Taking on 2013 and hoping to revitalize my life

Posts tagged ‘teach your children’

It’s as Easy as Riding a Bike

Who came up with that saying? No one that met my children apparently.

bike Riding a bike is supposed to be one of those childhood rites of passage where the child actually wants to learn and the parent does their best to teach them. Neither of my kids wanted to learn to ride a bike. But since I enjoy biking, I wanted them to learn. So begins my uphill battle.

Both kids have owned bikes since they were little but neither one of them really cared that much about them. They played around with them on their training wheels but neither felt an urge to just get out there and ride.

A few years ago, I forced my oldest to learn. I know forcing your kids to do anything isn’t necessarily the best method but that’s really what it came down to. She didn’t care about bikes and thought biking was hard. And my kids are both of the belief that if anything takes more than 5 seconds to learn it probably isn’t worth it.

One day I decided that it was “the day”. There was crying, a battle of wills and eventual bribing with ice cream, however, after a few hours she was successfully riding her bike. She was thrilled with her accomplishment. It gave her a new sense of freedom and achievement. It was a painful experience for me and all she remembers now is the ice cream but I was glad that I persevered and she figured it out.

Child #2 is my stubborn child. She takes stubborn to a whole new level. I have picked several “days” for her to learn how to ride her bike and I have always given up before her. This past week her sister was off on the other side of the country and it was just the two of us. I had all of my attention to focus on her.

First thing I did was to discuss the topic with her and come up with a suitable reward. Somehow I knew that ice cream was not going to cut it. We went to the mall and checked out some of her favourite toys. That’s when the shake-down began. Not only is my youngest stubborn she is also a born negotiator. Somehow each little success was going to cost me and the final success was going to cost me big.

The next thing I did was google ‘how to ride a bike’. My previous methods were a bust so I needed a new plan. The new trend is to take the pedals off of the bike to teach the child how to glide and learn balance. We watched a few of the videos together, I removed the pedals and we were off. It was a rough start. She was cranky and stiff-legged and not motivated to learn. And I was trying my best to let her take the lead. Our previous sessions had taught me that she was extremely frightened of falling. I needed to pass control to her so that she could feel like she had some power.

Then we came across a spot nearby where the road had a slight incline. The incline was just enough for her to get a little momentum. It was perfect. We only went on that hill 2 times the first day but she experienced enough success that she was ready to tackle it again the next. We discussed what her plan was and she decided to go on that little hill 10 times. On the third day of trying she was up to 20 times. It was time to put the pedals back on.

The pedals took all of her confidence and threw it back at her. We were back to tears and an unwillingness to try. I could not take the pedals back off, she was ready. I just needed to convince her. I had her try the hill a few times while pretending that the pedals were not there, just gliding as before. She didn’t like it but she did it anyways to placate me.

This morning we were back at it, however, she was in a sour mood. She did not want to be out there, she hated her bike and she wanted to take the pedals back off. After much cajoling she glided down the hill twice and then was ready to go home. I was beaten down, the tears were steady this morning. I told her we could go.

There is a big flat part that we have to go through to get home. I decided to take one last stab at it because I knew she was ready even if she didn’t. I held onto the bike and convinced her to pedal. I ran beside her holding onto that bike and then without telling her, I let go. SHE DID IT.

I ran beside her and showed her my hands and she kept going. After that she did it 2 more times. And when her Dad came to pick her up she showed him how she could ride her bike.

If I have done nothing else in this time of unemployment, I have taught my youngest how to ride her bike. I am so proud of her and she is so proud of herself. It was desperately hard and I wouldn’t want to do it again but I am happy. She even ran off to tell her sister that now we can finally go biking as a family.

I’m glad I persevered even when neither of my kids wanted me to. I’m glad they persevered even when they were wishing I would go away and leave them alone. Learning to ride a bike was a struggle for both of them and me but I think it taught us all that even though some things seem scary and hard, we can still do them if we keep trying.

