What Does Parenting Style Say About Parents?

What Does Parenting Style Say About Parents?

According to psychologists, parents fall into one of four parenting styles — authoritative, uninvolved/neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian — that influence their children in dramatic ways. For instance, an uninvolved/neglectful parenting style can lead to a number of alarming consequences including children feeling lonely, having low self-esteem, and displaying a lack of self-control. In contrast, an authoritative parenting style is believed to be the most effective because children are guided by high expectations but receive ample support to develop independence. But as impactful as these parenting styles are on children, they also offer many potential insights into the personalities and upbringing of parents.

Most uninvolved/neglectful parents are not uninvolved on purpose. While experts agree that the results of uninvolved/neglectful parenting are extremely harmful, they also acknowledge that many parents who fall into this style do not intend to do so. Some parents simply do get caught up in their own lives and fail to pay much attention to their children. However, many uninvolved parents are often raised by uninvolved parents themselves, which leads to the perpetuation of the style because they had no other role models to learn from. Additionally, some parents may be uninvolved because they are dealing with overwhelming problems like depression or exhaustion from overworking and do not see how hands-off they’ve become with their children.

Permissive parents are not permissive because they are uninvolved or do not care. Permissive parents are extremely loving and often translate that love into friendship with their children. However, because they act like friends, permissive parents often fail to serve as strong parental figures that set rules or expectations. The few rules that permissive parents do set tend to be inconsistent. Rather than discipline their children, these parents tend to pacify their children with new toys or some other thing that they may desire. Though love and attention are abundant in this style of parenting, children of permissive parents may grow up having trouble with self-control or self-regulation. They may also be self-involved.

Authoritative parents are role models because their parents were role models to them. Parents with this style set high expectations for their children in order to teach them how to work independently and develop reasoning, which leads to children’s high self-esteem and self-confidence. Because parents set expectations, they also create rules, and children are disciplined fairly and consistently if the rules are broken. As part of a fair assessment of what sort of discipline to administer, these parents take many circumstances into account including the child’s general behavior. Their desire to encourage independence also makes authoritative parents flexible and opens them to listening to their children’s needs and wants. Authoritative parents usually display the same characteristics that they try to impart to their children and therefore serve as role models for them.

Authoritarian parents want the best for their children but have trouble letting them develop independently. Like authoritative parents, authoritarian parents set high expectations and create many rules. However, unlike authoritative parents, authoritarian parents are not very nurturing and do not provide much positive or educational feedback. Authoritarian parents also do not consider different variables when deciding on a punishment if their rules are broken. Discipline by these parents is usually harsh and not in proportion to the infraction. It is also given without much explanation for the reasons behind it. Finally, as suggested by the style’s name, authoritarian parents do not give children many choices or options.

Despite some potentially useful or telling information that may be gleaned about someone for his or her parenting style, this method of deduction has important limits. Someone’s parenting style may paint an incomplete picture of that person’s personality or upbringing because parenting styles are not set in stone. In many cases, they change over time, usually as parents enter different life stages of their children’s or their own lives. The same parent may also have a different style for each child, depending on that child’s specific needs or personality. Parenting styles can also change with some conscious effort from parents, so today’s permissive parent may be more authoritative tomorrow if he or she decides to work on changing certain behaviors.

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post

5 Ways Single Parents Can Prepare Their Kids for Back-to-School

5 Ways Single Parents Can Prepare Their Kids for Back-to-School

Back-to-school season is in full swing and if you’re a single parent, it can be even more challenging to manage the anxiety, stress, and frustrations that come along with the change in schedule and adjusting to the new school year. Some kids look forward to going back to school while others will fight you to the front door each morning. However, there are some things you can do to make the transition back to school just a little smoother. Here are some ways you can get your kids ready for back-to-school season as a single parent:

1. Make Time for Breakfast

Getting three kids out of bed, dressed, and ready for the day can be one of your biggest challenges each morning and it’s easy to skip breakfast as a result. Make sure you plan for time at the kitchen table for a healthy breakfast so your kids have plenty of energy to get through their busy morning. Consider making breakfast before your kids get up so you have enough time to get things organized in the kitchen. If your kids are picky eaters, ask them what they want for breakfast the night before so there are no surprises and delays at the breakfast table. Making time for breakfast is also a great way to bond with your kids before they head out for the day.

