Google+ Authentic Parenting: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednessday - Babywearing All over the World

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. 

Today's post is babywearing photos. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

2009, France

2010, Ivory Coast

2012, DR Congo

  Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Sideline Coaching is Bad - Behavior Tips for Parents When Their Kids Take Up Sports

My daughter took up horseback riding a couple weeks ago and has been head over heels with it ever since. I used to ride myself, so I love going there and seeing her ride, but it's also a bit stressful. I want to make remarks, I see things she doesn't yet, but I quiet myself, knowing it's not my place and allowing her her own learning process.

Not all parents at the track reason this way though. It's interesting to see.

Last lesson, there were lots of kids and three sets of parents in particular were constantly yelling commands at their kids.
One of the kids, a tiny 4 year old girl, had a bit of a lazy pony and wasn't able to make it trot, even with the whip. Her dad (who had been yelling stuff at her ever since she mounted the pony "sit straight", "hold the reins tighter", "you have to encourage him more") got so worked up, started yelling at the teacher: "whip him! if you don't whip him, I will". He crossed the paddock and went to stand where he could actually touch the ponies.

Luckily, around that time, the stables' owner came by and commented on the parent's incessant remarks.

He said to them that it wasn't the parent's place to comment and yell stuff at their kids.

And he is more then correct.

Sideline coaching is bad for the learning process. It distracts the child, it demeans the coach, it discourages genuine interest.
Moreover, if you're paying a professional to tach the lesson, then don't pretend that you can do it just as well.

Even though it may be hard to just allow natural learning to occur in a field where you have first hand knowledge, it's important to do so. All kids learn at their own pace, and being distracted by the parent's incessant remarks only shunts that pace.
If you can't handle it, just go and sit somewhere with a drink and watch from afar. Loosen the reins ;)

Does your child practice a sport or activity that you do or used to do? Find it hard not to interfere?


Monday, July 29, 2013

Tandem Nursing: A Blessing or a Curse?

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

 My daughter was three and a half when my son was born. I nursed her throughout my pregnancy and she was still nowhere near quitting when my son was born.
However, the tumultuous events following his birth left her puzzled and fearful, and she refused to nurse, telling me it was all for her brother. Even when urged, to help me with the milk supply in the hospital, it was hard to get her to nurse again.

Eventually she did, but her interest in breastfeeding had taken a blow.

In hindsight, I am happy that her appreciation for breastfeeding started to dwindle. My son turned out to be a fierce drinker and it was just draining to have them both at the breast. Gradually, my daughter lost her interest completely, and is now, at age five, nearly done.

To be completely honest, with a smaller child, it felt awkward to have her nurse. Not the fact that she's older, but because the sensation is different with her than it is with the smaller one, who's still drinking quite often. Maybe she's lost the habit and that makes for a different feeling... I don't know. I just know that pretty soon after my son was born, I started practicing don't offer, don't refuse and a little while later, I started trying to point her interest elsewhere when she wanted to nurse and I wouldn't feel up to it.
I don't feel like any of the weaning journey has been coercive for her. I took great care for it not to be so. There haven't been any tears and if she was very insistent, or I was quite calm and receptive, she wold still nurse (and still does on the very rare occasion).

Yet there are some good parts of tandem feeding. Sharing breastmilk in those early day really did help my children bond. Seeing their eyes meet, their hands holding, it's really sweet. I think it also helps the oldest one see that they're just as important and special as the newborn.
But it's no walk in the park.

Did you tandem nurse? How was your experience?

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Can't Live WIthout a Nursing Bra

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

When I just set out breastfeeding (can you imagine that's already over 5 years ago?), I had issues finding a nice looking nursing bra. In the meanwhile, I've found my little store that holds just about any brand and I visit there, often.

Over the years I have bought many different brands and I know the ones I like and dislike. (My favorites are Hotmilk and Amoralia) I also know what I'm looking for in a nursing bra.
That said, I don't really use the nursing feature of these bras. I just nurse over them without undoing the clip (because it's faster and when I do open the click, I tend to forget to close them). So I could just buy regular bras, right?

But there's a catch to having worn nursing bras five years in a row, that's that I can't wear regular bras anymore. I have completely lost the ability to wear an underwire.
Aside from the fact that they're not healthy, they just hurt me now.
Actually any bra with wire (underwire or side wire) will hurt and I'll just toss them somewhere never to be used again.

