The world is an uncertain place right now. News channels are full of gloom and doom. At this time, it is more important than ever to help kids make sense of the world around them. They hear snippets of the news or adult conversation and connect the dots on what are scary topics. Internalizing negative thoughts may lead to undue panic in these growing minds.
How then can we step in to steer them towards a more productive thought process? My mantra has always been, ‘Be aware, not fearful’ which I learned from my parents and the way they handled every situation.
My family started self-quarantine on Friday, March 13 and at the time of writing this piece, are 5 weeks in. Week 1 was spring break so the kids had a 24/7 party in my living room with movies, shows, snacks, toys, what have you. Week 2 was when reality hit. Balancing work and homeschool felt next to impossible. I was done for the day by 3pm daily and quickly realized this was not sustainable.
Online schooling began in week 3 – a structured curriculum with deliverables felt easier to navigate. I liked the predictability and the fact that I could do the bare minimum on schooling and still feel like I was taking care of everything important. On the other hand, I felt bombarded by the zillion resources for kids activities that required them to be in front of screens. That was where I applied the brakes!
The idea that kids would use screens as babysitters and educational resources on top of activity time was much too much. I wanted to focus on spending time with them playing board games, taking walks, throwing around a frisbee, practicing archery, and playing tag. And staying positive and light.
Speaking of, what is resilience? It is your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. We are living in a changed world, where we are staying safe at home, playdates/parties happen over video chat and ‘going out’ is fast becoming a foreign concept. No early rising for school or work, no rushed days, no strict bedtimes. Schedules have loosened (not abandoned).
In the midst of all these changes, it is important for our kids to feel secure and know we will all be fine; we are fine. Guiding our kids through life’s challenges while expressing our love is what they need now, and it’s how we build resilience and strength in them that will last.
Safe, not stuck: Talk to your kids about the world and happenings in an age-appropriate manner. Emphasize we are staying safe at home and keeping others safe by not leaving the house.
Help, not hinder: Grow compassion in their minds. Explain how the elderly are at high-risk. Find ways to help out in your community whether it’s through making masks or thank you cards for frontline workers.
Physical distancing is not family distancing: Teach them the importance of family time. Revisit old memories. Set up video calls with family in other cities or countries.
Time is a gift: Remember, time is a resource. Utilize this gift well and spend much needed one-on-one time with your kids. If you have more than one child, take a walk with each child on different days and hear them talk their heart out – give them undivided attention and you will discover a whole new side to them.
Keep your optimism alive. Make plans for the future. Let the kids choose their next travel destination and ask them to research the culture, food, currency and specialties. Decades later, when your kids look back on this time – the pandemic 2020, they will remember the epic fun, the squeals of excitement, the peals of laughter, the never-ending game nights, the joys of staying home – not the misery of feeling stuck at home.
Born and raised in India, Aditi is now an honorary Texan after spending over a decade in Dallas and Austin. She is married to her high-school sweetheart and has two magical kids – her son (2009) is her calm, sweet sunshine, while her daughter (2014) is her exciting, gorgeous storm! Working in Marketing and PR, she enjoys being steeped in creativity all day long. Crafting is her passion and she is the proud owner of a Cricut. In her leisure time, Aditi loves organizing, reading, writing and soul-searching!
In a perfect world, no one ever needs to think about who gets custody. Unfortunately, even the happiest of couples find themselves wanting a divorce. And when children are involved, things can get messy fast. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. Though many things can impact an initial custody agreement, not everyone knows what to do. Here is how to reassess the custody agreement when circumstances change.
Try to Reach an Understanding With the Other Parent
In many cases, child custody is settled in court. This is usually due to one of the parents not wanting to comply. However, there are a few cases where both parents understand and agree to change custody. If possible, try to talk to the other parent about changing custody. Explain that it’s what is best for the child. If you’re unable to reach an understanding, then you’ll have to go to court.
