My idea of a well spent Father’s Day would be watching a movie “Father of the bride” with my father on his old TV. I was lucky as I did it last year. More than once we would look at each other with that knowing look in our eyes — we both loved this movie — it’s been ages since we saw it for the first time, but we still love watching it together, more than the movie we love what it reminds us of — our own memories get intertwined with the movie’s theme — the sweet and heartwarming story of the beautiful father-daughter relationship.
Gone are the days when the father-son and mother-daughter relationships used to be the order of the day. Today’s fathers are very much involved emotionally in bringing up their daughters. Looking at this relationship from both points of view, it’s not very difficult to analyse the grounds for it. For a girl, this is very special as with this relationship she frames her first idea of a man. A beautiful father-daughter bond paves the way for successful male relationships in her life in future. Similarly, for a father the love of a daughter is special because girls are more caring and emotional and are more expressive of their love. More often it’s the daughter who makes that extra effort to reach out to old parents. They are more attached to the parents on emotional levels.
The childhood days are often beautiful. The little girl looks up to her father and it’s so easy to picture daddy’s little princess. As time passes by and the little girl grows up, starts living in her own world. We live in a rapidly changing world. Strengthening a beautiful bond is easy if the initial trust is already there. However if we have to talk about some ways of improving this bond, the points below could go a long way.
Like every other relationship, communication should be the most important factor in this relationship. In difficult times just being there for your daughter goes a long way. The same works the other way round, though the level of expectation of parents tends to be less compared to the expectation of children.
Accepting the real father/daughter. We all have a perfect father/daughter image in our minds. Quite often, the real image does not fit with the ideal and causes frustration. The faults and shortcomings could be treated as a good affirmation. Perfection is rare and it’s fine to be imperfect. The most important thing is being comfortable in your own space and accepting faults in your daughter/father. Develop understanding in your relationship.
Let it go slowly at the right time. In every father’s life a time will come when he needs to let the girl go out and make her own decisions. It’s hard to let go — she still is your little girl, but at such times it’s best to hold on to the memories and accept the fact gracefully. The growing up phase is quite complicated and you should understand that the girl needs some space. Give her that space without any hesitation. Don’t forget no-one can take your place in your daughter’s life.
Last but not the least, keeping the memories alive. This could be done by celebrating small things together e.g. important days that matter to both. Often we fall back on the good old days to be able to look ahead and face tomorrow. An occasional phone call, little surprises, looking at the old family album together — all these could make both the father and daughter connect on a deeper level and make this beautiful bond even more fulfilling.
Children remaining in long-term foster care may have more behavioural and emotional problems than those who are reunited with their families or are adopted, according to a new study from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
“Children in long-term foster care suffer from behaviour and emotional problems at alarming rates. Better identifying and assisting children with, or at risk of developing such problems upon entry to foster care and throughout their out-of-home placement, may alleviate their needs and troubles and provide mechanisms for supporting them as they get older,” the researchers said.
Key findings of the study include:
- Young children are adopted more often than older children — compare 61% of 3-5s with 5% of 15-18 year-olds.
- 27% of children aged 11-18 in out-of-home care had clinical emotion problems while 41% had clinical levels of behavioural problems.
- Unsurprisingly, children with emotional and behavioural problems are more likely to be in foster care in the first place. Four years after removal, 32 percent of children with clinical levels of emotional problems and 35 percent of those with clinical levels of behavioural problems were in foster care placements. This compares with 19 percent of those without such problems.
- Children with emotional problems are less likely to be reunified with their families. Among children with no emotional problems, 31 percent were reunified with their family compared with 19 percent of children with emotional problems. One-third of children with no behavioural problems were reunified with their family compared with 18 percent of children with behavioural problems.
The full research report can be found at http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/CarseySearch/search.php?id=164.
By Andy Merrett
Jun 21, 2011
Fathers have an important role to play in the upbringing of their children, and there’s often a special bond between father and daughter.
