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Parenting 101



Facing an unexpected pregnancy can feel overwhelming.  Whether you have had previous pregnancies or not, finding support and resources to help you move forward well is key. Here is a list that can be helpful as you navigate the next steps.

  • Some people really benefit from having the opportunity to talk about their situation in a safe and confidential place.  You may need a good listening ear to share your concerns, questions and fears.
  • Medical care for your baby and yourself throughout your pregnancy is needed.  Set up an appointment to confirm your pregnancy and get the care and guidance that both you and your baby will need.  They will help you to arrange an ultrasound and other care referrals.
  • If you would like to have a mid-wife or doula make an appointment with them as soon as you know you are pregnant as many people require their services.
  • Eat healthy and stay active.
  • Take some time to learn about what resources are available to you in your community.
  • Create a plan as you move forward.  What are the items you will need to care for your baby? What would you like your birth plan to look like?
  • Educate yourself.  There are prenatal and parenting programs available in your community.  You may be able to do them on line or in person and bring your partner or support person with you. Find books and resources to better prepare you for labor and delivery, breastfeeding and bringing your baby home.

Children thrive in a safe and secure environment.  Make your home a place where your children can grow and develop well. As a parent your most important job is to love your child.  When we love our children we want to protect them, teach them and keep them safe.

Where there is much you can do to prepare for your baby’s arrival, there are some things you just learn along the way. Can I encourage you to reach out when you don’t know the answers and when you need support?  Children need us to be big enough to care for them and look out for them and that means getting help and support when you need it.

We are here for you! Contact the Centre and see how we can help!

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Education: From Burden to Joy

A few years ago, our family made the decision that we would educate our kids from home.  We had four kids, five and under and our youngest was three weeks old.  I felt an enormous amount of pressure to prove that I had accomplished a lot with my kids.  I dealt with the doubts and questions of family and friends, which only added to the pressure to produce results.  

Our first two years did not go very well.  I yelled a lot.  I cried a lot.  I felt like a failure a lot.  I learned something in those two years, however.  My kids were learning whether I was “teaching” them or not.  Kids, by nature, are learners.  They are constantly absorbing information from their surroundings.  That’s why they need to play, to be outside, to listen to good music, to experience great literature.  I learned that education did not need to be so complicated, structured, or pressure-filled.  I put away my expectations for my kids to perform.  They don’t need to prove to me that they’re learning things, because they do it naturally anyway.   

I learned that educating my kids was more about introducing them to great things and letting their curiosity take over.  I did things like reading aloud great books (I actually chose some of my favourite novels from my childhood and let them see me get excited to read them).  I started taking them to a conservation area every week for a full morning and letting them explore and be fascinated.  I introduced them to great music of different genres.  I had them help me with different household chores and projects (it’s amazing how kids enjoy being productive and contributing to something useful).   This being said, I do use a curriculum each day.  I chose one that only takes about an hour and a half to finish and is largely centred around reading aloud together. 

The greatest benefit of home education has been the connections I make with my kids.  I get to be there when they understand something new for the first time.  I get to hear them sound out a full word on their own.  I get to talk them through difficult math problems.  I get to talk to them about history and hear their thoughts about what they learn.

Parents, I know that this can be a hard transition.  I understand the fear of having your kids fall behind.  I know the pressure to recreate the classroom in your home.  This can be a blessing if you let it.  Your kids can be free to explore things that interest them.  You can be free to experience their interests with them. 

 I want to challenge you to take some of the pressure to perform off of yourself and your kids and to watch them learn things without being prodded.  

Most of you will eventually get back into the routine of sending your kids to school.  I hope you will count this break as a privilege.  You get to connect with your kids in new ways that will help to shape who they will become.  This is totally possible.  You can do it.  

 

Jocelyn is our Office Admin. Assistant.  She takes care of our website and social media accounts.  

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How to "Father" in a Pandemic Part 2: So, you're a teacher now.

 

 

       So, it’s day 24,234,634 of self isolation and now you have to add “teacher” to your resume. First of all, you’ve got this. Yes you.  As a dad, you may not have gone to teacher’s college, but you can do this. How? Well here are a few pointers. 

