All Articles Tagged "kids"
Sometimes I feel like we live in a world where people never have enough. I know not everyone subscribes to this “I need more” philosophy, but it sure can feel like more people are jumping on that bandwagon than we want to admit.
Now it’s not just the wanting more that concerns me, but it’s the desire to have more without thinking about others. There seems to be this trend of people looking out for themselves, not terribly concerned about what happens to anyone else along the way.
So, with this negativity in the air, how do we raise kids who truly understand the importance of thoughtfulness? How do we raise children who know how and when to put the needs and feelings of others before their own?
I think parenting is pretty challenging and figuring out how to raise well balance, happy kids who move through the world with confidence while realizing things don’t revolve around them is pretty tough.
We want our kids to have the best in life, and in an effort to give them what we didn’t have, we sometimes give them too much. I am guilty of this myself. We’ve had Christmas mornings where it looked like Santa’s sleigh crashed into our family room. And although many of the gifts were from family members, it’s still a bit much.
So how do we give our kids the best while still making sure they are thoughtful human beings? Here are a few tips.
Focus on giving at an early age.
It’s never too early to show your kids how important it is to give. You can start with practicing something simple like donating several times a year and explaining why it’s so important. As they get older, expand and get your kids involved with other opportunities to give to others. Whether it’s volunteering at a senior center, or creating care packages to send overseas to our troops, let them get involved with things that are age appropriate. The habit will become a part of who they are and it will guide how they live.
Let your kids go without sometimes.
I know you want to give your kids everything they want because you love them so much and they are so darn cute, but resist the urge. Sometimes your kids need to hear no. It isn’t mean and it teaches them that things work out just fine when you don’t get what want. It also teaches them to appreciate what they already have—especially since some people don’t have as much as they do.
Read books that highlight thoughtfulness.
There are great children’s books about sharing, caring, considering the needs of others, and giving. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to focus on giving. Make it a habit to read books like this with your kids year-round, and take the time to ask and answer questions they may have.
Have your kids practice gratitude and caring.
Being grateful is something you should teach kids when they are young. Through prayer, journaling, behaviors, and attitudes, show your kids everyday how important it is to be grateful for all of their blessings. Also, place a focus on caring for things. Give your kids chores to do. Have them take responsibility for a pet. These little things help kids develop thoughtfulness because it gives them responsibility and allows them to see how important it is to help others.
Be a strong example.
I just don’t see how you can raise really thoughtful kids if you refuse to practice thoughtfulness yourself. Makes sense, right? So, despite how crazy our days can be (and I know they can be crazy), we have to make time to show by example how important it is to be thoughtful. Your kids admire you so leading by example is always a great idea.
Martine Foreman is a life + relationship coach, freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and speaker. To learn more about her work and get great tips on how to create a life you love, check her out at CandidBelle.
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. Leran 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 aka 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. Her website is michelekambolis.com
I feel fortunate and blessed to have hit the streets and marched in the name of the countless victims of police brutality this week. New York City was just one of scores of cities around the nation protesting peacefully, yet outraged at the senseless murder of people at the hands of the police. People of all races, ages, colors, creeds and backgrounds convened in solidarity. It was a wonderful sight.
There weren’t a lot of kids out there though. I wondered why.
Back in the day, I’ll never forget my mother telling me of stories about my grandmother. My grandmother, Mama ‘Cille, would not allow my mom or her other siblings to participate in any marches/rallies/boycotts back in the Civil Rights Movement. Back then, the cops were spraying high-pressure hoses on Black people, pummeling peaceful protesters and straight up killing folks. Kids were there too and were an integral part of the movement.
So, why didn’t I see many children at the rally? Honestly, I’m not sure. I have some theories.
I think that many of us remain somewhat conflicted, like when to tell a kid there is no Tooth Fairy. In normal propaganda, kids are ingrained with the notion that cops are the good guys and they protect and serve the people. Even in New York, a city with a legacy of police brutality, this remains. I’ll never forget seeing a police officer at a rally on Malcolm X Day in Harlem. His face, beet-red, visually evoked a “headbussa” to the protestors. However, after things died down, I saw the same cop playing with a little Black boy, who seemed fascinated with Mr. Officer.
My distrust of police has never been higher and back in the day, I used to have my encounters with them over minor matters – like being young and Black. I am trying to figure out how to tell my daughter – like with the Tooth Fairy – that what she may have learned on “Sesame Street,” doesn’t exist. That is not to say that there are no good cops. I know some good cops. Unfortunately, the idyllic life that we desire for our kids doesn’t allow for trust. Trusting can get you beaten, or killed.
