Guilt relief for working mums

There has been some activity in the research domain recently around working mums. This article is one of many reporting that there are benefits to children of working mums that needs greater consideration and recognition. I think this information should be quite relieving for many mums who drop off their kids every morning at child care of school on their way to work, feeling immense guilt.

I hope you enjoy this article.

17UPSHOT-superJumbo

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/upshot/mounting-evidence-of-some-advantages-for-children-of-working-mothers.html?_r=1&abt=0002&abg=1

Obesity Solution – Let Them Play!

Yesterday I rode to school with my two youngest children on our bicycles. They are usually dropped off and picked up near the school gate by car, as with most families. Two interesting experiences resulted from this that caused me to think.

Firstly, it was amazing how excited my two children were about the prospect of riding to school. When I told them the night before, my youngest reacted as if I had just announced that Santa Claus was coming twice this year! In reality it is possible that they could ride to school every day, but like most modern parents, my wife and I are a bit fearful of safety concerns. Ironically the distance to their school is comparitively closer than any of the schools I went to, and I rode my bike to school most of the time from about Year 2 onwards, and sometimes I even walked! High School was about 4km from my home, (which is twice the distance of our ride yesterday) and you know what? I was allowed to walk home. I enjoyed the EXERCISE. So I learned something from this bike-riding experience – I need to find ways of letting the opportunity to ride or walk to school become more the norm.

Secondly, we arrived just on the bell and I was there during all the hussle and bussle of kids entering their classrooms. I heard a child being greeted tersely by the teacher because he came into class slightly sweaty, and out of breath after RUNNING around and PLAYING before school started. The child was chastised – “How many times have I told you [name] not to run around before school because you then come into class all hot and bothered!” I’d like to point out that this is also at a school, like many, where children are not allowed to play on the playground equipment before and after school for safety reasons.  I can’t remember ever being chastised at shool for running around and playing before school starts. I remember even as a high school student playing some form of sport during the lunch hour, in the Brisbane heat, then going to class quite sweaty, yet it was never a problem. I was disappointed that this teacher would react in the way she did.

I continued to think …….

The 2007-08 National Health Survey results indicate that “24.9% of children aged 5 – 17 years are overweight or obese” (http://www.healthyactive.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/overweight-obesity).  Our solution to this problem, through our elected governments, is to throw millions of dollars into programs to combat this epedemic. Many of these are wonderful programs, some of which I am familiar with, aimed at teaching good nutrition and the benefits of regular exerice. However,  I would argue that complex problems don’t necessarily need complex, costly solutions. Often what is needed is lots of little things done well. Sometimes the solution may be right under our noses.

Here is one simple idea – how about letting kids play before school starts? What do you think? Let them run around and get a little sweaty. I know the concerns are often about safety. Schools are concerned about liability risks if a child injures herself in the playground – hence the reason these restrictive rules exist. How sad is that! My younger brother at the age of six broke both his arms simultaneously in a playground incident, and I don’t recall my parents engaging a Solictor to sue the school! Once the plaster was off, both arms worked again – no lasting damage, only a lesson in being more careful was taught! May I suggest that we all just bear the slight risk of potential injuries for the greater good – that of encouraging our children to be more active and play. With statistics showing that 1 in 5 children are overwieght or obese, I would suggest that this is a greater risk to our children’s health than a fracture or grazed knee.

Here is another simple idea – instead of the annual ride or walk to school events, how about we as parents and as a community find ways to make walking and riding more frequent and acceptable? Not only will it potentially help battle this scourge of obesity, but research also shows that exercise improves the performance of the brain and aids learning (a good book on this topic is “Spark” by Dr. John J. Ratey http://www.bookdepository.com/Spark-Dr-John-Ratey/9781849161572). I wonder if that teacher would be happier having a few sweaty kids in her class if she were to embrace the idea that running and playing before school can actually improve their receptiveness to learning and (as I say to my youngest), get their “jiggles out” so they can better sit and listen.

Maybe it sounds too simple. Maybe I am too simplistic in my thinking.

What do you think? Do you have any other crazy ideas like mine?

