Being An Intentional Parent

The word ‘intentional’ has been on my mind for several weeks. It means being deliberate, calculated or conscious. In the time, space and environment we presently live in, I believe as parents we have to be intentional towards our children; otherwise, several mundane things will take up our time. As I stroll through the different social media platforms, I see how easy it is to be distracted and allow what is visual govern the mind. You must make up your mind to:

  • Be intentional about speaking with your child.
  • Be intentional about listening to your child.
  • Be intentional about engaging with your child.
  • Be intentional about playing with your child.
  • Be intentional about being firm with your child.
  • Be intentional about showing love to your child.
  • Be intentional about the wellbeing of your child.
  • Be intentional about helping your child to learn.
  • Be intentional about being consistent with your child.
  • Be intentional about taking a family break with your child.

There are many distractions in society today, and this does not exempt the family. Severally, I have been approached to take on more demanding professional position. However, I weigh it against my work-life balance because I am intentional as a parent not to have the scale tip over. It is understandable that not everyone may be in a position to pick and chose when to make income; however, the ability to be intentional ensures we as parents give it a second thought before going ahead with a decision. Being a parent does not always come easy, but, the act of being intentional helps develop the culture of family principles and ethos that the children can later appreciate.

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5 Things A Woman Should Do While Having Children

1. Learn to Drive

Especially in a cosmopolitan town/city with inadequate public transportation. I believe women that have children and do not drive have extra special powers. For a woman with young children, driving is a necessity and not a luxury.

2. Be Economically Viable

Great that maternity leave payment, zero or work contract hours, and in some cases, government supported payment can help support women financially. Learning a skill or trade can contribute to keeping the cash flow coming in. There is always something to buy when you are out with your child or yourself. The internet is full of cash flow opportunities for women, however, ensure it is a genuine stream of income. It can be time to sharpen that passion or skill you have and make it financially viable.

3. Develop Professionally

This is called CPD, continuing professional development. When the child/ren are all of school age, what happens to you professionally? It is never too late to continue or start a new profession.

4. Positive Mind Feeding

Women tend to have low self-esteem, depression or psychosis during this period. Reading a book can help elevate this. Romantic or motivational books are suggestions as it feeds emotion positively and helps release feel good hormones. Also doing something you enjoy or a challenging task, when accomplished, can contribute to release these positive hormones.

5. Liaise with Professionals

Majority of professionals working with a woman while raising children are there to help and offer positive support to the family. Use these professionals to your advantage. We are glad for the World Wide Web but these individuals have gone through rigorous educational process and have hands on experiences that can be taped into to benefit you and your family.

Torn Earlobe from Participating in Physical Education!

Pic: Pixabay

In my almost two decades of being in childcare education, I have not come across a child having torn earlobe from participating in physical education in the UK. My aim on this topic is to bring a balance equation from both a professional and parent perspective. Research shows no incident or accidents of pupils wearing earrings or studs has occurred during physical activity or swimming. I will be glad to be proven wrong, and the evidence based on a real ratio. The keyword such as ‘Serious accidents have occurred as a result of contact between pupils wearing earrings or studs’are included in school policies and educational establishments., but none on a real accident that occurred. It bothers me that the same swimming pool the public swims is the same pool our children’s activity takes place. The public is not told to take off their earring before swimming, just a thought. In a nursery school setting, I can understand toddlers pulling other toddlers earring, which can result to torn earlobe. However, a more realistic explanation should be provided as to why children in most UK primary schools are being instructed not to wear stud earring.

The Department of Education suggests that ‘Common sense should be used in assessing and managing the risks of any activity.’ Some UK schools have lost common sense when it comes to the health and safety of children activities. The UK Health and Safety website supports this on pages 9-11 of their newsletter.

Pic: Pixabay

Parents are baffled as to why this rule exist and have asked questions on various parenting forums on if a child has being hurt from wearing stud earring. As a parent, I have experienced this too, thou the earring was the tiniest nose stud. I believe it is more unhygienic to keep having the earring taken in and out of the ears due to an infection transferred from day to day hand germs. As a childcare professional I understand rules of risk assessment are put in place to prevent any litigation. However these rules have to be based on common sense, cultural diversity and respect for the choice of parents for their children.

