parents

All posts tagged parents

condominiums spaces

Published August 15, 2013 by Tony

Let children play alone

The City of Milan has proposed an amendment to the regulation of the municipal police, which would allow use of the spaces inside the condominiums to residents, for letting children play or other purposes, in compliance with the provided time slots.
A good news indeed, if we consider that, especially in the North, the condos are closed and “sad” spaces, sometimes very big that do not have a real utility. Therefore, it is nice to know that these collective microworlds can find their own arrangement, like to be used by children to play or dwellers to organize  little parties, without having to rent a special “site” to do it.

Today, many parents are forced to accompany their children in small playgrounds or prohibit the young teenagers to go out alone. They look like prisoners who are brought out in small confined areas and watched over.
Years ago, everything was simpler and no big concerns, our kids could play in the yard or even in the street. Fortunately, in the South this “custom” still remains in many countries. I have already had the opportunity to talk about this subject in some previous posts, and I am of the opinion that, at least for kids, this is the best way to socialize and make friends…. oh gosh yea! a lot better than Facebook!

CHILDREN WITHOUT FATHER

Published July 22, 2013 by Tony

FATHERHOOD

Fatherhood by Ruth Bloch

Among test-tube babies, single mothers and divorces, the “father model” is in crisis, as the concept of “family” itself.
In 1990, 65% of Americans were happy to have children, today the percentage has dropped to 45. Over the past 10 years in Spain the number of marriages has dropped from 270,000 a year to 160 thousand. Even in Brazil, the birth rate fell from 4.3 children per woman to 1.9.
I would my father back home,” this is what Telemachus, son of Odysseus, says in Homer’s Odyssey, while scanning the horizon.
Not many things have changed since then, because today, the father figure is often missing and his absence is felt by a lot of children.
This has created a cascade of social and psychological effects not very positive.
Today, Telemachus can be compared with a child got by artificial insemination, then facing an odyssey in search of his biological dad. For a lot of them it is not enough to know that he/she has been conceived through a sperm donor whose specimen is identified by a simple number.
In this regard, the documentary “Anonymous father’s day” by Jennifer Lahl, is very comprehensive, describing the “genealogical confusion” and the adolescents trouble, dealing with the uncertainty of their origins.
To many the father figure may be the future, which through the comparison by meeting and clashing life gets “new force”, while children deprived of their father feels as if they fled the test of life that would make them be adult. Without a dad they lose the sense of pain and the memory of who they are. Parents death leads to make sense of destiny and give continuity to the progeny. It is a way to conquer death, and know where we go.
It was once said that young people psychologically unstable or inclined to become gay, were those who grew up without the presence of a male figure.
According to David Brooks, who writes in the New York Times, people are better if they have family and children. The commitments deriving therefrom, leads them to take care of people and future of the nation.
Also, according to some statistics of some American “advisory council”, family where the father is lacking, they are more poor and a risk factor for children (health, drugs, delinquency). Not for nothing Obama said, “….doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one….”
Obviously, there are also those who do not want to hear about fatherhood, for whom it means pain, loss, lack of care, violence, a sort of cultural heritage from the past better to get rid of. The opposite of the efforts in the work of Robet Bily through his writings and the movement “The mythopoetic men’s“, considered a “revolutionary” by liberals.
Because in the end it is easier to speak evil of the father than do without him.