Professor of adolescent & educational psychology at Wake Forest University, Linda Nielsen, suggests the “M&Ms” of raising daughters:
- Myths & Misconceptions
Nielsen recommends teaching your daughter to make wise choices and get the best out of her relationships with men using these “ABCs:”
- “Anger” and “Assertiveness.” Teach your daughter that it’s a good thing for her to express her anger and to be assertive about her opinions and her needs. It may sound counter intuitive to a peaceful household, but let your daughter practice on you while she is growing up. Don’t withdraw from her when she is upset. By encouraging her to express herself you will enhance her future relationships with the men in her life.
- “Be herself.” Teach your daughter to remain true to what she values. Show appreciation for her talents and interests and she will be less likely to try to change who she is to win a man’s love or approval in future.
- “Communication.” Teach your daughter to communicate directly with the men in her life. Share this lesson by not allowing her to communicate with you through her mother or others in the family. Her brother, her boyfriend, and her boss will thank you later.
Teach your daughter how to become financially self-reliant. You may personally benefit from this when she graduates from college and is able to resist the urge to move back home. To help your daughter grow up without believing that a man (her father, a boyfriend, or a husband) is the key to avoiding financial hardships or increasing her financial status, teach her a simple equation: Good Grades + Educational Interests = Higher Earning Potential. Not needing a man for monetary reasons will allow her the freedom and confidence to make wiser choices about relationships – choices based on love rather than on a man’s money or status.
Get mother out of your father-daughter relationship. Spend time alone with your daughter. Give her, and yourself, the gift of private emails and phone calls. Stop communicating through mother.
Encourage meaningful, personal conversations with you — and teach yourself how to have more meaningful, personal conversations with her. She needs to be an “equal opportunity” daughter who gives dad the same chance she gives mom to form a deeper bond. More meaningful conversations enable her to come to you throughout her life for advice and comfort on personal topics. Your perspective as a man may come in handy later in life on any number of topics ranging from depression, divorce, marital problems, dating issues, abusive relationships, to child-rearing issues of her own children.
Myths and Misconceptions
Teach her to let go of the myths and misconceptions she has about men. Don’t let negative stereotypes limit your relationship. Talk with her about these sexist myths and misconceptions. For example, show her that men are willing to talk about personal issues, men can be empathetic and nurturing, men can communicate well, and men do love their children just as much as women.
What do you think about these six Ms? Are you a father bringing up daughters? What advice would you give? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so share in the comments below.
A recent trawl of the internet found me browsing ‘Mumsnet’ – the well-known and seemingly well loved website dedicated to motherhood. I happened to come across a thread on the discussion boards titled, “What other ‘Dad’ things do I need to learn?”. As I’m waiting to become an adoptive father I was rather intrigued.
What I found didn’t offend nor could I claim it to be insensitive or sexist, but it was certainly interesting. It left me posing the question to myself, “Does lighthearted banter hide the true feelings of individuals?”
The initiator of the post led an interesting discussion based on a traumatic experience she had recently been through. The poster began the dialogue with the following seven points:
1. Assemble flat pack furniture
2. Taught ds to ride a bike without stabilisers
3. Taking the bins out
4. Taken ds to the football
5. Playing football in the park
6. Assembling Starwars Lego (partially)
7. Mending the broken Wii (sic)
If we break this down and look at it carefully, all but two of the points indicate time being spent bonding with the child. Time spent caring, time spent passing on skills, time spent nurturing – yet it seems that further posters seemed to take delight in minimising the importance of these activities.
“A bit of rough and tumble. Throw ds over your shoulder, spin him round, tickle him, and drop him on the sofa” (sic) was a typical response which is likely to be accurate yet misses how essential this simple yet effective interaction is.
A couple of summers ago I was lucky enough to go on a camping trip with one of my closest friends and his two young sons. A lads weekend away. I spent the full weekend in the midst of this ‘rough and tumble’ not only joining in but admiring from afar when only Dad’s wrestling skills were good enough.
On a packed camp site the vast majority of children were interacting well with the male role models in their life: badminton, football, raft building and playing with the dog. In thinking back on my own childhood which was shared with my close friend we talked about how much our Dads had done for us without our acknowledgement or understanding. This was well hidden amongst the laughs at how daft and embarrassing our Dads actually were. How many times they had driven many miles to ensure we played in a meaningless game of football, or how many times they’d bowled spinning cricket balls which we had to defend with skill and accuracy rather than simply hoofing it away.
