Supporting your teen daughter on dating experience

Teenage dating can cause a great deal of stress for parents. It's might be a bit easier if you have a son. But when your daughter begins dating, there are many things to worry about. As a result, parents tend to overlook the numerous opportunities they have for helping their daughter through this exciting time, as well as encouraging her to build healthy relationships. As important as several things are in your life, nothing will ever be as important as the relations your daughter establishes throughout her life. The dating experience will open up a whole new world for her, as well as for you. If you're a high-handed mother who is extremely overbearing and has no respect whatsoever for her feelings, choices and decisions, then you might have a problem. Your daughter won't be  able to confide in you or tell you simple things that goes on in her life. You might think there's nothing going on in her life because you feel she's too young, but you're very wrong. The world is changing, so are the people that live in it. Hence, she's not left out. So as a mother, how do you or did you navigate the ups and downs that come with the dating experience? Did you encourage boundaries and limits? Did you educate your daughter about sex? Did you emphasize the importance of confidence? How did you help her find a balance between dating and concentrating on her studies? Did you think the relationship was going too far? Let us know how you dealt with the situation.  

Throw Back Thursday: Does beating truly help the child?

I really don't know how we do it but it kinda seems like we Nigerian parents go through a "Beating 101" class just before that first born child comes through. And I must say, the top-notch teaching accounts for the sublime way with which they handle the belt, baby, and bathwater... LOL. So I was talking to a colleague of mine recently about the physical training (that is not sparing the rod) and he shared with me one of his most memorable childhood moments on how his parents flogged the living daylight out of him. And it was just too funny I thought to share. "That's how I went out all day to play football o! Couldn't go home because I didn't get some certain chores done before i left the house, so I stayed at a friend's place till late in the night when I was sure my parents would be asleep. I was able to get into the house, thanks to my sister (I called her my saviour). While sleeping, I was in a bad dream were my parents were caning me, waking up from the dream only to find my father standing by my bedside asking me up to explain my side of the story. Before I could say a word, he was already caning me never. He never even cared to listen to me- it's more like explaining to yourself why you should be beaten. Long story short, that same saviour sister and my brother held me down while I was given the beating of my life. I believe  I am a more principled man today. Hahaha."

Share your story and thoughts too. Do you think beating your child helps him become better?? Did your beating account turn you out to be a better man or woman??

Parenting! Raising self-confident kids

One of my favourite movies of all time is The Help, an awesome movie in which Aibileen, the main character (a black maid) would often reaffirm a little white girl with the following words: You is Kind You is smart You is Important. The little white girl found solace in her black nanny than in her mom, who would always ignore and treat her badly. Perhaps, Nigeria as a nation would have been much more better, if we had more parents who fully understood the importance of building their Children's confidence I am currently reading a book, Those Who Inspire (Nigeria), which celebrates people who contribute to making our nation a better place by sharing their stories, beliefs, emotions, ambitions and visions. In many of the stories written, the characters often mentioned their parents as sources of inspiration, who inspired, believed and encouraged them to be all they could be; interestingly, a significant number of them referred to their fathers as their heroes. KIDS TAMI Our grandparents, perhaps parents too had excuses, they could get away with the fact that they were ignorant - they believed "as long as you were fed, you were led" - failing to realize that leadership in the family setting goes beyond being able to provide food, clothes and shelter. They failed to realize a destiny had been committed into their hands to nuture, and left everything to time and chance.   But as parents of the 21st century, it is high time we taught our kids to believe in themselves. To believe in their dreams and purposes. Help your child know that he is capable in himself - he is kind, smart and important. He doesn't need to belong to that group to fit in. The fine shoe won't make him rule, neither would the ipad make him a fine lad. Help your child see that his values are in his virtues and vice-versa. Hey Parent! You are coach. Know what a coach does? It means you walk closely with your kid. Show your child the ropes of self confidence. Let him know self-confidence stems from self-respect. Never be caught putting your child or bashing his self-esteem, tagging him by his mistakes. Rather than focus on his mistakes and failures, open his heart to possibilities. Ignite a passion for life in your kids. Many opportunities abound in life, it is mostly the self-confident that are found taking the bull by its horns. Teach your child that fear is normal and help him walk through his fears. Finally, dear parent, Never, never never! That's three 'nevers'... Lol. Never compare your kid to another. That's domestic terrorism. I know you like that other kid - He seems like the perfect kid and you wish yours would just be like him but don't compare yours to theirs; it can be a really slippery slope from there. Not only do you create an enemy for your kid, you make him feel unwanted, unloved. And in the words of Mother Theresa, "We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty".

