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Category Archives: Family Matters

Children And Chores: How To Create Young Entrepreneurs

In my house my children (from age three up) are responsible for making their own beds, putting their clothes in the laundry basket, folding and tidying their pyjamas and tidying the bathroom after bathing.

They are also responsible for emptying the dishwasher, laying and clearing the table for dinner, vacuuming a room each and helping with the laundry.

The key here is to sit down and talk over the responsibilities with them, gaining their agreement to perform the tasks.  No one likes to feel like they are being coerced or that they don’t have a choice.  Gaining their consent first, means that you can hold them accountable when they don’t want to uphold their commitment.

You can also use the chores as a way for them to earn something they want.  In our house the children have to earn their television and computer time.  The amount of chores or piano practice they do directly correlates to the amount of time they get to watch or play these things.

If they choose not to do the chores, then the natural consequence is real for them.

We don’t particularly want them to watch television, and they only are allowed about two hours per week maximum.  So having them earn it in this way really helps them to understand the privilege of living and how not to take things for granted.

Were you responsible for household chores as a child?  Would love to hear your views.

Happy Baby Happy You

My sister Kerry Nevins has just started her very own blog, and amassed over sixteen likes of her first ever post!  

I am so proud of her.

She writes candidly and from the heart.  She offers no nonsense advice, and is great at bossing mums around when they need it the most, helping to ease their worries and make their path a little smoother.

I am honoured to share one of her posts with you today.

If you like what you read, and want to read more then hope you will visit her blog or Facebook page, and pass it on to any of your friends, who are struggling to cope with the demands of motherhood.

Step By Step

I remember when Amy was born, just staring at her and worrying about everything and anything, I felt like my world was turned upside down and nothing would ever be the same again.  Every time I looked at the back of her tiny neck, I cried.  I was a mess, so emotional, why couldn’t I just be happy?  I had the baby I had always longed for, she was so good, never cried, so content, yet I was falling to pieces.

My mum always told me that you have no control over your hormones – they control you.  You reason with yourself that you’re being ridiculous, that you should snap out of it, and aren’t you lucky you have a perfectly formed baby who’s as good as gold? Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion then it’s time to put yourself first.  Friends and family will just have to wait to see your baby.  Take a ‘babymoon’, lock yourself away, ignore the phone and send those closest to you a message to say that you and your baby are taking a week or two to get to know one another.  You’re going to do this your way.

If people offer to help, don’t refuse.  Ask them to cook a meal or clean your windows – anything; they wouldn’t offer if they minded.  Think about how you feel when someone asks for your help – you’re flattered and eager to do your best to please them.  

Stop comparing yourself to other mums and how they’re coping, concentrate on yourself – most mums let on that they’re fine and, yes, many are, but you’re not alone if you’re finding it tough.  

Amy’s eleven now and Harry’s nine, I had none of the emotion with Harry that I had with Amy (even though Amy was an angel and Harry was very unsettled).  

Step by step, tomorrow’s a new day, you can do this 🙂

 

What Will We Teach Today?

“An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”   Carl Jung

My oldest niece has recently started high school and it has been a very traumatic time for her and for my sister.

She is nearly twelve years old, and just on the cusp of womanhood, but yet in every way is still so much a child.  She is innocent, pure and sweet, but also has a maturity beyond her years.  The is thoughtful, inquisitive and quietly observant.

It has disturbed me just how difficult the transition into high school has been.  She has moved from a reasonably small primary school, where the teachers were kind and thoughtful, into an academic institution where the main mode of motivation seems to be humiliation and shame.

It has deeply troubled me, thinking of her innocence being stripped away layer by layer, with every degrading comment and scathing look, the downtrodden teachers have bestowed on her, and the other innocent incomers.

It astounds me that these teachers don’t seem to comprehend that they are raising the next generation of society.  Every day I hear people complain about the state of the world, yet why do we not speak up and do something about it?

Our footballers are paid thousands if not millions of pounds every week, yet we pay our teachers a pittance.  Where is the logic in that?  Would the world be a better place if we had more sports stars, or a more deeply loved generation of society?

Einstein is quoted as saying that the world is not a bad place because of the people who to bad things, but because of the people who stand by and say nothing.

Please, don’t stand by.  Speak up when you see something not right.  Do not allow it to be acceptable.  If not for yourself, then for your children.

Let’s make this world a better place to live, so they may be treated with respect and kindness, and not live in fear or humiliation or shame.

Live Each Day As If It Was Your Last

It’s been a week now since a good friend of ours passed away, with his dad and brother ,in a very sad and tragic accident.  This week I have been thinking a lot about my own life and how I choose to live it in each moment.

Every time my husband and kids have walked out the door, I have thought about never seeing them again.  I made a promise to myself, never to leave them in anger; to always say goodbye properly.

Every time I have practiced yoga, I have thought about it being my last every practice, and have given myself permission to immerse myself fully, and empty my mind of nothing but the flow of my body.

Every time I have had an interaction with someone I care about, I have thought about making it more meaningful.  I have practiced really listening to what they are saying without allowing myself to become distracted.

Every time I have had the slightest opportunity, I have held my children close and loved them as much as I could.

The result of all this introspection?

Strangely enough, instead of feeling more melancholy, I have felt more joy.  I have rejoiced in the depth of my feelings and the closeness of my relationships, and I have nurtured myself and others, in a completely different way.

I have tried to live each day, as if it were my last.

