Mean Moms: Dealing With Parents Who Bully
Unlike most adults, kids love to get their hands dirty. The messier, the stickier, the slimier, the better! You don’t need to shell out big bucks to keep them in fingerpaint. With this recipe, you can stew up their favorite colors, right in your own kitchen. Don’t let the mess hold you back. Not only is this stuff easy on the wallet, it’s washable, too! Slime it up, hose them down, and you’re ready for a spring barbeque.
What You Need:
What You Do:
Have you ever bent the rules of a board game so your kids wouldn’t lose? Slowed down during a backyard race so your child is first to the finish line? That impulse makes sense at first blush. An adult can handle a loss at Go Fish much more easily than your average preschooler. Letting your child win protects her from feeling bad.
But as it turns out, research tells us that losing games is good for children, and helps them develop into empathetic, well-adjusted people.
“We naturally, as parents, want to protect our children from pain,” says Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. “Sometimes kids need to experience discomfort, or sometimes great disappointment, to grow.”
If your child reacts to losing by pouting or throwing game pieces on the floor, it might be hard to remember that the experience is for his own good. However, getting through a minor loss now has benefits in the long run.
Coping skills. The world is a competitive place. As Carter notes, losing in a board game at home with a parent is much easier for a child to handle than experiencing her first loss in a public place, like a competition in front of her kindergarten class. Kids who have practice losing learn how to be good sports. “If they don’t lose, they’re being set up to not be able to cope,” says Carter, director of the parenting program at The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California-Berkeley.
Learning from mistakes. If a game requires specific skills or strategies, losing gives children a chance to analyze how they might have done better. Jon Oliver, co-author of Lesson One: The ABCs of Life, compares this to athletes who watch videos of past games to spot weaknesses in their play. “Every day we make a mistake and we learn from it,” he says. “If you make a mistake, what do you do the next time?”
Self-confidence. Children might improve their skills so they’ll get better at a game they’ve lost, but as a result they’ll learn new things. Becoming more knowledgeable builds their belief in themselves and pride in their abilities. Plus, they’ll learn that performing well comes from giving their best effort.
Empathy. Kids can’t identify with others who are going through a loss if they’ve never had that experience. Every time your child loses a game, he receives a little lesson in the fact that everyone has to struggle through life, whether that means studying to get an A on a test or persevering through soccer practice before scoring the perfect goal. “We feel empathy by feeling hurt ourselves,” says Melody Brooke, a marriage and family therapist in Texas.
Self-control. No child can get her way all the time. Losing sometimes shows kids that they can’t expect good things to be handed to them, and that they have to behave well around others or risk being labeled a sore loser. Oliver notes that like any skill, losing with grace takes practice.
Joy in having fun. Children with the ability to handle a loss can have a good time playing a game even if they don’t win. “The most important thing is that it’s not about the outcome,” Carter says.
Life is full of chances to show kids that losing isn’t the end of the world.
Admit mistakes. Be open with your children about your own errors and how you fix them. This shows that no one is perfect. “Every day we all make mistakes. Maybe you’re making a recipe and you forgot an ingredient,” Oliver says. “As adults, we have to be vulnerable about it.”
Keep score – sometimes. Carter suggests maintaining a balance between the number of times you keep score in games and the number of times you don’t. “You can just send the message that we’re just here having a good time,” she says. “It’s also a way to prevent a loss.” But if you never keep score, she says, your kids won’t learn what losing is like.
Challenge them. Encourage your children to get better at everyday tasks. Play a game that’s a bit harder than they’ve played before or assign them a household chore. “Give them challenges at home that are maybe beyond their abilities, and let them see that they can learn to do it,” says Brooke, author of Oh, Wow! This Changes Everything!
Brooke adds that kids who are never allowed to lose can grow up anxious and depressed. They’ve never learned to cope when life doesn’t go the way they’ve planned. “On the inside, they don’t understand what is going on,” she says. “They feel that the world is somehow harming them.”
But learning that it’s possible to lose a game and get though the day intact goes a long way toward preparing kids for real life.
“Our job as parents is not to make our children happy,” Brooke says. “Our job is to help them to be happy in the world.”
Right on the heels of the letters to Santa, education.com has a few ideas for educational gifts for Christmas:
Keep in mind that gifts don’t have to be expensive or fancy to satisfy most kids. Planning outings and doing things together together will create good memories for everyone!
If you want to get dizzy, go visit the “early reading” section of any large bookstore. You’ll find packed rows of phonics sets, workbooks, and especially advice books, all of which seem to boil down to one scary message: if you don’t push hard now, and in just the right way, your young reader will never catch on!
Wait a minute, say many specialists – don’t believe all that hype. When your kids are little, the best way to help them read is both simple and fun: show them you love books and provide plenty of them at home.
Now, some children may have special affection for phonics sets and readers, but more often we’re talking about books that parents and kids read together for pure enjoyment. “What is most important,” explains Peggy Koshland-Crane, M.A., reading specialist and director of the Academic Success Center at Notre Dame de Namur University, “is to help children fall in love with reading.” Formal school instruction, she explains, will address reading skills one by one; but at home, she urges:
Of course, your child may still struggle with reading. Let’s face it: it’s hard! If you suspect that your child needs more support, make sure you talk with your school. For the vast majority of young readers, however, most reading specialists agree: when reading at home, read what you love, and the skills will follow.
Here is an article to help you understand what behavior is expected of your child in kindergarten. Staying on task will be discussed at conferences as well as academic progress. There are also tips for how you can help at home.