Being the Bad Guy is Not Fun: Parenting

Have you reprimanded your son or daughter from playing video games all night or stopped them from going to an overnight sleepover at a friend’s house when “everybody was going”? I’m sure you have. What did your children do? Maybe some form of a  tantrum ensued. All parents know that when we see our children suffer we feel the pain a hundred times over. Restrictions, regulations, and discipline should be a part of how you raise your children. No matter how tiresome or painful it might become. Being the bad guy is not fun, but as a parent sometimes it is necessary.

There’s a great point stressed in the blog post Someday You’ll Thank Me:

“No matter the age of our kids, they need us to make decisions in their best interest. They need the wisdom and perspective that our longer lives and increased experience bring. They need us to offer advice, make rules, and keep them from harm. They need us to be their parents, not their friends — even if the thanks for those decisions never comes. “

I do believe that appreciation will come, when your children grows older, they will realize how thankful they are because you have helped made them a better person. Being the bad guy is not fun, but feeling that gratitude when your child has grown up and realized these things is rewarding.

Preparing Children for School: Tips That Can Help

Many parents have great anxiety over preparing children school. It is important that you equip your child with the right preparation before sending them off. Proper preparation will give your child a heads-up and even a head start for the activities that he is expected to do at school. Preparing your child will:

  1. Reduce the level of anxiety
  2. Introduce your child to the kind of school activities that he is expected to do daily
  3. Let your child learn ahead thus making it easier for him to adjust to school activities
  4. Help him or her enjoy school

These are just some of the pros that preparing your child for school will do. A thorough list of how to prepare your child for school can be found in the post 20 Things You Gotta Do Before Your Kid Starts Kindergarten. Preparing your child for school also means getting him ready for the hours. So tuck him to bed early and prepare yourself for an early start in the morning. And yes, dreading the loss of summer starts here.

Keeping an Eye on Internet Use

You can find almost anything on the internet these days. You can shop online, work online, make reservations online. It’s actually a good thing that we can’t eat using the internet just yet. All kidding aside, my point is that the internet is useful in a lot of ways, but along with the usefulness comes an equal disadvantage. Children can be exposed to multitudes of things that can corrupt their young minds. Without properly monitoring your children’s activity over the internet, you might be shocked to find that the child that you are trying to protect and nurture is being corrupted by the evils of the world. This is done inside your own home! Just as you do not tolerate an actual person filling your children’s mind with evil notions, we should also not tolerate our computers and the internet hurting them in the same way. Keeping an eye on internet use is a very important aspect of parenting today.

How do you protect your child? There are 10 online safety tips suggested in a post called Internet Safety: A Warning to Parents & 10 Helpful Tips.

Here are some suggestions to ensure your child’s safe online browsing:

1. Keep the computer in a public area

2. Limit time online

3. Have a buddy system

4. Know what they are doing online

5. Know passwords and check accounts

Keeping an eye on internet use is a critical activity for all parents. Don’t neglect its importance!


Choosing The Right Kind of Toys For Your Kids

Play is one of the most powerful vehicles children have for learning new skills, concepts, and experiences. Research shows that 90% of play in children involves a toy. With these facts at hand, we can easily conclude that toys are vital in the development of our children. However, the problem is, not all toys are appropriate and helpful to our children; as a matter of fact, some may even do more harm than good. Choosing the right kind of toys for your kids is super important.

My criteria for choosing toys are these four simple characteristics: fun, age-appropriate, stimulating, and safe. I am also not a big fan of gizmos and gadgets because as the Kaiser Foundation said, “The real educational toys are not the flashy gadgets and gizmos with big promises, but the staples that have built creative thinkers for decades.” 

If you need help choosing the right kind of toys for your kids here are some good tips: “How To Choose Toys.”

Yes My Children Make Me Happy

An article from the Pacific Standard magazine titled, “Do Children Make Us Happy?” caught my attention this morning. This shouldn’t be surprising as I believe reading a title like this would catch any parent’s attention. So while I answered yes my children make me happy, I also had some thoughts on the article.

The article brought me up and down–convincing me that parenthood is indeed marred with struggle, doubt, anxiety, and even terror and then restoring me again to my belief that with parenthood comes the happiest days of anybody’s life. To answer those non-parents who believe that parenthood can never give anyone genuine happiness, I’d like to quote this sentence from the article, “If we define happiness in the superficial sense of getting what you want, parents indeed may be less happy than non-parents.” So yes my children make me happy and I know that definitively.

