Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

Keeping Kids Safe In Wake Of TV Violence

posted by srballantine

 

Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Today’s media experts claim that watching television does not have a negative impact on kids. The exception they say,is made when your kids watch too much television and are therefore not getting enough exercise or socialization. You’re repeatedly told that the violence that’s aired doesn’t create violence in children.

Why is it that you’re seeing an increase in violence among young people then? It is now common to hear of teenagers who bring loaded weapons into school and open fire on their fellow students and teachers? Other kids, not even in their teens, are exhibiting extreme violence in a myriad of different ways.

This is scary stuff for any parent. You worry about your kids — it’s part of the job description. You want to be sure they’re safe and in a safe environment. In the past, parents had the luxury of getting to know their kids’ friends and parents. That’s still a good idea, even if it may be a little more difficult due to busy schedules and large schools. It’s at least a good idea to encourage your children to surround themselves with other like minded kids.

It used to be that people didn’t worry about their children when they were at school. School was a sanctuary. Yes, there were bullies who threatened to take lunch money, but parents were more worried about the kids picking up a bug or breaking an arm on the playground than being shot by a classmate.

So how does a parent balance keeping his or her children safe without making them fearful of the world or paranoid?

You really don’t want to encase your kids in a giant bubble. You want them to experience life and all the wonders that are available to them. Your job is to help them be aware of all the good there is in the world and how great it feels when they’re surrounded by true friends, whether they’re enjoying nature, playing games, or just going to school together.

One of the places to start is by helping your kids recognize the types of television shows that support their happiness and those that do not. When your children are very young, you can directly monitor the programming they watch. As they get older, this becomes impractical if not downright impossible.

Watch shows that meet your parenting goals as a family. They don’t all have to be educational programming, although there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Discuss the shows you watch with your kids. Explore how you feel while you watch the show.

What sort of emotions come up? Did you feel encouraged or discouraged as a result of the show; uplifted or pushed down? Did you laugh or cry? Did you feel anger? Did the show motivate you to take action? Did it make you aware of how different things are for other people?

If your children are older and insist on watching a show that you feel is too violent or otherwise inappropriate, discuss your feelings about it with them. Your son may be watching it because it’s cool or because his friends watch it. Maybe he just watches because it gets his heart pumping with excitement. Ask him to check in with his Internal Guidance System while he’s watching the show to see how it feels, during and after the program. Be willing to have a dialogue about the parts of the show that bother you.

You can watch television shows that have violence without becoming violent yourself. One of the keys to doing this is being able to separate the television fantasy from real life. Unlike the actors on television who will get up, walk away, and get another role to play, real people bleed. They feel pain, and potentially die as a result of violence.

When you allow your children to tap into their IGS and know what it would feel like to be both the perpetrator and victim, they will be guided towards non-violent solutions in real life.

Your job then, as a parent, is to actually allow your children in age-appropriate ways to experience what they do not want and what they do want. You can then help them to discover non-violent ways to get the excitement they are looking for or the independence to choose not to watch something just because everyone at school is watching it.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Teaching Kids to Appreciate Nature

posted by srballantine

 

Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Even though I spent many years living in the country, away from city life, it didn’t necessarily mean I spent much time outdoors; especially during winter months. And unless I sent my kids out to play, they didn’t either. In every direction was an expanse of green trees, hills and endless miles of Mother Nature. My driveway curved through a pasture, and my backyard was a huge mountain alongside a slow moving river.

As my garage door closed behind me, I entered my warm house without having to be outside. As I did an inventory of my lifestyle, I realized I rarely had to be outside no matter where I went. Unless I made the effort to leave my house and go for a walk, I never even got a breath of fresh air. I lived right in the middle of nature, but I had become an observer of its beauty. I wanted my children to learn to appreciate all the aspects of nature firsthand,by being in the middle of it.

Whether you live the country life, in the suburbs or in the city, you can teach your kids to better commune with, or at least have an appreciation for, being outdoors and for everything nature has to offer. It’s not just the aesthetic ofnature that you can benefit from, but also in the manner in which it enhances your being and what you’re living.

