The Surprising Power of Stress

stress

“You look stressed.” Take note, those are words you should NEVER say to Jody Hagaman! Someone telling me to “calm down” or “don’t stress” are words that can push me over the edge.

I understand that most people don’t like stress, but a little bit of stress pulls out my best work.  Now, I’m not talking about chronic stress or stress that is the result of death, divorce, finances or relationship woes. I’m referring to the stress that comes from hosting an event, a hard deadline or running a program of some sort. That type of stress causes me to dig deep within myself and really discover what I’m made of.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 16 to 27. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Irregular Bedtimes May be Harming Your Kids

irregular bedtimes

Did you know that irregular bedtimes can cause jet lag like symptoms? A survey of 10,000 children showed irregular bedtimes are connected to hyperactivity, acting out and emotional withdrawal.

In an interview with Michelle Trudeau on National Public Radio, researcher Yvonne Kelly from University College in London said, “Children with late bedtimes and non-regular bedtimes were more likely to have behavioral difficulties…[including] hyperactivity and conduct problems. So hitting people and acting out, and not getting on with peers, and being emotionally withdrawn.”

Kelly has been studying numerous details surrounding bedtime in thousands of homes in the U.K.

After taking into account a wide range of factors including family size, income level, the amount of television watched, dietary habits and more, the research has found that bedtime patterns have the greatest impact on children’s behavior.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 5 to 29), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

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10 Tips to Help Your Kids Get Organized

help your kids get organized

 

Disorganization derails success. That’s true for adults and kids too. So as we embark on a new year, here are 10 tips to help your kids get organized.

1. Adopt a Mentorship Mindset

mother_daughter_moment

Punishment, frustration and anger don’t help kids learn to be organized. We, the parents, are their teachers and mentors. A messy room or a disorganized backpack is just a red flag telling us they need new or better tools and consistent training to help them learn how to stay neat and organized.

Today I’m going to share some tips for organizing their rooms, clothes, toys, school supplies and arts and crafts, but with Google and Pinterest by our side, we can easily search ideas at any time to help our kids overcome any organizational problem. The key is our willingness to teach them, follow up and tweak the system until we have a winner.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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This 1 Habit Could Change Everything

What if you could focus on ONE thing, and that ONE thing could change EVERYthing? That’s exactly what happened when a man named Paul O’Neill took over  an international aluminum company that was failing in the late 80’s. And the same habit can overhaul your life too.

Shareholders and financial analysts panicked when O’Neill took the helm of Alcoa and began a highly irregular focus on safety. He didn’t talk about increasing profits. He didn’t talk about lowering costs. He didn’t talk about anything that a CEO of company as big as Alcoa typically talks about. Instead, he was laser focused on what appeared to be a strange obsession with safety.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Are You Teaching Your Kids To Be Incompetent?

I’m sure most parents don’t set out to overindulge their kids. I know I don’t, but sometimes it happens when I’m not paying attention. Overindulgence comes from a good place — it is born out of our deep love for our kids. We want to meet their needs and to make them happy and comfortable. We want to nurture them, and rightfully so — nurturing is foundational to parenting.

But did you know that we can overindulge our kids by OVER nurturing them? When we do things for our children that they can and should learn to do for themselves, we are over nurturing them. Every loving parent crosses this line occasionally, and when it happens once in a while, it simply sends the message to our kiddos that we love them and want to celebrate them in various little ways.

But when the occasional overindulgence becomes the norm, it can spell huge problems for our kids later in life.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz wrote, “The proverb warns that you should not bite the hand that feeds you. But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.”

When we do things for our kids that they should learn to do for themselves, we train them to be helpless and teach them be incompetent.

So what should our kids learn to do for themselves? Everything!

I remember once, as a younger mom, seeing a woman who had had her baby later in life and marveling at how she doted upon this little girl. The child was nearing a year old, and she had her strapped into a bouncy chair while she spoon fed her baby food.

From infancy, our goal should be gradual independence. So we help our little ones practice sitting up, and then we encourage them to stand, while we hold there hands. As soon as we see them grasping things with their thumb and forefinger instead of raking with four fingers, we begin offer small pieces of food for them to feed themselves.

Soon we teach them how to undress and dress themselves and how to clean up their toys. Two and three year olds can do simple little chores like folding wash cloths or putting their folded shirts into their shirt drawer.

As kids get older, they learn to make their beds, do dishes, take out the garbage. Our goal with housework should be to eventually teach our kids how to do everything we do as well or better than we do it.

