Book Review: How To Raise An Adult

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Prior to summer break, teachers and administrators at my school were given a copy of How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Successwritten by Julie Lythcott-Haims. I have taken this book to the beach, pool parties, and family gatherings, eagerly sharing what I considered to be outrageous stories about “helicopter parents”. I personally found the book to be a bit on the long side. Nevertheless, the overall message of the book is important as parents balance being supportive, and develop habits in children so they are equipped with the necessary life skills for a successful life.

My personal takeaway from this book is that kids are not given the opportunities to figure things out, struggle, fail and keep working at something without immediate parent intervention. Here are some of the points discussed in the book:

  • Not enough unstructured play. Let kids figure it out on the playground!
  • Parents getting upset with teachers and school administrators when their children have broken a rule and are getting reprimanded.
  • Parents helping write/edit their child’s essays and research papers in high school and college.
  • Parents trying to manage and control every aspect of their child’s life: play dates, music lessons, sports, school, which courses to take, which college to attend, and what to study in college.

Colonel Leon Robert, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry and Life Science at West Point said, “The great majority are great men and women doing the right thing. But there are a creeping number who have parents that overmanage them, such as by driving them to their first assignment….That’s totally inappropriate. You don’t need your mother to show up at the front gate of Fort Bragg with you, or help you find an apartment. You’re twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three years old. You need to deal with the landlord yourself. That’s part of learning to act as an adult. Our graduates are mature leaders of character well prepared to lead America’s sons and daughters and with all the right tools to be successful at the tasks the army will require of them. However, there are a small percentage of parents that will not, or cannot, “let go” and continue to hover over their adult children” (p. 47).

In discussing this book with friends and family members, one of the sentiments shared is that parents feel overstretched with their children’s activities and homework assignments. So because time is of essence, it becomes easier to pack their lunches for them rather than having their children make their own lunch. I reminded my family and friends that we too had schoolwork, and we still helped out with household chores (and no we were not paid for them). We cleaned bathrooms, kitchens, prepared meals, dusted, mopped, washed our own laundry and did other errands that were asked of us. We also had a full school load taking AP and Honors courses. We were expected to do well, be kind and respectful humans, and our parents were not hovering over us. They trusted us to get it done and we knew we were capable of doing so. I have to add that we did not have pressure from our parents to attend the “right” or “top” college.

Our parents also didn’t have the time nor the resources to micromanage our whereabouts. However, we are in better financial situations than our parents and I wonder if we too will lose sight of the old-fashioned values that made us the hard-working individuals we are today. In discussing this book with my high school educator friends who work in urban communities, they cannot believe parents meddle in their high school or college age kids to that degree. Overparenting seems to be an issue in mostly middle class and affluent communities. Interestingly, my elementary school teachers in urban communities say they have noticed an increase in the last few years where parents are beginning to become “helicopter parents” and students are having a sense of entitlement when it comes to schoolwork. My big question is, regardless of socio-economic level, how will children develop a strong work ethic if their parents get them out of doing it?

I am including a checklist from the book (pp. 167-169) taken from a 2012 article by Lindsey Hutton, associate editor at the Family Education Network. It is a guide of life skills children should acquire based on age and ability.

Ages 2-3: Small Chores and Basic Grooming

This is the age when your child will start to learn basic life skills. By the age of three, your child should be able to:

  • Help put his toys away.
  • Dress himself (with some help from you).
  • Put his clothes in the hamper when he undresses.
  • Clear his plate after meals.
  • Assist in setting the table.
  • Brush his teeth and wash his face with assistance.

Ages 4-5: Important Names and Numbers

When your child reaches this age, safety skills are high on the list. She should know:

  • Her full name, address, and phone number.
  • How to make an emergency call.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Perform simple cleaning chores such as dusting in easy-to-reach places and clearing the table after meals.
  • Feed pets.
  • Identify monetary denominations, and understand the very basic concept of how money is used.
  • Brush her teeth, comb her hair, and wash her face without assistance.
  • Help with basic laundry chores, such as putting her clothes away, and bringing her dirty clothes to the laundry area.
  • Choose her own clothes to wear.

Ages 6-7: Basic Cooking Techniques

Kids at this age can start to help with cooking meals, and can learn to:

  • Mix, stir, and cut with a dull knife.
  • Make a basic meal, such as a sandwich.
  • Help put the groceries away.
  • Wash the dishes.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Use basic household cleaners safely.
  • Straighten up the bathroom after using it.
  • Make his bed without assistance.
  • Bathe unsupervised.

Ages 8-9: Pride in Personal Belongings

By this time, your child should take pride in her personal belongings and take care of them properly. This includes being able to:

  • Fold her clothes.
  • Learn simple sewing.
  • Care for outdoor toys such as her bike or roller skates.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Take care of personal hygiene without being told to do so.
  • Use a broom and dustpan properly.
  • Read a recipe and prepare a simple meal.
  • Help create a grocery list.
  • Count and make change.
  • Take written phone messages.
  • Help with simple lawn duties such as watering and weeding flower beds.
  • Take out the trash.

