Posts Tagged ‘ confidence ’

Rosie to the Rescue: The Gift of You

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Rosie PopeCheck out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!

As parents, we try to be the very best that we can be. And it’s easy to fall into making comparisons: What is everyone else doing with their kids? What gear do they have? What parenting techniques are they practicing? The list of questions goes on and on.

With all this looking outward for answers, we have the tendency to turn these thoughts inward in an anxious, “I’m not doing enough” kind of way: Am I playing with my kids as much as I should? Do I encourage creativity? Do I make time for my partner? Just think of the many questions we ask ourselves in, I suppose, some desire to be perfect. Quite frankly, its exhausting! And it’s no wonder that by the end of the day we don’t feel good enough about ourselves and our contributions to our families. Instead we feel overwhelmed, irritated, and ready to dive into a random box of cookies! Your day’s good intentions are shot. Forget going to the gym—it’s just not worth it since I won’t be running as fast or as long as that person on the treadmill next to me. After satisfactorily feeding our frustrations, we then vow to make tomorrow a new day! As much as you hate to admit it, you’ve probably gone through this same roller coaster of emotions at one point or another… maybe even last night.

Well, my lovelies, I have decided that being perfect is no fun and the endless journey to achieve it certainly isn’t either! If everything’s perfect, what can we laugh at? Perfect hair and perfect pancakes in a perfect house simply isn’t that amusing! And laughing, after all, is one of the greatest joys we can share with each other and especially our children.

I’m starting to learn that owning up to imperfections and letting our children see us embracing and dealing with them is what can teach them more than anything else. If they see us being happy and confident in the face of imperfection, focusing on our strengths and not swamped by our weaknesses, they, too, will do the same. Being perfect after all (or at least trying to be) doesn’t really teach them a great deal—other than sending the message that you are totally distracted, not relatable, ridiculously unapproachable, and absorbed in reaching some standard. Our kids don’t need us to be perfect; they need us to teach them how to deal with real life.

When we are constantly trying to be the best moms we can be, so many of us ignore perhaps our greatest gift to our children—ourselves, faults and all. However, I see it every day with the moms I meet: the insecurity. They have nothing to feel inferior about; they are doing a fantastic job, but somehow they are not able to see themselves as the great mothers they are. If you feel insecure about yourself and your contributions to your family, your anxiety will take hold. You won’t be able to be yourself and that is when things can go wrong as a parent. I am convinced that if you can let go of all the self-criticism and comparisons, you will find the confidence to just be the real, no-walls-up you. And that is one of the greatest gifts you can give your little ones as a parent.

So maybe I drank some wine on a Monday night, and maybe I slept in this morning and didn’t go running, but you know what I did do? I played a darn good game of “Mommy is a horsey,” and I’m feeling pretty fab about it!

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School’s Out?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

While cramming your child’s backpack with freshly sharpened pencils, unopened glue sticks, and clean notebooks in preparation for the starting school year, you can’t help but be giddy thinking of all the potential knowledge and useful life skills he’s going to gain soon. Meanwhile, he’s squirming in anticipation (and maybe anxiety) at the thought of new friendships, test prep, and recess.

portrait of a dreaming schoolboy in a classroom

However, the rest of the country isn’t up to par on education enthusiasm; a recent poll found that confidence in U.S. schools is at a new low. According to the survey, only 29 percent of Americans expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in our public schools. A startling 30 percent said they have very little or no confidence in public schools at all.

Why such a gloomy outlook? It could be because of new reports that find the U.S. education system has ineffectively prepared kids for economic prosperity and global competition. Or, perhaps, the fact that general dissatisfaction in U.S. institutions is a common theme as of late, according to recent Gallup polls.

To guarantee your kid is getting the most out of his school year, take a peek behind the schoolhouse doors and into the minds of the real crusaders of classroom victory: teachers and school staff. Their confidential pearls of wisdom will pave the way to academic excellence — for students and parents.

Image: Portrait of a dreaming schoolboy in a classroom via Shutterstock

 

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The Leiby Kletzky Tragedy: When Is a Child Ready to Travel or Walk Alone?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

little girl-windowThe story of Leiby Kletzky is a horrific one because it magnifies every parent’s worst nightmare: a child’s life is lost because of misplaced trust in a stranger.  The 8-year-old was walking home alone, for the first time, in his Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn when he got lost. While asking for directions, Kletzy was kidnapped and went missing for a few days until police found his body.  What has shocked everyone is the brutal way his body was disposed, and the fact that murder happened in a close-knit religious community founded on trust. 

As police continue their investigation into the motives behind the young boy’s death, parents are left with tough questions: When is a child ready to travel or walk home alone?  How can kids be taught to stay alert?  In what ways can parents balance their fear of the world with their child’s desire for independence?

We spoke to Dr. Yoni Schwab, a child psychologist at the Windward School in White Plains, N.Y., and a Parents expert, to get his thoughts and advice on how parents can help their kids be self-reliant while remaining alert to potential dangers in this world.

At what age is a child old enough to travel by himself, whether by public transportation or walking home (from school, camp, library, store, bus or subway stop) alone? 

There are no hard and fast rules about age. It depends on the child, the neighborhood, the length and complexity of the trip, and the time of day, among other things. In some neighborhoods, 8-year-olds can walk a couple blocks to a friend’s house while some 12-year-olds may live in a place that’s not safe enough to travel independently.

How do parents know when a child is ready? What characteristics determine independence?

Find out any relevant laws in your area and then speak to other parents to get a sense of what is customary in the community and how they managed the process [for independence.] (This advice comes from Wendy Mogel’s excellent book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.) Finally, you need to know your child. Really knowing your child is the only way to determine if she is ready. Quiz the child about what she might do in different circumstances. Observe your child when walking outside. Does she pause and look both ways before crossing the street? Does she notice details about the environment and possible dangers? Try walking a few steps behind the child to observe and see how she does on her own. Is your child attentive to his surroundings, thoughtful, responsible, and appropriately cautious? Or is your child impulsive, spacey, and overly trusting? All of these factors go into a decision about when to allow your child to travel alone.

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