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Gratitude and Raising Children

Mackenzie Freeman

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Parents obviously want their children to be grateful and respectful. For one thing, parents certainly have to model this sort of behavior themselves. Parents who are rude to people in public and to the other people in their lives will usually have children who are just as rude. Kids learn from everything and everyone that they see, and short and minor moments can have a huge effect on how they go on to see the world. 

Parents who are respectful to everyone that they meet will be much more likely to have children who behave in the same manner. In fact, kids who have parents like that tend to learn to behave that way naturally. Even those kids will misbehave sometimes, but it should still be easier for parents to address that sort of behavior under those circumstances. 

It’s just as important for parents to talk to their kids about empathy and about considering the emotions of others. Kids learn many things naturally, but communicating with them on a literal level is still important. Empathy comes naturally to most people to a certain extent, but almost all human behaviors have a learned component to them. Emotional discussions really can help kids develop emotionally and intellectually.

Reading fiction is also very helpful in that regard. Research has demonstrated over and over again that people become more empathetic as adults if they spend their childhoods reading. A fictional story forces a person to take the perspective of another person, even if that person is not real.

Books force people to see things from an entirely different perspective. In certain genres, this effect is especially pronounced. There is some evidence that people who like science fiction and fantasy can develop empathetic and imaginative skills even more quickly. Parents who read to their children often have academically successful kids. Those kids can be emotionally successful as well, especially if the parents choose well-written stories that have unusual protagonists and that tell stories that challenge a person’s perspective in the right way. 

There are plenty of books that use the theme of forgiveness and respectfulness, and those books can be great to read to a child. However, children can also read stories that have a more subtle message to them. Books in general can help people develop emotional intelligence and other forms of intelligence.

Parents can also show gratitude directly to their children in a way that reinforces the right behaviors. For instance, if a child does a chore, parents can express how thankful they are. Kids who did chores without being asked should be rewarded with even more praise. Parents will sometimes judge their kids’ behavior by adult standards, which is almost always a mistake.

While people might not be that excited if their adult roommates pick up their socks, it’s much more impressive if a child does that. Children need positive reinforcement. People need to learn that being grateful has a certain rhythm attached to it, and they usually need to learn that in small ways. 

Kids also benefit from socializing with other kids who are learning the same lessons. It’s difficult to be selfish in a big group of friends. People will get too frustrated with one another if that happens. Kids might argue with one another, but they can frequently resolve disputes just as quickly. The kids who spend time with children who have already learned gratitude and empathy can start to pick up that sort of behavior from their friends, which can help to reinforce everything that they have learned at home and from their reading. All influences will matter. 

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Parenting

A Look At Some Creative Experiments One Mother Decided to Perform To Keep Her Young Son Entertained

Mackenzie Freeman

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Many young children have curious minds, especially as they begin their educational pursuits. They are on a constant quest to learn as much as they can. For some parents, it can be a fun and challenging process working with their children as they grow and develop a hunger for knowledge.

One parent thought of an innovative way to satisfy her child’s curiosity. Due to the current circumstances, the young boy was unable to attend summer camp, so his mother decided that the two of them would work on a few different science experiments.

Initially, the mother relied on an activity book to help brainstorm different experiments to try. After that, she went on Pinterest to search for some good ideas. She searched for projects that would keep her son active and engaged. She also wanted to work on experiments that would help her son learn about the science involved in them. In the weeks ahead, the young child learned some memorable lessons and made some great memories.

Experimenting With Plastic Bags

In order to perform on this experiment, the mother and her son compiled a re-sealable plastic bag, sharp pencils, and a cup of water. The goal was to show how a person can puncture a plastic ball full of water without making a mess. Once you have filled the bag with water, squeeze the air out and fully zip the bag. Once that’s done, take the pencil and try to puncture the bag. After the mother did a few test runs, she was ready to try the experiment with her son. The boy was amazed that the pencil went straight through the bag and nothing was spilled. Eventually, the mother and son added a few more pencils to the bag. Scientists point out that the experiment works because plastic bag are created using a special brand of molecules. The point of the pencil squeezes between the molecules without breaking them, due to the flexibility of the chains.

Experimenting With Pepper Soap

Social media data shows that experimenting with pepper soap has become a popular activity the last few months. This experiment helps express the importance of keeping your hands clean. In order to perform the experiment, you need some water, dish soap, pepper, and two containers. The mother and her son filled one of the containers with water. They added some food coloring and pepper. They put dish soap in the other container. The boy dipped his finger into the pepper bowl, and then he dipped a finger in the soap. Once the pepper and soap mix together, the surface tension changes, which causes the pepper to sink below the top surface.

Ink Experiment

In order to experiment with ink, you need some dry erase markers, a ceramic dish, water, and a straw. The mother encouraged her child to scroll over the dish. The boy let the dry ink designs settle for a few minutes then he added some water. The boy used the straw to blow the ink designs and watched as they started to float to the top of the water. Scientists point out that the ink in dry erase markers cannot dissolve. When water is added to a dry erase marker drawing on a plate, the ink is pulled upwards, which causes it to start floating.

