Mend the hurtful moments with your kids
While January and resolutions may go together like a hand and a glove, they’re often broken by February. But how about taking a cue from February’s Valentine theme—and making a promise to yourself purely out of love? In particular, I’m thinking of a promise about being a better parent. We all have moments when we react, or overreact, to our children’s behaviors without thinking about the effect it might have on them. Parents who call their children names such as lazy, careless, clumsy, and stupid, probably don’t realize that their kids often take what they say as gospel. After all, most children think their mothers and fathers know everything, so what their parents say must be true. Literal beings that they are, children may internalize the label they’re given and act accordingly, sometimes for life. Or, they may engage in extreme endeavors just to prove us wrong.
Last July, I interviewed Susan Berger, Executive Director of CASABaltimore and came away with a handful of notes, and a heart full of admiration. In her tiny office in downtown Baltimore, we spoke for an hour and though we could have spent many more hours talking about the important work of this agency, I learned enough to tell you that something quite wonderful happens in Baltimore and across the nation.
Reprinted with Permission
It’s hard enough to get our children to cooperate with us, so how in the world is it possible to teach them anything about volunteering? But volunteering, or “volundearing” as I like to call it, is a matter of giving, and giving is surely a quality we all want our children to develop.
I know a family, (I’ll call them The Givers) where giving is second nature to every member within it. I was recently a guest in their home, and after dinner both children, fifteen-year-old Melina and 13-year-old Andrew, got up from the table, cleared the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen without being asked. Mom Giver saw the look of astonishment on my face, and Dad Giver said, “They’ve never been asked, they’ve never been told.” So how does this happen?
Are bullies bullied by their parents? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services research shows that parents who use harsh physical discipline are modeling bullying behavior. On the other hand, overly permissive parents who are unable to set limits allow their children to do as they want without consequences. The research also revealed that parents’ lack of warmth and involvement also leads to bullying.
August 2010 column
I thank the reader who asked me to write a column about stay-at-home moms. It gives me an opportunity to present what I believe are some common misconceptions.
Mothers who choose to stay home for the explicit purpose of devoting themselves to raising their children deserve recognition.
Are you pregnant? Was it planned? a surprise? Is this baby your second? third? other? So are you nervous? happy? scared? worried? excited? regretful? all of the above? none of the above? Welcome to the CPAs – Conscientious Parents of America.
If you are worrying about the “rightness” of having another child, you are not alone. Here are some of the concerns of other mothers awaiting the birth of their next child:
To make matters worse, Kate and Frank are at odds. He does not approve of Kate “giving in” to Jake’s “manipulations,” but neither does he want Jake to cry it out. At wit’s end, Kate asked me for my thoughts on the matter. I began by telling her that applying modifying techniques that are designed to change a child’s behavior can work, they could bypass the child’s real issue.
“Children need to feel connected with caring adults who will listen and help put their problems into perspective.”
Now focusing on the core issue of Jake’s feeling of helplessness, Kate realizes that sleeping with him is not going to solve the problem.
What do you think about sacrifice as a value to teach your children? If you think about the many ways you have sacrificed for your children, from the minute they were born, (probably even before) think too, how it made you feel. Exhausted? Resentful? Noble? In pregnancy, we sacrifice comfort for morning nausea, heartburn, pressure, backache for the sake of having a child. We sacrifice sleep to feed the baby, we sacrifice real rest by sleeping with an ear tuned to the baby’s cry. Did you feel a sense of “selflessness” in giving of yourself to your children by meeting their needs before your own?