On Father’s Day we celebrate the special role fathers play in a child’s life. As I think about fathers, I am aware of the parental role changes over the generations. My grandfathers were the family breadwinners. My father worked hard and was the disciplinarian. He would occasionally play games with us four kids and attend major events we were involved in.
My husband became a father in what I see as a transitional generation. These men found themselves not only being breadwinners, but also were expected to assume more child care responsibilities. They were caught between the world in which they are been children and the changes brought on by the women’s movement.
When our daughters started their families, the expectation was that the fathers be actively engaged in all parts of the children’s lives. Fathers in the delivery rooms are now the norm. Today I see a blend of the last two generations. Some couples choose more “traditional” roles while others embrace the “modern” role.
One constant through the generations is the love fathers have for their children. How they demonstrate it may vary, but involved fathers have a major impact on their children’s development.
How have you seen fathers’ roles change?
fathers, parenting, social-emotional
So I have a confession. I usually consider myself pretty tech savvy. This week however, I learned something that has fascinated me about the internet. Did you know that if you google any topic and then use the :edu you will pull up more resources with educational credibility? It might look like this fathering :edu
I HAD NO IDEA!!!!
So I did that for our monthly topic on Fathers. AND WOW! I found ‘real’ information from credible and research based resources.
DAD’S you gotta try this! (ok everyone should!)
Here are just a couple of sites I can’t get enough of:
What are some great sites you found when you tried the :edu ?
education, fathers, parenting, positive parenting
Fathers are different from mothers, but offer love, guidance and support in their own unique way. During June, we’ll talk about the role of fathers and what research has to say about this important role.
National studies show that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that fathers play an important and irreplaceable role in the lives of children. Seven out of 10 people in one study agreed that the physical absence of fathers from the home is the most significant social problem facing America.
Join us in June as we talk celebrate ‘All About Fathers’
Podcast: Play in new window
family time, fathers, parenting, Play, podcast, positive parenting
I just read an interesting statistic from the Pew Research Center. Their data shows that between paid and unpaid work, the average mother works about 2 more hours a week than she did in 1965. But the mix of time spent on paid work, housework, and child care has changed dramatically. Today the average number of hours mothers with children spend each week are as follows: child care 13.5, housework 17.8, and paid work 21.4.
Yes, mothers are busy people. The findings from the Pew Research Center also point to 56% of paid work mothers saying it is very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family responsibilities. That’s not really a big surprise. Figuring out how to keep everything going at home and at work takes organization, flexibility, and commitment. I would also add a sense of humor and the ability to function on little sleep.
I grew up in a family where I watched my mother work hard. She took care of the home; tended a large garden and raised chickens; supported us kids in our school, church, and 4-H activities; orchestrated family functions; and taught school. I’m guessing there were many days she found it hard to manage work and family. But somehow she kept it together and taught us many life lessons. And most important of all was that we always knew Mother was there for us. What a wonderful gift to give your children!
How do you handle all the many roles of being a mother?
family time, mother, parenting
Do you have any idea on how much information there is on the internet telling you ‘how to be a mom’?
I realized that I was going round and round and deeper and deeper into the realms of the internet while I was thinking about what to write. I began to be overloaded and confused. What seemed to be such a simple task became overwhelming with so much information.
Isn’t that what being a mom ends up being? A seemingly simple parenting task can become overwhelming because of information from so many places and sources.
So what do we do? Here’s what I did. Pushed my chair back from the computer. Picked up the picture of my girls on my desk. Smiled. Took a deep breath. Deleted my search engines. And went back to the place I knew research was solid and strong. www.extension.org And then I started again.
Sometimes as parents we have to remember that we need a strong foundation of one or two credible resources instead of a whole ‘favorites’ list of lots of opinions. I hope you enjoy searching the eXtension website as much as I did!
education, mother, parenting, Uncategorized
Moms come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different types. There are biological moms and stepmoms and adopted moms and selected/chosen moms. These women are linked to their children genetically, legally, and/or emotionally.
I had an awesome biological mom. I am a stepmom (hope my kids think I’m awesome). And throughout my life I have “chosen” women like my mother-in-law who fit that role. One thing all moms have in common is the gifts they give their children. Gifts of life, love, friendship, guidance, support.
One interesting article I read talked about other types of moms: perfectionist, unpredictable, best friend, me-first, and complete. Children raised by each of these moms develop strengths and have an emotional legacy (I translate that into baggage!). I really like the description of the complete mom. She is emotionally balanced. This mom sees her kids as individuals and helps them achieve their independence. And regardless of what is going on in mom’s life (work, relationships, problems), she is committed to motherhood.
Now that’s the type of mom I want to be. How about you?
As I pondered this topic I first thought I would blog about what I mean as a mother to my kids (and what does research say about that key relationship).
Then as I began to search and study I found myself drawn to the information that sent me off into the land of caring for and making decisions for my mother. Although she is young and vibrant and enjoying her recent venture into retirement I found that I already know many people that are facing the many questions I found on the eXtension website.
What I found were so many great questions with fabulous answers in that ‘oh so tough land’ of switching from the role of child to ‘mother’ of our mother/father.
As you enjoy the celebration of a relationship with a ‘mother-figure’ or the relationship of being the ‘mother figure’ please know that there are many resources for you when you become the ‘mother’ of your beloved mother.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ponderings on the role reversal.
education, friendship, mother, parenting
Mom, mommy, mother, mum — a mother by any other name is still a mother. During May, join us to talk about what mothers mean to their children.
