Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Generation E: Help Your Children Stop Enduring Now!

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

We pour our hopes and dreams into our children from the moment they are born. We want them to fare better in life and grow up more secure and presumably happier than . . . than what? Than we are. But despite our best intentions, today’s children are fast becoming a generation of endurers raised by a generation of endurers. And everyone pays a steep price. Parents run the risk of passing their ever-striving-never-stopping tendencies on to the next generation. Call them Generation E—a whole generation of kids for whom enduring seems, if not natural, at least normal.

For many parents afraid for their children’s future, childhood has become a race to the finish line, the brass ring being college and a good career. Isn’t it ironic that, in pursuit of our children’s “success,” we sacrifice ourselves and them by driving them so hard? If the road we’re on together is plagued with stress, resentment, and fatigue, then perhaps it is a vicious circle and not a road at all.

As parents who truly have our children’s best interests at heart, we need to take a different approach. We can help our children stop enduring by practicing a new mantra: Enough is enough!

•Don’t over schedule. Offering children the very best doesn’t mean keeping them busy every moment, even with what we believe are enriching pastimes and enterprises. Nowadays, 12-year-old children are using the term ‘burnout,’ and the sad part is, they mean it! Cut back on the extracurricular activities. Let your child’s moods, energy level, learning style, personality, and interests dictate how many activities they pursue. Then put your own energy level and needs into the equation.

•It’s okay, even good, if kids get bored. Boredom is beneficial, if not imperative, to the growth, creativity, and confidence of children. When children have moments to dream up new ways to entertain themselves and each other, their imaginations are developed in ways a controlled learning environment can’t compete with.

•Teach your kids the difference between endurance and perseverance. True perseverance involves the spirit. When we persevere toward a goal, we are listening to that still small voice within. We are inspired, not drained; empowered, not victimized. When we are enduring, however, we hear only our fears. Our spirit is drowned out by this fear-driven voice that warns us to remain hyper vigilant, ultimately leading us to exhaustion—victims of our To Do lists, the demands of our jobs, and our failing mental and physical health. We exude fear and dread, not enthusiasm. Stuck in a rut, lost in fear, how can we expect to be able to help our kids discover their path?

Begin to discern this important distinction for yourself and you will be able to help your children persevere rather than endure. Children mimic what they see parents doing. So the most important way to stop their endurance in its tracks is to get out of the endurance cycle yourself. Do you feel you never have time to stop? Do you resent never having the time to do things your spirit longs for? Do you look forward to an imagined future time when you will feel happier/ more energetic/debt free? Do you feel resigned and unappreciated as a parent, in spite of all you do? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are enduring. Something needs to change—the sooner, the better.

•If you are enduring . . . It’s time to stop now. The primary source of endurance is fear. Are you worried about your children’s future so much that you can’t imagine taking a risk in your job or career, even for your own well being? Are you convinced that your child will not get into a good college if you don’t continue to sacrifice both your energy and your financial resources? Try not to let fear rule your life or theirs. Take a risk to live a more inspired life yourself so that this, and not powerlessness, is your legacy to your children. Live a life that is admirable by your own standards and your children will both notice your courage and want to emulate it.

•When they disappoint you, give time ins, not time outs. Next time your child doesn’t meet your expectations or misbehaves, don’t ground them or call a time out; provide a time in. Let them talk to you and you will learn more than you would have by closing the door on your communication. If we want our children to be honest with us, we have to make it safe for them to share with us. If we want them to take responsibility for their actions and their lives, what better way than to ask them to reflect on their behaviors and decide what appropriate steps they need to take next?

•Remember what is most important. Some of our worries about success and failure reflect our own need to prove ourselves worthy in our own and others’ eyes. But we want our children to know that they are inherently worthy, not for what they do, but for who they are. Remind them that they are so much more than the sum total of their successes and failures. And if you need to, remind yourself similarly.

