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Children Want To Have An Opinion. Don’t You?

Today’s society is not like when you or I were growing up. The “children should be seen and not heard” rule doesn’t really seem to apply in today’s society. Or if it does, it seems to be to the detriment of the connection between the parent and the child.

This is because children are growing up in society that encourages them to speak up, be honest about their feelings, and that it’s okay to have an opinion.

On one hand, we encourage them to be this way, but on the other, if it doesn’t match what we believe is right we can get all riled up at times.

So are we giving our children mixed messages? Do you want them to have an opinion or not?

I think for most of us, we want to raise confident, happy children who feel free to express themselves. We just want them to do it in a respectful way.

The other day, I said to my 8 year old son Ryan:

“Ryan, you are getting to an age where you won’t always agree with me or like what I’m telling you to do. That’s completely fine and I’m open to talking to you about our differences but I won’t be spoken to rudely, nor will I speak to you when you are yelling, throwing yourself on the ground or whingeing about the problem. We need to discuss things calmly.  

It doesn’t always mean that you will get your own way, but I will explain why you can’t have your own way and why it’s in your best interests. But on the other hand, you might have an idea that I haven’t thought of and maybe you can get what you want by doing it differently. The point is that we can discuss the problem and focus on a solution, rather than fighting with each other.”

He was pretty happy with that and it set the platform for future discussions, rather than arguments. It makes him feel empowered over his life, rather than feeling like his life is being controlled and dictated.

Think about what you want in your life. Don’t you want to have your opinion heard? Don’t you want to discuss how your life is going to be run? Wouldn’t you want to know why you can’t do something you really want to do?

We need to treat our children as equals because the superior/inferior trends of the olden day parent/child relationship doesn’t suit today’s societal messages.

If you try to stick to the ‘old school’ way, it won’t be a wrong way to parent, so there’s no judgment. But it is possible that your children may not be as close to you as you would like, because they grow up to feel unheard or that their opinion doesn’t matter to you.

It is for you to decide though, how you wish to handle your child’s relationship. I’m just here to present some ideas for contemplation.

Open the communication channels…



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My childhood is repeating itself. This time in the life of my son.

452441_mAs I sat at the kitchen table this evening after believing that my son was coping really well at his first couple of weeks at school and making lots of friends, he informs me this evening that he has sat by himself at lunchtime and no one wanted to play with him.  He said that he tried to play with him but they told him to go away.

Suddenly I was sucked into the vortex of time, flooded with memories of this very thing happening throughout my primary school life and devastated that he was having to experience this.

This was my first reality check that my little baby was growing up and I could no longer control how his life unfolded.  I could no longer protect him from the harsh realities of life.  Even as I write this, I can feel tears welling up in my eyes at the thought of him being hurt by the cruelty of other kids.

However, I am truly blessed to know the information that I now do after going through the struggles that I did with my depression and having to learn a realistic view of life plus being able to work with parents on a daily basis. This helped me to be somewhat objective so I can get some perspective on this situation.

You see as much as we would like for our children to live happy lives and have nothing every go ‘wrong’ or happen to them that would cause upset, this is just not the reality of how it is.  We are all experiencing ups and downs in life.  And who says everything has to go right anyway?  Just because an experience is not enjoyable it doesn’t mean it is not valuable.

Everything our kids go through provides them with the lessons they need for their development.  This experience is teaching him exactly what he needs to know about friendships and this learning is the foundation for how he interacts with friends in his future, potentially for the rest of his life.  Just because it does not match the ideal I have of it, it doesn’t mean it is not exactly what needs to happen for him to learn what he needs to learn. Who knows what is on the other side of this experience.

While I will do my utmost to talk to his teachers about what is happening and how we can overcome this issue, and I will continue to help him get a realistic understanding of the situation and his self-worth, I ultimately cannot control how he perceives life, what he learns from this and how he responds.

This, unfortunately is true no matter what age your child is at, which is ultimately why I wrote The Happy Mum Handbook and other products like my Stress Free Parenting Video Program.  If we learn for ourselves how to handle life when it is at its worst, or even when it’s just not enjoyable for whatever reason, and we can maintain our own level of self-worth during these times, then we are better equipped to help our kids learn how to cope too, without them feeling worth-less.

Do I question whether I have taught him enough?  Do I question whether I could have done something different to prepare him for school?  Do I wonder whether perhaps I have shared some of my insecurities or beliefs about life that has contributed to who he is today?

Absolutely, but the bottom line is the past is over and I can only ever share with him the knowledge that I have at any given time and I have done the very best I could.  We can never control how our child’s life unfolds and we must learn to look at the value of what they are experiencing, whether it is good or bad.

My quote today on The Parental Stress Centre’s Facebook page was “We all have bad days where life doesn’t go to plan. It is just part of our whole life experience containing ups and downs. Don’t allow this ‘bad day’ to have more power than that, as it will pass by and bring with it a new day. Seek out what is going right in your life so you can remember that wherever there is a cloud, there is always sunshine behind it.”

I must remember that where there is bad there is also an equal amount of good in the situation.  I just need to find it and teach him to look for it too, and then hope that he does.

Regardless of what is happening in ours or our child’s life, if we continue to look at life this way, that is all we can do.