The Trouble With Teachers

Coed Morgannwg Way - Small

In fairness to teachers, they mean well. Most of them got into teaching because they want to make a difference in children’s lives. Yet it is amazing how parochial they can be when it comes to parental input.

For example, raising children with attachment issues is difficult enough. Yet you would expect teaching staff to at least be on your side. Do they not understand that you live with the problem, all day, every day; that you have done your research; and that you might, possibly know more about this issue than they do. After all, they get a few hours of seminar and consider themselves to be experts, despite the fact that they can walk away from the issue every afternoon. You, the carer, only have to put up with the resultant behaviour overnight and at weekends. Yeah! Right!

So it was refreshing to read Braveheart Education‘s blog post Social Experiment.

The trouble with teachers is that they did their training years ago. Yes, they have to do regular Continual Professional Development courses. But those courses are only effective if they are currently faced with the issues covered.

You, however, as a carer for a child with attachment issues, are constantly researching the issue and looking for all the latest techniques. Why? Because you know that raising a child with attachment issues requires you to keep ahead of the game; that techniques which work today may not work tomorrow, and you need to keep your toolkit sharp if you are going to succeed.

I urge you to read the article, Social Experiment, and share it with everyone. Let’s try to give these kids a fair chance.

Advertisements

Becoming Grandparents

Coed Morgannwg Way - Small

 

Becoming a parent was a wonderful, life-changing experience. There is no doubt about that. Yet, as amazing as it was to become a parent, becoming a grandparent is even more so. It represents a new beginning in a new way.

Becoming a parent marked a change from a life of relative freedom to a life full of responsibility and, to a great extent, of being much more restricted in what you could do. Staying out late at night was now less of an option. Holidays became much more expensive. Your circle of friends is likely to have changed; you had little in common with your single friends, any more. And when the school run started, you moved into another new group. You should, however, have had a new, powerful support network.

As part of that network, there should have been your parents and in-laws.

Becoming Grandparents

The new beginning represented in becoming grandparents is different. You are not as likely to change your circle of friends; your freedom to travel and party is not as likely to be restricted unless you choose to allow this to happen. You may have less money available as you start buying clothes and toys for the new arrival. You may even find that your time is limited if you agree to provide “free” childcare for your daughter or daughter-in-law to return to work. But, in general, you will not lose as much freedom as you did when you became parents.

Still, becoming grandparents is a life-changing experience. You may have wondered whether your family name will survive your children. I know of a number of people who, for many years, said that they did not want grandchildren because it would make them feel old. They repeated it so often that their children started to believe it and decided that the right thing to do would be to avoid having children. Now, those parents have changed their tune. They have realised that their family name is about to die out; they see the pleasure that their siblings enjoy, now that they are grandparents; and they wish they could have that joy.

As grandparents, you have the pleasure of “borrowing” your grandchildren, showing them off to your friends and relatives, having great fun with them, and then, once the tiredness and grumpiness, or even the hyperactivity, sets in, giving them back!

Another Change in the Relationship

Now things really change in your relationship with your children. Since they became adults, you should have started to be more careful about the advice you give; you should have wanted to let them go, gradually and gently. You will have wanted to retain a good relationship with them, whilst allowing them the freedom to grow and develop their own adult personalities and relationships.

Having children, however, will raise the importance of maintaining that relationship to a much higher level, in the form of what we could call a distant closeness, or a close distance. As mentioned previously, you should have raised your children to develop their own thinking abilities, and that will probably mean that you will not always see things the same way. You also have to consider that your child’s thinking will have been affected by your son- or daughter-in-law’s thinking. This is as it should be. Your child is developing his or her own life. He or she will have to keep that life going, even when you are not around. The new parents will have to make decisions, usually with no time to consult you, even if they wanted to.

Suddenly, you will be faced with the problem of coming to terms with decisions that affect a helpless member of the family; and, at that point in time, all your child’s faults and failings will come to mind. Suddenly, you will remember all the events that strained your relationship with your child; and you will re-align your loyalty with a view to protecting that innocent young grandchild. Your heartstrings will be pulled in all sorts of different directions. You will want to give advice, or even interfere. As mentioned in the previous chapter, this is a danger area.

