Parental Abuse

 

Angry BoyThere is not a clear-cut management parallel in this post. Punishment and abuse of children are in the news lately, and this is a completely different, but related slant on the issue.

Recently I was in a supermarket, rolling cart peacefully down the frozen food aisle when I witnessed something disturbing.

A young mother was pushing a cart full of groceries with her son in the seat of the cart, facing her. Evidently, the young man either took exception to something she decided to buy or to something he wanted and she decided not to buy.

As I walked near them, he started to beat her.

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Making a Difference on Campus

Parents Holding HandsGetting involved at your child’s primary or secondary school is an individual decision that can depend on many things. Are you still working full-time? Do you have younger children that require your full attention? Are you expecting your next child? Do you feel welcome at your child’s school and do they have a structure or organization that allows you opportunities to volunteer?  Continue reading

Advice Tyranny

Pregnant Woman SilhouetteFunny, isn’t it, that I should write an observational advice blog on parenting and then give advice on avoiding advice?

Seriously though, advice is a very powerful thing and should be taken carefully and with great forethought. Does it really fit your style and your child’s personality? Is it appropriate for where you are in your child’s development or time of life? Do you trust the advice giver’s credibility or do you just think it’s an interesting idea?

That is totally okay, you know. You can take wisdom or usable techniques where you find them without particularly thinking that the person you have heard it from has done a great job of applying it themselves.

After all, think about all of the mediocre managers you have had in your professional career who somehow managed to impart just one nugget of usable information that helped you do your job more efficiently or to understand a difficult concept more clearly

As I have gone through both professional and parenting careers, I have learned to pan for gold in the most unexpected places.

It starts with pregnancy. Have you ever noticed that once you start to show, everyone you meet who has ever had a child wants to share their birth experience or experiences with you? And maybe it was just me, but it seemed like the more frightening the tale, the greater relish they took in sharing them. I got to the point with Daughter 2 where I would cut the reminiscences off at the pass with an, “Oh that sounds just fascinating and I would love to hear about it sometime soon, but right now that just makes me so queasy…”  🙂 Amazingly effective. Continue reading

Using Your Parental Toolbelt

Child with toolbeltWhen I started this blog, I was systematically listing the parallels I perceive between parenting and management. They are many and varied, but after talking with a young mother of two the other day, I thought this one was definitely worth re-visiting. This is basic advice I would give any couple, new parents or parents to be.

In every job, there are a few basic tools.

As a title insurance escrow officer, I made it my business to make the closing an educational process. In the 80’s that was a rather risky thing to do, because I was closing adjustable rate mortgages with steep initial buy downs that lacked caps on the negative amortization. Those things eventually changed, but it did not change the fact that even when the government enacted 125% caps on negative amortization and 1 or 2% caps per year on how much the payment could adjust; buyers were still going to be in for a payment shock. I explained that their payment could go up hundreds of dollars between one year and the next, exclusive of what taxes did independently of their mortgage. They were still blinded by house lust and signed away. We all know what happened a few years later when interest rates went higher than we had ever seen them go before.

What does this have to do with parenting, you ask? Here’s what I learned that I took home with me. “Invest in the hard stuff up front and the way will be easier later.”

Well, that sounds pretty darned obvious, doesn’t it? But it isn’t easy. Just as it isn’t easy to save up a down payment large enough to avoid paying extra for mortgage insurance or interest buy downs, or picking a house that isn’t your dream home because it is the one you can really afford with only one income; it isn’t easy to do the hard stuff up front with your kids.

Why?

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