Reasons Why a Custody Change is Necessary
There are various reasons as to why a custody change needs to happen. Ranging from the child being in an unhealthy environment, unemployment or they’re just not content with the other parent. Here is a list of other potential reasons why there may need to be a custody change:
– The parent wants or needs to move away
– The parent is abusive towards the child
– The child’s needs are neglected
– The child wants to be with the other parent
– The parent’s income can’t pay for the child
Find a Lawyer
If going to court is the only way to resolve the issue, you need a lawyer you can trust. Look up your local law firm services who specialize in child custody. Not all lawyers practice family law, so you need to find one who does. If possible, set up a consultation where you can discuss your case. Weigh the pros and cons of each lawyer before ultimately making a decision.
Know Your Rights
When it comes to child custody, you need to research your rights. Each state follows a different set of rules, so make sure that you’re in your legal right to make the request for child custody revision. You also need to back up any claims with proper documentation as well. When it comes to child custody cases, even reassessing and finding alternative solutions doesn’t need to be ugly. The key is doing your homework first prior to going to court.
Custody cases are hard, both on the parents and the children. If you’re going to be heading into a custody battle, make sure you are careful with your kids in how much news you give them at once, how you phrase things, and ensure they have the psychological support they need.
For those of you with children, you need to know which hobbies will help you bond the most with your children. And this especially is important for those of you with step kids. To help you connect with step kids, here are five old school hobbies you all can enjoy.
1. Coin Collecting
You have all kinds of cool coins you and your family can collect. And these coins can one day be worth a good bit of money for your family. You also can find coins that relate to your stepchildren’s specific interests.
To get started you want to make sure you have all of the needed coin collecting supplies. This will make the experience even more enjoyable. And no matter your budget, you can find a way to afford this.
2. Cooking and Eating Out
Food is a great way to create quality time and connect with step kids, and you have all kinds of options. You could start by having your step kids help with the preparation of meals. And you could even have them begin to take over some ownership of meals. Not only are they developing essential skills, but they also have something they can take pride in doing.
And don’t forget to make family outings to restaurants a family priority. Make sure you all get to enjoy new restaurant openings. Be also certain to take your stepchildren to restaurants that serve their favorite foods.
3. Playing and Watching Sports
If your step kids love sports, then you must try to show interest in that. Even if you are not athletic, you should make sure your children have the chance to play sports. Of course, you have school and community recreation teams they can join. And if you are a sports expert, you can participate even more by coaching their sports teams.
For those of you who have stepchildren who are not athletic or show no interest in sports, you can still head out to watch sporting events. Consider, for example, America’s favorite pastime, baseball. When you head to the ballparks, you do more than just watch the game. Ballparks today include all kinds of entertaining features you can enjoy without having to be a huge sports fan.
4. Home Improvement Work
Outside of your home and inside of your home, there are all kinds of home improvement projects you can enjoy. And if you can find a way to involve your stepchildren, then even better. Not only will they be spending bonding time with you, but these are skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Of course, there is housecleaning and yard work they can do with you. But you also could ask your step kids to help you with more in-depth tasks. Maybe you all could update your backyard with a DIY backyard kitchen. Or, you could see if your stepchildren will help you create a new media room inside your home to watch TV shows and movies and to enjoy gaming systems more.
5. Camping and Fishing
Everyone can benefit from spending some time in the outdoors, and the same can be said for you and your step kids. Maybe you should schedule some time for you all to go camping at a state or national park. You can find primitive camping, and you can even find glamping experiences. So no matter how comfortable your family does or does not feel in the outdoors, you can find a setting that will work for everyone.
And even better, you should try to schedule in some fishing while you are out camping. Fishing is not only a tried and true old school hobby enjoyed by many, but you will also be spending even more quality time with your step children. If you decide to head out for a camping and fishing excursion, you can go at it alone or you could book an organized outing led by an expert.
You need to make sure you are spending quality time with your stepkids, and one or more of the above suggestions will help you. You just have to make this a priority. Don’t put it off. You will notice immediate benefits. When you connect with step kids, you will help your family for years to come, too.
As the parent of a teenager, you need to recognize the signs of unhealthy body image. If you don’t take action now, your teen’s diminished self-esteem could follow them into adulthood. Here are a few tips to help kids who are experiencing body image issues.
