Upbringing – What to Do With That Little Hothead?

“Now we struggle a lot with our little boy, he always has a tantrum and I really don t know what to do with him, dressing downs don t work, when I smack his bottom, he gets over that in a short while and is not worried about that at all. It really irritates me when somebody starts to tell me that I am too tender at him. I don t think so because I really try to keep him on a tight rein and I don t allow him anything for no special reason. However he really has a tantrum for no reason and screams and yells I am already helpless I feel like crying.“

 

We borrowed this story from public online discussion. Mother who knows this story let her be not angry with us. Internet is full of similar contributions. They differ only insignificantly and sound always the same: We struggle each other. Nothing doesn’t count for much with him. I am at a loss what to do next with him. Where do I make a mistake?

It is not always easy to be a parent. Especially when the two-year-old boy starts to have a tantrum and destroy all our present views about upbringing. So we sometimes search for a piece of advice where it is possible and try to know the score in vain.

 „I don t want to make him shut up all day long, it is not upbringing in my view, it is drill. Do you think I make a mistake when I wait when it is more reasonable to understand my explanation?“

 „My friend told me I should smack her bottom to make her feel the pain. I smack her bottom from time to time, but I don t know, if I do it right?“

(excerpts from discussions)

 

Which upbringing is the right upbringing?

Some people say: Spare the rod and spoil the child. Nobody caressed with them in their childhood. They survived and today they are decent people. Others warn, that strict upbringing balefully leave marks on the child. Obedience does not have to be a lucky choice, it will grow up one day and will go out into the world of grown ups.

Where is the happy medium and which upbringing is the right upbringing? And especially- which will work even for our child  which is so idiosyncratic (wild, obstinate, non- assertive, quick, slow… substitute anything)? How non- upbringing can solve it?

 

Beg your pardon – Non-upbringing?!

Approach to children, which is spread in our country under the title of Non-upbringing, does not have anything in common with „american“ free upbringing. It does not recommend directive way – I will set you hard and fast rules and you must stick to them, at the same time it is not too liberal- do what you think, child, I do not intervene.

„Non-upbringing is a partnership approach. Some parents are horrified, when they hear the word partnership – I will dance to his tunes? But when I say partnership, I mean mutual partnership. When the child is my partner, it does not mean, that he is the centre of the universe and everything revolves around him. Also me, a parent, I am also a partner, and my peace of mind is equally important as satisfaction of a child. Mutual partnership looks like nobody has to rule here or live in reduced circumstances, we can agree on everything and we are both satisfied,“ says Dr. Kate Krall, author of the principles of Non-upbringing.

 

Uncontrollable child? It is often a big misunderstanding

How to come to an agreement with a child, that is uncontrollable? I said it to him already hundred times. I tried everything, by hook or by crook. Nothing works. My child is really different. It is just itself, anything „verified“ does not count for much with it.

Yes, reliable advice and instructions do not work everytime. That s precisely why your child is „different“. Equally as mother (or father) is different. And equally unique is situation, in which you found yourself with your child. Therefore Non-upbringing does not give parents „instructions for a child“ and does not try to convince them, that there is only one right solution. It helps them to find their way in a child, in themselves and also in a situation- and find their own solution.

When somebody gives you advice, what exactly you should say to your child or what you should do with it, maybe it will work in 50% cases. And then there are the remaining 50% cases, where it does not have to work. Therefore we teach the parents to understand what happens with them, as a matter of fact. When I understand a child and situation, then I will solve the problem with him together easily. And I don t have to try without looking, what somebody gave me as a piece of advice, or to do something, I am not convinced about. For example, smack his bottom. Parents often assume somehow, it is not the right thing, but they are angry, helpless and so that they act against their feelings. And sometimes it starts as a vicious circle. I know from my personal experience, that most of the problems comes only from lack of understanding, I do not understand what the child wants and it does not understand me,“ explains Kate Krall.

She worked with disabled children in the past, with talented children, as a boss of  subsidiary of the Fund of imperilled children then with „problem“ children and families in a difficult living situation. „It works everywhere and we can teach you that in Non-upbringing,“ she dares to say. „We know how to agree on everything without problems with our little boy and also teenage young lady. No wild puberty or defiance are not necessary.“

 

Speech is silver but Silence is golden

„It is not enough to tell parents how they should do that. Therefore we do not give them instructions in similar interviews. Recall how many times somebody told you what you should do- those people around you always know best. You listened to him, maybe accepted he was right, nevertheless you did not change anything,“ says Kate Krall and continues:

„One thing is to speak, the other thing is to live through it at your own skin and start to do that practically. Therefore we lead parents in our courses to their own experience. Simple, but efficient practical tasks are important part. When you experience some situation from child´s point of view, you will never slap his face in a similar situation. But maybe you will come to him and say: „Now I am very angry, I tremble all over my body, I need it to be different next time.“ And then you will think up how.“

 

When children make crazy things

Let us get back now  to the intoductory contribution of a mother from internet discussion. „Even though your child makes the craziest thing, for example it has a tantrum, screams or bites you, it always has a reason to do that. Sure, it does something, you don t like, and you need to deal with that somehow. I don t mean to say at all- let it be. But the child tries to express something at that moment. When you smack him or you tell it, this is not good to do, you tell it in fact: „I don t understand you, but shut up.“ And then you will never get at the understanding. You need to figure out together, what it wants to say. And then it is sufficient to change the style of communication,“ explains Kate Krall.

Isn it all a long distance run? You can change quickly to the Non-upbringing, within several days till weeks. You have to be firmly decided and go for it. As soon as the child gets used to the new style of communication, we are home and dry.It will stop have a tantrum, because nobody understands it and it will start to cooperate.

 

One story for all

And how does the whole „magic“ look like in practice? Maybe like this:

„Mike (16 months of age) crawled into a cabin, his grandmother was of course close on his heels. He took a broom, and wanted to go out. Grandmother lamented that it is too big for him, he can knock his head against something, fall down, will cry.. and he said no and no! My grandmother shouts at me in despair: „Pete, tell him something, come and smack his bottom, he does not obey.“ (I got the feeling he obeys and has fun on top of that.)

My bold sentence followed: „So try to agree with him on that somehow.“ „Agree? Oh my god, it is a child! He does not understand me, he does not speak…“

I got up from the bench at rest, came to them into a cabin and knelt down in front of Mike: “Mike, my grandmother maybe  does not want you to take the broom outside. Maybe she sweeps with that only inside- try asking her if you can really take it out.“

„Mike did his „Hm“ at me, turned around with the broom at grandmother, raised it, did his „Hm“ at grandmother and nodded his head at the same time. Grandmother stood and was stunned and nodded her head. Mike went out enthusiastically out and started to touch his springboard.“

 

Pacifier – Ten Ways How to Get Rid of It

A pacifier sometimes can really do wonders. However sometimes we need a small wonder, how to break the kid of using a pacifier. Here are ten small tricks, that should help you to get rid of „a small but undesirable problem“.

