Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beltane and the Sex Talk

There is much to be said about Beltane, and I could have gone with this subject in many ways. There was the obvious child inspired article, with crafts and recipes. Or I could have gone the adult way, going into the passion of which is Beltane. However, many of us over step this time of year, an opportunity of educating our children about sex.

Just as in Autumn we focus on concepts like death and change, the wheel of the year spins around to to Spring, that draws out passion and life. Sex for us mammals is the the root of life. It is how life is created and it's a constant thrive for most of our adult life. Past generations, due to monotheist influence, have been very oppressive on this issue. It is something we as modern adults, regardless of believes, should overcome. If not for our own sake, than for our children's.

When it comes to sex, keep it age appropriate of course. It's best to start as early as they are born. Referring to the genitals in correct medical terminology, i.e. penis or vagina. Talk to your baby when you change him or her. Tell them what you are doing as you clean them. This teaches the child to identify their own anatomy and it encourages a healthy outlook on their body.

When they become older, don't shy them away from seeing a baby being changed, bathed or dressed, even the opposite gender. In fact use the opportunity to tell them the name of the genital and how people are usually identified as male and female. This shouldn't be shameful or a secret. It's simply identifying reproductive anatomy.

You may want to bring up good and bad touching. A frightening subject, one that must be battled with knowledge. Children who are comfortable about their bodies will be more likely to identify if someone is doing something wrong and are less likely to be intimidated from fighting or telling. If you yourself have are a survivor of such an ordeal, you may want to wait until your child is mature enough to handle such information, if you wish to share it.
 I of course encourage people to seek help if needed, whether because of abuse or simply trying to find a healthy way to explain this difficult subject to your child. This may be the right time to sign your child up for self defense lessons. Predators rely on children's trust, fears and ignorance, the first line of defense is knowledge.

Now as parents, it is completely up to you to decide when your child should be to have the full reproductive talking and the physical changes of puberty. I suggest, before the onset of puberty. Little girls don't need to fear death because they found blood in their undies. No boy should feel ashamed about his wet dreams. Don't let your children's bodies developed before you explain to them what is naturally happening to them.

If you find you are having trouble with this subject, look to nature. Nature is unapologetic about sex. Pointing out to your younger child baby animals or your child might point out one dog trying to jump over another, that might make the subject easier to begin with. Depending on your own personal issues on the subject, you may want to even take this time to help break away some of your own inhibitions. See article here.

When it comes to teenagers or preteens, summer is coming and they will have much more free time. To avoid trouble, you may want to talk about protection, birth control or just a reminder they aren't ready to be parents. If you need help in convincing a young person they aren't ready to become a parent, have a friend or family member bring their toddler over to reek havoc.
Supervise the teen, but make them care for the toddler. Younger siblings work the best btw, because they don't leave. If you child surprises you and thrives caring for children,  work out a deal where they can be parent helpers or baby sitters. Even if they don't get paid, it's experience, a future reference, educational, time consuming and will likely give your teen their baby fix, without the grandchildren. 

Remember, as pagans we should not hold any ill regards toward a healthy sex lives for ourselves and we shouldn't guide our children down a negative direction on the subject. Beltane is a time to embrace your wild side, responsibly. Make sure your children grow up with the knowledge, the inner strength and the ability to be responsible as well. 

May your Beltane fires burn bright!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Spoiled Brat

 During a holiday season, a package arrived from family out of town for my child. It was filled with clothes, toys, treats galore. My little one immediately put on one of the dresses and began playing with the toys. I told my daughter, she had to call theses thoughtful givers to thank them. Yet at that moment, it wasn't what she wanted to do. I reminded her they love her very much and would love to hear from her. That didn't convince her. I then explained, they didn't have to buy her any of this and that they work hard to be so generous. Yet the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and I saw my own stubbornness in her face. So I took the box and all the toys minus the dress she was wearing, away. She threw a fit. I was adamant, she call and at very least say thank you. She finally agreed. We called out of state and when I handed my daughter the phone, all she said was thank you and ran off to play with the toys, dropping the phone to the floor. I was then told I shouldn't have forced the gratitude. Yet, if I don't instill a sense of reasonable gratitude, the consequence will lead to sense of self entitlement. 

As a parent who supports free thinking, it's hard for me to make my child do things against her will.Telling her no she can't have junk food, insisting she hold my hand in the parking lot or occasionally a time out, can be stressful for all of those involved. My daughter is fighting for her boundaries and I'm trying to enforce mine. I have no desire to mold my child into an imagine. I won't choose my children personal beliefs, who they marry, what career path they choose, their taste in fashion, political standing, etc...

