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We Bend, Not to Break – The Art of Embracing Necessary Growth

Image result for personal growthLooking back on my own life, I can quickly refer to the times I totally avoided something (or someone). Whatever the reason, if it was because I wasn’t being true to myself or the situation, well, that is some of the strongest energy to have to work through.

It’s as if there is an unseen but undeniably felt pulling from the ethers when you are not being authentic. The Universe itself shakes you up, but in reality, it is just rippling back to you what you’ve sent out into the world. It took me a long time to understand this infinite, cosmic dance and how to learn to work with it rather than against it.

The first thing I had to do was to stop being someone I wasn’t. I had to let go of behaviors that were not filling my heart up. I used to be a “yes” person and literally did not know how to say “no” to people. This drew in those who were always in need in some shape or form, and while I was often thanked and praised for being “such a good friend”, I often felt drained and empty inside, like there was nothing left to give myself at the end of the day.

When I started to listen to that inner voice (Spirit) and that energetic pull calling me to take better care of myself, my entire life changed. When I stopped denying the fact that I deserved MY help and attention as much as anyone else, and in fact, I should be helping myself first, well, then magical things started to occur in my life; if only because I finally cleaned out the space for them in my life. I made them welcome.

You see, we cannot give from an empty vessel. We must do for ourselves the utmost caregiving in all areas: mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. When we do this, we put ourselves in the space where we can have the most confidence we can be of service to others. We can rest assured we are living a balanced, harmonious life because we know we’ve personally given each of these areas of our lives the attention each deserves; not expecting others to fix things for us, but seeing those people in our lives are mere puzzle pieces in it.

An example of denial would be if you had words or conflict with a friend, co-worker, family member, etc. and then act as nothing has happened. I’ve had experiences with this a couple of times in my life. Once it was a simple misunderstanding, another time the person was just the type to pretend if you don’t talk about things, they just go away. Accountability shows you truly care about others and own up to mistakes. It’s how you earn respect in my opinion because it is a reflection of integrity.

This ties in with the expectations we put on others as well and can be very disrespectful to others, especially if something hurtful, rude, or a genuine misunderstanding did occur. If you act to ignore it, and then furthermore act like you are setting the tone and expect (once again) for the other person to cater to your emotions, well I don’t need to elaborate how that will not help you grow personally or in your relationships.

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Growth comes from not avoiding issues or so much trying not to have them, but rather knowing how to handle them when they occur. If you can be open and honest with yourself and with others, you will most likely be an effective communicator and grow quickly from your experiences.

Most of us, however, lol tend to repeat mistakes a few times just to make sure. I think it’s the human way…I know I am one of the most stubborn people on this planet, so I always tend to really learn my lessons. Get them good and deeply ingrained in there so I can grow and expand.  And while I have seen a million teachers in a million different faces, I can always say the girl in the mirror, who was so mean to me for so long, was perhaps my greatest teacher of all; for now, she is my very best friend. <3

 

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

 




How to Be a Good Parent and Raise Successful Kids

By Dr. Magdalena Battles | Lifehack

My family is a work in progress. My husband and I am trying our best to be good parents so that we can have successful kids and more importantly, successful adults. We have five-year-old twin boys and a seven-year-old girl. Success to us does not mean great wealth or fame. Our ideals don’t point us toward parenting our kids to become rich and famous. We define success according to our family’s ideals, which include loving others, having good moral character (this is based on our faith), finding passion and purpose for life, and contributing to society in a meaningful way. These are our personal ideals.

Your ideals and definition of success may be different. Every family is different, as are their values. It is important to recognize your own family ideals in order to have direction and purpose for your family. I wrote about this topic on my blog,[1] and you can read it if you are interested in creating purpose and a mission for your family, based on your ideals.

With my own kids being so young, I can’t speak from personal experience on how to raise kids to be successful. We are still in the process of raising our kids and are doing what we think is best to raise our kids to become successful adults. I am hoping and praying that someday, I can speak from experience, when they are grown and leading successful lives as adults. We aren’t there yet.

However, I can look at parents who have raised their children to be successful. There are families that I know personally, along with research articles I have read about raising successful children, from which I have learned valuable tips. I will share what I have learned below on how to be a good parent and raise children to become successful adults.

1. Inattentiveness

There is an incredible study that recently released its results following 30 years of research. This study was reported in the Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry.[2] They followed over 2,500 six-year-old children for 30 years to assess the ability to succeed in life. Their findings reported that the adults who were less successful had inattention at a young age.

Inattention was defined in this study by a variety of variables including poor sharing skills, lack of focus, blaming others, aggressiveness, and high levels of anxiousness. This means that we, as parents need to look at how we can effectively parent to reduce inattentive behaviors. Teaching our children to share, how to focus, and handling issues of aggression and anxiousness are imperative to helping our children become successful adults.

For example, if you attend a parent teacher conference and you are told that your child exhibits high levels of anxiousness, you don’t just brush it off as one opinion or hope that your child will grow out of it. Instead, you look for a counselor or therapist to get your child some help. Perhaps the anxiousness isn’t severe and stems from the difficulties your daughter is having in making friends at school. The therapist helps your daughter work through her feelings and teaches her some valuable skills on how to make friends.

Dealing with the anxiousness and aggression are important aspects of helping children become successful. If your child exhibits these behaviors, then get them the help that they need, for the sake of their success in the future.

2. Be There for Your Kids

One tip for raising successful kids is to be there for your children. Children want their parents. They would rather have time and attention from their parents than toys and things.

We need to ensure that our personal life and work life are balanced, so that our children get the time that they need from us. If we are working 90 hours a week at the office, it is going to be difficult to be there for our kids. They want us to be there for their activities and for their everyday too, including helping with homework and eating meals together on a regular basis.

A study by Raby et al (2014) found that children who had sensitive maternal caregiving early in childhood were more likely to be successful mentally (having higher educational levels) and were more socially competent as adults.[3] This shows that it is crucial for children to have loving and sensitive interactions with their parents when they are young. It affects the child’s development and how they turn out as adults. Young children who are provided with sensitive care, love, and attention are more likely to be successful as adults.

I have been a stay-at home mom and writer for the past eight years. As a Doctor of Psychology, I know how important parental involvement is during early childhood. I recognize that having one parent stay at home is not an option, or best option, for all families. However, it was for our family. My kids are used to having me at their activities. Recently, I missed a camp performance for my daughter. I was packing our family for our annual National Parks Road Trip that we were leaving on in two days. My daughter had dance camp leading up to our vacation. At the conclusion of that camp, the participants put on a performance. I missed the performance. It was an oversight on my part, due to busyness in packing for our trip and taking care of the twins that day.

I can’t recall ever missing an important event like this for my daughter, ever. When I arrived to pick her up, she was in tears. She was upset that I missed her performance. I apologized and we talked about it. It was eye-opening to me. She often acts like she doesn’t care whether I am there to volunteer in her classroom, go on her field trips, or attend her school function. Missing this event showed me how much she cares. She was extremely broken-up that I was not there for her. It was a good lesson for her as well. Perhaps she will show her appreciation for me being there at her events in the future. We discussed this as well since it was a good opportunity during that moment of revelation of her true feelings.

