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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

Archive for March, 2012

Challenging Our Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 23rd March 2012

The so familiar phrase: You need to challenge your kids is so wild spread that I think it lost its meaning or at the very least, its interpretation is wrong. A parent presented with sentence will often think about it as a challenge in education. I need to challenge my kids in math, is the most common reply I hear from parents when I ask them this question. However, this is only a very small and almost insignificant part of the whole picture of challenging our kids. So what does this sentence really mean?

Challenging our kids can happen almost every day and in almost any aspect of their lives. The problem is that parents think that they always need to aid and help their kids and do not put enough challenges in front of them to tackle and think their ways through. Take for a example tree climbing. It seems ridicules but if you put some more attention to it you will see that you challenge your kids to take calculated risks, overcome fear of heights and gain confidence. When they overcome this challenge they become better kids; better equipped kids. Climbing trees just one example but there are more, many more ways you can challenge your kids to excel: ride bikes without training wheels, walk the dog by themselves, talk to adults, use power tools for a wood work project and the list goes on and on.

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We Fear Our Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 17th March 2012

There is very deep silver lining with all the parents I talk to and help. I am getting to a conclusion that parents are fearful of their kids or more accurately, parents are so afraid to “screw up” their kids’ lives that they simply freeze in sigh of that fear and are very reluctant to use any means to control them.

The mixed messages parents get from the media, friends and even so called “professionals” causes them to calculate each and every step that they make towards raising their kids and in the meantime not to take a coherent concessive approach to raising their children.

A long time ago spanking was the way to obedient kids but modern preacher tell parents that spanking is not aloud, so parents use shouting and yelling instead but that is also not good – other professionals tell parents that while spanking is physically cruel, shouting and telling is mentally debilitating the child.

Some experts rave about the benefits of co-sleeping while others are against it, some side with giving babies a pacifier and some see this is an unnecessary tool.

News, reports and studies flood parents with contradicting information about what is good and is not good for their kids running them paralyzed in their efforts to bring up good kids. The end result is that parents are simply afraid of making a mistake with their kids and simply take no action out of fear letting their kids grow up with no structure.  

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Instant Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 16th March 2012

Kids can be thought about like preparing food.

Food preparation requires time, patience and the right ingredients. Take baking for example. A chef or even your average home rookie baker needs to choose his ingredients carefully and arrange them on the table. Once this part is ready the right quantities of each ingredient must be measured and added to the mix in the right order. Finally, our chef pre-heats the oven to the desired temperature and leaves the cake in the oven for the right amount of time. Each step is dependant on the previous one but the end result is tasty and smells great. It is a triumph of the chef and can be enjoyed by everyone.

The same analogy can be for kids. If a parent wants a well behaved kid he needs to follow the recipe. Each step is equally important as the step before it. A parent can not pre- heat the open for a lower temperature, or his child will not be raised correctly, a parent can not through in the mix ingredients that do not belong there or the final result will be a kid that does not turn out to be the way he desires.

Raising kids is a multi step process that requires attention and patience. You put into a kid the best ingredients and raise him correctly and you get the kid you wanted to have.

There is however another way to bake cakes – instant cake. It comes right out of the box, the chef only has to add water to it and put it in the oven. If you ever tasted an instant cake versus a cake that was made from scratch, you would know the difference. Even the ingredients in an instant cake are not under your control and you do not know what’s in there.

Raising instant kids is the same. Taking those shortcuts and not paying attention will result in a kid that is not what you were expecting.

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Independent Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 15th March 2012

Parents often times tell me that they have clingy kids and that they try to teach them to become independent.

To that, I always tell parents:

Independence can not be given, nor can it be taken – independence needs to be earned !

Think about it this way. Independence is a product that you would like your child to have, it is a powerful tool to have and a very desirable skill to poses, but as with any other products, you can not just give your child his independence and he can not just take it for you. There is a transaction here and just like in a commercial transaction where currency is exchanged to purchase the goods, in order for your child to “purchase” his independence he needs to pay for it. His currency of choice is: Trust.

As soon as he can show you that you can trust him, you can sell him his independence.

For example, if he does not run away from you – you do not have to hold his hand every time you cross a street, if he goes to bed alone – you can let him decide if he wants to read a book first and so on.

With the use of the trust currency, your child will slowly become independent.

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