SATURDAY DINING OUT

Published April 10, 2013 by Tony

SATURDAY NIGHT IN NAPLES and NEW YORK

Standard of living and lifestyle have influenced and still influence the way how people spend their weekend. If we take as a reference two medium families, one from Naples and another from New York, both formed by working parents, with one or more adult children, probably in a month the Neapolitan parents spend one Saturday or Sunday to dine out, while the New Yorker parents spend three. For New Yorkers the Saturday “evening dining out” was, until recently, an obligation, especially for couples with both engaged in work. Due to the popular demand, in order to go to a restaurant or pizzeria in New York, a Saturday evening reservation even was necessary. Where the New Yorker didn’t go out to dinner, as an alternative there always was a dinner party hosted by some friends at their home or in a pub. A lifestyle difficult to eradicate, even in view of the fact that wives were not inclined to spend weekend at home, between cooking and dishes.
Aside from this substantial cultural difference, there was another of economic nature, because an average Neapolitan family certainly did not have the same economic opportunity of the overseas peers.
Although a normal dinner in a normal restaurant in the Neapolitan hinterland costs less than the one in a similar restaurant in New York, the average Neapolitan family culturally is more “conservative” and traditionalist, with wives, who, although involved in work, have not lost their  “housewives” identity, preferring to stay at home during the weekend.  In Naples, there has never been a “dining party” culture, and instead of Saturday dining out, if anything, the custom of a Sunday lunch away from home has always been more in vogue. But occasionally and not as a weekly habit. The Neapolitan wife has always been very attached to the house and the children and  weekend is just a chance to spend more time at home with family, and attend to all those household chores that she has not been able to do during the week.
Our habits have not changed much over the years. The economic situation has led, if anything, to renounce to some Sunday lunch at the restaurant and be thriftier in foodstuffs purchase.

Americans, instead, after a hard week spent at work, look forward to weekends, planning in advance for them.  For many weekend means going out with friends or relatives, outdoor activities or watching a game in a stadium.
In the past, one of the largest changes in American eating habits was the increasing reliance on food eaten away from home (FAFH). FAFH increased from 33% of total food expenditures in 1970 to 47% by 2003. Most of this is at table service and fast food restaurants.
Much of the growth is attributed to the rising value of household time, especially as induced by more female labor force participation, and rising household incomes.
As a 2009 Zagat Survey showed, eating out was a way of life for many Americans, with 50% of all meals prepared outside the home. In short, restaurants became the family kitchen for the busy two-career families. According to Zagat Survey CEO Tim Zagat, “Americans are still eating out in restaurants, they are just making smarter choices.”

Recently, the economic downturn, occasional jobs and financial turmoil in America have made it difficult for people to find enough money to afford their “dining out” habit.
Lately, Americans are making family dinner more often than dine out, a trend that slowly took root before the recession. Mostly, they’re cooking with and eating a narrow range of foods — and relying, to some extent, on prepared, frozen, and canned items to feed their families quickly and economically. “It’s very boring. That’s the sad truth,” says Harry Balzer, chief food industry analyst for the NPD Group, a national market research company. “For the most part, we’re looking for what’s the eaesiest way out of this, what’s the cheapest way out of this.” Balzer said, the number of restaurant meals an American family eats — dine-in or takeout — has been flat, at just under 200 a year, correlating to plateaus of both women in the workforce and household incomes.

Even the New York Times supported the thesis of the “end of the dinner party” because people do not have more money, time and wish to do so.  Someone else says that beyond the crisis there is a lack of good manners and savoir faire, with people no longer able to have a conversation and that’s why lately “finger food” and “standing up” are preferred to dinner party.

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GAY HELP

Published March 15, 2013 by Tony

Nate's dad letter

This letter written from a dad to his gay son Nate is going viral on the Internet because of its simple, hopeful message of love.
It was posted on the Facebook page of FCKH8.com, an organization aimed at empowering youth through its snarky, gay-positive T-shirts, videos and activist campaigns.
I don’t know if this letter is real, but gives me the opportunity to launch a campaign to help and give words of comfort to all the boys, gay or not, who need it. I know how even a few words of understanding or a short chat of encouragement can be useful in times of distress. I am available to do so and I will respond to anyone who needs to hear a friendly voice. Those interested can write me to:  antveral@hotmail.it

INTERNET and CHILDREN

Published February 10, 2013 by Tony

INTERNET RESTRICTED FOR CHILDREN?

PARENTAL CONTROL

For years now, the controversy whether children must have free access to Internet is going on. Months ago, there were rumors about the new technology developed by Facebook that would allow (officially) the registration also to under 13. I put the word “officially” in brackets because we know that millions of kids already attend social networks regularly, inputting a false date of birth. From long, Windows gives the possibility to add filters to the browser (for blocking adult contents) or restrict access to the computer by using the users account.
But the question remains, restriction or not?!
As always, various discordant opinions about, and  now I will have my say.

