Secrets of Motivation

On 07/07/2017, in Parenting Tips, by Hilary De Freitas

Ten-year-old Charlie has had a bad day at school. His teacher roused on him for not knowing his tables. He had tuna sandwiches for lunch and he hates tuna. He played goalie in a game after school and let in three goals. To cap it all off, he has to trudge home on a hot day with an extra-heavy schoolbag. When he gets home, he goes straight to his room, slams the door and pulls out his Playstation.


At least he won’t lose playing his favourite computer game.

However familiar this scenario might be, isn’t there something terribly wrong here? Childhood is supposed to be a time of joy and enthusiasm when kids discover themselves and learn how much they are capable of. Aren’t kids supposed to be learning that effort is worthwhile, and that a hard job can be more satisfying than an easy job? And isn’t childhood a time for socialisation, for good friendships, and for learning how to relate to others?

Unfortunately, everyday there are more and more children like Charlie who are sad, unmotivated and unenthusiastic, who say things like, Why try? What’s the use? I always do it wrong! I’m tired. I don’t feel like it.

Children are not born pessimistic and listless. With your help, they can become more resilient against such feelings.

Broadly speaking, there are three reasons for lack of self-esteem, low tolerance of frustration, or lack of sociability:

Medical factors

A poor diet, lack of sleep, or learning difficulties are possible causes. In some cases, there might be a slight psychological imbalance … and if you feel this might be the case, consult your paediatrician. Perhaps a simple  remedy like vitamin supplements or more regular exercise might be all that is needed.

Social factors

The culture we live in tends to value immediate satisfaction, material rewards, individualism and ceaseless competition. Even if you are not aware of these attitudes, they can affect your child. It is important for parents to realise that the ultimate goal of raising a child is not success or competence, but happiness. And true happiness doesn’t depend on material things or external events, but is inside us.


Home factors

Sometimes Mum and Dad can make their children tense and moody by expecting too much from them or spending too little time with them. It’s very important to enjoy family life, to have a great time, to have plenty of laughter.

How can you make sure that this happens? For starters, try to be very relaxed with your children. When you are with them, don’t let half your brain calculate how many other things you have to do.

Obviously this can be very hard, especially when both parents are working, but there is a big payoff…

Try to be creative in family life, with ideas for family fun on the weekends. It’s not as if you have to spend the whole day amusing the children. But they have to feel that family life is enjoyable, fun and affectionate. You can still be demanding on children.

If you are affectionate with them, it’s not difficult to have discipline and order in the home.

You won’t get anywhere with your children unless you know them inside out: what they like, what they are dreaming about, what their talents are, what they find difficult.

Of course, 90 per cent of this comes through intuition, just by being Mum or Dad.

But the last 10 per cent comes from spending time with them, making an effort to listen to them, reflecting on their behaviour… and making an effort yourself to improve in the same virtues of optimism, constancy and cheerfulness.



Source: Perspective Magazine ISSN 0819-6869

The PARENTING TIPS PAGE is provided as a service to the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia

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Work-Life Balance

On 21/04/2017, in Features, by Hilary De Freitas

In world of raising a family, Work-Life balance takes on a totally different and new meaning.

As Rosemary Kamau points out It’s easy to replace a worker, but it’s far harder to replace a mother.

So how do you try to keep the balance between your job (whatever it may be) and raising your family?

But regardless of whether you are a stay-at-home mother, a work-from-home mother or a working out of the home mother you have to recognize that your family is the most important gift you’ve been given.

In Rosemary’s article (which you can read in its entirety here) she talks about the importance of making time for the family. With so many competiting roles a mother can find herself a lost in finding balance.


She writes, 

In Kenya, most mothers work in formal employment or run businesses. Most mothers in the rural areas are farmers and housework is a small part of their work. Very few mothers work professionally as home-makers. This is partly because house help is cheap and easily available. There is also the issue of the high cost of living that forces both spouses to work formally to make ends meet.

In some cases that are increasing, more and more mothers are opting to take on travelling jobs or employment in other counties. These jobs pay more and are prestigious. Some mothers have opted to run businesses where they travel outside the country to buy merchandise to sell in their home country. These options have seen more and more women living for long periods away from their families.

Furthering their education has become a big attraction for mothers who wish to progress professionally. Some mothers have chosen to study for long periods outside their country. While other mothers study and attend classes in the evenings and weekends. Most of these mothers have full time jobs and businesses.

Many families have been adversely affected by mothers taking on too many competing roles of being a wife, mother, professional and student. There is an urgent need to balance work and family. The divorce rate has risen to alarming rates, not to mention the neglect shown children.

