Create a Great Relationship with Your Teenager

A great relationship with your teenager may sound more like a dream than a reality, but the crazy thing is… it can actually happen. How do I know? I am living proof. Now the fact that I have twin, teenage daughters..yes I said twin teenage daughters means I pretty much have my doctorate in this subject. Now, am I saying I have all of the answers. Nope, but I can tell you how I got here in hopes of cutting your learning curve.

Your teenage daughters can be the best gift that you have ever been given; unfortunately, you may not feel that way right now. So, I want to give you a few things that I did which worked for me in helping to ensure I had a great relationships with my teenage daughters.

  1. Do you guys argue? Well of course you do, silly question. How do you handle those arguments? Do you actually listen to them or do you do all of the talking. My daughter, Mariah, once told me how frustrating it was because I would always cut her off. Although, they are children, I still needed to respect her and her opinion. Once, she realized I was actually listening to her and wanted to hear her side of things, we were able to have more constructive arguments. Yes we still disagree but at least we get somewhere with those disagreements now.

I think I gained the most respect from her when I admitted I was wrong. OMG, it was one of the hardest things I had to do, but after talking with her I realized I was wrong. 

  1. Do things with them ON PURPOSE! I cannot stress how important this really is! We get so busy with work, managing the house, the kids etc, we sometimes forget that our teens need us now more than ever. Just this summer, one day, me and the girls realized we had a free weekend, so we filled the car up and did a weekend trip to New Orleans. I checked the internet and got a really great deal on an awesome hotel on Bourbon Street! We went to the WWII history museum and the Whitney Plantation. We created memories, while strengthening our bond with one another. It meant a lot to them that I put things on the back burner for them instead of making them take a back seat to my stuff.  As they head back to school, why not ask them one day about picking them up and taking them out to lunch. We often find time for lunch meetings so why not schedule some time with our teens. When the last time you have done something on purpose with your teenager? Even if they seem like they don’t want to, do it anyway. It may seem strange at first but they will appreciate your effort one day.
  2. Simply ask them. What do I need to work on to have a better relationship with you? In turn, let them know what you feel they can do to have a better relationship with you. Now, at this moment, they may not really see the importance of having a relationship with you. Instead of actually talking sometimes, you may want to text. I know it seems less personal but let’s face it that’s how teens communicate these days. If I see a hairstyle that I think would look nice on them, I will send it to them. We may send each other little jokes that we find funny. It’s really the small things that count. Remember, you are the adult, so we have to be the ones to take the high road and make more of the effort, but trust me it will pay off.
  3. Do you have the teenager who is so ready to get out of the house and live on their own? We did a neat little activity one day. We pulled out the apartment guides and had them pick out an apartments, if you really want to make it real, take them out to look for apartments. We even looked for cars, car insurance, food, furniture. Those things add up really quick! Once they start computing the numbers they will learn really quick the benefits of living at home. My children are actually looking forward to leaving and going to college but one of the things I have taught my girls is to enjoy the process and not focus on the outcome so much. Enjoy this time as a teenager because you have the rest of your life to be grown. You can go forward but you cant go back.

Again I am not in anyway saying that I have all of the answers but I really enjoy being the mother of teenage girls. I love the fact I have an awesome relationship with my teenagers. Now I am very clear this could change at any moment but for the current moment I love it and hope that it stays this way and if anything changes please someone remind me of this article so I can read it and take my own advice!

How to Enjoy Being a Single Mom

How to enjoy being a single mom? So many years, there has been such a negative stigma associated with being a single mom. As tradition has it, you graduate school, get married, have kids, the end.  Well lets face it, the world is changing and so are those traditions. Is it ideal that women who become pregnant marry the man they are pregnant by, I guess you can say so, but that’s not always the case. So, in the interim, how can we help women learn how to enjoy being a single mother!

For starters, this is the perfect time to spend as much time with your kids as possible. Being a mother is truly a joy. Let’s not be so focused on the fact that we are single mothers that we forget to spend quality time with our children! Take plenty of pictures and even make some really cool videos. These will be keepsakes for years to come!!!

Secondly, before I married, my friend, Cinzia and I would rotate going out.

One weekend, I would watch the kids on Friday and go out Sat, and vice versa. This was a really cool system we created, It allowed us time with the kids, but it also allowed us some much needed “me” time as well. Many times when it was my night to go out, I was sitting at home watching uninterrupted tv, reading a book etc. But, it afforded me that time to do whatever I wanted! This was really important to my peace of mind.

Do you have a few other single girlfriends? Let’s get together and create a strong sisterhood where as we can help and assist one another. We can have monthly birthday celebrations, have designated cooking days, so we all aren’t cooking every night, we can have designated pick up and drop off days. Create a collaborative culture amongst the group and let your children see firsthand how women can empower each other on a daily basis!!!

