Friday, May 22, 2009

Making Your Child Your Best Friend

Question. How do we characterize the relationship that most parents have with their children in human terms? Are they friends, acquaintances, enemies, or perhaps virtual strangers, living together in the same household? I'd suggest that we don't commonly consider children to be worthy of friendship.

It should be a reasonable question to ask why it is that so many parents feel that children are the only segment of humanity that is worthy of being generally treated in a disrespectful and demeaning manner. Perhaps part of the problem stems from parents taking advantage of the fact that kids are so quick to forgive a parent for treating them in crass, insensitive ways.... many kids even come to feel deserving of being treated as lesser beings who represent a lesser value in this world. I'd like to have a dollar for every time I've seen a parent cordially smiling at an adult, suddenly turn to snarl at their child for whatever reason, then turn back to the adult again with a warm friendly smile as if they had just suffered a Schizophrenic episodic break from reality.

We don't threaten our friends with violence to get our own way, or glare menacingly at them as a warning of impending violence as a means of intimidation. We take care not to dismiss what our friends have to say. It's very rude to do so. We don't physically punish friends to correct their undesired behavior, or to gain a measure of retribution for having offended us. And we don't hit our friends as a display of our caring, or as a means of getting them to do what we want them to do.

Some might say that, unlike the parent-child relationship, one is not responsible for the welfare of friends. I would disagree. Others might say that while children need discipline, friends do not. Not true. In establishing successful relationships we define the parameters of what behaviors are acceptable to us. In doing so, we discipline (teach) the other person as to how the relationship might succeed. For example, we verbally correct the other person when they engage in behavior that is unacceptable to us. Others yet might argue that a student-teacher relationship cannot involve friendship. Again, I would disagree. Many successful friendships involve one party taking a leadership role in the relationship.

The level of esteem (respect) in which we are willing to hold another depends on how we view that other person. If we are of a mind that the other person is not worthy of our consideration or esteem, we either avoid them, or treat them rudely. I think everyone would have to agree that kids are much more prone to being treated rudely than adults. As a matter of fact, most of us would probably be hard-put to remember the last time we heard an adult refer to a child as having been treated are rarely afforded such considerations.

It seems to me that parents should strive to be the best of friends with their children because parents are in a position to be the most important friend their children would ever have. In friendship, a parent serves in the role of a trusted, supportive confidant who possesses a great deal of wisdom to share and impart about the more important aspects of everyday life. It's a tragedy to me that so many parents emotionally drive their children away because they are under the misguided illusion that they at times need to treat their children as adversaries. We adults are quick to lose trust, become closed-off emotionally, and are less apt to communicate openly with a friend who would hit us, or otherwise treat us in ways that clearly indicate that they have little regard for our feelings or worth. It's certainly no different for children.

I'm defining 'friend' in the broadest sense, without stipulations or conditions...a relationship consisting of love, respect, honor, warmth, and open communication. I think it's sadly ironic that parents would choose to deny friendship to their kids in light of the fact that kids desperately need and want little more than the very friendship they are being denied.

Given the relatively recent establishment of positive discipline as a more effective means of discipline than the traditional punitive approaches, perhaps we, as a society, will begin to entertain the possibility that adults can establish genuine friendships with children. Before laughing at such a notion, we should keep in mind that just 50 years ago, many men would be quick to laugh at the notion of women being considered friends. Beyond that, men generally viewed the women of less than a century ago as being in need of a strong, guiding hand in their lives. Husbands were willing to take-on this disciplinary responsibility, just as many parents today make the claim that they have a responsibility to treat their children in a disrespectful, demeaning manner in the name of a strong, guiding hand...a position that destroys any possibility of establishing a friendly relationship in the true sense of the word. It's truly ironic that many women of today deny their children that which they were once commonly denied as a gender...that being the invaluable concept of friendship with a loved one.

Children are people too. And, as such, they are as deserving of loving friendship as the rest of us. Friendship is not a different matter when it comes to children any more than it's a different matter for any of us who come from varying worlds of perception, education, or level of development.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keeping Your Kids Physically Active

Keeping kids more physically active in today's day and age is increasingly becoming more difficult because many forms of entertainment are televison and video games. The majority of kids don't live on farms and have to be up at dawn to work and get the much needed exercise. Children today must find creative outlets that allow to be more interested to get away from the television and video games from time to time. If children are given the proper toys and resources they will take advantage of them.

