A Survival Guide For Work-From-Home Parents

People are always asking me how I manage to consistently work as much as I do with a toddler in the house. It makes me feel great that I have somehow made this near-impossible feat look easy, but I can assure you that it’s anything but.

I’d liken it to nailing jello to the wall.

I made the choice to work from home when my daughter was a few months shy of her first birthday. I didn’t have the help of a full-time nanny, and my day to day life became, well, a circus. The juggling act between meeting client deadlines, developing creative content, answering a daily onslaught of emails, taking care of my home, and most importantly, taking care of my family, has been a learning process like no other.

As with anything, this routine took a little time to ease in to. There are days that go off without a hitch, and days where I’d like to hide in my closet with my laptop and a giant vat of espresso. There are days I feel more capable than superwoman, and then days where I repeatedly ask myself if I’m crazy to have launched my own writing business with a now super-active toddler running circles around me all day, every day.

I hate to sound cliche, but the truth is, if I can do it, so can the rest of you amazing mamas (and daddies) of the world. Here are a few tips for working from home while parenting:

Get ahead of the game.
Preparation is key. No one knows the needs of your child or children better than you. Create a schedule that allows for a comfortable balance without overwhelming you. Wake up before the kids, allow yourself to organize and map out your day, and answer some pressing emails. Know exactly which parts of your day will demand the most of your attention instead of winging it and hoping things fall in line. They won’t. Learning to work on a schedule and create routines that work for all of the people in your home will be a game changer that will not only increase productivity, it will keep you in control of your day.

Ask for help.
Any mom, business owner, or mamapreneur worth her salt knows that it truly does take a village to get ahead. For me personally, I am not in a position to hire a full time sitter or nanny, nor do I want to rely on the help of someone else. I enjoy being with my daughter as much as I can between client calls and projects, however, I know my limits. Luckily, I have family close by who are willing to help a few days a week, as well as a neighbor who is happy to watch my daughter for a few hours on some of my busiest days. The trick is to take full advantage of this time. This is when I schedule any calls (because no one enjoys hearing a screaming child who just spilled her goldfish all over the floor), engage in creating new business plans, and taking a few moments of quiet time to reinvigorate my brain and thought process. Ask for help. Don’t be shy. Help is good.

Know your limits.
This is the most important piece of information I can give to anyone looking to maintain a successful career with small children at home. If the first two options do not work out for you, this one will be your secret weapon. Sure, we all want to do as much as humanly possible to keep everyone, clients, children, spouses, friends, and family happy day in and day out – but let’s be real here. If you’re consistently overextending yourself, something will suffer and it will most likely be you, and the quality of your work. This happened to me quite a bit in the beginning, until I became more familiar with and accepting of my limits. Learning to say no, whether to yourself or others is an invaluable tool for success.

Have a sense of humor.
And be realistic. Do not expect perfection of yourself or anyone else involved in your work-from-home life. Allow a little room for error, a lot of patience, and time to learn. When in doubt – laugh (even if it’s at yourself).

The truth is, anything that results in success takes a lot of hard work, trial and error, and patience. You’ll get there, trust me.

To learn more, drop me a line and share your story! I’d love to hear from you! — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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For The First Time, I See My Mother (And Myself) In A Presidential Candidate

My mom and I live very far apart: 9,929 miles, to be exact. It’s a 24-hour trip, door-to-door, from my place in New York City to my parents’ house in Sydney, Australia.
I don’t live that far from where she grew up, though; she was born with the 1950s, on Long Island, where my 102-year-old grandmother still lives. Mom moved to Australia more than 30 years ago, a happy fate that often befalls those who fall in love with Australians. My sister and I were raised there; we grew up freckled and muscly from swimming outside all year round. And then, we both left home for college. I came to the east coast of the US, and I stayed. I’ve been here for 11 years now, living, working, voting, becoming a barely adequate cook.
There are predictable days when I wish my mom were here with me. Birthdays, breakups, particularly bad weepy days in my menstrual cycle. Those are days when I wish she could be there for me – to soothe me, to buck me up, to stick her head into my nearly empty fridge and somehow throw together a delicious meal for us both.
Then there are the moments when I wish we could be together so that I could be there for her. When she has setbacks at work, when she misses her faraway daughters, when she’s tired and run down and overwhelmed. There have been more of these as I age, as our relationship shifts from mother and child to mother and adult daughter, as I am no longer separated from her by adolescence and the teenage insistence that I know more than she does. We are not friends ― this is not “Gilmore Girls” ― but we are both women now, far more similar than we’ve ever been.

