Child Centered Parenting versus Parent Centered Parenting

Proud Mommy Moment Naomi Mc Laughlan 14 June 2017

To be or not to be….or the chicken and the egg question comes to mind, doesn’t it?

Since my son Jason has turned 20 yesterday, I have reflected upon the past 20 years of parenthood and the experiences I have accumulated over the years…

His first smile, first word, first step, first birthday, first day at kindergarten, first day at school etc. So many pressures memories, almost unbelievable how fast the time has passed!

I also noticed how many other parents I have encountered; during pre-birth classes, at nursery, kindergarten, school and hobby groups, as well as my son’s friendship cycle. Many different approaches to parenting, many little lives influenced on how their parents conducted the ‘parenting game of life’.

I have learned that some focus their approach around the child, value the little person as a unique individual who cannot conform to ‘norms’, but rather allow them to flourish and explore the world, while the parent (s) organise their lives based on their child’s needs and wants.

Meanwhile, I have also met many parents who ‘add their child on’ to their life, life style and general way of approaching their day-to-day. By for example, continuing their life’s pretty much as prior to having had the child; they continue their work schedule and leisure time and manage their child’s day by delegating childcare either between each other and also towards family members or childcare providers, friends and other children entertaining activities. They continue to meet up with friends and when they go out as a family they base their choice on what they (the parent(s)) would like to do, not their child. Interestingly, those parents often wonder why their child ‘misbehaves’ e.g. can’t sit still in an adult centred restaurant and even doesn’t like the food served or during a show that they are not interested in.

In my opinion, there is no ‘right or wrong’ type of parenting, as each child is so different, even within the same family. My three children are entirely different and truly need and want very different approaches, not just based on their age, but also based on their individual interests and personal preferences.

However, I do think that parents need to pause and reflect on a regular basis, to spot issues asap, to avoid taking a route that is damaging for the child or even for themselves.

I have met mums who constantly hover over their kids, completely lose their sense of self and practically live solely to please their children. Or mums and dads who feel burdened when they ‘should or have to’ spend extended times with their kids, buy as many toys as they can and yet still find little to no connection, while those children have no interest in their countless toys and are constantly bored. Both are unhealthy in my opinion, as both will lead to heart ache in the long run, for all involved.

In my parenting, I have always tried to balance between the two and learned that this approach is best, not just for my eldest, but also for my younger two girls. For example, when we want to eat somewhere together, we choose a buffet (most often Chinese) or simply McD’s (although their veggie menu is limited), as the first offers the option to choose food everyone likes and the second that the children (almost) cannot ‘misbehave’ (be a child, move around and not noise restricted), as it clearly is a child centred food outlet (balloons, crayons and paper and toys included). Another example is that while I drive and drop my kids to their hobby sessions (ballet, judo etc.), I either take a book with me and read while they enjoy their sessions, chat with another mum while drinking a nice cup of coffee or listen to an audiobook. I use these pockets of time to also enjoy the time, so that I don’t feel that I am ‘just the Taxi’.

I do have to admit though, that if I had to honestly evaluate which side I am on, I would consider my parenting approach to be child centered, and I guess that has come from learning experiences of the past 20 years; If you try to enjoy an adult type activity, don’t force a child to enjoy it and vice versa. Although, I do actually enjoy many child centered activities, e.g Disney and Co.

I had my son very early in my life, so I guess that is another reason why I enjoy the child centered approach, as I was so young I had not yet established a ‘me first’ e.g. ‘selfish way of life style’ that may have led me to feel ‘disturbed’ by my child’s needs and wants. Instead, as I wanted to traveled the world, for example, I chose places and hotels etc. which would entertain both of us. In addition, as I had my second child 5 years later and then my third another 6 years later, the child centered approach made even more sense, the bigger the family became. Which led to many decisions, including to homeschool, to start my business six years ago, working from home serving customers around the world and writing business and children books.

I would love to read your thoughts on this! Have you found a parenting approach that works well? If so, please share it in the comment section below. Thanks 😉

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: Enjoy every second of being a parent!

5 Tips for Easy Air Travel with Kids

Travel with Children Naomi Mc Laughlan

I have been a frequent flyer my entire life, nationally and internationally, and as I have become a mother early, I can say that for the past 19 years, I have been able to gather some positive and negative experiences when traveling with my three children. Oh boy…like running out of nappies at the airport, because the luggage was already checked in and my baby girl had diarrhea… or having to live in the same cloth for days in a sh** airport hotel, because my luggage got left behind and I had to wait for it to arrive before being able to travel on in West Africa…but also the great ones, for example when my kids enjoyed watching planes take off or meeting highly interesting, lovely people along the journey.