 

1. Make it tasting bad

As well as when breaking the habit of biting the nails, you can coat it with something unpleasant what a child does not like it can also help with breaking the habit of using a pacifier

 

2. Give it as a present or „sell it“

If you think a child can not comprehend this procedure, then giving it as a present or swap the pacifier for something else which the child longs for it can be the right trick that can terminate the pacifier addiction.

 

3. Make „a cold nose“

You are the parent and therefore you have the right to take away the pacifier from the child once and for all- at least theoretically. If you think the best thing for your child and also for your sanity is to say simply one day strong „No“, you have got the full right to that.

 

4. Take it away gradually

Perhaps all the present people will bear best gradual and sensitive taking away from the pacifier. The first successful step is to reduce using the pacifier only for particular time periods (evening falling asleep) or a place (bed…).

 

5. The sooner, the better

Small babies and also small children have their powerful means how to protest against their beloved habit, such as for example a pacifier. But when you break the habit sooner, than a child learns to manifest its repulsion in a verbal way or it will negotiate with you, you will save much time and energy, it will be easier for you and also for your child.

 

 6. Damage it

For many parents it attested itself when they damaged the pacifier in order to it has fully damaged and stopped to be pleasant in child´s mouth. Somebody will pierce it and waits when it tears up, somebody will tear it up right to the handle. Safety note: if you try it, beware, not to damage the pacifier so that it will give off small particles that could choke the child or it would start to suffocate.

 

7. Give it to the pacifier fairy as a present

The Pacifier fairy is tiny, but powerful and it is the next kin of Tooth fairy. This magical character can help your child to come from the life with a pacifier to a free life without a pacifier. „When my little brother was two years old, we told him, that the Pacifier fairy needs his pacifier for small babies that do not have any pacifier. It worked wonderfully- he liked the idea very much.“ –L. „My daughter was three and a half years old when we played the game with her she gave up the pacifier thanks to this and without any tear. We put all her pacifiers into a bag and told her that the Pacifier fairy will bring her a toy she wishes to have instead of the pacifier. We prepared her for that several months and explained to her that the pacifiers are only for small babies and not for big girls. To our amazement she pushed out the bag with pacifiers herself in front of the entrance door. There was a beautiful toy instead of the bag in the morning, that she chose in advance. She has never mentioned the pacifier again.“

 

 8. „Lose it“

When you look for furiously a lost pacifier next time again, stop. When it got lost, it is lost. Or you can lose it on purpose. Both possibilities are excellent solution for desperate parents.

 

9. Read about it

Storytelling and reading of stories is at the same time amazing time for smooching and cheering up child´s love to reading and books. By means of books you can „instigate“ your child towards behaviour you would like to see. It will help him also to learn new things, tackle with changes and various changeovers- as for example the end with the pacifier.

 

10. Leave it to Nature

 

Sometimes it is needed to forbid the pacifier out of health reasons:

– Children who do not use the pacifier, they have less problems with ear infections.

– If it seems that your child will have some problems with pronunciation, the pacifier can even worsen them.

– Long- lasting and obstinate using the pacifier can cause problems with teeth and oral cavity.

– On the contrary, some parents think, it is better not to be much involved in anything, and leave it up to a child, when it gives up the pacifier itself.

– Sometimes the child can have a strong need to comfort itself, so that when you take away the pacifier from it, it will find compensation quickly: it will suck its thumb, pull a blanket and suck it or it will find another „honey“ that will suck.

It really works! Child upbringing according to astrological signs in the Zodiac

When you understand character traits of your child, you can save enough time and nerves to your child and to yourself. Do you need some help with upbringing? We asked the stars how to tame your little offsprings. According to astrological signs in the Zodiac!

What applies to your son or your daughter? Against what methods is he or she very sensitive
and what educational practics is absolutely unacceptable for him or her? We were looking for tips according to sun signs. Here they are!

Your baby in Aries Zodiac sign (21.3.-20.4.)

Cheerful, domineering child. It needs to learn how to be good, it understands when you ask it for help, service, competition. It is impetuous, therefore it sometimes can not master some things, console it. It has to sleep a lot, it often overestimates its strengths. Do not sneer at it,it can not deal with derision, its defence is cruelty.

Your baby in Taurus Zodiac sign (21.4.-21.5.)

Unproblematic, playful child. But it is a bullock. Do not push it to the wall, do not make it do anything in any case, neither do not play with it in a sense of teasing. You are going to crash.You will get it out of the state „bullocking“ only with gentle serenity. Command intelligibly, with explanation. For example, instead of „wash your hands“ at other times when it is usual, add why- there are lots of bacillis in the coronas etc.

Your baby in Gemini Zodiac sign (22.5.-21.6)

You have to teach this smart, cheerful child only not to switch from one idea to another and to understand real content what it is saying and learning. Even butting in can be a bad habit, it has to learn to glark. Adapt yourself to its vivacity and teach it to be patient.

Your baby in Cancer Zodiac sign (22.6.-22.7.)

It always loves its parents, it is obedient, it takes seriously all your opinions. Bring it up with love, follow your heart during upbringing so as to your worried, sometimes tearful or moody child would not be sad from time to time in adulthood. Your little cancer will be your support until old age and it will not have to domesticate in its shell for the world.

Your baby in Leo Zodiac sign (23.7.-22.8.)

This shining child will get thanks to its personal charm what it wants, however, it needs moderate and unceasing discipline. Tame its ostentation towards surroundings tactfully, do not serve it, when it becomes extremely lazy. Never humiliate it, apply „sticks and carrots“ approach justly, it needs to tame, but not to break (it would lose its generosity), it will not straighten up, it can even be cruel individualist.

Your baby in Virgo Zodiac sign (23.8.-22-9.)

This child needs sincere praise and order for its development. Arrogance is not imminent,it is shy and self critical. It has personal schedule and needs to have its things at their own place, otherwise it becomes chaotic and it corresponds to its result. Emphasizing its mistakes can lead to illness, lethargy, agression.

Your baby in Libra Zodiac sign (23.9.-23.10.)

Libra makes difficult decisions and hates hurry. Do not try to make your child have its choice, what to do and when, suggest a solution gently and repeatedly to it.Due to its internal need of harmony and justice, it sticks its nose into things that are not related to it, teach them when it is suitable and when not.

Your baby in Scorpio Zodiac sign (24.10.-22.11.)

Respect privacy of your child, but manifest clearly you are the one who dictates the rules. Teach it to bear a defeat, respect towards authority and ability to forgive even those who hurt it. It needs to be able to handle with its ego, not to be overflown with that or on the contrary not to suffer from phobias.

