Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"NOW I'M 18"

A story from my family.
"Our second youngest child turned eighteen, two weeks ago. Here in New Zealand children are entitled to free dental care up until the age of eighteen. I had kindly reminded my son that he should book that final free appointment at the dentist, a couple of months ago but he didn't get round to it.
Last week after getting an appointment, he went off to the dentist knowing he would have to pay at least $90 for what would have been free just seven days earlier. In a dilemma the dental nurse phoned me, obviously realising the situation, to make sure I knew there would be a bill for the appointment. I explained that my son would be paying the bill and we would later talk through with him if we would contribute.
She seemed shocked that I wasn't paying all the bill and offered to post out an invoice, but I assured her we had worked through similar situations in the past with our older children and firmly believed that at eighteen, they were ready and able to handle what the world gave to them as emerging adults.
This really was a perfect start to it all, and something he would learn from and remember for some time."
Every family works differently. A parent's view of what is necessary, fair, kind and helpful when assisting their child to grow-up, is unique. My husband and I don't always see eye-to-eye on parenting issues and regularly talk through things even though we've been parenting together for thirty years.
But the fact is, children DO grow into adults. Therefore the role parents have in equipping children for independence diminishes. 
The time period to make them ready starts when they are little children when we give them opportunities, small at first, to take responsibilities and their consequences in daily life situations. This provides them with practice and this practicing continues on through childhood into teenage years with them being responsible and living with the out workings of their choices. In this way by the time they reach eighteen they should be ready to take the responsibilities our community says they are entitled to.
There are Two Problems 
1. Parents don't give their  children the practice they need before eighteen.
2. Parents continue to treat their eighteen+ aged children, as children, by 
  ~  BAILING THEM OUT This is usually in the form of financial assistance, here's some examples
       - paying off their car speeding fines or debts
       - handing out money when they have already misused what they had
       - regularly paying for their drinks, meal or events when out socially
       - continuing to pay them an allowance or for their clothes.. when they have a full-time job
      - booking them tickets on a 'family holiday'
      - choosing what degree they are to study
      - choosing what university they are to attend or which ones they are not to attend
      - choosing their friends
Often parents persist in behaving in these ways towards their children not because they are control freaks but out of fear. They have little or no confidence that their son or daughter will reach independence if they  stop taking responsibility for their child. But the result is alarming.
There are Two Results - Both Alarming
A. They will stay 'children' all their life. Possibly not in perceivable behaviour but definitely in habits and character. Timid, lacking confidence, lazy, not perceptive, dependent, lacking in responsibility, irresponsible, a sponger, expectant, selfish, arrogant, caught up in their own world, show little initiative.... are some of the resulting tendencies that will come from adults who stay children.
B. They will rebel and because they have little to no practiced skills in independence their choices aren't likely to lead to a successful life.
The role we play as parents is frequently a fine line therefore it's difficult to decide what to do. But we must let our children make mistakes and fall on their faces. This is the point of all that practice.

