Google+ Authentic Parenting: June 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus


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Frustration Free Flying with Kids

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.
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Image: Yogendra174 on Flickr
As my daughter passed the body scan at the security line in Brussels Airport, I couldn’t help but notice the family in front of me. Frantically searching together their affairs, while their toddler was clinging to mother’s leg, desperately seeking attention in this unfamiliar, scary situation.
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:


  1. 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! 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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). 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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. 
  13. Don’t be afraid of walking in the walkways of the plane, you might meet other kids for your child to play with. 
  14.  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.

 ***
APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit 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 &; LouisianaThat 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 oneStoneageparent 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 VacationMacgyvermama 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.


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

7 Ideas to Avoid Conflict at Family Get-Togethers.


Independence day, the arrival of summer for many families marks the official start of many family get-togethers and BBQ's!  The great food, refreshing drinks, parenting conflicts, singing, ball games. Wait a minute, parenting conflicts ?Nothing like family gatherings and festivities to bring about parenting centered conflicts!

Questions about feeding, advice on sleeping, reccomendations on dealing with tantrums and everything in between, maybe it’s well meaning, maybe it’s small talk, whatever it may be sometimes all those comments and questions from friends, relatives and even strangers can make us parents feel a bit shaken up and lead to conflicts and hurt feelings.

How to cope with annoying questions, how to deal with horrible advice, how to keep your inner peace and not lose your cool at family gathering and festive occasions?

1. Know your triggers: Just knowing which topics or behaviours can have a way of knocking you off balance is already a great step towards keeping your inner peace. When the topics come up, or behaviours surface, breathe and relax in your own inner confidence.
2. Keep yourself grounded: Should anyone start asking, commenting or criticizing on your parenting choices focus your thoughts on you and your family. Think of your wonderful children and all the sweet things they do.
3. Think positively: Remember the reasons you have made your parenting decisions and think of a time when your choices worked so well for you. Maybe there was a time when baby wearing made playing with your toddler so easy or maybe it was that smile from your child when he helped you clean up spilled juice.
4. Stay in neutral: When you are receiving unsolicited advice or worse even admonishment instead of jumping into an argument, try to say something neutral. For example “I will think about that” does not imply acceptance but can help the other party feel acknowledged. Conflicts can lead to learning and growth so it’s not that we should avoid conflicts all together or ignore our feelings, but adding stress to festive events seldomly results in positive feelings.



5. Be Authentic: Don’t try to change your parenting style to please others. If Johnny Jr. spits out the hot dog, it is probably not going to do any good to try using a time out for the first time ever just because you think everyone else expects you to. You and your children will probably be happiest and calmest if you stick with “your normal” regardless of how “un-normal” it may seem to others.
6. Take care: Joy is not going to easily surface in a moment when you feel defensive or attacked. If you feel the need to step away, take a moment to yourself, find another room, breathe and return to yourself fully.
7. Seek perspective: Try to weigh the words that are bothering you, perhaps the intention is truly genuine or the information of that generation is simply different from your own. Maybe asking if your baby is sleeping through the night is really just curiosity, maybe asking if you are *still* breastfeeding is coming from a point of admiration for your commitment.

The summer is an awesome time to build relationships and connection. Staying positive and learning to manage conflict can help keep the peace. The idea is not to ignore our feelings but to acknowledge our state of being, when we receive unwanted advice or difficult questions, when faced with conflict, to stop and feel the warm anger riling inside, feel the defensive stance of our feet and then breathe. Instead of jumping into winded explanations, find your center; be in that moment fully grounded in your parenting principles. Trust in yourself to be authentically you.

Are family gatherings usually peaceful and fun or something you dread?











Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why We Unschool (rerun)

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


  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Any school system for that matter is deeply flawed
  4. school does little for the individual and only suits the average... which is not what  I wish my child to aspire to
  5. My child has learned everything on her own so far and she is thriving, why would I change a winning hand?
  6. I don't want my child to be tested like a lab rat, with all it implies
  7. I don't want to outsource my child, nor her education
  8. I don't trust others to handle my child with the same consideration I do
  9. I don't want my child to grow up in an environment where bullying is the game of the day
  10. I don't believe in age separation
  11. I don't think at two and a half years old children are ready to enter the schooling system
  12. I don't see why she would learn things that are imposed upon her
  13. I especially don't see why these things should be imposed upon her by a government
  14. My child should be free to pursue her interests
  15. I oppose coercion, and schooling is just that
  16. My girl can pass on an environment where eating disorders are the hippest thing (yep, I went to a girl boarding school)
  17. 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
  18. My child will grow up to be an individual
  19. My chid is too much of a miracle to be confined and put in a box
  20. I will not hand over my child to an institution where punishments are part of the routine 
  21. School is a surreal environment that does NOT prepare children for the real world
  22. I disagree with 'bite the bullet'-politics
  23. Children should be with their parents, their loved ones and their extended family
  24. Why should I pay for education if it is inherent to my child?
  25. Even though I was a 'good student', I feel like I've wasted 20 years of my life. 
  26. I don't approve of the hierarchical school structure and its implications.
  27. Coercion kills creativity
  28. The great minds of history were unschooled
  29. I don't want my child to develop herd mentality
  30. Unschooling is the logical next step after attachment parenting
  31. I don't want to be my child's teacher
  32. I trust my child
I know that there are a lot of "I's" in this list, but I trust that, as she grows older, there will be more of her every day. There are probably a million other reasons why we unschool, but this is what I came up with so far, why do you unschool?




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Quote of the Day


The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of nights.
Giotto di Bondone


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why You Should Use Natural, Organic Makeup

Written by Marie Baker

Image: Stevendepolo on Flickr
When you go to the store, it seems that the shelves are filled with organic products. From fruits and vegetables, to chips and juice, there are a wide variety of all natural, organic products available on the market today. Organic items are made of safer, all natural ingredients and do not contain harmful ingredients that can cause sickness. Besides food products, there is also a major move towards organic makeup. If you are thinking about switching your regular makeup products to more all natural organic makeup products, here are some good reasons you should decide to do so.

1. Safety 

All 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. Sensitivity 

Regular 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. Protection 

The 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. Nutrients 

All 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 Impact 

When 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.


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Saying Yes to Your Teenager

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
When teens ask if they can buy concert tickets or a new outfit, you might say, “Sure! Let’s talk about how you can pay for it.” Most teens like the idea of a part-time job—it’s an important step toward autonomy and adulthood—but many are intimidated by the application and interview process, so a little encouragement and coaching can go a long way. Another big obstacle for teens finding jobs is the pervasive messages of disrespect for fast food and other entry-level work, which is often the only work teenagers can get. Never disparage honest work, and teens will get the message that they can be proud to have a job, even if it’s just “flipping burgers”.

Model brand skepticism and smart consumption 

Another 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-season 

If 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 contribution 

Suppose 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.


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Quote of the Day

The less we look with our eyes, the more we will see with our hearts.
 Lyndsey Albrecht


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Friday, June 22, 2012

Is Your Parenting Preparing Your Child For the Real World?


Do you ever wonder if your parenting is preparing your child(ren) for the cold-hard world out there?  I read something about that the other day in a blog post that was perplexing. The writer was advising parents to choose their battles and then use  whatever means necessary to never let the child win..ever... or children would never be able to face the real world.  Really?!  It went on to say things like: set your rules and then use force, spank them, whip them to make them comply every single time.  There was more:  when your kid needs something make them fend for themselves, like in the real world.

