Friday, June 29, 2012
Welcome to the June edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Vacation and Travel.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing ideas, inspiration and information on travel and vacations! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
|Image: Yogendra174 on Flickr|
Mom gets hold of the stroller - like a drifter clamping to a piece of wood - unfolds it and tries to put the child inside. The child, too uncomfortable and unsettled to be physically separated from mom, resists. Dad gets involved, screams against the child and forcibly straps her in the contraption. The child is now wailing, still trying to get out. They all go off, annoyed, stressed, frustrated.
For this family - clearly leaving on a vacation - this trip does not start off happily.
Now when you don’t take the plane often, certainly with small children, it can seem like a very scary endeavor. Most people already find traveling to and fro quite stressful, so add a child to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
But shouldn’t vacation be fun-filled and exciting from the get go?
Traveling with kids isn’t quite as dreadful as we might think. My daughter, now 4, has travelled to over ten international destinations by plane, and has boarded more planes then she is old - in months! I can only remember one flight where she was ‘difficult’.
The way your flight and everything that surrounds it goes, depends a lot on the way you are feeling, and how you are prepared. Here are a few tips to fly stress-free with kids:
- Make sure your flight leaves at a reasonable hour. Night flights are perfectly doable with kids, if they don’t leave way passed their bedtime (an overtired infant or child will not sleep on a plane). Early morning flights, where you have to get your kid out of bed in the middle of the night are a definite no-no!
- Travel light. Well at least where it comes to hand luggage. You don’t need a million and one things for your child. When you are preparing your hand luggage, lay everything out at first and go over it to see if everything is 100% necessary.
- If your child is a little older, get them their own hand luggage, they’ll be proud to be carrying their own bag. Let them pack it themselves (just make sure there are no prohibited items and the weight is in check).
- Make sure your hand luggage is within the norms of your airline: the right weight and size and not carrying fluids are sharp objects. If you are unsure, check your airline’s directives.
- Don’t wear a gazillion useless accessories you have to take off at the security check. As far as clothes go, keep it simple and comfortable, for the whole family.
- Do take: an extra set of clothing for your kids. We’ve had spills at nearly every flight and it is quite annoying for a child to have to sit in wet clothes for an entire flight.
- Bring loose change so you can buy drinks in the airport. You can’t bring in your own drinks, except for a bottle for your baby.
- Make sure to have an extra layer of clothes for on the plane, it can get really cold and sometimes it takes a while before you can get a blanket.
- Don’t bother with a stroller. If you need them on your destination, check them in. Strollers are hell to fold and unfold in busy security lines and at the plane. You’re much better off with a decent carrier (I’m using a Didymos woven wrap and if necessary, I can get both kids in there). Older kids are often happy to walk in the terminal, because there’s lots to see and fun games to play.
- Make sure you are way ahead of time. International flights require you to be there two hours ahead, but we still go way before that. This way, we are ahead of the crowd and we’re sure to have lots of time for the whole adventure.
- Don’t see the traveling as a necessary evil, consider it a day out: have a snack at the bar, browse the book sin the bookstore. If you’re making it more of a day’s out, you might actually enjoy it and your kids will be more relaxed too.
- Check ahead of time where the playgrounds are at your airport, and go there before boarding. this gives you some time to check all your travel documents and your child gets to play and relax.
- Don’t be afraid of walking in the walkways of the plane, you might meet other kids for your child to play with.
- Make sure your child uses the toilet on a regular basis. With all the excitement, they might forget!
Have you flown with your children? What did you find challenging? I hope these tips help you to have a good time next time you fly.
Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Traveling with a Sick Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her tips and tricks for traveling with a sick child based on firsthand experience.
- Educational Travel | Pennsylvania, New Mexico &; Louisiana — That Mama Gretchen relives three childhood trips while outlining a plan for future homeschooling adventures.
