Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

6 lessons in happiness from one of the happiest nations in the world

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Natalie Matushenko writes:

I share what I have learned about being happy over the past six years in the hope that it will help others reflect on the changes we can all make to be happier in our lives.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

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Do You Want To Raise A Kind Child? Here’s How

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

We as parents know from experience that in the big picture of life, kindness and happiness are closely linked. Kids, however, do not have the life experience to see this big picture. In their life with friends or at school, retaliating against the kid who teased them often seems like the better choice. The more we can explain and model the inherent benefits of kindness to both others and themselves, the more this dynamic will be clear to them.

This is another area where research is our friend. Numerous studies have shown that even among middle schoolers, those who practice kindness are more popular, happier and less likely to be bullied.

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A real struggle for the soul of America is going on. I hope that we can remember to value the qualities that have truly made us great, a country that others look up to because we value truth and justice. Rearing kids to have good values, to be kind, and emphasizing it in our own lives, is crucial. Without human decency the country rips apart into a Mad Mac world. That is not the America that most of us signed up for. TRW

The opportunity to fail–the best gift we can give our children

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Mo Issa writes:

My parents gave me love, and lots of it, but often faltered in giving me direction. However, the best gift they gave me was the opportunity to fail, and then learn from those failures.

That opportunity not only made me stronger, but also instilled in me a sense of responsibility and independence that has helped me in every aspect of my life.

I look at today’s generation and sense a mood of entitlement. They expect things to be done for them. They shun responsibility and avoid making decisions.

After reading Jessica Lahey’s bestselling book, The Gift of Failure, and with much reflection on my own parenting over the years, I wish I could get my kids back for another four years (yes, I miss them that much!) so that I could change my ways.

I was trying my best as a parent and thought I was a great father. On reflection, however, many factors affected my parenting, not least of which was ego and and a pull to acquiesce to society’s norms.

Do we want our kids to get the top grades, get onto the varsity soccer team, and be around the most popular people because of us—or them? How do we define what is “best” for them, anyway? Is it not based on our criteria and values, rather than theirs?

When we impose our likes, dislikes, and values on our kids, we rob them of their individuality and their own experiences. As Lahey says, “When parents try to engineer failure out of kids’ lives, the kids feel incompetent, incapable, unworthy of trust and utterly dependent.” They are, she argues, unprepared when, “failures that happen out there, in the real world, carry far higher stakes.”

I love the title of her book—The Gift of Failure—because learning how to navigate failure really is the greatest gift that we can bequeath our children. Especially when we also give them our undivided love and complete support.

Through failure, they will learn life-long lessons they could never learn otherwise.

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Surviving the holidays after we’ve broken up with our mothers.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

This article is by Justin Haley Phillips and centers on a woman’s view, but I know from personal experience that men sometimes have to break up with their mothers too. If a parent is so toxic that you can no longer have contact, then you must distance yourself, female or male.
–Thomas Ramey Watson

Phillips writes:

If someone hasn’t experienced a toxic relationship with a parent, their first thought is generally, “But she’s your mother!”

As though giving birth renders a woman infallible…
As though “a mother’s love” is guaranteed selfless and pristine…
As though we should sacrifice our mental and emotional (and perhaps physical) health on the altar of the doting daughter…

Mothers are people, too, and while I love mine dearly, there simply came a time when I needed to set myself apart from her in order to grow.

It was not an easy decision to make.

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How To ‘Break Up’ With A Narcissistic Parent

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

“Realizing and accepting that you have one or more narcissistic parents is a long and intensely painful road,” Julie L. Hall told HuffPost. “That’s because children, even adult children, continue to desire love and approval, often against all reason.”

Ultimately, asserting low or no contact with a narcissist parent can be a healthy, liberating choice.

“Creating distance with your parent means giving up the delusion that they will someday change and releasing the feeling of responsibility for them they may have instilled in you,” Hall said.

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Dads Who Are Staking A Claim In The Parenting World

Monday, November 20th, 2017

While our culture still often treats dads like bumbling babysitters, American fathers are taking a larger role in parenting responsibilities. A Pew Research study indicated that, in 2014, American dads reported spending almost triple the time watching their children than fathers in the 1960s. And millennial dads have been helping to shift workplace culture because they expect to be deeply involved in the child-rearing partnership.

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Who Gets to Choose Which Childhood Experiences Are ‘Appropriate’?

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Fom Christina Berchini’s thoughtful article:

Hard as some parents and guardians might try to shield their children from life’s difficulties and cruelties, other students bring adult issues to our classrooms. I certainly did. My students certainly did. An “appropriate” text, then, is also a text that honors this reality. Students who see their experiences ― however difficult ― reflected in the books they are asked to read might be provided with a coping mechanism through literature.

For example, the well-known young adult novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson addresses the issue of teenage rape ― a problem that Anderson’s supporters argue needs to be discussed. Children and teenagers lucky enough to live blissful lives ― the kind of lives my colleague assumed to be the rule, and not the exception ― are also served well by texts that illustrate the real trials and tribulations of childhood and adolescence. Such texts help to build empathetic classroom communities with a more complex understanding of the world, whether or not students have personally experienced such complexities.

Child Therapist Gives Gorgeous Explanation Of What Good Parenting Looks Like

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

”A couple of weeks ago a child therapist that I know looked at my kids and said, ‘You’re such a good mum,’” she wrote in the caption.

Hall said she responded that she doesn’t feel that way about herself, as she struggles through the chaos of raising her kids, losing her temper and feeling impatient.

The therapist’s reply stuck with her:

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Smart Kids Are More Likely To Experiment With Pot And Alcohol

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

The researchers regard their findings as a warning against assuming that teens with poor academic performance are more likely to abuse substances than their peers. They also note that while high-achieving teens may eventually get into good universities and secure high-paying jobs, substance abuse can derail those promising futures. For instance, some evidence suggests that marijuana can have a harmful effect on developing brains, and alcohol use among minors is linked to a higher risk of fatal car collisions, accidental injuries, alcohol poisoning and suicide.

“Reducing harmful substance use in this age group is important, no matter the level of academic ability, given the immediate risks to health and the longer term consequences,” researchers James Williams and Gareth Hagger-Johnson write in their article, published in the journal BMJ Open.

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People With ADHD Have Different Brains

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Certain brain structures related to emotion and reward are smaller in people with the disorder, new research finds.

The largest-ever brain imaging study on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has led scientists to say the condition should be considered a neurological disorder, not just a behavioral one.

The brain structures of children with ADHD differ in small but significant ways from those of normally developing children, according to the findings, which were published online in the journal Lancet Psychiatry on Feb. 15.

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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