Yes, the “real” world can be a tough place. When we grow up, we may have to fend for ourselves.  Yet, what I know is that what prepared me to face the cruel and tough things “out” in the world though, was not being broken, whipped, slapped and otherwise made to feel shame or guilt. No, on the contrary, my home, my parents, they were always a soft and safe landing base.  My parents weren’t perfect, but they always made it clear that they loved me (and my sisters) no matter what. Did they make some weird parenting choices? Sure. We all do, being a parent now, it’s clear to me, we can try all we want, arm ourselves with knowledge and advice  and still we are bound to make mistakes.  But with no doubt in my mind, my parents did not demand obedience, they chose to guide me to be responsible and caring, they chose to do this with LOVE.

Why would we as parents want to make our children feel terrible, shameful, guilty, or experience pain just because they might have the misfortune of experiencing that when they get out into the world on their own?  I mean, would you take a baseball bat to a brand new car to dent it up a bit, you know, just in case?

Seriously, let’s say you get a new car, brand new, no dents, dings, scratches on it. You are bound to be taking the car on the road at some point.  Maybe you will be driving through some really busy highways, really terrible city traffic. If you are careless with your driving choices, or unfortunate to cross paths with someone that makes bad driving choices your car may get bumped, dinged and scratched.  So, that question again, would you take a baseball bat to your brand new car just to break it in a bit? Or a take a rake to scrape it up, you know maybe just a few scratches so the next ones aren’t so bad? I hope you are saying a huge NO here with me.

People can choose to be careful drivers, people can often get an insurance policy so if something does happen they have some sort of back up to deal with all the crap that can happen on the road. And worse case, If a crash or scrape happens, people can choose to get their car repaired with some work and care. What's more, we don't just jump into a car and drive (well I hope most people don't) we learn to drive first...with lessons...with a teacher, a parent, a guide...

Life, the real world, yes, it can be a scary, tough, ugly place. There is no denying that there are mean people making bad choices every day. But I truly believe the world can also be a really awesome, warm, welcoming and amazing place full of loving people that care and connect. And If we as parents really care, the world can become an even better place.



We sort of get to make the choice here… yes, we as parents…we get to set an example, we get to choose love. We can lead with peace and mindfulness. We can choose to be the soft and safe landing base. 

What would happen to the world if instead of worrying about preparing children to face the cruel, harsh real world, if we worked to show our children that people can be kind?  That people can choose empathy, understanding, love and the value of being good citizens? What if we guide our children to make good choices, to learn skills and freedom with responsibility? What if we give them so much love, no matter what life throws at them they will feel strong, courageous and ready to face it full force?  What if instead of picking battles we talk to our children and  help them learn and then chose love as our insurance?

Parenting does not need to be about winning and losing battles or getting children ready to face the cold, harsh, real world, because parenting is not war, parenting is a journey so I’m choosing to use peace and love as our compass.  What about you?

Peace & Be Well, 



Join me at Positive Parenting Connection on Facebook for daily tips, ideas and inspiration for a positive parenting journey!

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Practicing Punishment Free Parenting: How we got back on track (Rerun)

My children have been punishment free for nearly two years now. Somewhere around five hundred days, it's a long time. With three small children that are curious, active, spunky and growing, there have been plenty of opportunities to challenge myself, or rather ourselves, as my husband has been practicing punishment free parenting right along with me, to implement and practice alternatives to punishment.


No punishment, seriously?
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.

However, when we had our second baby, there were new challenges. I was armed with great knowledge from books like like the Positive Discipline series, from the Sears Parenting Library, Aletha Solter and a few others... but perpetual tiredness for me coupled with a very spirited furniture climbing, cupboard emptying tot and no family members living nearby and an often traveling husband, i was exhausted. I was trying to use gentle guidance and yet somehow in my haze and insecurity as a new mom of two under two followed our pediatricians advice and fell into using time-outs occasionally.

Most often, talking things out and upholding limits worked fine but if things escaleted,I started enforcing artificial consequences like time outs in the corner for a few minutes or loosing privileges like watching TV or sweets.

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
babbling out of my mouth. I knew this served no purpose at all to them, I quickly realized I was frustrated and tired and feeling totally out of control.