From reading the responses on ‘Mumsnet’, these activities are not valued as much as they perhaps should be. I take the view that Dads tend to be “damned if they do and damned if they don’t”. A quick perusal of the responses to the lighthearted thread can confirm this.
I was left pondering the thought of whether ‘Mumsnet’ should have perhaps regulated the responses – I know their answer before I ask the question. The website has clearly done an awful lot of good work in the time it has been active and I, for one, would not criticise the need for individuals to either vent the spleen or simply have a natter. Yet I would ask the question as to whether stereotyping of men and fathers continues within our society.
So as a response, I am now going to take a break and in doing so I will lie on the sofa with the remote control in hand perusing the Wickes catalogue which I will leave by the toilet for later reference. I might later throw my step children around the living room before emptying the contents of a tin of lager and breaking wind!
Photo by chefranden
The Christmas 2010 toy lists are out, and you can bet there are plenty of children already begging their parents for the latest must have gizmo, but it seems not all kids are quite so materialistic.
There aren’t many children who don’t like presents, but in a recent survey, over half of the 521 7-17 year-olds who responded said they valued family trips more than Christmas presents.
- More than half of children (55%) in the UK agree with the following statement: “I think that family trips are more important than Christmas presents”.
- 64% of children between 7 and 17 agree with the following statement: “I think family trips are more important than having the latest technology / gadgets”.
- Three quarters of parents (77%) agree that family trips are more important than Christmas presents.
- 58% of children between 7 and 17 think being together as a family is the best part of a family trip.
Most commissioned surveys are carried out to benefit some company. The link with this Days Inn sponsored poll is that 64% of parents and 51% of children said that money was the main barrier to taking trips away as a family in the past year. Of course, Days Inn wants to point out that it offers affordable accommodation for such trips.
However, I’m not on commission for this, so let’s look at what child development and educational expert and Director of Tomorrow’s Child, Jacqueline Harding, said:
“Taking time out together as a family is really important and a short break away from the pressures and routines of home allows children and parents to reconnect. Family trips mean quality time – strengthening bonds and building a bank of shared memories that become a resource when times are tough. Parents shouldn’t think it’s about being lavish with elaborate plans – what children really cherish is simple fun and laughter together.”
Has a lack of money made it difficult to spend quality time with your family in the past year? How have you dealt with it? What are your plans for family time this Christmas?
The UK government’s spending review has impacted a wide variety of departments and services. Here’s our potted guide to how it will affect families, parents and those in education.
- “Train to Gain” programme axed
- University teaching budget cut by 40%
- Further education budget cut by 25%
- Science budget to be frozen
- Direct funding to English schools to be protected, rising 0.1% in real terms each year, to increase from £35bn to £39bn
- School building budget to fall 60%
- £2.5bn ‘pupil premium’ for teaching disadvantaged students
- Funding for social housing cut by over 60%: new tenants to pay higher rents
- Savings to be put towards 150,000 new ‘affordable’ houses
- Retirement age for men (currently 65) to rise from 2018, reaching 66 by 2020. Same for women, meaning faster increase
- Child benefit scrapped for higher rate tax payers
- £2bn investment in new universal credit. Weekly child element on child tax credit to rise by £30 in 2012 and £50 by 2012
- Threshold on council tax benefit, and cuts for those on employment benefits
- Total benefits cap per family
Of course, other decisions may also impact families, such as job losses in the public sector.
See the BBC’s key points at a glance.
The leaves are changing colour, and summer is well and truly over, so what better time to reminisce about those fun summer days out you spent with your family?
For us, a trip to West Wittering beach had to be the highlight of the summer. The beach has won awards for its cleanliness and suitability for families and children, and is very safe to visit.
From the fine sand at the top of the beach, to firmer flat sand and into the sea, West Wittering probably has it all. It takes quite a while for the sea to become deep, so there's plenty of room for even toddlers to experience the joy of paddling, while more experienced swimmers and water sports enthusiasts can wade further out.
Staffed by lifeguards and with a series of coloured buoys and flags, it's always clear what the weather conditions are, and consequently if it's safe to swim and use inflatables or not.
