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A lot has been written about raising children in the 21st Century.  Times are different.  Paradigms have shifted.  Kids are more influenced by entertainment, social media, marketing, teachers, coaches, activities and the like.  The list goes on and on.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.  Money was scarce in a blue-collar family.  When Mom wanted a home project done, she knew the cheapest contractor was Dad and his little helper, me.  Now days, most people call a contractor like Birmingham Pro Painters.  You can find them at https://www.facebook.com/Birmingham-Pro-Painters-290036407998561/

My parents thought I had it made because I had all the clothes, toys, a great bike and all I could eat.  My dad would tell me stories of his only toy being a cap pistol and my Mom would tell me of her only doll.  I wondered what their parents had growing up.  Perhaps they made their toys out of sticks and stones.  But growing up into a functional adult is not about what a child has, but it’s about something a lot more substantive.

To raise kids to be productive, successful adults, first patents have to be functional themselves.  Parents with a lot of emotional baggage will pass that onto their children.  A lot of people grew up in homes where a parent abused alcohol and drugs and abused their kids as well.  Then, there’s neglect, another kind of abuse.  Parents will bring the emotional scars from their upbringing into the family and those ripples affect the entire household.  It’s important to recognize emotional problems and deal with them before bringing offspring into the world and perpetuating negative issues.  

Getting professional counseling is a big help, from a pastor or a doctor.  The first step is realizing a problem and committing to getting it fixed.  I’ve always believed that if you need help, get help.  There’s nothing embarrassing about that.  

Next, it’s important to raise kids in a loving environment where they are encouraged and affirmed.  Many parents will wait until their kids do something wrong and then punish or browbeat them after never taking the time to teach them how to do it right.  Correction should be gentle at first.  Taking time to train and explain the why’s and how’s of doing something is just as important as teach them how to do it right.  

I believe parents should focus on the positive and encourage their kid’s right behavior and affirm them as valuable family members.  Treat kids to be respectful to their siblings as well as others and think about the consequences of their words and actions.  Family time is crucial.  In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, parents are running kids all over town to sports practices, ballet, recitals, music lessons, busy, busy, busy.  But what about quality family time at home talking about what’s important to them?  Take the time to listen to your kids.  Teach them values.  Have discussions about current events and what they think about things.  And for the love of God, collect the smart phones and turn them off sometimes!  How can a family have a discussion when the kid’s attention is all in social media?

Raising a family is not easy in the 21st century.  But the old-fashioned values of love, respect, communication, encouragement and affirmation will bring lifelong rewards.




As a person with no children, I am of course no expert on child rearing.  I did not even know until recently that you “rear” your children, not “raise” them like everybody says.  According to my source, “you raise chickens.  You rear children.”

Whatever you call it, parents have to do something to develop their offspring into adults.  I’ve always been interested in that, since I may have kids of my own someday.  Being the first-born, when I grew into an adult, I realized that the oldest in the family is the prototype.  Ask any first-born and they will tell you that their parents had no clue as to what they were doing.  So they erred on the side of psycho!

The stress of being thrust into adulthood is often too much for young parents.  Faced with the realization that there is a tiny person who depends on them for everything is often a big wake-up call.  What in the world do we do?  My sister thought she had it all figured out.  She read all the books on child-rearing until she was an “expert.”  She had also been a professional nanny for rich folks.  She had all the classes and certifications and credentials and was was ready to bring young ones into the world.

One day she mentioned that she didn’t believe in corporal punishment.  I asked if she had to wait until her child was promoted to sergeant to punish her.  Not amused, she explained that she would use “time out.”  “How’s that work?” I asked.  This was going to be good.  She said with a haughty demeanor that she would explain to the child that Mommy is very disappointed in her and that her behavior is unacceptable.  She will then go to her room and think about what she did until she is genuinely sorry for how she acted.  “What if it doesn’t work?” I asked.  “Oh, it will work!” Sis explained enthusiastically.  “But what if it doesn’t?” I pressed.  “It will work!” she raised her voice an octave.  She then began to rehearse all the courses and certifications and credentials she’d received and the books she read, their authors, Dr. Spock and all. “Hey, I’m all for time out,” I explained.  “I wish Mom and Dad believed in it.  But what if it doesn’t work?”  Exasperated, she left the room.

The years passed, and my sister gave me three beautiful nieces who are the joy of my heart.  They’re close in age and sometimes very spirited.  Quenching one tirade from the middle one, she told her that if she didn’t be quiet, she was going to get a spanking.  “What bout time-out?” I asked with a smile.  Rolling her eyes, she said, “Please!”

The girls are turning out to be wonderful young women.  The oldest one is a sophomore in college and the other two are in high school.  They are pretty well behaved and surprisingly responsible.  When they get out of line, my sister just has to threaten to take away their smart phones.  That does it.  Being cut off from the world of cyberspace is the worst kind of punishment imaginable.  download

The experts never envisioned smart phones.  Live long and prosper, Dr. Spock!




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This question should stop any normal parent in his/her tracks.  “You want to have what?” would be the knee-jerk reaction.  It’s the 21st Century and times have changed from when we were kids.

Back in the 70’s I had to ask my parents if I could grow my hair long (past my ears, down my back was pushing it).  “All the guys have long hair,” I argued.  They relented and I spent a summer skipping haircuts to make my debut to 9th grade as one of the cool kids.

