imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

What is a friend?

Everyone wants to have friends.  Friendships are important.  Good friends help us learn and grow, they help us build confidence, they help us enjoy life.  When we are surrounded by people who care about us, we are able to navigate through life’s ups and downs and feel their love and support.

Children especially need friends to help them grow emotionally, socially and morally.  They need mainly people their own age, although children can become friends with those who are older or younger.  Many parents try to be a friend to their child, thinking they are being loving, but this will only stop a child from becoming independent and responsible.  Parents should be a parent, a mentor, a teacher, someone who is there to guide them, support them, discipline them and mostly love them.  Parents should be a good example to their children, helping them learn how to become a good friend to others and encouraging them to find positive friendships.  Without friendships, children may easily become depressed, lonely and lack ambition which can result in poor health, poor performance in school or work, failed marriages and difficulty coping as an adult.

What does it take to be a good friend?  It comes from a combination of teaching and experience.  Good friends are able to :

  • communicate their feelings in a positive way
  • understand the feelings of others
  • show empathy
  • be trustworthy
  • not gossip or spread false rumours
  • take responsibility for their own actions
  • solve problems and resolve conflicts
  • forgive easily and not hold grudges
  • distinguish right from wrong
  • make good choices
  • stand up for what they believe
  • withstand bullying and understand that bullies have their own issues to deal with
  • be loyal even when a friend is hurting physically or emotionally
  • get along with others even during difficult times
  • accept differences in people
  • own up to their mistakes and not blame others
  • have fun and enjoy life

 

If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend.  Be a good example to your children and teach them to be a good example to others.   Discourage them from having friends who continually hurt them through gossiping, excluding them, ignoring them or trying to get them to do things they know is wrong.  Even having 1 good friend is better than having 20 bad friends.  You are the biggest influence in your child’s life so make sure you are influencing them in a positive way.

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Parent watching

girl with mag glassHave you ever participated in people watching?  This can be a great way to observe how people act and learn something about their behaviour.  People watching should be done inconspicuously in a crowded mall, park or other area when you can observe people acting naturally without knowing someone is watching them.

A few days ago, I was parent watching which is my version of checking out the way parents behave with their children.   Since doing research and writing a book on parenting, I’ve become a super spy when it comes to parents and I am continually testing my theories and making personal conclusions.

This particular evening, I was sitting in the food court of a mall, drinking coffee and waiting for a colleague.  A father brought his 2 children about ages 10 and 12? (I’m not really a great age guesser) to the next table and told them to sit down while he bought some food.  The little girl put her feet up on the bench and her father told her to sit properly and behave.  I thought, “Well, he seems to be pretty strict”.  A few minutes later he brought food back to the table and sat down.  They started eating and then the father laughed and said to his son, “That hamburger is pretty messy, isn’t it.  You’re going to have to learn how to eat it properly.  But you’re doing a great job.  I’m proud of you.”  Then they talked about when the dad was working over Christmas and what days they would be able to spend together.  When they were finished eating, the father and his daughter got up to throw away their garbage.  On their way back to the table, the dad put his arm around the girl and she put her arm around her dad.  Then she said, “Daddy, I love you”.  The father responded, “I love you too, sweetheart”.  As the three walked away, I could feel the amazing love this family had for each other.

It shows when families know how to love and care for each other.  They don’t fight and argue in public.  They don’t complain or criticize each other.   Their relationship is warm and loving and they don’t seem stressed or uncomfortable.   It is important that we learn as parents how to provide a loving atmosphere so we can raise our children to feel accepted, validated and supported.  Many of us haven’t been raised in a positive environment, so we need to make some positive changes and work hard to become a better parent.   Check out some bookstores or visit your local library and pick up some books on parenting.   It is well worth the effort and the results will be a happier, closer family.  Here are some of the books I have read and would highly recommend:

 

 

 

 

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Trick or Treat

Today is Halloween in many countries.  The word Halloween means ‘hallowed or holy evening’ and is believed to be of Christian origin, falling on the day before All Saints’ Day (Nov 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov 2).