Your baby in Sagittarius Zodiac sign (23.11.-21.12.)

It does not respect authorities too much, insist on your attitude , but explain to it why you want this or that. This child needs urgently a feeling of safety and company at home, your presence in order to learn to live without accidents. It is eternal optimist, dreamer and idealist, it will always try to break down dogmas and formalities.

Your baby in Capricorn Zodiac sign (22.12.-20.1.)

Send your child out as much as possible, in the air and in the sun, even if it prefers to stay at home, it is good for its health more than for others. It takes its achievements for granted, the more it needs to be praised in order not to become an introvert curmudgeon and to be able to praise other people in adulthood.

Your baby in Aquarius Zodiac sign (21.1.-20.2.)

Help your child how to have its ideas in a logical row and that it is important. Make it do some physical activity, sport. It really can do three things at the same time and simultaneously to think about other three things, and this is a gift and also stumbling block. You have to help it organize everything so it will manage to fulfill its duties to the full.Moreover, it cannot cope with untold tension. Are there quarrels at your household on a daily basis? You have to calm them down!

Your baby in Pisces Zodiac sign (21.2.- 20.3.)

If it really wants, it is a master of manoeuvres, so do not give in. Pisces like to get away to the world of dreams. Yes, grant them this world of fairy tales, but insist on your attitude calmly and insistently. The child must not lose contact with reality! And if it retires into its introvert mood, let them in peace, it will echo itself, it is not necessary to be worried about this. And one more important advice- cheer it up, it is not sure about its own abilities.

Look at your child. From fifty centimetres tall person you are looking at one hundred centimetres and more.

Are you proud of it?

And are you proud of yourself?

I am.

Communication with your unborn

When the mummy feels the first few movements of her baby, a more intensive contact between her and the baby start to develop. At the beginning, she might not yet be sure what this “language” might mean.

 

The feeling of “having butterflies” in your belly comes from the movement of its little hands. The “boxing”, which can be felt as pushes against the abdominal wall, are caused by movement of its legs or its elbows. Sometimes, towards the end of the pregnancy, we can even observe a shape of a little leg pushed against the abdominal wall at certain moments. If the head lies in the pelvic area, you can feel its movement as very mild electric shocks in the direction towards your labia.

 

The first knock – first communication 

 

The first sensations of the baby “knocking” in this way, are incredibly amazing. Of course, that every mother tries to involve the daddy too in this amazing experience. However, when the daddy places his hands over the belly, there is usually a complete silence. The baby usually feels that it is now the center of attention and it keeps still and pays attention to what is happening out there.

 

When these movements are felt, every mother places her hands over the belly every now and then, pats the unborn child and talks to him. The baby hears and feels this. It reacts to the gentle pressure of the patting hand and it then swims towards the abdominal wall, it presses itself against it so that it exposes itself to even more of this tender love and care.

 

Talk to me

 

The babies sleep inside their mummy’s body during the day too. Because of this, the mother might  sometimes be worried that there is something wrong with it. If she is not sure about this, she can awaken the baby by talking to it, by moving the belly or, in some cases, even by ringing an alarm clock.

 

The mum-to-be learns to interpret the different types of the baby’s movement pretty fast: when it wants to cuddle or when it is agitated, when it feels frightened or when it is in a good mood and it rolls over. They show their feelings and impressions with their whole body. They can “jump” with joy, or move suddenly when they get startled with something and they curl up when they are scared.

 

Most of the women call their unborn babies cute names at this stage of pregnancy and it even seems that children remember these sounds and respond to them later on in life. Communication could help.

 

Some adults even talk about their life before being born during various therapy sessions. It seems that with the use of trance, certain breathing techniques or drugs, these repressed, spontaneous memories can flow up to the surface and be recalled again.

 

 

 

Speech Development Difficulties

The causes of most speech disorders in children aren’t sufficiently scientifically clarified. Treatment, rehabilitation and correction mainly focus on symptoms, not causes.

 

Incorrect sound pronunciation (dyslalia)

We can notice an incorrect pronunciation in basically all children. At the beginning of speech development, it’s a normal occurrence. It most often starts when a child replaces a sound with one that is more easily pronounced (bath = baf), or he leaves a sound out entirely (broken=boken).  Up until the fight year of age, or sometimes later, an incorrect pronunciation of “heavy” sounds is acceptable (like l, r and sibilants).

We talk about an incorrect pronunciation (dyslalia), which is an articulation disorder, if wrong pronunciation lasts longer, when a child creates a sound in the wrong place (like a French “r”) or in other situations (like lisping – letting the air out from the sides of the tongue).

An Incorrect pronunciation should be removed by following expert advice from a speech therapist, preferably before the child enters first grade. Proper pronunciation is needed in order to master the basics of reading and writing in school.

If a child who is older then three keeps pronouncing incorrectly, if he has a problem with repeating long words, if he always repeats them differently and always incorrectly, if his speech isn’t really understandable to strangers, or if it seems like he is straining himself when talking – then it’s probably not just incorrect pronunciation that he will grow out of; it could be a more serious speech disorder (like verbal dyspraxia) and you should contact a speech therapist.

 

Seek a speech therapist, when:

–          a three-year-old creates a sound at a wrong place (like the French „r“) or in other situations (lisping);

–          a three-year-old has difficulties repeating long words, always repeats them differently and always incorrectly and his speech is overall not understandable;

–          a four-year-old has an incorrect pronunciation of many sounds

–          a five-year-old has an incorrect pronunciation of some sounds (like l, r)

 

Delayed speech development

From everyday life we know, that each child develops according to his own „timetable“. Even though there are well known „table values”, many children within a natural variability achieve these milestones a bit sooner or later.

The same goes for speech development. Here the variability is even bigger, because the quality of the stimulation and the influence of the environment play a crucial role. Variability is also influenced by inside factors like heredity and the maturity of the nervous system.

The question is, do the speech abilities further develop in a child with a delayed speech development? The answer to this question is complicated: from a delayed speech development a proper development may or may not start. Some children speed up when they are three and soon catch up with their peers in all speech abilities. In others, their development may become more complicated and the delay may result in an impaired speech development. That’s why a delayed development should be considered a risk factor and stimulation should begin as soon as possible.

 

Seek a speech therapist, when:

 

–          a two-year-old doesn’t feel the need to express his feelings, he doesn’t comment on what he sees and doesn’t ask his mom to repeat activities or to hand him an item or a toy;

–          he uses less than ten understandable words at two years;

–          as a two-year-old, he doesn’t create any two word combinations (“grandma there”, “father give”, etc. );

–          when a three-year-old doesn’t create simple sentences

 

Stuttering or speech disfluency?

