Friday, July 24, 2015

Parenting Without Judgment – There Is More Than One Way to Raise a Child

Every child is unique.  No two are alike and not every child will be enriched the same experiences.  There is more than one way to raise children to become productive, responsible, happy adults.  All over social media and in endless articles, people tout their decisions.  It is wonderful if your child is happily involved in youth sports, community activities, dance lessons or camp.  Be happy with your decision without judgment of others.  Parenting is not a competitive sport.  It is a journey.  It is an experience as unique as every individual.

The goal of parenting is to foster independent, capable adults who positively contribute to our society.  There is more than one way to teach independence and confident decision making.  My children, for example, did not attend camp.  They have two working parents and time together has always been at a premium during the school year.  My husband and I viewed summer as our family time.  I have always worked less hours in the summer.  We considered ourselves fortunate to have time to reconnect, explore and have many summer experiences together.  That did not make them less independent.  During the school year, they had the added responsibilities that are common in families with two career parents.  Today, they are both independent adults.  My older son moved to college with no problem and my younger son is busy packing.  Our choice was ours for our own reasons. 

Many parents today are choosing alternative educational settings.  Children are being homeschooled, attending charter schools or choosing other options rather than the traditional public school route.  These options may not be my choice or yours but we need to stop declaring them wrong.  We assume that children who are homeschooled don’t have interaction with peers.  That is not true in today’s world.  They are in dance class with your child.  They belong to homeschooling social groups.  Children who are homeschooled are attending college alongside our public school graduates.  When I really think about it, my public school educated children had a dose of homeschooling.  Many of our excursions have been to historical sites and museums.  We went on many an educational vacation.  If like me, you value connecting their formal learning to informal educational activities then you are participating in a tiny bit of homeschooling.  Choosing that as the main educational core is the right of any parent.  

Acceptance and tolerance are about more than race, religion and sexual orientation.  It is about accepting that the decisions that other people make are as deserving of non-judgment.  Perhaps if we let go of our cookie cutter views of how to exist and stopped competing when there shouldn’t be one winner, we would find a way to better co-exist and enhance each other’s life experiences. 

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Which Rules Should Change as Children Age?

It is important to set boundaries for children.  They need to know what behavior is not considered acceptable at home, in school and all other settings.  I often speak to parents about the importance of being consistent.  A rule will not be a rule for long if you make exceptions and the consequences for crossing the boundary aren’t the same every time. A child who hits another child with a toy needs to know that every time that happens, play will stop.  The child needs to know that the behavior will elicit the same response every time.  Children should know from the time that they are very young that hurting other people will never be allowed.  Destroying property will never be allowed.  There are other rules, however, that need to change with time.

Some rules are age specific and some are situational.  Some rules become a matter of habit or convenience and it isn’t until children complain that we even consider changing them.  Confidence, trust and independence are gained if we reflect on our routines and adjust our rules to show our children that we know they are growing, maturing and can handle slightly wider boundaries.  Some of the age specific or situational rules in your home may be:

  • Bedtime – The time a 4 year old should go to bed and the time an 8-10 year old should go to bed can certainly differ.  I was listening to a conversation between two parents in a store.  One mother told the other that all three of her children go to bed at the same time because otherwise the younger children cry about it being unfair.  With age comes added responsibility and with added responsibility can come more privilege. It is a lesson about how the world really works.  People with more responsibility at work usually are paid more and get more benefits.  When you get to their age or their level, so will you.
  • Homework Time – When children first start to get homework in the early grades, some parents make a rule that they must come home and do their homework before anything else.  As children age and have more complex information & experiences to process during their day, it can actually be beneficial to set a different time rule.  Giving children 30-45 minutes to separate from their day, recharge and then start their homework may make homework time more productive.  Taking time to process your day before the next task is a life skill that so many of us don’t learn until we are exhausting ourselves.  We can teach our children to pace themselves and still meet their responsibilities.
  • Time with Friends – Socialization time is important at every age.  Children need to spend years interacting with others in order to negotiate the world by themselves as they get older.  They need practice interacting, experiencing the reactions of others and finding their place among their peers.  When they are early learners, parents schedule play dates.  If you know the family well enough, those playdates don’t always need to include you.  Children gain confidence in themselves when they go to a friend’s house without parents and enjoy the experience.  Soon, children start to request their own play dates and parents start to set time limits.  As the children get older, those time limits and the time to return home need to slowly expand within reason.  From your children’s point of view, you are demonstrating that you know they can handle more, you trust them and you don’t need to hover.
  • Technology – Your children are technological natives.  Technology is simply a part of their world.  It is how they will research, do school work, spend leisure time and communicate. It is important that children today grow up to be proficient at using all forms of technology and know its benefits as well as its pitfalls.  They need to grow up knowing, for example, that social media is a great way to stay in touch with family but beware of strangers.  They need to understand that technology is an amazing tool for research and communication but they do not need to use it to reveal everything about themselves.  As children get older and technology continues to advance in its scope and capabilities, it will become more and more difficult to restrict its use.  It is important that the generations of technological immigrants, those of us who did not grow up with it, help to guide our children and not deny its role.  It is here to stay so let’s teach children to use it responsibly like we do so many other things.

As your children proceed through elementary school and march through their pre-teen and teen years, remember that your goal as a parent is to teach them to leave you.  They need to be able to make decisions, take on increasing responsibility and function without you someday.  When young adults go to college, you do not want this to be their first experience with looser boundaries.  It needs to be a gradual experience so that college is the next logical step and not a dive off of the helicopter parenting cliff.  Parents needs to consistently consider the boundaries, rules and levels of responsibility as they raise children.
   
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Read this blog for more articles.  Learn about early childhood informational sessions & presentations for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

When #lovewins So Do Future Generations

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples to be married.  All over social media, profile pictures changed to the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ flag.  People celebrated and declared it a great day for America.  It is a bright shining moment because it means that people can, according to the law of the land, love whomever they choose.  It is a moment that people who had been denied the rights of married couples should celebrate.  They saw that #lovewins in the United States in their lifetime.  For so many young people struggling to be accepted for who they are, it is proof that in this country they have the right to be treated with dignity.  It is a ray of hope that shines through ignorant hatred.  For future generations, it is even more.

Future generations of Americans will be born into a country where their right to love anyone and to benefit equally will just exist.  They won’t know any other way.  They won’t grow up asking for the same rights as a married men and women.  They probably won’t believe it was any other way.

I am reminded of the first time I watched a movie about the Holocaust with my children.  They couldn’t believe that humans could treat each other that way.  Then we watched a movie about slavery in America and they were appalled.  They shook their heads at documentaries about civil rights and couldn’t comprehend people turning hoses on people who were just asking to be treated equally.  They grew up with two working parents and couldn’t relate to a time when women were not allowed to even vote.

The babies born now and in the future will simply know that anyone who is in love can marry.  They can marry and be next of kin at a hospital.  They can be “married filing jointly” and share tax and insurance benefits.  The children of the future will shake their heads at a time when being in love was a debate and people had to fight the LGBTQ inequality in the law.

As this government takes a giant leap forward in cultural awareness, diversity and acceptance, may we all work to educate the people who need to know that children are born straight or gay or lesbian or transgender.  They do not have a choice.  We do.  We can choose that #lovewins and we let people find the American dream which, when you peel away the layers, is happiness that comes from self-acceptance.
  
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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.