When Your Children Come From Different PlanetsWritten by Kenneth A. Sprang and Carol Sprang, MA, RNC, LCPC
As I write this, Carol and I are in London, having just spent a lovely two week European cruise with my sister and her family--my sister married an Englishman and has been living in England for over 25 years. Carol and I savored opportunity to spend this extended time, and particularly appreciated getting to know our twin niece and nephew better. Watching twins caused me to reflect a bit on observation that two children growing up in same household, even when they are twins, inevitably blossom with different personalities. Sometimes—as in case of my own two children, and in case of my sister and my brother—the differences are so profound one might think they grew up not just in different families, but on different planets. Many of us know families where some of children have followed in their parents’ path in terms of careers, values, and lifestyles, but one or more of others have marched to their own drummer, perhaps even becoming “black sheep” of family. My niece stands 5 feet 10 inches tall at age 11, while her brother is only 5 feet 2 inches. He aspires to be an engineer (though I am not sure that he quite knows what an engineer does yet), while she is quite artistic and is moving more and more in that direction. He speaks rather articulately and directly, while her speech is more animated and a bit diffuse. He still has a bit of child-like quality, while she is just a breath away from entering adolescence. My nephew and my sister get along quite well, but my sister finds herself often at odds with my niece—in part, because my niece reminds my sister of herself at that age. Likewise, my sister and brother (actually half-siblings—we did not grow up together) are complete opposites. She is fun loving, relatively easy going, generally progressive in thought on social issues, and quite flexible. She also spends money quite easily. In contrast, our brother is extremely conservative and rigid in his lifestyle and viewpoint, has difficulty in social situations, and is extraordinarily frugal. My own two children are likewise quite different--even their memories and attitudes about their childhood are radically different—one recalling a rather content childhood, and other still processing some old anger. So what is this phenomenon, and what is a parent to do with it! The debate over nature versus nurture is an old one. There are certain characteristics that seem relatively fixed at birth—some are rather clear, for example a tendency toward introversion or extroversion, while others show up as a tendency toward one end of a continuum or another. Although we as parents may strive valiantly to treat our children equally, it is nearly impossible to do so. First, each will have a different experience growing up—one is always eldest and others stand in different birth order (twins being exception).
A New Take on Family Game NightWritten by Lisa, Eric and Adam Hendey
A New Take on Family Game Night Product Review of Madagascar Animal Trivia DVD Game by Lisa M. Hendey, Eric Hendey and Adam Hendey
Our family loves to play games together, but it can be trying at times to ensure “fairness” and a good time had by all when youngest member of our family, Adam, feels he’s playing at a disadvantage. Who wants to play when you’re youngest and you think you might lose? Mom has same problem, owing to a competitive streak formed in early childhood.
We’ve recently discovered a new product that takes away this dilemma and ensures a fun family gaming experience. Newly released from folks at bEQUAL, in partnership with DreamWorks, Madagascar Animal Trivia DVD Game will be a hit with your entire family.
I recently took time to play game with my sons, ages thirteen and ten, and can vouch for game’s educational and entertainment value, but I thought I’d let boys chime in and share their own opinions. To preface their remarks, I’ll say that these are some astute gamers – they’re not easily entertained by gimmicky products, and they bore easily with certain video games that are too easily mastered. We tested game both on our home television and in our car’s rear DVD player.
Here’s what boys had to say about Madagascar Animal Trivial DVD game:
Adam – 10 years old: “This is a family trivia game about animals and it’s played on a DVD. Its theme is Madagascar, a new computer animated movie for kids. This game, in my opinion, is great for kids, even as young as five years old. I learned lots about animals playing this game.”
Eric – 13 years old: “Madagascar is a family-oriented DVD trivia game. Its questions about animal life can entertain people of any age. One feature that makes game more enjoyable for everyone is Dynamic Leveling. Based on how many questions you answer correctly, questions become harder or easier as you go on. The competition is fun for everyone, and anyone can win. Kids will have a great time showing their knowledge about animals with backdrop of movie Madagascar.”