Because of the rapid speed of speech development that allows a child to say much more than before – and children would love to articulate all their thoughts at once – a child may suddenly:

–          repeat one word or syllable without effort, like: “My my my mom is coming“ or “This this this this car is mine!” or “Gi-gi-give me ball!”

–          change his speech so that he replaces a word or a phrase, but the meaning of what he wants to say stays the same. For example, he wants to say “We moved into a new house,” but he says “My are have new house…,” because it’s easier for him this way.

–          slip sounds or words into his sentences that don’t have anything to do with the content, but they make continuing in the sentence easier, like: “It’s a hm car.”

–          Interrupt his speech often, make obvious pauses, which are longer then needed to take a breath, like “I have——-nice car.”

All of these difficulties are called speech disfluency, and even though they may remind us of stuttering, they are associated with speech development. Just remember how you child started walking:

sometimes he tripped, fell, jumped. And it’s similar with speech. Sometimes he repeats something, he corrects something and he makes a pause or slips in a sound or a word. A significant difference between disfluency and real stuttering is the length of time it lasts. Disfluency can last between a few weeks to six months. If it doesn’t naturally disappear, it may lock in and turn into stuttering.

Certain rules exist that adults should follow when their child is experiencing speech disfluency. The “ten commandments“ are:

1. Don’t point out the less-than-perfect fluency in your child’s speech and don’t ask him to repeat the sentence.

2. Don’t tell you child to speak slower, to take a breath or to calm down.

3. Don’t ask your child, especially during this critical time, to talk loud or to recite in front of relatives, guests, etc.

4. (You) Talk in simpler and shorter sentences.

5. (You) Talk slower.

6. Eliminate situations that your child is afraid of. For example, leave the night light on).

7. Don’t have unreasonable expectations (like „boys don’t cry“ or „Peter can do it better than you“, etc.)

8. Important conversation should never take place in front of a child.

9. Don’t make sudden lifestyle changes, and prepare you child for necessary changes such as moving or changing school.

10. If your child still doesn’t speak fluent for more than several months, talk to a speech therapist.

 

Seek a speech therapists help when:

–          the disfluency lasts longer than 6 months;

–          a child speaks with difficulties, straining  speech organs and neck muscles during speech;

–          there is a family member who stutters;

–          a child starts realizing the disfluency n his speech and is upset by it.

 

The causes of most speech disorders in children aren’t sufficiently scientifically clarified. Treatment, rehabilitation and correction mainly focus on symptoms, not causes. Speech is an ability that is mostly developed though communication from the closest people and the environment that parents create for their children. This is especially true for parents who have a child with a speech disorder. Traditional approaches of speech therapists defined the roles of parents as only observers and helpers. Today we know that when parents are led by experts, they can significantly help develop and guide their child. Unlike experts, they can do so everyday at home – in the child’s natural environment. The role of a family is also gradually changing even here: different parental groups and training programs are formed, where parents – under the guidance of experts – get educated in effective communication strategies. It helps them discover their child, his needs, development possibilities and ways to help develop his speech skills. This gives them greater peace and freedom in making decisions.

 

So if you or someone you know have any doubspeechts about your child’s speech development, or you already know that your child has an inborn speech disorder, seek out an expert as soon as possible and consult the possibilities of early stimulation and intervention.

 

Fun. Do They Need It?

Should we encourage babies and toddlers in individual play or should we always try to play with them? Are they even capable of entertaining themselves? Is it possible to teach them?

 

Every child is different. Sometimes, when a toddler age child is out of sight and you don’t know where he is, you can expect trouble. Children are very creative – pulling out wet wipes or unwinding toiler paper, smearing anything on anything – toothpaste on tiles, dried dirt on walls, the content of a diaper or potty over on bed or floor…A toddler can entertain himself, but he doesn’t know how not to be destructive while doing it. A different child may surprise us by entertaining himself while not destroying half of the house. He plays with his plastic animal toys and cubes for a half an hour and then looks at a book for another fifteen minutes, without destroying it.

That fact is, that there are children that can entertain themselves from an early age, and then there are others who, without TV, would be pulling your leg up until puberty. Why can’t they entertain themselves? Some can’t, because quite simply, no one has ever taught them. But toddlers can still be taught. Mainly due to underdeveloped attention, they concentrate with difficulties and can do so only for a short amount of time. Many parents make it even harder for them – when they try to entertain their child for a while, they bring him toys as diverse as possible and when their child starts playing with them, they quietly leave.  This is not the best solution. Children today are not threatened by stimulus deprivation; in fact the have too much of it. Their immature brain has trouble dealing with many stimuli at once and it can distract them, making it harder for them to concentrate. If you want to help your child to have on his own and help him increase his concentration abilities, limit the amount of his toys. More specifically, offer him toys gradually. Even a baby should know, that he could do something interesting with any item. For this he needs enough time to touch, taste and take apart the items (watch out for small pieces). If he doesn’t have enough ideas, inspire him. But wait for when he wants to put away a toy. Don’t be too quick in trying to show him what it can do. If you interrupt him when he’s interested in something, you aren’t really helping his independency and attention development.

 

 The key is the feeling of security

 

Another thing that prevents babies and toddlers from individual play is a missing feeling of security. Recently, my friend Ema asked me how come her nine-month-old son Jacob can stay in bed for so long and play with just one stuffed animal and a blanket. And anytime later during the day he can’t stay entertained by any toy and what Ema doesn’t do in the morning, she does not have a chance of doing later in the day. Paradoxically, many mothers have an opposite experience – their children can play on their own during the day without problems, but they can’t stay in bed in the morning even for a minute. The key to this problem is the previously mentioned feeling of security. In order for a baby or a toddler to play alone, he has to feel safe. Some children feel safe in their crib. Others only feel safe it they are close to their mothers. But they definitely won’t be able to play alone, if you will frequently apply the strategy described in the previous paragraph. That is if once your child is interested in a toy, you slowly leave which he will probably figure out and his sense of security will be disrupted. Then, he will have trouble concentration on his toys, if he’ll constantly have to make sure his mother is not leaving.

A missing sense of security is also the reason why when we need our child to give us some rest (whether it’s because we need to get something done, or just because our nerves are about to explode), he is hanging onto our leg and demands our attention. A thirty-year-old mom Sabina describes what we probably all know well: “Elisabeth is a pretty independent child, that can play alone without my company with no problems. That’s why I was able to work from home. I usually have enough time, but when I have unexpected extra work to do, it’s like Elisabeth has a radar for it and starts demanding my attention and the time, that I so desperately need.” If your child has a radar – he can sense his mother’s uncertainty and stress, but is unable to recognize the reason. Children don’t know that the only source of their mother’s uncertainty are them and their behavior and they do what’s typical for all children – they resort to safety, which is their mother, and demand attention and comfort.

 

Fun. Is it even necessary?

 

Most mothers dream about a toddler that can stand being alone without her assistance, but there are also those that are convinced a mother on a maternity leave should always be with her child.

