Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pressing the EASY button makes life hard.

While in college,  I was assigned to write five of my own personal fables.  These fables sum up how I feel about life.  They mean a great deal to me.  Here's the first one!

Everyone wanted to live in the land of Easy.  Everything was just that, easy.  Life had no challenges.  As a matter of fact, the hardest thing anyone had to do was wake up in the morning, look to the left and press the "easy" button that was sitting on the nightstand next to them.  When you pressed the easy button you could have anything you wanted; money, nice cars, a clean house, and even a degree from college.  Where did the easy button come from?  No one knew.  It just made life easy and everyone seemed to have one.

One morning, Fred, the Mayor of Easy, woke up and decided for some strange reason, that he was not going to press the easy button.  He wanted to be the first one to see what it was like to clean his room and take out the kitchen garbage, without the help of the easy button.  Fred found that working towards achieving an accomplishment made him feel good about himself.  He then took the next step and ventured out to get a job.  Because he studied the working ant in his Biology class before  his "easy button life", he decided that working an honest day and earning his own money is what made him truly happy.

Even though struggles and challenges began to be frequent without his daily easy button, he soon decided that hard work, complicated relationships, sickness, and even the death of his pet dog Buster, are what built the true foundation of his existence.  He knew that when he faced life's difficult trials and challenges without always looking for the easy path, his true character would be reached.  Finally, he thought to himself, "Pressing the easy button makes life hard."

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Bullying can take place at home, school, or the workplace.  I can tell you personally that I was severely bullied as a child at school.  I remember being forced to give up my lunch and even switch out the clothes I was wearing so others could wear them!  I was threatened over and over that if I didn't comply, I would be beat up after school and that my long blonde braid would be cut off from my head!  I would grab my siblings and run home as fast as I could to prevent being physically abused.  At such a young age, I was scared to to death and at the same time afraid to tell anyone what was happening to me.  After two miserable years, I remember very well the day we moved from that town.  It was the happiest day of my life!

It certainly seems that most children whether at home or school have sustained some type of bullying.  Even though bullying has been a part of history, a recent surge has brought an outcry from parents, educators, and the community at large.  With these concerns in mind, two possible solutions in helping families that are influenced by the negative effects of bullying are to incorporate a positive parenting style with sound skills and become familiar with educational resources that will benefit families, schools, and the communities.

While attending college, I wrote a research paper titled, "Families and the Negative Impact of Bullying."   Below is an outline from this paper of the most important aspects we can follow to hopefully provide solutions in eliminating bullying forever!

First we need to understand that bullying is found in both cyber and traditional ways.  Even though physical abuse and relational abuse are the more traditional ways of bullying, cyber bullying through texting, social media, and email have a more negative effect on families than traditional bullying.

Two possible solutions in helping families combat the influences of bullying.

1.  To have a better parent-child interaction through positive parenting skills. 

  • An authoritative parenting style (remember this is the best way to parent!)  is most productive in teaching positive social skills with peers as it features warmth and responsiveness, autonomy granting, establishing rules and setting limits.
  • An authoritarian parenting style which includes coercive forms of verbal hostility and corporal punishment are correlated with children who display aggressive interactions with and are rejected by their peers.
  • A permissive parenting style which allows the child to make their own decisions without parental guidance also have problem behaviors, disrespect others and are frustrated in general.
  • Poor marital relationships can also cause child-parent relationships to strain and create internalizing and externalizing behaviors with children.     

Please remember that most bullying practices start in the home before the child ever enters school.  It's important that parents teach their children how to control their aggression. Most importantly, parents need to teach their children that bullying is unacceptable and not "a way of life."

2.  To have an educational solution that can provide opportunities in alleviating bullying in the home, school, and the community.
  • Raising awareness helps to alleviate bullying.
  • Whole school policies help to prevent bullying.
  • Supervision in home and school help to prevent bullying.
  • Social and curriculum programs can assist in reducing bullying.
  • An educational concept is to discourage bullying in schools.

