Monday, August 28, 2006

10 Questions for Brenda Nixon

10 Questions for Brenda Nixon

1. Tricia: I've purchased numerous copies of Parenting Power to pass out to other moms, especially the young moms I mentor. Why did you decide to write this book?

Brenda: As a new mom, some days I felt as stupid as a doorknob. I remember wanting to feel confident in the decisions I was making with my children and I craved advice that respected me and didn't make me feel more stupid. Back then, there weren't many parenting resources available. More recently, as a speaker to parent and childcare provider audiences, I realized the demand for solid information and encouragement continues. So I gathered many of the favorite columns I'd written for a parenting magazine and put them together in my book Parenting Power in the Early Years. It is designed as a short, easy read for busy parents and empowers them with education and encouragement.

2. Tricia: You also speak at numerous events. What is the #1 parenting question you're asked most often?

Brenda: Probably the most frequent question is about discipline: tantrums, biting, getting kids to mind, teaching responsibility, etc. Since discipline is ongoing - parents must work at it daily - it seems to be the issue at the front of everyone's mind. Most parents really want to be balanced, neither too lenient nor too strict, and that takes a lot of energy. This is why I now offer a free Daily Discipline Tip service to subscribers. If anyone wants to receive a thought or reminder to help in her daily encounters with kids, she can subscribe at my site www.brendanixon.com.

3. Tricia: So many parents are overwhelmed with trying to raise confident kids in an overwhelming world. What bit of advice can you offer?

Brenda: Parenting is a 24/7 job with no pay raises, vacations, nor bonuses, so it easy to feel overwhelmed trying to do a good job. I encourage parents to embrace their sacred and enormous task without trying to do everything else; being in clubs, community events, extra sports, travel, etc. Spend time with the kids while they're at home and under your influence. I often remind parents, "You can have it all, just not all at once." Say "No" to outside obligations right now if you have children living in the home. Relax, enjoy, and parent your kids - that is an honorable career in itself. When your kids see that you truly want to be with them, they will grow up feeling worthy and confident in this overwhelming world.

4. Tricia: You have worked with numerous children, in addition to raising your own, what gives you the most joy when it comes to working with kids?

Brenda: Their innocence and zest for life! I've taught preschool, been a substitute teacher in the public schools, and volunteer in our church nursery. It's refreshing to look into the bright eyes of eager children, to answer their naive questions, and provide comfort and guidance. Kids live in the here and now and their enthusiasm is contagious to me.

5. Tricia: One thing parents (mothers especially) struggle with is comparing themselves to other moms. What advice can you give for this?

Brenda: Oh yes, I've fallen in this trap a time or two. My only piece of advice is to remember, comparison is the root of all unhappiness.

6. Tricia: When did you decide you wanted to write for publications? What encouragement can you offer to mothers who have their own dreams?

Brenda: There's a marriage between speaking and writing. I began, and continue, as a professional speaker. But, not long into my speaking profession, audiences began asking me if I had a book. I soon realized if I wrote articles and books I could leave them with something that extended beyond the platform. Although I wrote Parenting Power in the Early Years to empower early childhood parents, I also write magazine articles for parents of all age kids and contribute to other books. Statistically, more people read magazines than books, so if I want to reach a larger audience I'll write a magazine article. While writing a book is prestigious, it's also extremely costly - in energy, time, money, frustration, and publicity. Whereas a magazine article is written from the comfort of my office, emailed to the editor, and published. I receive payment without the costly energy, time, money, frustration, and publicity investment demanded from book writing.

For moms with their own dreams, don't give up! You may have to put them on simmer for a while, but come back when your children are involved in their own lives and friends. For some that may be during their children's elementary years. I began speaking professionally and then writing when my younger daughter was almost in middle school and my older one was a teenager. I never regret having spent those precious, influential years with them making memories and cementing our relationship. Now that they're older, they understand and respect my passion and profession. In fact, they and my husband are my biggest cheerleaders. Even if you think you're getting old too fast, take heart. You can do what you want in later life! To electrify your dreams, read, Defying Gravity by Prill Boyle.

7. Tricia: You are a dynamic speaker. Most people are fearful of standing before a group of people, yet throughout our lives we find ourselves in need of this skill. What is one piece of advice you can offer (beyond imagining the crowd naked)?

Brenda: Hmm, good question. I don't have a once-size-fits-all answer, but I encourage people to know more than they share. When you stand in front of a group and are thoroughly knowledgeable of your subject, that will translate into authoritative, confident speaking skills. 8. What were your favorite books as a child? I didn't have favorite books. Although my parents had books and encyclopedias for us, I didn't read much and entered my first public library as a teenager. But, I do remember one familiar book, Grimes Brothers Fairy Tales and in school I read, The First Woman Doctor, a biography of Elizabeth Blackwell. That one sits on a shelf in my office today and maybe it was that woman's tenacity that influenced me to pursue an unusual profession.

9. Tricia: What are your new favorite children's books you'd recommend to parents?

Brenda: "Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?" by Nancy White Carlstrom and You are Special, by Max Lucado. For parents to read, I recommend The First Three Years of Life, by Dr. Burton White Kids Who Carry Our Pain, by Drs. Robert Hemfelt and Paul Warren, Different Children Different Needs, by Charles F. Boyd, and anything by pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton.

10. Tricia: Barbies or legos?

Brenda: I'm a Barbie babe.

Brenda Nixon
M.A. Parenting Author, Expert, Speaker
FREE discipline tips for anyone who lives/works with kids at www.brendanixon.com

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