Mar 16, 2012

Fears children have when a parent leaves

When parents divorce and the father moves out of the house, it is a hard time for all, especially the kids who fear that they will be lost in the scuffle and end up alone and on their own. While the parents may be adult enough to handle this most painful period, the children are not and their fears will not easily subside. They have become moody and morose in the time leading up to the split, and have developed anxiety.

Fears and tears

• Children need comfort and reassurance at a time like this as they worry about all kinds of things. They are afraid to lose their father and worry that their mother will not be able to care for them on her own,

• They fear that a new man will come along for their mother and that their father will meet a woman and they will have to live with a stranger in the house. What will they do? How will they pay for things?

• They fear that either their mother or father will leave them or that someone else will come into the family,

• They see their mother in distress and feel helpless,

• Their go to bed at night feeling sad and alone and compound the anxiety they are already experiencing.

It is not easy being a single parent with a low-paying job who has to pay rent, school fees, food and utilities and has to be totally responsible for the family. It is normal under such circumstances for a child to be worried. He is used to having two parents in the home. He does not want his father to leave. His life will be interrupted. A few months later he watches his father sullenly with the new woman in his life and hates him. He hates his father for not doing enough, and blames him for the mess they are in. He wants to speak his mind but he is too angry to articulate what is bothering him.

Reassuring children that things will work out

1 Tell them repeatedly that they are safe and ask them to tell you if they have any particular concerns,

2 Make an effort comforting and reassuring the kids no matter how devastated you are and sick about the whole thing. Listen to what they have to say. Draw it out of them. Tell them to express themselves, and if they want to talk privately, let them, and don’t push for an answer.

3 If their father has left and they are feeling sad, sit with them, let them talk, make a pot of hot chocolate, do some of the things you have always done, like watching a movie together that everyone can enjoy.

4 Do all the normal things with the family that you used to do, like inviting friends over for supper or going bowling on Friday nights.

5 Believe in God and believe that you will all be all right again.

When your six year old son is the bully

It goes without saying that school grounds around the world have become less safe for children. It is not only in the United State, Britain, and Canada where teachers are being bullied by kids. In Ontario, Canada alone, 40% of teachers have been subjected to non-fatal crimes. Parents complain to the schools and are horrified to learn that they themselves are to blame for their children’s uncontrolled behavior by encouraging or ignoring bullish behavior. Parents are especially concerned when they learn that it is a daughter of theirs who is the bully and responsible for most of the fights on the school grounds. What is happening to children that they are so angry? And what will settle them down? What will make parents also own up that they are part of the problem?

Discipline starts at home

The first thing to acknowledge is that if your child is a bully at school and hurt other children, there is always a reason for it; something has happened in his life, his parents do not stop to teach him when an event occurs, they are afraid of their own child, or he has a problem that should be discussed and treated accordingly. Here are some telling signs to look out for:

• Is there a history of bad behavior and cruelty to animals? A child who flings a kitten across the room is not being playful; he is being cruel.

• Is he sullen and rude and speak to his parents and siblings in an offensive manner?

• Is he preoccupied with the topic of guns even though he does not have one? If he is, this should be reported to the school psychologist.

• Is he destructive to property even if it is his parents’ goods he is destroying?

• Do you fear your own child and give in to him for fear of his wrath?

• Do you not trust your child to be alone with his own siblings?

• Does he watch a lot of television where guns and violence are involved?

• Does he study and complete school assignments? Is his work substandard?

• Is he a latchkey kid and on his own for most of the time? This might be a huge part of the problem.

• Does he have a father and is there communication with him

• Does he have many friends, and if he does, are they a bad influence?
• Does he get beaten at home when he misbehaves or do his parents talk to him?

Tough love

The first thing to recognize and do something about is take him to a child psychologist who can pinpoint the problem and give you direction and a place to start. The school psychologist should be involved.

Practice tough love and take your child to the local police station and let him see how people in jail live, and tell him if he does not shape up and follow the program that has been suggested for him, that he will end up in prison one day.

Monitoring kids' television time

With the advent of television, computer games and electronic toys, children today are bored, distracted and easily lured away from their studies. Kids of two and three years of age know how to turn on the television set and parents actually put their kids in front of the television to keep them occupied. They don’t know the drawbacks and dangers of radiation and too much technology. Watching too much television is bad for any child and should be monitored to ensure that your kids do not become computer game junkies and addicted to television and video games. Yes, children as young as four and five are glued to their electronic toys and to the television screens. For some kids it starts at age one and two with toddlers in diapers watching cartoons, being entertained by an electronic box.

Things you can do to avert problems later on

• Introduce your child early to the magic of words and read to him or her every day. You could start off with a children’s book with the different pictures of animals, as well as their names and what sounds they make. Ask your child to repeat the names of the animals.

• Take your toddler in a stroller to the park for an hour of fresh air rather than have her inside the house watching television. Watching too much television is unhealthy and if not curbed by how many hours they watch television or play with the computer, they can become addicted.