There have been few periods in the last 11 years when I have wished more ardently and more often to be with my mother – physically with her, not just talking to her on the phone or exchanging daily emails – than during the ascension of Hillary Clinton to the top of the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket. Over and over again, I find myself thinking, God, I wish my mom were here.
My mother is almost of Clinton’s vintage, with her slight relative youth making a few crucial differences in her life path. She graduated from high school in 1968, beginning her adulthood at a legendarily tumultuous moment in American and world history. It was also the moment when America’s most prestigious universities were beginning to open their ivy-wound gates to women; my mom transferred as a sophomore and became of the first few hundred women to earn an undergraduate degree from Yale. From there, she went to graduate school, in the newly created and not-yet women-heavy field of public health, and then to the State Department, where she was one of very few women. A petite and pretty New York Jew, just 25 years old, she was sent around the world for USAID, including a three-year stint in Panama, with my father, by then her husband, in tow. She worked, mostly with men, to improve the health of people in developing countries, most of them women. After 10 years, she and my father moved to Sydney, where they’ve lived ever since.
There are many people who cannot relate to Hillary Clinton, who cannot see themselves or anyone they care about in her. She’s a wealthy, straight, white woman, a mother, an ambitious career woman ― and there are some people to whom she simply does not speak, with whom her experiences and views of the world do not resonate. I’m not one of those people. Simply put, Hillary Clinton reminds me of my mom. 
When I look at Hillary Clinton, I see a woman who is almost always the smartest person in any room she enters, and who, for a long time, knew that when she walked through the door she’d be assumed to be less intelligent, less informed and less qualified than most of the men who sat at the table with her.
I see a woman who has perfected the art of tolerating questions that insult her intelligence and that seem to bristle at the fact that it occurred to her to be in the room in the first place.
I see a woman who, after decades of being subject to sexist beauty standards, is now also subject to ageist ones ― who, in addition to doing her difficult and substantive job, has also had to fight tooth and nail to ensure that her face fits the requirements we impose on an aging woman who dares to show hers in public.
You know that smile Clinton smiles in a debate, when her opponent is insulting her to face, and she has to respond firmly but sweetly, forcefully but genially, in a way that both counters the argument and also draws the audience toward her? I know that smile. I have seen my mother form that smile. I have practiced that smile ― in college classrooms, at work, on OKCupid dates ― never realizing until this year who taught me how to do it.

When I listen to Hillary Clinton, I hear the careful and considerate algorithm that runs through my mother’s head before she answers a question. I hear the mental flowchart she conjures as she thinks about how to be correct while also avoiding hurting a single feeling or raising even one hackle. I hear the cautious tread of someone who knows that her mistakes will be punished far more than her successes are rewarded ― and who also feels pressure to conceal that caution, to appear natural and comfortable. You know, “authentic.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say that watching Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign has reshaped my relationship with my mother. As I’ve thought and written – and raged – about the ways that sexism and ageism play out in our politics and media narratives, I’ve begun to see my mother’s life through a new and more compassionate lens.
Last year, when Clinton’s campaign had just launched, the matter of her age was repeatedly raised: was she just too old to be President? Leaving aside the comparable ages of her rival in the primary and of her eventual rival in the general, this question caused a spike of rage in my chest every time I heard it raised. Of course she’s old, I’d think. She had to spend an extra 15 years convincing everyone that she was qualified enough. And now that she has, now that she’s arguably the most qualified non-incumbent person to ever contest the presidency in more than 200 years of presidential contests, she’s being discounted because she’s now OLD? This is bullshit.
It’s the same bullshit, not coincidentally, that I’ve watched my mother go through in the last few years. Over the phone, I’ll tell her about the colleagues or clients who discount my ideas, who assume I’m less worthy of their time, because I’m young and I’m a woman. She offers me a glimpse at my future, where colleagues or clients will assume I’m less worthy of their time because I’m old and I’m a woman. Her decades of work and experience ought to be rewarded the way they are for men, whose age is perceived as wisdom, whose graying temples are marks of distinction. Instead, I’m hearing her frustration on the other end of the phone line as she tells me, yet again, that she didn’t get the position, that it went instead to a man her age or a woman 15 years her junior. At one point, during the last presidential election, we were both dyeing our hair darker ― her to conceal her gray roots, and me to make myself look a few years older.