  Child makes choice ---- fall on their face ---- realise to their own cost that their decision was stupid, dangerous or hurt ---- choose differently next time ---- fall on their face ---- more thinking needed because the cost to self was greater than last time ---- choose again.....                                                                                     
For some children this process is short because they naturally move to the best or 'right' decision early. Other children  take longer, but that's ok. Remember each of your children are unique, and remember too that you have certain areas where you are rather slow to change and learn. I know I do.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ be patient with your children and keep on track handing them responsibilities increasing in magnitude that are relevant to their age and capabilities. It can be a little scary at times but if you withhold giving them this practice you will be creating an A. or B. child. The choice is yours.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Tina gives the final interview on the topic of Clothing Children.
1. As a woman and a mum you fill a variety of roles everyday. Can you describe some of those roles?
I am a stay at home mum to 3 boys. I do the housework, care for the boys, homeschool the older two, cook meals, do the shopping. I also help out at our church in a couple of roles and teach bible in schools once a week at our local school.
2. Who is in your family?
My husband, Chris, my three boys, William 6, Samuel 5 and Benjamin 3 and I.
3. What is important to you about the clothes your children wear? Does your philosophy, approach to life or ethical choices affect your children's clothing?
I grew up in a home where money was tight and we never ever got to have the trendy clothes or the latest brand that everyone else was wearing and it never really bothered me. While our family is financially ok it continues to be a value for me that having the latest brand item is not important. While from time to time we have bought the boys items with favourite disney characters, we have not bought anything that is brand fancy just because that is what others are all wearing. I realise this is easier to achieve in one sense at this age as the boys are not yet aware of brands but it can be consuming for a mother to have her kids wearing the latest trend and I have done my best to stay away from that kind of spending on clothes. 
I love hand me downs and make the most of those. Every 6 months as a new season begins we go through our clothes and sort them by fit, if a pair of trousers no longer fits the oldest it goes to the next boy and so on. Then clothes no longer needed get passed on. We share with my sister's family and she with us. I rarely buy new items, though we are given new items by my husband's mum quite often. I don't like the idea of buying expensive clothes and avoid it but I also want to know where the clothes are made and what the worker's conditions are. However I find that at the end of the day that is one really difficult issue that I have not come close to solving.
4. How do you approach the following factors when making decisions in clothing your children? * when to replace clothing   * where you go to find or buy clothes   * how much money to spend   * issues to checkout while choosing their clothes   * what the child wants and like   * your own personal taste   * any other factors.
I replace clothing when it has holes in it, is badly stained or no longer fits. I mostly go to friend's for hand me downs to replace or I go to sales at Farmers or the warehouse usually if I must buy something. I only buy when items are on sale, so at this age things between $10 and $20 I guess. I choose clothes for practicality and use as well as size. The boys might get to choose colour between similar items they are trying on when we are buying new. It gives them some pride in the item because they chose it and they don't make any fuss about what to wear that way. I probably choose styles and colours that are to my taste as well but try to let the boys be themselves as well. For example my oldest chose a pair of sneakers that are bright orange, not my style but he loves them! I don't buy or take any clothes that have certain characters or images on them, ones I don't think are appropriate for children this age, like Ben 10 monsters, or  adult themed ones.
5. From your experience, what tips would you give a mum grappling with clothing her children?
Relax. As children get older, past toddler, the wear and tear on clothing is quite high so don't overspend. Accept hand-me-downs wherever possible and make the most of them. Shop second hand where possible and look out for sales. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014


                                           Helene's Family
By answering five questions, Helene Morris write how she works in the area of Clothing Children.
1. As a woman and a mum you fill a variety of roles everyday. Can you describe some of those roles.
I am a Mum of 3 and also run a clothing and lingerie label with my partner Steve. We started the business when I was pregnant with my eldest son and this has definitely been a challenge juggling both career and family. Steve and I have shared childcare, and often work shifts with one of us starting early and then swapping during the day so that we have maximum time with our kids. My days are really busy as it is for all Mums! 
2. Who is in your family?
Theo who is 11, Iggy is 6 and Juno is 2, Steve, myself and our cat Rex.
3. What is important to you about the clothes your children wear? Does your philosophy, approach to life or ethical choices affect your children's clothing?
The most important thing is comfort. My kids are all really active and I don't like clothes getting in the way of them learning and having fun. Kids also grow out of things so quickly so I love passing clothes on, and being given clothes from friends. Juno’s favourite thing is a little satin Mickey Mouse bomber jacket she was given by my friend whose two daughters loved it, and we are about to pass it onto someone else. Re-cycling is so important with clothing as fast fashion has resulted in so much excess today.
4. How do you approach the following factors when making decisions in clothing your children?   
* when to replace clothing  Mainly when they have grown out of things and are needing a new size. I am absolutely non precious about kids clothes, they get stained and ripped and that is just how it should be with kids!
* where you go to find or buy clothes  My boys are soccer mad so for them anything soccer related is their daily uniform. I usually go to Sterling Sports or Rebel Sports or specialist soccer shops for this. Cotton On Kids and Nature Baby are where I would go for Juno.
* how much money to spend   I’d buy them each a couple of new pieces each season, but hand me downs mean I don’t have to get so much for Iggy and even Juno wears the boys old tee shirts and jeans. 
* issues to checkout while choosing their clothes   I choose natural fibres where possible as they breathe and are generally more comfortable. 
* what the child wants and like   They all pick their own clothes and wear what they like, Juno picks some interesting outfits but I love her to experiment and have fun with clothes. It’s a great way for kids to be creative.
* your own personal taste   I prefer plain kids clothes, with not too much branding. Good quality fabrics are something I look for when I buy.
5. From your experience, what tips would you give a mum grappling with clothing her children?
Kids grow out of clothes so quickly, so keep that in mind, and kids often end up wearing the same thing over and over.