Is it even necessary for a child this young to be able to entertain himself? Can it harm him? As I wrote earlier, the ability to concentrate is very small – but training helps it and that’s good to remember in terms of child development. With independence, self-confidence increases and a child can then discover the world independently of his mother. He learns to solve problems on his own, to manipulate with items and to be creative. So yes, you should definitely support a child’s individual play.

I don’t have to point out that individual play does not equal freedom without supervision; safety is something you should always keep in mind. Mothers often ask how long a toddler should be able to play alone. That is very individual.

Even though theories indicate certain times during which a newborn or other children can pay attention and play themselves, with older toddlers my experience tells me it’s so variable that it’s unreasonable to follow recommendations. It’s not possible anyway, because play can’t be forced and if a child is not capable of playing alone than every parent soon finds out that giving him toys leads to nowhere.

 

The recipe for „play alone“ …

 

… unfortunately doesn’t exist. You have to adapt to your conditions and the personality characteristics of your child. Don’t try to teach your child independent play just when you really need it, because that usually doesn’t work. On the contrary, take advantage of situations when your child feels good and is doing something he’s enjoying. That is the perfect time to leave him alone for a while. However, if you haven’t tried to see yet if he minds it or not, don’t leave. Stay quietly beside him and just watch him or – if needed – encourage him verbally. Imitation works well for children that can’t entertain themselves.

Just about every toddler wants to do what his mother is doing. Is your child pulling you away from the stove when you’re cooking? Give him a small pot with a lid and a spoon and show him how you stir; and if he’s in a good mood, he’ll surely catch on.

Besides that, another good technique is „forbidden food“. The cabinet from which you are constantly trying to push him away, the toilet paper that you always put out of his reach, the package of tissues that you never let him investigate. Sometimes we tend to be overly careful and stress over little things. “My older daughter liked to take paper napkins and tissues off my kitchen counter and destroy them. I used to get mad at her a lot, but then I put them out of her reach, ” a 35-year old Magdalena remembers. “Now I have a one- year-old son and he’s the prototype of a child that constantly needs to be entertained. Once I had to take care of something, so I let my daughter play with him. I went into the other room for a while and when I got back, half of the kitchen was covered in torn pieces of napkin. I almost fell down at the doorstep, but I bit my tongue to avoid yelling at them. When I watched my son for a while (my daughter was already drawing) and I saw how passionately he was taking the napkins apart and was fine being alone, I though – maybe it’s worth it. Since then, I changed my mind a little bit about what I should let my son do, because taking anything apart is the most fun for him. Even though I have a little more cleaning up to do now, it’s worth knowing that I can relax once in a while”.

Instead of “forbidden food” you can also use a different strategy. No matter how carefully we protect our children, they end up having way more toys then they need or then appropriate.

Sabina advises: “After every Christmas or birthday I leave Julia just a few toys that she’ll have time to play with. I put away the rest. I also put up some older toys that she is no longer interested in. I gradually switch them around and sometimes we exchange toys with her friends. Thanks to this, Julia always has just enough toys and I always have something new in stock. Besides this, I also have a “last resort box”. There, I have a few toys that Elisabeth doesn’t know and it’s a type she likes – right now it’s a puzzle, a children’s telephone and a magazine. When I desperately need to entertain my daughter, I reach for this box.” It’s good to find out what works on your child. Some like colored picture books, other puzzles, building blocks or toys that make sound. Old colored magazines, a pack of paper tissues, cleaning out the kitchen cabinets or playing with water are fun for about every toddler.

Jana adds: “My younger daughter is quiet and can play alone. Even she can surprise me though. Like yesterday she slept in her room. Well, after being completely quiet for two hours, we though she was sleeping. When I decided I had to check and looked into her room,  a child ran to me saying she “slept like a pink pwincess” and she actually was pink. Somehow, she managed to find a children’s pink lipstick that belongs to my older daughter (who is very messy by the way) and she completely covered herself. Yes, a quiet child…”

 

 A predator in a school of fish

 

Did you ever think about why fish or small birds gather together when threatened by a predator? You would think that for a hunter it must be much easier catching a fish when there are hundreds of them, then if they’re is just one. But that’s not true. The movement of a school and the presence of many fish distract the predator and makes catching a prey more difficult. If the predator doesn’t manage to separate one fish, he usually leaves without dinner. It’s similar with a toddler who is surrounded by many interesting toys. He can’t look at one at a time and give it attention. He either (a better option) takes one that’s closest and plays with it, or he’ll wander from one to another and then to the first one and he will never actually stop and play with once, because of all the other ones are so interesting. And unlike the predator who knows exactly what to do with the prey (eat it), a child often doesn’t even know what fun to do with a certain toy.

 

What is he going to become?

All parents dwell on the future if their offspring as soon as the child starts walking. The kids are not even able to speak yet. They are slowly recognizing the world around and learning the basics of life. It will be a long process before they start choosing hobbies or even a future job. However, most parents are already sure of it. So what is he or she going to become?

 

Your little one starts clapping hands and shuffling to the rhythm of the sound of music; of course there are no doubts that it has a musical ear. It has a sense of rhythm and a fantastic sense of music so it would most certainly become a composer. A why not even a new Mozart?

It keeps singing? It could become a singer one day. A four year old clever preschool little boy, very agile and able to move well “He’ll be good at sports, he has a talent for it.“ a parent draws attention of a friend who came to visit and they also add “what sport should be good for him, what sport would he be good at..?”

If the friend lightly suggests if it isn’t too early to recognize a big talent; parents readily shake their heads saying convinced „it’s obvious”. But can you really recognize it? Are we able to guess if our child, who is not even at school yet, has talent for a specific thing? Where is the certainty that parents would be right?

 

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s….’

 

It is not just a question of the future job. Parents are ready, on the bases of child’s behavior, to judge its personal characteristics. A little girl likes her reflection in the mirror; she keeps trying on mummy’s’ clothes, puts secretly mums lipstick on? She’d be very fancy. She refuses to put on the clothes that you’ve prepared; she has to pick her own? I hope she won’t be so vain and stubborn.

A boy looks in the mirror rather too often? Hopefully he won’t be too feminine; it’s a hope of many parents. Is he defiant, aggressive or keeps breaking his toys? He could become abusive…parent don’t even want to hear that that is possible, they quickly turn and say “he just have a wild temper he is hyperactive (commonly used term nowadays) – he’ll grow out of it and will calm down. Sometimes this privy judgment is laughable.

About a year ago we were talking with one of my friends about kids in general and Caroline, the mother of four-year-old Valentine, started to describe excitedly how her young daughter has a big interest in cosmetic, she spins her body in front of the mirror, and when they get to the shops she darts towards the combs and the hair pins section… I need to add that Caroline has a degree in art history and even though her relationship to fashion isn’t too bad, it is not the drive of her life. So the interest of her daughter is hard to grasp and she also suggested that she is slightly worried about it.

