Children are never too young to help around the house


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The eternal question from young parents, “when do we start getting the kids to help around the house”??

My simple answer the day they are born !!!!! does that sound ridiculous ??? to some it may but you need to look at what getting our children to help around the house means and why we do it.

Children learn in many many ways, watching, listening, doing, trying, failing and helping.

The younger they are (2 to 4) the more they need help and encouragement, in the very early stages of their development they are watching what is going on around them. Everything we want them to do now has to be shown, replicated and made fun. The attention span is short and you need to be on your toes.

As they develop their little personalities (4 to 7) the helping period will start, everything you want to show your children now is done through asking them to help. At this age they respond well to helping, this is where they start to replicate our behaviours so having them do tasks beside us really works for them.

Now they are beginning to develop a bit of independence (8 to 10) this is the time to start giving some small simple tasks to complete without being tied to your left leg. They will enjoy lots of praise and encouragement so make sure you let them know they are doing a great job. If they make a mess of something jump in beside them and help them fix it.

The next phase of development is (11 and up) this can be the most difficult time for us and them, they really want to be independent but they don’t necessarily want to do the tasks. This is where we as parents need to be firm and set tasks that they can complete and can be good at. Don’t be afraid to support them either pre-teens are on the cusp of not wanting to know us and still loving us, keep the boundaries tight and keep the tasks short and specific.

It is our responsibility to example to our children what sort of adult we want them to become, they will learn by us showing, supporting and doing with them. Barking orders and criticising only demeans our children and undermines their esteem. If we want them to learn we need to be the best example for them.Enjoy your kids when they are young they grow up all too fast.

Here is a little list that might help all you parents and carers.

Age Appropriate Jobs for Children around the House

2-4 year olds – need lots of encouragement and will help a bit if tasks are used as a game, make things fun for them.

Putting away their toys

Putting dirty clothes in a basket/hamper

Help feed dog/cat/fish/hamster

Bring extras to the table eg salt , pepper, sauce etc

Tag along while dusting sweeping etc

 

4-7 year olds – Children of this age naturally want to help, they learn by replicating/observing. This is where we teach by showing and doing.

Put away their things eg toys, school stuff, sports kits etc

Help set the table

Help feed the pets

Help water the plants/garden

Help make their bed

Bring down clothes for washing

Help clear the table

Help load the dishwasher

Help in the garden (small tasks)

Help put away small shopping

 

8-10 year olds– if you have been working with your children to become independent now is the time to start giving them their own tasks to complete.

Making their own bed

Taking responsibility for watering plants

Clean and hoover with direction

Show them how to set and clear the table

Show them how to hoover and dust

Feed pets (depends on type of pet and how your comfortable your child is interacting with the pet)

Help choose and make dinner

Bringing their washing down

Help clean the car

Do the washing up

Load / empty the dishwasher

Take rubbish out to the bin

Help in  the garden

 

11 year olds and older – will now be more able to complete tasks independently but may be less willing, this is where you as a parent needs to be able to set planned and regular tasks.

Take out/in the bins

Set/ clear the table for dinner

Clean their own room

Put away the shopping

Clean the bathroom

Clean the kitchen

Hoover

Mow the grass/work in the garden

Do their own laundry with support

Choose and make small meals on own

Help wash the car/wash car

Make bed

Wash dishes/load or empty dishwasher

 

 

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of the Social Care workers Registration Board at CORU, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children. All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

 

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When an article offends is it offensive ???


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One thing that is worth considering when looking at our personal life journey is how we react to others opinions and especially this article by Michael Patwell. To denigrate and cast Judgement is to do what we are offended by on a regular basis, JUDGE. When we in the Adoption community feel that we are not being heard or that at times we are not being agreed with then that can lead to hurt, pain and anger. Likewise if we want to have our opinions heard and accepted (not necessarily agreed with) then we need to accept that some people’s experiences are different than ours. In this one sided article (his view only) he clearly says that he was treated well, that what he saw was love and kindness. That may be a rose tinted perspective but it is his experience. I for one won’t take that away from him but if I ever got the chance I would try to educate him to the other side of the story. He is clearly right on one thing though, it is of its time as is all of history, things were done very differently then, children and women were lesser humans and were seen as a commodity. We continue to live with appalling practices in social care settings and the secularisation of the care field hasn’t led to a seismic shift in the care of the vulnerable. There will be investigations in the future and people will be accused of ignoring the pain of others or accused of ignoring the positive experience of others. If we continue to try to acknowledge history from only one perspective then we are ignoring history and creating an excluding dialogue, thus marginalising others as we would not like to be marginalised. Michael Patwell has written a piece that is his perspective only, and as much as it annoys me I still own my story and am as strident in my opinion as he is.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of the Social Care workers Registration Board at CORU, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children. All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

“It is Morally Unacceptable”


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Ireland in 2008 was precariously close to financial bankruptcy or so we were lead to believe, the underlying message of the day was that we were morally obliged to save the money men and do the bidding of the financial behemoths of the European experiment. What has outraged activists and advocates since then is the way Ireland Inc. has abandoned all sense of values, ethics and morals and not just in the Christian sense.