Let your motivation to help your children come from your own spirit’s journey. Let yourself be a gauge of what feels inspiring and enriching. Ignore the fear-based need to charge ahead to the point of exhaustion. By learning to say Enough is enough!, together parents and children may just find life filled with more love, joy, and peace. We owe it to our children and to ourselves to shift our focus from fear for their success to just letting them blossom into the extraordinary beings their spirits already yearn for them to become.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

Insights on Bullying

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

If only the saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me were true. In reality, being judged, teased, or made fun of, that is, being bullied, can break one’s spirit and cause deep scars.

Children who are abused or ridiculed by their peers, siblings, even teachers or parents can’t help but believe that there is truth behind the cutting words or angry slap. To a child, everything is personal. They are likely to blame themselves for causing others to hate them enough to hurt them. What happens from there?
When someone is bullied, they are apt to go into endurance mode. In Enough Is Enough, I offer this about the dangers of endurance: Endurance is when you wake up in the morning assuming today will be as emotionally painful as yesterday and the day before. Endurance means that you don’t experience 365 different days a year; you experience the same day 365 times a year. Endurance is believing that your wishes, dreams, and goals don’t matter. Endurance is hopelessness, dread, and anxiety.

Those who have been bullied suffer from endurance and are likely to develop a belief system that is severely limiting, self-judgmental, and fear-based. What are the symptoms of this suffering?

If a child doesn’t commit suicide, get strung out on drugs, or have a fatal “accident,” he or she often grows up exhibiting Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, becoming distrustful, secretive, self-abusing, and sometimes even abusive towards others as a result of all their pent-up hurt, rage, and humiliation. So how can we stop the bullying? How can we help those who are being bullied?

The good news is that bullying is finally receiving the attention it warrants. We are recognizing that bullying creates more bullying, is a trigger for depression, suicide, and drug abuse among teens, and often creates a lifetime of disorders that hinder people from thriving.

One story currently garnering major press began in my home town of Mill Valley, California, at my daughter’s school, Tamalpais High. Two sisters who attend the school, Emily and Sarah Buder, along with their mother Janet, read an article about a girl, Olivia, in another town, who had suffered from bullying at her middle school. Although the Buders had never met Olivia, they felt compassion and wanted to reach out. They began an e-mail campaign requesting other teenagers and anyone who had ever suffered from bullying to write to Olivia. Fast forward: After just a few months, thousands of letters had poured in from all over the world to support Olivia and her mother.

Olivia has come to believe that there are many good people in the world. In addition, truly eye-opening were the letters she received from bullies. What she and the Buder sisters learned from these bullies is that they are also victims of emotional or physical abuse themselves.

The story of these two girls making a difference in the life of a stranger and the lessons they all learned is now available as an inspiring book just published by HarperCollins called Letters to a Bullied Girl. If you have a child who has been bullied, if you know of someone suffering from bullying, or if you were EVER bullied, I encourage you to get this book, available at Amazon now.

Bullying is a cycle. To stop it, we must take it out of our collective closet, just as we have finally begun to do with sexual abuse and domestic violence. By opening our eyes to the symptoms of those who are being bullied—depression, self-destructive behaviors, frequent “accidents,” suicide threats, anxiety, poor performance at school, difficulty concentrating, drug abuse—we let those who are suffering know that they need not endure ridicule and abuse in silence. If you have the courage to ask, you may find that a child has the desire to share this secret with you. Few want to live with the secret of being bullied. Most think they have no other choice.

Most importantly, to stop the cycle of bullying, we must remember that anyone who bullies has likely been the target of bullying themselves. While we need to have zero tolerance for the behavior, we must reach out to the bullies, protect them from further abuse, and treat their emotional scars. As the writer Alexander Soltzenitzen wrote (slight paraphrase): “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take all the evil people and put them over there, then we wouldn’t have to deal with them. And all of us good people would stay right here. The problem is that the line separating good and evil cuts right through the human heart.”

Let’s get out of Courtroom Earth where we label bullies and simply punish them, and set up Classroom Earth where we open our hearts, remembering that harsh and hurtful behaviors are disguised cries for help.