Historically, children were a vital part in the struggle for equal rights and perhaps this is why Black people haven’t moved the ball forward more. Somewhere in the 70’s and 80’s a middle class developed and a few crumbs derailed us mentally, in my opinion. The average age of a member of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense was 19-year-old (other reports say the average age dipped as low as 16.). Go figure. At the rally in NYC, which traversed from Union Square (14th Street) all the way to Times Square (42nd Street) was lead by young people. They didn’t appear to be teenagers, but they were highly-motivated and fired up.
The next rally, I’m taking my daughter with me. She’s far more aware than I was coming up. She notes when a police officer turns on her/his flashers just to run a red light, for example. She sees these as minor daily injustices. She knows police are supposed to follow rules too. She already knows, that the Tooth Fairy, is a figment of adult’s imagination. So why pretend with police in Mayberry, U.S.A. exist? In an era where it feels like Black people should adopt the Target department store logo? Nope.
It’s time to have that talk, then that walk.
For more, please read: “15 Ways To Help Destroy Police Brutality”
By Bob Alaburta
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.
Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared at YourTango.com
The time’s going to come along eventually when you start wondering if you should date as a single mom. We single moms, we’re a pretty over-analytical, cautious, self-doubting bunch of guilt sponges so the decision to date usually takes a lot of thought. But that’s okay because it prepares us for all the planning necessary once we do start dating.
Should you date as a single mom? Probably eventually. Should you do it now? Here are 4 things to think about.
1. Are you ready?
Are you free and clear of feelings for your ex or are you still in the healing process? Yes, dating again can help you heal but it should come toward the end of the journey, not the beginning. We’re not just talking about love-y feelings but also anger, resentment, jealousy and 706 other possible remnants.
You don’t have to wait until you’re free of every single emotion related to your past relationship but you should wait until you’re free of the ones that might have an undue influence on your choices.
2. Are your kids ready?
Even if your kids have never met their father, they may not be ready to share you with someone else yet. While they shouldn’t be allowed to dictate whether you start dating, they should be allowed to prepare for when you start dating.
It’s a good idea to explain in age-appropriate ways that you are thinking about going out and meeting new people. Help little ones understand that adults need adult company just like they need their friends, no matter how much they enjoy spending time with you.
With older kids, especially those who are close to their fathers, be sure to give them opportunities to say what they feel respectfully but honestly.
Really listen to your kids and then decide if this is the right time or if you should wait a bit.
3. Is the guy ready?
If you have a certain guy in mind, you need to pre-qualify him. A lot of guys don’t understand that dating a single mom isn’t quite the same as dating a woman without children.
Does he understand you can’t drop everything to head out on a last-minute date? Does he understand (and like) that your kids will always come first? Is he okay with the fact that he doesn’t have to date your kids but he does have to meet them…or is he hoping to pretend you’re unencumbered?
Sometimes dating a single dad is a great way to pre-qualify someone in this regard, but don’t limit yourself to single parents and don’t assume that all single dads are close to perfect, either.
4. Do you even have time?
Sure, you’re just talking about occasional drinks or dinner out but even casual dating sucks up a lot of time. Once you make the plans, find the babysitter, try on seventeen outfits, shave, and then actually have the date, you’re talking about hours invested.
You remember how dating works, right? Usually before you find a good guy, you have to wade through the weenie, ditch the mama’s boy, and nod off listening to the narcissist. That’s three dates right there before you actually find someone relatively decent.
Or hey…..you could hit the jackpot the first time out. You never know.
But take a look at everything you’re juggling, all the sleep you’re not getting, and all the things that are on your to-do list and make a conscious decision about whether you actually have room in your life right now or if dating would just be another stressor.
If all of these questions can be answered with a resounding “yes,” then maybe, just maybe, you’re ready to date as a single mom.
Reprinted with permission. Originally appeared on Your Tango
Not too long ago, the wisdom was that it was better for a mother to listen to her biological clock sooner rather than later. But times have changed. With different advancements happening and many women having healthy children as they get older, shutting those beliefs down, the number of women having children in their late 30s and 40s is higher than ever. More and more women are taking advantage of having more time.
As things change, we’re all finding out more about motherhood than we knew before. And we’ve discovered that there are actually many benefits to being an older mother. From health benefits for mom, to an education jump-start for the kids, here are a few reasons why putting motherhood off until a little later is becoming more of an attractive option for women.
How are you spending quality time with the kids this summer?
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”?