Friday, October 27, 2006

Do You Know Where Your Chocolate Comes From???

They say ignorance is bliss but after watching a news program last night on child abuse in the chocolate industry, I felt it was my duty to blog about it. If I had no clue I am sure a lot of people also are unaware of the unacceptable practice that is still going on in this industry. So since it is Halloween, a time when chocolate consumption is high maybe it is time that we give a bit of thought to where that sweet treat may have come from.

According to the report, in 2001, the U.S. State Department and the International Labour Organization reported child slavery on many of the cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, which produces about 43 % of the world's supply. It was reported after subsequent research that 284,000 children between the ages of 9 and 12 were working in hazardous conditions such as around toxic pesticide and using dangerous machetes to harvest the cocoa beans. And if that was not bad enough it was discovered that 12,000 children that had participated in the study were working in these abhorrent conditions as a result of child trafficking. Suddenly that chocolate doesn't sound so sweet.

When this finally caught the attention of the media and the government in 2001 and the American public began to take notice, the U.S. chocolate agreed to take steps to end the child slavery trade by July 2005.That is all well and good but sadly the deadline has come and the chocolate industry has failed to change any of its despicable practices.

Global Exchange is now launching a campaign for communities to voice their opinions about the chocolate industry's abuse of children.
What can you do? Buy fair trade chocolate products . Fair Trade guarantees that all producers the income that they need to educate their children and pay workers with fair wages. Consumers can be asssured that no abusive labour practices were used in the process of making the chocolate. If we contact the large chocolate companies and demand that we will accept nothing less than fair trade it will put pressure on them to change. After I write this I am going to email the likes of Nestle, M&M Mars, Lindt and any others in the chocolate industry. If we all took the time to do this they would have to listen.

Happy Parenting 


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Talking to your kids

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Goal Setting and Task Accomplishment

On Saturday I blogged about helping your child set goals for the new school year, and helping them use visualization to imagine their goals.

What else can you do to help your child become a super-achieving goal setter?

Well if you think of the final goal as the destination, you reach your goal by taking lots of small steps. So a great thing to teach your child is how to set little tasks each day that will help him reach his goal, one step at a time.

There are all sorts of ways of learning to set and achieve mini-goals or complete tasks, and it's a good skill to have - the earlier you start the better.

One nice idea is to get an index card box and a lot of index cards. Each evening, sit down with your child and have him write down on one index card what steps he would like to take towards his goals next day. They should be things that he feels he is able to do. If he asks for your help, that is fine, but he needs to OWN his goals and his tasks - they are his very own.

It's great for kids self esteem to tick off all the different things they achieve towards their goals on the card the next day. Teach your child that it is OK to move a task to the following day if for some reason it doesn't get done - never allow him to beat himself up for not completing a task - only allow positive praise and rewards for tasks accomplished, never punishment or self-depreciation of any kind.

If your child writes the date on each card and files it, he will love getting his index card box out once in a while and reviewing all that he has achieved so far!

Happy Goal setting with your kids!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

How you can help your child to set goals

The start of the academic year is a great time to sit down with your school-age child and help him set some goals.

It's important that the child decides on his own goals rather than you dishing them out! If your child is new to goal setting here are some ideas for questions you can ask to help him create some goals this year:

  • "What is your favorite subject at school?" "What would you like to achieve in that subject?"
  • "Where do you want to get in your chosen sport this year?"
  • "What goals could you set that might make school more fun this year?"
  • "Are there any new skills you would like to learn this year?"
  • "What do you want to achieve this year in music / art / your favorite hobby?"
Once your child has some goals, your most important job is to provide encouragement and to believe in him!

You can also help by teaching your child to visualize his goals and imagine them - bedtime is a good time to do this. Get him to describe what it will look like, sound like and feel like when his goal is achieved. There are lots of great techniques on the KidsGoals website!

Happy Goal setting with your Kids!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Potty Training and Goal Setting with Your Child - Empowerment or Shame?

I'm always amazed at the sheer vast numbers of parents who are looking for help on how to potty-train their toddlers.

Potty or toilet training is a huge milestone for you and your baby or toddler and is an episode that can either teach your child empowerment or embarrassment. Which will it be for YOUR child?

I cringe to tell you this but my earliest memory is of wetting myself. Here is how I remember it...

"It’s very late. It’s dark outside. The sky is pitch black, and something amazing is happening. Soft white flakes are drifting down from the sky, slowly and quietly. Everything is quiet; it must be that the whole world is asleep.
Somehow I persuade the big people to take me outside to see this miracle for myself. They put me in yellow Wellingtons and a fluffy yellow all-in-one thing, called a Snowsuit, and let me stand outside. I reach out my tiny hands to try and catch the snow, and watch it gently settle on the ground and the railings of the balcony outside our flat."

"Before I realise what is happening, my little bladder gives in to the cold and I feel a warm wet sensation flooding my lower body and seeping into my wellington boots. Following quickly on the heels of that physical sensation comes a crippling feeling of utter shame. Mother and Father expect me to be perfect, how could I let them down like this?"

This memory has always been a very vivid one for me - such intense shame and guilt, knowing that I had done something terrible. I assumed that I must have been about 5 or 6 years old to feel so ashamed of having an accident.

Imagine my surprise when I mentioned this memory to my mother and she said, "Oh yes, I remember that and you in your yellow snowsuit. You were only two."

TWO? Two innocent years old and I felt THAT terrible about a little accident?

I hope that you will choose to teach your child EMPOWERMENT by using PRAISE in your potty training, rather than using PUNISHMENT, guilt and shame like my mother did.

For more suggestions on positive potty training, check out Monicka's article on Potty Training  and if your child was successfully potty trained but is experiencing problems, this article on Potty Training Problems and Regression might help!

Happy Goal setting with your kids!