 

A football player or an architect…..?

 

“If she were to play with my lipstick only sometimes it’ll be ok, I suppose” she explained “but it is actually her favorite activity to put make up on her dolls then wash them and start again” “What will become of her!”; “She’ll be a cosmetician” said another friend. “A cosmetician? I have nothing against that but I was hoping for her to have other hobbies and to study, I really hope she’ll go to university…” with a sigh, Caroline ended the thought. “I am also hoping my son will go to university” Lilly, a mother of five year-old David, mouthed. “Of course I leave it up to him, but to study architecture would be great for him. He draws lovely pictures, he might like it. Even his art teacher told me so, he has a talent. But my husband keeps saying that he is very good a kicking a ball about, well I haven’t noticed; god knows what plans does he have with him?” Lilly adds with a smile. “He doesn’t even hit it sometimes and I haven’t noticed that he actually enjoys it. I think he’ll be the quiet type, less noticeable than most boys.” And she closed the discussion with “he might even surprise us all”.

 

Bad conclusions?

 

Actually it can easily happen. “Although something can be read from the behavior patterns of a small child the majority is many a time interpreted wrongly by the adults on fallacious conclusion” Says a psychologist Serge Ciccotti.

One of the reasons why parents see their children more or less distortedly are their own ambitions. Their own dreams, desires and activities are reflected in the plans for their children and if they are not able to recognize this they will push their kids towards something that the child cannot comprehend.

It is more common in parents who are very ambitious and tend to see their offspring more talented than it possibly is. If the child doesn’t progress according to its parent expectancy the parent becomes disappointed and shows his or her disappointment to it or that it should work harder or that it is too weak to carry on doing it.

I can simply explain it by the following: Parents will find the talent which they want to find. It does not depend on the possibility that the child may not have any inclination in that direction.

I can reach for Lilly’s example, whose husband found a big football talent in their five year-old David: About a year later she said:” It took some doing to convince my husband that our son doesn’t really like football. He kept telling me that he’ll get used to it. But finally he agreed with me that we cannot make him to be happy among lively little football players.”

Of course this is the more positive result. However some parents are not able to come to the conclusion that they could have made a mistake in judging and that they are the only people who can see it even if others cannot. Another reason why we see our kids a little distortedly is little knowledge.

Even if we don’t put our ambition onto a child we take absolutely natural expressions like the signs of future character. Surely you have heard a sentence similar to this one “If he is this naughty already, how will he behave when he grows up?” or “So little and she keeps smiling at men, she might become a flirt. She’ll have every one wrapped round her finger…”

The genes and the environment

 

Can we actually tell how will our child turn out? Partly, yes. Although we come to this world not fully equipped we all have particular genetic picture which forms us somehow. Scientists suggest that some psychological characteristics develop almost the same not depending on positive or less positive environment. It is mostly relevant to temper.

From a meditative, calm, closed little observer will never become a choleric that needs to be seen and ‘uses its elbows’ to show its mark. Of course the environmental influence, such as family, friends, school peers, is also very strong. We are born with a particular temper but how we’ll react to life’s issues forms throughout our life.

Dean Hammer and Peter Copeland, the authors of ‘Living with our genes’ book, are adamant that although the environment co-form our personality it is predominantly our genetic code that is decisive in our future, where or what environment we are going be comfortable in. For example a calm and thoughtful child who likes drawing or reading will not be looking for a noisy company.

He or she will be looking for an environment where he finds similar interests in others which at the end will affect his attitude. A very active, lively child will certainly be looking for energetic environment where he can lose some of its energy and it will also eventually form its personality. The environment where we feel comfortable in can give us some positive but also negative experience and those experiences are forming us as we progress in our life.

Many types of characters

 

“The temper is not fully formed at birth” the authors of Living with our genes explain. “Newborn develops its particular temper like a reflection to its environment, The genes predetermine not only the type of character they also affect our choice of future environment, they manipulate our thought towards picking up the right ‘place’ which will then affect us certain way to behave according to our experience.

Newborn does not come to this world with a complete set of human emotions; throughout our life only the chosen one will have the benefits of being able to express all kind of emotions. We also learn to control our temper while constantly learning but not like a phone number but on the bases of feeling.

The origins of these reactions lie in the chemical processes of our brain in the evolutionally oldest part – the limbic system. This system is responsible for the emotional behavior, how people feel, for the spontaneous reactions, fight and flight mechanism and feelings which are far beyond our consciousness.

Deep within the limbic system lies the roots of fear, aggression, last or happiness. If everybody would have the same genes making up the profile of limbic system they would experience the same things or would have the same characteristics. Each limbic system is different, similarly to our genes.

The experiences we live through vary because we are in a world of many possibilities. No two people, even identical twins brought up in the same environment, cannot share the same experience. This is the particular reason for the character to have its own dimension and an infinitive image.

David Hammer adds: “It isn’t just the nature or just the up-bringing, it is the nature and the up-bringing combined.” What kind of experience your child is going to have, at least up to the school age, depends heavily on you. If you would like your child to have an interest in something particular, and develop in that area, the best way is to be an example and give it those experiences in which its interest will rise and not the opposite. Forget your own ambitions. Let your child have its own journey through its life. It is especially up to him/her what is he/she going to become…

 

Exercising With Toddlers

Just don’t neglect anything – that’s the motto of many parents of small children. There are several ways to develop your child’s skills and one of them is physical activity. But not everything truly benefits the child.

 

More and more mothers today are searching for anything they could do to help their child develop as best as possible. Hand in hand with that, there are more possibilities today – swimming, massages and different kinds of exercises. Also, the number of different clubs and Maternity Centers is growing. Enthusiastic mothers that often lack sufficient knowledge and skills usually organize such activities. So what should we look out for?

 Is exercising necessary?

At first this sounds humorous. Is it really important to exercise with a baby or a child under 3 years of age? The process of physical development (in terms of turning over, sitting, standing…) happens on its own; on the basis of a loving relationship between parents and their child. A child loves his parents and imitates them, because he wants to be like them. That’s how he learns. He doesn’t learn to turn over because we turn him over or sit because we sit him up. On the contrary, if we do any movement for him, we can slow down his development. When a baby starts sitting up, he learns to work with his center of gravity; he seeks balance and receives feedback about him through – for example – his falls.

Our job is to create proper conditions for this development. If we try to intervene and try to speed up our child’s development, he may lose his motivation to discover his body and develop his skills. We could decrease his self-awareness and teach him to depend on people around him. For the rest of his life, even as an adult, he will be constantly looking for support in others rather than in himself. Therefore it’s good to do any movements with the child after we’re sure that he can do them himself. If he can’t turn around on his own yet, we should lay him on his tummy only if needed. Until a child can get up into a sitting position on his own, we shouldn’t sit him up. We also shouldn’t hold his hand while walking, until he can walk on his own without support.