When I look at and listen to Hillary Clinton, when I think about the road that has brought her to this moment and the hurdles that were thrown up in front of her along the way, I’m also thinking about my mother, and about her life. Perhaps this is how men feel all the time when they consider presidential candidates – this man reminds me of my father, of my grandfather, of my brother, of me. This is the first time I’ve been able to look at a would-be President and see someone who looks like my mom, sounds like my mom, gives awkward and ungainly high-fives like my mom. Like I inevitably will one day. It’s the first time I’ve been able to listen to a would-be President and know that she can empathize with my mother, and my best friends, and my grandmother, and me. It is an unexpectedly emotional experience.
The night Clinton secured the pledged delegates required to make her the mathematically presumptive nominee, I sat on my apartment floor with my laptop on my coffee table, fighting and failing to hold back tears, trying to save face in front of my boyfriend and his sister. Here in Philly, I watched the roll call vote from my hotel room and, when I saw the counter tick over 2883, I started to weep. I’d stop, and then I’d think about my mom, and her mom, who’s 102 ― she was born in 1914, six years before the 19th Amendment first gave large numbers of American women the right to vote, and she cast her first vote for FDR in 1936 – and I would lose it all over again.
In a few hours, I know I’ll be crying again. From here in the convention hall, with a direct sight line to the podium, I’ll watch Chelsea Clinton introduce her mother. And then I’ll watch Clinton officially accept the nomination. And I will wish, with all my heart, that my mom were here. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Dear Family Whisperer: Our Baby Screams When My Husband Touches Her

Dear Family Whisperer, I have a question that relates to relationships, family, bonding and babies am hoping you can shed some light or offer advice on our predicament. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl at home in April 24, 2016. Since about 3 – 4 weeks of age, she screams to the point of hoarseness when my husband (her father) touches her or tries to do anything with her. We are now at 3 months and it is to the point that she cries at the sight of him. This is both difficult and stressful, as I can tell that my husband feels hurt, rejected, irritated and annoyed. In addition, we have two other children (2 & 8), whom I would love to spend time with but due to my baby girl’s reaction to Dad, she is primarily dependent on me. Please help, this is tearing me to pieces on the inside.
Desperate Mother

Dear Desperate Mother,
To be honest, I first thought I’d send you a short private response by email, saying, “Please seek professional help.” I stand by that advice. Certainly, not having any details — and being journalist, not a doctor — my answer would naturally be measured and limited. But I can help you see your predicament through a family lens:

As I’ve written often in this column and elsewhere, to truly understand a problem, we have to remember that a family is a constellation of individuals, each bringing something different to the table. But none of us exist in a vacuum. In a family, our “stuff” bumps up against others!

For example, in varying degrees, some humans are more sensitive to the touch than others. But mothers and fathers also touch their children differently.

So while you might want to consult your pediatrician about the possibility that your baby suffers from a some type of tactile sensitivity or defensiveness you should also look at how each member of the family touches him. (You didn’t mention your baby’s reaction to her siblings or whether she cries easily in their presence.)