All kids want their parents at their special events and moments in their lives. They want their parents to be there for them, to be their ultimate cheerleader. Life is difficult. We all need people and a support system. Parents should be the natural first line of support in the lives of their children. It is not always possible because of life circumstances such as death, illness, or other sad situations. However, if you are alive and able to be there to raise your children and be there for them on a day to day basis, then you should make every effort to make that possible.

Your children need you. They are only little once. Your ability to influence how they develop emotionally, socially, and mentally has a window of opportunity. It is while they are young. Be there for your children, so you can make a positive impact on their development, especially in the first years of their lives, as research by Raby et al. (2014) showed us that the first few years of life a parent’s presence and type of care affect their success in adulthood.

3. Praise Effort Over Achievement

Having grit is a better predictor of success than IQ, according to Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth, who wrote the best-seller Grit. One of the best ways to help children develop grit is to praise their efforts and not their achievements. If you praise their efforts, then when they fail, they can still identify the good in the situation and not feel like a complete failure.

Children need to be praised. They develop their self-worth and confidence when they can achieve success, even in small things in life such as learning to tie their shoes or learning to ride a bike. They can pick themselves back up from failure as they are learning these activities when they have someone encouraging them along the way and praising their efforts.

If a parent is putting them down and telling them they are such a failure and loser every time they fall off their bike, then they are going to feel defeated and feel like the loser you are telling them that they are.

Your words to your children are powerful. A child’s value in life will initially develop based on what their parents have told them about their value. I have worked with individuals who have had to overcome emotional and physical abuse in childhood. They were repeatedly told that they were of no value. They grew up believing this lie because it was told to them by one or both of their parents. It took therapy, time, and effort for these individuals to overcome the defeating messages that their parents imprinted on them as children.

If you tell your child that he or she is dumb repeatedly, eventually they will believe you and take it to heart. Some kids take it to heart and believe it the first time it is said to them. Words can damage just as much, if not more, than physical abuse.

Be careful in the words you speak to your children. Children do need correction and guidance, but it doesn’t have to inflict damage to who they are as a person. They should never be told they are dumb, worthless, meaningless, or lazy. They will take these messages to heart. Correction should never involve name-calling.

Children need positive words so that they can believe in themselves enough to try. Children who have been encouraged correctly, with praise being provided for their efforts, are more likely to develop grit. Grit is a great predictor of success. You can help your child develop grit by praising their efforts and avoiding negative messages such as name-calling and belittling.

4. Teach Them to Work Hard at Home

Successful people are typically hard-working people. People know how to keep going even when they want to give up, and when they have a good work ethic. Teaching kids to work hard begins at home. This means assigning chores.

Children need to develop a good work ethic and learn to be a part of the team (team family) in order to be successful as adults. Doing chores is not only about lifting the workload for parents and caregivers. It is also about teaching children responsibility and that they have a role in family chores and workload.

The research discussed in the Wall Street Journal[4] showed that children are more successful as adults when they have grown up being assigned chores on a regular basis. However, their research also showed that fewer and fewer parents are assigning regular chores to their children. Children need to be assigned chores. There are many benefits to chores being assigned such as:

  • Children learn that things don’t come free. They must earn an allowance from doing work or chores to earn the things that they want.
  • Children learn that they are part of a team and that parents aren’t solely responsible for maintaining a household and doing all the work. Children play a role in being a part of the running of a household and this means doing chores daily.
  • Children learn that they are held accountable for the job that they do. If they don’t complete their chores, then there are consequences. If they complete their chores, there is a reward (maybe it is having a roof over their head, food to eat, and a home that is maintained); for other families, it may be an allowance provided for completed chores.
  • Children learn to work hard by doing chores. Not doing their chores has consequences. Those consequences should be big enough (such as removing technology or favorite toys) that they are strong motivators for completing chores, as required. They learn to work hard and complete the chores, even when they would rather be playing or doing something else more fun.
  • Children learn to respect their home. When children have to take care of the home, they become more conscious of the condition of the home. For example, a child that is required to clean the bathroom and then has a sibling come in and use the shower only to leave towels and bath products all over the floor is going to become upset that their sibling ruined their hard work. They will become better at taking care of the home and their belongings if they have an active role and involvement in maintaining a home.

Extracurricular activities and homework are important. However, teaching children to work hard through chores is just as important, as shown in this Wall Street Journal article. Don’t allow your children to get so busy that they can’t participate in household chores. Chores will help them in their development and ability to be successful as adults.

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Top Reasons To Send Your Child To Preschool

By Laura Graham

Deciding whether or not to send their child to daycare or preschool is a big deal for many parents. For some, it’s a necessity in order to be able to go to work whereas for others it’s more of a conscious decision. 

Some parents send their children to preschool five days a week whereas others chose one or two days. But whatever your personal circumstances and schedule, there are some significant benefits to sending your childcare. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the major reasons why preschool is important for a child.

It establishes a routine

As emotional as it might be for you to leave your child in the care of others for the first time, familiarising your child with this kind of routine early on can make life a lot easier in the long term. Getting them used to being dropped off at preschool and picked up, later on, will encourage their independence as well as get them used to be in a more structured environment. This will then make sending them to school a lot easier further down the track.

It encourages social development

By sending your child to preschool you are enabling and encouraging them to play and co-exist with other children. They will learn how to share, compromise, be respectful and problem solve. By allowing them to play with other children in a safe and semi-structured environment, you are giving them the tools to build self-confidence and learn to explore, make decisions and accomplish tasks without a parent.

It helps develop cognitive & language skills

At daycare, children enjoy a range of activities that can help to develop both cognitive and language skills. From storytime and singing to creative play, they will be given the support they need to gradually build on the skills they need. And of course, all of these activities will be driven and supervised by experienced professionals who understand how your child’s brain is developing. 

It helps with school readiness

Daycare and preschool are about so much more than babysitting. Great daycare facilities should have structured academic programs in place to help make sure that your child is fully equipped for the challenges that are ahead. This doesn’t mean reciting times tables and teaching advanced French to two-year-olds, but rather introducing the necessary knowledge and soft skills required to survive in a school environment. From teaching songs about the alphabet to encouraging independence, a decent preschool will have a program specifically designed to give your child everything they need to thrive at school.

Conclusion

Preschool and daycare have long been regarded as necessities for parents who work part or full time. And whilst this is indeed a reality of balancing work and family life, keeping your child safe whilst you’re off at work only one of the many benefits of daycare. 

A good daycare center can offer so much more than basic babysitting between 8 am and 6 pm. Great preschool centers offer social and academic development that can build the foundations required for your child to succeed in later life. And as an added bonus, it can help you and your child to meet other children and parents in the area. Who knows, you could both end up making some lifelong friends!




The 10 Things Parents of Successful Children Do

smart kid-compressed

By Denise Hill | Life Hack

Every parent wants their kids to be successful. It is the purest wish a parent can have. Making this wish a reality is an entirely different matter.

So what ensures a child’s success? Are some kids genetically predisposed to do better than others or are the parents completely on the hook for ensuring their children achieve their goals? It’s the old nature versus nurture debate–which has been raging since the beginning of time.

