All Articles Tagged "kids"
Should your boyfriend discipline your kids? “Hell, no!” says my aunt, commenting about a recent article I wrote. Never one to hold back her opinion, she tells me that it reminds her of women who let their kids call their boyfriends ‘daddy.’ “If that ain’t your real dad, don’t call him that,” she says, adding that she’s seen women with so many boyfriends/daddies that the kids don’t know who their real father is. She’s got a point. You can’t just give that title away.
Feeling super chatty and thoughtful this particular evening, we try to come up with reasons as to why some women do it. She says that it probably feeds a mom’s desperation to have a ‘family.’
If the kid starts calling the boyfriend dad, maybe he’ll start acting like one. I speculate that the mom doesn’t want to break the kid’s heart by saying, “That’s not your father!” especially, if the real dad isn’t around. I mean, what kid doesn’t want a daddy?
It’s tricky for me because I never had a daddy. I mean, I did have a man whose sperm helped create me, but we only saw each other a few times a year, and I only called him by his first name. Daddy? No way. That title is special.
But still, we can’t say that it’s never appropriate for a boyfriend, can we? I decided to get off the phone with my aunt and go directly to a source, the daughter of my BFF. She’s in her mid-twenties and has a two-year-old son that calls her boyfriend daddy. I was curious to see what she had to say.
“I never told my son to call my boyfriend daddy, he just started doing it,” explains T. “Da-Da was the first words out of his mouth.”
Okay, but what about his father?
That’s a long story that has to be made short. Basically, she met her son’s father while broken up with her boyfriend of 10 years. The friendship quickly turned sexual, and before she could figure out that he wasn’t about sh*t, she was already pregnant with his eighth kid.
From there, things fell completely apart.
“Give her some Doritos, too. Don’t be a hog,” a mother told her teenage son on the train, pointing to her daughter that couldn’t have been any older than six. “Pass her Doritos?” I thought to myself. “Naw, she definitely needs to chill on that.”
This dialogue happened nearly six months ago, and it’s still heavy on my mind. Why do parents feed their kids junk food? Seriously?
As a kid, my mother wasn’t strict about what I ate but everything I digested was of good quality. There was no dark soda (just Sprite sparingly), no super-sugary treats drenched in high fructose corn syrup or pork allowed. Every now and then I would indulge in something sweet, but even well into December I’d have candy still left over from Halloween that would remain untouched and then ultimately thrown away. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I never was sugar crazy. Even today, the only candy I ever pick up when I’m craving something sweet is a pack of Sour Patch Kids.
As a kid I didn’t understand why exactly my mom didn’t allow me to eat certain things, but as I got older I started to understand importance of what I was putting in my body and how it directly affected my health. So, when I saw that mother willingly giving her child a bag of Doritos I couldn’t understand why she would start a deadly cycle of incorporating junk food into her child’s diet that can be addictive. Sure, the occasional treat is acceptable by all means, but if the young girl happens to be consuming them in large quantities or on a daily basis, there’s trouble on the horizon.
“Health experts say diets of children in the United States have deteriorated dramatically over the past two generations, leading to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which put children at risk for other diseases and shorter lives,” Live Science reports.
Eileen Kennedy, a pediatric psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, also chimed in on the topic of parents feeding kids junking, explaining that those that have poor eating habits early in life are usually attracted to those certain foods because they learned “at home and at school that they are OK to eat.”
In no way am I saying that parents are being bad caretakers by giving their children junk food, but with 17% of all kids and teens being obese, which is triple the rate of one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, something has to wake people up.
I also understand that a lot of this has to do convenience, money and lack of meal planning. So, sometimes a quick stop to McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit may seem harmful but the long-term effects if such behavior is continued can be life threatening.
What are your thoughts? Do you allow your kids to eat junk food on a regular basis? If so, why?
If you’ve ever foreseen your future with a house, a husband and a brood of kids, could you remove the latter from the equation if the man you were in love with didn’t want them? Do you think you could find fulfillment in your partner alone?
I’ve spoken briefly about this topic in the past, and it came up again when I heard a young woman speaking on the fact that the man she loves doesn’t want to have children. She was responding to a question posted to her, of whether or not she could really be okay with not having kids–something she’d stated that she wanted before. Her answer?
“I’ll be fine. At the end of the day, I’d rather have him than kids.”
That made me a little sad, especially since it sounded like she was giving up on something she really wanted to keep her partner around.
