot of difficulties for our kids later on in life too. They will not only rely on quick fixes but they will expect them. Not only that, but there will always be something out there that they will be chasing to find happiness and contentment. And this is where the main difficulty comes in. When we search for things outside of us to make us content and fulfilled, we will constantly be searching and never quite finding what will make us happy. This can set up a malaise and unhappiness that is running rampant in our society today.

    Thus, it is imperative for parents to change this mindset in themselves first. Many times, our kids mimic our behaviours and actions. If we go for quick fixes and count on them, so will our kids. However, if we teach our kids the short-term nature of quick fixes, we will be teaching them to look beyond these quick fixes to something that is much more permanent and long-term.

    Here are a few ways that parents can show their kids how not to rely on the one-click culture of quick fixes.

1.    Show your kids the importance of looking to make their own choices, based on their own values and not on those of the culture that they live in. This can be hard to do at first because the media is everywhere and your kids are constantly plugged in. But it can be done with a bit of persistence and mostly through an example of good action and behaviour by the parents.

2.    Show your kids that quick fixes don’t give long-term happiness. Quick fixes yield quick results, and quick results are not usually permanent and very short lived. These quick fixes can further frustrate your child and make them feel depressed and out of control, leading to a lack of fulfillment and an overall malaise.

3.    Show your kids the importance of turning inward and developing their own perspectives. If they need to make a decision, they should rely on the values that the parents instilled in them to make a wholesome and balanced decision, one that does not depend on anything or anyone outside of them.

4.    Show your children through your actions that there is nothing out there that can make them happy or fulfilled. Instead, fulfillment and contentment can only be developed from the inside. This will give your children a sense of where they have to turn when they want to feel more in control and fulfilled.

By following these tips, we will be showing our kids how to become happier and more fulfilled. But more than that, our kids may not be as careless, depressed and unhappy if we, as parents, can show them the importance of turning inward and not outward.  And who knows, we may turn around one day and see our kids unplugging from that one-click culture that they believed was so meaningful to them in the first place. 

Irene S. Roth
The Empowerment Show Host 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Y Helps Kids Combat ‘Summer Slide’

Innovative Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program

Did you know that many children experience summer learning loss or “summer slide” over the two-month break when they don’t engage in educational activities?

In fact, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in reading skills over the summer months.*

Studies show that without access to summer learning activities, children from low-income environments can experience more significant learning loss than their more economically stable peers. Over time, these children continue to lose ground and by the fifth grade, many are two to three school years behind their middle- and high-income peers.

This summer, the Y will play its part in preventing summer learning loss among children who participate in its summer programs and camps.

The Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program offers reading and enrichment for first- and second-graders from low-income environments who are reading below grade level. Certified teachers and assistants work with students to not only help improve reading skills, but also provide afternoon programs dedicated to art, music, science and swimming lessons. This program is designed to give children well-rounded educational and physical activities all summer long!

Parents and caregivers are also actively involved in the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program: the Y offers workshops designed to encourage reading at home, helping parents become more involved in their child’s education.

By engaging students and parents, the Y has yielded some incredible results:

·         Children enrolled in the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program gained an average of 2.4 months in reading skills
·         97.6 percent of parents/caregivers report children are “more excited to learn”
·         99.7 percent of parents/caregivers believe their child will do better in school
·         98.3 percent of parents/caregivers believe the program helped their family read more books

(2013 Results from 34 sites, 985 children enrolled)

“It’s difficult for kids to retain everything they learned during the school year. That’s why the YMCA is dedicated to providing summer programs to help children keep up their reading skills, as well as nurture their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development to reach their full potential,” said Rebecca Kelley, director of achievement gap programs at YMCA of the USA.

Launched in 2013, the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program is now offered at Ys in 25 states, with the number of locations expected to grow. To learn more about the Y’s summer learning loss efforts and commitment to youth development, visit  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Reading Programs on The Stories for Children Show

Listen to the Stories for Children Show Monday July 28, 2014 at 6pm Eastern - 5pm Central - 4pm Mountain - 3pm Pacific for a special on Summer Reading Programs and Book Clubs. Mom's Choice & Award-winning Author Virginia S Grenier will be talking about the importance of children and teens reading through the summer months.

