Friday, October 17, 2008

MOTTS Meeting

Who is ready for a MOTTs meeting? Can't believe we haven't done one yet, this school year!!!

Email me and tell me WHICH WEEKDAY MORNING is best for you. I'll get something set up within the next 2 weeks, and will email you when we have the date confirmed. We will meet at Marilu's house this time, very close to school!

email address:

Praying God's blessings on you and your family today!!

Love, Vickie

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Help Your Teen Work Through Anger
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Uh-oh, you've got an angry kid on your hands, and you're feeling frustrated and confused. You might be close to anger yourself. At times, you may be afraid of your child's anger. You may even be afraid of your child. Keep in mind that teens can learn everything that an adult can about coping with anger.

Anger is a normal emotion. We all feel it sometimes. Learning to manage it is a normal part of growing up, and you, as a parent, are in the best position to help your son or daughter manage their anger.

Anger as a symptom
Anger can be a wonderful emotion. It lets us know that something is wrong. It helps us know when our buttons are being pushed, our values are not being respected, or our boundaries are being crossed. But unresolved anger can make you physically sick, or show up later as a chronic anger problem. Often, people find a way of not feeling the anger: they may get depressed, or use drugs or alcohol, or take up habits like gambling.

Anger is usually a symptom of other underlying emotions. Before people get angry, they have other feelings that are the actual root of their anger: irritation, frustration, fear, dislike.
For example, suppose your daughter discovers the whole class knows she has a crush on a certain boy - and the information came from her best friend. She feels several emotions. Loss: "Now he'll be too embarrassed to ask me out." Hurt: "I trusted her and she spilled my secret." Powerlessness: "I wish I had never told her, but I can't 'unsay' it now, or erase it from everyone's memory." She becomes angry at her friend, not just because of what the friend did, but also because of the consequences to her.

Your daughter will need to deal with all of these feelings at some time in her life. Anger masks the overwhelming combination of these feelings. If you can help her face them, you can help her understand where anger comes from, and help her deal with other situations that make her angry. You can empower her by helping her understand and control her emotions.

Angry thoughts, feelings, actions
The emotion of anger involves thought, feeling, and action. Change any of these and you can take control of anger. For example, when your child does not come home in time for supper, the way you choose to see his behaviour (the thought) will determine how you will feel.

You might think: "That kid doesn't care about the family. He's abused a privilege again." Such thoughts leave you feeling used and not respected. When your son walks in 35 minutes later, the earlier feelings become anger, and you may blow up, shouting things that you don't really mean. The thought drives the feeling, which drives the action.

What if you thought: "This is normal behaviour. All kids will push the boundaries when they're having fun and they've got a curfew?" You might feel frustrated, but you would know that teaching kids to respect the rules is a normal chore that every parent must do, not an injustice visited on you by your particular child. When your kid comes home, you will be asking yourself, "What's the best way to get him to do what the family needs him to do?" You will be likely to choose a more rational way of behaving, based on what you know about your child.

In the same way, you can help an angry child to find another way of thinking about a frustrating situation. Changing the angry thought prevents angry feelings and angry behaviour. But you can also change the situation by working on the other two aspects of anger.

Angry feelings
The starting point in dealing with angry feelings is to name the feeling. You can say to your child, "I can see why you're angry" without judging her. This helps kids to accept where they are, and helps them to learn to recognize and name their feelings.

The goal here is to get at the underlying feelings, but first your child needs to let go of some of the anger. There are many techniques for doing this. These include exercise, massage, hot baths, deep breathing, prayer, meditation, and soothing music.

Teach kids to express their feelings to others in another form: "When you [action] I feel [name emotion]." The daughter in the example on page one could say to her friend: "When you tell my secrets, I feel hurt." With this kind of statement, called an "I" statement, the speaker takes responsibility for her feelings. Point out to your children that no one else can make them angry; no one can make them feel anything. Tell them: "The only person who can change your feelings is you."

Angry actions
Angry actions include angry words (insults, protests), faces (sulking, frowning, glaring) or deeds (punching, slamming doors). All of these actions can hurt others. If kids can learn to pause before they act out anger, they have the chance to examine their angry thoughts and their underlying feelings without the extra stress of dealing with the consequences of their angry actions.
Angry actions are only necessary when our survival is threatened. Sometimes this means psychological survival. If someone keeps hurting your feelings, and you are not able to stop them in any other way, you may have to use angry words. Teach your kids to make sure that they have had time to think about those words, and that they have made a definite decision to use them because nothing else is available.

