One of my favorite sayings that has come through me when writing is “You are never stuck. Your child is never stuck. You always have options with everything.” From the moment I received the quote from Divine, the word option was forthcoming from my lips…often. I used and still use it regularly in my parenting life, as an Empowering Relationship Coach, and for myself. Personally, I love knowing that when I seemingly come to a brick wall, I have options.
Options definitely apply to the subject of one’s career. Middle schoolers are beginning the deep search into their future livelihoods, their careers, their means to make a living. The most important piece of advice I can offer, of course, is to consider all options because there are many. And, this is something that will need to be an intentional act because so much of American education is solely focused on college-bound careers. Schools and school districts are compared to other schools and other school districts regarding percentages of students who graduate with college plans. A high percentage is highlighted. It is celebrated. It is cause for bragging rights. People want to purchase homes in neighborhoods within a school district with high academic college-bound students.
Two Specific Options
All this hype and focus creates an imbalance, however. Other very lucrative, enjoyable, and viable options are not as strongly encouraged. At times, these career paths are downplayed and even ridiculed…until a plumber is needed. Or an electrician. Or a mason. Or a strong military to both protect and deliver humanitarian supplies on a huge scale.
I’ve seen the students who would be better suited for trade education or military life. Sometimes, it is quite evident who these students are. It would be a wise parent, family member, peer, teacher, or guidance counselor to guide such students toward a non-college or partial-college career path.
One time, I was observing a student having NO interest in my lesson, but was constructing the most creative objects from an eraser stub and paper clip. I watched with great interest because I recognized this student’s talents, his aptitude, his intelligence forthcoming from the two miscellaneous objects becoming something more with the aid of his adept fingers. This wasn’t his first time ignoring regular education instruction to focus upon what really wanted to ooze out of his brain. No, this was him claiming his true self on a regular basis while college-bound based education was all around him…which really didn’t suit him at all.
Not surprisingly, he caused behavioral issues many times. He was suspended many times. He was known as a troublemaker. His creative genius just didn’t fit in with the type of education that was being offered. I suggested to him to learn as much as he could in school and to focus on a career that would allow him to work with his hands. I’ll tell you this…I’d like him to be the mechanic who works on my car!
My husband served in the military for over 30 years. Having been a military wife now for a decade, I now know what this career path has to offer. It is a definite viable option that could have equal exposure, focus, and promotion just as college-bound options are.
Many students don’t know what they’d like to do even by high school graduation, and this makes the military a very good option. The five American military branches are very adept with providing structure, discipline, focus, education, dignity, morals, travel, organization, and career paths, which may include free or nearly free formal education.
In my master’s program, I took a course on exposing us teachers to many non-college education careers. We visited these places in our community: a car dealership, a culinary school, trade schools, a military base, and more. It was so thought-provoking, but what made it even more interesting was the professor’s son. At 16 years old, he was allowed to stop attending high school, obtain his GED, and enter mechanic school. The professor stated that her son was now making more than she was with multiple degrees! Her parental wisdom knew her son would do well in a different educational environment so she agreed. She gave him the gift of options.
I understand the security a college education offers. I do think, however, job security for all career paths has improved. We must rid ourselves of the educational timeline. One can always return to college later if it’s deemed important.
The main point I’m trying to make is to consider all options because there are many. What will suit your child best? Where do your child’s talents lie? What have you observed your child doing best? What annoying trait does your child have that is really a career path in disguise? Hopefully, a lightbulb will go on or you’ll have an ah-ha! moment and share it with your middle schooler. Ultimately, it’s his or her decision, but you can be a wonderful guide in the process of career deciding.
Many middle schoolers explore their expanding growth by using swear words at this time of their lives. It’s a step that most parents wish their kids would skip. Embarrassing situations can arise especially when grandma visits or someone’s boss is nearby. Despite the obvious difficulties with this particular unpopular phase of life, it does convey much for a parent to notice.
Why do you swear? (Come on…admit it.) It’s probably because it’s funny to swear. Everyone knows it’s not an appropriate word choice so when swearing occurs, it can be quite humorous. Recently, I saw a facebook post demonstrating 26 different uses for the word shit. It was funny!