To repeat, be very careful about offering advice to your grown children. As important as this is when they have left home, it is absolutely essential when they have children of their own. Unsolicited advice is seldom received with gratitude; it is more likely to be seen as criticism. And I speak as one who has experienced both sides of the fence, so to speak. I have received advice, both solicited and unsolicited, and I have offered advice, both solicited and unsolicited. Unless it is offered in the right way, unsolicited advice is often seen as criticism.

So, what is the grandparent’s role?

We will discuss this in the next section.

Mindful Parenting

Rocky Beach

So far, we have discussed becoming a parent and some the challenges that this entails. We have deliberately ignored the daily experience of parenting in favour of some of the more controversial aspects. This is deliberate. There are plenty of books about parenting. However, if you really want a word of advice, in one or two sentences, it has to be:-

Love and respect your children and treat then as you want them to treat you. After all, one day, you might need their support!

Before we move on to becoming grandparents, let’s look at how mindfulness can help us as parents.

Mindful Meditation – As a Parent

Before discussing mindful parenting, we want to clarify something. This series is about grandparents parenting their grandchildren under Special Guardianship arrangements. So why have we spent so long talking about parenting?

It should not need to be said, but there is a huge difference between being a parent and being a grandparent. As a grandparent, you usually have the opportunity to “borrow” your grandchildren, have lots of fun, and then give them back after a few hours or days. When you give them back, they are likely to be exhausted, as will you be, or they will be hyper-excited. Either way, you can now relax until the next time. As parents, you do not have that option. The children are yours, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks per year for at least eighteen years.

But the difference is more than just in the access. There are massive cultural differences caused by modernizing policies and procedures. We have already spoken about the changes made in the way we think about discipline. Also, your son and daughter-in-law come from different backgrounds. They will have their own view on what counts as good parenting, regardless of the way they were raised. And you may not fully agree with their ideas. I hope that this review is helping you to think about your views and beliefs as parents.

Now, how does mindful meditation help as a parent?

Mindful Parenting

Mindfulness comes in many guises, as does meditation. My personal view of this is that meditation is deep thinking on a specific topic, during which we review past decisions and their consequences, followed by analysing the potential outcomes of various scenarios as we apply the lessons learned. I do not subscribe to the idea of emptying the mind. The human mind was designed with a thirst for knowledge. Trying to empty our minds denies us that right. It can also encourage us to think unhealthy thoughts. The best meditation involves healthy thoughts and is positive. I appreciate that there will be those who take issue with this view, but if they truly practice mindful meditation according to their own views, they will accept this concept without judgement, rather than taking issue with it.

Mindfulness, on the other hand, involves what is described as “being fully present in the moment.” Personally, I find that definition fairly nebulous. What do we mean by “being fully present in the moment?”

Imagine that you are looking at a painting of a meadow with poppies. Artists know that, as complimentary colours, red and green are ideal for drawing the eye. Therefore, they may use a row of poppies in a particular pattern to draw our eyes to some feature in the distance. For now, however, let’s imagine that the painting only involves a green field and a few poppies. Standing in front of the painting we have a choice. We can see “the whole picture,” for example. We look at it and think, “That would look nice in my lounge.” Or we could focus on details; we take note of the poppies because they stand out against the green background.

Yet, what if you were an art collector? You would want to ensure that you are buying an authentic painting. Therefore, you might look beyond the patterns formed by the paint. You may want to analyse the brush strokes which defined the master artist. You may know that the artist always laid down the paint according to a certain format. Now you are being mindful of more than just the overall picture.

As a parent, you need such mindfulness. You need “eyes in the back of your head,” as the saying goes. When your child is playing in the garden, you want to know that they are safe. So you look at the overall picture and see that they are playing happily. But you may also want to look at the details. If they are having fun with the secateurs, then you are likely to choose to take more notice!

So what does mindful meditation do for a parent?

As a parent, we will come across all manner of situations that test our ability to cope. Children can appear to be very frustrating, at times. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, are they really setting out to frustrate us? I once heard of an eighteen-month-old boy being described as “knowing how to push his father’s buttons.” Really? Are we saying that this child who was barely able to think could plot his way into aggravating his father? Is it not more accurate to say that the father allowed himself to be aggravated by the son’s actions?

This is an important concept. It highlights the matter of choice. We choose all of our actions. No one forces us to behave in a certain manner. It is our choice.

