i-parent The mission of I-Parent Magazine is to be the most valuable source of parenting information and a local resource for families. We are committed to enhancing the lives of families by maintaining excellence in editorial content and encouraging community awareness. I-Parent Magazine 5-150 Hollidge Blvd Suite 184 Aurora, Ontario www.i-parent.ca Publisher & Editor Donna de Levante Raphael Contributing Writers Alesha Almata Nora Notbohm Marcus Chandasekharan Paul Humphrey Patricia Garner Chrystal Saunders Dr. Renaldo Mortimer Ira Schwartz Ellen Notbohm Ira Schwartz Patti Rawling-Anderson Donna de Levante-Raphael Graphic Designer
Marketing Manager 905-481-1240 Circulation Donna de Levante Raphael email@example.com
Copyright 2012 by I-Parent Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is forbidden. Editorial submissions are welcome and should be addressed to editor.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent Monthly
My Family Is out of Control Conflict and Jealousy Between Sisters
Departments Baby Basics
Toddler to Preschool
PreTeen & Teen
The Hip Mom
The Daddy Life
Single Parent World
Matching Kids to the Right Schools Dear Moms. Dads and Guardians, Happy New Year to you and your family! Again, we’re at the beginning of a another year when we make important plans for our family. One of those decisions would be our children’s education. When my daughter was younger, I often wished I had a crystal ball to help me make decisions. As parents, we’re all too aware that some choices we make for our children have a profound influence on the people they will become. One of those choices Is which school they’ll attend – private, public or charter? Some families put a lot of emphasis on getting accepted to a private school, believing that will set their child on a path to success. Toronto GTA has more private schools than other metro area – a statistic that still surprises me – and some of those schools have national reputations. Many of metro Toronto’s public school systems are outstanding. According to the EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) Ontario students are among the world’s best readers and the international test results also show excellence and equity are hallmarks of Ontario’s education system. And if you aren’t impressed with the public schools in your area – and let’s face it, some might be great for your child and some not so great – you can always choose a private school. But the truth is, where your child goes to school is not as important as how much effort your child puts into learning and how involved you are with their schooling. Many children will do just fine with a good start at home from parents who read to them at least 30 minutes a day. Studies show those kids will develop better reading, writing and communication skills. Add some problem-solving ability and work ethic, and your child has what they need to become a successful adult. Don’t get me wrong, the right school for your child is important. But the right school depends on your child. Your brainiac likely will do well anywhere; your underachiever might need a specialized curriculum. The metro area has a wide variety of schools and so many dedicated teachers. You can read about the options in this month’s issue and marvel, as I do, about how lucky we are to live in a city where children have the opportunity to get an excellent education. Sincerely, Donna
The Colour of Baby’s Stool By: Alesha Almata
green. Some babies are given iron supplements that cause darker green stools, sometimes leaning toward black.
Diet With Solids When you add solids to your baby's diet, her stools typically increase in output, consistency and colour. The most noticeable change comes for breastfed babies, whose stools might change to a brown colour. Brighter colours could fleck the stools if the solid foods aren't completely digested. Even if particular foods are digested they could change the colour of stools. For example, a baby who eats a lot of orange foods like carrots may have stools that appear orange.
Mild Problems Colour sometimes changes with minor health problems. If your baby has diarrhea because of an infection or allergic reaction, his stools might appear brown, yellow or even green. A constipated baby might have stools with some red from bleeding at the anus. Bright green poop in a breastfed baby's diaper could mean he isn't receiving enough calories from your milk. con’t p.13
Parenthood brings with it many new worries, including the colour of your baby's stools. With numerous diaper changes on an average day, most parents see a variety of stool colours. The changes cause alarm in some new parents. A range of stool colours are possible, but some colours could signal an underlying problem.
Age The normal stool appearance changes with a baby's age. A newborn's bowel movements produce dark, sticky stools, often a dark green or black colour. After a few days, the colour lightens to a shade of green. As the baby continues getting older, the stools continue change colours based on several factors.
Early Diet A baby's diet affects the colour of his stools to some degree. Breastfed babies tend to have stools that are lighter in colour, typically yellowish or with a slight green tint. A baby fed formula generally has brown stools. The brown colour might also include shades of tan, yellow or Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Baby Discovers His Hands By: Nora Camacho We use our hands all day. As adults, we don't even think about it on a regular basis - we just "do." But, when you watch your baby, you will notice that's it has not always been this way. Actually, you can seem them as a tool that we increasingly learn to use. You see, when your baby is first born, he doesn't even know that his hands exist, much less what they can (and will!) do. As he grows and gets older, he starts to "discover" them, and it becomes an exercise in fascination. Help your little one find out what those "things" at the end of his body can do: Two Months: Hey! One Hand! At about 8 weeks after your baby's due date, he discovers his hands and feet. He notices those "things" attached to end of his body and you will see that he is very interested. He moves them about and they seem to be in constant motion. Also, your hands fascinate him. Some babies can already clamp a toy in one hand. There, of course, your child needs your help as he can only grasp something that fits in his hand and is very light. Naturally, at this age, you have to give it to him. Suggestion: Good things to try at this age are light rattles or plastic rings. Three Months: Grabby, Grabby! Twelve weeks after his due date, your baby is the master of the grab. In fact, be careful, as he gets the hang of grabbing things directly at this age, and will try it every chance he gets. In order to master this, though, he needs to take the next little jump forward. At this stage, help your baby learn to "take." Give him something so that it's not too difficult for him, but also not too easy. And, when it works, you must give him hundreds of compliments! Four-and-a-Half Months: Wild Scrabble: Of course, at this age, babies don't actually play Scrabble, but it suits them from a developmental perspective and they certainly have fun trying! They like the rummaging around of everything around them to find and pick things up. Many mothers start this now, slowly enough for their baby, and instructing their little ones about the differences between wildly grabbing and picking things up. The "wild scrabble" is just a way for your baby to explore the world. Six Months: Realizing That His Hands are "Real Things": Six months on, your baby realizes that his hands are "real things" and can do some really interesting stuff. By now, he has become quite skilled in grabbing things - quickly and firmly, He can open and shut a book by himself (you likely experienced this while trying to read to him), and is using his hands to discover his new passion of "in," "on," "under" and "above." Because he took the "leap of relationships" at this age, he is interested in the distances and proportions of things together, moving something somewhere to stop things alongside one another, to put something in another spot and so on. It can go one forever! He realizes that his hands actually have the same purpose as yours do: to do "stuff." Now, they have a purpose!
Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent
Eleven Months: From Hazard to Loads of Fun! Once your baby turns 11 months old, and the "leap of sequences" has taken place, he was particularly interested in singing and movement game, such as "clap hands once, happy, happy, happy" and the like. But be aware, because your baby can now not only have fun with his hands, but he can also face dangers! Remember, not only has he discovered them, but he's also gained strength and developed a grip! At 11 months, your baby is curious about everything around him and increasingly mobile. So, while he may (almost) understand some things may be dodgy, he will grab at everything he can and will not know what the consequences may be. For now, socket guards to protect little ones are so important! One-and-a-Half Years: No More Spills and Some Beautiful Artwork: Let your child "make" and "do" more and more at this age so that he can practice his hand movements. You will find that he really is able to pick himself a snack and drink from his cup without spilling. He can also now be turning the pages of a book on his own. He will love to make and give you beautiful drawings. Encourage this by giving him pencils, paintbrushes and special "child" pens that are slightly thicker than normal for easy gripping. Plus, the child-friendly art supplies are easily washable in case they wind up somewhere they shouldn't. Two Years: The Small Hand Muscles and Big Towers: Your baby is now well familiar with what his hands can do, and now he needs to work those muscles. Blocks. such as Legos, encourage him greatly, as it is all about putting the blocks together correctly and then pushing down to "lock." Particularly the latter part, as the motion exercises the small hand muscles. With a little practice, he builds bigger and bigger towers with his blocks. The best part? The compliments...and the collapse of the tower! Three Years: Knots and Cutting! Your child uses his hands more and more like we, adults, do and they are used for the same things. With a little practice, he can even do the buttons on his clothes and learn to untie things. As always, encourage him to as much as he can himself. As a result, his confidence will grow! He is now making a HUGE leap in hand muscle development. Give him a pair of child-friendly scissors to cut things. This is not only fun for him, but it also stimulates the hand muscle development even further! Left or Right Handed? Once it was thought to be better to be right-handed rather than left-handed. At schools, writing with the right was "right," so to speak, and obligatory. Now, fortunately, we know better. As a parent, you do not affect which hand is dominant when it comes to your child. In fact, if your left handed child is "forced" to be right handed, you increase the likelihood of stuttering and psychological problems. If you and your partner are left handed, there is three times the chance that your little one will be the same. You will also notice that as your baby learns more about his hands, he will often switch between left and right - sometimes he will be left handed, and sometimes right handed. At some point, you will notice that he has a preferred hand, which will remain his preferred hand for life.
Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent
Toddler to Preschool
Teaching Your Child The Importance of Good Manners By: Dr. Renaldo Mortimer Don't underestimate the importance of good manners. Your children will grow up to be kinder and more considerate of others if you teach them how to be that way when they're young. You can do that by setting a good example. You must always say "please" and "thank you" to your kids. Even when you are saying, "Please get your bicycle off my foot," or "Thank you for the dead slug." And don't forget good table manners. Everyone tends to be a little too relaxed at the dinner table when it comes to proper behavior. Maybe you think it's funny when Daddy balances a spoon on the end of his nose or one of the kids makes a hat out of his napkin and wears it on his head all during dinner. If you don't mind this kind of monkeying around, even when you're dining out, ignore this advice. But, if you don't think it's appropriate to do this kind of stuff in public, then teach your kids what you think is acceptable and what isn't acceptable, and then make sure that you're consistent about the rules. Kids have a hard enough time remembering household rules. They have an even harder time remembering rules for dinner at home and rules for dinner out, when those sets of rules aren't the same. Some general table manners include no gross jokes, no throwing food, no leaning back while sitting in the chairs, no talking with food in your mouth (including no "see food" jokes) — and definitely no loud belching or passing wind. Yes, in some cultures belching after a meal is acceptable and even encouraged. However, don't let someone's excuse about practicing multiculturalism sway you. If belching isn't allowed in your family's culture, don't allow it at the table. And if you do happen to burp (and who doesn't?), say, "Excuse me." If you laugh about burping, you've created a family precedent, and your kids will belch and laugh about it the first time they have dinner at a friend's house. Good manners that you can teach your children include not interrupting people while they talk and not shoving their way in front of others to always be first, two things that kids are infamous for doing. Other manners you can teach your children include how to:
Write thank-you notes
Make get-well cards for sick relatives
Say please and thank you
Acknowledge when someone is talking
Say good-bye to someone who is leaving
Share cookies with a friend
Always give their parents the green M&Ms
A growing problem in schools is the lack of good manners from children. Children don't treat teachers, staff, or classmates with respect. So schools now are teaching good manners and respect in addition to conflict management. And yet, good manners still begin at home and should be taught by parents. Here are some guidelines that you can use at home:
Be kind to others. Telling kids, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," doesn't really mean anything to them. Instead, stress the importance of treating others the same way they'd like to be treated, especially when you see them doing something that you know they themselves don't like. For example, if your son hates to be interrupted and yet he interrupts people, then remind him, "Jonah, you really don't like it when people interrupt you, so please don't do that to Jeremiah."
Understand their actions. Help your children understand the harm they can cause by doing or saying thoughtless and unkind things. Ask them, "How would you feel if someone pointed at you, and started to laugh?" In the beginning, you may simply be doing damage control, but eventually you'll be helping them to avoid harmful words or actions.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Show them the way. Children do whatever they have to do to express themselves. Sometimes that comes off looking and sounding pretty bad. Playing a role reversal game with your child can help show them how to handle situations. Let them ask the question or behave a certain way, and you respond by showing them how their behavior should appear.
Be a good role model. "Do as I say, but not as I do" is a joke. Your kids probably want to respond with,
"Yeah, like you'd catch me playing bridge with a bunch of 50-year-old women!" When you want your child to show good manners and respect, you must also practice good manners and respect. Say please and thank you, admit your mistakes, apologize, and treat people, in general, with kindness and respect. The reward of this behavior is that your children will grow up having many friends and a family that loves being around her.
Share. Share with your children so they understand the importance of sharing with others. Compliment them when you see them sharing with others.
Keep kids healthy. Children tend to behave badly when they're tired or hungry. Kids need sleep and nutritious foods to survive. It's that simple.
