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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Parenting With Reduced Stress

Have daily routine or schedule for your kids to follow. Kids need something constant in their lives and growing up is hard as it is. By choosing a schedule such as when you want them in bed, what time they wake up in the morning or how long they can watch TV, you are setting them up for success. This also helps your children learn at a young age what it’s like to follow an itinerary. It is important that you reward your children’s good behavior. Your children look to you for your approval, so it is important that you let them know when they have behaved well or have exceeded your expectations. This will let your kids know that while bad behavior is punished, good behavior is rewarded. It is important that your children grow up in a loving environment surrounded by family. This makes it imperative that you spend quality time together as a family. There are so many values that kids can’t learn on their own without the presence of supportive family members.

When you must punish your kids, make sure that the punishment is constructive to their well-being. Some parents jump straight to spanking, but apart from the fact that your children will learn to fear you or disrespect you, it doesn’t teach much. For example, if you child came home later than curfew from a friend’s house, don’t allow your child to go to a friend’s house for one week. Constructive punishments always work best and your children will learn much quicker what consequences there are for poorly thought out actions.

It is okay not to know everything about parenting. No parent is perfect and you’re still learning every day. Seek help from an outside source when you feel like things are out of control. Family members or close friends who are parents themselves can help you take control of bad situations.

Talk To Your Kids

Communication is the key to all learning, and if we want our children to be confident, life-long learners, communication skills should begin from the first few seconds of their life.

The sad fact is – we don’t talk to our children enough.

Think back to when your baby was first put into your arms. You did the most natural thing in the world – you spoke to him – communication began.

Unfortunately, for many babies, this important communication stops just as quickly as it begins. Many parents will make the excuse that it seems pointless to talk to someone who doesn’t understand what you are saying.

But the fact is that, that is far from the truth.

You see, from the moment your baby is born he begins to communicate with you.

He cries, which tells you immediately that something is wrong. OK he can’t say exactly what is wrong, but you know by instinct whether he’s hungry, wet, tired, sick, or needs contact with you in the form of a cuddle.

But as well as this verbal communication, they also respond to the sound of your voice. For them this voice very quickly means food, touch and warmth – you’ve noticed how quickly they become calm when you just talk to them, before you even pick them up.

It’s seems obvious then that by talking to your baby, even when he can’t understand the words, is strengthening communication.

Studies have shown that Mums find it easier to talk to their babies that Dads do. They are happier to make and repeat the noises and coos that their babies make. So come on dads, stop thinking about appearing foolish and start taking part in developing these important, early communication skills.

Why is this so important?

Well research has shown that the more words a baby hears from another human being, rather than say, the TV, the earlier they will begin to talk, and the faster their vocabulary will grow. Can you see that you are giving them a much better chance of success?

What’s worrying is that children in families in the lower income bracket, hear about thirty MILLION less words than their counterparts in a higher socio-economic status families. It’s possible that this is due to the lack of availability or use of book sharing – as reading aloud enables your baby to hear and respond to your voice – and more dependence on TV; less one to one communication and greater use of group child care facilities.

So what can we do to give our child the best advantage?

Talk to your baby regularly –

  • Talk about the clothes you’re dressing him in; what you’re preparing for breakfast or lunch; what you see as you’re walking along the street – in fact just a running commentary on daily life.
  • Continue talking as he grows and begin to ask him questions
  • Encourage dad to join in – it doesn’t have to be baby talk – football will work just as well!
  • It’s never too early to read books or talk about the pictures. If you show that you love books, your baby will learn to love them too.
  • Singing and rhyming are a natural way to communicate and most babies and children love music and are calmed by it – that’s why it’s natural to sing them to sleep.
  • If you find that your baby doesn’t respond, please talk to your doctor and have his hearing checked.

Balancing Love with Discipline

LOVE. Of the fundamental requirements, the first– love–is the most important. And it is unique in that there can never be too much. An excess of discipline, can be harmful. But of love, the more the merrier.

The type of love a child needs is the kind that says, “I love you, Joe, not for what you do or don’t do, but just because you’re you.” This is the uncritical kind of love that builds self-confidence, creates a strong self-image, leads to a willingness to try without fear of the consequences of failing. There is no doubt that most parents feel this sort of affection for their children, but don’t know how to express it effectively. Three precepts may prove helpful:

  • Disapprove of what a child does, not of who he is. There is no inconsistency in paddling a child for misbehavior, and then putting your arms around him and telling him what a fine boy he is and how much you love him. Indeed, you bother to discipline only because you love–a concept that children readily perceive.
  • Praise a child more for being than for doing. Parents generally react favorably to a good report card or to a thoughtful act on a child’s part. This is all well and good–as long as these accomplishments are not the child’s major or sole source of praise and love. In fact, a child should receive a greater share of cuddling or praise when he is producing nothing, is daydreaming, or in fact has recently done something that had to be criticized.
  • Communicate your love. It is not enough to feel love; you must make a recipient aware of your feeling. This can be done by a thousand little acts and gestures:

Tucking a child into bed at night, while forbearing to review his misdeeds of the day.

Offering a comforting arm or a lap even though he’s not hurt badly.

Being visibly proud of him when he has given you no earthly reason even to admit that he’s yours.

Perhaps the most elegant way of all to communicate your love is to praise a child out loud to strangers, to relatives, to your mate, in the child’s presence.

DISCIPLINE. Discipline is important simply because we live in an organized society where, if you have not learned life’s requirements at an early age, you will be taught them later, not by those whose love tempers the lesson but by strangers who couldn’t care less about the harm they do to your personality.