Quick back-to-school tips for parents

The summer holiday is almost over. With about two weeks to the end of the break, parents need to get things ready for their children for the new academic session. This is a new school year as they'll be going to another class entirely. How prepared are you? Parents should remember that they need not wait until the first day of class to ask for help. Schools are open to address any concerns a parent or child might have, including the specific needs of a child, over the summer. The best time to get help might be one to two weeks before school opens. Many children become nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. This may occur at any age. If your child seems nervous, it can be helpful to rehearse entry into the new situation. Take them to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school. Remind them that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. bbc Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. If your child seems nervous, ask them what they are worried about and help them problem solve ways to master the new situation. Point out the positive aspects of starting school to create positive anticipation about the first day of class. They will see old friends and meet new ones. Talk with them about positive experiences they may have had in the past at school or with other groups of children. If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day. Bring the child to school a few days prior to class to play on the playground and get comfortable in the new environment. If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day, and get there early on the first day to cut down on unnecessary stress. Make sure to touch base with your child's new teacher at the beginning or end of the day so the teacher knows how much you want to be supportive of your child's school experience. Consider starting your child on their school sleep/wake schedule a week or so ahead of time so that time change is not a factor on their first couple of days at school. What other things do you do to prepare for the schools’ resumption?

Divorce, Separation: How to Raise Kids Between Two Homes

Raising children when you've separated from your partner could be very tricky. I know a family that has been co-parenting for 16 years. Communication is key when raising kids between two homes. It's important to never let your children overhear you argue or carry the burden of adult conversations; instead, put a boundary down and decided to only discuss co-parenting business over the phone, in a co-parent meeting, or over email. Here are things you must know while co-parenting after divorce:

  1. Have regular co-parenting meetings
Hold onto the “tough stuff” and discuss it at our co-parent meetings. In regards to co-parent meetings, use that as a time to address parenting concerns between homes and a healthy place to discuss things you may often disagree on. Every stage of life brings new parenting demands, and parenting skills can get easily challenged between two homes when parents do not have a consistent communication plan between them.
Mother comforting daughter (8-10) outdoors
Mother comforting daughter (8-10) outdoors
  1. Handle disagreements with maturity
Along the way, I have found that there is a way to agree to disagree. When you disagree on how something is expressed or handled at the other person’s home, show respect for the other parent and do not add negative words or disparaging comments to the situation when talking to the children about it. We can uphold the rules and boundaries at our home and acknowledge to the children that we understand it is different at their other home; however, we do not criticize or demean the other parents. It is important for kids to see that adults can agree to disagree and still be respectful and cordial. Deciding to have self-control and maturity is something we can only choose for ourselves. Being an example benefits our children in a way that impacts them for life. 9469553d4cce37382deef095a0e067c4
  1. Being consistent as a parent is also critical
Often divorced parents allow children to misbehave or ignore boundaries out of shame or guilt or simply wanting to be the favorite. Kids need parents to stay engaged, continue being present, and have relevant expectations for each age and stage of their development. A passive parent will create an unhealthy child. A consistent parent who keeps the “long view” in mind will parent with appropriate rewards and consequences because they want children to grow into mature and responsible young adults. The good news is that kids from divorced families can grow into stable and successful young adults who have life-long relationships that are not scarred by their parents’ divorce. Divorced and remarried parents just need to keep in mind that the kids need Mum and also Dad; children thrive with the love and security of two parents, even when they are in different homes. Being intentional to accept and celebrate the love of the other parent will continue to heal and help our children. What is one thing can you do today to strengthen your co-parenting relationship?

Warning Signs Your Child is Headed for Trouble

When I look back at my childhood, I'm happy about the decisions I made when I came into my adolescence. The early years were perfectly happy and normal, but the later years were a bit of a struggle for me and luckily, I came out fine. Not to brag, I can pinpoint the triggers that caused the good and bad choices. But a 10-year-old has no ability to understand what is happening in the moment. As parents, it is an important duty to monitor our child and their activities. This allows us to decipher what paths they are headed down. When you just focus on punishment and not the root of the issue, there is a good chance he or she could become a problem child. Here are some of the common signs of a child who’s heading the wrong direction. It is important to recognize these and take the appropriate steps to guide your child back down a positive path. teen

