Kid Stuff!!

This is really for grown-ups.

[What Every Child Should Have..]  [Kid Listening]

What Every Child Should Have Growing Up
by Andy Rooney

Millions of American children die a death of the spirit at an early age because their parents don't give a damn.  The children get older without ever growing up.

I know what I think every child should have growing up to become a responsible, honest, producing member of our society.

He or she should have:

- A home with one mother and one father.

- At least one brother and one sister.  A boy should have a sister and a girl should have a brother.  The girl's brother should be older if that can be arranged.  As a matter of fact, every kid should have an older brother which, unfortunately, is impossible.

- A family that eats dinner together.

- A room of his or her own.  The room need not be neat.

- A good night kiss until it becomes apparent to both the parents and the child that the child is too old to be kissed good night.

- A costume at Halloween and a cake with candles to blow out with a wish on every birthday.

- A child should have a sweet, motherly kindergarten teacher to help make the transition between home and the cold, cruel outside world.

- A friend to whom he or she can tell secrets.

- A place to swim in the summer and a place to sleigh-ride in the winter.

- Some minor illnesses to let the child know that life isn't always a bowl of cherries.

- A rich uncle or a doting aunt.

- Talent.  Every child should be encouraged to be good at something, no matter how minor a talent it is.

- Discipline.  Along with love and enough to eat, every child should have plenty of it.

- Someone to read aloud to him or her when the kid is too young to read himself.

- Parents who let the child get into bed with them when there's a thunderstorm.

If every child had these things, there would be nothing to worry about the future of the world.

Kid Listening

How to really listen to your kids!!
(and others of similar capacity)

1. Start listening early and don't stop. Communicating with kids is a little like staying in shape for a particular sport.
  You would never expect to be able to play a good game of tennis without a lot of practice.  Listening and conversing with your kids works the same way.

2. Be patient.  Don't try to pull words out of your children's mouths.  Don't finish their sentences.

3. When possible, face your child when you speak and when you are listening.  Make eye contact.

4. Be a passive presence.  Sit on the side of the sandbox.  Watch a music video together.  Read something aloud.  Linger at the foot of your child's bed as you tuck her in for the night.  Most children will ramble on just to keep you there.

5. Angry?  Wait before you open your mouth to speak.

6. When you go to run an errand, take one child along for the ride.  Private conversations increase your chances of hearing wonderful revelations.

7. Ask the right questions.  Starting with the word why will always put someone on the defensive, especially a child. 

8. Let your child in on something that happened to you.  Request an opinion.

9. Think back to what happened in your child's life yesterday and follow up: "How did it go on the playground?" "What did your teacher say about your art project?"

10. Establish a time in your busy life when your child knows you will be available to him. Working moms may want to consider an after-school telephone break, for instance.

11. Let your children feel what they feel.  Don't try to talk them out of being sad or angry, even if you fail to understand why they're upset.  Think back to the last time you were in tears about something and another adult said, "Oh, I really wouldn't worry about it." You have a right to your emotions, and so do your children.

12. Put down your newspaper.  Turn off the TV.  Stop doing your chores for a moment.  Put aside all other thoughts and concentrate on the speaker. (NOTE: You might be surprised at how little time parents and kids actually spend talking.  Research shows that fathers spend as few as eight minutes each weekday in conversation with their kids-but moms don't do much better.  Mothers who work outside the home spend fewer than 11 minutes a day talking with their kids; stay-at-home moms, about 30 minutes.)

13. Don't always point out mispronunciations or grammar mistakes.  Listen, instead, for the point of the story.

Excerpted from "16 ways to really listen to your kids" Good Housekeeping; New York; Aug 1998; Kay Willis; Maryann Bucknum Brinley;Volume:227