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family ties

Celebrate Yourself?

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Do you keep a low profile.  Do you wait for others to celebrate you life landmarks and they never do?  Did you miss your graduation? because it was too much pomp and circumstance and you saved everybody the hassle of coming to it.  I have my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin; but I don’t know what my academic colors are because I didn’t go.  I didn’t feel I should make everyone make the trip back  as when I finished I was no longer on campus.

Only two people were invited to our wedding, the witnesses.  I don’t believe I have ever celebrated my anniversary with a special date night on the town.  Is it bad to blow your own horn?  I bought my own birthday cake and my friends knew I was celebrating my 70th birthday last November but my family didn’t know it wasn’t an ordinary birthday (Don’t worry it has been almost a year and either I am getting used to it or getting over it (being 70)).  Many achievements in college I didn’t get to celebrate with my family because they couldn’t make the trip but my mother did come for my graduation.  But when my son and my son-in-law graduated from the training academy, we went.

If you don’t celebrate yourself, no one one else will.  If you don’t think you are worth it, no one else will?  Your attitude toward yourself communicates itself nonverbally to others and they treat you the same way you treat yourself.  I can be very professional when I know I am right and have the responsibility to do what is right!  But it doesn’t carry over sometimes to my family and friends.  Even the grand kids have begun to question my authority.  But I’m not going to back down for their sake.

I have a list of complements hidden on the back of my medicine cabinet door that I would like to get; but it is not posted where anyone could see it.  Why are we encouraged to be so self-effacing?  I am the opposite of a narcissist I guess.  Stand up, stand up for what you believe in including yourself.  I hesitate to share my opinions at home or at family occasions so nobody knows what I think there.  I hesitate because I might embarrass myself or others like family or friends.  Keep your mouth shut.   Ever hear of that?

Self-help materials suggest that you associate with only supportive friends in order to keep your self-esteem high.  Of course that can keep you in denial by only associating with people who agree with you.  Is there a happy medium?  Are you lying to yourself or do other people keep trying to put you down?

Children Who Know Their Limits Are Less Obnoxious

rp_303404356_6ff7a23b4b_m.jpgChildren who know their limits are less obnoxious and thus nicer to have around.  Do you want to set up your children so that people say, “Oh, my God, here come the Jones kids again.”  Do you have relatives who you’d rather not see because of this problem?  Is this because the parents are lazy or because they think that their children can do no wrong.  Can you think of another reason?

Good behavior makes for a better school experience.  Most children don’t want to get a red mark on their behavior chart.  Civilizing or taming young human animals is not necessarily that teacher’s job.  Just like a horse, some maybe most children need to learn how to get “broke” behave outside the home.  If inside the home their are no limits and appropriate behavior is not taught, what is a child to do when he or she has to start meeting other people’s standards.?    It is not doing a good service for the child to do this as eventually he or she will be the one to suffer  long after you are gone.

Yes, it seems easier to not discipline or  set limits at times; but children thrive under consistency and the modeling of appropriate behavior.  They need to thrive under well-earned praise and require fewer and fewer prompts when out in public or in group settings.  If this is not done then something like, “tough love” may need to be done when they are teenagers or young adults.rp_Funny-Children-Safety-Sign-S-6709.gif

If you have been slipping and not meeting the standards yourself.  Children are “tattle tails” and can you spank them for telling the truth about our inappropriate behavior.  Relax not everybody is perfect and most children know this.  They may even tell you this.

Have you ever had your house trashed by somebody’s children or even your own children when you were not there to supervise them?  Isn’t it a nice job to clean up after them?  No it isn’t.  Once you establish limits, children will test you by doing the forbidden thing or by being creative and doing something else that is not completely forbidden under the rules you have set.

The best supervision is in operation a 100% of the time.  Observe parents.  Some parents when actively playing with their children  do a good job of supervision; but once they have stopped playing with the children their attention is usually somewhere else.  Other parents have a built in security system and even though they are doing something else can tell when a child is in trouble whether due to an accident or due to some mischief  on his or her part.  Multitasking and dealing with distractions make it difficult to get work done; but it is necessary when you have children even teenagers.

rp_300px-POL_Child_3.JPGOften a parent has a tendency to spoil their child and not expect much out of him.  The parent sometimes thinks that his or her child will have to toe the line soon enough anyway.  They think they are doing them a favor especially if the parent had few opportunities or things as a child and/or had to do housework or care for younger children.  The parent doesn’t spoil his or herself but focuses on the children having what they didn’t have and not being too strict and expecting adult behavior out of children.  Please take the middle road and save some resources for you the caregiver.  Remember the inflight announcement about the parent needing to put on the oxygen mask so he or she will be able to attend to their child?

Please note that sometimes parents have children who by temperament or because of developmental problems, are difficult to discipline or maybe even to love.  Seek help from a childcare specialist, family, and friends and other parents.   Also Look for support groups with those who have dealt with similar problems such as colic, autism, hyperactivity.  When I became a mother at a later age, I found that associating other (usually younger) mothers of infants and toddlers.  Some people organize play groups and take turns having it at their house.

 

Do Adults Bully Children In Their Own Families??

at least i'm not a bully

at least i’m not a bully (Photo credit: Miss Blackflag)

Do adults bully children in their own families?  Unfortunately, yes.  Making fun of someone, joking with them, is not humorous  if the person being teased gets upset.  Do we stop or this is this a signal to keep on going?  Building a child’s self-esteem is one of the most important functions of the family.

