Friday, April 26, 2013

How were the terrorists raised?

After the Boston Marathon Bombings, I am left with the question of where these two young men went wrong.  Why did they believe that harming innocent people somehow proved something larger to the world.  How is this idealism connected to being a "radicalized Muslim".  How can a person indiscriminately hurt and murder innocent people and think that illustrates a religion.  For all they knew, those young men were murdering other Muslims.  If you listen to the media, this somehow had something to do with becoming a "religious" extremist.

I think it has more to do with being young men raised by immoral and disconnected parents.  And this is why I think that.  From the coverage I have heard, the parents of these two young men were in conflict themselves.  It is alleged that the parents argued over the older brother and his boxing career.  The religious mother didn't agree with this practice.  The parents also were so quick to allege that there sons were innocent, and yet they didn't even know anything about the lives of their sons.  The father allegedly thought the older son was a famous boxer and the younger son was in medical school.  The mother is not in the US currently, and doesn't know if she will return any time soon, because she allegedly has a warrant out for her arrest due to a shoplifting charge that she skipped out on.  Who raised these two men?  Who cared about them and taught them right from wrong?

I am not a journalist.  I am not claiming that the above information is completely without error.  It is merely what I have pieced together from media accounts that I have heard.  I am not claiming that the decisions these two men made were completely due to the failures of their parents.  Many people have less that wonderful parents and turn out to be wonderful citizens.  My point is only that the we seem to grab a hold of their religious identity, before understanding their true identity.  These two young men seemed so disconnected and misguided.  It hurts my heart to think of the older brother leaving behind a little girl, who will not grow up with a loving father who could teach her about the world.  And the grieving families who are now missing family members.  And for what?

Teach your children morals.  Teach them to respect human life and care about something other than themselves.  Model love and acceptance along with discipline and self control.  Do your job, parents.  And perhaps we can all create a better world together.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Your Child is a Detective!

Young children are like little detectives trying to figure out their world.  When you realize this, you can help them understand their lives which brings huge benefits.  What do I mean by this?

First, think of a preschool class on the first day of school.  The children exhibit a wide range of behaviors;  some are crying, some are exploring the classroom, some are sitting quietly playing with a puzzle or coloring, and one or two are usually running around in circles.  Why do they look like ants who's ant hill has been kicked apart?  Because they don't understand the preschool setting and schedule yet.

If you return and look at the same group of children just a week or two later, you will see a completely different scene.  The children know where to put their coats, they know what to do at circle or meeting time, they understand that snack time and outdoor playtime happen at the end of the day, just before they get picked up.

So how can this knowledge help you as a parent?  Help your child understand their life in your home.  Communicate their daily schedule to them.  Let them know at bedtime, what tomorrow will be like.  As you follow this simple ritual, you are helping your child develop trust in you and confidence in themselves

When children know what to expect they feel calm and confident, but when their lives feel chaotic, they feel stress.  A stressed child is more likely to act out and be unsettled, where as a child who is calm, is better able to develop self control.  And a child who hears you tell them about what to expect the next day, and then sees it come to fruition develops a sense of trust in you.  This is paramount to being able to successfully parent your child.  Trust is a key component to any human relationship, and building trust between you and your child is a priceless accomplishment--and will serve you well as they grow up.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What are parents to do?

I say to you:  Remember your children are watching.  During times of fear, stress and chaos your children are watching.  When you feel and anger, fear and helplessness: your children are watching.  During times of crisis your children are watching.

Children get their cues on how to behave from you.  So if you are stressed, overwrought, angry or depressed, you can expect the same from them.  This can be your finest hour of parenting or your worst.  The choice is yours.  Guard their childhood by shielding them from all of the news coverage of upsetting events.  If they are school age and learn about it from other sources, think of the messages you want to instill in them about the events.  Focus on the people who rushed in to help, who give of themselves without question.  Who work every day to keep our nation safe and secure and our neighborhoods as well.

During times of difficulty, choose to rise above the situation.  Choose to be the parent who can smile in the face of adversity.  Choose to be the neighbor who is reaching out to comfort others.  Choose to lend a hand, donate blood, take a meal to your firefighters.  Choose to be the person who creates a feeling of warmth and calm in the midst of frustration and chaos.

You will be teaching your children such a POWERFUL message.  Everything will be fine.  Everything will eventually be normal again. And while things are not how you would like them to be, you are able to choose to make the best of it--for you, for your family, for your neighbors, for our future!  We must teach our children to value their freedom and love their country.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Worst Parenting Line EVER!

The worst piece of parenting advice we can give our kids is the old adage:

"Do what I SAY and not what I DO!" because frankly...this approach doesn't work.

So if you curse and swear, guess will your kids.

If you gossip about family will you kids.

If you eat junk food from sun up to will your kids.

If you sit on the couch all day will your kids.

If you badmouth authority figures like teachers and will your kids.

If you hate your ex-husband or will your kids.

If you are dishonest but justify your will your kids.

If you TEXT WHILE will your kids (when they are 16 and barely able to drive!)

I think you get it.  So what are you going to do in response to this?

Become a better person and in turn, a better parent.

Because your kids deserve you in your best form, so they can become the best form of themselves.

Reflect on your behavior and resolve to do better, for you and your children.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Precious Family Time

On Easter Sunday, my husband and two of our teenagers went out for brunch.  We were seated at a table surrounded by other families enjoying the holiday together.  As I gazed from table to table I noticed how quietly most of the young children were, and yet upon further inspection, most of them had I-Pads or gaming devises close at hand.  How disappointing. 

As a preschool teacher, I am urging parents to critically think about the amount of time they turn to these devises to control the behavior of their children.  Every minute that your child spends paying attention to an electronic devise is a minute you have lost interacting with him/her.  Special occasions, such as dining out on a holiday are the opportunities that parents should be seizing to TEACH their children about social behaviors and etiquette.  These are precious family moments that build a foundation of shared family life.  Please think about the sacrifice you are making when you allow your child to withdraw and isolate through electronic interaction rather than human interaction.