#ProactiveParenting

Pay Back Is Not A Reasonable Expectation

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This is my latest piece from the HuffPost - I thought it would be good to share being that we are in full holiday season swing! Remember to set expectations accordingly!! Happy Thanksgiving!! Someone once told me reciprocity was the most important element in a relationship. That someone was wrong. Reciprocity? Really? As a mother, and as someone who works everyday to help others enhance their relationships, I can unequivocally say that reciprocity is one of the least important elements in a relationship.

I love my children more than anything on this planet, the joy they bring to my life is impossible to explain. I work hard to give them the life I want them to have. Education, activities, and social engagements are only the tip of the iceberg when raising our children today. Having an expectation that they are going to “pay us back” for it is ridiculous and unrealistic.

I give to my children with the expectation that they are going to be grateful, kind and upstanding human beings. I have zero expectation for anything else.I will not keep a list of things I’ve purchased for them over the course of their lives, I will not hold that over their heads when they are adults. Instead, I will love, encourage and support them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a business transaction, hell, it could be a dinner party -- you will be setting yourself up for disappointment if you have any expectation of the outcome. I know a few people who expect “pay back” for their generosity and when they don’t get it, they hold a grudge. One thing I say frequently is to have zero expectation with whatever you’re about to do -- this way there’s a good possibility you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the experience.

Reciprocity is a funny thing. It comes up often in my conversations -- one person is not getting what they need or want from the other, yet when I question why, often the answer is associated with communication, or lack thereof. Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t have the single most important element of ANY relationship in place, it doesn’t matter where reciprocity falls.

Communication my friends, that’s where it’s at.

I will preach about it until I’m blue in the face. Talk to your people, people! How is your partner (or child) supposed to know how you’re feeling if you’re not expressing it? None of us are mind readers!

What’s worse is that in some cases, the lack of communication lasts for years, causing anxiety and strife, until it ends up exploding! Meanwhile, the entire situation could’ve been avoided if communication had prevailed.

If you operate with the idea that you’re owed something every time you give you’ll end up hurt. Every. Single. Time. Change your mindset. Give because you want to, not because you have to. Give because it feels good to make others smile. Give because you want to enhance someone else’s life experience. Give because it’s the right thing to do.

The world opens up much wider when you have a generous heart. You won’t be worried about getting paid back because you’ll be fulfilled by the responses you receive.

 

How Do We Raise Kind, Compassionate Boys In A Donald Trump World?

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I don’t know about you, but as a mom trying to raise two young boys, I’m pretty appalled by the news headlines lately. My oldest son, who is turning 11 in a few weeks has been interested in the Presidential race for a while now. It’s not unusual for him to ask questions about the candidates or the issues they’re stumping about (he was partial to Bernie). Imagine our delight as parents when his teacher told us that our son was starting discussions in school about politics and policy, creating thought provoking debates among his classmates. So proud!

Now imagine our dismay when the latest headlines hit the news cycles, and he started asking about it. “Mom, Dad, what does it all mean?” Abuse, rape, groping, locker room talk..things we had no intention of discussing with him (yet). Sure, we’ve had conversation about what’s appropriate and what’s not when it comes to iPad usage and YouTube videos, but we haven’t delved into the area of what’s unacceptable when you’re speaking about and interacting with girls in a sexual way. Why? BECAUSE HE’S A KID. We shouldn’t have to (yet)!

Where’s my closet? I just want to go live in it with my babies.

How do you talk to your kid about what’s being said in the news? My husband and I discussed how we would approach this topic with him (his little brother is 4, and is happily entertained by The Floogals, thank goodness), and we decided the best approach is to be honest and direct.

We decided to focus on the good stuff (digging deep here folks!) and remind him that, in fact, most men are not like Trump at all.

First thing’s first, every day as we are on our way to school, I tell my children of a few things: be kind, respectful, happy, and make good choices. We live by these words along with the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. So you can imagine the frustration we had when approaching this topic - with kid gloves.

We explained to him that women are not objects and the mere idea that this is even an idea is wrong. Women are strong and powerful. They are to be respected and treated as such.

We talked about how hard it has been for women to be seen as equals in our society. Something he’s extremely unfamiliar with, because he sees his own mother working hard to build a business and his father be nothing but supportive of her. He watches his parents compliment and appreciate one another. He lives by the idea that we are all to be treated the same way regardless of gender, color, race, etc. Be respectful.

We discussed the idea of “locker room talk” and we made it clear that talking about a girl (or anyone, for that matter) in a context that is inappropriate is unacceptable, under any circumstances. That touching another person against their will, boy or girl, is wrong. We explained consent. And oh by the way, we told him that blaming it on “locker room talk” is BS.

Men that are honorable, honest and kind hearted do not speak about other human beings the way Trump spoke about those women. Be kind.