There are on a daily basis campaigns springing up to support individuals and/or groups of Irish people who are feeling more and more marginalised, more and more abandoned, more and more ignored and less and less able to have a voice and be heard.

The message from the government is once we pay our bills and look after the European Union then everything will be ok. They operate in a world of platitudes, the world must see that we are ok, that we are still willing to help others, that we can and will send aid to other nations, that we will ride in on a white horse and rescue those who are struggling all over the world. That in itself is of course right and just, where the difficulty arises is when those that are marginalised in our society are being ignored.

If we accept that morality has many sub texts but broadly include a personal belief in what is right and wrong, is regarded in terms of what is known to be right or just, as opposed to what is officially or outwardly declared to be right or just, is a way of giving guidance on how to behave decently and honourably, frames what is good or right, when judged by the standards of the average person or society at large and is based on an inner conviction, in the absence of physical proof. Then we cannot accept what is happening in this Country either morally or ethically.

It is morally unacceptable for the old to be cold in their homes,

It is morally unacceptable for the rich to have gotten richer and the poor to have gotten poorer during a time of financial crisis

It is morally unacceptable for us to use the criminal justice system to deal with our addicted citizens,

It is morally unacceptable for us to keep people on trollies in hospitals,

It is morally unacceptable for us as a nation to think that offering someone a bed in a hostel is a solution to homelessness,

It is morally unacceptable for Ireland Inc. to deny the wrongdoings of the past in relation to the incarceration of women and children in Magdalene and other institutions,

It is morally unacceptable for us to have given away our rights to the gas and oil in our waters,

It is morally unacceptable for NAMA to be selling our assets to buyers from all over the world when we can’t or won’t house our most needy,

It is morally unacceptable for leaders of large NGO’s who support the marginalised to be involved in financial and ethical corruption,

It is morally unacceptable for us to allow generation after generation believe that social welfare is the only way for them to live,

It is morally unacceptable for us not to have a living wage,

It is morally unacceptable for the citizens to have no say in local and national governance,

It is morally unacceptable for freedom of information to become more restrictive instead of less,

It is morally unacceptable for us to accept inequality of choice,

It is morally unacceptable for young people leaving care to be allowed go straight into homelessness,

It is morally unacceptable for us to ignore the wisdom of the elderly,

It is morally unacceptable for us to allow private companies profit out of human pain,

It is morally unacceptable for the civil service to apparently have no mechanism to hold people individually responsible for their mistakes,

It is morally unacceptable for us to pay lip service to the notion of whistleblowing,

 It is morally unacceptable for the Garda to be used as a private security force,

It is morally unacceptable for Ireland Inc. to attempt to criminalise protest,

It is morally unacceptable for some in society to be prevented from having access to their birth cert/file

It is morally unacceptable for the Government of the day to forget that society is made up of a collection of individuals and that the strong need to support the weak,

It is morally unacceptable for us to not recognise those that have risen from lives of challenge to lives of moral positives, look at Katie Taylor (https://twitter.com/KatieTaylor ) (sports person), Elaine Harrington (https://twitter.com/TMMissElayneous ) (performance artist), Rachel Keogh (https://twitter.com/rachaelkeogh1 ) (therapist), Christina Buckley, RIP (former golden bridge resident) and on and on and on,

It is morally unacceptable for us to allow countless children finish school with no education and a potential life of hardship as a social welfare user,

It is morally unacceptable for the Government to be dishonest and ethically bankrupt,

It is morally unacceptable for each and every one of us to not take the opportunity to make a positive contribution to someone else’s life,

Let’s build relationships that are morally, ethically, respectful and caring, if we used that as the starting tenet of governance then we might see some growth and change both individually and collectively.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of the Social Care workers Registration Board at CORU, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children. All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

MY Birth Cert is Not Mine To Have


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I have been reading this morning in the newspapers about the new proposed adoption legislation, it said “at present many adoptees are unable to access birth certs listing their original parents’ names due to legal obstacles, including a constitutional right to privacy on the part of birth parents.To help resolve this, adopted people would be required to sign a statutory declaration obliging them to respect the wishes of birth parents in cases where they do not wish to be contacted”. The constitutional right to privacy is conferred upon all citizens as it is and in no other circumstance is any citizen required to sign a statutory declaration to uphold that privacy. In fact there are numerous piece of legislation currently used to protect one from unwanted contact by others. Mary Hanafin tried something similar many years go and failed to get the backing of the adoption community. I for one will not be prepared to criminalise myself by signing any declartion to access my Birth Cert something that no other citizen of this country has to endure. I implore you all during the debate on this issue to help make sure that there is unfettered access to original birth certs and full written histories. Please contact your TDs, Senators, MEPs and Councillors.