I'm trying to let her be who she wants to be,
however I there is one mentality I will not tolerate, 
the self-entitled spoiled brat.

"Oh I don't want to have children, until I can afford to spoil them!
 They will be soo spoiled!" 
Said a gleeful former coworker.

I literally cringe when someone tells me they intend to spoil their children. They envision designer clothes, mountain of toys and anything their child's heart desire.
The parents mind set often ranges, but a reoccurring mentality has risen its ugly head enough, the belief materialism will somehow instill work ethic and cause the spoiled brat to become a financially independent adult.

 However raising in luxury, without an understanding how that luxury came to be, leads to the image as the parent as a Santa Claus. A Santa who have given into naughty behavior. Even if your child becomes successful and powerful, what kind of person will they be to others?

Another example is the parent reenacting their childhood, vicariously through their children.
They wanted a pony, so Damn it, their children shall have ponies! Have you ever wondered that maybe the reason you are successful is because you had less growing up?  By denying your child the experience of want, you deny them ambition and ethics towards those who do struggle. Including the parents.

Spoil brats are often the worst example of children and often become even worst adults. They usually lack empathy, hold little respect for others and will either be a bully or be shunned. In the end, everyone suffers. The child suffers an inability to appreciate life, leading to boredom. The boredom could result to a disgruntled personality to violence. Those who do not over come their self entitled mentality often associate emotions of pleasure with getting their way.

Remember when they are little, 
you are strong.  
However they don't remain little  
you won't remain strong.
This also harms the parent/s later in life. Having worked nearly fifteen years caring for seniors, I've seen the result of adult children feeling entitled to their parents estates. Hiding DNRs (Do Not Resutate order,) setting patience up to appear to have serious memory issues, mental and even some cases of physical abuse are common enough. Many parents of these adult spoil children feel neglected and often ignored by their children. For many parents, they were a never ending wallet to their children, in old age, the parent now needs both time and money. Depending on the conditions of the free ride, parents are either worth more alive or dead. Neither results are pretty.

You are not the only who will suffer as a consequence of spoiled adult child. Your child will interact with others. A college roommate in a dorm room, co-workers, employees, children, spouses and labor's who have the ill fortune of working for them, will suffer from the destructive behavior of the self-entitled mentality of the spoiled adult child.

Tip avoid the Spoiled Brat

  1. Don't over indulge your child. Over indulgence nullifies the pleasure, whatever it may be. Giving gifts, expensive trips, money, etc... are always nice, but shouldn't be taken for granted. Put away your wallet and put some of that time earning money, with your family. 
  2. Don't over indulge yourself. Lead by example. If you are working double time on a regular bases, just pay off the two cars, the mortgage, the utilities, your kids pony, maybe it's time to down size. Ask yourself, you really need a new car? How many dresses just like the one you're about to buy are hanging in your closet right now? Does your kid really deserve that new toy? If all these things are consuming your life, try to take away. Sometimes less is more. Like more time in your smaller house with your family, than at work. 
  3. Don't go the opposite extreme, with extreme measures, like hitting or running your home like a prison. Going in this direction leads two ways, you'll raise a bully or a victim. This idea back fires and remember as you age, you will be at their mercy. 
  4. Give your children chores and responsibilities, early on. Make it a part if every daily life. Show them appreciation, for their role in the family system. You don't always have give money. A roof over their head is worth doing dishes. However, try to give them means to earn some extra cash. Or if you can't, when you can spare, throw them some pocket chain. Also take school work into consideration and make sure you kid has some personal time.  If it's finals time, maybe you can give them a break and wash the dinner dishes. Just as if you're doing double shifts, they can vacuum the living room. Help each other!
  5. Requiring a level of gratitude for special gifts. I'm not saying, have your kids drop to ground and kiss your feet. However, let your child understand hard work you do for them. When they receive a gift, reward, treat, whatever, make sure they say thank you. 
  6. A job early on. Summer time and weekend are great time for kids to take on a little responsibility and capable. I'm not suggesting children support their family, but some time out in the sun mowing lawns or babysitting the neighbors kids will give children appreciation for money and maybe you.
  7. Volunteering. Sometimes we are all guilty of not appreciating what we have. You and your kids can both be guilty of this, at the same time. Try volunteering together and make it hands on. Remind yourselves, no matter how little you have, there is always something of yourself to give. With that, you will always be rich where it counts, humanity.
  8. Making birthdays about their birth and the person they are becoming. Make holidays about family. Give gifts and by all means have parties. Just don't lose the significance of the celebration to materialism.

Most importantly, your children may not live up to your expectations. 
Remember it is better to raise a good person over a rich one.