Sports are a good way to get a child active. They are one of the most common ways to get a child physically fit and they also promote social development skills. For example, depending on the age of the child, a mini basketball rim would be great way to for a youngster to get some exercise. They can call their friends over and play against one another. Soccer ball, a tee ball set, football, a goalie net, puck, and hockey stick, all these are a good source of exercise. Table tennis would be a good way to build hand eye coordination.

If the child isn't into sports there are a variety of tents and tunnels that can be placed in the back yard. These tents can serve as fort and create a world of fantasy for young children. Those who have the space jungle gyms are an excellent means of exercise because they contain many features such as swings, slides, and climbing bars. They are really an all in one child workout center.

Obviously bicycles are very common for people of all ages. If one is looking for an alternative to a bicycle a pogo stick would do the trick. Pogo sticks are intended for kids over the age of three. There are scooters, 3-wheel riders, and pedal cars which are all good ways to get those little legs moving. Hopscotch is another fun source of exercise especially for young girls.

Any physical activity will be highly beneficial to a child and can lead them on a path to a better, healthier life. While circumstances and parenting habits are different, scheduling a time for a child to be physically active may be a good idea. Who knows, a child who frequently becomes active in a particular sports mat make a career out of it. It is important to expose a child as many physical activities as possible.

Building Your Child's Mind

Toddler toys are widely used to help a child get familiar with its surrounding. It helps the child in nurturing its capabilities with the use of toys. It's great to know that we have wide variety of toys to choose from. As parents, we should be picky when it comes to choosing the right kind of toys; those that are educational and at the same time can bring a lot of fun. A toddler needs a lot of opportunity to play and explore the world around him. Try to give toys that create fun activities that would help your child to mature into his talents. Start developing your toddler's talent by knowing what it is.

Provide him toys that range creativity in many ways. Shape sorter, toddler cubes, large pieces of puzzle, wooden toys and bath toys are some of the toys that can nurture your child's talent. Books are the top most tools that can widen your child's imagination and can help you to get to know your child more.

Here are some useful tips that would help parents in nurturing their child's mind and body:

- Supply them with pop-up books, chunky board books, books with animals, books with shapes and ABC flash cards. Toddlers can get easily acquainted with them. They will surely love the books since it seems to feed their eyes with colors and lots of shapes.

- Invite other toddlers to join your baby while playing. Give them toddler toys to play with. Try to expand your child's world. For children, their mommy is the most important person in the world, though you should teach your child to get acquainted with others. Introduce your child with other faces, who can be playmates. Teach him how to make friends even in early stage. They could make lots of fun especially with a lot of child their age.

- Take your child to the park or playground. Have a little walk while you tell the things you see on the way. Tell your toddler what's this and what's that? It's a bit surprising but they actually understand what you're trying to say.

- Have a habit of reading your a book to your child before going to sleep. Bible books are great as bedtime stories. Be a good story teller by bringing the characters into life. A toddler loves to hear stories lovingly told by their moms.

- Play classical music while you put them to sleep. Your toddler will feel as if he is being rock to sleep. There are also ABC songs and mother goose rhymes that come out in CD and cassette forms. At daytime, turn on the CD while they play. You'll be surprise how your child follow the rhythms through hums and sooner, memorize the words!

Ahead start in teaching your child is the best start. A toddler's mind needs to be filled with information. To make teaching a lot more easily, try to be informal and cool. You don't need to be so serious about this matter. Teach while having fun. This is possible when you have a lot of toddler toys to choose from. Be creative and share the happiness your child experiences while they learn.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ways To Discipline Our Kids

Disciplining children can be a nightmare but there are things we can do as parents and carers to make things easier for ourselves. I taught my kids at a young age that there are certain consequences for our actions, whether good or bad.