- Babymoon: A Cruise in Europe — Bianca from The Pierogie Mama writes about the babymoon that she and her husband took to Europe, via a week long cruise through the Western Mediterranean..
- Travelling with our little one — Stoneageparent describes what travelling means to her family, exploring the link between attachment parenting and travelling
- I Just Can't Do It — aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes the nightmare it is trying to travel with her daughter, and how for the moment day-trips to local areas will have to suffice.
- Carnival: Travel and Vacation — Macgyvermama rounds out her "Travel Light with Babies and Kids" series with some juicy tips on how to travel light and stress free with your moving and grooving Toddler!
- Traveling: Adventure, Nature, Family — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her hopes and fears for her Great Summer Camping Road Trip with her three small children.
- Frustration Free Flying with Kids — Based on her extensive experience flying with her family, Laura at Authentic Parenting shares tips on how to make the trip fun for you and your children.
- 12 Awesome Toys To Bring Along When Traveling With Children - Ariadne over at Positive Parenting Connection is sharing about toys her children love and playful ways to use them that make travel with children more fun and less stressful for the whole family.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
October's Enjoy Life Unschooling Carnival is all about why we do what we do when it comes to unschooling. I had about fifty ideas to write this article, but ended up writing a list of reasons why we unschool, so here goes:
|Image: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr|
- Schools are not available in our immediate surrounding, thus it would mean we'd either have to move or I would have to live in the city while my husband stays on the plantation
- Being an expat would mean that my child would be enrolled in a foreign schooling system, in these parts, that would be the French system, and I do not agree to that
- Any school system for that matter is deeply flawed
- school does little for the individual and only suits the average... which is not what I wish my child to aspire to
- My child has learned everything on her own so far and she is thriving, why would I change a winning hand?
- I don't want my child to be tested like a lab rat, with all it implies
- I don't want to outsource my child, nor her education
- I don't trust others to handle my child with the same consideration I do
- I don't want my child to grow up in an environment where bullying is the game of the day
- I don't believe in age separation
- I don't think at two and a half years old children are ready to enter the schooling system
- I don't see why she would learn things that are imposed upon her
- I especially don't see why these things should be imposed upon her by a government
- My child should be free to pursue her interests
- I oppose coercion, and schooling is just that
- My girl can pass on an environment where eating disorders are the hippest thing (yep, I went to a girl boarding school)
- I don't think there is such a thing as universal knowledge past the things we all learn in our toddler years, and we do so with or without school
- My child will grow up to be an individual
- My chid is too much of a miracle to be confined and put in a box
- I will not hand over my child to an institution where punishments are part of the routine
- School is a surreal environment that does NOT prepare children for the real world
- I disagree with 'bite the bullet'-politics
- Children should be with their parents, their loved ones and their extended family
- Why should I pay for education if it is inherent to my child?
- Even though I was a 'good student', I feel like I've wasted 20 years of my life.
- I don't approve of the hierarchical school structure and its implications.
- Coercion kills creativity
- The great minds of history were unschooled
- I don't want my child to develop herd mentality
- Unschooling is the logical next step after attachment parenting
- I don't want to be my child's teacher
- I trust my child
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Written by Marie Baker
|Image: Stevendepolo on Flickr|
1. SafetyAll makeup you wear will absorb into your skin and enter your body. When you use normal makeup products, these products are often filled with dangerous chemicals and ingredients that are not necessarily good to have in your body. Since organic makeup is made of all natural ingredients, you can be confident that your skin will only be absorbing healthy ingredients when you wear your makeup.
2. SensitivityRegular makeup often contains harsh chemicals that are bad for sensitive skin. Since organic makeup is used of all natural ingredients, it is completely safe to use on sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, it is wise to choose organic makeup because it's less irritating on your delicate skin.
3. ProtectionThe three major ingredients that are used to make organic makeup are also good at protecting skin from the harmful rays of the sun. If you want to look good while protecting your skin from sun damage, organic makeup is the perfect makeup for you.