Cooling down
Tell your kids that the best thing to do when they're angry is to remove themselves from the situation. It is also the best thing to do when someone else is angry. It is difficult to reason with an angry person, and you can't expect yourself or your kids to make good decisions when angry. You cannot teach your child to handle anger better while she or he is angry.

Within the family, you could choose a cool-down signal (like the "T" used to ask for a time-out in basketball and other team sports). This acknowledges that kids are angry, but gives them some responsibility for controlling their anger. You can then give them the time and space to practise a cooling technique, such as deep breathing or counting to 10.

Teach anger management before anger happens
Every time you help kids to understand why they were angry, you're teaching them to handle their feelings better the next time. Understanding begins with acceptance. Kids can accept their anger while they are feeling it. After they cool down, they can understand it. These are steps that you can use to manage anger:

Admit to yourself that you are angry.
Allow yourself to feel anger, without guilt.
Cool the heat.
Write out what you're angry about, what some of the feelings are behind the anger, and what you know about yourself from this incident.
Make a decision about what you want to do about the situation that made you angry.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creative Discipline

I received this email from a friend today and wanted to share with you.

As we know ... sometimes Parenting a Teenager requires us to put on our Creative Thinking Hat. Check it this Mom's clever approach to a "Teachable Moment" with her son.

This generation of teenagers needs more parents like this one!! YOU GO, MOM !!!

Now, of course there's going to be some people who will perceive this as child abuse or cruelty.

But I call it ....CREATIVE DISCIPLINE! What do you think?

Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of PEACE, for those who have been trained by it.
Fearing God
Prov 9:10: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (NIV).

What is your biggest parenting fear? Academic failure? Social rejection? Drug abuse? Sexual impurity? Fear is a powerful motivator, and if we're not careful, we may find ourselves making parenting decisions that are driven by our fears. Rather than addressing our kids' issues with empathy, consequences, and faith in God, we may try to control and even micromanage their lives. While this may temporarily lower our anxiety, it can result in kids who are dependent or rebellious.

Fear of the Lord starts by acknowledging God as creator and people as His creation. This is fundamental because until we recognize the limits of our OWN wisdom, we tend to depend on ourselves instead of God.

Our parenting decisions will be wiser when we have an accurate view of God's character and our position. When we acknowledge His sovereignty and goodness, we accept the limits of our control and we can trust Him even in the midst of painful or frightening parenting challenges. We can have faith that He sees the eternal purpose when we cannot.

Does this article strike a familiar note with you? You may wish to read this other article:
Fish Tale: Allowing Kids the Benefit of the Struggle.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ronald Reagan

Enjoy these quotes from Ronald Reagan

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'-Ronald Reagan

'Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.'- Ronald Reagan

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'- Ronald Reagan

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.' - Ronald Reagan

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.' - Ronald Reagan

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.' - Ronald Reagan

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.' - Ronald Reagan

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it' - Ronald Reagan

'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.' - Ronald Reagan

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'- Ronald Reagan

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.'- Ronald Reagan

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Father's Gift
John Shaughnessy

Click here for the full story.

Lakewood Moms: Please ask your husband to click on this link above, and read this inspiring article from All Pro Dads. If Dad is interested in doing something like this for our kids, please have them contact my husband Stephen, by email at

Bill Bissmeyer shares the simple idea of a monthly breakfast that strengthens the bonds between fathers and their children, which has mushroomed into a concept that has been embraced by hundreds of groups in at least 40 states and six countries. He also describes “the miracle” that happens during one part of the special breakfasts—when each father stands up, introduces his son or daughter and then publicly shares at least one reason he is proud of his child.

“The look on the child’s face is like one of those time-delayed pictures of a flower blooming,” Bissmeyer says. “When the father introduces the daughter and says something sincerely about her, she literally grows in her father’s praise.”

“It’s nice to be just dad and the kids,” say Ben Stallings, a Roncalli parent and a father of five. “We did that when they were younger. It’s harder as they get older, and they have so many other things going on. It would be nice to do this once a week.”

His 15-year-old son, Ray, enjoys the time, too. “Me and my dad are real busy,” says Ray, a sophomore at Roncalli. “It’s nice to get up early and do this once a month. It gives us a chance to talk. I like that.”