No doubt as the mother of a two and eight year old, you have already noticed differences in your other children. One might seem calmer in the face of disappointment. One might be naturally neater. One might be more open to trying new foods. While your husband might feel “hurt, rejected, irritated and annoyed,” it might help to remind him that your daughter’s reaction is about her, not him. It is a visceral, not a personal, reaction. She isn’t rejecting her Dad. She’s feeling her own feelings.

Every relationship requires acceptance. We can’t change who our children are. And though it’s hard, all parents have moments when we must separate our egos from our children’s nature and behavior.

I’m embarrassed to admit that before my son’s dyslexia was diagnosed (thirty years ago), I’d get upset, and, sometimes, angry at him when he brought books home and had to read aloud with me. How could he know a sight word on one page and then “forget” it a moment later? When I accepted that his brain worked differently, I was better able (most of the time!) to adjust my behavior and my expectations.

It will also help your family to get help.Tactile sensitivity can be treated. But try to tackle this as a family issue.

Even though “the problem” seems to be your daughter’s, the solution involves all of you. As members of the same unit, you “touch” each other — literally and figuratively. What kind of touch doesn’t upset the baby? Since you had the advantage of bonding with her before anyone else in the family, help your husband (and children) understand what she seems to like.

Be detectives together. If the baby is calmer or less fearful with one sibling than the other, sit down as a family and try to figure out why. Review how your husband treats the baby, as well as what he might have been going through when she was born. Men have different levels of ocytocin — “the cuddle hormone” — which affect how they engage with their babies. Fathers tend to be be more active with their babies.

Another benefit of involving everyone in the solution is that it will give your other children a sense of purpose and family solidarity. In all families, there are unavoidable times, due to sickness or unforeseen circumstances, when family resources — time, attention, money — flow disproportionately toward one particular adult or child. Being “in it” together can help children tolerate a difficult time.
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Finally, I would say — and this shouldn’t be hard since you have watched two other children grow — try to take a deep breath and keep this in perspective. A line I’ve used often in my books about children and families is: Just when you think you’ve got it, everything changes. Fortunately, that can be for the better, too.

Hi, it’s Melinda. I welcome your comments and suggestions. Do you have a question about your family or a relationship? No topics are off limits, and it’s all anonymous. Ask via Twitter @MelindaBlau #DearFamilyWhisperer, or click on this link For everything I’ve every written, check out my website. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Family Hears Their Late Daughter's Heart Beat Inside Organ Recipient

A Florida teen’s memory lives on through a strong heartbeat. 
The family of 14-year-old Katelyn Zimmerman, who was killed by a drunk driver in March, recently met the person who received her heart, ABC 11 reported. 
In the video below, Katelyn’s family listens to her heart beating inside Albert Jeffries IV. Albert, a 14-year-old from North Carolina with dilated cardiomyopathy, was flooded with emotion.

“Thank you for the gift of being able to see more in life,” Albert, whose condition means his heart struggles to pump blood, tearfully read in a letter to Katelyn’s family during their meeting. “Thank you for being my miracle.”
Butterflies and balloons were released for the occasion, and the families exchanged gifts. Tina Turner, Albert’s mother, also shared a poem expressing her gratitude. 
For the late teen’s family, the event, especially the portion in which they heard Katelyn’s heart beat, proved comforting. 
“It put us at peace knowing that Katelyn’s heart is still beating even though it’s not in her,” her father Shawn Zimmerman said, according to Fox8. 
Reflecting on what Albert, also known as Alj, has been through because of his heart condition, Turner told ABC News that the Zimmermans’ contribution to her son meant the world. 
“Alj was near death,” Turner said of her son, who had waited 99 days for a heart. “He was on two heart drips by the end. The month Katelyn died was the year Alj was reborn.”
Now, Turner says that her family is looking to pay the kindness forward by raising awareness for organ donation, Fox8 reported. 
“We want everyone to see this unity and this selfless thing they did for our family. That’s love.”
  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Grandparents Celebrate 63 Years Of Marriage With Sweet Photo Shoot

Ever since she was a kid, wedding photographer Shalyn Nelson has admired her grandparents’ long, loving and committed marriage.

