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Loving Your Kids [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-10-8 11:30:14 |Display all floors
By Joanne Baum, Ph.D

Loving your kids should come naturally right? Well, for some people, love flows out seemingly on automatic and with no stops. With others, who may not have gotten "enough" when they were little, it's not so easy to turn on that faucet flow of love and let it gush out. Then there are those times you're so aggravated with your kids, you're not sure you even want to "love them through." In fact, if there was a place you could deposit them, and pick them up at eighteen, fully trained for life, you might be tempted to do just that.

So, parenting love - how you do it, when you do it, how intensely you show it, in what ways you show it; is largely dependent on how you were loved as a kid and how conscious you want to be of changing or keeping those patterns.

Let's say you were the only child and your parents doted on you, you were the hub of their life. You probably have a lot of love reserves stored up and may be eager to put that out to others. But, if you were showered with love by over-indulgent parents and they didn't allow you to give back love, you may know how to receive love but you may not be so good at giving love to others.

Then there's the "big family" pattern where because there were too many babies in too short a time with too many diapers and things to take care of just to survive that love - of the effusive, quiet, special qualitative time spent with you, nurturing your uniqueness was virtually nonexistent. There was "team love" in terms of being part of a bustling family team that helped each other because that was what it took for the family to function. You saw everyone working hard and you naturally pitched in. But if you produce a smaller, less bustling family, the big team love you knew was present but rarely "felt" per se can't be reproduced in a one or two child household. What's a parent to do?

There's no set amount of love that's right for your child, to grow up into a well balanced adult with high self esteem and good self-confidence. There needs to be a sense of love, nurturing, and a bond between you and your children. I think appreciation for the gifts they bring to your life, appreciation for the challenges - emotionally and intellectually that they produce, and an awe of their developing selves is a great beginning to tap into your reserves of love. It's so easy to rush through morning, and evening routines especially if you're working and your children are involved in extra-curricular activities. But, if you can start your day fifteen minutes earlier than usual for some "cuddle" or "quiet talk time" to center you and your children before you all rush off in your separate directions, you will all benefit. It's surprising what a quiet fifteen minutes of undivided attention can do. If you can end your day with a bedtime routine, even with teens, where you all check in about your day, what's been happening, how you're all feeling about your life, it also makes a big difference.

When we were growing up the usual questions parents asked were "How was school?" "Got any grades back today?" "Did you do your homework?" Those were good surface check in questions. But today, with life speeding by and more things happening, I think some more give and take around questions like, "How are you doing / feeling / seeing the world around you?" with thoughtful pauses to actually hear their responses, will go far towards your children knowing you really are interested and a part of their life. It's easy to get into chauffeuring and tasks with your children, that qualitative, loving stuff is more difficult. Try asking your kids how they are going to handle something, instead of telling them how to do it. Then maybe ask if they're interested in your brainstorming more options with them, therefore providing your kids with more options.

Virginia Satir, a famous family therapist, had a "hug theory" of people needing eight hugs a day to feel good about themselves, and the more hugs you got over that, the better off you were. I'm not sure I agree with her, it's not just the hugs themselves, but the feelings behind the hugs that are important. I remember when my child was much younger, he'd say, "Mummy, I want some lovins" and I'd take him in my arms and cuddle him. During that time in his life, we were still doing a lot of cuddling and special time throughout the day, but it felt so good that he knew he could ask for more when he wanted more. Sometimes in the middle of an argument, he'd say that, or I'd ask him if he wanted some lovins. It was a great way to stop a power struggle, because after a little cuddling, we'd never go back to the problem, it always melted in our arms.

I don't think you can ever love your children too much as long as you're loving them and not simply "indulging them" and calling it love.

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Post time 2012-10-8 11:32:36 |Display all floors
Teaching Good Manners
Good manners are a very important key to your child's social success, but no child is born with good manners. Teaching them is a parents responsibility.

Beyond teaching "please" and "thank you" many parents aren't sure how to teach their child good manners. Teaching a child what behavior is expected is a daily process, and you'll have many opportunities each day to nudge your child in the right direction. Keep these points in mind:

Teach, don't reprimand.

It's easy to assume that your child is purposely using bad manners, when in fact, he just needs a lesson or two. Be specific when you teach your child, and remember that many follow-up lessons will be necessary. So instead of saying, "Don't be so rude!" you can respond this way, "It's impolite to belch at the table, but if you do, it's proper to say 'excuse me'."


When your child states her feelings in a less-than-polite way, you can rephrase what she's already said in the way you find acceptable. So if she says, "Yuck! I hate this green stuff!" You can politely correct her by saying, "What I'd like to hear you say is, 'I don't care for spinach'."

Tell what you DO want.

When your child is displaying bad manners avoid nagging about the problem, "Don't yell in the house!" Instead, teach what you DO want, "Please use a quiet voice." This method will keep you more calm and in control, and will give your child an instruction to follow.

Accept mistakes.

When kids are young they will spill and drop. It takes time to acquire the motor skills necessary to be neat and tidy. Children will make social blunders. It takes maturity to learn how to act in social situations. Accept age-appropriate mistakes for what they are: simple childishness.

