Tags Posts tagged with "Parents"

Parents

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Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 10.33.26 AM(originally appeared in Huff Post Parents in May 2016)

They seem to be sprouting all around us. Multiplying, it would appear, like rabbits. Defying age, culture, socio-economic status, demographic criteria, etc. And as we watch — often in disbelief, frustration or just plain anger — we wonder where in the world they come from and how in the world they do what they do with a straight face, without much apparent conscience and usually little respect or regard for those around them.

There is no deep thinking, forensic analysis or other investigative technique required to determine what creates, causes or contributes to an entitled individual. Rock stars, politicians and professional athletes, among others, have handlers. Entitled individuals have enablers. Period, end of story.

Take any example you wish — from the collapse of Wall Street and ensuing financial crisis of 2008 and beyond, to the Jian Ghomeshi case, a bully in the schoolyard, a parent who rules by fear, a less-than-competent colleague who somehow scales the corporate ladder — it’s a long and varied list.

You can safely bet there is one common denominator. They don’t act alone. Their actions are not isolated. They move, sometimes stealthily, because they are allowed to do so. The path ahead of them is often clear or cleared by someone else. Their enablers clear it for them — whether these enablers realize that IS what they’re doing, are proactively participating or are merely reacting on the sidelines through inaction.

Entitled individuals can bob and weave their way through life deftly in large part because those of us around them allow it to happen. We enable that action. We are all guilty of enabling in one form or another — however, small or large that enablement.

It is rather gobsmacking when you see all the hallmarks of entitled creature-creation in parenting. You know the one. A lovely, normal, hardworking mother or father trying to do the right thing for their child/children. And then they’ll do completely irrational things like: debate marks with their kid’s teacher, call their child’s university professor to see about bumping up grades, corner their kid’s sports coach about more playing time (assuming the coach is irrationally not playing them) and otherwise make excuses for, dive in to save, defend without just cause — their child.

There is a difference between advocating for a child with reason and appropriate rationale, and leaping in to save them when things don’t go their way. The latter is effectively sowing the seeds of entitlement.

One of the most difficult things to do as a parent is to stand by and watch your child undergo some form of adversity. But ask yourself the zillion dollar question — how else will they ever learn? Like the old saying goes, and it is so true: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Yes it does. Likely never fun to go through, but necessary. Necessary to learn from, to appreciate the lesson learned and to understand the journey and process involved. If you want a kid to learn gratefulness and appreciation for what they have, they need to understand that journey.

The myriad of unscrupulously and even honest people, those who selfishly bent the rules, had their behaviour justified or some other such combination — others who innocently stood by and watched it happen. When the onion got peeled back on what led to the financial crisis, a whole bunch of “fraudsters” emerged. How were they allowed to operate for so long, relatively unscathed? It wasn’t magic.

As former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi became some kind of broadcast star, it would appear that he became judged by a different set of rules by his colleagues and bosses. The hushed tones, winks, nudges, sweeping-under-the-rug tactics — assuming they all existed — covered up what we’ve sadly come to learn about in sordid detail in the last several months.

He was enabled. He became entitled. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s not rocket science.

The ensuing debate about what could have and should have been done will rage on at the CBC and in other places of work where entitlement through enablement happens daily but is yet to be exposed — be that in the media or some other public forum.

The bottom line is what should have happened — red flagging from the onset and appropriate sanctions — did not happen. That did not happen for a host of reasons, not one of which will ever make a shred of sense to the victims with the red flags or future victims who may chose to keep their flags to themselves and avoid the red-face-inducing, complete public dressing-down that coming forward entails.

This type of behaviour starts with small acts of letting things slide. The little things can and often do snowball into much larger, unfortunate acts that impact lives in profound and irreversible ways.

It boils down, once again, to something all parents try to strive for, hopefully. When your kid does something wrong, there has to be appropriate discipline/punishment so they can learn right from wrong. Parenting 101. Basic. Not allowing that process of learning from mistakes, paying their dues, understanding consequences of their actions is effectively tampering with the natural order of things.

So, why in the world are we surprised when these kids grow up to be adults who behave the same way?

It’s only when they start to impede our progress that we begin to pay attention.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lianne-castelino/entitled-kids_b_10003404.html

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The City of East Liverpool, Ohio was in the spotlight this week after its police department made the controversial decision to post a photo of an overdosed couple in the front seat of a van with a four-year old child in the backseat.

The photo garnered international attention because pictures of minors are normally blurred out in such instances to protect their identities, but the police department chose to make an exception in this case to drive home a point on the perils of drug abuse.