When we are prescribing over-the-counter meds to our 10 year old, we can explain what we are giving them, why we chose that medication and how we determined the dosage.

Our kids can learn how to find experts who can answer their questions, make phone calls and leave detailed messages. They can learn how to make reservations, book airline tickets, cook for themselves, get directions, do their laundry.

Of course, we have to be mindful of their developmental level, but when we assume strength and competence in our kids, we gradually teach them to become capable, independent people. On the flip side, when we do things for them that they can learn to do for themselves, we are assuming that they are weak and incapable, and over time, we will train them to become helpless and incompetent. And who really wants that outcome?

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Clean Car = Happy Mom

“My car is not a garbage can!”

Yep, that’s what I used to yell when I felt frustrated over my car being such a mess. Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if I could figure out a solution considering I had small kids, but I knew I had to try something. So after exhausting a few fruitless ideas, I decided to treat my car like I did my home.

In my home, I don’t allow the kids to throw their trash on the floor or make messes without cleaning them up or eat in certain parts of the house without some precautionary steps in place, and I decided to try the same in my car.

Here’s how my family mastered a clean car.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 16 to 27. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Does Shame Hide in Your Home?

Does Shame hide in your home? The key word here is “hide.” Shame can only live in darkness, hiding. Once it is found out and exposed, all bets are off. It’s been caught, had, busted.

Shame is the biggest enemy of self-worth. It destroys the hope of being worthy of love and acceptance. It’s goal is to squash you and make you feel lower than a snake’s belly. And more often than not, it succeeds.

Psychotherapist and author, Beverly Engel says, “Shame is the most destructive of human emotions. Shame destroys a person’s self-esteem and sense of who they are and causes people really serious problems. It’s the core issue of addiction and can cause other issues like suicide,depression and anger. For those dealing with addiction there is a Austin rehab options for young adults which are recommended.”

Shame has been a familiar enemy in my life, and I have mistakenly welcomed it as if it were a friend. The path of destruction that shame leaves behind is beyond heinous. Self-blame, self-criticism and self-destruction are just a few of the bad fruit that grow from this monstrous tree. And if left unchecked, shame can lead to self-loathing — the mother of suicide.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 16 to 27. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Confessions of a Reformed Liar

About nine years ago, I realized that one of my kids was developing a habit of lying. I started to notice that he was lying more and more, until it seemed to be happening a few times a day. I was really concerned.

See, I had this habit when I was a kid, and it was SUPER hard to break. After years of lying, I had become so accustomed to it that whenever I was confronted with a difficult situation, my mind was conditioned to think up a lie. It was actually harder for me to think through the situation and tell what really happened than it was to lie. If I was late to a class, my lying instinct kicked in, and I began working out a story to make tardiness seem excusable. As I got older, it actually didn’t even occur to me that it would be better to just own it, apologize and try harder next time.

I didn’t overcome it until my 20’s, when I had a God encounter. I began to understand that I had to fix this, but it was such a struggle. So many times, I’d have to stop mid-sentence and say, “Actually, that’s not true.” It was painful and humiliating. In the meantime, I also had to go back to my family and begin confessing old lies. Yuck! It was rough. But at the end of the day, it was also freeing. And having known what it felt like to be in bondage to lies, I wanted to give my son the gift of a clean conscience.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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You CAN Add More Time to Your Day

Everything we do requires a choice. We make choices when we wake up, eat food, get dressed, answer the phone — it’s all a choice. Although our choices are not always contemplated or obvious, they are choices nonetheless. And if we don’t choose our tasks and time deliberately, we can unknowingly allow important things to slip through the cracks.

We often hear people say they wish they had more hours in a day. Well, the experts say that for every one minute you spend planning, you will gain ten in execution. WOW! Over time, those minutes add up. You can do the math. So now the question is – Are we going to take the time to plan, and if so, how do we plan?

Start With the End Result in Mind

Time management is about starting with the end result in mind, and then working backward to achieve our goals. That’s really what this is about — setting goals and then figuring out our priorities. If we don’t do this, life just seems to happen to us, and years slip past us without any real significant achievements to speak of.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 16 to 27. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Need Help Getting Your Kid to Sleep?

My oldest child is nearly 16, and the next four came relatively close after the first. So once we nailed bedtime with the biggest kid, the others just followed suit. But our baby, who is 19 months old, came five-and-a-half years after our fifth child. By then, bedtime was a mere after thought.