Regardless of your inclination on the subject or which side of the debate you find yourself –there is no denying that successful parenting plays a major role in producing stellar kids. Parenting that is ineffective–regardless of the natural intellect and aptitude of a child–can result in behavior issues, delinquency, criminality, and academic problems. Good parenting is an essential requirement for producing high achieving children.

What Successful parenting looks like

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There is no set recipe for raising kids. Psychologists have found a few common threads of successful parenting:

1. Kids are assigned regular chores

Research shows that when children are given chores at an early age it cultivates in them a sense of responsibility, self-reliance, and mastery.

At a Ted Talk event, Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult”  conveyed the idea that kids raised on chores go on to be collaborative coworkers, more empathetic– as they truly understand and have endured struggles. They also are able to work on tasks with minimal hand-holding.

Related Article: The Top 10 Things Children Really Want Their Parents to Do with Them

When using chores to build your child’s character, researchers caution that chores and allowance be kept separate. Studies show that external rewards can actually lower intrinsic motivation.

2. High expectations are established 

Having realistically high expectations for kids is essential to successful parenting. More often than not, children rise to the expectations set for them. The trick is to set the bar high enough that your kids do have to stretch for it but keeping it in the realm of possibilities.

For example, kids who have parents that expect them to go to college–usually do. Parents manage the child in a way that nurtures academic achievement while their kids work to maintain good grades so they can go to college. Establishing realistically high expectations points to your children in the direction of success.

3. Good coping skills are developed

Children have to be taught to manage anger, delay gratification and properly handle conflict in order to achieve success. A lack of healthy coping strategies can lead to health and well-being concerns in children.

4. Children are given room to fail

A parent’s job is to manage and minimize risk–not to eliminate it. Successful parenting involves understanding that failure is a big part of success. And while this may sound counter-intuitive, research shows that more is gleaned from failure than success. Hanging back and giving children room to fail is very difficult for most parents but is essential. Successful failures assist in developing your child’s character, resilience, and overall competence.

Related Article: New Study Finds Key to Raising Moral Kids Lies in These Two Parental Qualities

5. Social skills are developed

In today’s world, social intelligence is just as important as intellect. A study spanning 20 years and involving the tracking of 700 kids found that those that are socially competent were more likely to earn a college degree and have a full-time job by the time they turned 25.

Successful parenting ensures that kids learn to be cooperative in their peer-to-peer relationships, helpful and able to empathize with others intuitively and without prompting.

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How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

By Dr. Magdalena Battles | Lifehack

My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

“Can grit be taught to our children?”

The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in the future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as an adult?

What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to pursue their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

1. Encouragement is Key

When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, caregivers, and teachers.

Cheer Them On

How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have tried again and again.

Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

The same goes for children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

You Can’t Force Them

Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

She was more successful the second time around because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have to pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them to feel the real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all in at that point.

Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

3. Allow Them To Fail

Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head-on and practice to get better.

4. Teach Them to Try Again

Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

Break it Down

Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills is built, they will fail.

Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

5. Let Them Find Their Passion

Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

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Integrity Cannot Exist Without Insight…Here’s Why!

Image result for insight integrity

When I hear the word, “insight” I immediately think of the esoteric principle of “go within or go without…the only way out is through.” For it is when we are courageously turning our focus inward, on ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, our experiences, and our choices do we “get out” of a rut, but also out of our own way.

When we can objectively observe ourselves, can we play a proactive role in obtaining our goals, and reaching milestones we’ve planned for ourselves to accomplish. We stop just thinking about and we start doing it. No longer can we sit idly eating popcorn as a viewer in the theater…for once you realize you ARE the movie, you also can no longer deny the fact that you have not only a choice to but rather an obligation to contribute to the creation of the experiences, dramas, lessons, plot twists and mysteries playing out in the movie.

Having been an avid fan and student of meditation for many years, I’m familiar with the concepts of self-reflection, objective observing, and connecting to what I call the “divine silence” within us all. You know, the parts on the movie before something REALLY good or scary happens? 😉

There’s a reason we innately like to escape our “real” fears and sit with the ones we are comfortable accepting and keep an almost child-like wonder around how fun being vulnerable can actually be. Especially when the floor is lava. LOL Am I the only one who has played that game as a kid? My point is, it is our imaginations that allow us the courage to face fears and ultimately give us the confidence to dream up entirely new worlds!

Misuse of our imagination would be a stubborn avoidance of any chance to not only look at personal behavior, but to actively change any behavior that is damaging or toxic to your life, and preventing you from evolving as a person spiritually. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge.

And I-I-I-I-I-I Wonder…

It still makes me wonder why indoctrination insists on disconnecting children from their imaginations. Something that was once “cute” is now “embarrassing” or “shameful”. Regardless of my own indoctrination, I am ever grateful for never having that vital tie to my imagination severed.

Regardless of what we’ve been taught, our imagination is what empowers us to not only play to win but play to serve. It is here we assume the role of “Grand Architect”. We can create the vastest playing fields, and create the rules of the game. And when we step into that role not with ego, but with heart, we literally begin to manifest the life we have always wanted.

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So…what do you want? It’s pretty amazing to me how many of us have no idea. We settle into our rituals and routines and just react to our daily experiences. To truly know what you want requires truly know who you are, and that is merely impossible with insight and imagination.

Insight allows us to reflect on our choices. How we chose to speak to someone, how we chose to spend the weekend, how we chose to react to someone being rude to us…it’s not a matter of micro-managing yourself, but rather simply being willing to sit down with yourself and be honest.

Intentional insight reconnects us with ourselves, our heart, our desires, our talents and gifts, our inspirations, our aspirations and ultimately gives us back the reigns of our own life. Over time, insight into oneself simply balances you out. Once you are able to humbly face your mistakes, and consciously accept it and look forward to how it may affect your life and those around you, you always find you have another choice to make. Stay the same…or evolve.

I’m Human…What Can I Say?

We are all human, but we are not all coming from a place of integrity. Those who act to serve only to be served are completely missing the point. The true reward is hiding in the act itself! Giving is never one-sided, however most of the time we refuse to allow ourselves to feel the joy it contains. We instead think our reward will come later on, like we just told the Universe, “You saw what I did, now you owe me one.” Sorry, but it doesn’t and never will work that way. Image result for insight integrity

Everything in our 3D reality is dualistic, but that doesn’t mean we must stand divided. We simply need to understand that it’s all part of something bigger, and something grander comes from their dualistic unity than ever would on their own. Allow it to be a reunion of integral proportions, and allow yourself to calmly reconcile any misconceptions between your own insight and your own integrity. This is the ultimate understanding that neither can exist without the other which slips them both into silent confidence each role plays…

As the saying goes, (Well, I say it LOL)…
“Insecurities Will Scream…Confidence Always Invokes a Whisper”.

 

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




4 Tips That Can Help Parents Raise Happy, Healthy, and Successful Children

There are many benefits to raising happy children. Various studies suggest that happier children have higher IQs, are more likely to graduate college, and can be wealthier in life. Childhood happiness is also linked with improved cardiovascular health, fewer chronic illnesses, and a lower risk of depression.