Monitor Their Social Media
Social media has made it easier than ever for teenagers to stay connected to the outside world. Unfortunately, these sites can contribute to body image issues. Many teenagers equate getting likes on social media with being attractive. Some will even go to the extent of editing their photos to make themselves look different. Teens who don’t receive any positive feedback often start to feel inferior. When interacting with your child, take time to discuss the importance of not allowing others to dictate their worth.
Stress the Importance of Exercise
Research shows that even a small amount of exercise can help improve body image. However, the purpose of regular exercise isn’t to transform your teen’s body. Active teens naturally tend to have a higher level of confidence. Simply working out 30 minutes a day can have a positive impact. You should also encourage your teen to become involved in sports.
Seek Professional Help
Oftentimes, parents can’t do it all on their own. If you notice your teen is dealing with an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Inpatient eating disorder treatment will enable your teen to get their life back on track. These programs are designed to do more than just treat a serious medical condition. They also give teens the proper guidance and mental support.
Puberty can be a challenging event for some teenagers. It’ll take some time for them to become completely comfortable with their changing body. The last thing they need is any negative criticism about their appearance. Always strive to make your teen feel good. Nothing beats having a good support system. At least a few days a week, make it a point to eat together. Teens who participate in family meals are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
Be a Good Role Model
Whether you’re a big brother or mother, be a good role model for the teen in your life. They could view you as a source of inspiration. You should make self-confidence a big point of emphasis.
Teenagers have it rougher than you may think. Poor body image isn’t a problem that will disappear overnight. With a little help, your teen can gradually start to overcome their struggles.
In the routine of complex living, we fail to realize the void due to connecting less than usual with our loved ones, and even voicing our feelings not as much as expected to? Amidst the day to day chaos, aspirations of all kinds, things to do, and the things that don’t reach the much-desired finishing line we are all continually juggling. But in the progression, we are drifting away from likely feelings that separate us from androids.
“When life goes down, don’t worry. Sometimes you have to go down to learn the things that are down.” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Do we ever get enough space to see our privileges compared to many others, or think about all that we do and what even possibly makes us seem gifted to multi-task? COVID-19 and the consequent lockdowns all over the globe have compelled us to pause open-endedly and look within. It has made us realize that there will never be any greater reward for running away from relationships than actually staying closer to them.
Shortage of time has been a constant complaint and now that we somewhat have it on hand, yet we appear unhappy. This phase has left many of us numb and muddled about the misplaced feeling. Not just confused but this crisis has made us all emotional too. Won’t you approve?
The activities and the duties haven’t gone down and the fatigue is getting the better of us. Schools and offices are closed, the basic services and amenities that were earlier enjoyed righteously are now luxuries beyond the scope. We can’t stop weeping over this temporary slowdown because it’s exhausting in every thinkable aspect. This is a slump in the face of a pandemic that is beyond anyone’s control. But if this slowdown hasn’t made you fall in the introspective line then nothing ever will.
Reframing is a superpower!
It’s important to understand that not everybody is heroic or privileged enough to skin the not-so-pleasant emotions under the layer of a new found love for an activity, long lost interests, or even chattering with a like-minded group of friends. Courtesy social media and exceptional communication technology, I am seeing a lot of people loosen up and express more care-freely about their sentiments. They are talking a lot more openly about their unsettling moods, fears, and even insecurities due to the current situation and thereafter.
With the trapped-in-our-bubble kind of a situation, I am beginning to comprehend and express feelings that I didn’t earlier. The aloofness we all face today due to the restrictions over normal living is upsetting but I am beginning to appreciate the tête-à-tête with my unattended emotions. It is bringing me closer to the people that matter and should always. It is giving me a clear view of my strengths and allowing me a window to work on my not so strong aspects.
Moments that connect us with our precious days from the past…
Yesterday, I ran after my 4-year-old as she attempted to ride a bike without training wheels. In the pursuit of training her to ride successfully, I must have yelled at her uncontrollably. I thought she didn’t want to follow my instructions, whereas, I was trying to save her from falling. I felt she isn’t going to learn and I must have contemplated giving up on her more than she.