The implications found in this research are that teachers and professionals that work with bully victims might better understand that those who are victimized show that they need help in dealing with feelings, making friends, and how they interact.  The implications of positive parenting styles and skills show that children have positive social skills in dealing with their family and friends.

I hope we can all learn that bullying can have a negative life changing effect on the modern family. Also, that positive parenting styles and skills can encourage competent social skills with peers and that educational resources help to prevent bullying in the home, school, and the community.  As parents and educators we must stop bullying NOW!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Birthdays are the BEST!

I love celebrating birthdays!  My daughter Mariah turns 19 today.  So today is her birthday!  You know, the day she was born.  Actually, the day she miraculously was born and survived her birth.  She came into this world in a frank breech position with her left arm wrapped around her neck.  Her arm wouldn't give, so her arm was broken during her delivery. To be more clear, her bone actually broke into two separate jagged pieces.  Sorry to be so graphic, but it’s true.  But I must include the fact that her arm healed perfectly.  As for me, I will spare you my gory details.  It truly is a miracle we both survived this ordeal of what we call birthing a baby! I personally feel that every baby that makes it into life and survives is an unexplained wonder.  So for this reason, I love to celebrate birthdays!

This is Mariah

My mother with little money to spare would always make sure we had special birthday parties.  She would go out of her way to have decorations, presents, and a real homemade cake.  We always wanted her to bake her famous German Chocolate Cake.  (Make sure you get the icing recipe below!) Her fun personality would fill the air as she made sure we played lots of games like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” or almost killing each other as we tried to hit the piƱata.   My memories are emotional as I think of the many sacrifices my mother made to insure we had a perfect birthday.  My mother set a high bar for me to follow.

Unfortunately, almost four years ago, I spent the last few weeks with my mother in my home as she lay dying with cancer. I thought to myself how lucky I was to have spent 48 birthdays with her.  I wanted to spend more, but knew this was not going to be.  My mother was my hero.  She is the one who risked her life to give me the day I love to celebrate so much.  So whenever I celebrate a birthday, I think of the many special birthdays my mother gave to me, her time, her talents, and what little she had to make my life that much better.  I’m so grateful today that I was able to spend one more year with Mariah.  And if I’m lucky again, that I can spend many more years with the rest of my family celebrating the miracle of birthdays.

My Mother's German Chocolate Cake Frosting

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg YOLKS slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

cook over medium heat until thickens, then stir in  about 3/4 to 1 bag of shredded coconut and 1 cup walnuts.  Or if you prefer pecans then add pecans.  FYI:  My mom would double this recipe just so she could eat half the bowl by herself.  I ain't kidding!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What kind of parent do you want to be?

I think that sometimes it’s simply exhausting trying to figure out how to be the best parent we can be.  Seriously, how do we find the happy medium in parenting? First, I think as parents we need to relax a little and realize that some parenting styles can be used for different circumstances and that not one mold fits all kids!  However, I do agree that certain parenting styles can contribute to a more happy, peaceful and balanced life.  According to Baumrind, there are three types of parenting styles that can affect children differently.  The three types are:

·         Authoritative  (Oh and right up front, this is the best way to parent!)
a.       Directs in a rational manner.
b.      Encourages verbal give and take.
c.       Shares with the child the reasoning behind parental policy.
d.      Showing warmth and responsiveness by being attuned and supportive to children’s special needs and demands.
e.       Invites rather than makes children adopt the parent’s perspective.
f.       Be clear.  Establish family rules and provide friendly reminders. Children need structure and direction.  Limits give them a sense of security and serve to provide order.
g.      Be positive.  Many situations can be solved by simply redirecting children’s attention to something else. Give your child a choice of two acceptable alternatives.  Listen actively, reinforce positively, and use humor. Emphasizing the dos rather than the don’ts has great payoffs for the children and sets a better climate in the home.
h.      Be firm.  Children will respond more quickly when they know their parent is likely to follow through. Use natural or logical consequences.

When you parent with an authoritative style, children tend to do very well in all aspects of life: socially mature, high self-esteem, responsible, more pro-social, high academic achievement, and very little problem behavior. In other words, authoritative parenting style is the best way to go! 