No matter how much I search, I can't seem to find bras without an underwire in my size. Am I doomed to wear nursing bras eternally?

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Anger Is Just and Emotion

Welcome to the July 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Anger 
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about anger. We hope you enjoy this month's posts and consider joining us next month when we share about breastfeeding.


In Western Society, we fear strong emotions, especially the ones we deem negative. Fear, anger, sadness. We prefer to swiftly brush them under the carpet and keep them unseen instead of handling them adequately.
The result of this regard of negative emotions is that we are not equipped to deal with them. When they come about, we are at a loss. We push them inward or react to them, and lash out.

Yet even negative emotions are just emotions.

Accepting that you, as a human being, are allowed to have a vast range of emotions, that they are normal and natural, is the first step towards a mindful approach of emotions.

Let's take anger.

As a child, most of us have been corrected swiftly and harshly when we portray this emotion. "Stop it right now", we exclaim to the angered child. "If you continue like this I will..."
Most of us have been shamed when in anger: "If you would see how ugly you look when you're angry."
Or our feelings were brushed off, annihilated, diminished: "There's no need to be angry. Smile."

Parents have many many ways of dealing (or should I say undealing) with anger, most of them detrimental.

Children are urged to quickly get over their emotions, instead o encouraged to get through them. There's no blame here, this is just the way most of us have been brought up.

But we can help our children get through their anger, deal with it instead of repress it or act upon it. So can we with our own anger.
As I mentioned before, the first step is acceptance. Telling your child that anger is normal, that she is 'allowed' to feel frustrated or angry if they voice that they aren't. Hopefully, you shouldn't even have to tell your child they are entitled to anger, but the chances are, they'll quickly catch on that anger is unacceptable in Western Society.

The second step to working through your anger is to feel it but don't act. Don't talk, don't lash out. Tell your child they can feel their anger. Encourage them to tell you how it feels, so they learn to recognize the emotion when it comes up. Tell them, it's ok to be angry, but it's not ok to scream or hit. Read these approaches to deal with anger to have some tools to avoid knee jerk reactions such as screaming or hitting.

It takes work, but we can reroute our brain to deal with anger, and just as importantly, we can help our children process anger in a healthy way.


Visit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month's Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, when we discuss breastfeeding!   Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 27 with all the carnival links.)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Breastfeeding Pictures: 5 years in review

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to

For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is breastfeeding photos. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!






Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

25 Embarrasing Things Kids Say

As it's summer, we could do with some light and breezy content, can't we! I asked my Facebook likers about the most embarrassing thing their kid has said, this is what they came up with:

  1. My daughter announced loudly when I returned from the bathroom at a nice restaurant: "YAY MOMMY YOU POOPED! GOOD JOB!" Clapping and all. I had only peed, for the record.
  2. My son asked a woman with a full blown mustache....are you a boy or a girl.
  3. Before she could pronounce her 'L's in certain words, we were a a restaurant and she started pointing at a clock on the wall above a booth full of men and very loudly and excitedly kept shouting, "Cock! Cock!"
  4. In a line at the supermarket my 4 year old says "look mum those ladies are all having babies like you" needless to say none of them were pregnant!!!
  5. Look at my new pants!!!!! As he whipped down his trousers in the playschool playground in front of ALL the parents!!!!
  6. I made eye contact with a barefoot baby held by the mother in a grocery store. I said to my 6 yr old son in a normal voice, "I could just eat up those toes". He then yells out, "My mom wants to eat your baby!".
  7. We were standing in the elevator and my daughter pointed to a lady and said: "mommy who is that crazy lady?"
  8. Mommy, you have a great big GIANT butt!
  9. One day I was getting a bottle of wine and my 3 year old shouted "I don't like that kind" people heard, it was embarrassing, like I would ever have her drink alcohol!!
  10. My sons and I were at a local pool one day when my oldest who was 3 at the time joyfully yelled to a friend, "Mommy is going to have a baby come out of her big hairy butt!". (I had been watching homebirth videos recently and apparently that was his takeaway.)
  11. Mama, your breath smells like rotten onions - at music together class.
  12. when my son was 3 he realized people come in all sorts of skin colors. So noticing this, he enjoyed pointing it out (kind of like naming off shapes and letters lol). One day we went into the post office and were alone on our row of mail boxes when a man walked by and startled my son, who then loudly exclaimed: "That brown man scared me!" I know he meant it harmlessly, his dad is rather brown (half Japanese) and his cousins and aunts/uncles are African American. But when a stranger hears that yelled randomly it can look really bad!
  13. After watching 'Austin Powers' one night, I took her out to dinner. She saw a short person and yelled out "Look Mama!! There's a midget! They smell like cabbage!!" I hung my head to try to hide my laughter and get my composure then said to the crowd staring..."Sorry, we just watched 'Austin Powers'" then asked for a the very back....
  14. My daughter informed the waitstaff at the restaurant that she had "nipples" all over her body. She had goose bumps. It wouldn't have been so bad but I was just meeting my SO grandparents.
  15. Telling another parent that mommy was having "her bleed" (my period for the record)
  16. I had to get canastan off the doc, my son knows what bapathen is for his older brother. He went in to the bedroom and there was a wedding taking place just outside and shouted waving the cream "look mumms bum cream" he was 3.
  17. My eldest went through a phase of wildly pointing at buskers shouting " look, a bum, BUM". He meant "drum" which was what he was calling all instruments at the time.
  18. We have a pet named Ozzy and my 9 year old daughter heard a name on the news at a restaurant and realized she could rhyme Ozzy's name with it. So in a restaurant she starts chanting "Ozzy's from Benghazi, Ozzy's from Benghazi." I was like, "Nooooooooooo!"
  19. "Help!!" My then two year old, screamed it from the trolley in the supermarket.... You bet it got everyone's attention!
  20. 'We wipe front to back mama, because you don't want to get poop in your bagina!'
  21. She yells, "DON'T HIT ME!" in public Mimicking my telling her, "Please don't hit me. Gentle touches." I have never and would never hit her!!!
  22. my 3 yr old son said "oh mom I love your hairy penis!!"
  23. My daughter yelled in a restaurant out of no where, "remember when mommy peed her pants" ( my husband had tickled me one day till I peed my pants because I already had to go) well that had been a couple months. But she announced it in a busy restaurant. 
  24. My then 3 year old asked loudly 'do you think that lady is doing wees or poos?'
  25. He asked what tampax were for in his blazer beam voice at the check out! It was a young boy on the till!!!!! 
What's the most embarrassing thing your child has said? Share it in the comments below. 
Join us on Facebook to read even more embarrassing kids outbursts!

This post was added to the Tuesday Baby Linkup


Friday, July 19, 2013

Helping Your Parents Plan for Retirement

Content provided by Kira

Helping your parents plan for retirement Planning for your later years can be daunting - there is so
much to think about and organise. However, the process can be made a whole lot less intimidating with a little support from close family members. If your parents are approaching retirement, there are a number of things you can do to make them more comfortable and give them peace of mind. Take a look at these top three points to consider when helping your parents plan their future.

Check out savings and pensions 

It's important for your parents to know exactly how much money they have saved away for their retirement. Whether they have been investing into a pension fund or stashing cash under their mattress - now is a good time to get a complete overview of their finances.

Annuity rates have been on the decline for many years, so your parent might not be able to get the great pension they'd hoped for. Don't be afraid to turn down the first annuity offer and scour the market for something better. There are a number of options available when it comes to pensions, including drawdown or an enhanced annuity.

If their pension has been underperforming or they simply haven't managed to save enough money - but they own their own home - you could always discuss the benefits of equity release.

Discuss retirement properties

You might hear your parents joke about putting them in a nursing home, but you can allay their fears by showing them some alternative accommodation, such as retirement apartments.

It is possible to achieve independent living whilst still being safe in the knowledge that your parents are not alone. Assisted living allows retirees to enjoy their later years without having to worry about household chores and general maintenance.

