Yes, you heard me right! I remember one particular year when we were so broke that my parents didn’t have any money to buy us presents for Christmas. We had a Christmas tree set up (it was an artificial one that we’d used for many years), lights (more than half of them were not working because they were old and the bulbs had burnt out) and ornaments (these were poorly coordinated decor collected over the previous few years) up on the tree but there were no presents under the tree.
Even though I was still very young then (probably not even in elementary school yet), I knew full well that my mom felt really bad that she couldn’t afford any gifts for us…..and though she tried to make the best of the situation, I couldn’t help but sense her guilt. But here’s the thing,…..
…….we (my sis and I) spent a lot of our childhood being poor. There were times when my parents didn’t have any money to put food on the table……let alone buy presents for us during Christmas……and I’m sure that many people who are from the 1970’s-1980’s (more so those who grew up in third world countries) would have experienced some form of poverty.
Because so many of us experienced poverty in our childhood (or have witnessed it), lots of us grow up to avoid it at all cost. We work hard in school, we work hard at college, we work hard at work, we climb the corporate ladder, we work hard towards the next promotion……and we do whatever it takes to make sure that our children will never have to experience poverty like we did and so that we can give them the best that we can give.
The best part is that most of us have managed to achieve just that…..to provide a very comfortable life for our children where they eat the best foods, wear the best clothes, have about a gazillion pairs of shoes even before their second birthday, fancy birthday parties, loads of unnecessary gadgets and everything else that we didn’t have as children. And we hope that by providing them with everything we didn’t have, we are giving them the best that they deserve……..and it makes up for all the suffering that we went through as children and being deprived the luxuries that our children now enjoy.
It’s perfect!……or is it? Our children have everything they need and want! We have done our jobs as parents, right?
Sigh! I wish it were that simple but here’s what’s really happening……we now have children who have both parents who are constantly working, most of them spend their early years in daycare or being raised by babysitters or by maids (and those of you who have been following my blogs would know how important these early years are for fostering resilience, and a failure to do so will result in many issues arising from childhood anxiety ranging from temper tantrums to clinginess, difficulties making friends and childhood entitlement).
Also, so many of our children are chalking up hours interacting with these screen gadgets that they aren’t really interacting with their parents (who most likely are also on their gadgets), nor are they running around outdoors (because they are busy being hustled from one extracurricular class to another) or experimenting with the things in their environment ……all of which (as pointless as they may seem) are extremely vital to optimizing children’s holistic development.
The truth is that many parents don’t really give this much thought until it’s a little too late……like when their children start to show difficulties in making friends, or when they can’t listen or follow instructions in class or when they are not developing in independence or when they are irresponsible and don’t have the skills to make good decisions or when they can’t regulate their emotions or when they give up too easily……and the list goes on. If these signs appear during the formative years (before 6 years), then it is still relatively manageable to improve it significantly with little resistance. But once the child is passed the formative years, it will not be an easy fix.
So tell me, ……..are our children really better off when we give them so much?…….I think not! So does that mean that we need to donate all our wealth to the poor and live with the minimum? Not necessarily! But it would help if we knew exactly what matters to our children and what is important to their development and growth and here they are in a nutshell…..
1) Children need to foster a strong bond with their primary caregiver so that they feel comfortable going to them in times of need,
2) Children need unstructured play time which is vital to helping them internalize their learning,
3) Children need time to be outdoors or close to nature on a daily basis to help them normalize and destress.
In case you are wondering, I didn’t whip this out of thin air…….those of you who know me would probably know by now that I’m a huge advocate for using applied child developmental psychology when dealing with young children. And as much as I’d like to explain in detail about what children fundamentally need to grow and thrive, I can’t do it here because there is just a lot of content to cover…..but if you are interested in my free video training series on intentional parenting due to be released in march 2016, feel free to sign up for it HERE.