Making Choices

For example, imagine that your six-year-old daughter is helping with drying the dishes after dinner. She drops a plate and it smashes. Whose fault is that? It would be easy to scream and shout that she should have been more careful. Yet we know that six-year-olds are clumsy. Let’s look at some of the choices involved here.

We chose to allow, or even ask her to help. We chose to allow her to try to dry the plate, despite it being breakable. We also choose how to respond; whether to shout, or to comfort. It’s our choice. But our daughter does not force us to make that choice.

Whether we become angry or not is a matter of choice. Mindfulness will make us aware of the details, which include our feelings and emotions. Knowing that our breathing is increasing in speed, and that our muscles are tensing, and that we are frowning will alert us to the developing anger; and we will be able to choose accordingly.

Keeping Calm

Mindfulness also helps us to deal with what is going on around us. We have to remember that the angry exchange that we had at work may be affecting how we treat our children. The size of the utility bill may affect our tolerance levels. A disappointment, or a bereavement, or any other life event may affect how we respond to our child’s behaviour.

Remember, too, that our children assimilate our feelings, even if we do not make them obvious. They will reflect those feelings, no matter how hard we try to hide them. This is no excuse for giving up. It means that we have to be careful of the choices we make. Do we accept that we used the electricity and, therefore, the bill is larger than normal? If we do, then we will not allow it to affect our relationship with our children.

Mindful Treatment of Children

Therefore, mindful meditation is a valuable tool when raising young children. We need to be comfortable in our lives and mindful meditation will help us to achieve that. We can become content so that our children absorb our inner peace and reflect it back to us. Thi
s will also lead to reduced stress levels in both children and parents.

Let’s go back to our six-year-old daughter breaking a plate. Mindful meditation would have led us to think of this as a potential consequence from allowing her to help. It will also lead us to consider appropriate responses.

What about teenage children? They will be developing their own thought patterns and will want some level of independence. If we have developed mindful meditation it is likely that our children will also have developed this approach and they are more likely to act in a way that we approve of. Yet even if they do not follow our ways, our mindfulness will let us accept that with equanimity and we will be more able to reason with our teenagers, rather than yelling at them.

And when our children are grown, perhaps with their own families, we will be more able to accept their choices, even if we do not approve of them.

All of this leads us on to our next subject – becoming grandparents. As we develop this subject we will keep coming back to the need for mindfulness. Being able to meet the challenges with equanimity will help us to keep the peace. Hopefully, this review of the challenges of parenting will help grandparents to meditate mindfully on the differences between their parenting style and that of their children, because an appreciation of these differences will help us to make wise decisions as we meet the challenges that we will discuss in the rest of this book.

Grandpa’s Way–New Beginnings–Unique Experiences

We left the last article with the thought that everyone involved in raising children has a unique experience, whether they are the parents or the children.


Bedd Gelert 1

 

Each Child Has a Unique Experience

Now think about this: Each of your children had their own, unique experience of life.

Let’s say that you had five children, fairly evenly spaced over a ten-year period. There was only one first child; only one second child; only one fifth child, and so on. The only thing that some of them may have had in common was that the second and third would both have been middle children. Yet even their experience was unique. The second only had one older sibling; the third had two. In addition, by the time you had your third, the first was probably getting ready for school. This would certainly be the situation by the time you had your fourth.

Realistically, though, if you had five children, it is likely that there would be a gap, somewhere along the line. Maybe you thought, like so many parents, that you had finished having children, when the “youngest” was eight, only to suddenly find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, again. So your eldest child could have been a teenager by the time the youngest was born.

Therefore, each child grows up in his or her own environment.

(By the way, so far I have avoided the idea of gender. Please remember that any references to “him” can generally also refer to “her” and vice versa. Any exceptions should be obvious!)

Also, bear in mind that, if you had your first child at age twenty, and the next, two years later, only one child had the experience of having a twenty-one year old father or mother, even if they don’t remember it.

Now, how does this unique experience affect the way each child is raised?

I have already referred to the possibility that your diet, exercise, and rest may have slipped in quality as each child came along. That, in itself, is a cause of differing experiences.

Yet, what about changes in understanding? For example, maybe you were raised with the idea that smacking children was acceptable. So when you had your first couple of children, you carried on in that tradition. However, let’s say that your last child was born after the Child Protection Act (in Britain) became law. Media campaigns would now have made you think about how you disciplined your children. Maybe now you started to wonder whether smacking was appropriate. So you stopped using physical punishment on all your children. Yet, how did this affect your last child; the one who never knew what it was like to feel the sting of a palm on his rear end? We will return to the subject of discipline in a later chapter.

