Mindful Parenting…Solutions for Parents

Hand in Hand Mindful Parenting

Mindful ParentingAlong about twenty years ago, mindfulness came into my life. At the time, my own children were young and day to day living was anything but mindful.

After learning biofeedback techniques to overcome anxiety due to mitral valve prolapse, Jon Kabat-Zinn came into my life through his book

Full Catastrophe Living.

It was life changing and helped introduce me to yoga, which helped to prepare me for my inevitable open heart surgery 6 years ago.

So when I came across Kristen Race‘s book,

Mindful Parenting

I jumped in to see how I could relate my mindfulness practice with my “work” as a grandmother. Nothing is more important to me than family, children and grandchildren.

Kristen Race has helped me to effectively live the mindful life with my granddaughter in today’s fast paced world.

She explains in clear and simple terms how our brains work and how our stress effects  our own overall well being and that of our family. She goes on to give many helpful techniques to implement in our busy lives. Her tips help you to find the balance that is essential to manage stress. Balance is an integral part of living happier lives through “mindful parenting” and “mindful” grandparenting.

This is a book I will continue to read and dog ear the pages for years to come. It is one I will recommend to friends. As a therapist myself, I will recommend it to parents as a must read to help them parent mindfully!

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Mindful Parenting” for review.

Listening to your Children

listening“Are you listening to me”?

Since I returned to Chicago two weeks ago it has been frigid, with a mixture of snow and ice…

I cannot remember when the cold has been this bad for so long…it seems like many years since I made sure I had a blanket and supplies in my car just in case it was needed!

At least, I no longer have a diesel engine car which would freeze and just refuse to go anywhere in the cold.

During the past few weeks, I have taken a hiatus. With all the cold I was beginning to think my brain has frozen along with my keyboard…

A few days ago, I came across an important piece about active listening

There just doesn’t seem to be anything more important than actually listening to our children and grandchildren to help them develop empathy, feel validated and remain willing to talk to us.

As a social worker and nurse, listening skills were paramount while caring for others… listening both with my ears and my eyes. Body language can also tell you how a person really feels and whether their words are contradicted by their bodies.

When I was growing up in the 50′s…there was a mantra…”children should be seen and not heard”.

I was never quite sure what was actually meant by this statement. What I do know, is that as the youngest member of my family, I always made myself known.

Over the years, it seems this saying has disappeared and to that I would say, “good riddance”!

Children speak to us in so many ways…through solo play with their toys, through our interactions with them, through body language and through behavior such as crying and tantrums.

Listening to your child with your undivided attention can derail a tantrum…really!

Making sure you understand what he is trying to tell you with his actions and his words is a very powerful tool…it actually shows your child that you care about how he is feeling.

I know, I feel so appreciative of someone, who really listens to me and is not trying to formulate a response while I am talking.

Children appreciate real listening as well and will continue to seek you out as they get older if you are a good listener when they are young.

So…try active listening…it is not easy. Beforehand, you may have to step back and center yourself rather than scream out loud as you step forward with open ears, eyes and arms.

listening with hugs

Related article:

Active listening improves communication in the parent child relationship.

 

Moms and Sons…

Old Spice has exploited moms and sons and their relationships.

What do you think?

I would be interested in hearing from moms of sons on this one.

Are you that attached to your sons? If you have more than one son, is your attachment stronger toward one son than the other?

This commercial is kind of creepy but is there an element of truth to it?

Are moms wary of their young adult/adult sons developing relationships with girls/women?

After watching this commercial…what do you think about the depiction of the mom…so crazy ….RIght?

Not only does she act crazy but she looks crazy as she watches her son grow up…

Sad…sad…sad!

I have no sons…but I hate this commercial because of the way it depicts the mom.

I know moms of sons. I sometimes think they helicopter too much but not necessarily more than moms of daughters… yet I remember my friend in the early 80′s, telling me that she had to let her pre-school son be a boy as he was climbing around the playground somewhat recklessly compared to our daughters. I was nervous for him but understood what my girlfriend was saying.

She did not want him to be a “sissy”.