Although every parent wants to raise happy, healthy, and successful children, it’s not a straightforward task as life can be challenging and unpredictable. But by taking the right steps, parents can improve the chances of raising children who thrive in life.

#1 Raise Them in Good Neighbourhoods

Children are more likely to be happier when they’re raised in good neighbourhoods. Clean and well-maintained neighbourhoods that are close to nice schools, parks, community centres, and libraries are a good place to raise children.

#2 Find Them the Right Schools

The right school can play a crucial role in a child’s mental health. But this doesn’t necessarily mean looking for a school with the best rankings. Every child needs an environment that suits their needs. For example, certain schools are better at teaching the sciences, while others have strong art programs, while others still excel at athletics.

If a child has special needs, then only certain schools can give them the attention they need to thrive. Meanwhile, newcomers to a country may need to find a school with a demographic where their children can adapt more easily.

Finding the right school can be complicated in cities with a catchment system, where children can usually attend schools only in their neighbourhoods assigned to their residential address. In such cities, finding the right school can go hand in hand with finding the right neighbourhood. Many parents can feel frustrated in these situations after pouring over countless websites to crosscheck data and find the perfect place to buy a home.

Thankfully, as a parent, you can use modern technology to find the best schools for your children in good neighbourhoods and connect with an expert real estate agent who understands the area intimately. Using such a platform you can raise your children in a place where they can develop happy memories.

#3 Spend Quality Time with Them

A study by the American Psychological Association finds that children grow into happier adults when they have fond memories of bonding with their parents. Activities such as playing sports, board games, scavenger hunts, camping, travelling, cooking, hiking, or exploring with a parent are more beneficial to children than material gifts like toys.

#4 Engage in Conversations

According to a joint study by researchers at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania, children who have more back-and-forth exchanges with their parents are likelier to improve develop brain development associated with strong communication skills. Such skills can lead to healthier and longer relationships, happier adulthoods, more self-confidence, and successful careers.

It’s important to note that the conversations don’t have to be deep or meaningful if parents converse with their children interactively with a healthy exchange of dialogue.

These are four tips that can help parents raise happy, healthy, and successful children. By growing up in good neighbourhoods, going to schools that match their needs, and by having good relationships with their parents, children are more likely to have the tools they need to succeed in life.




Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

By Dr. Magdalena Battles | Lifehack

Kate sits down to the dinner table and is eager to be a good girl and eat her dinner like her Mom and Dad want her to do. She is a sweet girl who wants the approval of her parents very much. It is not always easy though. During dinner, she stands up and starts to leave the table because she has to use the bathroom. Her Dad yells at her to sit back down. He tells her “we don’t just get up from the dinner table, we wait and ask to be excused after everyone is finished eating.” She begins to protest, wanting to explain that she needs to use the bathroom. Her father becomes more upset with her and yells at her that she is now talking back and she is not allowed to say another word at the dinner table until everyone is finished eating and then she can be excused.

Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t hold it, and she has a little accident because she is too fearful to say a word to her Dad. She doesn’t want to get yelled at anymore. She also knows that in her home, kids don’t have a say. What Mom and Dad say is like words carved into stone. They are strict beyond reason and they will not bend their rules. Therefore, Kate felt that she had no choice in the matter and when she could no longer hold it. There was nothing she could do about it.

Kate’s parents are an example of authoritarian parenting. They are strict, they are not emotionally engaged with their children, and they have very high expectations for their children. This type of parenting style leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents.

Kate wanted to communicate to her parents that she had to use the restroom, but she couldn’t even get her words out because her parents have such strict rules and demands of her. They did not care to hear what she had to say, because upholding their rules was more important to them. In their household, a child’s opinions and feelings do not matter.

This kind of strict parenting is not helpful for children. It can damage a child and leave them with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and doing poorly academically among other problems cited by research in Parenting Science.[1]

What Does Authoritarian Parenting Look Like?

In the 1960s, a researcher and theorist by the name of Baumrind established the well-known theory of parenting styles. Those four parenting styles, which are well known today, are authoritarian, authoritative, passive, and neglectful. For proactive parents that are trying hard to be good parents, they will usually lean toward either authoritarian or authoritative.

Authoritarian parenting involves strict parenting and high expectations for children. This can sound reasonable and even like good parenting. However, strict parenting is often characterized by a lack of compassion toward the childlittle to no flexibility in rules, and complete control sought over the child’s behavior.

Parents who use this parenting style believe it is their job to control the will and behavior of their children. An article in Psychology Today explains how authoritarian parents operate:[2]

Authoritarian parents believe that children are, by nature, strong-willed and self-indulgent. They value obedience to higher authority as a virtue unto itself. Authoritarian parents see their primary job to be bending the will of the child to that of authority—the parent, the church, the teacher. Willfulness is seen to be the root of unhappiness, bad behavior, and sin. Thus, a loving parent is one who tries to break the will of the child.

For example, Jake has authoritarian parents. He wants to stay out past curfew on a school night because he has an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble. He has been playing the saxophone for years and his ambition is to play in a college jazz ensemble.

With Jake still being in high school, his parents have a curfew. On school nights, it is 8:00 pm. This rule is instituted because his parents believe they need to ensure that Jake gets his school work done each night and that he needs to be well-rested for school the next day. However, they don’t explain the why of their rules to him, they simply tell him that those are their rules. The jazz ensemble is practicing at 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and they have invited Jake to come to play with them. It is a well-known group and a huge opportunity for Jake.

Unfortunately, his parents say no. Their authoritarian parenting style is unwavering. He wants to discuss the opportunity and its importance, but his parents will not even entertain the conversation. They stop him mid-sentence and go over their rules again. There is no flexibility.

If Jake’s parents had been authoritative, they would have taken the time to hear out his case and would likely have granted him a later curfew for that one instance. They would see that, although they have a curfew, there are some instances when an opportunity is worth bending the rules. They would ask that he has his homework done before going to play with the group and that he comes home as soon as the practice was finished.

Authoritative parents have rules, but they are also flexible based on reasonable requests for exceptions. The authoritative parents are interested in how their children are thinking and feeling. Conversely, authoritarian parents are not likely to be interested in hearing their child’s thoughts and feelings, because they want to control the will of their child, not come to some middle ground.

Here are some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • They have strict rules that are unyielding and unwavering. This is often called “heavy-handed parenting.”
  • They do not want input from the child about rules. They also feel that the child’s opinion does not matter because they are the parent thus is the supreme authority over the child.
  • There are severe punishments when rules are broken.
  • There is an emotional disconnection between parent and child because the parent is not interested in what the child thinks or feels. They are more interested in controlling the behavior of the child and having the child be compliant with their rules.
  • Children are expected to listen to their parents and follow the rules, there are no exceptions. A child that voices their objections will likely be punished for doing so.
  • The parents have high expectations, especially when it comes to compliance with their rules.
  • Parents expect that their child will be obedient and they do not need to explain the “why” of their rules and expectations. Compliance is expected out of sheer obedience, not because the child understands the reasons why the rules are set. Parents do not feel the need to explain why they set their rules.
  • There is a failure to have attached relationships between parent and child because of the overly dominant nature of authoritarian parents and their unwillingness to allow their children to have their own voice or free will.

