Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Being a mother is a beautiful, but often bizarre experience that could at times defy reason. On Planet Parenthood a number of phenomena do not work according to conventional logic. Can you relate to these…?

1. Maths doesn’t add up for mothers.

You spend 80% of your time cleaning and tidying, but your home remains 100% messy.

A modern teen and a screen go hand in hand (quite literally, if you consider how their smart phones are glued to their palms). While this phenomenon is a natural product of the digital age, it is also very unnatural on many levels.

We set goals for all sorts of things in life (get a degree by 25, save up to buy a car, lose 10 kilograms this year…), but few people ever put clear parenting goals in place. Yet, raising children is one of the most important missions you will ever have on earth.

Nutrition

When it comes to mothering styles, I’m more like Bridget Jones than Gisele Bundchen. I don’t work on a balanced meal plan for the week, and I don’t make achingly beautiful organic moss and bark collages with my kiddo. Rather, I’m the mom who makes it to 5pm (with the morning’s oatmeal still in my hair) and realizes that the piece of fish I set aside for my 18-month-old son’s dinner has mysteriously disappeared from the fridge, so I have to cobble something nutritious together in half an hour while said kiddo takes apart the Tupperware cupboard for the fourth time since he woke from his nap.

When I go into homes I often hear comments like, ‘She is Mommy’s girl and that one is Daddy’s girl’ or ‘He’s the apple of my eye’ and such like. Comments like these stick with children. They realize that they can ‘never’ attain that place in Mommy’s or Daddy’s heart because it is already taken. Every child is unique and special and should be treated as such. There should never be an element of doubt that they are equally loved. Because of the complexity of different personalities in one home, It is common for a parent to prefer one child above another, or to just get on better with one more than the other. The child can easily misinterpret this preference as, ‘Mommy loves him more than me.’ And sometimes, sadly, this is the case! CS Lewis wrote: When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
  • In almost every family I have helped, there would typically be an introvert followed by an extrovert, or the other way around. The first two children are always opposite in my experience. It is easy to greet the ‘sunshine’ child with an excited ‘Morning!’ when he comes in with a huge smile in between yawning and rubbing his eyes to wake up, while his sibling comes in sullen and serious and is met with a more serene and subdued greeting.
  • Children tend to pick up those underlying differences but misinterpret them as ‘one child is wrong and the other is right’.
  • When a second child makes its arrival in the family, Dad generally takes on the task of bonding with the older one so Mom can be involved with the baby. This is great, but the time also needs to come where they swop over. Then eventually they receive equal attention. If the child constantly refuses to allow one parent to help or do anything, then that parent should insist on helping. This will transition smoothly if there is opportunity for bonding time; especially making opportunities for time with that parent alone.
  • When a child feels like the second best, he will start taking it out on the sibling and the bond that they could have had will be broken.
  • The picture portrayed should rather be Mom and Dad in a ‘team’ (a force to be reckoned with), and the children should be standing together. Too often I see an alliance formed between one parent and a child against the other parent and the other child.
Dr James Dobson says God gave you a child for 12 years to learn to love him before he turns into a teenager. Well, there are a few things one can do to stay connected with your teenager. It is important to recognize the changes not only in their bodies, but also in their needs as they grow. They need to be treated as miniature adults and with the same respect you would like to receive. The best way to bond with your teenager is to have fun. Find out what appeals to your child. Here are some suggestions you can try: Cook together My daughter once said, “mom, you’re so lucky, you get to cook what you feel like eating every night”. Why not let your teenager choose the meal once a week, but then you cook together. I found that my teenagers developed a love for cooking this way (and today their spouses thank me!!!) Teaching them to make a perfect white sauce is very handy for all types of meals – macaroni cheese, sauces for veggies etc. Or let them be in charge of baking or making the dessert. Meal times are a great way of including children in the chores. Each child could have a turn helping with making dinner then when they are old enough, they could be responsible for one meal a week. They need to preplan the menu though to ensure that mom has had enough time to have the ingredients available on that night. Encourage them to try new recipes out of a recipe book or searching on the Internet. If they are being irresponsible with this chore, then mom and dad could take that night to eat out but take the amount that it cost, out of his pocket money. I am sure the next week he would be very eager to take his turn to cook. Play board games once a week Some teenagers enjoy something challenging like chess, while others would enjoy fun ones like Cranium or card games. Discuss ways of earning money What about bottling home made gingerbeer, making homemade fudge or brownies to sell at school, or to the tuck shop? What about a business where they feed the animals or water the indoor and outdoor plants of people that goes on long holidays? Surf the net together and work out a strategy. Exercise
  • Most teenagers are concerned about their weight. A nice long walk or bike ride can be a great opportunity to bond. Shop together for the appropriate clothes and make it a regular outing.
  • Play a sport together, like squash, tennis, even darts or table tennis for the not so energetic. If you’re not much of an athletic type, try researching the sport your child is interested in.
  • Find out about the icons in that sport or interesting information and facts. If your child is interest in for instance golf, find some online tips to improve his swing or offer to drive the golf cart, or watch him play tennis and go for a milkshake afterwards. This is where conversations grow organically.
Chit chat Casual talk is the best. Not probing or judging. Just chatting. Take out some old families pictures and reminisce about fun holidays.Is there anything in particular your child has an interest in? Try and find out more. Google it and share your findings. Even if you don’t totally agree, try and see it from his perspective. There are ways of discussing matters of interest without having to agree or condone these things. If you battle in this area, you may want to learn some listening techniques before you venture onto a touchy topic. Home Movie Night  Have a surprise home movie night – in the middle of the week! With popcorn popping without the lid! Add double thick homemade milkshakes to that, and you have a winner! Window shopping can be a lot of fun This can be used to have those “wouldn’t it be nice if we had one of those” moments. This way they can see that you also want things you can’t have. This is especially nice when it ends with a pizza! Or, let your teenager take YOU shopping. You don’t have to spend a cent. Just let her choose clothes for you to try on, have a make-over at the make up counter and some different perfume. Try on hats, shoes, a bag – whatever! See what she thinks would look nice on you. Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised. Try suggesting different occasions to dress for. Then, swop around and give her a turn. Do you have a lot to do tonight?
  • Does your teenager have a messy room? Make a deal.
  • Work together helping each other instead of each one with his or her own task. It goes much faster if you have someone to talk to and make it fun. The time will just fly by.
  • Meal times are a great way of including children in the chores.
  • Each child could have a turn helping with making dinner then when they are old enough, they could be responsible for one meal a week.
  • They need to preplan the menu though to ensure that mom has had enough time to have the ingredients available on that night.
  • Encourage them to try new recipes out of a recipe book or searching on the Internet.
Family Outings At this age they love to belong to a group or a club. Make sure that your family is the ‘group’ they enjoy spending time with. Occasionally a friend can come along, but try and also have fun time where it is only the family. Consider suggestions from each child as to what to do or where to go. Build memories. Laugh together. Create albums of these special times and keep souvenirs. Family time could be spending a night at home going through family albums and sharing stories or relating the birth experience. It could be a candle light dinner with a time to affirm each other. Each person has the opportunity to be still and listen to others’ affirmation, then it is the next ones turn to be affirmed.