So in November 2014, she did a photo shoot with her Papaw Joe Ray and Mamaw Billie Wanda to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary on their ranch in Jewett, Texas. 

“No marriage is perfect, and my grandparents will be the first to tell you that,” Nelson told The Huffington Post. “But they never gave up. They never let their vows down. Ever.”

Recently, Papaw’s health has been ailing; just last week the family was told he wouldn’t make it through the night. Though he’s still in the hospital, Nelson said he’s now on the mend. On Wednesday, Nelson saw that the photos from 2014 were posted on BuzzFeed ― a surprise that gave her some peace during this difficult time.
“This man means the world to me,” she wrote on Instagram. “So when I saw that BuzzFeed featured my grandparents on their blog, my heart swelled. The timing could not be more perfect.” 

For the photo shoot, Mamaw, now 83, wore two different flowy gowns, while Papaw, now 86, sported a pinstripe suit and bowtie.
“After all was said and done, Mamaw looked at me and said, ‘Well, that sure was special,’ and gave me a big hug,” Nelson said. “My Papaw brought his little point-and-shoot camera and took photos of me and my friends who helped bring the shoot to life. My mom tells me all the time how much that day meant to my grandparents. They talk about it all the time.” 

Nelson credits her grandparents with teaching her the true meaning of marriage.
“My husband constantly reminds me that we will be old and gray, like them, walking hand in hand,” she told HuffPost. “I pray for that every single day. Even now, watching my Mamaw sit by his side with his hospital visits these past few months. It just puts life and love into perspective for me even more than it did before.”

Up until she went to college, Nelson lived next door to her Mamaw and Papaw, whom she calls her “heroes” and the “the best people I know.” 
“I didn’t have much of a fatherly role in my life, but my grandparents made up for that and filled that void,” she told HuffPost. “I’ll never be able to thank them enough for it.”
This shoot was the first part of Nelson’s passion project, which spotlights long-married couples all around the world. Now she is figuring out how to fund the project; someday, she hopes to compile the love stories into a book. 
“I have received well over 150 love stories from strangers around the world,” she said. “I will be traveling to these couples, and documenting these stories, as well as photographing them on film  ― my medium of choice ― so hopefully we can figure out a way financially sooner than later.”

Below, see more photos from Joe Ray and Billie Wanda’s heartwarming shoot.

H/T Style Me Pretty via BuzzFeed — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Stress Is Contagious, And Kids Are Catching It At The Expense Of Their Developing Brains

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) study on stress found that nearly half of America’s kids are stressed.  This is bad news because it means unhealthy amounts of stress hormones are coursing through the developing brains of these children and that causes learning and behavior problems. The area of the brain most vulnerable to stress hormones is the prefrontal cortex. It generates intelligence, learning, and the top-down regulation for impulse control, which means that a child’s stressed brain will struggle with learning and be prone to acting out. Stress hormones also dampen the immune system causing more frequent and more intense colds and flu.

PARENTS TAKE NOTE

The same APA study found that 91 percent of kids say that what stresses them most is how stressed their parents have become, and that 69 percent of parents were oblivious to the impact their level of stress is having on the kids. This finding corroborates a previous study by the Families and Work Institute that found what kids want most is “stress-free parents.” In this study, interviewers asked children to make one wish for a change in their parents. Parents were then asked to guess what the children wished for, and most parents guessed it was for more quality time. It was the wrong answer. The majority of children wished for their parents to be free of stress. It turns out that kids are very good at detecting subtle cues about a parent’s stress, such as their down-turned expression, heavy footsteps, and fatigue.

SCHOOLS TAKE NOTE

Teaching school is a highly stressful occupation and now a study in Canada, the first of its kind, has found that a teacher’s stress is also impacting kids. In this study, researchers examined the connection between teacher burnout and students’ cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and a biological indicator of stress. Researchers collected saliva samples from over 400 elementary school children and tested their cortisol levels. They found that in classrooms in which teachers experienced more stress or feelings of emotional exhaustion, students’ cortisol levels were elevated. Higher cortisol levels in elementary school children have been linked to learning difficulties as well as mental health problems.