“Discipline” and “punishment” are not synonymous. Punishment suggests hurting, paying someone back for a wrong committed. Discipline implies an action directed toward a goal. You discipline with the intention of helping the recipient to improve himself.

The basic rules of discipline apply equally to any teaching situation.

Establish authority. The first step in the discipline of a child must be the lesson that his parents are correct, and are to be trusted and obeyed at all times.

Now, don’t panic, Mom and Dad. Though you may know very well that you are not absolute authorities, you must assume the ‘disguise’ of authority. Here is the key: an authority is only a fellow who knows more about a subject than the person he is addressing. Therefore, until the pupil’s confidence in the discipliner is established, the subject must always be chosen so that the teacher can prove his point if challenged. The child is not scolded, not reasoned with, not nagged, not punished. He is simply ‘made’ to comply! The spoken command coincides with physical enforcement. The creeper headed for the lamp cord is called back only as he is being bodily carried back. The toddler is summoned to lunch only as his mother grasps his hand and leads him to the table.

Thus, by concentrating early discipline on lessons which can be promptly backed up by physical means, the parent begins to establish infallibility as an authority. And the converse must also be observed: Avoid disciplining in matters which you cannot enforce. For example, it is unwise to instruct a young child to “Eat your food,” “Go to sleep,” “Stop that crying,” because you cannot possibly enforce the lesson.

Be consistent. Unpredictable discipline on the part of a single parent, or inconsistency between parents, produces a sense of confusion and panic within the child, so that he ultimately says, “The heck with it,” and gives up trying to follow ‘any’ teaching. Thus parents who constantly disagree about how to teach their children had best compromise their differences–or match their child’s college fund with a child-psychiatrist fund. The same is true of “well-meaning” outside persons– grandparents, older siblings, servants–who are equally capable of disrupting discipline. Parents must decide early whether their first allegiance is to the child or to the outsider, however closely related.

Criticize the action, not the child. There is a mountain of difference between “You are a bad boy for kicking me in the shins,” and “Kicking me in the shins is bad, and I won’t tolerate it.” If this seems like hairsplitting, let me emphasize that this difference represents one of the major mistakes that parents make in raising children. It is relatively harmless to attack another person’s actions; after all, these he can always learn to change. But it is disastrous to attack his self-esteem.

Don’t explain or bribe. Much nonsense has gone into the myth that one should explain to a child as one disciplines. The familiar refrain–“Anita, come in for dinner.” “Why?” “Because I say to.”–may seem hard for the child to accept. But–“Anita, come in for dinner.” “Why?” “Because I want to get dinner over with and go to a show.”–is terrifying. It thrusts upon Anita the burden of deciding whether it is more important to play or to consider the happiness of her mother. And she does not yet have the knowledge to make a valid decision. Such “explanations” should come only after Anita has long since mastered the fact that when Mother calls her, she had better come.

Bribery is equally dangerous. When you say, “Bob, I am proud of the way you behaved in front of Aunt Agatha today,” you are rewarding Bob. When you say, “Bob, ‘if’ you behave well in front of Aunt Agatha today, I’ll be proud of you,” you are offering a bribe. The first is legitimate; the latter, destructive. For a bribe, like an explanation, thrusts upon the child the necessity of choosing.

Protecting Our Children

The increase in confusion we now accept as normal may be traced back to World War II when women entered the workforce out of necessity. The men left to fight the war and women were empowered by the opportunity to become meaningful wage earners. It was almost patriotic to do so. The family unit began to change. Initially, the grandparents assumed the duties of the missing parents; there was not a noticeable difference. Then something else occurred.

The men returned when the war was over; America had moved fully into being an industrialized nation with a well-trained workforce of both genders. Women discovered they enjoyed earning an income that contributed to the family in a big way, even allowing them to leave bad relationships and become fully independent. It was progress at its finest. This same progress permitted the family to employ caregivers or utilize something new called ‘day care’. Grandma and Grandpa went home to enjoy their retirement; there was not a great deal of time left to spend as a family unit as this new way of life was developed.

Technology began to move quickly; food preparation changed in a vast way. Gardens and home canned food gave way to processed canned and frozen foods and the infamous ‘fast food’ made its debut. Progress was unleashed on the American family.

The value of the earlier generation was the roots and the memories it held. They contained the expectations within the fabric of the family and the knowledge of who the family was and who it was expected to become based on those values. When children were angry with or confused about their parents and their life grandparents stepped in to remind them of what was right and wrong and who they were. They felt free to do so; they had always been a part of their lives and believed their input was valuable. As the influx of income entered the family units in America more and more single parent families evolved. This combined with a vast increase of two parent working families. Both contributed to a change in the way family life was interpreted. Grandparents no longer lived within the family home, nor were they included at the same level as before. This ‘progress’ combined with the ease of meal preparations and gardening permitted parents the freedom to bypass those age-old lessons along with the work required to complete the projects. Extra hands were necessary and welcomed in the past.

Children no longer were encouraged to bond with grandparents or necessarily seek their advice. Things were done differently in the name of progress and enlightenment. The children began to lose their way, many having no idea of where they really came from, who preceded them in their lineage or what they could or should expect from those contributions. Natural born talents had to be discovered alone. Pride in who they were could not be developed; they had no idea. The result was educators and their peers assumed the grandparents position in life and taught our children what they believed they should become. Should we really wonder why the family unit no longer looks the same? Or how someone in our family could be led into something we may imagine is harmful or reprehensible? The grandparents who would remind them that they are not that kind of people have faded in importance in their lives. Now we have three generations of people who never had the opportunity to learn the good old-fashioned lessons about who they and their families have always been.