4. NutrientsAll organic makeup is made with nutrients that will benefit your skin. From nourishing minerals like magnesium, calcium, mica and zinc oxide to botanical ingredients like tea tree oil, rosemary extracts and green tea that soothe and protect the skin while bettering its overall condition, organic makeup contains beneficial nutrients that can actually improve your skin tone.
5. Ease `Organic makeup usually only requires the use of one special brush to apply makeup which can save you tons of time during your beauty routine. Also, most organic makeup will blend to your skin tone which will save you from having to blend multiple products to get the right shade for your skin.
6. Environmental ImpactWhen you choose to use organic makeup, you are using makeup that is easier on the environment. Anytime a product uses all natural organic ingredients they are shunning the use of chemicals that can potentially be bad for the environment. If you are concerned about nasty chemicals entering the environment, you should choose to wear organic makeup.
There you have it, 6 reasons why you should choose to toss out your regular makeup and instead use all natural, organic makeup. Not only is it easier on the skin and easier to apply, but it provides your skin with ingredients that can actually improve the overall texture of your skin. Add that to the fact that organic makeup is environmentally friendly, it should become an easy choice to choose to wear organic makeup.
About the author:
Marie Baker writes about beauty, finance and employment verification.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Written by Samantha Abrams
Teaching independence and responsibility by saying “yes!”
When teens ask for extravagant purchases, sometimes you have to say “no”—and follow it up with a nice “Because I said so”—but great teaching moments can happen if you know how, and when, to say yes.
Offer help and advice to pay for their own purchases
|Image: ALex E Proimos on Flickr|
Model brand skepticism and smart consumptionAnother great way to say yes is to say “Yes, I’ll buy you a pair of jeans—just not a $120 pair of jeans.” Most kids grow up bombarded with marketing from infancy, and while you might try to protect your child from that influence, their friends will be a different story. As children enter adolescence and become more connected to their peers’ opinions, it takes conscious effort to counteract those messages. Talk about when brands matter and when they don’t. You might even put together a little test—a blind taste test for cereal, or comparing outfits with the labels covered—to show that brand names aren’t everything. This awareness won’t just save your household money; it will empower your teen to save thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime by shopping more responsibly.
Talk about buying items off-seasonIf your teen is set on a new wakeboard or some other seasonal item, you can say, “Yes! I will get that for you at the end of the season, when it’s half the price—or we can talk about where you can find the money to buy it now.” With a little planning and patience, you can find seasonal items like skis, snowboards, or dresses for homecoming or prom routinely discounted at 30-60% off. Impulse buying is easily the biggest budget-slaying habit, especially for teenagers; but if your teens are willing to wait out the season to get that new snowboard, they’re probably serious about it.
For big-ticket items, offer to match their contributionSuppose your teenager is looking at used cars to get to work or school. Working at McDonald’s or doing janitorial work, they might be out of high school by the time they’ve saved up enough—but if you offer to match their money (either dollar-for-dollar, asking them to contribute a certain fraction of the price, or whatever works for your family), you can help them make a realistic, responsible choice without putting it completely out of their reach. By requiring that they have a financial stake in the decision, they’ll learn the value of what they earn, and the planning that has to go into big purchases; and that understanding will pay huge dividends in their adult lives.
About the author:
Samantha Abrams is a freelance writer and fashion and celebrity blogger over at the Style Cynics fashion blog.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Peace & Be Well,
Join me at Positive Parenting Connection on Facebook for daily tips, ideas and inspiration for a positive parenting journey!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Yes in all seriousness we have not punished, shamed, isolated or otherwise taken actions that are commonly associated with traditional discipline and raising children in the last two years.
We have not become permissive, anything goes, no limits, dump your trash anywhere you want, "sit back and let the children run the house" kind of parents either.
Prior to our resolve to go punishment free, we were already working from a quite positive angle. We have always parented, and continue to parent very in line with principles of attachment parenting and playful parenting and have mostly been working just with time-ins, calm communication and setting limits.
