Baby Speak

Infants are born with hopes and expectations. Their need to be loved, nurtured and safe are innate and they can intuitively sense when their essential needs for love and security are being met or not being met. While these set of expectations lie at an unconscious level, the baby hopes her cries will be heard, that she will be fed when hungry, allowed sleep when needed, that her gaze will be lovingly returned and smiles reciprocated.

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How Well Do You Know Your Teenager

Following on from last week’s column I would like to address the issue of how well do mothers and fathers know their teenagers. An interesting survey in Britain found that teenagers rated mothers above fathers in all but one of the thirty-six categories – the exception being driving! Given that adult males cause more accidents, the latter finding is worrying. Over 500 teenagers were asked to rate their parents on such issues as communication, advice-giving, school homework, literacy, sexuality, public outings, privacy. Parenting children and teenagers is largely about love, limits and lettings teenagers be. Whilst the study indicated that teenagers rated mothers higher than fathers across all the essential parenting categories, it alarmingly showed that a high number of teenagers not only rated their fathers poor at parenting, but their mothers as well – indeed, 41 per cent of teenagers rated their experience as less than good. Fathers were often portrayed as second best, deadbeat or more concerned with their jobs than the wellbeing of their sons or daughters. A further worrying outcome of the 2008 survey is that 43 per cent of the teenagers felt they could manipulate their mothers while one-third felt they could manipulate their fathers. Sadly, it is often because of this very weakening of parental resolve that teenagers manage to get themselves into trouble.

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Dangerous to be Male

Over the last month I spoke at two different conferences on being a male.  The first conference was held by the National Men’s Forum, which is a cross border organisation that concerns itself with the wellbeing of men.  The second conference, IBSC (International Boys’ School Conference) was in South Africa and this international get- together focused on boys’ education.  The private schools involved are in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, USA and Northern Ireland.

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