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Patience for the Next Generation

Funny Grandparents At Play Sign

Funny Grandparents At Play Sign (Photo credits:

Ever lose your patience?  It can easily happen especially when it is someone else’s kids that are causing a disturbance.  Children require a lot of patience.  They are not very quiet nor do they stay very still.  Sometimes the longer it has been since someone has had kids, the less patient they are when they have to put up with someone else’s kids.  Mood changes, screams. crying can all be expected from young children.  The longer it has been since you have had children, sometimes the less tolerant you become.

Children require patience.  When extended families lived together, at least, people knew what to expect from small children.  Now people can live in complexes where children are not allowed except to visit and maybe not even then. For example, these places can be for seniors or singles only.  In this case, absence does not make the heart grow fonder.  What is amazing is that the seniors may have raised children of their own and the singles may have or have had younger brothers and sisters.  It is easy to forget what it was like to live with children.

Raising children is a noisy and frequently disruptive process,  Unless you have a live-in nanny or a daycare setting that will keep your child all hours of the day and night, you sometimes or all the time have to deal with them entirely on your own.  No one is a saint, especially when it comes to raising children, and if they tell you that they had an easy time of it and their children were angels, bring out the lie detector (just kidding).

Patience is the primary ingredient needed to grow a good crop of children for the next generation.  They explore, they learn, and they grow.  Yes, we have to keep them safe and teach them how to get along with others while at the same time letting them do what they need to do to grow up with the most potential. There is always hope as the next grandparents are created with the birth of their children’s children and they discover that their grand children are fascinating and that almost any of their grand children’s behaviors can be accounted for as just their little darlings being upset and that they couldn’t help what they did.



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Holiday Drama

English: A Nuclear family, Image by FredCamina

English: A Nuclear family, Image by FredCamina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most people have great expectations for the holidays.  One thing that can cause problems with this is family drama.  Most people can not pick and choose who they are going to invite when it is a family occasion.  This means that there might be some people present who usually do not get along with each other.  This makes for problems.  Who among the family and extended family members is the most likely to take charge of the arrangements that day even though the celebration is going to take place at your house?  Who dislikes who?  Who can you count on to be civil?.  What topics of conversation probably should be avoided?  Who likes kids and who doesn’t?  This celebratory family dinner can turn into a minefield and could become explosive when least expected.

Lower your expectations for the big family do and have a separate celebration where you concentrate on your nuclear family and their and your desires for a happy day filled with your own traditions.  Wedding celebrations can be like holiday ones and often the couple does not get to have the wedding they want especially if no body else thinks (as I do) is that the wedding is all about the bride and her wishes and what her future husband wants.  Also in holiday parties as in weddings, count on at least one major thing to go wrong possibly even causing a catastrophe. That has been my experience with weddings. Problems can occur at the last minute such as no flowers, no ring, bad weather, etc. You can not anticipate everything that will happen.  If you can focus on just being together and not on the details, you will have a better time.  If someone spoils your dinner. remember he or she the one who decided to cause a problem, not you.  Don’t expect miracles and make adjustments, if you can, in your arrangements based on who is coming and what they might need.  I love little children, especially my grandchildren, but usually they can not be quiet and well behaved for very long.  Not everybody will like your food and some person or persons may have diet restrictions that you may or may not know about. Be prepared, not scared.

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How to Change Behavior

Me And My Parents

Me And My Parents (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

Part of a parent’s job is to modify the behavior of their child or children to protect them from danger and to learn more appropriate ways for their child or children to get what they want or need.  For this we get very little training and what we do know we have learned from the way our parents‘ raised us.  It is surprising to me that for one of the most difficult jobs in life we get very little education.  How we acquire knowledge is very important and yet it is often not studied by the very people who need it.

Behavior modification has been around for a long time.  It has been taught to mental health professions, parents, teachers, and others.  It seems very simple to do, but it is not that easy to apply.  It takes some finesse and that is what makes it work for some users and not for other users.   In this method, behavior change is facilitated by the use of rewards and punishments.  Rewards can be given consistently or they can be given intermittently.  The latter rather than the former is more effective.  The behavior targeted to change is also important.  Punishment focuses on the wrong, unwanted behavior and rewards focus on the desired behavior.  It is usually best to develop an appropriate behavior by rewarding it with which to replace the “bad” behavior.  An appropriate replacement behavior for one child might not work for another child.  Also the effectiveness of the reward used depends on what the child likes to do or have. Social rewards like praise are better in the long run than concrete ones.