Some of the ways in which you and your kids can benefit from being outside:

~Nature is energetically grounding. Your feet on solid ground connect you with the Earth energies.

~You can fill your lungs with oxygen, which stimulates all of your cells.

~It can enhance your sense of wonder as you observe the perfection that is nature, and how it works together.

~Your appreciation of life can expand as you interact with or observe plants and animals that live in the environment.

~Experiencing the awe on a clear night as you look up at the stars.

~Your sense of smell is enhanced as you breathe in the grasses, flowers, and unique odors that make up the great outdoors.

~Sight becomes clearer as the sharp colors of your surroundings come into focus.

~There is calmness in nature that isn’t found elsewhere. As you breathe deep and just “be,” you have the opportunity to find a deep level of calm.

Children respond to activities and action, so we took them on many outings in our quest to help them appreciate being in nature. A few of our family favorites were:

~Camping; the entire family can participate.

~Nature walks in parks or recreational areas.

~Sleeping outside in our own yard.

~Visiting Botanical Gardens.

~Visiting the beach.

~Planting a tree or a flowerpot.

~Helping out with gardening tasks.

~A walk around the block, consciously observing the surroundings.

Show your children how to take a deep breath of fresh air and communicate with them about how nature sustains our lives and the world we live in.

You can participate and appreciate being in nature, no matter what the weather is.

Perhaps much of your day or your children’s are spent inside. Making a deliberate choice to put aside what you’re doing and visit the outdoors has the opportunity to stimulate and energize you in a wonderful new way.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Helping Kids Love Their Bodies

posted by srballantine
Bigstock photos

Bigstock photos

Face it — most people have parts of their bodies that they wish were somehow different. By different, it’s generally assumed that they wish these attributes were better. Maybe you don’t like the color of your hair or wish your arms had less loose skin on them. Maybe you want that toned stomach you see Iggy Azalea or Jared Leto sporting.

However, the concept of better is so subjective, it is often unduly influenced by the opinions of other people, many of whom you don’t even know. Images that you see on television, in the movies, and on the pages of magazines are rarely what they appear to be.

Many people think that a poor body image is something that only affects teenage girls, but this is simply not true. People of all ages, both male and female, can suffer the ill effects of having a poor body image.

Yes, young women often think they are fat and many of them diet to the point of poor health or even anorexia. On the flip-side, there are boys who feel like “90 pound weaklings” and believe they’ll never get a girl or will get sand kicked in their face if they dare show their bare chest at the beach.

This is affecting more children than ever and at younger ages than most would expect.

So what can you do as a parent to help your child recognize how beautiful and miraculous their body is no matter how they’re built?

One of the first things to do is pay attention to how you feel about your own body. Are you setting an unhealthy example, constantly monitoring every bite you eat, fixating on your weight, or analyzing your features? So often, people will say negative things about their bodies, which kids can naturally take to heart. Even if you don’t say it out loud, your children still pick up on facial expressions and emotions.

Here are some things you can do to help your kids love theirs, and if you have body issues of your own, you can practice them, too.

Find Something to Love

Identify something about yourself that you like. What do other people compliment you about? Do you have pretty eyes, nice hair, or a great smile? These are all fantastic places to start. It is easy to get so down on yourself that you shrug off the compliments you get as being insignificant or even insincere. Learn to say a simple thank you when someone compliments you and feel that positive energy.

Be a Baby

 Get a picture of yourself as a baby. Pretty cute, right? That is still you. Embrace your baby-self. Accept your natural in-born beauty. Over time, find pictures of yourself as you were growing up. Look at those pictures and love that little girl or boy.

What Would Grandma Say?

Forget about anyone who said anything mean. Think about a complete stranger or a loving grandparent. What would they say about your appearance? Most of us see tiny flaws that no one else notices. Think hard about it and ask yourself if Grandma or Grandpa would take issue with the flaw in question.