Old Spice is this grandmother’s, father’s aftershave so…

Moms, you really have nothing to worry about if your son is using Old Spice…

moms and sons

 Related links:

http://m.blogher.com/hello-oedipus-old-spice-made-some-ads-you

http://selfishmom.com/2014/01/07/old-spice-and-sad-moms/

http://www.momfluential.net/2014/01/07/bad-old-spice-ad/

 

 

 

Fostering Emotional Health In Our Children

Children and Emotional Health…how to foster emotional health in our children is, to me, one of the most misunderstood areas of child development.

children

I am the first to say, I wish I knew or I wish we knew more about child development while raising our own daughters.

While we are raising our children it is sometimes difficult to put aside the “ways” of  own parents. They sneak into our relationships with our kids, especially when the going gets rough and we are tired.

Crying craziness…

When children are crying and their emotions are running high it has a tendency to push our buttons… at that moment it is so hard to step back and gain control of ourselves much less our little one.

children

But that is just what is needed in order to recognize our children‘s emotions as valid and acceptable. Now, I am not talking about “no discipline”.

It is really all about discipline.

Parental or adult discipline of children should be designed to help children engage better with others and to modify or control their behavior. Providing appropriate discipline to children is one of the most essential responsibilities of a parent. And providing consistent and positive discipline helps children grow into responsible adults.

According to the Committee for Children (2004), the purpose of discipline is “to encourage moral, physical, and intellectual development and a sense of responsibility in children.

Ultimately, older children will do the right thing, not because they fear external reprisal, but because they have internalized a standard initially presented by parents and other caretakers. In learning to rely on their own resources rather than their parents, children gain self-confidence and a positive self-image.”

via Child Discipline.

Discipline is really about “teaching” and modeling behavior…in order to teach as a parent you have to be in control of yourself and your own emotions…this is not easy when our child is having “a moment”.

Allowing your child to express his feelings and accepting his feelings is a time for us as parents and grandparents to teach them that their feelings are real and acceptable unless they are behaving destructively or in an unsafe way.

Tantrums can be unsafe…first control the environment and then deal with the tantrum itself. It is sort of like a panic attack…until the panic subsides there can be no teaching.

In the beginning, fostering healthy emotional development for our children means listening and trying to decipher our babies’ cries rather than immediately suppressing or ignoring them.  It means that throughout childhood, anger, grief and sadness are acceptable feelings for our children to express anytime anywhere (although never in a destructive or unsafe manner).  Granting our children this freedom to be their whole selves — unconditional acceptance — will lead to far fewer enraged or depressed adults in the future.

via No Angry Kids – Fostering Emotional Literacy In Our Children | Janet Lansbury.

 

Fostering emotional health in your child and unconditionally accepting a child’s emotions within a healthy framework is essential to growth and development.

In order to accomplish this, a parent or caregiver has to first, recognize their own emotions and be able to model acceptable behavior for their children.

child

Learning Consequences in Childhood


happy consequences happy child

“Like many parents, ‘consequences’ is one of my buzzwords.

via Truths About Consequences | Janet Lansbury.

How does a child learn about consequences?

In some instances, it is literally a painful learning experience. For example, when a child accidentally touches something hot he will feel the pain or consequence of being burned.

Sometimes it seems, we as parents and grandparents  try to teach consequences by punishment.

Is this a good way for a child to learn consequences? I am thinking, not so much.

If you want your child to be in bed at a certain time and they enjoy story time before bed then they must learn to get ready for bed leaving enough time for a story or face the consequence of having no story.

Child  and his dad

It takes time to set up a ritual and a proper time frame…young children must learn the steps to get ready for bed within defined time frames. This takes effort, for me the “stick-to-it-ive-ness”  of this effort is the most difficult part.

I know that young children are comforted and feel secure with rituals, even if they balk at them. They actually want us, as parents and grandparents, to take charge, just as we want help when we are tired and feeling overwhelmed.

So, why not step up and help them? It will pay off with happiness on both sides of the equation.

happy child

If your little one does not stick to the bedtime ritual time frames then the outcome will be “lights out” and no story time . This is a consequence of the child’s own behavior. Your child can learn can learn that it is not a punishment yet it is a consequence of not getting ready for bed in a timely manner.

Of course,the time frames must be monitored by the grown-up and the child must be given enough guidance about how he is doing in achieving his goal of getting to bed with enough time for a story. Perhaps, you have to set an alarm on your phone to keep you and your child on the schedule.