We’re looking beyond the Mother’s Day cards and flowers, presents and breakfast in bed. There is more to consider than just the ritualized and commercialized recognition of children’s appreciation and love for their mothers.
We’re taking a look at what science tells us about the importance of mothers. We’ll talk about the types of mothers, the roles they play and the benefits to children. We might even include some of the lessons we’ve learned from our mothers.
Podcast: Play in new window
family time, parenting, podcast
Many of us have been a part of the ritual – a small box is buried under the shade tree in the back yard. This becomes the final place for our beloved canary or hamster. As parents we don’t like to think about the demise of these special members of our family, but death is a very real part of having a pet.
Pets have significantly shorter lifespans than people but some will be companions for a considerable number of years. So how do you help your child when a pet dies? A child’s reaction is tied to her age and development, previous experiences with death, as well as the intensity of attachment to the pet. Check out http://aplb.org/services/children.html for detailed information on the reactions of children at various ages. This is a link from The Associaton for Pet Loss and Bereavement.
As parents you can help your child honor and remember his pet in appropriate ways. Displaying photos, drawing pictures, telling stories, or holding a ceremony are possibilities.
Our family buried special dogs under the trees in the pasture where we imagined them running free. And I’ll admit to having a small urn in the closet containing my beagle’s ashes. Just the mention of Pearl’s name makes us all smile.
So how have you handled the death of pets in your family?
grief, pets, social-emotional
Admittedly I am going to be completely biased on this topic However, I am including the research information so you can look for yourself.
I LOVE pets. All kinds of pets. Lots of different pets. I have had – fish, dogs, cats, spiders, mice, hamsters, rabbits and I’m really trying to convince myself I need a horse! Now I haven’t had them all at the same time nor would I recomend it! But having a pet does have some very important benefits.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry lists several benefits. They state:
“Children raised with pets show many benefits. Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others. A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy.” Facts for Families: Children and Pets
How have pets enhanced your children’s lives? What have they learned from them? Share with us!
I considered myself a lucky kid. I grew up on a farm with lots of space for animals. Pets were just a normal part of life. The fish, turtles, and hamsters shared our home. The cats occupied the back steps while the chickens and dogs roamed the yard. They were our companions and playmates. It was never a question if we were old enough to have a pet; they just kept coming!
But for most parents these days, the question of when to get a child a pet is worth some discussion. One point for consideration is what is your purpose for having the pet. Is it for companionship and play? Or do you want your child to take responsibility for part or all of it’s care?
Let’s start at the beginning. Babies aren’t old enough to handle or take care of pets. Toddlers want to touch and grab pets. As the kids grow into the preschool age years, they are able to better understand how to handle a pet and fill the water and food dishes. I suspect that the “I wanna dog” (or whatever) gene really kicks in during the elementary years.
The good news is that school-age kids are old enough to assume some pet chores and can play with the pets responsibly. The bad news is that this age children may have short attention spans and change their minds often. So that dog wanted now may be not so much fun three months later. Preteens and teens have the capabilities to be responsible. But they are also getting into the “busy” years and pets will have to compete for their time.
No matter your decision as to when to add a pet to your family, realize that as the parent you have the final responsbility for its care and well-being.
Note: Check out the ASPCA web site for some good thoughts about the right pet for your child’s age.
Children and animals seem like a perfect match. Many of us adults remember the special bonds we had with pets when we were children. It’s hard to resist the pleas of our kids when it comes to the adorable kittens and puppies and other little critters. But we also realize it is a major commitment to bring a pet into our home.
During April we will address the big question: Is a pet worth the effort?
We’ll share research in human-animal interaction and talk about how to determine the right age for children to have pets, how to make choices about pets and what pets can teach our children.
Podcast: Play in new window
I woke up this morning feeling like cheering!!! I think it was the sun! Yesterday I was thinking about what to write for the blog and spent some time trying to ‘watch’ play. However, I didn’t just watch children play. I watched adults play. I watched infants to the aging play. As I reflected on the play I noticed a common theme. Are you ready?
We really do like to play.
How did I know? We let our bodies show it. We smile. We raise our eyebrows. We open our mouth and laugh. We relax our shoulders. We BREATHE. Yes we like to play and our bodies show the pure un-inhibited enjoyment of it!
I wonder if that’s why sometimes as adults we are tired after playing? Because we finally just let our bodies and brain enjoy the moment we are in. Hmm, so play might really be important in more ways than one.
I would LOVE to know how you play! I want you to recognize the times that you freely let go and allow yourselves to really enjoy the moment! Take time to really pay attention and allow yourself those moments. Tell me abut your play!
education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, Play, positive parenting
As adults we go to work each day – either at a place of employment or at home. And by the end of the day we’re tired and ready to relax. Well, did you know that child also go to work by playing. That’s right, play is a child’s work.
Let me give you some examples. When I was a child I played house. I took care of the babies, fixed meals, and talked to my pretend husband and kids. I played school with my siblings and we took turns being the teacher. On other afternoons we took things out of the cupboard, lined them up on the counter, and played store. One of us got to be the clerk while the others made the purchases.
We worked hard at playing and at the same time we worked hard at learning. These play experiences helped us with skills in math, science, language and writing. We also learned how to get along, how to have conversations, how to figure out problems.
How do you see your child playing? What is he learning as he “works”?
I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!
We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication. I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.
Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.
education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, language development, Play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, temperament