As with everything, it takes common sense, as we must reason with knowledge of the facts and free from any bias, without getting caught by excessive obsessions or easy generalizations.
The first thing that sounds unpleasant here is the word “limitation”, which indicates lack of freedom.
From time immemorial, any “prohibition” and “censorship” were always fought hard, from the freeing of the slaves, to the free sale of alcohol.
How many other things  were “banned” until the last century? Rock music, for example, which for many was considered sinful, encouraging sex and drugs. Woodstock was our reply.
Today it is said that Internet is dangerous for children because of pornography, for talking to strangers and, even worse, for case of enticement. Ok, let’s talk…..

1 – It is well-known that every “no” always gets the opposite effect, increasing curiosity and the desire to transgress. But, let’s analyze the situation in detail, because in addition to the downside, you should consider other possibilities.
2 – In addition to the computer, nowadays internet is easily accessible via tablet, ipad, iphone and any mobile phone. So every parent also should monitor the use of these devices or limit their use, where this could be possible.
3 – Our children are not always at home and, street or stores apart, they are often at classmate and friend’s home. With this in mind, then should parents also forbid to go out or meet up with their friends?
4 – Today, about IT-based, kids are in most cases better prepared and skilled than their parents, so any “block” could easily be removed and put back without anyone noticing.
5 – With regard to the pornography, porno magazines have always existed and will continue to exist, thus obscuring Internet the problem is not entirely solved, provided that the porn is. Millions of kids in the past, myself included, have watched porno magazines and not for this old generations were traumatized or became sick.
6- The last concern, from what I read around, is the soliciting of minors. Apart from the fact that statistics in hand, cases of solicitation over internet represent a very small percentage, but do you relatives really believe that if an adult wants to lure your child he/she can do it only via internet?! Adults that eventually your child can meet on internet are infinitely less than those meet every day at school, on the street or on the bus! The world outside our windows is full of sex, drugs and bad affairs, useless to blame internet. To me it is absurd that parents filter internet and not talk about sex with their children, for instance.
7 – Finally, my last point concerns the nature of your children. Restrictions and prohibitions are of little use if they have a strong and determined character, and if they have made up their mind to do something. By Internet or not, stubborn kids usually manage to experience what they want do, in one way or another. Every parent knows their children, and if the family is healthy and the child has always received a sound education, whose parents are an example, needless to worry. Children already know what is good and what is bad. If we give them confidence in everything they usually do, we must also give it in respect of internet.

For me, every complaint about internet is misplaced and anachronistic. Today, Internet (including social networks) is the opposite of loneliness, boredom, silence and ignorance. Internet, as well as a way to get knowledge, is a window on the world, but please do not forget that  you have others windows at home that are real!
Fortunately, although for parents their children always seem candid, naive and childish, they generally are smarter and more mature than people think.
For comparison, for me restricting the use of the internet is like if we wanted to limit the number of murders by limiting the sale of bullets!
If these 7 points are enough for you, then please, let kids alone, and let’em live their own life without prohibition, limitation or deception.

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Children Embarrassing Questions

Published October 6, 2012 by Tony

Things we should say to our children

We are not born as parents, but we try anyway to become one even if at school “parenting” is not a subject of study.
Parenting is not an easy task, for many.
Apart from the usual problems that all children give, what many find difficult and embarrassing are some questions that children often submit them. About, there are different philosophies, with those who believe it is better to evade the questions, partly because unprepared to provide the right answer, and those who, a few actually, believe it is opportune to discuss everything.
One thing is certain, the children are not as unprepared or unready to assimilate certain subjects. On the contrary, for some topic it is best to deal in advance and be clear with them.
In all honesty, when my offspring were children, I do not recall having received embarrassing questions but, if they did I think I would have tried to answer using words appropriate to their age and knowledge.
Depending on the age of the child, it could happen that he/she tries to find elsewhere the answers to the questions that parents were unwilling or unable to respond. Still, it’s likely that children no longer will ask for those questions, even if they have not found answers.
Our children are more mature than we suppose, and why take the risk that they acquire erroneous concepts by third parties, or that they remain unprepared on topics that, who knows why, many still find inopportune and embarrassing. War, violence, religions, quarrels, sex, relationship, illnesses, addictions  and discrimination are part, as always, of our lives, for better or for worse, so why should we refrain from talking about these important issues?
If  children does not grasp some concept, parents can say that they will understand more over time, but at least we tried to explain things and they will have had an inkling of what it is. Better a poor explanation than silence or embarrassment that, on the contrary, will turn on the child’s
imagination and curiosity. This because, as said,  many parents underestimate the insight and sensitivity of their children!
It may be that my children have not put any question about sex when still 
babies because I bought the “Encyclopédie de la vie sexuelle” by Cohen and Nathan Kahn, divided into 5 tomes, each targeted to an age group and starting from 7 years. The first two books, designed for children aged from 7 to 9 and from 10 to 13, speak of a family with a son and a daughter. The first volume, as a little story, is about two people who meet, get engaged, married and then having two children. Through simple drawings the human body is shown, its physiology, its development, the sexual act till conception. The second volume, although similar to the first as a structure, is more exhaustive and instead of drawings shows real images of the family. Each topic is covered in the different tomes and by numerous images nothing is seen as inconvenient or embarrassing. Just everything kids need to know about sex. I do not know if my children have read these books, but if they did it, they had the first right approach to sexuality.These books or similar ones can help some parents to give the answers that surely their kids will ask them, such as the classic and evergreen question:

How babies are made?” – or,  “What sex is?” – and unless you are addressing a very young child, please do not say that he/she “is brought by the stork” or “was born under cabbages” in the garden!!

If they ask you what the “willies” or the “pussy” is,  with confidence you can say that it is our sexual organ by which in addition to pee, when they grow up and get married, will allow them to have children. Of course, much depends on the age of the child and in case of a teen or pre-teen asking for these questions, the answers should be more detailed and in-depth. In fact, at that age the sexual development has begun and there also are other important issues such as lust, masturbation, erection, ejaculation, menstruation, conception, STDs or condom which should be treated, even if in a simple and concise way. There are many men who when teenagers have discovered by themselves – not without trauma – what the erection meant, while the ejaculation led them believe to be sick even!
Unless you’re a puritan with narrowness of mind, make your children understand that sex, regardless of gender, is a natural thing…. already there are too many bullies and homophobes around, please try not to train another one!

Here are some images captured by these books.

MODERN PARENTS

Published February 1, 2012 by Tony

CHILDREN AS OBJECTS

Parents are a reference point for children as well as take care of them, hand down their knowledge or experiences and guide them. But in some cases the opposite happens. I am referring to those parents and mothers in particular, that have not been able to study, having a basic level of education and therefore ignorant of many things, and usually with a disengaged and housewife life. Having the opportunity to follow and help their children to school and homework, from elementary schools to higher, the mother takes the opportunity to learn concepts and terms that she was missing. Conscious of her ignorance cunningly disguised, she quickly acquires and elaborates, treasuring those new notions, and in his own way then able to help children with their homework. Later, when children become adolescents, the same mother remains attached to them with the opportunity to relive a second and different youth, actively engaged in their social life and sharing experiences, good and bad times. Often for the mom the kids become a source of life that give meaning to her drab and dreary existence. And the case here, when a kind of mutualistic symbiosis is established, where both parties need each other for mutual benefit, but while for children it is a natural determined relationship for the parent is something devious and opportunistic. With reference to my previous post about mammismo, it is precisely in these cases that the mamma’s boy  finds fertile ground, rooting and showing clearly. The mother often becomes hyperprotective as a result of this symbiosis, and cannot do without because she identifies herself in children’s existence and control it, as long as she can. And that is why, then, these parents force or convince their children to study dance, football or martial arts, because that’s just what they wanted to do when were children. The unfortunate kids have no choice and their freedom is bound by parents breaks or by their temporary absence. The children know they are children and instinctively behave as such without the need for justification, while their mothers hide their ridiculous and insane behavior behind the figure of the modern parent with its obligations and duties. Children need their parents but, in these cases, parents will derive a personal benefit that changes their lives for the better, and it is not uncommon, during a speech, to hear the mom hypocritically asserting: “raising children is not easy and I know something with all that I did for them …. “
Dear mother, you did it for them but also for yourself, you learnt things that you hardly would have learnt alone, you have showed yourself active and committed, children have given you a meaning to your life, and thanks to them you now have a profile on facebook and know what IPad is.

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