THE KEY TAKE-AWAY

The same APA study I cited earlier found that 83 percent of Americans are doing little or nothing to lower their stress level. These new findings should help motivate us to take stress seriously.  Stress is not something we should someday do something about.  It needs our attention now, especially parents and teachers. A child’s ability to tap their full measure of brain power depends on it.

FREE STARTER KIT FOR BUSTING STRESS

But don’t stress. Take heart. The picture the research paints is something we can change. It’s simpler than you might imagine and results can accrue faster than you might think. It takes a commitment to understanding your pattern of stress that a painful past and genetics wired into your brain, and then learning the shift in mindset that rewires your brain to instill more joy in your work, more peace in your life, and more harmony in your relationships.

We can change our brain in ways that achieve a better day and turn each and every day into a better life. The studies that prove it are now piled high. Click here for a free starter kit that begins the process of making you, your home, and the classroom happier and more peaceful.

image: www.canstockphoto.com — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Tips for Connecting With the Quiet Child

Do you notice that your child or teen seems to be keeping to herself or himself a lot more lately? Although this child has always been “close-to-the-vest” with feelings, you sense she or he needs you now, maybe more than ever, and you want to help. During his or her her youngest years, there was affection and cuddling, but now there seems to be too much distance.

Both young girls and boys can be hard to engage just when they need it the most, what can you do to help without being too intrusive?

Finding Special Moments

• One way of approaching your child or teen without broaching a problem topic, per se, is just by spending special moments. You might be emptying the dishwasher when he’s nearby, so you just do it all a lot more slowly. Instead of it being a chore, it becomes time together.

• Instead of rushing your child to the school bus, offer to drive her, so she can sleep in and then have more time with you on the ride. It’s amazing sometimes how a little more rest and unexpected time together brings on some conversation. Or, even if you both remain quiet, there is that needed time together that may open a door on the way home.

• Suggest to your child, that he skip his chores this weekend and ask him if he’d like to head out to a movie together of his choosing. This might seem unusual, mom and kid alone in a theatre. But it’s fun and relaxing and time together. Again, nothing special has to be discussed, but the special moments are there.

Making Small Talk

Sometimes the best way to talk about important things is to begin with small talk.

• Avoid, “How is school?” which is often a hot topic. Instead ask about favorite TV shows, a funny YouTube, a special singer.

• Learn what goes on in your child’s world without judgment. Just be interested and curious.

• Learn from your child. They love teaching their parents and feeling they know more than you do. (And they do when it comes to their peer culture.)

Bridging the Gap

After days and maybe weeks, of these new times together, you may recognize that your child is warming up to you more than she had. Now is the time, when nothing else is pressing, to share that you’ve been a little worried about how she is doing. Ask if there is anything that would help to talk about.

Then wait. Please wait. Don’t press. Allow silence. You may be surprised if minutes or even hours later, your child comes to you to discuss what’s been on his or her mind with no adult to guide them.

How Wonderful to Feel Like the Devoted Parent You Are

You’ve done it. You’ve engaged your quiet child or you’ve entered the teenage world where you thought you were forbidden. There has been no hustle or bustle, no upset angry moments, no feelings of intrusion. Just closeness. Precious parent-child time that will only grow more fully as time goes on.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst who writes about parenting, child and teen development, mental health and Parental Intelligence. Look for her book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Why One LA Mom Is Embracing 'Hypno-Parenting'

Lisa Machenberg says her teens are well-behaved and self-motivated, thanks to a technique she uses called “hypno-parenting.”
Machenberg is a licensed hypnotherapist in Los Angeles. “My children are able to use logic and reason,” she told ABC News. “They have a form of diligence or perseverance that you don’t see in other children.”
Machenberg’s 17-year-old daughter, Rayna, said her mom’s mind control methods have never been a secret, and they’ve had a positive effect on her own life.
“Being able to push back on stress and think about it deeply and do self-reflecting was a skill that I’m really grateful that my mom taught me,” she told ABC News. “I think it still influences me a lot today and helped me develop into the person I am right now.”

