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My Parents’ Endless Rows Have Left Me Angry & Depressed

You are still carrying the scars from your upbringing, says Mariella Frostrup. Now your focus should be on yourself and how not to repeat the behaviours of your parents.

The dilemma I’m 22 years old and for as long as I can remember my parents have constantly had arguments in which they would be abusive to one another – mostly verbally, occasionally physically. As a teenager I struggled with my sexuality and coming out, and I had depression until I got treatment at university. Home didn’t provide respite and the constant rows made it worse.

I’d often get involved to try and make them stop, whereas my brother would retreat into his room to escape. In general, I’m happy, however I feel my ability to deal with conflict is damaged. I’m very passive and feel the need to please people. I worry about repeating these patterns when I have my own relationship. My brother also has mental health issues. Whenever I come home, they still argue and it never seems to improve. I feel angry at how selfish they were bringing up children through that, and I used to wish they’d get divorced, for all of our happiness. If I can’t change this, then what else can I do?

Mariella replies First, pity them. That’s three whole decades of dysfunctional partnership they’ve battled though. I appreciate that the reason you’ve written is to seek advice on how to escape the burden you continue to bear. It may sound over-optimistic, but shrugging off personal responsibility and learning from your parents’ mistakes rather than inheriting their predilection for pain are both entirely achievable goals.

Imagine how many missives I receive about bad parenting. As I said recently, I could quote Philip Larkin into next century and he’d still be the perennially appropriate choice. When it comes to parenting there are not only amateurs out there, but truly committed purveyors of discord with not a thought for those navigating the turbulent waters left in their stormy wake. The best you can hope for is that you can survive and thrive once you are liberated by honing your ability to learn from their flaws.

I used to elaborate on my damaged childhood until I heard stories that made my own experiences seem like kindergarten politics. It goes without saying that if the physical abuse was sustained or recurs, or the mental anguish continues to wreak havoc on either parent, then you must think about professional intervention.

The big mistake we all make is assuming that “professional” parents exist, that our experience is substantially different or that an idyllic segue from dependence into independence is a reasonable expectation. You and your sibling may well need to augment your coping skills as a result of your experiences. Your insecurities about coming out and your brother’s struggle with mental health issues are very likely to be connected (for help, refer him to Mind or the charity Family Lives on 0808 800 2222).

True emotional freedom is only possible once you banish any sense of culpability for your parents’ behavioural shortcomings and allow yourself the emotional space to become a distant and dispassionate observer. You can’t erase the damage they’ve already done, but you can certainly come to understand the emotional triggers that their warring created and manage them like you would any dysfunctional tendencies of your own.

The sins of our parents may seem as inescapable as our own, but I’ve never accepted the notion that what you are born into, or are subjected to in childhood should forever shape your experience of the world. We are all individuals with a unique opportunity to shape our lives as we desire, so learning from damage, rather than simply shouldering the burden, is incredibly important. Personal responsibility is something we don’t talk about enough in our blame-seeking society, as I’ve learned through travels to places where the hardships we experience still look like luxury.

Your letter provides further proof, however unnecessary, that the environment we are brought up in can have serious implications on how we go about our adult lives. It’s a responsibility that no budding parent can possibly imagine when the product of their physical passion turns into a living, breathing, vulnerable, judgmental human being.

As children we are dependent on our parents in a way we never will be again. We rely entirely on them to feed and clothe us, to love us, guide us, help us and hide us. What’s harder to imagine and certainly worth bearing in mind is that they are never perfect and often far from it.

Ponder on all the years they’ve squandered in a state of perpetual strife and then endeavour to ensure that you don’t repeat their behavioural patterns or let the legacy continue to impact on you in the way it has historically. It’s a tall order, but with focus and determination there’s very little we can’t overcome.

You might also want to copy them in on your beautifully articulate letter, or indeed this whole column, to ensure they know exactly what the toll of their indulgent skirmishes has been. If the damage is already done, you’ve nothing to lose.

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If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to mariella.frostrup@observer.co.uk.

Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1

 

 

Source: My parents’ endless rows have left me angry and depressed | Mariella Frostrup | Life and style | The Guardian

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The Top Ride On Trains On The Market – Family Hype

The train has been a staple child’s toy for many years. When you think of a toy train, you tend to think about a small train set where the train goes about its journey, be it hand or battery powered. These trains are very small, usually too small for even your pet to catch a ride on.

Source: flickr.com

However, another type of train that kids, especially toddlers and younger children love is the ride-on train. With these, your little boy or girl can be the conductor as they take themselves on a one way ticket to fun. There are plenty of ride-on trains in the market. Which ones are the best? Let’s find out.

What To Look For In A Ride On Train

Tracks Or No Tracks?

