Rough Play for Kids Teaches Respect, Ethics and Boundaries

My two sons love to rough play and when they first started out with rough play, let me tell you what, I cringed! I really had to get used to the idea that rough play was fun for these too rough n tumble boys, and figure out ways to supervise that allowed them the fun with rough play. Through watching my two sons play rough, I have seen what it is that rough play actually teaches these boys and I am now an avid promoter of rough playing.

What Life Lessons Kids Learn from Rough Play

Many parents who come around, that are not parent to boys cringe at the idea that I allow my boys to play so rough. I have to explain this same scenario out to everyone who hasn’t had this experience; with rough and tumble kids. I want to be clear, girls can be just as rough and tumble as boys, they can learn the same skills that boys learn from this rough and tumble play so please be aware that this post may be focused on my sons, this pertains to girls as well.

What Kids learn from Rough Play With Supervision

Many nights a week my sons wish to wrestle before we start our end of night bedtime routine. If both boys are game, I allow them to wrestle which really involves some major rough housing. Take note: this is not hyper rough play, it’s calculated rough play where they each work to win the other. The goal, I believe, is usually for one of them to be pinned down over and over again. Poor Aj who lacks some fine motor skills, ends up on the ground more often than not. One rule to rough play for me, as the parent supervising, is I want to see that each have a smile on their face – meaning they look as if they are enjoying it. Rough play is for enjoyable fun, not for one to have a blast beating the other one up.

My little man started off these rough play adventures with a very arrogant side, he is my most self absorbed child which I feel is somewhat normal for his age group. I have had to work really hard to teach my little man to respect the boundaries of Aj and to really learn the cues Aj puts out there when he is genuinely hurt or simply not having fun anymore. Little man has come so far in learning his brothers cues and 99% of the time he does respect those boundaries. Each listen to ensure that they are not physically harming the other but boy do they take a beating.

Each love to grab and throw the other around, karate chop each other and simply run in a circle giggling a lot. They get rather rough to a point where I have to shut my mouth, the Mom in me will probably never be used to this rough play stuff, but it’s so important because it teaches some important life lessons and helps the boys learn how to handle testosterone boosts they will experience most of their lives.

Kids Learn life lessons with Rough Play

What Kids Learn From Rough Play

Sportsmanship - If supervised properly your children will learn sportsmanship through rough play. Each allowing the other to take turns, each respecting the other winning and being happy the other one. Each attempting to compete in a healthy way with each other.

Boundaries of Other People – If supervised properly your children will learn the boundaries of the sibling they are rough housing with. For example, the boys know when to be rougher with each other and when to be a bit more careful as they have learned to read each other as well as their sister when rough playing.

How to Handle Frustration – If supervised properly your children will learn how to healthily take out frustrations and testosterone boosts, your sons will have boosts of testosterone and frustration being of the male species, rough play has actually been researched and proven to help teen boys handle testosterone fluctuations better as well as learn to handle conflict properly.

Friendship, Bonds and Sibling Love – If supervised properly your children will learn to have a sibling bond of love and friendship with their rough playing partner, each having learned the three skills and lessons above, will eventually have a larger level of trust for each other, as well as the outside world.

Do you have rough and tumble kids? Do you feel they are learning some important lessons through this play? What lessons do you think they learn?

Being Strict versus Creatively Strict as a Parent

I call myself creatively strict, because if a super strict parent were to witness my day unfold, they would honestly see me as a not-strict parental unit. With that being said, I firmly believe that I am a creatively strict parent and I am going to explain what I mean by that. Please do read on…

Being Creatively Strict as a Parent

As a parent I often share my insight as to what I think a parents job is. Here is what I would use as a job description for a parent:

To teach life lessons and ways to learn from mistakes. Give positive praise to job well done when leading those under you. Enable those who are below your lead to learn lessons for each tasks completed and to live fully, freely and happily with common courtesy, respect, honesty and trust.

That is my simple definition or job description for a parent. I firmly believe it is our job to simply put; raise our children to be adults. Think about what type of adults you wish to interact with and learn creative ways to train your children to become those people. Yes, Gasp! I used the word train. I do think we train our children … that is just sort of my word for it.

