Showing posts with the label Parenting

5 Practical Ways to Organize Your ADHD Life (and Feel Good about Yourself)

When I first began to realize that I had ADHD, I came across an invaluable list of 50 tips for managing Attention Deficit from Drs. Ed Hallowell and John Ratey.  I still have my original copy of the list printed off from AOL! In today's blog, I am sharing not only their life-changing advice on managing your tasks but also my personal experience with Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity disorder and how I used these suggestions to transform my life. Set up your Environment to Reward Rather than Deflate. "To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADD'ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations."

During the last 3 decades since graduating from High School, I have dabbled in many different professions with the best fits being the careers with task versatility and work from home capabilities. Not coincidentally, these are also the cho…

Lessons Learned from The Prodigal You Love

When a BOOK is a Blessing
My son does not know if he wants to be Catholic. In fact he is not even sure if he even believes in God. When the subject comes up between us, my response, quite frankly is usually terse and accompanied with a tone much louder and more frustration filled than I intend it to be.  The result from the pain in my heart hearing his words which cut much deeper than he intends them to. I blame myself for his faith struggle, wondering what I could have done better or differently, and if it is now too late to make a difference.  Yet the truth remains despite my greatest efforts, or at least my best attempts at a greatest effort, my son is not sure where he stands with the faith that I love so very much.

For the Remaining 9 LIFE CHANGING lessons... CLICK HERE
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras, 2016

Whispers in the Pew: Get Going!

This is the last of six articles for families on celebrating the Sunday Mass. My washing machine broke. A tiny plastic piece in the detergent compartment disappeared. Don’t ask me how—it’s one of life’s mysteries related to the Final Resting Place of socks that vanish from the dryer. Whatever. I ordered the part, tracked the package’s progress online, and ripping open the envelope, discovered my simple piece of plastic. Predictable enough, I suppose. Even so, I still felt a little thrill when I saw a package waiting for me in the mailbox. I can’t be the only one who hasn’t quite outgrown the charm of receiving a special delivery. Sending and receiving packages connects us to one another. And knowing a package is meant just for me—regardless of its contents—lifts my spirits. As our “Whispers in the Pew” series draws to a close, we consider the very end of Mass.

Read all about it at Praying with Grace!

Pray with Me, during Holy Week and Easter

Brilliantly simple! A letter from Seattle contains practical wisdom for praying through Holy Week and the Easter Season.

Click over to Praying with Grace to read the letter.

For Friends in Crisis

Today I take one last stroll through "Prayerful Thoughts of St. Ignatius of Loyola," this time searching for wisdom in the face of my friends' deep suffering.

Please join me in prayer at Praying with Grace.

How phlegmatics can be saints

Below is an excerpt from chapter 4 of my newest bookA Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child.Read how Queen Esther serves as a biblical model, portraying the strengths and weaknesses of the phlegmatic temperament. Temperament studies are not just for kids!

Phlegmatic women tend to be supporters of leaders of other temperaments. They express their temperament quietly, often at home. Few become famous. Esther would probably never have been known to history, except for the special circumstances she found herself in. She shows how one phlegmatic person can make a huge impact for God by following his will.
A phlegmatic replacement for a defiant, choleric queen Esther’s story is found in the biblical book named after her. King Ahaserus (also known as Xerxes) is married to a beautiful woman named Vashti. When the king holds a banquet, he calls his wife to come show off her beauty to his guests. The choleric Vashti refuses. Ahaserus responds by deposing the queen and seeking another …

Dear 18-Year-Old Brain

My son plans to go to his first New Year's Eve party since he turned 18. Here's a letter I wrote to explain why I'm such an obnoxious parents.

Dear 18-Year-Old Brain,
Thanks so much for managing my son for all these years. What a time you two are having together!

I remember when you learned where your toes were, how to count, and what hot and cold felt like. I'll never forget the day you solved a complex math problem that I could not. Believe it or not, it delighted me to realize your development was surpassing my own in that way.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated your 18th birthday. Congratulations! I am so proud of who you are and of all you've learned. You are a senior in high school, and so many blessed opportunities await you.