Practice family politeness. Everyone in the family must practice "please" and "thank-you" policy in which, for example, no request is considered unless the person asking says "please." When one of your children forgets, just give him or her a look that says, "I'm waiting." They soon catch on. Use the same approach for saying "thank you."
Thank-you notes. Teach your children the importance of thanking people for gifts. Show them how to write notes and make sure that they are sent promptly after receiving gifts.
Praise good behavior. Praise is a wonderful teacher. Tell your children how proud you are when you notice them being polite and following the "please" and "thank-you" guidelines that you've set.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent
Top Reasons: Parents Choose Private Schools for Their Children By: Alesha Almata
Individualized Attention: With smaller teacher-to-student ratios than most public schools, many private school parents believe their children get a better education at an independent school. And some parents believe their children will have a better shot getting into a good college with a diploma from a private school. Religious Principles: Many parents want an education that offers a particular set of religious. Teachings and tenets along with the ABCs. They seek an emphasis on spiritual values, morals and faith development throughout the whole curriculum. Personalized Learning: Every child has his or her own academic timetable as well as talents. Parents may find that a private school can better address the child’s needs – whether he or she is a late- bloomer, gifted in math, a budding artist, or proficient in foreign languages.
Parents may find that a private school can better address the child’s needs – whether he or she is a late- bloomer, gifted in math, a budding artist, or proficient in foreign languages.
Innovative Teaching: Some parents may have strong feelings about teaching methods or the curriculum and textbooks used by a public school system. Private schools often offer more options and flexibility. One parent may request a more innovative approach for their child, while another might demand more traditional teaching techniques.
More Control: Some parents believe that a private school offers more security – a place where their child and other students can be closely supervised.
Early Admission: Under Ontario law, a child must be 5 by September 1 in order to start public school kindergarten. Some private schools are not that rigid.
More Responsive to Parents: Private schools answer to the parents funding them. As a result, parents feel more confident that the issues and concerns that are important to them not only are taken seriously, but addressed.
Nontraditional Groupings: Many private schools offer alternatives to the usual grade groupings. These frequently cater more to individual abilities in different areas, or they may allow students more fluid movement between grades, regardless of age.
Extended Hours: Many private schools offer extended care programs or after- school extracurricular activities. These extra hours fit in with many working parents’ needs. After-school programs can include tutoring, play time, and structured activities such as intramural sports.
Special Needs: A child with a learning disability or a behavioral problem may not do well in a traditional public school classroom. Private schools, especially those designed for a specific learning disability or special need, employ teachers and other professionals with the necessary credentials to teach and care for children with special needs.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
PreTeen & Teen
Teaching Driving Safety To Your Teen By: Marcus Chandasekharan It’s a scary time as a parent when your child turns 16. That’s right: driving age. Teens can’t wait to get behind the wheel, while the very thought terrifies moms and dads everywhere. There’s no denying that cars can be dangerous, especially for new and inexperienced drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens. That’s why it’s vital to communicate with your teen about the importance of safe driving. The Problem Communicating with your teen effectively is not always an easy task. Trust us, we know. New research commissioned by Ford Motor Company shows there is a major divide in the views and behaviors of parents and children in regards to driving and what would make new drivers more successful. The survey shows that 77% of tweens and 55% of teens look to their parents for the most advice or guidance on safe driving practices. But it also shows that 82% of teens and 81% of tweens have witnessed their parent’s drive while distracted. 41% were using a mobile phone, 60% were eating or drinking, and 30% were distracted by grooming or talking- not good numbers! Ford asked both parents and teens what they thought would be most helpful in keeping new drivers safe. The responses were very different. 25% of parents said more comprehensive driving education programs, 22% said new laws to reduce distractions while driving, and 18% said increasing the minimum age for obtaining a license. However, 59% of teens said they would benefit most from hearing personal experiences from their parents, 30% said new technologies to allow them to talk hands-free, and 28% said supplementary education. Parents, keep these numbers in mind when you're teaching your child how to drive. Expert Advice Dr. Charles Sophy, a family communications specialist, offers parents some great tips based on the differences noted in the survey on how to talk to your young driver about safety. Dr. Sophy says it’s important to allow your teen to participate in the discussion about safe driving- don’t just lecture. Tip 1: Be confident and educated in your own driving skills. Review the rules and regulations before you start teaching your children. Tip 2: Set a good example! “Do as I say and as I do,” Dr. Sophy says. Tip 3: Educate your child. Share statistics about driving mishaps with your children. They need to understand how high the stakes are. As we said before, driving is dangerous. Tip 4: Teens can earn parents’ trust. (Parents- let them!). Teens must be responsible and demonstrate safe driving regularly, for example by taking parents out for a drive. Tip 5: Safe driving can be fun! Have an ongoing conversation about expectations and safety. Set rules on vehicle safety features, like max speed and radio volume. Teens need to learn that fun has absolutely nothing to do with recklessness or taking risks. Dr. Sophy also suggests carving out a contract between you and your teen to outline expectations clearly. Remember to maintain your role as a parent during the learning process, but to be sure to listen to your child. Learning to drive is an important step in your teen’s life. Teach them to be safe, and you might just have a little fun!
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent
Is Your Child TOO SICK for School? By: Patricia Garner Early in the morning, it is often difficult to make a decision about whether or not your child is sick enough to stay home from school. Here are some tips for parents on how to make the call. With minor symptoms, you often cannot tell if he is going to get better or worse. Most of these problems need to be discussed with your child’s pediatrician to determine if an office visit is needed. (If your child has frequent complaints of pain that cause school absence, you should consider the possibility that your child is intentionally avoiding school. Bring this to the attention of the child’s doctor before a great deal of school has been missed.) On the other hand, children who don’t have a fever and only have a mild cough, runny nose or other cold symptoms can be sent to school without any harm to themselves or others. The following guidelines may help in your decision process: The main reasons for keeping your child home are: He’s too sick to be comfortable at school. He might spread a contagious disease to other children. As a rule of thumb, a child should stay home if he has: A fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Vomited more than once. Diarrhea. A very frequent cough. Persistent pain (ear, stomach, etc.) A widespread rash. A runny nose is the way many children respond to pollen, dust or a cold virus. Minor cold or allergy symptoms should not be a reason to miss school. Many healthy children have as many as six colds per year, especially in the early school years. Coughing, especially if it is persistent during the day, can indicate a worsening of cold or allergy symptoms. It may be a sign of a secondary infection (e.g., sinusitis, pneumonia), which may require medical treatment. It may also indicate mild asthma. If your child’s cough is worse than you might expect with a common cold, you need to consult your child’s doctor. You should do so immediately if the child is not acting normal, has a fever or has any difficulty breathing.
