What You Need To Know About Blended Families . . .

A couple of facts to consider: there are now more blended families in existence then there are ‘traditional’ families that have one set of parents.

Often times in blended families there are problems with each member trying to decide where they fit in. Behavior that was OK before may not be acceptable in the new family setting. Territory and roles get redistributed or re-defined. What was ‘mine’ before may not be now. Family value systems and belief systems differ. There are a myriad of problems and issues that need to be navigated if this is to work. One would hope that many of these issues would have been addressed before any effort to blend the family takes place. But there are issues that come up after the effort to blend families takes place. Some of these can’t be addressed because the personalities of the family members aren’t always predictable. What about pets-do they come along for the ride or are they not welcome because the other parent has pets already in the ‘new home’ and they might not get along very well. Who gets rid of what? Doesn’t sound like much but blended families have been defeated for much less.

The following are four of the more obvious and destructive hurdles to get over.  It often matters whether or not Mom is moving into Dads house or Dad is moving into Moms house. Adults can be just as territorial as kids can be. The parent moving ‘in’ is often the one expected to be more conciliatory when it comes to accepting new arrangements, disciplinary decisions or values affecting the functioning of the kids as a whole. Not fair perhaps but often true.

  • The natural response from a step-parent who is moving into to a new living situation, thereby creating a blended family, often favors the other partners kids trying to ‘make friends’ with the kids that are living there.  In doing so they sometimes, unwittingly, alienate their own kids in the process.  By doing so the authority, standards, values and the ‘rules’ that existed are compromised creating some confusion in the house. That means that the two parents have got some serious issues to sort out and quickly. They need to find a way to mend the breach equitably.
  •  Another major problem arises when one parent feels or believes that the standards of behavior in the house are not fairly balanced between the children of each family. “You are harder on my kids than your own kids” or ” it’s seems OK for your kids to do  . .?   but not for mine.”
  • The other part of the same issue occurs when one parent feels he or she is working harder to make things work than the other. Consequently the harder working parent is seen as being too tough by the kids themselves.  The kids end up favoring one parent over the other usually the less demanding one.
  • It is easy to get caught up in the every day workings of a new blended family. The parents work overtime trying to make all things perfect. In the mean time one of the parents loses sight of the amazing bond that can exist between a biological parent and his or her children. That one parent may side with one of his or her kids  to protect them against one of the other kids or one of the partners. In either case it becomes divisive.
  • The fourth problem can be the constant interference by the biological parent who is now out of the family picture. Whether it is due to anger, grief, or sadness the parent who is left out will create havoc and disruption and could use his or her kids to cause constant friction between the blended family members. Kids against kids. Kids against the other biological parent. Kids against the ‘new parent’.

So how to deal with these problems. Communicate often and clearly with each other.

  • Now is the time for everyone to have a chance to speak about what the experience is like for them so far. They need to trust that they are free to speak openly but respectfully about what is going on for them.
  • Have family meetings each week to talk about things that came up or discuss ideas about how to make things better
  • The step parents need to model appropriate behavior and skill when trying to sort out problems or issues that are concerning.
  • The step parents need to speak about the family and the members as being equal to and each as important as the other. The step parents have to be careful at all times and in all actions as not favoring one child over another regardless of whose child is being disciplined.
  • The step parents need to decide on parenting techniques that both will use so that a consistent common front is demonstrated. NEVER challenge one another in from of the kids. If there is a disagreement in style or substance sort it out behind closed doors and in private.
  • Months before the move to join families happens get the kids together to spend time with each other-to get to know a bit about each other–their music likes, their sports likes or what their hobbies are before they actually share the same space.
  • Step parents need to agree ahead of time to establish boundaries for acceptable behavior and they are presented to the kids as one voice–a common front.

There are many more things that can be done but don’t try to do too much too soon and don’t rush the process. Let it grow at it’s own pace.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for dropping by — Comments can be sent to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com.

All the best, Jim

(The photo image was used as a tool to present criticism, research and educational information. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

 

Fatherlessness Can Kill Our Children

“More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father.  Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent.  If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.”–fathers.com 2012

We spend so much time condemning, chastising, and berating fathers who just ‘walk away’ that we don’t stop long enough to consider what exactly is going on with them. We see the headlines or read the story part way through and then don’t finish it thinking we know how the story ends. We get angry at  fathers for being low lifes who don’t deserve kids yet we seldom ask how can we help stop this from happening. We recycle old ideas and programs, pretty them up some, and then throw some money at the problem and declare that we have developed a new program or approach that will help to fix the problem but nothing changes. We don’t reach out to fathers to get their side of the story and we certainly don’t reach out to hear what the kids have to say. We don’t ask how to help but rather seem more interested with who is to blame.

