From an evolutionary perspective, fears and anxieties surrounding being left alone at night are entirely normal and actually important. This innate fear would have kept our offspring safe, at a time when they would have been most at risk if left alone. While life has changed immeasurably as our species has evolved, this natural fear has not moved with the times. We know our children are safe from predators, warm, dry and comfortable tucked up in their beds at night and so do our children, when you hold a rational conversation with them that is. Their instincts and psyche often says otherwise though.
So, what can you do if you have a shy child, or suspect that you are raising an introvert – to help them to embrace, not feel embarrassed about, who they are? Here are my top ten tips:
What should you call your child’s genitals? The simplest, and most positive, answer is simply – their real names.
Our society is obsessed with children respecting adults. As children get older, our focus on this respect for elders increases. We tolerate what we deem as ‘disrespectful behaviour’ from toddlers and preschoolers, but once children are of school age our tolerance wanes. We take their backchat, rudeness and refusal to listen or do what we tell them to do as an indication that they are lacking in respect for us and we meet it with punishments, chastisements and consequences. We are wrong.
So many adults today have a poor understanding of personal finance concepts, and I think this lack of knowledge – among other causes – plays a big part in the levels of personal debt and financial difficulties that many struggle with. We really must not leave our tweens’ financial instruction to their formal education because it is severely lacking in schools. I passionately believe that all parents should teach their tweens to be financially literate and allow them to learn to earn, save, spend, donate and budget money in the safety of the family home from a young age. If we don’t, we are doing our tweens a huge injustice that may impact them negatively for many years to come.
Making up a ‘first period box’ for girls, before they start their periods (known as menarche), helps them to feel prepared and by demystifying products that they may use, the whole experience becomes far less anxious for them. Making up a first period box also allows you to discuss the different selection of sanitary protection (san-pro) available, so that she can make an informed choice about her preferences.
Children (whatever age!) are never just “naughty”. There is ALWAYS a reason for their behaviour. Naughty is the tip of the iceberg, it is a wholly inadequate word to describe what the child is experiencing and it sets us on the wrong path of discipline.
…before you can take a breath, you catch a glimpse of your child as the teenager they soon will be. A certain way they hold their jaw, peer through their impossibly long eyelashes or throw their head back as they laugh. And all at once, you realise that baby is no more. That child is fast becoming grown. Yet, they are not quite there. Life is now a strange dichotomy of big parenting (my term for raising more mature, physically larger children with more complex problems and emotional needs) and little parenting (raising small children with physically exhausting, yet relatively simple needs). This is the world of the in between. The bridge between two worlds. Not yet a teen, but not completely a child either.
Those in the UK who attended school between 1988 and 2003 would have been affected by Margaret Thatcher’s government’s Section 28. This was a clause prohibiting councils and, most importantly, schools from so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, with Thatcher famously saying: ‘Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life.’ This meant that sex education and related support in schools and from social-care services legally had to avoid all LGBTQ+ issues, resulting in widespread bullying and homophobia.
If you have a 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 year old, the chances are you’ll recognise most of this list. How many ring true for you?