Diarrhea and Vomiting make children very uncomfortable. A single episode of vomiting, without any other symptoms, may not be reason enough for the child to miss school, but be sure the school can reach you if symptoms occur again during the day. A single episode of watery diarrhea probably warrants not going to school. It could be very embarrassing and uncomfortable for your child to have another episode while in school. If diarrhea or vomiting are frequent or are accompanied by fever, rash or general weakness, consult your child’s doctor and keep the child out of school until the illness passes. Fever (generally considered to be higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) is an important symptom – especially when it occurs along with a sore throat, nausea or a rash. Your child could have a contagious illness, which could be passed to classmates and teachers. While you can treat the fever, and usually make the child feel better temporarily, the cause of the fever (and the risk of passing it to others) is still there. Children with fever should stay home until there is no fever for 24 hours. Strep throat and scarlet fever are two highly contagious conditions caused by the same bacterial infection. They usually arrive with a sudden complaint of sore throat and fever and often stomachache and headache. With scarlet fever, a rash usually appears within 12 to 48 hours. A child with these symptoms should see his doctor for diagnosis and treatment and should remain out of school until he is without fever and has been on antibiotics for 24 hours. Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergy. The first two are very contagious. The eye will be reddened, and a cloudy or yellow discharge is usually present. The eye may be sensitive to light. Consult with your child’s doctor to see if antibiotic eye drops are needed. Again, your child should stay home until symptoms subside and he has been on antibiotic eye drops at least 24 hours or until the doctor recommends your child return to school.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Middle ear infections can cause great discomfort and often fever, but are not contagious to others. Your child should see his doctor for diagnosis and treatment and should stay at home if he has fever or pain. Flu is a contagious virus that usually occurs in the winter months. Symptoms include body aches, high fever, chills, congestion, sore throat and, in some children, vomiting. Your child should stay home until these symptoms improve, usually five to seven days. Consult your child’s doctor for treatment suggestions to make your child more comfortable.
Whenever there is a doubt in your mind about sending your child to school, consult your child’s doctor before doing so. A phone consultation may be all that is necessary, or your child’s doctor may need to see the child in the office. You may also call the Sick Kid’s Hospital 24-hour advice line -Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 for advice when your child’s doctor’s office is not open. Make sure that your child’s school knows how to reach you during the day, and that there is a backup plan and phone number on file if the school cannot reach you.
Impetigo is a staph or strep infection that creates a red, oozing blister- like area that can appear anywhere on the body or face. A honey-colored crust may appear on the area. It can be passed to others by direct contact. Consult your child’s doctor for treatment and length of time your child should remain out of school, especially if the area cannot be covered. Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral illness. It causes fever and an itchy rash, which spreads quickly all over the body, changing from red bumps to blister- like lesions, then scabs. Your child needs to stay home until all bumps are scabbed and no new bumps have appeared for two days. Your child is contagious at least two days before the rash starts, so you need to let the school and playmates know, and consult your child’s doctor for treatment of symptoms. A vaccine is available for children who have not yet had chickenpox and is required for kindergarten. The vaccine will also be required for all new sixth graders who have not yet had chickenpox. Scabies and lice brought into a school can quickly produce an epidemic of itching and scratching. Scabies are tiny insects that burrow into the skin and cause severe itching. Lice are tiny wingless insects, like ticks, that thrive on the warm scalps of children and cause itching. Both should be treated immediately, with advice from your child’s doctor. Children need to stay home from school until head lice are dead and until the nits (eggs) are removed with a special fine-tooth comb. Head checks should continue for 10 to 14 days. Caution your child against sharing combs, brushes, hats or other clothing. In the case of scabies, children should stay home for 24 hours after treatment. All of these illnesses can be spread easily, both in school and in the family. Keep in mind that hand washing is the single most-important thing you can do and teach your child to do to help prevent the spread of infections.
The Colour of Baby’s Stool
Serious Problems Some stool colours are cause for concern because of the possibility of a more serious problem. Stools that are mostly red with blood could signal a serious intestinal problem. Black stools in babies who aren't taking iron supplements could indicate blood that was digested. A very light or whitish stool could indicate gallbladder or liver problems, according to BabyCenter. If your baby's stools contain blood or are very light white, call your pediatrician.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent
Busters By: Ellen Notbohm Gray skies, bare trees and temps too low to play outside. Blast boredom this month with some creative indoor play. Create a “boredom buster” jar with 20 fun ideas the kids can do on their own. Here’s a start!
1. Make a snack. Try instant pudding, chips and dip, or celery with peanut butter. Re-member to clean up! 2. Make sock puppets. Put on a play with your newly created characters. 3. Eat saltine crackers, then hold a whistling contest immediately after. 4. Celebrate “Backwards Day.” Eat, wear and say everything backwards! (Until it gets too hard, at least). 5. Start a scrapbook. Fill pages with old art projects, pictures and school awards. 6. Make placemats out of construction paper. Decorate with pictures of food you hate! 7. Make a treasure hunt. Use plastic Easter eggs, Legos, anything easy to spot will work. The creator can draw a treasure map to lead pirates to the treasure.
8. Gather unused toys and clothing for a donation center. 9. Make your own word search and then give it to a friend to complete. 10. Write and perform a play based on a book you’re reading.
16. Play “spot the difference.” Have a friend study how you look for a few minutes. Then go in the other room and make a small adjustment (take out an earring, put in a bobby pin, etc.). See if they can spot the difference.
11. Write a family newsletter to send to relatives who live out of state.
17. Make and name pet rocks. You’ll need paint, glue and some googly eyes.
12. Have a “Princess Night.” Watch a princess movie (Cinderella, Princess and the Frog, Snow White, etc.). Host a tea party and dress up while you watch the movie!
18. Hold a bubble gum blowing contest. Biggest bubble wins! Don’t forget to take pictures.
13. Project your shadow on the wall. Have a friend trace it. Then cut it out and glue onto black paper for a unique piece of silhouette art.