There are some ride on trains that have their own tracks. These tracks can be built and your child can ride on them. Some trains don’t have tracks, and are just train-shaped carts they can ride on. Who needs tracks? Some kids will like the creativity that comes with building and riding on tracks, while others may like a train where they can ride everywhere that has a solid surface.  Some trains have the option for both. This may be good for a growing child. At first, a set track would be the safest, and as they grow, they can drive around outside the tracks.

Battery or No Battery?

Some trains are battery operated. They move on their own, with gear and braking systems. Then there are those that are powered by pushing or feet. Obviously, the battery powered means that it will be more expensive and can break down more, but it can be more fun. Of course, your budget matters at the end of the day.

Source: maxpixel.net

Design

Does your kid want a train shaped like their favorite character, like Thomas the Tank Engine, or do they want a more realistic train? This can determine which train you buy. Some trains are cheaper and made from plastic, while others will have a steel look that you will love too.

Now, let’s look at some trains.

National 6V Talking

This is a train that can do a lot. It has a 19-foot track and can go up to a mile an hour. It’s not exactly a train that can take you across the country, but for a young child with an imagination, it might as well be. It makes noises too, just like a real train. Your child can shift it forwards or reverse, it has a braking system that activates automatically, and it’s an all-around decent buy. With that said, it does have some durability issues, so if your kid is a roughhouser, you may want to look elsewhere.

Step2 Up & Down Coaster

Step2 is always a good name when it comes to toys for tots. This coaster has the face of Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is a character who is beloved by generations of children. Odds are, you may have liked him when you were a kid.

It has a little ramp your kid can use, but it’s not as complex as the other ones. It’s great for young children, as its nonslip steps, handrails, and other safety features ensure a safe and fun ride, but it lacks features that older kids may want.

Source: flickr.com (Rizu14)

Kiddieland Minnie

Minnie Mouse is a great character for your little girl (or boy.) This is a plastic train that has its own track. It has music and sounds you may recognize and its caboose can fit the rest of the toy, making it great for travel. With that said, the toy is very slow, so it’s another one that’s great for little toddlers, but bigger kids may want more.

Morgan Cycle Santa Fe

This is a great steel train that is built for durability. It has a padded seat that’s comfortable, safe, and can be detached to clean. That’s always a plus, isn’t it? It’s non-electric, colorful, and quite fun to steer. It’s great if you want a toddler-powered train that can last, though some kids may want an electric one.

Source: flickr.com (Jason Mrachina)

Rollplay Steam

This is a quite advanced ride-on train. It makes real steam, allowing your kid to think they are really riding on a train. It’s battery powered and rechargeable and a full battery can have two hours of adventuring. Overall, it’s a great train with many uses, and we recommend trying it out. Oh yeah, and it has working headlights, so you may see your kid on it when you think they’re sleeping! All aboard.

Power Wheels Thomas & Friends

Again, who doesn’t love Thomas? This toy will make your child think they are really riding everyone’s favorite blue train. This toy can move forward, steer around, and stop. It comes with a track, and it can go outside its track as well, which is always a plus. It makes real sounds from the show as well, which is always a plus. You can easily assemble it too.

Source: airforcemedicine.af.mil

VTech Sit-to-Stand

This battery powered train not only is fun to ride on, but it can teach your kid about the ABCs. Oh yeah, and it has a piano your kid can play with as well. It has its own learning center to teach your toddler about all the basics. For a toddler, learning has never been more fun, and we know your little one is going to love what he sees. If you want to get your child to learn their alphabet, shapes, numbers, and more, then you should take them aboard the learning train.

Source: flickr.com (Penguino20)

Peg Perego Santa Fe

This is another cool train that can go on a track or off the track, too. The track itself is 12 pieces, and the train has a classic design that is aesthetically pleasing. It makes sounds that resemble a real train and no steering required. Your kid is going to love every bit of it.

 

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on FamilyHype.com) is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a FamilyHype.com.

Source: The Top Ride On Trains On The Market – Family Hype

How Technology Can Help Not Hurt Family Connections – Julia Freeland Fisher

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Between headlines about children’s ballooning screen time to growing concerns about the costs of distracted parenting, it’s easy to scapegoat technology for troubling family dynamics. The warm glow of a touch screen threatens to pull children and adults alike from investing in caring and face-to-face connections. In 2018, good parenting and technology don’t seem to mix.

But what if technology could start to prompt conversations that parents and children otherwise struggle to initiate? And more importantly, what if technology opened up time for more and better face-to-face interactions to take root? Luckily, edtech entrepreneurs are beginning to explore these possibilities.

Emerging platforms are starting to do what one founder, Josh Schacter (of the app CommunityShare), calls “going online to go offline.” In other words, although tools may require some online interactions and infrastructure, they ultimately aim to choreograph connections that can blossom offline.

One such tool is PowerMyLearning, which is breaking new ground in helping triangulate teacher-student-family connections and engaging parents actively in their children’s homework. I sat down with the organization’s CEO and Co-Founder, Elisabeth Stock, to learn more.