The custom of treat or treating goes back to the fifteenth century when groups of poor people, mostly children, would go door-to-door collecting soul cakes for the souls in purgatory.   Candles were commonly lit in houses to guide lost souls back to their earthly homes.  Various rituals and ceremonies were followed in Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and other countries.

Halloween has now become a huge celebration around the world.  People of all ages don costumes to go trick or treating, attend parties, light bonfires, visit haunted attractions, watch horror movies and take part in other amusing and entertaining events.

I used to enjoy Halloween when I was a child, dressing up and going out with my friends to pick up a few treats.  Then as a mother, I continued to dress up and go out with my children.  It was fun seeing all the cute costumes and we had a good time.  However, now I must confess that I’ve stopped celebrating Halloween because it just isn’t fun anymore.   It has just become another commercial adventure that convinces us to spend too much money on costumes, decorations and candy.

  • We dress our children in costumes that are too scary or too sexy which forms their ideas on how they should dress.
  • We teach them to get as much candy as they can so they learn to become greedy.
  • We allow our teens to go trick or treating and often they complain or act in an aggressive manner when they don’t get the kind of candy they like.
  • Young children are being allowed to watch horror movies or go to haunted displays which can have a negative impact on them.
  • Children being injured or killed (according to stats – twice as many children die in car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween than on any other day)
  • Then there are a lot of evil rituals held on Halloween that I won’t even mention

So you might think I’m just a party pooper, but after giving some treats to my grandson tonight I will probably be out somewhere enjoying the evening air while a majority of the world celebrates Halloween.

Now here is something I like to see  http://youtu.be/GkBDRUO8hAo

 

 

 

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What happened to common courtesy?

silhouette with stop signI can’t believe how rude people can be.  It seems like everywhere you go, people are rushing to get somewhere and never take the time to show common courtesy.  When you go in a store, people will step right in front of you to go in the door before you.  When you are driving, cars cut you off.  When you are crossing the street, you are taking your life in your hands because some drivers will almost run you down to turn the corner and fly down the street.  Why does everyone have to be in such a hurry?  What is so important that common courtesy is ignored and replaced by rudeness?

Tonight my husband and myself were almost run over by two different drivers who couldn’t wait while we crossed in a cross walk in front of a department store.  They actually had to go into the other lane to pass by us and didn’t slow down or even glance our way as they drove past.   Thank God we weren’t walking faster or we might have been injured!

Of course there are a lot of very nice people in this world that take the time to show kindness and respect for their fellow human beings.   Unfortunately, it seems that more and more people all the time are losing their sense of common courtesy.  I see this a lot in young people and it is because they are not taught how to love and respect people.  It is so important that we teach our children common courtesy and also be a good example to everyone around us.

  • if we model love to others, they will learn to love
  • if we model respect to others, they will learn to respect
  • if we model kindness to others, they will learn to be kind

What kind of role model are you?

 

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Someone is watching you

mom and girl planting seedsWe always need to think carefully about what we say and do because someone might be watching us.  Young children especially, are great imitators and they will try to imitate the actions of everyone around them.   You might notice a child imitating a bad behaviour that you have shown them without even realizing it. We aren’t always aware of what we are doing because we do many things by habit, but all of us have bad habits that we know are wrong and if we don’t actively change them, we may have a bad influence on the people around us.

We need to help build good habits ourselves and become a positive role model, so we can help children and everyone around us to build good habits.

  • If we model love, people will learn to love.
  • If we model patience, people will learn to be patient.
  • If we model kindness, people will learn to be kind.
  • If we model responsibility, people will learn to be responsible.

We don’t want to be a model of an angry, unhappy, bitter or nasty person.  This certainly doesn’t help anyone, especially ourselves and it won’t attract friends.   People want to be around those who are happy, friendly and sincere.  By providing children and other people around us, with a loving, supportive atmosphere, it helps them develop the skills necessary to overcome life’s challenges and difficulties.  It will help them build confidence in their abilities and increase their self-esteem.  It will also help us build our own confidence and esteem.

