Thursday, 31 March 2011

What Your Children Deserve Least When When They Need it Most

One of the most challenging paradoxes of parenthood is this:

The times our children deserve our love the least are the times they need it the most.

Let me say that again for emphasis... the times that our children are the most demanding, the most trying, the most obnoxious, disrespectful, unkind, and simply out-and-out frustrating... those times are the times that they need us to be at our best for them, at our kindest and most compassionate for them, and at our most loving for them.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Discover the Power of Play

A six year-old boy received a surprise gift from his father... a car.

A car???

His father decided not to re-register his old broken down second car. Rather than selling it to the wreckers for $200 he parked it in a corner of the backyard, removed the fuel, secured the car so it could not roll away, and then handed his son the keys. That year, the six year-old drove his mother from Sydney to Melbourne, then to Brisbane, and across Australia time and again. He drove his dad to the beach, to the mountains, and even to New Zealand! Each trip only took around ten minutes, but those trips created lasting memories for an imaginative boy and his parents.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

When our Children are Right... And we Don't Want Them to be

Our kids can be pretty insightful.

While I know what works pretty well with parenting, it doesn't mean I always get it right. Tonight is a good example.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

When Your Child IS The Bully

A few days ago I posted a strongly worded argument about keeping children away from facebook because of cyber-bullying. I extended my argument to suggest that mobile phones and other technology may exacerbate bullying.

This sickening story and footage underscore precisely the point I was making. (Warning - significant violence and highly distressing images)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Teens, Intimacy, and Later Life

Roughly one third of teenagers have experienced intercourse by the time they are between the ages of 15-17. Some studies suggest this number may be higher.

For close to twenty years, researchers have gathered evidence that indicates that the age of an adolescent's first sexual experience may be strongly related to risk of divorce. Reasons for this include:

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Creating a "Brainy" Child

Imagine if there was a product on the market that you could use to grow your toddler a brainier brain. The baby DVD market is known for various levels of hype suggesting that by popping your toddler in front of the television for some quality cognitive time, she can become advanced in various languages, mathematical skills, computer programming, and even advanced engineering (ok, so I'm exaggerating. But you know what programs I'm talking about, and what their claims are).

Even though many of the claims aren't quite so outlandish, companies are trying to encourage parents to pay money for products that don't actually provide ANY benefit to infant and young children's development. (See here for a review of some research on this topic).

You may be pleased to know that there are five really simple things that YOU can do, without paying for expensive programmes, that are REALLY effective in boosting brain development in your toddlers.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

What Does Your Child Look Like?

If your children could see themselves through your eyes, what would they see?

In a local park I recently overheard a conversation between two parents. "He's such a terror!" "She's a totally spoiled little brat." "This child is driving me crazy."

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Four-Year Old Bully

I received an email recently with the following plea:

My 4 yr old boy continually picks on and hits his younger brother and sister and I have tried everything to make him stop. Any ideas??

There are two ages where children exhibit the most challenging behaviours for their parents. The first is around the ages of 2-4, and the second is from around 13-17. In each case, your child is experiencing a massive brain explosion.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Most Important Thing

My 7 year-old daughter, Ella, approached my wife last week.

"Mum, will you come to my class and tell everyone what you do for work?"

Ella's class is learning about occupations. The teacher has suggested that parents attend the class and discuss their work with the children. Ella wanted Kylie (my wife) to share what it is that she does each day with her classmates.

Kylie is a mum. And a pretty amazing one too!

But Kylie was concerned about how she would approach this assignment. She indicated that her role including being a finance expert (for the budget), a lawyer and judge (for dealing with conflict between family members from time to time), a taxi-driver, a cleaner, a chef, and so on. Kylie developed a wonderful and creative list detailing all of the roles she had to be competent in as a mother.

After thinking for some time, Kylie asked me what I think the most important thing might be for a mum to do. She shared her expansive list with me.