Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why, "Little Hero Hugs"?

When you are a parent, you have lots of options when it comes to discipline or just basically getting your children to do what you ask them to do. When you are "Grandma and Grandpa", your options are greatly diminished. (I have to say here that our grandchildren are wonderful and occasions where I have needed to discipline them have been few and far between.) But, having said that, we all know that every child has his or her "off" days. Those "off" days, when I was tending my grandchildren, are the times that I found myself without any behavior modification tools that I was comfortable with. The tools that I had used as a parent didn't seem to fit anymore. I can't spank my grandchildren. I know there are grandparents that are alright with that, the parents of the children are fine with that too, so that is all well and good. I am just not comfortable doing it. I didn't have very much trouble with it when our children were little. They would attest to that:) But somehow that all changed when grandchildren came along:)

I came up with some behavior modification tools, for those rare occasions when I was the one in control and responsible for the grandchildren. One of my tools, I called "Little Hero Hugs". These are little capes that I made, that originally I painted with phrases like; "Good Job" and "Outstandingly Obedient" on the back. Superheroes were a big deal at the time. Spiderman, the movie, had recently been released. Spiderman and Superman were pretty much everywhere. I thought that even though our little ones were not stopping trains with their bare hands or flinging buses across intersections, they were doing hard things. They were sharing their favorite train with their sister when they really didn't want anybody to ever touch their train. They were waiting patiently till the grownups took a breath to ask their question, instead of interupting grownup conversations. For little ones, those are hard things to master.

I used the "Little Hero Hug" to recognize positive decisions and behavior, the hard, but heroic things that they were choosing to do. I have some guidelines to using the "Hugs" so that they aren't over used or misused and so become boring or irrelevant. I have used them for a couple of years now. Our children use them with their children and even some of our friends use "Hugs" with their children. They work:) If the "Hugs" are used properly, they not only help change the child's behavior, but they change the parent's perspective and the atmosphere in the home becomes more pleasant, even happy:) The parent starts to look for the good in the child and thus becomes more positive in their outlook. The child starts to recognize that their positive behavior will elicit positive attention from their parents. It is exciting to see it happen!

I startad a business called "Praise Promotes the Positive" to facilitate manufacturing and selling my "Hugs" and eventually hope to manufacture some of the other children's behavior modification ideas I have:)

It would be totally great if I got rich! But honestly, that isn't my main goal. As I said in "My Philosophy" post, I believe that raising the next generation to be good, principled people is extremely important. Children don't come with instructions, as has been lamented over and over. But those of us who have done it, who might have helps and ideas and techniques that have helped us raise our children, can help the parents that might be struggling now. It is very apparent as we see young families in the grocery store or really in any public place, that parents are at a loss. They are tired, overworked, stressed and will do about anything to make the scene that their child is causing, stop. Usually the parent will buy the child the candy they are screaming for, or the parent will yell at the child, loud enough so that all those within hearing will be convinced that they have no responsibility for the child's behavior, "You are such a brat", or "Why do you always do this to me?". Various techniques are used to make the embarrassment go away, I have only named two. I always want to go up to these struggling parents and say, "This could be fun", "You could be in control of this situation". But the situation is never conducive to that.

So, here I am, using this blog to say, "Parenting can be fun", "You can be in control" and "Being a good parent is worth the effort". That is why, "Little Hero Hugs".

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Philosophy

I believe that one of the most important things a person can do is to influence or teach the rising generation to be good, productive, principled people. I could have used lots of additional positive adjectives, but you know what I mean. :)

Because I was a full-time mom of seven for almost 30 years (I am still their Mom, just not full-time anymore:)), I was able to use our home as my laboratory and could experiment with different ideas and techniques to see what seemed to work best with each of our seven children. By the time they were all grown up and out of the house, I started to really understand how important raising children is.

I have learned some principles to help raise children to become good people, but because each child is different, each child responds differently. Parents need to decide which ideas and techniques will work best for their child. That is why I started this blog. If I can come up with good ideas to help parents, I will post them. If you have things that have helped you, please share those ideas. I don't think I am an expert, but I do know that raising children is very important and I want to provide a forum that will assist other parents as they raise their children and at the same time help them to enjoy the journey that parenting is.

In my next post I will explain why I call this blog, "Little Hero Hugs", in case you were wondering.