  1. Mood Swings
Everyone experiences the occasional change in moods. Teenagers with exploding hormones, in particular, are prone to ups and downs. The key here is to determine if the lows and highs are too excessive, or if your child quickly shifts from euphoria to depression seemingly without cause. Be empathetic and a source of stability. Be calm. Adding to the drama will only make things worse. Finally, try to get your child to communicate what he is truly feeling in the moment.
  1. Withdrawal
Not every child is a social butterfly, but that doesn’t mean there is a problem. However, if you see signs of withdrawal, there could be cause for concern. Watch for signs of depression, lack of confidence, and if he feels rejected by other children.
  1. Hiding Things
When you find out they have been hiding something, even if it’s trivial, it should tell you that they have entered into suspect behavior. At the very least, they are creating habits of secrecy. It either says they are fine with bad behavior or they don’t trust you. Each of those is dangerous.
  1. Dropping Grades
If a child is getting lower than normal grades, something is wrong somewhere. It could be a learning disability, laziness, a need for more instruction, or any number of social or domestic issues. It could also be a sign of depression or discontentment. Get to the core of the matter instead of just punishing.
  1. Sudden Change of Friends
Making new friends is a good thing. A red flag is when they stop spending time with one friend group and start hanging out with a totally new group of people. It’s important to find out what they are drawn to with the new group and what the breakdown was with their former friends. Relationships have a complexity and kids need their parents help in navigating them. Breakdowns in friendships hurt. Wounded hearts often gravitate to unhealthy coping mechanisms to numb or distract from the pain. teen 2
  1. Fluctuating Weight
Sudden weight loss and gain are normally associated with an unhealthy desire to control. Being a child can feel turbulent and unstable. As a way to deal with the stress, eating disorders or mass consumption can emerge. With these dysfunctional coping strategies, food can easily be replaced by drugs and alcohol or cutting as a way to control feelings of fear, anxiety, and insecurity.
  1. Personality Changes
Puberty is bound to bring some personality changes, but keep an eye on it. When a generally upbeat kid becomes more pessimistic or an outgoing kid becomes quieter, there is something driving the negative change. Perhaps they are doing things they know you wouldn’t approve of or they are being bullied at school. Maybe they are desperate for approval they aren’t getting. Ask them questions to be sure.
  1. Changing The Way They Dress
It’s fine to experiment with new looks. After all, kids don’t develop a full sense of identity until their mid-twenties. However, a sudden change in dress and image could be more than experimenting. It may be a deep sign of insecurity. Starting to wear more revealing clothing tends to be a step towards sexual activity, while baggy/over covering can be a sign they are hiding something. As it has been said before, get to the heart of the issues. Ask questions and be a safe place for your kids as they try to navigate life.    

Ways to Establish Clear Boundaries for Children

Setting boundaries is very important when it comes to parenting. In a permissive environment, kids rebel. They rebel because they feel anger and hatred toward their parents for a lack of guidelines and limit setting. My mum set boundaries with my siblings and I at a very young age. A very important way to show your children love is to have clear, defined limitations for them. Your kids want guidelines for their lives that are reliably enforced. You are the one who creates a safe environment for them. Setting boundaries is an important piece of parenting. It doesn’t mean they won’t push your boundaries, they will. It is a part of their learning process and they may even be upset when you uphold certain boundaries, but they will also feel safe and secure at the same time. Here are ways to establish clear boundaries for your kids.

  1. Be trustworthy
Your kids need to know that they can count on you. When you fail to back up your words with action your words will cease to mean anything. Your discipline and boundary setting will become hollow. good kids
  1. Be precise
Miscommunication is not the way to establish a positive environment. Effective communication is necessary. Ask them to repeat back to you what they heard you say to verify it’s understood. It pays to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  1. Involve the kids in boundary setting
Have a family meeting. Family communication gets everyone involved in setting the boundaries. When children share ownership of the rules, they’re more invested. 4. Draw up a “rule-list” and post them in a conspicuous place Once the “Family Ten-Commandments” have been established, write up a document that everyone will sign. Post copies of the contract in the kitchen and in each bedroom. Remember, these are not restrictions so much as rules to live by. 5. Avoid labeling children as “good” and “bad Children—and adults—behave in ways that are acceptable and in ways that are unacceptable. Labeling a child as “bad” will do little to improve behavior and a lot to create a negative self-image. 6. Employ “natural consequences” when possible When raising teenagers, natural consequences just make more sense. For younger children, this helps associate negative outcomes with specific behavior. If a room is not cleaned as instructed, missing a fun activity while cleaning the room is less a punishment and more of a consequence. Inappropriate talk? Instead of a spanking try having the child look up ten appropriate words in the dictionary and copy them all down, including definitions, etymology (origin of the word), etc.