Sometimes, adults swear to release stress. There are times I just want to go outside and curse up to the heavens because I’m THAT frustrated. Alone in my car, sometimes, I do. And, you know…I do feel a release.
Other times, people swear to communicate how much something hurts. Stub your toe and “ouch” just doesn’t cut it. In this case, using swear words is a means to distract from the throbbing pain.
When your child swears, try to sense the why before, during, and after telling your child that there are plenty of other words to choose to express the same information. (Yes, we all don’t want middle schoolers everywhere getting into the routine of habitual swearing. Explain that swearing, when used rarely in the appropriate settings, can have positive effect, BUT the key word here is rare.)
Middle schoolers are humans who are venturing into the adult world, but don’t have the verbal skills to effectively communicate. To compensate for it, sometimes they act out, yell, and swear.
So, when your child swears… Is your child stressed? Is your child mad? Is your child hurting? Is your child trying to be funny? Is your child stuck in a foul-mouth habit?
Seeing the reason behind the swear words will provide you insight to what is happening with your child. You can express loving concern while expressing how swearing is not appropriate language. Getting your child to open up regarding why he or she is swearing is your glorious parental opportunity! In this way, you can be GLAD your child swore! I know it sounds funny, but I believe in using anything for the betterment of my child. Don’t you?
Strange blog title, indeed. I’ll explain.
I work with kindergarteners in my afternoons with letter recognition, sound recognition of letters, beginning word sounds, and ending word sounds. Super duper important things to learn because it’s the basis of all reading and writing. To read, one must know letter shapes, letter sounds, and the ability to hear them. I’m watching with utter amazement these beginner readers progress through the process of achieving these skills. Some can do it well. Others struggle. Since it’s still early in the school year, a typical help session goes like this:
“What is the first sound you hear in cup?”
“ffffffff” or “ssssssss” are common responses when the students haven’t mastered the ability to hear the sound, recognize it, and dissect it from the whole word. Whatever sound they can think of is offered as an answer to my question.
“There’s no ffffffff in cup,” I tell them.
I try again, “Cup. ccc-uhh-ppp.”
I stretch out the word as much as I can to aid the students in hearing the three sounds that compose the word. “What is the first sound I make when I say cup?”
I marvel how I learned this skill seeing how difficult it is for these students. I marvel at my daughter’s achievement in this area, too. I marvel at everyone’s ability!
I try to contemplate ways to make it easier for these students to “get it” because I know the sooner they have this skill in their pockets, the better for them. While frustrating because from my perspective letter-sound recognition is sooooo easy now, I know by the end of the year they’ll have gained this vital reading and writing skill.
It’s the same with middle schoolers, yes?
Skills we adults see as sooooooo easy now are hard for them…or at least a challenge. Organization. Time management. Meeting deadlines (essay due dates). Keeping a schedule. Asking for help from an authority person. Handling difficult people. Getting over breakups. Seeing a manipulative person for who he or she is. Ignoring negative people. Understanding societal boundaries. Focusing in an environment that is teeming with distraction.
How tempting it is to yell in parental frustration, “Turn in your homework every day for every class!” or “Keep your work in each folder for each class so you know where it is!” or “Write down EVERYTHING in your agenda!” or “Ignore gossip!” or “Just talk to the teacher!”
Here’s the good news: They’ll eventually get it. Keep reminding…preferably without yelling. Smile a lot. Love your middle schooler and remind that he or she eventually have it all together. This is the point and purpose of middle school! It’s such a transitionary period for these students, just like it is for kindergarteners, and they will eventually gain these skills that will serve them just as vitally as knowing letter and letter sounds.
You think of your child in middle school following the “wrong” crowd while you’re not there to remind your child of all those things you said for yeeeeeaarrsss and you want to scream, “Stoooooop!”
You listen while sunk in an office chair the school principal relaying about a situation in which your normally kind child followed a “leader” to belittle another student, and you just want to shout to the heavens, “How do I get him/her to see this clearly?” Fear wells up in you. “How much further will my child go with this group? How do I change the course of his/her direction?”