The Buder sisters didn’t know what a difference they would make in one girl’s life and now, through the book, in possibly tens of thousands of lives. They were simply compelled to do something. Whatever compels you, trust it. You are bound to make a difference.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

Lessons from High-Profile Celebrity Divorces

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

To read my English usage blogs, click here.

This may not sound like the title of one of my usual newsletters, so let me explain. First, an explanation for the gap between newsletters: I was on a roller coaster ride for a number of weeks, first with a surprise health issue that is now fortunately resolved and then with some 15-minutes-of-fame experiences.

After two minor surgeries (one surprise, one planned) I flew to Club Med Cancun to teach my Creating Your Abundance from the Inside Out Seminar. The participants—a mix of savvy business folks, marketing experts, health professionals, and professors—contributed so much to my already jam-packed workshop that I decided to compile all this wisdom into an e-book, aptly titled Creating Your Abundance from the Inside Out, which will be ready for ordering in September.

Club Med was followed by a “Cinderella at the Ball” experience in L.A., where I was escorted by my wonderful producer friends to meetings with TV executives for a possible reality show. From these gleaming high rises, I was taken to the Paramount Studios set of “Monk,” where I met Tony Shalhoub and reconnected with his co-star Jason Gray-Stanford (my buddy from the televised Grammar Bee that he hosted and I judged). When I flew home, I was still on Cloud 9 but grateful for my day-to-day life with my family.

Just as I was settling in, I was contacted by USA TODAY (They’d googled Relationship Expert and voila!) to offer some wisdom on how to have a “sane” breakup using celebrity divorces as backdrops. Below is the article as it appeared in USA TODAY online. An edited version appeared in print on July 11, 2008, in Section D, Life. If you’d like to see the original with all the celebrity photos, click here:

Staying Civil in Divorce Court is Hard to Do

Christie Brinkley and architect Peter Cook ended their brutal divorce trial Thursday with a settlement that gave the former model custody of their children, Jack, 13, and Sailor, 10, and all 18 of the couple’s Hamptons properties. Brinkley, 54, agreed to pay $2.1 million to Cook, 49, who was granted “parenting time.” The settlement, which followed allegations of affairs, expensive porn habits and bad parenting, was “a very bittersweet moment,” Brinkley said.
While the ugliness of the trial didn’t rise to the level of the divorces of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards or Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, other celebrities have had more success in keeping their breakups civil. USA TODAY and relationship expert Jane Straus, author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, look at the good and bad of celebrity divorces.

Ryan Phillippe, 33, and Reese Witherspoon, 32
Married: June 1999
Divorced: June 2008
Children: Ava, 8 and Deacon, 4
Issues: Irreconcilable differences
Back story: Witherspoon and Phillippe stayed amicable after their split, even after rumors surfaced that Phillippe was having an affair with his Stop-Loss co-star Abbie Cornish. Phillippe says that he and Witherspoon “have done a really good job at keeping things peaceable and completely focused on the children.” Witherspoon has opted to keep the details of their divorce private.

Straus says: If only more ex-couples could bite their tongues until time has had a chance to help them heal. Once nasty details have been publicly aired, it’s much harder to ask friends, family, or even the public to forgive and forget.

Hilary Swank, 34, and Chad Lowe, 40
Married: September 1997
Divorced: May 2006 (announced)
Children: None
Issue: The double Oscar-winning actress told Vanity Fair in 2006 that Lowe’s substance-abuse problem was at the heart of their split.
Back story: The two remain good friends, and Lowe publicly raves about the way Swank supported him throughout his path to sobriety. “In the end, it just didn’t work,” Swank told Vanity Fair. “But I would never look back on this relationship as failed. I look at it as 13½ years of success.”

Straus says: This attitude shows hard-won wisdom on both Hillary’s and Chad’s part. They’ve been through the agony of addiction and come through with grace as demonstrated by neither of them having to play “victim.”

