Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chores: The Four-Letter-Word Parents Use On Their Kids

I know, the word "CHORES" is not a four letter word, it is actually six letters. So, please do not send me comments on my inability to count. Also, I know it is not technically a bad word that will get you punished for merely mentioning it. However, if you are making your kids do chores, you might as well be yelling four-letter-words at them.

Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents told you that you couldn't go outside and play until your chores were done? Now a days parents might say to their kids that they cannot play their video games or watch their favorite show until after they are finished with their chores. Do you remember how that made you feel? I know it ingrained in me a very negative attitude towards helping out or doing any kind of work around the house at a very young age. Well, that same negative feeling you got when you were a kid is the same negative feeling your kids are getting about the chores you are giving them now.

I am definitely not suggesting that your kids get a pass on having to help around the house. On the contrary, I am just suggesting that we go about it a different way. I know in my case, much like many other two income families, the last thing you want to do after a long day at work, is to come home to your other job as servant for your kids. You do the laundry, cook them food, wash the dishes, take out the trash, etc., all while they sit on the couch watching television or playing their video games. You may laugh at this, but I personally see many families run this way where, because of the fast paced world we live in, the parent's do the work themselves rather than taking the time and energy to teach their kids how to do it. I know most parents have the best of intentions, but if we get in the habit of leaving our kids alone because we don't want to bother them or allow them to just zone out in front of the television or game while we do all the work, we can't be suprised when our children develop an entitlement mindset.

I believe that kids need to do their part around the house too. But, as parents, it is our job to do the fine balancing act of inspiring our children to want to help out and not intimidating them to help out. This requires some creativity and patience, but if it makes a positive impression on your kids then it should be well worth the effort in the end.

I definitely do not consider myself a guru on this topic, but I am a parent and that should count for something. Three years ago when my son was seven and my daughter was four, I decided enough was enough. So, based on my experience - as a kid and as a parent, here are some ideas you can use to "share the burden" with your kids without having to make any threats:

Make it a fun experience
With my kids, I helped them start their own businesses. I've found that you can have a fun time just deciding on a business name with your kids. I got my kids excited with the possibility of working for themselves and not having a boss in the future if they so choose. My wife and I never use the term "chores" when we need help around the house. We ask them if they want to earn some money for their business and they, for the most part, are pretty excited and proud to do the work. Besides all of the positives like real-world experiences, the sense of ownership, good work ethics, a boost in their self esteem and increased responsibility that my kids get out of having their own business, it is also a "Win-Win". My wife and I get some help around the house and my kids get to earn some money.

Start small and slowly increase the responsibilty
A good example of this is when my daughter was four and my son was seven, my only expectation with the laundry was that they fold the towels and rags. After they mastered that task, I started adding other tasks such as unloading the dryer and putting the laundry away when they are done folding. We plan on teaching them how to properly fold other types of laundry next and eventually they will be taking over all of the laundry from start to finish.

Make it a bonding experience
Think of every new task that you give your child is an opportunity to spend extra time with them to teach them how to do the job as well as to set the bar on the quality of work you expect.

Encourage entrepreneurship
As your kids get older, encourage your kids to take what they've learned around the house and find a need that they might be able to fill. For instance, if your child mows the lawn, he might possibly want to start a lawn mowing business. When my kids become masters at doing the laundry, they might want to start a laundry service where they do the laundry for two-income families who hate to do their laundry as much as my wife and I do! I am sure there is a market for that business. Another idea might be to make your kids bid for jobs around the house or to write up a project plan for jobs that they think up themselves.

Make it a learning experience
Don't make it only about the money. If we make it only about the money, our kids may never want to help us out around the house if there is no money involved. Make sure your kids still have responsibilities without the expectation for payment like cleaning their room, making their bed, getting good grades or brushing their teeth. (Personally, I am not a proponent for giving kids an allowance just because they have reached a certain age. I feel that this just teaches an expectation for money without the expectation for having to do anything for that money.) I think now is a great opportunity to not only teach some good financial habits, but also some good life lessons like the importance of dividing their money into the four meaningful categories of Giving, Investing, Saving and Spending.

Getting your kids to help around the house doesn't have to be like pulling teeth. Make it a fun experience and your kids will love it. Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you? Well, don't make your kids do chores that you remember hating when you were a kid! And, above all else, don't use any four-letter-words ... like "chores"!

I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any comments, please post them below, otherwise, feel free to contact me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Overcoming Other People’s Resistance to Your Goals
Written by Jack Canfield

Achieving goals often requires the support and involvement of other people, which poses a challenge when those individuals object to our plans.

Although some people react to resistance by trying to guilt or strong-arm others into complying with their wishes, highly successful people recognize that such tactics are manipulative and destructive to long-term relationships. Instead, they employ enrollment skills to gain others’ cooperation and support.

The Enrollment Process

Successful enrollment consists of four steps.

Step 1: Evoke the other person’s vision. Your goal is to identify what the other person’s ideal state looks like. In other words, what does success look like to them.

Use this powerful question to elicit visions: “If we were sitting here three years from now, what would have had to have happened for you to feel good about _____________?” When asking this question of your potential partners, you would fill in the blank with a description of what you’re trying to achieve. In addition, you would modify the timeline to be appropriate to the situation.

For example, if you were trying to enroll your spouse in taking a summer vacation in a specific location, you might ask “If we were sitting here at the end of the summer, what would have had to have happened for you to feel you’ve had an incredible vacation?” If you were talking to your top managers about a new initiative you wanted to undertake in your business, you might ask what would need to happen so that they would feel good about your progress as a company three years from now.

Step 2: Identify where you are now. Have the other person or people share their thoughts about where they think you are now in relation to their ideal state. Ask “What’s the current condition or situation? Where are we now in relation to that vision?”