Truth is, it just wasn't working for me or them. I wasn't being true to my heart.
I felt mean, disconnected and it hurt to see my boys get that look in their eyes that they hated being sent to the corner. What's more, their behavior was NOT changing, in fact on days after one time out or two it seemed like bad behavior quickly escalated. On that bad day as my then three year old dragged his feet and found the dreaded corner he asked me *Why are you so mean to me?" My heart sank! My eyes and his flooded with tears. I scooped both boys into my arms. My oldest told me many things, among them that he didn't want another baby to come to the house, he was sad we had moved, he was afraid his friends had forgotten about him. I listened and confirmed what I already knew, he was hurting and needed me more than ever to be there for him. He did not need to feel isolated or worse. My other boy, just about 18 months at the time, kept gazing at me with his swollen lip and big green eyes, and we stayed like this a long time. The rest of the day was time-out free.



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
placed in them, the more we got in return.

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,
MudpieMama

Ariadne (aka Mudpiemama) has three children, she practices peaceful, playful, responsive

parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.
Connect with Ariadne at the Positive Parenting Connection on Facebook!


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Quote of the Day


Limit to courage? There is no limit to courage.
Gabriele D'Annunzio


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Friday, June 15, 2012

Quote of the Day


Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
Norman Vincent Peale


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Dealing with Misbehavior: One Valuable Word


A toddler has a melt down at the store, a preschooler throws his toys, a tween bangs the door…What’s a parent to do to deal with all this misbehavior.  What if we were to forget all those counting methods, the isolation, the need to teach a lesson and  focus on this one word:

Acceptance

I love this word. It sits in my heart for many reasons. There are so many moments in parenting that we cannot change or control. I have long accepted that needing to control children is unnecessary. It is ultimately an undesirable if not impossible feat.  What really what matters in our daily interaction and most of all in the long run is for us to co-exist in peace and harmony while respecting one another as individuals.

Using acceptance as the first step to overcome whatever challenge we face as parents can go such a long way. If a child has a tantrum, throws something, bangs, breaks or otherwise does something that could be called a Misbehavior then we can:

Accept that children have limitations
Accept that children have needs
Accept that those needs may not be being met
Accept that children will at times be frustrated, angry, mad, sad...
Accept that children will at times be exuberant, loud, annoying...
Accept that children should and will challenge our reasons
Accept that children have their own thoughts and feeling
Accept that children need an outlet for their thoughts and feelings
Accept that many such behaviors are a developmentally appropriate

Now, this does not mean allowing mayhem or being permissive. On the contrary, this means that as parents it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our children with certain limits and guidelines. We should be aware of our children’s needs and be pro-active in meeting them. (I note there is a huge distinction between needs & wants) We can give them opportunities to explore their loudness and exuberance and help them learn to deal with their strong emotions.

No matter if a child is, loud, scaling the furniture, melting down at the store, frustrated, mad, banging doors, crying, pushing, shoving, biting, yelling, talking balk or acting out…ultimately what they really need more than being taught a lesson, more than being sent to time out, more than being lectured or losing a privilege is acceptance. From that moment on…when we accept THEM for who they are and what they are feeling and dealing with in the here and now, we can then move on to validate them and seek to understand. 

When we start with acceptance, no matter what the misbehavior, we can then choose a path to deal, heal, guide and re-connect.

Peace & Be Well,


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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just Enough Parenting

***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.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quote of the day


Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
William James


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Should Parents Apologize? (Rerun)

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
 are remorseful
 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.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Call for Submissions: Authentic Parenting Carnival June 2012

Authentic Parenting teamed up with Mudpiemama's Positive Parenting Connection will be hosting the May Carnival of Authentic Parenting on June 29th.

This months topic:Traveling and Vacations


The month of June, we dedicate the carnival to travel and vacation. We invite you to share any stories, tips, tricks, memories about travel and vacations. 

What does vacation mean to your family? How do you gear up for travel? Have you got specific vacation traditions? How do parent away from home? Are there any essentials you must have no matter where you go? Have you been somewhere in the world with your family that was just an amazing adventure? What about  being green while away from home, how does it work?