Funny thing, though: you sort of thought passing that 18-year-old mark means you're all grown up. In many ways, that's true. You can now vote, join the armed services, get married, buy firearms, sue in your own name, and serve on a…

How to Handle Christmas Gift Giving and Receiving

The tradition of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas time is a bit of a double edged sword – lots of good things involved, lots of parenting challenges as well. Lots of things I don’t want: I DON’T want Christmas gift giving to become the focus. But  also I DON’T want our kids to miss out on a fun tradition that, done in moderation, can teach a lot about the meaning of both giving and receiving. I DON’T want to break the piggy bank and live like a pauper for the rest of the year because all our money went into gifts. I DON’T want to end up with a house full of toys and “stuff” that gets excitedly used for a few hours, starts more than a few fights and ultimately ends up lying around tripping people. I DON’T want our kids to set high expectations, or feel entitled to getting the latest and greatest each year. Lots of things I do want: I DO want my kids to experience the love behind the gifts they receive from friends and relatives. I DO want my kids to experience the gratitude that …
Advent now comes and goes nearly unnoticed. The only thing worth of recognition between Halloween and Christmas is Thanksgiving, and even that has started to take a back seat as major stores start “decking the halls” and major TV stations start putting on Christmas movies in late October and early November. Advent, a delightful period of quiet waiting and anticipation for the coming of the child Jesus passes by largely forgotten. My husband is a Maronite Catholic. Any of you familiar with Eastern Catholicism may have heard that the Eastern Catholic rites follow a different liturgical calendar. Most major feasts, like Christmas and Easter, fall on the same dates, thereby emphasizing the unity of the Church, but other feasts and the general cycle of the liturgical seasons differs. Since we’re a mixed family (I’m Roman Catholic), I like to joke that we can opt for the longer Advent (Maronite calendar) and shorter Lent (Roman Catholic calendar). In all seriousness, though, I deeply appre…

A Parent's Guide to Teaching Gratitude

Gratitude is attractive. The grateful person tends to be happier, healthier, and more satisfied with their own life. They have an easier time forgiving others and helping others. They worry less and are less likely to get depressed or stressed. Sounds pretty good, right? Who wouldn’t want to be grateful with that description?
But gratitude doesn’t just happen over night. After becoming a parent, I quickly realized that while it’s relatively easy to teach a child the habit of saying “thank you”, it’s much harder to help them develop the virtue of gratitude. Gratitude is more than a habit. It’s more than a good desire. Gratitude is a relationship. We are thankful for things, but topeople. In order to have an open and grateful heart, a person must have strong relationships. For Christians, the ultimate foundation of all gratitude lies in a relationship with God in which we realize who we are and who God is, and recognize all he freely gives us. Gratitude toward others becomes part of our…

I am THE Greatest!

We moved into this house in a rush. I was a little down about having to leave the house I thought we'd live in forever, the house I thought my ex and I would welcome grandchildren in for sleepovers and host family barbecues like those my Grandparents threw. Moving into this house didn't leave me the energy or desire to do much decorating so when I hung the photos of the boys in the living room, it really stood out.
To me, it wasn't a big deal. I didn't place them in any particular order. I didn't put one child's photo ahead of another. I simply measured halfheartedly, hammered a few nails in the wall, and voila - pictures of my boys were hung.
To continue reading, please join me at and, as always, thank you for liking commenting, and sharing. God Bless...

Fill Up My Cup...

If you know me in real life, you know that praise and worship music isn’t my thing – unless it’s to get a little entertainment by making fun of it. Don't get me wrong - I know that many people enjoy that type of music, and I have no problem with that - it just isn't my own way of praising God. That “Fill up my cup…” song, though, has a point to it. Half the time, discussing whether the glass is half-full or half-empty is a moot point.  Often enough, by the end of a given day, week or month, there’s no question involved: I’m running on empty. Does that make me a pessimist? I hope not. I prefer to agree with the anonymous genius who said that the most important point isn’t how full your glass is, but that it’s refillable. So on those days when you’ve run ragged trying to hold yourself together, give your kids the love and care they need, be a good spouse and do everything else we’re expected to do for one reason or another, don’t get discouraged.  Just make a little time to refi…

Turning Anger Around

If you’re active in parenting social media groups and the blogosphere, you know that we talk a lot about ways we can be more patient with our kids, more kind, more balanced. We talk about ways to get over anger and stop yelling. And all of this is important. The next time I have a rough week with the kids, I’ll probably be reading more such tips. At the same time, there’s a different perspective I think we need to consider once in a while. Sometimes, it seems likewe can place too much pressure on ourselves and, collectively, on each other, to be perfect. Basically, if you take a look around at parenting pictures, stories and tips, we’re often telling each other in subtle ways that to be good parents, we need to be happy most if not all of the time. And, we’re sometimes saying: when you’re not happy, try not to show it. The basic logic here is that we want to be fair and kind to our kids. We want to be strong for them. We don’t want to react hastily or for the wrong reasons. We don’t …

Getting to Know Your Baby Before Birth

An unborn child hears and reacts emotionally, not only to his mother but also to the people and activity around him. Prenatal babies have personalities before they are born. As any mother can tell you some babies move around energetically both in and out of the womb, while other infants are physically passive. Some infants are night owls both in and out of the womb and others actually sleep well at night.
As nurses will point out to new parents, newborns quickly turn towards the voices of their mother, father, siblings and even grandparents. 
So that means that an unborn child hears what is happening and remembers what he has heard while he was still in the womb. These memories are conscious for the first couple of years of a young child’s life but later they lay deep within their subconscious.

