Parenting on Purpose


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Bigstock Photos

Depending on your frame of reference, swearing in front of your kids and allowing them to swear is generally ok or it’s definitely not ok. And this may depend on what age they are. What does it mean to swear? Most people would say it’s the use of offensive language, using words that our society has deemed rude, offensive or impolite to use in the presence of others. Many people are greatly put off by hearing words they find offensive.

It’s nearly impossible to shield your children from hearing offensive language. Our kids are inundated with swearing in just about every area of their lives. If they watch TV the most popular shows have certain degrees of swearing, and cable shows have no limits whatsoever. Have you noticed that over the years the level of swearing allowed on TV has escalated to new heights? Movies too?

There is also your child’s school, where swearing can be commonplace. Sometimes a frustrated coach may swear at the kids and occasionally a teacher too. Kids use swearing to express frustration, anger, when they want to be hurtful or to show off in front of their friends. Sometimes they may just find it fun to swear for the attention it evokes. Kids may also view using offensive language as a rite of passage, an activity that shows their maturity.

The reality is, you may never know to what degree your child swears when they are outside the home. Even very young children will pick up on swear words and mimic them. Sometimes you may wonder where on earth they heard such a word?

What is your reaction when your child swears in front of you? Is it a guaranteed attention getter by your extreme reaction, are you calmly explaining that perhaps a different word is more appropriate or are you ignoring the whole thing? Your attitude and example about swearing will influence how your child views this activity. If you swear, chances are your child will too. If you freak out when they swear, they will probably learn to use swearing to get a strong reaction.

In our home, we taught our kids that certain words were not ok to use in front us, even if they were saying such words around their friends. We also wanted them to learn that using swear words in public would not be viewed in a positive way by anyone who heard them. We wanted our kids to learn that words have power and it would serve them to be conscious and deliberate about how they wanted to use this power.

Ask your kids and think about this yourself. How do you feel when using such words? If you’re swearing in anger, you can’t be feeling very good and it won’t serve you. Can you ever swear and feel good? Maybe when it originates from a sense of fun and playfulness and is not directed at anyone or anything in a negative way.

Each of us gets to choose how we speak, and whom we surround ourselves with will ideally be whomever we feel the best in the company of. How we feel about other people is determined not only by how they are feeling, but also about what is coming out of theirs mouths, in the form of their speech.

Do others feel good around us? Are we making the effort to feel good around others, particularly our kids and are we being conscious of what we are saying in front of them?

Your kids will eventually choose who they want to be and how they want to speak. The best we can do for them while they are in our care is to teach them to pay attention to what they are communicating to others and if it’s the message they want to convey.

Please share your thoughts.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.




Bigstock photos

Bigstock photos

When you were going to school, did you cram before every test? If you did, you probably reread the chapters and notes in hopes that you would remember for the test. And often you did, but where’s all that information you learned today?

Scientists will insist that that information is not lost; rather, it’s
somewhere in your brain somewhere. But can you actually recall it? Probably not.

Some of the things your kids are taught in school may not seem important to you. After all, when was the last time you used geometry?

Whether or not the exact lesson is crucial to their future happiness or career, you can coach your kids to have better learning skills. This will allow them to more easily recall the lessons that are important to them, even if they didn’t think the lessons would be critical in later life at the time.

The key for long-term learning is repetition and an interest in what’s in front of them. This takes some involvement on your part as a parent, especially when your kids are younger. Repetition is not merely the act of reading over and over. It includes testing their memory repeatedly.

Remember flash cards? That’s one way you used to test your memory, and they’re still a standard learning tool today. Give your children the opportunity to discuss what they’re reading and learning at school. By actively listening to what they tell you, you can modify the questions you ask to help them remember the details.

This doesn’t mean that I’m suggesting you grill your kids about school from the minute they walk in the door until their heads hit the pillow – that’s no fun for you or them.

The point is to engage and listen to your kids. Make their learning part of your daily conversation. It’s also good to model this behavior for them. You can talk about things you’ve read in a favorite book, magazine, or newspaper. If you saw something interesting on television, talk about it with them.

If a topic comes up that is particularly interesting to you, you can even have them quiz you on it. Ask them, “I really want to remember this story, will you help me by asking me some questions?”

This can be a good way to demonstrate that everyone has to exercise their minds in order to learn and remember new things. The key to remember is this; you will remember what you had fun learning. Make them aware that what’s fun to them will have a long lasting effect.