However, I don’t know her for real, and I’m not in her situation. But it did make me wonder what I would do in such a situation. If I felt as though I had found the love of my life, could I go without something that I once felt was so integral to my future for him. Could you?
For me, personally, I don’t think I could do it. While it would be painful, I could leave a relationship and find someone who would want the same things. But if I chose the relationship and he was adamant that he didn’t want the same things I would want down the line, I would probably hold on to that regret. I definitely think that denying yourself certain important things is something that will just come back to haunt you if you compromised and your partner didn’t. If it’s something you really want, it will be on your mind until you make it happen.
We rarely come into relationships on the same page, wanting the exact same things. And yes, people can grow and have a change of heart, meaning that your partner knowing children is something you want could motivate him to be open to the idea. But waiting around and hoping that the man in your life will feel the same way that you do about something so major sounds like a recipe for a great amount of time wasted.
At the end of the day, it’s good when a man is upfront and honest about the things he does and doesn’t see for himself because that way you know what you’re getting yourself into. You can’t get mad at anyone but yourself if you knowingly go into a relationship with someone who doesn’t want kids, and then you get upset at the reality of it all. But a compromise would be nice. Because the idea of either having to conform to what he wants or go without him sounds like an ultimatum and ultimatums, suck.
So, with all that being said, how would you handle a situation like this? If you wanted kids at one point, would you rather have “him” than “them” if the “him” seemed like he could be “The One”?
When someone first finds out they are pregnant they experience a range of emotions from excitement and joy to fear and being anxious. People give you books on pregnancy and the articles you read online are all about the joys of motherhood. But no one tells you the real deal or at least no one told me. If they had, I could of at least mentally prepared myself a little better. Here are five things people never tell you before you have kids.
Sleep Is A Thing Of The Past
Because I have twins I literally haven’t slept in like two years. But even when someone has one child, sleep is non-existent. You go from getting six to eight hours of sleep a night pre-kids to maybe 20 or 30 minutes or if you are very lucky maybe two hours, but it’s still a shock to your system. When they first come home they have to eat every two to three hours, and as they get older the teething starts and that’s a whole other set of non sleeping hours for you because they are in pain, constantly. Then a little cold may come up or some other unpredictable moment. The bottom line is: mentally prepare yourself for no sleep. You have a newborn who sleeps through the night? You’re the exception to the rule.
No Social Life
My social life had slowed down anyways about a year before I had the boys but I didn’t realize I literally wouldn’t talk to the majority of my friends for almost two years. I did have two friends who actually adjusted to the way things were and would occasionally come over, babysit or come with me to the mall to catch up while I pushed the babies in the stroller. I truly appreciated those moments. But other than that, my outings are still only to Target, doctor visits and the park, and it’s ok.
Simple Outings Are Not So Simple
Every time you have to go to the post office or run a few local errands you will feel like you are packing to go on a long trip. Wipes, check! Diapers, check! Pacifier, check! Change of clothes, check! Milk and baby food, check! And the list of things needed to leave the house goes on and on. The good thing is, heading out of the house and all of the gear you’ll need eventually becomes second nature.
You And Your Partner May Not Get Along
Having a baby totally changes the dynamics of a relationship. The baby becomes the focus 24/7 for the first two to three years, at least, and it can put a strain on a marriage. You will both be sleep-deprived which can cause irritability and you may not agree on every decision for the baby. So to avoid some arguments, have some conversations before delivery about how you guys can make an effort to not bite each other’s heads off when the sleep deprivation kicks in. Have a time out where you both pause and take 10 minutes apart before the argument escalates. Taking a deep breath and stepping away may really help and creates a healthy environment for your newborn.
Love Is What Really Gets You Through
Nobody tells you what will help you survive the rocky moments of motherhood. In my opinion, it’s the pure and limitless love you feel for your little one and the love they feel for you that will get you through. There is something so sweet, genuine and comforting about those hugs, kisses, the way they laugh and the eye-gazing between mommy and baby that makes every single experience very worth it.
A few month’s ago, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case. Last Thursday, after a fresh hair wash, and slightly running behind I decided against my better judgment to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.
Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her schools playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself, “wtf?.” Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.” I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.
After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.
While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.
Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.
What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?
Once you reach a certain age, parents can get a little out of hand with the “Where are my grandbabies?” questions, and friends and family start talking about “expanding your family.” Lucky for you, these childless celebrities have the perfect comeback for such pesky questions.
How are you spending quality time with the kids this summer?