Remember, all we have is this moment; this very moment.  Nothing else exists.

The past is gone and the future has not yet happened.

Don’t waste your moment; live it as if it were your last.

( P.S. Please feel free to share your moments with me and the other followers of this blog.  You matter to me.)

Why Perfection Is The Lowest Standard You Can Have

“Perfection is the lowest standard any human can have.”

Heather Forbes

How many times have you read the above quote since you opened this blog post?  Can your brain compute it?

How can perfection be the lowest standard any human can have?  Surely reaching for perfection is why we are here?  Why we exist?

Consider for a moment when you were a child.  Do you remember it being okay for you to make mistakes?  When you seriously messed up and did something that caused destruction, did your parents just give you a loving hug and say, “Aw well dear, never mind”?

Probably not.

When we’re children we don’t understand why the big people get cross.

We don’t understand that they’re maybe having a bad day, or feeling a little sick, or worried about being late, or nervous in a new situation, or fearful of what people will think.

We have absolutely no way of understanding any of this.

So when they get mad and yell at us, we think it is because we have done something bad.  We think it’s because we are bad, and that there is some standard that we were supposed to achieve, or some way we were supposed to behave, that we failed to meet.

We very quickly learn that failure is bad: it makes mommy cross and feels very bad for me, so therefore should be avoided at all costs.

But guess what?

You aren’t perfect and you never will be.  

If perfection is your goal, then it’s absolutely the lowest standard you will ever have, because it’s not possible.  You’re striving for something you will never achieve, and are setting yourself up for permanent failure.

Stop striving for perfection.

Recognise that you are the best you can be, in this very moment.  Embrace your failures and use them as guidance for areas where you need to improve.

This is what makes a good person; a better person.  Recognition will bring you closer to where you want to be.

Why Forgiving Yourself First Is Paramount To Being A Good Parent

When you think of the word compassion, what springs to mind?

For most people it seems to be associated with feelings of warmth and affection, or a way of improving our relationships with others.  However, compassion is really much more than this: it is an integral part of being human, and is something that needs to be actively worked on, if one is to develop it fully (something one of my teachers taught me).

As a mum, I sometimes find it difficult to practice compassion for my children.  

Often we see our kids as an extension of us, so when they do something that violates one of our personal values (such as hitting another child perhaps), our urge is to correct the behaviour, rather than to seek what caused the behaviour in the first place.

Children are equal with adults, and they deserve the same amount of respect.

With this in mind, it is much easier to develop a sense of affinity and closeness with them, so that when they act in a way that challenges your emotional state, you will be able to feel compassion regardless of whether you judge their behaviour as right or wrong.  And quite often your reaction to the challenge will be more gentle and from a place of love.

All human beings, ourselves included, have an innate desire to be happy and overcome suffering.

When you understand this about yourself and others, feeling true compassion for your children’s struggles is much easier to come by.  They just want to feel better, and so do you.

And in this understanding, compassion is based on their fundamental rights as a person, to feel good and be happy, rather than on your own mental projection of their behaviour.

So go easy on yourself, and stop beating yourself up.  You can only have as much compassion for others as you do for yourself, so practice forgiveness and love every day.

You deserve it.

 

Mindful Mothering: Why Forcing Your Kids To Apologise Could Be Training Them To Lie

“Compulsory apologies mostly train children to say things they don’t mean – that is, to lie.”

Alfie Kohn

I have discovered this great Facebook page called Nonviolent Parenting, which is where I sourced the above quote.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I’m all about compassion, love and humanitarian ethics; especially where children are concerned.  When I read this quote, it brought up mixed feelings in me.

I have always believed that you should never force a child to apologise.  

When a child does something destructive, it is generally never through bad intent.  Children react in the moment, without thought or consequence.  Experts agree that they do not reach cognition until between the ages of ten and thirteen, and so really have no logical thought process until that point.

When they do something destructive, it is not with pre-meditation.  

Even if they act as if they know it is bad, it is usually because they have been punished for it by an adult in the past, so they know that doing this bad thing causes punishment, but with no real understanding of why the thing was bad in the first place.

Yet, when I am in public and my children do something “bad”, I feel as if I want to force them to apologise, because saying sorry is good.  Saying sorry is the right thing to do, isn’t it?

Yet saying sorry for sorry’s sake is meaningless.  Have you ever had a fight with someone and you demand an apology from them and they say it in a monotone, I don’t really mean it, kind of way?  How do you feel?  Peed off, right?

When you finally get the sorry you wanted, you realise that you don’t want them just to say it, you want them to mean it.  

So what does it mean when we force our kids to say something that they neither mean, nor understand?  On one hand, we tell them that lying is bad, but on the other hand, we train them to say things they don’t mean: effectively, to lie.

Personally I believe that I’m sorry is one of the most powerful things you can ever say: if you really mean it.  I also believe that children would do very well to also learn why saying sorry is good.  But how much more of a powerful lesson would it be, if we took the time to teach them why the thing they did, was bad?  They probably wouldn’t choose to do it again simply because they understood the nature of the destruction.

Next time you feel the urge to force your child to apologise, think before you act.  Most often if you apologise to the parent on your child’s behalf, all is put right.  Then you can take your child on your knee later that day, establish a deep and loving rapport, and help them to understand why they thing they did may not have been the best choice.

I think you’ll see more of how you want the world to be, if you tackle it this way, instead of reacting in the moment.

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