2. Plan a Short Workout with the Kids

Working up a sweat together first thing in the morning can be a fun way to kick off the day. Exercising regularly is especially beneficial for kids who tend to stay indoors or are on the computer most of the day. Even though they may have play time and gym class at school, a quick 20 to 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or even a workout DVD that you can do together can be a great way to start the day. Exercise releases endorphins which can put everybody in a good mood and be consistent with your regimen will instill a healthy habit.

3. Keep Things Positive with a Pep Talk

When kids are feeling anxious, nervous, or agitated about school-related issues, be sure to address them during your quiet time together. Kids may need someone they can talk to about things they are going through at school so it’s important to make sure they know they can trust you in that time of need. Offer up a pep talk in the morning or spend some quality time with the kids after school so you can learn about any challenges they had during the day. Making time for your kids will help them adjust to any major changes. Helping them maintain a positive attitude and encouraging them to do their best will help them get through those stressful days with ease.

4. Set an Alarm Every Night

If you have a hard time staying on schedule to catch the school bus each morning or make it out the front door on time, get into a routine where you set the alarm for the same wake up time every night. Make it part of your turndown routine so everybody understands they need to be up at a certain time and lights go out at the same time. A consistent sleep routine will make those mornings a little smoother and also keep everyone in a positive mood — compromised sleep can cause fatigue during the day and make it difficult to stay positive.

5. Take Care of Back to School Shopping Early

Back to school shopping can be an event in itself and something that many parents don’t look forward to. The crowds, stores running out of back to school supplies, and the last-minute scramble to find some much-needed items on the shopping list can leave any parent burned out before the school year even begins. Be proactive and take care of back to school shopping at least three weeks before school starts. This way, you’ll have access to the full inventory of school supplies that stores are just bringing in and can even find many of these items online. Shopping online will save you a few trips to the store and also means everything will be shipped directly to your home at once. This can save you time and reduce stress.

Back to school season can be a stressful time of year — especially for single parents — but there are some things you can do to make the transition a little less frustrating for everyone. Planning a morning workout, giving your kids a pep talk, and taking care of back to school shopping early in the season are just a few ways to keep your kids happy, healthy, and motivated as the new school year unfolds.


The Parenting Gender Gap: The Different Ways Men And Women Parent

The Parenting Gender Gap: The Different Ways Men And Women Parent

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, or so the saying goes. If that’s so, how do two interplanetary people co-parent children? Surely, their approaches to things like play and discipline will be different, informed not so much by the rules of the galaxy but the laws of biology and social conditioning.

Though gender roles aren’t always set in stone, it is true that men and women often bring different strengths, weaknesses and styles to the table when it comes to many things, parenting chief among them. This is important to take note of within couples, because the dynamic is ultimately shaping an infant into a grown person. When we understand how men and women parent differently, we can better understand what the child best responds to and how.

This won’t be the same with every partnership. But in general, it’s good to have different forces and priorities at work—it rounds out the child and provides an example on caretaking values. It may also inform their separate relationships with mom and dad.

Here’s several ways that men and women tend to differ when it comes to parenting, and why it matters for children.

Details vs. The Big Picture

According to author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Dr. Meg Meeker, “Dads approach parenting with different priorities than we mothers do. They tend to care less about dress, eating habits, and other details. Instead, dads tend to want to play with kids more and challenge them more, and this can help kids gain confidence.”

This might not always be true, but it does speak to the stereotypical strengths of men and women both personally and professionally. Women are known to be strong, detail-oriented multi-taskers, where men tend to dominate leadership roles, build morale, and think about parenting from a big picture perspective.

This may be why moms focus on the everyday details, like scheduling and chores, while dads act as both buddies and authoritarians — roles that build character and confidence.