I remember a particularly exhausting day when it was raining and cold and we did not yet have friends in our new town. I was on semi bed rest for my pregnancy. The boys managed to somehow dump the full contents of a flour bag into the bath tub. While I tried maneuvering my bump and cleaning up the mess, the boys were hitting each other with a kiddie broom and my youngest ended up slipping and biting his lip. "Off to the corner and no sweets today" came
Truth is, it just wasn't working for me or them. I wasn't being true to my heart.
That night I thought and cried and finally resolved to follow my heart. I decided I did not care if it was socially expected or the norm or the recommendation from our pediatrician or what most of our friends were doing. For us, it was not working. I went back to my pile of parenting books, and onto the web, I wanted to change but I also needed support to do so. I found amazing resources and support for what I was already resolved to trying. I put together a plan and resolved to change how I approached these tougher moments. After a great heart to heart with my husband we decided we would in fact go punishment free and see how it worked out.
So in the last two years, even when things escalate, which they do a lot less anyways, we have traded time outs for hugs and talks. We have traded revoking priviledges with working together and finding solutions. We had always parented with kindness in mind but truthfully got a little side tracked. Now even in the toughest moments I pause, breathe and then seek connection and solutions.
It's not that we were bad before or doing it *wrong*, it just wasn't working for us as a family. I believed then and still do now on maintaining family harmony based on kindness and cooperation and my boys have always been very empathetic and happy to help. It just did not seem right to make them feel worse as a way to expect them to do something *better* or differently. As we made our shift practicing punishment free parenting, we noticed the more respect and trust we
Things don't run perfectly around here and mostly it is up to me (and my husband) to choose how we react to our children as they grow and learn. It is not easy either, but it feels much more authentic and true to our hearts.
Perhaps this is a big leap of faith, but if as a parent I don't have faith in my children, then who will...
Peace & Be Well,
Ariadne (aka Mudpiemama) has three children, she practices peaceful, playful, responsive
Connect with Ariadne at the Positive Parenting Connection on Facebook!
Monday, June 18, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
***This is a guest Post By Dr. Darci Walker***
The other day I noticed my boys struggling together in a moment of brotherly conflict. As their conflict escalated I intentionally walked to the periphery of their play space and sat down. I stated simply and quietly that I noticed they were struggling and offered some support by adding “I wonder what how you could work this out?” It was just enough. My physical presence gave each of them a sense of security and my question encouraged them both to pause and think through possible strategies.
For a moment, their bodies became still and there was a palpable change in their stance with each other. If I had stopped there, it might have been an amazing parenting moment. I might have seen them problem solve together, share feelings or thoughts, come to a decision, offer each other empathy and support, engage in perspective taking and practice flexibility. I might have seen that. I don’t know.
Because I didn’t stop there. I don’t know if they needed more than that or if that simple cue was enough. I don’t know if they could have seized their own moment because I seized it for them. Rather than stopping, I commented on how I thought each of them was feeling. I noticed that one was angry and the other was worried. I commented on the truck they were both tugging at and the fact that another truck was there for the taking. I went on and on. And as I lectured, I noticed the tension return to both their bodies. I continued to pontificate about the choices and possibilities that they had in front of them. It was a beautiful speech. Brilliant. And I lost them. Or rather, I stole the moment from them. I made it about me. I opened the door and offered them an opportunity for learning how to negotiate the world and then I blazed on ahead of them, setting fire to the trail behind me!
As their bodies and emotions continued to ramp up I felt the need for more intervention. It was now about the three of us. Me and each child, a triangle of power struggles. Each boy wanting me to fix it for them. “He hit me!” “I had it first” “Fix it mama!” I felt like I had to separate them, give each one a chance to calm down. I realized that what had started with just the right amount of support to allow for a natural opportunity turned into me refereeing. But even more disappointing, was the realization that had I been able to stop, and take a breath, it might have been different.