Are there some moms out there who need to be helped–absolutely. Are there some men-fathers- who are guilty of abandoning their families-absolutely. Is that the case for all dad’s–absolutely not.

There are many dads who want to be involved in their sons lives who are legally prevented from doing so. Rather counter-productive in the end and its the child who is punished because the parents can’t get their stuff together..

How do we lessen the burden that many moms experience as a single parent? How do we do this without crushing any opportunity for a father to parent his son?

But what amazes me most is how the health systems and the legal systems can’t figure out why there is such a horrific drug problem among our kids. Why is there so much violence and growing suicide rates? Why are gangs becoming almost unstoppable?

Let’s take a look at some of the side effects for a kid who grows up without a father and then ask ourselves those same questions over again. Imagine being a kid and facing these issues everyday. In the U.S. they describe fatherlessness as having reached epidemic proportions. There are approximately 20 Million kids who are fatherless.

Poverty–Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families. Fathers are important too.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

Physical and Emotional Health–Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.

Educational Achievement–Children living with their married biological father tested at a significantly higher level than those living with a non biological father.

71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father-absent homes are more likely to be truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood.

Crime–A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.

Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.

Perhaps if we were to actually pay attention to evidence like this and if we decided to deal with the issues as a responsible society void of prejudice, bias, religion and politics and began to look at the issues attached as social issues that involve human lives worthy of our attention, energy and care we would be better off.

Let’s try to put the true welfare of the child FIRST for a change instead of considering what sound bite or position will get you votes. Let’s help BOTH moms and Dads be responsible for the wee life that they each helped to make. The responsibility of nourishing that life doesn’t stop at the front door or a border somewhere. Moms need to drop the anger and the outrage. They need to stop using their kids as a ‘tool’ to hurt the other parent. Moms need to help support and promote that relationship between fathers and sons not destroy or discourage it. It would be better for Moms in the long run as well. Legal systems need to stop punishing dads and come up with a better approach that encourages a co-operative approach. Parents don’t have to like each other they just need to put the needs of the kid ahead of their own.

Fathers need to step up and take care of business meaning looking after their family. First priority-bar none. If mom is the full time parent then help her do the job. Give her what she needs to do the best she can. If dad wont do the right thing then lets make sure that Mom has ALL the resources she needs to do what’s important.

Lets encourage parents to stop making the kids suffer for what the parents can’t sort out. It really is the parents who need to grow up not the kids.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best and thanks for stopping by–Jim

Comments can be made at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo resources by debuglies.com–used for research, education and criticism purposes. I receive no benefit from the use of this image)

Kids Need Parents Not More Friends. . .

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself — and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.”—Jim Morrison

There is little that goes on in our lives today, if your are a parent, that creates more excitement, disagreement, and conversation than the discussion that ensues about whether or not parents should be their kids friend or remain their parent. There are also a number of misconceptions as to what that means. It is not black and white. It is not cut and dried. But it can get complicated if one of the parents or both for that matter can’t see the distinctions.

Is it possible to have a close, meaningful, active and fun loving relationship with your kids and yet retain a parent-child posture with clear boundaries and responsibilities? Absolutely. Whose the adult here and who is the child? The adult needs to establish, reinforce and demonstrate those boundaries often in helpful, nurturing and caring ways. It is up to the adult to present the characteristics of what the relationship with his/her children will look like and the purpose it will  serve. For some children a ‘friendship’ with Mom or Dad can be very confusing. Let’s consider the purpose or functions of parents. Parents are challenged and expected to be mentors, teachers, protectors and role models for their sons regarding how they need to act around others especially females and the importance of respecting others and their rights as human beings.

If your child is female then Mom needs to demonstrate what is appropriate and what is not. Dad needs to help her understand what to expect from a male and how she needs and deserves to be treated. He also needs to model that behavior when interacting with Mom. Our children need us to lead the way as their parents in this regard. Parents need to model appropriate behavior when settling disputes and disagreements with other people when in public or over the side yard fence. They need to model appropriate public respect and behavior for themselves and others in a way that is not punishing or embarrassing.

