Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best of both worlds

Are kids really a career breaker?

HANDS up all the mothers out there who work.
I bet almost all of my readers work either part-time or full-time, while still fulfilling the role of wife and mother (which is a 24-hour a day unpaid job). And those who don’t work, are probably studying.
So why do so many women believe having children will ruin their career?
A CareerOne survey this week revealed that two-thirds of working women believe pregnancy will negatively impact their career, and is incompatible with climbing the corporate ladder.
The survey also showed that 75 per cent thought raising a family while in a senior level role would be difficult.
There’s no doubt it would be hard to juggle the stress of such a job with the stress of making sure Thomas eats his veges, Sarah does her homework, and little James learn how to use the potty.
But children do not spell the end of a woman’s career. I believe that with some jobs, having children would enhance their skills in multi- tasking, negotiation, as well as time and money management.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How many is too many?

Parents who choose to have large families are under attack as the population is set to soar

Sometimes when I’m faced with a “parenting” challenge (ie. child refuses to eat meal, child refuses to brush teeth, you get the idea), I say to myself “It could be worse, I could be a Duggar”.
I have long held a fascination for the Duggar family. They live in Arkansas, in the US, and are conservative evangelical Christians who endorse the Quiverfull movement.
Quiverfull families believe that children are blessings from God, so they do not use any form of birth control, not even natural family planning or sterilisation.
The movement comes from Psalm 127:3-5, where many children are metaphorically referred to as a quiver full of arrows.
And so, the Duggars have reproduced, not once or twice, but 19 times.
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have 18 children aged from 21 down to a one-year-old, and another one due in March, 2010.
Their fecundity is so astonishing that they have their own cable TV show, website and fan base.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Learning to learn

What do you do if you suspect your child has a learning disability?

When our children are born we meticulously take note – and celebrate – each and every milestone.
The first time they roll over, sit up, say their first word and take their first steps.
It’s a magical time for the family to see their little one thriving, and gives parents reassurance that all is well.
As our children get older and begin to learn how to read, write and count, we continue to take pride in their achievements.
But what happens when a child is late in demonstrating these abilities?
While the other children can count to 10, understand colours, write their name and recognise shapes, what happens to the child who lags behind?
Parents are reassured constantly through the first years of life that babies develop at different rates, so naturally they may wonder if their concerns for their child are just an example of a late bloomer.
However, instinct is a powerful parenting tool, and many parents will seek answers rather than wait to get help.
Learning disabilities are not as obvious to others as physical disabilities.
Children with learning disabilities can become very good at covering up their problems so they are not apparent to others.
As a result, children with learning disabilities may not be seen to be struggling until adolescence or even adulthood.
By this time it is likely that they will have significantly fallen behind in their learning and it will be much harder to improve their situation.
Therefore, early intervention is vital.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maclaren USA Recalls to Repair Strollers Following Fingertip Amputations

US authorities have announced a recall of a million baby strollers made by UK's Maclaren, saying they posed a risk of "fingertip amputation" to young children."
An internet search reveals many of the same models are readily available in Australia. About 1 million have been sold worldwide.
Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed," the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said.
The Chinese-manufactured strollers' hinge mechanism "poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller", CPSC said.
The firm has received 15 reports of children placing their finger in the stroller's hinge mechanism, and 12 reports of fingertip amputations in the United States.
The recall involves all Maclaren single and double umbrella strollers. They have word "Maclaren" printed on the stroller and included models Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller.
The products sold from 1999 through November 2009 for between $US100 ($108.30) and $US360 ($389.86).
Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled strollers and contact Maclaren USA to receive a free repair kit. The company will send out a cover for the hinges to all owners.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Maclaren USA toll free at (877) 688-2326 between 8am and 5pm or visit the website at (NOTE: As of November 10, the website was down, so I would suggest visiting the Australia headquarters here).
CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell them your story here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Keys to happiness

You are your child’s best role model, so follow your instincts

I was going through my book shelves over the weekend, and this is what I discovered.
I have 13 parenting books ranging from sleeping tips to medical advice to happy families, four books on conception and pregnancy, two books about childbirth, four recipe books relating to cooking for children, and four miscellaneous books about babies being a mother.
That’s 29 books jam-packed full of words of wisdom and, I bet there are more hiding in drawers or on loan to friends.
Sometimes, parents like me forget that their biggest influence on how they raise their children is instinct.
Parenting books were rare when I was a baby but now they fill rows of shelves in bookstores – and my house – eagerly snapped up by parents facing one dilemma after another.
These books will certainly give you ideas (particularly if you have a particular issue, such as children who don’t sleep) but it doesn’t come close to the fact that only you understand your child and their needs. My philosophy is to take wisdom from the pages of parenting books, consider the methods and whether they will work for my child and my family and, if they do, then add these strategies to our day- to-day life.
Another parenting book landed on my desk recently and I delegated it to the ho-hum pile as at first glance it appeared to be just another how-to guide.
Entitled 100 Ways to Happy Children, A Guide for Busy Parents, I finally picked it up over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised.
Sometimes in life we struggle to find happiness. I have had a particularly bad year and I have had times when thinking positive has not been easy.
But how can we confidently teach our children happiness if we can’t find it in ourselves? The book’s author, psychologist and father of two Dr Timothy Sharp, draws on the latest research into positive psychology.

In it he discusses issues such as:
  • Being a good and happy role model
  • Promoting physical health
  • Setting boundaries
  • Negotiating school and learning
  • Dealing with challenging behaviour
  • Creating family time
  • Celebrating individual qualities
Much of Dr Sharp’s advice is common sense and merely a reminder of how much we should love our children for who they are.
It is interesting in that this is not a book about solving problems. It is about increasing optimism, building strong relationships and being good role models. There are lots of anecdotes through the book, as well as simple exercises to try as a family.