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Parenting, Caring, Procreate


Moving With Kids Made Simple

If you plan to move this year, there's a lot to know before you go, especially if you have children.

Moving With Kids Made Simple

If you plan to move this year, there's a lot to know before you go, especially if you have children.

As difficult as the move is for adults, it has a far greater impact on children. Psychologists tell us that moving is the third most traumatic event in a child's life, just after death and divorce. Not only do they have to adjust to a new home and school, but all their best friends will be gone.

With today's highly mobile society, relocation is a fact of life. But just because it's a necessity doesn't mean it has to be traumatic. There are many things that parents can do to make a move easier for their children.

When you first break the news, don't think you have to provide all the details right away. Family Psychologist Thomas T. Olkowski, Ph.D., says, "The best way to deal with the initial news is to give it some thought. I suggest giving it some time to sink in." A child will talk when it feels right. Then, children will have lots of questions. So parents need to be ready with appropriate answers.

Let Them Participate

In Planning

One of the most important things parents can do is to allow their children to participate in the planning process. Dr. Olkowski says, "This is a chance for a child to take part in the adventure of moving."

In addition to helping with important decisions, children should be involved with packing and unpacking their own belongings. Knowing where their possessions are gives them a little control over a situation that, otherwise, seems completely out of their control.

Another activity that Dr. Olkowski believes can make a difference is leaving a memorial behind. A child can plant a tree or hide a special toy where no one will ever find it. He says this creates a lasting connection, and lets the child feel that "they're a part of this house and it's a part of them, even though they're moving to a new neighborhood."

Exchange Gifts With Friends

It may also help to exchange gifts with their best friends. In this way, they'll know that something of theirs is with their friends, and they'll always have something special to help them remember their friends. And, of course, it's important to exchange e-mails and phone numbers so everyone can keep in touch. A reassuring phone call or e-mail can make it seem like nothing has changed at all.

When arriving in a new neighborhood, it's essential that parents walk the streets with their children, so they can become comfortable with their new surroundings. And before a child has to face a new school alone, it's a good idea to make a visit together, to break the ice. Just knowing the new teacher, and where the bathroom is, can reduce a great deal of anxiety.

Perhaps the most difficult moving experience for children is making new friends. This can be very awkward, but parents should take the time to teach their children how to easily introduce themselves. Using a few common tips, a child can have several new friends in no time.

Most Kids Actually Feel Better After A Move

Dr. Olkowski finds that most children adjust well in time, and actually feel they're better off after a move. He has learned that "they discover how moving can be fun, and in the end, they end up having even more friends."


My Child Steals

There are many reasons why children may take things that do not belong to them. Parents need to become more concerned when they see a repeated pattern of stealing.

children stealing, my child steals

Parents need to know that it is very common and normal for children under the ages of four and five to take things that do not belong to them without understanding the concept of stealing. Children need to be taught lessons in personal property and not taking something without permission. Children under the age of five are generally self-centered and their primary focus is often seeing and taking what they want. That’s why parents need to begin teaching their child the manners involved in asking permission to take, borrow or use someone else's belongings. Parents who overlook these important lessons often receive embarrassing phone calls from their child's school, youth programs or neighbors in regards to their child's theft issues.

Why Do Children Steal?

There are many reasons why children may take things that do not belong to them. Parents need to become more concerned when they see a repeated pattern of stealing and are beginning to identify their child with more then one of the reasons for stealing listed below.

• A child may be stealing to get attention. The attention that they may be seeking, other than the parents, may include their peers or brothers and sisters.

• Children often learn from adults. When a child sees a parent take items from their work, neighbors or even stores in front of their children, are modeling the behavior of stealing. Children often learn from this example that some stealing is acceptable behavior.

• A child may feel that they "found" an item that does not belong to them, and therefore they may keep the item. Parents need to teach their children that a "found" item is not necessarily theirs to keep.

• A child's basic needs may not be met. Some children who steal often feel they are lacking something that other children may have. For example: Some of your child's friends may have pocket money to buy extra food while they are at school. The parent may not view this desire as necessary or the parent cannot afford the "pocket change" to give to their child, so the child steals the money to meet his or her needs.

• Some children steal to gain control or power.

• Some children steal for the thrill. This often occurs with older teens and adults. This type of stealing often becomes habitual.

• Some children steal to fit in or to be accepted by their peers. This type of stealing is often caused by peer pressure.

What Can Parents Do?

Parents who do nothing to react to their child stealing are only condoning the behavior. Parents need to take steps immediately when they catch their child taking something that does not belong to him or her. Below are some Parenting, Caring, Procreate solutions that can be implemented for children who exhibit stealing behaviors.

• Parents always need to be aware of where their children are and what they are doing.

• Sit down and talk with your child about stealing. The conversation should include what is and what is not stealing. This conversation may take place, depending on your child's reasoning abilities, between the ages of four and five. Tell your child that stealing is wrong.

• Have your child agree that he or she will not touch some ones property without their permission.

• Make sure that your child knows that there will be natural consequences for stealing. Examples of natural consequences include loss of friends, loss of trust and not having a good feeling about stealing.

• Let your child know that there will be negative consequences from you. Your child should either return the item to the owner or pay for the item. If the child does not have money, he or she should do some extra tasks to earn the money. Hold your child accountable for the inappropriate action.

• If your child is stealing items from other kids at school and the items include things that he or she needs (pencils, paper and crayons), tell your child not to take another students belonging, you will buy what is needed.

