00:00 Saturday 10 May 2008  Written by Gilda Howard

Motherhood and how to become conscious parents

A NEW study into motherhood in Ireland revealed that some 87% of mothers regard Ireland as a good place to raise children.

It revealed that 74% find motherhood 'difficult.' 65% cite children as their greatest source of joy. 73% consider healthcare a top issue of concern.

It also found that less than one in four families eat dinner together each evening. Mums continue to shoulder the large majority of domestic responsibilities

These findings come from the study of psychologist David Coleman and nutritionist Siobhan Julian, which is a new study by family-owned organic dairy Glenisk.

Well, I am sure most mums watch the David Coleman programmes on TV, because there is certainly a great deal to be learned from him on how to handle the different problems concerning your child or children.  While we think we have the whole thing under control in how to discipline our kids (mine have fled the nest long since, but this applied when they were young too, but I have plenty of grandchildren), we are often wearing ourselves out, frustrating them and getting nowhere!

Presently, I am reading a book called 'The Conscious Parent' by education guru Clare Healy Walls, from Carrigaline.  The book was recently launched in UCC by Dr.Tony Humphreys (who I never fail to read in "Feelgood" on Fridays) and Professor Francis Douglas.

This book urges parents to think about their habits and be conscious about the way they bring up their children.  It asks parents to move from traditional parenting methods, which were more suitable to previous generations.

'More suitable to previous generations' - I don't entirely agree with that comment as I think it was just a case of parents not knowing any better and a lot of our parenting methods were negative criticism.  In her book, Clare Healy Walls believes that the humiliation of lectures and punishments only succeeds in lowering the child's self-esteem, without really teaching them self responsibility.

RESPECT 

At the launch, Clare Healy Walls said: "Do you respect your child? Most people's immediate answer would be 'yes, but can you wait while your daughter of three is putting on her coat the wrong way until she finds out herself, or do you jump in and help her?

According to Clare, "respecting your child means allowing them to make their own mistakes without being corrected.  This book is great and explains so much and gives you lots of examples to help parents be more conscious of how they are raising their children.  

Clare also set up one of the few Montessori schools that taught three to l2-year-olds in the l980s and is a teacher trainer and life skills trainer in Ireland and Scandinavia.  Over the years, Clare has been developing her philosophies through her studies, her own life experiences and her work on parenting and disciplining children.

She has written much on this topic and has a Masters in Education and is a mother of five and a grandmother to eight children. So, with all her studies and practical experience, she certainly knows what she is talking about.   

 Clare dedicated her book to her late parents who were 'conscious parents' ahead of their time and going through the different chapters parents will find so much to interest them in how to cope in different situations.  There are chapters entitled Human Respect for the Child - Responsibility and Freedom, Mistakes and Criticism, Blame, Shame and Guilt, Guidance and Limits, Rewards and Punishments, Love, Parent Care, a Creative Life - and so much more.

 Reading it through, I picked out little bits that I think are most important and having read the different techniques for learning to respect the rights of your children, overcoming your own prejudices and discovering what the children really need.  None of these techniques will be effective says Clare if your underlying attitude does not support respect.

To respect our children we must have basic trust.  Trust is an essential ingredient of love and respect.  We need to trust that others (including our children) have the ability to do things themselves.  We cannot respect a child's right to be independent if we do not trust him to be independent.

Trust does not mean abandonment.  We need to observe children to discover how much trust they can manage.

In other words, how do you know when your son/daughter is ready to walk to school on ones own? Common sense will tell you in many cases, but not in every case. 

How do you know when they have enough traffic sense and how do you know when to trust them?  The answer is by observing them.  If you observe regularly you will be tuned into their needs, their abilities and their interests."

Another chapter that I found very interesting is 'The role of the parent as a container.'  A parent should not try to solve the child's problem.  A parent should act as a container while the child solves his own problem.'

 There is so much more and it is a very interesting read for anyone with children right up to twenty years old, so do buy it. I am sure it will help to solve lots of problems and put parents mind more at ease. 

 'The Conscious Parent' can be purchased through www.waterpark.ie

ORGANIC

I started out in this article to tell you about the new study into motherhood in Ireland by family-owned organic dairy Glenisk but as usual I diversified.  However back on track!  It seems that Ireland in 2008 is a good place to be a mum, as 87% of mothers describe the country as a good place to raise children. 

This research, which was undertaken by Behaviour and Attitudes, involved interviews with mothers of children aged up to 20 years, from all over Ireland.  The study examined a number of issues of concern to mothers and explored the challenges of motherhood, view on the environment, and attitudes to organic food, family mealtimes, leisure activities and the allocation of domestic responsibilities in the home. 

The research was commissioned by Glenisk.com to coincide with the iMoo, which is an inter-active online community that offers advice, support and information on parenting the organic way.

It is all about issues of concern - the environment and Ireland as a place to raise children - and, naturally, children's diet is really big on the agenda for them. But, as I am running out of space, I shall have to put this aside for another day, as in the next few paragraphs, below I have a big announcement to make!

SINGLES 

A very important upcoming event will be of big interest to lots of people particularly single people and this is all about 'Finding Love in 2lst Century.'

 Single? Bored? Fed up trying to find that special person? When compared to previous generations, today's growing Cork and its county singles community is finding it more difficult to find love. 

The problem is that it is becoming increasingly more difficult for singles of all ages to meet.  Combined longer working hours and the boring local and the deafening nightclub, the chances of meeting someone special are greatly diminished.

 After being abroad for the past five years, a 30-something explained how he has found the dating scene in Cork since he arrived back here:  "Recently I returned to Cork, having been working in Germany for the past five years.  My mates are married or have moved away, I won't bother going out to local bars or niteclubs, as I am not interested and it does not appeal to me. 

"It would be great to go to single events where meeting is easy and fun."  This came from Tony (38 years of age).

A new activities site called GetOut.ie is trying to help singles meet up.  Hugh Redmond has been running singles events nationwide for the past five years. 

He found that dinner dating events are a great way to meet and a perfect way to expand your friendship network or indeed to find romance: "We have teamed up with the Briar Rose Bar and Bistro in Douglas in Cork City to run a dinner dating event on Thursday, May l5," he said

 Following on from his huge success with speeddater.ie, Hugh launched the Irish activities site GetOut.ie in January, 2008.  Their mission is simple just "Bringing people together" in a variety of ways. GetOut also organises singles holidays, social events, outdoor activities, and online dating for its members. 

GetOut aims to, literally get like-minded people who have common interests for some light hearted fun and frolics. I am sure all of you who are single and want a bit of fun will only be delighted to GetOut and attend the dinner date event on Thursday 15th at the Briar Rose.  You must pre-book at www.getout.ie or telephone 0l-49295l9 or e-mail info@getout.ie

Do it now, because if I was younger and single and found it difficult to find someone, I would be there like a shot and I don't want you to be disappointed.  There is no time like the present!

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