Whatever your parenting style, I recommend How To Raise An Adult to begin perhaps difficult conversations about overparenting. Hopefully you will find some useful tools to better equip your children for a life of success, happiness and overall well-being.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HowToRaiseAnAdult/

Twitter: @RaiseAnAdult

 

 

 

A Sense of Home: A community based solution to empower youths who have aged out of the foster system.

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Our year long social studies unit of study has been Families & Homes. As we finish the school year, we have been reflecting on the many things we have learned. Through our Maslow study, our little ones are well aware of how their family structures positively impact them. They have shared that families support you, encourage you, keep you safe, and most importantly love you. We asked our students, “What about the children who don’t have such families? Who keeps them safe? Who takes care of them? Who encourages them to be the best versions of themselves?” They were at a loss because this harsh reality is something they have not experienced.

My lovely K/1 colleague had the brilliant idea of teaming up with the non profit organization, A Sense of Home (ASOH) to provide our little ones with a meaningful service learning project. ASOH gets donated furniture and home supplies, and helps out of age foster youth create their first real home. After many class discussions we posed the questions:

  1. How can we advocate for those who don’t have a voice? 
  2. How can we improve the belonging system for youth who have aged out of the foster system?

 

Our little ones made lists of the basic household items they use on a daily basis. Eventually they became two lists: bathroom and kitchen items. Then we decided that the first graders would bring gift baskets with bathroom items and the kinders would bring kitchen items – because as a little one said, “K is for kitchen and for kindergarten!” Students were instructed that their parents were not to pay for these items. They had to earn them by doing various chores at home. Many of them groaned at the thought, but as time went by, their sense of pride and community spirit deepened. To earn money they had lemonade stands, sold their art work and washed windows. My favorite was a little one who held dance performances for their parents after dinner

 

We also got lots of great feedback from parents:

I took my son to pick out the items for his basket this afternoon. In the back of the car holding his jar of money he said to himself, “This is when it all pays off.” He was so excited. And he feels such ownership of the project. We went over budget vs. what he had in the jar, and he has been working off the balance all afternoon because he wants to “pay for it all”. It’s an awesome project.

It was so lovely for me to witness my daughter really getting into working on assembling this Sense of Home basket for a kid in need. I could see that she truly empathized with these kids and her heart went out to them. In addition to the other things, she was particularly concerned that if the foster kid aging out is female, then she would need sanitary napkins. And she’d need deodorant if she wanted to try to get a job to earn income. And she’d need encouragement and something to brighten her days because she wouldn’t have parents to encourage her. She and her brother made a framed picture and included some silk hydrangeas in a vase for encouragement…

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On Friday, our K/1 students brought their baskets and walked them to the bus. They were full of pride as they saw all of the things that they were able to donate as a result of their hard work, compassion and want to support their community. All of the K/1 classes participated in this service learning project. Some classes made candles, others made books and sold them at school to raise funds. With the funds collected they went to IKEA as a class to purchase household items (brave teachers). It was truly inspiring to see our school community collaborate together to support such an amazing organization that empowers our youth to hold tight to their hopes and dreams.

It takes a village to raise a child. – African Proverb

 

If you would like to donate and support A Sense of Home, please visit:

http://asenseofhome.org/donate/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ASenseofHomeMovement/

 

Wrapping Up Maslow Study in our K/1 Class

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Over a month ago, I wrote that our K/1 students were beginning to learn about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and how this relates to our year long unit of study, Families & Homes. After much delving, sharing, drawing, reading and writing, our littles ones have an impressive understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. While I wish you could spend an afternoon with my class, discussing their learnings, I’m hoping you see via some of their documentation, how their appreciation for their families has deepened.

Basic Needs (food, water, air)

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My mom always gives me healthy foods.

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I go outside and get air.

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My dad packs my lunch.

Safety Needs (shelter, job)

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I have a safe home.

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If people don’t have a job, then you can’t have money, and you can’t pay for insurance to be healthy.

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Health insurance lets you go to the eye doctor, so you can see and you can learn.

Love & Belonging Needs (family, friendships)

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Me and my mom snuggling.

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I belong to my family and my soccer team.

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I belong in my school.

Self Esteem Needs (confidence, encouragement)

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      I am great at handstands.

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Self Actualization – Doing what you love!

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I learned to count.

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I learned to play basketball.

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I learned how to read music.

 

Many of the kids had huge realizations that many, if not most of the things they had already accomplished were a direct result of their supportive families and community.

 

One of the goals of education should be to teach that life is precious.

— Abraham Maslow

 

K/1 Students Learn About Maslow to Better Understand Systems in Their Homes

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In our K/1 class, we are introducing a basic understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to expand our Social Studies unit of study, Families & Homes. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist (1908-1970) who believed that in order for a person to be self actualized, or reach one’s full potential, certain physiological and emotional needs have to be in place. Maslow identified these needs as:

  1. Basic Needs: food, air, water, sleep
  2. Safety Needs: shelter, safety, stability
  3. Love & Belonging Needs: family, friendship, acceptance, community
  4. Esteem Needs: feeling respected, capable, worthy,
  5. Self-Actualization: harmony, set goals, successful, achieving full potential

 

While we have just begun our conversations, our little ones are already thinking hard and sharing their wonderings.When asked, “Imagine not knowing where you are going to sleep tonight, what you are going to eat for dinner, or who will keep you safe?”  

