Debbie Gross, LCSW, Ltd. - Individual, Marital & Family Therapy

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One Therapist's Reflections

Summer's Here! Time for a Parenting Reflection!

June 8, 2009

With the end of school comes the relief of summer; schedules are 
less hectic as activities come to an end. It’s refreshing to look at 
your planner and not find yourself and your children scheduled 
from morning ‘til night! During summer’s relaxed mode, it’s a 
great time to reflect on your role as a parent, and see what you 
can do to enhance your life.

Family meals – So often, with soccer practice, dance rehearsals, 
and Girl Scout meetings, parents find less and less time to have traditional family mealtime. This summer, make a point of 
increasing your time together at the dinner table. Remember to 
leave all cell phones behind! Try including one child a week in 
a meal preparation. Have him choose the family meal (make sure there’s at least one thing served that everyone enjoys) – he can 
help shop, prepare, and serve with you. This special time together 
will be remembered for a long time!

Another great activity is to play the “Best and Worst Game” at 
dinner. Each person shares the best and worst events from his 
or her day. Any event counts – “bests” can be like being able to 
sleep late or moving up a level in swim class. “Worsts” can include having to let an employee go or your child getting separated from 
her camp group between swimming and lunch. If your children are under age 5, that’s the whole game. As kids get older, from ages 
6-9, include the why question – “Why were those the best and 
worst?” And for kids over 10, have them explain how it made 
them feel. So for me, waking up late was my best because when 
I sleep in, I feel SO rested, and it makes me very happy!

The lemonade stand – This is especially great for the younger children; they LOVE lemonade stands! Make sure you are with 
them the whole time for their safety. Have them prepare the 
lemonade, get cups, and make signs. Tell them that they can 
keep half of what they earn and use it for something they want 
for themselves. Have them make a donation with the other half: 
to the local food pantry, a shelter, etc. While the amount of their donation may seem very small, the lesson of giving is what is 
most important. And knowing THEY worked to make money for 
both themselves and for someone less fortunate definitely sends 
self-esteem soaring!

Garage sale – This is a hot ticket for the older children. Have 
the children go through their things and sort out what they have 
grown out of – toys, books, stuffed animals, and clothing. Make 
sure you agree with their sorting, and that you don’t have younger siblings, friends or cousins to pass things down to! Sort through 
your own things as well, as this is another activity that should be 
highly supervised. Find out the local ordinances in your area about advertising for garage sales with signs, and have the kids make 
signs and post them in approved places. You can also advertise 
on Craigslist or your local paper. Tell the kids that from the money 
their items bring in, they can use half to purchase something for themselves or their family, and they can donate the other half to 
a charity of their choice, through the purchase of items for the organization or a monetary donation. Teach them that giving is 
an important family value.

I’ll close with something that our family did together for quite a 
few summers. It was our family goal to go to all 50 states. From 
2000-2008, we toured the country, mostly by car, and saw this wonderful, beautiful land we live in. While laughter and fun was 
almost always present, it is the unscripted, zany moments that 
we all remember most – like the time our hot air balloon, after 
sailing over the beautiful Rocky Mountains, landed in a field 
covered with… well, bull droppings. Or how we rolled over 
something while driving 80 mph on the highway in Texas, and 
in the 100 degree temperature, stood along the side of the road, watching my husband bat the offending item out from under our 
car with my daughter’s crutch. What had we run over? A shop-vac. 
We’ll never figure that one out! I can still visualize the kids’ 
quizzical looks as I snapped a picture of the policeman holding 
the offending vacuum. I wanted to document the event in case 
the car rental agency doubted our story. So make sure you 
spend your summer laughing at the crazy, unpredictable moments 
as well as the planned, fun ones! And enjoy your time together; 
they grow up SO fast!


5 Comments to Summer's Here! Time for a Parenting Reflection!:

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Jamie on Thursday, April 26, 2018 2:02 AM
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Debbie on Thursday, April 26, 2018 3:02 PM
Thank you! on Friday, December 14, 2018 7:49 AM
Therapists have one of the most fulfilling tasks in the world. I say this, because I am someone who has been in a state of total depression. There is a point in my life that I just considered taking my own life. The world I live in is just so painful, and I do not want to be around the people who I live with. These thoughts of mine changed when I met this lovely therapist, Sarah. She helped me get my life back on track.

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