The following guest post was submitted by Heather Smith.
Listening attentively is a lost art. Listening is more than hearing. You hear things all day. You hear birds calling, people yelling, horns honking. But what do you listen to? You listen to music. You listen to your boss. And, I hope, you listen to your children.
Listening is underrated. It is so, so important, and yet we let ourselves get distracted by other things in our lives. Listening is the first step in any relationship, from dating, to friendships, to marriage, and, yes, even to parent and child relationships. If you are not listening, how can you connect with your child? How can you find out their likes and dislikes? More than that, how can you know what kind of person they are?
Remember that children are people, too. They deserve and need your respect and attentiveness. Just because they cannot always demand it in an adult way does not mean they do not need it. Why do you think children misbehave and throw fits? For attention, right? Well, if they are getting that attention already, then there will be no need to be bad.
It is hard to listen, I know. You have work to do, housework and computer time. Your favorite show is on television and dinner will not make itself. But remember what lasts. In a year, will you remember what you are doing now? Will your children? Building a relationship is much more important than having a spotless kitchen.
Listening is more than just staring at someone when they are talking. It means putting away your thoughts, concerns and desires and absorbing someone else’s. Do not think about how you can solve the problem or what you are going to say. Do not think about the dishes in the sink or the game on television. Do not pay attention to the barking dog or the flashing computer. Just listen. Shut down everything but your ears and the part of your brain that allows you to remain attentive. The child you are listening to will know the difference and appreciate it.
I know that what children have to say is many times not important. It may be that they want to tell you about the worm they caught in the yard or what the boy wore to school today. It does not really matter what the content is, however. What matters is your response. If your child sees that you are really listening to them, it makes them more confident, happier, and more attentive themselves.
Why do you think attention deficit disorder is running rampant in children today? Well, one reason may be that they have no example of what it means to quiet their brains and listen. If you, as a parent, asre always moving, always up and about and doing something, then how will they ever learn to sit still and concentrate. There is so much working against them. So many distractions. But you can change all that with one simple habit. The habit of listening.
This applies to adults too. How many relationships do you have right now that feel like they are falling through the cracks? How much strain is on your marriage and friendships? Try listening. It may not show much fruit at first, but I think you will be surprised by how positively people respond to attentive listening.
Now, I am not saying you have to stay silent. But after someone stops speaking, a moment or two of silence is not bad. In fact, it is good. It shows you are absorbing what they said instead of thinking about what you were going to say when they were done. Believe me, you will have something to say, do not worry. But what you say will be so much deeper and more relevant because you listened first.
You may find yourself forming deeper connections with your children and others just by changing this one habit. I would say that a few minutes undivided attention is worth it.
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.
Copyright(c) 2012 Bright Parenting Magazine
Some of you may be wondering “What’s going on with Bright?”
Well, lots of good things.
First: The pending issue, Issue # 3, will be released in October 2012. This will give our family some time to adjust to having a new little one in our home, as well as time to get the layout issues and edits done.
Second: There will be a change in issue frequency. Our previous goal had been an issue every two months, but that isn’t practical with everything else our family does. So, we are going to release four issues a year. Three issues that will be packed full of new information and articles, and the fourth issue of the year will be a giant end of the year issue featuring articles from the issues of that year. This will allow us more time to work on each issue, as well as the ability to make each issue bigger!
Future issues (stating in 2013) can be expected to be released in the following months:
January with a submission deadline of December 1st.
May with a submission deadline of April 1st.
September with a submission deadline of August 1st.
The end of year issue will come out in November/December.
Third: Magazine themes. We are still going to follow the themes but out in the first issue of this year-the secular virtues themes-, but they will be combined over the next few issues. Issue #4 will feature the virtues Empathy and Courage, Issue #5 will feature the virtues Honesty and Openness, and the last two virtues Generosity and Gratitude will be featured in Issue #6.
The tentative releases for these future issues are:
Issue #4: January 2013 with a submission deadline of December 1st.
Issue #5: May 2013 with a submission deadline of April 1st.