“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis” the city’s Facebook post read.

The heartbreaking photos, which were posted with a ‘graphic content’ warning, were taken during a traffic stop earlier in the week and show two incapacitated adults in the front seat with the young child sitting behind them.

“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess,” the post continued. “This child can’t speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”

According to reports, the male driver pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle and endangering a child.  The woman in the photo – the child’s mother – reportedly pleaded not guilty to endangering a child, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.  She is expected to appear in a pre-trial hearing on September 15.

What do you think of the police department’s decision to release the un-doctored photos on social media? Were they warranted in their decision?

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Baby Box Ontario
babyboxco.com

Inspired by Finland’s longstanding tradition of providing a safe sleep environment for infants to new parents, the Baby Box Company is now providing a certified Baby Box to expectant mothers and fathers across Ontario free of charge for those who register and complete the online form.
The Baby Boxes are usable up until six-months of age and arrive complete with mattress, waterproof cover and cotton sheet.  In addition to the bassinette-style sleep space, the box includes a kit full of baby products from diapers to body wash, breast pads to teething toys.

Uses of Baby Box in Ontario

“Approximately 80% of parents who receive a Baby Box in Ontario use it as a primary safe sleep space for their infant, up to about six months of age,” said Jennifer Clary, CEO of The Baby Box Co. in an online statement. “A Baby Box program can have a real and measurable impact on both the health and well-being of Ontario’s infants, and the confidence of Ontario’s new parents.”

According to the website, parents who are expecting a child between August 1, 2016 and August 1, 2017 are eligible to sign up for the program. The company is expecting upwards of 145, 000 Baby Boxes to be delivered annually in Ontario through hospitals and various community agencies.

Baby Boxes will be rolling out in provinces across Canada later this year.

 

No one revels in the art of taking smart shortcuts more than yours truly. You know the one that leads from point A to D with expedience and without sacrificing quality. It’s a thrilling thing! And when you master it, there is no turning back. The sheer delight in increased efficiency, timely turnarounds and NOT wasting time is, “in short” — phenomenal!

The convenience industry which characterizes much of society today includes a fulsome range of neat businesses and “hard-to-live-without” services running the gamut. From healthy daily meal preparation with delivery to your door, to grocery shopping online and the endless variety of cleaning services, personal trainers, landscaping artists — the list goes on and on.

Then there are the veritably endless apps that can conveniently keep you honest with food intake and weight loss, sleep trackers and the enabling gifts of all kinds to magically appear at the front door of family and friends marking a special occasion — and within swipe or click or tap range, or flashing from a wearable device. It’s truly head-spinning material.

Which brings me to a newly discovered convenience, one that may very revolutionize an entire industry: buying a car — from loan to purchase — entirely ONLINE. Honestly, I found the concept truly amazing. Making one of the largest purchases one has to make in their life, using the click, tap, swipe method. Whoa!

It all got me thinking, as I watched my 16-year-old son climb into the gleaming taupe-coloured Driver’s Education car, with the instructor in the passenger seat, poised to begin the lesson.

The convenience industry has definitely enabled efficiency to a large extent which means in theory we should be able to spend more time doing more of what we love and hopefully less time, doing the opposite. That should presumably give us more time to chase those creative pursuits, do more of what brings up happiness, free up time to spend on what matters — family, friends, fitness, faith, to-do lists before they become bucket lists on a time limit, etc.

For parents, being able to tap into some of what makes up the convenience industry — hopefully the free or less-costly things — should mean freeing up time to spend that ever-elusive “quality” time with our children, spouses and partners.

But does it? Or do we somehow resist the benefits of the convenience industry and fill up that newly gained time with more stuff — that “stuff” that renders us all busy, ALL.THE. TIME. The B word that forms the common refrain to questions like: How’ve you been? How is life treating you? What have you been up to?

Time management is an ongoing odyssey for many of us, but for parents, it must be mastered quickly and on an ongoing basis as a matter of pure survival. Working parents understand this best. No time to waste. The clock is ticking. Drop-offs, pick-ups, schedules, nap time, calendars, activities, snack, meal and potty time, and of course timeouts. The clock whirrs.

While we cannot stop the clock, despite many valiant efforts to attempt such a feat, we could try to outsmart it. Perhaps stealing time — precious moments, priceless seconds, an hour here and there — truly leveraging the age of convenience that we live in to our own advantage, could offer the best of both worlds: A greater appreciation of living in the now.

I can frequently be heard saying to my children when they respond, “I’ll do it later.” Whatever IT is. Depending on the importance of the IT, a.k.a. the ask, I’ll reply, “Why not do it now, later may not come.”

