Tuesday, June 25, 2013


                                                  www. principlespage.com
"Most parents are having a difficult time raising their child. With pressures and strains mounting every day ... it is easy to become confused and discouraged. Rising divorce rates, economic crises, declining quality of education, and less trust in leadership all take an emotional toll on everyone. As parents become more physically, emotionally and spiritually drained, it becomes increasingly difficult to nurture their child. I am convinced that a child takes the greatest brunt of  these difficult times. A child is the most needy person in our society, and his greatest need is love."  How to Really Love Your Child : Ross Campbell. p.11-12.
Every parent wants to raise children who will succeed in life.
Each of us have particular skills and different philosophies which we work to make part of our children's lives to equip them for success in the future.
Some say there are three main areas of life we must consider to raise a successful child - their intellectual or academic development
                            - their physical development
                            - their spiritual development
BUT if a child hasn't learnt to CONTROL themselves, they won't go far in life, regardless of how clever or gifted they are in these things.
My kids ~ I remember times when my kids were out of control. Sometimes I really struggled as a mum, especially as more children came along. Our first four kids were born two years apart and then next three, three years apart. At times I was embarrassed publicly because of their lack of control. But this forced me to want to get help and find a solution to help them learn to control themselves.
As a young mum I was looking for solutions and they were given to me a piece at a time - through books, conversations or ideas that popped into my head.
As I worked at putting into practice the things I recognised as great ideas and common sense, I became more confident and encouraged as a parent.
At the same time my children were also changing for the better. The strong-willed ones were demonstrating the positive side of this character trait. There was less grumbling, arguing and less chaos. We were starting to experience a buoyancy in our family.
How did we get to this point? What brought the changes?
The first came through Ross Campbell's book "How to Really Love Your Child". He also co-authored "The Five Love Languages of Children".
In his book Ross Campbell gave me a thought process that led me to how I needed to think.
" 1) they are children
   2) they will tend to act like children
   3) much of childish behaviour is unpleasant
   4) if I do my part as a parent and love them despite their childish behaviour, they will be able to mature and give up childish ways
   5) if I only love them when they please me (conditional love), and convey my love to them only during those times, they will not feel genuinely loved. This in turn will make them insecure, damage their self-image, and actually prevent them from moving on to better self-control and more mature behaviour. Therefore, their behaviour and its development is my  responsibility as much as theirs
   6) if I love them unconditionally, they will feel good about themselves and be comfortable with themselves. They will then be able to control their anxiety and, in turn, their behaviour, as they grow into adulthood
   7) if I only love them when they meet my requirements or expectations, they will feel incompetent. They will believe it is fruitless to do their best because it is never enough. Insecurity, anxiety, and low self-esteem will plague them. They will be constant hinderances in their emotional and behavioural growth. Again their total growth is as much my responsibility as theirs
   8) for my sake as a struggling parent, and for my son's (and daughter's) sakes, I pray my love for my children will be as unconditional as I can make it. The future of my children depend on this foundation." How to Really Love Your Child : Ross Campbell. p.30-31.
Here was a realistic description of what I was experiencing. Children being children. Here was an explanation for their bad emotional behaviour. I was already finding bits that I could see would lead me to a solution. I had to take up my responsibility as a parent in my child's emotional and behavioural development.
It started with regularly realigning my view of what they were like as children [ by reading 1) - 3)]
I found hope to persevere [ by reading 4) and 6)]
I was warned where not to head [ by reading 5) and 7)]. By thinking long and hard on the consequences of going the wrong way, I was pulled  back into the direction I wanted to go as a parent.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ spend time watching your kids play or work and to become more aware of where they are in themselves. Are they easily frustrated? Do they seem insecure? Look back on old photos of them. It may be helpful to compare what was happening then to what you see now.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


 There is an clear order in the world.  An example of this is seen in parent  birds, who protect their young in their nest, nurture and feed them, teaching them the skills to set them up for life. These young creatures seek out and call for their parents.
A couple of weeks ago a clip was shown during our television news - you could call it an 'experiment'. It obviously alarmed the news presenter. It reminded me of a Youtube link I had seen a year ago which had deeply worried me at that time.
Here is the link ~
News video shown on ONENEWS New Zealand June 6 
It is normal today for mums to search for answers to their questions online, and there, as the presenter said, they find endless enthusiastic parents posting their babies playing with an iPad. 
With persuasive advertising, technology savvy adults and parents like all parent through history - keen "to do the best for their children", iPads rapidly are becoming the standard 'toy/educational device' for toddlers.
I wanted to write about this growing, worrying phenomena and checked back to a post I wrote two years ago on school-aged technology. 
The outcomes of regular technology use as described in this post, still stand. What has changed in the two years is the age that these dangers now kick-in. 
My old post  ~ 
Have a look at these links if you are interested to read more ~
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~I don't want to be labelled the ANTI-TECHNOLOGY DRAMA QUEEN but the serious outcomes of allowing little children, toddlers, even babies, to have regular technology access, surely should drive us as parents to change our home and family habits in this area. Otherwise could it not be said that we are guilty of gross neglect in the care of these young children?
People parents can learn from bird parents, by upping our parent - child direct contact time, and putting away the iPad.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