What about advances in food technology, and our understanding of the effects of diet and exercise? Many people in their seventies, today, grew up during the years of the Second World War. They experienced shortages of what many consider to be basic foodstuffs: Butter, eggs, meat, etc. So they learned to eat what they could get. Where I come from, many older people like what is called “bread and dripping.” Essentially, this is bread spread with, yes, you guessed it, the fat that pours off the meat during cooking. In fact, many people in my area would give this some flavour by sprinkling it with salt. I tell you, this is pure cholesterol! No wonder there are so many heart attacks in this area.

When I was in school, I remember the British government sponsoring an advertising campaign encouraging a balanced meal of meat, potatoes, and two vegetables. Today, we are encouraged to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables, every day, and to cut down on red meats. What effect did this have on the way we raised our children? Then, again, we are heading into the first generation that could see the widespread use of genetically modified foods. How will that affect future generations? We don’t know.

Then there is the matter of hand-me-downs, of course. The first child probably had brand new clothes, even if he did benefit from an older cousin’s cast-offs. The second child probably had fewer new clothes, especially if the first two children were of the same gender.

Still. Each of these changes mean that each of our children grew up in a different environment.

Each Parent Has a Unique Experience

The other aspect of raising children is that each parent has an experience that is unique to him or her and that changes with time. After all, who made all the changes mentioned in the last section? You probably improved your children’s diet; you probably improved your children’s exercise regime; you probably improved your children’s educational experience; you probably improved your children’s life experience.

Consider, though, how your experience changed, over the years. Maybe you grew up in a home where healthy and diet rarely appeared in the same sentence. Maybe you grew up in a family whose most energetic exercise consisted of reaching for the remote control. Maybe you grew up in a family that was almost fanatical about health, diet, and fitness. How much of that have you changed since you left home? How much of it have you passed on to your children? How much of it have you discarded in your own parenting?

So it was that you raised what you would like to think of as responsible children.

And then, they left home.


In the next article we will extend the idea of raising responsible children to the way that grandparents can help their children raise their grandchildren. And we will start to look at the way to handle concerns.

Grandpa’s Way – New Beginnings – Raising Responsible Adults

This is the second in a series of articles looking at the issues faced by grandparents, especially those who find themselves in a position of having to become parents to their grandchildren. You can read the introduction, here.


RoadHome

The birth of a child is probably one of the most joyful events that most families experience. It is so keenly anticipated for such a long time that most expectant mothers get to the point where they hate to hear that ominous question, “So how long do you have left?”

Why do we look forward to the birth of any child, let alone the first? Is it not because of what it represents – a new beginning? Whether this is the family’s first child or its fifth, the family will be forever changed by the birth. The child represents the family’s future. So many hopes and aspirations are bound up in that little bundle of joy.

Conceived at a time when the parents were at their closest, physically, emotionally, even mentally, they rightly treasure the newly-born child. All those months, maybe even years of planning have finally culminated in a hopeful future.

Raising Your Own Children

If you have had the experience, think back to the time when you first found out that you were expecting. How did you feel? Mothers report feeling little flutters in their abdomens. Then again, so do some fathers! If you have yet to enjoy this experience, try to anticipate how you might feel.

For some mothers, the feeling of that tiny collection of cells swaying about inside the womb was a reminder that they were now responsible for a life other than their own. In fact, that very thought may well have caused the fluttering in their partner’s stomach, too! It truly is a heavy responsibility. Just think: You are embarking on a twenty-year project with a view to producing a new, valued member of society who will carry on the great family tradition. At least, that’s the plan.

As we all know, the best-laid plans often come unstuck. Life has a strange way of confusing the issues for us. All that time, attention, and money that you were prepared to shower on your little bundle of joy may suddenly have to be shared between two, three, or more, as further children come along.

A Twenty-Year Project

As you embarked on your twenty-year project, what thoughts went through your mind? Did you think about the amount of alcohol you were consuming? Did you limit your intake, or even cut it out altogether for that critical nine months, or more? Did you decide to give up tobacco products, or even stronger substances? Did you watch your diet and make sure that you ate the “right” foods and drank the “right” drinks? Did you make sure that you ate and drank in the “right” quantities, and at the “right” times? What about exercise? And rest? Did you ensure that you kept your blood pressure in the right band?

