How to Not Pull Your Hair Out Senior Year: 3 Simple Tips

senior year
How to Not Pull Your Hair Out Senior Year: 3 Simple Tips

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Fall…

pumpkin spice,

hayrides,

jack-o-lanterns,

corn mazes,

fall festivals.

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This is the time of year that most families are gathering together enjoying the change in seasons.  For parents with kids who graduate this year, like 2 of mine, the story is different.

 For these families, fall is the beginning of last first’s.  It is the beginning of the end of childhood, the preface to adulthood.  It is the time to buckle down and get ready for college.  In our family, the fall scene is college applications, college visits, communication with coaches, communication with colleges, cost of attendance, and so much more. 




Yes, we still enjoy football games, homecoming, and the occasional fall activity.  However, days like today, while many families are enjoying our local fall festivals, my son and I are attending an open house and recruiting camp in North Carolina.  And while my son despises preview days, he is totally in his element on the mat with current and future college wrestlers. 

All these trips all over the country and all the previews and meetings about financial aid and the like are worth it to see my son in his future element…a college wrestler, attaining a degree from a top-notch college, while doing what he loves the most.  This is what he has worked for since seventh grade.  All the blood, sweat, and tears, all the plans, all the dreams are all coming to fruition.  And this visit is one of four in the next month.  He has already received 4 acceptance letters, and we expect the offers to begin coming in any minute.

 

 

This did not come easy.  And I did not pay a recruiter to do this.  My son has worked from a young age, spending every spring and summer training, perfecting his wrestling skills.  While other kids were enjoying the beach all summer, he spent his summer training for weeks for national tournaments and duals and competing in national tournaments and duals.  Now, all this hard work is paying off when it truly matters.

Wrestling national level
From his freshman year in high school, Abe began wrestling in national tournaments every summer.

 

If you have a child who is a student athlete, and you would like to know how I have helped my son without paying a recruiter to do it for me, please email me for my simple plan: “Driving the Recruiting Vehicle for My Son.” 

You may do so by emailing me at

chilley@songofsapelosunset.com.    

It doesn’t matter your child’s age.  You can start as early as elementary school.  It is a process that you will never regret!

So how do you manage senior year without pulling every hair from your head?  Now that is the million-dollar question!

How to Not Pull Your Hair Out Senior Year:  3 Simple Tips

·         Don’t take it personally!

·         Remember he is still your baby.

·         Savor every moment, good and bad.  Life only happens once.

 

Don’t take it personally.

Amidst all the emotions, understand this one thing: 

Just like you, your child is scared,

so he or she may act out of the ordinary, even to the point of pitching tantrums.  Oh, yeah, we have been there this year.  Kids, like adults, do not enjoy rejection.  The college application process leaves room for rejection and is an eye-opening reality check into the “real world.”  Often, this fear of rejection leads a kid to react defiantly, totally out of the norm.  Kids are accustomed to their parent’s support and approval.  When they come to the point that they may be rejected in a real-world situation that can truly affect their future, emotions can overwhelm them to a point of serious frustration.  These actions are not personal toward you.  Just breathe and focus on the goal.

Remember he is still your baby.

Although he may be acting like an alien, he is still your baby.  He just needs more of your support than ever.  Remember back during the toddler years when you had to be firm and consistent?  This is no different.  Stand your ground.  One minute your kid will tell you he wants to go to one school.  The next minute he doesn’t.  This type of wishy-washy behavior is most often out of fear of rejection.  Fighting does not help!  Believe me, I have tried!  It just runs up your blood pressure.  Go back to the basics. Be firm and consistent.  Above all, be his mom.  Show him you love him unconditionally.

 

Savor every moment, good and bad.  Life only happens once.

As graduation approaches, you will feel good and bad moments.  Savor both!  Before you know it, your kid will move on to college, then a family.  Life is too short to fixate on the bad times.  Be present in the moment.  Last night, my son told me that we are always on the go.  Very true right now.  However, our little conversations about his fears and expectations about the future are dear to my heart.  Teen boys especially do not enjoy sharing their inner fears.  Grasp every glimpse you can of those fears to help them.  Last night, my son was saying that it is impossible to take an entire course load in 4 years.  This scared him.  I mathematically broke it down for him, alleviating his concerns.  This was a defining moment in his college search.  I could see the apparent relief cross his face as he breathed easier.