Now, kids are not asking something they can change with a trip to the hair stylist. Rather, they want to permanently disfigure their faces.  Tattoos and piercings are pretty hard to undo and this generation of youth is not thinking about the future.  If you don’t believe me, just go to any fast food restaurant and see what’s behind the counter.

Today, an kid’s image is about more than just their clothes and hair.  It’s about having the latest smart phone, the coolest first car and following the latest trends.  Trends tend to be set by the fringe-elements of society, however bizarre.  How we appeared in the 70’s reflected what the hippies looked like in the 60’s with a more conservative approach.  Now, kids want to emulate to the fullest whatever the freakazoids are doing on MTV and the internet.

So, be glad your kid asked in the first place instead of coming home with a surprise in her face.  As parents, we need to be prepared for stuff like this and have a list of questions ready.  Some to ask would be, “What kind of people are you trying to identify with?”  Explain that even though facial piercing might be trendy, it was made popular in recent times by drug-users.  If they want to work in a profession that pays more than minimum wage, having an image as a druggie might be a bad idea.  Big-corporation interviewers would see that hole in her face and think she’s an addict and therefore not worth the risk.

Next, “Have you thought this through?”  Even though she wants to do it now, will she regret it in adulthood.  That applies to tattoos as well.  As your child grows and gains weight, that tat is going to stretch and fade.  Invite them to just look at you.  You’re not as thin as you used to be!

Next, and most important, I would advise instilling in your kid a sense of self-worth.  Something like, “You couldn’t be a prettier girl.  Will a nose ring add to your appearance?  When you remove it, how will that hole look?  You don’t need to follow the crowd, you’re beautiful just the way you are.  You are an awesome person.  Don’t follow the trends, set the trends.”  If you would have been affirming your daughter like this all along, she probably wouldn’t be wanting a nose/lip/tongue/eyebrow/navel-ring.  Your son probably wouldn’t want a tattoo either.

Affirming your kids with a great sense of self esteem and instilling a sense of “We” into them will help keep them from freaky influences.  They will understand that in this family, there’s certain things “We” don’t do.  When kids are raised in a loving, stable environment, they may consider how they represent their parents.

We do look to the future.


question everything. about raising your childrenWhen I was growing up, raising kids was a lot easier in some ways.  Most people had a mom, a dad and kids.  Mom and Dad loved each-other and tried to create a stable environment for the children to grow up.

Discipline was not a problem.  If a child got out of line, they got punished…corporal-like.  That means a good lickin’ where I grew-up.  I come from the northeast where parents “lick” their kids.  I’m not talking about Mom coming at us with her tongue, but with her hand, belt, your Hot-Wheels track, or anything else she could get her hands on.  And Dad?  He just came after us.  We didn’t take time to see what he had, we ran.  I think he enjoyed the chase and when he caught up with us, we were sorry.

I live in the deep south now and the terminology is different.  In “these parts” a licking is called a beating.  A beating is called, “Tear you up!”  And child abuse is called, “Wear you out!!!”  Mamma and Daddy will elongate the syllables of those last two and if a “youg-en'” has ever experienced them, that would be sufficient to stop him in his tracks.

Now, corporal punishment is almost illegal.  You can’t smack a child in public for fear of someone calling the police and having you arrested.  That’s what happens when politicians get involved in family matters.  I know a single mom whose teenage daughter told her that if she hits her, she’ll call the police.  Mom tossed her the phone and said, “Call them right now, because I want them to see me wearing you out when they arrive!”

Proper discipline is key to raising a child to be successful in these days.  It’s important to let a child know that your word means something.  This brings respect and if children don’t respect their parents, they won’t love them.  Years ago, an older woman told me that her and her eight siblings walked all over their mother, but knew their father’s word was law.  She said, “We hated Mamma, but we loved Daddy.”  Now, I knew that they really didn’t hate their mother, but she was emphasizing the contrast.  The difference in how they treated their parents was based on respect.  They respected their father, but not their mother.

Parents are soft on children in the 21st century and it shows.  They grow up without a sense of responsibility and when the enter the workplace, all they want to do is collect a paycheck and do as little as possible.  They get into more trouble with the law and have more children out of wedlock.  They have no concept of boundaries and the whole universe revolves around “Me.”

It’s ironic that Baby-Boomers were called the “Me Generation.”  This generation of kids is called, “Gen-Xers.”  A generation with no identity searching for someone to tell them who they are.  A generation of youth so fixed on Self will be adults with no sense of purpose.  Young adults with no sense of purpose will live with their parents long into their twenty’s and not contribute to society.  Parents who do not take the time to train and hold their kids accountable will have their grown offspring around for a long time…or at least until they go to prison!

Let’s face it folks we live in a world where we just don’t know who to trust.  I was speaking with a friend of mine the other day, he owns a background screening service.  www.brunobackgrounds.com  The story he tells would chill you to the bone.  His service just last week uncovered a child molester that was working for a business in Birmingham,  this individual had slipped by the previous screening company.  You just never know what our citizens  have to overcome in this strange world.

I don’t mean to be so negative.  Better safe than sorry  To be continued…

So You Think You Know What Your Doing…

Raising children is the hardest job you will ever have.  These days the competition for your child’s attention is like trying to heard squirrels.  Do not fret,  because all you need is a bit of direction.

We will get you enough information so you will not feel overwhelmed.  Get ready because we are about to get you started.