Sibling Rivalry Into Bonding

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siblings“Hatred stirs up dissension but love conquers all wrong.” (Proverbs 10:12) Sibling rivalries is a very controversial topic in its own way however all children to a certain extent argue and disagree with their siblings; some just more extreme than others. Sibling relationships are extremely important during childhood and throughout life in general. Siblings help structure a person’s very first peer group, which children learn social skills, conflict resolution and how to maintain friendships as they intermingle with their siblings through the years. Sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationships that a person can have, so strengthening these relationships will provide security and support to a person’s life.

Often time’s siblings disagree because one feels like they have to compete with one another. For example, one of them is more athletic or makes better grades instead of remembering that we all have gifts and talents. Rather than embracing and trying to figure out their strengths children may dwell on the sibling who in their opinion is doing better or the “perfect child” they crave the love and attention that the one sibling is receiving; when all the time they receive the same love and attention and chose to go a different route. What is a parent to do? How do you foster positive relationships among your children? Tips include but are not limited to:

  • Schedule fun family activities.
  • Teach and practice problem solving skills.
  • Parents need to be good role models.
  • Give your children tasks that they have to compromise to accomplish a goal.
  • Try to meet each child’s unique needs without showing favoritism.
  • Praise kids when they help, support or cooperate with each other.
  • Structure activities that will focus on particular social skills: turn taking, active listening, encouraging others, agreeing to disagree.

As parents we wear different hats; particularly throughout conflict management, it is imperative that you are in the mediator and modeling role of what conflict resolution “looks” and “sounds” like. Helping your children acquire these skills does take time and energy, but they soon become part of family life. Besides, your efforts will have lasting benefits. Your kids are developing positive ways of dealing with others that will be useful outside the family as well. Sibling relationships give rise to some of life’s greatest joys and some of its angriest fights, but no matter how much time passes or how far they travel, brothers and sisters can be forever friends!

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

 

Michelle Macon has been with Partners In learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.

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Christmas Shopping on a Budget

My husband and I just recently finished facilitating a series of classes called Financial Peace by Dave Ramesy. Financial Peace is a where you learn practical strategies on how to become financially sound. Now that we consistently follow through with a budget and save money twice a month, the potency of shopping smart for Christmas is a MUST. Why? Raise your hand if you are guilty of blowing your Christmas budget out of proportion? I have both of my hands raised! This Christmas 2013, will be different! Remaining financially stable is far more important than getting in debt for Christmas. It has been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

If you have already started shopping it’s not too late to modify your plan. How can you shop smarter? First, decide on your spending limit. Does this limit allow you to pay your monthly bills on time and still have money in savings? If so, this is the right budget for your family. This year we have decided on our spending limit and to shop a little differently for our kids. Each child will get four gifts. You may say four gifts? That’s it? The answer is…YES!

Four Gifts included:
1. Something they want-”worth GOLD” to them
2. Something the need
3. Something they can wear
4. Something they can read

Before I came across this idea, we had already started shopping for the kids. So, to modify, we will get four boxes and code them: want; need; wear; read. Instead of wrapping the clothes we already bought individually, like we would in the past, we will put them in the “wear” box. So they can still get the concept of four gifts. This does not mean that I can go out and buy more clothes for a winter wardrobe for each child all because it fits into the “box” either.

Thankfully we are fortunate that our children are still at a young age (seven and three). Some of you who have children that are pre-teen and older, the shopping for you gets harder and harder because children what more and more and become pickier and pickier when it comes to birthdays and Christmas! One night over dinner our discussion was the reveal of them getting four gifts each. I thought that the kids would have a sad sigh and lips poked out of disappointment that four gifts are not enough. Surprisingly, we were mistaken, our kids immediately started naming things they want, need, wear, and read understanding that of the list they named they will only get one box to unwrap of each category.

Another way a friend of mine plans her Christmas budget is with a holiday cash account that she has set up at the bank. Each pay period an allotted amount goes into this holiday account and a check is mailed to her at the end of the 12 month period and this is her Christmas budget that she sticks with. What is your christmas budget plan? I will leave you with a challenge: Begin next year’s holiday planning no later than June 2014.

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

Michelle Macon has been with Partners In Learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.

Sports or No Sports?

At some point in parenthood you decide whether or not to let your child participate in sports. Sports range anywhere from dancing, to tee ball, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, track, horseback riding etc. My husband and I believe that if we don’t give our children an opportunity to try a sport of interest that we may not learn what they are good at.

Team sports have many benefits. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is recommended that children have 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Participation in team sports reduces your child’s risk of childhood obesity, a growing issue in the United States. According to the CDC, more than one third of children were overweight or obese in 2010. Reducing your child’s risk of obesity also reduces his risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and bone and joint problems.

Socially, children learn how to work together with peers, communication skills, how to problem solve, life skills, such as patience, persistence, and focus on the whole team not just themselves. These skills learned at an early age will help them throughout teenage and adult years. The Women’s Sports Foundation reports that sports participation enhances the physical and mental health of females, resulting in higher than average levels of self-esteem and less depression. The foundation also reports that girls who participate in sports are at a lower risk for eating problems in their teen years.

Our seven-year-old daughter started dance when she was two and did it for two years. At the age of four she was interested in riding horses and has now been riding horses for two years. She looks forward to riding horses with her class each week. This week our three year old son started basketball. This was a new experience for him. He was reluctant at first but he watched his peers. He received encouragement from his peers and the coach and was able to get warmed up and participate. As a family we support both kids in their sports activities. We praise, encourage, and reward our children for doing their best.

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

 

Michelle Macon has been with Partners In learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.