 

Don’t try to speed up your child

 

If you lay a child on his tummy too early, he often tries to lift his head unnaturally using his back muscles. There is also more tension in the arms and legs of a child sleeping on his tummy rather then on his back. They often fix their position by putting their arms to the sides instead of having them in front of their eyes (which is important). It’s not true that babies need to exercise by lying on their tummy. Healthy babies that are left alone can turn on their tummy naturally and spontaneously at the same time as any other baby. Additionally, their laying position is clearly more confident. It’s also not true that we can support the proper development of the hips by laying a baby on his tummy. Yes, hips need to be at the right angle, but unless the legs aren’t wrongly fixed then the hips will assume this angle on their own. Furthermore, for the development of femur necks a baby needs movement, which creates friction and that stimulates ossification – that doesn’t happen while lying on the tummy.

When a child lies on his back, he learns to support himself with his scapula and his pelvic bones and gradually learns to control his body. He can watch his surroundings (and especially his mom) better this way; he can turn his head both ways and exercise his neck, head and back muscles. His limbs can freely move around and the baby gradually increases his range of motion in his joints. He is like a seed that is poking out his first sprout and growing his first leaves. After he waves his hands in front of his face, he realizes for the first time that those are his hands that he can control. Once he realizes that, he will start reaching for the world. This will the start up the important impulse to turn over on the tummy.

 

Let your child play

 

The second most important method of learning is play. A joyful game that a child initiated himself is the most harmonic way of developing motor skills in a child. Even work at home or in the garden can be considered a game or play. He develops his versatile motor skills much faster this way then through targeted exercise. A study, which measured the performances of 4-year olds in basic skills like running, throwing, jumping, etc. showed that children who were allowed to play outside everyday without supervision scored the best. It’s important to provide our children space in which they can explore and develop their own skills (like the possibility of climbing over, down, through, etc.)

We should be careful with targeting strengthening. Certain muscle groups could get out of balance, which could interfere with the development of the whole body.

 

Give your child space

 

The wishes and expectations of parents shouldn’t overwhelm the child. Some pre-school children don’t even have time to play because they have so many activities and responsibilities.

If we try to intervene and try to speed up our child’s development, he may lose his motivation to discover his body and develop his skills. We could decrease his self-awareness and teach him to depend on people around them. During free play, a child develops his imagination and creativity much more, as well as his appetite to explore and learn, the appetite to do and to change his surroundings.

This trend is affecting younger and younger children. Parents take their children swimming, exercising, singing and to many other places. We should choose a tolerable amount of activates for our child. During free play, a child develops his imagination and creativity much more, as well as his appetite to explore and learn, the appetite to do and to change his surroundings. During play with other children a child develops his communication skills, assertiveness and also the ability to help others and share. However, if the goal is to win, if competitiveness is encouraged, then the children are overtaken by aggression and rivalry.

Free movement is also much more important than developing the intellect using various tools, books and computers. Activities that don’t encourage movement can lead to much more than bad posture and movement problems. They also take away the children’s life strength for development and growing. Children that often watch TV (even if they are watching educational programs) and don’t move a lot are often pale and get sick a lot.

That leads us to another principle: don’t ever force a child into an activity. If he doesn’t want to participate in a game, its best if the parent plays alone. A child will probably join him sooner or later. If we force our child or put pressure on him he may start despising the activity all together. Even if it may not seem so, a child that is only watching others or is playing alone is still perceiving his surroundings and learning. Some children refuse to do anything, but then at home they repeat everything they heard or saw.

 

Rhythm

A child needs to experience rhythm. It gives him a sense of safety, peace, security, life strength and much more. Rhythm can be regularity or repetition of something familiar. For example, it could be beneficial to participate in an activity every Thursday. Rhythm is also inhaling and exhaling.

After an activity, a child should have time to take it in – a time for himself – during the day or in the middle of an exercise. A child that has an afterschool activity everyday can be very stressed. Similarly, if we change games and poems too much without giving our child time to exhale, it can lead to tension and overload. The lecture should flow as inhaling and exhaling, it should always have a similar structure and a ritual that signifies the beginning and end; the poems and games can be repeated…

A small child basically learns nothing of what we tell him. As we said before, he imitates us. He does so with other people he loves as well. That’s why the personality of the teacher is so important. Choose an activity for your child with your heart. The joy and laughter are just as important as the teacher’s expertise.

Parents often think that going to afterschool activities is also important because a child can hang around his peers. But that’s not the truth. A child under the age of three doesn’t really need to be in contact with other children. What is important is the contact between mothers (or fathers). Sharing of similar worries, exchanging information and inspiration, mutual support and understanding makes parents more confident and calm. The children can sense this calmness and then the „exercising“ becomes beneficial for them. The space for sharing, whether it is during a lecture or after it, should not be left out. The joy from the game, the meeting and life itself are also important.

 

How To Give Children Advice

Parents often ask me if there is a time when it’s good for parents to give their children advice in a difficult situation.

 

Parents often ask me if there is a time when it’s good for parents to give their children advice in a difficult situation. Yes, sure, unlike our children we have the knowledge and experience that could help them, but the important thing is good timing. To figure out when it’s good to intervene, follow your child’s lead. Generally speaking, children can recover more easily than we think. An independent child probably won’t ask for advice – if we’re not asked, it’s best we don’t give it.

The worst time to give advice is when a person (no matter his age) who is full of pain confides in us. My experiences tell me that if we hear them out, confirm their pain and show them we accept it, our children will reach wise conclusions on their own. And if our advice is important to them, they will express this by giving us specific questions. In emotionally draining stress situations, my children act this way about once a year. During different situations it happens more often.

Who do some children ask for advice more often then other children in emotional distress?

 

Everyone is born independent and self-confident. But because many of us experience doubts during our childhood, we learn to not trust our feelings. In the same way, we teach our children distrust. Children that develop a constant need for someone’s advice need to hear expressions of trust and confidence from others. I recommend the following to all parents who would like to help their children regain independence and self-trust:

– Tell your child about your new approach and promise him that next time you will be listening without talking (he will be excited!). Be truthful and honest. You are learning too.

– If your child expresses signs of dependency again and asks you for advice in what to do, respond with: “And what do you think?” and confirm this with “I’m sure that you’ll be able to find a solution”, or “It’s a difficult situation, think it over carefully.”