Parents also have experience to draw on so when junior asks the tough questions about relationships or what is right or wrong and why, he/she will get the correct answers or responses. Friends don’t do this kind of stuff nor are they supposed to. Many are also not equipped emotionally or mentally to provide responses that are clear, concise and understood. Friends seldom say ‘no’ where parents often need or feel the need to do so. If a parent says ‘no’ then they need to be clear about why they are saying ‘no’. These are the opportunities that present themselves as learning opportunities–another ‘something’ that friends are not able to manage.

Instilling a sense of self-confidence along with the ability to self-assess their skills and talents is extremely important to the overall development of a child. My belief is that this is one of the things that is lacking in many of our kids today. Too many feel entitled to success some how. It seems as though they were never helped to understand that they need to earn success.

The school system itself needs to own much of this criticism because of it’s unwillingness to treat and teach our kids as whole learners. ( To know more about this go to jimcloughley.com –click on Programs–Help Our Kids Learn) . Present day school systems are content to deal with education from the neck up believing that more data crammed into their heads is the way to go and that rote learning, which is an outdated and ineffectual way of teaching our kids today, is the way to learn. Having said this it makes the role of the parent all that more important today.

Our kids have friends to play with and to dream with and to experience ‘kids things’ with. They need parents to help them live life on life’s terms. This by no means suggests that parents can’t have a wonderful, close, meaningful, fulfilling, and fun filled relationship with their kids. It just means that there is more to the job than being an entertainment coordinator for your kids. Parents are the most important asset and resource that our kids will ever have. Let’s give them what they need to succeed. Their friends will take care of the less important stuff.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Agree or disagree send me your comments and your thoughts to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. Thanks for stopping by.

(Image by advantage4parents.com. I derive no financial benefit for the use of this image.)

 

What Were They Thinking ? . . . (Re-posted From October 13, 2013)

In light of recent events south of us I went back to a past article I posted on a related topic. I don’t want this opening paragraph to come off like I am defending men or the decisions some make or have made. Not in the least. I offer this as an opinion or partial explanation as to these recent events and how confusing things can get. I also offer this thought for males and females both. Careful the places you find yourself–what are the messages that are being sent, received and acted upon or responded to.

Now that there is a new ass sitting on the Supreme Court bench it is safe to say that the rule of law and it’s meaning are in decline. If nothing else Kavanaugh should have been held in contempt of court for lying under oath about his drinking history. Those lies remain undisputed. Even if Ford’s story had too many claims that could not be proven under the rules and regulations laid out by the White House, he should have been held accountable for the ‘bullshit’ and the ‘B’ performance he put on at that table in that hall. And there is Trump in the background with that smug ugly face staring out at the world saying ‘hey, gotcha again.’ He is the absolute worst role model and the poorest example of strength and legitimacy that the citizens of the United States have ever had the misfortune of placing on the world stage for all to see.

As a parting thought here I thought that the hearings were worse than a cheap ‘B’ porn movie with the starring role played by a character called “Trump Kavanaugh”–just saying . . .

 

“What were they thinking. . . ?

Now that I’ve had a chance to think about this I find myself asking ‘what were they thinking?’

I have to admit that I am really confused, as a male and a human being about what the Y.U.N. chant thing was all about. But the big question for me was what the hell were these future pillars of society thinking about when they advocated the legalization of rape and child molestation? If they were trying to be challenging and controversial the only thing that has been accomplished here is the confirmation that supporters of this idea are not only misguided and bored but border on being misogynistic.

The main concern for me and the part that has me very confused is the number of females who were right in there supporting the whole premise. It didn’t seem to bother them that they were backing the idea that it is perfectly OK to force a young girl to have sex whether she wants to or not. So how young is too young? I mean underage is just that isn’t it? So when is it OK to feed alcohol to a 12 year old to the point where she is not aware or able to cry out for help? What ever happened to the arguments that women have been putting up for years now that say they and they alone are the arbiters of what they decide to do with their bodies? These young women who have supported this lunacy have set that whole discussion back to the stone ages. Truly now, if this was their sister we are talking about would they really feel the same way? Would they be all for it? And where are the women’s groups? I haven’t heard a great deal of criticism or dialogue involving those who have been advocating a ‘different’ deal for women. At the very least a clear statement of some kind speaking about respect and equality. Even just a touch of outrage.