Your parents can still own their own property but benefit from additional support such as help looking after pets or getting in and out of bed. For more information on the living styles available throughout retirement, visit

Seek professional advice

Retirement involves a lot of major financial decisions, so don't be afraid to suggest contacting an independent financial advisor. If you and your parents aren't sure about what's best, getting some unbiased advice from a financial expert can do no harm at all. In fact, obtaining independent advice can arm you and your parents with the knowledge you both need to make the right decisions and plan for their future together.

image source: Ernst Moeksis


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Top 10 Tips on Authentic Grandparenting (rerun)

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


The Shattuck Family, Aaron Draper Shattuck
Where parenting isn't easy, in these days of information overload, grandparenting isn't either. Your children seem to do things so very differently from what you did when you were a parent and you don't know where you stand. You're probably just trying to be helpful, but it seems as if your child isn't happy with the advice you are giving. Here is a list of tips on how to be an Authentic Grandparent and how to keep the family relationships healthy and harmonious now that a new generation has been added to the genealogical tree.
  1. Respect your child's parenting decisions. Your child may not have chosen the same path you did for parenting your grandchild. this may be difficult, maybe even hurtful. It might make you doubt about their feelings of how they were parented. However, it is important to respect their parenting choices. Times have changed, opportunities are different now. If you ignore their choices or keep going against them, you might be creating a breach that isn't going to fix itself. A result may be that you get to see your grandchild less frequently. You are not the parent of your grandchild.
  2. Trust your child. Your child is now an adult and a parent, treat him or her as such. Even if you don't agree with the choices they have made, trust in them. They are acting in the interest of your grandchild and are doing the best they can. They have learned from the way you parented them and are now making their choices based on that experience. Give them the freedom to do so.
  3. Support. Even if you don't understand or agree with the way your child parents your grandchild, your support is needed and valuable. Chances are you are the closest and most trusted individual to your daughter or son. Their parenting can be stressful and insecure, there is more information out there then there ever was. Many things are very contradictory, so choices are ever so hard. Be there for them and follow their lead.
  4. Read. Take the time to find some information about parenting or grandparenting (such as this article). If you don't know where to look, ask your child to point you in the right direction. Many things have changed since you were a parent, a lot of the directions that were given in your day are now found to be obsolete and have been replaced with other directives. Inform yourself about these topics instead of readily rehashing what you have been told when you were a parent. 
  5. Show you're interested.  Don't let your fascination with the little creature overrate your interest in your child. Show an interest in the way your son or daughter parents, ask them about it without judging. Be interactive and present.
  6. Ask before you buy. The first thing you want to do when your child is expecting is run out and buy something, and when the kid is there, you probably want to get some presents and spoil the kid a little. Before you do, ask the parents if they have any specific wishes. For instance, if your grandchild is starting a new baseball season your child may want baseball bags to prepare for the season." If there is anything they really want, respect these wishes. There is nothing more embarrassing then to get stuck with gifts nobody wants, that will wind up in a dark closet never to be used. 
  7. Only give advice when asked. Even if you are dying to share all the little things you think you know better, don't! You will only get your child worked up and this might put a strain on your relationship. If your child comes to you for advice, good, now's your chance. But only give advice respectfully and without judgement. Give advice that is founded. Don't pretend that you're the oracle of parenting.
  8. Respect the child's natural rhythm. You don't get to see your grandchild all the time and you may be really excited when you do. However, take the time to listen to your grandchild. Follow their lead. Don't engage them in the activities YOU want to do.
  9. Help out where needed. Your primary interest probably goes out to your grandchild, but make sure that you aren't losing sight of your child. Maybe you can be more helpful doing other things than holding the baby. Cleaning up a little or having a good conversation with your child may be much more needed and valuable. Make sure your child knows you are there for him/her.
  10. Be open to dialogue. Don't think you know everything about parenting because you have raised a child. Be open to talk about parenting. Offer an ear when needed and never judge. 


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Effects of Pre-Birth Trauma on the Unborn Child

On a recent outing with my 6 year old grand-daughter we went to the Science Museum, an amazingly interactive place which encourages learning, exploration, experimentation and fun! We came across a ‘walk in womb’ which I was not keen to go in to but my grand-daughter was, she is expecting a new brother or sister soon so she was especially interested.