– If your child gets startled or confused by this, he probably temporarily lost his self-confidence and is not able to offer his own solutions. You can help him with encouraging words such as: „You know what to do best.” If he still doesn’t know what to do, suggest several possibilities and end it with: „(…) and maybe you have a better idea.“

– If you decide to give advice, you can use these important strategies: Offer several ideas, without revealing which of them you prefer. Let your child know, that he could have a better idea and that he should do what he feels is right. Talk clearly and simply, avoid lecturing. Talk positively about solutions and don’t judge.


Gradually, give advice less and less and express trust in the skills and decision-making capabilities of your child more and more.

 

If your child starts crying or gets angry if you refuse to give advice, validate his feelings with something like: „You wanted me to offer a solution and now you feel abandoned and helpless. I love you and know you are capable…I know you know what to do. You may now feel helpless and incapable but in the end, I’m sure you will find your answer.“ Most of all, listen. Crying will help restoring your child’s self-assurance. As soon as the crying stops and everything becomes quiet, the child can start coming up with answers.

During a calm moment, talk to your child about how he wants you to act if he’s upset and set clear rules that he would like to establish. Do this between situations when he’s upset – never shortly after or during.

You can’t follow these rules rigidly. It’s important to be empathetic and to know how to respond sensitively. It’s not necessary to refuse to help, if the child is not ready to offer his own solution. As soon as we offer our child more opportunities to express his independency, we have to observe and respond to signs of readiness. We can’t force our child to be independent. Sometimes, empathy can mean trying to free our children from being dependent on our advice; other times, it means to yield to their dependency on our advice.

 

Once you succeeded, and your child stops being dependent on you – and you break your habit of rescuing him with advice – become a curious and respectful listener. His emotional state and behavior will improve and so will yours. Don’t forget that emotions are never wrong; all feelings are undeniable, real and right. Circumstances and actions may need to change, but feelings should be accepted and heard.

 

Fight Over a Princess

Should Fighting Be Incorporated Into a Child’s Game? Do you give your children the chance to learn to fight? Should a fair fight have a place in an upbringing of a child?

In every man’s hearth, there are three wishes: to undergo a battle, to experience and adventure and to save a beautiful woman. And that may be true for boys as well. Do we give our children the chance to fight? Should an honest battle be a part of raising a child?

Many children enter their peer group with a preconceived notion (brought from their families) that they shouldn’t be weak and they should establish their position in a group, even if they have to use force. Other children are told that they shouldn’t fight, that everything can be settled by communicating or by backing off and every little sign of physical aggression in these children is suppressed by their parents.

 

Which path should we choose?

Aggression cannot be excluded from a child’s life we shouldn’t try to suppress it. Especially, the younger the child is the more likely he is to try to settle his disputes physically (remember: aggression is not only expressed by boys, girls can be aggressive as well). Of course, it’s important to show our children alternative ways to solve problems. But is it right to control and suppress children’s aggression as much as possible?

Don’t run at school. Don’t fight anyone at school. Don’t push your brother…. But when do children ever hear: let’s go scream, lets pillow fight or wrestle? Children, especially boys need these kinds of games. Kids get a chance to physically express themselves if they attend judo, karate or other physical sport classes, where physical contact with other children is a part of the activity. But what about other kids? School age children usually spend most of their time sitting down at their desks, at afterschool activities or at home in front of the TV. Home games are usually reduced to doing puzzles or other “brain activities”, so that our kids don’t break something or make too much noise.

If a child needs to get out his energy, computer games or plastic soldiers are used. And so slowly but surely, their bodies and aggression are suppressed to a minimum.

Aggressive behavior is a part of life

Aggression is a challenge and we should approach the natural aggression of children creatively.  An over-organized time (organized and controlled by adults), passive fun, not enough time and space for simple games are all reasons why many children don’t challenge their bodies. Yes, we cuddle our babies, we tickle them, throw them in the air; but the older the kids are the less physical their games are. But all children need physical contact during games. Children should learn that stroking has different effects than a firm grip. They should learn to distinguish positive and negative effects of a contact with another person.  Children are often not able to use their muscle strength reasonably. And so, instead of a friendly poke, a painful hit comes when a child wants to be friends with other children.

If the body disappears from a child’s upbringing, then the child never learns that he should have respect the physical inviolability of others.

 

 Don’t be afraid to fight! 

Not that long ago, all children needed in order to play was a ball, a rubber or a few sticks. But most of all, their bodies. Hide-and-go-seek, chasing and all the variations of these games were all they needed for a fun afternoon. Kids today have so much toys, so much technology and over organized activities that the only times they feel their body is if they sit in front of the computer for too long.  But physical games can teach a child a lot – mostly to respect his body and control it. The aim of these physical games is to create a fair fight and not hurt anyone. These games should have clear rules that are agreed on in advance. Also, make up a sign that anyone can make if he wants to terminate the game; or perhaps the fight. Yes, a fight. That is  one the games that’s disappearing. A fight that we parents are sometimes so afraid of and try to prevent. Of course I am not encouraging the stronger one attacking the weaker one or fighting our way using force.  What I mean is a friendly battle that happens between friends in order to compare their strengths, or just for fun between fathers and sons.

We usually deal with our child being in a fight, starting a fight or being the victim of the fight after it happens – in the park or at school. But did we teach our children, that physical fighting can be a part of a game and not a medium of communication? In an Internet discussion, one mother asked what she should do with her son who fights at school? And what was that anonymous answer? „Do you have a father or a grandfather? Boys just fight. They always had to protect their tribe. It’s good when their father fights with them and teaches them what the boundaries are – that everyone involved has to enjoy it, no one should be in pain and that some parts of the body are taboo. Of course it would be ideal, if all fathers did this.”

 

 Battling while following rules 

A thirty-year-old Martin thought of a great idea for his son Ondra. „I have a new game. We will fight over the princess. And who else is a princess her, then your mother!“ Ondra ran to his mother and started hitting her with his little fists. „No!“ said dad, „we will not be fighting with the princess, but over the princess – me and you, Ondra. Whoever wins, get a kiss from mom. She will not be looking, instead she will be reading in the other room.“ Martin then explained to his three-year-old what is allowed and what not during this fight. Little Ondra agreed to the terms and wanted to play. At first he won of course – his dad held back. But the next day, dad won. And then the third day as well. And then, Ondra won. Mom gave kisses to each winner as promised. Dad was proud that he made up this game, and Ondra was proud that he could fight according to the rules as a good knight.

I personally like the idea of „mom is not looking“. Because honestly, what mother can handle watching their son getting beat?

Surely, a boy’s fight can end with “Stop it – your hurting him.”. Because our desire to protect our property is very strong! But what about men’s desires? As John Eldredge puts it in his book: “In the heart of all men, there are three desires: to undergo a battle, to experience an adventure and to save a beautiful woman.” I wish to all fathers that they can fight with their sons for princesses, and to experience an adventure full of love that way. This is one way to successfully handle children’s aggression. And I’m sure many dads will enjoy such a game.