And the men-I can’t call them men.  Are the males who support this so challenged and so unable to attract and develop a sexual relationship with someone who is functioning, emotionally, at about the same level that they need to pick on young girls who really are not equipped with the critical thinking that goes along with giving permission to share themselves with someone else in a meaningful way?  As a man, I’m embarrassed to say that this whole idea is about the same as reducing sex to scratching an itch on their ass. It is a conquest and a power-grab not an emotional act of any kind. This type of behavior is what clearly illustrates the growing lack of respect for self and others that seems to be so prevalent in the youth of today.

I have an adult son and daughter. My son and his wife have blessed us with a beautiful granddaughter. She’s two years old. If what this chant is promoting ever happened to either daughter or granddaughter, at any age, and I were to confront the perpetrators I would not report them. I might, however, bind their testicles with a liberal piece of piano wire secured to the bumper of my car and let them know that for as long as they can run they can keep them attached.

Perhaps a bit radical but then again so is this absurd idea that it’s OK to take what you can regardless of how the other person feels about things.

That’s how I see it anyway, Jim”

Comments?–Send them to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Use of this photo is for education, research and/or offering criticism. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

Are Our Lives Really Just A Day Long . . ?

As I have come to understand my life started out as most do. I woke up and it was dark as usual. It seemed like I had been asleep or resting for a long time. Then all I remember was I was moving. I was going somewhere and it was a bumpy ride. I wasn’t liking this much. All of a sudden I noticed this small light ahead. It kept getting bigger and bigger-brighter and brighter until-BANG-I was in a whole different place. Some of me was in-some of me was out (I think it was out) and it was cold. There was a lot of noise now and I was not happy about being here. Before I knew it the long ride was over. Hands were all over me and then someone smacked me and I wanted to scream Hey!What’d I do? Someone picked me up and I felt warmer. Well I wasn’t sure about whether or not I was going to like this place so I started to wail. What I really wanted was to go back to familiar territory. One thing for sure was I was hungry. At least I think that’s what I felt-hunger? Next thing I knew I ended up with this big soft thing that I could put my head on and if I squeezed it stuff would come out. It was warm and not bad.

This was the beginning of my day known as “Morning.” (the morning of my life)

Time passed me by and I got to the point where I was tired of being carried around so the first chance I had I started to learn about being mobile. Big people that I had come to recognize as my parents helped me and soon I was able to go from here to there with little injury.

Soon I went to a place where other people like me were hanging out. They were dealing with the same issues as I was. Bathrooms and what was supposed to happen in there. Not being able to capture that thing with legs but didn’t look like any of us was frustrating and when I did get it and pulled it’s head it got angry and other people rushed to take it away from me.

Sooner it seemed I went to a place called school but I saw less of the people who used to spend a great deal of time with me and then I started to ride a thing called a bus. That was fun for a while. I went to a “bigger school” with crazier people although some of them did things that made me laugh.

I think they called my next stop “public school.” My days seemed longer-sometimes really hot-sometimes really cold and sometimes not much fun. One day my parents told me I had to “work” doing things around the house. Most of that entailed cleaning up messes that I had made. Then I had to learn how to be nice? to other people. I didn’t know why but they said it was the right thing to do-so I did it. Turned out they were right. The longer I was around the more they taught me and the more I felt OK doing it. As it turned out I stopped going to these “smaller schools” and started to go to bigger places with more people than ever and I was learning strange stuff I really didn’t want to know about.  This time space, as it turned out, was called the “Afternoon” of my life.  This was really a great time for me. Freedom to do what I wanted. I met some interesting people who dressed and talked differently than I. Some wore dresses, some had long hair, some had beards and mustaches and some were called “hippies”. Music was great, I entered a relationship with alcohol and cannabis which I believed would lead me to a greater understanding of the universe. Truthfully it ended up being a most tumultuous relationship and not always ending well. I learned that girls were more fun to be around than they used to be and I learned about respecting other peoples opinions and values and rights. Along about this point I started to tune out most of the adult voices in my life in favor of  younger more dymanic voices. This was my second great mistake. I stopped listening to my parents and older folks figuring they were out of step and didn’t know what people like me needed to know. I missed so much of their wisdom and knowledge. They had been where I was going. I regret that decision now.

