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Parentelligence Blog

'tips' Parentelligence posts

Domesticated Pedestrians.

At what point did we stop teaching our children about road safety? As I drive around, either near work or home, I find there are people walking to and from completely ignoring the crosswalks or signals. Sometimes they have their headphones on and couldn’t hear a car coming even if they wanted to. Sometimes they are talking on their cell phone. And sometimes they’re even running with their kids across a busy street, teaching them this dangerous activity. I find these incidents disconcerting.

I’ve come to call these people domesticated pedestrians because they’ve lost their fear of cars. It’s sort of like when someone feeds squirrels or any other wild animal and they get so used to the food source that they lose their fear of people. This is not a healthy practice to get into.

These domesticated pedestrians may be kids or adults.

Hold the baby

In the US, we have a culture that encourages independence but are we performing our babies a disservice by isolating them in a car seat carrier or stroller?

Think about what we do when we’re holding the baby and walking around. We are bonding through touch, smell, eye contact, and talking. We can talk to them and teach them about the trucks and airplanes, the art work on the walls and flowers or the different colors on the packages at the store. Even when they listen to us talk to a companion or on the phone, they’re being exposed to communication. The more you talk with your baby the better. All of this starts with the children as newborns.

What sort of interaction do babies get when they’re isolated in a car seat carrier or stroller covered with a blanket or staring at the ceiling?

Food matters

Cooking with kids is a great way to expose them to new flavors and cultures.  It teaches them math and science in a way that they don’t even realize.  It brings families closer and having family dinners has shown to reduce depression and drug use, and make for happier, healthier kids.

There is a wonderful not-so-new concept that is catching on like the latest cute cat video on YouTube. This experience is bringing communities together and helping families bond.

Community Kitchens.  

Once a week, multi-generational families from a community come together and cook with local foods from their Farmer’s Market to make wonderfully nutritious meals.  There are conversations over chopping carrots about the community, families, and cooking.  Then everyone sits down and has a fantastic meal together and have lively discussions about anything.  At then end, everyone cleans up, and takes home leftovers to freeze for easier and healthier meals during the week.

Parents just don’t have much time in the evening to prepare such time intensive dishes, after work and between homework, laundry, dishes, and bedtime.  Home Economics and Cooking classes have been cut from most school districts’ budgets, so where do our kids learn to prepare barley, or homemade apple pie?

What were we thinking?

When we decide to have a baby (or the idea was placed upon us by an unexpected positive pregnancy test), we start to think about the idea of what it means to have a baby. We imagine all these wonderful thoughts of a sweet baby sleeping and walks in the park with a stroller. We also start to look at our friends who have children. You know, those children who whine, complain and throw temper tantrums and the exasperated parents then just give the child what they want to quiet them down. We think to ourselves, “That won’t be us. We’ll do things differently.”

Now, we find ourselves back on our couch after the monumental event of giving birth and a way too short stay where we had room service and a nurse call button 24 hours a day.

We look at each other, then at the beautiful baby in our arms and simultaneously say, “Now what?”.

Let’s look at the changes for everyone involved to gain some perspective.

Changes Mom Partner Baby
Physical Yes, Labor Yes, Stress Everything changed
Hormonal Yes Yes
Psychological Yes (now a mom) Yes (now a dad)
Emotional Yes See above
Disturbed Sleep Yes Yes

How do we navigate the concurrently tumultuous and joyous waters that is being a new parent? How do we keep our relationship strong while enduring the impact of having a baby?

To start, we need to get back to basics:

A cyberbully is not a mean robot

Technology can be amazing, astounding and wonderful, but just as fantastic as it can be in the right hands, in the wrong hands it can be devastating, demoralizing, even destructive.

When our children are young, we teach them how to wield a fork safely at the dinner table and to not hit other kids during play-dates. We must also teach them how to harness the power of the internet for good. Learn to knit or tie knots; speak Spanish or play the guitar. Keeping up with friends and distant family on Facebook can be a lifesaver for the homesick. There are so many amazingly wonderful experiences that can be had on the internet.

Unfortunately, the dangerous sense of anonymity online can lead some to cruel and horrific activities resulting in unimaginable suffering for all involved. Children need guidance. Their brain is not as developed as an adult’s brain and we can’t expect them to think like an adult.

So, at what point have you taught, or will teach, your kids about cyberbullying?

Bring out your meds!

We teach our kids to say no to drugs, but did you teach them about the dangers of prescription drug abuse?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more teens abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug other than marijuana - more than cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine combined!

It’s not just your kids you need to worry about, from the baby crawling to the teenager who babysits for you, your own teenager and their friends, even the workmen in your house. If your medications are kept in the bathroom, it’s very easy for someone to access them behind the privacy of the closed door.

This weekend, take time to....

Emotion Coaching

Just like learning to name oranges, zebras, and fire trucks, our children need to learn how to name their emotions. They need to understand what emotions are and how to handle them.

When we dismiss our children’s emotions, what is this teaching them? It’s teaching them that their emotions don’t matter which in turn teaches them that they are not important. Emotion Coaching is when we take the time to listen to our children’s fears or frustrations and coach them along to identify the emotion and let them discover how best to handle the situation. It teaches our children that they’re important. We don’t necessarily want to solve their problems, but can guide them on how to find acceptable solutions.

Let’s try this example, your child is afraid of the dark, but as you’re tucking them in it’s discovered that the night light bulb has burned out.

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