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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tips for positive parenting

Parenting is an important issue in all families. Positive parenting will exert good influence on children and will help to sharp good behaviour. If our children are guided properly and positive value are being taught, they will grow up to be a good person with high inner value. They will not turn to drug, gangs, sex and do bad things. They will become good citizen who contribute to their countries and societies.

What is positive parenting? Positive parenting will include certain elements.

Below are some tips for positive parenting:

1. Help our children to build their self esteem

We have to praise our children for their accomplishment no matter how small it is. Our children will feel important and valued if we praise them. Through praising, our children will be motivated internally and this will help to build their self-esteem. Avoid unfavourable comments even when our children do not meet our expectation. In addition, letting our children do things independently will boost their confidence once they succeed in doing them, this will build their self worth. Even if our children do not succeed in doing things on their own, it is important to give them a pat on the back for their effort and encourage them to keep trying and let them know that failure is the mother of success.

2. Spend quality time with our children

Make time for our children. Spend quality time with them. Even though we are busy every day, we have to allocate some time for our children. We have to be fully devoted when we spend time with our children. The amount of time spent is not important but the essence of time spent is important. Spending time with our children enable us to enjoy activities together with our children. It will help to improve communication between parents and children and enable parents to bond with children.

3. Become a role model to our children

Children will learn the behaviour of parents. Therefore, it is important for us to set a good example for our children. We must speak and act properly. When we speak we must not use improper words for example four letters word. We must keep our behaviour in check and do not pursue bad habits for example taking drugs, smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling or do bad things for example stealing. We must always think twice before we speak or act. We must try our best to become role models to our children.

4. Help our children understand their responsibilities

We must ensure our children understand their responsibilities in different social settings. Let them know their responsibilities at home, in school and in society. Helping our children understand their responsibilities will assist them to accept their responsibilities. This will nurture our children to become responsible persons.

5. Make them feel love and accepted

Love can settle a lot of problems. Therefore it is important to love our children sufficiently. They will feel accepted and a sense of belonging if they are sufficiently loved. This will boost their confidence. In addition, we must learn to forgive our children for their mistakes. Make sure that they understand the consequences of their mistakes and ensure that they will never repeat the same mistakes again. We must accept handicapped children the way they are and assist them in their daily lives.

6. Be kind but firm in discipline and avoid spanking

In discipling our children, we should avoid spanking. We must communicate to our children what is the acceptable behaviour. We must let them know what is our limit and what are expected from them. Let them know the consequences of bad behaviour. We may impose time out if our children are not behaving properly.

7. Encourage and reward good behaviour

When our children do something good, remember to give them a pat on the back or some encouragement. Reward our children for their good behaviour. This will reinforce good value in our children. Letting them know what is right and wrong is important. Encouragement will help to instill good behaviour.

8. Communicate properly with our children

Proper communication is important. We will know our children better if we often communicate with them. Our children will feel that we have an interest in their lives if we communicate with them often and properly. They will know that we care and love them. There will be a sense of belonging and love. This is crucial for the development of our children.

9. Teach our children to love one another

We must always encourage our children to love one another and help each other out. We should be fair to all our children and do not let them feel insecure. Sibling’s rivalry is unhealthy and should be avoided. A close knitted family where one helps one and another is important. Teach our children to respect one another.

10. Be flexible in parenting styles

There is no rule of thumb parenting style that suits all kind of situation. Children are changeable and unpredictable, therefore, we must also be flexible with our parenting styles to accommodate different situation.

Parenting can be the most rewarding job in the world if we can cope with our children. Therefore, positive parenting is important in raising our children. We will enjoy our children more if we practise positive parenting.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to motivate ourselves

Our life is not always smooth sailing. There are bound to be some setbacks and some hindrance along the way. It is important for us to stay motivated to overcome all the barriers in order to achieve our goals in lives and live happily. People will have the desire to achieve success if they are motivated. Therefore, motivation is important for success.

How to overcome the feeling of defeat, regain confidence and stay motivated whenever we stumble and fall?

(1) Clear direction of what we want

It is important for us to understand what we really want to achieve in our lives. Our desires will serve as impetus that will move us forward. If our desires for something are strong, the more we will be motivated. Therefore, we need to figure out what we really interested in.

(2) Read inspiration materials

We can motivate ourselves by reading some materials such as motivational books, biography, success stories, blogs, etc. By reading the biography of a successful person, we can gain an insight into the experiences of him/her. He/she will be a role model to us. He/She will inspire us.

(3) Surround ourselves with positive people

Make an effort to be friend with people with positive mindset. We will be happier and more optimistic when people who are positive and love lives surround us. We can feel their joy. They will influence our thinking. Our friends can set good example for us to live our lives positively.

(4) Look at the positive side of every negative situation

We have to believe that there is always a positive side for every negative situation for example if your spouse is out of job, the family income may be dwindled but your spouse will have more time to spend with the children and to bond with them. It may also be the time for your spouse to venture into his/her own business if he/she has some capital. We have to understand that there may be blessing in disguise for every negative situation.

(5) Be gratitude

Practice gratitude every day. We have to be grateful for what we have. Be gratitude to god, our spouse, children, parents and friends. If we are gratitude, we will feel that our lives are meaningful even when we are facing some setbacks.