And then there’s the priceless magnet on my father-in-law’s fridge reads which provides further food for thought and summarizes this concept so well: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By: Cara Scholl

Developmental maturity matters more than age when deciding how to explain tragic world events to children says a leading child psychiatrist.

According to Dr. Gail Beck, Director of Youth Outpatient Psychiatry at The Royal in Ottawa, parents should tailor their approach to their child’s unique cognitive needs understanding that coping mechanisms differ from one child to the next, even within the same family.

“You can have some 10 year-olds who can understand more than some 14 year-olds and that’s not unusual or even abnormal,” Beck says. “The rule of thumb is that the parent has to be prepared to answer whatever questions a child brings to them and be prepared to have to explain that.”

Beck says children who are at a stage of development where they take thing very literally are particularly vulnerable to upsetting news because they might conclude that an incident – like the recent mass shooting in Orlando – is imminent in their own life.

Sunday’s shooting rampage in Central Florida claimed the lives of nearly 50 LGBT club goers when a lone gunman – apparently motivated by extremist ideology – fired into the crowd.  The massacre is classified as the deadliest shooting on U.S. soil and the country’s second deadliest attack since 9/11.

One of the bright spots to emerge in the aftermath of the tragedy has been the outpouring of support  both locally and from LGBT and non-LGBT communities worldwide.  On Monday, Orlando’s OneBlood blood bank tweeted that the response has been “incredible” adding the center is booking donation appointments two-weeks out.

Beck says emphasizing positive actions or storylines – like the lineup of blood donors in Orlando or the scenes of thousands who gathered in vigils around the world – is another effective strategy in helping children cope with distressing news.

“Those positive outreaches, those offers to help, they show us that in every terrible thing that happens there are people who are good and there is still good in the world.”

Photo Courtesy/facebook.com/athomedadnetwork

An advocacy group representing fathers who are their family’s primary caregivers is in the spotlight this week for its “Dads Don’t Babysit” campaign.

The grassroots project went viral on social media after a Reddit user wearing a “Dads Don’t Babysit (It’s Called “Parenting”)” t-shirt posted his picture on the site under the heading “Important Message From a Dad to Society.”

Since being posted, the photo has generated more than 3000 comments, including from men who say they can identify with the stereotype often imposed on them when they look after their kids.

“It hurt really bad when I was a new, stay-at-home, dad and people would say or ask about me babysitting,” one user wrote. “My wife’s job had 70% travel and she’s going back to school for her masters, and we were in a new city with no family and only a couple friends, so I was “on” 24/7.

The organization behind the t-shirt is the National At-Home Dad Network, a non-profit group that seeks to “empower fathers and champion a culture that recognizes them as capable and competent parents.”

You can see the photo of the t-shirt below:

Photo Courtesy/facebook.com/athomedadnetwork
Photo Courtesy/facebook.com/athomedadnetwork

RELATED LINKS:

CBC Host Mark Kelley Talks About Fatherhood

Keeping Up in the in Era of Social Media

No App for That! A Parent’s Guide to Explaining Simpler Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing like seeing your child explore a new toy for the first time, especially ones with sensory or educational value like a play kitchen.  Unfortunately for the less handy among us, the assembly process can be downright daunting and it may feel like your child will outgrow the toy before you’re done building it.

Just for fun, we’ve highlighted the 5 stages of assembling a toy kitchen.  Can you identify?

Shock & Denial

You’ve opened the giant cardboard box and have dumped its contents onto your living room floor. You now find yourself surrounded with 70 unique parts and a 25-page instruction manual complete with illustrations and symbols that resemble hieroglyphics etched into the wall of a pyramid.  Panic and dismay wash over you like a thick fog.

Pain & Guilt

You’ve sliced open your hand using the Allen key and your lower back is experiencing intense spasms and shooting pain.  The thought of quitting has crossed your mind 12 times a minute since you started but you won’t give up because depriving your child of the chance to cook fake food using her fake kitchenware is plain unacceptable.

Anger & Bargaining

Logically you know that fighting with the kitchen won’t get you anywhere, but your frustration is at a boiling point and you can’t take it anymore.  After crumpling the instruction manual in protest, you return to the half-finished kitchen and beg it for mercy in exchange for keeping your cool.

Reflection & Loneliness

It’s been four hours and you’re only half-finished.  The world seems bleak and meaningless and you’re wondering if you’ll ever breathe fresh air again.

Acceptance and Hope

The kitchen is done but there are a handful of miscellaneous parts leftover and you’re pretty sure they aren’t spares.  Still, you take a step back and applaud your perseverance in the face of unspeakable odds. Parenting win!