Ahhh, summer vacation: a relaxing break from all of the hustle and bustle of the school year, right? Not so much, say most families. These days summer vacation seems to consist of less vacation and more activities designed to keep us busy and on-the-go at all times. But what are the effects of the never-ending packed schedule for both parents and children? Stress!
Michele Kambolis, renowned child and family therapist, speaker, and author of Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety has seen a significant rise in young patients with severe anxiety and points out that parents are also more stressed than their peers. In the article below, she points to five simple ways parents can help their children actually unwind and recharge this summer, relieving them of anxiety-triggers and positioning them for their best, happiest, most successful school year yet.
Now is the time to tackle anxiety issues, before they develop into something deeper and more difficult to treat – and summer break is the perfect time to start.
With school doors closed for summer, parents are left wondering just how to make the most of this precious time. While some pack in sports camps and even summer tutoring, others question whether there should be any plan at all. You’ll easily find experts on both sides of the debate. There simply are no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding that summer balance, but finding ways to unwind and recharge top everyone’s list.
1. LEARN ABOUT MINDFULNESS
A life practice of mindful attention and reflection is hands-down the most powerful tool we have to cultivate a family ecosystem of well-being. It also helps kids relax. When we connect through active, open attention on the present and live mindfully, as a non-judgmental observer, we can access the separation, patience and expansive state of being that supports heart-centered parenting. It is the antidote to anxiety. All it requires is sitting and quieting the mind (which is much easier said than done!). Persuading children to sit in contemplation for any period of time can be a challenge. Here is one trick that might help. Invite kids to sit on an imaginary train. Tell them to close their eyes and turn their internal spotlight on the scenery going by. Notice that the scenery is full of images and thoughts about caring for others. Ask them to do a body scan and notice where in their body they sense feelings of love and kindness.
2. GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY: PLAY
With overscheduling and over-focusing on technology, many children have lost the essential, brain-supporting work of play – and play is indeed their work. They are calling on us to show up from a playful, non-anxious and conscious state of being. There is joy in play; where there is joy, anxiety cannot exist. So get down and speak their native language, where toys are your words and play is your palette. If that’s too hard to authentically pull off, try de-stressing together with animal yoga, building a worry wall with sticky notes, or playing a board game.
3. MOVE TO RELAX
Getting busy with our bodies is one of the most powerful buffers from the harmful impact of stress. Summer is a natural time to get a move on. The surge in feel-good neurochemicals not only boosts our immune system, it helps us to feel less stressed overall. Add the great outdoors to the mix and you will have doubled down on the benefits. Studies show we’re happier and more relaxed when we’re in natural environments than when we are indoors.
4. FIND A FURRY FRIEND
This is summer happiness homework most children will easily buy into: spend some time with a pet. One study by Dognition, an organization founded by Duke University researcher and cognitive scientist Brian Hare, found pet ownership to be strongly connected to increased well-being. Researchers found that the act of petting a dog decreases blood pressure and increases dopamine, prolactin and oxytocin, all hormones associated with happiness and bonding, as well as beta-endorphins, which are associated with relaxation and pain relief. Snuggling a furry friend causes a pleasure surge on a par with finding money, eating chocolate and looking at pictures of smiling babies.
5. DISCOVER DOWN TIME
Unstructured down time is one of the greatest gifts (and challenges) we can offer our kids over the summer. It’s when they discover new passions, talents and learn to structure and regulate themselves. Their imagination flourishes and relaxation comes naturally as they find their authentic voice, un-imposed by adult expectations and agendas. It’s a time when children can be in control, relax and maybe even uncover their dreams.
Summer can and should be a time of meaningful, mindful activity, and of repose and reflection. Finding that balance is the key to a summer that is not only restorative for both kids and parents, but provides long-lasting benefits into the new school year and beyond.
Michele Kambolis (MA) is a registered Child and Family Therapist and Parent Educator and a Registered Clinical Counselor dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues. Kambolis writes a popular weekly parenting advice column, “Parent Traps” for The Vancouver Sun and Postmedia Network chain of newspapers. She is also the author of Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety.
Coming in September: A parent and child webinar covering all kinds of play-based activities designed to increase connection and decrease stress.
Is it ok to ban kids from your wedding?
Sure, letting kids come means more mouths to feed, which leads to a higher wedding bill. And if you’re planning an extravagant affair, it can be tricky — kids around crystal is never a good idea. Plus, sometimes grown-ups just want to be among themselves. But is it really acceptable for couples to say friends and family can’t bring their kids? One writer doesn’t think so.