Being a mother is truly a gift, a gift we unwrap everyday. Yes, it’s hard! It’s very hard being a single mother, yet you, my dear, have what it takes to do this!!  You already do it and make it look so easy Now, we want you to do it and have a little fun with it!!!!!! Email and tell us your stories of how you enjoy being a single mom!

Back 2 School !!!

Wow! Doesn’t it feel as though the kiddos just got out for the summer and now it’s time to get back in the swing of things. So, if you want to have an awesome fantastic school year, then here is your guide.

  1. Get organized….. Go through their clothes and see what they can fit and what they can’t. This way, you will know what you have to buy and not buy. Now, you might be that cool mom who buys all new school clothes. Rock on girlfriend, do your thang….. But, I have 6 kids, we have not ever bought all new school clothes. We even asked our teenagers what kind of school shoes did they want last year and they replied, we are cool with what we have! Yes, I was shocked as well. Needless to say, please go through and check and see what your inventory is looking like. If you want to share the love, get on your local facebook groups etc and let them know you have uniforms your child has outgrown, bless someone else!
  2. A week before school starts, ensure your child is back on schedule. Children thrive off of routines.
  3. Chances are, your child’s school calendar is already out. Call over about 2 homegirls who children attend the same school. Have them each bring 2 bottles of wine. Then, you guys pour a glass or two and then commence to putting all of the days off, activities into your phone…. Trust me it’s so much more fun this way!!!
  4. Before the school year starts, have a family meeting. In this meeting, discuss your expectations for the school year individually and how the group can support each other. Talk about different incentives you will get for meeting certain milestones. Make sure you post these somewhere.
    1. Ask them, how involved they would like for you to be this year. Did you over do it last year, did they want to see you more this year.
    2. How many times do they want you to come and have lunch with them.
    3. Let them know how excited you are for the school year.
  5. HAVE FUN!!!!!! There are so many empty nesters out there who have told me how they yearn for these days again, how they didn’t realize how fast the kids would grow up. How do you make it fun.
    1. Make it a celebration
    2. Create a ritual…. Do you cook a big breakfast, walk to school, shoot just ask the kids what they would like!!
    3. Give them a sticker on their hand, they can look at it all day and know you are with them every step of the way. Who cares,they are teenagers, they secretly like stuff like this!!

Spending Time Without Spending a Dime

Maybe it’s just me but I feel that every time we do something with the kids other than breathe, it literally costs us an arm and a leg!  As we are preparing ourselves for college, savings, not to mention the costs of sports (that’s a totally different post!) we really needed to start finding things that we could do as a family but did’t put such a dent in our finances. So I begin to think how can we spend time without spending a dime? I can honestly say I have truly enjoyed doing the following things with the kids and they learned a few things along the way as well!

  1. We planted our flowers together. This was helpful because I had a little help with planting and I was able to teach my daughter about gardening in the meantime. It was so much fun. We even brought out our speaker and played music. We took turns choosing songs to play. It was really a beautiful bonding moment! Now we can watch our creation grow before our very eyes!
  2. We made videos! Now this I must say was the most fun! We downloaded the app “Musically”. We had hours upon hours upon hours of fun with this. Not to mention the memories! My grandkids will one day see what a cool grandma they have when they see the videos. It didn’t cost anything but a little time!
  3. Going outside and doing some old school games. Hop scotch, double dutch, mother may I  and simon says just to name a few. This was so much fun the kid didn’t even want to stop!
  4. Sometimes you just have to pull out a book, put your arm around your little one and read or better yet have them read to you. Kids really just want that one on one time. The more children you have the more purposeful you have to make spending one on one time with each of them. Whether they act like it or not, they want to spend time with you, they just want to know that you do to. 
  5. Washing the car, now see this worked two fold. We didn’t have to pay anyone for washing the car and then we were able to have some really cool bonding time. My son swore he knew how to wash a car. I tried to explain to him how to wash. He still would not listen. He came out with a scrub brush and a brillo pad. Now you know kids these days, for some reasons parents don’t always know best (to be honest in this case I really didn’t) I have honestly never washed a car before, but from the movies it looked fun so I figured why not. So we went inside watched a youtube video. The first thing the video said was do not use scrub brushes. After watching the video, we gathered our supplies and we let the memories begin!
  6. Cooking! I have totally overlooked this one for so long. So many times I was looking at cooking as a chore and not something that me and my children could do together. Also how else are they going to learn how to cook unless I teach them. This was very rewarding and it also gave me some much needed help in the kitchen!!                                                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we are on a quest to save money and spend time so I will have more articles coming on how to spend time without spending a dime.  This has truly been fun to do. Please send me pictures of activities you create with your kiddos!