The approach to the breakfasts is simple, Bissmeyer says. “The ingredients are: breakfast, kids, an introduction and praise from the father of the child, and a 10-minute speaker,” he says. “It’s kind of like saying you invented the cake when a cake has been around forever. You’re just showing people the ingredients to use.” He pauses and adds, “I never had an inkling that this would grow into what it has. It’s not to be credited to anyone except the individual father who takes the time to come.”

The breakfasts can get emotional for parents and children who don’t see each other on a regular basis because of a divorce. The emotion flows through everyone in the room when the speaker for the morning is a father who shares the story of a child who died.

“Every one of those fathers says the same thing, ‘Hug your kid,’ ” Bissmeyer says. “That’s their main message. Nothing else but
‘Hug your kid.’

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kids are Bored?

Here is a fun list of activities that I got mostly from the All Pro Dads website. Some fun ideas for your next Family Game night, or whenever your kids say "Mom, I'm bored!"

Start with a tissue or shoe box and let your kids decorate it. When you come across an idea that strikes your fancy, write it on a slip of paper and place it in the box. Send them running to the idea box when they say they are bored. You can start by using some of the ideas listed below:

*Make a sponge garden. Soak a sponge in water and place it in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with alfalfa or rye grass seeds. Keep it moist and watch it grow
*Let your child finger paint with shortening on cookie sheets
*Create a mosaic by cutting construction paper into zillions of small pieces and gluing them to a sheet of paper to create patterns or scenes
*Make frozen fruit juice cubes in an ice tray
*Make a batch of homemade Play-dough. Recipes can be found online at
*Spray paint two-liter bottles and use them for bowling pins. (Put a little water in the bottom of each one to weigh it down.)
*Make a bird feeder by rolling a pinecone in peanut butter, then in bird seed. Hang from a tree with string
*Have your children create books about themselves. They might want to include their birth date, handprints and footprints, drawings of themselves and their families and a story about themselves. These are wonderful keepsakes.
*Read and act out one of your child's favorite stories.
*Make a mystery bag by placing familiar objects in a pillow case. Ask your child to close his or her eyes, feel the objects in the bag and pick out the item you name
*Hide a small toy in a room. While the children look for it, give them clues such as, "You are hot" when they are close, and "You are cold" when they move away
*Put a sheet or blanket over a table and make a tent, doll house or secret hiding place. This is also a great place to take a nap or have a picnic lunch!
*Play hopscotch with your kids – all it takes is a little sidewalk chalk!
*Soak a stalk of cut celery in a glass of food coloring and a little water. Watch what happens the next day. (You can also use Daisies or Carnations for this experiment)
*Make a volcano. Mound dirt six to ten inches high and then clear a hole down the middle of it. Put 2 teaspoons of baking soda in the hole. Pour in some vinegar and watch your "eruption"
*Save pennies in a jar. When the jar is full, use the money for a family outing to the ice cream parlor.
*Picnic at a different park each week.
*Lie on a blanket in the backyard at night and look at the stars.
*Dress up and serve dinner by candlelight once a month.
*Have a sock fight. Roll socks into balls and throw at each other.
*Look at Me! Have your children observe you for a minute. Leave the room. Return to the room, having changed a small detail in your appearance. Can they guess? Take turns being “it”.
*Plan a scavenger hunt for items around the house.
*De-Clutter the closets and toybox, and have a garage sale of toys. Let the kids earn their own money to purchase something they’ve been wanting.
*Have a family car wash. Wear bathing suits and be ready for sponge fights and water squirt wars.
*Go on a long bike ride. Map your route before you leave, choosing new and interesting destinations each week
*Plan a special baking day and discuss what you will bake together. Distribute baked goods to neighbors and friends to be a blessing.
*Play the "message game" at bedtime: Draw letters on your child's back and have him or her try to decipher them
*Take your children on a "mystery date". Don't tell them where you are going or when the mystery ride will occur. Go to the beach for a picnic. Visit a children's museum. Go to the mall or a toy store and give each child $5 to spend any way they choose. Visit a grandparent or cousin. Bring them to a movie they've been wanting to see. Head to a lake or park. Just make when and where a big surprise!
*Put up a tent in the backyard and have a family pow-wow to talk about what happened that day. Who has a funny story to tell or something new to share? Can't build a fire? Microwave the S'mores!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Are you a Mean Mom?

Was your Mom mean?