There are still going to be subjects that your children aren’t interested in learning. There may very well be subjects that your son or daughter still don’t do very well with in school. Helping your kids exercise their minds isn’t about the grades. This is about real, life-long learning.

By teaching your children how to learn, you give them a skill that they’ll be able to apply their entire lives, beyond school and into their adult careers.

Tell me what you think.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.


Bigstock Photo

Bigstock Photo

Many of us like to show others we care about them through the affection we offer. This may be particularly true with our children.

It’s generally really easy to show young children affection as they are open and willing to give hugs, kisses, be close to us and receive it all in return. Many kids are extremely enthusiastic with their affection toward their parents.

This affinity toward your affection can take a drastic nosedive once your child reaches the teen years. Have you experienced this? Does this mean the end of love with your child, as you knew it? Certainly not, but it sure can feel this way sometimes.

As you may be aware, the teen years are the years of self-discovery, of exploring and beginning the process of deciding who it is they will become. It’s one of life’s natural processes and the more at ease we are with it; the better everyone has the capacity to feel. In the teen years, this process of exploring can mean a time of rejection from your child. When everything you thought you knew about them and how you relate is challenged.

It can start gradually or happen in a day; when your child decides that the affection you’ve always shown them is now not ok. This may be particularly true in front of their friends. The initial tendency may be to have your feelings hurt if you aren’t prepared for what’s happening. A new mindset, choice and intention can help you experience this period of time without stress.

There are many aspects to keep in mind when your teen rejects affection, which will help in your own process:

~ Acknowledge to yourself that it’s normal if your teen doesn’t want affection. Resist the temptation to be offended.

~ Intend that you will be patient with your child and let them have their emotional space to grow and explore.

~ Show affection to others in the presence of your teen. Help them see that affection is still normal in the family.

~ Continue to show your love for them in other ways, respecting it may not involve hugs or kisses for a time. Be available to support them as you always have.

~ Ask them if you can give them a hug. So often we have the tendency to ask others for a hug. Permission from your teen can go a long way in their comfort level.

Know in time your teen will come full circle and be ready for affection once again. Their love for you hasn’t diminished, and the more patience and respect you show them at this time in their lives, the more potential there is to move through these processes quickly and with ease.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.



Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Is it possible to be your child’s friend and be a good parent at the same time? Or are these roles completely at odds, forcing you into a more authoritative relationship than you would ever have imagined when you were dreaming of what your family life would be?

Being a friend and being an authority figure are two different aspects of the same role, but there is a time and a place for each of them to be expressed. It is possible to switch between them, but it requires a desire to recognize which of these roles is the most appropriate in the moment. There also has to be a willingness to shift from one role to the other.

With young children, you can often be both parent and friend simultaneously. Because young kids relish your attention and being with you, being their friend can also come easily, as it is natural to offer advice and be their friend in fun activities.

For some parents, the friend role is still an adult figure, listening and encouraging their children’s ideas and emotions. Other parents will also be able to play with their children, expanding the friend role to include more childlike fun and games.

Trying to maintain these dual roles once your kids become pre-teens and teenagers can be more of a challenge.

Older kids need your guidance. You can teach them about their Internal Guidance System (IGS) when they’re young and help them learn to use and trust it, but they may need reminders and guidance on how to listen to their internal self when they are older and more distracted.

It’s important for you to check in with your own IGS to help you in coaching and mentoring your children, no matter their age. This will help you to know the best way to approach each child as an individual, to be supportive and loving, and to help you guide, but not try and control them.

Children need to have some rules and boundaries, as well as a parental figure in their lives. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a supportive friend, listening and accepting them for who they are. This includes sometimes engaging in playfulness no matter what their ages,or your age for that matter. This is an important role for you to fulfill in addition to providing advice and serving as a positive role model.

Another important way to wear the two hats of parent and friend to your kids is by getting to know their friends. When your kids are younger, this is pretty easy, if for no other reason than the fact that you have to drive them to and from everywhere they need and want to go. You may also be involved in their school activities and class parties. Once they get a driver’s license and have more freedom to travel on their own, however, it takes more of an effort to get to know your kids friends,but you can be the home their friends love to be at.You can do this, first by offering and giving them space in your home to be themselves.

The effort is well worth it. You won’t be a friend to them in the same vein that the kids at school are, but by treating all these young people with respect and honoring who they are, you can be a great adult friend and role model not only for your children, but for their friends, as well.

When you demonstrate that you value their friends by listening to them,and not judging them, your kids will learn that you value their choices, even if you don’t always agree with these choices. You will show your children that friendship can be a part of your family life at any age.

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