19. Play musical chairs. Just be sure to clear breakables out of the room!
14. Take a bubble bath! 15. Make sugar cookies. Make creative faces out of frosting.
20. Play a board game that’s made its way to the top of the closet. Monopoly, Sorry, the Barbie Game – chances are kids have forgotten how fun these classics are! Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent
My Family is Out of Control By: Donna de Levante Raphael In spite of your best efforts, your family seems far from perfect. Your kids lack motivation. You have to nag them to clean their rooms and do their homework. When you try to talk to them, they’re zoned out in front of the TV or texting their friends (or both). You and your spouse aren’t doing much better: When you do communicate, you’re either complaining or snapping at each other. And your house is a wreck. So many things seem wrong it’s hard to know where to begin. But you can change your family’s relationships and home life. “Essentially, your household is an organic system,” says Ashley Reiser ”It means that making the right changes in certain areas – those connected to basic life values – can yield dramatic improvements in seemingly unrelated ones.” “Take, for instance, respect,” says David. “When you respect your family members, you’ll not only speak kindly, you’ll be on time for dinner and hang up your clothes, instead of throwing them on the floor.” Ready to start overhauling your household? Here are 13 simple but powerful changes that can make a big difference: 1. Make a “positive meal times” rule. No one is allowed to gripe or argue. Many days, meals are the only times when everyone (or nearly everyone) is together–and the prevailing mood can set the tone for family interactions for hours, if not days, to come. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, consciously discuss good things that have happened, and what you’re all looking forward to doing in the future. “Believe me, I know what it’s like to sit down at the table and be tempted to complain about a rough day at work...or a traffic-filled commute...or all of the things I have to get done before I go to bed,” admits David. “But complaining doesn’t make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn’t accomplish anything constructive. However, when I hear what my kids have learned in school or share how I accomplished a goal at work, I really do feel more optimistic and energized. And so do my family members.”
2. Homework comes before free time. No exceptions. Even if your kids have five hours before bed and only an hour of homework to complete, they should tackle their assignments before engaging in the “fun” stuff. This will teach them to prioritize responsibly because their best efforts will be going toward the tasks with lasting value. “Yeah, your kids may complain that you’re being ‘unfair,’ and they might make a fairly cogent argument for playing now and working later–mine sure have!” says Andrea. “But I’ve learned to stand firm unless there are truly extraordinary circumstances afoot. This way, their concentration and energy levels aren’t compromised by tiredness–and they’re learning valuable habits that will serve them well in college and in the working world.” 3. Divvy up household chores and insist that they’re done daily. It takes a lot to keep a house relatively clean, in good repair, and fairly tidy. And just because you’re the adult does not mean you should do it all. Make sure everyone contributes. Even small children can put their toys away. Not only will this keep the house clean, it will teach a healthy work ethic and demonstrate the value of sharing responsibilities. “It’s your choice as to whether you want your family to be three or four or six or eight separate individuals living under one roof, or one cohesive team,” points out David. “Sure, teams have fun–but they also pitch in to share the load. Explain to your kids that everyone needs to help out so that the house is a comfortable, safe place to live–and let them see you scrubbing and straightening, too!”
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
4. Become an on-time (or early!) family. How often are you and your kids scrambling around, frantically trying to get to school or work or soccer on time? From now on, strive to make the answer “almost never.” Building a few extra minutes into your schedule isn’t hard–but it has immense value. Timeliness reflects well on anyone’s character and contributes greatly to peace of mind. Get behind a slow car? No matter! This erstwhile annoyance won’t set you off because you’ve got extra time. “Knowing that you’re running late is a terrible feeling– plus, it tends to blow other snags and minor incidents out of proportion,” points out Andrea. “If your child spills juice in the car, for example, you won’t get nearly as upset if you have a few extra minutes to spare. More importantly, though, you’ll be considered more reliable and treated with more respect–inside and outside your family–if you keep your word when time is involved. “One of our family’s tried-and-true time-saving methods is simply putting ‘stuff’ in an established place once we’re done using it so that we know where it is when we’re running out the door,” she adds. “This includes keys, sunglasses, backpacks, library books, coats, and so forth.”
7. Make sure that politeness is paramount. These days, courtesy isn’t so common anymore. Explain to your kids the importance of using respectful language like “yes, ma’am,” “no, sir,” “please,” and “thank you,” and also teach them basic politeness tenets like looking others in the eye and extending a hand to shake. Model these behaviors yourself in public and at home, and praise your kids when you see them following your lead. “More than once, I’ve had store clerks and teachers and acquaintances of all sorts tell me how unusual it is that my kids use good manners and treat others politely,” David says. “And to me, that’s bittersweet. I’m proud of my boys, but I’m also sad that polite behavior seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Treating others with dignity and respect doesn’t cost anything–and its rewards are manifold.”
5. Make one day a week a “no electronics” day. Yes, you read that right. The Reisers really are suggesting that you ban all types of electronic entertainment for one day a week. On this day, no one can watch TV, play video games, or text their friends. No one can zone out in front of the computer (yes, this means parents, too). “When you pull the plug, your family will be forced to interact with each other or find other productive things to do,” David explains. “Believe it or not, you’ve all got important stories to share with one another, games to play together, and projects to complete as a team. No, electronics aren’t bad (far from it), but they do have a tendency to be seen as ‘essentials’ when they truly aren’t.” 6. Choose a “cause” to support as a family. While America seems to be filled with an increasing number of selfish, entitled children (and adults), your family doesn’t have to swell those numbers. One of the biggest antidotes to self-centeredness, say the Reisers, is giving back–plus, donating time and money to those who need it fosters perspective, counteracts the “gimmies,” and establishes a meaningful connection with the human race as a whole. “Some of the most meaningful, lasting pleasure our family has experienced has come from lending a helping hand where it’s needed,” Ashley says. “And believe me, giving back and serving others don’t have to be hard. Your family could take part in a fundraising walk or take holiday gifts to a nursing home, or volunteer at an animal shelter once a week. The rule is that everyone must contribute. This teaches gratitude and selflessness.”