How to successfully raise Polite Children

Raising Polite Children Part 2 by Janet Adetu

“Where are your manners?” said the mother of a young boy coming out of the supermarket. This is a question on all our lips as parents, when it comes to the behavioural mannerism of the young children today. It appears like manners, politeness, respect, kindness and consideration have been thrown out of the window. How do we raise polite children in the midst of so much rudeness? They say our youths are indeed the future of tomorrow, our C- Suite Executives do not just come on a platter of gold they are groomed and nurtured to be successful individuals in life. They use every day experiences, mistakes, good and bad decisions to structure their lives. Sadly the act of politeness has actually taken a completely new turn in our society today. It just doesn’t come naturally to our children unless they come from a home with a strong foundation. kid ooo The increase in incivility, rudeness and impoliteness is seen to be on the up rise with multiple cases of bullying in the schools, aggressive personality characteristics and the desire to cause general bodily harm through stabbings, shootings and killings. Raising polite children starts from exhibiting the correct manners, unfortunately with all the incivility it is evident that the society is clearly quite manner less. Today it is right in our faces and almost difficult to avoid, everyone is constantly in a hurry, impatient, disrespectful, sloppy, rude, violent, generally impolite and offensive.   a kids I often say that many things that are considered wrong under normal circumstances have become so habitual and are now accepted as the norm. Today the 21st century technology boom has not helped. Our children are technologically fixed on their smart phones, Ipads, tablets, video games, and the social media craze. The result ultimately is that family and societal relationships have been marred. Some parents hardly see their children living in their own homes because they are stuck in their rooms being technologically busy. It has affected common dialogue at the dinner table, the real art of socialization and rapport among family members. Also unfortunately some children have become quite introversive poor communicators. The ripple effect of this trait is that it is used to conceal acts of bullying or other adolescent challenges. Can you believe that in the airport lounge one day while traveling out of the country; I was seated next to a family of four Mum, Dad and two children all with their individual gadgets from the iPad to smart phones in their hands. For the two hours we were there they said not a word to each other until it was time to board the plane. Everybody was simply engrossed in their world. “Does this sound or look familiar”? healthy life Being polite starts with cultivating an attitude of good manners, having respect, kindness and consideration for others. Manners themselves are a way of life, when you act in a customarily correct way that is considered acceptable behaviour. To have manners is to respect yourself and others around you. But what is the missing link?     The famous word “Etiquette” is what really is missing. Knowing aspects of etiquette will teach you the “how” of having manners. The good news is that there are guidelines what I call etiquette strategies to help you conduct yourself in the appropriate manner. People must act in an acceptable manner so that others can co-exist around them. There is a school of thought that feels that etiquette is a pretentious way to behave, it is fluffy, out dated, old fashioned and for the rich and famous. This is indeed a myth, because “Today’s Etiquette” is a very current, relevant, flexible, constantly evolving, culturally influenced and for everyone. Why is it important for us to raise polite children? Our young children, growing teenagers, aspiring young professionals are hopefully all on a trail to becoming successful individuals. On their journey to success they will need to exhibit exceptional traits that will make them stand out in the midst of the current fierce competition. They will need to have that “Panache Advantage” that sets them apart. Technical excellence is no more the answer to this question, it is all about the leadership skills, team spirit, personal charisma and effective communication style they bring to the table that will ultimately impact the bottom line in any organization. What is that then? “Soft Skills” this is the new hard skills today. “Manners they say can open more doors than the best education can” Having an excellent sense of etiquette will drive your sense of manners and politeness; you will be able to: (a) Show that you value others (b) Demonstrate your high level of integrity (c) Express your sense of respect for others (d) Make others feel comfortable around you Having manners, being consciously polite without undermining your integrity is increasingly becoming a must do for both our children as well as we adults today. All adults who have a huge influence on children as a parent, teacher, counsellor, public figure, spiritual parent and the likes must invest in developing themselves to lead by good example because all children learn first and foremost by what they see and hear physically, the impact is great. Unfortunately, it is not by accident that men that have been known to be wife beaters, when interviewed deeply will express how they saw their fathers doing the same and looked at it as a norm or a normal way of life. The consequences of incivility in the global world are multiple. People are affected emotionally, their thoughts are disoriented, they lose self-esteem, confidence, and mora, and ultimately productivity drops drastically. When you are in this mode you will have a negative influence on the children that surround you, who then pick these traits in their developing years. They are moulded to exhibit negativity instead of positivity and the cycle begins again. The greatest thing I see today is that there is a growing conscious awareness that incivility prevails. The onus is on us to fix this problem so that our children will become polished, have panache and stand out with a presence. Wishing you the best of luck! Janet

Ways to Help Your Child’s Language Development

Parents as well as siblings, play a critical role in a child's language development. Studies have shown that children who are read to and spoken with a great deal during early childhood will have larger vocabularies and better grammar than those who aren't. While growing up, talking in the prescence of my younger siblings helped them to speak fast and also understand certain words. That being said, here are some simple ways to nurture your baby's language development.