 

Amidst the chaos of senior year, search out those special moments and love your child.  And know that you will look back on these memories in the future and smile with understanding.  Mothering doesn’t end in elementary school.  Now is when your child needs you more than ever.  No, it’s not now all hayrides and fall festivals.  Now is the time your child prepares to embark on the journey to adulthood and to real life on their own.  Mom, you have done an amazing job so far, and you will see the fruit of your labors before you know it.

 

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

http://songosapelosunset.com

chilley@songofsapelosunset.com

 



Toasting to 45 Years and a Future of Amazing Changes

changes, healthy living
Toasting to 45 years and the future

It has been a while!  Life threw me some definite curve balls the past few months, and I have had to take quite a few steps back, regroup, and plan for the future.  This week I met a milestone, celebrating my 45th birthday!  My family took me to dinner this weekend and to an awesome vineyard–12 Spies Vineyard–in the north Georgia mountains.

weight loss, healthy lifestyle, motherhood
Toasting to 45 Years and a Future of Changes

If you are ever in the area, try out the 12 Spies Vineyard.  Their Muscadine Wine is absolutely amazing! Add a cheese tray and the beautiful mountain scenery on the veranda, and you have a relaxing, tranquil afternoon!

 

The past few months have given me much to ponder.  Challenge has been the theme.  Loss of a job and work family, amazing new job full of awesome opportunities and a new work family, death of my stepfather, birth of my second grandbaby, my mother’s depression and illnesses after losing her second husband, my son’s wrestling injury (first injury ever), my son totaling his first car (no injuries there, praise the Lord), my college daughter’s return home for summer, running a concession stand every evening after work, planning summer vacation, college prep for my son, and the list goes on.  I have barely had time to breathe!

In the midst of all of this, my health has declined.  A couple of weeks ago I spent a week with my mom, trying to nurse her back to good health.  Now, I have known that I have gained some weight.  So, when I saw the scales in Mama’s kitchen, I just had to jump on them.  They must be broken!  For sure!  194 pounds….There is no way in this universe.  I stepped off the scales, and then I stepped back on them. Same results.  My stomach had begun to feel crammed up into my chest almost, a rather weird feeling.  I was not well.  Broken scale or not.  I had to make some changes…and pronto!

Thursday of that week, I went to the YMCA near my new job and signed up for a membership.  I began my workout the next afternoon.  Right before the workout, I weighed in on the gym scales.  Well, dang!  194 pounds AGAIN!  They are broken by the same amount as Mama’s scales.  NOT!  My butt has gotten fat as heck!  That is the only way to put it!  I never even weighed that much during a full term pregnancy!  How embarrassing!

All of this together pushed me to not only exercise but to diet as well.  My goal?  To shed 50 pounds and greatly improve my health.  My husband is joining me on this journey.  Although this has been my birthday week, and I have cheated just a little, I have dropped a few pounds already.

How am I doing this?  I drink a fresh fruit smoothie as breakfast every morning.  I do indulge in a cup of coffee as well.  All I have until lunch is water with lime or lemon.  For lunch, I alternate.  One day I juice, and the next day I eat a meal, but nothing fried and no grains.  On the days that I juice for lunch, I eat a regular meal for dinner, but only grilled items.

This week, we will shake the routine up a little:

  • Breakfast–Smoothie
  • Lunch–Salad or other healthy meal
  • Dinner–Juice or Smoothie, primarily green smoothies or juices

In this way, both my husband and I are on the diet and on the journey to better health for our entire family.  My health, although this has only been one week, has begun to get better.  My body can definitely tell the difference.

I have spent the past few years thinking that I had to do everything and could not take time for myself.  That is now catching up with me, and it is time, at 45, for a change!  My grandsons, my children, and my husband need me to be healthy!

Join me on this new journey into losing this weight in a healthy way, while still caring for my family.  A good mother also takes care of herself!