I know mine was.
We had the meanest mother in the whole world!
While other kids ate candy and poptarts for breakfast,
we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others brought a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,
we had to eat sandwiches.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.
You'd think we were convicts in a prison!
She had to know who our friends were
and what we were doing with them.
She insisted that if we said we
would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it,
but she had the nerve to break
the Child Labor Laws by making us work.
We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,
learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry,
empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs.

I think she would lie awake at night
thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By the time we were teenagers,
she could read our minds
and had eyes in the back of her head.
Then, life got really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk
the horn when they drove up.
They had to come up to the door
so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date
when they were 12 or 13,
we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mean mom, we missed out
on lots of things other kids experienced.
None of us have ever been caught shoplifting,
vandalizing other's property or ever arrested
for any crime.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.
We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

FREE Family Movies, Tues and Weds mornings

Yes, I said FREE!
Looking for something to do with the kids? Let's meet up at Keystone Theater on 75, and take them to a free movie!

* Two theaters, one plays a "G" movie and the other plays "PG" for the older kids

* 10:30 on Tuesday morning, OR 10:30 on Weds. morning

* Call me and let's get a group together!

Keystone Park Stadium 16
13933 N. Central Expressway
Dallas ,TX 75243

Tues and Weds only:

Doogal (G)

Are We There Yet? (PG)
06/17/2008 - 06/18/2008

Rugrats The Movie (G)

Nancy Drew (PG)

Rugrats In Paris: The Movie (G)
Shrek The Third (PG)

Charlotte's Web (G)
Flushed Away (PG)

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G)

Daddy Day Care (PG)

Wallace And Gromit (G)

Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep (PG)

Stuart Little 2 (PG)
Mr. Bean's Holiday (G)


Everyone's Hero (G)

Bratz (PG)

Jonah: A Veggie Tale Movie (G)

Alvin And The Chipmunks (PG)

Call me and let's meet there with the kids!
Love, Vickie

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tips to Surviving Summertime with the Kids....

If there’s one phrase that strikes fear in the heart of a lot of parents, it’s this: summer break.

As a kid, there was nothing better than the three months of freedom between May and September. But fast-forward to life as a parent, and June, July, and August can often mean three long months filled with hot days, bored kids, and—if you’re the parent of college students—missed curfew!
Maybe you can relate?

If so, I’ve got some great news for you. Summer break can actually be a great time of learning and growth… even spiritual growth… for your kids. But it won’t just happen. It’s going to take some work on your part.
Now, what’s great is that it’s still spring. That means you’ve got a couple of months to plan ahead!

And while I can’t share everything you might want to consider to make summer the most it can be for your family, Michelle and I do have some helpful steps that might save you and your spouse some stress this coming summer.
The first step is to come up with a plan in advance.

One of the best things you’ll do this spring is to be proactive about what you want the summer months to look like in your home. In other words, define your expectations!

Talk to your spouse and decide what your expectations for your kids are regarding such things as neatness, chores, jobs, curfew, checking in with you, the amount of TV they’ll watch, computer use and video game policy, and summer reading.

That leads us to step number two: schedule a meeting with your kids.

Once you and your spouse have an idea of your expectations, plan a meeting with your kids.

Ask for your children’s input, listen to them, and mirror their feelings. Let them have leeway on the things you don’t care too much about. The more your kids feel like they’re a part of the plan, the more likely they will try to make it successful!

And finally, the third step to surviving summer is to set some general guidelines and be clear about your expectations.

Here are some other suggestions:
*Help your kids plan ahead by asking, “What are some new skills or activities you’d like to try this summer?”

*Allow your kids to contribute to the household by requiring them to do chores. But instead of just arbitrarily assigning chores, give them some options. Although it is often easier to just do it ourselves, chores teach our kids they are part of a family unit where everyone’s contribution is needed and important.

*Plan ahead and have potential consequences in mind. When your kids disobey, instead of lectures and nagging, give consequences consistently and with empathy!

*When they’re bored, instead of making it your responsibility to keep them entertained, ask questions and offer choices that encourage them to entertain themselves. Examples: “What are some things you could do to entertain yourself?” or “You might think about working a puzzle or reading a book. What sounds good to you?”

*Make eating dinner as a family a priority. Resist the urge to quiz them about their responsibilities and focus on making it a relaxed time of sharing. (No cell phones at the dinner table.)

* Encourage sports and outdoor activities. Find out what your kids like to do. Don’t just suggest what interests you!