Competition vs. Equity

Dads and moms play differently too, and the ways the play differs may have to do with the values men and women tend to cherish. One example, posed by Glenn Stanton in his book Why Children Need a Male and Female Parent, is the dichotomy of lessons imparted by men and women through play. Fathers emphasize competition, while mothers emphasize equity. Both are important, and one without the other, Stanton argues, could be unhealthy in the long run for a child.

The competition and equity equation further sheds light on how experience shapes parenting. Men, who are taught to be competitive and take risks, teach their kids (both male and female) to take risks too. Women are taught to protect themselves and treat others fairly, and pass this lesson on to children for safety reasons. With these two perspectives combined, kids can learn to be be competitive but fair, and take risks while understanding consequences.

Nurture vs Discipline

Both mothers and fathers are capable of being strict disciplinarians, but it perhaps comes more naturally to the father, if only because mom is the chief nurturer. Cautious mothers prioritize comfort and security for their kids, and are sometimes viewed by dads as being “too soft” on children. In these cases it may fall upon the dad to enact law and order in the family.

This becomes more apparent as kids get older and into their teenage years. A mom may be more inclined to be the “peacemaker” when things go awry, while dads are more intent on teaching a lesson than making the conflict disappear.

The roles could easily be reversed, however, if dad was taking on mom’s responsibilities as the main caretaker, which is increasingly common. Whatever the case, parents need to support one another and provide their children a balance between support and discipline.

Emotion vs Detachment

Ideally, mothers and fathers love their children equally. But generally speaking a woman’s emotional attachment to her kids is stronger, or at least more apparent, than a father’s may be. This has a lot to do with the high expectations moms are held to as opposed to dads, who are relegated to a supportive role. As a result, moms that stay at home can feel emotional and overworked, while working moms feel guilty for not being home. Whatever the case, it’s difficult for mom to detach, or separate work from home.

This dichotomy between emotion and detachment is also apparent in the ways men and women tend to communicate with their kids and each other. Fathers are more brief and to the point, while moms tend to dig deeper. This doesn’t mean that moms are over-involved and dads under-involved, just that a parent’s experience and role in the family is likely to affect his or her ability to detach. Ideally, fathers could take some of the emotional weight off of moms, and moms would encourage this when given a chance to step back.

This article was originally published on HuffingtonPost Blog. 

Parenting No-Nos: Are You Guilty of These Missteps?

Parenting No-Nos: Are You Guilty of These Missteps?

Parenting is a lifelong commitment — and a challenging one at that. Back when I first became a mom, I remember thinking how my kids should have come with instructions, a kind of step-by-step parenting guide to follow. Parents-to-be can prepare all they want, but raising children, I discovered, is mostly learned on-the-job. There is no special formula to follow if you want to be a good parent.

As parents, we’re bound to have missteps, being the humans that we are. And amid the day-to-day grind of keeping your kids healthy, happy, and safe, we all err here and there. Below I discuss counterproductive behaviors that parents engage in (often without realizing it).

Corporal Punishment

Hitting your kid is never, ever acceptable. As far as punishments go, spanking is not effective. Period. It’s worthwhile to mention: being physical in your anger can be destructive, too, even if you are not directly hitting another person. Throwing objects and slamming doors fall into this category. Children emulate what their parents do, so try to avoid engaging any kind of gesture that teaches kids to express frustration in a physical manner.

Making Them Eat Food They Don’t Like

Nearly every parent—myself included—can relate to the challenge that is finding nutritious foods for your kids to enjoy. It’s important to keep in mind that being fussy (or picky, even) is a normal part of human development. My recommendation? Don’t act agitated when your kid refuses to taste a new food. Kids are impressionable; the eating patterns they establish during their early years will continue to influence their relationship to food in the future. Treat family mealtimes as pleasant gatherings. Enjoy your dinners together!

Invalidating Their Feelings and Emotions

All too often, I’ve witnessed loving parents (who have the best of intentions) invalidate their son or daughter’s emotional experiences. In these situations, I’ve learned that the parents were invalidated as children by their parents, and the behavior is really habitual. It’s crucial to remember: however young they are, children are still humans. Like adults, they are entitled to feel whatever they are feeling. Here are a few examples of emotional invalidation:

Telling someone that (s)he is overreacting or being too “dramatic.”