So often we offer too much. We miss the moment not because we didn’t open the right door, but because we don’t take the time along the way to allow the moments to happen. We can overwhelm children with options, or skip ahead of where they are at, or solve problems that haven’t even occurred yet. And all of these leave us feeling frustrated and our children feeling like we just don’t get it. It’s kind of like mixing colors. You add one drop of red food coloring, mix. Add one drop more, mix. Slowly adding drop by drop until the color feels just right, but add to much all at once and you pass over pink and go directly to magenta. Too much too soon. Maybe we should think of parenting in the same way.
How much parenting “support” is needed in this moment? I can always add a little bit at a time, but too much steals the show. Add parenting support drop by drop. It is amazing how often a simple “I’m here for you” is all they really need. Wait. See what happens. Need a touch more? Reflecting feelings and validating may be all that is called for “Oh, you’re so angry.” “That’s so scary!” Wait. See what happens. Still not enough? Ask for their thoughts “What do you think?” “How can I help you?” “What has worked in the past?” Wait. See what happens. Need help problem solving? “I wonder what we could say different?” “I wonder what would happen if…?” You get the picture.
By offering parenting in small doses you allow the child to take just what they need so that they can still fully experience and feel autonomous in their moment. Their moment. Not ours. We just open the doors.
Dr. Darci Walker,is mom to two boys and Clinical Psychologist with experience working with families, individuals and children in a variety of settings. In 2010 she co-founded Core Parenting in Portland Oregon and has focused on working with parents, and the variety of life and identity changes that occur during this amazing stage of life. From postpartum depression to relationship difficulties, career changes to identity reformation, Dr. Walker is interested in the multiple layers of challenges and joys that parenting brings and loves working with both men and women as they negotiate through these processes, highlighting her belief that thriving parents lead to thriving children! Read more at Dr. Walkers Blog and on Facebook.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Some weeks ago, I had written an article about dealing with parental mistakes, and one of the steps I suggested was apologizing to your child.
I think apologizing is a good means to show your child that you
that you know you made a mistake
that you are not infallible
that when you make mistakes, you are not above all the others
and you can’t just ‘get away with it”
A comment on my Facebook page said that this particular person didn’t agree with apologizing to your child. She said her mother constantly apologized but it had no meaning in the end. I know all too well that not all apologies are created equal, and when someone is being apologetic without change or remorse, it doesn’t amount to much.
Apologies only work when the child sees you make an active effort to change things. When you are not about to change, when you don’t particularly think you did something wrong, indeed doesn’t amount to much.
There is a huge difference between a genuine apology and someone who has adapted a general state of being apologetic, in order to void blame, “I apologized, so nobody needs to point fingers at me”. Hearing constant apologies for the same behavior sends the message to your child that apologies make it all right, no matter your behavior. However, if you are truly committed to your parenting project, to change and adapt, then apologies do belong in your parental toolbox.
Otherwise, you should rethink your approach.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
This months topic:Traveling and Vacations
Monday, June 11, 2012
With three little ones and two dogs, there is never a dull moment in our house…truth is at every junction there is a possibility of chaos and conflict. To my rescue I sometimes turn to playfulness and connection.
Over the years, I have found that taking just five minutes to play and to restore connection can prevent many battles and tantrums. To make everyday things more playful I sometimes create songs or tell stories, other times I use props and tools or play games. Often I can follow my child’s lead and we can move together in the right direction. Here are a few examples:
Fantasy: Did you hear about the sand gnomes?
When my oldest was around age 4, one evening he decided he no longer wanted to have his hair washed. I started telling him a story about the sand gnomes. Little gnomes that magically appeared into a little boys head one night. It took three minutes of telling this elaborate story of mighty sand gnomes, castles and the special powers of soap and water to convince both the sand gnomes to move out and for my son’s hair to get a nice wash. Another day,at my son asked to wear some safety goggles to get his hair washed. Although it was an added step, it was nevertheless much faster to agree to his request and help him feel in a bit more in charge of something that is not a favorite event for him.