Some rules we have in our household are pretty simple and straight forward, all it takes is a bit of common sense and a little bit of respect to follow these rules:

  • Agree to disagree - You will not always win every battle with siblings or other peers and you may not always understand why your parent said no. That is okay. You are not suppose to have a reason for every decline your parents give you, that is how the real world works, no one makes an excuse every time they say no to you. Sometimes agreeing to disagree is taking the higher road.
  • Be honest - share your thoughts and opinions with us, we want you to talk about what is on your mind. You are a child, yes, but you are also a human being who thinks for their own self. Share your honest feelings, thoughts and be truthful even when you fear a consequence will be given, I guarantee your honesty will make the consequence less severe.
  • Show Respect and Respect YourSelf – Starting with respecting yourself, you will not be able to fully respect others unless you respect your own self. When sharing your thoughts about something, remember to speak kindly and try not to yell or use judgement because respect gains you respect in return.
  • Love your Family – family will give you a run for your money, but we are all in this together. Always know and feel that love of a family even when days have gone sour. It’s that love and bond as a family that will carry you further into life.
  • Accept Consequence and Learn Something – Always use your time wisely, if you have a consequence for making a bad choice there was a lesson to be learned there. Figure out what that lesson is, don’t know what the lesson is? Ask your parent. We will be honest with you and discuss what we want you to learn from the discipline tactic we placed. Accept your consequence and trust we made that decision for a reason.

The best way to explain my creatively strict parenthood ways is to tell you that I have learned to treat my children with respect, dignity, and importance. While I am still in charge of those minors and I am still the Mama Bear, they are also human beings who deserve to know they are valued, they are loved and that they are an important piece of the family. I expect my children to use their words when upset with each other or me. I expect my children to be honest. I expect my children to make mistakes but admit those mistakes were made. I expect my children to stick up for each other, no matter how much they argue or fight with each other, their bond as siblings will matter so much to them as adults.

I put the fear of Mama Bear’s wrath into my children so they know all they have to do is be good, honest people and there’s little to fear. Break my trust, be unruly, rude or disrespectful to anyone then you will find your world will be turned upside down for a period of time! Be honest, kind, and respectful to reap awesome rewards, love and hugs and kisses! It’s that simple.

 

 

5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers

Raising children is no piece of cake, each day you are forced to adapt to a new challenge. I firmly believe my two sons, specifically, were put on this planet to lighten me up and keep me on my toes. Little do my boys realize, I have zero balance on my toes. It’s a constant juggling act around here to keep things steady. The easiest way for me to explain my parenting techniques is to share with you my personal favorite 5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers. These are tried and true techniques that worked for me, but let it be known, these are techniques I have done since DAY ONE. If you are just coming into this and trying it for the first time, understand it won’t be something that works in a couple of days; keep on it Mama and Daddy, things do get better!

5 Tips to Raising Positive Children

ONE - The ever so obvious first step is to lead by example; start living your life in the positive. Bills have you hanging your head low? Kids stressing you out? Learn to find that happy place, the one thing you can do for just one minute that will allow you to breath and come back swinging with a smile! For me, it’s music. Each night I decompress in the kitchen while cooking dinner and doing dishes over music, Pandora app is the chosen musical player and the genre depends on what type of day I had.

TWO – Never underestimate the power of your words; if you want your children to be positive thinkers, then you must learn to be a positive thinker. Homework a challenge? Kids ready to run and toss that homework in the trash? Total meltdown central? Allow your children, through your example, to step back from their homework. Provide your children a way to evaluate their own reasons for a meltdown, think about it, know the emotion they feel and work towards a solution that will allow them to complete what they have to in a way that is less stressful. This teaches your child to use their mind and words to solve an emotional problem with a positive outlook.

THREE – One can never have too many hugs; a simple hug as often as possible through out your child’s day never hurt anyone. A 20 second hug has also been shown to release the happy hormones in every one; whether a child or adult. So take time to hug more often because that is one way to show love and affection to your child with minimal effort. A 20 second hug can do far more to teach your children to be positive thinkers than any words you speak. Remember, actions speak louder than words, correct?!

FOUR – Teach your child how to brainstorm; we live in a very technologically driven world, social media makes it so that we don’t have to use our brains as often, please do not underestimate the power of teaching your child to use their mind. A great way to teach your child to be a positive thinker is to teach them pros versus cons lists, written with a pencil and a piece of paper. You know that old school; make a column with pros on one side and cons on the other to help you  make a valid decision based on your scenario. This old school method will teach your child to focus on the pros vs cons and in turn will allow them to eventually realize more often than not the pros aka the positives of a situation may be more beneficial than the cons aka the negative.

FIVE -  Use your words effectively; your kids have you all stressed out, ready to scream! You want so badly just to run away because your “what I can handle” meter has reached a near overload. This is okay, it happens to the best of us. We are human, remember? It is how you handle that meter about to explode that can teach your child to be positive or negative. Knowing who we are as an individual can benefit your child in so many ways, learn to use your words, learn that it is okay to tell your child that you are at your limit and need a moment to go breath. This teaches your child to use their words when feeling overwhelmed with negativity and to be able to think wisely about the words they say next. Time can make a difference in the words we use.

Well there you have it, my five tips, of course I am sure you may have some more and I would love to hear them. Please leave one comment below with a tip of positive parenting that will enable children to be positive thinkers, I will be happy to hear your tips & suggestions!

Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!