Saying “there’s no reason to be upset” or “that’s nothing to cry over.”

Telling someone that the way they feel is “ridiculous” or “absurd,” etc.

Although these sorts of responses to kids’ emotions are extremely common and well-intentioned, they can be very damaging to a child’s emotional development. Sometimes I need to remind myself that my child is an individual person; he or she shouldn’t feel a certain way just because I feel that way.

Complaining About Your Kid’s Other Parent, In Front of Your Kid

Your relationship with your child’s mother or father is exactly that: yours. Don’t involve your kids in your personal relationships. Never bash your kid’s other parent in front of your kid. Arguing in the vicinity of your toddler or teen can contribute to unnecessary stress and anxiety. This applies to all families, though the issue is more common among divorced parents.


A University of Michigan poll has shown that the majority of U.S. parents know at least one mom or dad who is guilty of so-called “oversharenting” – sharing embarrassing photos or tales of their kids via social media. Your kids, however young and immature, are entitled to privacy. They won’t always be babies! Uncertain where the boundary is? A good rule of thumb to follow: if you wouldn’t talk to a casual acquaintance about your son’s bedwetting, don’t post about it on Facebook, either. “We have of course gotten used to mommy bloggers embarrassing their children,” says Slate’s Hanna Rosin. Rosin’s observation accurately describes the reality of our social media landscape.

Checking Your Phone (and other screen addictions)

Put down your phone! I know…we’re all guilty of this one. When you are spending time with your children, spend time with your children. If you are watching your daughter’s soccer game, actually watch her soccer game. Your kids can tell if you’re not really listening or paying attention. Don’t prioritize Facebook, work-related emails, and the like over your children. Put away digital distractions when you’re hanging out with your kids. They deserve your undivided attention.

As I mentioned earlier, there will always be missteps. We’re humans first, parents a close second. I’d love to say that loving your children is as good as a how-to manual – it isn’t. But loving your child is the first crucial step in creating your very own child how-tos and how-not-tos. At least it was for me.

This article was originally published on HuffingtonPost Blog. 

What If the Most Powerful People In Business Were Women?

What If the Most Powerful People In Business Were Women?

Since 1995, women in big decision roles in large companies have netted minimal gains in closing the gender gap. As of June 2015, only five percent of Fortune 500 companies were led by women, which in hard numbers is a whopping 24 female CEOs — the number has since dropped to 22. Not to mention women still make 78 percent less than men.

When I wonder what the world of business and philanthropy would look like if even 50 percent of big companies had female leadership, it’s the subtle differences that are most striking. In order to talk about gender discrepancy, it’s hard to discount innate gender distinctions. What would women bring to the table if they were 95 instead of five percent of the Fortune 500 landscape? A lot.

For one, United States non-profit Catalyst.org found that women make better entrepreneurs. Their 2011 report saw a 26 percent high return on invested capital (ROIC) in top companies with 19–44 percent women leaders and no women directors in the bottom. What that means is that companies with female entrepreneurs performed extremely well in generating revenue. This figure is even more impressive with women in the tech space who founded their own startups. Data from First Round Capital reported that “[…] startup teams with at least one female founder performed 63 percent better than all male teams. The data also showed that women are present in the top ranks of their ten most valuable companies.”

Not only do female entrepreneurs prove savvy at raising ROIC, women are doing it at ages over and under 50 Another win for women? A Gallup reportreveals that women are better at communicating and fostering loyalty in their employees.

“This [report] suggests that female managers likely surpass their male counterparts in cultivating potential in others and helping to define a bright future for their employees.”

But what should make female leaders higher in demand is their ability to meet the challenges inside and outside the boardroom. They stay mindful of societal challenges.

According to a Forbes article by Geri Stengel, women entrepreneurs are more socially responsible than their male counterparts. Says Stengel, “Successful women are more likely than successful men to own a business so they can pursue a personal passion and to make a positive impact on the world.” And the ability to see the need for charity and philanthropic may be gender specific.