Mothers have to make a deliberate effort to create boundaries that prioritize their spiritual life, marriage and children. They need to rely on God’s grace and ask for his help in order to cope. It may well mean making hard choices in favour of the family. A mother may decide to quit a well-paying job for a lower-paying one so as to spend more time with the family. A mother may decide not to pursue studies so as to spend more time teaching her children about God and helping them with their homework. A wife may also decide to spend more time with her husband instead of working overtime in the office.

Read Rosemary Kamau’s entire article right here.

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The Top 10 Common-Sense Rules for Fathers

On 18/04/2017, in Parenting Tips, by Hilary De Freitas

Being a good parent, a good father, doesn’t have to be very complicated.

Sometimes it just takes a little common sense. Things that we take for granted but make a lasting impression on our children.

 1. Expect a great deal from your kids.

If your kids know that you expect a great deal from them, they will rise to the occasion. Every child wants to please their parent. So if you set low standards your children will achieve low standards.

Everything from saying please and thank-you, to efforts in school or on the playing field;

if expectations are made clear in a loving atmosphere your kids will know that you think a lot of them. When they know this, they will respond with a great deal.

2. Always be willing to be the solution.

When you are convinced that someone else in your family is causing the problem and you are blaming them for it, realize that this problem probably won’t get better until you accept that you are making it worse by blaming them.

It may feel good to blame, but it never improves anything. Loving and accepting that person will make a positive difference. If you the problem needs a solution make sure you’re the one bringing that solution forward.

3. Know your child’s life intimately.

What type of parent would you be if you didn’t even know your child’s favorite color? Or favorite movie?

Get to know all that you can about your kids.

Know what their favorite toys and colors are, who their best friends are, who their heroes are, etc.

By showing interest, you are showing you love them. By not asking, you show that they are not that important to you.

4. Say No to your kids.

Yes it may seem that saying “No” is such a bad thing, but if your children don’t learn to hear and accept the words, “No” there are lessons they will learn the very hard way.

There’s an awful lot of stuff out there for children these days…and of course they want to have all of it. Children who get almost everything they want typically don’t turn out to be very happy.

Children learn discipline, self-control, and how to delay gratification when they are told no by their parents; especially in this world where even parents are used to “instant” gratification.

It may be a difficult struggle, but saying no and meaning it will help you to have happy, healthy, and cooperative kids. Maybe you should try saying, “No” to yourself as well. You may just a learn a lesson or two.

5. Treat your wife extremely well.

You may be wondering what does your relationship with your wife have to do with parenting. This is where your children learn very important information about relationships between men and women.

Make a great effort not to fight in front of the children. Remember to be kind much more often than trying to be right.

6. Hitting, spanking and punishing your kids doesn’t work very well.

Remember that saying “Spare the rod, you spoil the child”. Well it turns out that there are several studies which show that children who are spanked have lower self esteem. Spanking your children will also be likely to increase the very kinds of behaviors that you are spanking them for.

As a father, do you really want your children to be afraid of you? or do you want them to come running to you whenever something happens in their life? Punishment in general is not very effective. Children who are motivated and encouraged to do the right thing rarely need “punishment” ,so try encouragement instead.

7. Actions speak louder than words.

Many parents spend time threatening their children when they’re not cooperating. But if you don’t follow through on the consequences, you can threaten until the cows come home.

Your children will learn to ignore the threats. They will understand action. If certain privileges are taken away because of their lack of cooperation, they will learn very quickly that you mean business.

Follow through on your word. Which inevitably mean be careful what you say to your children.

8. Really listen to your kids.

Don’t just hear their words, but learn to understand the meaning behind what they say as well. Leave me alone, I’m picking up my own clothes, might mean that your child wants more responsibility or independence.

Don’t take it personally, it’s not about you. Be able to reflect on what your child says to you.

If you want your child to listen to you, you absolutely must listen to her/him.


9. Give your children more responsibility as they grow older.

When your children are very young maybe they just help make their beds in the morning or help with setting the table.

As they get older, add things to their list.

Tell them that this is how your family works…everybody has certain things that they do.

If you do it when they’re young it’s more likely they’ll do it when they’re older. A key point is not to reward them for things that should be expected of them.

10. Tell your children they’re great…all the time.

It is especially important to tell them this when they’re not at their best.

It’s easy to tell them when things are going well.

Make it a point to tell them specifically what you think is great about them.

This will be more meaningful and effective for them than generalized praise.

Think about it this way – if you tell a child they are naughty, they will continue to be naughty because that’s all they are hearing.

If you tell a child they are great! They will be!


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Living together – why not.

On 03/06/2015, in Articles, by Tonia

couple upset

OTTAWA, OCT. 1, 2005 ( Living together is an increasingly popular option in many countries. But it can involve high social and emotional costs, says a new study, “Cohabitation and Marriage: How Are They Related?” The Ottawa-based Vanier Institute of the Family published the study Sept. 17.

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