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Young Mums – Have fun bringing up kids

Love it – The great service

Who are young mums? For the purpose of this article let me define ‘young mums’ as people who have kids below age of 12. Anyone, who have kids below this age is a young mum. Specially, if you have kids only below this age you perfectly fit to this group.

When you read this article keep in my mind “What do I want as a mum?” I can assume that all mums will want their children to grow up well and have a good fulfilling life. You may want to give them everything you did not have. You may do what you feel is the best for your kids. However, there will be some mums who do not feel the same way about their kids. I will leave this to another article.

The Challenge

Young Mums need to recall how you were brought up! Now this is where everything starts. Even if you like it or not. I learnt this when I was teaching, lecturing, training teachers and being a young mum, myself. What I learnt was that if we do not consciously check how we teach, lecture or be a mum we will be doing exactly what our teachers and mums did. This is a tough task but interesting. So, Mums, if you are not aware of how you were brought up you maybe bringing up your children the way you were brought up. Including some of your own ways as well. For some this may agood idea for other not so good.

I was so concious of my own upbringing and how I was taught. Now, I feel that my belief systems would have challenged my kids immensely. Fortunately, I hope, now as adults, they are happy in their thoughts, feelings and have the confidence to take actions. No one is perfect. That is one reason why I cannot give up.

One day my daughter said “I will not let my kids watch Simpsons” I was happy to hear this after struggling to entertainthem with cartoons that they can watch by themselves. I told her now you know why I did not let you watch Simpson when you were a kid. She replied, “Oh! But I will watch with them it is funny!” … she paused and questioned “Why are you letting Kokko (her younger brother) watch Simpsons?” True, I let him watch Simpsons by himself. He was a teenager by then. We had a discussion about the differences of letting younger kids watch cartoons or TV by themselves and watching with parents or adults and having a discussion about it.

What mums need to keep in mind is the context how the activities are organised for the kids. Every moment in life for kids are learning experiences. They are always experimenting and meeting their curiosities. It is hard work for single mums and for mums who are working to balance work and life as a young mom. There is no way we can follow a checklist like a recipe in a cook book. We as mums are dealing with the most complex creation of the world. We are taking huge responsibilities to create the future generation. Mums do a great job if the kids are brought up fine until the age of 12. Why I say this is bacause Mums cannot be responsible for the actions after they become teenagers and adults. I may sound tough but we cannot take care of them or take their responsibilities forever. We must let them grow and learn to live their life in a responsible way.

What we can do for them is build a good foundation by the time kids become teenagers. What are the attributes you want the kids to have? List them. You as a mum will have to show by example. Kids have to use all their senses to learn. They must hear, see, feel and do.

Key needs for Kids

– On top of mums examples the kids must feel secure and loved all the time. Mums are available for them for a chat, to have a discussion and to give helping hand through their lives will make the kids feel secure and loved.

Security

is extremely important for anyone. If kids feel secure and safe they are happy. If a mum feels unsafe and insecure your kids will feel it. Mum, you have to take care of your self. You take care of the kids by feeding, keeping then clean, holding their hands when crossing the road, checking on them, trusting them and asking them “are you OK’. Again mum check your own level of security.

Love

your kids unconditionally. Wait, I do not mean spoiling them. Love them to enhance the security and let them know you are there to take care of them. Show and tell that you love them. Give them a hug to show them that you love them. Not all cultures will be showing love by giving hugs. Yet, every culture have their way of showing that kids are loved. Mum, you must know how to love and how you feel when you are loved to actually love your kids as a mum.

We cannot teach or give an experience that we do not know or understand. That is why we need to know ourselves so that we are clear of our strengths and weaknesses. We can never be perfect mums. Yet, we can always do better with knowledge and confidence.

Let me share this experience with you. A 4 year old girl insists wearing dresses all the time. Her, Young Mum have other ideas about wearing dresses and insists that her daughter wear shorts, T-shirt and skirts as well. The issue of dressing her daughter has become a challenge for both mum and daughter. One day, the Young Mum was combing her 4 year old daughter.

4 year old asked: “ Mum, are you doing to grow old?”
Young mum: “yes”
4 year old: “Are you going to die likegrandpa?” (her grandpa passed away recently)
Young mum: “yes”
4 year old replied: “When you die I will always wear dresses”

What are we learning from this conversation? Does this mean the 4 year old is now waiting for her mum to die! How would you feel as a mum to hear this? What is the important message here?

This 4 year old girl is very competent to relate to her experiences and come up with a solution to her problem. Not the best. This is a kid who is thinking and wants some independence or want to be part of the decision making process. She may be asking her mum to listen to her or ask her opinion? Busy mums with work and all other things at hand have limited time for these type of discussions.

Incidents like these if we miss or react in a non productive way we loose opportunies to understand our children, create quality time with kids and to practice good parenting.

Stop and think for a while!

Using this example to reflect on your up bringing. How was your clothes selected? Did you have a say in what you wear? Was your clothes all laid out for you? Was it of any importance? Did you have much choice in what clothes you can wear? Did you have plenty to choose from or had just only one clean left to wear? How do you dress now? What goes in your mind when you get dressed? These questions can help to identify your beliefs in dressing. The culture, social status, exposure and income also contributes to what we wear.

How can this reflection help you to assist in choosing clothes for your kids? How can you use the learning from this example in other situations with your kids?

These days specially in developed countries the parents have bigger challenges. How much time can you give to the kids? What is quality time? How much do I need to push them to achieve in school? There are so many demands on very young kids that some kids loose their childhood to the current competitive world.

The key question is; How can we assist our kids to become good citizens in the future and still have a wonderful childhood that they can be happy about?

I will leave this for you to wonder. Leave your thoughts and if you have any pressing questions do not hesitate to contact me.

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