Both of my boys like to run at the end of preschool from their classroom door up to the exit gate that leads to the parking lot. The majority of parents drive slowly through the lot, and stop
Props: The Mask.
When my middle child was struggling to use the toilet after we moved to a new house, we found an old green mask while unpacking. He was very intrigued by it and wanted to wear it while
Friday, June 8, 2012
Parents lie all the time for various reasons. In a recent Huffington Post piece Liar, Liar Devon Corneal admits to fibbing and lying to her child. She says she lies all the time, about cupcakes, marshmallows, about the library being closed when she doesn't want to go and even that nobody died in the sinking of the Titanic. Should parents always tell the truth?
Well, let’s talk about some things to consider before lying to our children:
Missed Opportunities for Learning
Sometimes parents tell lies to protect their children’s feelings. Although I do not remember doing this deliberately, I do understand there may be a time when telling the truth becomes a difficult, emotionally charged situation. Yet, children do need to feel their feelings, even if it is disappointment, fear or being displeased.
Through these difficult moments, even when they discover that the dog shred their lovey which was forgotten by the sofa, or that Sparky the fish is floating because he is dead, yes, totally dead, not sleeping or going to play at the flush park on the other side of the toilet lid, that children learn to accept, regulate and understand their emotions.
All these moments, no matter how emotionally difficult are teachable moments, moments where children can learn about responsibility (remember to clean up that lovey), learn about the cycle of life, grief and loss (good bye sparky, yes 1500 people died in the titanic), learn empathy too (sorry, I am too tired to visit the library today, let’s think of something else we can do.) Should we lie to our children to avoid emotions and miss these teachable moments? Or should we instead brave the truth?
Modeling the Easy Way Out
I totally understand, it may seem easier to say that the cupcakes are all gone or that the grocery store is out of marshmallows than to stick to our limits and deal with the potential disagreement. But, don’t we want our children to respect us and understand that there are limits in the household? Plus shouldn't children have their own opinions, a voice, grow up to believe in their own potential, their strength? Should we really take the easy route or look for ways to strengthen our relationships, use opportunities to give our children a chance to persist, even argue so they learn to be logical, reasonable and state their case? It doesn’t mean we must cave on our limits; on the contrary, we can empathize, fulfill their needs with imagination, alternatives and simply be kind and firm. If my kiddo wanted another cupcake, things would be more like this over here: “Oh, sounds like those cupcakes sure are delicious. I am saving this last one for myself so I can have one too. I know you wish you could have more. And another day, you can, but today, the answer is no!” The reply on a happy go lucky day would be “ok mom” and on a feistier day “FINE!” and on a less than stellar day “But I want it!" Maybe there would be some tears. I would tell the truth and then we would sort it out and move on.
Our children are supposed to trust us. From keeping them safe to helping them learn about how the world works, as parents we are their first role model, mentor and guide. Telling lies, creating a different reality for whatever reason can really break that trust that a child has in their parent. I wonder, if a child starts to notice that he is being routinely lied to if he would start to question and doubt just about anything the parent says, or all adults for that matter. Perhaps limits and house rules would start being ignored, or whatever mom and dad answer will always need to be carefully considered and weighed because they so often don’t tell the truth. Is it ok to lie until they catch us or better to avoid it all together? Is there a time when risking our child’s trust is worth it? What is the difference between lying to our child versus lying to our spouse?
No matter the age of a child, as parents we expect them to tell us the truth. We want to know if they ate the last piece of chocolate, oh wait that would have been me in this house...Anyways, we want to know if they took a toy away from another child or if they really copied the answer to homework from their schoolmate… We want to know the truth, the whole truth! Certainly we don’t want our children to tell US lies! Often parents will even shame and punish their children for lying but are so quick to tell a lie themselves. Is it ok to lie to our children but demand that they always tell the truth?