Peer pressure will always exist. Some people will always feel it is important to influence others or that getting others to do their bidding is the only way to get ahead or to obtain a certain status. They manipulate others for their own benefit. Any, why not? There seems to be plenty of willing participants.
People who do this are not displaying leadership, but personal imbalance, someone who feels very “off,” or someone who is like a leaf in the wind desperately trying to gain control over his or her life. While this may seem quite bold to say, it is truth. Allow me explain because understanding the thinking behind peer pressure will enable anyone to avoid it in the future and positively address current situations.
Think of Jesus, Mother Theresa, Buddha, or anyone else who is filled with complete love. Can you see these people being manipulative, conniving, or pressuring? Nope. So, the answer to all conflict including peer pressure is pure love. It really is that simple. Our natural state is love so when a person feels less than love, there is an internal trigger that feels weird, off, icky, and downright blah. What is a person to do?
Some of us find a means to raise our vibrations like friends, pets, healthy food, exercise, or meditation to elevate oneself back to love or near love. From his higher vibe, no one feels like being mean, manipulative, or pressuring. From his state of existence, a person will feel joy, peace, and cooperation. No peer pressure needed!
However, some don’t know how to raise personal vibration. They stay stuck in the weird, off, icky, and blah feeling. This makes them do whatever it takes to temporarily hide the ickiness. These actions include peer pressure never end with feeling better which is why bullies don’t change without positive intervention. This is why group leaders keep doing things to keep everyone in line unless they’re given the path to truly raising their vibrations.
Choose, Groove, Move is the subtitle of a book series I’ve written for middle school/teen students. Choose, groove, move is a simple and easy to remember method for students to use for any situation.
Choose: we always have options with everything so there are options, literally, at every turn. We get to make decisions, thankfully! It’s the fun part of Earthly living! Choose is selecting from the plethora of options.
Groove: this is the step that is so often overlooked and the reason many follow the wrong crowd. It’s why many normally kind students are mean just because the group is doing it – they skip or ignore this internal knowingness that oozes out of us in the form of feelings. Grooving is listening to one’s gut area – the solar plexus energy center. This area of our bodies provides 100% accurate feedback to guide us…if we are listening to it.
“If it’s a good vibe you know, then go! If you feel less than great, hesitate.” I just love that jingle that came through me when writing the Choose, Groove, Move books! Simple, right? Yes, but failing to listen to one’s feelings seems to happen quite often no matter one’s age. Teaching this all important step will be the STOP!, HALT!, WHOA! THIS DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT! you and your child are looking for.
Move: go forth with inspired actions. This means that once a selection is made (choose) and one’s body grooves with it (it’ll feel really, really good!), then proceed. It’ll feel light and fluffy. There won’t be any resistance.
Those who manipulate others or lead them down negative paths feel off and need to be taught the Choose, Groove, Move method. Those who enter middle school doors (or high school doors or office doors) must be taught this method before entering.
In conclusion, raise your child’s vibration (and yours, too) with healthy foods, positive home environment, positive communication, and exercise so to be able to be filled with love. Instill the Choose, Groove, Move method for any situation!
For thorough explanation and discussion of the Choose, Groove, Move method, see my books on amazon.
Just about everyone knows about the benefits of appreciation. There is much talk about this topic using the words gratitude and thankfulness. While some people really feel appreciation at a deep level, others do not. Since appreciation is one of the essential keys to joyful living, it is in our best interests to learn how to do it at a level that is truly tangible. Learn appreciation? Teach appreciation? Yes, it is a skill to learn, teach, expand, acknowledge, and discuss. So, how can we teach this skill to ourselves and children?
You teach it by focusing on an ordinary, everyday item.
For example! Since this website supports middle schoolers everywhere, we’ll use a commonly found item in classrooms across the globe…the pencil sharpener. Yes, a pencil sharpener can teach appreciation. Let’s begin at the very beginning…literally.