Marriage or Matrimony, Religion or Civil


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I assume that people who are shouting down the NO side are frustrated and annoyed at the fact that their fellow citizens would cast a vote that effectively continues the marginalisation of our Brothers, Sisters. Aunts, Uncles, Mother and Fathers. What is being lost in this debate is the difference between civil marriage and holy matrimony. At no stage will the church have to perform holy matrimony for any same sex couple and that is their right. Therefore that piece of the argument is null and void. Civil marriage requires a constitutional change to give it absolute protection, if there were merely a change in law then that change could be reversed just as easily. The third point is the link between the family and how that fits with same sex couples, there is no simple answer here and this is where there is a great divide. The NO side who are predominantly faith based although not exclusively believe that the FAMILY is Father, Mother and Children, in effect that is a norm from which we are used to. Legally this interpretation is incorrect as in the constitution a cohabiting heterosexual couple with no children can be defined as a family, Article 41.3: “The State pledges to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.” nowhere though is Marriage defined, we could accept that it was clearly understood as opposite-sex when drafted in 1937 but original intent is not decisive.The failings of this current piece of constitution also marginalises other family forms, such as….a cohabiting heterosexual couple looking after the children of either or both parents,a cohabiting heterosexual couple either of whom is already married ,a cohabiting heterosexual couple either of whom is already married, whose children (all or some of them) are being looked after elsewhere ,unmarried or lone parents and their children and homosexual and lesbian couples. So back to the referendum the proposed amendment to Article 41 is the insertion of the line: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”, again this is a civil legal amendment and imposes no change on religious matrimony. All other facts of the debate in relation to children, surrogacy etc etc etc are just being used to confuse the issue.Surrogacy and other methods of assisted reproduction are being dealt with in other pieces of legislation and if battles need to be fought there then that is where people should direct their fight. I for one will vote YES to this referendum and look forward to attending the CIVIL marriage of some of my friends in the future gay or straight. Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children. All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

The Tuam Babies, Adoption, Society and Pain.


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The recent press interest in the Tuam babies’ story is interesting; it is interesting from the point of analysing the blame game. On the one hand there are those who believe that the Church and/or its actors are responsible for all the hurt and pain that was inflicted on those who they were supposed to care for. Others are inclined to look to the Government to accept responsibility for what happened at that time, and others take a view that it was of its time, that society as a whole lived that experience, that in fact there was no complicity rather that it was a lived experience for all those that were alive at that time.

In essence as human beings it is much easier for us to understand if we can indeed apportion blame, for in apportioning blame we then somehow manage to distance ourselves from the pain. It becomes someone else’s doing, not something we were involved in.

I believe that as in all historical sociological practices that they are of a time, I was watching a historical drama based on the lives of the Vikings recently, they were barbaric men, they listened and sought advice from their wise men, and they subscribed to fearsome gods and practiced sacrificing humans as a way of appeasing those gods. That was of its time.

In 1965 when I was born things were very very different than they are now, there were very few shopping centres, cars, foreign holidays and no mobile phones. Education, hospital care, disability and mental health services were almost entirely facilitated by the religious orders. Women predominantly worked in the home and when married they could no longer teach. The Catholic belief system was predominant and church attendance was the practice of most people.

Much has changed in the intervening 50 years, not all of it for the better. There is little religious involvement in child care now but that certainly doesn’t mean that childcare is better in fact we still have major problems surrounding the way we look after those most in need.

We do ourselves a disservice if we continue to argue from a now perspective against a then based practice. Ireland in the 1960s and beyond was a much less educated state, people lived in fear of not just the church but of all those who were deemed more educated. Teachers, Gardaí, Doctors, and Politicians were all treated with respect and reverence. There was clear social stratification.

We now live in a very different time, we now by and large come from a more educated perspective, and we know that looking for blame in situations of conflict does not work. We need to accept that these were practices of a time; we need to concentrate on the hurt and the pain. We need to find a way of moving forward, we need to have full open and honest debate around how we can best disseminate the information of the past. We need to accept that the children of the past are the adults of the now and should be treated as such. We need to seek help from those who have self-experienced. We need to be careful about losing ourselves in fear and most importantly for those who have survived the treacheries of the past we need to be inclusive of and supportive of all.