Authoritarian parents are driven by the belief that they need to control their children. This means controlling their children’s behavior to an extreme. They are inflexible and don’t take into account the child’s desires, emotions, or well-being as being as important to enforcing rules to get the desired outcome. Authoritative parents, on the other hand, seek to guide and direct their children instead of control. There is a distinction.

The Problems of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many negative consequences for children. Children who are raised in homes with extreme authoritarian parenting are more likely to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, have lower academic performance, and increased mental health issues according to Parenting for Brain.[3] Children who are raised with authoritarian parents are also more likely to have lower self-esteem, inability to make decisive choices, and have social skills that are lacking.

When a child is raised to be taught a day in and day out that their voice does not matter, then that child will likely be ingrained with that belief. They will not value their own opinions because they have been taught that what they think does not matter and is of no value. This leads to poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

If a child doesn’t believe that their thoughts matter, then what they think about themselves overall is going to be affected. They will not think highly of themselves or believe that what they think, say, or do is of value. This will contribute to low self-esteem long term.

Social skills will suffer because a child who comes from an authoritarian home will be trained to believe that nobody wants to hear their opinion and that relationships are based on compliance.

For example, Judy is raised in an authoritarian home. She is now 18 years old and has her first boyfriend. Anytime that he asks something of her, even if she internally disagrees, she feels that she is supposed to comply and do what he says in order for him to like her and continue wanting to be with her.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




How To Help Your Children Manage Earth’s Chaotic Energy


By Jodi Parker | HigherLivingJourney.com

Can you feel the chaos? I know I can…but even more so, it’s affecting the kids. Helping children and families heal is my passion above all else. As a Mom of super-sensitive children myself, I have walked this road. As I type this my 8 and 12-year-olds are bickering with each other. And while that is normal childhood behavior among siblings, lately I have lots of clients who are seeing escalating behavior and emotional swings in their children, and my kids haven’t been immune either. I see lots of kids being diagnosed with everything from autism to sensory processing disorder to ADHD to oppositional defiant disorder.

The struggle between light and dark on the planet is intensifying. We are seeing the larger disparity between the haves and have nots, the larger polarity between social issues (pick one: politics, education, marriage, skin color, medical decisions.), and increasing illnesses of the mind and body. Our food supply, water supply, and even the air we breathe are getting increasingly toxic. Our children, above all else, are the ones suffering most.

In previous blog posts, I have talked about my quest for purity in my environment. We eat organic, we drink filtered water, we use holistic medicine, we use organic personal care products, we avoid toxins whenever possible, and we drink lots of green drinks to help us process the toxins we can’t avoid. And I will go into some of that information here. But what if you are doing everything “right” and your kids’ moods are still unbalanced? What’s your next step? Let’s explore my three-point plan for healing.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE….




Five Childhood Experiences That Lead to a More Purposeful Life

By Maryam Abdullah | Greater Good Magazine

According to a new Gallup survey of over 2,000 college graduates, 80 percent believe it’s very or extremely important to have a sense of purpose in their work. Yet fewer than half of them actually succeed in having this experience.

It’s not surprising that young people are seeking purpose—adolescents with greater purpose experience greater well-being and hope. The purpose is an abiding aim that directs your behavior, provides a sense of meaning in life, and (under some researchers’ definitions) matters to the world beyond the self.

Generally, we think of purpose as something young adults discover in life by exploring their own interests and values and the different ways they can contribute to the world. But research suggests that some of the foundations of purpose may be built in early childhood. The positive or negative experiences children have may play an important role in whether they grow up to have a sense of purpose at all.

Adversity

Some research suggests that negative experiences early in life can hinder our development of purpose, even decades later.

Psychologist Patrick Hill and his colleagues studied over 3,800 primarily white adults ages 20 to 75. They reported on an early childhood adversity they had experienced—including experiences of emotional abuse, physical abuse, socioeconomic disadvantage, family structure disadvantage (for example, parents divorcing or dying), and health disadvantage (for example, poor early physical or emotional health)—as well as their sense of purpose as adults.

Hill and his colleagues found that people who recalled greater adversity in childhood—in particular, greater health disadvantage—had a decreased sense of purpose.

“Individuals who experience early adversity are not ‘doomed’ to a lower sense of purpose later in life,” the researchers write. “Instead, early adversity may be better viewed as a potential risk factor.”

For some people, though, hard times in childhood end up inspiring them to pursue a particular calling, like caring for kids or eliminating poverty. “Some individuals may gain greater clarity on their life direction upon reflection on these adverse events,” Hill and his colleagues explain.

Conflict

Even conflict in relationships between parents and children could affect their sense of purpose as they grow older.

Another recent study by Hill and his colleagues involved over one thousand children between six and twelve years old, and their mothers and fathers. The researchers followed the families until the children reached their twenties. They were primarily white, working-class families who lived in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

When they were in elementary school, the children—as well as their mothers and fathers—completed questionnaires about how much conflict, anger, and fun they had in their parent-child relationship. As early adults, the children also completed questionnaires to measure their purpose, life satisfaction, and stress.

The results? Children who had a more early conflict with their mothers—based on their own opinions, not their parents’—had a decreased sense of purpose in early adulthood regardless of how stressed and satisfied with the life they were.

“Frequent conflict saps the child’s energy and enthusiasm, and in turn likelihood to live an active, engaged lifestyle, which has been suggested as a primary pathway by which individuals find what makes their lives purposeful,” explain Hill and his colleagues.

Attachment and separation-individuation

An earlier study by Hill and his colleagues explored how a different aspect of the parent-child relationship could be important to a purpose.

They measured two qualities: parental attachment and separation-individuation. Parental attachment refers to the bond between a child and their primary caregivers that depends on their warmth and responsiveness, and it was measured with statements like “I usually discuss my problems and concerns with [my mother or father].” Separation-individuation is an identity development process in which an independent, mature sense of self emerges during adolescence and young adulthood. Problems with the separation-individuation process were measured with statements like “I need other people around me to not feel empty.”

Over 500 primarily white undergraduate students at a Canadian university, ages 17-30, filled out online surveys about their relationship with their parents, as well as their sense of purpose.

“I got into music when I was nine because my next-door neighbor had a piano and he taught me how to play ‘Pink Panther’ and ‘Greensleeves’”―A purposeful 18-year-old

Overall, the study found that students who had a higher sense of purpose tended to have more secure attachments to their parents and fewer problems with the separation-individuation process. In turn, they also had a greater sense of mastery and control—they thought they were the authors of their own future.

These findings are consistent with another study, where more purposeful men tended to remember living in more positive childhood environments—ones that included caring relationships and helped them develop trust, autonomy, and initiative.

According to Hill and his colleagues, “Having a sense of purpose could assist emerging adults with the process of defining themselves while maintaining adaptive relationships with their parental figures.”

Nature

Other positive experiences in childhood may set up children for purpose later in life—including early memories of nature’s beauty.

Researchers Riichiro Ishida and Masahiko Okada recruited nearly 70 college students in Japan who were between 18 and 35 years old. Participants completed questionnaires about their purpose and their early life and youth experiences, including nature-related questions like “Do you remember having feelings that were associated with the beauty of nature?”