First, raw materials must be extracted and obtained from the Earth and purified. This takes an incredible number of steps, machines, transportation methods, planning, and people. Just ponder the process of obtaining the materials needed to make one single pencil sharpener!
Next, designers and engineers create not only a functioning pencil sharpener, but one that will withstand classroom usage. Having been in classrooms in multiple states in multiple grade levels, it is vital to have pencil sharpeners that can withstand all kinds of usage. Sometimes, the pencil sharpener takes a lot of abuse from frustrated students. Durability is key.
Also, pencil sharpeners that aren’t working create a significant disturbance during lessons so my appreciation for pencil sharpeners that work and work well and quietly is huge! A pencil sharpener that stays sharp is reason enough for appreciation. A pencil sharpener’s case that comes off and back on easily is a big reason for appreciation.
I could go on and on with the details of a pencil sharpener to demonstrate the teaching of appreciation. How about an eraser? Pencil? Pen? Ruler? Paper? The point is to go deep into the details about an object to feel appreciation. It’s too easy to skim over the essentials of our lives. Stopping to go into the details of any object will develop one’s ability to deeply feel appreciation. It can be taught. It can be something that one routinely utilizes to have appreciation for all of life.
If I could get everyone on Earth to be okay with allowing other options and choice, I think there would be world peace in a matter of minutes. When we try to overpower, control, and manipulate others, it leads to only rebellion, dissension, and resentment…even on a small scale.
As a parent, yes, there are times we must be the ones in charge especially if we see our children headed to difficult situations. However, 99% of the time, we can offer the refreshing opportunity of choice and options. Why? 1. The old parenting paradigm of top-down parenting is outdated, and frankly, quite useless on the enlightened, empowered humans entering bodies these days. It just doesn’t work. “Kids these days just aren’t what they used to be.” Yes, exactly! We need to alter the ways we parent them. 2. Everyone loves choices. It’s natural to want to choose. This Earthly experience is filled with choice everywhere. That is what makes it so awesome to live on this planet! We all naturally want choice. So do middle schoolers. And, 3. It is important to provide decision-making opportunities so that your child will be a decision-making adult.
Use as little as possible: must, ought to, and should. These limit, restrict, and narrow one’s life so use them only if necessary. “You should get clean before bedtime because you’ll feel better while sleeping.” “You could get clean before bedtime because you’ll feel better while sleeping.” Both have the same message. The child knows what you want in both sentences, BUT, one demands it. One gives the opportunity for the child to choose.
In this scenario, whether the child showers before bed or showers in the morning probably has little effect on the overall quality of his or her life. It is, however, a great opportunity for decision-making. The natural consequences of the choice will surface and be the teaching agent as the child may feel dirty, gross, and oily during the night. Yucky, stinky sheets may soon be evident. Or, on the other hand, the child will experience how nice it is to feel fresh while sleeping and the improved sleeping experience will be evident in the morning.
Either way, the child was afforded the opportunity to choose and experience the freedom of options. By eliminating these words: must, ought to, and should, you offer your child much for the preparation for adulthood.
Teens, middle schoolers, and even some preteens have BO, or body odor. Sometimes, it’s nose-tingling, nose-penetrating, and nose-irritating BO!
Teaching middle school is a sensory job in many ways. For example, the “wall” of sound that comes down the hallway even before students are visible as they enter the school building in the morning is very tangible. Being in a classroom with 25-30 other beings trying to focus their minds on correct sentence structure is very tangible, too. And, then being caught in a cloud of major BO from a passing student is very…ahem…priceless. Believe me, I’ve smelled mild to terrible BO as a former middle school teacher of 10 years.
I bring this subject to your attention because it’s an important one. Personal hygiene is essential for many reasons. Teens, with their changing bodies, may not be aware of how they smell or may not be keeping up with the changes literally exuding out from them.
So, it is your job as the parent to take on the role of graciously informing your child, insisting on more showers, and leading them down the deodorant aisle at the drug store.
It can be a lot of fun, too! Laugh with your daughter as you smell her hair and report back that it smells like very old cheese. Laugh with your son as you drag his hockey, baseball, or whatever sport shoes from the closet with a clothespin on your nose. Pretend to be overly sensitive to the odor emanating from a shirt in the laundry. With this situation, good-natured humor can be the avenue to getting through this life phase with light-hearted family fun.