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Forgive Yourself

If you forgive yourself, you can forgive others.  If you have a conscience and most of us do (even criminals), you are aware when you slip up.  Hopefully learning is a life long process and things that you might have done in the past, you wouldn’t do now.

You may have treated others badly in the past.  Perhaps you were just a child and you bullied or picked on another child just because everybody else was doing it and if you sided with the person being teased, you might get treated like them.  You realize now how badly you hurt this child.  You learned something and perhaps your behavior has changed because of this.  You might have realized that it was not the child’s fault  that he or she was bullied.  For example, no one chooses to be mentally retarded or poor.  When your behavior changes, it is time to forgive yourself and realize you were a child at the time.

Being a parent is a tough job for which we receive very little training and often undertake when we are very young and immature.  We often hopefully learn by experience.  We do things that when we look backward, we wish that we had neverEnglish: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

done.  We deliberately had three children within a very short period of time because we did not have much time to do it as we were at the end of our thirties.  They were always fighting among themselves and when they weren’t doing this, they would gang up on the caregiver.  This was extremely frustrating and I would sometimes blow my top and  use my extensive vocabulary of swear words to express my feelings of frustration.  Fortunately they, as a group, would retreat to the farthest reaches of the house and wait for me to cool off.  I don’t cuss anymore and have often felt guilty for this until they told me that they didn’t take me too seriously when it happened and they had a way to escape my “wrath.” I didn’t used to like the picture that this gave of myself as a parent; but I have accepted it now and forgiven myself.

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How Do You Raise Children?

English: Children at a parade in North College...

English: Children at a parade in North College Hill, Ohio, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you bring up an obedient child who responds compliantly to commands?  Or do you bring up a free spirit?  Which is more important:  the ability to fit into society and follow the directions of adults or a creative, free spirit?  It may depend on one’s reasons for having children.  In large families where there is a lot of work to be done and younger children to be taken care of the more obedient the child the better.  In a small family or one blessed with only a single child, the parent may feel that he or she should let a child be a child for as long as they can.  In the past, large families were common as parents could not easily choose when and if they had children.  Also some parents feel it is Godly to procreate and expand God‘s family.

It is also important to have some knowledge of what a child is capable of doing at different ages.  Pushing toilet training at too early of an age can lead to unfair harsh discipline of a child who can not yet control his or her bowels or bladder.  Expecting an older child who is still a child him or herself to control younger siblings might lead to the abuse of  his or her power or control over them.  As children get older and they are given more priveledges as they are given more responsibilities, it becomes clear to them that they will benefit from this exchange

As much as possible children should be given the chance to choose what they do when it is appropriate.  Some choices early on are determined by nature such as when they soil or wet themselves, whether they are hungry, and  if they are sleepy.  Infants don’t cry because they want to frustrate their parents.  Children begin to use their senses and explore the world early on.  Children should initially be given a safe place to do this.  It is the foundation of a lot of their learning and reinforces creativity.

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Children as Experimental Subjects

BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 22:  Day care workers...

At one point in time there were experimental studies in psychology where children were viewed as subjects.  Theories of child development were based on these.   Children need to be observed in their own environments, not in sterile laboratory rooms with strangers.  A lot of what children do is based on where they are and whom they are with.  When children are comfortable with their surroundings and the people there, their typical behavior is more likely to appear.  They must feel safe and secure before they start to explore and interact with each other or adults.  Also for young children, most child care environments contain kids of the same or close to the same age and  familiar adult females, usually not males.

It was said once upon a time that babies or young toddlers engaged in solitary play and did not get involved  in interactive play with other children.  If you observe children like these in their homes, at a close relative’s house where they often come to play, or in their accustomed daycare setting with familiar same age playmates, they will usually get involved in play with each other that seems to follow certain rules and also have reciprocal behaviors .   Also you, yourself, or the observer must not be a stranger to the children.  This makes it difficult to conduct scientific studies with an impartial observer in a controlled environment.  As a partial observer of my grandchildren in a familiar environment where they are playing with children they  play with all the time, I have seen interactive play among children as young as one year  and eighteen months of age.   In fact, all three when together usually play in the same place {no matter how much room they have to play in) and  with the same things (no matter how much they have to play with).  One child does something and the other children do it too. Sometimes there seems to be a pattern of behavior.

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