Kate Hudson, 29, and Chris Robinson, 41
Married: December 2000
Divorced: October 2007
Children: Ryder Russell, 4
Issues: Irreconcilable differences
Back story: Maintaining her friendship with Robinson was very important, Hudson told Harper’s Bazaar in September 2007. “For both Chris and me, our main focus is, and was, Ryder. And happy parents, happy baby. Therefore, I love Chris to pieces.” Hudson is so at ease with their split that she spent Father’s Day this year with Robinson, Ryder, her new love Lance Armstrong and Armstrong’s three children.

Straus says: Some couples come to realize that their purpose has been fulfilled once they have a baby. If they have no stake in feeling wronged, they can split amicably and focus on their children’s well-being. It helps if money isn’t an issue, of course.

Paul McCartney, 66, and Heather Mills, 40
Married: June 2002
Divorced: McCartney filed for divorce in July 2006
Children: Beatrice McCartney, 4
Issues: Without a prenuptial agreement, Mills sought a financial divorce settlement of $250 million.
Back story: Despite his wealth, McCartney lives on a modest property, according to court documents, and offered Mills $30 million. Mills wanted $6.5 million a year for herself and daughter, $25 million for a London home, $6 million for a New York City apartment and $1.5 million for an office in an English seaside town, according to People magazine. In addition, both McCartney and Mills have blamed the other for leaking details of their private affairs to the press.

Straus says: “Most of us believe we would feel satisfied — even thrilled — with Paul’s seemingly generous offer. But we all get used to a lifestyle and can then feel offended or even threatened when it is being taken away from us. Maybe the lesson here is that it is a slippery slope from privilege to entitlement.”

Alec Baldwin, 50, and Kim Basinger, 54
Married: August 1993
Divorced: November 2002
Children: Ireland Eliesse, 12
Issue: Custody battle
Back story: Basinger has charged that Baldwin is “emotionally and physically abusive,” and Baldwin has accused Basinger, 53, of having “a pathological need” to turn their daughter against him. In 2008, Basinger filed a motion to stop Baldwin from publishing A Promise to Ourselves: Fatherhood, Divorce, and Family Law, a book reportedly about their divorce, though Baldwin told the New York Daily News that he has not divulged private information about Basinger. The book will be released in September.

Straus says: “This ex-couple demonstrates a need on each of their parts to get the public to side with them. If they could agree to keep their communications private, they would be letting the public know that their daughter comes first. Wouldn’t that be the best PR of all?”

Charlie Sheen, 42, and Denise Richards, 37
Married: June 2002
Divorced: November 2006
Children: Samantha, 4, and Lola, 3
Issue: Custody battle
Back story: Richards described Sheen in court documents as abusive, negligent of their daughters and a patron of prostitutes. She also has asked the court to give her final decision power, despite their joint custody arrangement. In a May statement, Sheen said Richards continues to publicly discuss and harass both Sheen and his new wife, Brooke Mueller.

Straus says: “Like many newlyweds, Denise may have thought she could change Charlie’s notorious ways. At the time of their split, she may have felt disillusioned and hurt. Many parents find themselves fearful and confused about the data on vaccination risks, so this battle shows concern for their children. Let’s not judge them for this.”

USA TODAY also asked me to write an introduction with advice for a “successful” breakup. Due to space limitations, it didn’t get printed, but I thought it might be helpful for some of you.

“Successful” and “divorce” are not two words we usually put together in the same sentence. Is it even possible? Well, if some celebrity couples can manage it, even with the paparazzi on their heels 24/7, maybe we can too. But just as it takes two to make a successful marriage, it helps if both partners are mature enough to abide by some basic rules when they come to the painful decision that it’s time to split up.
Rule #1: Don’t tell your family about all the terrible things your partner did. What if you get back together? You will feel embarrassed that you’ve forgiven your partner and your family may find it hard to forgive him/her for hurting you.
Rule #2: If you need to talk, which you probably will, talk to a counselor/therapist. You deserve compassion, but a professional listener won’t support you in wallowing in self-pity any longer than necessary. A counselor’s job is to help you understand your relationship patterns so that you can break the unhealthy ones and move on.
Rule #3: Never fight in front of your children or share any gory details. Getting them to side with you is nothing short of cruel.
Rule #4: Don’t talk about money too soon. During a split, feelings tend to be volatile. Anger and revenge can morph into remorse in the blink of an eye. You will want to get stabilized emotionally before you divvy things up. Even if you agree on how assets will be split, have your own attorney look everything over. But make sure you hire a lawyer who is supportive of mediation so that you don’t lose everything in a potentially futile court battle.
Rule #5: Keep your new life private for a while. While it can be tempting to show off new eye candy on your arm, why risk turning still-smoldering embers into a wildfire?
Rule #6: Remember the loving feelings you had when you first got together. Why? Because simmering resentment doesn’t help you get over the relationship; grieving does. Grieving requires remembering the good and feeling your sadness and loss. You may feel uncomfortably vulnerable, but you will also heal that much more quickly.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