Eventually it became time to get serious about how my life was going to be spent and I started on a career path that was an awful choice. I did it for a long time reconciling the choice with the idea that this is what folks do to raise a family and buy a home and have toys and things. I learned that I alone was responsible for being the author of my own story. As it turned out it was a great time to be alive. There was a vibrancy all round. I needed my parents to guide me and to listen to me but I never asked them. I thought I knew better. I didn’t.

I had my family and changed my career in mid stream-good move. I had struggled to learn but learn I did. I managed to get it right, at least for me, and I’m good with how it all turned out. This has been and continues to be the“Evening” of my day. I’m still healthy; I still have enough energy to do most of what I want and most of the time the means to do it. I realized some successes and I continue to use some good advice “from back there” that, somehow stuck with me.

The last stage of my day is “Twilight” and although I’m not there yet I will be soon enough.

There are seven points that I’d like to share:

  • value what you have learned no matter how you learned it.
  • never pass up a chance to learn something new-even at this stage of your day.
  • don’t get caught up with what others are doing or not doing.
  • don’t suffer stupid people easily.
  • never forget who your friends are.
  • patience is often over rated.
  • time is your most valuable resource

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by, All the best, Jim

jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

Have You Really Thought About The Quality Of Your Child’s Public Education?

Who sees your kids more than you do? School teachers. Who has more opportunity to influence your kids than you do? School systems. Yet parents, for the most part, spend less time speaking about or thinking about what is happening at school and what are they being taught. We send them off in the morning expecting to see them at the end of the day but beyond that we don’t give their day much thought. We assume that they are looked after and that they are learning something useful. We trust schools and school systems to know how to do their job and we just accept the fact that when they graduate they will do fine “out there.” That is happening less and less on many fronts.

I often wonder how many parents actually take time at the end of the day to talk with their kids and ask about what they learned at school that day or how did school go today or what was something you learned today that you didn’t know anything about? In other words what happened that was interesting.

And so it goes. Each day the kid goes off to a place that parents know little about being told or given tons of data/facts that really don’t have much relevance to the kids everyday living experience and we, as parents, can’t understand why our kids aren’t crazy about going to school each day and doing better. Could it be that school is long, boring, and not much fun? There are any number of kids that would say the same thing when they get home at the end of the day. It was boring and they ask why they have to learn that stuff. Plus they have an hour or more homework to do for tomorrow and they don’t have a clue how to do it or what to do about it.

They sit in a classroom 6 rows across and 5 rows deep or vice versa for hours listening to a talking head fire data/information at them with the expectation that they will “get it.” And we can’t understand why some kids are trouble makers, disruptive or hard to manage. How many of those get diagnosed with ADD and put on meds?

Many questions remain when I think about the relevance of the current pedagogy and the value and relevance of the curriculum that is presented each new school year.  Talk to some of the teachers and they will tell you what they think is going on but no one seems to hear what it is they are saying. They are trying to tell us that “we have to change how we do school-this system isn’t working.”

Along with those concerns is the bigger problem being the reluctance to change anything or update the overall approach of the public school system as it stands.

I know this much and that is that the system has become virtually unresponsive to the issues being mentioned. It needs to change dramatically and almost immediately if we hope to offer our children a chance to compete with other kids from other countries for challenging, rewarding and high paying jobs.

So how do we do that? Parents–whoever and wherever you are you need to get involved with what is happening with your kids future. That means you will have to become better informed about the options out there for your kids to gain an education that will help prepare them for the professional challenges of the 21st century. There are more options available than you know. The public system, although preferable, is not the only option. But to become more informed you need to talk to your kids and ask the right questions. Be prepared to listen to them because they are the experts on what is or is not working in today’s classrooms. They know what the changes are that need to be made and why they need to be made.

With a great deal of passion, assistance and input from a well informed and motivated group of colleagues and educators I have spent the last three years creating a new approach to educating our kids that addresses many of the issues I mentioned above.

First thing needed is to understand what some of the options are. Check out the differences and the pros and cons of Charter schools, magnet schools, public schools, private schools and home schooling. Once you understand some of the differences and the similarities you can now ask the important questions from the school board members and the trustees and you’ll know more about the quality and validity of the answers you get in return.

I’ll be writing much more about this topic in the weeks to come. I’ll share some of the solutions and suggestions that we came up with as a result of our research and from some of the actual experiences some of my colleagues had that worked in their classrooms but were never considered alternatives or even food for thought.

The following statement is the goal that we have identified for our group. It can be done but only if the parents who really care about the quality and the opportunity their kids receive speak up and are heard.