In an ideal world; I would say it’s not ok to lie to children. But, I get it, sometimes it’s really tough to face the truth. So I am not judging, because, parenting is so tough, and I probably have lied to my children at some point because EVERYONE lies. I try my very hardest to be honest and when I am unable to answer a question, because I don’t know the answer or feel uncomfortable with the topic or location, I kindly explain that another time is better suited for that discussion.
The world can be a scary and unjust place, just like Devon said. For me, that is all the more reason to make our home a safe, warm, welcoming and trustworthy place to hear the truth and practice dealing with all those emotions as they arise.
So, what do you think? Should parents aim to tell the truth? Is there a time when you think lying really is totally justified?
Peace & Be Well,
Like what you are reading? Come join me at the Positive Parenting Connection page for daily ideas, inspiration and resources on positive parenting.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Thursday, June 7, 2012
If you could tell your little one just one extraordinary or ordinary thing about what it means for you to nurse, what would you share?
Breastfeeding for me is to is to find that little moment of peace on a busy day. A moment where our fingers intertwine and our gazes lock. A moment where time stops and nothing else matters. Wether you were hungry, or tired, or fussy, one sip of the buhbuh makes you calm, albeit just for a moment. It's a moment where I feel your warm belly against mine and I caress your soft skin sense and smell your moist, sticky cheek (probably a mixture of chocolate and marker).
A moment where we are both present at the same time, in body and in mind. Eventhough you often nurse in busy rooms and crowded spaces, in places where it's noisy and through a conversation, there's always this moment where we are both one person, where we are fully attentive of each other, where I stare into your eyes and remember all the millions of reasons why I love you so much. Where I think of you as my baby, even though you've grown now and you walk and talk and sometimes act as if you do not need me so much any more.
What about for you? What does breastfeeding mean to you?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Often as a parent we think and wonder and hopefully listen
to what our children dream about accomplishing. From scaling the “tallest slide ever” to being the captain of a “purple spaceship” all the way to being “an inventor of glowing things” the dreams and wishes never seem to have an end. The imagination and the limitlessness of thoughts are simply wonderful.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Parenting tends to starts off as a beautiful, mindful experience. Taking in the sweet smell of a newborn child, awing at each little coo. Then of course for many of us come the sleep deprived nights, lots and lots of diaper changes, soothing tiny beings, and before you know it the first three months of intense parenting, even if filled with so many amazing moments of love, bonding and intense emotions is over.
Then a year goes by, two, three…ten and more. Somehow it is easy to fall into parenting on auto pilot – if only as a survival mechanism at times because it can feel so wearing! But let’s not miss the opportunity to be intentional in our parenting, especially in the early years, as these moments although trying at times, are ever so fleeting. Let’s take the daily tasks, keeping kids busy, providing learning opportunities, parenting so our children will grow to be resilient, healthy and happy beings and use them as opportunities to be intentional. Intentional about our relationships, intentional about connection, intentional about our attitudes, choices and intentional in our celebrations.
How to be more intentional in parenting?
For me, it boils down to devoting time each and every day to create meaningful relationships and memories. Not complicated, expensive, elaborate stuff…really just being present in the moment so that we can connect and ultimately remember. It’s about looking for opportunities to listen to my children, to watch them, appreciate them, involve them and support them. Getting to know them for who they are and wish to become. It also means listening to myself and following my heart. Nurturing my children and nurturing myself. Doing what feels right for our family so we can be connected, healthy and generally happy. It means choosing love even in the most challenging moments.
In the next weeks, especially with the summer holidays, I hope to find, no wait, being intentional: I will MAKE a lot of time for laughter, a lot of time for reading together, giving the children opportunities to explore new places, taste new foods, give them a chance to say what they want to do and support them in that. What about you, what would you like to experience in your parenting journey in the next few weeks? Months? Years?
