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REVIEW of Health 12

Kids! Who'd Have Them?
How to cope when you do

I wouldn't dream of telling anyone how to bring up kids. We had four of our own and they turned out pretty good. In fact, we are proud of them; but it wasn't all plain sailing, and there were times when we felt like tearing our hair out. I suppose we retained our sanity by being selfish. Maybe their place on this earth was our responsibility; and to that end we did our best to teach them how to cope with both present and future. In the meantime, however, we reasoned that we weren't their unpaid slaves and had lives of our own.

Trying to understand where they were coming from wasn't easy. It was mainly a case of adapting to the various stages they were at, and to do this we thought back to when we were that age. Kids are great manipulators and can make parents feel mean every time the word "NO" comes up. Then there is the ploy of asking if Jimmy or Jody can stay to tea with the friend standing right beside them. Whether you say: "Maybe another time," or cave in and race around to prepare an extra meal, either one causes stress. A way to relieve it is to take the "maybe" out and say: "Sorry, not right now; but how about Friday night? Talk to your friend and decide what you'd like to eat, then let me know." You'll feel better and the kids will have something to look forward to. One thing to remember, though, is that a promise is a promise; so you have to make it happen or rue the consequences.

Teenagers are probably a parent's worst nightmare. To them, everyone over 21 is a dinosaur. So what? Being in your dotage is the perfect excuse to misinterpret or ignore everything they say; always assuming you can understand it in the first place. As for what they do, it will be exactly what their friends are doing; and most likely be very similar to the things you got up to when you were in your teens. If you are reading this you must have survived, as will most of them; with a bit of luck, anyway; and as intelligent parents you have the right to a life during and after kids.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Health 12 click here

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