How to Maintain an Identity Separate from Parenthood

Parenthood can be all-consuming. Caring for a child is no easy feat: it takes a great deal of time, thought and energy. Because we prioritize our children, we give them the first and the best of whatever we have to offer, leaving the leftovers for ourselves. But when our leftover time, attention and energy isn’t enough, we become one dimensional. Many of us begin to limit our identities to being parents and nothing else. We often think this transformation is necessary in order to be devoted caretakers. In reality, this transformation robs us of our ability to be happy and whole. To be the best parent you must first be the best you. However, you can’t achieve that if you no longer know who you are outside of your parental role. If you find yourself in this predicament, try these four tips to maintain your identity separate from parenthood.

Stay in Touch with Friends

Friendship is important. The act of connecting with like-minded individuals who know all the details of your life (past and present) provides a mental outlet that is undeniably necessary in adulthood. Friends give us the chance to reminisce, vent and let loose. They can be a shoulder to cry on, timely comedic relief or simply a hand to hold. But because parenthood keeps us busy our former friendships sometimes get pushed to the back burner or lost altogether. Instead of severing your friendships, make it a point to stay in touch. While your adult companions can serve as reminders of who you were before children, they can also help keep you connected to your individualism, even with children.  

Independent Time

It’s no secret that parenthood requires the biggest time commitment you’ll ever make. From the moment your first child is born, you assume a twenty-four hour, seven day a week responsibility. Because our children rely on us for everything from their physical needs to their mental and moral development, it’s common for many parents to lose track of time in the process. Before we know it the kids are successful young adults in college while we struggle to find our rhythm as empty nesters. Failing to make time to feed your own mind, body and soul can wreak havoc on various parts of your life. Some people end up resenting their choice to selflessly sacrifice so much of their time. Others wind up smothering their kids because they no longer know how to function outside of their parental role. Stay-at-home parents may also harbor hidden animosity toward their children or spouse because of the amount of daily time devoted without a break. The best remedy is to work with your support system to schedule time away. Whether that be a date night, independent time or a tropical getaway, regular time to yourself will help clear your mind and leave you refreshed and ready to be the best parent you can be.

Independent Interests

Lastly, balanced parents need independent interests. We put our children in chess club, soccer and gymnastics to expose them to various people, opportunities to problem solve and life experiences. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves? For the same reason your children need hobbies, parents can also benefit from having interests that are uniquely theirs. Set aside time for yourself to do what makes you happiest. Consider old passions you’ve forgotten. Look into trying something new. You deserve the chance to release some stress, invest in your personal growth or relax and unwind. Parenthood shouldn’t cancel out your ability to make those joys a part of your weekly routine.

Being a parent is a privilege and an honor. The joy of parenthood far exceeds the struggles we may face along the way. Still, it’s important that you don’t lose yourself in the process. Children benefit most when they have happy, balanced adults in their lives. Be honest with yourself and your spouse about what you need in order to restore a feeling of self, and use these three tips as your guide.

Glen and Joya BakerHow to Maintain an Identity Separate from Parenthood
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Are Your Kids Ready For The Future? Give Them An Edge With These Skills

Parenting has always been a huge responsibility. We all want our kids to reap success and lead rewarding lives in the future. Yet, in this fast-paced digital age, parenting seems to have become a harder task. Technology is rapidly changing the way people live all over the world and kids are now faced with a greater challenge more than ever.You can boost your child’s advantage in the digital world by teaching them the following skills:

Teach Them a Foreign Language 

Technological advancements have indeed made the world smaller so raising bilingual or multilingual kids will prove to be beneficial in the long run. The future workforce will most likely be composed of people from various cultures so the ability to speak and understand a foreign language will open more career opportunities. They say it is best to start learning a language at a young age, so it is a good idea to enroll your child in a foreign language class or simply install an app that offers language courses. Learning a new language also leads to other benefits such as wider vocabulary and improved memory. It is also a great way to teach your kids about embracing diversity.