  1. Talk, talk, talk. Narrate the day as it evolves. Tell your child, for instance, "Now we're going to take a bath. Can you feel the warm water on your belly? When we dry off, we'll get dressed and take a walk."
  1. Read, read, read. It's never too early to read to your baby. One good predictor of future reading success is the amount of time parents spend reading with their child. Parents can start with simple board books and graduate to picture books and longer stories as their child gets older.
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  1. Enjoy music and nursery rhymes together. Young children love music and movement. When they listen to lively songs, like “atwinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “Baa Baa Baa Sheep”, "Old McDonald Had a Farm," they learn about the world around them and the rhythm of language.
  1. Tell stories. Make up elaborate stories with characters, conflict, adventure, and a happy ending. Be sure that the stories fit your child's interests and aren't too scary for her liking.
  1. Follow your child's lead. If your little one seems interested in a particular picture in a book, keep talking about it. If she seems intrigued by a boat, show her more boats and talk about them, too. Repeat her babbles back to her, ask questions, and interact with her. You can even try recording your child on a tape recorder and playing it back.
  1. Never criticize your child's articulation or speech patterns. Instead, repeat his statements back to him with the correct pronunciation or word usage. Give your child lots of praise for his efforts.
  1. Use television and computers sparingly. While some educational programs can be beneficial to kids, TV shows don't interact with or respond to children, which are the two catalysts kids need to learn language. Computer games are interactive, but they aren't responsive to a child's ideas.
Finally, go on field trips. A trip to the zoo, the aquarium, or a children's museum will open up a whole new world for your child. As an added bonus, she'll want to learn the names of all those fascinating creatures and fun activities she experienced.

The Advantages of Children Watching TV

  As a child, I loved watching Television. From TV shows, to documentaries , to cartoons. As funny as it sounds, watching television helped me in a lot of ways. It improved my imaginative thinking, my vocabulary and it also helped me relate with older people better because I knew what was happening. However, TV watching should be monitored. Children under two should not watch television at all, according to recommendations from Pediatricians, and older children should have very limited hours of watching TV. In the real world, parents often rely on television as kind of a de-facto babysitter. It keeps kids occupied while mothers take a moment to catch up on household finances, chores or other necessary tasks. However, the “TV rots your brain” canard may be overselling the negatives a bit as more and more parents recognize the positive aspects of TV viewing, particularly with so many quality choices available. But why should children watch television? TV 8 Family Time Television provides a reason for families to spend time together. Parents can still limit viewing by designating specific hours or programs on a weekly schedule. Setting aside some of those hours specifically for family viewing encourages interaction, conversation and togetherness. Whether it becomes a bonding moment with young kids watching “Ben 10” or endless discussions about the plot intricacies of “Jenifa’s Diary” with your teens, television can be a catalyst for family interaction.   Educational Exposure Educational television puts kids in touch with cultures from around the world in a way that’s deeply engaging. Educational channels like Discovery, The History Channel and especially National Geographic Channel can expose kids to people and places they wouldn’t otherwise encounter in daily life. Even prime time scripted programming, when age appropriate, introduces concepts that are complex and intellectually stimulating. This can help shape a child’s interest and make him more engaged in classes that deal with those specific topics.   Inspiration There truly is something for everyone on the hundreds of available television channels, and for kids, watching TV in moderation can help develop interests and even inspire further reading on a topic. Parents should be engaged in their children’s television viewing so they can be purveyors of further information. When a child sees something of interest or has questions about a particular topic, parents can use that as a springboard for deeper study.   Develops Language Watching television gives kids whose native language is not English exposure to the conversational rhythms of spoken English. Students who are learning English can benefit from watching English-language television.   Finally,  television has a social benefit for kids who have difficulty connecting with others. However, psychologists have cautioned that kids withdrawing from family or friends to rely instead on “relationships” built with television characters is maladaptive, but for those with physical or psychological barriers that make social interaction difficult, television can offer some comfort.