WATCH: Hypno-parenting? Is the new tool of hypnotizing your kids a good tool for parents? https://t.co/6mBN8k0QHp— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 25, 2016

Machenberg’s son, Jake, admits he hasn’t always enjoyed Mom’s mind games.
“It could get a little crazy when she tries to kind of hypnotize us at every single possible situation that she can. It could get a little overbearing ― she gets in your head,” he told Barcroft TV. “But as far as things like getting into college, I think it was an advantage. … I think it’s helped me, you know it’s helped me have control over my own mind.”
Machenberg is now charging $125 for hypno-parenting classes, but some experts are skeptical about whether it’s appropriate for kids.
ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser told Good Morning America that while hypnosis can work for shaping behavior, there isn’t enough evidence on whether it’s good for children.
“The evidence on the clinical use is really, really strong. I haven’t seen that kind of evidence for parenting and that bothers me a little bit,” said Besser, whose parents were both clinical hypnotherapists. 
Besser stressed that hypnotism should only be performed by trained professionals and suggested parents stick to other strategies such as praising good behavior, and staying consistent on discipline and expectations.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Even As A Teenager, Obama Knew People Like Trump Were Foolish

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President Barack Obama has had a hard time hiding his disdain for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, this election season.
In a remarkable speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Obama questioned Trump’s ability to lead the free world, saying the candidate has spent “70 years on this earth showing no regard for working people.” Obama also emphatically stated that “homegrown demagogues” would never succeed in the United States.
Obama’s contempt for people like Trump may be rooted in the values he learned as a teenager in Hawaii. It’s hard not to think of Trump when reading Obama’s 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father, in which he writes about the lessons he learned from older men on the basketball courts.
 Obama writes (emphasis added):

By the time I reached high school, I was playing on Punahou’s teams, and could take my game to the university courts, where a handful of black men, mostly gym rats and has-beens, would teach me an attitude that didn’t just have to do with the sport. ​That respect came from what you did and not who your daddy was. That you could talk stuff to rattle an opponent, but that you should shut the hell up if you couldn’t back it up. That you didn’t let anyone sneak up behind you to see emotions ― like hurt or fear ― you didn’t want them to see.

Trump has built an entire career and presidential campaign around claims he can’t support. He has insisted that he is fabulously wealthy, but has had an astounding number of business flops and won’t release his tax returns. He has insisted that Mexico is sending rapists to the U.S., as well as that Obama was born in Africa and is secretly a Muslim. He claims to have seen thousands of Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11 ― another lie.
He insists he is a self-made man, but his father’s wealth helped him significantly.
As Trump’s popularity has risen, Obama has continued to allude to the lessons he learned on the basketball court. 
 “We can’t meet the world with a sense of entitlement,” Obama said in his commencement address at Howard University in May.
“That’s a pet peeve of mine, people who’ve been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky, that God may have blessed them,” he added. “It wasn’t nothing you did, so don’t have an attitude.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

How To Raise Kids With An Ex Like Donald Trump

Parenting after divorce is challenging enough as it is― but it’s especially difficult if your ex acts and thinks like Donald Trump. 
By his own admission, the 70-year-old Republican presidential nominee isn’t the kind of father who changes diapers ― or volunteers to do any heavy lifting as a parent, really, besides providing financial support.
“I like kids. I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them,” the thrice-married real estate mogul told Howard Stern in 2005, adding, “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.” 
His kids, too, have spoken of his hands-off style of parenting. 
In a CNN interview earlier this month, eldest daughter Ivanka Trump had this to say of her dad’s parenting efforts: “You know, he wasn’t always physically present, but he was always available.”

