Happy parents raise happy kids

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Raising Babies: Extended Family can be Bliss

Grandparents with grandchildren

Your extended family can be a great help once a new baby arrives. I didn’t understand just how much until Eden was born. I was in my last year of university and working full time. My parents lived over 3 hours drive from us.

I never had a close bond with my mom. When others talked about having their moms around when you had a baby, I didn’t really know what to think about it. When Eden was born, I was in hospital for 10 days. I got a terrible infection and my mom came to stay with us after we were discharged from hospital because I had to go back every day to change my bandages.

We got home and I didn’t really know what would happen. But my mom incredible. She had already had 5 kids of her own and she knew exactly what to do. She said to me, “You focus on eating, sleeping and breastfeeding” and that is exactly what I did. Meanwhile, she cooked, cleaned and played with Eden, massaged her and sang songs. I never knew my mom could be like that. She was awesome.

This post is part 4 of 4 in the series Raising Babies

Raising Babies: What about Dads?

Dad with little boy on his lap - dads are critical in parenting

Dads are a very important part of parenting. They are often neglected in discussions on parenting.

When I do parenting workshops, they are often filled with moms who come because dads are pretty much “hands off” when it comes to raising kids, not to mention raising babies.

It is very natural that moms who breastfeed their babies spend most of the time with them. Society is very accommodating towards moms. Sadly, not that much is invested in supporting dads. It is so bad that when Gal and I lost our baby, most people came to me to offer condolences and nothing to Gal. For them, I lost the baby because I carried the baby but Gal didn’t.

A dad’s role in raising a baby is very important and crucial in the success of the parenting experience. There are many things dads can do that do not require having boobs and breastfeeding.

In those first few months, when the baby comes home, the family goes through a time of bonding. This happens mainly through caring. Taking care of a baby is the way to make this bond stronger. The main caregivers become the most important people in the baby’s life.

This post is part 3 of 4 in the series Raising Babies

Raising Babies: Crying

Pouting baby - babies cry for many reasons

When babies cry, it is not always a sign that they are hurt or in pain. Think about it. Babies cry as a way to communicate. They can be telling you about an itch, hunger, thirst, or they are cold, hot, tight. They might be calling out, “Mommy! Daddy! I need a cuddle!”

The great thing about babies is that their cry is very gentle. It is an instinctive action and a very healthy one. As parents, we need to teach our babies to develop and prefect this instinct. It is best to respond to it as a form of communication rather than reacting to it as if it is bad (even a type of bullying, perhaps).

Try reacting to your baby’s cry as if they are calling out to you. Always answer it with words. “I’m coming” is a good way to teach babies that you have heard them and that you welcome this communication.

There are many ways to respond to a baby’s cry. Remember, our goal is to teach our babies that they are saying something. Research shows that over time, mothers can tell the difference between a hungry cry, a wet cry and a scared cry. Think of it as something you both learn. Your baby learns to cry differently with different needs and you learn to distinguish between them. It is an adventure that you both share. With the feedback you give each other, you can refine both the cry and the response.

This post is part 2 of 4 in the series Raising Babies

Good Relationship with Loving Affirmations

Holding hand - the sign of a good relationship

Relationships and the way we connect with others are very important and essential to our happiness and success in life. Research shows that people who are in good relationships are healthier, happier and they live longer. So, good relationships are the best prescription for a long life. I would take two prescriptions of that kind of medication.

We learn about relationships from the people closest to us – usually, our parents, later on our siblings and much later, from friends. If they model good relationships, we copy them. If the model bad relationships, we model that as well. Why? Because as kids we don’t have any way of filtering bad examples. It is only as we grow that we start developing critical thinking, and we start noticing that relationships at our house are different to other houses. Often times, that can make us frustrated because we don’t have the skills to make things change.

I once worked with a woman who was 37 years old. She had so many partners and no stable relationships. We checked her beliefs and found the source of the problem. We discovered that the origin of it was from her dad leaving her mom and her siblings when she was about 10 years old. He left to be with another women and she adopted a belief that “all man are assholes” (I am quoting). As a result, she did not trust men. With a belief like that, it is hard and even impossible to find a relationship, not to mention keep it.

This post is part 5 of 6 in the series Affirmations

You Kick Like a Girl

Elephant dancing ballet (like a girl)

As a young girl, I grew up in a small town where kids played in the street until their parents called them home for dinner. It was a small street and playing there was much like playing in your front yard. You could count about 10 steps from your front door to the street. It was a generation when most people had many kids. My family was one of the smallest – only 5 kids. Most of my friends had 6 or 7 siblings.

