Gratitude in Parenting: Being grateful and teaching our children gratitude.

I recently had a trip overseas to see my family in Denmark. While I was there, I was away from the busy-ness of my daily life and so had more time to relax and think.

Flying gives me great pleasure – I get excited just like a child – the thrill of taxiing down the runway, and the glee when the plane lifts and soars above the ground – I sit there, almost grinning like the Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderful’.

The next day I’m lying on the grass in my sister, Anita’s backyard, in the sunshine with my niece, gazing through the dappled light of the giant tree at the moving clouds. I felt grateful and blessed to be there, for Cecilie’s company (I only see her every 4-5 years), for the sun when it was mid-winter back home in Tasmania, for being able to laze about instead of working, for the fact I had enough money to take such a trip, and for the joy of being with family again – so many things to be grateful for! Read more

Family Rituals

Family Rituals

In traditional societies there are various times in a child’s life, where special ceremonies take place, to mark their growth and development eg puberty. This was often followed by a family or community gathering, and were an important way of acknowledging a milestone, and they were a time to make that child feel special and proud. In our modern society many people celebrate birthdays to acknowledge another years passing, but a lot of our rituals have ceased.

 

Perhaps you might like to consider introducing some rituals of family celebrations into your home.

 

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Playing with Blocks

Playing With Blocks

At 1, I taste the blocks, and throw them.
At 2, I stack them or line them up, noticing the edges of the blocks.
At 3, I build towers or trains, and can tell you about what I’ve made.

Blocks are one of those toys which last for years, and can be used in a variety of ways by children of many ages.

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My toddler is slapping me!

Lisa asked what to do about her 19 month old son, when he slaps her on the face, for no apparent reason…

Oh Lisa, it’s so awful when our children respond with hitting us! Apart from any physical pain, we are often horrified at their behaviour, shocked that they would do it, wonder why they are doing it, and then if anyone is watching, we also feel embarrassed! What a mix of emotions!

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Superman as a 3yr old

Superman is a 3 year old!

You know how Superman wears a disguise, as the ordinary Clark Kent?

Yesterday I saw Superman in another disguise – as a 3 year old boy!

I was in a department store, in a very long queue of people, waiting to make our purchases. Ahead of me was a Mum, with her 3 year old son (aka Superman). She had a large purchase, with a few smaller items sitting on top and was pushing it along in the line. Superman was looking at all the items which shops insist on putting just at children’s eye level – lollies, chocolates, drinks and small items. He picked various ones up and carefully replaced them.

Then, waiting in a long line became less appealing for him, and he started playing a game with the soft drink bottles – pushing them over, one at a time. Mum noticed and asked him to stop. He promptly decided to ignore her, and pushed another couple over. At this point Mum said: “If you don’t stop that, you can’t have this toy” (the one about to be purchased). He continued pushing them over, and she said: “Okay, no toy.” At this point Superman had a mini-tantrum, which stopped quickly when no-one took any notice. Great work Mum!
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the-terrific-twos

The TERRIFIC Two’s

How often do you hear people saying: “She’s in the Terrible Two’s” when they are rationalising their child’s behaviour? It’s a statement which is often heard.

Imagine for a moment… If I was your close friend, and I told you that you were going to have a bad day tomorrow, with the weather, the traffic, phone calls etc. Your brain would automatically go onto ‘red alert’ – you would enter the day, prowling for problems, ready for action. You would notice every little thing that was wrong with the day – the postman was late, the weather man got the prediction wrong, the coffee wasn’t as hot as it should be etc. When we ‘pre-condition’ our brain to see problems, we become almost like an expert in finding them – it’s as if we are wearing special ‘problem’ glasses which enable us to see all the problems in our day, and to hardly notice the things which go well, as we’re too busy looking for what’s wrong.

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The Second Wife

The Second Wife

I want you to imagine for a moment… Your partner tells you that he is bringing home a new wife to live in the family home. He tells you how exciting it’s going to be, and how much he’s looking forward to her arrival. He says you’ll need to help this new wife, and to share your things – your clothes and your room with her, and that he wants you to love her too. He reminds you that you are still special, but that there will be another special one there too! How would you feel? Most of us would be in disbelief, enraged, and feeling like we weren’t loved enough, or that we weren’t special enough.

Yet, isn’t this what we often expect of child number one, when we announce that’s there’s a new baby joining the family? As adults we struggle with the whole concept of a 2nd wife, yet we expect a 2/3/4 year old (with infinitely less mature social development) to understand, and ‘be nice’ to this new baby! It sounds unreasonable when expressed like that, doesn’t it? In some cases, the first few weeks may be a novelty for the first child, but then some reach a stage where they ask you to ‘send the baby back’!

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Two Languages at Home

Two Languages in Your Home?

When parents have two (or more) languages, they often discuss whether they should introduce them to their children. They wonder if it is confusing for their little ones to hear two languages spoken in the home environment, and may worry that it’s too difficult for their young children to learn to speak both their native language and English also. In fact the opposite is true!

Babies are born able to hear the sounds of all languages, and are able to link together the ‘like’ sounds which they hear, in their brain – eg they store Danish sounds together, and the English sounds together. Isn’t that amazing?

It’s been found that children who have two languages spoken in the home tend to be more creative and more flexible in their thinking than children with just one language!

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Good-Kids-and-Bad-Kids

Good Kids and Bad Kids

Let’s imagine that yesterday you were pulled over by the police, for speeding. How would you feel if, at the time, they had told you that you were a bad woman/man. And when you got home and shared the story with your partner, that they also said you were bad for doing that. And if tomorrow you saw that same police, would you want a reminder not to be bad like yesterday? I know I’d hate it, and would probably feel angry at being reminded over and over!

Yet, isn’t this what we often do to our children when they misbehave….. we somethimes say words like: Naughty boy , or bad girl! And some parents then repeat the story to Daddy when he comes home….. “Sarah was so bad today, she did xyz”. Or tomorrow when the child is playing in a similar situation, we remind them not to be naughty like yesterday.

We wouldn’t like it if it happened to us, so why would we do it to our children?

The reality is that we all make mistakes… and that’s what they are ‘mistakes’, or poor choices. It doesn’t make us bad or naughty!

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Lessons-from-the-Beach

Lessons from the Beach

I had a mini-holiday this week, in a beautiful little seaside town. Daily I would walk to the beach, to absorb the sunshine and heat, as well as hear the sounds of the waves crashing, and the smell the scent of the sea and the bush surrounds.

On the beach were so many families from India, Asian, the Middle East and Anglos. There were Mums with kids, families with cousins & Grandparents, group of friends, surfers, and couples walking hand in hand.

What they all had in common, was a day of fun. There were so many smiles and the sound of laughter, and it was wonderful to participate in this event.

It made me reflect on all the amazing messages which were intentionally and unintentionally being shared with the children present.

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