Bed time stories and teeth brushing songs and tubby time were a thing of the past. Even our youngest could take her own bath, put on her PJs, and climb in bed by the time the baby was born. I had gotten used to just going into the room to tuck her in, pray over her and kiss her goodnight.

So when Matty Jay came along, we were back to square one.

Being in a new season of my parenthood, where my older kids are pretty independent, I’ve been able to work more and focus more on things like the radio show, writing a book, and running a school.

Bedtime has been a breeze for years, and with so many capable hands to help with Matty Jay, I have to confess that I didn’t focus on it one bit. The older kids and I tend to stay up late together, and we didn’t mind if Matty hung around for part of it. I got lax, and my momma muscles got flabby when it came to bedtime.

But a few weeks ago I was reminded that bedtime is just a skill, and like any skill, it can be taught.

I dug back into my early years of parenting, when I had an autistic child, who seemed to need significantly less sleep than the other kids his age, and another baby right behind him. When you want to have the most comfortable beds and mattress, avail the black friday mattress deals for maximum comfort. I knew he got less sleep but I knew for sure that he was sleeping way more comfortable at night because I got him a special pad from the My Mattress Pads website.

When Griffyn was about a year old, we had had enough of the Energizer Bunny living in our house. Autism or no autism, we were determined to get this kid to go to bed at a reasonable hour and without any fuss.

I read everything I could get my hands on, talked to every successful parent I could find, picked the brains of all of my son’s therapists, and even took a workshop on it. And I came up with a plan. My husband and I agreed to do it the exact same way every night…even when we went on vacation or stayed at a relative’s house. We vowed to be totally consistent and 100% committed to making it work. And guess what? It worked.

In fact, it worked so well, that I never had to do it again. All of the other kids just seemed to be born into the process, and they all took to it like a fish to water.

Then came Matty Jay, and it was a whole different story.

So a few weeks ago, I sat my oldest daughter down (she does some of the bedtime hours if I’m out or working), and said, “As of tonight, this is the routine. We can never vary or give in. But when we’re consistent and committed, Matty Jay will soon go to bed like a champion. We’ll just say ‘bedtime’, and he’ll climb in and doze off.”

Want to know the keys to success? Okay, here we go.

#1 — Create a routine, and never, ever, ever vary from it, until your little tyke has been a champion sleeper for many months.

Here’s what our routine looks like (it’s the exact same routine we used 15 years ago).
Take a bath
Apply lotion (all my kids love this for some reason) and put on PJs
Read a story (Matty is still nursing so he had some momma milk during story time)
Climb in bed, and sing the same three goodnight songs in the same order (songs make everything difficult seem easier to little people — they’re like the spoonful of sugar to the medicine)
Pray for the baby
Kiss him goodnight
Lights out

#2 — Mommy sits nearby on the floor (or in a chair) and reads. I LOVE being able to read a book on my phone or iPad — so easy in the dark. Fifteen years ago, I had to wrestle with those stupid reading lights. Technology is nice!

#3 — Use the Super Nanny routine for redirection to bed, which goes like this: the first time the kid tries to escape, you pick him up and softly, but firmly say, “Time for bed.” Then put him back in bed. The next time he flees the scene (and every time thereafter), pick him up without a word and without eye contact and gently put him back in bed. Sit nearby, but NOT on the bed. That way he’s comforted to know you’re there, AND you can police the situation.

#4 — Wash, rinse and repeat until the little bugger is snoring.

Here’s how it went down in the Stahlmann house when we began the process a few weeks ago. First, let me say, I was really bracing myself on this one because Matty Jay might just be my most willful child!

8:00pm We started the tub water and brushed his teeth. The boy LOVES a tubby, so this part of the process was a hit. After the tub, we followed the above routine to the letter.

8:30pm Lights out and momma sitting nearby reading the best potty training book I’ve ever laid eyes on (more about that in future post). Matty tried to escape the bed no less than 10 times, and with many tears. Momma stayed calm and stuck to the plan.

9:00pm Snoring!

Now, this is a big deal. Not only is this an UBER-willful child, but he typically drifts off at about 10:30pm, so 9:00pm is big change to make overnight. But he did it.

So where are we now, after a few weeks. Well…the second night was harder because he knew what was coming and fought back, but he was still asleep before 9pm. Every night thereafter got easier, and the fight lessened. Now, about five weeks into it, there are no tears. In fact, he’s excited for the routine. He loves picking his bedtime story, sings the good night songs with me, and then takes about 5 mins to fall asleep.

My guess (from past experience) is that in a few months, I’ll be able to kiss him goodnight after the songs and leave the room.

Any questions?

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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