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Correct privately.

As annoying as your child's lack of manners may be, resist the urge to reprimand him in front of other people. Making a scene as you attempt to teach your child proper manners, is, well, bad manners!

Prepare in advance.

Whether you are planning a visit to a friend's home, a night out at the movies or dinner at a restaurant, take time before you go to coach your child on the behavior you expect. Review the "rules" of good manners and you'll more likely experience a pleasant time.

Expect good manners.

When you know your child has learned the proper way to behave it's important to expect those good manners. For example, if you've reminded your six-year-old to say 'please' and 'thank-you' since he was two, you should expect him to apply what he's learned. Be consistent. Require good manners every day. Remind gently. And over time you'll find your children turning into proper ladies and gentlemen.

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Post time 2012-10-8 11:37:31 |Display all floors
Helping Kids Overcome Their Fears

Children love the fantasy and fun of dressing up in costumes and Halloween is usually an exciting and fun event for them.  During October, however, the television networks begin running their annual horror flicks.  Remember, young children still have trouble differentiating real life from make believe and many scary movies should be "off limits."   

A number of children have developed deeply rooted fears from watching movies that were too adult and scary. It can also be upsetting for children to see adults wearing terrifying masks or costumes.  So enjoy the whimsy of the Halloween holiday but protect kids from the scary sights and sounds that could upset them.   

By nature, some children seem to have more fears than others.  When the word "fear" is used correctly, it refers to the feeling experienced in response to a tangible danger, such as a speeding car or an angry dog.  "Phobias" are excessive or exaggerated fears of specific objects or situations.  Common childhood fears (or phobias) include a fear of the dark, dogs, heights, spiders, and storms.   

Jean Piaget is well known for his research regarding children's cognitive development.  He calls ages two to four the "preoperational period" of development.  It is characterized by reason being dominated by perception.  This explains why preschoolers are often afraid of the dark and imaginary creatures such as monsters.   

Piaget's research revealed that around the age of six or seven, children's thinking begins to become more logical.  Not surprisingly, around this age, children usually lose their fear of imaginary creatures but may become worried about other types of things such as school performance and social relationships.  Encourage your children to tell you about their fears.  If your child's fear is having a negative impact on his life, there are steps you can take to help your child overcome it early on.

Many adult fears begin in childhood
Completely avoiding feared objects and activities tends to increase rather that diminish the level of fear associated with them.  We can see many examples of this-a fear of drowning is not likely to lessen by avoiding water; a fear of flying is not going to go away by avoiding airplanes; and a fear of school is not going to go away by allowing a child to stay home.   

Children often generalize their fears
For example, a child is likely to think that all dogs are mean and unfriendly after a frightening experience with just one dog.  A friendly golden retriever may happily approach a child with his tail wagging, but the child with a fear of dogs is likely to perceive the dog as a mean animal that is coming to attack.  If a fear is not overcome, a child may begin to generalize it further and develop phobias about other types of animals in addition to dogs.   

Some fears must be confronted and dealt with because they will interfere with a child's daily life.  Other phobias may not have to be confronted very often.  Even when that is the case, beware that you can unwittingly teach your children to have the same phobias that you have.  My husband and I have a rat phobia.  I have generalized my fear to include opossums, hamsters, gerbils, and other rodents.  Years ago, when we had a pet rabbit, he could even give me the creeps!  While it seemed to me that I was only being a conscientious mother by passing along the dangers of rats to my daughter, when she screamed and came running out of her first-grade classroom in a panic because the teacher had a pet rat, I realized that I had probably overdone it.   

Much more so than the actual events themselves, children's reactions to fear and anxiety will affect the quality of their lives, both emotionally and physically.  Their response can lead to personal growth, or it can impair that emotional growth.  When children respond to the emotions of fear and anxiety by becoming stressed, it can affect their ability to be happy and experience pleasure.  Because we cannot control all of the things that will happen in our children's lives, it's important for us to help them learn healthy ways to cope.   

Reactions to fear can include: shortness of breath, fast breathing, a racing heart, a tightness in the chest, a lump in the throat, butterflies in the stomach, lightheadedness, dizziness, shaking, trembling, tingling feelings, a surreal feeling that things seem strange and tightening muscles.   

Steps to overcoming fears and phobias:

  • Learn relaxation and self-calming skills such as progressive relaxation, breathing techniques, and visualization.
  • Desensitize your child.  By gradually exposing your children to their fears, you will be helping them to take progressive steps toward overcoming them.
  • Clear up misconceptions.  Many fears are based on misconceptions.  For instance, many children are afraid of thunder, but if you explain what it is the fear will begin to give way to curiosity.

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Post time 2012-10-8 11:41:06 |Display all floors
Parenting with Style: Why You Might Clash with Your Child

Every morning, six-year-old Jenny and her mom clash. A daydreamer by nature, Jenny moves through life at a slower pace than her task-oriented mom. This is most evident in the morning when meandering Jenny and her highly organized mother are trying to get out the door. This daily struggle highlights their obviously different personal styles.