Research by WPI’s 2010 Women Give study shows households with single females gave 57 percent more than households with single males, and when women donated, they tended to donate more than men. I think it’s safe to say that women are more philanthropic than men. It’s a sentiment that would most likely carry over to more conscientious business practices.

I admit, I am an idealist, but I am also a pragmatist. It will take a lot of pushing on our parts to take — not wait to be offered — our places in positions of power. Truth is, women don’t ask for promotions or negotiate for higher salaries, which is not surprising as women are more likely to come down with Impostor Syndrome. According to a recent Telegraph article, even women who are already at the top of their fields think they’re frauds:

It doesn’t matter who you are, imposter syndrome can strike at any time — and, paradoxically, it affects some of the world’s most celebrated women. Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has said: ‘‘There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’’

The actress and UN ambassador Emma Watson has repeatedly admitted she feels like an imposter, as have Kate Winslet, Renée Zellweger and Maya Angelou.

I’d love to see women at the helm of most projects. I think we have even more to offer than these statistics reveal. We are worth more than we give ourselves credit for.

With only five percent of women in top positions, we have a long way to go to even get to fifty percent. But in a world where there would be better entrepreneurs, better managers, better philanthropists and a highly adept group of people generating revenue back into Fortune 500 companies — a world of female CEOs looks pretty perfect.

This post was originally published on Entrepreneur.com

10 Things A First-Time Mother Should Ask Her Mom

10 Things A First-Time Mother Should Ask Her Mom

My first Mother’s Day as a new mom brought with it mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt so much joy to be blessed with a new, beautiful, innocent life. On the other hand, I would be responsible for feeding, loving, nurturing, and shaping this little soul’s life, none of which ends once they leave the nest. It’s a lot of responsibility but something I’ll be thankful for my whole life. My children have shaped my life as much as I have theirs.

As my daughter Lauren enters her first Mother’s Day with my 5-month old grandson James, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for when she was a child. Now, she had some questions for me, and I gave her the best answer a mother of three could give.

Here were some:

Does picking up a child every time he cries spoiling him/her?

Regardless of what “experts” say about this, I always picked you up if you were wailing. Children, especially ones as young as James, are helpless and need to feel heard. When they’re that little, it’s the only way they can communicate that something is wrong, and sometimes it’s just that they need to know that someone cares about them. Often times there is a reason they are crying.

What was the funniest thing I did when I was a kid?

You were such a thoughtful, smart child which I think you took into adulthood. You had an imaginary friend and those toy trolls with the big funny colorful hair that you’d make villages for. When you had a friend over, you and your friend would make little snow villages for the trolls. I would sometimes watch and feel really lucky to be witness to such a whimsical daughter.

Do you remember what my favorite bedtime stories were?

Of course! I read many of them multiple times, Goodnight Moon, all the Dr. Seuss books which always made you laugh, and you got a real kick out of the Berenstain Bears stories. They’re all available to buy and I think parents still read them to their children today.

What were you most anxious about with your first child?

If I had to narrow it down, it was leaving you all alone. What’s important to me is that my child feels loved and cared for well. I didn’t ever want any of you to feel neglected, which is why I hated the idea of having a sitter. Every time a mother is away from her young children is anxiety-provoking but having someone we trusted take care of you always helped.

I still remember all the activities you’d have us do. Gymboree and campaigning being two. Did you have special reasons for making sure we were always involved in different activities?

I wanted to start having you all socialize with those around you at around 9 months old with other kids and parents. I wanted you to be able to interact well and easily with people and the world around you. Only through a lot of exposure to the outside world would you learn how to live in it. All of you were all so attentive and took in everything around you. You weren’t afraid.

How’d you always keep us in line, especially in public?

I tried to make sure I never talked down to you. I wanted there to be an honest dialogue between us, even as mom-to-child. As much as I made sure you tagged along with me to as many places as possible, and hated the idea of a sitter, moms have to let kids have some alone time to develop curiosities and imaginations. I wanted you to feel loved as much as I wanted to raise you to be independent thinkers.

