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Parenting: 6 Myths You Should Know About

Parenting: 6 Myths You Should Know About

    It is easy to get overwhelmed with parenting these days. There are societal pressures and ever-changing child-rearing theories that have created a lot of stress and anxiety for parents. It’s time to clear up some misguided notions about good and bad parenting so that parents can get back to feeling confident and being able to enjoy their kids again.

    Here are the top myths surrounding the topic of parenting:

    1. Parenting has to be stressful and chaotic.

    Television shows, movies, and magazines seem to be driving this message home constantly. We see images of overwhelmed and exhausted parents everywhere! This seems to be the reality and so we just buy into it and become one of those busy, stressed parents ourselves.

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    This is a myth though. If certain tools are learned and used, and if we live our lives more slowly and with routine, our lives with family can be absolutely magical and peaceful.

    2. The more you do the better parent you are.

    Rushing around, taking your children to lessons and practices does not make you a great parent. Sorry. Giving your children love, one-on-one time and creating and participating in family traditions does.

    Being a great parent also means allowing your child to have down-time and loads of time to play. It is here that your children learn, problem-solve and are able to be physically healthy.

    3. You have to LOVE playing with your child.

    What? You don’t like playing choo-choo train with your child? You don’t like pretending you are an alien on another planet or a fairy in another land?

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    Spending quality time with your child IS important but many, many parents have been made to feel guilty that they do not enjoy participating in child-like play.

    Children and adults play very differently. Often children will dictate to parents HOW to play a game and when the parent tries, the child will often say, “No, this way”, making it even less enjoyable to play their game.

    So, choose something you love to do and share it with your child. Children LOVE to see what their parents like doing and often want to participate.

    4. You are a bad parent if you use the word “discipline” instead of “managing my child’s behaviors”.

    The word discipline comes from the word disciple, which means “learner”. Our children are the learners in our family…along with us of course, as we are all constantly learning. It is our job to teach and guide our children through each stage of their lives, using our values and experience as our reference.

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    Getting caught up on a word just shifts the focus from what is important – teaching our kids how to have self-discipline, to be kind, and to feel good about themselves. Not all discipline is equal, I’ll agree, however, using the word “discipline” should never label you as a parent who doesn’t care about the well-being of your child.

    5. The more talking and explaining you do, the more your child will do the right thing.

    This is a myth because children, particularly from the ages of 2-7 are concrete learners and do not have an understanding of logic and reasoning. They need simple sentences that they can follow and concrete experiences that they can understand.

    Any long lecture just goes in one ear and out the next. Simplicity is what works best, then adding more talking and explaining as they grow older and can actually comprehend what is being said.

    6. Letting your child struggle or get upset is bad parenting.

    Although it is not easy to watch our children struggle or be upset it is necessary at times and actually helps our children learn how to do new things and as a result feel good about themselves.

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    We know that the only way our children learn anything is to practice and practice, and that along with the practicing, there will be some frustration. Once they do master something they will feel great about themselves and THIS is the time to jump in and give them a high five, a hug and attention.

    Taking this experience of practice and mastery away from our children robs them of having confidence in themselves, the ability to be resilient and the feeling that they are capable. So, the next time your child is struggling, just stand back, let them try and try again, and if after some time, 5-10 minutes, they are not able to succeed, offer them encouragement and a little bit of help if needed.

    Given your experience as a parent or even as an observant child, what would you add to the list? I look forward to reading your thoughts!

    Image: Cia de foto

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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