Step 3: Identify obstacles. The third question would be, “What are the obstacles in the way of getting to your vision of success?”

At this step, a S.W.O.T. analysis can be helpful. S.W.O.T. stands for:

  • Strengths, skills and talents you currently have.
  • Weaknesses that have to be addressed within our company, within ourselves, our family, our budget, within whatever else we’re dealing with.
  • Opportunities that need to be explored and captured.
  • Threats, dangers and weaknesses in the marketplace, within our company or within ourselves that could stop us from being successful.

Another process you could use is what Dan Sullivan calls Strategic Planning Circles. Rather than identifying strengths first, he identifies obstacles. The intent is not to be pessimistic and negative. Instead, it’s to find the strategy to overcome the obstacles.

To use Strategic Planning Circles, look at every objection that could come up, every obstacle, every problem, and every possible thing that could go wrong. Then ask yourself, “What are three strategies for each of those obstacles, objections, or problems, so when they show up we can deal with them?”

Step 4: Reveal your plan for achieving the ideal state. Show them how your project, your plan, your goal, or whatever you’re wanting them to support will actually help move them from the current state to the ideal state.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Everyone you meet has their own goals and visions of what success looks like. When you need to enlist the support of other people and organizations to achieve your goals, it’s essential that you be aware of and remain sensitive to the needs and dreams of your team members. By using this four-step process, you’ll improve your ability to enroll others in achieving your goals, making it easier to achieve greater levels of success.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Creative Goal-Setting for Kids and Teens
Written by Denis Waitley

An Indian guide who displayed uncanny skills in navigating the rugged regions of the Southwest was asked how he did it. “What is your secret of being an expert tracker and trail-blazer?” a visitor asked him.

The guide answered: “There is no secret. One must only possess the far vision and the near look. The first step is to determine where you want to go. Then you must be sure that each step you take is a step in that direction.”

A dream is what you would like for life to be. A goal is what you intend to make happen. A goal is the near look; what, specifically, you intend to do on a daily basis to get there.

No matter what their current ages, try to determine the sensory learning style of each of your children: visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Visual learners understand and remember best what they see. Auditory learners prefer to hear and verbalize in order to comprehend. Kinesthetic learners need to involve touch and movement into the processing of new concepts, and to learn by doing. All of these styles have some overlap because we all use hearing, seeing and doing. But keep these styles in mind when you stimulate your children’s creative and goal-setting activities.

To build a pattern of positive expectations for your children, they need a way to keep score. Children know they are doing well when the task or project is well defined and the goals are clearly stated. How can a child experience the thrill of hitting the bull’s eye when he or she doesn’t know what the target is? Kids need to see the end before they begin a task or they will lose interest. When you are giving your child a task, such as cleaning her room, be specific in telling her what you want her to do and when you want it done and stick to it. By providing a clear and specific ending, your child can look forward to enjoying time with her friends when the task is completed.

Goals are the target of success! Who you see is who you’ll be. What you set is what you get. Help your kids get the far vision, the dream. Help them get the near look, the steps and action plans that pave the road to their dreams. Participate in your children’s games, problem-solving exercises, field trips and creative projects. Instead of telling them how things work, help them learn to discover the “hows” and “whys.”

Help your children dream about their future. Set the example by jotting down and cutting pictures out to describe family dreams. Assist them in defining their own goals and writing them down on index cards. Post the cards in their bedroom or on a board where they can see and review their goals daily.

Help your kids prioritize their goals. Have them consider their goals in the order of their importance. Place beside each written goal a proposed target date for the attainment of that goal.

Help your child make plans. Unfortunately, many kids view problems as insurmountable mountains. Your role as parents is to help them view problems as opportunities. Teach them to go over, around, under or to bore a hole right through their roadblocks.

Show children how to prepare a daily “to do” list. In the evening, help prepare a list of a few important things to do the following day. At the end of the day, help them review their progress. By using index cards, you can use a file box to store daily activity cards. Monthly, quarterly and yearly, let them go through the cards in the box to see all they have accomplished through step-by-step actions.

Help your kids to visualize, in advance, what the accomplishment of their goals looks and feels like. Bedtime is an ideal setting, where you can see in their imaginations where they want to be, what they want to do, and things they will have to work and save for to get.

Build goals and evaluations around the school year. When you go over your child’s report card, discuss the goals that he set for himself and how he is doing toward achieving those goals. Share with your child any comments teachers might have regarding his grades.

Kids need rewards, and behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated, especially if they understand that the reward is coming when the goal is accomplished. Rewards do not have to be strictly financial, but can be going out for ice cream or whatever your child enjoys doing. By rewarding goal-directed behavior, you are providing additional incentive to achieve almost any goal.

Reproduced with permission from the Denis Waitley Newsletter. To Subscribe to Denis Waitley's Newsletter Use this link © 2012 Denis Waitley International. All rights reserved worldwide.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to "Step Outside the Box" and Teach Your Children About Finances Sooner

We may be going through some tough economic times with weak employment numbers and a negative prognosis projected forward. But, that is why I can see no better time than now to start teaching our kids the responsibility, good habits and self-esteem they will need to navigate their way to
finding opportunity and financial success in their futures. I believe it is our responsibility to guide our kids and not rely only on outside influence. So, we need to act now to teach important fiancial principles to our children and not just hope that they learn them in school or from some kind of positive influence. In the following video, I share some "out of the box" ideas that I used with my own kids and that you can use now to point your kids down the path to financial success. With this, my hope is that for your kids, they might just have one less thing to worry about than we currently have to worry about - financial security.

I hope you enjoy and please leave me your comments below!

If you cannot view the video please click on this link

I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any comments, please post them below, otherwise, feel free to contact me.