Manufactured Educators

On a particular day, I was on the train going to a meeting in London. A group of primary school children got on the train in Mile End. One of them had a visual impairment and guided by an adult whom I believe is the teacher. Three of the children sat on my left side, and one of them decided to pick the newspaper to read.

educationTo my surprise, the teacher told him to stop reading the paper and to put it down. From his body language/observation, the boy wanted to ask why but said ‘yes Miss’. While I was giving the teacher the cold look of why?; that’s how you make a child display disruptive behaviour, and holding back my tongue. Another adult supervising the children noticed this child putting the paper down but encouraged him to go on reading. The boy said ‘Miss told me to put it down.’ This adult turned to the teacher and asked my thoughtful question, why? Her response, ‘we can not control the content in the newspaper.’ The other adult said, ‘oh’. My thoughts responded, ‘are you kidding me.’ At this time of the morning, 95% of the newspaper in the train carriage is metro. This got me thinking about the political correctness of the education system and wanting to put filters in every area of it. If the children were disruptive with the newspaper, this action by the teacher would be justified. What happened to;

  • Asking the child, what are you reading?
  • Having a look at the newspaper before concluding on the action to take.
  • Directing the child to a more child-friendly page.
  • Engaging the child in educational discussion linked to the curriculum.

What is happening in education? I seem to be getting more dissolution with manufactured educators and the deteriorating of common sense in education. OR am I wrong?

The Act of Skin Discrimination in Children

It is a well-known fact that children do not learn how to discriminate or do they identify with skin colour discrimination. Mostly, children under the age of five doing discriminate based on the colour of the skin. Specifically, children under the age of three years, do not know what colour discrimination is because they do not see the skin colour difference. It can be augured that this is based on a child growing up in a mixed and diverse environment of skin colour. This argument can also be built on a child who has not been groomed or reared to identify skin colour from a very young age.

How do children learn or pick up skin colour discrimination? Having worked with diverse children and families over the years, I can suggest that children learn skin discrimination consciously (directly) or unconsciously (indirectly) from their parents or selected career.

renny adejuwon|children mindChildren learn skin discrimination consciously from their parents/carers through:

  • Words: e.g. ‘why are you playing with that black child?’ ‘Do not play with that child, you are different and do not look like them.’
  • Actions: e.g. not inviting the brown skin children to birthday parties or not going to the white skin children birthday parties.

Children learn skin discrimination unconsciously from their parents/carers through:
Listening to adult conversations; e.g., ‘I do not want to send my child to that school because they have a majority of black children.’ ‘I don’t know why the school is taking in more ethnic minority children. They have come to take over.’ Watching how their parents react to adult with different ethnic background: e.g. excluding them from school events, ignoring them in a group conversation, wanting to shut them up or down during conversations, indicating their contribution is not important or relevant.

A conversation took place between a mother and her 10-year-old son:

SON: my friend told me I was treated badly by my teacher.
MUM: what do you mean?
SON: my friend say’s my teacher was racist towards me because he chooses only the Caucasian children to play for the football team.
MOTHER: that does not mean he is racist. Have you been chosen to play for the school football team before?
SON: Yes
MOTHER: so your teacher is giving other children the opportunity to play for the school team. Of cause, some people will treat you differently, brown skin or Caucasian, but be aware that people are either good or bad not the colour of their skin.
SON: my class teacher is white, and she treats me nice and is fair.
MOTHER: you see, it is the person that matters not the colour of the skin. There are brown skin people, who also badly treat other people.

The conversation above could have been so different between the mother and her son. The mother had the opportunity to teach an entirely different seed of thought into her son, but instead, she gave a balanced approach to human behaviour rather than the colour of the human skin.

skin discriminationIn the movie 42, there was a scene where one of the characters, Pee Wee Reese, thanked the main character, Jackie Robinson, for helping get over his bias of skin colour discrimination. This scene took place in one of the many baseball stadiums used in the movie. However, on this occasion, a boy was sitting in the crowd with his daddy. When the dad and the crowd started chanting racist words towards the main character, who is the only brown skin player of the baseball team, the boy just copied his father. The character Pee Wee went on to hug Jackie Robinson and shook his hands. This action stopped some of the crowd from shouting out racist words. In particular, the boy’s face changed like he was thinking about his actions and why he copied his dad in the first instance.

This sense happens consciously or unconsciously in everyday life between parents and their children. If it is not challenged, it tends to grow and develop, and the seed of skin discriminations continues from one generation to the next. It still baffles me how a person can just be judged based on the colour of their skin; I do not get it. Watch your behaviour and your mouth around your children, as the saying goes, action speaks louder than words.

END NOTE: skin discrimination crosses ethnic, cultural or country boundaries.