It’s Time for Respect Culture

This post is off-topic for me but the subject has been in the forefront of my social media feeds for a few weeks now and I really feel the need to talk about it.

Rape culture is part of our society

rape culture

I had never heard of rape culture until recently. It would seem that somewhere along the way we have gone awry when it comes to both our teachings about rape and our perceptions of rape.

For example:

  • Women are taught to protect themselves from rape instead of men being taught not to rape.
  • Rape victims are victimized again and again by a society who blames the victims and by the system that is supposed to protect them.
  • Bystanders will now actually watch, record and photograph rapes happening and post it to social media with no fear of consequences for their actions and with so much apathy that it never occurs to them to stop the perpetrators and help the victim.
  • Boys will wait their turn to rape an incoherently drunk girl and convince themselves that she consented to sex with multiple partners.


Factors that exacerbate the rape culture epidemic

I think that one of the reasons that rape culture has flourished is that no one is discussing some of the contributing factors.

For example, although the internet is an amazing tool and all of the most useful information you could ever want is available at your fingertips, it is also home to perversions and porn and sexually explicit information… that is also available at your fingertips, and your children’s fingertips and your tween’s and teen’s fingertips.

These young, malleable minds have access to content that subjugates women and displays them as objects. And although this type of sexual content has been available for years, kids now have easier and earlier access to it. Internet porn is teaching a whole generation of adolescents that sex is detached and removed from healthy relationships. It portrays women as sex-obsessed and mindless, and often degrades them in one manner or another.

Video games are also guilty of creating negative female stereotypes. Often female characters are portrayed as a sex object or as a victim that needs to be rescued. Their outfits often reveal extreme cleavage, excessive amounts of skin and completely unrealistic body proportions. What is this teaching our children?

The media has always sexualized women and teens. Sex sells. Everyone knows that. But each year advertisers and brands push the limits of what is acceptable. Currently, Victoria Secret is in a scandal about how they are marketing their new collection to tweens and Ford just had to issue an apology about it’s recent ads of women bound and gagged in a trunk. Women have always been objectifed and sexualized but in our age of instant information it is more widespread than ever.

However, as also demonstrated by the above examples, social media has provided us with a voice to express our dis-satisfaction and even disgust at brand’s antics.

Speak Out

It is time to use your voice to speak out against the negative messages that display women in derogatory manners and children as sexual objects. It is time to use your voice to teach your children about respect for women and themselves. We can change things.

We can influence brands and advertisers with our voices and our dollars. We can teach our children and teens how to act in a respectful manner. It isn’t too late. There is time to change the future.

So please speak out when schools  implement dress codes that insinuate that boys cannot control themselves. Teach your girls to respect themselves and their bodies. Teach your boys the same thing. Teach girls that they do not need a boyfriend to make them feel better about themselves. Teach your boys to respect women. Teach them both about self-esteem and character. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them to stand up for victims and help when they can. Teach them to think for themselves and that it is ok to say no and to stand out in a crowd and to do what is right. Teach them that sex should be about love and relationships and should always, always be consensual. And if you are a teacher, it’s ok to teach this as well. Somehow this knowledge of how to respect has been lost and it is time to bring it back to the forefront. To make it cool.

Sex has become casual and cheap. It isn’t valued any more. Teens and kids are taught that they should have “safe sex” but for some reason parents are forgetting to tell their kids that sex can be emotional and special. It affects you. With the right person it does something to your heart and to your self-esteem and with the wrong person it can also do something to your heart and self-esteem but in a negative way. Sex can be a great way to deepen a loving relationship; it is a way to connect with another person. However, if it is casual and meaningless you can lose a small piece of yourself every time you do it.

Let’s make an old culture new again. Let’s teach our children to respect themselves and each other. That is the only way to decrease the rape culture that has been allowed to seep into our society and poison our lives. Once people learn to treat others with respect again, changes will happen. But these changes start with you and me. Don’t wait, go talk to your kids now and keep talking.  And if you need some tips on how to speak to your kids, start here.

It’s Time for Respect Culture!

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