Watching TV the other day, I was impressed by a woman and her son as they related his battle with cancer. Her goal was just to get him to live.
How much more we should be helping our children to not only live, but begin to realize their dreams. We watch as they play with objects, watch certain TV shows or read certain books. We notice their developing interest in science, math, music or sports. We do not direct them but encourage them.
We help them to never hold a grudge, to envy another’s clothes, friends, or home. We help them to know the world does not owe them anything; if they want something badly enough, they will work for it. They will be determined and persistent. They definitely cannot feel sorry for themselves. They get up and go at it again.
If it turns out to not be the right thing for them, they throw it away and go another direction when they have tried their best or found it impossible after many tries. If they have furnished time, effort and emotional energy into a lost cause, depression and mental illness can set in. It might just be time to give up and redirect their life goals to a more satisfying endeavor.
“I used to wish my dreams would come true…maybe I should have specified that
I meant the good ones.”
I need to apologize. I have been wrong. I have not seen much value in video games and I usually discourage their use. However, after much research, I find there is a use for them in children’s development.
Games help children advance necessary thinking skills that are needed in today’s world. Such high-level skills as collaboration, creative thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and using information media (which I find so necessary in my research for writing this blog, my website and newspaper column.) Although I am not usually a game player, I do like word searches. card games, and paper games that challenge my thinking.
Children improve their personality and gain confidence as they develop their skill in solving the problems posted by video games and learn the strategies needed to play.
Such games as Anagram, Word Hunt, Finding Hidden Words, Tik Tak Boom, Word Ladder, and other learning games that challenge all of us no matter what our age are good for us within balance and reason.
Parents must have discussions with their children about the time spent using and playing video games. You must be aware of the content of the games your children are playing, maybe by playing them with your children. Keep video-game playing in balance with the other attributes your children need to acquire such as responsibility, helpfulness, awareness of others and their feelings, exercise and nutrition. Your children need to enhance their physical, emotional, social and linguistic skills as well as the skills they learn through video gaming.
http:// www.empoweringparents.com/article/teach-your-child-responsibility-7-tips-to-get-started/?utm_source=Empowering+ is a useful source for you to know how to teach your child responsibility. This article has been written by James Lehman who has dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth. With his wife Janet, he developed a system to help parents called Total Transformation. This article is only one part of their approach, but a valuable one to help parents with this important teaching.
Attempting to summarize this article, I will only touch on the "7 tips" to familiarize you with them. For the Lehmans' entire assistance, please see the website above.
You must enforce your children's accountablility for their actions consistently by holding to the consequences for not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Mr. and Mrs. Lehman suggest you start early so your children realize they are an individual who has responsibilities. However, it is never too late for children to learn the relationship between responsibilities, accountability and rewards. Use language that shows your children you recognize their being responsible and set an example that they can recognize. You may need to coach and explain what responsibility is and do so with patience. You can discuss consequences and rewards with your children as they become old enough to understand, and you may need to do so individually with each of your children. The consequences and rewards might be different for each child and all your children need to understand that also.
Learning how to be responsible is one of the most important skills kids can learn and being responsible needs to be taught by parents.
Hope is in Your Horoscope
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Hope is a learned response and a bigger determinant of success than intelligence, skill or previous success. It is your work as parent, grandparent, or caregiver to help your children stay hopeful. If your children have a higher “hope score,” they will be more successful at achieving academic and athletic goals. They will be able to recognize and make the best use of opportunities. With your children and yourself, if you make the choice to hope, you put yourselves in control of how you react to circumstances, knowing that you can draw on hope to see things in a new or different way. Hope strengthens us and expands our capacity to believe in our dreams and what is possible for us.
How do you develop hope? First of all, you need to be optimistic, to believe that things will get better. You need to set goals for yourselves and help your children to do so. What are you good at? What are your strengths? Look at yourself and see what you have to share with your children now. Not all learning is done in school or on the internet and you know things you can teach your children. It may be how to cook or sew, or how to kick or throw a football. It may be how to sing or play an instrument. It may be how to read a book out loud or tell a joke. There definitely needs to be something to work toward. Having goals to work towards in one of the best ways to have hope.
Hopes are the strands that run through our lives—our struggles, our successes and setbacks, our strengths and shortcomings. Realistic and reasonable hope can move us forward toward achieving goals and lift us up as we accomplish each step in attaining them You and your children need to “high five” or pat yourselves on the back each time you move a step closer to your goals. If each one of you is setting and accomplishing a goal, you encourage and help each other. (www.wikihow.com). Hope breeds hope.