“To offer a new paradigm regarding a free, non-discriminatory, local, national, and global learner centered education program that merges enthusiasm, participation, and excitement with each learner’s unique differences, a capacity for high performance, and an innate desire to maximize self.”

I’ll be absent next week but I’ll write more about this in two weeks. Eventually I will provide an outline of the program we develop on my web page at jimcloughley.com

Anyways, that’s how I see things, all the best, Jim

 

 

Dress Code? Uniforms? What Would You Wear To Work?

There is a growing controversy centered on or around what kids are wearing to school these days. Out of this comes the debate about whether or not schools need to implement a policy about wearing a school uniform while attending school, imposing a dress code or allowing students to determine their own ideas of “what is appropriate for school” attire. It seems that the last idea is losing ground to the school uniform supporters. Where do the parents fit into all of this?

I often wonder if the parents even care about what their kids look like when they go to school each morning? Does it make any difference to them if Susie is wearing a little top that exposes her red bra and a generous portion of her chest or that Billy has decided to wear his new Joe Boxer underwear with the blue waist band and the generous view of his back side along with the bulk of his jeans hanging in a pile around his knees as he tries valiantly to walk down the front steps to the bus? I think the only people who REALLY care are the manufacturers of the jeans who are grabbing 70 bucks a pair and saying how cool he looks!! I feel badly for Billy in that it seems he can’t determine how to wear his hat. Front to back or back to the front? Does the beak point more to one side or the other?

It’s the schools which seem to be caught in the middle trying to be politically correct and yet trying to support the idea that kids need to be able to express their identities and their characters. Nice way to dodge the responsibility of setting reasonable standards.

To begin with there needs to be some serious dialogue offered to the “rocket scientists” who seem content on blaming a great deal of this controversy on the female population suggesting that dress codes are needed to curb the temptations they project onto the poor defenseless male populations in the school. Apparently these females are compromising the males ability to concentrate on the subject matter and therefore are in danger of not doing well in school. Perhaps they are not doing well because the curriculum is failing to deliver a source of interest for these unfortunate young men and some of the half naked females are a pleasant diversion.

First of all we need to look at the motivation behind the behavior which in this case is the propensity of adolescents to push the boundaries. Kids are being asked/expected to act like adults so they will promote themselves as adults. However, the idea that women should be identified and singled out as the main part of the “problem” is absurd and even more so when they are being told that THEY need to change but the males are free to carry on.

Advertisers and designers have, for years, been the driving force behind how our youth present themselves to the public at large. Nothing has changed except they have focused more on the idea that less is better and suggests more freedom of expression which is, of course, our kids right. So fashion sends the messages to the world in general: It’s more difficult to be accepted if you are not”fashionable.” Tattoos, the car you drive or the shoes you wear are often about the message you want to send to others around you. Males and females have now taken to carrying guns and knives as a way of sending messages to those around them especially at school. Weapons like this have almost become another part of the “current school uniform” as sad as that is to say.

Then there is the style that many kids-females and males alike-demonstrate. Gansta for one, other gang affiliations, the ‘tough guy’ look meant to intimidate and so on. I always think about what the message is supposed to be that these folks are trying to send the rest. Put that inclination in a school setting and there is a recipe for disaster and turmoil and puts education on the back burner for sure.

Lets not lose sight of the prime objective and that is to establish schools as safe and encouraging environments in which to learn. If schools represent the opportunity to learn, grow and develop the skills that will help us live our lives with success as we have defined it. How does getting caught up in the dress code vs. uniform debate help anything. It really has nothing to do with free choice or economics. The choice should not be about dress codes ect. The choices open to learners and the parents of those learners needs to be–are you going to school or not?

Learners need to dress for success meaning in this case that they dress each day as though they were going to work. How would you dress if you were going to work in an office space or as a professional of some sort? The first thing that needs to be done is to show some respect for where you are earning a living. Go to school dressed the same way. It’s an expectation not a debate.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by, all the best, Jim

Comments can be made by contacting me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo, by abj.eics.ab.ca, is used for education, research or for the purposes of offering criticism only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

PS–My colleagues and I will soon be unveiling portions of our new paradigm for educating and preparing our kids for the 21st Century. It will revolutionize the way they learn and will do it better than we do it now.  More on this in a couple of weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting Then And Now. . . Is It Really All That Different?

