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Whose Children?

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist Khalil Gibran is my favorite poet and philosopher; this is what he wrote about children:‘Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

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Your children are temporarily in your custody and you are their guardian and care taker. You have no ownership rights over them because they are owned by God and He has sent them to accomplish a goal or a purpose unique to them. Life called out for them and here they are, as your children in name and form but His children in verity. The animals and the birds seem to understand this philosophy much better than the intelligent human race. The lioness feeds the cub and simultaneously encourages the cub to fend for itself. The chicks are also urged to fly and gather twigs from a very young age. We humans keep missing this fine point somehow.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.He again says, they come from you; yes, you do give birth to them, yet they are from Him alone and not from you, which is what most parents mistakenly take claim for. The children stay with us as long as it is destined and not a single moment beyond that. They are with us but they do not belong to us; they are definitely not the personal property of parents.You may give them your love but not your thoughts,For they have their own thoughts.Again so true, did we, as children think like our parents? Did we not have different thoughts, dreams, aspirations and ambitions? Did we not wait for the day when we would be able to live ‘our’ life, the way we want to, without being told, what to do, what to eat, what to wear and a seamless stream of instructions? If that was generation gap then, should not the gap be more gaping and wider now? Times have changed very dramatically over the last 2 decades and with it a very tumultuous parent age has arrived. Love is scarce or showered as a return gift for something well done or withheld as punishment at times. The present day children are facing more insecure times, it is all the more important that we shower as much love as we can on them and give them the freedom of thought. Raise them such that they are free with discipline and love.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  Healthy Parenting
Almost every child achieves much more than what their parents did. They belong to the tomorrow and have to learn from today, whereas we belong to a yesterday, trying to adjust to today for a better tomorrow. We are yet to get a grip over the way times have changed, whereas they are already of this generation. They are planning and dreaming of a tomorrow which we may never see. Is it fair to drag them backwards in time, to our times and force them to think our way, do our way, live our way? We can be like the lamp post guiding and throwing light on the path, we cannot walk that path though. They have to walk their own path and discover their destiny.You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

I initially never agreed with this line, why should the parents be like the children? My parents always wanted me to emulate either one of them and that is exactly what I have done. So why should my son (I need to remember, he is HIS son, not mine) not emulate his Dad or me? Why should we not ask him to try and become like his father or mother? The next line has the answer though; because, life has never gone backwards and time does not wait or depend on a yesterday. It is today and then tomorrow. I woke up to the fact that if I expect my son to become like his father or me, I would be asking him to move backwards, live in a yesterday. As a parent I should be asking him to look at his tomorrow, move on the road ahead and achieve his dreams. Is it fair on my part to ask him to live my unaccomplished dreams and achievements?

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The parents are the bows from which the children of God as living arrows are set forth in search of their destiny.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

The archer or God has already marked the path over which the arrow, the child, will fly. God simply wants that the Bow, parents, also to bend, yield, string themselves just so much so that the arrow, child, can reach its destined goal. It is the strength of the bow and the flexibility of the string which allows the archer to set forth the arrow swift and far.

Let you bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

So He loves also the bow that is stable. ’

One without the other is incomplete and God loves both equally. He has assigned us the job of taking care of His children and entrusted us with the big responsibility of raising them happily and with joy. Bend yield listen to the child and nourish them with love and joy, God does send forth His children through you and is happy to see them ascend, but He also loves the stable hand of the parent which joyfully raises its offspring.

As a child counselor by profession I am forced to read this poem to every parent because they all invariably expect me, the counselor, to change the mindset of the child. They look me at me very expectantly as if I can wave a magic wand and their errant child will start obeying them or start behaving the way they expect the child to behave.

Talking To Your Children

Linda Harris

Approved ProvenTherapist

 

Linda Harris - Approved ProvenTherapist It’s everywhere. Talk about financial struggles is on the internet, the television, in the newspapers, between parents, and amongst students in high schools. It is almost impossible to be unaware of the rising price of gas, food, and of foreclosures. Children are very sensitive to stress in a household and when they are left out of what is happening, they create their own stories which may be more traumatizing than the reality of the family’s difficulties.