Make Your Kids Social Media Savvy 

Social media is everywhere these days and your kids most likely have or will soon have an account. Get involved by educating your child on how to use the online media platforms responsibly. Teach your kids how they can take advantage of the social media platforms by telling them the good (e.g., sharing knowledge) and bad (e.g., cyber-bullying) side of it. While you do not want to snoop or monitor your child’s every move online, gently remind them to always think before clicking or posting anything. You should also teach them ways on how they can protect their privacy online.

Emphasize the Importance of Offline Time

Kids today spend a great deal of time online, from leisure activities such as watching movies and playing games to serious stuff such as researching and studying. To help them grow-up up as well-rounded kids, parents need to teach their children to balance the time they spend in online and offline activities. A surefire way to impart this knowledge to youngsters is by being a good example. It will be hard to tell your kids to limit screen time to a few hours a day if you spend most of the time online as well. So schedule fun and traditional activities or teach them new skills that do not involve any gadget at all. It will be great for bonding and at the same time will make your child realize that there are other worthwhile activities to do offline.

Inform Them About Emerging In-Demand Skills

Parents should be on the lookout about the latest in the digital trends to know the skills that may be indispensable for their kids in the future. You do not have to force it, but you can encourage your children to take lessons in fields such as robotics or coding.

 

Parents want nothing but the best for their kids, so it is understandable if some will go to great lengths just to ensure it. Still, at the end of the day, the best way to nurture your kid’s potential is by showering them with unconditional love and support.

 

Glen and Joya BakerAre Your Kids Ready For The Future? Give Them An Edge With These Skills
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The Lessons We Should Teach All Kids Before They Enter a Classroom

Merriam-Webster defines knowledge as “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association or the acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique.” In other words, knowledge is the collection of skills, facts, and information. It also seems to be the primary reason to send children to school. We want them to learn and to know things, to become knowledgeable, if you will, about the world they live in. We want them to succeed from an educational standpoint, and the environment inside classrooms reinforces this principle.

This mentality starts at a very young age. Elementary-schoolers are exposed to test-taking by the ripe, young age of six with first-grade level spelling tests. Essentially, this test-taking mindset never stops throughout a child’s entire education, and arguably through their entire life.  Children learn very early on that the grade received on a test represents how well the child does or does not master the material. There is a certain degree of validity to test-taking and the assessment of knowledge because we have to be sure that our children are learning, understanding and mastering material before moving on.

But, what happens when kids start comparing grades? What happens when children start realizing they’re actually not as smart as they believed themselves to be? That seemingly insignificant number circled in red pen on their assignment starts to mean a lot more. Their small, little world comes shattering down and crushes their desire to learn along with it.

If test-taking ensures the learning, understanding and mastering of certain skills and information, where is the assessment to make sure this information is actually being processed correctly? Where is the emphasis on the actual enterprises of the mind and not merely just the ability to collect and remember facts and information?

That being said, there are some lessons we should teach all kids before they enter a classroom.

 

Unfortunately, there may never be an accurate and completely foolproof way to fairly measure the actual processes of learning that take place inside children’s minds. But, there is a way to increase the chances of it. This is why we have to, we absolutely must, teach kids the difference between knowledge and intelligence before they enter the classroom. Before they take their first test. Before they get the wrong idea about the purpose of education.

Children must be aware that if knowledge is the collection of information learned in school, intelligence is the application of it. Intelligence is the truer indicator of a person’s cognition, but it’s just harder to measure. The rhetoric and narrative that surrounds children and their need to succeed are founded far too much in the emphasis on knowledge.

So before your kids enter a classroom for the first time, emphasize the fact that the number at the top of any test they ever take doesn’t accurately represent just how smart they truly are. What really matters is the ability to apply information learned in school to other situations. Inform them that their level of intelligence is much more valuable than their ability to collect information. If you do this, you’ll see much more successful results perhaps in school, but especially in life.