Why? Wasn’t it because you wanted to give your child the very best start in life? Didn’t you want to ensure that your baby was as healthy as possible when it exited from its amniotic swimming pool?

Even when further children came along, did you not do your best to ensure that, although you now had toddlers to chase after, you still had the right amount of sleep and the right amounts of the right food and drink? Or did things start to slip? And do you reproach yourself for that? Of course not. By then you had enough experience to know that the “right” things are actually recommendations, and that there is a fair amount of tolerance in the range of diets and activities that will keep you fit and healthy, and give your child a healthy start.

Still, the years rolled by. Suddenly, as you turned thirty, you realized that your energy levels were dropping. As you turned forty, and you still had teenagers to look after, you learned that this project was not going to be so easy, after all. Yet you kept going. After all, you are not one to let the next generation down.

Raising Responsible Adults

The aim of all this work, of course, was to raise responsible adults who would carry on the fine family tradition. Your children were going to be everything that you dreamed they would be. So you made sure that, most of the time, they had a fairly healthy diet; that they had a healthy amount of sleep and exercise; and that they studied the right subjects and did their homework on time.

You recognize, of course, that you were not, and you are not, a perfect parent. No arguments, please. You were not and you are not the perfect parent. Neither was I, neither am I. We all mistakes. Yet that does not mean that we failed as parents. We did our best in the circumstances and with the information, resources, and materials that we had.

Just consider this: Accidents and illnesses aside, did your children make it to the point where they were able to look after themselves? Did they leave home with the ability to cook some semblance of a reasonably healthy meal? On the assumption that they survived the first five weeks living on their own, I think it is safe to say that, yes, you managed to raise fairly responsible children. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Living on fast food may not constitute being fairly responsible, but I think you get the idea of what I mean. And maybe they still bring the laundry home, once a month, for you to process it so that they can avoid purchasing further supplies of socks and underwear. Still, they have survived up till now.


In the next article we will look at the unique experiences involved in raising children.

Grandpa’s Way

image

Have you ever noticed that your father and, especially your mother, can get your children to cooperate far  better than you can? I know it sometimes involves some form of bribery – candy, money, cuddles, etc. – but it still seems to work much better than your efforts.

Then, again, you may have seen the bumper sticker that says, “Grandchildren are great – We should have had them first.”

Both of these comments highlight the same point, but from different perspectives: Dealing with children seems to get easier as you grow older.

A Dose of Reality

It’s not true, of course. Dealing with children does not get easier as you get older. And there are those who would say that children, today, are far more disrespectful than they were, “in my day.”

The difference, of course, is in the attitude of the adult.

It seems almost superfluous to say that as we get older we have more experience in life and we learn how to deal with things better. Yet it does need to be said, because it’s something that we all forget, from time to time. We go through life lamenting our struggles; yet we rarely seek advice from those who have gone before.

The fact is that grandparents don’t have all the answers. But they do have life experience. And that experience is valuable.

Changes in Circumstances

As we get older, we also learn to deal better with changes in our circumstances. Older people frequently lament not being able to think as quickly as they used to. That, however, is a good thing. Many younger people think too quickly. I know. I used to be one of them. I would fly into the fray, all headstrong and overconfident that I had all the answers, simply to fall flat on my face in embarrassment.

An amusing soliloquy comes to mind: When I was six, my father knew everything; when I was sixteen, it’s amazing how much he had forgotten; by the time I was twenty six, it’s amazing how much he had remembered, again.

That concept runs right through our lives. I look at my mother, now, and there are times when I will discuss my problems with her and benefit from her advice. There are also times when I wonder what happened to her intelligence! There are times when I will discuss things with my children to get their younger perspective. And there are times when I worry that they will never survive. And I have no doubt that my own children look at me in the same way. There are times when they ask my advice and act on it; so they obviously feel I know what I am talking about. And there are times when it seems that I am speaking a totally different language, because they look at me as if to say, “Are you real?”