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...

English: A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most children will get plenty of opportunities outside the family to be put down, bullied, and feel insignificant.  What downers!  But this doesn’t happen in my family!  Yes, it does and it is often ignored and not even noticed or the person gets away with it because the family member should be able to take a joke.  While this may be alright in adult company, it is not right in a family setting with vulnerable children with fragile egos.  Do you think making a three year old cry on purpose can be justified?

I have noticed that in this society we often do not notice what is going on around us and it is especially true in families.  We tend to do the same old thing over and over and nobody notices it.  They often say things like “I was just teasing (while repeating an unappreciated taunt).”  They follow this with comments like, “I don’t know why he or she cries so much?  He or she must be a crybaby?”

Notifies people of a joke. (SVG version)

Notifies people of a joke. (SVG version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love will keep us together.  Hugs and kisses, well earned complements, a smile in someone’s eyes or elsewhere on their face is priceless and does not cost anything to give.  They are free.  What are we thinking?  Is it that by bringing someone else down we are building ourselves up?  In this case are the means are justified by the end result.

What do you think if you see someone kill a baby rabbit out in the field just for the fun of it and then laughs?  Aren’t children just as vulnerable?  Especially when they don’t know as much as you do and don’t always understand what adults are talking about.

 

 

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A Valentine To My Sister

Valentine's day countdown

Valentine’s day countdown (Photo credit: Julie K in Taiwan)

A Valentine to my sister.  You know who you are.  You were made, not born.  I thought I had no sisters, only brothers and I envied those who did.  I know sisters fight sometimes and envy what the other has.  This was true of us; but now we’ve formed a sister’s bond and I know you were chosen to be my sister, we were made to have this relationship, not born this way.

I thought the world was wonderful when I had two daughters of my own; but I didn’t know what the world had in store for me when I acquired a daughter by law.  I am so proud when I go anywhere with you three.  I know I have to share you with your own mother and with your mother-in-laws too.

Bonds can be made as well as created by birth.  We also have two wonderful sons by law and my husband (their father-in-law) appreciates them too.  We never lost a daughter or a son, we just gained another son or daughter.  We also greatly appreciate their parents for giving birth to them and for becoming part of our extended family.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The biggest blessing of all is the nieces and nephews, cousins, and shared grandchildren that came to be.  The more love is shared the more there is to share.

 

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Find Yourself, Not Someone Else

Find yourself; not someone else.  It may be admirable to have a child or even children who are like you and follow in your footsteps; but he or she or they may not be comfortable in your shoes.  In times past, it was important for people to have children so they could pick up where they left off.  Parents trained their children to take their place someday and to be of help to them in a labor intensive time.  Parents usually were not happy if their children did not take over for them.

Now it is more a matter of self-validation.  It confirms to the parent that he or she took the right path when the children take the same path.  Sometimes it is like the story of the ugly duckling.  Remember that one turned out to be a swan, different, but beautiful.  You can feel like the ugly duckling if you don’t fit into your family, class in school, or community.  Some children like the ugly duckling even look different from the people that they are being raised with when if they were being raised with their own genetically kind (people who would probably look like them) wouldn’t look different at all.  Down syndrome children and some biracial children are even often seen as different from their relatives.

English: Vilhelm Pedersen illustration for &qu...

English: Vilhelm Pedersen illustration for “Ugly Duckling” in public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you study genetics and how traits are passed down from parent to child, you will often find that it is a very complex problem and doesn’t always work the way it seems it should.  Children can have the same parents and have surprisingly different traits.  This is also true of apptitudes and abilities.  Add into this what happens to them from the time of conception to birth which may not be like their siblings and the children and their parents will still be related; but can be very different.  Also traits may get passed down, but not to the desired child or sex (like first born male).

Children inherit tempraments which may or may not be like that of their parents.  Sometimes oil and water do not mix.  An “easy” parent may inherit a slow to warm up child and he or she can’t understand why his or her child does not easily take to new things.

Some talents or abilities which might be very strong can not be desired or appreciated in the family or society into which a person is born.  I was born on a farm and eventually married a farmer (after doing other things) and I can understand why he sometimes does not understand why a “city” boy does not know how to do things farm boys know how to do and he has difficulty valuing what the “city” boy can do by virtue of his college education even if it was not in agriculture.

As much as I love flowers,  I don’t want them to be all alike all the time.  I like seeing new and different ones.  Also some flowers that some people call flowers around here are called weeds by other people in other places.  This might even be true of people growing marijuana when flowers appear in their plots.  (I am not recommending that  you start growing marijuana however.)

Be yourself as long as you are not deliberately hurting yourself (or others for your own gain) and when you find yourself, you will make your contribution to the world and become what YOU were or are meant to be.  I believe finding yourself is why we were meant to be as we each have our own contribution to make.  If we pay too much attention to what others tell us we should be, we may get led astray.  It may not be easy, but it often will be rewarding.  For example, how many shoes at how many shoe stores do some of us have to try before we find a shoe that fits us, feels good, and wears well.  It usually is a personal thing.  What shoe style works for one may not work for another.  Also many people, especially women, pay the price for wearing shoes that they think they should wear because they are in fashion, etc.  (Check out Oprah on this issue.)

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