Submission date: June 22th. 
Carnival date: June 29th.

To enter, please compose a new post on the chosen topic and email mamapoekie {at} yahoo {dot} com and ariadne {at} brillweb {dot} net no later than 11PM GMT on June 22th 2012. Once you have emailed your submission please fill out the submission form:


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Monday, June 11, 2012

Quote of the Day


All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Avoiding Conflict Through Playfulness and Connection.

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.


Games: Red Light, Green Light!
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
before the gate, but the situation is not what I would deem safe. My three year old was having a tough time containing his excitement and had been running way ahead of me, straight into the parking lot searching for our car. To instill in both boys and especially the youngest the importance of stopping right at the gate and waiting, we started playing “Red light, Green Light” at home and at the preschool exit. This gave both boys practice in listening for the very important cue to stop at the “red light” a.k.a. the gate and avoided struggles with telling both that they must wait for me or not run etc… Over the last few weeks both boys have started to associate the gate itself as being the “red light” and have been waiting right at the gate without any problems.

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

sitting on the toilet. For the next week or so, anytime he needed to use the toilet, the mask had to go on. I figured this was his way of dealing with the move and toileting somewhere new, regardless of if it had deeper meaning or not, this was helping him cope better and stop having mishaps and making him laugh a lot, releasing some tension too. Fairly quickly, the mask was old news and the toilet was no longer a problem.

Team Work: Pulley System
One afternoon both boys were having a really hard time sharing and they were just not getting along. For a change of scenery we headed into the yard. I noticed the waste bin was really full and could use a new bag. Living on a mountain, our garden is three floors below street level and that gave me an idea. I tied a long rope to the trash bag and sent both boys up to the garage deck and threw the rope up. Together they tried to pull the trash bag up, higher and higher. They started another argument and the bag fell to the ground and spilled some. Determined to see the bag go up all three floors they came back down, cleaned up the spill (with some help) and I encouraged them to try again. I asked them if they wanted to make a plan this time and they did, and working together they finally got the bag all the way up. They were so excited about their team work and ended up hugging each other and that was the end of their fighting, for that day anyways.
Have you ever tried using play to avoid conflict? How did it work out?
Peace & Be Well,
Ariadne

Ariadne has three children, she practices peaceful, 
playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life. Visit The Positive Parenting Connection or join the Positive Parenting Connection Facebook page for daily inspiration, ideas and resources for positive parents!


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Friday, June 8, 2012

Quote of the Day


A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw


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Hey, Liar, Liar. Four Things To Consider Before You Keep On Lying to Your Child.


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.


Broken Trust 
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?

Hypocrisy
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


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Breastfeeding: What It Means To Me (Rerun)

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.

 

 Sometimes this moment lasts for a while, sometimes it is just a glance, but it is always there. And all I can feel for you is pure love and I see in your eyes that you love me too. That you are grateful for this love and this warm milk I keep giving to you, and have given to you for over two years, without restrictions. These moments keep me grounded, they keep me in touch with the bottomless pools of love I have for you, even in times when it is hard, even when I am tired or angry or ill. Even when I am busy or absent minded. On that little instant, there is just you and me, there is only us. I hope we may have many more of these moments.

  What about for you? What does breastfeeding mean to you?


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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quote of the Day


There is no limit to the power of loving.
John Morton


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Take Time To Dream


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.