We stood in a dark cavern shaped space listening to the mother’s heartbeat and the external sounds the baby was hearing. We were gently tossed around by the mother’s movements and it was a surreal experience. We listened as the birth happened to anxious voices and sounds and then the cry of the new born child. It affected us both and we had a lively discussion afterwards and went on our way around the amazing museum. Later that evening I thought back to what we had heard and felt. I was shocked at how clear the voices and sounds had been and began to think of all the babies whose pre-birth experience is one of fear and threat. I have worked with women for many years that have lived with domestic violence and other abuse it made me feel immensely sad for them and their unborn children.

Alarmingly, we are told by, McWilliams & McKiernan 1993 'in 30% of cases of domestic violence the abuse first started during pregnancy' and Taft 2002 'between 4 & 9 women in every 100 are abused during their pregnancies &/or after birth’. So for the babies who survive through to birth what does this mean?

Maternal emotional, as well as physical, messages are transmitted to the feotus. When a mother
how maternal mood influences the feotus
becomes fearful her heart beat alters, which can lead to reduced oxygen flow to the feotus, speeding up its heart rate. On a temporary basis this will be fine as it begins to prepare the baby’s system for the real World. Along with this a frightened or anxious mother experiences a rise in her levels of the stress hormones we all have, which help us to cope with feeling under threat by making us run, fight, freeze, flop or befriend in order to survive. Our bodies are automatically prepared to act to keep us alive and so we get a surge of adrenalin and cortisol to help with this as will the feotus. If a car is hurtling towards us, or we are feeling threatened in anyway, this is our systems survival mechanism.

However, we are not designed to stay on high alert for long periods of time as these important chemicals need to reduce so we can feel calm again or it puts a stress on our brain and body and the same is true for the unborn child. It gets uncomfortable and, as their brain is in the process of developing, it will shape its sensitivity to possible fear or threat and may make it find threat where it does not always exist; hence the baby will have a more reactive brain and be harder to soothe.

Ironically the baby may well then be born into an environment where the parents or carers are less available to them as they are distracted by the domestic abuse, substance misuse, mental illness or violence outside of the home. The baby is likely to be more easily upset yet less responsive to being comforted and may be in a chaotic home where this is not often on offer anyway. Fast forward to 3 years’ time to a young child who finds it hard to play with others and form friendships, who lashes out or withdraws, gets easily overwhelmed by life in general and has dramatic, long lasting outbursts, who struggles to stay focused on much for long, who does not sleep well, this list can be extensive.

The good news is that young children’s brains are much easier to reshape as they can easily create new connections, the older the brain gets the harder this becomes but it does remain as a possibility throughout life. So the sooner the child and non-abusive parent can get away from the source of repetitive fear and stress the better it will be for the child’s future development and mental well-being. Pre-birth is ideal but as it is a time when most women feel especially vulnerable and are hoping a child will improve relations and change an abusive partner it is harder to support change.

Seeking support is vital for all victims of domestic violence and abuse and those close to them.

About the author
Jane has built up a wealth of parenting and early years knowledge throughout her career; as a parenting worker for a domestic violence organisation, a respite foster carer, a child-minder, a children’s practitioner in a family centre and a support worker in a child protection team, whilst also working in and with schools and pre-schools.
Jane is now using this as the basis for the training she delivers on parenting and children affected by trauma and for her bespoke parenting course for thoseimpacted by trauma, either post domestic violence or as adoptive parents , foster or kinship carers.
Jane has also written an early years story book to enable children to explore feelings relating to domestic violence which is to be published early in 2014 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keeping it Simple with a Highly Sensitive Child

Welcome to the JULY edition of the Simply Living Blog CarnivalWith kids cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what we do to simplify our lives with our children. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post. Join us on our blog hop with the same theme tomorrow!


Parenting a highly sensitive child requires a couple extra considerations. 
Everything must be talked about in advance, diverting from plans can be difficult. Outings can only be done on times that fit the routine. 

Keeping it simple is a near must when you have a highly sensitive child in your family. Planning too much, seeing too many people, doing too much all at once, will result in a meltdown.

So we do, keep it simple. We try to limit our daily schedule and include enough down time which allows for free, unscheduled play, and when we can't, we talk it through a couple of days in advance. When it's a big change - say traveling from Liberia to Belgium - we even start talking about the traveling and how it will unfold about a week in advance. We include as much detail as possible, because we know that makes it easier for our daughter.