When our kids learn to accept certain laws and abide by them it makes discipline so much easier. These are just a few simple things that my kids have learned over the past few years:

* when I spend all my pocket money on the first day I have no money for the rest of the week
* if I am late for school I am likely to get a detention from the teacher
* if I run in the house and fall over I am likely to hurt myself
* if I don't keep my room tidy I most probably can't go out and play with my friends
* if I break someone else's toy I might have to replace it with one of my favorite toys
* if I am mean to my brother chances are he won't want to play with me very often
* if I don't take my hat to school I won't get to play on the playground at lunch time

The above examples take the pressure off having to find ways to discipline our kids. We need to learn to use consequences to our advantage as much as we can. The great thing about this is that when the consequences happen we don't need to take part and growl or do anything. Most of these are natural consequences that are a direct impact of a not so good action preceding.

There are also good consequences that follow great decisions and here are a few examples:

* if my room is tidy, mom is likely to let me go to my friend's house
* if I am always at school on time I will have a good reputation and the teachers will be happy with me
* if I save some of my pocket money I will get to spend it later on in the week

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Parents should not allow our kids to use consequences where it is a safety issue. an example would be not to let your kid run in front of a car and let them learn by getting hit by it.

Once kids understand that this is the way that the world operates they will learn to abide by the rules and then they won't see you as the enemy or spoil sport in their lives. This is important as you want to preserve your relationship with your kids as much as possible.

At least eighty percent of our interaction with our kids needs to be positive. By ensuring this we help our kids to establish their self esteem and feel good about themselves, which we all know is vitally important.

These are just a few tips to help parents rethink their plans on disciplining kids.

Spending More Time With Your Kids

As parents, we often feel that our life is a big circus. More often then not, out kids are the clowns that bring smiles and laughter to the audience and we are the jugglers, always trying to perform tasks that prevent us from spending quality family time.

We can't get away from the housekeeping duties so why not make this task a way to involve the entire family? You will get things done and in the same time spend more time together with your children, not to mention that when you involve your kids in doing household chores they will feel useful and important. What a better way to teach appreciation for the work that needs to be done and for those who do it?

The following list provides some suggestions as to what jobs are appropriate for young children:

Two and three year old toddlers can help you pick up toys, books and magazines and put them in the proper place. Buy a small broom and they can help sweep the floor. Prepare a family meal while your little ones place napkins, plates, and silverware on the table. After dinner they can clear their own place at the table and put the dishes on the counter after cleaning the leftovers off the plate. When it's time to do laundry, let them fold washcloths and socks or help you load and unload the dryer.

Four and five year olds can help you compile a grocery list and put the groceries away on lower shelves. They can set the table and help do the dishes or fill the dishwasher. When you want to make a desert, let them hold the hand mixer to mix up a cake or they can add topping to cupcakes and ice cream. They can also spread butter on sandwiches and tear up lettuce for next day's lunch. When it's time to clean the bathroom, let them scrub the sink while you scrub the bathtub and toilet.

Six to eight year olds can be a lot of help: they can water plants and flowers, take out the garbage, peel vegetables, put white clothes in one pile and colored in another. With so much help, no wonder you've got time to walk the dog together!

Remember to take time for training and work with your kids until they learn how to do the job. It may be tempting for you to do everything, thinking it is easier and faster, but you will deprive your kids of opportunities to learn and spend quality family time. Always notice their contribution instead of the quality of work and don't forget to use a sense of humor.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How TV Affects Children

I must say all children grew up watching TV, myself included. It's a utility which everyone cannot live without. It has been for generations and yet TV easily emerges as a indispensable form of entertainment. Of cause, the Internet is fast catching up. Let us look at the positive effects and the negative effects of TV and how it can benefit or affect our children.

• The children can be exposed to positive content and be enriched with programs such as documentaries, educational variety shows and cartoons. Hey, I grew up watching Sesame Street, Discovery Channel and Transformers!

• Spending quality time together. Well, I remembered the days when my parents would watch the telly with me, and we will have endless laughter together. And I being the curious child, never fail to ask endless streams of questions. The bonding with the child will no doubt be better.

• Couch potato syndrome. Addiction to TV may cause the child to be withdrawn from the rest of the world, excessive eating while viewing programs can cause obesity problems.

• Emotional development. A child really needs to do more things than just watching TV. He needs constant interaction with the outside world and other kids. It is part and parcel of his development and bear that in mind, there is no substitute to that.