(thanks to my mum for editing my grammar and spelling on this post 🙂 )

 

Imagine both parents sharing the care of children while on paternity leave

Well, if you live in Sweeden there is no need to imagine, it is a reality. Sweedish parents enjoy one of the most generous paid parental schemes in the world, with parents able to take up to 480 days of leave paid for by the government. Parents are able to share these days, however fathers must take at least 60 of those days. Surprisingly, many fathers are chosing to not share this leave scheme equally with their partners, with some barriers still needing to be broken down. However, those fathers who are taking up this opportunity are great supporters of this wonderful initiative. This blog is one father’s effort to portray through a series photographs the experiences of Sweedish fathers enjoying the opportinity to participate in this scheme and share the care of their children. I really enjoyed this blog and photos, and hope you do to. Well done to these wonderful fathers, and many like them, who are showing a desire for a more egalitatarian approach to parenting. Once gain, Scandanavia is leading the way!

Sweedish Dads blog

Modern Parents More Involved with Kids

I was pleased to read an article in the Courier Mail, Saturday April 18th 2015, “Force of Nurture”. The article reports on recent research from a US study published recently, which revealed that modern parents are spending more time with their children in comparison to their counterparts 50 years ago. Parenting research like this published study, has been following key indicators in parents self-reports of their invovlement with their children, looking at measures of invovlement and type of interaction, over a period of years, tracking trends in parent-child invovlement. According to the study, mothers are spending an average of 13.7 hours per week with their children, and for dads the figure is 7.2 hours, which is an increase from 10.5 hours for mums and 2.6 hours for dads in 1965. Well done to the dad’s, as this increase from 2.6 hours per week to 7.2 hours is significant and represents the rise of modern parenting – where there is acknowledgement for the need for involvement with both parents.  Similar research conducted by the Australian Institure of Family Studies has followed Australian trends over many years, with recent figures indicating that for parents of children aged 5 to 14, mothers are spending 2.5 hours with thier children everyday, and for fathers the figure is 1.5 hours per day. As the article reports, modern parents are certainly more ‘savvy’ using innovative ways such as flexible work arrangements to allow them to balance both work and family life. I will suggest that, although not mentioned in this article, parents wh0 do well to juggle such responsibilities and actively parent their children, do so under a level of strain in order to manage such a juggling act. In other words, ‘it aint easy’. Once again, the research repeatedly asserts – it’s quality time, not just quantity, that makes a difference in the lives of children.

Well done to Daryl Passmore, the author, for writing this article (p.7 !) given the space in newspapers is highly competitive and often the negative news dominates.

Dad 2.0

Like many fathers, I am often frustrated by the way ‘us’ dad’s are portrayed in the media – incompetent, useless with household chores, and lacking in parenting skills. I am so glad to have discovered today a Summit held annually that brings together media representatives, fathers, and marketers, to help shape the way fathers are better presented. Great work Dad 2.0, maybe I might be able to come join you at one of your summits in the future.

Here are some great clips;

Subaru Commercial

Lovely representation of an involved father, wanting to be their for his child at important life events.

google Chrome add

A dad’s-eye-view of his child’s life as recounted in his online blog.

Great stay-at-home dad!

A stay-at-home dad shares his experience.

Fathers needed for research

If you can assist my colleague Annette with her research project that would really be appreciated. See below for more information;

Hello, my name is Annette Coyne and I am in my second year of the Master’s of Clinical Psychology program at USQ. My research thesis is focused on fathers and how they can be included more effectively by mental health practitioners.

We know that including fathers in family interventions and parenting programs increases the benefit for the whole family. However, fathers are often under-represented, both in participation and in the research. This study is exploring father’s attitudes towards parenting and masculinity, with an aim to understand more about how fathers feel about their roles. I am looking for fathers of any age and background to complete a short survey. Here is the link –

https://psi.usq.edu.au/ols/psych/surveys/FRHS15/external.phphttps://psi.usq.edu.au/ols/psych/surveys/FRHS15/external.php

Your participation, or sharing this with a father you know, is gratefully appreciated.

Annette

Kids participation in sport

A thought provoking article that every sport loving parent should read to check-in – who is this about? You are your kid?
I have had to soul search myself a little on this one as I have tried hard to encourage my son in his sporting endeavours. He has shown natural giftedness in most sports. Yet over the last few years I have noticed his interest waining, and his enjoyment of the game just doesn’t seem to be there. I think it is linked to the increasing competitiveness that has crept in over the years, which for him takes away from the shear fun of sport.

Starting afresh

I decided to remove all of my old posts and to start out fresh. I wanted to blog more about topics relating to my interests in health and well-being, and fatherhood. I will be conducting research in the next few years on fathers in particular and wanted to use this as a space to share some of my findings. Stay tuned….