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Yinka Sunmonu Consultant | Email: | Design: Thierry Lagrin

SUPPLEMENT ipage 21, 22, 27, 28.


DAD INSIDE iFATHER’S DAY: 12 things children can do p2

iREAL LIVES: Dads at last p28


iA BLOGGING SUCCESS ON PARENTING: Bunmi Laditan tells how p27

Family Matters

22 | THE VOICE JUNE 13 - 19, 2013

Happy father’s day

GRANDMA’S TIPS: how dad’s can bond with their children

Twelve presents children can make or organise for this special day.

s %STABLISH YOURSELF ON your baby’s feeding rota (if wife isn’t breastfeeding) and stay involved at the solids stage.

t t t t t t t t t t t t

s -AKE TIME TO TALK SING or read to your child. Research by Jo Jingles finds that 57% of father’s avoid






s !RRANGE FATHER child outings.


Singing helps development


All about men

Thoughts from sons, fathers or father figures Joshua Bennett, expectant dad “I can’t wait to become a dad. It’s exciting but frightening at the same time. I just want to do a good job with my child, to be strong, fair and positive.� venture play.� Colin Jarrett, stepdad “Jumping into a ready made family isn’t easy and requires diplomacy, tact and passing tests to show you’re serious. The biggest compliment I got is when the children started calling me Dad too! You don’t have to be the natural father to take the role of a parent.�

Prince Adeoba Adeshina Prince Adeoba Adeshina, son “I’m a proud son of Prince Moses Ademola Adeshina. The most important lesson my fa-

Tonderai Muzah

Pauline Long

ther taught me is discipline. Through this I learnt to be resourceful, focused and grounded, to set goals and work to achieve them. “

Devon Clifford, father figure “I’m there for my sister’s children to dish out advice, tough love, male perspectives and ad-

Adoption in Greenwich



singing to their children with the majority saying that they can’t, yet singing nursery rhymes alone helps with expression, memory retention and builds confidence.

he Royal Borough of Greenwich is actively looking to recruit prospective adopters, and encourage people from all walks of life, especially those from the black and minority ethnic communities. We positively welcome enquiries from same gender couples, heterosexual couples and single people with or without children. In order to adopt you must be over 21 years old and be able to show that you can pro-

vide a nurturing, stable family home. Becoming a parent through adoption can be a very rewarding, as well as a challenging life long experience. Families will not be on their own. Greenwich provides adoptive families with a high level of support and training to become approved adoptive parents, which will continue after a child has joined the family. You will need to have suitable space to accommodate a child and show that you have the financial means

to support a child throughout their childhood. In some exceptional cases there may be financial support provided for children, depending on their level of needs. If you are interested in finding out more about adoption and the assessment process, come along to one of our information sessions; details and dates can be found at www. or call and speak to a duty social worker on 020 8921 2752.

Tonderai Muzah, dad “Being a father is the most important thing in my life. It can be hard but rewarding too. I make sure I play an active role in my daughter’s life by helping to develop her creative and academic talents and spending as much time with her as possible. Being a father has given me an added sense of responsibility and has pushed me to do better.� Jason Aruoture, dad of four “The qualities of a good father are: patience; good communi-

cation; and self confidence because if you aren’t confident in yourself, you can pass it on to your children.� Pauline Long Media personality. Pauline recalls the man she called “my grandad�. “My dad used to argue with my grandad a lot because he used to give what he didn’t have! When my dad gave my grandad money to buy something for himself, he would give it to somebody in need.� “He ran a grocery shop and would often hand out sugar or other basic items when people needed them. My grandad was not a rich man and yet he was known throughout the village for his generosity. Through him, I realised that you didn’t have to be wealthy to give.� “I was at an event recently and when one of the dignitaries heard where I came from, he mentioned my grandad’s name and his kindness. I took great

pride in mentioning the relationship between us. I learnt from my grandad that we’re born with three hands – one for yourself, one for your family and one for other people.�

ABOUT DADS‌ tPGEBETXFSFBHFE 30 and over in 2011. t"SPVOE EBET in the UK stay at home to care for their children. t.FOBSFNPTUMJLFMZUP want children as much as women and “ feel more isolated, depressed, angry and sad than womenâ€? if they do not have them (source: Keele University). t#SB[JMJBOTTQFOEUIF most on Father’s Day gifts followed by the Americans and French. Britons are in fifth place. (source: 3BLVUFO 

Adoption is a way of providing new permanent families for children who cannot be brought up by their birth parents or within their birth families.