• Avoid lecturing or labeling your child as a thief. Once your child realizes and agrees that the behavior was wrong the child should be given a chance to start over.

• Put all items that you do not want your child to have in an area that he or she cannot get to them.

• Teach your child that he or she will have a chance to earn the item in the near future. This will teach your child patience and delayed gratification.

• Teenagers who steal often do so for the thrill of the experience. Get your child involved in other activities that will fill their need for excitement.

• Children, especially teenagers who have habitual stealing behaviors, arrest for shoplifting or other reports of theft should see a trained professional (doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist etc.) who specializes in the area of stealing for more necessary interventions.


My Son’s Deployment

One of the most difficult struggles in life for a parent is the struggle that occurs when the parent is attempting to keep their child safe and the child is attempting to explore the world and find their place in it, often times not in the safest manner.

A discussion of Inside Out cannot occur without me sharing some of my own personal struggles with the concept. Today is one of those days. I just learned that my nineteen-year-old son received his deployment orders. He jus...

One of the most difficult struggles in life for a parent is the struggle that occurs when the parent is attempting to keep their child safe and the child is attempting to explore the world and find their place in it, often times not in the safest manner.

A discussion of Inside Out cannot occur without me sharing some of my own personal struggles with the concept. Today is one of those days. I just learned that my nineteen-year-old son received his deployment orders. He just graduated from National Guard basic training last week and in less than two months, his Guard unit is being deployed for six months of training and then on to Iraq for a year.

Anyway, my son made a decision fairly early on that he wanted to join the military. This was a surprise to me because I believed that, generally, young men and women enter the military who have some type of role model in the military. Since there was no one in my or my husband’s family who was in the military, I believed my children would not have the inclination for military service. My son began talking about being a sniper for the Marines at around the age of sixteen. Imagine my terror, thinking of him in dangerous situations when I had spent all his life attempting to keep him safe---mostly safe from himself as he has quite a risk-taking personality.

Being a good Inside Out mother, I knew better than to try to talk him out of what he truly wanted, but secretly I’d hoped that by the time he was old enough to join the military, he would “come to his senses.” Now I’d like to say here that I totally support our troops. I know there are brave men and women putting their lives on the line for our safety and the ideal of freedom around the world, but as most mothers can relate, that’s OK for other children, just not mine! I’m well aware of the selfishness of that position, but it is what it is.

Over time, my son and I had some discussions about his future plans. He was raised in rural Pennsylvania and had been hunting with his father from the time he was three. He has a natural ability for marksmanship. He is incredibly courageous and loves a good physical challenge. With all of these attributes, I know he sounds like a poster boy for military service. Still, as his mother, I’d hoped he would change his mind.

I believe he made a concession to me when, just prior to his eighteenth birthday, he decided to join the National Guard, as opposed to the Marines. Part of his reasoning was that he wanted money for college but another part, in my opinion, was that he was just looking to prove himself as a man. I breathed a small sigh of relief thinking that he would be safer in the Guard. He would do his weekend a month and two weeks in the summer and have to respond to any situations in the US requiring armed service intervention. Was I ever wrong---along came the war in Iraq. I am not making any statements here about the efficacy of this war. I do not know if we are there because of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism or oil fields. I only know that our county’s young service men and women are being forever changed by their experiences there and I am afraid for my child.

Today, my son told me with trepidation that he received his orders and will be leaving soon for eighteen months. He seems a little apprehensive but also excited. This is what he’s been trained to do. I am very proud of the young man that he has become but am terrified of the possible ramifications. How can he come back from there being the same person I know now, or worse, what if he is wounded or killed over there?

All of this is going through my mind as I am writing but I know that I have to support him. I don’t want him leaving, feeling that I am not behind him 110%. What I truly want is for the war to be over, for this to be some mistake, for his unit to get stateside deployment, anything but for my child to be sent to Iraq as an infantryman on the front lines of the fighting. However, using Inside Out thinking, I have to first ask, what is within my power and control? I am not going to change the fact that my son is going to Iraq. Even if it were within my power to do so, he would not want to ignore his duty.

So, the only thing left on which to focus is how I can be the person I want to be in this situation that I can’t control or change. What are my priorities? My first priority is to let my son know how very proud of him I am and that I support his decisions. After all, it is his life to do with as he sees fit. I did my part by keeping him safe these 19 years. Now, it is his turn to decide how he will live and I want to support the man he has become. Secondly, I don’t want him to be worrying about how I am managing while he is away. And finally, I want him to know that I love him and will pray for his safety every day. These are all things within my control. How will I do it?

I find that whenever I am facing a particularly difficult situation, I attempt to look for the positives in it. In this situation there are many. My son is growing up and fighting for something in which he believes. He is developing principles that will guide his behaviors the rest of his life. His being in Iraq may help to save the lives of others. It will truly test his relationship with his girlfriend in determining whether or not they are truly committed to each other. And when I let myself think of the worst case scenario, which is him being killed there, I have come to remind myself that he will have died doing something he really wanted to do as opposed to living a long, unfulfilled life full of regret. If it comes down to it, will I be able to maintain that posture and position? I don’t know, but I do know that staying focused on Inside Out thinking will assist me in managing both my worry and my grief, if necessary.

If you find yourself in a similar situation and are looking for ways to stay sane or just the support of others going through the same thing, visit and check our calendar for upcoming teleclasses, chats and workshops.


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