          Stay informed. If you are stuck in the house together, find out what the school’s expectations are for your kids.  If you have shared access or regular visits, keep up to date with how your kids are doing with their school work.  Find out if there are assignments that need to be done, or if there are any particular struggles your kids are having with a certain subject. Make your time and visits fun but don’t make it that only one partner is carrying the burden of school. Have school as part of your time together. As dads, we can step up and be a powerful and important voice to encourage our kids at this time. 

       Show interest in learning. “Boring” is a dangerous word. Take time to know what they are doing in their schoolwork and help them see the joy in learning. That can look like a lot of different things, but the main thing is for you, yourself, to enjoy learning.  Share with them a subject that you are interested in and let them see your passion. For a child to see their dad excited about something he has learned can make a big impact. If they are stuck on their schoolwork, help them find some resources that can help them along and get them to look at the problem differently. 

     Get help. You are not alone in this. Reach out to your children’s school and share with them the problems you are having. They will be more than happy to help, and they will be impressed that, as a dad, you are involved in their schoolwork. 

Don’t look at this as another burden, but an opportunity. Maybe you are having a hard time mustering up enthusiasm for learning.  Have a conversation with your kids and see if there is a mutual skill that you can learn together. Check out some of these places for inspiration. Here here and here.

Enjoy learning together.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca.  

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How to "Father" in a Pandemic

Right now, there are a lot of unknowns and insecurities in the world. As a dad, whatever amount you have access to your kids, let your relationship be a place of stability.   Be their rock. 

       How can you show that? Build trust. When you give a promise, you keep it. When you are supposed to be there for that phone call or Facetime, you are there. When your kids are pouring out how they are feeling, you are that listening ear and voice of reassurance. When they have questions, you help them find an answer.  (This part will involve being properly informed from good sources so that you can accurately address kids’ fears and worries, but also setting parameters on your news consumption that you will not overwhelm yourself with your own fears and worries.) 

        They need to see that you are stable but that you are also real.  Show how you are feeling about what is going on and what you are thinking. Do not burden your kids with everything, that will be overwhelming, but acknowledge that what is happening is very big and very different. Tell them that you don’t have all the answers but are trying to figure it out. They need to see you are human too. 

Right now, kids need their dads. Be there for them. Be that authentic, stable presence they need in their life. With that being said, if you are feeling overwhelmed in the midst of this crisis please reach out.  This is not a time to feel alone. 

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

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Congratulations, you're a dad!

“Here is your daughter,” said the doctor.  The magnitude of that moment hit me in so many ways when they placed her in my arms for the first time. I felt a wave of emotion and I knew that every area of my life was going to be changed by this little girl.  The second thought I had was that no matter what happened, I was going to be her dad.  No matter how horrible I was, or how far I ran, the reality was, that I was always going to be her dad. Then the next wave hit me and I went to the bathroom and threw up.

Being a dad is a big deal and how we take hold of it matters.  The one fact that can’t be changed, is that you are a dad.  You can be a good dad, a bad dad, a barely-there dad, a caring dad, but you are a dad.  Don’t hide from it.  Be open to being a student of fatherhood, dedicated to doing your best and prepared to learn what it means to be a good dad. Don’t let your past define you, your fears and insecurities cripple you, or your career ambitions consume you. It is good to feel the enormity of being a dad, but we all need help. None of us have it all figured out. If you're struggling to find resources, or just need to know there are other dads out there, please reach out to the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre to connect with our Dads' Program.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

 

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Dad's Unique Role in Teaching

One of the special roles we have as dads is in the area of helping our kids to learn. Research shows that when fathers are involved, children do better in school both socially and academically. When it comes to our children’s learning, dads have a unique ability to spark a hunger for creativity and discovery.  We can open up the world in our children’s minds with our words, our presence, and our actions so that they see something new and enjoy things in a new way. The problem is, that life seems to smash the joy of learning out of most of us.  Busy schedules can squash our children’s creativity.  In the midst of the regular chaos we try to simply survive by going to work, getting our kids to whatever lesson, practice or program, and getting them back to bed. How can we help our kids to widen their eyes to the world around them and capture the joy of learning in the midst of it all?

