Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Negative Body Talk In Front of Our Daughters

As a mo of two girls I always try to avoid talking about my appearance or things that are wrong with it. We all have our imperfections and things we want to change or work on! I sure know I do! But I am always conscious about how I word things so my daughters won't hear me talking negative or being unhappy that way I am. We are constantly telling them they are beautiful the way they are and don't need to change. But if we are doing it they receive mixed signals. I know it is hard, especially when you haven't had much interaction lately with another adult, or while out the subject comes up, or someone makes a comment. We all have our struggles and don't need to be judged by others, we should support one another and encourage to be happier and healthier.  And we should set positive examples while discussing our images when our girls are within ear shot. I never really understood the importance until the other week after swimming lessons we went to the girls bathroom and changing area where there were about 5-6 girls and some moms. The one girl, I would guess around 9 or 10,  I overheard telling her friend that she needs to go on a diet. Her friend asked her what she was talking about. A kid told her she was fat and said she always hears her mom saying she is fat and looks bad and needs to go on a diet so she should as well. And also hearing the mom say maybe i should skip some meals altogether so I can look good in a bathing suit. Listening to this broke my heart-she feels she is not good enough and recalls hearing what her mother says and do was her example and wanted to follow her lead. Mind you she was not overweight, she did have some chubbiness here or there but I thought she still looked great.

I was thinking to have that much stress about her body at such a young age was horrifying. She should not have to think badly of herself and want to change. I would hope more she would be healthy and positive. Maybe hearing her mom say I don't feel as good as I should so I am going to exercise and eat healthier. Those are great way to word it and talk about how you will do that, even turning it into family activities where you can have fun and exercise. The emphasis should be on how we can feel better and not just look better.

Having 2 daughters only 17 months apart will bring on some interesting issues...hope I am prepared!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Getting Kids to Understand Other Kids With Disabilities: What Can They Do and Learn From It?

I have 3 children and not 1 of them have a disability, however, that doesn't mean I don't want them to be unaware not understanding. All through school I always volunteered with the disabled children, I have a soft spot for down syndrome-my cousin has down syndrome, and I always enjoyed my time with them. I had 1 boy named Stan that would never leave my side and only let me walk him to class. After about 12yrs or so I came back to visit my old town and there I was in a grocery store hearing someone just call me name over an over-not even taking a breath of air. I looked around and there he was, my Stan! He remembered me through all my changes and never forgot me. It hit me than if you give yourself to someone or something you can make a difference.

When kids see other kids with something they are not sure about they can stare or make faces or point. I teach my kids not to do any of those, but do encourage them to ask them to play and if old enough ask them why they are in a wheelchair. I would rather my curious child be active with them and ask questions so they can better understand.

For instance one day we met a boy about my older daughters age that was completely blind. After we got home I asked her to walk around with her eyes closed using only her other senses to get around. Then I asked her about her experience and what she thought he went through on a daily basis. I did it as well as a reminder we all see or hear or feel things in our own unique way.

As people I encourage my child to embrace and not judge. I want them to be inviting and not to keep people they feel at arms length because the look different.

One day I knew my son had listened when on his 4th grade field trip to the government building. My son was a star hockey player and friends with just about everyone. About midway through the trip a boy from another class with down syndrome, it was a small school so everyone knew one another, came up to my son and started to hug him and hi old his hand. I could tell he was comfortable with him. Then when they all sat down he sat right by my son. Once did he ever push him away or not hold his hand or not hug him back. He was happy to hold his hand and get that hug not caring about any other classmates and what they might think. I was so very proud and thought about how people probably viewed him-just into sports and nothing else. They could not be further from the truth.

Then again he made me proud when he took Kung-Fu in the inner city where for once he was the only boy in the school that was caucasian. He never once asked me to change and he embraced some new culture. He even went with me to help in the soup kitchen not far from the studio. I even caught him sneaking extra rolls to this mother with 2 small children.

So before we judge someone we should consider we don't know them or their circumstances whether they are disabled or not. We should teach our children to embrace one another because they are children, not because they seem different. We should teach them that yes, everyone is different but that doesn't mean we should treat them different.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Children Now Expect Praises and Clapping After Every Little Thing!!

So I have 3 children that I always support and encourage, but the other day when my older daughter who is 7 did this dance move and I told her good job. She then looked at me and said, "Mom you didn't clap for me?" It made me realize that kids now of days expect praises and claps for every little thing.

I love my children very much and provide a very positive and nurturing environment, but realized I may have gone overboard. I want them to always try their best while we support them and tell them good job when warranted, but what about when they don't do so hot? If we clap at every little thing, when they are older how will learn to take criticism, work harder because they could do a better job? Sometimes I find it hard not to offer my praise, but to what limit? I want them to have a healthy outlook and work hard for what they get. I want them to be resilient and appreciative. I want them to think about not only themselves and continue to be good citizens and support their community.

So if my daughter does something like miss a ball I will tell her that it was a good try and keep trying. Then when she actually hits the ball it certainly calls for celebration. But should I do it for every little dance, twirl, catch, hit, and so on. Im staring to think no, but how do I handle telling her the truth in a positive way without crushing her? To my point I think it will be good for her to instead of clapping at every little thing instead tell her she is doing a good job and to keep trying. If the next time she asks me why I didn't clap I will simply tell her every little thing doesn't deserve a clap but it does deserve encouragement and pride.