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Archive for July, 2013

PostHeaderIcon Dealing with death

Today has been a new challenge as a parent for me. Someone my daughters know and look up to, a young teenager, passed away after fighting cancer for a few years. The news has been shocking for them and I see them sitting quietly at times, and other times, asking me questions about the disease.

At this age, my children understand that death is irreversible. I’ve always been the type of parent who¬†likes to talk to my kids and drive them to ask questions so they don’t carry a heavy burden of unknowns in their tender hearts and minds. How I choose to answer the questions has to be strategic and appropriate for their level of understanding, of course. But I can’t help feeling all of the grief myself and find myself working hard to not let my own sadness pour into theirs. However, I’ve noticed that allowing myself to be sad is making them relate better and understand that it’s alright to feel that way. I guess it gives them comfort when I express my feelings openly so they, in turn, do the same.

Overall, it’s going well, but I have to say that parenting isn’t always about protecting our children from pain and suffering. It’s teaching them how to deal with what comes their way, and in the process of teaching them, I guess we become better students as well.

PostHeaderIcon Helping your children develop their talents

It’s a privilege to see my children growing each day, physically and emotionally, building their personalities and developing from little people into young ladies. I have also noticed how they each have their set of interests and talents and as a parent, it is my responsibility to help nurture these.

But first, as sometimes children exhibit random interests, it may be confusing to figure out which areas to pursue. I have, therefore, exposed my children to a variety of activities such as sports, the creative arts and technology to help discover where their interests and abilities lie. Once those areas were identified, I engaged my children in acquiring knowledge and skills to further develop those interests.

Many parents force their children to pursue activities that their children may not enjoy, and while to a certain extent, this may be a necessary process in identifying the child’s interests, it may distract the child from what is his or her natural talent. When a child expresses their interest in a particular activity, that is a pathway for the parent to steer them on the right track. And with time, their interests may change and as parents we need to be flexible enough to change with them. This is all part of the learning experience and it really isn’t as daunting as it may seem. It is, in fact, an opportunity for creating memorable bonds between the parent and the child.

Also, it is important to challenge children but while they are busy testing the waters, some parents tend to set very high standards. We have to be careful not to demoralize the child by having unrealistic expectations so we must work on striking a fair balance during the learning process. This where we need to understand the difference between “nurturing” and “pushing.” And if as a parent, we are unable to provide the coaching and mentorship needed, we can check out resources available that can provide the help the child needs.

There is great joy in seeing watching your children’s talents bloom. And there is even greater joy in knowing that you are experiencing the journey with them.

 

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