Parenting – Why Should You Pick Your Battles?

We’re all heard the expression “pick your battles” but as parents we’re often challenged with what battles are worth fighting and what are worth letting go. We can easily get caught up in the “do as I say because I said so” approach and dig in our heels until our kids comply. We can also get stuck in our thinking. For example, “No kid of mine is going to have green hair” or “I got by without an IPod so he can too”. When do we stick to our guns and when do we let go?

One of the first things we have to look at is the real reason we want our kids to do something or not do something. Is it a subconscious need to control? Will it ultimately teach an important life lesson? Does it reflect a value you hold close to your heart? Is there something you insist your child will accomplish that you weren’t able to? Are you afraid of something reflecting badly on you? What is it all about? Sometimes our reasons for holding our ground are misguided. In the long term, they really don’t teach anything valuable. There are battles worth fighting though because they teach valuable lessons we know will benefit our kids in life. They contribute to their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

What kind of relationship do you want with your child? Most of us, if not all of us will say we want a close, loving, mutually respectful relationship. We want our kids to feel they can come to us with anything and that home is always a safe and loving place to be. What happens to the relationship when home is always a battle ground? What happens when every issue turns into an argument? The relationship is tarnished and the closeness we so badly want and our kids need, is lost. Adolescents will seek out that closeness and open communication from peers. Is that what we want?

One battle I gave up early into my parenting career was insisting on a tidy bedroom. I realized it would probably mean constant nagging and there were other things that were far more important in my opinion. It was their personal space and the one room in the house they could control, with a few exceptions. I would though role model a tidy bedroom and a reasonably clean and ordered home. To me, insisting my kids keep their room clean really wasn’t teaching them anything important. I learned early on that nagging and lecturing was exhausting and I wanted to be careful how I expended my energy. What made more sense to me was insisting they clean up their own messes in the spaces we all shared. The lesson was: “When you live in a shared living space, everyone does their part to keep it tidy.”

When you really start to ask yourself: “Is this a battle worth fighting”, you’ll be able to let some go. It’s a very liberating feeling and you’ll have more energy for important things like loving.

Battle Strikers Toys and Games For Christmas Thrills

Battle Strikers toys and games are proving to be amongst the most wanted toys for thrill seeking children this year, and they would make ideal Christmas gifts. The difficulty is on knowing exactly what to get from any popular range. That’s where I step in to help a little. Presented here are some of the most wanted action gaming toys this Christmas.

First up though, what exactly are these toys and the game they are linked to? This is a game played by pitting spinning tops against each other in exciting tournaments. Made by Mega Bloks, this brilliant fun hobby is a collectable game where players can control the tops they send out onto the game arena. The magnetic tops don’t need ripcords and are an exciting twist on the classic battling tops game.

Some of the most wanted toys around right now include the Mega Bloks Magnext Battle Strikers Tournament Set with Mauler and Turbine Tops, the Mega Bloks Magnext Battle Strikers Arena, starter packs and more. Using the battery operated launcher, players are able to make sure their game toys hit home, and with the finger controller they are able to control what their Strikers do on the pitch! There are 16 toys in the range to collect, each one with different strengths and abilities in tournaments.

Suitable for children aged 6 and above, the easy to use controllers can be used either left or right handed, and are sure to cause some excitement this Christmas. They are well made, ensuring that they can be played with for a long time after Christmas without breaking. The Tournament set is a great idea for those wanting to get into the Battle Strikers craze, as it includes the battle arena, two launchers, two controllers and two Battle Strikers. With such a great range of toys to choose from, you can be sure that Battle Strikers toys and games will bring some thrills to your child’s Christmas this year.

The Battle of Cape Town

Also known as the Battle of Blaauwberg, this small yet significant battle was fought around what is modern day Cape Town on the 8th of January 1806. It was the battle that helped establish British rule in South Africa and one of very few battles of the Napoleonic War fought outside of Europe.

The Background of the Battle of Cape Town

At the time of the battle the Cape Colony was controlled by Holland (called the Batavian Republic at the time), a country which had been defeated and then allied with France in the early years of the Napoleonic Wars. The sea route around the Cape was an important part of the British trade and war infrastructure at the time and to protect it the decision was made to attack and occupy the Cape Colony. This would not only protect the trade route, but would deny the French access to the riches of the Far East.

The Fleet Assembles

A British fleet was assembled and dispatched to the Cape in July 1805 to prevent any further garrisoning of the Cape Colony by the French. It was made up of 60 ships including the 64 gun man-o-war HMS Diadem, the 32 gun ship HMS Leda and two brigs called the HMS Encounter and HMS Protector. The fleet itself was commanded by Commodore Sir Home Popham who was supported by Major-General David Baird and 6500 troops.

First Encounter

The first ships in the British Fleet reached the Cape on Christmas Eve 1805. They immediately attacked and damaged two French supply ships off the Cape Peninsula. This put the Cape Colony Garrison, under the command of by Lt Gen Jan Willem Janssens, on full alert. However, his forces had been stripped down by his commanders in Europe and all of his best forces had been sent back to Holland. This left him with a small force of poor quality soldiers and foreign mercenaries hired by the Batavian government for the purpose of defending the Cape. These forces were in turn backed up by local militia and a “Hottentot” regiment. There were also 240 French Marines under the command of Colonel Guadin Beauchene from the ships Atalante and Napoleon.

The British Land at Melkbosstrand

After an abortive landing at what is now Camps Bay and delays caused by rough seas, two British infantry brigades under command of Lt Gen Sir David Baird, landed at Melkbosstrand just north of modern day Cape Town on the 6 and 7 January 1806. Lt Gen Janssens mobilised his combined forces to intercept them, but knowing that victory was impossible he decided to fight for both his and the Batavian Republics honour.

The Battle of Blaauwberg Begins

Lt Gen Janssens intended to first attack the British on the beaches so as to inflict as much damage as possible before withdrawing to the interior. However, the well trained British troops disembarked and marched upon Cape Town before the Batavian and French forces could reach them. The British therefore reached the slopes of Blaauwberg mountain and took the high ground a few kilometres ahead of Lt Gen Janssens. Janssens was forced to halt his troops and formed a line across the veld facing the much larger and well trained British force.

The battle of Blaauwberg began at sunrise with short, sharp exchanges of artillery fire. This was followed by the unexpected advance by Janssens’s militia cavalry. Volleys of musket fire were fired by both sides forcing one of the mercenary units hired by the Batavian Republic to turn and run. Seizing the moment the British immediately ordered a bayonet charge. This disposed of the units on Janssens’s right flank and he was forced to order his remaining troops to withdraw.

Losses on Both Sides

Although soundly beaten, the Batavian troops inflicted a fairly high number of casualties on the British. The final dead and wounded totals on both sides consisted of:

Batavian Troops
353 in casualties and desertions out of 2,049 on the field of battle

British Troops
212 casualties out of 5,399 men on the field of battle

The Aftermath of the Battle

After the Battle of Blaauwberg Lt Gen Janssens moved his remaining forces inland to a farm in the Tygerberg area. The British continued their march on Cape Town and reached the outskirts of the city on the 9th of January 1806. The commandant of Cape Town, Lieutenant-Colonel Hieronymus Casimir von Prophalow immediately sent out a white flag to prevent any damage to the colony and handed over the outer fortifications to Lt Gen Sir David Baird. Formal terms of surrender were then negotiated later in the day.

General Janssens had not yet surrendered himself and his remaining troops, but after a number of days and a further 211 desertions he agreed to capitulate. The final Articles of Capitulation were signed on 18 January 1806 and the Cape Colony became part of the British Empire until South Africa became independent in 1931.