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 Post subject: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:22 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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I got this today, from a blogger whose posts (on a variety of topics) I really enjoy, and realized that I got very few good bits of parenting advice before having to parent.

In fact, I got only two:
1) Babies cry, and it's OK.
and
2) how will the kid learn that knives are sharp if she's not allowed to play with them?

And armed so weakly, I became a mother.

Perhaps this will be helpful to someone? I agree with (and practice) a lot of what he says.

I wonder what good parenting advice you have received that might be useful for other people who have/love/spend time with kids?

Quote:
The Way of the Peaceful Parent, written by Leo Babauta at zenhabits dot net

‘… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.’ ~Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree


There is no such thing as stress-free parenting.

A reader requested that I share my thoughts on stress-free parenting, as the father of six kids. And while I have learned a lot about being a dad, and finding joy in parenthood, I also know that stress-free parenting is a myth.

Parents will always have stress: we not only have to deal with tantrums and scraped knees and refusing to eat anything you cook, but we worry about potential accidents, whether we are ruining our kids, whether our children will find happiness as adults and be able to provide for themselves and find love.

That said, I’ve learned that we can find peace.

Peace isn’t a place with no stress, but a place where you take the stress as it comes, in stride, and don’t let it rule you. You let it flow through you, and then smile, and breathe, and give your child a hug.

There is a Way of the Peaceful Parent, but it isn’t one that I’ve learned completely. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, with the caveat that I don’t always follow the Way, that I still make mistakes daily, that I still have a lot to learn, that I don’t claim to have all the answers as a parent.
The Way

The Way is only learned by walking it. Here are the steps I recommend:

Greet your child each morning with a smile, a hug, a loving Good Morning! This is how we would all like to be greeted each day.
Teach your child to make her own breakfast. This starts for most children at around the age of 3 or 4. Teach them progressively to brush their teeth, bathe themselves, clean up their rooms, put away clothes, wash their dishes, make lunch, wash their own clothes, sweep and clean, etc.
Teaching these skills takes patience. Kids suck at them at first, so you have to show them about a hundred times, but let them try it, correct them, and let them make mistakes. They will gradually learn independence as you will gradually have less work to do caring for them.
Older children can help younger children — it’s good for them to learn responsibility, it helps the younger children learn from the older ones, and it takes some of the stress off you.
Read to them often. It’s a wonderful way to bond, to educate, to explore imaginary worlds.
Build forts with them. Play hide and seek. Shoot each other with Nerf dart guns. Have tea together. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. Play, often, as play is the essence of childhood. Don’t try to force them to stop playing.
When your child asks for your attention, grant it.
Parents need alone time, though. Set certain traditions so that you’ll have time to work on your own, or have mommy and daddy time in the evening, when your child can do things on her own.
When your child is upset, put yourself in his shoes. Don’t just judge the behavior (yes, crying and screaming isn’t ideal), but the needs behind the behavior. Does he need a hug, or attention, or maybe he’s just tired?
Model the behavior you want your child to learn. Don’t yell at the child because he was screaming. Don’t get angry at a child for losing his temper. Don’t get mad at a kid who wants to play video games all the time if you’re always on your laptop. Be calm, smile, be kind, go outdoors and be active.
When a stressful time arises (and it will), learn to deal with it with a smile. Make a joke, turn it into a game, laugh … you’ll teach your child not to take things so seriously, and that life is to be enjoyed. Breathe, walk away if you’ve lost your temper, and come back when you can smile.
Remember that your child is a gift. She won’t be a child for long, and so your time with her is fleeting. Every moment you can spend with her is a miracle, and you should savor it. Enjoy it to the fullest, and be grateful for that moment.
Let your child share your interests. Bake cookies together. Sew together. Exercise together. Read together. Work on a website together. Write a blog together.
Know that when you screw up as a parent, everything will be fine. Forgive yourself. Apologize. Learn from that screw up. In other words, model the behavior you’d like your child to learn whenever he screws up.
Patiently teach your child the boundaries of behavior. There should be boundaries — what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s not OK to do things that might harm yourself or others. We should treat each other with kindness and respect. Those aren’t things the child learns immediately, so have patience, but set the boundaries. Within those boundaries, allow lots of freedom.
Give your child some space. Parents too often overschedule their child’s life, with classes and sports and play dates and music and clubs and the like, but it’s a constant source of stress for both child and parent to keep this schedule going. Let the child go outside and play. Free time is necessary. You don’t always have to be by her side either — she needs alone time just as much as you do.
Exercise to cope with stress. A run in solitude is a lovely thing. Get a massage now and then.
It helps tremendously to be a parenting team — one parent can take over when the other gets stressed. When one parent starts to lose his temper, the other should be a calming force.
Mom and dad need a date night every week or so. Get a babysitter, or better yet, teach the older kids to babysit.
Sing and dance together.
Take every opportunity to teach kindness and love. It’s the best lesson.
Kiss your child goodnight. And give thanks for another amazing day with your beautiful, unique, crazy child.

