Sticky little Fingers

Is your iPhone or iPad looking more like the screen of a kindergarten painting with chunky sticky bits swiped over the screen? My little baby turns 1 this Friday, I know, where did that year go? As a true native to swipe technology my iPhone is now regularly used as a toy with the wonderful Fisher Price apps I foolishly downloaded. Now everytime my phone is in her site she wants it, and wants it now!! What have I created! At the tender age of 1 she can swipe through my photos, pretend to talk on the phone and play with apps. How the world has changed. I wonder how the education system is going to keep up with this Apple savvy group about to come through in the next 2- 5 years? Interesting times ahead.

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Ever have those days where you think about your significant other and go “I’m going to kill him/her”?

Ever have those days where you think about your significant other and go “I’m going to kill him/her?”(not literally by the way!).   You know, the days where you don’t see eye to eye and can’t work out a solution either.  Where you yelled at him or he yelled at you.  Where the kids are driving you insane and it appears no one is listening.  I’m sure you know what I mean, even if you live in a family where you don’t yell at each other, I’m sure there are times where you are bubbling underneath over something.

I subscribe to a fairly wacky blog titled GoddessGuidbook (yes, I was having one of those spiritual/”Byron Bay” moments when I subscribed) and the author, Leonie, recently celebrated her wedding and shared the experience via her blog.  There was a particular paragraph that stood out for me that I’d like to share with you.   Here is the exert:

**

I don’t believe in fairytales. I used to, of course. I used to think one man would come along and heal my hurts for me. He would make my life whole and healed and good. Happily ever after.

And we would look so damn good on that white horse together.
Good thing he didn’t come with his own emotional bullsh*t you know. There wasn’t any room in my fairytale for that. There was only room for one person to be rescued, one person to be made whole.

I’m pretty sure that’s called “Not Really A Person.”

His name would be Mr Illusion.

I held very firmly onto my fairytale belief for quite a few years into our relationship. I struggled and I fought and I was thrown askew when I realised my hot, handsome prince needed just as much unconditional love and acceptance and space to heal his own sh*t that I did.

And I didn’t know that I had it to give.

Now I do.

**

Sound familiar?  I think for many of us we have a picture in our heads of the ideal life, the ideal family, the ideal children.  Like Leonie writes in her blog, it is an illusion.  We are all human, we have our strengths and struggles, and at the end of the day require unconditional love and acceptance.  For me this was a reminder of what I’d want from my husband and it is what I also need to give to him and my children.  It is also the reason why I’m so passionate about personality type and parenting stylesNo one or situation is perfect.

I met with a mid-wife yesterday who said her friend had just had a baby.  The mother is exhausted.  The baby thinks it’s play time between 1am to 3am every night and only has 3, 20 minute naps in the day.  The thing is, the mother’s a mid-wife and has this expectation of herself that she should know how to handle the situation rather than swallow her pride and get help. Once again, I guess she had this “ideal” in her head about babies and had given out plenty of advice to other parents.  Now it was her turn and I think life was providing a valuable lesson to her.

So my friends, in the pursuit of a beautiful life, I think we all need to be reminded that we’re human and forgive ourselves and our family when we’re struggling and simply require uncondiational love.  Thanks Leonie.

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“Be just vhat you is, not vhat you is not. Folks vhat do zis are ze happiest lot.”

Ever heard of Tooter Turtle?  Probably not, me neither until recently.  A good friend of mine, Graeme Haycraft was helping put together a video for this Parenting Styles web site when he came out with this great one liner ” “Be just vhat you is, not vhat you is not. Folks vhat do zis are ze happiest lot.”  I said that was brilliant, that’s exactly what Parenting Styles and personality type is all about.  Just be who you are.

Turns out a cartoon was made called Tooter Turtle in the 1960’s where a dopey turtle named Tooter goes to a wizard (who is a lizard of course) with the request that the wizard turn his life to some other destiny.  He usually accompanied his request with the phrase “Please, Mr. Wizard; it’s what I want to be!” Since none of Tooter’s alternate lives ever worked out, the moral of each segment was always the same: “Be just vhat you is, not vhat you is not.

Sound familiar?  I know there are times where I wish I had traveled instead of gone to university, been prettier or better at sports, been born more practical and hands on than what I am.  As a parent I sometimes look at other parents and wished that I had some of their strengths e.g. patience!   But the thing is, we are all unique and come with our own special gifts and struggles – and thank goodness for that.

So, next time the dinner you make turns out not to be what you intended or you wished you or your child were more tidier, more social, quieter, more successful, better at school, better behaved etc etc just think of Tooter Turtle and the moral to the story, “Be just vhat you is, not vhat you is not.”

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The….

