Today is my first born baby girl’s birthday. My first child and my first headache. Just kidding! I am reflecting on today and amazed that nine years has passed. Amazed that this is the last year that my daughter is in her single digits.

However, I am thinking a lot about the years and what my daughter and I have been through. I remember when I first had her and how I envisioned life to be so different. Things started out great. She was welcomed by two parents who adored her and wanted her before she was even born. Her dad and I were starting our lives together. Looking for a proper home, me trying to juggle college and then suddenly he was incarcerated when she was a little over one.

But life goes on…

I had to pick up the pieces, finish college and raise her on my own. I remember when I even took her to college with me during my interior design class. There were so many days that I didn’t think I could go on. I was exhausted trying to study and nurse a baby.  I remember some days only getting a couple hours of sleep because of work, studying and trying to raise her. Thank God for my support system which was mostly my mom watching her while I studied and went to night classes.

Then I remember when I finished college. My baby girl was in the audience when I walked across the stage and got my degrees. She was in the audience clapping and rooting me on sitting on my moms lap.

Life continued…

I entered the corporate world and got a banking job. Then my daughter and I began to spend more time together enjoying the fruits of my labor. I was able to provide for her and life was starting to look up. There has been even more changes with my career, and Heaven is now a big sister now. However,  I just had to reflect on how much my daughter and I endured together. From watching her say her first word, take her fist step, start her first day of school I look at Heaven and I feel proud. I am really hard on myself but looking at how much she has accomplished in school and the type of young lady she is I feel secure that we are on the right path. I know we can do anything! My baby reads my blog everyday. She is my number one fan.

So to Heaven: I really love you and mommy is really the woman she is today because of you. Everyday I strive to be better because you push me to. Happy Birthday Doll!


Be a Motivator. Don’t be Nag.

It is so easy to become a strict disciplinarian when it comes to raising your children. The fear is  that if we are too lenient our children will get caught up with the wrong crowd. The truth is even if we are strict they still may make poor choices.  Sometimes we impose unrealistic expectations out of fear which causes miscommunication, self esteem issues, and a lack of individuality. All of these internal issues are very harmful to your child’s personal development .

I would describe myself as straightforward no nonsense mom. My parenting style can be a bit tough because I am a single mom and sometimes I feel I have to work twice as hard to make up for the missing parent in the household. However, not only did I start evaluating changes that needed to be made in my financial life, emotional and physical life. I also realized I need to revaluate some things I was doing as a parent as well. A lot of us (including myself) live by the ‘do as I say not as I do’ rule. This rule is definitely not helpful when trying to give your child proper guidance.

As I was evaluating my parenting style I found myself being a little harder on my eight year old than I should. Mostly because I think my daughter is brilliant and has unlimited potential; however, there are times I do not think she applies herself as she should.  Although, I thought I was doing everything correct as a mom, something shifted when I started making some changes in my parenting style. I started motivating and not nagging! Who like a nag? I’ll wait…

Once I started to use motivational  techniques to help my daughter in school and even doing her chores I saw positive results instantly. There is nothing wrong with firmly correcting your children when they are wrong; however, you have to find the fine line between instructing and nitpicking.

Below are some techniques and Ideas I use to help my children and I plan to improve on them over time!

1.Easy on the Criticism– You do not have to criticize everything your child does wrong. We do not like people picking on everything we do as adults. Imagine your boss standing behind you telling you what you did wrong every second of the day. Yeah, pretty annoying right? Do you think your child like constant criticism? Of course not so give them room for error. If they make mistakes they will learn. Obviously prevent them from making mistakes that will cause them harm, but let some things go.

2.The Cause and Effect Principle- After they make a  mistake that you feel needs correcting explain to them why it is helpful to make a better choice. If they understand the possible outcomes they can do better at not making the same mistake again. Also, help with giving them examples of alternative decisions they could have made for more positive results.

3.Open Communication– Not only should you express how you feel, but allow your child to do the same. Both parties should do so respectfully. No yelling. No cursing. No judging and interrupting. Just clear communication. Talk to your children rather than at them. I have learned that even though I am the parent my children do not need me to talk down to them as if they are less than. They deserve respect and should not feel belittled. Let your child explain how they feel when they are in trouble. Communication makes things a lot easier between you and your child. You want to establish trust and trust is key to having a healthy relationship. Clear communication allows your children to understand cut and dry what is expected from them.

4.Reward Do something fun! All work and no play makes everyone uptight and boring. Let them know they did a great job. Of course we expect our children to do the right thing, but they also appreciate getting a reward. You don’t work for free do you? You work to be compensated. When they do a good job let them know it by doing something they love. Even an acknowledgment and a hug is a wonderful treat to give.

Keep the MOTIVATION flowing!

From the Desk of Tahnee Cole