Our K/1 students were quiet as they contemplated these scenarios. Some asked, “But what about their parents? Where are they?

I replied, “Maybe they are working three jobs to make ends meet. Therefore, they can’t be home to tuck you in bed or read you a story. Some families struggle every day to get their basic needs met. How would you view the world if this was your experience every day. Would you think the world was a fun place full of adventures or do you think you would be scared and unsure?”

They quickly said they would be scared if their mommy’s and daddy’s weren’t home to take care of them. Others said, “I didn’t know some kids have it so hard. I guess we’re lucky to be in our homes, really lucky.” A little girl thoughtfully said, “I know I am because my family gives me encouragement, especially at school because sometimes learning is hard for me.” 

We have written a class big book to help begin our learning on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In the next coming weeks our K/1 students will fill our class hierarchy of needs with writings, drawings, and personal examples as to how their families support their needs both at home and school.

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We will delve into each need and how our families and homes provide us tools to support our physical and emotional development to become the best versions of ourselves.  I’m also curious to see if they will offer solutions to advocate and support kids who need more support in their homes.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. – Abraham Maslow

 

The Story I’ll Tell: Book Review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017

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In celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017, we reviewed The Story I’ll Tell, by Nancy Tupper Ling, illustrated by Jessica Lanan, and published by Lee & Low Books (the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the country). This lyrical and gorgeous picture book subtly touches upon adoption, the wonderful ways families come together, and the love shared between parent and child. I was excited to read this book to my k/1 class since it tied in nicely with our Social Studies theme, Families & Homes.

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We read, The Story I’ll Tell, several times and had many heartfelt conversations. A few even picked up on the adoption slant of the story and shared personal stories. While the rest of the class didn’t understand this concept, we did come to an understanding that families come together through close friendships, religious institution, neighborhoods, school communities and work relations. Also, that families come together in many special ways and the most important thing is love.
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We asked families to share with their children how they came to their home. We said that their “coming home” stories could be factual, magical, or a hybrid of both. Most of the little ones found inspiration from this story, saying that they came to their home on a hot air balloon, or on an ocean wave. But some shared very specific and factual events to tell how they came to their home. As they narrated their stories I laughed, cried and felt much joy to be privy to them. Then they chose a sentence from their “coming home” story that best described their journey home. Their complete stories were pasted on the back of the heart mobiles.

Priceless…

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One day at work my parents met. Later, up in Big Sur, at Pfeiffer Beach, they made a wish for me. I came on a whale and found them. They took me home and I became part of their family. We are a fun family with a lot of laugher.

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I was on a rainbow star and I slid down the rainbow. The same star came back and took me to my parents. They screamed because they were so excited. And then, another star slid down and brought my twin brother, Grant. I brought rainbows and rainbow stars to my family.

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They were at my grandma’s, my dad’s mom. My mom wanted to wash laundry but grandma’s washing machine was broken. So she went to their old house and washed the laundry there instead. She was washing the clothes, and sitting on the couch with her cat, Whiskers. My mom felt contractions, so she had to gather all the clothes, but they were wet. She put them into the car. And then she went back to my grandma’s house and told my dad and they went to the hospital. And then, when it was time, I came out like a football! My dad thought the doctor would miss, but he was wrong because the doctor did catch me. My parents were so happy.

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One magical night I was in an invisible hot air balloon. It drifted over the sparkly ocean. The wise wind blew the hot air balloon to my family. When my mom saw me, she smiled and held me to her heart. My brothers were excited! My dad was sleeping so he didn’t see me ‘til the next morning. When my dad saw me he smiled and hugged me.

 

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

 Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

 

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

 

The Belonging System: A glimpse into the places where children feel they belong.

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In Social Studies, we are continuing our learning on Families & Homes. We have spent the beginning of the school year exploring the various ways families come to be. Some family members are born into their families and other are made with love and appreciation. We have concluded that families are formed through friendships, school communities, religious places like churches or synagogues, work, school and travels.

We are beginning our investigations on where families live and the types of places that can be considered home. We will discuss the types of homes people live in, in our communities and around the world. To start this conversation, we read the gorgeous picture book, You Belong Here, written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. This book takes the reader on a lyrical journey of where plants, animals and children belong.

And the trees belong in the wild wood and the deer belong in their shade,

and the birds belong so safe and good and warm in the nests that they’ve made.

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After we read this book, we brainstormed the various places where we belong. We explained that belonging can be attached to a physical place like one’s home or favorite park. We can also belong to ideas, or places that make our hearts sing, nourish our souls, and ground us. I shared that I belong to words and writing, picture books, and my yoga corner. Using a systems map we asked, “Where do you belong?”  Our littles shared many interesting and heartfelt places of belonging.

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As a follow up activity, our little ones wrote a book where they chose five places using the sentence starter: I belong in / I belong with__________________.

Here are some of the wonderful places where we belong. It was also noted that no matter where we come from, there is always a place where we belong.

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If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.

– Mother Theresa