I was on my way to an appointment last week with a web site designer for my business, ParentingStyles. Doubt was starting to creap into my head about the viability of the business and my ability to make it successful. On my way I stopped at the Chiropractor for an appointment and whilst I was waiting a man named Tim walked into the waiting room. With the receptionist, we got talking and it turns out that he is quite an amazing person, inspirational actually, and was answering my questions on my own self doubt.

Tim Sandilands is the Queensland state triathlon champion for the 60-64 year olds. He only started triatholons 10 years ago. He said he weighed 136kg and smoked like a chimney until then. He is a multimillionaire thanks to his business, Mobile Hose Fitters (www.businessfranchiseaustralia.com.au/Franchisor-Profile/),  and has over 50 retail shops, most of which he owns. Since the Global Financial Crisis, his business has tripled in size. His words of wisdom were:

  • If there is a recession/economic downturn, choose not to participate. Since the GFC he has put on 23 more employees. Do the opposite to your competitors and simply don’t particate. See it as an opportunity.
  • There is only a small difference between a millionaire and a multi-millionaire. That difference is to take a risk, take a chance.
  • Where possible, own your own shop/outlet – don’t rent and pay the money to someone else. Most of his money has been made on purchasing commerical property. The receptionist said that she heard particularly at the moment, it is very hard to buy commercial property. He said it always has been – don’t participate in the negative thinking – just do it. That is the difference.
  • I mentioned that I don’t necessarily have the support from my partner to invest in my business. He said you had to invest and  go ahead and do it anyway. Don’t let someone else hold you back.
  • He compared business to running. Sometimes there is pain, but you don’t just give up and stop. You get through the pain and keep going. You have to have a strong mind.

He told me he has a kookaburra on his desk with a green frog in it’s mouth. The frog has the kookaburra around it’s neck with a saying “never give up”. That is his motto.

It was with that image in my head I met with the web designer to plant the seeds for www.parentingstyles.com.au

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Rediscover What Makes You Happy

“Rediscover the little things in life that make you happy; add a new little thing each day and be prepared to shine.”

I receive a daily “Om” from this lovely website dailyom.  Today’s was about re-discovering the little things in life that make you happy.  That first cup of coffee in the morning, the sun on your back, a baby laughing, a funny email, two old people walking hand in hand.  The message resounded for me.  I don’t know about you, but my days seem to be hectic, running around playing mum, wife, housekeeper, incubator, marketer, accountant, cook, teacher and cleaner (and I ‘m sure there are more!).  Along the way I easily forget all the wonderful things that make this journey through life enjoyable. Before I know it, it will be all over and I’ll be left wondering what happened and asking myself why I didn’t stop and enjoy life along the way.

I was thinking then, what makes you happy?  I’d imagine depending on personality type, what makes one person happy would be different for the next.  If you know your temperament or MBTI profile, use the comments to share your happiness and let’s see if there is a link between personality and happiness!

Heather

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Practical Tips For Teaching “Chatty” Children

I’m writing this week’s post to help parents and teachers who are looking for some simple, practical ways of reaching children who are “chatty”; like to express themselves outwardly.  These are ideas that can be used now in the current education system.  My lovely 7-year-old son, who is adorable, is also not the “ideal” student to have in a classroom  so I will be trying these ideas out with his teacher over the week.  I’ll let you know how I go!

In these posts I refer to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory.  It is one of the best known psychological instruments in the world and is used in many fields, such as counseling, couples counseling, team building as well as education.   If you’re not familiar to MBTI click here for a summary.

For this post I’m going to focus on the first dimension, Extraversion-Introversion – where the person is most energised by the external world or the internal world.  For children, you will see this preference in the way they behave and express themselves; talkative and expressive in a group or quiet and reserved.  Clearly teaching extraverted children in a classroom can have it’s challenges and be quite draining for a teacher, especially if they have a preference for Introversion!

Here are some tips I’ve pulled from a number of MBTI resources that I believe can help in the classroom and you could share with your child’s teacher at a parent-teacher interview.  It can help you as the parent be a better advocate for your child in the classroom.

Tips for Teaching Extraverted and Introverted Children:

In my circumstance, the teacher has raised concerns about my son being too chatty and loud.  In my mind, this is how my son’s preference for Extraversion are exhibited which can be considered bad behaviour in a structured and quiet classroom.  In the meeting I will have with her, I can explain my child’s need for action and discussion and ask if she could provide more kinesthetic opportunities for my son to burn off energy.  When given a quiet task, suggest that he has “back up” activities that can be done when he finishes so he’s not disrupting the others when he gets bored.  Clearly this is a “two way street” so I can then talk to my son about the need to be quiet when asked to in the class and discuss consequences for appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

I believe you cannot change a person’s preferences, whether a child or adult.  That is innate.  What we can do is work with those preferences.  Learning about personality type can help teachers better understand their students and identify their strengths.  It is important that teachers and parents understand that there is a wide range of acceptable behaviour.  Messages to children that they are not okay, just because they are different from the teacher’s perception of what is “normal”, can damage the children’s self-esteem.  Temperament and type theories can help teachers better tap into their own, as well as their students’ strengths.