 

 

 

Watching American politics has become a spectator sport of late. Billionaire real estate mogul and wannabe ruler-of-the-free-world Donald Trump makes the presidential race virtually impossible to ignore with his provocative proposals to ‘Make America Great Again.”

But it’s not his platform or policy ideas that have garnered all the attention over the last eight months; Trump’s behaviour – both online and on the stump – has grabbed its fair share of headlines too.

He repeatedly belittles his fellow candidates, often denigrating them as “losers” and “liars” if they dare challenge him. His most consistent target of the race has been Jeb Bush, who Trump often mocks as being “low energy” on the campaign trail.

Trump’s wrath, while largely directed at his opponents, isn’t limited to politicians. Media personalities and Hollywood types have also been dragged into the mud as the subject of Trump’s now infamous and incoherent Twitter rants. He’s elevated the 140-character insult to an art form, targeting anyone who isn’t a sycophant or supporter of his brash and impetuous style.

Trump’s boorish behavior could be dismissed as a sideshow if he wasn’t currently on track to win the Republican nomination for President of the United States – AKA leader of the free world, AKA most powerful person on the planet.

What does it say to our kids when a man of his stature, demeans his way to the top? How do we tell them that bullying gets you nowhere when the U.S. is poised to elect a master intimidator to the nation’s highest office?

Regardless of their political stripe, democratic heads-of-state should represent a certain set of ideals to the electorate, including: strength, seriousness, humility and self-control. Policies and agendas change with the tide, but no voting public should ever have to question their leader’s ability to treat others with dignity and respect.

I am not excusing every other candidate on the campaign trail as being a model citizen, but Trump operates on a different level. Electing him would signal to our kids – many too young to notice now – that the best way to succeed in life is not through diplomatic means, but through insults directed at anyone who stands in your way. Any recent efforts aimed at counteracting cyberbullying could be undone nine-months from now if the U.S. validates Trump – the ultimate cyberbully – with a win this November.

Impressionable minds the world over will live with the consequences of this upcoming election; my hope is there will be someone in the White House that the next generation can look up to as an example of the kind of person we want them to be.

RELATED LINKS:

Politics and Parenting

A Person of Principle

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So the media has descended swiftly on the devastated community of La Loche, Saskatchewan, in typical fashion, to recount a horrific tale involving a boy with a gun, a killing spree, reeling families, a shell-shocked community.  All of which equal Canada’s worst school shooting.

Why are we the least bit surprised? And why are we pointing to bullying as a cause?  Bullying may indeed be found to be a contributing factor — that remains to be seen.

This is a story about hopelessness.  Plain and simple.  It has played out before and sadly will again unless leaders in this country actually execute a meaningful plan of action centred around how we treat First Nations in this country.  Stop talking. Start doing.  The conditions are appalling. That should be what shocks us.

Having visited a few reserves over the years as a journalist — none of them in remote parts of Canada, mind you — I can tell you about the decrepit conditions (lack of clean running water, overcrowded homes,  overpriced fresh produce — the list is long).  It all adds up to a lack of hope.  The face of hopelessness is something you NEVER forget.

We ONLY hear about these ‘third-world conditions’ when fatality strikes —- suicide, a murder , deaths — bigger story if these are alcohol-induced.  That’s the SAD reality.  So what happens in between these headline-grabbing events?  What are we doing to give so many of these children, adults, parents, grandparents and families living in squalor — HOPE?

The employment rate in La Loche hovers somewhere around 20%.  That’s the percentage of this community with a job.  Just imagine.

I’ve known many people over the years who have visited remote First Nations communities, including my husband, and literally stand there in disbelief as they tell you what they saw and experienced.  How can this be possible in Canada is usually a sentiment expressed at one point.

Surely there are some positive stories mixed in with the overwhelming negative, but the bottom line is we NEVER seem to deal with the root cause (a lack of hope caused by lack of basic resources), only the symptoms (suicide, murder, death).

The money past governments’ have allegedly freed up never seem to land directly where it’s needed in these communities — why is that?  Out of sight, out of mind?

I have long believed — and even put together and presented a proposal a few years ago to one of Canada’s main broadcasters — that the media has almost as important a role to play as government in writing a new story for the founding fathers of this country.

If and when a plan is crafted to improve conditions on these reserves, if and when the money begins to flow from the government — the media can play an integral, objective role in ensuring accountability and transparency — rather than just dispatching dwindling resources to do the SAME SAD STORY again and again — in a different place.