For 40 years I thought the trick to winning Monopoly was to buy up Jan Smuts and Eloff Street (yes, we still play the old version), put hotels on them and wait. It’s a slow game, but you usually get there eventually if the other player hasn’t bought up the rest of the board in the meantime. Then, one day as I was researching how to use board games to teach maths to kids I came across a site that knocked my hotels right over to the other side of the board. What I learned was that you can use statistics to win Monopoly. The secret is this...
Children are one of life’s great gifts in terms of feedback that help us to expand our knowledge of ourselves and challenge us to become more open and self-aware. If we’re open to their feedback and challenges, then we, in turn, can help them to come to a deeper self-knowledge and understanding, and so we grow in tandem. Nowhere have I found this to be more profound in my own life than my journey with giftedness.
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. And the quality of your parenting follows the same rules. Every time you ask a question, your mind goes seeking for the answers and in so doing shapes your reality.
Last year there came a day in my parenting that shifted everything: That ripped me out of my safe little bubble, that made me question my career, that brought all those old doubts and fear of failure back to the surface, that made me question my very ability to raise my own children. That was the day I found out that my only-just nine-year-old daughter had started smoking.
When we head into a New Year, it is important to take stock of where we are, what we have to be grateful for, and where our lives could use a bit of focus and improvement. Parenting, like any other skill we wish to work on, needs a process of evaluation and tweaking. So before you go barreling into 2017 and get caught up in the chaos and mayhem of a new school year and new commitments and resolutions, take an hour or so to review your past year of parenting. An hour now and some lessons learned can save you a lot of time putting out fires as the year goes on.
As we head towards the crazy Christmas rush, we often forget, in amongst the cheer and celebration, that this is also the most heightened time for depression.
Having been through many bouts of depression myself, some severe, some more like a lingering sadness, I have found that there are a few basics that need to be in place for you to keep your emotions balanced and to get the most out of your depression. And so I have created a Depression Checklist for myself to ensure that I take the necessary steps to get myself out of the black hole and back into the festivities with my kids.
I hope you will find it useful and keep it handy for the next time that the bad mood fairy comes visiting you or your family!
I don’t believe that there is a parent on this planet who consciously and deliberately intends to reject their child. Rejection comes in with deep unconsciousness, with misinformation, with self-absorption, and with typical daily busy-ness and distraction.
When we’re conscious, and thinking about it, we go out of our way to give our children messages of approval, love and worthiness. But what happens when we’re not aware? What are they learning from our distraction, from our body language, and from our silence?
It is in our human nature to want to progress, to change, to improve and to strive for more. We want better careers, we want more money, we want to fix our relationships, sort out our health, make sure we’re building our friendships and maintaining our homes.
And nowhere does this passion for perfection exist more than with our children. We will go far beyond the call of duty to ensure that our children are getting the best help possible for anything we deem to be lacking. They have extra lessons and additional classes and speech therapy and play therapy and OT and physio and manners workshops and life skills training and endless evaluations. We push ourselves to ensure that we’re giving them the right amount of quality time and healthy boundaries and help with their homework.
It isn’t easy. There is always something more that needs to be done, our to do lists just keep getting longer and our time always seems to be shrinking. Ask anyone to rate their children across all seven areas of life and you’ll find at least half of the areas to be falling below the OK mark.
It is easy to love and enjoy our children and have a positive outlook on their futures and our lives when things are going smoothly and according to our predetermined plans. Life, however, seldom agrees with what we have decided it should do, and our children, being part of life, are not always easy going.
So how do we handle when the going gets tough? When the report card comes back with a ‘fail’ or our kids have a medical emergency or they start acting strangely or just have a full-blown tantrum? How do we navigate the times when everything seems to be going wrong all at once and we don’t feel we have the strength to make it through another day like this one?
We’ve all said it at some point: “I’m never going to be like my mother / father”. We know we can be better. We’ve given it a lot of thought. We still remember how hurt or angry or neglected we felt and we will categorically NOT do that to our own kids. No way!!
And life, being the ever present comical teacher that it is, makes sure that if we parent in reaction to our own parents, then we will create the same results no matter how hard we try to be different.
Let me give you an example of how patterns get passed from generation to generation…