 

Squam Lakes Science Center Field Trip #NH #science #nature

Last week I went on a field trip with my middle child’s class to Squam Lakes Science Center in Holderness, NH where we were able to walk on trails and learn a bit about the nature around us. We saw bears, river otters, foxes, a skunk, a mountain lion and much more.

Squam Lakes Science Center NH (2)

Each chaperone was given a group of children to “watch” and run the trails with, rather walk the trails with. I was with my son and four of his classmates alongside his teacher. Our group, as well as the other groups we ran into during the trip, were a well behaved group of children who were so inspired by what they were seeing and learning. That’s the key to places like Squam Lakes Science Center; they teach children by allowing them to have fun so they don’t even realize that they are learning.

Squam Lakes Science Center NH (3)

We spent the day at Squam Lakes Science Center and ended with a bagged lunch at their picnic table area before heading back home for the hour and a half bus ride.

Squam Lakes Science Center NH (1)

The day was so much fun and I am thankful that I was able to take part in being a chaperone for this fun field trip. I highly recommend taking your family to Squam Lakes Science Center if you can, because it was just such a fun time!

When Gentle Rain Turns to a Rain Storm

In theory blending a family with two people who are absolutely in love should be a smooth process. This is taking into consideration that the children get along pretty awesome and the two parents have an amazing communication level to work out the kinks. What happens when the theory of this is how we will blend the family turns into this is it, what do we do?!

Troubles with Blending Family

In theory two parents communicate to come down the middle road, or close to it, as a way to not turn one kids life versus the other kids upside down. His and hers. Hers and His. This would make total sense if the children in a blended family situation lived together for longer periods than just six days of the month, heck that isn’t even half of the month.

Once things were settled the plan was to set up some rules, guidelines so to speak and chore lists for all with rewards, you know how I roll…. creating guidelines, boundaries and responsibilities that also have a reward and consequence system that works wonders for any child I have ever seen this implemented on. I firmly believe that every child responds to my  methods, if allowed the time needed to live them for a consistent basis, not six days out of the freaking month! All opinions we have in life are based on our own experiences of live n learn. We find what works best and we tweak what doesn’t work. I found the solution in my world to be the parent with a side of friendship, in turn, I was trying to help someone else gain that as well. IT isn’t working.

Original thought was to have rules for the older kids alongside chores, reward & consequence system that was clearly written out on poster board for all to read. While the little kids would have their own set of chores, rules/schedule as well as a reward/consequence system. The issue I have is that these other children, whom I have fallen in love with, care for deeply and have taken in as part of my family, DO NOT want anything to do with rules, guidelines, chores or anything. These kids just do not like it, do not want any part in it and are at times with a mindset that I can not comprehend.  In all honesty, we cannot even seem to get them to understand what we feel to be the definition of family; to me family is anyone who you have taken into your world as “family”. This family definition to me does not hold by the standards of blood relation. I have so many people I call Uncle on my Dad‘s side that I think of as Uncles but they, in all reality, are just my Dad’s buddies who grew up with him and have been there since I was a baby. They have my back and I know that, they are family. On my Mom’s side, the man I call Grampa and know as Grampa, is not blood related but I will be damned if you tell me he isn’t my Grampa. That’s crazy. If someone has been a part of your life as “family” then they are FAMILY. If someone has come into your life loving you, caring for you, taking you in and trying to turn your world into a better, happy place, they are FAMILY.

I can understand kids not wanting rules, hell I know when I was a kid I loved having less rules and running the show so to speak. Rules? I wanted no part in that, however, the rules I did have, allowed me to become who I am today. I am very proud of who I am. In turn, I raised my children in a way that I thought would allow them to;

  • Learn boundaries.
  • Learn independence & who they are as a small person.
  • Learn consequences for actions are part of life, not a sign of lack of love.
  • Learn rewards come for those who work hard & try to do their best as well as be their best.

I wanted my kids to look to me as Mom, yup, I have been told I am hated by them from time to time. I have had head butting experiences where we just cannot get on the same page and I want to rip my own hair out. Then, on the flip side, we have it all – we love each other. No matter how much kids mess up, they have learned that Mom loves them NO MATTER WHAT. My kids have learned so much that while having a conversation with my 10 year old (almost 11) daughter, I am jaw dropped at how easily she understands and comprehends the reality of situations and how simple it would be if only others were to stop acting in such defiant ways simply because they are not allowed to isolate themselves from the world and sit on electronics 24/7.

This is a really hard road I am traveling right now. I am not traveling it alone. I have the most amazing partner in the world who is doing his best to work with me and gain input from others as to how best to handle the transition from his and mine to “ours”. We will get this because we all have fallen so in love with each other, or at least, that is how I feel. I would do anything for his kids just as I would my own kids, they are all part of “our new blended family”. I believe there is a solution to everything, the only downfall is that sometimes the immediate solution can sometimes be the most difficult of decision to make in your life. No matter the decision that must be made, it will have a positive end result somewhere down the line in the future!

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