Why I Never Say ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’

While it made a popular Rick Springfield song in the ’80s, “Don’t talk to strangers” is way too broad of a statement. I’ve actually never said this to my children in so many words. It certainly doesn’t fit my detail-driven personality or my parenting style.

Here’s just a few of the problems I have with this statement. How do we define a stranger? Is a fireman we don’t know on a first-name basis a stranger? Is the lady who delivers our mail each day a stranger? We may not know her by name either, but she’s a welcome sight to us each day. Often times, she will hand the mail directly to my 5-year-old son, as I watch the entire exchange to ensure he doesn’t get too close to the curb or drop a pile of unwanted bills in a puddle. The ritual gives him self-confidence, allowing him to help with a chore while also learning to look an adult in the eye.

Interacting with unfamiliar people is something children need to learn or they may eventually become socially awkward adults. There’s really no way to teach children how to make casual, small talk in a grocery store check-out line. Perhaps when a child answers a store clerk’s question that could be a start.

So what do I tell my children?

Find out more from Julia Sherwin, the host of “Perspectives on Parenting with Julia Sherwin.”

Photo from pixabay.com.


Boys Who Bond More with Moms Grow Up to be Great Teens

Mother and son walking in the rain

Don’t we know it that boys despise being labeled a “Mama’s Boy?” Yet a research conducted in Pittsburgh shows that “boys who have had lots of conflict with their mothers were more likely to engage in delinquent behavior as teens, while boys who had a close relationship with their mothers were more likely to have a good relationship with their best friends when they became teens.”

This study was made on more than 250 mother-son pairs, from when the son was five years old up to his adolescence. Besides the mother-son relationship, it also looked at other aspects like temperament, behavior, relationship of mother and her husband or partner, and even parenting style.

Another study conducted by Dr Pasco Fearon, from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, looked at 69 studies involving almost 6,000 children aged 12 and younger. This research from the University of Reading says a similar thing: children, especially boys, who have insecure attachments to their mothers in the early years have more behaviour problems later in childhood.

A mother and son relationship is a very unique one, writes suite101.com. Boys generally look up and to their fathers or a father-figure for counsel, advise and companionship. However, a mother’s guidance is warmth, patience and compassion, to name a few, that provide boys their natural abilities to interact with girls properly and correctly. This helps boys have better relationships with women when they grow up as men.

However, when boys and teens grow up to be adults or “men,” they are more likely to confess to a predilection for pornography than admit to a close relationship with their mother. Geographic culture and courtships dispell manlihood and marital bliss, that is, women may run a thousand miles away from a man who loves his mother just too much.

It’s a different story when a man becomes a father. His mother is now a grandmother and everything about their relationship is transformed. If there has been any separation, this is now reversed. The mother who lost his boy and teenager to becoming a man is now getting back her boy as the grandmother to his son or daughter.

Sources: suite101 | Science Daily | The Times UK

Photo by clintonbellizzi at Flickr.com


Children Who Walk to School Everyday Are Much Healthier

A long time ago, our parents used to study in a school that’s nearest to their house. Today, city life forces us to ride cars, school buses and public transportation to reach the school our kids go to. Not that it’s too far but crime has gone up considerably since and the penchant of parents to think of their children’s safety is paramount to providing them food, shelter and education.

CBC News recently wrote that researchers in Canada decided to analyze the characteristics of youngsters making their way to school under their own steam, described as “active transportation” — as opposed to getting a ride or taking a bus — to see what patterns emerged. Their study showed that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, those with a single parent and those with an older sibling were more likely to fall into this category, they discovered. It also says that active transportation peaks at ages 10 to 11, and then declines after that. However, only 35 percent of that age category use active transportation.

Though schools have physical education classes every week, it isn’t much to garner for the amount of bodily activity they need. The thought that comes into mind is for parents to find creative means of allowing their kids to do active transportation on a routine basis. One could be dropping them off at their classmate’s house which is a few hundred meters away from school; pick them up at the restaurant or mall nearest to their school.

If you don’t live in a gated subdivision, find a way to create a routine where the daily activity of walking becomes a norm. The study also revealed that children who used active transportation over the course of three years had fewer weight issues, and consistently had a lower body mass index growth curve. One idea is to park your car near your kids school and walk with them. This way, you, too, get the much needed exercise.

Source: CBC News

Photo by zinkwazi at Flickr.com


A Layman Parent’s View of Kumon

Click the poster above to enlarge (source from theallaroundmom.info)

My kids enrolled in Kumon only when we moved to Canada, Richmond, BC, to be precise. Both complemented their weaknesses and strengths – my daughter was good in reading but weak in math while my son was the reverse. They each enrolled only with the weak subject matter and in a year’s time, both decided to also enroll with the other. In time, their proficiencies increased dramatically.

What is Kumon? In an ordinary man’s description, I can say its method is to keep repeating items to the student over and over again. I used to look at the math portions of my kids and saw that the daily homework consisted of doing things repeatedly. For example, randomly placed, equations that equaled to, say, eleven, were all over the assignment sheets – 5+6, 7+4, 2+9, 15-4, 19-8, and so on.

What does the child get? I’d say the repetition force their young mind to develop senses of quick answers to problems and the habit of homework. Don’t you see how many kids dread homework? The habit of daily homework enforced by Kumon will eventually run in your kids’ blood that by the time they get too many, it’s not a big effort for them anymore.