Julia: How does PowerMyLearning strengthen the relationship between schools and families? How is it different from traditional approaches to family engagement?

Elisabeth: At PowerMyLearning, we believe that students are most successful when supported by a triangle of strong learning relationships between students, teachers, and families. If you ask an adult, “What is the education system?” they’ll usually respond, “Well, there is the superintendent, the principals, the teachers union, and so on.”

But if you ask a student, they’ll say, “Oh that’s easy, it’s my teachers and family.”

PowerMyLearning ensures students, teachers, and families can operate as a system, with everyone rowing in the same direction, by transforming teaching and family engagement in schools and districts nationwide. Our work includes innovative coaching and workshops, and our digital platform, PowerMyLearning Connect.

PowerMyLearning’s Family Playlists are a great example of work we do to strengthen the triangle. These playlists are interactive homework assignments through which students practice a set of learning activities and then teach them to a family partner, usually a parent, who then provides feedback to the teacher about the experience (like how well the child understood or explained the lesson). Family Playlists differ from traditional approaches to family engagement in three ways:

First, Family Playlists leverage the type of family engagement that has the most impact on academic achievement: families supporting their children’s learning at home. Second, Family Playlists put families in the role of teammate and supporter.

Traditional family engagement efforts put families in the role of enforcer (“The parent portal shows that you haven’t turned your math homework yet – why not?”). Ellen Flanagan, a principal at one of our partner schools in New York City, said, “Our teachers love Family Playlists. They shift the homework dynamic from compliance to engagement and students learn the material better.”

Third, Family Playlists make family engagement measurable because teachers and principals can easily track family participation throughout the school year, which means family engagement can be improved. For students without an engaged family member, schools can help identify a supportive and caring adult outside the classroom to help with their learning.

Julia: Do you also see shifts in students’ relationships with their own families resulting from your approach over time as well?

Elisabeth: We definitely see a shift in students’ relationships with their own families over time. Usually, an after-school conversation goes something like: “What did you do in school today?” “Nothing.”  “What did you learn?” “Nothing.”

Family Playlists completely change that dynamic. Parents are excited to have the opportunity to sit down with their kids and understand what they are learning. Bilingual parents, in particular, are engaged in a way that they never were before. One mother from one of our schools this year, said: “It’s taken me back to my school days.

My child understanding factors has helped me understand. It’s also helped my child improve and enjoy doing school work, in and out of school. Parents and children can actually vibe and communicate a lot more with each other. I just want to give you guys a huge (thumbs up emoji) for such a great invention.”

Working with partner schools implementing Family Playlists, we have found that students were not only teaching academic concepts to their families, they were also teaching socio-emotional learning competencies like persisting when struggling and keeping a growth mindset about learning.

It’s hard work for students to teach their parents—some even say they take away their parent’s phones to keep them on task. However, the students lean in to the struggle because they feel confident teaching their parents something they don’t know.

From interviews with the kids, we also saw that trust and attachment were powerful byproducts of Family Playlists. One student, Binta, said her mother trusts her more because she’s now directly involved in her learning. She said, “Family Playlists make our bond better because we interact more.

We have more fun times than we normally do. My mom used to tell me every day to study and go over my notes. Now, she trusts me and knows how well I’m doing. She likes to listen to me explain what I’m learning.”

Julia: There’s a technology infrastructure–the PowerMyLearning Connect platform–behind your model. Where is that technology facilitating online connections and where is it coordinating offline interactions? How do you think about the right balance between online and offline teacher-family-student connections to best support student success?

Elisabeth: We have done a lot of thinking about how Family Playlists can facilitate a balance of both online and offline interactions to best support student success.

We use online interactions when supporting the connection between teachers and families. Online enables them to interact comfortably (in their own language) and asynchronously (to accommodate schedules). For example, when a teacher assigns the playlist, family partners receive a text in their home language with the due date and a link to the full Family Playlist.

Once students have finished the teaching portion, the family partners can use their phone to send a photo of their work and/or themselves (who doesn’t like taking selfies?) to the teacher, along with feedback on how well their child understood the concept. The photos bring the teacher “inside” their home and helps provide a clearer understanding of their child and home context.

We use offline interactions during the portion of the Family Playlist when the students teach their family partner. For example, when teaching coordinate plane, students work with their family partner on creating a map of their neighborhood together. They plot their home at the origin and then graph the coordinates of important locations nearby.

We go offline for these teaching moments because we want the students and family partners to be present for each other: we want them to look at each other, touch real-world items around their home and have a real conversation.

The idea that face-to-face interactions facilitate teachable moments ties closely with recent studies showing that our cell phones can hurt our close relationships when we are in the same room or at the same dinner table; in those moments, interacting without screens fosters closeness, connectedness, interpersonal trust, and perceptions of empathy—the building-blocks of relationships.

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