In the meantime, you can learn about ‘frugal parenting’ in an interview that I did with Laura Grace Weldon from ‘Free Range Learning’ where Laura talks about how we can gift children learning experiences that they NEED to grow and thrive (hint: think bonding and quality time building relationships) in place of typical gifts and if you are thinking about throwing a party or family gathering this christmas and need some ideas for things to do to foster bonding for all ages (instead of watching TV or turning our gadgets on), you can click here for some simple activities that are suitable for all ages and guarantees hours of fun and lasting happy memories.
Have you ever had meaningful gifts you have received that are non-tangible? If so, please share them in the comments section below….
Welcome back to part 2 of my interview with Laura Weldon on ‘How to Homeschool Your Child’. As some of you here have concerns if homeschooling is for every parent, I’ve decided to ask Laura for her opinion and her answer is really interesting and thought provoking………
Laura has also shared some really interesting articles with us in case you guys would like to read up more about the approach she uses to successfully homeschool her children:
In case you missed the first interview where Laura shared her unexpected decision to homeschool her children, CLICK HERE for part 1 entitled ‘How Did You Homeschool Your Children?’
I am super excited to be featuring a good friend of mine, Laura Weldon……..who has totally changed the way I feel about homeschooling!
In this episode, we will be discussing about how Laura decided to homeschool …..and her story is a bit sad but very inspiring,……..how she got started without any prior training in teaching children,………and why she felt it was the right thing to do……even though she wasn’t really sure at the time that she had decided to homeschool!
Here are some really interesting links that Laura has shared with us….that will totally BLOW YOUR MIND and challenge your assumptions about homeschooling:
I am a HUGE fan of Laura’s and if you want to be too, you could find her on:
Her Facebook Page,
And to check out Laura’s book, Free Range Learning,……which I have by the way…….and found it to be AWESOME……… , CLICK HERE!
PARENTING ON CUE PODCAST TURNS 1!!!!!
My baby has turned one and I can’t be more proud of my parenting on cue podcast and to all you listeners out there for your support.
Hear all about how this podcast started and how I’m using it to help other parents to be the best that they can be.
Here’s also a huge THANKS to the fab people who have been on my show for interviews and who have helped make my podcast a truly valuable resource for parents like you and I.
Here they are and do download your fav ones to listen to at your own time:
Pat Flynn (POC53),
Jeff Goins (POC57),
Katie Davis (POC56),
Rachael Bermingham (POC55),
Juan Uribe (POC38),
Rachelle Doorly (POC36),
Maggy Woodley (POC32),
David Newby (POC29),
Laura Grace Weldon (POC41),
Harvey Hubbell (POC34),
Vaughn Lauer (POC51)
To kick off this party, I’m making my free ebook entitled ‘My Learning Journey as Eco Explorers’ (worth $25) available till the end of this week. All you have to do is to click here to download your copy and please do leave a review while you are there!
Then, if you would like to stand a chance to walk away with:
– an autographed copy of my ‘Cool Stuff Your Parents Never Told You About Parenting’ book sent to you. (worth $20 each, 10 prizes),
– a 1 hour one-on-one skype consult session with me to help you answer any of your parenting questions (worth $299 each, 5 prizes),
– a spot on my 12-week bespoke Inner Circle for Parents course which is an invaluable mentoring program for parents of children below 6 years ($1799, one prize).
All you have to do is to leave a voice message with your name and feedback for this podcast or a parenting question that you’d like me to address on this show. All lucky listeners will be selected randomly using www.random.org and will be notified via email and announced on my podcast next week.
All you have to do is to click on the ‘Leave a voice message’ button on this link.
Here’s an insightful podcast with Laura Weldon on the topic of Frugal Parenting. Learn tips on how you can embrace it by:
1) Having less structured activities for your children,
2) Allowing children to help with house chores,
3) Not sheltering them too much.
To follow Laura (and I highly suggest that you do;), you can find her….
Free Range Learning community on Facebook,
You can also get a copy of her book (also highly recommended;) here
Here are a few links that laura has shared with us for your extended reading…
To win a copy of laura’s ‘Free Range Learning: How homeschooling changes everything’ just indicate why you would like a copy in the comments section below. The lucky winner will be notified in a week’s time.