(6) Do not compare yourself with others

Each person is unique in his/her own way. Understand our strength and know our limitation. Stop comparing ourselves with others. We will be happier if we stop comparing with others. Work towards our strength and take steps to overcome our weakness.

(7) Do not be afraid of failure

We have to see failure as small setback in our lives rather than total disaster. Do not be afraid for making mistakes and understand that we can always learn from mistakes. Always look for alternative ways in achieving our goals. If this way is not working, try other ways. Understand that failure is the mother of success and believe that through persistency we will be able to succeed.

(8) Take critic constructively

Be positive and take people’s comment constructively. If we can take critic constructively, we will not feel upset or humiliated with people’s comment. Rather than feeling upset, we will be motivated to improve ourselves to achieve better result.

(9) Reward yourself

Remember to reward ourselves whenever we achieve our goals. Give ourselves a pat on the back; this will further motivate us to achieve other goals in our lives.

Knowing ourselves and knowing how to keep ourselves motivated will enable us to achieve our goals in life. Our lives will be more fulfilling and meaningful.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How to spend less and save more

We tend to spend more when we have money. If we are not careful, we will easily over spend. Over spending often leads us to debts. In addition, we will be in possession of things that are unnecessary and less meaningful.

We need money to sustain our living. Therefore, money is important. It is important to set aside money for emergency and for the accomplishment of major financial decision like buying a house, kids education, retirement, etc.

How to slash spending and maximize saving?

1. Create a cost saving budget

Budget will keep us from spending lavishly. If we spend according to our budget, we will not over spend and we may even be able to squeeze some money out of our budget for saving. Therefore it is important to budget.  We can create a budget by bringing together all our monthly income after taxes and tracking all our expenses. Our budget has to be flexible and varied with our income level. However, to live on a budget may not be easy at first, it requires a lot of discipline and persistent. Start by taking a baby step and slowly settling into  living on budget.

2. Use cash instead of credit cards

Credit cards bring convenience into our lives. With credit cards we can buy things easily even though we are not carrying any cash. We will not think much before we buy due to the convenience of using credit cards. We will easily get ourselves into over spending and debts. Therefore, it is wise to limit the use of credit cards and always spend on cash. We can reduce the number of credit cards by keeping only one or two credit cards for emergency.

3. Look for ways to save money daily

We spend every day in order to sustain our living, therefore it is important to look into our daily lives and find ways to save money.

Below are some areas and ways that we can save money daily:

a) Food

We need food for energy and to sustain our lives. Food makes up a large part of our grocery bills; therefore, we have to be careful with food. We tend to buy more when we are hungry. Therefore, we should not go shopping for our grocery with empty stomach. Always make a list of grocery that we have to buy, as this will prevent us from buying too much unnecessary stuff. Below are some ways to save on food:
-Try coupon clipping;

-Go to the supermarket to shop only on discount days for example in Hong Kong, many supermarkets offer discount on Friday;

-Buy food and cook food that is on sale;

-Buy food in bulk when there are cheap sales;

-Instead of buying fast food, try to make cost saving dinner from scratch at home;

-Buy cheaper brand food for example instead of buying Dreyer or Häagen-Dazs ice cream buy Nestle ice cream;

-Bring brown bag to the office for lunch;

-Be creative with left over and eat left over;

-Grown our own vegetables if we have garden;

-Cut on junk food
b) Utilities bills

There are many ways that we can save on our utilities bills:

- Use fan instead of air conditioner during summer time;
- Use energy saving light bulbs to light our house;
- Use solar to generate electricity;
- Switch off computer and electrical appliances when they are not in used;
- Have shower instead of bath;
- Turn off tap when brushing teeth;
- Take less bath and shower;
-Run the washing machine only when the laundry is full.

c) Clothing

Clothing can be a large part of spending.  Therefore, we should look for ways to save:

- Embrace” hand me down” passing on old cloth from older kids to younger kids;
- Try to shop at second hand clothing shop;
- Shop out of the season;
- Shop when it is on sales;
- Buy cloth that we can mix and match;
- Learn sewing and sew own cloth;
- Buy classic cloth rather than trendy cloth;

d) Transportation

For those of us who need to travel to work every day, transportation makes up a large part of our daily expenses. We can save some money if we are wise in choosing the mode of transportation every day:

- Use public transport instead of driving own car. This will save us on gasoline and parking fee;
-Practise car-pooling;
-Walk instead of driving to place that is within walking distance
-Travel with public transport at non peak hour to save ticket fares

5. Entertainment

We often reward ourselves after a long day work; therefore, entertainment can be a large part of our daily expenses. With the advance of technology, we can now enjoy cheap mode of entertainment. If we know how to make choices, we will be able to choose the entertainment that is cost saving.

- Read free on line materials such as newspaper, blogs, etc;
- Watch free on line movies;
- Listen to free online music;
- Look for free concert in town;
- Go to libraries instead of buying book from bookstores;
- Go hiking or have a picnic in the park;
- Walk in the park or along the beach;
-Have a restaurant night at home instead of eating out;
-Eat out once a while on non holiday

 6. Traveling

Most of us love traveling because traveling enables us to broaden our horizon. There are several ways that we can have an enjoyable and cost saving holiday:
- Travel off peak season;
- Use cheep airline such as Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, just to name a few;
-Join package tour;

If we use money wisely, we will spend less and save more and this will free us from debts. We will have more happiness, less stress and worries if we are debt free.