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The question is not if, but what is the best way to talk to your children about challenging financial times. What do you say that is age appropriate. Before having this conversation, make it a priority to put your own house in order. If you do not have a financial plan, follow the adage, “better late than never”. Helping a child feel secure is extraordinarily difficult if you do not manage your own emotions. Guilt and self-doubt may arise from feeling that something more could have been done to prevent this financial challenge.Take responsibility for your part of the problem, but recognize what is not under your control. Go for walks, connect with the beauty of nature, and stay in the present. These tools will make it easier to calm yourself. After settling on a plan, think carefully about what to say. Children do not need to know specifics unless they ask, but they need to hear that the situation is temporary, and that you are working on a resolution. Moreover, since children often blame themselves, explain that it is not their fault.

Listen empathically. without judgment. Give your children the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and fears, then carefully look for signs of distress. Are they experiencing sleeping or eating problems, or isolating themselves? If so, talk to them, and when necessary seek help from their pediatrician or a counselor.

Discuss the new priorities that you are instituting, helping children discern the difference between needs and wants. If they feel embarrassed about moving to an apartment from a house, or not having new clothes, convey your understanding about how difficult it is to make these changes. Emphasize the importance of working as a family to devise a plan as to how everyone can contribute to solve family problems. Explain how much money in the budget is allocated for each expenditure. When children feel that they are a part of the common good and understand what is going on, they feel less powerless and more in control.

Make the best of the challenges by turning adversity into an adventure. Create a list of fun, free activities such as planning a picnic, going for a hike, playing games in the evening, or making gifts.

Have age appropriate conversations. For children ages six and under, focus on reassuring them that they are safe and secure and are part of a team. Use simple language and be truthful. Answer questions that are asked. Children between six and twelve can raise money, such as having a garage sale. Help them figure out how they can help others, perhaps by donating clothes or toys. Children between 13 and 17 are more aware and are having financial discussions themselves. They need reassurance, but can do more to contribute to the family finances, maybe with a part time job. Teach them how to budget, so they can make changes to support the family’s needs.

Finally, a crises is an opportunity to look within oneself. Adults and children alike may discover new strengths. Challenges also offer a chance to recognize the importance of being a part of a community. Though hard times can be divisive, we as individuals and as a community can choose to become stronger by the act of giving and receiving, thus realizing that we are not alone.

Teenagers And Dating

Linda Harris

Approved ProvenTherapist

Linda Harris - Approved ProvenTherapist As a parent, the thought of your son or daughter beginning dating has the potential of sending chills down your spine; you’re sending them off into an experience over which you have no control! How best can we continue to care for our children as they step into adolescence?

Several considerations are important. First and foundational to navigating this time is to have a relationship with your budding adolescent. The choices they make while away from you is based on this relationship. 

Secondly, keep communication open by practicing empathic listening. This means checking yourself when you find you are focusing solely on your own agenda. Third, know your adolescent’s friends. Even if your child isn’t as open as hoped for, knowing their friends allows a wider view of what is happening in their lives.

I recommend that your child first explore relationship in group settings. This is very natural and safer. The adolescent is preparing for responsible behavior later. In general I recommend that anyone under 16 who wants to date needs to go out in a group. After that age, and if your child seems ready, I would give them permission to go out paired.

Then it is best to graduate to supervised dating. By this I mean that an adult drives the kids to and from their destination. Before the date, however, get to know the prospective date. Call their parents, especially if they are under 16. Making your presence known offers another safeguard for your child.

Finally, appreciate the cellphone. Cell phones make it easy for your child to check in with you and for you to call as well. However, too much hovering will only result in your child rebelling. It is equally important to give your child space to experience their growth. That for the parent requires patience and trust.