The researchers found that more purposeful students tended to have stronger memories of the beauty of nature during early childhood and early adolescence.

Research is still needed to further explain this relationship. Because purpose goes hand in hand with humility, which we may feel when in nature, it may be that this diminished sense of self makes room for children to “engage with some aspect of the world beyond the self”—a foundational part of purpose.

Exposure to diverse activities

Finally, not only do early childhood experiences seem to affect whether children develop purpose at all as they get older, those experiences may also influence what kind of purpose they gravitate toward.

Nine 12 to 23 year olds who had an exceptional sense of purpose participated in a study by Kendall Cotton Bronk. Her team interviewed them for three hours on three occasions over five years.

“According to the exemplars, they would not have discovered noble purposes in the areas they did had they not been involved in those areas early on, often as children,” explained Bronk. “As parents, teachers, and other adults interested in fostering noble purpose among youth, then, it is important to expose young people to a wide variety of activities.”

For example, one 18-year-old in the study shared that she first became interested in cancer research at the age of five after an experience with the American Cancer Society, when she volunteered for a fundraising event selling daffodils at the mall. Another 18-year-old in the study whose purpose was related to a commitment to create and promote jazz music shared, “I got into music when I was nine because my next-door neighbor . . . had a piano and he taught me how to play Pink Panther and Greensleeves and stuff like that.”

These results complement another study by Ishida and Okada that found that adults with stronger memories of succeeding and receiving praise from parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors during early childhood tend to have a stronger sense of purpose.

Young children may not immediately recognize that a certain activity is very important to them. Instead, their commitment may grow gradually over the course of participating in the activity, as they discover their strengths and the ways they can contribute to the world.

Taken together, all these findings suggest that there are a multitude of early childhood experiences that may shape how adolescents and adults develop a sense of purpose. Early personal resources like good health, strong social connections, and positive engagement in activities and the natural world tend to support children to develop meaningful life goals.

Leading by example is one way parents can encourage children to get involved in the larger community by volunteering to help out at church and school fundraisers and other community events.

Parents can help their children start exploring pathways to purpose early on to help avoid the post-college void of purpose that many young people are experiencing today.

About the Author

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Top Five Parenting Tips That Work

Many people dream of starting their own family and becoming a parent. However, parenting isn’t exactly a cakewalk. There are hurdles and challenges to overcome. Unfortunately, many people find themselves unprepared for the dynamic process of being a parent. In this post, we’ll be discussing five simple tips you can use while parenting your children.

Understand that everything changes with kids.

Having kids can cause a complete change in the structure of your life. As a parent, this is a reality you have to accept and live with. It’s always better to make plans before the kids arrive, as it makes the change easier to accept. Kids come with a whole lot of responsibilities, and you’ll have to make some behavioral adjustments. Planning ahead can help you balance your work and family life, and that’s a huge part of parenting.

Provide the right environment for your child.

The environment has a big influence on the development of children. One of the best things you can do is to take your child to great centers like Jumpstart child care that nurture and care for your child. Another thing you can do is to provide an enabling environment for your child at home. This goes from things like decorating her room with beautiful colors to giving lots of positive reinforcement. Everything your child experiences contributes to her growth and development.

Study your child.

At infancy, kids are a package of sweetness, innocence, and adorable fragility. All you want to do is to hug the life out of them! However, as they grow older, they begin to develop many unique behaviors. You need to pay lots of attention to them if you’re going to pick up on these little behavioral traits. Studying your child also helps you build a close relationship with her. This intimacy makes it easier for you to keep an eye on your child and help her grow.

Don’t be afraid to discipline your children.

Every parent has an idea of how they want their children to be raised. But then, following your blueprint won’t be easy because children are often rebellious. To set them straight, you’ll have to discipline them sometimes. The praise and reward model is a tried and tested method of discipline. It encourages parents to focus on encouraging their children. It also helps a child to work on his strengths. The withdrawal technique is also effective for correcting undesirable behavior in your child. The best practice often involves a combination of these parenting models.

Don’t be afraid to seek help.

Finally, you should never be shy about seeking help. When it comes to parenting, no one is perfect. It’s a roller coaster that’s full of different hurdles and challenges, and these will no doubt get to you. It’s probably why two people together make babies. When you feel uneasy or confused, open up to your partner. Better still, talk to someone with some experience at raising kids. You can also get books to read if you’re up to it. The bottom line is that you should never hesitate to seek help when you need it. Parenting is a tough job, and everyone knows it.




How to Improve Your Child’s Vocabulary

As a parent, it’s just natural for you to feel concerned about every aspect of your child’s development. It’s why you get up ten times a night to make sure that he’s sleeping properly. When it comes to your child’s cognitive development, you also have a significant role to play. You can certainly enroll your child in one of the good child care centers in Macquarie fields. But then, you’ll still have to keep an eye on what your child is learning at home, especially the vocabulary.

Your child’s vocabulary is a crucial part of his growth and learning. That’s why in this post, we’ll discuss three tips on how you can improve your child’s vocabulary at home. The key is always to find new and exciting ways to help your child learn. He certainly won’t want to do it if it looks like work. Disguise it as play, and he’ll leap at the opportunity. With these tips, your child won’t even realize that he’s learning.

Introduce vocabulary while getting dressed.

You have to incorporate the vocabulary lessons into everyday tasks. That’s if you want to have enough time to develop your child’s vocabulary while keeping the house from burning to the ground. Getting dressed is an excellent opportunity in this regard. You can let your child choose his clothes (to a reasonable extent) and talk to him as he does.

You can ask basic questions like “What color of the top would you like?” and “Do you want a shirt with buttons or with a zipper?” These conversations will introduce your child to new words and help him get familiar with old ones. As simple as it seems, it’s actually a very good way to engage your child’s mind.

Practice reading at breakfast.

If your home is like many others, then your breakfast table is already full of products with names, labels, and letters. Why not convert all of that into a learning opportunity for your child? You can have him read the words and letters on the cereal box.

The activity you give your child will depend on his age and reading level. You could simply have him pick the letters one by one and read them out. That can help with recognition and reading. Or, you could have him read the labels and maybe even the instructions. This method is so much more convenient than trying to find time during the day to read.

Play games in the car.

Children already love car games so much, so you might as well make a learning experience out of it. There are so many new things to see outside, and it’s a perfect opportunity for you to teach your child new words. You can go from plants and trees to animals and different kinds of automobiles.

You can also talk about people, colors, objects, and even buildings. One of the most common games to play is “I spy with my little eye.” The goal is to pick an object and let your child guess what object you’re thinking of. You can give hints like the color of the object and the first letter of its name.




Teaching Your Children About the Importance of Being Green

By Lilly Miller

Living a green life and taking good care of this wonderful blue planet we call home is something we all should be doing, regardless of our location or circumstances. As we leave one year behind us, we should take the beginning of a new one as an opportunity to reflect on our thoughts and actions, but also make some better decisions about the way we treat the environment and what we teach the new generation. After all, many of our habits and beliefs are passed down to us from our parents, which is why we have to make sure that we do the same for our children. Here are some smart ways to make their life greener and healthier.