We talked about being in the same place as the person who’s saying or doing things they shouldn’t be. About implication. He was cautioned that if he’s ever in a situation where he sees or hears something that’s inappropriate, he has an obligation to speak up. Just because you’re not the one doing the crime, so to speak, does not make you innocent. Make good choices.

We reminded him that each day is a new opportunity to do your best and make the most of it. It’s all a choice. How you act, treat others and treat yourself. Every day is a gift, use it to your advantage. Explore your world, learn new things, make friends. Be happy. In the end, our conversation went off without a hitch. Kids are smart. They want to be informed and acknowledged. It makes having these kinds of discussions easier. Open door policy in our house - ask anything - no judgement, we will always answer. My son is now educated on topics I thought we would have a little more time to keep in the vault. Being prepared and honest is the best way to go

YOU Are Worth It.

This week I've been talking all about empowerment - being your authentic self, taking charge of your life, what empowerment means to you and the power of connecting. Today I did a live stream about knowing your self worth and I thought I would share it here too. Have a great weekend!!! And hey, YOU are worth it!! xoxo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk9QurOeXfQ

 

And So It Goes...

My annual back to school post - it's FINALLY here!! We've had another amazing summer complete with friends and family. A lot of wonderful days full of sunshine, laughter, food and fun. Spoiled by the beauty of the lake and the country, we spent 10 weeks out of the city this summer. Ten weeks of having Will commute to us on the weekends, and that's the only drawback - not having him home every night to be with us. But after lots of consideration, him going back and forth from the city to the country in the summer is still the best deal for the kids. We bought that house so our kids could know what it's like to live in a rural environment. To be able to do as they please, have their independence, get on their bikes in the morning and come home in the evening, without a care in the world. That's what we had when we were kids and we are so fortunate to be able to give it to them. Our summers are filled with visitors and friends and it flies by, all but the last 2 weeks. It's at about the 8 week mark when I start to get antsy. I miss my city living, I miss having a routine and I miss school!! The last two weeks of summer are not easy! Camp is over, babysitters have gone back to school and so have our country friends. It's me and the boys trying to entertain one another - or really me trying to figure out how I can manage to keep them occupied for long enough that I can actually get some work done! They're complaining of boredom (impossible with all the stuff we have at our disposal at the lake), they're pushing each other's buttons (and mine!!), and they're trying to sneak screen time (that I'm sometimes allowing). By week 8 I'm DONE. We arrived back in Brooklyn on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. So far we've walked about 10 miles, gone to the playground three times, eaten at our favorite doughnut shop, pizza place and diner and bumped into various friends along the way. The entire time I've been reminding them how much longer they have until school starts! (as of this writing less than 12 hours!!). Here's my dilemma tonight people...for as excited as I am to have them back in school and getting back on a schedule, to have time to myself to focus on getting my stuff done and build my business, I'm freaking out inside because HOW IS IT POSSIBLE that the little one is going to be in elementary school and the big one is going into middle school? WHERE DID THE TIME GO? What happened to my sweet little boys? Wyatt is going to be traveling on mass transit ALL BY HIMSELF....oy, my nerves!! He's not even phased by it - unless he's putting up a really good front right now. I mean, he shouldn't be phased by it, the kid has been riding subways and buses since before he was born. He knows his way around, and I'm ridiculously proud of him. He's almost as tall as I am - I figure I have about a year and then I'll be looking up at him (sigh). And then there's Elias...the crazy one. The one who always has a smile on his face, even when he's throwing a tantrum (for no reason). The one who was just born it seems. The one who will also be taller than me in about five minutes. Tomorrow will mark yet another milestone for each of them and for as much as I've wanted this day to come, I want time to stop for just a little while longer.

That's the hazard of parenting - one minute you're wishing for the next thing to happen and the next minute you're willing it to stop. It's the very definition of bittersweet. My children are my life. They are the reason I get up in the morning and try so hard to make their world a better place. They are my sun and my moon. And sometimes I can't stand them. But most of the time they're the best things that ever happened to me. Tomorrow is another milestone for each of them, and I'll be there every step of the way, fighting back the tears as to not embarrass the big kid, trying so hard not to hug him for too long in front of his friends, keeping my words in check. It will be easier for the little one - I get to be in school with him on his first day (which will probably be a huge pain in my ass by 9am), but for now I'll pretend that it's going to be fun to be sitting in a classroom with a bunch of 4 year old's and their parents, on day one of Pre-K. (I'm laughing just writing this!!). So wish me luck you guys...Tomorrow is yet another first day of school for our NYC kiddos, and as per tradition, I'm wishing them all their best year yet!! And Happy First Day of School to you too,parents - is that a Bloody Mary I hear calling our names??

xo