I’m sure the Kumon experts can describe the method in a better way. Just the same, you can’t just snub it as a fad or something that might not work for your child. Go and take a look into it, let your children try it out for about four or six months before you tell yourself this isn’t for your kids.

Attend the Kumon seminar on June 18, 2011, at the SM Mall of Asia, Cinema 6. Make sure to reserve your seat lest you won’t be able to come in after a long drive to the venue.

Raising Filipino Boys

I recently bumped into a blog that speaks specifics on that particular genre of Philippine culture and history – Filipino boys. Not discriminating the other sex, here’s the author’s reason for putting the subject on the net:

  • Many of them well become fathers — Filipino fathers — in the future.
  • We are a patriarchal society.
  • Filipino boys of today are at a big disadvantage in our very entertainment-oriented society.

The author writes, “The simple answer is, I am a Filipino father. I cannot blog in behalf of the rest of the nationalities. Nor can I address girls on how to become mothers. They’re simply areas that I won’t go into.”

Go to Raising Filipino Boys blog.

Photo by jeridaking at Flickr

How Must the Filipino Child Handle Hurt and Anger?

The Filipino child is not taught to look out for himself or to care for his own concerns but is encouraged to consider every member of the family.  Parental advice runs on the constant theme that he cannot always have his way because ther4e are others who want their way too.

One of the most important things a child learns is that the temperaments of individuals of the usually mild-mannered person who is subject to infrequent but violent outbursts.  All of these distinctions are important for he must adjust his behavior to the different temperaments in the group in order to be successful in interpersonal relationships.

Topics discussed are:

  • Frequency and Causes of Anger
  • Expressions of Anger
  • Parents’ Reaction to Anger
  • Quarrels with Siblings and Peers
  • Quarrels with Neighbor’s Children
  • Expression of Feelings and Interpersonal Values

Read more at Gomestic

Photo by Inkblots™ at Flickr

Parents who are obsessively clean freaks can also be bad for kids

Obsessive parents who insist on keeping their children super clean could be damaging their hearts, scientists have claimed.

According to a new study the old adage ‘a little bit of dirt never hurt anyone’ could hold true.

And the current trend for the use of anti-bacterial gels, exacerbated by swine flu, could lead to heart disease in later life.

Scientists have conducted the first study of its kind that looks at the link between exposure to infectious microbes in early life and the risk of heart disease.

Read more at Heart Health

Making the Holidays Less Materialistic

“The gimmes” are all around us during the holiday season. It can be hard for kids”and parents”to look beyond all of the product-driven hoopla and remember what the holidays are really about.

It’s not the gifts but what’s behind them that’s important “the spirit of giving. Help your kids learn the fun of giving, and how rewarding it can be to look for, make, and wrap something special “or do something special “for people they care about and others who are in need.

Here are five ways to curb materialism in your kids and reinforce the real reason for the season.

Read more at Journal Online

National Bookstore’s Project Aral for Ondoy Victims

Purchase 20 or 25 Peso “Study Kits,” put your name on the tag and drop them in the boxes provided in National Bookstore branches. Runs from October 10 up to 24, 2009. But, it’s not the price that’s interesting — it’s the promo that now allows your kids or young children to do their part in the adult world of volunteering, charity and donating.

Here’s something National Bookstore is giving parents of young kids to feel proud that they can literally help the victims of typhoon Ondoy. You can tell them that you’re going to remove 20 or 25 Pesos (or more, if possible) from their allowance or a little portion of their coming birthday or Christmas gift. Give them the money, bring them to any National Bookstore branch and have them pick out the study kits, paying the money they are holding to the cashier. Let them write down their name on the tag and point them where they could drop these kits.

Parenting by Two Male Actors

In today’s modern world, parenting by two people of the same gender has gotten both its raves and criticisms, whether the reasons pertain to religion, ethics, legal or morals. Whatever the peeves are for many in this small world we live in, acceptance is both easy and difficult.

Take Neil Patrick Harris as an example. The celebrity and popular actor, whose main role in Doogie Howser M.D. propelled him to American entertainment stardom, came out of the “closet” and made public his long relationship with David Burtka in People magazine, admitting that he has always been openly gay but saying that people have never chastised his decision and have been happy living that kind of life. Harris and Burtka even publicly attended the 2007 Emmy Awards night where he was nominated for his role in the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

In 2008, Harris and Burtka performed at a Broadway musical “Take Me or Leave Me,” a gender-bending concert of show tune favorties benefiting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York. According to PlanetOut.com, “Burkta is already a father to twins from a previous relationship, and Harris counts himself as “the fun guy who takes them to Disneyland” and a stepfather figure to the two.”

But, in our still conservative world of Philippine parenting, going out in the open to say you’re raising kids between two gay parents is still something that’s kept inside the home. The call center industry opened the floodgates for gay and lesbians to come out in the open and publicly announce their gender preference without being humiliated. But these are the young ones who, maybe, will be tomorrow’s dads and moms, combined. It may not be “bad parenting” but it will sure be a challenge to raise kids from “husband and wife” parents where they are now exposed to both the traditional sense of marriage and parenting and the new wave of gay parenting.

In some schools, there are children whose single-parent are openly gay and without the convenience of a spouse. I still have not witnessed or heard two gay parents in Philippine schools but someday, as we inherrently follow American way of life, it is very possible to happen.

Sources: Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, PlanetOut, Just Jared

Share your views and stories, especially our Filipino parents who live in a more liberally-minded world like North. America.