I was very much a tomboy and never did things “like a girl”. I played with the boys, mainly because there were more of them than girls. It seemed very natural for me to hang around them, even at night, when we went to the orchards to make bonfires. I think they did not notice I was a girl until I started wearing a bra. Until then, I was their equal – chasing one another on the street, riding bikes, fighting or playing soccer, there was no difference between us.

At home was another matter.

In my family, the roles of boys and girls were very clear – boys played rough while girls cleaned and cared for the family. My mom could not bear the thought of me hanging around the boys so much. So she told me I should act “like a girl”, because with so many bruises and cuts I would never be allowed to learn ballet.

Healthy Affirmations: Healthy Body

Stars falling into an open head - plant healthy affirmations for a healthy body

In the last chapter of the affirmation series, I explained why it is important to adopt good beliefs about the world around us. What we think of our body and about its health is very important to the function of the body and its health. We can plant healthy beliefs in our minds by using healthy affirmations and reading them over and over again.

As a mother, I am a strong believer in affirmations and planting good and healthy beliefs in kids’ minds. I have 3 kids and they are extremely healthy. They go to the doctor for health checks, not due to illness. I truly believe this is mainly because they have very healthy beliefs about their bodies and their health.

Gal and I appreciate health very much and we try to instill healthy thoughts in our children. If you are a parent and would like to raise healthy kids, read the list of beliefs and pick those you want to plant in your kids.

This post is part 4 of 6 in the series Affirmations

Mirror Neurons and Parenting

Mirror neurons

Imagine what our lives would be like if we could look in the mirror and change what we see in it. Imagine if it could help us change what we see both inside and outside of ourselves.

I think kids are such very special mirrors. They visually project the image of those who stand before them. If you want to see your parenting image, all you have to do is look into your live mirror, your kids.

A recent research on mirror neurons has discovered that when we watch someone doing something, the same neurons that fire in their brain also fire in our brain. By watching them, we end up thinking and feeling the same thing they feel by doing.

Our neurons “mirror” their neurons. In other words, when someone eats ice cream, their neurons think “yummy”. When we watch someone eat ice cream, our “yummy” neurons light up the same way.

Peer Pressure: The Power of the Group

Be Special Be Yourself for Teenagers is a book about teens and peer pressure

Teens are often criticized for not being able to stand up to peer pressure. In my parenting workshops I show parents and teachers how much they, as mature adults, grownups and parents, submit to group pressure. They are usually very shocked to discover how many things they do that do not match their own thoughts and beliefs, and how strong their desire is to be accepted, not judged and not criticized by the people around them.

Being social creatures makes us compromise our thoughts and beliefs to match those of the society we live in. It is in some way a survival mechanism that got out of control. In the beginning, we did it to survive in the group. Later on we have to obey the group if we want to be accepted in.

The power of peer pressure was examined many years ago in a famous study called “Asch’s conformity experiment”. This short video can explain how easy it is conform.

Moving House Made Easy: Making the New Place Home

Home wrapped in a bow

Settling in your new place is what turns it from a house into a home. Preparing the house and making it suitable to your way of living will set the tone for your life in your new home.

To make the whole thing seem like a great new adventure, it is best to think of as many aspects as possible before you settle into your new place. Dedicate some time to making it just right rather than rushing it.

If you rush, you will only end up with half packed boxes and a completely disorganized house.

Here are some tips I have collected over the years that make this transition as smooth as possible.

This post is part 13 of 13 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Moving House Made Easy: Unpacking

New house, front yard and large tree

You have gone through the huge process of moving to your new house – packing, scheduling, planning and the moving day itself. The hard part is over. The only thing left to do is unpacking all the boxes. This can be a very long process and will set the tone for living in your new house. Here are some tips from my experience.

My first suggestion is not to rush it. It is best to take time and consider where to put what, otherwise you will end up moving things back and forth from one place to another.

Another suggestion is do it yourself. Some years, I employed a packing and unpacking services. It worked well in some cases, but the unpacking was always a hassle. It seemed like a good idea but they put pressure on you to decide where to put things. It was never the right decision. Unpacking takes a bit of thought, and trial and error.

This post is part 12 of 13 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Ronit Baras

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