UFI

Is the “Ideal” for Real?

In motherhood, Parenting on September 2, 2014 at 8:52 am

idealIf you could create the ideal home for your family, what would that look like? What would it include?

By Nathalie Bowman

Think about this question in terms of the physical ideal if you’d like, but more importantly, think about the environment you’d like to create. What is the feeling in your home when you first enter? Do you and your children feel glad to be home, or does it sometimes feel like a burden to be there?

What would you like it to be? Is your home welcoming or private? Does it matter? Do the children feel free to be themselves; do they love learning; do they feel free to make mistakes, knowing there will be consequences, but they will be loved as they learn to do better? Do you feel confident in your ability to draw boundaries and discipline with love?

There are two primary parts to creating your ideal home. The first part is about you, the parent. The second part is about you, the parent. Yes, creating the ideal home is much more about the parents than about the behavior of the children. When the parents work on themselves first, things fall into place with their families.

Part One is to focus on your heart. In order for you to create the ideal home, your heart must be clear, clean, and open to Living Love. You must focus on your own ability to love and understand others, to have hope and light as a foundation in your own heart as you raise your family. This is where you really begin to know who you are and the gifts you bring.

Many parents today are raising their families without having a personal foundation of love, acceptance, and understanding. Many of us (including myself) are coming from broken homes, abusive relationships, not knowing how to love or even what love really is. Society is telling us that strong, stable families just aren’t the norm anymore, and we just have to deal with it and do the best we can. However, those strong and stable families are the most important component to bring order and joy to our world. No matter what difficult things one has been through, there is always hope. Every family has the potential for relationships of joy when we focus on cleansing and healing ourselves and our hearts first, which will enable us to fully love those around us.

Part Two is to retrain your brain to use good tools and techniques for positive discipline in your home. Many people were raised in an environment where harsh punishments were the way to whip kids into shape and make them do what they were told. When you think about it, why do we make children feel bad (through punishments) in hopes that they will DO and BE better? When put that way, it makes no sense! I have been learning a lot about the concept of Positive Discipline and am excited to share some of these life-changing ideas with you.

My family of 10 (8 children) has been in quite a bit of chaos due to my past inability to understand and give love and my lack of knowledge as to how to discipline with love. What are the rules? How do I teach my kids about what’s wrong and right and about obedience and how to be a good person without forcing my agenda on them? Without forcing them to do as I say? How do I teach them to make good decisions for themselves? How do I teach them to have confidence in their ability to solve their own problems? If I jump in and try to do everything for them, they won’t know how to do things for themselves or create solutions.

Wow. Being a parent comes with so many conundrums and I just didn’t know what to do when it came right down to discipline. The “Positive Discipline” philosophy and tools have answered these questions for me.  Positive Discipline is a great solution that have made a huge difference in my family.  As I study parenting techniques and work on becoming a better person, I see a beautiful combination appearing. Focus on your heart and learn to love + retrain your brain to use positive discipline and you have a powerful, confident, joyful foundation on which to build your ideal family.

In my articles over the next two weeks, we will be learning some specific ways to focus on love and learn positive discipline so you can feel more confidence and joy in your parenting, and your ideal family can be for real!

 

 

A Personal Stand Against Child Abuse

In Child Abuse, Parenting on September 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Abuse of TeenThe article was shocking. It was a story of a mentally handicapped boy who was seen being pushed by his father while at a local school. Officers took a closer look into this situation and found that the boy “smelled of urine and feces.” He was unable to lift his head and looked severely malnourished.

By Leticia Chase and Lerin Gleason

The article said that the boy, 15 years old, was later admitted to a local children’s hospital and was found to have symptoms of “severe dehydration and renal failure.”  I read on to find out that as the police investigated further, they found equally tragic living circumstances in the home.

The parents of this boy were charged with child abuse, a third degree felony. I nearly stopped in my tracks when I read the names. These were two people I had known. These were once two relatively good people whose children attended school every day and church every week. These were people I talked to regularly and cared about. Abuse had been happening in this home and had been going on for quite some time. This led me to ask myself… where was I? What if there was something I could have done?

Though abuse may not be happening in your own home, there are numerous cases of abuse being reported every day. One study showed an 83 percent increase in sexual abuse and a 42 percent increase in physical abuse from 1986 to 1993. During 2011 alone, 676,569 victims of child abuse and neglect were reported in the United States.  Abuse is steadily increasing in prevalence in America today.