You can even schedule hope according to Noami Drew. You can create a daily 5-minute silence ritual and curtail your intake of the news. Develop a mantra such as "I am the key to hope." "I am the key to peace in my family."
Using this time to make a difference in your lives gives you the opportunity to live your greatest promises and to develop your highest and best selves. Hope is energy, fuel for living. Hope is a necessity, an emotional engine and basis for engaging in life.
Hopeful thinkers achieve more and are physically and psychologically healthier than less hopeful people. Charles Richard Snyder
Treat your family to a healthy, hopeful life in spite of COVID 19.
Laughter—Antidote to Coronavirus
All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other. August Wilson
Laughter occurs when people are comfortable with one another, when they feel open and free. And the more laughter there is, the more bonding happens within a family. Maybe we do not have enough laughter in our lives these days. There is so much stress, unhappiness and fear in the world and in our families. No wonder we run with tech.
Parents who are dedicated to the best interests, social development and academic success of their children can accomplish great things by using a variety of humorous approaches to family activities, meals and studies.
Laughter is a link to creativity and divergent thinking. It may lead to new ideas and understandings. Laughter is important to physical well-being and stress relief for all ages. Laughter runs through many regions of the brain as a source of energy to help grow stronger relationships and opportunities for success. It is a highly effective way to stimulate conversation for both the speaker and the listener.
When you have a meal together, laughter provides time for bonding and building trust. However, be careful that you don’t laugh at the wrong time or in a derogatory manner. Don’t let your children make fun of each other which causes embarrassment or ridicule. This is counterproductive to social and academic growth.
As you help your children with their schoolwork, laughter enables learning and relieves boredom and monotony. It helps children stay “tuned in” to what they are learning. As you come up with rhymes and songs to help children remember important math facts or new words, your "silliness” my help them retain important information. Use rhymes, chants, riddles, jokes, anecdotes and games to help children make valuable connections, enhance learning, boost creativity and critical thinking skills. Use humor and laughter to teach good moral behavior and responsibility. Use this ability to instill trust and confidence and provide children with a means of coping with sadness and disappointment.
Reading books that rhyme is fun for all and increases children’s desire to read. Such books as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and many of the Dr. Seuss books are fun for younger children while Parts, For Laughing Out Loud and The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky might bring out the giggles with older readers. Check your library website for more suggestions.
From your parents, you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other. But when books are opened, you discover you have wings. Helen Hayes
Laughter may even improve job performance as you work from home, especially if your work causes frustration and involves solving complex problems. The major function of laughter is to bring people together, to connect people emotionally.
Count the times you have a good laugh together. together. Give your children love and laughter.
Within the articles posted recently, I have tried to share websites with you that I have found helpful. I have often referred to them throughout the writing of my weekly articles for the Southern Arizona newspaper—the Sahuarita Sun.
I would also like to share an article I happened across about “6 Parenting Mistakes” on Empowering Parents. This is to show you that you are not alone and there is no such being as a “perfect parent.” The six mistakes that most of us make are not forgiving ourselves for losing our temper, for being inconsistent with discipline, for blaming ourselves for our children’s behavior, for doing too much for our children, for giving ineffective consequences, and for feeling as it you never have enough time or money to give your children. For more, see empoweringparents.com/article/perfect-parents-don't-exist-forgive-yourself-for-these-6-parenting-mistakes written by Sara Bean.
Sara also suggests giving them strong values, teaching them the value of hard work, saving money, careful spending, gratitude for what they have, and giving to others less fortunate are the most valuable gifts you can give your children.
I agree … hope you do also.
A Time for Patience
Patience is defined in the dictionary as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. Throughout the times we are presently forced to tolerate, I cannot believe that there is any greater quality needed than patience.
We must spend a lot of time right now with our children who are not in school. We need to get to know them and tolerate their moods and actions. We need to be patient with them and with ourselves in a rare situation through this virus attack.
Patience can be taught to our children as we attempt to help them at home. They need to be patient with themselves when we limit their screen time which may be all they know to do with their out-of-school time. They need to be patient with their siblings when they get little break from them. They need to be patient with you as their “substitute teacher--more patient than they have been with the substitute teachers in school.
If we teach patience as a strength when dealing with people, as courage, as something that makes our children healthier and happier, we will accomplish more learning than they receive in school. If we teach them patience as steadfastness in face of the teasing and tormenting from siblings, we will also help ourselves to have patience. If all of us can remain calm in waiting for this to pass, we will have become better people, patient people.
Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you are waiting.
(See specific articles to learn how to grow patience in your children of all ages.)
Even if the goal is academic, when we teach young people emotional skills, social skills, we see better mental health. Shimi Kang
If we want our children to succeed in life, there are social and emotional skills we must teach them. As parents and caregivers, our time is important, but taking time to help children learn to control and use their feelings and emotions properly in society is worth every minute of our time. This generation is growing up with tech time, but not parent time.
Children who grow up feeling like they can't do things, are not good enough or that they are not worth anything experience mood swings, loss of pleasure and poor concentration. These feelings are made worse by a tech-based society in which children experience social isolation and disconnection.
Impulse control is one of the skills with which we can help our children. "Mastery of impulse is all about self-discipline and choice. The mind is a powerful tool with which we have the ability to be in control of ourselves," says Alaric Hutchinson.
Children need balance in their lives which parents and caregivers can give. Creating routines, providing the right amount of nourishment in the form of fruits and vegetables with fewer calorie-rich snacks, limiting the amount of time children are on screen, providing time for physical activity, enough sleep for their age, and family time, especially at meals help children to know who they are and their place in the family as well as society. Communication and conversations are needed for children to grow successfully, to feel good about themselves and to achieve in their studies.
Suggestion: Make time to listen to your children.
You may have attended your fall parent conference; you may have found
that your child is still “not getting it.” You may be frustrated and ready to give up
on this parenting thing.
We know that children are our future and we need to prepare them for that. However, they are not going to be able to pick up all the technological things they need if they cannot read, write and spell satisfactorily. (Notice, I did not say successfully or perfectly.) They surely need a basic amount of communication skills to continue to be interested and grow their learning.
The skills they continue to learn are skills you can help them with at home. If they claim they have no homework, still give them “quiet time”—reading, writing, drawing, just thinking, but not playing video games. They can look at pictures in a magazine or book, read graphic novels (comic books, when we were growing), read or write poetry, write in a journal (spelling excepted), draw their dreams or sketch a robot to help clean their room.
You must give them time to explore their interests, to help you to know the kind of gift you might get for them for Christmas that goes along with their developing passion. You might purchase a reasonably priced guitar or music lessons if they show interest in music, a model car they can construct, or a game they can conquer or sports lessons to challenge their competitive spirit. How about a science kit or a microscope for your children whose bent is towards discovery of nature or how things work.
You can use your “quiet time” to show interest and observe your children. For this, you, too must put down your phone or tablet to find what interests your children. Learning skills will strengthen as your children pursue what they like or what interests them. If there is strong interest, they will want to discover more, read more, even write more. They will develop their own way to learn and will do what is necessary for them to acquire more knowledge. Nagging, pushing or doing more worksheets will not help. Time spent with your children and conversation with them is invaluable.
They may forget what you said, but they will never forget HOW you made them feel. Carol Buchner
Summer vacation presents a new challenge for parents, especially for those working parents. For young families, it means looking for someone to care for your children. If older children, parents wonder how they are using their time off. Hopefully, if they are old and responsible enough, they may be baby sitting your own or other children. If your sons are ambitious, they may be seeking to help an elderly neighbor, such as cutting their lawns of putting their trash barrel on the curb for pick-up.
Here are some items for you to consider:
Try to keep as much of a routine as you can. Children thrive on knowing how, when and where they must operate.
Be sure each child knows how they are to contribute to your family: feeding and walking the dog, loading/unloading the dishwasher and/or clothes washer and dryer, taking out the trash, and making sure the recyclables are in the right container for pickup on the right day. Children need to be responsible for their own rooms—making their beds and putting their clothes in the hamper. Habits you establish during the summer when you and they have time help your children consider them part of their school-day routine. to Experts suggest these chores not be paid as allowance, but necessary to the functioning as a family. Give allowances for extra work, but not for those necessary to the daily health of your family.
Make quiet time part of the schedule. We all need time to read, think, dream in favorite ways, and summer gives us time to do so. This is what helps us to have a relaxing summer.
Keep children’s minds working through planned summer activities, day camps for their special interests, online academic classes (Khan Academy, Epic, Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge Treasure Hunt, Summer 20 (audio books for fun and games), HappiMe for Young People and Three Good Things—A Happiness Journal (to keep your children mentally healthy).
New experiences and new places to travel for the whole family, even on weekends, help children to be curious, ask questions, and learn fascinating things.
Summer should be time planned for family activities but not to forget to learn. Make your summer learning a joy for you and your children.