Money Lessons Your Kids Need to Know

Some parents are hesitant to teach their kids about money. Personally I believe that teaching my children about financial matters early on can greatly help them down the path to a successful financial life. I acknowledge that some things in life are best learned by experience, but I don’t want my children to learn about financial issues the hard way. I would very much rather teach them young.

As soon as a child is able to understand the purpose of money–that it is traded for goods or services–I believe that it is already appropriate to start discussing with him/her the basic concepts in finances like budgeting, saving, and earning. However, we must remember that no matter what we instruct or say to our children, they are likely to learn more from what they see in us. This means that if we want them to be good with money, we should handle our finances carefully too.

Here’s a good post to get you started in teaching your kids about money: “5 Lessons To Teach Your Kids About Money.”

Do I Really Want My Children to Be Leaders?

I have always been sure that I want my children to become leaders. I think most parents have the same wish for their children. I mean, why not? When you look at history, it is not hard to see that most people who possessed great leadership skills lived successful, happy, and fulfilled lives.

However lately, I have come across a couple of readings that made me think about this desire I have for my children–made me ask myself whether I really wanted my children to be leaders. Are my wishes sincere? Or are they driven only by my selfish desires for recognition and adoration? Furthermore, I started realizing that while being a leader can be a truly rewarding experience, it entails a lot of hard work and can expose a person to a great deal of criticisms, pressure, and stress.

So after thinking about it for a few days, I have come to a conclusion that I still want my children to become leaders. Sure, it may not be easy, but I definitely would not want them to miss out on the chance to accomplish great things and make a huge difference in the world and in the lives of the people they meet.

If you are preparing your children to become leaders too, know the top 10 things you ought to do by reading this post entitled, “Ten Ways To Raise A Leader.”

What Love Means To Children

Love is said to be one of the most difficult phenomenons to explain.  For centuries wise men, poets, and philosophers have tried to create a definition of this emotion, but not one has put together a definition that everyone can agree on. The whole concept of love is a difficult entity to explain–even for well-developed adults. But how about to children?

You may think that it is impossible for children and their young minds  to understand the emotion that is love, but studies have actually shown that innocent children are able to give better explanations of love than adults. See this blog post for example, Introduction to February’s Value: Love. As parents tried to discuss with and teach their children about love, they ended up learning from their kids instead.

Here are is an excerpt of a post on how children define love. I read this some time ago and found it to be really fun, so I thought it might be worth sharing:

What Does Love Mean?

1. When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.  – Rebecca, 8

2. “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” – Billy, 4

3. “Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” – Chrissy, 6

4. “Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” – Danny, 7

5. “Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss” – Emily, 8

The Responsibility to Listen to Our Children

I know that I recently posted about the importance of spending playtime with your kids. I hope you won’t mind me writing about something similar to that topic–the importance of listening to your children. I just can’t help it, the moment I read the post, Why It’s So Important to Listen to Your Children, I knew I just had to share my own two cents on the matter.

As a parent, I know it can be difficult to juggle all the responsibilities that come with the role. However, we should not forget that as important as our responsibility to provide food, clothing, and shelter to our children is, our responsibility to listen attentively to them is just as important. The simple act of hearing what our kids have to say is a major tool by which we can show our love for them.

By lending them our undivided attention whenever they need it, we are making them feel valued. Also, by willingly listening to them, we are instilling in their minds that we want them to express their emotions to us. You see, when we listen to the small stuff while they are young, when they grow up, they will come back to us to talk about the bigger things. I think that is something every parent hopes for.

Respect Parents Who Bring Their Young Children to Mass

I respect the families that choose to bring their young children to Mass. Most of the time they are really well behaved, and I think it is important to instill the habit of attending Mass in kids today. Sometimes I see parents struggling to keep their child quiet during Mass, and some people give them annoyed looks. I really dislike when people do this. The parents are simply trying to do something good. Sure, the young children might cry or have an outburst at some point, but can you blame the parents for trying to teach their kids about God? I think we all need to relax and let these parents keep doing what they’re doing. Eventually those little kid will grow up, and hopefully the good habits of their parents will help them grow into future members of your parish.

I read a post that I thought was really cool recently. It was written from the perspective of the youngest child of a family who attends Mass together. The post is titled, “A Letter to Frankie About Mom’s Mass Survival Tips”. I thought it was an awesome post because it describes how this mother has kept her family full of children under control at Mass. Hearing it told from a young child’s perspective was hilarious though.