Now, to be fair, the day isn't completely free if you drive to the beach, as there's a fee for the car park. However, pack up the car with family and friends, stay all day, and be assured that the money goes towards maintaining and improving the beach, and you can't go far wrong. If you don't want to pay, you can find somewhere to park in the town and walk down to the beach.
After a great day at the beach, what better way to finish the day than with a hearty meal at Pizza Hut?
The best bit? Kids Eat Free!
For every adult main course or adult lunchtime buffet purchased, an accompanying child can choose from either a FREE 2 course kids meal (includes a drink) or a FREE kids lunchtime buffet (includes pizza, pasta and salad).
Enjoy the deal right through the autumn and early winter, too, as the offer has been extended until 9th January 2011.
Find more details about the offer at http://bit.ly/a1DhgJ.
On the bottom of any Pizza Hut Restaurant receipt you will find an offer code. Enter this code at www.pizzahut.co.uk/familyadventures to get great deals on a wide range of family activities and adventures including holidays, theme parks, zoos and more.
This is a sponsored post for Pizza Hut.
Britain has received a very low score on family friendliness, according to a report published yesterday by The Family and Parenting Institute. A number of family charities are not at all surprised.
Matt Buttery, CEO of Family Matters Institute, says, “Fathers are increasingly feeling the pressure of having to work longer hours in order to provide just the basic needs of their families. It’s even worse for non-resident fathers and fathers who have remarried, who are supporting the costs of two households.
“If these calculations are correct and the cost of raising a child in Britain is approximately £800 per month, by the time families have added on the costs of housing, utilities, and other basic requirements, one wonders what the monthly income of a family has to be sustain an acceptable standard of living.”
Paul Kellett of DadTalk.co.uk says, “Through our social networking site for fathers, we have heard users speak of cutting their pensions out in order to meet weekly household needs. With more and more parents taking this measure, leaving themselves vulnerable in old age, the cycle of poverty is set to continue.”
“The high cost of childcare in the UK is one of the reasons that families depend so heavily on grandparents to provide care,” says Julia Shipston of BeGrand.net. “One in four grandparents care for their grandchildren on a regular basis and provide an estimated £3.6 billion of childcare every year. Yet their role in supporting families goes largely unacknowledged. At BeGrand.net we’re committed to supporting grandparents, and believe it’s high time their contribution to family life was recognised.”
Family Matters, DadTalk.co.uk, and BeGrand.net call upon the new Families and Childhood task force to think outside the box and come up with legitimate solutions that will cut the cost of living for British families.
This post has been removed because it promotes Nestlé, a company which Family Relationships Magazine does not wish to promote. Unfortunately, Nestlé is involved in a number of aggressive marketing campaigns in developing countries that undermine breastfeeding and the healthy upbringing of children.
Pain of History
We’ve been trying to conceive for over five years now, and we’ve been through our unfair share of heartache, grief, confusion and anger.
As the man, it seems that I’m supposed to recover more quickly from the grief of miscarriage — the loss of our unseen child — yet the wounds have still to heal despite the years that have passed since the last one.
My friends would expect me to be “over it” by now. They don’t really ask any more. If they do, it’s superficial. I guess that’s just another stereotypical “man thing”.
I should be strong for my wife, and indeed I try. The pain ebbs and flows, but never disappears, for either of us.
I don’t have the biological attachment to the children we have lost, or the baby that is yet to come, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not involved; that I don’t ‘feel’ anything.
Anger at Others
When I’m not lost in my own grief, yet not in a good place either, I am embarrassed and shocked at my reaction to others.
I like to think I’m generally tolerant, yet when it comes to adults and their relationships with children, I turn into a raging bull.
Only in my head, of course, or under my breath. Perhaps occasionally out loud — yet so far I’ve got away with not upsetting anyone or getting myself beaten up.
The woman who aborts her unborn child because of inconvenience.
The parents who treat their children like scum.
Or who flippantly dismiss their life, their hurts, their fears, their achievements.
Who slowly (or not so slowly) saps away their life force.
Who complain about their kids — you know, you never had to have kids. I wish you hadn’t. How dare you treat them the way you do?
I would be much better a parent than you.
Of course, I’m always right.
And it’s totally justified for me to imprint my life upon theirs, and call out their mistakes — the ones I would never make — because of what’s missing in my own.