If we have to do things she doesn't know yet, we sometimes bring in books or watch youtube videos on the subject. We also make sure that we have lots of open ended toys available for her to process new things. She played birth assistant for a long time after het brother's birth, and since the recent hospital visits her father had, we've seen lot's of doctor and nurse play.

Some days, we just know when our daughter wakes up that it's not a good day and then we try to arrange it so that she can rest. On those days she'll prefer to be inside, watch some tv or read some books. She sometimes draws or plays board games on the down days. 
If we have something very important planned on a day like that, we arrange for a sitter, or try to make transitions as little and as soft as possible.

Right now, she's at an age where she can start doing various activities, and since we're in Belgium, and she's asking, we've tried planning some things for her. She's been horseback riding several times, we've visited lots of farms and she'll be attempting playground tomorrow (group play at the playground). We try to have as many flexible activities as possible, so she can opt out at any time. 
she knows herself well and knows when it will be too much to deal, so it's safest not to have a financial commitment. 

We're not fail proof yet, but we're getting there. I must say that knowing about High Sensitivity has helped us a great deal. Do you have a highly sensitive child? What are the ways in which you simplify life.

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living and parenthood. We hope you will join us next month when we discuss celebrations!  


Monday, July 15, 2013

APBC Call for Submissions: Anger

APBC - Authentic ParentingWelcome to the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. We hope that you will join us on the last Friday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline: Sunday July 21st.



We are all entitled to our emotions, but when it comes to anger and parenting, that's where it gets tricky. How do you feel your emotions when they're so violent and still remain a centered and connected parent? How do you create a safe and loving environment for your child to express this emotion.

How to join in?

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com and mamapoekie{at}yahoo{dot}com, and fill out the webform by July 21. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on July 27.

Please do:
  • Use your creativity
  • Write an original, previously unpublished post on the given topic
  • Be respectful
  • Spell check your post
Do Not Use excessive profanity or promote violence against others As the co-hosts of the carnival are advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Why Participate?

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Authentic Parenting! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways to live and parent authentically.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Sugar Coated Punishments: The problem with Bribes

There are lots of ways parents can prompt, nudge and motivate their children to cooperate or “behave” nicely. Unfortunately, a really popular way to do so is by using bribes. Could it really be harmful to offer up “here is a cookie, ok, just stop crying and you can have this cookie.”   Or “Come on, get into the car now we have to leave,  I will buy you a toy at the store, your choice, ok?” or what about “smile for the camera, then I’ll give you some candy!”

Are there risks of continually bribing children to do as we ask them?  Is handing over something sweet, a little money or a promise of a new toy so our child will stop screaming and get into the car, or put on their shoes, stop crying about a  fall at the playground any better than threatening with a time-out or losing a privilege? Is there a difference between punishment and bribery? Bribes usually get children to smile and comply so it must be alright?

The problem with bribery, similar to using punishment is that bribes simply do not help children learn and develop skills for the long term. Let's look at just three potential problems with using bribes: 

No self- discipline: Children that receive bribes to brush teeth, hang up their towels, buckle their seat belts and so on, don’t create any sense of responsibility for self, they also don’t feel in charge of their own self.  It could so easily lead to an attitude of “why bother until the carrot is dangling?”

“What’s in it for me!”  Some children quickly realize that they can get a lot more for a little more drama.  Clench those teeth just a little longer, maybe I can get even more coins!  Refuse to buckle up, last time I got a bouncy ball, maybe this time I can get a Barbie!

Sweet Misery -Too often children are bribed when they are crying, upset or having a tantrum except that instead of having their needs met with empathy and having a chance to go through all the emotions  and feel better, children are hushed with a lolly or a cookie or the promise of a new toy.  Unfortunately for many children this means they learn to simply push their feelings away instead of processing and feeling which is so important to develop self-regulation.  The bit of candy here to drive away the tears unfortunately has the potential to lead to a whole slew of poor coping methods like comfort eating, smoking, drinking to name a few.

Bribery, like punishment may lead to immediate compliance, there is a reason it’s so often used! As much as I don't like bribes,  I know at times I have been really tempted, and maybe even have offered up something that came across as a bribe, ugh! who’s perfect when it comes to parenting….