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Life

We Can’t Wait Until Middle School for the Gender Talk

Lea Lomas

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In an era of social justice and a change in focus on things like inclusion, race, and segregation, there is an important aspect of our modern culture we need to look at.  While racial justice is always important, we also need to start having serious talks about gender justice. In our schools today there is a growing situation where those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and those who consider themselves to be allies are increasingly being met with fear, prejudice, abuse, discrimination, and injustice. And a lot of this is stemming from the lack of early conversation an education from parents and teachers. Parents and teachers should not be waiting until they know whether their child is LGBTQIA+  or that they have students in their class who identify as such. The conversation needs to start soon and regardless of whether the individual child identifies as LGBTQIA+ or not. The sooner we normalize queerness and work to make the world more inclusive and accepting of these young people, the sooner we can stop the bullying, depression, addiction, drug abuse, suicide, isolation, discrimination, and rejection. Those uncomfortable or tough conversations need to be happening now!
Start Sooner Rather Than Later
When we wait until kids are ‘ready’ to have the big talks about sexuality, gender conformity, consent, race, decimation, bigotry, or acceptance then we have already missed the opportunity by waiting too long. We need to have these important yet at times difficult talk to our kids early and often. Waiting until a child is old enough to be feeling and expressing LGBTQIA+ feelings and tendencies or waiting until they are exposed to someone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ means we have missed the most opportune time to have these important conversations. If we want to prevent the poor reception and negativity that still surrounds gender nonconformity, we need to be talking to our kids about it now. Early ideas of what is right and wrong and acceptable are established early, and waiting till middle and high school for these talks is far too late. We need to let our kids know that having friends who are LGBTQIA+ is fine and that if they realize they identify as LGBTQIA+ that is fine too!
Age-Appropriate Methods
There are always those who will say we shouldn’t burden our kids with things like this. But there is always an age-appropriate way to talk to younger children about many of life’s big topics.  We have seen that waiting till middle and high school for general sex education is not always best as the same is true for many other issues today. Waiting until middle school means we often are not just trying to educate a generation about LGBTQIA+ we are also trying to undo 10-13 years of false ideas, misguided thoughts, and poor examples from friends and family. Kids are absorbing information constantly from the people and situations around them and that means we must make time to address this important issue with them sooner rather than later before the real damage has been done!

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Parenting

Mom had put medical school on hold to raise her daughter. Now they will be residents together.

Sherry Rucherman

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Dr. Cynthia Kudji Sylvester had put her medical school on hold to raise her daughter. In a rare situation, now both mother and daughter will be doing their medicine residency together. In an interview with People magazine, Cynthia shared how her visit to her birth country, Ghana, inspired her to become a medical doctor. When Cynthia was visiting Ghana, a local family had come up to her asking for medical help. There was a child in the family who was sick and they didn’t have enough money to afford medical treatment. The local family assumed that because Cynthia had come from the US, she must be a doctor. That incident shook Cynthia. The divide between people from developed countries compared to people from poor countries was very disturbing for her. Cynthia thought everyone deserves the basic needs of life such as food, education, and medicine. At that time, Cynthia was just a college student.  After her visit to Ghana, It had become her life’s goal to become a medical doctor.

During her final year of college at Tulane University, Cynthia became pregnant. Once she found out that she was going to be a mother, she knew that her ambition of becoming a medical doctor had to wait. At that time, Cynthia thought it would probably be a break of a couple of years before she can rejoin medical school. However, as fate would have it, she couldn’t go back to medical school for many years after giving birth to her beautiful baby daughter, Jasmine.

Cynthia had to work to support to daughter. She was also conscious about giving the attention and focus that her daughter deserved. It was not easy for Cynthia to put her dream on hold, but her love for her daughter overpowered any dreams she had. She put her daughter above everything else. To support her daughter, Cynthia became a nursing assistant. She wanted to be part of the medical profession so being a nursing assistant was a good option for her.

As a single mom, Cynthia worked extremely hard to raise her daughter. Not only did you provide for the financial needs of Jasmine but also took out time to spend with her daughter. It took Cynthia 10 years to become a nurse practitioner. While raising her daughter as a single mom, Cynthia never gave up on her dream to become a medical doctor. The dream had been delayed but it was not canceled. As a single mom, it was difficult for Cynthia to save enough money to be able to afford medical college while saving enough for her daughter’s future.

After many years of hard work, frugal living, and some help from family members, Cynthia was able to join a medical school. However, before she could spend money on herself, she made sure Jasmine had enough to fund her education. Jasmine saw her mother work hard and was inspired to do the same. She too worked hard to achieve excellent grades in school and got admitted to medical school. This was a proud moment for Cynthia who had sacrificed a lot for this moment. Finally, it was time for Cynthia to resume her dream of becoming a medical doctor. She joined her daughter in medical school. They will be doing their residency together. The story of Cynthia and Jasmine is a heartwarming reminder of how some parents sacrifice their dreams so that their children can fulfill their dreams. In this case, fortunately, Cynthia was also able to eventually fulfill her dreams but not without years of sacrifice.

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