*Encourage volunteer work, and make it a fun, family project. This helps your kids focus on others.

*By doing your homework before June rolls around, I hope summer will be a time of rest, rejuvenation, and growth for your kids, as well as for you and your spouse!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer Movies at Studio Movie Grill

Attention Moms!! Here is the listing of Summer movies from Studio Movie Grill on 75. Only $1 for kids, and $2 for the grownups!

Email me at if you want to meet there at 11:00 am some weekday morning.

Three cheers for Lori Vogel, for emailing this list!

DO YOU know of something fun happening around town? Email me and I'll put it on the blog.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Teacher Appreciation Luau, Weds. May 21 at Noon

If you love our fabulous Lakewood Teachers, here's your chance to bless them! We are organizing a special Luncheon to honor our awesome teachers, coaches and administrators. We are going with a Luau theme to celebrate their long-awaited summer break!

Teacher Appreciation Luau
Wednesday, May 21st
12:00 Noon

The Luau will be held in the school foyer (in back of the sanctuary) where we'll have tables set up for the teachers to sit down and enjoy their lunch. In addition to the Luau, we would like to be able to give each teacher a small gift. If you would like to contribute toward that, there is an envelope in the office -- look in the wooden tuition box for a colorful envelope with Hawaiian flowers!

Moms can bring salads and other luncheon foods (see below for list) and we will start setting up the buffet/tables/chairs at 10:45 am. We will need lots of help setting up and cleaning up, so please let us know if you are available, thanks!

There are many ways to help..... and many hands make light work!! It would be great if each mom could volunteer in one (or more) of the following ways:

1) Food and Drinks! This is of course the biggest need. See below for food list.
We will need enough food to set a buffet table to feed approximately 20 teachers, coaches and administrators, so we'll need lots of food. Since we can't get into the kitchen while class is in progress (science class), we will be serving mostly COLD foods and salads. Please call Vickie to help with food and drinks,

2) Decorations, Flowers for tables, and Paper items (plates, cups etc.) Do you have any party decorations or Tableware that looks like somewhat like a Hawaiian Luau? Please call Marilu, number is below.

3) Set up and Clean up helpers (set up at 10:45am, break down a little after 1:00pm) Please call Marilu, number is below.

4) Small Gift contributions. We are providing each teacher/coach/helper with a small gift to take home. If you would like to help contribute money toward the teacher gifts, there is an Envelope in the school office -- look in the wooden tuition box for a big envelope stamped with hawaiian flowers.

Please call one of these moms ASAP to volunteer:

Vickie Maduzia, 972-495-6503 (h) or 214-724-2351 (cell)

Decorations; Setup & Cleanup help; Money for Teacher Gifts:
Marilu Dillahunty, 214-327-3954


SIGNUP LIST: we will be updating this list as we go:

* Sparkling Punch and fruity little Umbrellas for the drinks!
Mischika Mentzer

* Cut up Fruits
Jennifer Stocker, Cut up Watermelon
Susan Bryant, Cut up Tropical Fruits

* Fruit Salads:
Fruit Salad, Vickie Maduzia
Fruit Salad, Cherrilane Blackburn

* Green Salads:
Caesar Salad, Janet Small
Green Tossed Salad, Jody Parra
Greens & Veggies salad, Amy Northrop

Brenda Nale, Spinach Salad

* Chicken Salads:
Lori Vogel, Salad with chicken
Marilu Dillahunty, Chicken Salad with croissants
Blackened Chicken Salad, Marnie Parmenter

*Seafood Salads:
Shrimp Cocktail or Krab Salad, Carol Oakes
Seafood Salad, Jen Haessig

*Other Salads:
Pasta Salad, Jody Parra
Marinated Vegetable Salad, Vickie Maduzia
Rice and Orzo Salad, Susan Hepp

* Veggie Tray with Dips
Artichoke Dip with veggies and crackers, Susan Hepp
Christina Burton, Veggie Platter
Tortilla Rollups, Rene Mette

* Cold Cut Platter with Bread for sandwiches:
Theresa Schmidt, salami and cheese tray with crackers

* Yummy Desserts, of any kind!
Cheesecake slices, Kari Kloepper
Banana Bread, Kim Winkelmann
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pies, Marti Dunton
Cookie Tray, Diane Cozart
Brownie Bites, Jennifer Stocker
Fruit Tartlets, Jolly Hormillosa
Susan Vega, dessert

