Breaking Generational Strongholds

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Break free!!

When I think of my mother, I think of a strong woman whom worked hard all of her life until she retired on disability. This is the same woman who had two children early in life and then was surprised by another (myself) in her late thirties. Needless to say there was a lot of adjusting that needed to take place. With an 18 year gap between myself and my sister and a 20 year gap between myself and my brother, my mother and I have always struggled to bond as she wasn’t used to children any longer.

Now don’t get me wrong, she was the best mother she could be but, she, herself had grown up with a mother whom did not show love in the emotional sense, but through her ability to provide for and take care of her kids. The emotional piece had been missing for generations. I’m sure the fact that my grandmother growing up in the south and experiencing racism to an extent that I never had probably contributed to the hard demeanor that she presented. I am also sure that that was passed on to my own mother.

Now, as a parent myself I find it easy to show affection to my children while they are young but not so much as they get older; please do not beat me up for saying this. I currently have a 13 year old whom is going through her own hormonal changes and in need of emotional support of which I am not familiar except by the examples set forth in the family sitcoms I watched growing up.

I am thankful that I noticed my waning emotional support immediately (thanks to being a teacher and experiencing it firsthand with my students and their parents) because I was able to dig deep and surface the source and then research ways to remedy it.

I am happy to say that it is possible to break generational strongholds. I believe in purposeful parenting because you can never get back the years lost with your children but you can make a significant change for the better at any stage that will positively impact their lives. I am constantly searching for opportunities and creating opportunities to provide that emotional support to my daughter. I can’t say that I am an expert or that I am doing it correctly, but I am trying.

I have:

  • Purchased Groupons to brunch in the city for just her and I
  • We read a good book together or talk about whatever she wants to freely
  • We have created traditions that are unique to us and will be different for myself and her brother once he gets older
  • I purchased a devotional geared towards mothers and daughters to read with her every night
  • I do not allow electronics at the breakfast/dinner table to allow for conversation between her and myself
  • I have recently looked up more volunteer opportunities that we can do together

I am constantly looking for ways to create the emotional support that she needs as it is vital to her self-esteem and self-awareness. Recently, I read a book called How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and my goal is to fill her bucket daily with positivity. I recommend reading this book and also StrengthsFinder 2.0. Just because something has been a certain way in your family for generations doesn’t mean that it can’t stop with you (and I am referring to something negative). You must proclaim that it will be different for you and yours. Purposefully parent!

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Your Child’s Advocate

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Stationary from the Bonnie Marcus Collection

It is the beginning of the school year and the perfect time to latch onto your child’s excitement for school before it fades away and possible bad habits start to creep in, resurface, etc.  I’m sure you all have received some version of their students rights and responsibilities handbook that requires your signature, updated school supply lists, and countless emergency care forms.  Well, take the time to set your child up for a year of success.  It will save you some stress and alert your child that you are in their corner and plan on being involved as much as possible.  Here is a list of tips:

1.  Send an email – make it personal, introduce yourself and give a little background about your child that the teacher may not get from looking at past standardized test scores.  This will accomplish a few things.  First, your email address will now be in their system and they will be able to easily reach you throughout the day if issues arise in the classroom.  As a teacher myself, I know that it is easier to get time to respond to an email than to make a call.  Also, my emails like many other educators come directly to my phone.  Secondly, the teacher will be able to use the information within your email to better help the child in front of them.  Thirdly, the earlier this done, the quicker it is for a teacher to put a face of one of their 120 students with a name.

2.  If your child has special needs or requires accommodations in the classroom, it is necessary to set up an appointment with the guidance counselor early in the year along with core teachers to let them know what works for your kiddo and update information on any IEP’s or 504’s.  Also, you will be able to adjust to changes that may occur.  Note:  certain accommodations given in elementary are not provided in middle school.

3.  See if you can obtain an extra copy of the textbooks to keep at home.  Some schools offer online textbooks.  Attach the class syllabus ( if given) or the county’s pacing guide to each book.  This way you know what should be covered and around about when.

4.  Have a sit down with your child and agree upon a schedule for when they return home for school.  When is snack time, homework time, chore time, tv time, etc.  Also, be clear of your expectations in regards to homework.  Designate a spot for them to complete homework everyday after school.  Make sure it is free from distractions and supplies are readily available, pencil sharpener, ruler, protractor, dictionary, thesaurus, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, etc.

5.  Know that you can request a detailed progress report at anytime during the quarter.  You do not have to wait for interim and end of quarter report cards to be surprised by your child’s grades.

6.  Try as hard as you can to attend all orientations, back to school nights, and touch bases.

7.  Remember that most schools provide after school homework clubs so that students can get work done and ask questions.  This is free and may save you money on a tutor.  Also, there is a bus that usually takes the, home afterwards.  Check with your school.

8.  Preview the list of clubs and activities that your child’s school offers. Encourage them to get involved.  It will allow them to feel like part of the school and they will become even more vested in being successful there.

I hope this helps and if there are any questions, please feel free to reply to this post.  Also, another good idea would be to purchase an accordion folder to store report cards, awards, etc so that you have an archive of your child’s academic career.

* If you like the above stationary, please visit: http://beorganized.fcorgp.com/content/bonnie-marcus