Posted by: bravo22c | 16/02/2010

Raising children – my way

There have been a few blogs about the general mess that is the education system in England.  It still annoys me a lot that I had to shell out thousands of pounds, in addition to the taxes I paid for the purpose, to get my children a guarantee of the same quality of education that I received in the State system.  We’vealso had a few blogs lamenting the mannes and behaviour of some children and young adults today.  Raising children, (you won’t catch me using that horrible, voguish ‘verbed’ noun, ‘parenting,’)  is not that difficult, I think, and, for criticism and discussion, here’s how I and my ex did it.

I read somewhere that a baby can be considered as a tube with wet and dry ends.  The trick inlooking after a baby is to keep the wet end dry and the dry end wet, and that pretty much takes care of it.  I thnk that works pretty well as a base to build on, but I would add in plenty of body contact and cuddles, and, since babies recognise faces – generically* – make sure the baby has as much sight of faces as can reasonable be given.  Communication is important, also.  Not baby talk, talk to the baby normally as well as singing to it and crooning to it.  All of my children, as babies, enjoyed layoing on my chest for an afternoon nap; it seems as if all the gurgling and swishing noises, as well as the rythnic heartbeats, were particularly soothing.  Apart from the chores of keeping it reasonable warm and dry – babies are nowhere near as fragile as we think, tough as old boots, actually, – that’s about it until the baby gets to the exploring age.

When the baby starts to move, even pre-crawling, encourage it.  We used to put the babies on the floor as much as possible, (supervised, of course – especially when we had coal fires,) and let them see what they could do.  We didn’t mind letting the dog or cat snuggle up to them, but we were careful to see they didn’t sit on them.  We did draw the line at my older daughter’s habit of sucking the dog’s tail, though the dog, (labrador/spaniel cross,) didn’t seem to object.  When they start crawling we applied the same principle – anything on the floor was fair game, though at this stage we started to apply the first stages of discipline.  No touching things on the coffee table.  Babies learn very quickly what a firm ‘No’ and a wag of the finger means.  There is some reason, sometimes, for a display of real anger also – when the children treid to touch an alectric socket, I would shout and jump up and down.  They only did it once.  A good cuddle afterwards shows that you may have been angry, but you still love them.  Keep talking to them all the time, and as soon as they’ll lie still for it, read them a story when you tuck them into bed.**

In fact, we would read books with them at every opportunity, in Greek and English.  We would read them stories and get them to tell us the stories too – or, at least, tell us what was in the pictures and ask them where things were.  You can start teaching them letters, numbers and shapes as soon as ou like, too.  The main thing we found was to show them at this early atage that they were the most important things around, as far as Mum and Dad were concerned.  You ought, though, to start them on good manners at an early a stage as possible – the first step, we found, was to let them know that they sholdn’t interrupt when we were talking.  It’s easy enough.  Whenever I talk to a small child I always, in any case, crouch down to the childs level so it can look me in the face.  When the children were very small, but mobile, if they interrupted me while I was talking to my ex, or anyone else, i would crouch down and say to them, ‘Just a moment, Daddy’s talking to someone, just wait one minute.’ Then get up and carry on with the conversation.  Then, most imprtant, I would turn to the child as soon as a ‘natural break’ presented itself and find out what it wanted.

I think the basis of the whole procedure is to instill self-confidence in the child.  Once it has that, everything else follows naturally.

So, now we’re at kindergarten.  Are you sitting comfortable?  Should I go on?

* Try this experiment.  Next time you’re with a very young baby, put your hand in formt of its face and move it about. slowly.  Watch how quickly it loses interest.  Now put your face in the baby’s line of sight and move it around slowly, see its eyes follow the movement.

**When my daughters were in boarding school, I used to send them cassette tapes.  The whole dorm used to gather round to listen. 🙂

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Responses

  1. CB. I’ll post an anecdote about my children in China at the weekend 🙂

  2. that’s another of the positives about living here. You can talk to kids without people freaking out. There is a place close by the office which makes outstanding dumplings and while i am waiting for them to cook, i sit around and talk with the other shop owners. There is one small kid who was terrified of me at first, but will now come over and lean on me while telling me about her day at school. But she still doesn’t like it if i try to eat her food.


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