The Difference Between Leverage and Spoiling

Early in the second season of Parenthood, there is a situation where we see a struggle for power between parents and child. The characters Joel and Julia's six year old daughter, Sydney, all of a sudden becomes a self-declared Vegetarian. She can, therefore, justify refusing the chicken on her plate that night at dinner, especially since a friend at school has convinced her that eating meat is morally wrong, and disgusting. 

After her parents struggle a bit with how to respond, and after telling her she needs her protein and the whole bit, they decide to be completely supportive of her position, for various reasons. However, the next night, her Grandparents are slated to babysit her, and they bring a big pan of lasagna along.  The parents- feeling greatly defeated- explain her decision, and say that they desire to be supportive. 

 {read the rest at Picture a Skyline}

How to Talk to Children about Suffering

When we talk to children about suffering, it's unhelpful to discuss WHY bad things happen. Suffering--a result of the Fall--makes no sense in and of itself. What children need to hear is that our suffering can be a powerful source of good for others. Jesus shows us how.

Children can learn to be sensitive to suffering. When adults empathize with them (I'm so sorry you tripped and scraped your knee. Oooh, I know that must hurt!), they learn to share others' sadness. And when empathetic children grow up, they become courageous citizens who defend the weak and the suffering.
I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  (Ezekiel 36:26) Please click on over to Praying with Grace to read more of today's article
and to see the reflection & activity sheets for children.

Mental prayer for adolescents

I have written several times about guided meditations I do with my young boys. Now I am working with my oldest, who is in 7th grade, to help him take the next step in mental prayer. He is a choleric, and I hope to write in more detail about this method in my upcoming book A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child. I plan to make a template for children to fill out as they practice.

Here is the method I am planning to use for my eldest now. I will show you an example along with the method.

1. Read a small section of the Gospels. First, choose one of the four Gospels to pray through from beginning to end. Then choose a passage of 10 to 20 verses. For this example, we’re using Mark 1:1-11, last Sunday’s Gospel. Read it silently and slowly.
2. Use your senses. Record the sights, sounds, smells, etc. you would encounter if you were present when this story took place. Brainstorm as many as you can think of. Here are a few for our example:
John’s camel hair clothingthe sound of…

Sick Day

I'm at work. The phone rings. The caller ID tells me it's school calling.


"Hi, Mrs. Urbanski. This is the school nurse."

The upshot: my daughter Rose is sick, and won't I please come pick her up?

Absolutely. I finish up the task I was working on, say goodbye to my coworkers, and head out the door. It takes me longer than I expect to reach school; by the time I arrive, Rose is miserable.

See what happens next at Praying with Grace. . . .

Should Parents Introduce "Bad" To Talk About "Good?"

There is a dilemma that all parents face when raising their children. Desiring to keep them as innocent as possible for as long as possible is what lurks behind this conundrum. And the decision made in each family is the right decision—even when the decisions differ from family to family and even from child to child.
The issue at hand?
Do we as parents talk about “bad things” in a way that allows us to introduce the “good things?” And if we do, how “bad” can “bad” be without being too “bad?” And, of course, every parent’s definition of “bad” is different.
How do we equip our children to live in the world—and be salt and light—without robbing them of their innocence? Is this even possible? More importantly: Is it necessary?
Can you talk to your young daughter about chastity without telling her—in honest language—what she will encounter in the world of boys? Can you speak to your young son about temptation and hormones—in a realistic way—without introducing characteristics that girls exhibit …

Motivating your phlegmatic child (and yourself?)

After I wrote a post with tips for your choleric child, a readers asked if I would write one for phlegmatics as well. I’ve been thinking hard about how to motivate phlegmatics, as I work with C, age 8, who is phlegmatic/sanguine. Since I am phlegmatic/melancholic, I have also looked closely at what works for me.

In reading Fr. Conrad Hock’s book about the four temperaments, I was disappointed by his treatment of phlegmatics. He takes about two pages with each of the other three temperaments, but his main section about phlegmatics says only this:

The training of phlegmatic children is very difficult, because external influence has little effect upon them and internal personal motives are lacking. .....
Not very encouraging for parents, is it?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.