• Watching too much television also makes a child lazy. They don’t study, don’t do their chores, and become couch potatoes. If a child has no homework to do that day, it is better for him to be outside playing basketball with his friends or kicking ball. There should be balance in a child’s life.

• Children who spend too much time on the computer or watching television hardly ever read. Don’t let your child become one of those brain-dead kids who look like a zombie, and don’t let him make the rules. Just turn the television off.

• Don’t encourage the habit of watching television in the morning, turn it off; you don’t want to establish a regular morning routine.

• When the children do get their time to watch television, stick to how long you said they could watch. You would obviously not turn the television off before the program has ended.

• Let your child have a play date with the neighbour’s little boy or girl and get used to socializing and playing with other kids. This also allows the mothers to have a break and have tea.

• When it is time for bed, spend some time with her in her room and tell her a story. Establishing story time will create a bond and also introduce the child to the magic of words. Let books play an important role in her life, and have enough of them lying around in the house.

Coping with change after divorce

Divorce must be one of the most devastating interruptions a person can experience during his lifetime. Whatever the reason for divorce, whose fault it is, what tipped the apple cart, the outcome of separating a family is the same; loss of love, loss of affection, and loss of spirit. You are so bewildered by what has taken place you don’t believe you can recover, especially when you see the children grieving and your life as you know it disappear. There is a deep sense of loss and bewilderment.

Necessary changes to strive for

• Pray to God and believe that you will be helped. Your spirit and the way you feel is important for recovery and reaching out to God can take you a long way. Believe in your heart that things will change for you and the children.

• As the parent, you are responsible for them and are expected to do everything you can to make sure they understand what is happening and do not suffer pain.

• When there is an argument coming on between you and your former partner over support payments or whatever, do not involve the kids in the argument. They cannot take sides and you must not expect it.

• Spend extra time with the kids so that they don’t feel they are losing out on life because of the changes.

• Continue to do, with or without your former partner, the things you all did as a family on weekends or holidays.

• Don’t confuse your kids with the kind of relationship you have, and do not make sudden changes. Kids are funny about moving and change. They need time to digest things.

• Sign the kids up for activities they really enjoy. Spend more time with them and speak to each child individually.

• Make friends with other singles and join a group. Single parents have many things in common; you can talk about the changes you are experiencing. Talking about a problem you all have in common makes you feel you are not alone. Your self-esteem has suffered a blow; you want to restore the way you feel, and part of doing that is not becoming hard and vengeful yourself.

Coming to terms with change takes time. Take each day at a time. Visit your friends. Get a babysitter and have some away-time by seeing a movie with a friend. There are many things you can do where the kids can come along. You basically have two seasons in America; hot and cold. There are activities for both the warm summer days as well as many activities you can enjoy in wintertime skating or skiing with your kids in the outdoors. Whoever it is that got the divorce rolling, be sure you will get up again, and be stronger. Don’t rush into a new relationship. You need time to think and recover. A relationship in distress needs time to repair, and the repairs you make today may be for the benefit of someone else in the future. Don’t begrudge it; that is how the world works.

Do you need to read parenting books in order to make a good mother

A new mom who has grown up with siblings and experienced life with a baby in the home is less likely to need a book on how to care for a baby although the baby shower presents will in all likelihood include one or two books on parenting. I myself did not need a book as my father remarried and I was present most of the time in my father’s home where there were several siblings. My daughter, however, benefitted from my experience as she is a superb mom and does not even allow sugar in the children’s diet. Any question she might have she will research on the internet for the latest innovations. In fact, my daughter has been granted a patent in the US where she lives for a special diaper.

Motherhood is about instinct.

There are many things that can happen when there is a new baby in the home, and much of it is resolved by the mother trusting her instinct. I lived in South Africa at the time and there was one frantic afternoon when my daughter, four years old, had a fever that was so high that I put her in a cold bath to bring her temperature down. It may have been the wrong thing to do but by the time the doctor arrived, her temperature was much lower. You don’t want to play around with high fever.

Grandmother’s remedies

My grandmother was an old-fashioned South African woman who was called the Medicine Lady in the neighborhood as people came to her all the time for home remedies. She put on cut potato peels on a wound once, and on another occasion a new mother brought the baby to her; the baby was around five or six months and was constipated. My grandmother crushed the stem of a plant, inserted it into the infant’s bum, and the child was relieved. Today of course you have to have a book which is nicely indexed to handle emergencies.

Parenting books

One or two parenting books are good to have to keep up with modern ways and means to do certain things. When it comes to mothering with a book, the most inexperienced new mother will know instinctively what to do when a child suddenly stops breathing or something serious has happened, and that is, call 911. My own son was saved in the 70s by my calling 911. He had had a triachitis attack which happened mostly to boys between the ages of one and three. Mothers react with amazing speed when it comes to danger to their kids and would know when a child has a fever that that could lead to complications. Whether they would make better parents when reading books on parenting, I don’t know. It would depend on the mother’s own psychological makeup. If I am making it sound easy it is because I have been around kids for a very long time; I am the eldest of three kids in my father’s first marriage, and also have three stepbrothers and a stepsister.