If your child is more sensitive, however, private conversation with few jokes will be best. Explore online shopping options with deodorants, antiperspirants, preferably ones without aluminum, perfumes, and soaps. For females, many “monthly” personal hygiene products are available. Discussing how normal and wonderful this process is, although odorous, will assist your child to accept it, move through it, and know there is an end to it.
What about the other smelly kids at your child’s school? You are sure to hear stories of how so-n-so smells especially in middle school. You can donate clothes and personal hygiene products for the school nurse or administration to hand out as needed. Donations are always appreciated.
As with any situation in life, you always have options with everything. BO is no exception! Taming body smells can be a source of family fun, education, and bonding.
“Freedom is within. There is no separation,” my inner voice said.
I just love the simple wisdom that can come through during a quiet time. Since receiving this message, I’ve been thinking about it, repeating it, and contemplating its meaning daily. I have it programmed into my phone to pop up at various times throughout the day.
But, what do these two sentences mean?
Whatever we want for our lives always first comes from within, and this includes the desire for freedom. Being free to have jobs we enjoy while abundantly compensated for our time, being free to have positive relationships with all people, nature, and objects, and being free to pursue life dreams all encompass freedom. It begins with a thought, a tug, a gut feeling, a mental nudging. Yes, freedom is within.
What is freedom to a teen? A middle schooler? A pre-teen? Ask your child. He may begin with comments such as, “Having no homework.” Or you may hear her say, “Not having to make my bed every day.” Encourage your child to look beyond everyday necessities to big picture freedoms…to life dream freedoms. How about the freedom to have pleasant conversation with all teachers? How about the freedom to get along with peers? Certainly, the freedom to have fun time on weekends would be valued.
All these desires begin within. First inside, then outside. First, desires bumble about in one’s private thoughts and feelings. When they become strong enough or loud enough, they’ll show up in the exterior world. To the degree the thoughts are crystal clear and focused upon, is the degree they’ll show up in the exterior world.
For example, one who desires positive relationships with all peers will want to focus upon having only this. Any attention to negative relationships will create a barrier or a speed bump to the desire. In this example, it is clear that freedom is within. That’s where our creation power is.
There is no separation.
I can not emphasize enough the importance of ONENESS for every day living. This is what is meant by There is no separation.We humans all enter these bodies from Source, and we will all leave our bodies and return to Source. We are all droplets of Source…every single one of us. It makes looking at that annoying person in a whole new light. There is no separation means that we are all on life journeys in borrowed body suits trying to have the best experiences right now.
Understanding there is no separation is key to having freedom. When a person is behaving negatively, she has forgotten Who She Really Is (Source) and need a loving reminder. When someone is grouchy, it is because he forgot his real identity…Source in a body on a life journey.
There is a circle of continuously entering and leaving droplets of Source (AKA humans, animals, trees, and so forth) for this Earthly experience. We are all part of it. It makes looking at that bothersome neighbor in a whole new light.
Thinking (Freedom is within.) of how we are all droplets of Source (There is no separation.) creates a higher, better, and lighter experience of living. Teaching this to your children will definitely assist in dealing with any annoying, irritating, and frustrating interactions with other droplets of Source. What a great way to address situations that test one’s patience!
Facebook is filled with thousands of graduation photos this time of the year. Many families post images of their celebratory gatherings. What a wonderful time to highlight academic achievements!
Experiencing my own daughter’s graduation some time ago, I wrote several articles dealings with this special time. I delved deep into what graduation means, how to hang onto those graduation dreams, and the powerful parental love that teenagers may or may not truly realize till later in their lives.
Graduation is one of many subjects included in my most recent published books – Parenting Gems Volume I and II. However, Volume II contains the five graduations articles along with 42 other articles on various topics. Check out the table of contents here: https://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Gems-Raising-Empowered-Balanced-ebook/dp/B079K5Z17R/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1527827217&sr=8-6&keywords=Lizabeth+Jenkins+dale.
