September 2008 Archives
Wonder why your kid looks annoyed when you say the wrong thing? What was it that I said, exactly, that pissed you off? As one mom told me, "I feel like if I swallow the wrong way, I get eye rolls." We're confused and sometimes feel completely incompetent parenting our teens. So what better place to get advice (this week on how to stay close) but from teens themselves. I'm starting a weekly blog entry that gives parents advice from teenagers. How it works: I pose a question to the group of teens on matters important to us puzzled parents of teens. Their names are kept anonymous. The question I asked this week: What advice do you have for parents of teens about how to stay close with their teenage kid? What do parents sometimes do (in a well-meaning attempt to stay close to their teen) that actually does the opposite (shuts you down, makes you annoyed).
Why don't more women run for office? Both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have faced sexist judgment that would send any reasonable woman running from the limelight. If that's not enough of a barrier, according to new research from the Brookings Institute, "Women are less likely than men to have the freedom to reconcile work and family obligations with a political career." The Institute also reports compelling evidence that, "...women, even in the highest tiers of professional accomplishment, are substantially less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to seek elected office." The road ahead in terms of gender parity and an inclusive electoral process in the U.S. demands that we get past the judgment toward mothers who pursue political careers. Critically analyze the issues please! That's fair game. But accusations about whether a mother running for elected office makes you a good mom or bad mom widens the ambition gap. That's not good for democracy.
I'm sick and tired of the faux lipstick on a pig Palin controversy. I've been doing a bunch of radio interviews and repeatedly get asked about whether Palin can be a good "parent leader" and run for VP. Let's decide whether she can be a good VP (focus on your own parent/work choices) by refocusing on issues: Palin is pro-life, disbelieves global warming, opposes stem cell research, believes the Iraq War is a "task from god" http://www.washingtonpost.com, opposes gun control, approves abstinence-only programs, supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. Do you really care how one family will be affected by one mother's choice to pursue an ambitious career? It's Governor Palin's stand on issues that could affect your life.
This morning I met with one of my favorite management teams. I've watched them do the most amazing soul-searching in order to shift from a conflict-charged, distrustful group to a cohesive and respectful team. At their meeting today, they discussed the low staff morale in their organization. One manager said she feels like they're bad parents with out-of-control kids. By not taking bold action, she worried that they're failing to protect the good performers. The disrespectful employees, they all agreed, are poisoning the family. What lessons can parents take from the workplace home? When the climate at home has gone beyond the usual sibling squabbles and disrespectful behavior is more the rule than the exceptional bad-mood-day, it's time to ask some hard questions:
- How are you playing a role in your child's disrespectful behavior?
- How do you demonstrate respect through your everyday behavior?
- What is the cost of not setting clear consequences for disrespectful behavior?
- Have you established crystal clear expectations of what respect looks like, sounds like?
- Have you made clear what behavior gets "zero tolerance?"
Leadership is all about taking action to support compelling goals. We all want to raise respectful kids. The bottom line: show commitment to your parenting goals with action.
With all the controversy and re-ignited Mommy Wars over Palin, I feel compelled to bring up the fact that promotion to top-level jobs and board room involvement for women has not just plateaued but declined! Women are still paid about $.74 to a man's $1.00 in the USA! Catalyst research shows that only 2.6% of Fortune 500 companies CEOs are female; only 6.7% of Fortune 500s top-earners are women; and 14.8% of Fortune 500 board seats are occupied by women. According to Catalyst it will take 73 years for women to achieve board room parity alone. So whether you are for or against Palin, women deserve to choose whether they want to pursue an ambitious career without double standard scrutiny and with equal pay. Mommy Wars should be over access to healthcare, affordable childcare, and equal pay for the same work as men, not over whether a mom should pursue an ambitious career or not.