I’ll be sure to share with you how I go with these suggestions and whether my son’s teacher is open to my thoughts on classroom techniques.  If you’ve had a similar experience or want to try these out please share – I’d love to hear from you.


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371 Prep Children Suspended in Queensland Schools. What Is Going On?

This week figures from Education Queensland show the number of prep students being suspended in Queensland schools has doubled in two years.  It has gone from 184 to 371!  See article here.  According to the Queensland Education Minister, Cameron Dick, you can be suspended in prep for “Things like not taking proper direction from teachers, acting maybe in a way that’s aggressive in the classroom, or acting in a way that means the class cannot function in the normal way, that is allowing students to learn and teachers to teach“.  I wonder if Mr Dicks would be suspended if the behaviour in parliament sittings were judged on this basis!  What is going on?

I volunteer at my son’s school and after a few months observing the children’s behaviour, it is pretty clear the kids that do well in the current system and the kids that do not. I understand in a classroom where the teacher is the expert and the children are the students, in a group of 20+ , that behaviour management is critical.  A teacher who can’t “control” the children in the room has no hope of teaching.  I can see that.  BUT, as we know, the world is thankfully made up of all types of people, each with their own personality.  What happens to the children who learn through doing, who need to explore to understand, who are not motivated by external rewards and “being good” and are extremely restless sitting on the floor or at their desk for hours at a time?  What happens to those who need to talk and express themselves to understand the world?  What happens to those who need action and games to learn?  Are these our “naughty” children because in a world where children’s education is taught lecture style, expert and student, they drop out or worse still, start believing they really are a “naughty” child?  Are these the kids that “cannot function in a normal way“?

In the education world they talk about Pedagogy_Andragogyapproaches to teaching.  Pedagogy is the current education approach used to teach in schools and many universities.  In Pedagogy, the educational focus is on transmitting, in a very teacher-controlled environment, the content subject matter. In Andragogy, the educational focus is on facilitating the acquisition of and critical thinking about the content and insight.  Motivation in a pedagogical environment is based on behaviour theory – reward and punishment.  Increasing the desired behavior by using either positive consequences or avoidance of negative stimuli as extrinsic forms of motivation.  Rewarding “good” behaviour with stickers and putting the students name on the board if they do not comply or worse still, give them detention, suspension or expelled.  In andragogical approach, motivation is based on internal motivators: self-esteem, recognition, better quality of life,  self-confidence, self-actualization.

I’d like to propose that the way we are parenting our children combined with today’s world of Nintendo DS’s, Nintendo Wii, X-Box, Playstation DVD’s and Social Media, has developed a huge gap between the classroom and the real world for children.  In the 1950’s, the role of the parent was the authoritative figure, and the leap between school and home, teacher and parent, was very little.  Today I believe there is a greater gap between school and home, teacher and parent.  Many children are used to being self-directed,  are encouraged to solve problems and work things out for themselves.  Many parents do not play the role of adult/expert, authoritarian figure but rather friend and facilitator.  They use dialogue as opposed to “speak only when you’re spoken to”,  “I’m the adult and you do what I say”.

When it comes to everyday life, has your child read the instruction manual and had an “expert” teach them how to play the DS/Wii/XBox etc?  Are they not having to problem solve, fail then try again to reach the next goal/level?  Have they linked to another DS or person online to play against or with them?  Have you ever had trouble getting your child to play on the DS/Wii etc?  Why is that?  Children at a very young age are learning through their own accord for their own intrinsic reasons.  They are solving problems for themselves and learning from one another.  This is androgogical – this is learner centred education.  Children can and do learn this way all the time so why change our approach to children being empty vessels when they go to school?

I’m a big fan of Jane Vella’s work on the Twelve Principles for Effective Adult Learning.   I believe these same principles apply whether you are 10 or 60.  You can read about her theory Jane Vella but essentially it’s about a change of thinking from a pedagogy – teacher as expert, external motivation approach to a more adrogogy approach – learner centred, intrinsic motivation.

Will the number of children being suspended from school increase?  I think it will.  Why, because I don’t think the education department is willing or maybe able to get out of the past and move with today.  Smartboards in a classroom does not address the archaic approach to teaching.   When will they get this and revolutionise?…mmmm…good question.

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