·         Authoritarian  (Coercive)
a.       Very demanding and directive but not responsive. 
b.      Punitive, forceful measures (coercion) to curb self-will.
c.       Keeps the child in a subordinate role.
d.      Restricts the child from making choices.
e.       Does not encourage verbal give-and-take.  “Because I said so!” attitude.

When you parent with an authoritarian style, children tend to perform only moderately at school and avoid problem behavior, but have poorer social skills, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression.  

·         Permissive Parenting
a.       More responsive than demanding.
b.      Affirming and accepting of child’s impulses and behaviors.  Does not require mature behavior.
c.       Allows the child to be free from restraint.  Offering freedom as a way of evading parental responsibility.
d.      Exerts lax or inconsistent control when the child misbehaves.  Avoids confrontation.

When you parent with a permissive style, children are more likely to be involved in problem behavior, impulse control problems, difficulty respecting others, coping with frustration, perform less well in school, little self –discipline, though they do not tend to have social skill, self-esteem, or depression difficulties.

When I first learned about these different parenting styles, I realized that I had incorporated all three of these styles during my years as a parent.  To tell you the truth, I felt horrible!  But from that point on, I also desired to better myself as a parent knowing how precious children are and how short life is “to get it right!”  I hope that by knowing each of these parenting styles and their outcomes, you can make better choices in raising your children. I also want to acknowledge that the information I received for this particular blog came from my handy class notes I saved from my Parenting 240 class.  

I want to leave you with a quote that I think sums it all up:

“Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood.  Of all the responsibilities with which we struggle, none other is so serious.  To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges.  The good result from such effort becomes life’s most satisfying compensation.”                                                                  
                                                                                                             Gordon B. Hinckley

NEXT WEEK:  Families and the Negative Impact of Bullying

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome to The Parent Wizard!

As a graduate of Brigham Young University, with an emphasis in Family Life, I'm so excited to share with you my insight and understanding of how we can survive parenting!  Being a parent doesn't always have to be such a daily stressful event.  With a view of practicality, parenting can actually be fun!  In other words, sometimes your daughter's hair may not always be picture perfect before she heads off to school. The luncheon you've been planning with your friends for the last two months probably won't happen due to an unexpected visit to the doctors office to treat another one of your child's many ear infections.  Or maybe as a parent you are exhausted from being up all night with a sick child and wonder how you will accomplish all the countless errands you had planned that day.  Does this sound familiar?   I'm sure it does.  We all have countless parenting stories to tell, but the journey we take as parents can be filled with hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow for all of our family members.  So let the journey begin!

This is me!  (April 2012)

With this being my first blog, I want you to be familiar with my blog site.  I have different tabs that you might find informational in different subject areas.  With my degree in Family Sciences, I have studied each of these areas and hope I can help you better understand the family in general.

Another part of my blog will be inspirational quotes and poems that I have written over the years.  I might include messages from others, but I have always enjoyed writing little words of hope and meaning.

Everyone who knew my mom called her Granny.  Some of the most practical and humorous advice you will ever receive will come from the "Granny tab." My mother always gave advice so freely. You'll also find some of her delicious recipes!  Sadly, my mother passed away from cancer in April of 2010, but she left a legacy of some of the best parenting skills I know of. I miss you Granny.

Granny and Jenna

My Mom and Dad

Finally, each week I want to discuss some of life's most challenging endeavors.  I hope to post some of my research papers that deal with everything from effective parenting styles and skills, the importance of having a socially competent child,  understanding motherhood depression and burnout,  and the impact of bullying in the family and school just to mention a few.  Please feel free to leave comments, questions, or any other ideas you might want me to discuss.  As parents, we are learning how to better ourselves everyday.  I hope that through the knowledge and experience I have gained we can all make our families more loving, kind, and respectful.


Children are so cute. I wuv Carson.

Infant nose

When an infant is only three days old, it knows the scent of its mother.

Don't be late!

Granny always used to say, "If you're not 15 minutes early, you're LATE!" And she meant it.