When I look at this image I see 4 people who are older or younger than each other but I can’t tell what they are thinking or how they see the world they live in. I wonder if any of them stop to think about how our world has arrived at it’s present state. What has changed? Why is it so much different from the way it was say 50 years ago. One answer would be how we each parent or parented our children. Now the youngest one pictured in this image hasn’t had any parenting experience and very little life experience but it is what it is and so she has little to compare her present life situation with. Her life is ‘normal’ for what she knows.

Technology has certainly changed many things in terms of how we spend our time. We encourage and expect our kids to grow up much quicker now than before because progress has sped up our living experience. But we need to understand that the brain is a much slower developing organ these days than the human body. Don’t get left behind is the panicked message that most parents send their kids. The pressure to grow up fast and assume responsibility creates a great deal of stress that kids aren’t equipped to handle partially because they have never been taught how to do that. Parents aren’t equipped to do that work because THEY were never taught. It wasn’t necessary during their childhood or at least never acknowledged or spoken of and schools wouldn’t dream of touching that topic in school (check out my web site at jimcloughley.com for more information on what our kids should be learning at school). Over the last two generations thoughts and actions have changed from teaching our children about how to be good citizens to striving to get all they could  and to take care of themselves first. Compassion is not a word that is familiar to a great number of kids today. Bullying, gang violence and mass murders are a visual symptom of this.

As often happens the pendulum of common sense swings so far to one side or the other and does so very quickly. Consequently human beings find it difficult to keep up with the pace of change. Rather than seek a balance between rapid change and thoughtful consideration of facts and experience we jump on the first idea that makes a modicum of sense and go with that forgetting or passing by all the wonderful lessons and ideals from our pasts. These are things that worked for us and helped us navigate the world we lived in when we were growing up. We were guided by the concepts of respect for others and especially our elders, generosity of spirit, accountability for our decisions, hard work and the idea that we were not entitled to anything. If you wanted something you worked for it. Not every kid gets a trophy just for showing up. His/her self esteem will survive such a tragic event.

Today, many parents are at a loss to figure out how to parent their children successfully. I suggest we consider applying the lessons we learned that made a critical impact on the quality of our lives as we grew up and combine them with some of the great messages and some of the new ideas that are based in solid successes of the day. Instead, this generations’ ideas about how to parent have come from reading books and listening to the so called experts. We depend more on what others tell us we should be doing to parent our kids responsibly and not from what we believe, intrinsically, to be true for us.

True that life has changed and we need to change with it. That is not in question. The question is HOW will we do that? Consider how we create and nurture relationships. This simple act has changed dramatically. There are many more common law relationships and many more single parented homes directed mostly by women (exceptional growth of father-less homes) then there were a generation ago. Many parents struggle with just saying “no” believing in the “democratic” parenting method of kids making their own choices. There are times when there should be no options. Instead we, as parents, might need to remove any options until we feel the kid is capable of understanding and accepting the responsibility of making a poor decision. That is called accountability. A weak judicial system needs to be more responsive and creative when dealing with juvenile delinquency. Many children don’t seem to respect others property and physical welfare. They, not their parents, need to pay for the damage they create to society. On and on we go.

As parents we don’t want to risk damaging our kids self-esteem or dent their precious little egos. Yet the incidence of teen suicide creeps higher every year. There is growing evidence of depression at much younger ages and very mixed views on the roles that are presented by women and men.

Our “modern day” parenting approaches and ideas don’t seem to be working well. Perhaps we need to consider what we are NOT doing to parent our children responsibly and return to a time when we held our kids responsible for their behavior. A good place to start I think. There were consequences but also lessons learned that were often the difference between trouble and learning experimentally–a powerful and long lasting way of learning. Just a thought.

Anyways, that’s how I see things today.

All the best, Jim

Comments will find me at:    jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. Please pass this article along to friends and family.

This image (considerable.com) was used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image.

What Would This Great Storyteller Have Said . . .

As Paul Harvey might have said: And now for the rest of the story.

Last week I was very critical of 3D printers and the potential disaster they represent to the world as a whole. The technology will make it so much easier to kill others and to exact some wild idea of fair play. I went on to talk about how dangerous it will make the world and how it will be for those who are brave enough to try and defend  our way of life and to protect our civil rights. I think of those who concern themselves with the safety of our homes and family. They risk their well being to ensure our security. I’m still fearful of that being jeopardized by somebody with an ax to grind. I understand the frustration and the unfairness–I do. But if that is the only way that we can show our displeasure and anger then we need to go back to the drawing board because it only strengthens the true forces of evil that exist around us. It slides right into the argument that we need to protect ourselves when it is these same forces of evil that we are concerned about. The ‘bad guys’ get more entrenched and legitimate citizens pay the price.