* Decorations! -- think Luau/Hawaii style!
Lori Vogel
Vickie Maduzia
Theresa Sutton, Flower Lei's

* Flowers for tables, Decorating helpers:
Terri Lovette
Cherrilane Blackburn

* Paper items (Cute plates, napkins, cups, forks etc.)
Shawna Dobson

*Setup and Cleanup Helpers
Vickie Maduzia, setup & cleanup
Marilu D, setup & cleanup
Terri Lovette, setup
Janet Small, setup
Carol Oakes, cleanup

Terri Lovette
Cherrilane Blackburn
Theresa Sutton
Brenda Nale

FRIDGE NOTE: If necessary you may leave food in the fridge when you drop off your kids in the morning -- simply mark the top with a sticky note that says "Luau" and we will retrieve it when we start setting up at 10:45am.


THANK YOU for your help in honoring our awesome Lakewood teachers, coaches and helpers!!

"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Moods, Moods and Attitudes ....

Here is Chapter 9 from the book we are currently reading for MOTTs club! Got this article from Dennis Rainey's website-- I hope you'll check it out when you have time, it's a great topical list of helpful parenting articles. Click here to go to the Rainey's website, and I also have this link listed on the home page of our MOTTs website, for your convenience!

By the way, our next MOTTs meeting is Weds., May 7th, 8:15am -- email me at for location and information! Love, Vickie

by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
Click Here to Print this page

Sometimes a teenager's self-oriented actions are just ridiculous. I (Barbara) was in the kitchen one morning, helping one of our girls finish making her lunch. A teenage mutiny erupted because we had no potato chips. I told her I was sorry that we were out and suggested some other options, to no avail. One child whined, “There’s nothing in this house to eat. Nothing for my lunch!”

In fact, there was enough food in the house to feed a platoon of Marines. I tried to point this out. “We’ve got yogurt, fruit ... ” But we didn’t have the one thing she wanted.

She got so bent out of shape over the potato chips deficit that I had to warn her, “You need to gain control of your attitude; this is not that big of a deal. I’m going to the store this afternoon. I’ll have potato chips tomorrow, but not today.”

Our daughter’s hysteria escalated even more. “You’ll need to come to school and buy my lunch!” she said. I tried to help her gain perspective and relax, but she refused to hear. She was so out of bounds that, to sting her selfishness, I grounded her from the phone for a week. Her disrespect and demanding attitude were inappropriate.

The punishment cooled her whining but did not completely extinguish it. Finally I said, “You know, honey, I am going to go buy potato chips, but you’re not going to take any in your lunch for a week, because you were so demanding.” Our daughter frowned and finally quieted down. What a way to begin a day!

This is the kind of petty and selfish attitude you will sometimes encounter and need to correct. Rewarding such behavior is out of the question. Resist the temptation to give in to some irrational demand just to calm the waters and ease the migraine headache. Take the aspirin. Don’t capitulate. (from Vickie: this word means surrender, I had to look it up!).

We suggest the following convictions be built into your child’s life to combat attitude problems in your family. (They are stated in first person to illustrate how the child should be able to articulate the conviction.)

1. If I am to grow up and become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I must submit my will to my God.
Challenging our children to submit their wills to God requires formal and informal training. The years between 10 and 12 are crucial because you can teach them many basic principles of walking with God before they start displaying too much pride and rebellion.

One of the best tools we’ve found to shape a child’s convictions is to take him through the book of Proverbs, which is a child-rearing manual loaded with real answers to life’s traps and issues. Its pages repeatedly warn against pride. It’s a book about obedience. A book about wisdom or foolishness. A book about life and death.

If we had it to do all over again, beginning when each child was age 12 or 13, we’d discuss the entire book of Proverbs, chapter by chapter, once a year for the next six years. Twenty to 30 minutes a week of formal instruction from Proverbs will provide adequate warning about what happens to a proud, selfish, and foolish person.

2. I realize that how I submit to my parents’ standards and requests reveals whether my heart is full of pride and rebellion or is of a teachable spirit.
As our children approached their teenage years, we prepared them by talking about how their perspective of us would change. We talked about how the nature of the teenage years is to think that you know more than your mom or dad.

We told them what happened when we became teenagers and how it seemed that our parents started taking these “dumb” pills. “Almost overnight our parents were not cool,” we said. “They didn’t know what they were talking about. As teens we grew smarter than our parents.”