‘You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.’ ~Bill Cosby


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:00 am 
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Semen Strong
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I love them! Thanks for sharing!

Learned from torque (poorly paraphrased prob with errors): your job as a parent is to help them recognize who they already are. Once you do that, they can choose what is in line with who they know themselves to be.

Learned from the PPK: trust your gut

You can't spoil a newborn. And what is so bad about having your child learn that her needs will be met?

From Brain Rules: infants crave safety - the best gift you can give your kid is a happy relationship with lots of respect.

Model the behavior you want your kid to have.

Stuff I haven't tried but am interested in:

Surround your child with people with different skill sets. Girls that grow up around slightly older males (brothers, cousins) develop better spatial and other "male" traits.

Teach your daughters that it is okay to ask for what they want and be aggressive. Girls who don't learn how to be direct learn how to talk behind backs and are often more anxious and depressed.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:04 am 
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Is is strange that I read the threads in this forum so I can learn what to do for imaginary babies that I'll only maybe have a couple of years from now?

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:14 am 
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tinglepants! wrote:
Is is strange that I read the threads in this forum so I can learn what to do for imaginary babies that I'll only maybe have a couple of years from now?


Hopefully it isn't, because I do too!

Love that part about teaching independence skills. There are so many kids at school that I look at and think wow! Are these kids going to have their parents go to college with them?


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:18 am 
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chiveggie wrote:
tinglepants! wrote:
Is is strange that I read the threads in this forum so I can learn what to do for imaginary babies that I'll only maybe have a couple of years from now?


Hopefully it isn't, because I do too!
Same here!

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:39 am 
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not just the babies you might have- the nieces and nephews, the students, the kids at the library or next to you on the bus!! there can never be too many people with good kid skills in the world!

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:02 am 
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pistachiorose wrote:
chiveggie wrote:
tinglepants! wrote:
Is is strange that I read the threads in this forum so I can learn what to do for imaginary babies that I'll only maybe have a couple of years from now?


Hopefully it isn't, because I do too!
Same here!


And here!

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:03 am 
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***LIES!!!***
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Everything everyone's said was good!

Something I learned from teaching that applies to parenting: kids have a hierarchy of needs and you have to make sure their basic needs are met before challenging them on a higher level. They need to feel safe from danger first, then have their physical needs met (food, sleep, bathroom), then have their emotional needs met (not feel stressed out, feel loved), and then they can engage intellectually and will be able to "be reasonable" with you or learn.

Also, trust yourself, because you are the parent, and everybody else who's giving you advice doesn't know what you know about what your child needs.


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:30 am 
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Babies are tougher than you think. You won't break them by accident.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:16 pm 
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Children require discipline to feel safe. Without limits and discipline, the world is scary and unpredictable. Which isn't to say they enjoy being disciplined.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:20 pm 
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As someone who always focuses on what I can improve to be a better parent, my wise, older, Taoist friend gave me awesome advice: "Your kid is awesome, because of your parenting. He didn't just come that way." It's so important to remember that all that effort really does mean something, and even though we can always improve, our kids are great, because we help them become that way.

I love everything everyone else has posted above. It's all such wonderful advice.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Stop doubting yourself and do what is best for you and your family; don't worry about what everyone else is doing.


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:51 pm 
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A lactation consultant I really love once told me: it never hurts to try for the outcome you want with your kid. Will he nap in his crib alone at 2 months? Probably not, and he might cry if you try it... But you won't know unless you do try it.

I've found this important to remember even as the Emperor gets older. Sometimes I lapse into thinking that I absolutely know how he's going to respond to certain things and avoid things I think he won't like... But when I let go and let him formulate his own reactions, I'm often (pleasantly) surprised.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Also: it's okay if they don't like something. It might even be good! Not liking things—and being uncomfortable, disappointed, bored, frustrated, and so on—is a part of life. (In age-appropriate portions.) Learning to cope is crucial to happiness.

I'm not talking about inflicting things on your kid (and I'm not talking about babies or really little ones). Just that our understandable desire to shield them from anything negative is not always in their interest.

(The goal is to master yourself, not to master life.)

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:44 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
. Just that our understandable desire to shield them from anything negative is not always in their interest.

(The goal is to master yourself, not to master life.)


This so important in my opinion. Here is a link to the cheesy parable I pass out to the parents of my elementary school students every year.

http://www.nursefriendly.com/nursing/in ... r.moth.htm


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:02 am 
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Your co-parent has their own style of parenting and as long as you are both coming from love, your life will be much easier if you don't micromanage and your child will be better off. As an example, men play differently with kids than women do, and both ways of play are useful to your kid.