A Changed Perspective

Recent experiences have set me thinking about this. Also, research about dealing with these experiences has made me aware of a big gap in the advice available for grandparents who love both their children and grandchildren, but who may be faced with the dilemma of protecting the family that they love so much. There is plenty of advice for parents on how to raise their children. And there is plenty of advice on being grandparents to children who go home at night.

But a number of my friends have recently been faced with having to make a choice that no one wants to make: They are having to choose between their children and their grandchildren.

Let me say that again. They are having to choose between their children and their grandchildren. And that choice is not an easy one.

These grandparents are finding that, at an age when they were looking forward to having a life of their own, going for walks, holidays, simple meals out, they now have to care for a new generation of children, and their life is no longer their own. Their children have left home and the bedrooms have been tastefully redecorated. Some rooms have been set aside as offices; others as bedrooms for the grandchildren to spend the weekend.

But the pleasure of grandchildren was supposed to be that you borrowed them, had fun, then gave them back. For these grandparents, giving the children back is no longer an option.

Grandparents Parenting

I come from a part of the world where it was always traditional for at least the first child to live with his or her grandparents for a few years so that the mother could go back to work. That was the situation when I was born. But that has changed. Parents now take their responsibilities more seriously and grandparents find themselves roped in as unpaid babysitters while the mother goes back to work.

But that is not my friends’ experience. They are in the position of becoming parents to their grandchildren, not for a few days, not for a few years, but for life.

Now, as I said, there is a lot of advice out there for parents, a lot of advice for grandparents, and a lot of advice for foster parents. But there is very little advice for grandparent parents. They are left almost to their own devices.

A New Series

So I have decided to start writing a new series of articles based on the difficulties experienced by grandparents faced with the dilemma of becoming parents, again. This series will be tagged and categorized under “Grandpa’s Way,” and it will only be available on my self-hosted blog, Harcourt 51. I will be posting links on my WordPress site, but not full articles.

What Will This Series Contain?

I don’t know! But seriously, I will be looking at the role of grandparents in the children’s development. How can grandparents help their children to be better parents? When should you speak up? When should you keep quiet? How can you deal with potential conflicts of interest?

I will also be looking at the situation surrounding grandparents taking over the role of being parents to their grandchildren. Why might this be necessary? What do you need to take into consideration before making such a decision? What help is available? How do you deal with Social Workers if that becomes necessary?

Other questions might include things like, What can you do if you think your grandchildren are at risk? And what if that risk comes from your children? How can you help your children to improve as parents, reduce or remove the risk, and still keep the peace in the family?

I also want to share parenting tips for both parents and grandparents. Maybe some of them will work for you.

I want to look at various situations that could lead to grandparents becoming parents. How do you help your grandchildren to deal with losing both their parents, which is why they are now staying with you, and their grandparents, because you have now become their parents?

Finally, I want to share some tips on mindfulness as it applies to family situations. How can a greater awareness of your own feelings help you to better understand your children and grandchildren? How can it help you to be calm in the face of serious difficulties? How can it help your family to deal with trauma, which can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes?

In Summary

So, what will this new series contain? Anything and everything that could be of interest to grandparents, their children, their grandchildren, and the grandparents’ parents. After all, there are more grandparents than ever before looking after people both older and younger than they are.

One final point of note is that you do not have to be in this situation to benefit from this series. You may be someone who has friends or family members facing these issues. What advice do you give them? How can you help them? The series will look at this situation, too.

You may be a professional who deals with these situations every day. I hope that you will benefit from reading about these issues from the perspective of the layman. If you feel that some of the comments are out of order, please contact me to discuss it, either through the comments or my Contact page.

And, who knows? Maybe I’ll even combine it all into a book.

Disclaimer

Please note that I do not claim to be an expert. The thoughts expressed in this series may not reflect the current thinking in professional circles. These are my personal opinions based on my personal experience and that of my friends, who shall remain nameless. Any names used in these articles will be fictitious, and the experiences quoted, although based on real life, will be fictitious constructions combining isolated incidents and mindful meditation on the potential consequences.

Also, remember that all situations are different. The thoughts contained herein are not meant to be definitive answers to any situation. They are provided simply as prompts, enabling those who care to think about their own dilemmas with a view to finding their own solutions to their own unique problems. Basically, we will be looking at principles, not rules.

This blog, its authors and editors cannot take responsibility for any decisions made by those who read this content. Please conduct your own research and discuss your situation with your own advisors before taking any actions or making any decisions.