With all that said I must say that the video that follows my offering today has certainly made me sit up–shut up–and pay attention to all the good that 3D printers and that technology can provide for many of us. It is amazing what can be done to further our efforts to provide for many of those who can’t because of a lack of resources or political will.

The advances and designs of medical equipment will be upon us at light speed. I doubt that we be able to keep up with the changes in our personal, industrial, and scientific lives either. Just about anything that we can see or conceive will be duplicated and improved upon using 3D technology. Any of you remember the 6 million dollar man with Lee Majors? Inside of ten years that fantasy is likely to be a reality. There are already or near ready some designs and plans to build a functioning heart for human use. Those who have lost limbs to accident, disease or birth defects will opportunities to use artificial joints and organs that are only dreamed of today.

I guess my thinking has changed somewhat although I still believe that there will be an element who will always pervert progress. In this case the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks as this video suggests.

I applaud this father who refused to give up and instead fashioned a solution to his little boy’s problem. That’s what Dads are supposed to do and this man does it in spades.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, thanks for stopping by.

All the best, Jim

Any and all comments will reach me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

 

What’s The Big Deal With Killing ?

Quick-get your guns so we can kill these animals. The little ones will be big ones soon anyway so what’s the difference?

There is so much killing going on everywhere these days and I am having a hard time understanding why. I get it on some level. People are  frustrated and resentful and mean spirited and angry–so much anger abounds. We seem to be losing the spiritual and emotional connection we had with life not too long ago. Life meant something as a standard. That’s what concerns me the most. What are we doing to each other animals or humans and why? To experience what satisfaction? What do we get out of blowing some innocent animal or person away just because we can?

Within the past week there was a shooting in Toronto where a young woman (18) was shot dead and a ten year old died as well. Many others were taken to local hospitals and cared for with many receiving emergency and life saving treatment. Then I see a picture of some rich kid standing in front of her latest conquest. She had managed to kill a rare black giraffe–oh wow-good for her! Some feat this was. She was pictured in front of the dead animal after, no doubt, doing a victory lap. She was quoted as saying her prayers had been answered. Rack up another one for GOD I guess. For her part she had been tracking a giraffe, with the help of a guide who should be ashamed of himself or herself, armed with a high powered rifle and a scope sight that could see a flea from 300 yards. Now there is a challenge for ya. My point in question here is the skilled and talented huntress gets a pat on the back by those as sad as she is and the man who shot all these people gets labelled with a mental health disorder of some kind and yet they both indiscriminately murdered living creatures. We are not talking here about ants or spiders either. So my question is what is it about murdering living things that gets some people all jacked up. If it’s about the culmination and thrill of the hunt then hunt with freakin’ camera bozo. Shoot a frame and not a bullet.

Look at the picture of this lioness. Look at her posture and the look on her face and tell me that she doesn’t love her offspring just the same as the human parent who lost her child or children. Does this lioness feel pain when she knows that her babies are dead? I’m thinking she does. One is called sport and the other a tragedy. They are both tragedies to me. Why do we have to kill anything at all in order to feel ‘good’ or excited. There is something terribly wrong with that. Get some help. Really.

The truly amazing part of all this, to me, is that we are no closer to understanding the purpose–the rational–the satisfaction of killing other entities at will. Is it about “just because you can?” Do people become mass murderers as a result of a mental illness of some kind? No. There are many who slaughter others who are quite “sane”-so what’s going on with them?

When I think about young folks who are violent and who commit murder and mayhem on our streets and in our homes how much has social media , music, videos, movies, electronic games, horrible role models who are more evident every day who are obviously above the law, those who never seem to be held accountable for their behaviour and their decisions contributed to the newly developed “violent entitlement” culture of the young.

As parents perhaps our permissive parenting model needs some adjustments and the initial goals of pursuing that model need re-tooling a bit. This isn’t about blame this is about moving the pendulum back to the middle of the spectrum. Perhaps that move back needs to include more discussion about the sanctity of life for all creatures not just some.

Anyway, that’s how I see things–all the best, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used under the “Fair Use” provision. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

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