Family Matters

JUNE 13 - 19, 2013 THE VOICE | 

Blogging to success


unmi Ladian is a serial entrepreneur and social media consultant based in Canada. When she started a parenting blog called Honest Toddler and added Twitter, little did she know it would change her life by becoming a global hit. She talks to Yinka Sunmonu about venturing out. Yinka Sunmonu: Tell us about your foray into social media. Bunmi Laditan: I started my first online magazine at 18. It was an underground magazine for students in the Long "EACH #ALIFORNIA AREA ) SOLD advertising to a major cable company and local businesses. My next venture was a website for young entrepreneurs. After I married and had my first child, I started and sold a social networking website for entrepreneur moms. After that I began handling the online marketing and social media for family brands and my client list grew quickly. I loved the work because of the flexibility and creativity it allowed me. YS: You were writing the blog incognito‌how did you get discovered? BL: I received an email from a literary agent. She seemed to think a book could be made of it. I was very excited by the prospect! I’d worked with literary agents before pursuing screenwriting in LA and novel writing, but nothing had ever come of it. I wrote a proposal and it was amazing as many

publishers had already heard of it and were very interested. YS: You’re confident and successful yet have a mentor. Why? BL: I’ve had mentors over the years. Many successful women, committed to their own learning, encouraged me to follow my dreams. It’s important to seek out people who are doing what you want to do, whether on a big scale or small, and ask them for advice. If you can’t get in contact with them, read their books, memoirs, quotes and autobiographies. I’ve done this for a very long time. YS: How important is discipline to achieve your goals? BL: It’s important and not important at all. I’m not very disciplined. I am terrible at remembering tasks, I procrastinate, and I tend to avoid my responsibilities. But, I’m aware of this and never lie to myself. #OURAGE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN discipline. Be brave enough to take actions that lead you toward higher and more ambitious goals. Take consistent steps in the direction you want to go in and that will carry your further and in more interesting directions than just discipline. If you are both courageous and disciplined, nothing can stop you. YS: What do you enjoy about parenting? BL: I love watching my children just laugh and play. My greatest joy is to see them just

“If you are both courageous and disciplined, nothing can stop you� Bunmi Laditan run around the backyard or play in the sandbox. YS: What eternal gift would you bestow on your children? BL: I’d love to give them the gift of kindness; a quality I feel is greatly underrated kindness to others and toward themselves. Self-confidence

naturally follows. BUNMI’S BLOGGING TIPS t"VUIFOUJDJUZ It’s very important to write from a place of authenticity. People always say “write what you know� and they’re right about that.

t 4VCKFDUT don’t write for the audience, write what makes you feel giddy, happy, and connected. t%PZPV don’t try to be anything or anyone other than yourself. Don’t worry about what other bloggers are doing or about

your traffic. t 8SJUF ZPVSTFMG My work had never allowed me to use my own voice and for the first time, I was being creative. t#VTJOFTT Hold off on commercialising your blog for as long as you can. It can be huge distraction.

The things children say‌ With the wedding season here, we get children’s thoughts on love and marriage‌ s !NA AGE  Married people go for sushi together because the children don’t like that. Married people take the dry cleaning for each other and do the shopping and daddy sleeps. s !ALIYA AGE  Love is tasty and beautiful. s 2AS AGE  Love is a moment of pure divine. s *OSH AGE  Love is pink. s 6AI AGE  Marriage is the state of being married.