Here is a before picture taken just yesterday at the 12 Spies Vineyard, during my birthday celebration.

weight loss journey, healthy lifestyle
Before picture

 

Of course, I am the one on the right!  If only I was my daughter’s size!  Let’s start this journey!  Anyone else want to join, please come along!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

Instilling a Never Give Up Attitude in Your Teen: 3 Successful Tips

 

Teens, tenacity, steadfastness
Instilling a Never Give Up Attitude in Your Teen: 3 Successful Tips
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When you hit a brick wall every corner you turn, giving up is the easy way out.  Now, if parents, the adults, feel this way, imagine how teens feel when they are faced with what appears to be insurmountable mountains!

My favorite quote of all times is

“Never give up!”


by Winston Churchill.  This is my mantra!  When I was a little girl, my family’s home burned to the ground.  We lost everything we owned.  I remember nothing of this except when we moved into a mobile home while my Daddy began building our new home.  I only know the sadness from stories from my family.  What I remember, however, is how my family stuck together and built a home from the ground up.  I remember perseverance, steadfastness, tenacity.  I remember strength and hope as we built our home little by little.  Over forty years later, this is what I still remember…strength and hope.

This strength and hope that my parents instilled in me during such a difficult time provided me with one of the most important tools for my life. Some call it tenacity, others calls it perseverance, and yet others call it steadfastness.   All three words mean the same thing:  Never give up!

From this experience and those with my own children, I have surmised 3 successful tips for instilling a never give up attitude in children:

 

love

1.     Love your child with all your heart…no matter his age.

Teens often don’t make that easy to do.  When I was a teen, I was a spoiled brat.  There is 9 years between my next oldest sibling and me.  My parents tried for 9 years to have me, so to say I was spoiled is an understatement.  Remember though, my family lost everything in the fire, so they did not have material things to spoil with.  Rather they spoiled me with an immense amount of love.

Mama did the majority of the spoiling.  Daddy, on the other hand, was the “bad guy.”  I remember thinking that he didn’t love me.  Why?  Because he wouldn’t let me have my way.  However, in the end of Daddy’s life, I realized he loved me more than anyone in this life.  You see, amidst a horrific and violent marriage, I pushed my parents away.  This lasted for almost a decade.

Daddy NEVER gave up on me!

He prayed and kept trying to get me to talk to him.  I was terrified of my now ex-husband.  How dare I disobey him; now, that’s a story for another time.  I will never forget calling my Daddy collect for the first time in years and hearing his sweet voice on the phone, accepting my call.  He knew I would call.  He had faith in God and in me.  He had faith in the love he had truly shown me.  He never gave up.  And for him, I will never give up.

hope

2.    Give your child hope.

What is more depressing than thinking there is no hope?  A sense of hopelessness can drown an innocent victim.

The college entrance experience was a challenging time for my daughter.  First, she was terrified she wouldn’t be accepted. She wanted to go to SCAD.  She wanted to pursue her passion: Art.  And SCAD was where she wanted to do so.  I continued to ensure her that she would get accepted.  Sarah had the most well-rounded resume for a high school student.  My head spun helping her get her resume together, and I thought I was a busy student.  Sarah was the ultimate juggler.  She still is!

Next came the financial aid struggle.  We worked hours and hours, night after night, on scholarships and other financial aid.  It was a close call, from which we learned many lessons, but her first year was covered.  I remember celebrating that night!  Together, we never gave up, and together we celebrated.

Hope fuels success!

example

3.    Live by example.

In other words, practice what you preach!

You are your child’s first example!

If your teen sees that you give up every time you feel pressure, they will see no reason to persevere.  This fuels low self-esteem.

As a former math teacher, I firmly believe there is a solution to EVERY problem.  The key is when you first don’t succeed, try another way to skin the same cat.  There is always more than one true method to solve a problem.  Live by this in your own life.  Like my Daddy, when our home burned down, he rebuilt, and he built a beautiful home in which our family created the most beautiful of memories.  He made lemonade out of lemons and showed all his children how to rise above the highest mountains.

My kids have truly gone through some difficulties and statistics would dictate they should be failures.  However, they are the most amazing kids!  Not because they are mine.  No!  Because they have been truly resilient and risen above the odds stacked against them.

Children who don’t have this type of positive influence in their lives often become statistics, whether it be from drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, prostitution, suicide, etc.

I know teens are often difficult to love.