Amidst all the emotional and physical stress that I endured, I also shed tears of regrets for not hugging my father and thanking him. He must have run after me the same way but never yelled. Not just for the bike learning but every single thing I know or do today. If at all I fell, he used to say “I let you fall because I knew this is the only way you will avoid falling in the first place in the future and give your best in whatever you do”. His ways have taught me to be vigilant and perseverant. Giving up can never be an option and I never thanked him enough for instilling this in me.
It’s almost like an invisible & immortal book of parental proverbs
I have seen the new generation including my own get easily nervous over unsought guidance. If not all, most of us at some point in life have ridiculed those pearls of wisdom that came to us at no cost but then life is vicious. It works in a way that you come to the same pass where our elders once claimed to have stood. I call this “The Wheel of Life”.
This will sound familiar as my parents said this to me, not just once but perhaps repeatedly in my childhood and thankfully it continues to date. The immortal warnings “One day you will realize this when you have children of your own!“, “We didn’t do this to you and this isn’t right the way you are doing!”, “I was once where you are today but I listened to my parents and you aren’t.” If these words don’t sound familiar, then a smirk would equate just fine. The smirk that spoke as loud as words and meant equivalent to “You were exactly like this but we handled you with love and hugs.”
A note of thank you for bearing all tantrums
On many occasions, my father seemed indifferent from outside and his ways of dealing with us were inconvenient, so I would every so often grumble myself to sleep. My mother who knew me well, used to encourage me to speak more openly about my feelings as she said the more you communicate, the better nurtured your relations will be. This advice from her has helped me across all the relations I deal with today. I asked her once how she or her age people handled issues like generation gaps, the difference of opinions, day to day worries, or even ego clashes? And if they also had similar anxieties due to the slit?
Her answer touches my heart to date. She said, “Be glad for the gap for that is where experiences come in handy. Think of it that there is someone more practiced to guide you when you need assistance. Be grateful for everybody is different, this exclusivity in each individual makes life thrilling and worth living.” In the current time, we need counseling and professional therapists to help us deal with our complex emotions but in earlier days, it was strong communication and affection for each other that healed and sealed the gaps if any. She taught me acceptance of who I am and that I am enough in every way. I never thanked her enough for making me see pride in being unique.
What joy did my mother derive from her repeatedly asking “How is the food and did you like it?” or “I won’t sleep until you come and have your meal”. I hear the answer now every time as I feed my children and with every morsel of food that goes down, I feel satiated. I realize the peace and incomparable joy in sleeping with well-fed children in your arms. I get it today and I regret not responding to her questions in a manner she truly deserved.
The fear of getting stranded with unspoken feelings tucked in my heart!
The schools are closed and we have officially become in-charge of the studies for our little ones and it’s the hardest job on earth I reckon. To educate your little ones and with an entertaining methodology, it is just a skill that is too hard to acquire, and for those who have this skill, we call them ‘Teachers’. It takes immense courage to handle the mistakes but not lose patience. The sight words, tips for simple Mathematics, and reading storybooks – nothing gets easy but then a thought dawned on me. I wasn’t born with these basics stuffed in my baby brains. I reached where I am today because someone handled me with love and motivating hugs. Someone helped me learn at my own pace and never pushed me into any race.
There is no end to the moments that make me stagger upon the memories from my growing up and years spent with my parents. Every time I think of my parents, their beliefs, and their unconditional love for me, my heart is filled with gratitude and also fear.
There are surging emotions in me due to the unspoken emotions for my parents but for many people it can be similar or deeper sentiments due to guilt, regrets, anger, or even love towards someone that must have been important at some point. A close friend, a partner, a sibling, or even a fellow worker. The feelings hidden for an untold number of reasons but now when they are reappearing in your mind, it is time to deal with them and bring closure for acceptance and peace.
This pandemic has already claimed so many innocent lives and the mark of salvage isn’t in clear sight yet. We are all stuck in our locations and many are far away from their loved ones. In the last 7 weeks, I have inexpressibly mourned the departure of so many people I knew and some I didn’t. Life is uncertain and everybody has to leave one day, agreed! But not when you don’t even get a chance to say the goodbyes or express your unequivocal love for them.