Anyways, does this mean all sweet treats and gifts are a no-no? No way! There are plenty of times when we can celebrate and gift our children, sweet treats can just be something nice to enjoy together too.  Plus, gifts and treats would ideally simply be that, gifts and treats,  not some sort of currency in exchange for compliance,  our love and acceptance.

In the end, I think it’s important to remember what our intentions are and  to keep in mind that punishment and bribery are on some levels  one and the same, only one perhaps has a sweeter disguise but equally counterproductive to a true cooperate and harmonious relationship between parents and children.

What do you think, a little sweet to get that smile for the camera or a lolly-pop to get that hair cut done, a toy for getting into the car….harmless or not so much?

Peace and Be Well, 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Anger, Depression and Their Effect on Your Family

I've wrote about parenting with depression several times before, only recently I wrote about how depression affected my self image. Today, I wanted to write about what affect being depressed and angry has on your entire family. Writing about this topic isn't much fun. It's pretty painful and very much taboo... But I do feel that it's important to do so, because we need to know....

So many things in my life, my parenting could have been made simple if only I would have known that I wasn't alone. That others have the same feelings. By shutting up and shutting others out, we avoid dealing, we avoid change.

I've found that as keeper of the home, my feelings are the barometer for everyone in my house. When I am angry and depressed, my kids are whiny and clingy and acting out. My husband retracts into his own world and doesn't participate in our family. Food doesn't come to the table, washing isn't done... All of those nice and cosy things that make our house a home just go out the door. And we end up as if we were shipwrecked, all of us.
Lost, confused, angry, disoriented...
Not knowing who or what to cling to, where to go or stand.

These are situations that can easily escalate. Angry mom, aggressive child, whiny baby, angrier and frustrated mom, emotionally absent father, screaming mom... you get the picture.

I've found that knowing what effect your emotional state has on the entire family can be very liberating.
Whenever you're down the slippery slope of whiny kids, angry mom, you know you can turn it around. By changing your initial response to one of connection instead of rejection, you can change the tone of the day. Like a refresh button.
You control your emotions and thus you have some control over your family's appreciation of the day too.


My book "Mommy Overwhelm: A Holistic Approach to Parental Stress and Depression" gives you a myriad of tips top deal with anger and depression naturally and holistically. With this guide, you are able to compose a program that works for you and brings you to happier and more balanced parenting. The book is now available through this site for only 3,49USD.


Image credits:
Mother walking: SpeNoot
Sunrise: Diganta Talukdar 


This post was added to A Lovely Blog Hop


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Diversity as Part of Life

Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures that surround us. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


The best way for kids to learn about diversity is to see diversity as a part of their everyday life. Kids accept what they see everyday and reject what they don't. That's a natural protection mechanism for humans. What we don't know might potentially be harmful.
Having diversity as a natural part of our lives is something I always strived to achieve, even when my daughter was still very small. But it is also something that is pretty hard to control.

I am very happy to be able to raise my daughter in a multicultural environment where most of her friends are of a different color. Interacting with people of different ethnicities is a normal part of our lives, and of hers.
But where my kids come into contact with all kinds of languages and nationalities, something is lacking. And now, at age 5, my daughter is starting to let me know.

Last week, we came back from Liberia to Belgium and in the airport, a couple walked ahead of us with their baby. The mom was white and the dad was black.
"Mama, look!" My daughter said: "That mama has a black baby... but she's white. That's not possible."
I pointed out that the daddy was black and the baby was right in between, so probably yes, this was this woman's biological baby.
It made it very clear to me that my daughter isn't used to seeing couples where the mom is white and the father black. She is used to seeing it the other way around, as many expats in Africa have an African wife. She knows how babies are made and that they grow in the mother's belly, but I'm guessing the whole fatherly input is still a bit obscure to her.

Another concept that seems odd to her is homosexuality. Whenever she sees a same sex couple on tv or when we're in Belgium, she points it out to me and wonders about that.
Again, there are no gay people in our lives lately, so she doesn't see this as part of her daily life (manly because homosexuality is still a crime in many African countries).

It frustrates me, because I would very much like my children growing up with acceptance instead of fear, but this is something that's not easily changed. You can't intentionally put people in your life just to serve as an example for your kids...

