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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Don't Tell Grandma!

Some people perpetuate lying in their families. Not by blatantly saying to their kids, "I want you to lie about this," but by putting their children in a position where the kids have to lie to protect the parent who asked them not to tell somebody something. 

But let me tell you something – kids KNOW when their parents are lying. 

I remember once being at a former friend's home and standing in the living room. Her office called in and she told whoever was on the phone that she couldn't come in today, because she was sick. 

Her son was standing right next to her and I looked into his eyes while she was talking. Her son knew she was lying, and I couldn't understand how she didn't know that for all of her talk about being such a good Christian, she was blatantly lying in front of her son and thought it was OK.

Protect family secrets is one thing, but when it's something as inane as, "Don't tell Grandma we didn't invite her," don't you think Grandma will find out she hasn't been invited? Because if Grandma asks her grandchildren, "So how was that event you went to last week?" what happens? The children now have to lie to their grandma.

What a lot of parents (apparently) don't understand is that when they put their children in a position where kids have to lie to protect a secret, parents are promoting lying.

One day, when they ask their children a question that requires an honest answer, they might not get one. 

Remember, if you teach your children to lie, don't expect to always receive honesty from them.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Flying Without a Net

While I have I flown many times in the past, I've never been frightened of flying – until recently. Although I must confess it does seem that those pilots slam on the breaks a little too late as we're heading toward the terminal. I find myself breaking too. And hearing about plane crashes that have occurred as recently as this year bothers me too. I could say thank God for life insurance, but I also want to say I hope I or anybody in my family never has to use it – at least not until we're really old – 62 isn't old, by the way ;).

I'll be boarding a plane in less than two weeks to fly back home to Chicago. The difference this time is that I'll have two of my grandsons with me. And one thing I pray for is beautiful weather. Another thing I pray for is a safe flight. Oh, and let's not forget good security at the airports,  an airplane that has been fully inspected, and a pilot who is sober and straight.

Life insurance is one of those things you don't much think about when you are younger. When insurance salesmen ask to spend some time talking to you about it, they come into your place of employment, you gather around all the other employees, and you phase out of the boring conversation – until you're older and you realize the importance and necessity of having life insurance. How much do you need? What will be enough to cover costs so your family doesn't carry the burden of having to pay for all of your expenses?

For me, it's a matter of a car and a house payment. I wouldn't want to saddle my kids with those bills. Luckily, Medicare covers most of my medical bills, so I don't need much life insurance, but I do want to protect my loved ones from having to add my debt to their own.

The flight in a couple of weeks is going to be carrying precious cargo, and we won't be flying without a net, because we are all insured. And I pray a lot!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Helping a Child Cope With Loss

If you are divorced, whether you are the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, your child suffers a loss each time he or she leaves one parent for the other.

If you or your spouse is in the military, your child suffers a loss when one parent is away.

If your child loves a grandparent or a favorite aunt or uncle, maybe even an older sibling and that person moves away, your child suffers a loss. 

Be aware of your child's sense of helplessness over the loss. Comfort your child and talk about feelings and thoughts. Help your child cope by using whatever means are available to you.

Several years ago I wrote an article about the HugAHero doll. Because I feel this doll is so important and because I saw firsthand the way my great granddaughter responded to her Daddy Doll, I wanted to resurrect that article to help children who suffer through separation and/or loss, so I invite you to read: Help for Children Who Experience a Loss.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Through the Eyes of a Toddler or Baby

My youngest granddaughter is 22 months old and for up to 4 times a week, until the end of June, I had been watching her, her brother, and her sister. Now that I'm visiting my son in North Carolina, I am away from most of my grandchildren and will be for a total of 6 weeks.

Last week, my youngest daughter and I shared some FaceTime. She is the mother of the baby in the photo (and the baby's brother and sister). I talked with all of them on my iPad while they talked to me on an iPhone. The baby, who usually smiles widely when we are in person, just kept staring at me. I started to think about the world through her eyes.

I imagined her peering into the phone and wondering how I got in there – maybe if she got close enough to the screen, because at times all I could see was her eyeball, she might be able to climb in too.

So I started to wonder, can children ascertain the difference between what they see on their television screens, what they see through phone screens, and what they see in person? Do they know that most of what they see through a screen is not real? Or do they think all of it is real? 

Did the screen freeze and she tried to mimic my expression? What went through my granddaughter's mind when she saw me on her mother's phone screen? Was she expecting me to walk through the screen? Her face showed confusion. I would have loved to have stepped inside her mind to know what she was thinking. 

Try something. Pause while you look into the eyes of a child. You can almost see the wheels spinning as they connect what they see, hear, feel, taste, touch, and experience to all of their previous experiences. They copy our expressions, our tones of voice, and they imitate our actions and our words. The best we can do is set a good example and hope their experience of the world is a happy and joyful one.

The photo above shows a classic example of a child attempting to mimic an adult. Avery doesn't get to see Uncle John very often, but she follows him around, sits next to him every chance she gets, and, as you can see in the photo above, tries to imitate his actions.

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