Chaunie Brunie’s essay for YourTango, “I Have Kids And I Think It’s Selfish To Have An Adult-Only Wedding” has people talking about the topic, and she points out that for many couples, constant summer weddings mean just one thing: lots and lots of babysitters.
“For us, to attend the ceremony and a reception, I’ll easily shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It’s a horrendously expensive date night and I’m sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that’s really asking a lot of your guests with young children,” she wrote.
Brunie says she’s not trying to start a wedding war, but she wants couples to be considerate of their guests who are parents.
“I do think it’s important to recognize that it’s not always easy for parents of very young children to enjoy adult-only weddings when they have to find and pay for a sitter,” she said. “It’s a lot of work! I love attending weddings and just wish sometimes it was more affordable for everyone involved, parents too!”
But at the end of the day, it’s the couple’s call.
What do you think? Have you had a wedding and told parents to leave the kids at home?
Or have you been to a wedding and scrambled to get a sitter?
Not everyone grows up like a kid on The Cosby Show.
Children of single parents grow up seeing a very different example of romantic love than those who grew up in a “normal” household. Namely, none at all.
Growing up with loving parents can fill you with positive examples of how to handle relationships when you’re older. Even having two parents who hate each others’ guts can demonstrate what NOT to do. Either way, it’s a learning experience.
But children of a single parent are left to gain that experience on their own. It’s a lot like taking on a new job with no training: you learn the most in the field, but it’s nice to have a heads up of what to expect.
That’s not to say that children with a single parent are helpless; we just have to learn some things on our own, and overall, we value different qualities in our partner.
1. We value inner strength and perseverance.
Growing up, my mom alternated between working two and three jobs at a time, getting a degree, and raising 3 boys on her own. It was easy to see it wasn’t easy.
She could’ve easily given up at any point but she stuck through it, and my brothers and I only have her to thank for not crumbling under the massive pressure.
In growing up with a strong mother, I greatly admire that trait in others. It shows character and lets you know the other person isn’t just going to give up when things get tough.
2. We’re more independent, so give us room to breathe.
If you’re the child of a single parent and you aren’t in the upper class, you’re probably a “latchkey kid.” That is, you spend a lot of your after-school time unsupervised while your parent is working.
You learn to cook, take care of your things, and otherwise fend for yourself. Years of that independence causes you to grow used to having alone time.
I’ll often feel guilty when my girlfriend helps me with something, because I’m so used to taking care of so many things myself — even though she loves me and is more than happy to lend a hand.
I can’t help it, and I imagine it stems from how guilty I’d feel if my mom came home from working her second job and I’d only created more work for her in the meantime while she was doing her best to provide for us.
So, don’t take it personally if you’re dating a child of a single parent. This is just standard-issue emotional baggage that comes with the territory.
3. We’re heavily influenced by the parent who raised us.
When you have both parents, I imagine you get a more balanced view on dating and life in general. Growing up with a single mom, I disproportionately received the female perspective on a lot of issues.
I feel like that’s caused me to be more keenly aware of women’s needs and emotions in relationships. Possibly to the detriment of knowing my own needs and emotions … it’s impossible to know.
I’d wager that someone growing up with only their dad might have a few more “manly” traits, while maybe not understanding or relating to women as easily. And perhaps a guy raised by his mom might get you more, but may lack in other character traits a father would pass on.
Obviously, everyone is different, and the longer you live the more you can make up for these deficits. But don’t be surprised if a dude with no dad never learned to be chivalrous, or a guy with no mom doesn’t realize “I’m fine” means the polar opposite.
4. We might be a little afraid of commitment.
When you see the effects a broken relationship can have, and live through them, it might make you a little hesitant to commit for fear of making the same mistakes.
If your significant other is a child of a single parent, it should come as no surprise if they aren’t gung-ho about marriage or kids. They don’t want to cause the same home situation for someone else that they had themselves.
It’s not that they’re anti-commitment, it’s just that it might take them a lot longer to warm up to the idea. Patience is a virtue.
5. We’re strong enough to handle it, so you can lean on us.
Having no parent around a lot of the time when you’re young means having to grow up a little quicker. It’s not easy, but those tribulations give you strength. And what’s the point of strength if you don’t put it to use?
Don’t be afraid to turn to your single parent partner if you need to. They can take it, and you’ll have someone you know you can count on when times are tough.
We’re all a product of how we grew up. Use that knowledge to better understand your partner, and it can only improve your relationship.
Originally appeared at YourTango.com