So remember – someone is watching you!  Is it your children, your family, your friends, your co-workers, other people in the community?  Are you modelling good habits?

 

 

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Are we doing what we can to protect our children?

TEEN GIRL IN HALLWe need to stop being silent about the things that are happening to young people today.  Too often, children and teens are the target of bullying and other forms of violent acts and nobody is there to help them.  In our culture we are taught to mind our own business and just ignore things that are happening around us.  But this is not acceptable and it can lead to a crisis situation.

Everyone should take an active interest in what is going on in the lives of their own children and also any children they are in contact with.   If we believe that any child is in a harmful situation, it is our responsibility to do something.   We can’t continue to ignore all the serious issues that are happening.

The following link will take you to an article written by a psychologist with more than 20 years experience in educational research and evaluation.  It points out what happens when we fail to be responsible adults.   Are you doing what you can to protect our children?

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/08/07/37azin.h32.html?tkn=ZMSF27GGZeLPugmJWLy3TPmVIskIUi5%2B7KZS&cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS1

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What are your children doing this summer?

Couple Walking on the Beach with Their Three Daughters and DogSummer can be a difficult time for families especially when parents are working and the children are left on their own.  This can be a time to create fond memories and experience exciting adventures.  However, if you and your children are not prepared to fill the days with meaningful activities, summer vacation can become a nightmare.

If you are working parents with older children that will be left alone for extended periods of time, it is extremely important that you make some definite plans and not just allow your child to do whatever they please.  Most children will sleep late, watch TV, play on their computer and hang out with friends.  This is not healthy and they will spend the summer bored or getting into some kind of trouble.

Make sure you have a plan of action that includes fun activities for your children and also for the family.  Working parents need to make sure that they still take the time to do family activities together so their children will feel loved and valued.   Time is an important commodity in a child’s life and when parents spend time with their children they are sending out the message that they are important and this will help them build strong esteem.

Plan some (age-appropriate) activities that your children can do on their own and also some family activities and then sit down with your children and go over your ideas.  Ask them if they have any suggestions and let them get actively involved in making any plans and helping with preparations.  Here are some ideas:

  • plan a family picnic or bbq
  • go to a park or petting zoo
  • go to a swimming pool or beach
  • check out activities at the local library and make a weekly visit to pick up some books or videos for your child to read and look at during the week
  • check with local organizations and churches for organized group activities and summer camps.  Many have free programs or ones with minimal cost.
  • enroll your child in a summer sports activity
  • plan a family camping trip or do a backyard campout and invite some of your children’s friends to come
  • on a rainy day, do some cooking or baking or play some board games
  • plan some arts and crafts – prepare kits for your child to work on some fun projects
  • clean out the basement or garage as a family – play music, dance and have some fun
  • watch some great family movies, eat popcorn and laugh a lot!
  • find out about a summer volunteer job – this is a healthy way to keep your child busy and help them build esteem

I hope you and your family have a great summer vacation!!

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Our children are valuable

We had a good day yesterday for the Canada Day Celebrations despite the weather.   In the morning, the sun tried to peek through the clouds, but as the day progressed, the clouds won the game.   The weather called for thunderstorms, but the fireworks did go as planned and there were only a few raindrops.

The city puts on a family celebration downtown in our Market Square, with lots of activities for the kids, music and food.  We were enjoying the music and watching people walk by, many dressed in red and some wearing unique costumes that included a flag.  Smiling faces were painted and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

It was an enjoyable day until I saw a man wearing a t-shirt that shocked me.  I know people wear shirts with inappropriate or rude sayings and pictures on them and I don’t really approve of them, but this one was just plain disgusting especially for a family event with hundreds of children running around.  The picture was a nude women with very prominently displayed breasts and lower private area.   Even my husband commented on it and he usually just laughs.   I had a strong desire to ask the man what he was thinking when he put on this shirt or was he just not thinking at all?  Did he care that children would be seeing this horrible picture?  However I didn’t want to start a war, so I bit my tongue and just kept walking.    What difference would it have made?  He obviously didn’t care and he probably would have been angry.