So how do you co-parent with someone like The Donald? As Trump’s second wife Marla Maples has suggested, you don’t. 
After her 1999 divorce, Maples left New York City and moved to Calabasas, California, with their daughter Tiffany. 
“Her daddy is a good provider with education and such, but as far as time, it was just me,” Maples, 52, told People magazine of raising Tiffany, now 22, essentially as a single parent. “Her father wasn’t able to be there with day-to-day skills as a parent. He loves his kids. There’s no doubt. But everything was a bit of a negotiation.”
“Negotiating” with a mostly absentee parent, though, is not easy, especially if your ex is as drawn to conflict as Trump. 
As a helpful guide to others struggling to co-parent with an ex who acts like Trump, we asked parenting experts to weigh in with some advice. See what they had to say below. 
1. Shrug it off when your ex tries to buy your kids’ love. 
Uninvolved parents often try to buy their kids’ affection through extravagant gifts and costly trips, said Kate Scharff, a psychotherapist and divorce mediator in Washington, D.C. That may infuriate you if you’re the primary parent and money is tight on your end, but remember: money can’t buy love. 
“Many AWOL parents try to compensate with splashy gifts, but that’s not a substitute for loving attention,” Scharff said. “Swallow your disdain, let your kids enjoy the gesture and understand that they’ll need you to be there when the excitement fades and the sadness sets in.” 
2. Remind your ex that the kids need them.

Parents like Trump tend to underestimate the importance of daily interaction with their kids. In an interview with New York magazine in December 2004, Trump admitted that “finding time” for his children was the hardest part of parenting ― though he still raved about his parenting skills. 
“I know friends who leave their business so they can spend more time with their children, and I say, ‘Gimme a break!’ My children could not love me more if I spent fifteen times more time with them,” he told the mag.
The truth is, fifteen minutes at the park or attending an after-school basketball game means everything to a kid, said Randall Kessler, a divorce attorney in Atlanta, Georgia,
“Certainly for people like Trump, working hard has provided amazing opportunities for their children, but there is no way to put a dollar value on quality time spent with your kids.” 
3. Adopt a business-like style of communicating with your ex.  

Communicating with an ex who’s prone to conflict is no easy feat: If a discussion about who’s paying for summer camp results in your ex hurling insults and belittling you, don’t allow yourself to engage, said Morghan Richardson, a divorce attorney based in Astoria, New York. 
“In the words of First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention, ‘when they go low, we go high,’’’ Richardson advised. “Set firm boundaries about communications and expectations. Always limit communications to text or email and then do not engage in fighting.”
When your ex tries to push your buttons, don’t take the bait. 
“Keep your responses to nasty comments on topic (for instance, say, ‘Let’s keep these texts to issues about visitation’),” she said. “Being the better person is hard but at the end of the parenting road, it will pay off.”
4. Allow other family members to step in and help raise the kids. 

According to Vanity Fair, Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric were often cared for by their maternal grandparents before their parents decided to send them to boarding school. In an interview with New York magazine in 2004, Donald Jr. opened up about his grandfather stepping up to the plate.

“My father is a very hardworking guy, and that’s his focus in life, so I got a lot of the paternal attention that a boy wants and needs from my grandfather,” he said.
If your ex is similarly out of the picture, remind yourself that a surrogate dad or mom is better than no one, said Lisa Helfend Meyer, a divorce attorney in Los Angeles, California 
“If one or both parents are busy working, sometimes it does take a village,” she told HuffPost. “There’s value in long-term nannies or grandparents.”

5. Don’t badmouth your ex. 
Sure, it drives you up the wall when your ex prioritizes an out-of-town golf junket over their custodial weekend, but avoid making your feelings known to your kids, said Scharff.
“Being critical of your ex puts your kids in the middle (they need permission to love both of you) and suggests you’ve forgotten who really loses out in this scenario — them.”
6. Be thankful your ex is a little hands off.

If your ex is prone to name calling and creating conflict whenever they come around, their distance may be for the best, said Alison Patton, a lawyer and mediator who wrote a blog about parenting with a high-conflict ex inspired by Trump. 
“I’m not exaggerating when I say that co-parenting with a high-conflict or narcisstic ex can be a living hell,” she said. “Having a combatitve ex step out of the parenting arena, the way Trump did (while still providing financial support), would be a huge relief to parents I know who share custody with a narcissistic ex!” 
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families