Show them how to save energy

If you start with the basics and work from there, your home can become an eco-friendlier one in no time. This would mean that your kids would consider this normal and behave accordingly. For instance, using LEDs instead of incandescent light bulbs can save energy, as can turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Another good way to save energy is to install good windows and not go wild with the temperature inside your home. If you keep your air conditioning at a bit higher temperature during the summer, and at a pleasant, but not too-hot-to-breathe level during the winter, you can help the planet, while saving some money on your utility bills. Similarly, don’t keep the water running while brushing your teeth, but rather use only the amount you actually need to rinse your mouth. The same applies to take showers. Having a concert in the shower while spending insane amounts of water is unreasonable, and your kids will know it if you teach them that from an early age. 

Keep them informed

Talking to your children is an essential part of their upbringing. Your kids will gladly discuss anything with you and even share their secrets with you if you don’t talk down to them and if you treat them with respect. This is something you can use to have conversations about the environment and what each person can do to contribute to its preservation. Nowadays, children hear about it at school, but what they hear or see at home is what really counts. They should know the reasons so many plant and animal species are going extinct, why polar caps are melting and why our waters are contaminated. However, don’t forget to tell them about some examples of good practice, such as how the government is dealing with China pollution crisis or what exactly makes Iceland, Switzerland and Costa Rica some of the greenest countries in the world. They should be aware of how their own actions can affect nature both in a positive and negative manner. Finally, let your little ones know that everything good they do for this world matters, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem to them.

Reconsider how you get around

Most families own cars, which is fine, but the car you choose can certainly make a difference, which is why electric cars or hybrids are definitely what you should go for. However, no matter how eco-friendly your car is, there are always healthier ways for you and your children to get around. So, instead of driving them to school every day, perhaps you can teach them to ride their bikes or walk. In case there is too much distance between your home and their school for that, public transportation is another option. Of course, teaching by example is the best way to get any message across to your kids, so make sure you also do your best to walk, cycle or take the subway on your way to work. Not only is this beneficial to your entire family’s well-being, but it can also keep the air cleaner and help your budget in the long run.  

Change the way you shop

If you allow yourself to just go to the closest supermarket and get whatever’s on discount this week, you probably won’t be doing any favors to your family or the environment, and especially your children. The first thing you should do is start frequenting farmers’ markets and locally-owned shops and take your children with you as often as you can. While there, buy organic fruit, vegetables and any other type of food your family normally eats. Similarly, invest in hand-made cosmetics and cleaning products, made with natural ingredients. Furthermore, by buying clothes from local designers, especially those who do their own sewing, you can support small businesses and encourage their owners to create more eco-friendly products. While shopping, try refraining yourself from wasting money on various gadgets, jewelry and unpractical pieces of clothes you want to get because they look cool at the moment. Instead, only buy the products you actually need and use and teach your children to do the same. Show them that vanity and the desire to impress other people isn’t something that should guide them through life. Last, but not least, no matter what you buy, bring your own reusable shopping bags along, so that you don’t return home with a dozen plastic bags that will simply end up in our oceans.

When it comes to being eco-friendly, become your children’s mentor and do your best to instill the right values and good habits in them. That way you’ll know that this world stands a chance and that you did what you could to keep it cleaner and greener.

About the author: Lilly Miller is a freelance writer, who focuses on home improvement and sustainable living. She loves to experiment on daring new home decor trends and write about it as a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator. Settled in Sydney for the time being, Lilly shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on  Twitter.




10 Ways to Build a Strong Bond With Your Children

By Usman Akram  | Purpose Fairy

To build a strong bond with your children is the key to happiness in a family, just like in any other relationship you may be involved in.

Building a Strong Bond With Your Children

The lack of a strong bond with your children can have different consequences on the ones involved such as, the kids suffer because of an ignorant parenting style which later in life turns your kids to grown children who ignore their parents.

Thus you as parents should try to develop a strong bond with your children from an early age. 

10 Ways to Build a Strong Bond With Your Children

There are many ways you can build a strong bond with your children and today I’m going to share 10 of them. Here we go:

1. Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Spouse

Parenting your children doesn’t start with children themselves. It starts by looking at the environment you are providing them. This means you need to ensure a healthy relationship with your spouse as it would have a direct impact on your children. 

For example, if your partner and you get into harsh arguments very often and the debate gets heated very often, your children may get sidelined. A good way to control this is to handle your disagreements in private and give a positive home atmosphere to your children. It’d bring them an environment they don’t feel insecure in and thus would be open in their behavior.

2. Set a Physically Healthy Routine for Them

Before you make efforts to have more involvement with your children, you as parents should make sure they are mentally prepared for it and are healthy generally.

Good health not only has a good impact on your kid’s physical appearance but also prepares them mentally. So you as parents should make sure your children have some level of physical activity in their daily routine. 

There are studies that have proved that exercise helps your kids from preventing depression. Also, research has proved that exercising makes children happier. The physical activity may seem weird ion this regard but it has a huge indirect relation with how good your kids engage with their parents at home.

3. Be An Example for Them

Your kids have no exposure to the real world at this stage and totally look up to you to learn or understand things. You cannot trick your kids in any way. No matter what you want those to learn or be like, you’d have to practically show them by being an example.

For example, if you want them to stop lying, you shouldn’t ever lie by yourself. Similarly, if you want your kids to have a strong bond with you when at home, you should also express the same behavior with your spouse in front of the kids. Your children won’t be interested to talk to you naturally if they don’t find you keenly interested in talking to them.

So don’t just interact because you want them to be interactive in nature, pay genuine attention to what they have to share.

4. Be Interactive Toward Your Children

The other most important thing is to interact with your children as much as you can and in any form. Interaction lessens the communication gap between the parents and children and in turn, it helps to strengthen the relationship.

For example what happens typically is even if the parent is sitting right next to the child, he’d be busy with his laptop and the child would be playing video games.

No interaction at all. How it should’ve been is that you as a parent should initiate a short conversation inquiring about his day at school or something else. This short talk can make a huge contribution to strengthen your relationship.

5. Create Quality Time with Them

Your aim to have a strong bond with your children more will only be fulfilled when you get close to them. And you can get close to them by making them feel special. For example, your children know that your work means something to you and you take your office seriously.

Still, if they ask for something in the morning to bring when coming back from office and you remember it, it’d definitely make them feel good. Similarly, when you take out time especially to be with your kid on his school football match, it’d mean something to him. Or it can be something as small as putting down a book you were reading just to listen to their story of what happened in school more attentively.

These little acts make your children understand the worth they have in your life.

6. Allow Them to Have Their Space

Giving space to your child is just as important as being with your child for plenty of the day time. You have to be engaged and interactive making sure you don’t leave your child lonely.

However, at the same time, you have to ensure it’s not happening at the cost of their private time. No matter how old your child is (except the toddler years) you should always keep a limit to the time you spend with him. It enhances their creativity, their imaginative power and their ability to think and analyze.

What you need to do is to balance the right ratio between how much time your child spends indirect interaction with you, being partially active around you and being totally alone doing his own activities. Otherwise, your intention to have a strong bond with them would only feel like a burden to them.