"As a member of western mainstream culture, I've been soaked in a set of values that places the individual on a pedestal and tells me to focus on things like reach for more! And fulfil your greatest potential! You know how it goes... get on that achievement treadmill - be better, smarter, and of course make sure that your children are brilliant and smart along with you!
And there are many ways to climb on this treadmill, and they can all look quite different. ...
On thing I know; when I am on my treadmill, I sure don't feel contented. And I'm pretty sure my kids don't either. ...
In terms of parenting, consider what kind of model we provide to our kids when we're running on our customised version of the 'culturally sanctioned achievement treadmill'. What kind of life are we teaching them to create? .....
So much of our lives are taken up with very ordinary things. It can make us feel like life is passing us by, and so we seek the ecstatic and the peak moments. When we turn away from the ordinary, we miss out on being present to the beauty that it contains. When we sit into ordinariness, often contentment may be right there for the taking. ..."
PARENTING LIKE AN ORDINARY HUMAN: Embracing 'Ordinariness' as a Pathway to True Contentment. Hilary Jackson. The Natural Parent Magazine New Zealand. Summer 2012/13.
"Ordinary = belonging to or occurring in regular custom or practice; normal, customary, usual." Oxford Dictionary.
Some people love the normal, usual and familiar things. But apparently increasingly today, people want to move away from the regular and the ordinary, as design your-own-meal restaurants indicate and the huge number of hair colour dye options prove. This want to depart from the ordinary, is influencing how we choose to live.
I like the sentence in the quote above, "So much of our lives are taken up with very ordinary things." Being ordinary, in a sense is inescapable, but there is this push to block it out and instead maximise the extraordinary in its various expressions.
Hilary Jackson's article suggests that seeking "the ecstatic and the peak moments", has become not only a regular and normal thought pattern but a planned lifestyle in many families. She refers to this as climbing on "the achievement treadmill" and says there are many ways to get onto such a treadmill.
Do you personally feel you are running on a treadmill pumped with aspirations of achievement or dominated by the want to be distinctive?
There is nothing wrong with being an achiever, being distinctive, or reading books and watching movies about these subjects. A problem only comes when achieving becomes our staple diet and focus, distracting us from ordinary living.
Hilary asks a question of families focused on achieving, "What kind of life are we teaching them (our children) to create?" 
She advocates families incorporate the ordinary in their lives to offset the dangers of an achievement dominated lifestyle. Unfortunately her article does not explain how to go about this.
The answer, however, rests with parents.
Only parents can establish a proper view of the ordinary into their family's life, and here are 2 practical ways you can do it:~