We have used this example on numerous occasions to connect with our teenagers and to let them know that we know what’s going on in their heads. This has been very helpful in talking to them about their pride and selfish perspective. Of course, we’ve talked with our children about the dangers of actually seeing your parents as stupid. We’ve shown them from Scripture how pride will cut a young person off from those who love him the most and are looking out for his best.

Arrogance and selfishness in a teenager often provoke emotional outbursts against a parent—often a mom. It’s important during these times never to forget who the adult is and who the child is. Patiently guide your child in the direction of a teachable spirit. To calm relational waters and encourage a softer heart, prayerfully direct your teen to take some time to get alone with God in his bedroom and write out what’s bothering him.

Some of the bigger mistakes we’ve made in confronting selfish attitudes in our children have come when we’ve decided to go toe-to-toe with them in an argument. A much better response is to ask them to get alone with God, gather their thoughts, and deal with their attitude by writing a letter to you.

3. I will learn how to deny my own interests in order to help and serve others.
One of the best cures for a selfish, me-centered attitude is to give ourselves to others. Jesus modeled this Himself when He said, “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your servant, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).

Be on the lookout for situations where you can help the preadolescent or young teen shift from a selfish focus to a focus on the needs of others. We know a mom who regularly took her son and daughter to a rest home just to get them to think of others. Later on, during the height of his teenage turmoil, her son came home from school one day discouraged and announced that he was going to the rest home to minister to one of its residents. A couple of hours later he returned home, fresh and encouraged, because his mom had taught him about giving to others.

The bottom line: Real life is about serving others with humility, whether in our relationship to Christ or with our brother or sister, who may need to borrow shirt, shoes, dress, or stereo. We are training the next generation how to walk humbly with God and to reach out to others with a servant spirit.

Remind yourself that Someone is even more interested in shaping your child’s character and dealing with pride, rebellion, and selfishness than you are. God has ways of getting a child’s attention that go way beyond any parent’s conniving or planning. He can humble a child very quickly. In fact, we have prayed that for our children. “Lord, you know this child has a problem with pride. Would you do what we can’t do? Would you in your gentleness and your love be compassionate and gracious enough to help correct this child in this situation?”

The good news is that most young men and women in the later teen years will begin to outgrow much of the petty selfish behavior. You may not see it until they are about to leave home or even until after they have left the nest. Persevere—there is hope! Repeat after me..... I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Adapted from
Parenting Today’s Adolescent: Helping Your Child Avoid the Traps of the Preteen and Teen Years. Copyright 1998 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Six Needs of Adolescents

At the Sports Banquet last month, we sat with Brenda and Dan Nale. Dan told us about this great website for Dads -- it's called ALL PRO DADS -- and he even took the inititative to subscribe our email address -- thank you Dan! Stephen and I have been enjoying this site and I have listed the link on the Mott's site, in the section that says "Sites for Dads".

is an interesting article that I copied from that site:

Dr. Greg Smalley, Psy.D. Printer Friendly Version

Parents of a teenage boy watched their son walk out to the father's truck, get in and drive off. "But I was firm with him," said the husband to his disbelieving spouse. "I did better than last time. For a couple minutes, I had him thinking he wasn't going to get the truck keys."

How many times have you felt the same way as this frustrated father? It can be very difficult when trying to deal with an adolescent. Adolescent! The name alone can send chills up the backs of many parents. It may seem like just yesterday that you and your teenager had a great relationship--one that didn't seem so confusing or frustrating. I'm not trying to imply that as your child moves into adolescence everything is going to change and become terrible. Every child is unique and will respond to the teenage years differently. However, what I can guarantee is that things will change. During this period of change, what does your teen need? Plenty.

Psychologist, Dr. Bruce Naramore states in his excellent book, Parenting Teens, that teenagers have six basic needs which need to be fulfilled during adolescence in order to become healthy, well-adjusted adults.

1. Develop their distinct identity and a sense of their uniqueness.
As parents, we can have a tremendous influence on their identity or self-esteem. By identity, I mean the way a teen feels about himself--positive or negative. There are some important things we can do as parents to help increase a teen's identity. First, help identify areas of interest. Every teenager has a particular area of interest or areas where they excel. Whether it is in athletics, music, school, art, or ministry, help your teen to identify his area of competence. Second, provide praise and encouragement. It is vital that teenagers receive praise and encouragement from parents or other influential adults.

