The truth is, no one prepared me for any of this. Yes, I read about postpartum depression and I read about the sleepless nights, but no one told me that these fears and worries are common and can happen to anyone. I thought I'd be in the clear, and thought I was a bad mother because I was scared. But so many mothers feel the way I did; they just don't talk about it.
Children who are naturally curious about sexual matters may be inclined to look online. The Internet provides a degree of anonymity, accessibility and affordability that make it particularly powerful as a medium for viewing sexual content. What they are likely to be confronted with is a barrage of information in which informed, educational messages are outnumbered by adult sexual entertainment and pornography.
Parents model behaviour to their children, and children watch very closely. My dad taught me not to give money on the street, but if someone asked, we should treat them with complete, sincere dignity and take the time to offer them whatever it is they need. It can be inconvenient -- taking a stranger out for lunch and hearing their story, spending an extra 5 minutes buying someone groceries, giving someone our own mittens in the dead of winter, or perhaps giving someone a ride that is out of our way.
I wasn't doing my kids any favours by handling everything, and I knew I had to let the kids take some of the responsibility. Even though they were only 6 and 7 then, I started to share everything I knew and everything I did in the name of safe eating for Celiacs and allergies, and as time passed, they started to take over for themselves.
Accepting that the marriage is really over is hard for many divorcing parents. In my case, although I initiated the split, I could only look sideways at myself as a soon-to-be-divorced woman. The pain surrounding that was too overpowering to take in all at once -- I felt it would have squashed me if I tried. So I got to know it gradually, with support, until I could stare it right in the eye.
Is it any wonder I misplace things hourly, write incomprehensible e-mails and notes to myself that even I can't decipher, and overall have become a very boring friend, especially amongst my childless crew, who look at me like I have had my brain removed? I cling to the distant hope that this is a fleeting loss of intellect. But I am starting to fear that along with the grey hairs, wobbly tummy, and crow's feet, my pudding brain might be here to stay.
Both of my boys have a rare neurological movement disorder called Dystonia. It causes painful twisting and contractions of the muscles. The episodic nature of it means that one minute they are running and playing like any other child and the next minute their hands and legs stop working. This means lots of falls and has made my six year old apprehensive about participating in team sports.And then he saw you play.
Teens need to feel connected to their parents if they're going to open up to them, but it's harder these days for teens to connect. Social media makes it easier to be isolated and disconnected from parents and peers, as teens can opt to plug in to their technology and stay plugged in, rather than build real-life relationships.
Rough play helps stimulate the brain and enables siblings to develop both cognitive and emotional intelligence. After all, when one pins the other to the ground, they are learning to read facial expressions and interpret body language. They are also learning about fairness and developing fledgling conflict resolution skills.
Allegedly, we are denying our son the right to a mother. Does Milo have a mom? No he doesn't. Does he have two loving parents that will do anything in their power to make sure he is loved, safe, happy, healthy, accepting, tolerant, kind (OK, this list can go on, but I'll stop there)? Will he grow up being less of a person because he doesn't have a mother? No he won't.
About ten days from time of writing, I think my three-year-old daughter is going to be a little annoyed with me. This is because at that time we'll be well into our second day of a 135km walk from our house in Toronto to Niagara Falls. I have no idea how much of this my daughter will remember or what, at this age, she will take away from the experience. But when she's older and looks back at this time, I hope these are four lessons she has learned.
Blended families are everywhere, representing nearly 13 per cent of all Canadian households. In the U.S. approximately 40 per cent of adults have a close step-relationship, such as with stepchild or stepparent. The process of bringing two families together, or adding a stepparent, can be extremely complex.
Milo was probably one of the easiest babies you would ever meet. He ate, he didn't fuss, he slept through the night, pretty much fell asleep instantly when putting him down. He still sleeps amazingly well but he is getting pickier at eating, and well, he's now a toddler. And parents know what that means.
The other day, our Wi-Fi died and we were without Internet or television for 36 hours. Yes, that includes Netflix. The kids did not know quite what to do. What about Minecraft? What about Pokemon Go? To this generation, Wi-Fi is like oxygen and they cannot imagine a world where it isn't available all the time. Internet is, after all, considered a basic human right.
If you remove all of life's unpleasantries, what are you really teaching your child about the world? Doing so will only result in giving your child a false sense of reality. Resilience, being able to get back up after you fall down, is what adults must instill in children. Allow your child to face uncomfortable circumstances even if it makes you uncomfortable. This will teach them about overcoming adversity.
Emile knows that he's Jewish, but it's an esoteric concept at his age. He loves eating gefilte fish and searching for the afikomen, hates how long Passover seders take and boasts to his buddies about getting two holidays instead of one in December. I used to do the same. But because we're an invisible minority, it can easily disappear. Maintaining it requires effort. So my role as a father is to help him see the value in making Jewish history, culture and traditions a part of him -- he can decide on the religious part on his own -- so that he might one day pass it all on to his own child.
Parents need to walk that fine line between allowing their teens to fail and make mistakes, so that they can learn from these experiences, and keeping them from being self-destructive or self-defeating. It's important that teens see that their actions have consequences and learn from their own experiences what works for them and what doesn't work. The parents' role is to make sure that the consequences to their teen aren't so severe that there's no coming back.