 

Single Moms

Queen, I know you are tired. I applaud you everyday because I truly understand the pitfalls that you have to deal with. I will gladly pull up my robe and lay rose petals at your feet! You are truly to be appreciated and admired. Whether we are eagerly awaiting for our King or we are taking a break from a recently dismissed King you still have to focus on YOU. You must focus on you and your happiness. Click To Tweet

How do you do this? What makes you happy? Who makes you happy? Who doesn’t make you happy? At one particular point in my life I knew I was surrounded by too many negative people. I took out a piece of paper and made a list of the people who were in my life. I listed them as an asset or a liability. Either you add value to my life or you take it away. I eliminated the liabilities and placed more time and energy appreciating my assets. Best decision I ever made. Now get out your pen and paper and get to writing my lady

Parenting

Who knew to apply business tactics to parenting. Think about it. Your boss gives you a job description and actually gives you an orientation and ongoing training to truly ensure that you understand your role and that you are good at it. Then, why in the world would we not do the same for our kids. We simply expect them to know and go from there. Do as I say and not as I do. Why do you keep asking all those questions. We don’t even give children the opportunity to truly learn their position before we start chastising them. So right now let’s make this first exercise really simple. Simply ask your child or children. What are your expectations of me as a parent? Then, go over your expectations for them, as children. I did this with my daughters over 5 years ago, and I am including it, so you can see exactly how powerful this tool can be.

Maleigha!

I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you a lot on this trip. I am really looking forward to going on a trip with you. We really had a great time with you when you went with us to Notre Dame! I am hopeful that you bring all A’s on home b/c you are going to be presently surprised!!!! Ok, here are my expectations.

1. I expect you to listen to what we say to you and learn from it. Example, pack your bags at night time and have them ready. I am not asking this b/c it benefits me. I am asking you this b/c 1. It will keep you a lot more organized, and it will keep us from running around looking crazy. If organization is one of the things keeping you off of the all A list, then let’s make it happen.

2. I expect you to keep your room clean, on Saturday mornings at 9am, cleaning begins. Clean your bathrooms, wash your clothes put away your clothes and have your stuff ready for Monday.
3. I expect you to be respectful at all times to all adults. Regardless, if you like people or not, you have to be able to handle your emotions. Do you remember that time Ms. Cookie was outside and fussing and cursing me out. Did I act out NO? Did I want too, yes!!!! but I knew I had to get a grip on my actions. It is really important that we work to get this under control b/c it is really keeping us from a lot of opportunities. If you are looking to be in performance group next year and be on your A game, it starts now!
4. I expect you to learn to appreciate your sister more. Yes, I know she may work your last nerve, but I really want you to work on your relationship a little more.
5. I expect hugs and kisses. You have been doing great with this!!! I am going to do the same.
6. I expect you to let me know when something is bothering you or if you just want sometime with me. Even if you don’t feel comfortable saying it maybe you can write me a letter.
7. I expect you to let me know the next time your period is on so I can show you how to put it in your calendar, so you will get an email  days before it comes on.

I am not going to overwhelm you, but I just wanted to make a start, and I wanted you to know how much I truly love you and how extremely proud I am of you!

This was her response to me:

Maleigha Cooper

2/13/11

I will try my best, mommy, to do the things you expect of me.
these are some of the things I expect of you as a parent.
   1. I expect you to try to being in a ten year old mindset to understand more.
   2. Also,  I think you should be a little more forceful to get me to the point to be able to make all A’s
   3. Another thing is that you should check my agenda and homework at night, and whenever you have time maybe Quiz me on some of  my notes(i’ll try to make better notes)
   4.one more thing is to be a little more forceful on the babies(Deke, Delaney, and Lauryn) for example, really spank them when you say you are instead of telling them that to make them straighten out for that moment or really make sure there rooms are your view of clean and not theirs
   5.Next to last is to do mother and daughter things such as shopping and considering doing pageant’s maybe( HINT HINT)
   6. Yes, the last thing is to be THE BEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD and have some “YOU TIME”
LOVE YOU and can’t explain how much I miss you XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Family Dynamics

Do you have weekly or biweekly meetings at work? It’s a great way to ensure the boss is on the same page and everyone knows what is going on, So why not have family meetings? There are so many things you can do in your family to ensure time together is fun and ever changing. Click To Tweet In our household we used to have a President, Vice President etc. We would rotate positions every other week. This allowed us to teach our children about the Branches of government while seeing their leadership skills at work.

There are so many things you can do to make your family a successful one, so let’s start a with a family meeting . Attached you will find a family meeting agenda.

Babies and Kids

The foundation of a house is the most important part of the house. A child’s first 7 to 10 years are the most important part of their lives. This is when the foundation and framework for their future is being created. One of my favorite sayings about children is “Children are like cement anything that touches them makes an impression. (good or bad)

Children are like cement anything that touches them makes an impression.

Parents please realize the importance of these years. Look at it like this. Let’s pretend for a moment your child is like a bank. You make deposits by spending time with them, give them hugs and kisses, disciplining them when necessary, If you say you are going to do something, do it! These are all major deposits. Well fast forward a few years, you will be able to make withdrawals by having a kid who listens, hugs you in return and tells you they love you, and most of all respects you. You can’t get out what you don’t put in. How can you expect a big withdrawal if you never make a deposit into your child’s life?