Empowering vs. Enabling

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

Dear Jane,
What is the difference between empowering and enabling someone?

I’ve struggled with this in my own life. I want to be compassionate, but how can I know whether I am helping or when I am supporting someone in believing they’re helpless? How do I combine a belief that we are 100% responsible for our thoughts and behaviors at the same time that I increase my awareness of our interdependence?

A few years ago a family came to live with us. They had been evicted from their apartment and because our eight-year-old daughters were friends, when the knock on the door came, we opened up, not just our door, but our hearts. They stayed with us for three months rent free…until at 6:30 one morning, the police banged on our door, arresting the mom for parole violation and theft. Two weeks later a credit card bill arrived totaling $3000+ on a card we had never used and that we thought was still in our desk drawer.

Some details I left out of that story: I knew something was amiss when I was shown the mom’s “ankle bracelet,” her house arrest monitor. On the first day of their stay, she admitted that she had embezzled $32,000 from her employer. She and her husband also admitted that they had defrauded their roommate, making her think that they had used her rent to pay the landlord when they had actually kept it.

So what did I do with this information? I counseled them; I fed them; I drove their daughter to school and events; I cooked for them. Clearly, I was enabling, not empowering, them. Why couldn’t I see that?

I have a habit of assuming the best in people. In other words, I’m gullible. But sometimes seeing something in someone that they don’t see in themselves can bring out the best in them. Hasn’t someone seeing something in you ever made you believe in yourself more?
I also cared very much about their little girl and couldn’t imagine throwing her out into the streets for the sins of her parents.

So, yes, I was an enabler. Yes, I was foolish and disillusioned for a while. I admit fully that I not only didn’t empower her parents; in fact, I made it possible for them to commit further crimes. I could have done more by insisting on their helping more around the house or getting a job or getting drug counseling. But I’m pretty sure that insisting would have made them feel too exposed, and they would have left looking for their next suckers. If I didn’t care about their little girl, this would have been just fine.

Empowering vs. enabling is often distinguished by how people receive our help. When people want to be empowered, not enabled, they don’t ask for pity; they ask for clarity. They don’t give excuses; they overcome obstacles. They show a willingness to change their thoughts and strategies. They take responsibility for their actions. They don’t try to get away with things; they want to get out of their ruts in order to thrive.

Because life is complicated, I still don’t always know ahead of time how my help will be received or if I’m being foolish, throwing away money or energy. I can always hope that good intentions will sow their seeds, even if I can’t know where they’ve been planted or when they will germinate. Maybe, just maybe, this little girl, basking in some unconditional love and living in a safe and secure environment for even a short time will help her not re-create her parents’ life. That little girl is now 15. She still calls us. That feels great. I’ll live with being a fool.

Join Jane at Club Med in Cancun
June 21-28, 2008.
I will be teaching a new, exciting program on Creating Abundance everywhere in your life.
More about this in next week’s e-newsletter.

Handle Stress to Boost Immunity presented by Jane at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco with Keynote Speaker Dr. Mehmet Oz
I was honored to be invited as a panelist, along with Melina Jampolis, M.D., host of Fit TV’s Diet Doctor and author of The No Time to Lose Diet; and Dr. Jacob Leone, Naturopathic & Integrative Medicine Practitioner, to discuss Boosting Immunity: Nutrition, Supplements, and Stress. I promise to have the contents of my presentation available for you on my Web site shortly.

