What is your favourite stage of a child’s development? Recently I have found myself saying to a lot of parents of babies and children of various ages “Ooooh I love this age…they are so….” I guess that is because there are aspects of all stages that I do love, and definitely some other aspects of certain ages that I find a little less endearing. Think 18 month old, who whilst adorably cute, at times can also be very frustrated by their complete understanding of the world around them but their often less than adequate language skills to match that understanding. Hence we are often left with points and grunts and squeals and tantrums as they try to get themselves understood. But today I am focusing on all the good stuff so I am going to outline what I love about certain ages and stages. So for those of you that have been there and done that then here is a moment to relive the preciousness, and for those yet to reach many of the milestones, then rejoice in all you have to look forward to. [Read more...]
Self esteem is one of the most important aspects of our children’s development. Having a healthy and positive self esteem means our children feel good about themselves, have the courage to try new things, the confidence to do things independently, to stand up for what they believe in, to take pride in themselves, to set goals and to accept and give love. As discussed previously, we are generally pretty good at the positive reinforcement and praise elements of building a positive self esteem, and are doing this well, particularly in the early years of development (think how excited we get when they take their first steps…or the jubilation with which we respond to a first wee on the potty). But as our kids get older we need to ensure that this self esteem remains firmly in tact, and must therefore rely on many other forms of confidence building to ensure it is not just about their achievements and the subsequent praise, but rather a more well rounded approach that includes many other skills and coping strategies in order for our children to help face the many challenges that will lay ahead. For praise alone will not sustain their skills, belief, integrity, assertiveness, acceptance, responsibility and sense of purpose.
Below are some of the many ways we can encourage and develop our children’s positive self esteem that can certainly start from very early in life, but must be continued throughout the adolescent and teenage years. [Read more...]
Having a positive self esteem is one of the most important aspects of our child’s development. Of all the judgements we pass in life, none is more important than the judgement we pass on ourselves. As parents we play a significant role in helping to nurture and develop this self esteem. We have been urged over and again to give praise, to reward and to cheer at every achievement. But have we got so good at the praising aspect of building self esteem that we are forgetting to develop some other very important life skills?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for positive reinforcement…but do we sometimes go a little overboard praising our child’s achievements? There are certainly those times when a child putting on their socks and shoes or picking up their drink bottle off the floor is treated with the equivalent adulation to those making their way to the dais to receive an Olympic gold medal. [Read more...]
Whilst trying to tame the monster of effective parenting and discipline, we have all made a myriad of threats that for whatever reason we have been unable to follow through, despite knowing full well that the long term gains will outweigh the short term pain. This inability to follow through can often depend on the threat itself and the possible ramifications, our mood at the time, where we are, who we are with (and hence who is judging) and what the reaction of the child may be if we do or do not follow through with our threat.
We all know that boundaries and the adherence to them is one of the most important aspects and tools to good parenting. But how far have you gone to follow through on a threat when every other cell in your body wanted to give in and avoid the fracas, not to mention the inconsulate look of despair on their’ too cute to be punished’ face? It is natural to want to recoil as we coolly but calmly explain that they can no longer have the promised treat due to their less than desirable behaviour. [Read more...]
Anxiety can be a normal part of human functioning and something that we all experience to some degree. As a parent with an overly anxious child however, this can be extremely heartbreaking to watch, not to mention frustrating and downright annoying, particularly when it interferes with everyday routines or planned activities.
The child that wont let go of your leg for the entire party can be challenging at best. Aside from the annoyance of lugging around the extra appendage hanging from your body, it can be upsetting to get to a party that the child was so looking forward to, only to have them miss out on all the fun. Dropping a child off at childcare and hearing that they cried alone in a corner for the majority of the day can be devastating to hear, not to mention the guilt that it lumps on an already stressed working parent. But how do we know if it is a case of simply having a shy kid who takes a bit of warming up, or if we have a child who is already showing clear signs of anxiety that may continue to impede them throughout their childhood and beyond?
What is anxiety?
In a nutshell, anxiety is the bodies response to real or perceived danger. It is the ‘flight or fight’ mechanism that is naturally present in us all. When danger, excitement or fear are detected, our body makes physiological changes to prepare for this onslaught and thus we are better able to combat the attack. When we are overly anxious however, this fight or flight mechanism and the physiological changes are not in proportion to the actual danger that is presented, and thus prevent us from negotiating a more realistic response. [Read more...]