Thursday, November 11, 2010


Family relationships expert Randy Rolfe recommends a good night’s sleep, for kids AND their parents! In the busy world we live in, trying to make ends meet, trying to please everyone - at work, at home, and even voices from the media - trying to fit everything in every day, and trying to give our children every advantage, we forget that we all need to stop and sleep, every day, for 7-8 hours!

Yet it is amazing how many problems getting a regular good night’s sleep can solve – with no effort on your part except to take the time to do it! Problems as diverse as attention deficit issues, frequent infections, sassy backtalk, anxiety, depression, poor appetite, sugar cravings, recurrent pain or injuries, and skin problems, can all be addressed with better sleep habits!

All living creatures require time for the reactive, responsive functions of the body to quit for a while and let the unconscious functions do the repair, cleansing, rebuilding, and processing necessary so that our bodies can address the events of the next waking period. Just think how often your dog or cat or bird sleeps! It's no accident that they are friendly and there for you when they are awake.

Children and their parents are no different. It is during the 4-5 hour period of deep sleep which occurs during an uninterrupted night, that the immune system rebuilds itself, the brain processes all the disparate information that came in during the day, the memory sorts what needs to be learned and stores it appropriately, the muscles relax and rebalance, and the digestion cleans itself for the next nourishing activity. It's the only time when true rejuevenation happens. Why miss out on any of that?

Yet half of American adults in official surveys say they don’t get a good night’s sleep. And the majority of college students admit to falling asleep in class at least once in the past week! And children, without knowing the consequences, are staying up to play video games, look at silly photos, or text their friends. No wonder they are hard to wake up in the morning, miss a lot during their morning classes at school, and want sugary snacks to keep them going!

A much neglected key to a better life is to create good sleeping habits. Kids thrive on healthy sleep routines and so do we. Sleep is one of the Basic Needs described in Randy Rolfe's books, You Can Postpone Anything but Love and The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, as well as The Four Temperaments.

Randy's Take Home tips. Stop eating 2 hours before bed, turn off all electronics 20 minutes before bed, make sure the bed is compfortable and supportive, and get in bed at least 8-1/2 hours before you have to do something in the morning. Then be sure to have some nourishment in the morning before starting your day – including some form of protein (like whole grain cereal, yogurt, almonds, cheese, eggs, or even left-over bean salad). This routine can truly change your life. It can dramatically improve your relationships and give your children a better school and life experience.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When Your Teen Won't Talk

When your teen won't talk, Randy Rolfe, parenting expert, asserts that they are either too busy, tired, hungry, thirsty, or afraid. First do your best to see the basic physical needs are being addressed. Then consider if they could be, from past experience, afraid you won't listen or you will judge them or lecture them. The quickest way to overcome the impass is to ask absolutely nothing of them. Instead propose you do something together which they will enjoy. Randy had a client whose 20 year old son had left his father to live with his mother and didn't want to talk with her at all - just hoped the rules would be more lenient than with dad, which they were. She did lots of nice things to please him like making breakfast, washing clothes, being quiet while he was studying. But no conversation was forthcoming. At Randy's suggestion, she invited him to go out for a meal and then a movie. He baulked at first, but she insisted she just wanted to spend some time with him since soon he would be off on his own. She suggested he pick the restaurant and the movie, which he did. She did not inquire about anything in his life, just spoke about what they were experiencing together there and then at dinner and the movie. She reported that it was very pleasant, but he still wasn't forthcoming at that time. But then the next day, he sat down for breakfast, thanked her for preparing it, and asked her advice about something at college! She was astounded and delighted. Their relationship was easier from then on.

Randy's book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents has many useful illustrations like this one.

Randy's take home tip. Parents need to remember that just being there, especially on the teen's terms, is the most powerful expression of your acceptance of them just as they are. When they feel that support, they are empowered to become more!