The silver lining to my knee injury has been that 4 days a week, my partner has Leela for 3 to 4 hours and it is during the quiet receptive and playful phase. He does tummy time, puts her down for a nap, changes her and he's gotten so much more confident with her. Interestingly, that has had him step up even more than before, even when I'm home, which means I get a lot more alone time to recharge.

Tl;dr: your co-parent is your ally, trust them

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:53 am 
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Good one Tofulish... It reminds me of another bit of advice from the same LC as my other one. You have to let your partner learn to problem solve with your kid. If one parent is always swooping in and taking over when the baby gets upset, then how will the other one ever learn? None of us are born knowing how to make a baby happy, we all have to work at it.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:45 pm 
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Your child is looking to you to teach him how to be an adult.

(That's basically "model the behavior you want your child to have," but something about that phrasing, and the idea of learning how to be an adult, really works for me.)

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:53 pm 
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I really like the idea that childhood is a space to learn good judgement - they aren't born having it, and we get to give them a safe space to develop it while they are little so that once they go out into the world they have that judgement to keep them safe.

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My oven is bigger on the inside, and it produces lots of wibbly wobbly, cake wakey... stuff. - The PoopieB.


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:42 am 
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I love all of this advice! Here are my 2 cents:

From my sister-- remember you are raising someone's spouse! Teach and expose your child to opposite gender stereotypes.

From my mom-- (not so much advice, but things she did with me that I like). RE: independence. When old enough to read and follow simple math, give child a recipe to make on his/her own. I think I was about 6 and my mom said, "tomorrow you're going to bake chocolate chip cookies." I felt so proud of those! And when we were a little older, she had us call to make our own dentist appts, use coupons to buy a candy bar, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:27 am 
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K-dub that is awesome! I've always liked the idea of giving your child money in a store and letting them realize that it is a limited resource, but I love these little steps to self-sufficiency. Your mom sounds amazing

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My oven is bigger on the inside, and it produces lots of wibbly wobbly, cake wakey... stuff. - The PoopieB.


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:36 am 
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Kdub, I love both of those. My inlaws often apologize to me for Nate's shortcomings and will praise me for what I have taught him. It infuriates me because 1. They should have done more to prepare him to be a partner and adult, and 2. If they think they have done such a terrible job then how is he becoming so awesome the longer we are together. Yes, I have had to work with him a lot, but he has had to work with me too. Maybe I should tell them to stop doubting themselves.

Onto the money and recipe thing, my parents did the same thing. When my mom went back to work my brother and I had chores to do each day before she got home and we had to prepare dinner. He is four years older than I, but it was good to learn this responsibility. So many of my friends were able to just do whatever after school which I was jealous of at the time, but it gave me a good work ethic later.


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:54 pm 
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Some things I've learned are that you should always encourage their imagination. Nothing is more fun to me than hearing Toddler Peach tell stories.
At the end of the day, good or bad, let them know how much you love them.
Sometimes a story and a cuddle make all the difference in the world.
I let him help me bake. Those treats taste better to me than any other. Knowing that he helped and truly loves the experience makes them that way.
A good nap for parents and kiddos can make your day SO much better.

Oh and it's not supposed to be easy. Nothing worth having is.

That's my take.

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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Your take is awesome <3

I am reading "Parenting for Peace" and her mnemonic is

Presence
Awareness
Rhythm - the idea that everyone thrives on having a basic schedule with expected down times, naps etc.
Example
Nurturing
Trust
Simplicity.

I like it.

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My oven is bigger on the inside, and it produces lots of wibbly wobbly, cake wakey... stuff. - The PoopieB.


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 Post subject: Re: good parenting advice you've received
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:38 am 
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We encourage our son (almost 8) to justify his beliefs. We point out each side of the debate. This helps children see things from another person's perspective and is particularly handy for kids like mine with perspective-taking difficulties. Philosophy! "Little Big Minds" by Marietta McCarty is a good read IMO.

I was recently watching an episode of The Brady Bunch (I will always love their interior decorating and design, my parents had that kitchen) and Peter had done something to peas off Marsha Marsha Marsha and Greg. The parents made him promise not to do it again. But Greg and Marshax3 were ticked off about Pete not being punished so they took matters in to their own hands and played a trick on Peter. Then Carol and Mike got wind of it and asked Greg and Marsha why they did such a thing. And they fessed up that they didn't think it was fair that Pete did not get punished and all he had to do was make a promise. And Mike said sternly "sometimes a promise is enough".

I tell you I sat right up in my chair (cos I was slouching). Brilliant bit of parenting from the Bradys. I always dissed that show for the unrealistic saccharine parenting but I thought that was pretty groovy.


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