1. By modelling a happy, relaxed attitude toward ordinary daily household jobs and happenings. Vacuuming the floor, cleaning up after a meal, going back to turn off the dripping tap, changing yet another filthy nappy.... We need a positive attitude that says "this is normal", not a dramatic, big-deal inconvenience. It can be done as we chat or do something we enjoy, keeping it low-key, making it blend into the other things of the day.
I am purely stating the point here, as I have written many posts about how to teach children household jobs, giving them a normal mindset towards  their responsibilities at home. 
2. By adopting a lifestyle which isn't achievement dominated. Today the  obsession to achieve and be distinctive is a trap that is so easily fallen into. I see this in my family and myself. They may be great pursuits, honourable intensions and plans which will bring enormous help to needy people, radical and innovative ideas which should be made known - all worthy things to spend our time on. But if these things dominate our thinking and control our life so that the ordinary simple matters of everyday living, including natural family communication, barely fit in the day, then we have climbed onto the achievement treadmill, and this is the approach to life we demonstrate and offer to our family.
No matter if the children are pre-schoolers or in their twenties, a parent's achievement dominated lifestyle speaks loudly to children. It says many things, including, "this is how we choose to live life", "I'm just busy with this right now and can't spend time with you", "this really is more important for me to give my time to"....
For parents in high-powered careers, this is a difficult area to face, let alone adjust. Each person needs to honestly weigh up their choices and make fitting changes, as the consequences of staying on the achievement treadmill are not bright, especially for our children.
I am always challenged and get a perspective straightener when I read about people living in extremely difficult circumstances. This morning I read an author's account of her father, the true story about Joe, an incredible achiever -
"Joe's birthplace had been a nice two-storey family home in Denver, which his gambling father lost soon after Joe was born. Moving to a small farm to begin again, Joe's father and mother both slowly sickened with tuberculosis and eventually left their four young sons and two tiny daughters orphans to fend for themselves.
Was  Joe the "Cinderella"? The other boys had their father's dashing good looks; the little girls were beautiful; Joe was homely. In any case, it was eleven-year-old Joe, third of the four boys, who dropped out of school to farm and care for the two little sisters and help put his brothers through college.
Ten schoolless years later, when the boys had their diplomas and the girls were situated in homes as domestic help, Joe himself started back to school, crammed junior high and high school subjects to pass an entrance exam, and put himself through college as well.
The third fall on campus, when Joe saw incoming freshman Mary Weible under that tree - for him, everything was new. He proved to her his worth through outrageous effort; he worked both day- and night-jobs, he got straight A's, and he became colonel of the college R.O.T.C. And from the beginning, he romanced her and won her and tenderly nicknamed her Betty.
Six years later, when Joe had his new commission in the U.S. Army, he and Betty were married. Almost immediately World War 1 called him from his nearly completed Ph.D. program and put him on active duty. That changed their life direction, and therefore Mother was his "lady" - through thirty-plus years in the Army and twenty-plus more years as editor-in-chief of a military publishing company."
Disciplines of the Home: Anne Ortlund.
Here is a hard worker, regardless of the situation he was determined to achieve. But although his achieving must have taken a lot of his time, the rest of Joe's story proves he was not achievement dominated. He kept the ordinary firmly in his life.
There seems to be a choice and how each person makes that choice to be involved in the ordinary of family life, will be unique. 
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ all the best to you as you think about these things with your family.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


"The more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned."
"...the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient, meaning they could moderate the effects of stress.
Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?
'The answers have to do with a child's sense of being part of a larger family.' Dr Duke said." 
"THE FAMILY STORIES THAT BIND US" : Bruce Feiler. Read the full article in last week's post.
I wanted to pick up and talk about this great quote again this week because I like Dr Duke's emphasis, that a child needs to have a sense "of being part of a larger family" and that this equips children for the toughest experiences of life. There are so many ways, as the article says, that a family can go about giving a child the secure feel of connection with siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and beyond. Making family memories is one such way.
Here are 11 reasons which answer the question - WHAT IS THE POINT OF MAKING FAMILY MEMORIES?
 1.  they give opportunities to express love to each other
 2.  they bring the element of fun into the family
 3.  they bring the family together to experience something in common
 4.  they build a family identity
 5.  they encourage growth of connectivity between children and parents
 6.  they develop a sense of belonging
 7.  they foster a commitment to one another
 8.  they set-up habits for the future, including the want to come home and be with the family
 9.  they are times where you can talk about and hand on the things of life which are important to you
 10.  they create a strong awareness of security both within the family and in individuals
 11.  they provide experiences for children to build a stronger sense of self within their family
As for suggestions of how to make family memories, there's loads of ideas online to choose from. Just google "making family memories" to read of traditional as well as completely new ideas such as geocaching which my relatives in Australia love to do as a family memory maker.
My friend Glen, recently discussed the subject of making memories with some mums. Drawing their attention to everyday opportunities which can be made into memories, she gave these excellent points. 
"Neurologically we remember things by association, for example, the smell, the sound, the emotion we felt. All these help us recall something.
For example, every time you have morning tea and read stories, you remember a tray set with a flower or candle, everyone was happy and calm, the smell of the coffee and muffins cooking, nothing was required of you, you got to cuddle up on the sofa together and just enjoy the dreamland of listening to the story. So whenever morning tea is mentioned the family recalls these good memory moments and you want to reproduce it."  "...candles lit at table for mealtimes.... plates and cups of beauty to say we value the people there for this occasion, and the crafts people who created the cups, candleholder, meal. You have a story  because things are not in isolation, they involve creative people, handcraft and labour. Creativity is what makes humans stand out from all other creatures."
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ have a think about a sobering quote I came across from Dr Michele Borba - "Pretend it's twenty years in the future and you're at the family reunion. What will you and your family remember about this time in their lives?"