8. Teach your kids to disagree agreeably (and do it yourself, too). Getting into disagreements from time to time is part of life–but outright fights don’t have to be. Model the art of healthy conflict to your kids, at home and in public. For example, hear your spouse out when you disagree and reply without raising your voice. Strive for direct communication instead of passive-aggressive manipulation. These communication strategies will foster mutual respect and help create authentic relationships–inside and outside of your home. “Nobody’s perfect–we all ‘lose it’ from time to time,” says Andrea. “However, David and I firmly believe that there’s very little that needs to be said that can’t be conveyed without raised voices and acrimonious words. When you learn to disagree agreeably, you greatly increase the odds for a better understanding of the situation and for a satisfactory resolution. Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
And in all interactions–disagreements or not–listen with the intent to understand rather than the intent to respond. There’s a big difference!” 9. Place a premium on respect. Respect isn’t something you can choose to show when you feel like it – it’s an attitude you either have or you don’t. Don’t allow bad language or name-calling under any circumstances, and teach your kids to be polite and deferential to all established authority figures–regardless of whether they agree with what they’re being told to do or not. “For example, if your daughter disagrees with a grade she received on a paper, encourage her to make an appointment with the teacher to have a constructive dialogue about the reason for the grade,” suggests David. “Coach her to raise her points calmly, politely, and respectfully, and insist that she, in turn, listen respectfully to the teacher’s explanation. “Furthermore, respect isn’t something that only kids should show,” David adds. “It’s a mark of maturity to conduct your own affairs respectfully, too. Always remember that your kids are watching your every move–and listening to your every word –and that their behavior will reflect what they notice. So if you’re pulled over for speeding, for example, admit your mistake gracefully instead of arguing with the cop.” 10. When big decisions or issues loom, hold family meetings to get everyone’s input. Obviously, Mom’s and Dad’s opinions carry the most weight in a majority of situations, but as long as the issue or decision at hand is age-appropriate, it’s important for everyone’s opinion to be heard and considered. This sort of consideration and transparency will foster respect all around. “Again, this goes back to facing life as a team,” explains Andrea. “Some big decisions are full of hope and excitement; for example, our family decided to move to a completely new state and town because the new location offered educational, cultural, social, and professional opportunities we’d been dreaming of. Other major issues– like dealing with a serious illness in the family–are decidedly less comfortable to discuss, but it’s equally important to involve everyone. “No matter its nature, though, you’ll find that all family members will be more fully on board and less likely to be resentful if they had a say in the plan that was made,” she adds.
11. Make saving a family affair. There’s no doubt about it – raising a family and running a household are expensive. While it’s true that everyone can’t contribute equally, it’s a wise idea for everyone to contribute something–especially toward non-essential but much-anticipated objects and experiences. Involving your kids will teach them more about saving, prioritizing, and the value of a dollar than words ever could! “For big family expenses like vacations, a new PC, a dog, or a pool, get everyone in on the financial prep,” suggests David. “Resolve not to pay with credit, and explain that since everyone will be benefiting, everyone should contribute–even if it’s only $1 a week. 12. Insist that everyone set goals and report on them regularly. Without goals, most of us would merely drift through life, making the best of whatever came our ways. Sometimes this strategy works – but at times, it’s a recipe for disappointment and regret. Teach your kids early on that setting realistic goals is a great way to stay on track and to get to where they want to be. “Setting goals is a great way to get kids (and you, too) thinking about what they really want, and to drive home lessons about perseverance, selfdiscipline, and patience.” “Weekly, have everyone share the positive things they’re working toward. Offer encouragement, progress-and reality checks. It serves as a reminder that family should be the strongest and most reliable support system.” 13. Promise that everyone (yes, you too!) will face the music when rules are broken. “Do as I say, not as I do” is no way to teach your kids lasting values. When you or your spouse make mistakes, admit it! You don’t have to ground yourselves, but you should issue apologies where necessary and do what you can to rectify things. “Ensure that your kids behave the way you want them to, after all, you’re the one supporting them, setting limits and expectations, rewarding them, and punishing them. However, your own behavior in relation to what you expect from your kids will often determine whether or not the values you teach stick with them or are abandoned after they leave home.” “Don’t lose sight of who’s ultimately in charge.” “Always model the behaviour you want your kids to exhibit. If they see you handling conflict in a way that’s not disruptive, being respectful or saving money responsibly, that’s what they’ll do, too. When values are at the center of your family’s interactions and priorities, many of your most daunting problems will sort themselves out.” Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Stop Spoiling Your Kids!!! By: Ira Schwartz
These steps offer you a new way to view how and what you provide your children. Although some interesting new research has shown that there is an innate component to a child's money proclivities—it goes a long way to explaining why one of your children spends every penny that passes through his or her fingers while the other can't bear to part with a loonie—a great deal has to do with what you teach them. This sort of education, you'll be happy to hear, has far less to do with demonstrating how to read the stock pages than it does with how to make good choices. In other words, raising money smart kids is all about being a good parent rather than being, say, David Thomson. First things first: Are you spoiling your kids? As an adult, there's one thing you know for sure about money—it's a limited resource. And yet, that's a message we have a tremendously hard time passing along to our kids. Many of us—often because we feel parental guilt for hours working (or playing) outside the home, away from them—give our kids most of the things they ask for, despite the fact that we may not be able to afford them. Research has shown this is not just bad for your pocketbook. It's bad for your children. In her book, Born To Buy, Juliet B. Schor recounts her study of 300 fifth- and sixth-graders. She found those who are mega-consumers by this age, who can't be pulled away from the TV, the Internet or whatever technology you've purchased for them, are more likely to have problems with boredom, depression, headaches and stomachaches. And it gets worse when they get older. Research has found that the more importance teenagers place on the things (and money) in their possession, the more likely they were to smoke, chew tobacco, drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and have sex. In a survey of 1,200 adults, 71 percent of those who said they had been overindulged as kids and reported not feeling satisfied as grown-ups. Yikes. You can do a few things from the time your children are very young—before they enter grade school in fact—to insure they don't dive into this want-it, need-it, have-to-have-it cycle of doom. And don't worry if your kids are beyond that age. It's never too late to start to make these changes. It won't necessarily be easy (you can expect a few weeks of back talk), but stick to your guns and they'll get the message: The Bank of Mom and Dad is no longer open for business. Make them choose Children can handle making choices from the age of 2. When they're really young, help them to choose between only two items. As they start grade school, they should be able to make a decision among four, five, even six. A great place to begin this exercise is at the grocery store. Let your child choose whether it'll be Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies or Cheerios. (Don't put a sugary cereal on the list of options if you don't want it in the house.) Or chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Explain your decisions There will come a time—very likely in that grocery store—when you'll hear, "But I want both!" That's an opportunity for an educational moment. Just like you can't have both the SUV and the Hybrid, they can't have both kinds of cookies.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
And this is how you explain it: "Mom and Dad work hard to earn the money to buy the things we need, but if we are going to have money leftover for the things we really want tomorrow—like our summer vacation, a nice Christmas or Chanukah, and eventually college for you—we can't spend every penny. We have to try hard to buy the things we need (and we do need some cookies to put in your lunchbox), but we also have to try hard not to buy all the things we don't need (and we don't need three different kinds of cookies in one week). So pick the one you like the best, and next week you can pick a different kind." Understand that limits like these (just like those on R-rated movies and reasonable bedtimes) are good for kids Harvard Psychologist Dan Kindlon's research has shown that kids who had consistent limits through their lives were less likely as they grew up to use drugs and get depressed than those who were given free reign. You've likely heard that kids want limits. What Kindlon's work shows is that they need them as well. Then expect them to stick with their choices Once they make a decision about the cereal, the candy bar or whatever you've put in their universe, don't buy another one until it's gone. If you head back to the grocery store the following week with a full box in the pantry, you can explain to your kids that you don't need a box of popsicles because you (and they) haven't finished the box of Fudgesicles they picked out last week. Don't succumb to the whining. Just keep your cart moving through the aisles. Now that you're ready to stop spoiling your kids, it's time to teach them more responsibility.
Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
The Hip Mom
Being A Better Person By: Patti Rawling-Anderson
We’re always talking about intuition and self-awareness. So, I thought it would be a great time to quiz you… Don’t worry, I’m just kidding of course! This isn’t a real quiz. But, it is vital to check in with yourself every so often. So, I’ve created this self-assessment for all of us (including me) to do just that. Here are 14 hypothetical questions about situations that resemble experiences many of us have had at some point. As you read them, put yourself in the situation and note what your reaction would be. There are no right or wrong answers to any of these. Just be honest with yourself and stick with your first answer. It’ll help you make more sense of your reactions. Intuitive Self-Assessment Questions : 1. You discover that your waitperson leaves an entrée off your bill. Do you speak up or hope he/she doesn’t notice? 2. A friend has asked you to be in her wedding. You aren’t as close as you used to be and you really don’t want to be a bridesmaid. Do you agree anyway? 3. Your mother always has an opinion about how you should run your life. How do you deal with it? 4. You’re waiting in line at the grocery store when someone cuts in front of you. How do you react? 5. You wake up feeling awful and should probably stay home sick. Yet, there’s so much to do at work today, and you’re not sure things will get done without you. Do you go to work or trust your coworkers can handle everything? 6. A friend calls you and starts gossiping about someone you know. Do you join the conversation? 7. Someone just criticized you. How do you react? 8. You’re heading to a local pool to relax and read for the afternoon. As you’re packing a backpack, you reach for this fascinating spiritual book you’ve been reading. But then you remember that the friends you’re going with aren’t into spiritual topics and will probably roll their eyes. Do you still bring the book? 9. You think your neighbors are abusing their dog. You hear the dog crying every night and every time you see him, he looks so fragile. What do you do? 10. You’re out shopping for a new swimsuit, trying them on in the dressing room. How do you talk to yourself when you look in the full-length mirror? 11. You and your partner have an argument. Do you wait for him/her to apologize first? 12. A senior coworker takes credit for your work. What do you do? 13. Your mother wasn’t the greatest parent, but over the last few years she’s tried to make amends. Do you continue to hold a grudge? 14. A psychic tells you that you’re going to lose your job in the next month. You intuitively know that he’s/she’s not correct. Do you still freak out? As I said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. But, your reaction to each question is a mirror of where you are in your life now. How you chose to react, or wish you would choose to react, is just an indication of who you are or would rather be. We all see, hear, feel, and experience the world through lenses or filters, which come from our life experiences, egos, ancestors, and culture. Everything that enters our mind and experience moves through our filter and we respond accordingly. Often when life isn’t quite how we want it to be, we’re looking through a lens that doesn’t support our highest good- your Goblin, for example. With self-awareness, we have the power to change the filter through which we see and react to life’s ups and downs. As I’ve said before, when you first change yourself, the world responds accordingly. So, back to the assessment… You probably breezed through some questions, indicating that those answers resonated with your higher self. Other questions likely left you wishing you had a different answer. In that case, you’ll want to look at that aspect of your life and examine what the filter you’re looking through. For example, some of your answers may have suggested you have an underlying pain you’re expressing through self-righteousness, judgment, abandonment, anger, entitlement and so on. A great exercise for the rest of today would be to look at, and feel how you respond to every situation you encounter today. Ask your highest good why do you feel like you do. And if a situation intuitively doesn’t feel right, pay attention, what filter are you using to see with. Remember, with self-awareness, you can change the filter through which you experience the world. And when you change your filter, you transform your entire experience."We must become the change we wish to see in the world" - Ghandi. Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
The Daddy Life
“That’s Not My Name!”