Turn It Around

Imagine your “imperfections” on your best friend. Would you be horrified by them? Would you expect them to be ashamed of their appearance? Would you stop liking them because their thighs were big or small, or if they had acne? Of course not! Try to be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend.

Feel it

 Check in with your Internal Guidance System. How does it feel when you are beating yourself up over your appearance? I’ll bet it doesn’t feel very good. On the other hand, how does it feel when someone gives you a compliment? Pretty nice, right?

Your IGS will help you to know what is true and steer you onto a healthy path. Your IGS will help you to know that you are okay, right now, just the way you are. It will help you to know if you can be even happier and healthier by making some changes. Some people may be guided to make a change in what they eat because it feels good to them. Others may take up some healthy exercise.

Recognize What You Control and What You Don’t

Not everyone is built like a model with long slender legs, big blue eyes, and straight blonde hair. The good news is that there are so many different kinds of beauty and beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder. You don’t have to try to look like anyone else. Some things you can change if you choose to. You can exercise and build up your muscles and tone your body. However, if you’re born with short legs, you can’t make them longer.

Focus on What Your Body Can Do

Instead of focusing on what your body looks like, focus on what your body does for you. Start appreciating that your body carries you around. Your eyes see the world and send messages to your brain. Your arms carry your books, laptops, puppies, and babies.

Once you let go of the idea of how you think you should look, you can start to be grateful for your existing health. This gives you the chance to notice how easily you move through the world, thanks to your wonderful body. You feel the wonderful sensations when you touch something soft, something fuzzy, or touch another person.

As your appreciation for your body increases, you’ll start to feel more beautiful. You’ll show the world your own unique, fantastic self. You will radiate your inner beauty and others will recognize it and be drawn to our positive energy.

Inspire your kids

Children often emulate how their parents think, act and feel. As you learn to appreciate how divine your body is, your children will have an easier time feeling positive about their own bodies. Being aware of what you’re projecting and deliberately keeping your dialogue positive will ultimately inspire your kids to the same outlook.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Your Child Wants A Pet And You’re Not Sure

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Pets have long played an important role in the American household. I recently read “Pets in America” by Katherine Greer. Critics acclaim her book to be entertaining and informative, it being a portrait of Americans’ relationship with the cats, dogs, birds, fishes, rodents and other animals we call our own. The author says over 60% of U.S. households have pets.

 How familiar you are with the concept of having a pet is often determined by whether your family had pets when you were a child.  If you had pets, it may be an easy transition for you in accepting your child’s desires for having one.  If you did not have any pets growing up, it may be that you don’t want to start now, or you’re really eager to start a new family tradition as your kids are constantly asking you to give in and get them one.

 Children are constantly exposed to the concept of having a pet.  Most of their friends may have pets, schools may have “bring your pet to school day” (show and tell) and of course, the television is inundated with all sorts of advertising for pet food, pet care and family life with pets.

There are things to consider when choosing to have a pet become a member of your household however. Questions to discuss as a family unit. Who will be its primary caregiver? Are the duties to be shared? How involved does your child want to be with its care? Is your child mature enough to care for a pet?

 Children will eagerly exclaim that they will happily become the caretaker of the new family pet, but most of us know how that turns out. Mom and/or Dad inherit all the responsibility after a time. Having a young pet, such as a puppy or a kitten can be like having another child in the family. They require quite a bit of care and attention until they are a little older and more independent. The end result being, you now have a special new member of the family.

 What is the value in having a family pet? How will having a pet benefit your child? Pets that require less maintenance such as a fish or hamster in a cage, can teach a child responsibility. They require feeding and caring for their environment, but don’t need to be walked and played with. Puppies and kittens add a playful element to the home and as they mature, bond with the family.  Every pet has a different personality and can become a treasured companion for the family. There can be such an overt expression of love and affection between you, your children and the family pet. Children learn to express love and receive love through having pets that is free of judgment and expectations.

 There are so many ways in which a pet may enhance a family. Having a clear in-depth conversation with your children regarding your expectations and the responsibilities involved, is important before any pet is welcomed into your home.

 Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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