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.
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.
So much has been written about children’s behaviour or the managing of behaviour in children. Behaviour is an action, reaction, display of character or response. Good behaviour, however, is what is acceptable to the adult caring for a child at any particular time. What is good behaviour, when it comes to children? Is it when children follow the instruction given to them without any fuss or complain to the adult; Or when they are being rewarded for participating in something positive. In most cases, ‘do as you are told’, shows you are of good behaviour.
A child being described as showing good behaviour is the perception of the adult the child is trying to please. Children who are abused or groomed sexually, have been told by their abuser that when they are ‘good’ or ‘behave’ they will be rewarded positively. This scenario shows that the good behaviour of the child is based on what the adult demands from him or her. Does this mean it is right? Of cause not but in the eye of the child, this behaviour is rewarded positively. That means it must be good and acceptable. Some children are overly nice and helpful, which has gotten them into more inconvenience. A case comes to mind of a child who helped another child during an exam. The helpful child had finished her exam paper but noticed that the child sitting next to her was finding it difficult, so decided to help. Other children have been nasty in fighting off a bully, which at the time was seen as appropriate behaviour for defending themselves.
What am I saying? The onus of a child showing good behaviour falls entirely on the adult. In simple term, adults are responsible for developing effective behaviour in children. A child cannot just develop good behaviour overnight, or throughout their developmental years without any definitive guide or input from the adult. Rather, s/he responds to the adult who is responsible for caring and developing him/her. Whatever the adult pours into the child is what the child bears. When a toddler swears, the adult caring for the toddler is responsible for that pattern of behaviour based on what he/she is exposed to.
Do personality and genetics plays a part in the behaviour of children? Maybe. Some parents have said ‘my child is naturally good and well behaved’ while others have said ‘out of all my four children, my third child is the most difficult.’ It can be debated that the birth position of the child, the socioeconomic level of the family, the time frame of when the child was born and many other factors affected the behaviour of the child. The debate can go on. The majority of the time, one thing is for certain. The behaviour of the child, whether good or bad, rests solely on the adult. According to Emilie Buchwald, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
Most parent I know cherish those moments when their children rely on them for every thing. Your child looks up to you before he/she can walk, use the toilet, eat, stand, go to a friend’s house, ride a bike, read a book, learn how to spell a word or even the meaning and may I include swim. You show and tell them this is how it’s done, your own way most importantly.
It then gets to the stage, this child of yours start taking the step of not needing your hands to walk. S/he can take those toddle walk independently, sound those letters out phonetically and then spell the word; Discover word meaning in the dictionary but realise that the words does not only mean the one explained but has several meanings. For example sake, ‘BITCH’ the female dog but also have another meaning or ‘SEX’ the gender of being male and female but also have another meaning. They move from the stage of needing to hold unto your shoulders when swimming and splashing, to the stage of leaving you behind in the pool after attending swimming lessons you paid for and getting so good at swimming. This was the stage I found myself and said “Oh No! No! No! this is not happening”, taking myself back to school to add swimming school to my learning activities.
Don’t get me wrong, I did swim as a child. However, when the strategies and techniques used where self-taught and competition is now with expect, I must say, this is the time to go back to school and learn the right way. Within six months of my children becoming confident in swimming and the incident of being left behind in the pool I told myself it time for adult swimming school. It took me about another six months to make the contact with the swim school and I will say the rest is history.
With the help of a float, my swimming style now include butterfly, front crawl and doggy paddle, independently. I must say the swim pool is more enjoyable. My children taught me how to swim and I thank them for the indirect motivation. Don’t just be the parent also be the child and be taught, you never know where it will lead.
A BIG! thank you to Kays Adult Swim for giving adults the second chance at leaning to swim.
When it comes to parenting and good parenting tools and skills, I have come to realise that persistence is the key.
- If you want to get your child into a sleeping routine, persistence is the key.
- If you want to get your child eating 3 main meal, with healthy snack, persistence is the key, without making excuses for the child.
- If you want to get your child toilet trained and ready for pre-school, persistence is the key.
- If you want to manage a particular negative behaviour from your child, persistence is the key.
- If you want to encourage manners such as please and thank you into your child, persistence is the key and you lead by examples.
- If you want to encourage tidy up skills, persistence is the key and maybe with some rewards.
- If you want to encourage reading or maths skills, persistence is the key.
As the saying, practise makes perfect. The more you persist and practice your parenting skills in these areas and more, the better and should I say perfect you become (if there is anything a perfect parent). Am sure you have seen all the parenting TV programme. It shows you that parenting has more to do with persistence, saying what you mean, doing it and sticking to your guns, if I may say so.