There’s no denying that it has become more and more difficult to fly without running into snags or problems with the airport or the airlines. Enduring the line at the security check point in some airports is enough to put some passengers in a bad mood, especially the little ones ;-).

However, despite all of the inconveniences that come with flying, it is a necessity. There are several things that can be done to make flying easier and more hassle free, and all that is involved is a little bit of common sense and planning.

1. Get to the Airport Early 

Arriving at the airport early is a no-brainer, especially when the airlines tell passengers to arrive at least two hours prior to a flight’s departure time. However, there are many people who refuse to heed this request, and arrive at the airport just several minutes before a flight is scheduled to leave. If there is a line at the check-in counter or at security, this can create a very stressful situation. Not only may the flight be missed, but a new flight must be booked, and the passengers will probably have to travel stand-by on a later flight with no guarantee of a seat until the very last minute.

2. Take a Morning Flight

Leaving on an early flight does not necessarily mean a 4 a.m. flight must be chosen. However, flights that leave first thing in the morning are less likely to be running late, and they are less likely to be affected by weather problems across the country and/or other planes that may be delayed at other airports. Also, if for some reason the first flight of the day is cancelled or delayed, there will probably be several other flights throughout the day that, if necessary, can be taken instead.

3. Try Not to Fly During “Rush Hour” 

Airports, like highways, have rush hours. Typically, rush hour in the morning is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and in the afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These are the hours when airports are the most crowded with people waiting for flights. Crowds mean longer lines at the security check points, more people in the restrooms, more people waiting in restaurant lines, and more people taking up seats in the waiting areas. Flying at a NON-rush hour time of day can alleviate the need to stand in lines and sit with crowds.

4. Try to Take Non-Stop Flights 

Obviously, when a non-stop flight is taken, there is less risk of being delayed. Taking off and landing both take quite a bit of time, so avoiding having to do this twice is recommended. There will always be destinations when a non-stop flight is not available, but there are plenty of cities where non-stop flights are just as common as those that stop. It may even be worth a few extra dollars to book a non-stop flight to avoid an unneeded hassle and the possibility of being delayed.

5. Book Connections with Enough Time 

If a non-stop flight is not available to a desired destination, make sure to schedule enough time in between flights. When airlines book flights, they often have a layover requirement of 30 or 45 minutes between connections. However, this is often not enough time if the original flight arrives late. In order to avoid this stress, try to schedule connecting flights with at least an hour to spare between the arrival time of the first flight and the departure time of the connecting flight.

Lastly, do not forget to pack as light as possible, because depending where you are heading towards; you will be able to buy most items at your destination, so there is no need to ‘perform heavy lifting’ to get it there.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

📣 P.S.:

Please LIKE 🌟COMMENT 🌟FOLLOW & 🌟SHARE

How to create Social Tales for your Autistic Child

 

Social Tale Blog Post Naomi Mc Laughlan

Social tales are created to teach your child a skill, elaborate a situation or invite to consider usual and unusual events, for example a visit to the dentist, how to understand other people’s feelings and what their body language may communicate and much more.

I have created stories to explain and prepare my youngest child many times in the past and I have found them to be very helpful, as I have found that I can create them in minutes and re-use or adapt them if I have to for future use.


How to create a Social Tale in 5 Simple Steps;

Step 1 Consider one topic or topic area

Step 2 Write down one to three aspects you want your child to take away from the tale

Step 3 Outline the tale (the beginning,main part and end)

Step 4 Write simple, short and focused sentences that describe what happens or shall happen. You can personalize your tale by using your child’s name and by adding names of places or his or her favorite toys etc. to it. State the ‘best case scenario’ and make active, positive statements, rather than negative ones.

Step 5 Illustrate your tale or add clipart to enhance your message visually

You don’t have to be extremely creative, but rather focus on the main goals or objectives you are trying to accomplish, as the tale is meant to teach or explain, rather than entertain your child. Although, you may want to create a mix of stories, some which are more descriptive and others that show a situation in a more detailed approach.