Of the reported cases of abuse, 60 percent were reported by “teachers, law enforcement or legal representatives, or social service providers (teachers 16.4%; law enforcement 16.7%; social service 11.5%).” Whereas, those who were closest to the child, “other relatives of the child (7%), parents (6.8%), friends or neighbors of the child (4.4%), and anonymous (9%)” made up the remainder. Shockingly enough, those who were closest to the abuse were the last to report it. From this statistic it seems that only when people are legally mandated to speak up about abuse that anything is being done to stop it. However, according to another article, up to 25 percent of doctors are not even reporting abuse that they see.

Why didn’t these doctors speak up? Why do family and friends rank last in reporting abuse? Most likely, in each of these situations, fear was present. Maybe you and I could say that that it is not our responsibility to intervene. I’m sure that I have thought that what parents do within the walls of their own home is a “family affair.” We may even think that what parents do with their children is their choice and their responsibility. Though this is true in some respects, it does not apply to abuse. We have a responsibility to act because, whether or not we know it, abuse is directly affecting our lives and families as well.

Abuse impacts the broader community

Recent studies show that the annual cost of abuse to Americans in 2008 was $124 billion dollars. This cost accumulates from direct, short-term costs such as immediate medical attention, mental health services, the child welfare system, and law enforcement required to address child abuse and neglect each year, as well as the indirect, long-term costs. These long-term costs include special education, early intervention, emergency housing, long-term mental health care, long-term physical health care, juvenile delinquency, the adult criminal justice system, and lost worker productivity costs related to children and adults who have been abused.

Other research has shown that children who are abused are 25% more likely to experience teenage pregnancy and nine times more likely to engage in criminal behavior. Additionally, “14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.” No one should be abused, no one should have to pay for abuse and no one should have to live in a society plagued by it.

Current estimates suggest that four children die every day as a result of child abuse, one of the worst rates among industrialized nations. As heartbreaking as it is for me to admit, if not for the police officer that day, the boy I knew may have been one of these.  Abuse is all around us. It is my neighbor and your neighbor. As a member of society and as a human being, we have a role and responsibility to step in when we see harm being placed upon another human being that is, or could be, detrimental to their life in some way.

Abuse is a learned behavior

One community based organization that promotes and provides safety to families against abuse says, “Abusing behaviors are learned behaviors. Abuse is not a natural reaction to an outside event. It is not normal to behave in a violent manner within a personal relationship. It is learned from seeing abuse used as a successful tactic of control often in the home in which the abuser grew up. It is re-enforced when the abusers are not held responsible or the act is ignored” (emphasis added). As long as we don’t speak up, the cycle will continue. Silence will never create change.

After reading this article I realized that there was probably a way I could have stepped in. I may have been able to help this boy. I plead with each of you to look for opportunities to help these innocent children. The next time you see an outburst in the store or hear something that doesn’t sound quite right, remember my story. By believing “it’s not my responsibility” or “that’s their business,” we can become an accomplice in another person being harmed.

 

Leticia ChaseLeticia Chase is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University – Idaho with a degree in Child Development. She has been married for four years and is a new mother. Leticia is an advocate for children and families and believes that the family is the fundamental unit of society and, therefore, all problems in society stem from the destruction of the family.

 

Lerin GleasonLerin Gleason is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University Idaho with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development.  She is a happily married wife and new mother. Lerin is a strong believer in the family and the power and influence it has, inside and outside the home, to help shape, educate and influence society.

Attentive to Habit

In Child Development, Families, father, Parenting, The Family, Values on August 29, 2014 at 10:38 am

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My father wanted me to be as well prepared for life as I could be. He was attentive and took time to correct misconduct when needed. He was home enough, and I was into mischief enough, that it seemed I was in “the doghouse” throughout my childhood. He was not austere but was simply unable to let any inappropriate behavior sink too deep into habit before being corrected. I was a sensitive young man, and I never took his correcting very well. He had a practice, however, which always repaired my hurt “little boy” feelings and brought us close even when I felt he was very demanding. On Sunday afternoons he would often say, “Let’s go for a walk around the track.” I grew up on a small farm in northern California, and every spring Dad would disc and scrape a flat track around the perimeter. It was approximately one third of a mile around, and we used it for running, driving practice, and to bring loads of fruit home from the orchards in the pickup truck. Dad and I would walk around that track and talk. It was usually a one-sided conversation at first. Dad began by reinforcing the folly of my misbehavior but then spent the bulk of the time reminding me of who he knew I was piece by piece. I can still remember him telling me how handsome I was, what a good boy I was, and that I would turn out to be a great man. He made me feel like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. This building time would usually open me up so that by the end, I was the one doing most of the talking. It was a deliberate expression of his love for me, an intentional strategy to create a confident young man. I would not be who I am today without his loving correction.

 

Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Edwin Wells’ story was first published in Seeing the Everyday no. 25. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.

 

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