Glen and Joya BakerThe Lessons We Should Teach All Kids Before They Enter a Classroom
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How to Secure Stronger, More Meaningful Relationships

Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that need and deserve a little TLC. Friendships, business partnerships, and familial relationships all require certain basic elements of love and care to thrive. If you want to secure a stronger, more meaningful relationship with someone, you have to put in the effort and the time required to forge those lasting bonds. You wouldn’t forget to water the plants in your garden and leave them to wilt, so why would you let your meaningful relationships falter without a sprinkling of communication, a handful of quality time, and a helping of compassion?

Strengthen Your Relationships Through Communication

One of the most important things you can do for the health of your relationships is to communicate. Though it may seem unnecessary—or even burdensome at times—to reach out to your network of friends, family, and colleagues, it’s unbelievably crucial to the success of those relationships.

When you take the time to let the people in your life know that you care for them, you’ll be so richly rewarded by stronger, more meaningful bonds with each and every one of them.

Forge Lasting Bonds With Quality Time

In addition to strengthening your communication skills, it’s also vitally important to carve out time to spend with those that mean the most to you. Quality time is worth so much more than anything else when it comes to relationships. It’s the real bread and butter of meaningful connection.

If you can’t make a significant time commitment, at least try to make the time that you can spend as deeply impactful as possible. Don’t just skim the surface if you’re wanting to strengthen your close personal relationships.

Always Demonstrate Compassion in Relationships

Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on from time to time. We all need and deserve compassion in our lives, and sadly, many of us seldom find that comfort. In order to create the strongest, longest lasting relationships, though, it’s crucial to develop that level of compassion for your fellow man.

Demonstrate your compassion by lending a helping hand or a listening ear. Go out of your way to show the people in your life that you’re there for them, through thick and thin. What it really comes down to is loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

Glen and Joya BakerHow to Secure Stronger, More Meaningful Relationships
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3 Amazing Gifts You Give Your Child That Cost Nothing

Throughout the year, there are countless opportunities to show our children that we love them through material gifts. There’s Christmas with its bountiful presents, Easter with its eggs and baskets, birthdays with their cakes and balloons, and countless other occasions where physical goods win out in the war for affection. But, the most impactful of gifts are the ones that last a lifetime. They’re the ones that can’t be bought at the store; they are earned through positive parenting.

There are at least three amazing gifts that you can give your child that cost absolutely nothing.

The Gift of Self-Esteem

First of all, one of the most amazing gifts that you can impart to your child is the gift of self-esteem. Though it’s not something that can be wrapped up and cinched with a bow, it’s truly one of the best presents you can give to your kids.

So, how do you give the gift of self-esteem? It starts and ends with letting your kids do things for themselves. It may be easier to cut their meat for them when they’re little, and it may be even easier (and less terrifying) to drive them everywhere when they’re teens. But, in the end, doing all of those things for your kids hurts them more than it helps either of you. When you let them try (and often fail) on their own, you inadvertently—and purposely—give them the gift of self-esteem.

The Gift of Quality Time

Time is money. Time is priceless. Time can be spent. Time can be wasted. But, when you spend quality time with your children, it’s never wasted. You never want for the money you could have earned when you were reading bedtime stories to your kids.

It only stands to reason, then, that one of the greatest gifts you could give your children is the gift of quality time. Though you could technically put a price tag on the time you spend with them, the experiences you’ll both have together are ultimately worth so much more than any wage could measure up to.

Quality time with your kids is worth the world.

The Gift of Imparted Wisdom

Last, but certainly not least, the gift of imparted wisdom is the ultimate gift that we all give our kids—whether we realize it or not. The wisdom that we place along are not always intentionally imparted, but all the same, just the way our parents taught us about the basic truths of life, so we teach our kids how to be better people.

In the end, we grace our kids with the best (free) gift of all: how to live a value-centered, meaningful life. We hope that they continue that tradition and leave their children with even greater wisdom than we could impart, and in that, we aim to make the world a better and better place with each generation.

The most amazing gift is the gift of a remarkable legacy.

Glen and Joya Baker3 Amazing Gifts You Give Your Child That Cost Nothing
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