Both volumes are filled with short, yet quite empowering parental messages that foster peace, joy, and cooperation in homes everywhere. As graduation photos fade into the past, hang onto those graduation dreams by remembering what graduation really is for you and for your child.
Parental control is a fallacy. It simply doesn’t exist. This claim may create fear in some parents, but by understanding this truth – that parental control doesn’t exist – and what to do instead, it will provide parents the “control” they desire.
The truth is that beyond conception, children are completely autonomous. They decide to breathe, live, grow, learn, and yes, only they decide to be cooperative, peaceful, and joyful on their own.
A few years into my own parenting of my child, I asked what was the thing that allowed my child to be agreeable? To want to be cooperative with me? To express delight with life? I realized it was joy, love, peace and her innate desire for these things to be part of her life. Since she was experiencing them from me, she automatically allowed me to experience them from her.
Even as she entered the seemingly dreadful middle school years, she was still agreeable, cooperative, and joyful. Some people have said that I was lucky to get such an easy-going child. Luck? Really, now. Luck? With the “chance/luck” kind of understanding, we parents are all either blessed with a lucky child or doomed with an unlucky child? Really? No way. I don’t believe that fallible theology.
So, what is the difference when every child has equal opportunity to be miserable, uncooperative, and ornery or pleasant, joyful, and cooperative?
The difference: A parent who is one who has aligned him or herself with the goodness of life so much that his or her children naturally want to exhibit the qualities of peace, joy, and cooperation in response to the parents’ positive energy.
By the goodness of life I mean seeing the positive in all situations, knowing that All Is Well no matter what is happening, believing that clarity always follows chaos, and, most importantly, believing in the goodness, rightness, and perfection of one’s children.
With that kind of parental leadership, what kind of child would only want to exhibit peace, joy, and cooperation? Every child.
Have I raised an eyebrow or two with some of my comments? Yes, I do believe in the perfection of children. “Yeah, but you haven’t seen my child!” you say? “He’s a rebellious nightmare!” “She drives me crazy making mistakes all day long!”
There is absolute perfection in your child’s mistakes. Oxymoron? Nope, and here’s why. When your child makes a mistake, it is your parental opportunity. Did your child lie? Steal? Cheat? Embarrass another? Gossip? These mistakes are your parental opportunity to remind your child exactly who he or she really is – pure positive Love. By lying, stealing, cheating, embarrassing, or gossiping, a child temporarily forgot who he or she really is – pure positive Love- because when anyone is filled with Love, one never lies, steals, cheats, embarrasses, or gossips.
It is a perfect system perfectly designed by Source (God, Divine, or whatever you label Creator) to provide us parents with opportunities to exhibit pure positive Love, peace, joy, and cooperation because isn’t that what we want to experience with our children?
So when your children make mistakes, and they will, how do you react? React with pure positive Love, peace, joy, and cooperation. Use the situation as a perfect parental opportunity. See the situation as an opportunity for your child to learn about Earthly living. So it is a perfect situation, yes? I think so.
Allow your children to experience the natural consequences of the mistakes vs. punishment. Natural consequences may include experiencing estranged friendship from gossiping, personally having to return stolen item to the store owner, apologizing for lying to a neighbor, making amends to the person the the embarrassed child, etc. And, when a child is older: paying for a wrecked car, loss of job due to stealing, loss of friend due to gossiping, etc. These natural consequences are by far better teachers than any punishment a parent could impose.
Children behave not because of parental control, but because of knowing they are pure positive Love, because of experiencing peace, joy, and cooperation from their parents, because of being reminded of their innate desire for these things, and because parents see the perfection of their children. Peace, joy, and cooperation become their choices of action because there is no real parental control. It all comes from within children.
A parent who aligns with pure positive Love, peace, joy, and cooperation as much as possible leads his or her children to do the same. Do we parents want our children to align with the goodness of life so much that our children naturally want to exhibit the qualities of peace, joy, and cooperation in response to our positive energy? Oh yes we do! Demonstrate it for them and reap the rewards.