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
“Play is a way in which we can learn about ourselves and others. It is at the heart of creativity and makes us more productive”.
Parents often greet a new baby with stuffed animals, dolls and other toys, all given in anticipation of the play that is to come. Join us in March as we talk about the power of play for children of all ages.
Click on the podcast below to hear fascinating research on play.
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, language development, Play, podcast, positive parenting, social-emotional
Of course kids get angry. Parents get angry. I get that and know what to do to help children learn to express anger in appropriate ways. But when should we get concerned that there is more to it – that a child might have anger issues.
Here’s a list of warning signs. If your child exhibits several of these behaviors for at least 6 months, it’s time to take action.
- frequently loses temper
- defies or refuses to follow adult rules
- is touchy, easily angered
- often annoys and upsets people on purpose
- often bullies, threatens or scares others
- often starts physical fights
- is physically cruel to people or animals
- is often spiteful or wants revenge
- purposely damages people’s things
If you think there could be a problem, talk to a professional. Make an appointment with a mental health professional, doctor, school nurse, or school counselor. They can do an evaluation and determine is there is a problem. And together you can decide on any needed action or treatment options.
bullying, social-emotional, Uncategorized
Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.
As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.
Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.
So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.
Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:
Helping Children with Anger
Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?
discipline, education, family time, friendship, language development, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional, spanking, temperament
When I get mad (and yes I sometimes do) I can feel it in my body. I get tense, my voice changes, and I’m sure my blood pressure rises. There’s a definite physical reaction which is a clue that I need to calm down.
Children also experience physical responses when they are mad. But they need help in learning to recognize the reactions. Then the next step is to figure out something else to do to defuse or calm that physical response.
Here’s an example. Kids often throw things when they get mad. Or they will bite, pinch, kick or hit someone. Those are not good ways to calm down. But the kids need a physical outlet for the anger. They can bounce a ball, run around the yard, punch a pillow, dance to music.
Once the physical reaction is lessened, then you can move to communicating and problem solving. But remember to first deal with the physical reactions to turn the anger down a notch.
So what do your kids see you doing when you get mad? I head out for a brisk walk, sometimes muttering to myself. But I almost always return calmer and ready to focus on whatever it was that made me so mad I couldn’t see straight.
What helps you calm down when you are mad? What are you teaching your child to do to calm down?