Archive | March 9, 2009

Teaching Children Responsibility, Pt 2, By Susan Haid, Lily's Truth

Here are five tips to teach kids how to take responsibility around the home and for their developing lives.

1. Help kids learn how to organize and manage their belongings.  We need to require that our kids clean their rooms, make their beds, put their own laundry away, keep track of their homework and school projects, sports gear, musical instruments and so on. Once in a while, we can give them a hand, but kids should know that they are the ones ultimately responsible for these duties.
2. Help kids become active contributors to life at home.  Every member of a home should contribute to the upkeep and management of the home. Age appropriate duties should be assigned to each family member, and once every week or two, the family should work together to accomplish these tasks. Duties such as dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, wiping down the countertops, raking leaves and even cooking are jobs kids of all ages can participate in. These duties give our kids the skills to become competent contributors as adults.
3. Help kids learn to set boundaries so they honor their own needs as well as respect the needs of others.  This is a fundamental lesson parents need to teach their kids. It’s OK in many circumstances to say no. We want our kids to stay in touch with what they may need and give them the skills to meet those needs. We also want our kids to be aware that everyone has the right to set boundaries when they are appropriate and necessary. This is a basic life skill.
4. Help kids learn to be accepting of differences.  Having nonjudgmental conversations about the differences we encounter in the viewpoints, lifestyle, beliefs and ideas of others is a basic tenet of building a philosophy of acceptance and compassion in our kids. These are great conversations to have because they ultimately help our kids get clear about who they are, what they think and what they believe. This also means that our kids should have a safe place to express their individual viewpoint even if it is different from our own.
5. Help kids accept the outcome of their choices and create new ones.
It is the ultimate empowerment experience when kids make their own choices and have their own resulting experiences. As parents, of course we need to be aware of what our kids are choosing so that we can intervene if it is necessary to do so. Although it is often difficult to give up control, we simply can’t make every decision for our kids. This deprives them of their experiences, the consequences of which are far less during childhood compared to adulthood. As often as it is reasonable to give our kids the authority to make choices for themselves, we should do so and understand we are respecting their individuality, honoring their learning process and building their knowledge of and confidence in themselves.

These are basic requirements that have worked well in my home so far. I respect the rights of my children to live freely and happily. As their mother, I want my kids to have the skills to manage their lives very well without me or without the help of anyone else if they choose. I want to help my children become empowered and sovereign. By giving them reasonable responsibilities and expectations, I hope to provide them with the simple knowledge about how to successfully manage their own lives after they leave home. And ultimately, I want them to soar!

For more helpful information about empowering children, or for more information about Susan A. Haid and Lily’s Truth, visit www.lilystruth.com.

Put on Your Cape and Fly! by Megan McGibney and Sandra Beck

 

 

Motherhood Incorporated - Mothers are Flowers in the Garden of Life

Motherhood Incorporated - Mothers are Flowers in the Garden of Life

Being a mother is perhaps the most challenging role a woman can take. Women at Motherhood Incorporated know this well. Besides taking care of your own life, you have to mold and shape the life of someone who hasn’t yet grasped life’s responsibilities. That includes the emotional and mental aspects of living.

 

Just ask Lisa D’Avanzo Weiss of Staten Island, NY.

 

“In addition to taking care of your child’s physical and emotional needs,” she says of her 2 ½ year old son Harrison. “It is a huge responsibility to help [him] develop language, a sense of safety, the ability to be resourceful, empathy, manners.”

 

Stressful as that sounds, it could also be more so when a mother has a job.

 

These days, it is very common for moms to kids of all ages to work either full or part time jobs. So that includes three responsibilities: your kids, your job and yourself. Many mothers who are able to work from home find themselves loading laundry, listening for baby Max to wake up, and preparing an online presentation all at once. Mothers who work in the office and out of the home find a different set of circumstances.

 

“I’m always ON!” laughs Evelyn Alvarez of Harlem, NY. She is a single mother to 3 year old Sen’ari and works for a non-profit organization. “When I leave work, my real job begins.

 

“There is no typical,” she says of her average day. “There is always something to be done. I try to squeeze in mama time, and mama/son time. Like today, we are doing some Black history Month stuff, then I’m doing laundry, then MAYBE going out for a drink with my girls.”

 

Having time for themselves is what most mothers ache for. Whether it is reading a book or simply listening to music, moms everywhere want to spend a little me time each day.

 

“I always take time away for myself,” says mom of three Shirley Guerrero of Staten Island, NY. “Whether its 5 minutes for myself at night once [my kids] are in bed. I do things for myself. I normally call my friends or catch up with e-mails or watch TV.”

 

But if she had the opportunity to have one day to herself, Shirley says she would spend it at a spa, or go shopping.

 

“It is very nice shopping without kids,” she laughs.

 

Recent stories in the media portray motherhood as something that consumes a woman. Meaning, it puts her life on hold until her last child turns 18.

 

But not everyone agrees.

 

“Being a mom has fulfilled my life,” says Shirley. “Its an extention of who I am rather than it consuming my life.”

 

But sometimes it can be stressful, and moms everywhere find ways to calm down.

 

“I love to read and stay up late,” says Lisa. “I also really enjoy taking relaxing baths.”

 

Lisa also enjoys doing yoga and go jogging because it clears her mind. “And for that matter, so does highway driving.”

 

Luckily, there’s always someone to turn to when it comes to the kids. For many women, it is their husband.

 

“We work very evenly,” says Stephanie Fick from Charlottesville, VA of her relationship to husband Ben.

 

But even if they aren’t married, some moms are fortunate to have their baby’s father active in the child’s life.

 

“Even though we are not together, we are a family,” says Evelyn. “It took a while to get us to this point, so I’m pretty happy about that.

 

Busy and chaotic as their lives can be, or “weird” as Stephanie jokingly puts it. These moms would not change their decisions for a minute.

 

“It’s a real learning, humbling, loving experience,” says Evelyn. “A relationship like no other.”

            And just what do these moms have to say to others in the similar positions?

 

“Remember,” says Stephanie. “They are your kids and you are their only parents. They will only be this age once. Make it fun

 

“Breathe. Dream,” Evelyn adds. “Have faith and trust in yourself, because kids are more resilient than we adults are. It’s ok to lose it sometimes, to lose your temper, to feel overwhelmed. Too many times, we try to be superhuman, and fail. It’s better to do a little superwell than to do a lot and be mediocre. BUT -if it’s in you to be super, then by all means: put on your cape and FLY!

 

by Megan McGibney and Sandra Beck

Motherhood Incorporated