People don’t seem to realize the harm they are inflicting on children with their words and actions.   I have read numerous books and articles that state how images that use sexual content, definitely have a negative effect on children, teens and adults and I know this from personal experience and relationships with friends.   These images can promote bad thoughts and behaviours and can be very destructive and damaging to a person’s self-esteem.

Our children are valuable and we need to protect them from the evils of this world.   It is our responsibility to be a good example to them so they will have a good future. mom taking pics of 2 kids

Are you being a good example to your children?  What are you depositing in the memory banks of your children – good memories or bad memories?

Every day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.   ~Charles R. Swindoll

 

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Friendships are important

friends1We all need to have friends and this is especially important for children and teens.  Friends help children build confidence and develop their esteem.  Friends allow us to have better emotional, spiritual and physical health.  Friends teach us how to build good relationships and learn how to deal effectively with life situations.

Friends really matter, but it is also very important that we choose the right friends.  A good friend will help you but a bad friend will hurt you.  We all want people to like us and today with all the social media, it is easy to build a list of friends.  However, in our eagerness to have lots of friends, are we building friendships or potential problems?  It is better to have just 1 good friend, than to have 25 bad friends.

What is a good friend?  Think about each of your friends and ask the following 10 questions:

  1. Does your friend make you feel good about yourself?
  2. Can you trust your friend with your utmost secrets?
  3. Do you enjoy spending time with your friend?
  4. Does your friend encourage and support you?
  5. Does your friend talk with you and listen even when you don’t agree?
  6. Is your friend happy when something good happens to you?
  7. Does your friend stick up for you when other people are putting you down?
  8. Does your friend like you no matter what your weaknesses are?
  9. Is your friend there for you when you need help?
  10. You know that your friend never gossips about you?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all the questions, then you probably have a good friend that you should keep.  If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, then you should really consider whether or not to continue on with the friendship.  Do this for each of your friends and it will help you determine whether they are a good friend or a bad friend.

Now, try this again by asking yourself the same questions.   Are you a good friend?   It works both ways in a friendship.  It is important that you have good friends, but you also must be a good friend.

It is important to be surrounded by positive people who lift you up, encourage you and support you.   Never surround yourself with negative people who pull you down, discourage you and make you feel bad.  Try working hard on developing a positive perspective by building your esteem and then you can be a positive influence on people who are struggling with negativity.

We should all be a good example to those around us by being a good friend to others and choosing good friends.   We should always treat each other with kindness and expect that others treat us the same way.

Do you have good friends?  Are you a good friend?  Are you teaching your children how to choose good friends?

 

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Do you care about your children?

listening with earphones3I read an article about media and family conflicts that disturbed me, but it really didn’t surprise me.  Every day I see and hear things about the problems being caused by the media.  Here is a short clip from a girl who thought she was sharing a photo with someone she could trust and it ended up being public.  http://youtu.be/Avm7nr1kZhg

A new study suggests that many parents are not concerned about how their children are using technology and don’t feel that it is harming them or that it will become an addiction.   A large percentage of the parents who seemingly don’t care, are heavy technology users themselves and consume up to about 11 hours of media a day in their leisure time.

This should concern all parents because heavy media use CAN and DOES have negative effects on children and everyone.

It is mainly parents who set the example for their children.  If they are immersed in using technology, this is sending a message to their children that it is okay.  If we don’t care about how things are affecting our children, who is going to care and what is going to happen to them?  We need to be responsible adults and teach our children valuable lessons so they will be able to make proper choices in life.

Here is the link to the article:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/most-parents-show-little-concern-about-childrens-media-use-survey-says/

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