Is diversity something you actively strive to achieve in your environment? How do you achieve this?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon July 9 with all the carnival links.)
  • A gift for my daugther — Amanda, a special education teacher for students with multiple exceptionalities, discusses at My Life in a Nutshell how she will enrich her daughter's life by educating her the amazing gifts her students will bring to the world.
  • The Beauty in Our Differences — Meegs at A New Day writes about her discussions with her daughter about how accepting ourselves and those around us, with all our beautiful differences and similarities, makes the world a better place.
  • Accepting Acceptance and Tolerating Tolerance — Destany at They Are All of Me examines the origins of and reasons behind present day social conformity.
  • Differencessustainablemum discusses what she feels to be the important skills for embracing diversity in her family home.
  • Turning Japanese — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different shares how she teaches her kiddos about Japanese culture, and offers ideas about "semi immersion" language learning.
  • Celebrating Diversity at the International House Cottages — Mommy at Playing for Peace discovers the cultures of the world with her family at local cultural festivals
  • Learning About Diversity by Honoring Your Child’s Multiple Heritages — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of truly knowing your roots and heritage and how to help children honor their multiple heritages.
  • People. PEOPLE! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is trying to teach her children to use language that reflects respect for others, even when their language doesn't seem to them to be disrespectful.
  • Call Me Clarice, I Don't Care - A True Message in Diversity — Lisa at The Squishable Baby knows that learning to understand others produces empathetic children and empathetic families.
  • Diversity of Families — Family can be much more then a blood relation. Jana at Jananas on why friends are so important for her little family of three.
  • Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect.
  • Just Shut Up! — At Old New Legacy, Becky gives a few poignant examples in her life when listening, communication and friendship have helped her become more accepting of diversity.
  • The World is our Oyster — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot is thankful for the experiences that an expat lifestyle will provide for herself as well as for her children.
  • Children's black & white views (no pun intended … kind of) — Lauren at Hobo Mama wonders how to guide her kids past a childish me vs. them view of the world without shutting down useful conversation.
  • Raising White Kids in a Multicultural World — Leanna at All Done Monkey offers her two cents on how to raise white children to be self-confident, contributing members of a colorful world. Unity in diversity, anyone?
  • Ramadan Star and Moon Craft — Celebrate Ramadan with this star and moon craft from Stephanie at InCultureParent, made out of recycled materials, including your kid's art!
  • Race Matters: Discussing History, Discrimination, and Prejudice with Children — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how her family deals with the discrimination against others and how she and her husband are raising children who are making a difference.
  • The Difference is Me - Living as the Rainbow Generation — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is used to being the odd-one-out, but walking an alternative path with children means digging deeper, answering lots of questions and opening to more love.
  • My daughter will only know same-sex marriage as normal — Doña at Nurtured Mama realizes that the recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage will change the way she talks to her daughter about her own past.
  • Montessori-Inspired Respect for Diversity — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her multicultural family and shares Montessori-inspired ideas for encouraging respect for diversity.
  • EveryDay Diversity — Ana at Panda & Ananaso makes diversity a part of everyday living, focusing on raising of compassionate and respectful child.
  • Diversity as Part of Life — Even though Laura at Authentic Parenting thought she had diversity covered, she found out that some things are hard to control.
  • Inequity and Privilege — Jona is unpacking questions raised by a summit addressing inequity in breastfeeding support at Life, Intertwined.
  • 3 Ways to Teach Young Children About Diversity — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama recognizes her family's place of privilege and shares how she is teaching her little ones about diversity in their suburban community.
  • Teaching diversity: tales from public school — A former public high school teacher and current public school parent, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama values living in a diverse community.
  • 30 Ideas to Encourage Learning about Diversity While Traveling — Traveling with kids can bring any subject alive. Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with a variety of ways you can incorporate diversity education into your family travels (regardless of whether you homeschool). From couch surfing to transformative reading, celebrate diversity on your next trip!
  • Diversity, huh? — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn't do anything BIG to teach about diversity; it's more about the little things.
  • Chosen and Loved — From Laura at Pug in the Kitchen: Color doesn't matter. Ethnicity doesn't matter. Love matters.
  • The One With The Bright Skin — Stefanie at Very Very Fine tries to recover from a graceless response to her son's apparent prejudice.