Sometimes, life seems to stand still.
Of course, all the mundane details continue, but sometimes it’s as if it passes in black and white.
I don’t try to waste my life.
I don’t say that a baby is “the answer”, and would make everything right.
We make the best of our lives — we enjoy them as best we can — yet there’s always an undercurrent of thought of what’s missing.
We walk the treadmill as others walk past.
One couple conceives, bears for nine months, has a healthy baby.
A second couple conceives, bears for nine months, has a healthy baby.
A third, and a fourth, and yet a fifth.
We watch them pass.
They look back with sympathy, even compassion, but they can do nothing but live their own fruitful lives.
We wouldn’t expect them to.
Yet it doesn’t make things any easier.
The medical farce
And we go for “tests”.
And “more tests”.
We are prodded, and poked, and sometimes patronised.
There are many hoops to jump through (they are kindly passed in front of our treadmill).
And it seems to make no difference.
And I wonder if I even have the strength to keep going to the hospital to see the consultant.
Does it even matter?
So we continue to ask “when?”
My faith is weak. Existent, but weak.
And I wonder how many other not-yet-dads go through this.
Month after month.
Year after year.
We have strength, yes, but it only goes so far.
We are called to be fathers. Good fathers. We can feel it in our whole body.
Yet, for now, we are still denied.
Does this confession ring true? Share, write about your own experiences and link them here. It won’t solve the pain but it may provide solidarity. As we wait.
Now, Weight Watchers in the USA is starting an initiative to encourage parents to get their kids active, eating well, and ultimately being both happy and healthy.
Eat! Move! Play! is designed to break down some of the challenges that parents and children face.
Five Simple Rules help kids to learn about the importance of smart food choices and a love of physical activity:
- Focus on wholesome, nutritious foods
- Ensure that treats in reasonable portions are part of kids’ eating habits
- Limit screen time, like television and video games
- Ensure at least one hour of daily physical activity
- Apply these rules to everyone in the home
Eat! Move! Play! guides readers on a variety of topics including how to speak with a child’s pediatrician about weight and how to deal with picky eaters and food challenges at all ages and stages.
The book provides gradual steps towards a healthier family lifestyle that can start simply with swapping white grains for whole grains, integrating family activities that involve exercise, planning healthy recipes and allowing children to play an active role in cooking. With more than 75 kid-tested recipes, checklists, and goal sheets for the month and near future, parents have a simple yet successful blueprint for healthier kids.
If you’re not in the US, fear not, because the book is available internationally too. Here’s the link for the book on Amazon UK: Weight Watchers Eat! Move! Play!: A Parent’s Guide for Raising Healthy, Happy Kids
After yesterday’s breakdown of the Labour Party Manifesto comes the Conservatives’ attempt to win over voters.
How does the Tory plan for Government affect families? Here are the main points gleaned from their manifesto.
The Conservative Party plans top scrap tax credits for families with an overall income of over £50,000 per year.
Additionally, Child Trust Funds will be scrapped for all but the poorest third of families, or families with disabled children.
“Most Family-Friendly Country in Europe”
The Conservatives want to “make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe”, believing that “strong families are the bedrock of a strong society”.
Key policies designed to help families include:
- Freezing Council Tax for two years: could save families up to £219 (Band D).
- Extend the right to request flexible working to every parent with a child under 18, and to all those in the public sector.
- Oblige Job Centres to ask employers if vacancies can be advertised on part-time/flexible basis.
- Sharing of parental leave.
- Free nursery care for pre-school children.
- Encourage couples to use existing relationship support.
- Introduce measures to reverse the commercialisation of childhood, including stronger powers to regulate online marketing activity.
- Return Sure Start back to original purpose of early intervention, increase focus on neediest families, better involve organisations with a track record in supporting families. Increase Sure Start health visitor number by 4,200.
The Conservative Party has committed to improving education, with measures including:
- every child should have access to good teachers, by increasing the status of the teaching profession to attract the best people.
- introduce simple reading test for all six-year-olds.
- allow all state schools the freedom to offer the same high quality international exams that private schools offer.
- allow any good education provider to set up new Academy schools.
- extra funding for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The full manifesto can be read/downloaded here.