Nothing is permanent but memories are!
I am grateful for the fact that my parents are around and although distant but I can pick up the phone and make them feel important which they deserve to know. What you hear from them days after days, year after years is precious and someday you won’t hear it at all. That day, you will be lonelier than the lockdown phase is today. This social distancing is here to tell us that even if you have to be socially distant, don’t be spiritually distant. This figurative chapter in our lives is signaling to acknowledge all kinds of feelings and provide a much-needed restart to our fatiguing souls that aren’t made to carry the unwanted weight of emotions.
Acknowledge your feelings! If you haven’t acknowledged the efforts of your elders for guiding you and for bringing you this far, or any other relationship that suffered due to deficit of time, then it’s time you do that with the symphony of these words…“I Love You and I wish to see you soon after the lockdown ends.”
Leena Asnani is an Indian but considers herself a global citizen.She has lived in the Middle East, India, and the United States. She is a mother of two girls and is currently based in Chicago, Illinois with her small family. With an MBA degree in Sales and Marketing and a rich corporate span of 12 plus years, her heart always remained in traveling, exploring the beautiful globe and still does. You can enjoy her curated content on Instagram @milesupheart.
We all are going through these unprecedented times, never before experienced circumstances. What are your ways of escape from this twisted reality that is this pandemic?
Homeschooling, working from home or sheltering in place everyone needs a break and deserves one.
For some entertainment I’m back with a very short list of two movies from India. Those of you who don’t speak Hindi, I suggest exploring cinema in a foreign language can be fun. These women-oriented films not only talk about our approach towards women as a society but also give insights on where we stand when it comes to feminism. As I say a country’s cinema represents the nation’s psyche.
Our films have evolved but one thing we still promise is entertainment. We might go over the top a bit, over dramatize too but we try to not disappoint, at least not with the good ones.
It literally means a “slap” in Hindi.
From the recent batch of movies this one tops the list. Personally I was awed by the narration and the significance of the topic.
It just doesn’t represent the Indian mentality towards domestic violence but represents the collective mentality of the world.
The story centers around a young married woman. She is educated, smart, strong and a homemaker by choice. She has a somewhat satisfied existence with nearly no regrets. This is an affluent household that would be considered ideal with a loving husband and caring mother in law. So what drives this woman, who radiates happiness to reconsider her situation and demand a separation from her husband? A Slap.
When at his success party the husband discovers he is not getting the promotion he was promised he gets into a verbal spat with his boss. During this confrontation the wife intervenes and in the heat of the moment the husband slaps her.
What ensues is what makes this movie so remarkable.
It seems like a trivial matter to break your home but when a woman stands up against domestic violence however small she empowers every woman who is linked to her, directly or indirectly.
She is asked why is she not ready for a reconciliation as it was just a slap, her answer will strike a cord with every female.
“Yes it was just a slap but he cannot hit .”
The color favored by most females talks about another very significant topic. “NO” Three independent young women who live and work in one of the flourishing metro cities are accused of prostitution and attempted murder.
These accusations are followed by an evening where these women go to a rock concert and meet three young men. They all go out for dinner and drinks. Taking their friendly nature as a further invitation one of the guys tries to force himself on one of the girls.
When her “NO” fails to register the girl hits the man on the head with a bottle, and they all get away.
The women are unable to file a police complaint as the guys turn out to be well connected and threaten them. When they insist on filling a complaint the women are slapped with false charges of prostitution.
The courtroom drama is not only against the false charges but also against the patriarchal mindset where women who live alone are deemed to have no moral values.
It’s against the assumption that females who party and drink are open to all the advances that men make. The movie emphasizes the importance of a women’s “NO” and her right to say it.
The movie states
“NO is not just a word. It is a whole sentence which does not need an explanation”.
Despite all the slandering and threats these women and their lawyer stand the ground and win. What makes the movie noteworthy is the grit and determination of these seemingly vulnerable young women. Something that makes you root for them.
There are scores of other movies that talk about women rights but these two stand out with their powerful performances. With subjects that are relatable and Very well addressed.
You will not only enjoy the movies but these will make you think too. We need our girls stronger and boys accountable.