First of all, are we still enjoying learning ourselves? When was the last time you watched a show that taught you something new or picked up a book that made you see the world in a totally different way? Capture that joy of learning for yourself. Kids notice a dad who is constantly nagging them to do their homework, but in their own lives have stopped learning long ago.

Second, don’t feel like you always have to hit a home run when you just need a base hit.  We don’t always have time to take our kids for an hour long hike and amaze them with our knowledge of the woods, or sit under the stars and explain the mysteries of the universe. Sometimes, it can be as simple as pointing out the bees flying in and out of the flowers next to the McDonalds drive thru while you’re on your way to the millionth swimming lesson and asking them, “What are those bees up to?”  Maybe while you’re running around Wal-Mart, point out what country a product has come from and ask them, “What continent is that country in?” It’s an amazing thing when kids can be awakened to the opportunities to learn through the world around them outside of the four walls of a classroom.  

Finally, don’t stop Dads. Life is hard, life is busy, but the role of helping our kids to learn will make a rich legacy that will live on a very long time.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

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What Are Your Values?

 

A theme most common in the classrooms I visit for our 4U Healthy Lifestyle Course is the lack of personal values. Media is a big influence in the decisions students make. Pointing out or discovering true values rather than what media or friends say is one of the most important activities in my presentation.  Values are questioned such as “Is it family?” “Is it Education? Physical Health? Media opinion? Music, honesty....?“  Which are non-negotiable? What will you do when these are challenged? Do you compromise? Many students are surprised at their answers. The hope is that they will be able to make their best choices in the future knowing what their non-negotiable values are.

So what can you do at home with your grade 7/8 kids? Try this exercise at home: talk about your own personal values. Create scenarios and find out what would they do.  How can they stay strong to their values in order to meet their particular goals?

 

Darla is our 4U Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator.  

 

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Don't Compare Yourself

When does that feeling start inside us where we look at others and then look at ourselves and feel discontent? For some it starts at an early age and continues on into adulthood. Comparing ourselves in various ways to another person's looks, talents, personality or possessions can leave us with the feeling of wishing we were someone else. If our focus is on comparing ourselves and our lives to that of our family, friends, classmates or perhaps to models and movie stars we are missing out on discovering the wonder and beauty of who we were created to be.                                             

This is why I love the quote, "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are," from our program, Life Encouraged And Directed (LEAD). Our discussions include the realization that there is so much more to other people's lives then what we see. Each person has their own life's journey that they are walking out and it can come with difficulties and joys. Other topics covered are learning to accept all aspects of ourselves, the good and maybe not so good. We look at setting goals for areas where we would like to make improvements. The program encourages women to discover who they are and to embrace their own uniqueness and individuality.

These are just some of the topics that we cover in the LEAD class. If you struggle in areas like this and want to learn more about it, click here.

Marg is our Client Services Director.  

 

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A Father's Presence

       Spending time together is something that is happening less and less. In a world that is more connected than ever before, a new reality is emerging. We don’t spend as much time with other people face to face; talking, laughing, and eating a meal. We have replaced so many of our interactions with people with interacting with devices which makes certain situations more efficient such as a checkouts at a grocery store, but one area that technology will never replace is the presence of a father. There are some unique benefits for child development that comes from having a father there. Studies have shown that the way fathers play with their children is different than that of a mother. Fathers tend to be more spontaneous in their play helping develop kid’s curiosity. This fact might not be in the front of children’s mind but what will be is that they know when Dad’s here anything can happen. They also tend to encourage rougher play which within proper limits can help children develop self-confidence. So let’s spend time with our kids. Don’t worry so much about making the most amazing Instagram perfect moments but enjoy the small moments that are all around us together. It makes a difference. When more and more people are feeling lonely in spite of being more connected; let’s have Dads step up and make an effort to simply be with their children in a way only they can be.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

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