• Eyesight problems. Increasingly, many children these days are getting myopic. It's hard to deny that TV isn't one of the contributing factors.

• Violence. As we all know, children love to imitate. The imitations can range from wanting to fly like superman, acting like John Rambo and giving an uppercut like a Thai kick boxer. I was in that stage once, so I know. It's a fact and we have many case studies of violence by teens in recent years.

.Bad use of language.In some of the films our children watch,there is bad use of language,the use of vulgar language is common.Children tend to copy what they learnt from the TV.This affect them greatly.
Below are some suggested things parents can do to help their kids:

1.Limit their viewing hours

2.Be selective when it comes to the programmes they watch.Let them watch programs like cartoon,educational program,good comedies,and family orientated programs.

3.More exertion of control regarding programs rating PG

4.Don't allow eating while watching TV,and parents should help by giving good example here.Encourage them to eat only at the dining table.

5.Watch TV with them. Try not to put TV in your kids bedroom

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How To Help Your Troubled Teen

Is your teen son or daughter driving you over the edge? You are not alone! Parents of troubled teens around the world are realizing, that because of today's stressful life, they need help dealing with a son or daughter who is making poor decisions. There is help available if you know where to look.

While it can be devastating to learn that your troubled teen has fallen into the wrong crowd or has begun to make decisions that

will destroy their lives, it is not something to be embarrassed about or to try to hide from others. It is a time to take action!

Is your girl, boy, youth or teen struggling with depression, failing in school, abusing drugs? Are they more and more defiant? Do they exhibit low self-esteem, lack of motivation or poor family relationships?

Foir example, warning signs will be obvious when your child is at risk. They may be close to dropping out of school because they regularly fail classes. They are more and more involved with violence or use of drugs or alcohol. In extreme cases, they may attempt suicide or engage in other dangerous or self-defeating behaviors. Common sense is the rule. Parents always know when behavior has gone beyond normal but many parents choose to ignore the signs because, in a sense, it means they have failed as parents. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While abusive parents certainly can be balmed for their teen acting out in negative and destructive ways, most parents are not responsible. Such bad behavior is a compilation of environment, life experience, and failed expectations. With the exception of child abuse, the reasons are numerous and not easy to uncover.

In extreme cases, some specialized services like group homes for teens may be the answer. These homes are designed to deal with troubled girls and boys. Group homes are a very new form of intervention. There are also wilderness programs for troubled teens, camps, boot camps, and teen boarding schools.

The main aim of these programs is to take troubled teens away from their normal environment and get to the bottom of the behavior and, hopefully, change it.

Christian Boarding Schools and boot camps are proving to be of major help to these struggling boys and girls. The most important thing that you can do as the parent is decide which type of program, facility, or organization is best suited to deal with the issues facing your teen. Make sure you do your homework before choosing one for your loved child.

How does negative behavior take root in your teen?

Teenage years are the years between childhood and adulthood. You remember those difficult years, right? In this period we found an unknown changing in our body and mind. Your teen, in spite of video games and iPod's, is still a normal teen like we once were, struggling to find their place and how to relate to the world. It can be frightening for them so they band together with other teens to cope. This where the trouble can begin.

When teens have less communication with parents they become a troubled teen because the advice they are getting is coming from sources that feed their base emotional need for acceptance and love. These sources are not always positive. This can set up a confrontation. When the behavior becomes so negative, we try to step in to correct it. But, without the right approach, a thoughtful approach, parent and teen engage in a battle of wills. The end of such battles is usually not a good ending for either side.

Children with abnormal behavior disorders are simply incapable of comprehending the consequences that may occur from an action. They do not think beyond the moment of the action. If you remember your teenage years and some of the "fun" things you did without thinking, you know what I mean. Many times those "fun" things had negative consequences, too, remember?

Knowing the correct intervention can help a child manage their behavior in a positive way when seimilar actions present themselves in the future. So, what is the correct intervention? This will depend on the level of negative behavior your teen exhibits.

Many parents choose to pursue interventions that address the symptoms only. Attacking the symptoms in the wrong way will drive the destructive behaviors underground, only to resurface at a later date. This approach is a waste valuable time and resources and may even make things worse. You should seek out professional advice but do it without your teen. Find out the best techniques available to you before attempting an approach.