People always say that they never knew what love was until they had children. Before having kids of my own, I assumed that this phrase referenced the amazing, unconditional love a mother has for her progeny, a bottomless supply required to overcome challenges such as poop-smeared walls and 24+ hours of labor.
Study after study indicates that parents, schools and community members all have a role to play in developing caring, ethical children. But how do we do that in a way that's less about layering on the duty and obligation? How do we nurture a child's own instincts about what's needed in the world, and help them find their own unique way to give?
The problem for many parents is that they want to become friends with their children, rather than heroes. Our children do not need more friends, and they certainly do not need their parents competing with their friends for their attention. But as a hero, you can find a way to transform challenge into growth.
As a woman and a mother, who has been both a SAHM and working mum, here's a few suggestions as to how you can really repay your beautiful wife. I apologize in advance if you are already doing all of this. You sound like a great guy, so it's quite likely that you are. If you're not, here's what you could do.
I've repeated this phrase since then, on many occasions. During the good, the bad, and even the mundane and pedestrian parts of my parenting journey. Parenthood can often feel like a desperate race through the "phases," always hurtling forward, always wishing this current phase was over, that the children would be more independent, less clingy, less messy, less fidgety, less screamy, less whiney.
It was an ordinary summer day. People were milling on the main thoroughfare, bikes zig-zagging through traffic, cafés and pubs spilling onto the sidewalk, patrons sipping their way through a lazy Friday afternoon. We were ordinary that day too. Just another family, managing the hectic jumble of kids' lessons, bills, our careers, endless streams of birthday parties, too little sleep and the occasional date night out. But it was all shattered with a single word: autism.
Children are an incredible paradox. They bring so much joy, so many tender moments, so many blissful times when you're just enjoying them, and they're enjoying you, and you're laughing at something funny your toddler said, or something adorable your baby did. And then there's the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day you have to get through.
People, not parents, struggle to find the time and energy to do the things they know they should. Anyhow, it struck me that there are some things I can (and will!) blame my children for, cheerfully, and some things that I resolve I will not blame them for. I want them to know I can prioritise what's important for my own wellbeing, so that they can learn from me.
There are no secret dates no matter how hard you try. Turns out, my parents are kind of smart. I didn't want my dates to meet my parents because, well, I didn't want to have that awkward "let me introduce you to my mom" exchange. She asks everyone extremely personal questions. So I lied about my dates. Luckily, or unfortunately, (depending on your perspective) I didn't have to lie a lot.
My dearest little girl, sometimes I forget that you're only four years old. Actually, a month ago you were just three. Maybe I expect too much from you at times because you're a big sister now. Maybe it's because I just haven't taken the time and effort to see things from your bright little eyes. But my darling, I am slowly learning to do exactly this, and I'm sorry I sometimes forget.
With kids growing up surrounded by advertising, movies and TV, toys, books, and clothes that tell them that some things are for girls, and others are for boys, we're already fighting an uphill battle if our goal is to raise girls who know that they can solve tough, real world problems, and boys who are interested in collaboration, not just competition.
When the daughter you've been driving to ballet class every Saturday for 12 years tells you she wants to focus on the history of dance as her $20,000 a year university major, you might pause and point out the successful engineers you know. Most parents push academic over athletic when push comes to shove.
Here's what I have to say for those who worry their daughters might turn into princesses, as in helpless silly females who value the superficial only and have no problem-solving skills. Just don't be a princess yourself. Be assertive. Gain control over your emotions. Display strength and courage and resilience. Don't read women's magazines.
Teach your children well -- teach them about life and love and joy and sorrow. Teach them to be honest and kind. Teach them to be thoughtful and generous. Teach your children to care for others. Let your own life be the living textbook that your children read. May it be among the most inspiring books they ever open!
I was never the "good job" kind of mom. My two sons didn't get standing ovations for doing ordinary party tricks like learning to use the potty, eating broccoli or making their beds. Nope, I never subscribed to the theory that "good job" parenting would minimize their risk of becoming future psychopaths.
North Americans are presented with a vision of heavenly perfection in Swedish daycare but in reality, education outcomes are declining, teens are anxiety-ridden and misbehaving and the quality of parenting is suffering. Let's start with the ever deteriorating psychological health of Swedish youth, which has become a major concern in Swedish public debate today.
Somewhere along the way, we've adopted some goofy misguided idea that children's psyches are inherently, staggeringly fragile, prone to devastating and irreversible damage from any number of relatively benign phenomena -- like honour rolls, sporting activities where only the winning team gets a trophy, or track and field days with actual competition (oh, the horror!).
I am all for moms who don't take themselves too seriously -- who don't try too hard to be perfect and who accept themselves for who they are, warts and all. I am all for mothers who are 'people' first. Who love who they are and are proud to chase their dreams. Because sometimes we mamas just get lost in this parenting gig, and we wake up 25 years later and wonder who we are.
Caregivers do their best to guide parents as they struggle to talk with their children about cancer, but misunderstanding, denial, and apprehension often distort the communication process. Frustration and fear can build up as parents respond to their child's curiosity with hesitation. Parents must provide appropriate information about cancer to gain the confidence they need to do the best they can for their child.
My kids are the worst eaters. Really. Some people say this, and mean that their kids don't eat raw sushi, or whole wheat pasta, or offal. That's not what I mean. I mean that in my house, bacon is a food group. I mean that my kids don't eat pasta, period. I mean that they only accept pepperoni pizza from one delivery joint. It's serious.