Believe me!  My daughter truly challenged me.  This doesn’t mean you give up on loving them as their parent.  It just means you have to get a little bit creative with how you love them!

Love, hope, and example grow a well-rounded, steadfast individual.  They instill perseverance, tenacity, steadfastness…tools that will help one survive the worst catastrophes.

May we all persevere and be steadfast!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Goal Setting with Teens: 5 Principles & 5 Aspects to Preparing for a Bright Future

Goal Setting with Teens.png

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In my last blog, “Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens…and Still Love Them,” one tip was goal setting.

Goal setting is a lifelong skill that will guide your child through the darkest of situations.

Goals give hope.  Goals give light at the end of that deep, dark tunnel.  Goals give focus.  Goals motivate and inspire.  Goals achieve results.

Our children will one day be on their own…if they are not already.  When they are, they need to have the tool of goal setting in their “toolbelts.”  Dr. Edwin Locke, an American psychologist and pioneer in goal-setting theory, and his research partner, Dr. Gary Latham, surmised 5 principles for setting goals:

  1. Clarity
  2. Challenge
  3. Commitment
  4. Feedback
  5. Task complexity

CLARITY

clarity-goal

Help your teen set clear, attainable goals.  Everyone needs to see positive results.  Have your teen write down his goals.  Putting it in writing helps make it clearer.

CHALLENGE

Challenge-goals

Help your teen set goals that will challenge him….ones that will make him reach for his full potential.  Challenge involves risk.  A small amount of risk is healthy.  Risk and challenge involve uncertainty, and this can be alarming to a teen. Help him to set challenging goals and follow through to the end result so that he can see the awesome benefits of meeting the challenging goal.

COMMITMENT

COMMITMENT-GOALS

Help your child set goals and stay committed to them.  Never give up.  There is always a way, under, or around, or through.  Sometimes the challenging road to success is littered with potholes and detours, but commitment shows true grit, especially as the goals become more challenging.  Teach your teen to never give up!

FEEDBACK

FEEDBACK-GOALSConstructive criticism is a tough bullet for some people to bite.  Teach your teen how to look at the “man in the mirror” and make true assessments of their current situation.  Have they reached their goal?  If the goal has not been met, what are issues standing in the way, and what are steps to take to successfully meet the goal this time?  Teach him how to accept the feedback of others and how to use this as a gauge of genuine success or failure.

TASK COMPLEXITYTASKCOMPLEXITY--GOALS

Ensure your teen has adequate time to complete complex tasks and meet his goal.  If stress or frustration arise, sit down with your teen, and take an inventory of the current situation, analyzing where things went wrong and determining how to fix these issues.  If necessary, especially in the beginning, break up more complex tasks into smaller chunks so that your teen sees and feels some success along the way.  What is more frustrating than feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in a million directions!

 

SMART Goals

Locke also coined the idea of SMART goals.

S—Specific

M—Measurable

A—Attainable

R—Relevant

T—Time-bound


Have your teen honestly ask himself the following questions regarding the goal:

  1. Is the goal specific?
  2. Is the goal measurable?
  3. Is this goal attainable?
  4. Is this goal relevant in his life?
  5. Are the time constraints for this goal realistic?

Begin with baby steps, even in middle school, especially in middle school, and gradually increase the levels of goals you help your teen set.  In the end, your child, his future wife, his future boss, his future children, etc., will all thank you for teaching him effective goal setting strategy.  Goal setting leads to great success in all areas of life.  While you’re at it, what are your goals for the next 6 months?  The next year?  The next 5 years? The next decade?  You are never too old to set goals.  Reach for the sky!

 

All the best as we reach for our goals,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens..and Still Love Them

What happened to my baby

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One precious day you hold your beautiful, sweet baby.  It seems like just a few days down the road, and this sweet baby is gone.  He doesn’t want you to talk to him and really doesn’t want to be in the same room with you.  Every now and again, you see a faint hint of that sweet baby boy when he has faced disappointment and really needs you.  The next thing you know it’s Jekyll and Hyde, and he’s back to being the monster who invaded your home. 

Why, you ask, is my baby acting like this?  What did I do wrong? 