Our guest today is Rebecca Kelley, the National Director of Achievement Gap Initiatives of the YMCA. During 12 years with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Rebecca co-led a multi-sector community team that developed the award-winning Cincinnati Community Learning Center initiative and academic enrichment programs, including CincyAfterSchool, a 2013 nominee for National Summer Learning Association’s Award of Excellence. Through school-community partnership, Cincinnati produced a rise in graduation rates during the past decade from 50 percent to 82 percent, and a reduction in the achievement gap from 14.5 percent to 4.5 percent. Prior to joining the YMCA, Rebecca served as the director of knowledge and innovation for Strive’s National Network at the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, she supported more than 90 cradle to career collective impact initiatives.

Grenier, with her guest Rebecca Kelley, hope to not only share their love of the written word, but also what makes a good book for young readers and much more.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Emotionally Mature Parenting

Parenting is, and always has been, a difficult job. This is especially the case today since kids more than ever need a wholesome upbringing in order to be successful and happy. Our kids have very few resources to gain such a wholesome upbringing if it isn’t for parents stepping up to the plate.

We all remember when our children were growing up. We were down on our knees, holding out our arms, encouraging our children to take their first steps. When our child fell or stumbled, we didn’t shout, spank or reprimand. We simply smiled, soothed, and encouraged. In other words, we motivated our child to succeed as much as possible.

Then our child got older and suddenly our attitudes started changing. We may have started getting mad and snapping for little misdemeanors. Then as they approach their teen years, we may have gotten even more upset at them to the point where we may even be mean to them.  One may wonder, what happened to all of the encouraging and open love that we showed our teens during childhood?

In order to bring up our teens, in a wholesome and emotionally mature manner, we should try to recapture some of that positive attitude that we had towards them when they were young so that we could raise confident, self-disciplined and happy teenagers. Sometimes, our own beliefs get in the way of emotionally mature parenting. Here are a few ways to fine tune our parenting skills so that we can become more emotionally mature parents.

1.      Practise joyfulness. We should give our teens the sense that life is meant to be enjoyed, not just gotten through. A sense of joy brings a sense of aliveness and vitality. And this will help our teens to become joyful and happy adults.

2.      Instill a sense of peace and well-being within the family. Parents can establish a positive environment or climate by creating a sense of serenity and encouraging positive feelings and behaviors over negative ones. Peace overcomes fear, insecurity, and other negative emotions. Once a teen experiences peace, she will carry that feeling with her right into adulthood.

3.      Practise patience. Patience is the ability to stay grounded in tough situations and put up with difficult people. Parenting is a tough job and teens can be difficult to tolerate sometimes. But by practising patience in the home, teens will be patient with their siblings and peers as well.

4.      Practise kindness. Kindness is a mellowness and sweetness in one’s attitude. Kindness is the opposite or chafing, irking, and galling. Teens need to be the natural receivers of daily acts of kindness. Kindness dispensed on a daily basis can become the antidote for cynicism or a mean spirit. Try to practise random acts of kindness with teens. Then as our teen grows up, she’ll be able to show others such random acts of kindness as well.

5.      Practise generosity. Generosity requires that we possess a warm-spirited nature and to practise kindness. By generosity, I don’t imply a vision of dollar signs dancing in the minds of teens. What I mean is a generous spirit. A generous parent has a spirit of forbearance, forgiveness, and understanding. For instance, parents can be generous with teens by spending time with them and enjoying activities together.

6.      Exercise integrity. A parent with integrity has a consistent behavior pattern under all circumstances and in all places. To have integrity is to be a whole person. A person with integrity is like a solid piece of linoleum—she is the same all the time and all over.  Once we demonstrate integrity in the home, our teens will emulate it too.

7.      Show gentleness towards our teens. To be gentle is to be considerate. In order for teens to learn how to be considerate, parents have to model gentleness in the home on a daily basis. There is an old word that captures the meaning of gentleness—meekness. To be meek means to channel raw energy, power, and ability in the service of goodness and wellness. We have to teach meekness to their teens.

8.      Practise self-control. This is the ultimate parenting virtue. When parents practise self-control, they are in charge of their own volatile emotions and don’t allow anger to cloud their judgment. The most important discipline in the world for parents has nothing to do with making teens behave. On the contrary, it is to teach our teens to act a certain way by our example. Only when parents are under control are we capable of being in charge. Self-control can lead to self-discipline, and this will help our teens become self-disciplined too.

By trying to practice and emulate these emotional traits and attitudes towards our teens, they will be encouraged to become mature human beings in adult life. So, it is up to us to try and foster these virtues in our teens.  But first we have to demonstrate emotional maturity ourselves in the family.

~ Irene S. Roth

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*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive. SFC does not review any samples sent without a request for review to the Blog Editor, VS Grenier. SFC's staff members will not return unauthorized samples to the senders, but will donate them without review.