To be sure, children act out. They have since the beginning of time, but for me, speaking clearly, directly, and trying to explain why you couldn’t do something as opposed to just saying ‘because you just can’t!’ made more sense. Also, children watch what you do, so I made sure I was always aware of how I talked to others as well as you. Mimicking is a popular thing for young kids.

What do you do when your child is teething?

No mother wants to hear her child crying and teething is a hard time, especially for a new mother. When you were teething, a doctor suggested miniature frozen bagels. Once I’d hand you the frozen bagel, I’d make sure to wait until the bagel was moist and unfrozen before taking it away from you. I didn’t want you to accidentally swallow any! That was imperative. It works like those teething toys that you may see parents have in their freezer but they’re not plastic which made me feel better.

When should I start feeding my child solid foods?

I started doing it around 3 months by putting a little cereal in with your bottle. Solid food helped you all sleep through the night for some reason. When you get your child to sleep through the night as a new mom, you don’t ask why!

How to handle a picky eater?

I tried to have a laissez-faire tactic with feeding all of you. I don’t like the idea of force-feeding kids, so I pretty much left you alone when you didn’t want to eat something. I didn’t make you feel shamed over it. It was important for me not to have fights at the dinner table; I wanted to make sure you kids thought of having a family dinner as a good thing.

You probably remember that at 3, you decided you didn’t want to eat meat anymore. I remember trying to hide little pieces of hamburger in your pasta but you’d still find them and pick the pieces out with your fingers. I should’ve known I couldn’t trick you even as a toddler. And you’re still a vegetarian to this day.

Sometimes children know themselves at a young age and express that with food, toys, playtime, etc. You never want to break a child’s personality, plus kids go through their phases. Nowadays, there are so many protein alternatives for children who decide they’re done with meat, so my advice would be not to micromanage unless they don’t want to eat anything, then, you worry.

What were my favorite toys?

Other than those funny trolls, you loved Care Bears. They were a lot more popular when you were a child then they are now, but all the kids loved them. Too much these days, parents use technology or video games to keep their children occupied, but I think that interferes with play and imagination. I think it stunts kids. I think technology is great and there are programs that teach language, and spelling, and things of that sort, but balancing it out with tangible toy friends is good for kids’ motor skills.

After offering the best answers I could to her questions, I told my daughter that most importantly, she needs to enjoy her first Mother’s Day. She (and all of you) deserve it! The best advice I could give Lauren was to go ahead and ask questions from the person who did it before her — her mom.

Give your child love, love, and more love. One day, she (or he) may be asking you some questions of their own.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers this Sunday!

This post was originally published on HuffPost Parents

How to Have a Business You Can be Proud of: Why Venture-Philanthropy is a Game-Changer

This post was written by ARI SYTNER


Years ago, an older man visited our synagogue once each month to make a modest donation. Although I thanked him each time, he always gave the same reply, “rabbi, please don’t thank me, I do it because I am selfish. I just enjoy the way I feel when I give charity”.

Whether helping individuals or organizations, everyone has different motivations for why they donate, volunteer or help out. In the corporate world, there are new massive trends which encourage charity and volunteerism.

Why would a company care whether their employees donate to charity? Why would corporations like Apple and Google offer programs, where they match the charitable contributions of their employees?

It could simply be because they want to be a part of the culture of “do-gooders”. It might be because industrial psychologists have suggested that employees are more productive when they feel that they are helping the world (not just selling technology). Or, perhaps they give so generously to avoid the extra tax burdens, which will inevitably hit their multi-billion dollar bottom lines.

Regardless of their ulterior motives, you have to admit that great things are happening as a result of these corporate trends which encourage kindness and philanthropy. But, let’s be clear, most companies do not exist, nor were they created just to bring social welfare reform to the world. Only as a result of their incredible success, are they able to give back to the community and help the world.

Imagine, however, if we flipped the model. What might it look like if a company were formed exclusively to help the world, while also yielding a profit?

I recall once partnering with a very generous oral surgeon, who invested in an ice-cream franchise. I curiously asked him why he was expanding into this market, if he was already maintaining a highly successful and lucrative medical practice. He responded, that he works as hard as he does just to be able to give more charity. However, he was frustrated by his own financial limitations.