Personal style is a natural predisposition toward time, stress, people, tasks, and situations. It is also the foundation on which preferences, reactions, and life values are built. When parents understand their child's personal style, communication and interaction become easier and more effective. This can be instrumental in helping parents achieve the behavioral results they want, and the harmony they desire.

What is Your Child's Personal Style?
According to Terry Anderson, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University, there are four personal style categories: behavioral, cognitive, interpersonal, and affective. There are bits and pieces of each personal style in all of us, but individuals typically exhibit one that is dominant.

Behavioral-style children need freedom and self-expression. They are often bold, willful, productive, competitive, unemotional, and self-reliant. These children rarely talk about their problems or emotions. Instead they set goals, and take action. They like to be leaders, and enjoy being recognized for their achievements. Behavioral-style children are independent learners, and prefer real-life examples rather than abstract thinking or discussion. They enjoy structure, dislike control, and will question authority if their parents appear incongruent.

Parenting Behavioral-Style Children
Parents of behavioral-style children should engage a no-blame, non-emotional approach to communication. Since these children are typically unemotional, demonstrative parents shouldn't take it personally if their child doesn't respond in kind. These children appreciate fairness, logic, honesty, and directness. When assigning tasks to your behavioral-style child, set the structure, but do not stand over or try to direct his or her activities. You should give your child the task, state the benefit or reward, and ask when and how it will be completed.

Cognitive-style children need affirmation and understanding. They are deep thinkers who like to thoroughly examine issues. They value intimacy, respect, and good relationships. Cognitive-style children take instruction well, and admire expertise and knowledge. They are organized, enjoy working with data, and can be perfectionists. Because their talents often lie in numbers and mathematics, they may spend hours at their computers.

Parenting Cognitive-Style Children
Showing a cognitive-style child appreciation and respect goes a long way towards developing a good relationship. When assigning these children a task, remember cognitive children are not competitive and might not respond to rewards or games. Instead, lay out the activity and provide the time and freedom necessary to complete it. If the task goes unfinished, do not argue with the child or make generalities. Cognitive-style children respond best to calmly stated facts such as, "You didn't clean your room today," as opposed to, "You never clean your room." In addition to calmly stating the facts, parents should offer only constructive suggestions, not criticism. As perfectionists, these children criticize themselves enough without any help.

Interpersonal-style children need appreciation and trust. They are highly perceptive, and require honesty in communication and relationships. These children are the family peacemakers. They worry if there are arguments or illnesses, and feel disharmony deeply, often internalizing it. Interpersonal-style children are sometimes shy, and value secure relationships and stable environments. Therefore, they do not fare well with transitions unless they are prepared beforehand.

Style NamePreference for...Limited with...Best Learns...
CognitiveData\informationTasks\things Visually
[size=-2]Source: Robinson, Everett, T. Why Aren't You More Like Me? Styles & Skills for Leading and Living with Credibility. Seattle: Consulting Resource Group International, Inc. 1997. p. 30

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Post time 2012-10-8 11:44:04 |Display all floors
Children's Feelings Of Loyalty in Stepfamilies

While we are forming a stepfamily I entered my marriage expecting instant loyalty from the children. I wanted our stepfamily to appear as a normal family. Yet our stepfamily became an interesting mix of personalities with different routines, habits and expectations of each other.

My stepdaughter sometimes worries about being disloyal to her natural mother. "Emma" has , at the age of six felt as though her mom won't like it if she likes her stepmother, or that if she listened to me, something bad would happen between her mother and herself. A child caught in this loyalty bind can resent a stepparent doing a good job and present a confusing set of tasks for her stepparent and her natural parents to accomplish amongst themselves.

Another stepmother I know, "Beth", wanted to take "Brandon" to the public library on Sundays.

However, "Brandon's" natural mother did not take him to the library. Brandon enjoyed the library trips so much that his positive feelings caused him to feel deeply disloyal to his natural mother. Brandon perhaps could have been saying to himself  "I shouldn't be liking this so much." It's a shame a small child should feel guilt in this way. The child never asked nor did he expect to become a child of a blended/divorced family. It is an unnatural road to travel, even for the most well adjusted children.

It takes a long time to build up a sense of loyalty; for my stepdaughter it may take many years. A first-time family grows together and bonds to one another over many years, or as many years that they are together as a family . These close feelings, stepfamilies do not experience. They do not always get to provide the physical care that is so important to parent-child bonding in the early years

A suggestion for stepparents: find a few activities that allow a close stepparent/child relationship to develop. If the stepparent and the child share an interest, there is more opportunity to grow and develop a bond. A stepmother and stepdaughter may both enjoy gardening, shopping or talking walks for "unfound treasure". A stepfather and stepson both may love football. This gives adults and children marvellous opportunities to grow and bond together.

What works with one child may not necessarily work with another. If the stepfather who likes football also has a stepson who prefers to read science fiction, there may be less opportunity for sharing with this child. However, the stepfather can make an effort to try to explore the areas of interest and perhaps even gain a new hobby or interest himself, which can be a very worthwhile experience for the child!

Loyalty and bonding always take time to develop and grow. The very loving intentions offered by stepparents can be rejected. Go slowly and look for activities that will interest the child and thus hopefully develop a sense loyalty and comfort for the family.

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