It will be rewarding in the longterm to have a child that understands that a negative consequence is not a punishment for his “bad” behavior. However, it is a result of  not following directions and doing what he needs to do to get the things that he wants to have…like story-time before going to sleep.

 

What saying NO really means to kids.

Gingerbread Fun!

Gingerbread Fun!

Interesting findings here with only 30+ children observed.

Kids gravitate to the things we as parents say NO to.

Now most of us realize this even though it may be on a subconscious level. The NO word only increases the risk that our kids and grandkids with go for the forbidden.

The important finding here is that if we say NO to certain foods our kids will only want those foods more…so in order to keep them away from non-nutritious foods we should decrease the opportunities where we have to say NO. Example being …not to have candy laying around the house and therefore we won’t have to say, “No, that is not good for you.”

Now good luck with the Holiday Season that is upon us…when we all have lots of treats around our homes. Now is a good time to begin to keep them at a minimum not just for our kids’ sake but our own as well.

 

For those of you who are familiar with the evidence base on parental feeding patterns it won’t come as a surprise to you that just saying “No” (restriction) isn’t a wise plan – yet there are many who feel that the ability of parents to “just say no” is a viable defense against our current food environment.

Kiss Goodbye to Holiday Stress

Christmas Window

Kids and the Stress of the Holidays…

I know, what stress is it when you are a kid and looking forward to gifts and toys and all kinds of stuff that comes along with Christmas and Hanukah and other gift giving holidays?

The best way I think we can go about figuring out what might bother our particular children is to look at what bothers us and look back at what we “hated” about the holidays when we were their age.

Looking back with empathy…

Here are some of my memories…

  • I hated leaving my own house on Christmas Day to visit relatives…Christmas Eve was okay but leave me alone with my gifts and my grandmother’s, who lived with us  food on Christmas.
  • Now my parents were divorced so it was somewhat contentious when I did not want to go visiting on Christmas. I was made to feel guilty for not wanting to dress up and go to my father’s family.
  • I hated some of the awful presents that I received year after year from relatives who will remain nameless. Usually they were “regifts” like gloves that were too big and other awful stuff.
  • I also hated having to kiss and hug various relatives that I hardly ever saw except for the Holidays.

Now granted I am a grandmother and I imposed some of my family rituals on my own kids but not many …we always had Christmas at home.

However, Christmas Eve was another story…we spent many Christmas Eves with a family that has adopted us since our own family is across the country.

Here are some holiday simplifying suggestions from our Montessori school, for you and your children…the kids may actually thank-you with their good behavior.

  • Keep your television off as much as possible- your house will be quieter and the advertising will be less. Hopefully it will decrease how much you here these words…”I want…”
  • Try to simplfy your own holiday expectations which might lighten your mood which is a wonderful gift to yourself and your family.
  • Consider saying the word “No” more often when it comes to traveling…going to other homes for Christmas Day…no, to too many parties, decorations, too much food, too many presents. If there is something that you don’t like…try saying, “NO”.
  • Consider being more “Green” when it comes to wrapping paper, cards and food. It is a good thing to teach your children and it is a way to limit some of the “stuff” that is just not important and that may just be driving you crazy.
  • Gifts take on a life of their own during the Holidays…try asking for gifts to your children’s college fund instead of a gift that your child does not really need.
  • Family traditions…you might want to begin some of your own traditions…you do not have repeat the traditions that you grew up with and those that your partner grew up with…how crazy does that get? Develop some of your own traditions that can combine what you both like best and that your kids like.
  • Now about those holiday hugs and kisses…your child should not have to hug and kiss all relatives and friends that he does not even know or remember. What is this telling him…it is telling him this, when he is uncomfortable with certain people touching him…it is okay for him to just say hello and nothing else. Consider the message that we are teaching our kids and then leave the hugging and kissing up to them.

 

Puke Fest, Photography, Play

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Puke Fest, I think all of us have experienced this but not to the extent of this mom. She has developed and shared a strategy for dealing with the flu in her family of six children.

Get some tips to be ready if “puke fest” comes to your home.

If you like taking photos of your family when they are not sick…this is a wonderful site that will take your photography to new level without even leaving your home. You will need a real camera…not just your phone. Have fun and enjoy the view.

