In the morning we hug our daughters and watch them get swallowed up by the mass of kids on the schoolyard. I’m sure many of us wonder if we have really prepared them for the “mean girls” and cliques that are also out there.
I remember the first time I really started questioning whether homework the way we knew it from our childhood was relevant today. The September 15th, 2006 cover story of MacLean’s Magazine was staring at me, Homework Is Killing Our Kids with the dramatic picture of a girl hunched over her books. I nodded, “Yes, it is.”
Continuing on with my tantrum series, we can't talk about tantrums without talking about transitions. It is likely that some of the most challenging moments with young children are during a “transition.” A transition is when you are moving from one activity to the next.
I recently asked the parents on my Facebook page to share their biggest challenges. Many parents explained that tantrums and the crazy-making behaviour of young children was the hardest thing for them right now. Yes, I too have cut "the wrong end of the freezie" so I understand what crazy-making means!
I usually have my parenting educator hat on but today I wanted to share a project I did with my boys that served many wonderful purposes. We had fun, got closer, were creative together, provided a personalized gift for many people, and saved money!
I am sharing this now because it is a wonderful holiday gift idea, but depending how involved you want to make it, you will need lots of time to go through all the steps. It took us two months from start to printed product in our hands. (Although you could do it faster than us)
Each time I posted pictures of my children on Facebook, I felt joy knowing my family members and friends could see my boys' smiling faces.
I put my privacy settings on the highest settings, feeling secure that I could safely post pictures of my children and know they would not meet stranger's eyes. I gasped in shock when I came across this quote while reading Raffi Cavoukian's new book Lightweb Darkweb, on the need for social media reform:
Have you heard this phrase, “You can’t control how another person reacts, but you can control how you react?” Easier said than done—but it IS possible!
I know how hard it is to stay cool when others around you are melting down or freaking out. Really, I do—I have the hole in my laundry room wall to prove it. As a psychotherapist with anger management tools, I was shocked how hard it was to stay calm when my young children were blowing their tops. I think they missed that section in the anger management books.
Thursday, September 10, 2015 is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is an initiative held on the same day each year by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization. Their goal is to raise awareness that suicide is preventable, and to improve education about suicide to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
From press release on World Suicide Prevention Day:
The relationship between a parent and their child's teachers is important for that child's development and fostering a life-long love of learning. It helps children relax when they know the various people they spend all day with are on the same page. Also, you don't want to be known as a rude, absent or obnoxious parent!
Having been a high-school teacher for ten years before becoming a psychotherapist, I witnessed parent-teacher relationships go well, but also very, very badly.
Here are some tips to get you and your family out the door without battles and on time:
Create a schedule and post it.
The easiest way to get everyone moving, particularly in the morning, is to have a predictable ROUTINE. This routine needs to include a list of tasks and an order to complete them. I like to call the list of these things "jobs." For example, our morning job list is: pee, eat, get dressed, brush teeth, gather things. Keep the language simple!
Most people have heard of the term "attachment" through the phrase "attachment parenting." Separate of that parenting style, the word attachment, according to psychologist Mary Ainsworth is "defined as an affectional tie that one person or animal forms between himself and another specific one — a tie that binds them together in space and endures over time."
A common challenge parents have is what to do when two partners cannot agree on things like discipline styles, communication methods or co-sleeping.
The most stark difference I have seen is when one parent does not spank the children, but the other does. Regardless of my opinion on spanking, which you can read about here, this parenting difference is bound to cause problems.
I had a wonderful conversation with Erica Ehm, the owner of this publication, after that post came out. We talked about how parents probably needed to be validated in their struggles and to know that even us "experts" have rough days, and in my case, actual conditions like postpartum depression.
The unfolding story of Lisa Gibson, aged 32, of Winnipeg, MB and the death of her two young children is preoccupying my mind. We cannot assume that this mother drowned her children, as the information is incomplete. But I can hear the judging by others that is likely happening, "What kind of mother would harm her own children?" I'll tell you what kind—a normal kind, with an abnormal moment in time.