 

Busy Bee Moms

Do you buzz around every day of the week and still have a mile long list of stuff that still needs to be done? Welcome to the Busy Bee Moms club! You are not alone. How do you go about your day to day motherly duties, not to mention being a wife, and working, and feel a since of fulfillment?

More than 78 percent of women also feel they work a “second shift” when it comes to their daily life responsibilities, according to findings from the 2013 Work/Life Balance Survey conducted by Maid Brigade. More than 50 years since Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique inspired women with the idea that they could hold a career, be wonderful mothers and wives, have a fulfilling social life, and take care of their daily home lives—women are still struggling to find work-life balance and equality.

So looking at the bare minimum, is it imaginable for moms to simplify their frenzied days and actually enjoy a good quality of life, instead of feeling like you are on call or on the go every minute of the day and night? It is a daily challenge, however it is possible. Take everything one bite at a time. Organize your day into manageable time frames and celebrate little successes to gain a since of fulfillment.

Find ways to maximize your time such as making a list and prioritize tasks so you don’t get overwhelmed. Use down time, ex. while waiting for your prescription to be filled, make a grocery list, clean out your wallet, talk to the kids about their day etc. Down time is when you can get little things done that will alleviate your work load. Make time for yourself. We often times come “last” on the list of priorities, but if we don’t take care of ourselves then we can’t take care of our families effectively. Something I work into my busy schedule is exercise after work. I run for at least 30 minutes before I pick the kids up from school. This gives me the energy and drive I need to start my second shift job- motherhood without bringing the stress levels of my workday into motherhood. “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love. ” -Mildred B. Vermont

What small changes can you make starting today to help you gain fulfillment at the end of the day? Yesterday ended at midnight, today is a new day. So set attainable tasks in order to feel accomplished in all areas of your life. “Never get to busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” -Rev. Run

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

 

Michelle Macon has been with Partners In Learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.

The Social Factor Changing The Game For Parents of Children With Special Needs

Raising a child with special needs takes time, patience and resources. I often think about the resources parents had, or more accurately didn’t have 10 and 20 years ago. I think of my parents, who raised a child with special needs in the 70s and 80s when there were not the programs and support groups, websites and apps at their finger tips.

Today we have support groups, non-profits that focus on helping with advocacy, legal issues, and more, businesses geared toward special needs financial planning, special schools, schools with inclusion programs, online magazines, and of course social media.

Social media has done a number of things in the past several years to improve the support and information sharing for parents of children with special needs. There are more social platforms out there today than most of us would have ever imagined 10 years ago, two of the largest and most relevant to this discussion being Facebook and Pinterest.

Facebook

Facebook, which remains the largest social network to date, has become common place in the lives of many families. What started for many as a way to catch up with old friends and share pictures of the kids with grandma has emerged into a means of daily communication and information sharing. Fan pages, public and private groups exist to show and provide support for causes of all kinds, children with special needs included.

Facebook has become a place for parents with children with special needs to share ideas and emotions, plan play dates, support each other when children are sick or having a rough time, as well as celebrate milestones together. After all, the video of your two-and-a-half-year-old taking his first step has very different meaning to ones friends and family than it does to a fellow mom or dad who has been in those same shoes with their child.

“It’s been life changing for me. Without Facebook this journey would be so much harder,” said Sara Weiss, who has a child with Down syndrome.

Lindsy Maners has a son with Down syndrome. “It also is a great, quick resource when I have a question whether medical, educational, behavioral.”

Facebook also allows parents with children with more rare diagnosis and medical conditions to network with more families with children with the same condition. A child with something rare might share that diagnosis with only one or two other children in Rowan County. Facebook allows parents to virtually meet, share ideas and information, and develop relationships with families around the world.

Pinterest

And then there is Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social networks to date. This social platform came on the scene in 2010 as a photo-sharing pinboard website used to create and manage theme-based image collections. It began as a network to share topics such as events, interests, and hobbies, but has grown into a visual idea sharing community where the sky might not even be the limit.

Today, moms have taken on Pinterest by storm, using it to share ideas, information and tricks of the trade. Therapists, teach and parents of children with special needs now have a world of information at their finger tips including educational ideas, therapy exercises and more.

Pinterest’s Mithya Srinivasan said she is constantly amazed and inspired by the creativity, compassion and love parents devote to their children, especially children with special needs. “We’re thrilled to hear stories about Pinterest playing a role in helping these families to discover new kid-friendly projects and recipe ideas, connect with other parents, and share great resources.”

Suzanne Perryman a blogger focusing on parenting a child with special needs says Pinterest is a great platform to get to know other parents better, research and share. “What Pinterest has done is help us connect on deeper levels and more interesting levels,” she said. “It allows us to know each other better. People you see more about your lifestyle. I think you get a whole picture.”

Perryman not only pins to share with others, but uses it as a tool for herself. “It’s my Google,” she said. “I use it as a research tool in may aspects of my life…I know the content I’ll find is based on people’s real life experiences.”

Here are just a few examples of boards focused on individuals with special needs:

Boards with special needs topics in general

Inspirational Quotes

Autism Awareness

Down syndrome Awareness

Therapy Activities

Spread the Word to End the Word Boards

As a parent I’m grateful for the resources and connections we have because of these virtual communities and look forward to what the future holds.

Jill Wagoner is Secretary of the Board of Directors at Partners In Learning and the parent of a son with Down syndrome.

 

Jill Wagoner is the mother of a child with Down syndrome. She serves as an advocate, writer, speaker, fundraiser, and grant writer for organizations that support children with special needs. A former journalist and current marketer and public relations specialist, Jill has been published in many publications and blogs, including The Salisbury PostModern Parent, and Rowan Magazine. She is the Secretary of the Board of Directors at Partners In Learning.