Issue #6: September 2013 with a submission deadline of August 1st.
Issue #7: End of Year issue will feature articles from the whole Secular Virtues series.
We are looking forward to the remainder of this year and the changes that will be coming in 2013. Hopefully this will allow us to expand the magazine and help it be even more useful to our readers.
As always thank you for your support! Also if you are interested in submitting articles, reviews, and/or photography to Bright Parenting Magazine please email us at email@example.com! Feel free to branch out from the issue themes, we are looking for anything and everything that pertains to parenting without religion.
Copyright(c)2012 Bright Parenting Magazine
Today’s Daily Freethought Video comes from The Thinking Atheist Podcast, the topic Worshipping Ignorance. Enjoy!
Don’t forget if you’re interested in submitting articles, reviews, photography, and/or blog post please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright(c)2012 Bright Parenting Magazine
Guest post by Michelle Watkins
Many people are under a lot of stress. There is the stress of finding a job, meeting financial responsibilities, and raising children. Parents generally have a lot to worry about, but even though stress is normal, it’s not a good thing. In fact, stress can lead to health problems and even mood disorders. Stress can also have a negative impact on those you spend time with, including your children. Here’s what you need to know about your stress and your child’s well being.
Studies have shown that emotional well being can have an affect on physical well being. Though it doesn’t say anything about causation, research has shown that a parent with a high stress level is more likely to have a child with mental impairments & weak immune system. Parental stress can also increase the risk of allergies and obesity in children. One possibility for this is that a child can easily pick up on the stress that their parent is feeling, which is often too much for them to deal with, so it manifests in physical symptoms. Just as it is common with adults, children who are stressed out also have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep the entire night.
Emotional Well Being
Stress can no only affect the health of a child, it can affect their emotional well being as well. Children with parents that have a high level of stress have more incidents of mental health issues, include non-compliant behavior, oppositional defiant disorder, and increased prevalence of aggressive behavior. This may not sound like a huge deal. You might say “everyone is irritable”, but due to this behavior, a child may have trouble in school and trouble interacting appropriately with peers.
The next step here of course is making friends. If a child is acting out due to stress, their peers may choose to stay away from them. As anyone who’s watched “Mean Girls” can testify, this can be the beginning of a vicious cycle. People avoid your child, so he then becomes lonely and needs friends more, but even less people want to be there for him. All children need a support system, and even if they grow out of their defiant phase, being a social pariah can lead to far worse problems in adolescence.
What to Do?
The first step for helping a child deal with stress is to ask yourself what you could be doing differently. Is parental stress affecting them? Less then twenty percent of parents admit that their behavior has any kind of effect on their child, which is obviously far from the truth. The best way a parent can teach a child to handle stress is by controlling their own. To begin, always speak calmly to your child. Never yell or snap. Then, talk more, about everything! Children learn by example, so communicate how you choose to deal with problems. Ask what’s bothering them, and find out how they deal. Then, suggest more. Never order, always suggest! You’re a friend, not a teacher.
Good Sunday morning everyone! We hope your weekend has been lovely and while you prop your feet up and rejoice at another glorious Sunday not spent in church enjoy this video by the Center For Inquiry. In this video they are discussing the Science and Philosophy of Free Will!
Copyright© 2012 Bright Parenting Magazine
Atheism and Parenting, we could spend hours discussing this topic. Ask An Atheist TV spends a little under a hour just scratching the surface.
Grab a large cup of coffee and enjoy!
Copyright © 2012 Bright Parenting Magazine
Relationships can be tough, even more so when couples have varying belief systems. The Thinking Atheist explores mixed faith relationships on this podcast and asks the question: Can An Atheist And A Believer Have A Successful Love Relationship?
**To our readers: Are you raising children with a believer like the second caller? Want to share how you and your spouse navigate the complex issues this presents? We are always looking for articles by families in these very situations. So if you are willing to share your experiences please email us at email@example.com! **
Copyright © 2012 Bright Parenting Magazine