Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

Kids And What Motivates Their Learning

posted by srballantine
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.

Will Your Teen Let You Show Them Affection?

posted by srballantine


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.



Parents And Kids: Can You Be Friends?

posted by srballantine
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.

Teens And Driving~ Are You Ready?

posted by srballantine


Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Are you ever really ready for your teen to start driving? The legal driving age in most states is 16 years old. This means by 15½ your child has their driving permit and they have control over the thousands of pounds of metal that you are a passenger in. Later on, they have complete control over the thousands of pounds of metal and you aren’t even there. Becoming comfortable with your teen driving is surely a process, taken one step at a time.

Most people would say starting to drive is a right of passage in our culture. It’s a first step toward independence, if you will. Is driving a right or a privilege? I think most teens may feel it is their right to drive a car and most parents may feel it is a privilege. Perhaps you feel this way if you’re paying for their gas, insurance and maybe even the car.

As they are approaching the age of driving, are you communicating with your teen? Are there certain expectations that must be met before you allow them the keys to the car? How are you planning on comfortably stepping into this new way of being?

Tips on making the transition easier:

~ Bring up the subject of driving with your teen before it’s time to get their permit. Be sure each of you is in a good mood and feeling relaxed.

~ Ask your teen what their desires are regarding driving? Do they feel ready, and why or why not?

~ Share with your teen whatever expectations and criteria you have of them that must be adhered to before they can drive with your blessing.

~ Pay attention to what your teen is saying about how their friends drive. You will be given clues as to how they view different modes of driving. For example: speeding, having friends in the car etc.

~ Ask your teen what their motivation is for wanting to drive? See how their answers feel to you?

~ Talk about and come to an agreement on who will be paying for what aspect of their driving. For example: gas, insurance, car maintenance, and the car itself.

~ Discuss your teens’ expectations regarding how often and under what circumstances they will use the car.

Good communication is important and things will come up later that you didn’t consider in your initial conversations. Tell your teen it’s an ongoing process and everyone must be willing to calmly discuss issues as they arise. Driving can often be an emotional process for both parent and teen.

Resist the temptation and knee jerk reaction to yell at your teen when they have their permit and it’s time to practice being on the road. This can be a stressful time for everyone as it’s important to practice trust and deep breathing. If you’re going to get in the car with your teen to practice driving, then you must make the choice to remain calm.

The day of independence does finally arrive. I remember how it felt the first time my eldest child drove away from our house alone in the car. I could tell she didn’t have a worry in the world, and seemed to feel perfectly comfortable with the whole scenario. This gave me some comfort, as I was slightly terrified. I wasn’t going to be there to make sure she was ok. (This is an illusion anyway…)

As the garage door closed behind her, I was left with a choice. I could spend the evening worried sick, praying fervently, or I could do this~ which is what I ultimately chose because it felt better. I chose to put my fear aside and remember I have faith in life’s processes. I have faith in her safety and that all is well. Worry is pointless and only perpetuates feeling bad, and doesn’t give you any more control over a situation than you had before.

The start of the teen driving years requires a leap of faith. A trust in your teen and the choices they will make. Will they always make the best choice? No they won’t, but isn’t this how we all learn to further clarify our highest choices?

Your trust will go a long way in how your teen feels about him or herself. Help your teen know you trust them and encourage them to tap into their Internal Guidance System when making their choices.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.







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