As parents somewhere in the many hours of the day which were spent on the computer and telephones, or on the road, or mending boo-boos and wiping up the spills and the messes, it’s easy to forget about our own dreams and wishes.
Learning to play the Guitar, trying a flamenco class, learning about wine, starting a book club, taking yoga at sunset or starting up your own crochet business, whatever this wish or dream may be, did you know pursuing it is actually a wonderful way to encourage your child to keep dreaming?
Parenting is a hard job with many hours and fantastic benefits but one that also should hopefully involve some hours of rejuvenation. If you practice parenting, meeting everyone’s needs and working to make and keep deep connections, restoring the peace and fostering a loving home you know how demanding things can be. However, meeting your own needs, giving yourself time to dream and having “a life” is also showing your child that YOU matter (and you really do), and that dreams can come true. It also will likely increase your happiness and happiness is contagious, it really is. And happy dreaming children are such a wonderful thing. So go ahead, take time to dream.
So what dreams are you chasing?
Peace & Be Well,
Mudpiemama


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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Parenting Intentionally



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!


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Monday, June 4, 2012

Why Unschooling Works for us, and could for you too!


**Guest Post by Nadine Lebean of The FoodHumblings

Unschooling to us means living. There is no separation between life and learning. There is no set time to learn, it happens all the time. We do not use a curriculum, there is enough substance in life alone that we do not need to. Instead we focus on what we are passionate about and are free to go deeply into those subjects. Learning is actually the by-product of living this fantastic life. My partner and I are just as absorbed in learning as our children. They are so curious and want to know about everything!

Our Unschooling days look like what I imagine a family looks like on a weekend or a vacation. We hang out, do yard work, have picnics, go to special events, ride bikes, do puzzles and read books together. Sometimes we have things planned but many days we wake up and ask “What shall we do today?!??!”. It is possible for life to be exciting and joyful.

Unschooling has made so many opportunities possible for us that we would not have if our children were in school. We are free to take off anytime to see a concert or go camping. We can be quite spontaneous in our decisions to go to drop-in gymnastics, swimming, an art museum or the park. When someone in our family is sick or sad, we have the freedom to stay in bed all day reading books and watching TV. This re-energizes us for the next days.

I love the security and flexibility of Unschooling. My children are secure in knowing that mom will always be around to help them or to just read a book. Instilling feelings of love and security in children, especially young children, helps them to be confident and compassionate adults. With Unschooling there is no rush to get kids into bed so they can get up early for school. Bedtime is the most joyful time of the day in our house. I often hear of horror stories about parents trying to get kids to go to bed, we have no idea what that looks like. We talk, read books, watch tv and laugh a lot. It is the time of day that my partner and I really get to fully appreciate and love our children. Nobody complains about going to bed, often it is the children who ask to sleep!

The best things about this life are the time we spend together and the trust we are building. Living this way has allowed us to become very bonded. My children feel that I have their genuine best interest at heart. I do not force them to do anything. I make requests and explain why it is necessary. Life flows from one thing to the other. My children trust me and are most often cooperative. I do still appreciate when they express their desires to do something different than what I am asking, and Unschooling allows me to be flexible to their wishes. We are all learning about compromise and living in community, along with negotiating skills. We always look for the common good, something that seems to be missing in our society of “take all that you can” mentality.

About Nadine:
Nadine LeBean is a mother of four Unschooling children ages 2-11. They live in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, Canada spending their days together exploring life. Her second passion is making and eating traditional and cultured foods.  


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Friday, June 1, 2012

Quote of the Day

“I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I'd just been myself. -Brittany RenĂ©e


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Eleven Steps for Healing and Restoring the Peace After Being Harsh With Your Child

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:

Calm yourself
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.

Release
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.

Gratitude list
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.

A few weeks ago, my six year old and I had a really unusual exchange.  I was exhausted because I had been awake most of the night with my two year old daughter who was sick. My son hadn't slept well either, he was also upset that the previous night we had't had a chance to read together. We were so disconnected that morning, I rushed him, I nagged, he reacted to this unusual exchange with frustration and confusion. We both lost our cool. He called me names, he felt pushed around and really mad. I felt disrespected and really angry. I yelled and I am really not a yeller, but I did, I yelled and it was awful.  We paused. We cooled off.  We took some time to think. We cried, we laughed, we hugged, cuddled, re-connected...we went back to being peaceful. 

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.

Take care
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.

Forgiveness
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,

 


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