What’s The Worst Thing That Could Happen?

This is a fabulous concept to incorporate into your parenting practice.  It’s used in conjunction with explaining decision-making to your kids.  I started using this with my girls when they were about 13 years old and regularly reinforced it all the way through the day they left home for college.

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Using the “Give More Rope” Analogy

Parenting AdviceI happen to think that one of parents’ most important responsibilities is preparing their children for the day when they leave home and live on their own.  Will they be ready to make decisions for themselves?  Will they know how to react in stressful or dangerous situations?  Will they be able to manage their own money?  The list goes on and on.  But the way I mentally visualize this parenting challenge is using the “give more rope” analogy.

When your child is young, there is only a very short rope between you and them.  What does this mean?  As they drift from side to side (ie – doing things that are wrong or dangerous), the rope is so short that the parent can immediately correct (explain, scold, punish).  The other benefit of the rope being so short is that the consequences of the child’s action are limited.  Even something like touching a hot stove might seem catastrophic at the time but in a short few years you’ll realize that a blister on a finger is nothing compared to later potential consequences you’ll be worried about.  Again, a short rope yields quick correction and limited consequences.

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Tips for Optimizing Your Grades in College

Sorry but no rocket science here.  Mostly common sense, but I can virtually guarantee that following these 7 basic steps will make a huge difference in your grades during college.  I can’t promise a 4.0 GPA but am willing to bet that systematically following these basic principles will add at least a single grade point to your freshman year average versus the typical student.  After a couple of years, most college students naturally figure these things out as they develop and refine their own personal system.  But during your freshman year everything is so new, exciting and DISTRACTING.

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10 Golden Rules for Entering College Freshmen

By the time a young adult graduates high school and is ready to head off to college, they shouldn’t need to be given a full set of rules to follow.  After all, moving out of the house means they have the freedom (and burden) if making their own decisions.  Nonetheless, after going through this a couple of times with my kids I decided to capture my personal list of “golden rules”.  They seem so basic and obvious.  But then again aren’t most of life’s rules basic and obvious?  If you are an entering college freshman, check out the list below and see if you can’t stick to it.  Then, if you can remember to do so, look at the list again at the end of your freshman year and see how many of these rules you think are truly Golden.  Continue reading “10 Golden Rules for Entering College Freshmen”

Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike – Could It Be This Simple?

How many ways can there possibly be to learn to ride a bike?  Most of us probably use the same method that our parents used with us when we were kids.  And it usually involves some combination of holding onto the seat and/or handle bars while we run along side our learning child.  Then, at some arbitrary point when we think they are ready, we let go.  For a while we run along side, just in case we need to grab quickly.  And then, magically, when we think the kid has it down we let them ride ahead until they decide it’s time to stop and they have no clue how to do so.

The only reason I wrote this particular advice document is because I accidentally stumbled on an alternative method of the “running along side” part of the process.  I have three daughters and used this technique with all three.  In the cases with my older two daughters, after just two times out at about 15 minutes each, they were riding on their own.  In the case of my youngest daughter, I decided to skip the training wheels stage and see if the technique would enable her to learn to ride a bike at the age of three and a half.  It worked, but took about five outings.

If it works for you, pass it along to others.  And sorry, but I don’t have any special hints on braking, wheelies or riding without any hands.  Continue reading “Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike – Could It Be This Simple?”