Therefore, instead of donating $200,000 to charity, he invested it in a business, which was going to yield more than double his initial investment. Then he would donate every penny of the annual profit to charity. Additionally, his kindness was bringing a family-friendly business to the community, as well as offering employment to a number of people. Many other small businesses will equally allocate a tithe of at least 10% of their profit to go directly to charitable causes. Thus, the more successful they are, the more they can give back to their community.

It is this win-win-win model of Venture-Philanthropy, which puts the desire to help others as the foundation and motivation to running a successful company.

I was recently introduced to another such inspiring company called Book Bugs (www.bookbugs.net). Their motto is, “where reading meets giving”.

They are basically a monthly book club for kids, where children can receive a brand new book each month to help inspire them to read. Here’s the best part – for every three books that your child receives, a brand new book is donated to an underprivileged child.will

When I heard their mission, I simply could not resist and immediately signed up. While three of my kids love reading, I have not been able to motivate my youngest 3rd-grade daughter to read. I’ve tried getting her all the “usual” books (Harry Potter, Babysitters Club, Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse, Judy Blume), none of which kept her interest for more than 10 minutes.

When I joined Book Bugs, they had me fill out a form telling about my child’s interests and hobbies. I was shocked when a few days later a book that I had never before heard of arrived in the mail. It was absolutely perfect and she could not put it down! Clearly they know more about what 8-year-old girls like to read than I do!

Now, my daughter looks forward to a new book every month. But more importantly, I love that I am also helping the world, by supporting a company that is giving the same gift of reading to a less fortunate child. (Its good to note that the company is running a promotion now, where you can get your first month for free with the promo code: GIVEBOOKS2015).

I hope that more companies will embrace this model of Venture-Philanthropy, where their business model will foremost aim to do great things in the world, beyond the wonderful products or services they offer.

While it feels great to donate and help other people, I would hardly call any act of charity selfish! Anyone who helps others is doing a good deed. But if we could direct our entrepreneurial motivations to be built upon compassion and altruism, perhaps we could inspire and help more people in the process. I am not suggesting that a company earn less and report smaller profits to their shareholders. Rather, to change their definition of success altogether.

Perhaps the very success of a company should be measured, not my how much they bring in, but my how much they can give back.

This post was originally posted by Ari Sytner. To learn more about organization, leadership, relationships, and anything else that might be troubling you, visit Ari’s inspiring blog at http://www.asytner.com/ 

#TalkToMe Video: A Conversation With My Son, Pierce Bush

With our busy schedules, it’s sometimes hard to keep in touch with my children. I try to talk to them as often as I can during the week. My son Pierce and I were able to chat a little about parenting and why I think my kids are my miracles. Have a look!

The Perils of Affluenza

The Perils of Affluenza

According to Psychology Today, children raised in affluent households show a significant increase in health issues like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse — a reported 2 times more than their “humbler” peers. Money is expected to act as a buffer for life’s hardships, but because of that buffer, children spoiled by entitlement are not equipped to deal with hardships on their own. For that reason, privileged children today are in greater danger of health problems than former generations have been, not only in physical and mental distress, but with regards to their social and psychological development.

It’s easy to talk about this topic in the abstract, but in order to better understand the pitfalls of what many call “Affluenza”, let’s take a look at a few personality flaws that can arise from growing up in a wealthy household.

Lack of Resilience
Parents want the world for their children, and many parents believe that the best way to do so is to completely control the environment. This may work when a child is very young, but after a certain age, it is important to take the emotional training wheels off. People who are coddled and not given room to make their own mistakes as children often suffer from a pathological inability to understand that mistakes are not the end of the world. It’s important to teach them early on that making a mistake does not have any bearing on their character as people.

For children who are raised in environments where money, success, and material wealth do not come easily, compassion and empathy develop early on. Though it can be argued that having to shoulder the burden of worrying about money is also not beneficial for children, the converse can result in producing adults who care only about their own well-being and are incapable of feeling the kind of empathy for others that is necessary in a well-rounded individual.