Short answer:  your baby is going through the greatest growth spurt in his life since infancy.  However, this time it is not just physical growth.  He is growing at an extremely quick rate in the following areas as well:  emotional, social, and intellectual.  This is what makes teens “weird;” they struggle with dealing with all of these changes that are lumped onto them at one time. It’s easy for you to see the physical changes.  These other changes, however, are of the mind and therefore abstract to the human eye.

Pull up your granny panties, mom, for this will be a struggle for a few years!

Here are some solid tips to make your life easier during this years and to make it easier to love your baby, as you raise your teen:

1.         Goal Setting—

Teach your child to set goals.  Part of intellectual growth during the teen years is the deeper development of abstract thought.  Laymen’s terms…they have the ability to think deeper…farther beyond today.   Often, their selfishness makes it appear they cannot.  Try them out. 

I remember when my son and daughter were in middle school.  One day we were in the car, and they were arguing.  I made them each stop and write down their goals for life.  For them, at that moment, it was a competition.  However, they really thought this out.  Naturally, some of their goals were silly; that’s par for the course with teens, especially younger teens.  However, this beginning conversation on goals set the stage for these two to set attainable goals in the future.  It focused their energy on something positive!  And it has given them a life skill that will make them successful adults.

2.       Talks—

When your teen is acting like a monster, it makes them hard to be around.  However, this is that same sweet baby who learned to walk, talk, potty, read, ride a bike….  They just have bigger problems.  This is where the emotional comes into play.  This is when they need you to really listen and offer tidbits of advice.

The big “P”, puberty, comes into the lives of teens and often creates chaos in their lives.  I’m in my 40’s and still have emotional issues during that time of the month.   This emotional change in teens is confusing to them and often makes them irrational.  I can usually tell when my daughter is about to start.  Same old classic symptoms.  And boys aren’t immune to these changes.  Life, though, has taught boys to be macho, and when they feel emotions creep up, it is often hard for them to handle it. 

Offering tidbits of advice is not a lecture.  Have you ever sat in a college lecture?  After some point in time, the words can blur together.  Same goes with lectures with a teen.  Give them tidbits…just enough to sink in.  Talk to them, but most of all, listen to them.  Don’t get so busy in your life that you aren’t listening to your teens. I know they are difficult to be around, but listen to them.

3.       Encouragement—

Part of life is risk-taking.   You only want to see your teen taking part in positive risks.  Believe me, there are more negative risks than you know out there for our teens, risks that we don’t even see and cannot fathom.  The digital age has created these.

Encourage your teen to be brave and take positive risks to better himself.  Currently, my son, a junior in high school, is going through the college search.  He is an extremely accomplished wrestler, competing year-round.  However, he shows signs of fear of his college career.  I helped him get in touch with several college wrestling coaches, showing him that he is doing the work, and can do this.  Sometimes, although a teen has deeper intellectual thought, you have to put things in front of them.  My mother-in-law used to say, “put your finger on it.”  Same idea.  Now, he is studying for the SAT, preparing for college visits, looking at pros and cons of different colleges. 

Remember, in a short time, your teen will be an adult.  Encouragement of an adult is much different than that of a small child.  Same goes for a teen.  It’s not about lollipops and stickers.  Although every now and again a Dr. Pepper helps my boy.  The encouragement holds different forms at this age.

4.       Consistency—

Have you ever gotten so busy at work and with life that you don’t make time for the simple things?  Teens, just like infants, toddlers, and small kids, need consistency.  Heck, adults do too!  Not all things in life need to be planned.  Spontaneity can be an awesome thing!  How you love your teen, how you talk with and encourage your teen, and how you groom them into awesome adults must be consistent. 

In our home, a rule is a rule.  And rules must be obeyed.  Reality….everyone has rules to follow.  Even the boss has to follow federal and state laws.  Same goes for teens.  Don’t set rules that you are unwilling to enforce.  Be consistent with all your kids.  If one has chores, all should have chores.  If one pays for a car, the others should as well.  You are the first example to your teen of how parents should be.  Lead your teen, who will be, before you know it, an adult, a spouse, and a parent. 

No matter how tough the road gets, stick to these tips with your teen, and in the end, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Remember, your teen can do lots of things now, but he is not an adult yet, and still needs you!  Don’t let him down!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

 

 

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