By: Paul Humphrey
My daughter Katherine was engrossed in a book at the dentist’s office when her turn came. “Come on up, Katie!” the dentist called. She continued reading, oblivious. “Katie, your turn,” he repeated. Thankfully, she looked up and I subtly motioned her over to the dentist’s chair, ignoring his goof on her name. Situations like this can be awkward at best. For kids, particularly those with unusual names, conveying the correct pronunciation proves to be a challenge all its own. But with a few simple strategies, kids can be armed to confidently speak their name to others and learn how to pronounce unfamiliar names of those they meet. Getting Their Own Name Across Children should speak loudly and clearly when stating their name, whenever they are asked. Encourage them to repeat it when others don’t catch it the first time. Help your child appreciate her name. Elizabeth Bojang, founder of hearnames.com, a website dedicated to audio pronunciations of names, encourages parents to prepare their children emotionally for mispronunciations by emphasizing what makes their name special. “My daughter’s name – Nyima, pronounced ‘nee-muh’ – is often mispronounced when people look at the spelling, but I’ve shared with her how important her name is, why we chose it, and about her namesake who bore the name before her. She is proud of her name and so far is comfortable quietly correcting others when the situation calls for it,” Bojang says. Find a mnemonic device your child can use to aid others, like a common rhyming word (for example: my last name, Krupicka, rhymes with “paprika”). In other cases, a word picture can make an unusual name easier to remember. Bojang suggests something like what she uses for the Vietnamese surname Nguyen (pronounced “win”): “Imagine that they like to win. Picture them smiling or jumping up and down and saying ‘Win!’” Having the child spell out his name, if he’s old enough. Some names sound very similar to others and can be easily confused (like Alec and Alex, or Stephanie and Beth- any). A simple spelling can clear up any uncertainty. If encountering mispronunciations is traumatic for your child, consider giving him a nickname instead (For example: Aristoteles becomes “Telly” for short). If others (like our dentist) try to label your child with a nickname she doesn’t care for, teach her to say, “I prefer to be called ______.” Learning Tricky Names Train your child to be a good listener who makes eye contact. Sometimes seeing the words formed on the other person’s lips can offer clues to the pronunciation that the ear might miss. Have her repeat back what she thinks she heard if it sounds odd to her. Chances are it’s a common name that got garbled in translation. If you find your child continually trip- ping over the name of a classmate or teacher, check out some handy websites that offer assistance, such as Bojang’s hearnames.com or pronouncenames.com. These sites offer recorded (the former) or phonetic (the latter) pronunciations of commonly misheard or difficult-to-say names. final tip: If you’ve got a tongue-twister of a last name like me, take it easy on the little people in like “Mrs. ” Do’s & Don’ts for Unusual Names Repeat it back, multiple times if necessary. Ask the person if you got it correct. He’ll appreciate your efforts, even if you didn’t. Ask the origin of the name. It can sometimes help you understand the pronunciation and may work as a recall aid. Substitute another, similar name. My name is Lara, not Laurie. Mumble. It can come across as careless, or worse, disrespectful. Avoid saying a person’s name. you may hope the individual won’t notice, but if they do, it appears thoughtless. Be embarrassed if you have to ask a person to repeat his name. Desiring to get it right shows that you care. Comment negatively on how unusual a name is. Chances are she already knows.
Volume 2 Issue 1– I-Parent
Single Parent World
Benefits of Single Parent Involvement in Child Education By: Donna de Levante Raphael Getting involved with your children’s education as a single parent is easier than you think. Single parent households can and do succeed academically. Families first need to work together. This article makes the case for single parent involvement in your children’s education. For example, Parent-Teacher meetings and home testing. Single parent involvement in child education may seem hard to do, but in reality, it really is easier than you think. Benefits of Parental Involvement in Child Education A parent’s involvement in their child’s school and academic life has positive effects on her child’s growth, not only in school, but later on in life. The more a parent is involved in her child’s education, the more likely the child is to achieve higher than average grades, and develop a positive attitude towards school and homework. These children are also more likely to pursue higher education. Given the benefits, for some parents, however, involvement in their child’s education may seem unworkable, and is true especially for working and single parents. Single parent involvement in child education is a challenge. Single parents feel they may not be able to contribute to their child’s learning or to their child’s school because of endless commitments to work, time constraints, and financial struggles. It is possible to get involved in your child’s education! Difficult as it seems, it is absolutely crucial for parents to find the time to participate in their child’s education. Single parent involvement in child education may currently seem unattainable, but take heart, there are simple things single or working parents can do to further their child’s education and ability to learn. Single parent involvement in child education may be as simple as finding out what your child is being taught in school and asking them about their day. Single parents can try alternative ways to become involved in their child’s education, such as quiz your child as you make dinner, have a mock “at home spelling bee” on the weekends or make the most of the morning drive by popping an educational CD into the car stereo when bringing your child to school. Single parents can set aside time during the evenings to read to or just spend time talking with their children. Single parents should also put together a schedule and set specific times for homework and tutoring to take place. Clearing a space for your child to study will help reinforce the importance of focus while engaging in school work. If possible, single parent involvement in child education should extend to the classroom. Periodically, single parents should attend parent-teacher conferences, and other school events, or join the PTA. Putting a child in team sports, music lessons and art classes can help develop a his capacity for learning. Though this may be a big time commitment for the parent, it will pay off down the road, as children pick up valuable social skills and benefit from a well- rounded education based on active learning. Ultimately, it is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child gets a quality education. A single parent involvement in their child’s education may seem so hard a task at times, but is crucial to the ongoing development and continuing success of your child in life. Volume 2, Issue 1– I-Parent
Conflict and Jealousy Between Sisters : Chrystal Saunders
Unfortunately, most families are not like those you see on television. Even though your family may be full of love, it is not uncommon for siblings to fight, especially sisters. As a parent, you may find it difficult to deal with conflict and jealousy between your daughters, but it is perfectly normal. There are many things you can do to diffuse the situation and also prevent conflict from arising. Identification Sibling rivalry among sisters is jealousy, competition and fighting between your daughters. This is a problem for almost all parents after the birth of the second daughter. Your older daughter is used to having you as the parent exclusively to herself. Conflicts range from small issues like who gets to sit in the front seat of the car, to deep inner-emotional troubles your daughters may feel about one getting more attention than the other. This may result in bickering as well as physical fighting. Features Most sisters have had the experience of being good friends as well as good enemies while growing up. Because they are so close, they have the ability to make each other angry, sad or upset better than anyone else. Usually after arguments, siblings go back to loving each other and playing together; therefore, they learn that words and actions don't cost them the relationship or friendship, allowing them to speak freely without fear of losing the other. Causes of Conflict Conflict arises from many things. One common cause is competition. Each girl is trying to define herself. She wants to demonstrate her talents and interests and show that she is different from her sister. They may also feel like they are getting unequal amounts of attention and/or discipline. Children live in a society that tells them winning is better, which fosters competition, resentment and jealousy. Conflict between sisters may come from outside sources. Your daughter may have a tough day at school or have a conflict with a friend and may take her aggression out on her sister just because she is an easy target. Prevention As a parent, there are several things you can do to prevent conflict between your daughters. Some suggestions would be to discourage tattling, avoiding comparisons of the girls, and listening to both sides of a dispute. While you should actively foster bonding, also make sure that each child has her own space and encourage separate time. Never play favorites. Even if you think you aren't, you may be subconsciously choosing one child over the other and it is important to make sure that neither feels that you favour the other. You should also encourage them to settle disputes on their own. Benefits Believe it or not, there is some good that can come from conflict and jealousy between sisters. A certain amount of rivalry can teach your daughters how to balance competition and learn rituals of making up, including apologizing and forgiving. It also provides experience for learning relationship skills and being a part of a social network. Volume 2, Issue 1â€“ I-Parent