Lack of Respect
The trope of the entitled, disrespectful, wealthy child is a familiar one for a reason. Children raised in a wealthy family can frequently confuse their parents’ accomplishments with their own, leading to a dysfunctional conception of how much power the child has over other people. This can cause an inflated sense of self. Children who suffer from affluenza often have a narcissistic sense of self-importance. Since they have always been told their opinion is the most important, their role in the world can only be corrected in the home before that happens. It is very important to catch this behavior and cut it off early if you want your children to respect other people, instead of only expecting other people to respect them.

Bad Relationships:
If the aforementioned behaviors are not corrected in childhood, they can create a flawed adult. Their spoiled character traits will alienate them in relationships, prevent them from getting close to other people, and leave a bad taste in the mouth of everyone who comes into contact with them because of their callousness and narrow-minded world view.

It needs to be said that there is no hard and fast rule of how children will develop. I am not proclaiming to be an expert in child psychology, but keeping my children away from these pitfalls has proven highly successful for me (and them). I am so proud of what they’ve accomplished as adults, and I think their upbringing has had a lot to do with that! I believe that if you want to raise a functional, well-adjusted child who will grow up to be a compassionate, respectful adult, you must impart these important values in your children. When it comes down to it, this is the kindest thing you could ever do as a parent – and your children will thank you for it later.

Originally published on Huffington Post

Marching for March for Women’s History Month

March_SharonBushIt is my hope to inform more people that March is Women’s History Month because many people don’t know or forget how important it is. This March, UN Women For Peace Association, of which I am a board member, is marching in March for not just women’s rights but all human rights. It is a reminder that our struggle continues. It is also a way for us to stand (and march) in solidarity for those countless women who live in inhumane situations. Across the world, a reported 70 percent of women are physically or sexually attacked by an intimate partner, almost 5 million women are subject to abject poverty, 60 million children are child brides, slaves, or forced into human trafficking, and 140 million are subjects of genital mutilation.

If I take a minute to think of every single of those hundreds of millions of people as mothers and daughters, it’s impossible not to do something so I will be marching and I truly hope you’ll join us.

Below are the details from the UN Women for Peace Website regarding the event where you can sign up or donate to the cause:

United Nations Women for Peace Association will hold its Fourth Annual March to End Violence Against Women on March 5th, 2016.

Speakers will begin at 11 A.M.

March will commence at 11:30 A.M.


Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

833 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

(click here to view in Google Maps)

Another march that will be taking place this month in association with UN Women for Peace Association: The March for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights which is taking place on March 8th is being organized by UN Women in collaboration with the City of New York, NGO-CSW, the Working Group on Girls, the Man Up Campaign and the UN Women for Peace Association.

The UN Women’s March will celebrate the achievements women and girls have made around the world since 1995. It makes sense to commemorate the courageous women on this iconic 20-year anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on March 8th – International Women’s Day (IWD).

Since IWD’s earliest observance was in February 28, 1909 in New York in remembrance of an International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, the goal of IWD’s has always been to bring empowerment to women and has grown into a women’s human rights organization. The following year, the International Women’s Conference was organized inspired in part by the American movement. 100 female delegates from 17 countries agreed that the idea was to be employed as a strategy to promote equal rights, including women’s suffrage..

By March of 1911, IWD was being recognized by over a million people across Europe.

A year later, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. With the suffragette movement on the rise, IWD was often a vehicle for women raise awareness about sex discrimination and the right for women to vote.

Both events will also be opportunities to shine a light on the need for our commitment to immediate actions towards achieving gender equality by 2030. The March for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights start at:

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th Street and 2nd Avenue) at 2:30 p.m. and end at Times Square (42nd Street and 7th Avenue) at 5:00 p.m on March 8th.

More information on how to join by marching or donating, visit their site by clicking HERE.

Hope to see you soon!

Sharon Bush is an accomplished philanthropist who has worked for nearly four decades to bring resources to underprivileged women, children and families around the world. Her altruism and business acumen have had a powerful results, and many global organizations have recognized her humanitarian efforts with awards and accolades.

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