2. Progressively separate themselves from their childhood dependency on their parents.
You can do something to help them during this transition. Get your son or daughter involved with a "mentor." A mentor can be a powerful force as teens develop convictions because "outside instruction" can make a special impression on their lives.

3. Develop meaningful relationships with peers and others outside the family.
As you may have already discovered, teenagers enjoy spending exceedingly more time away from home than they did at younger ages. Your adolescent's new found peer group is important in order to satisfy their need for companionship and fun, along with emotional support, understanding and intimacy. Although they still need these things from their families and other adults, it's vital in their development to receive these things from friends as well.

4. Develop their capacity to relate well to the opposite sex.
What can we do specifically to assist teenagers in making decisions about their relationships with the opposite sex? If you are considering allowing dating then develop a dating contract. Having a written contract helps take the pressure off guessing when a teen is ready to date. It's impossible to say that someone is ready to date at a specific age. Instead, dating readiness should be the result of a teenager displaying certain internal character qualities like honor, integrity, responsibility and resistance to peer pressure.. The dating contract can provide the family with accountability, fairness, clarity, security and togetherness.

5. Gain the confidence and skills to prepare for a career, economic independency, and other adult responsibilities.
Not only is it important to encourage teenagers in the areas that they have interest, but it is also necessary to teach them real skills. The straightforward teaching of skills to adolescents often results in increased achievement and, thus, in enhanced self-esteem. In other words, the more skills a teenager acquires (e.g., how to cook, change the oil, fix something broken, or build something), the better he will feel about himself.

6. Fashion their faith and value commitments and basic attitude toward life.
In a survey to over 5,000 adults, the question was asked, "How did your parents help you develop your own spiritual convictions?" Overwhelmingly, the number one response was: Church attendance. The significance is that church is an important way to help your teenagers to foster ownership of their spiritual convictions.

As a parent, what can you do to assist your teen as he or she masters these six important needs? You must make time when your teenagers need it--watching for teachable moments. Teens might go a whole day without seeking our help. But as Dr. Ross Campbell explains in his book, How to Really Love Your Teenager, teens have something like a "container" built within them and every once in a while they run out of "emotional gas." This is when they come up and need to be close to us. They need touching, listening, understanding, and our time.

When they do come to us, we must be careful what we communicate. If we say, "Not now, I'm busy," they'll observe what we are doing and compare their importance to it. After we have filled their "emotional gas tank" they usually are off to be with their friends. Maybe we haven't explained everything we wanted to say, but they're filled up. And that's okay. A teenager needs to know that he's valuable and that his parents are available at times when he needs them.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Blog for MOTT's !!

Welcome to my new blog, dedicated to the Lakewood MOTTs club!

MOTTs: Mothers of Terrific Teenagers!
You've heard of MOPS? This is the sequel :)

God put this idea on my heart a while back. When my kids were little, I attended a
MOPS group at our church -- Mothers of Preschoolers. But as my oldest son kept growing taller, stronger, hairier... it occurred to me that mothers of teenagers need just as much support, maybe more!!! While we know God is guiding us, and is giving us wisdom and grace for the moment -- how much more could we grow, by networking with other Moms!

I sensed God's leading to begin a book club at our school several months ago as an encouragement to Moms who have teenagers at home. We gather once a month for coffee talk, fellowship, and sharing our hearts on what works (or doesn't work) with teens. I feel privileged to be a part of this group of fantastic moms, and it has been pretty wonderful to watch God knitting us together as friends.

Some discussion topics that we are visiting in our monthly meetings:

1) Technology.
How do other families manage cell phones, playstations, myspace accounts (gasp!) and other computer time? Sharing with each other about setting up time limits, computer passwords. What is our part in helping to safeguard their tender hearts while it seems the world of technology/media is always trying to lift up the floodgate.

2) Boys & Girls, Birds & Bees.
What is the secret to helping them stay content just being **FRIENDS!** without rushing ahead! Please Lord!!

3) Balance.
How are other families balancing homework and family chores.... against basketball, drama, choir, piano practice, etc. .... and still getting everyone to the dinner table by 6pm.

4) Other inspired ideas.
Let's talk about some of the wonderful ideas has God given us as Moms over the years! Sharing our favorite family games, recipes, cleaning tips, household routines, and family traditions that bond us together as a family.

I hope you will check this site often for updates. I am gathering helpful information from various sites and will post it here as an encouragement to Mothers of Terrific Teenagers!!

Love, Vickie