UNITED KINGDOM: Parenting by Example

UNITED KINGDOM: Parenting by Example

I have been pondering this topic a lot just recently, it’s a biggie. We have a massive responsibility as parents to raise our children to be good citizens. To help them to develop the character traits that will make for a well-rounded adult, you know the kind of things.

We feel we ought to help them to be loving, tolerant, resilient, kind, honest, courageous, patient, responsible and self-disciplined. Realistically those are just a few of the traits many of us want our child to display, some parents will be looking for a high level of competitive spirit leading to academic achievement or sporting success and others are much more interested in their child displaying empathy and nurturing others.

Whatever it is you want your child to develop or display the scary realism is that you need to be demonstrating it to them, as children learn what they live.

We cannot just tell them how we would like them to be and hope they do not notice our actions nor replicate our imperfections, sadly that just does not work. Have you ever seen the poem by Dorothy Law Nolte? She wrote it back in 1972 but it is as relevant now as it was then. Have a read:

Dorothy Law Nolte Poem

I try to read this poem regularly as I believe every parent should, because it reminds me that to display the positive and to affirm is so much more powerful than to criticise. Even when that criticism is done with good meaning ‘Oh Jenny, you got a B grade, that is very good but I know you can get an A if you try a little harder’.

Do you know what Jenny hears? She hears I’m not good enough. Isn’t that worrying? It is such a fine balance to parent in a way that encourages the child to stretch themselves and to achieve all they can whilst also leaving their sense of self-worth intact.

A good example of children learning what they live was demonstrated to me the other day by one of my 7-year-old girls when they were in the car with me. We were driving along and someone stopped in front of me due to a traffic jam, it was perfectly acceptable to do so, and I had no issue with it. Quick as a flash Miss E shouts ‘Oi, get a move on, we’re in a hurry you idiot’. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Firstly, we were not in a hurry, secondly, I never use the word idiot, and thirdly, this is my quieter child!

‘Where on earth did that come from Miss E?’ I ask her and she starts to look a little sheepish. ‘Well, Mummy’ pipes up her more vocal twin sister ‘when we were coming home from gymnastics last week and that man nearly made you crash, you shouted at him and told him he was stupid’. Ah yes, I remember that and start to state my case ‘but Miss M that man was driving the wrong way in a car park and came out of nowhere driving far too fast and…’ and then I tail off. It is true the situation was different (to an adults eyes), but to the child, all they had learnt was that if someone drives a car in a way you don’t like you shout abuse at them.  Whoops, parenting fail!

It is a tough learning curve, this parenting lark, but if we are willing to persevere and learn from our children we will grow better at it, but boy does it take some work. I know for sure it is worth it though. Thank you for all you teach me my babies. This mummy will keep on trying her best, and I’m sure I’ll muck up again but do you know what? That is OK, as long as I acknowledge it and apologise because then I am teaching my kids one of the most important messages, that it is OK to mess up and then try again. We all make mistakes and we can all move on.

How about you, any good learning you want to share with us?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Michelle Pannell of Mummy from the Heart

Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

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UK: Interview with Michelle Pannell AKA Mummy from the Heart

UK: Interview with Michelle Pannell AKA Mummy from the Heart

me and kids July 14Hi all, I’m really pleased to have been invited to become a contributor to the World Moms Blog and I look forward to being able to share my British parenting perspective and getting to know you all. Mich x

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I currently live in East Sussex, which is in the South of England, a couple of hours from London. I have lived in England all my life and mostly in the south. I love it here as I live in the countryside and am surrounded by beautiful green fields but it is only a 20 minute drive to the nearest beach and I adore walking by the sea.

What language(s) do you speak?
Sadly I only speak English. When I was at school I found learning languages very difficult so I have never pursued a second language and this is something I regret.

When did you first become a mother (year/age)?
My son was born in October 2003 when I was 30 years old and then I had twin girls in July 2007 just before my 34th birthday. I am really glad I waited to have my children as it meant I was able to pursue a good career without any guilt about the hours I worked and I also don’t feel I missed out on any opportunities to travel and have carefree fun with my husband.

Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?
Last year we moved from a large town to live in the grounds of a large Christian conference centre in the countryside. I resigned from my job as a staff trainer at a university and now I undertake some freelance writing. In reality most of the work I do is unpaid and I enjoy volunteering for a local food bank, at my children’s school and also here at the conference centre where I live. I’m also passionate about campaigning and being an advocate for those living in poverty.

Why do you blog/write?
My blog started as a way to update my parents on the funny tales of life with my three children. Gradually I found more and more people reading my blog and then I realised I was bitten by the blogging bug and started to share more regularly and on diverse subjects. I also felt compelled to demonstrate that Christians are just regular people too and we live imperfect lives, so I try to tell the story of my life through the lens of an imperfect Christian mother of three. I’m known for being very honest and I blog about the good, the bad and even the ugly of my life and it is through this honesty I have connected with many people who have related to my posts on compulsive overeating, miscarriage and imperfect parenting.

What makes you unique as a mother?
Every mother is unique; I do not believe I am anything special. We all travel our own distinctive journey and for me it is following my instincts and the beliefs of my Christian faith that mean I parent the way I do. With blogging I always tell newbies to find their own voice and not to imitate and I believe the same is true of parenting. Each mother knows what is best for her child and she needs to stick to her beliefs and parent with kindness and consistency.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
As a 41-year-old mother today I am travelling a different path to the one my own mother trod. Never before has there been a time when there was such easy access to information, instant gratification and technology. Trying to ensure that my children are in-line with their peers without becoming old before their time or addicted to being online is a constant battle but one I think is worth fighting. Our move to the countryside last year has reminded my children of all the fun they can have by getting outdoors and playing together.

How did you find World Moms Blog?
In October this year I was privileged to attend the ONE #AYASummit in Washington, D.C. and there I met many inspirational women including Jennifer Burden, Cindy Changyit Levin and Nicole Melancon. After a few conversations it was clear that I had much in common with the values of World Moms Blog and Jennifer invited me to become a contributor. I’m super glad she did.

Welcome to the World Moms Blog Family, Michelle. We look forward to reading your posts.

Photo credit: Michelle Pannell.

Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

More Posts - Website

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