Ep. 109: Parenting Challenges Q & A

In this episode, I am speaking live with parents from Wayne Highlands School District and Superintendent Greg Frigoletto at Lakeside Elementary. We discuss my book, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, and my key parenting tips and takeaways from lessons learned at camp.

I spent the first week of October in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin speaking with teachers, parents, and camp professionals. You read about these events and see more pictures in this post.

Big Ideas
  • Parents need to have a growth mindset when thinking about their parenting skills.
  • Lessons we learn at camp are:
    • how to relate to kids
    • how to make sure kids feel connected
    • how to handle different behavioral issues as they come up
  • It helps parents to "begin with the end in mind" (Dr. Stephen R. Covey) when deciding where they can make a more of an effort with their kids.
  • Connection is crucial. Begin a daily habit of checking in one-on-one with kids and let children take the lead when they have thoughts to share.
  • Independent kids become the kind of adults that people enjoy working with.
    • Allow kids to find solutions to their problems and issues as they arise.
    • Respond with, "Tell me your decision and I'll tell you why its the right one." This statement shows kids that you believe in their abilities.
  • A habit of "purposeful positivity" and optimism promotes resilience.
  • Allowing kids to be themselves and focusing on their strengths, instead of their weaknesses, brings out the best in them.
  • We discuss positive tactics for dealing with common issues parents face, such as:
    • whining
    • fighting
    • picky eaters
    • kids who don't listen
    • making transitions; routines and structure
    • stressed-out teens
    • gossiping
  • Sometimes ignoring bad behaviors is the best approach.
  • It's important to talk with your kids about the rules and have real conversations about your values so that they understand the "why" behind your expectations.
Quotes

Audrey: "What I'd really like the subtitle of my talk to be is, 'All I really need to know about parenting, I learned at summer camp.' Sometimes, as parents, we tend to overcomplicate things."

Audrey: "To me, a growth mindset is just remembering that we can all do little things to get better and so can our kids. I think sometimes it's really simple, small things that do make a big difference. You have to keep evolving anyway because kids change and each kid is different so just being open to thinking about the little things you can do is really important."

Audrey: "Kids need at least five positive messages for every one critical or feedback message."

Audrey: "Most of the world does not go to camp. This is true, but many of the things that we do at camp can help the rest of the world. That's what my book is about: how to create that camp like growth and setting at home."

Audrey: "Instead of feeling overwhelmed that there are so many things you have to do, just think about one thing at a time and make sure that one thing is on the path towards your end goal."

Audrey: "If there's just one thing that you can do, give your children or your child your full attention for at least a couple of minutes every day."

Audrey: "We can be so distracted that we forget to actually look in someone's eyes and say, 'What's going on? How are you doing? What can I help you with today?' A one-on-one check-in is not 'How much homework do you have? What time is practice?' or those kinds of logistical questions."

Audrey: "One of the things we enjoy about the people we work with are self-starters who figure out how to solve problems. It's a really important trait for adulthood."

Audrey: "I think when we are so fearful, we hold our kids back so much that they don't get the chance to show us all they can do."

Audrey: "Reframe your child's negative characteristics or weaknesses into more of a strength. You can have a more positive mindset even about negative situations that come up."

Audrey: "We can really change what our kids believe about themselves, their dreams, their lives, just by how positive we are about things and optimistic."

Audrey: "Oftentimes things that we think of as weaknesses can be reframed as how they're going to serve them...A lot of differently-wired people do amazing things. In fact, the world really needs people who think and do things differently. Those are often the people who have the best innovations. We don't want to stamp them down by trying to make them conform."

Audrey: "Sometimes ignoring things is good as long as you're doing the positive, full attention for good things. They can't be ignored for everything. They need attention. They need connection."

Audrey: "I love the whole village idea. If you have extended family, good friends, teachers, coaches, these other people pouring into our kids' lives are really important."

Greg: "To have parents to rely on to talk through things is a great asset for kids. Minus you, there is a great struggle that they might not be able to overcome. In a stressed world, you being there for them and having them know that you are is really important."

Audrey: "Identify them as their best self. Instead of telling them not to do things, it's more helpful to help them to focus on where they want to be and who they want to be."

Audrey: "Remember that kids save their worst behavior for their parents. If they're getting good reports from teachers and everyone else, you're doing just fine."

Audrey: "We need to have real conversations with them so that we can feel confident that they will be able to problem-solve, that they will be able to make their own good decisions. If we don't give them that opportunity, they never get a chance to try it out."

Audrey: "One of the best ways that you can raise kids who become thriving adults is showing them what that looks like. Make sure you spend time with your friends and figure out a way to do your hobbies each week. That offers your kids a great model of what it looks like to be a thriving adult."

Related Podcast/Posts

If you enjoyed this discussion, listen/read:

Ep. 100: Teens' Advice for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids

Ep. 68: 12 Parenting Tips for Happier, More Connected Families

Ep. 54: Parenting Tips from Summer Camp to Raise Healthy Kids with Dr. Jim Sears

10 Parenting Tips from Camp Counselors

Questions for Connection

Links Discussed

Sunshine Parenting Book Hub

How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims

Yes Brain, Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

Anatomy of Trust, Brené Brown

B.R.A.V.I.N.G: The Seven Elements of Trust

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