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

If Your Child Is “A Quitter”

Thursday, November 15th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
My teenaged son started playing Lacrosse last year but quit mid-season. This year he took up diving but wants to quit that too. I’m afraid he’s going to fail in life if he doesn’t follow through on his commitments. My wife says my son’s self-esteem is suffering because I’m too hard on him. I think we have to ride him harder and tell him he has to stay with diving until the end of the school year. All I know is that I’m at the end of my rope, we’re all arguing, and nothing’s getting better.

As hard as it is for us parents to watch sometimes, it is the job of teenagers to find out who they are in the world, where they fit in, and where their talents lie. This requires trying on lots of roles. What kids find, if they’re courageous enough to test enough waters, is that not every role fits them. But this process teaches them discernment and, painful as it may be for them to fail or for us to see them quit, saying yes and then no to new things is a rite of passage into adulthood.

In addition, children often act as mirrors for our own fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs. If we can embrace this concept, we can learn so much about ourselves through them. So rather than focus on fixing your son, which is obviously not working, how about if we focus on what his behavior stirs in you.

What are your self-judgments about failure or quitting in your own life? Do you have any regrets from your past around quitting something too soon before you gave it enough of a chance? What are your own fears about failure? Be truthful with your answers and then forgive yourself for your past mistakes. This will help you see more clearly what your son needs from you and stop the vicious cycle you’re in with both your son and your wife.

Perhaps he could use your help with criteria for deciding when to persevere and when to let go. Your own experience, even if embarrassing, could prove enlightening for him. And if he does suffer from low self-esteem, maybe sports are not the answer to build him up. Perhaps you could help him find another activity that boosts his morale and his belief in his competence, individuality, and ability to succeed.

If you are looking for a way to approach him differently so that you get different results, remember to ask open-ended questions such as, “How do you feel about having quit Lacrosse? What about diving don’t you like? What about it do you like? What other activity would you want to pursue if you did quit diving?” Make sure you don’t argue with his answers or try to use this as a lecture opportunity. Just listen. It’s the one thing that teenagers say they need most from parents and yet receive the least. Teenagers, like the rest of us, feel loved by being heard without being judged. I bet that you will learn something you didn’t know about your son and will feel closer.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Enough Is Enough! Seminar in New Orleans
I’m in New Orleans, about to give my Enough Is Enough! Seminar for Katrina survivors. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you in next week’s newsletter.

I was also invited to be interviewed on a radio program while I’m here on the topic of “The Miseducation of Professional Women.” As soon as I have the link for you to listen, I will let you know.

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Protecting a Child from Family Members

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
My mother and I have not spoken for several years. I have no desire to reestablish a relationship with her, but I recently had a daughter of my own (she’s 3 months old) and I don’t think it’s fair to her to not know one of her grandparents. (She does spend time with my father.) I have legitimate concerns for the well being of my daughter spending time alone with my mom and stepfather, but feel I should give her the opportunity to establish a good relationship with them if it is possible. Should I wait until she’s older? How long is that?

It is time to transition from being your mother’s daughter to being your daughter’s mother. If you choose your mother over your daughter, would you perhaps be reenacting whatever betrayal you suffered? If you have legitimate concerns, why would you consider putting your daughter at risk in exchange for the hope that something won’t happen?

It sounds as though you haven’t really fully acknowledged the severity of whatever occurred that caused you to sever your relationship with your mother. In my experience, children don’t break off a relationship with a parent unless they have strong reason to do so. In Enough Is Enough, I address the importance of acknowledging the wrongs that were done to us so that we don’t re-create the same situation for our children and so that we can forgive at a deeper level.

You say you have no desire to reestablish a relationship with your mother. If that is the case, then let it go for now. Or see if you and your mother can work on your relationship with professional help. But do not use your daughter as a “peace offering.” If you want your daughter to have contact with her grandparents, be there with her. Don’t put a time limit on this arrangement. You are responsible for your daughter’s safety and your loyalty belongs with her, not with your mother.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.