The last thing we need in the quest for the truth is for one section of the self-experienced to subsume power and control over or on behalf of the others. The single greatest issue that stands in the way of healing is US….many fine groups have been set up to help those who are part of the adoption triad, those who were incarcerated in the mother and baby homes, those who were sent to the industrial schools and those whose very identities have been obliterated from the record books.

But in trying to support each other through the various groups there has been a replication of the power paradigm. We are now hurting ourselves as one group tries to take a dominant position over the other. This is not an Irish phenomenon this is a Human phenomenon. In Ireland if we do not recognise this soon and start calling very loudly for all actors to support us all equally then we will again lose this chance to finally break free from the constraints of the past.

Mothers Day ????


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Considering the day that’s in it, Mothering Sunday, it struck me how discombobulated it makes me feel as an adopted adult and in turn I thought of all the mothers involved in the adoption process and how they must feel today. Imagine having given up a child to adoption, then going on to Marry and having more children but keeping the first child a secret, then on mothering sunday your children take you out to celebrate with a lovely dinner, except you cant celebrate because one child is missing. Or imagine all the adult children brining out their mother for dinner and the adopted one is feeling a little melancholy but has to block this as it would be unseemly. Well these scenarios and others are playing out all over the world today. I have a Mother who Mothered me and a Mother who couldn’t Mother me. Which one do I celebrate today, which one do I thank, which one do I buy the card for, which one do I say I Love you to. Both, I cant as I only know one. So today on Mothering Sunday consider the mothers who are struggling with this and the adult children who are struggling with this. Celebrating Mothers is a bit more complex than you might think.

“Nun “As Gaeilge”


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A poem about learning the Irish Language, this is written in English with some Irish words as I remember them.

 

Nun “As Gaeilge”

Repeat said the Nun, An bhfuil cead agam

again she spat, with venom in the air,

forty little voices afraid, struck numb,

the beauty of the mother tongue sang with despair,

 

Mother of God she wailed towards the light,

are yis Irish at all, do you hear what I say,

the knot in my stomach both hunger and fright,

a language of beauty a torment every day,

 

word after word, rhyme upon rhyme,

liom, leat, leis, leithi, linn, libh and leo,

monotonous and rhythmic time after time,

praying it was right so she’d let us go,

 

I’m 40 years older, well to a year or so,

and my Irish is still in that class,

the nun for all her guster and bustle and go,

was talking our Irish right out of her ass.

 

Adrian McKenna is a frontline child care professional; he has worked for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, Social Justice Ireland and the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

“The Fidgety Fan Fooly” another children’s poem


A Few more Poems for your Perusal:

The Fidgety Fan Fooly:

The fidgety fan fooly
flipped from rock to rock
he flapped his wings
and pricked his ears much like doctor spock

he flipped and flapped
and flopped and flew
and tiddled and taddled and tapped
he skipped and skaddled
and bibbled and babbled
and around a tree he wrapped

higher and higher, ah much higher than that
he flew into the sky
then he swooped and looped and stooped and re-grouped
the fidgety fan fooly boy.

The Upsy Downsy:

upsy downsy lived on his head
walked on his hands
with his feet in the air
said hello from below
shook hands with his feet
and had very hangy down hair

he drank through his nose
and he ate with his toes
and wrote with an upside down pen
but most of all when he needed to pee
for his efforts he got nine out of ten

he wore his shoes on his hands
his gloves on his feet
and his legs stuck out of his top
he slept with his legs on the pillow
washed upside down in the shower
and fell out of bed with a plop

now, upsy downsy was oh so rare
that they caught him
and built him a housey
the floor was the ceiling
the doors upside down
and his friend was an upside down mousy.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline child care professional; he has worked for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, Social Justice Ireland and the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

In Response to the Killings Worldwide


I have become increasingly saddened by the amount of senseless killings worldwide, allied to the increase in suicide amongst all age and genders, and on reflection I thought I would add my voice to the debate.When you look at violence and deprivation as a societal construct, it is indicative of a much deeper morass, what happened in the USA recently and indeed what has been replicated in other Countries is a sign that “things” are becoming more valuable than people. We are losing the art of community, the art of conversation and the ability to have relationships with each other.There is a dishonesty about the way we interact with each other. This disconnect is allowing us to cause harm to each other because we no longer feel, we no longer have a sense of what is right and wrong, positive and negative. The teaching of our children starts with us, the parents, yet we spend less and less time with our children, we try to get them involved in everything and wonder why they don’t want to talk to us, why they are annoyed and angry. We need to start talking to and teaching our young people how to have relationships with themselves and others. When we start to have relationships again, when we re-build our communities, when we start to educate our children in how society functions, and when we take control of and responsibility for our thoughts , words and actions, we then might begin to see a better world.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline child care professional; he has worked for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, Social Justice Ireland and the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.