The golden rules of marriage for a new husband


Our writing feature got such a response that Bookcoach Mindy Gibbins-Klein answers your top queries: Starting to write: “the writing process is made simpler with a solid and comprehensive plan.� On writing: “most important are passion for the subject and knowledge about it.� Trends: “you can look at trends but make sure you write about what you know and love because you will become known for that and stuck with it!� Finding a bookcoach “ask about credentials. How many books have they written; how many people they’ve coached; and how many are in print?�

Family Matters

28 | THE VOICE JUNE 13 - 19, 2013

Dads at last


This month we look at a couple who have been through the assessment process and have adopted.

Nine months ago, Michael* and John* adopted a brother and sister. Michael talks about the assessment, matching and the joy of adoption, which has introduced them to a new community with exciting challenges and opportunities.

It’s a complicated task and the more you can work with people, the better it is. Even though we are their parents, it’s a team effort.” “Becoming a parent is completely transforming. We’ve lived in the same place in Islington for well over a decade and now see it differently! I know where every swing and roundabout is within a mile of our house! I know lots of parents and can’t walk to the shops now without saying ‘hi’ to half their classmates! That side of it is really lovely. You don’t just take on two children, you become part of a new community.”

“Well to start, the assessment process is thorough but not in a bad way. Everything you’re asked about makes total sense but you have to be willing to turn your life inside out and to share it with someone else.” “I think it’s a good thing as it’s great preparation for what lies ahead and it gets you in the right frame of mind for what you are taking on.” “People have asked me if the assessment is like a job interview. It’s not as there’s a moment, at least for us, where you know you’re on the right track. We had a moment halfway through the process where the social workers made it clear we would be good adopters. That gave us the confidence to keep going and motivated us to start working together.” “Social workers are so important when it comes to helping you prepare and when you’ve been given positive news about your prospects, it’s about starting to find a match. The thing about the assessment is that the decision about becoming a parent, something that you really want in your life, is made by somebody else and you have to entrust the details of your life to a social worker to help you achieve it.” Approved “For me, the assessment helps you get your head around the whole thing. You learn about the process, the children up for adoption and what

you might be able to cope with.” “The panel is the final step and when we were called back into the room, the chair said, ‘we’re going to recommend that you are approved. It was great, everybody was very smiley and chatty, we felt relaxed and it was pretty nice. We cycled up the Holloway Road afterwards!” “We were not matched with our children for a while and were guided by the social workers. We always wanted siblings and it felt amazing when they said they would be our children.” “Our first meeting with the children was brilliant but pretty scary. We met for about 30 minutes and were all on our best behaviour!” Parenting is fantastic. It

has ups and downs but it’s the best thing we’ve ever done, ever, by miles. It’s very intense. It’s like having a new baby although our children are older.” Transforming “Our immediate wish for them is to make things as secure as we can as they have had a lot of insecurities in their early life. We’ve seen changes in them already. Our son has improved tremendously in school. He’d had a terrible start in education and was bottom of the class. He’s moved up to the middle now and his teacher said that his progress is outstanding and beyond anything she’s seen.” “We’ve been given lots of praise for this but I

feel that partnership is the key. You don’t do all these things alone. We

work very closely with the school, social workers and other people.

“I think the UK is one of the best places on the planet to be a gay parent and they are not the only ones in their school with gay parents. It makes a big difference. We have formed a group for adopted parents and it’s been incredibly helpful for us.”

ADOPTER’S ADVICE Helping hands Remember you are not alone. There is support via social workers, schools, and fellow adopters. Don’t be afraid to ask. Books We read Adoption is a family affair! What relatives and friends must know, by Patricia Irwin, which shows that everyone has a part to play in raising an adopted child. Support What people don’t realise is that support is instantaneous from the time you start the process right through to the end, which is ongoing if you need it! Lots of issues can arise from needing help in purchasing essential items such as children’s beds to concerns about your child’s education, health or development. Financial help may be available too and Islington Council offers post adoption services that can include referrals to internal or external organisations that can help you.

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Family matters june 2013 edition  

This month we recognise and say thank you to all fathers. May we be the first to wish you all a Happy Fathers day. We hear what children th...