Peace & Be Well,
Ps. If you like what you are reading, please join me at Positive Parenting Connection for daily inspiration, ideas and resources on positive parenting!
Monday, June 4, 2012
Friday, June 1, 2012
Have you been less than stellar with peacefully navigating parent-child conflicts lately? Has your temper flared, have you yelled, lost your cool, hurt or spanked your child? Has frustration, irritability, tiredness gotten the best of you?
Well, you are not alone. In a survey completed a few years ago, out of about 1,000 families, 88% of parents admitted to yelling, shouting, spanking or otherwise being harsh with their children. Yet, we know that these practices can be harmful to children's development, to our relationship and well, it's just not a good feeling is it?
Wondering what to do now? How to get back into peaceful, positive, gentle parenting mode? How to heal the relationship between you and your child?
Here are eleven steps to help you restore the peace in your mind and heart and reconnect with your child:
In the heat of the moment, the best thing you can do is give yourself space to cool off and calm down. Remove yourself from the situation if you need to to keep everyone safe. Don't make any major decisions, just take time to cool off. Give your child some space, respect them if they choose to have some distance for a while. Once you have had a chance to cool down and reflect you can do a few other things such as:
Accept your mistake
Look deep into your heart and accept yourself for your short comings. Nobody is perfect. Parenting is one tough job, it doesn't quite come with an instruction manual tailored exactly to your child and some situations just catch us completely off guard. So you made a mistake, accept it so you can start healing.
Don't make excuses
It's not your child's fault. No matter what triggered you to yell, punish, spank, humiliate or shame your child, YOU are the one who took those actions. Yes, you may regret them, you may wish to change them, ,but do not excuse them as necessary to teach a lesson, to make a point or blame the child for making you take such action. It was your action. Your choice.
Reflect on your triggers
What caused your emotions to get so raw that you lashed out? What things were said, done, not done that created these feelings within you? With that information, try to heal your heart, reflect on better ways to regulate yourself.
Work on self regulation
Learning to cope with our feelings while guiding our children is really important. No matter how much we love our children, they will at some point makes choices that may irritate us, make weird, awkward, strange and annoying choices that spark in us all sorts of feelings and reactions within us. Learning to curb our reactions and focusing on our role as the parent, the guide, role model is really important.
Find someone you can trust that will listen to you and let out all your frustrations, qualms, insecurities and annoyances towards your child. It's ok to have these feelings, people can annoy us, even our children. Especially our children! It does not mean we do not love them with all our hearts, it just means we need to vent, to spill the frustration so we can move on.
Make a list of All the wonderful things about your child. Think of the ways they make you smile, of all the ways you love them, all the things you want to do together. If you are having a hard time getting started, think of the moment you first held your child. Tape that list somewhere you can see it every day!
Re-Connect and Comfort
When the storm has calmed, reconnect with your child. Start with an apology, Use play, laughter and/or tears to release and process feelings. Listen, really listen. Hug, hug and then hug some more.
Promise to do better
Promise to yourself and to your child that you will try to do better. Continue to arm yourself with knowledge and peaceful parenting inspiration and the support so you can do better next time.
Parenting is a 24/7 job, especially in the early years, but no matter what, taking a break is important for everyone. Take care of yourself, get enough rest, eat healthy foods, do something you enjoy for yourself. If you are rested and balancing your life you will feel less likely to get aggravated, angry, frustrated and take it out on your child.
Whatever parenting choice you have made that you are not so proud of, try to forgive yourself, let go and move forward. This isn't to say you should not reflect, examine and try to learn from the experience, but beating yourself up with guilt will not help you move forward. All of us parents get to make choices and we all make mistakes in our parenting journey. Forgiving ourselves is the first step in choosing a path that is loving and peaceful. It is a step towards showing our children that compassion, respect and love are choice we know how to make. Choices that hopefully we will remember to make the next time when faced with conflict.
Peace & Be Well,