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The Tug of War, Raising Respectful and Mentally Healthy Children

As I was thinking about my blog this morning I came across the article below. I couldn't have said it any better and wanted to include it. We have been preparing a podcast to talk about "Children on Vacation" and this popped up just at the right time.

On a six hour flight to Hawaii from Seattle last week we were blessed to sit in front of a mom and three children. Dad sat somewhere else. There were also two other families with babies close by.

Situation: As soon as we sat down the 3 y/o started kicking my seat. I asked politely to have him stop. He obviously couldn't reach my seat, he was kicking the tray. Mom was busy with a baby and beside her was a quiet 5-6 year old girl engrossed in an iPad. Baby was fussy and Mom's full attention was on him. Needless to say the kicking never stopped for 5 hours even with the flight attendants bringing it to her attention several times. I think he took a nap at some point so there was a down time and when the trays were in the upright position!

Problem: Three kids and a mom in three seats with Dad elsewhere and children tied into seatbelts or not tied in for several hours, glue to noisemaking electronics with no ear phones. Towards the end of the trip Dad left his seat and came up to hold the baby while Mom held the 3 y/o, the little girl I guess was moved to Dad's seat with her iPad?

Outcome One: The parents with the other two babies, I would say under one, walked up and down the isles when they were fussy. They talked to them, rubbed their backs, sympathized and acknowledged their discomfort, oh and changed their diapers in the bathroom not on their laps. I watched the babies being walked, by their dads no less, giving mom a break, snuggle the child and kiss them on their head as they rocked back and forth. It was refreshing to the rocky vibration of my seat.

Outcome two: the parents with the three children, left a young child in a seat a few rows back with strangers. Dad came and held a sleeping baby while Mom continued her defensive parenting with the 3 y/o. I'm sure she was frustrated but she could have played this game offensively and actually enjoyed the flight. So why can't today's parents, parent their children so that they are raised to be respectful, resilient, healthy children?

Solution: I love love love children. They are uninhibited precious creatures but it amazes me how at the hands of parents they become little monsters or invisible. Parents prepare and teach your children. In this case of being on a long trip, bring a variety of toys including books for parents to read, not just electronics, limit that time. Talk to your kids, make a list of topics in advance or set a schedule so they don't need to subconsciously wonder.. Walk them around to get some movement and exercise. Have a quiet time. Have the flight attendants tell them a story. Have them look out the window and see the world from above. Let them take photos of clouds and talk about what the clouds look like to them Oh so many things. Be considerate of your child and the people around you, this is the respect part! Teaching them respect for others, you are the captain of your ship and if the ship is not well run then the responsibility is on you. Ask for help!!!!

Babies are not born with mental illness it is created for the most part unless it is a medical condition. 50% of mental illness begins by age 14, with 3/4 beginning by age of 24. Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear out of the blue and is associated with human inflicted trauma and comes in many levels.

Your are the coach-the captain, you are in control:

Outcome three: see the article below written by psychiatrist, Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos. The solutions is easy. Take it to heart, it is the future of our children at risk. Give your child the gift of respect and boundaries, teach and having respect will change everything.

The Silent Tragedy In How We Are Raising Our Children

Originally posted on 6th January 2020 Article written by Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos Psychiatrist.


There is a silent tragedy that is unfolding today in our homes and concerns our most precious jewels: our children.

Our children are in a devastating emotional state! In the last 15 years, researchers have given us increasingly alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in childhood mental illness that is now reaching epidemic proportions:

Statistics do not lie:

• 1 in 5 children have mental health problems

• A 43% increase in diagnosed ADHD

• A 37% increase in adolescent depression has been noted

• There has been a 200% increase in the suicide rate in children aged 10 to 14

What is happening and what are we doing wrong?

Today’s children are being over-stimulated and over-gifted with material objects, but they are deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:

• Emotionally available parents

• Clearly defined limits

• Responsibilities

• Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep

• Movement in general but especially outdoors

• Creative play, social interaction, unstructured game opportunities and boredom spaces

Instead, in recent years, children have been filled with:

• Digitally distracted parents

• Indulgent and permissive parents who let children “rule the world” and whoever sets the rules

• A sense of right, of deserving everything without earning it or being responsible for obtaining it

• Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition

• A sedentary lifestyle

• Endless stimulation, technological nannies, instant gratification and absence of boring moments.

What to do?

If we want our children to be happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and get back to basics. It is still possible! Many families see immediate improvements after weeks of implementing the following recommendations:

• Set limits and remember that you are the captain of the ship. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you have control of the helm.

• Offer children a balanced lifestyle full of what children NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your children if what they want is not what they need.

• Provide nutritious food and limit junk food.

• Spend at least one hour a day outdoors doing activities such as cycling, walking, fishing, bird/insect watching

• Enjoy a daily family dinner without smartphones or distracting technology, let everyone feel valued

• Play board games as a family or if children are very small for board games, just let the pretend to play it

• Involve your children in some homework or household chores according to their age (folding clothes, hanging clothes, unpacking food, setting the table, feeding the dog, etc.)

• Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure your child gets enough sleep. The schedules will be even more important for school-age children.

• Teach responsibility and independence. Do not overprotect them against all frustration or mistakes. Misunderstanding will help them build resilience and learn to overcome life’s challenges,

• Do not carry your children’s backpack, do not carry the homework they forgot, do not peel bananas or peel oranges if they can do it on their own (4-5 years). Instead of giving them the fish, teach them to fish.

• Teach them to wait and delay gratification.

• Provide opportunities for “boredom”, since boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. Do not feel responsible for always keeping children entertained.

• Do not use technology as a cure for boredom, nor offer it at the first second of inactivity.

• Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, shopping centers. Use these moments as opportunities to socialize by training the brains to know how to work when they are in mode: “boredom”

• Help them create a “bottle of boredom” with activity ideas for when they are bored.

• Be emotionally available to connect with children and teach them self-regulation and social skills:

• Turn off the phones at night when children have to go to bed to avoid digital distractions.

• Become a regulator or emotional trainer for your children. Teach them to recognize and manage their own frustrations and anger.

• Teach them to greet, to take turns, to share without running out of anything, to say thank you and please, to acknowledge the error and apologize (do not force them), be a model of all those values you instill.

• Connect emotionally – smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, play or crawl with them.

I thank you if you share this with other parents.

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