 

Welcome! I am so excited that you are here and eager to learn more about photography! I want to share with you everything I have learned over the past couple of years and help you along your journey! Whether you just got your first DSLR or you have been shooting for years, we have something for everyone.

Play is one of the most important things our kids do that add positively to their growth and development. Here are six gifts that will encourage your child to direct their own play.

 

Learning to be a responsive play observer takes thoughtfulness, restraint and practice, but once we get this down, we’ll discover more delightful moments of joy, humor and surprise than we ever thought possible. And we need these daily parenting “bonuses” to balance the more difficult moments and break up the monotony. We’ll also get more guilt-free breaks from parenting because we’ve encouraged our children to hone their independent play skills in our presence (but that’s another post).

 

 

NICU: Then & Now, Children & Intense Emotions

IMG_6908

“Tree of Life”

NICU: Then & Now.

The March of Dimes Facebook page catches up with NICU babies in “Then and Now”. This past week, we celebrated National Prematurity Day…not too many years ago these fragile premature babies would not have survived. Here’s to all those that have made these miracle possible!

Helping children when they bite, hit and push – Genevieve Simperingham.

Biting and hitting can really pose a parenting challenge. There are so many reasons that a child resorts to this unpleasant behavior. For me, the most important way to manage behavior problems is through empathy. Empathy for your child and empathy for the victim of your child’s biting and hitting will guide your responses and help make them appropriate. Take a deep cleansing breath to retrieve your empathy and then respond quickly by removing your child from the situation and making sure the other child is okay. Show your child understanding with a sense of calmness, while he is acting this way… and then help him to express his anger and frustration in a more acceptable manner. Gradually, he will find other ways to express his frustrations and anger that do not involve lashing out and biting.

I Have a Daughter With Intense Emotions | Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids.

Keeping with the theme of children and their emotions…here is another post about how to “deal’ with children, who have intense feelings. It is a personal story, to which many of us can relate. Again, “empathy” plays a key role, I hope you visit this story…it is a sweet and endearing one.

Once again…have a wonderful weekend.

 

Toddler’s Tantrums, Creative Children, Smarter than Adults

Parenting in the Loop Facebook

Janet Lansbury offers many insights into how to take care of your babies and children. She    is a follower of Magda Gerber and her RIE philosophy.

Here are some of my favorite posts from Janet, that recently came across my feed. I hope you enjoy them and realize that as a parent and grandparent you have an awesome responsibility and a wonderful one as you involve yourself in caring for your babies.

“Take the mobile off the bed, take care of their needs, and leave them alone.” This odd sentence was my introduction to Magda Gerberand the child care philosophy that would become my passion. I had given birth a few months before reading this quotation, the only one by Gerber, in an article in L.A. Parent magazine about raising a creative child.

via Magda Gerber and the Creative Child | Janet Lansbury.

Babies and children are always fascinating and sometimes frustrating to me. As a former maternal child nurse, I feel privileged to have been one of the first people to have held some newborns. I always felt that the birth of another little being was a blessing and a miracle. I think I always knew that something special had just happened when a baby was delivered.

GENERATIONS of psychologists and philosophers have believed that babies and young children were basically defective adults — irrational, egocentric and unable to think logically. The philosopher John Locke saw a baby’s mind as a blank slate, and the psychologist William James thought they lived in a “blooming, buzzing confusion.” Even today, a cursory look at babies and young children leads many to conclude that there is not much going on.

New studies, however, demonstrate that babies and very young children know, observe, explore, imagine and learn more than we would ever have thought possible. In some ways, they are smarter than adults.

via Op-Ed Contributor – Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think – NYTimes.com.

 

Temper tantrums can be very perplexing to parents. This anecdote might help explain how RIE understands the mechanisms of toddler tantrums.

Young children are self-healing geniuses, have you noticed? Sometimes their tantrums are an expression of immediate discomforts like fatigue or hunger. Other times, however, they have a backlog of internalized feelings and will seem to deliberately and (seemingly) unreasonably push our limits so that we will hold steady and resist, which then opens up the escape valve they need to release these emotions. But this process can only work for them when we are able to set and hold limits and bravely accept their feelings.

via The Healing Power of a Toddler’s Tantrum | Janet Lansbury.