I hunched my back to fit through the doorway of the mud and thatch hut, my baby in my arms. The woman inside welcomed me with a “karibu,” her own baby suckling at her breast. The hut was dark with only light spilling in from two small windows but my eyes adjusted quickly. It was decorated with free calendars and unsmiling photos of family members hung high on the mud walls, like so many other homes I’d entered in my two years in Kenya. As we spoke, through a translator who knew the local Luyha dialect, chickens wandered in the hut and were shushed away without a thought.
I had spent the past two days living with a family in a rural village with my baby and 3 year old son talking with local woman about their experiences as mothers. My son was outside playing easily with the children in the compound despite the language barrier.
The conversation was going well. Her 2 small children had entered the hut and sat quietly during our discussion. But at some point my son came rushing in, insisting emphatically, in only the way a 3 year old can, that he was ready to go. His whining was incessant. “Mama mama mama. Can we go? Can we go? can we go?!” The conversation stopped and everyone turned to view the spectacle. Summoning my best “parenting in public” skills, I lovingly (with an undercurrent of “you are going to get it when we get home”) told him to stop and that we’d leave shortly. This was met only with louder and more insistent, back arching whining.
I was embarrassed. I had done all that I could to avoid this scenario. Before we left for this particular visit, I got down on Caleb’s level, looked him in the eye and made him promise to behave if he wanted to join me (he had begged to come along). We agreed that if he couldn’t behave he would not be coming with me again. All of this to no apparent effect. (more…)
I often get told how “lucky” I am to have such a great relationship with my 19 year old son and my 16 year old daughter. I usually smile and agree that I am, indeed, lucky to be blessed with such a great husband and kids.
Is it just luck, though? Gary Player (the golfer) famously said; “The more I practice, the luckier I get!” With that in mind, I decided to think about what my husband and I did which (I believe) made us “lucky”! Who knows, maybe some of these tips will improve your luck too!
1. Discipline: Before I conceived our first child, my husband and I talked a lot about our families of origin. We discussed how we were disciplined and how we felt growing up. I come from a broken home – a home which was fragmented even before my parents finally divorced – and I remember feeling very insecure because rules and punishments were very inconsistent. (more…)
I hate it when I lose my cool with my kids, especially in public. I have been a mom for 6 years now (I have 2 boys – one 6 years old and one a toddler), and I work really hard to be constructive and patient with them. I try to redirect and channel their energy. I try to reinforce positive behavior rather than always focusing on the negative. I try to talk directly but calmly and not raise my voice.
But even with the grandest of intentions, sometimes I turn into “that” mom. And it’s during those times that I am amazed at the things that come out of my mouth. Now, I don’t go off the deep end. For example, I remember how one year when I was in elementary school, my classroom had teacher’s aide who would always yell in her booming, deep voice, “If I have to come back in here, I’m going to BASH SKULLS!” I never go there. And I have really cleaned up my language since becoming a parent. But in the heat of the moment, I sometimes say things that are so cliché-parent and completely ludicrous from a child’s perspective. Let me share some of them with you. (more…)
This week’s Friday Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Maggie Ellison. She asked our writers,
“In your opinion, or role as a parent, is spanking children an acceptable form of discipline?”
Here’s what some of our World Moms had to say…
Salma of Ontario, Canada writes:
“I have spanked my children, and it wasn’t the best option. I found that it is best to deal with each child based on his personality.
The times when I did spank it was out of fear (kids run into traffic etc). I realized that it was my fear that led me to REACT.
From my experience, spanking doesn’t empower children, so I don’t think it’s a good form of discipline.” (more…)
I just read an article on the first real-time study to be done on spanking. Researcher George Holden originally set out to study how often parents shout at their children. He asked the parents to tape their interactions with their children and was surprised to hear how often they spanked or slapped their children and even more surprised at the reasons.
One parent slapped her child for turning the pages of the story book she was reading him. Another mother spanked her child for approaching the stove (which was not on). And yet, another one slapped her child 11 times in a row because the child was fighting with his sister. (You’d think she would realize it’s not really working!)
The study spanned people from different backgrounds and races, so as not to be bias in one way or another. The parents were told that it was about their interactions with the children, and they were asked to roll the tape from when the children came home from day care or school until bed time. (more…)