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Category Archives: Family

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.

All about Preparing Teens for Success

Be proactive in discussing life issues with teens. Talking about good education should begin in the pre-teen years. Don’t wait until grade school graduation to talk about high school years. Talk about financial responsibility needs to take place when the first allowance is given out.

Use the dinner table to discuss relevant issues. Do the “what if” game at the dinner table. What if a friend cheats on a test? Would you tell the teacher? What if you found out that a classmate was doing drugs? Who would you inform? What if you were approached for drugs? What should you do?

Why questions are also important. Why is a college education needed in today’s world? Why should you choose a good school? Why is it necessary to work hard to get good grades? Why should you put education and jobs first, followed by marriage, sex, and children?

Provide a safe environment so your teens will feel comfortable confiding in you. Let them know that they are loved, appreciated, and treasured.

Eliminate all drug and alcohol use. Addictive behaviors will make them feel unsafe and will set the background for developing addictive behaviors.

Stress the significance off forming strong positive friendships.

Raise your teen in a faith tradition. Children brought up to believe in God will have the advantage of placing trust in something or someone above and beyond them.

Teaching Kids To Be Responsible

Children feel capable when they have a sense of power, competency and control over their lives, believe that they can handle challenges and that they are able to make a contribution to their environment, and when they feel pride in accomplishment. These things will increase a child’s responsibility.

Not expecting enough or demanding enough of children. By carrying out the “Executive” role, parents can avoid the pitfalls of over-indulgence, help their children to feel good about themselves and learn to be responsible. This includes such things as: setting limits, saying no, holding children accountable, establishing and enforcing rules, setting expectations, encouraging children to give back, in some way assigning chores and making sure they get done setting and following through with consequences.

This needs action. As parents, there are endless things we want to teach our children-how to be thoughtful and caring, how to be creative and innovative, how to be trustworthy and honest, how to be a good listener, and much more.

It’s one thing to try teaching our child responsibility by telling him “You need to be more responsible and pick up after yourself.” It is much easier and more effective to encourage our child to make his bed if we do the same when we wake up. This simply means that we are physically present in our home.

Kids love to help. To them, chores don’t feel like work. Keep up positive vibes by offering specific praises for actions. Children will develop a sense of ownership for any repeated action.

Good Dining Etiquette in Children

What they shouldn’t do

Kids should be taught about what is agreeable on the dinner table right from a young age. Talking or eating loudly is not appropriate. Neither is starting before everyone has settled down or leaving the table abruptly. One shouldn’t talk with their mouths full. It is repulsive to others sitting and the table and there is also a risk of choking. Negative comments about the food like “Yuck!” are highly unsuitable.

What they should do

The kids shouldn’t fidget on the chair and a proper posture must be maintained for better digestion. The usage of napkins should be employed for wiping off food from the face and hands. May I, please and thank you should be used while asking for the salt shaker or the bread basket instead of lunging across the table. Their cutlery skills must be put into practice unless the meal includes designated finger food.

How to administer the rules

Lead by example-If you are distressed about your children picking up bad mealtime practices from their peers, don’t undervalue your influence. The parents should make sure that they themselves follow the norms of what is acceptable and what isn’t. It may sound ridiculously simple, but well-mannered parents have well-mannered kids. Follow simple etiquettes that you would want your child to follow like not getting any electronics to the table or picking your teeth.

Children Safe When Driving

Parents, when they follow these guidelines, drive around confident in the knowledge that their children are secured so that when an accident occurred the harm to them might be none or minimal. Parents who are not secure in this knowledge often reach out to community centers and designated stations to help them properly install the car seat. With the establishment of social media parents can also get information on the best way to buckle up their children via You Tube, Pinterest and yes even Twitter.

With so many resources available to families there are some parents who choice not to buckle up their children. Several times a year there are broadcasts on the importance of securing children when they are passengers in any vehicle. There are various videos on YouTube that show, with the use of dummies, what happens to children when the appropriate precautions are not in place. These simulated videos are very alarming. When you see the dummies fly from the back of the car to the front, or when the dummies in front of the car slams against the dashboard you cannot help but wonder why some parents do not buckle up their children.

Raising Children

Literally, my daughter has three hairbrushes, I was so sick of not being able to locate where she was putting them down every morning that every time I went grocery shopping I’d pick up a new one to save me some time. Did this work though… NO! Three brushes have all gone missing at once at times. Usually finding them stuffed underneath my daughters’ bed, or in the car, as she’s running out the door with it in her hand to do it whilst we travel to and from our destination.

Does this make my daughter unorganised? Maybe, but she’s twelve, and I’m not going to berate her over little things like this. I do remind them often of the importance of time management, and they generally listen when I count down how many minutes we have before we leave the home.

I don’t like to compare my kids either, both my kids are unique and have their own idiosyncrasies, so why do parents compare their kids? Perhaps, it’s because they only know their own children inside and out, and they are comparing what one child did against the other. Whilst I think this is OK during their early development to a certain extent, I truly believe that parents should remember each child comes into the world differently, they are uniquely going to be different throughout life too.

I think that as parents we all do what we know, we aren’t experts on raising kids, but we can be champions for our own children and teach them the confidence, respect and tools to be great members of society when they are older. We shouldn’t get complacent with this gift, our kids are the future, and we need to continue to show them respect, love, confidence, independence, nurture, encouragement, pride, strength, trust, and gratitude as often as possible. This will in turn help them grow up understanding these qualities and being mindful of others in society too.

Kids Share Room Without War

Extra storage with their beds

Storage beds are the wonderful and ingenious combination of extra storage and a roll out bed. This translates to more available space for the children – as the storage drawers can be ‘put away’ instead of taking up additional space in the bedroom. It also has the added benefit of an extra bed – for sleepovers made simple.

Transform one room into two

Simply dividing a shared bedroom with a room divider is a simple and effective way of creating a personal/ individual space for each child. This also means that you won’t have to do serious building alterations, as you can purchase a divider with an interesting and ‘hip’ design. Alternatively, you can also use a large bookcase/ set of shelves, which will grant you even more storage. Of course, you can combine the room divider and bunk bedsconcepts and create enough sleeping space for sleepovers for each kid as well.

Involve the kids

As mentioned before – children need to express their individuality. Allowing each child to give their input on their side of the bedroom will help them to just that. Remember that more often than not – children have their own ‘style’ and aesthetic – and want to add to their room’s theme/ motif. Having two definitive sides of the room will once again avoid sibling rivalry of who’s in who’s space. There are many simple, yet transformative ways of differentiating the bedroom’s sides. Be creative – use interesting paint designs, vinyl prints, wallpaper or even just different color walls on each side with a funky design.