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7 Parenting Tips for Kids Being Raised In a World That Harms Women

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By Kim Simon | AlterNet

EDITOR’S NOTE: This provocative article was written in 2014, but since the U.S. has just elected a president who has been accused of sexual harassment numerous times, it seems more applicable than ever. Let us raise our kids in a way that creates real change.

When I was 19, I sat across from the Dean of Students at my university and told him about the boy who had raped me.  The dean took careful notes on a bright yellow legal pad and looked at me with kindness in his eyes.

But the boy had been my lab partner.  He was a well-known, well-liked student-athlete.  According to my university, he had earned the right to sit in that chemistry class.  So nothing changed.

For him.

For me, that was the moment when everything changed.

Our country needs to talk about rape. Not sexual assault. Sexual assault sounds cleaner.  More benign.  Less jarring.  It’s a textbook word, a police report word, a word that therapists use.  The boy in my chemistry class didn’t sexually assault me: He raped me. Rape is dirty, bloody, forceful.  Rape is angry, entitled, and messy.  Rape is the reality for more women than you think, and for many women, you know.

When hundreds of Nigerian girls were kidnapped and used as political capital in a war fought by men, #BringBackOurGirls helped us remember that women’s bodies are still being used as tools of war. Soon after, when Elliot Rodger went on a misogynistic rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., #YesAllWomen took off—a meme that gave us space to talk about what it feels like to live in fear of our power being stripped from us, of our bodies being hurt.

And then, this month, after sweet, brave Jada was drugged and raped by her teenage peers—and then raped again, symbolically and publicly, when pictures of her naked, brutalized body were traded around the Internet like baseball cards—#JadaCounterPose emerged. The hashtag was created to do just that: counter #JadaPose, a meme used by other teens to mock her violation by posting photos of themselves in positions similar to those in the images of her rape. #JadaCounterPose reminded us that when young people hurt and break each other, there are adults who will stand up to protect them. When they can. If they can.

Social media activism is strong.  Our voices are being amplified and re-tweeted and hash-tagged and virally shared.

But instead of things getting better, they seem to be getting worse.

How do we turn our online outrage into real change?  How do we make sure that our children grow up to be leaders, and healers, and change-makers?  Are we too broken ourselves, to have any hope for the safety of our young people?

I was not really surprised when Elliot Rodger’s hatred and misogyny—fueled by untreated mental health issues—exploded into a killing spree targeting women. Rodger grew up in the glow of Hollywood, where women’s bodies are bought and sold, and we fuel that cycle by paying for the movies that objectify them.  I’m not surprised that this young man, with severe mental health issues and easy access to weapons, felt that hunting and killing people was a good choice.  Culturally, we raised Elliot Rodger to believe his self-worth is determined by someone else’s beauty, availability, love, and attention.  We have raised too many of our sons to view women as commodities and sex as currency.

So I’m not surprised that yet another young man chose to feel powerful by hurting people.  But I am outraged—that every time this happens, we act surprised. It’s not like this is the first time it’s happened.

When we act surprised, we have an excuse to sanitize and whitewash and explain away the dirty, disgusting, painful truths about rape and mental health care.

#YesAllWomen is powerful and thought-provoking and gut-wrenching in its honesty and raw wisdom.  But it’s not enough.  If you are listening to the stories of “all women,” then you have a job to do.

Related Article: 8 Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Being Successful

I have two young boys. They aren’t even in elementary school yet, but if I am going to send them out into the world a dozen years from now, I need to start preparing them today. Because the world that they are entering is needy, weary, sick, and terrified.  When #YesAllWomen has been hurt in it, it is my job as a mother to say #NotMySons.  It’s an obligation that goes beyond a hashtag.  It is a responsibility to make sure they know how to keep their bodies safe, and how to respect the bodies of others.

How do you raise sons and daughters who respect their bodies and know-how to respect others?

1. You ask them to pay attention to.

The conversation about respect, personal space, and self-confidence starts with toddlers.  Small children can learn to set boundaries for their bodies by having the autonomy to decide who they kiss and hug.  Instead of forcing an unwilling child to greet an adult with a hug, empower them to say hello with a high-five or a wave.  Teenagers need to know how to ask questions of their partners, and then ask again.

Talk about what consent looks like, and sounds like, and feels like.  Be honest about the power that they have in their own bodies, and how keeping someone else safe is the best way to use that power.

2. You help your children find role models.

Especially ones who are not just brilliant in their chosen field, but brilliant in their leadership skills.  Foster relationships with strong, kind, empathetic adults, and talk to your kids about how those values serve a purpose.  Celebrate the success and contributions of true heroes by thanking our servicemen and women or treating law enforcement officers with respect and appreciation.  A kindergartner can learn the difference between someone who pretends to be a hero on TV, and someone who risks their life every day to keep us safe.  Encourage your kids to thank the adults who give of their time and talents to make our communities better.

Related Article: Harvard Psychologists Reveal: Parents Who Raise ‘Good’ Kids Do These 5 Things

3. You’re honest with your kids about sex.

When you teach your preschooler that he has a penis, teach him that it belongs to him.  If he knows the correct term for it, you have given him the first piece of the empowerment puzzle.  Don’t use cutesy words in place of real ones.  How can I expect my son to have a conversation with a girlfriend about her vagina, and what she needs to feel good if I call it a “pee-pee”?

A 5-year-old needs to know that he is in charge of his own body.  He needs to know what it means to keep his body private while understanding that others have that right too.  A 15-year-old needs to know the truth about what sex feels like so that he can make confident, safe choices about when it is appropriate to share his body with someone else.

Our kids are being inundated with sexual choices earlier than we think.  Arm them with the knowledge they desperately need to advocate for themselves by giving them the right words to use.

4. You’re honest about guns, too.

Yes.  A statement about guns has everything to do with an essay about sex and power.  A few weeks ago, six members of a family were gunned down in Houston in an act of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is born from seeds of misogyny, power, and control.  Our media glorifies abusers and makes us think that domestic violence is sexy, that stalking is romantic.

We must change the conversation so that our children know the difference between expressing emotion and asserting power.  Allow them to be angry and full of rage, and explore what it means to be out of control.  These are natural, normal feelings that we teach our young men to stuff down.

But when released safely and respectfully, anger can be a teacher.  Anger is a learning experience, a release.  When young people aren’t taught how to safely express their anger and hurt—and are able to access weapons so that they can share their pain on a larger scale—we have failed them.

5. You put your money where your mouth is.

How can I teach my sons about respecting others if I buy them video games that encourage them to shoot people?  If I pay for movies where women are objectified and victimized?  If I dress my infant in a onesie that says “Hide your daughters”?

These small decisions matter.  They create an environment for our children that illustrates what we value and what we desire.  Show your kids what you expect by living up to those expectations yourself.

Talk about the movies your children are not allowed to watch, and explain to them why.  Explore issues of early-sexualization with your daughters, and be honest about how the fashion and beauty industries make money off of convincing young women to hate their bodies.  Point out double-standards in advertising, entertainment, and politics when you see them.  Engage your kids in thoughtful conversation about why you make certain rules.

If you think they’re too young to be part of the dialogue, they’re not.

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