A couple of years ago, I wrote a story for my little girl, because she was very anxious of noises, insects and the like. Initially, I created the text and asked my son to illustrate the pages just for us, but eventually realized that it may also help other children who are on the Autistic Spectrum and suffer from fears and phobias. Eventually the book was published in 2012 as ‘Judy no need to be scared’, and has since helped hundreds of children to overcome fearful situations through reading and listening to the story.Judy no need to be scared Naomi Mc Laughlan Kindle book cover

The book is available at Amazon, as a paperback or Kindle version, so I invite you to have a look.

Please LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT & SHARE!

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

What are the Medical Model of Disability & The Social Model of Disability?

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There are two models of disability; the medical model and the social model. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the two:

The Medical Model of Disability

The World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced the medical model of disability which was developed by medical professionals in their framework for working with disability and publishing the “International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps” in 1980.

The medical model of disability focuses on the condition of the person, its management and treatment.

The Social Model of Disability

“In our view it is society which disables physically impaired people. Disability is something imposed on top of our impairments by the way we are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society.” claimed the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS), in 1979.

Since 1980 the social model of disability was introduced to the UK and it identifies negative attitudes, exclusion by society and systemic barriers.


Applying the Medical and the Social Model is Key for a Diverse Society…  Crayons Diversity Naomi Mc Laughlan

It is important to use both models, because it is obviously necessary to get a diagnosis from a medical professional. Then to draw a plan, on how to manage the disability with operations, drugs, aids or any other form of treatment to help the person.

The social model helps the disabled person to cope with his or her disability in his or her social life, a blind child, for example, benefits from an audio recording of his or her favourite program or a book written in braille. In this case the child would not feel left out and could converse with his peers about the same program.

Or a young person in a wheelchair who enjoys playing ball games could be encouraged to join a special basketball group or a mixed group of children with and without wheelchairs. This would take the focus away from the disability to having fun like everyone else.

The more adaptions are made the less a disabled person is confronted with his or her disability. Town centres which are laid out in a way that everyone has access to shops and parks makes the lives of everyone easier. This includes nearby parking, wide paths without obstacles like boards etc., lifts, ramps, and wide doors to name a few.

My youngest daughter went to a nursery which includes disabled children, and as she is autistic and has a rare chromosome disorder, I was glad that inclusion is offered in our city. The nursery adapted its premises for all kinds of special needs, for example all staff members are able to sign (Makaton), and they use “Now-Then” boards and Pegs, which is essential to communicate with children on the autistic spectrum.

From my experience I can say that it works really well, because the mix of ‘abled children’ in a nursery, school or leisure setting provide great role models for the’ less abled’ ones. While both groups of children learn from each other in so many ways, including emphasising the needs and wants of each other, practising kindness and building friendships with a diverse group of peers.

The inclusion of disabled people which is already practiced by nurseries, schools and employers should be emphasized and wider practiced, because the higher the level of incorporation of the two models, the medical and the social model, the better it is for our society overall.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Please Like & Share,

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

Homeschooling and Socialization – YES it works!

 

Toys on a Bench Naomi Mc Laughlan

When I initially started home educating my three children, many people asked me repeatedly whether my kids lack socialization due to being at home. After some time it really drove me nuts, having to explain to everyone that first of all they are three anyway, so they obviously have each other at home to start off with, and in addition even when they were younger they had quite an active day including being outside. I taught them in the morning, so we were either at home or we would make trips to the local zoo, beach, forest, park or swimming pool, depending on how it fit into their lesson plans.

Kitchen Toys Naomi Mc LaughlanWe lived in a large neighborhood, so after the mainstream schools finished in the early afternoon there were plenty of children outside, so of cause my kids joined them as well. In addition, I organised plenty of playdates, we organised the neighborhood Halloween party one year and my kids had sleepovers with their friends. In addition, each child has found a hobby club, so again a great opportunity to make friends and socialise, while doing something they love.  At weekends we would have family over, for example my sisters and their kids, and we joined the local family church morning session.

So overall, I believe children have endless opportunities to socialise whether they are in a mainstream school or are educated at home. After all, children do not get to choose who their classmates are in school and may only pick one or two kids as their friends anyway, while  homeschooled children have the option to socialize solely with children they really like. As talking during classes is prohibited by teachers with a ‘Shh, we don’t talk during lessons’, main-streamers are left with recess (break time) only to socialize which accounts for few hours a day at most.


 

Here are 8 Ideas on

How to initiate new friendship opportunities for your home-schooled kids:

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate mainstream schools as well, as I believe that each child is unique and may blossom in different environments at particular stages in life. And while I still teach my youngest daughter at home and my son studies at University online from home as well, my oldest daughter has joined the local high school.

If you are thinking of starting your homeschool journey, I invite you to check out the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an online based training that shows you how to get started or organised, if you have started but feel lost.

Let me know what you think,

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

 

Shut all Gremlins Up – To Succeed with your New Year’s Resolution – 31 Day Challenge / Day 31

Gremlins Naomi Mc Laughlan

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology (2015), only 8% are successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolution. The study also found that losing weight takes the top priority, followed by getting organized, becoming money savvy and enjoying life.

There may be many reasons why people cannot stick to their New Year’s Resolution, of which I have experiences the so called ‘Gremlins’ play a huge role.

There are inner and outer Gremlins who may sabotage your efforts and willpower to set goals for yourself and actually success in accomplishing those.

Inner Gremlins include:

  • Self-doubt
  • Self-conciseness
  • Negative Self- talk
  • Dwelling on past failures
  • Fear of Failure
  • Self-pity

You may recognise your inner Gremlins leading your  inner conversations like this:

  • I can’t do it
  • I am not worth it
  • I must be perfect
  • I am not good enough
  • Nobody loves
  • Nobody believes in me
  • I must not make a mistake…

Outer Gremlins include:

  • Discouraging words by others
  • Getting reminded of past failures
  • Naysayers
  • Jealous people

You may recognise outer Gremlins who say something like:

  • Are you really sure about it?
  • It didn’t work last time you tried
  • Have you checked and double checked all the facts?
  • I don’t think you are up for this…

Whether inner or outer Gremlins – Shut them up!

They are not helpful or encouraging you to fulfill your dreams.

Raise your inner spirit and chances to succeed, by listing everything that you have accomplished in 2015.

This will allow you to shift your focus from failure to success.

Let me know what you think.

Have a Happy New Year & Speak to you soon Happy New Year NaomiMclaughlan

Naomi xxx

P.S.: I hope you have enjoyed the 31 Day Challenge. I certainly have! I am actually surprised how well it went, as I received appreciative comments, likes and shares from you – THANK YOU! And I have been able to keep up with my daily posts (although, at times there were really late…-Shut up inner Gremlin!).

Focus on the Ability – Not Disability in Children with Special Needs – 31 Day Challenge / Day 29

Kids Naomi Mc Laughlan

This morning I reviewed my seven year old daughter’s progress in terms of her academic abilities and general life skills. I initially created a goal plan for her at the beginning of this year and I was so surprised how far she has come. Some goals may sound little, but they were actually huge for her, (due to her autism and rare chromosome disorder along with other health issues), such as being able to adapt to change better, to accept new routines or to take part in a group activity on a regular basis.

While I was able to tick of 7 of 18 items on the list, including the ability to read short sentences (with just little help), number recognition to 100 and the ability to use those for mental and written calculations, tying her own shoe laces or riding a bike without stabilizers, I realised how far she has come in just 12 months!

Kids 2 Naomi Mc Laughlan

Although the list has a great number of items I was not able to tick of, I must say that it doesn’t matter, as any progress is a big step in the right direction. Plus, the number of items on my list was quite ambitious, I guess 😉

If I would have listed to some of the specialists, we would have not come this far, one for instance, has recommended that occupational therapy is ‘a waste of time for children on the Autistic Spectrum’. Excuse me?! I don’t think so!!!

Instead I listened to my own intuition and took every opportunity to help my little one develop in her own time. Home-schooling has played a huge part in this, as it allowed me to create a lesson plan that is tailored to her needs.

I have been home-schooling her for two years now and in addition she has had private sessions with speech and language and other health care specialists to help her in each area of her impairments. We use all available resources to increase her learning abilities, for example picture cards, Makaton sign language, computer software and online courses, as well as ‘Now and Then’ boards along with other helpful aids.

Love Naomi Mc Laughlan.png

But the most important factors, in my eyes, are:

Love, Patience & Optimism

I must say, although it is wonderful to be underestimating a child’s abilities due to his or her disability, it can unfortunately also hinder the child to grow and expand his or her wings.

Wings Naomi Mc Laughlan

So I urge you to celebrate your (special needs) child’s uniqueness and celebrate his or her imagination, talents and skills  and stop comparing him or her with other children, as I believe that we all have different gifts we have been born with. And nobody can predict the future anyway!

Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx