What I am learning about saying 'yes'!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I consider myself a ‘yes’ parent, I give my children the opportunity to try, to learn, to discover.

Do you remember a time you really wanted to do something or try something (that wasn’t life threatening. It was all you could think about and all you could concentrate on until you had it – until you tried it. When you did get it –what happened? After that it wasn’t that important anymore, that feeling of desperation left and in most cases the feeling transferred to something else.

Bear in mind that this is something that is based on a child’s developmental stage which may or may not be linked with their age and you know your child and more importantly weighing up what you are comfortable with for your child.

I tend to say yes more than I say no.

“Mum can I have the lolly?”, “yes you may”,

“Mum can I have this ipod game it looks really cool”, “let me look- is it violent?” I think children should be allowed to have the opportunity to self regulate and learn why something “is so” from personal experience – provided that it isn’t going to cause them harm and that it is age appropriate.

There are two things I’m learning about saying yes - “Yes you may”, “yes - but only” or “yes and”

If I say yes – my now 10yo isn’t afraid or resistant to come to me in the future and ask again. Also, he is more open to when I say ‘no’ and understands after some explanation that no is definitely no, I’m serious about it and more importantly why I say no!

My son recently with his pocket and birthday money bought an ipod touch and saved up to get his own credit for it. It is linked to my account name so I can track what games he is buying – although interestingly - I have found he asks my permission before he buys anything anyway. He had been asking me over and over for a certain game that had some explosions in it - eventually I said “yes but - only the free version” and within two days he came to me to ask me for another game which was a cartoon game. He said, “that other one I got the other day, I’m going to delete it because people were exploding and there were big blood splats” I watched as he deleted it and thought how he had come to that decision all by himself and was proud that he could justify in his own mind and regulate what was not acceptable to him. If I had told him no and tried to explain I don’t think he would have got it but through experience he has learnt a valuable lesson in self determination, self control and decision making.

Are there ‘safe things’ you say yes to? Are there areas where you could say yes more? to create independence, perhaps letting him serve their own cereal etc.

The positive spin on parenting.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I love about parenting is...

Cuddles in the morning, cuddles at night.

Reading out aloud. It's something they promote on "brain training" so it has to be good? There are some books I love to read and others I should have left in the shop when I had the chance.

Smiles and loud hellos when ‘daddy’ comes home after a long day, perhaps I should be a little more enthusiastic to see them – wonder what effect that would have?

The "why?" questions -  They’re showing an interest in what’s going on around them. And sometimes I even have to look something up because we don’t know it all. I’m learning something everyday.

Getting out – the children love to be outdoors and I’ve stopped saying,  "I can see you from here out the window" now I get in on the action! Some vitamin D and some exercise. It doesn’t even have to be too long but they really appreciate it.

Being busy – it is pretty hectic and doesn’t seem to slow down no matter what age they get to so I have an excuse when the dishes aren’t packed or the washing isn’t ironed.

Sitting down to eat dinner or watch a show – love having another excuse to sit.

Having something to smile or laugh about – sometimes children say the funniest things and these are hard to forget and easy to smile about.  Also, hearing my children’s discussions with each other and prayers, I’ve learnt alot!

Unconditional love - children are natural at giving love and forgiving. 

Are there little things you appreciate about being a parent? What's your positive spin on being a parent?

Freebies, Giveaways, Comps

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We are giving away a "Tell a Story" Teddy for boys!

If you would like to win a Tell a Story Teddy for your child or as a gift for someone, please comment below and tell us in 20 words or less why you or your child would love one.

This teddy can be used to celebrate a recent camping trip or used to talk about the various pictures and tell a story using the pictures. Great for imagination or preparation. The "Tell a Story" Teddy measures approximately 27cms and comes with a celebration certificate.

Please note this current giveaway applies for people in Australia only.

This competition closes on Friday 07/10/2011 at 9pm.

Thinking about children's anger

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here are some of the things we may think when our children get angry and what we can do about it.

My child lacks emotional skils and that’s why he/she gets angry.

This may not necessarily be true for all children, some children can be very empathic and still lose their temper and feel out of control. It may not be that they lack emotional skills but that they are really emotional. Things that may improve this may be asking the child what they think they were feeling before getting angry and saying something like, “well if my sister took my toy I would be sad" or "if my mum said I could not have something I really wanted I would feel disappointed.” This will encourage them to develop their feelings vocabulary.  This will also lead to them feeling more understood, giving them a chance to think about or explain their motives and allowing the child to feel accepted, that's it's ok to feel strong emotions sometimes.

They should just snap out of it.

What was the point of my child getting angry, they should just get over it and move on. Sometimes some children’s anger builds up over time and it may come out in some revenge or retaliation later on. Some children may have an angry moment and be able to recover quickly and get on with life as usual after the event. Other children may also feel remorse and take some time to come to terms with their regret or even disappointment in themselves for not being perfect or in control.  They may also not want to talk about how they feel.  If  you’re the parent of this child exercise a little extra patience, don't encourage them to feel excluded or ask siblings to ignore them to teach them a lesson.  Patience and gentle encouragement will help them to get back to normal.

It’s such a small thing, they have no right to be angry, if anything I should be angry look what he/she just broke

It looked like a small thing from the outside and once again somethings may have been brewing under the surface for a while and built up prior to the angry event. It may also be that the little things add up and it comes out all at once. This is the opportunity to ask the child, when they are calm after the event, what is going on for them? Has something been troubling them lately or what’s on their mind?

It’s easy to react and fall into the trap of giving them a reaction, afterall they deserve it, they brought it on themselves. If they did not get angry in the first place this would not have happened.

We can react, we can yell back, we can chase them to their room we can fight at the doorknob but sometimes we need to backoff and most of all we need to stay as calm as possible. The calmer we are the less we add fuel to the fire.  It also allows the child the skills to be able to work out for themselves what is the best way fo them to calm down and understand themselves on their own. If the angry events happen more frequently, you may want to ask the child "what do you want at that time?" or "what would you like me to do for you when you get angry?". 
How can you support them and what would they find helpful when they are angry or feeling out of control.

I just can’t connect with him/her. I just feel like he/she won’t open up to me.

What’s your reaction when your child clams up. Do you nag, do you tease or joke, do you tell others in the family to ignore them. Angry moments are not the moments to connect.  Although there may be opportunities afterwards.  Offer your child space and let them know where you are when they are ready to talk etc.  No child wants to be alone or totally independent but they do try to test the waters and there are good ways and bad ways to support this phase. 

Would love to hear from you - leave your comment, suggestions or thoughts below.

A lesson in communication

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I’ve had a few difficult days, got up the other morning made lunches and ironed my son’s shirts for school because I had been at an athletics day the day before and totally forgot to iron them. My 9yo started complaining that the ironed shirt was no good because he wants to be able to roll the sleeves up at school and be cool!~? He complained that the shirt was too tight to roll up. He was arguing with me and I did not have time to iron another shirt, so I told him if he could iron one without a crease he could wear a different one.

Of course he’s never used an iron so the task was an impossible one but he tried anyway. He plugged in the iron and after a couple of minutes started yelling “I don’t know how”. Then my 8yo started saying what the time is and how he’s going to be late now. Again I’m yelling out “that shirt better not have creases”. Finally he gave in and wore the original shirt that I had ironed in the firstplace and I calmly said to him “I can’t iron a new one, we don’t have time and I’m stressed because I have to do so many things today and the car needs repairing and (this and that) and then you’re adding pressure to iron a new shirt” – he asked a couple of clarifying questions relating to what I had said. I answered them as succinctly as I could. As I turned to walk away he said , “ I’m sorry mum”. It stopped me in my tracks and I turned back and gave him a cuddle and said I was sorry too.

It was amazing how quickly the situation got resolved once there was clear communication and he could understand that I was feeling pressured by circumstances.

Children do understand if we tell them what’s going on in our minds (at a level and appropriateness for them). They don’t understand when we just yell, or get frantic or tell them to do stuff because we’re feeling stressed and out of control.

If they know what we’re experiencing and we can do it without making them feel guilty then they take the opportunity to step up.

We cannot read each other's minds, but we can speak each other's language.

What's in a moment?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

After a consultation with parents one day, I realised I am with parents or their children a mere moment in comparison to a whole day, a whole week or a year. 

Years, months, weeks or days are all made up of moments and it made me think about how I spend my moments and that I decide how long my moments are going to last. 

A moment can be spent so quickly, each day is made up of moments. A moment to smile, a moment to call someone you’ve been putting off, a moment in time to share a coffee with a friend, a moment in time for just you, a moment for your child, a moment to see their homework, a moment to enjoy a meal together, a moment they can be long or short they are mere moments, moments in a big picture, that every day is made up of moments, it just takes amoment to hug, a moment to listen, a moment to sit and watch. You may even find yourself enjoying the moment.

You can relish in a moment that you are enjoying or you can see a moment for what it is and realise that the moment may pass.

The cushion moments

Monday, August 22, 2011

I love the texture of cushions, some are soft and some are patterned, some are embroided and some are silk. Cushions are decorative but they can also serve a purpose. My sons like cushions too.
Cushions are great for cubbyhouses indoors and who can resist a cushion fight, they have old ones in their playroom just for them.
I don’t buy cushions of the same kind, I did at one time. Now I prefer to look for just the right one, one that says something about me at the time. I keep the colour tones the same but love the variety and enjoy trying to find ones that stand out to me, something about the right cushion that attracts me. I look at the cushion and am reminded of that moment when I found it. There is something about it that attracts me and so long as it’s the tone of colour I need and on a special, I’ll normally buy it. They’re comforting too, when we grow too old to cuddle a teddy there’s some comfort in holding a cushion.

Yes we have a lot of cushion moments as parents, wishing we could cushion our child’s fall, cushion them from harm and give them a cushion when they lose their temper.

Do you have a favourite cushion? Do they have to match?  What textures do you like?

Child or parent? You choose?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When you are a child you have no sense of consequence.
When you are a parent you see choices in decisions and can evaluate where you may end up, the consequences of your actions.

When you are a child you don’t understand that not all things are fair or unfair, you may think that all things should be equal.
When you are a parent you realise not everything is equal and everything is relative to your experience and available information.

When you are a child, you may not know what feelings ‘feel like’ you want to scream and shout when frustrated.
When you are a parent you know how to stop and think and then react. You can choose your reaction and decide what you will look like.

When you are a child, you don’t know what is right or wrong unless you have a parent who can guide you.
When you are a parent you have to model what you want your child to do, follow or become.

When you are a child you don’t really know yourself.
When you are a parent you know your feelings, you know your child inside out, you are aware of their behaviour, their verbal and non-verbal cues

When you are a child you don’t care.
When you are a parent you care too much

When you are a child you rush in.
When you are a parent you evaluate.

When you are a child you say things you don’t really mean, afterall people will understand, won’t they?
When you are a parent you think about what you want to say, carefully choosing your words because some people are influenced by them and not all people are understanding.

When you are a child you take chances.
When you are a parent you realise most times you only get one chance.

A child doesn’t need you to be like them.  A child needs a parent to teach and guide them.

As a mum you know? Dealing with a child who feels angry.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I am a counsellor and I consult with parents about child behaviour but that doesn’t mean my children are angels. In fact quite the opposite and probably the main reason I got into this business at all was because I realised children cannot be controlled and it’s never all the parent’s fault or all the child’s fault - most of the time it’s a cycle or a pattern of behaving . I’ve had to put into practice alot of what I recommend or teach because how else would I know if it works.

Here is something I have learnt firsthand about my son who gets angry.

My son’s being acting out the last few days, he gets really angry. Yesterday afternoon he was protesting because his favourite shorts were in the washing machine so he couldn’t wear them. I got him a spare pair of shorts which he then flung over the counter and shouted, “I hate those shorts, they’re ugly.” I’ve learnt not to react and this led to him pushing the dining chairs (yes one and then another) around the house to get a reaction, well first he threw some pencils around with a naughty smile on his face then it just grew uglier from there.

I’ve got used to it, it happened alot when he was around 2-5 years old. He would throw things around the playroom and sometimes he’d wake up from his daysleep really angry and just cry/scream for an hour. We tried distraction, we tried holding him, we tried telling him to calm down, we tried getting him to sit on his hands and then we tried sending him to his bedroom until he could calm himself down. It got better with age and mostly getting him to sit on his hands when he felt angry worked and then at 5 yrs he could go to his room and learned to calm himself down after which we’d chat about it if he wanted to. He does display remorse and apologises profusely when the ‘event’ is over and he is back to his ‘normal’ self. Some days I thought this was a social experiment how could a child flick from happy to angry in such a small space of time but it’s his normal and I have got wiser and it’s happened less and less. He’s a month off turning 10 and he’s just starting up again. Sometimes I try to divert his attention offer him a distraction until his emotions die down, sometimes some food helps. I’m a bit like that too, I get angry when I’m hungry.

This time though I get this gut feeling that perhaps it’s not going to be as simple as food to solve this problem. I get the sense that he is feeling neglected and doesn’t get hugged as much as he may like. I got an opportunity yesterday afternoon to test out my theory. When my 9yo was jokingly/cheekily trying to pretend to push the chair into me, I said to him, “I know you want attention, I know you’re looking for attention, even this negative attention is good sometimes.” (Although, I used the word attention, I also thought of it as him perhaps feeling neglected, so not getting enough support or physical attention which I know his personality needs). His eyes welled up and he pushed past the chair and ran to his bedroom where he sat against the door for the next 20 minutes.

His reaction was interesting too and I think confirmation that my sense and gut instinct was right. You see he would have responded with argument or more protest if this wasn’t the truth. We know our children. We are aware of their non-verbal and verbal cues. We sometimes know what to expect from them, we know when behaviour is out of character, we know what their ‘normal’ is.

I’ve learnt to let him go and not force him, I got into his room later when he was calmer and as he tried to wrestle from my grasp, I told him “you used to do this when you were 3yo and I used to hold you, wow, you're much stronger now.” He started to smile and laugh, back to ‘normal’ he came downstairs.  After a little while a friend of his came over so he quickly pulled his shorts on (those ugly ones he hated so much, of course). All this over a pair of shorts? I do think I’ve only just got to the tip of the iceberg but feel as though some progress was made even just knowing and naming what the emotional need is and it’s out in the open now, no more anger to hide behind.
By the way he’s been lovely today! The best I’ve seen him or experienced of him for little over a week now. It’s like wow, mum has noticed!

I guess sometimes he just needs to get something off his chest. Sometimes it doesn’t come out with words, sometimes it comes out in behaviour. Sometimes he may not even know what it is that’s causing his emotional state.

He needs me in those moments of anger more than any other time!
He doesn’t need me to laugh at him or to distract him or try to make a joke out of how funny he looks when he is angry - that won’t solve the problem.
He doesn't need me to tell his brothers to ignore him or us to exclude him from the family for the next two days.
He needs me to be calm, to give him space and not ask too many questions.
He needs time to be angry and time to calm down.
He needs me to understand, to not give up trying to get to the root cause.
He needs me and I love him so I put up with it and deal with it as it comes.

If you have a child who gets angry what do you ‘KNOW’ in those moments?

A lesson in Swimming - What I have learnt.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saturday morning, another morning of dragging my son to swimming lessons. He gets dressed at home into his swimmers and then complains every minute until he gets into the pool. Twenty minutes every Saturday morning for the past 3 months, complaining “I hate swimming”, “why do I have to do swimming?”, “the water is too cold”, “It’s terrible”, “I can’t get it right”, “I’m not even good at it” on and on.... and on. Probably hoping we’ll cave and make him stop because of his complaints.

Believe me I’ve come close but we have a rule (Lesson 1) that the boys have to do one sport a season and once they start something they have to finish. He has been in swimming almost a year now, we gave him the option to do tennis (if swimming was that bad) but he insisted that would be worse (without even trying it:) ) so swimming it has been.

Lesson 1: Make it a rule, if there is something you truly believe in, make it a non-negotiable for everyone!

Lesson 2: There is no point in arguing, as it isn’t about what he is saying, it is about attitude. You see, children say things, words come out of their mouths sometimes and underneath is what the real issue is. It’s easy to ramble on and moan or grumble and as parents we get stuck in the problem solving and try to make things better.  We come up with comebacks to everything they say, we can give (convincing) reasons or explanations to answer their questions. All futile, and mostly unnecessary (see why down the page). Eventually after 10 weeks (I’m a slow learner) we kept quiet and ignored his rants, We discovered there was no point in arguing as it isn't the argument or words he says, it is his attitude.

Dilemmas, problems these can be solved through discussion, through argument or debate but attitude can come only from within oneself.

He has been working tirelessly in the swimming class to move up to the next level and while I am all for levels and measuring there is a downside- the risk of failure! His swimming teacher has painstakingly concentrated on his backstroke and repeatedly explained how to perfect his stroke and kicking style, his younger brother had moved up 4 months earlier so this was another obstacle.

We explained to him that when he got to the next level he could make up his own mind as to whether to stop or not and it was his decision then. It has been long and tough on all of us, seeing him try and try and somedays frustratingly - just not getting there, just not being good enough to move up.

Another Saturday, another morning of complaining, another practice, another session, but this time success! He got promoted to the next level. He had stuck it out, he had done it! And perhaps the fact it has taken so long means he feels even more pride. You know what, even more surprisingly to me - he came home saying, “I got moved to the next level, I need a pair of flippers like M’s now” What?!, yes you read right, he wants to stay in swimming.  The same boy who has moaned for months is now motivated to continue, to keep doing it for himself. Attitude, it has to be developed in a child. (perhaps there is another blogpost there)

Lesson 3: Don’t let your children give up without a very good reason! There are so many lessons to be learnt from perservering, from completing what one has started and eventually that sense of pride that can lift them up and means they can accomplish even more.

Has your child ever succeeded at something they have found really difficult? How did you respond?

Don’t judge me – this is my normal.

Monday, July 18, 2011

These are my children, I am their parent.
There are boundaries I focus on and some I choose to let go.
My children are individuals and I am an individual- as you are.

You cannot compare because you don’t know what is behind my decision, my belief,
my cultural background, my values, my upbringing - they have formed me.
My opinions, my views, my thoughts are not yours and they don’t have to be.

It’s normal in my house to hear my children laughing loudly, playing and sometimes fighting between themselves. I don’t mind that - it’s my normal.
My children may not swear in my house - that’s my normal,
Sometimes my children won’t be enthusiastic or greet everyone who comes over, that’s my normal
and what I choose to do about it is my choice, my decision – my normal.

My children may debate, sometimes I may want to abdicate – that’s my normal.
My children may be allowed to snack two hours before dinner time, 
My children may be allowed to watch two hours of tv,
It’s my normal,
My children may have to do chores,
My children may have to buy their own toys,
My children may be influenced by what I believe,
My children may get excited about time with me,
My children may or may not .....
it’s our normal.

We all have a 'normal'! What's yours and what is it based on?

A lesson in a stuck zipper – a metaphor for parenting

Friday, July 1, 2011

The zipper of one of my winter boots got stuck. I pulled and tugged at it and eventually just wore it half done up under jeans, it stayed on and I figured that no-one else would know so it did not matter.

Everytime, I wanted to wear these boots I would remember the zipper was stuck and would try to get it unstuck. I would jiggle it, tug at it, attempt to pull it up and down - to no avail. I wore it stuck like this for a couple of weeks. I knew material had got stuck in the side of the zipper and most times I was in a rush and could not deal with it and would just wear it half done up and think I’ll do something about it later.

Finally, one morning I had to wear these boots and could not wear them under jeans. I had to take some time and concentrated on finding out exactly what was wrong, I found the piece of material that was stuck and manipulated the zip and material in just the right way. The material was free and I was able to move the zip up and down with ease. It works perfectly now.

This made me think about parenting and child behaviour. Sometimes we get stuck as parents, we may notice behaviour that is not appropriate or difficult to manage. There may be behaviour that has been going on a while and we feel as though we’re dealing with it by noticing it, rewarding it or punishing it. We just don’t have the time to examine it carefully and look for the underlying cause. Sometimes we let things go on and it’s not until it stands out so much or someone else notices and comments that we are moved to action. It’s easy sometimes to leave things alone but a relief when we sort things out.

It’s just a little thing with big results.

Monday, June 27, 2011

12 Small things that parents can do to promote confidence, independence and responsibility in their children:

Allow your child to make their own breakfast – this is such a simple thing. If you are concerned about the mess, pour some milk for them or transfer a small amount of milk into a suitable jug and the cereal into a suitable small container that they can then use to put into their bowl. My children have been serving themselves cereal from the age of 3 years and it is a special treat when I serve it to them If you serve them toast then allow them to spread the butter.

Allow your child to dress themselves – Most of the time, it’s ok to allow your child to leave the house with mismatched items, they will have a sense of independence. and the other option is to reduce their wardrobe to items you do like them to wear then there may be less chance of a debate.

If you are concerned that your child is wearing too little in winter, take an extra item along for later. Some children don’t like wearing warm clothing, sometimes because it is due to the texture. Some children may wear something if they know you will be wearing the same or the opposite. Perhaps there is someone who they admire or look up to, an auntie or niece who they may want to copy and you could say “they may be wearing such and such would you like to?”

Allow your child to pick a chore – initially choose two chores you would like your child to do around the home. Then give your child the option to choose which one they would like to do, this makes them feel that they are in ‘control’ of the job, they picked it and it will give them a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Allow your child eye contact – not just when you’re angry with them but sometimes when they’re interrupting and rushing to tell you something, look at them in the eye, listen to their story.

Allow your child to think - when appropriate, ask what else could you have done? What will you choose to do next time, what will you do/say next time someone says that to you? How did it feel when?

Allow your child to learn – see thinking above. Also, if your child blames the situation, circumstance or their friend/s when they have got into trouble or done something wrong, don’t get into an argument but try to teach them what to do in similar situations. Encourage responsibility by saying something like “well that wasn’t the best option or choice, what can you do next time (such and such happens or your friends do that)?”

Allow your child to solve simple problems/dilemmas – see allow your child to learn above.

Allow your child to be creative – hear what your child has to say and encourage or prompt further story telling if your child shares something imaginative. Also, listen to what they would do in a situation, praise them for their idea and then you may make a suggestion of your own.

Allow your child to dream – See creative, allow your child to think anything is possible, afterall if that is squashed at a young age what hope is there for any of us.

Allow your child to play – not every activity needs to be a learning activity, on the contrary, most learning happens during free expressive play. Allow them times to play. Watch them, preferably, from a distance and learn more about your child. Listen to the language or words they are using during play.

Allow your child to be – leaving them to play on their own is a good thing. Let them ‘entertain’ themselves or be by themselves for short periods while you do something in another room. Also, if your children constantly argue and look for you to step in to stop this, try to wait it out or ask them what they expect you to do.

Allow your child to perform – it’s okay for our children to want to show us things, if they do this all the time, explain that you’d love to have a show at (time) on (day/night) and they should practice until then. Children always want to show off their skills and it’s okay to let them do it but not always convenient rather than watching half heartedly or with one eye on the tv or the computer, set a showtime or talent time in your home where skills, talents can be displayed, perhaps you as a parent want to join in and tell a joke or two.

If there was a parent's dictionary....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Here is a list of words that if a parent's dictionary ever existed, these words should not appear in it.

Perfect – Does this word need further explanation to a parent?

Right - There is no right way to parent, their is your way, your choice, your ability, your child, your child’s needs, your needs.

Wrong-There is no wrong, there is choice, there is responsibility, there is what’s in the best interest of parent or child.

Clean- Keeping whatever it is clean is almost impossible and chances are once you have cleaned it something will happen to undo that work

Housework/Chore – Most things can wait especially if the babies crying or the children need feeding

Should – as in I should be doing this, I should have done that – this leads to guilt.

Money – we all need it but think about all the parents who would not have to work if they did not need it and who could stay with their children that little bit longer

Sick – as in your child, your partner, your wife, your husband is sick. No parents want to hear that – ever!

Why – don’t ask this question because sometimes we just don’t know why and somethings are a mystery.

Guilt- A feeling most parents feel when they think they should be doing something more with their child

Phrases that parents should not have to hear:

Sleeping through or Sleeping through yet? – don’t ask.
What’s he/she eating?
Oh really? - like you never thought, said or did that before?

What else would you like to see deleted in a parent's dictionary.

That's not me

Monday, June 20, 2011

You see that mother taking her children to the park? That’s not me
You see that mother holding their child’s hand as they walk? That’s not me
You see that mother smiling at her baby in the stroller? That’s not me
You see that mother conscientiously watching as her child walks into the school gate? That’s not me

You see that mother?
I see her too but I’m me and this is what I do....

I’m the mother who watches her child play a sport they enjoy,
I’m the mother running after her son, calling out “stop”, “come back”,
I’m the mother waiting in the specialist’s waiting room, holding, cuddling her child when he is sick,
I’m the mother reading a story to her child – no one sees that,
I’m the mother trying to make ends meet or sticking tightly to a budget – no one would know that,
I’m the mother trying to make sense of it all,
I’m the mother trying to find the reason behind it all,
I’m A mother and this is what I do ......

What do you do that defies belief, seems insignificant, takes time, takes patience, understanding, but You Do it?

PS: Any father's want to write one? or would love to hear father's experiences so I can write a father's one -  please email your dad contributions to email:  info@parentwithpotential.com

RESPECT and Relationships

Monday, June 13, 2011

Without it relationships may cease to exist. Respect is a necessity if any relationship is to succeed or better yet - be a great relationship.

Respect in marriage
I have a theory that marriages work if they are based on respect. You can have a marriage based on love? or respect? Or both? But if respect is gone, love will battle to stand that test. Respect to me is an action word, you have to show or/and earn respect. Love is a feeling, respect is a doing. You can stop doing something or start doing something to show respect for someone else. If you respect someone most likely you would want to please them, you consider them and their opinions, you care about what they think. I think if you are married to someone you don’t respect, don’t esteem, don’t admire or have regard for, the relationship may struggle.

Most of us are taught to love, how many times do we tell our children, “don’t hit your brother/sister love them”, “don’t say that to him/her, tell him/her you love them”. But I think you cannot love someone you don’t respect, if there is some respect love can grow. It is easy to say you love someone and do something caring. Respect is doing it because you mean it, because they are worthy of it, because you prize them or look up to them.

Imagine you marry someone and after a while they treat you badly, do something you don’t like or start annoying habits that you just cannot understand. Respect starts to lessen, that person who you once held in esteem, regarded and admired is slowly becoming the ratbag, idiot or dummy. Each time respect is lost it is harder to get back until eventually there is no respect and little or nothing to love about that person.

There may be many marriages where people who have once been in love and once respected one another, have lost that feeling due to circumstances, truths, values, behaviours.

What other things may cause you to lose respect for someone?

Respect and Children

Children learn respect from us. Respect can be seen in the way you talk about someone or the way you speak to someone. Respect is to treat someone kindly, courteously or to show consideration for, to have an attitude of esteem towards. We can disrespect our own children by belittling, namecalling, despising or teasing. We can show respect to our children by listening, by understanding when or why they dislike something and be attentive to their needs, emotionally and physically. Do you have time for them, do you speak to them, do you value their opinions?

How else can you display respect to/for your child?

If your child is disrespectful, explain what the outcome is you would like to see. “It really isn’t nice to speak to me like that?” Our children learn respect from us, who else can show them what it is to prize someone, to look up to someone, to speak well of someone in the hope that others will treat us with respect too. Expect respect and show respect to those who you regard highly or prize.

“I am so sick of my kids”. What the?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I opened up twitter this morning. I don’t go into it much and was horrified to see a post entitled “I am so sick of my kids”. It grabbed my attention and I had to read further about what would cause a parent to write such a comment.

I don’t judge this mum for feeling this way but I cannot believe that someone would put up a post with this title. I get that sometimes parents don’t enjoy time with their children, sometimes we’d rather be doing something for ourselves, sometimes our children aren’t fun to talk to or have around but this is sad that it comes down to one line.

I showed my 9yo this title and this was his response to the mum who wrote this:

“that makes me feel horrible because you said that to kids so young.” We then read the post together (after I had read it first to ensure it’s suitability).  His response then was, “You (writer) also have a good point if they (your children) are acting like that.” Even my 9yo can understand that feelings can be justified and that parents should be respected.  Although respect is two fold and it has to be given and modelled and then can be received (will do a post on this sometime).

Holidays can be long, holidays can be hard work and as this mum pointed out there are many things going on in her life right now that may be contributing to her response to her children.

If you feel this way - do as this mother did and try to identify the underlying cause, it’s not always just the kids and quite the contrary sometimes the kids pick up on our feelings or emotional state and act accordingly. For example, have you ever been angry at your spouse and that day the children are fighting all day, it’s the ‘vibe’.

Secondly, no matter how bad your children are don’t let them know how you really feel unless you can put it in a “sandwich”, ie. One bad point and two good points. Even better would be to say specifically what you don’t like about their behaviour - yes even with a five year old. They will get the message. It doesn’t need to be a lecture but identify and point out what you don’t like and if possible what you would like to see instead.

I’m no supermum but I do respect my children and would not want to ruin? or sum up my relationship with them in one line.

Fortunately, many parents have commented on the above post that they actually like spending time with their children.  I am still trying to figure out if this is a post written in jest or desperation either way it's got a reaction but hopefully bloggers will take note that titles mean something.  Afterall, would it make a difference to your blogging or posting if you first asked yourself, "what if my child saw this? What would my child think if he/she saw this?"

My 9yo has been off school and sick for a week now and I haven’t felt like I would not want him around. He is sensible afterall (if his comments are anything to go by, lol) and respectful at least 90% of the time. There are so many things we can do with our children that will promote having an enjoyable time and not an enduring time.

Somethings just need time

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I remember the day my son’s daycare teacher approached me because my then 2,5yo son wasn’t talking as well as some of the other children in his agegroup. Actually, he spoke very little full stop.
I could have rushed him off somewhere for tests and without a doubt someone would have found something to start “working” on. However, I stood my ground and calmly said I would worry if it hasn’t improved by age 4. I also had to take my own advice, having given a mum this recommendation when her 3yo wasn’t talking. It turned out he spoke non stop when he turned 4,5yrs old. So with that in mind I let my son develop and he has, sure he struggles pronouncing some words beginning with sounds like "sh" or "j" but if we correct him he copies how we say it and slowly he is making fine progress.  We also make it fun for him and he loves trying. He is talking more and more and becoming easier to understand so I am glad I waited.

Is there pressure for you to push your child to do something that perhaps just needs time?

What have you done today?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Somethings come around so quickly, like 2.30pm school pick up time, wrapper free Wednesday (that needs another post) and hand in homework day Thursday

Laundry day, and spend time with family day, sports day Saturday, birthdays and grocery day. They all come around so quickly.  While somedays can’t come quickly enough, like pay day, thanksgiving day and "me" day and the heyday - well that one’s truly gone.
There is facebook, twitter and 2 magazines, but reading’s not coming that easy.... with “tv”, “speak to me” and “what shall we”.... distractions coming up all the time.

That nagging feeling - that I haven't done enough or could've done more. Where has the time gone?

Three hours and nothing to show for it. Or no. Now I remember, one load in the washer, one hour at the grocer, unload a trolley and unpack the groceries, one load of dishes packed, make a sandwich, pay a bill and make a cup of tea. Check facebook and email. Hang out the load of washing, make another cup of coffee, turn to add milk and realise I haven’t drunk the previous cup of tea– no wonder I’m thirsty – Gosh thirty minutes before school pick up, brush hair, put on some lippy , slip on some shoes.  Quick find the car keys, I put them somewhere – no not on the keyrack - on the counter - of course! Off I go, pick up time.

Back home for homework time.  Time to cook the dinner and squeeze in a phonecall to make sure hubby's on his way home and will be on time. Dinner time, bath time and eventually bed time with some books squeezed in for good measure.

If you have a child under 4, add two hours to this itinerary. This is to account for the time spent on dealing with a tantrum, crying and incessant explanations of why that need to be squeezed in, during or inbetween each task.

All in a day - what a day!

Worth it

Friday, May 27, 2011

I’ve just finished reading The Broken American Male by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

In brief, this book paints a picture of what a broken man in society looks like, how men are made to feel like human doings and not human beings. They find value or feel somehow that their contribution is in doing. They do to provide, they do to move up the work ladder, they do to prove themselves in their work, they do at home (if they aren’t totally worn out from work) and they still aren’t as good as the next guy or more specifically as successful because they aren’t in the top lists and aren’t acknowledged.

This book also explains how their wives are unable to help their husbands because the broken male sees no value in himself and therefore is unable to see value or worth in another close to him. The broken male thinks to himself, how can someone love a failure. He is unable to be and therefore retreats to the TV or computer sinking deeper into seclusion from their families and the cycle of destruction begins. The author puts this down to societal pressures and how men are constantly comparing themselves to one another and how success is often measured in monetary or material things. Top lists aid in this feeling.

I’ve taken a few things to heart from this book and adapted what he has said for males specifically to something we can all do. I think these things are important for ourselves and our relationships.
The first is making our spouses feel wanted at home. The author suggests that children should greet their parents when they come in the door and that wives should ask their husbands how their day was. It is such a simple thing but when husbands get home, get off the phone, get off the computer, give them a hug and ask “how was your day?”

I remember one day, I had come home from a conference, I don’t go to them often and it is quite draining after a long day of concentrating. I ‘d missed two buses, had a huge headache and was walking up the street from the bus stop, an hour later than I had planned to. I saw my husband and son who had walked down to meet me, it suddenly gave me a boost to keep going to keep walking. Don’t we all have a basic need to feel reassured to feel worthy?

I don’t think this is purely a male problem, there are plenty of women who feel the same. Plenty of women at home feeling like they aren’t good enough. Perhaps your husband isn’t loving towards you or doesn’t help as much as you would like, perhaps he is distant. Perhaps he feels like a human doing and not a human being? Perhaps you feel unworthy and a human doing not a human being?

Feeling worthy is a gift you give yourself, you need to find worth in yourself and what you are doing at home - BEING a mother is important. Being a mother means setting an example of a successful life, a life where being on top lists and wanting acknowledgement is not everything.

Some examples adapted from the author are: cuddling your toddler so they know they are the most adorable person in the world. Reading to or saying a prayer with your child, playing or riding in the park with your child so they learn there is pleasure in nature and natural things not just man-made material objects. Studying with your teenager so they learn the value of relationship and being knowledgeable and wise.

You are valuable and worthy.  Will you give yourself the gift of believing in yourself today? What would you like to see different in your home?

The Paradoxical Life

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why is it?

We tell our children they’re perfect just the way they are, then we tell them to not be so shy or not be so loud or to not be so...

We tell our children beauty is within and looks aren’t everything, then they see us putting on our makeup

We tell them to love one another, yet we do not love their father or mother

We tell them not to laugh at others suffering , then we watch Funniest Home Videos, talent shows and Youtube videos.

We tell them when they’re watching something sad or scary that that can’t or won’t happen to them, but who really knows

We tell them to be friends with everyone, then they hear us gossiping about the other mother from school or work

We tell them they’re special and lovely, then they hear us call them ‘little S****” or some other endearing? term....

We tell them we love them, then threaten them when things aren’t going our way

We tell them and then we wonder why they don’t believe us.

We are told to enjoy our children, yet our children don’t listen to us or won’t talk to us

We are told to enjoy parenting, yet being a parent is the most demanding, tiring, and at times the most difficult job to do

We are told to think about the positives, yet it’s the negatives that are so easy to see

We are told we are equal .....

We are told we are... and we also can’t believe it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

It is not yesterday and it is not tomorrow. It is today.

Today will be different!

Today I will do that which I keep putting off,

Today I will do that which I dream,

Today I will do what I really want to do,

Today I will do....

Today I will be different!

Today I will believe in myself and not compare myself,

Today I will focus on my strengths and not my weaknesses,

Today I will think about what I can do and not what I can't do,

Today I will look at others and not judge,

Today I will be....

Today I will....

“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” – Mark Twain

Reflecting on Mothers

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Affectionate, beautiful and brave, caring and comforting, daring, encouraging, flexible, generous, helpful, intuitive, judging, kind, loving, mindful, original, provider, responsible, sensitive and satisfied, tolerant, wise, zealous

We can write poems about mothers, we can believe in mothers, we can read about other mothers, we can love our mothers, we can hear our children say how wonderful we are as mothers.
If we don’t acknowledge ourselves we may fail to see what all the fuss is about.
If you are a mother, take a moment to think about what it is that makes YOU an extraordinary mother...

M ________________________________

O ________________________________

T ________________________________

H ________________________________

E ________________________________

R ________________________________

"Seeing the good in yourself will help you see the good in your family even during tough times" David Nevin,  2004 - The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families: What Scientists have learned and how you can use it.
"The only way to really think about others is to first believe in yourself." Martin Breck

Parenting = Pressure

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Parenting is pressure - Why? To do things right, the pressure to do things, the pressure for our kids to be, the pressure for us to be.
Pressure is not always pleasurable, perhaps pressure is a negative state or word that needs to be reframed – what if parenting = passion.

In my what’s the word question yesterday I asked what it is that parents need to have when they have children, it is necessary at various points of the journey of parenting... It starts with "P" and I had two words in mind.
Many parents guessed "patience" and one parent guessed "perserverance" correctly.  One parent wrote PASSION– I was immediately challenged. I love being challenged because it means I’m about to grow.  Passion and Parent/ing?  I lack passion. I may be passionate about my work, about causes but somehow that word did not come up when I thought about my children, my family.

Passionate about being a parent?  Passion as a parent what does it look like? What does it mean to be passionate about parenting? Is this what I lack?

If I were to replace the “pressure” with “passion”, my life might look a little rosier, a little different. What does it mean to me to have passion. We may look at romance novels or movies like twilight and think that is passion but simply passion can be a strong emotion synomyms include fervour, dedication, eagerness, indignation, intensity and zeal – how do these not apply to parenting?  It is what we want as parents for our children.  We are zealous, we are eager to teach them, we are intense and indignation may rise when our children are wronged, we are dedicated. Wow, I see lots of pages relating to people’s passions for causes but perhaps as parents we need to feel passion at home too. 
If you lack passion, take the challenge. Choose a word and think about how it changes how you parent or even feel as a parent. I know reading these words I felt lighter and better, positive. Compare that with pressure and synonyms like burden, load, strain, demand, difficulty, coercion, force or obligation. I am drawing a line in my life today – I want to have passion for my family, my children, my parenting not pressure.
What word do you choose to put up today?

3 boys, 6 suitcases, 3 weeks, 11 hotels, 4 cities, 5 towns, 3 US States

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Holidays yays and nays....

It was time, with my youngest child now 3 yrs old and my oldest 9 yrs old, to have an international holiday, take the children on an adventure, explore another country. So after 12 hours of flying, we arrived at our first destination, Los Angeles, the start of our driving, exploring holiday. The plan, Disneyland, Santa Monica, Universal Studios, Grand Canyon, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, South Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Los Angeles and home.

This holiday yay was not having a mobile phone or laptop, we checked emails every so often but made sure it was when the children were in bed. I know the kids appreciated this!

I was surprised to see how my children reacted to new situations and what they reacted to. Many questions from my 9yo about why some people are homeless.

Yay for the shopping, nay for the constant need to remind my children to control themselves, the constant need to say “ssshhh, stop it, hands off each other, stay still, don’t get in the people’s way, stop it, don’t do that, don’t touch that, quietly please, don’t run in the shop”, over a hundred times in three weeks..... Yay, there were other parents with children doing exactly the same things. I would hear parents using the same phrases and I felt “normal”. It appears that cultural differences don’t matter when it comes to child behaviour. Children tend to behave similarly all over the world.

Yay for learning more about how my children are and what special qualities they have. Yay for my 9yo who dislayed empathy and wanted to give homeless people dollars. Yay for my 8yo who comes up with witty and unconventional ways to get points across and cycled 13 kms over the Golden Gate Bridge without complaint.

What I did learn:

Children cannot control themselves when tired or excited.

Times what you feel like by 10 and then you may come close to how your child is feeling emotionally or physically. That may explain the first point of my learning.

Don’t know what your child is thinking – just ask? Don’t allow learning or teaching opportunities to pass you or your child by.

I see? my child sees?

Monday, March 28, 2011

A follow up on children and imagination –is it a ‘spaceman helmet’?

In turning one thing into another we need to remember two key things:

Children’s minds don’t work as logically as ours. They are learning, experimenting and creating all the time.  Their minds are imagination machines and we need to follow their lead, if this is to continue.

So if you want to bring out their imagination get them to come up with a name for ‘whatever’ you want to present to them. Call things funny names, make things “silly”, funny or fun, kids respond to this and if in doubt add the word “special”.

In exploring my children’s imagination, I have seen many things are different. Their interpretation, meaning and reality can be a little different to what I see...

What do I see? A shower cap, what does a child see? A “special spaceman” helmet.

What do I see? Mud and mess, what does a child see? Cakes and fun.

What do I see? A stick, what do they see? A gun, a knife, an arrow, a telescope, a sword, a bat.

What do I see? A dirty old carpet, what do they see? Materials for a tent or pretend campsite.

What do I see? Leaves and grass, what does a child see? Soup and softfall to tumble or roll on.

What do I see? Pouring rain, what do they see? Splashing and fun, the excitement of exploring the ‘safety and shelter’ that an umbrella provides and (for some) the sound of rain falling on an umbrella.

My child’s imagination is only limited by my imagination. I am able to control their imagination by what I say, I could end their creative journey by saying, "that’s not real", "please keep quiet, I’m trying to think" or I can explore with my child and say, “yes, and?......”, “ what do you think would happen if?”
Enjoy living in their world for a few minutes.. what do your children see?

Shower or not to shower?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My 3 yo loves the water, he plays in the bath for an hour if I let him and he also enjoys showering with his brothers – that was until three weeks ago.  After three nights of him crying, “burning eyes”, “eyes burning” he finally decided no more showers. It became the 20 minute tantrum time, he would run around the house avoiding us before we would finally be able to carry him kicking and screaming to the shower.

It only took me 7 days to realise that his burning eyes may have been caused by sun tan lotion, that he had applied at preschool which runs into his eyes at shower time... and I thought he was just trying to get out of washing his hair?

I may not have been quick to solve what the cause was... perhaps clouded by my judgement of the situation. I was a lot quicker with finding a solution though and this was my creative way of getting him back in to the shower.

I know most children love a game or a surprise, using this knowledge I came home armed with my “showertime” solution. At shower time, I told him I had bought him a surprise that he can use in the shower or the bath. Most children enjoy the concept of a surprise and if it is a tangible item they love it even more. I pulled the surprise out of it’s packaging and revealed a ($2 clear showercap) I did not tell him that.  He believed me when I told him it’s a "special spaceman helmet". It helps that he is 3yo and his imagination still allows him to see things differently. I explained that this “special spaceman helmet” could be worn in the shower and it would stop his hair from getting wet and water going into his eyes. We tried it on and tentatively he got into the shower.

It had been a while since I saw him so willing to go into a shower. Also, within a few minutes he was taking it off to explore and catch water in it. All that shower time he had forgotten about why he did not want to shower in the first place because soap or water would run over his face. He used it a few more nights after that but now mostly takes it in for fun.

What has saved the day for you or your child lately? Is there a creative way to solve a dilemma at your house? Have you got a creative solution to share?

What’s the word...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It starts with “T” and makes parents want to pull their hair out with frustration and desperation and it’s a phase of a child’s physical development...

Toilet training, tantrums, terrible two or terrible threes, the word I was thinking of was teething – yes teething, does anyone remember that phase?

It was terrible, the crying, the night waking, the runny nose or number twos that accompanied that phase. We forget as parents... every stage we are at with our children brings with it a different phase or set of behaviour but it goes away eventually...hopefully....

So this is the lovely thing about parenting. Parenting can mean we have these things in common with other parents ie. teething or sleepless nights with our babies, then separation anxiety and tantrums with our toddlers, homework struggles with our primary children. The list of commonalities and common experiences goes on and on through each stage of our child’s development and life.

I loved doing this week’s word challenge on Parent with Potential’s Facebook page. It demonstrated an important thing for me that phases are just that, they are phases and each phase of our child’s development is marked with new behaviour, new struggles and new successes.

It demonstrated to me that we lose track of what parent's experience. As we move on from one phase of development to the next our parenting needs change and so we also forget what “it” (that phase when) was like because thankfully it was a phase and that phase gets replaced with another. Sometimes we look back and think what was I complaining about, teething or toilet training was nothing like what I am going through with my child now.... Let us not forget and let us empathise with those experiencing difficulties in the present moment whatever your challenge may be.

Why then do we sometimes feel alone? Do you still feel alone even with the computer age and parent forums etc? What is your challenge at the moment? And if you have passed a phase someone else is going through remember try not to say "oh, it's just a phase" unless that really helped when you were going through it?

Another way to learn....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I walked into the kitchen after working on the computer. I had left my 3yo to have some "independent" play time. I got a familiar smell on the way there and realised as I turned the corner he had enjoyed every minute of his 'free play'... spreading baby powder over the floor. I also realised there was a broom next to the powder bottle. I was finding it difficult to make out if the broom was there because he tried to clean up on his own or if it was used to spread the powder further . The broom did both those jobs!

I wasn’t angry, afterall it’s only powder and I had got done what I needed to on the computer with no interruptions. So I said the normal, “what a mess”, he replied, “I want to go to M’s house” calmly again I said “ we can’t go to M’s house until all this is cleaned, here is the vacuum”. As diligently as he made the mess he was now cleaning it and I made sure I swept some crumbs for him to vacuum up too. It was a lesson to me that not all discipline needs to be punishment sometimes cleaning up after yourself is an important lesson and a consequence in itself.

So here are a couple of tips to teach your child independence and self control:

  • Give your child the benefit of the doubt at least once: On this occasion I chose to look at the broom in the room as a tool for cleaning and not as an instrument for making the mess. So this changed my mood almost immediately.
  • A bargaining tool helps: In this case he wanted something that I was happy to give him anyway since my friend is M’s mum.
I had two choices shout at him and make him sit in a corner while I tidy up the mess.  This would have led to crying on his part, more screaming and some possible wrestling to get him to stay in the corner... and who knows where from there....

My second choice was to use his bargaining tool and my positive view (that he may have tried to clean this up himself hence the broom) to explain that he needs to use a vacuum to clean up the mess.

On this occasion option two worked and I learnt that cleaning up may be an appropriate discipline technique.

Have you ever surprised yourself and reacted differently to how you normally would? What was that like? How did your child respond?

Guest Post - Travelling with kids?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

With the strong Australian Dollar, there is the temptation to travel overseas and for most parents this involves travelling with our children.  I asked Julie from Julie Warner Travel to share her expertise in travelling with kids on a plane. 
  • Firstly, be prepared; take a drink and some favourite snacks as you just never know if the kids will eat the airline food and if there are delays and you are stuck on the tarmac there is nothing worse than a hungry child.
  • Take a supply of mints, lollies or something that children can chew on to help ease ear pain with air travel especially as planes start to descend for landing.
  • Most International route airlines have fantastic onboard entertainment systems in each seat these days which keep kids entertained for hours.
  • Pack items in a small wheelie bag or back pack with a few pockets which can be taken onboard and stored under the seat. Something that is easy for the kids to wheel/carry themselves, but light enough for parents to pick up and carry if required. The pockets make it easier to find everything and for packing up as the kids know where things need to go.
  • Buy a few low cost new items from discount stores and wrap as presents to bring out when getting bored.
Things to take:
  • Comfort item (teddy or blanket)
  • Coloring book or Activity Book
  • Blank paper for drawing with wind up crayons or retractable pencils (no sharpening required)
  • Stickers to provide hours of entertainment creating pictures
  • Sticker Activity Books- Kids can do them and then toss away to lighten the load.
  • Scrapbook – for holiday journal. Write in at the end of each day, draw pictures of the days activities and paste in any items gathered throughout the day such as entrance tickets, postcards or any treasures that may have caught your children’s eye.
  • Small tub of Play dough, a roller and a couple of cutters. This is great on planes, no mess and lots of fun.
  • Magnetic create a scene sets – hours of fun creating stories
  • Small cars, animals or dolls (in zip lock bag or in a back pack small pocket)
  • Small transformers (hours of entertainment re-making them into characters/machines)
  • Small light weight books
  • Anything that your child is interested in that is easily transportable
Perhaps more for the older child:
  • MP3 player/ipod
  • Electronic Games – Nintendo DS, PSP, Gameboy etc
  • Books – a bit of a pain to carry, but if you have an avid reader then it will keep them amused for long periods
Take some panadol for all family just in case you need it on the long haul.
Small pack of tissues and pack of travel wet wipes just in case!
Anti-Bacterial hand gel to use when difficult to find a basin to wash hands.
Also, take a recent photo of your child in case you lose them in a crowd.

Julie from Julie Warner Travel Plans is a travel planning expert who has personally travelled to over 80 countries with her husband and taken their 7 and 9 year old children to 13 and 16 countries respectively.

Julie takes the mystery out of holidays with your children and can show you step by step how to:
- Plan an affordable family holiday, research travel options, put together an itinerary, book your accommodation and tours, successfully pack lightly, keep the kids entertained and make the most of your days away. If you loved travelling before you had kids and would like to take trips with your family but just lack the confidence to put it all together, then Julie can help you! http://www.juliewarnertravelplans.com/

A simple lesson about worry

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Worry – that feeling you get when you think about something, that thought nagging you in the back of your mind, constantly there and it can be stressful.

I’ve had that for a few days now, my hair is shedding, thinning enough that I notice and its becoming a concern for me. Yesterday, I found the courage to ask the lady in the pharmacy about it. The lady said, “it could be stress related or there could be other causes, if after taking these vitamins for 30 days there is no improvement see your doctor as hair loss could also be related to thyroid issues.”

So now my concern turns to worry, I was okay with the stress, I am under some more than usual, but now it could be something else? Now I have another stress, thinking about the something else it could be. The whole afternoon and evening the worry grew, in the back of my mind... what if it is the worst case scenario? what if the vitamins don’t work? what if 30 days is too long to wait?

Worry, it has this power. It builds up and up and up. Well, this morning I thought why wait 30 days! I dread needles but dragged myself to the doctor and told him exactly what I told the lady at the pharmacy. This time I got a blood test. Amazing how much better I feel already, the pressure is off (I’m still waiting for the results) but the needle part is over and at least I will know for sure, very soon, not 30 days from now. This is my lesson - Don’t wait and worry, worry and do something about it. If you can...

Not all worries can be easily fixed but there may be some truth in the saying "a burden shared is a burden halved".

Fear is a strong thing and it fuels worry? Preparedness, Prayer, Faith and Hope, these are the things to fill our minds with. What fear or worry can you share that may get it out of your head? Not so that people can fix it or tell you to get over it but that it’s out there and this lessens the power of it already. What action, if any, can you take to lessen a worry?

We’re not all the same

Monday, February 21, 2011

I’ve been quiet on my blogposts for a few weeks now, not knowing what to write but mainly because I have been reading other people's blogs.  This journey through blogville has left me feeling challenged, amazed.  Reflecting on some of the recent blogs I have read. Two things have become clear, one thing is that "blogs are as individual as the people behind them".

I was reading a blog the other day and thought to myself, wow, if only I had the enthusiasm or charisma that this blogger has or the openness and honesty to let it all out there as another blogger has done. Then it hit me, we are not all the same! We are all different and what better place or example to see it than reading blogs, from the humourous, adventurous to serious and flowing. There is a blog out there for anyone! I work with different personality types, I believe in allowing children to develop according to their natural personality traits. So, I learnt a lesson that freed me to blog again.

A quote I had up on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/parentwithpotential, was by C.S. Lewis -

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one”

This is true for any interaction – that moment we feel connected, or ‘normal’ or accepted for who we are and what we have been through or are going through presently. The moment we realise we aren’t alone, there are others like us and others who have been through very similar situations to us- this is community, it’s online, it’s widespread and we can read about, think about, be challenged by... this the gift of the blog.

We are not all the same, blogs represent different personality types, expose us (the readers) to experiences and emotions that may be similar and different to our own. So have you found blogs you connect with or don’t connect with, why do you think that is?

Perhaps a good time to thank those of you who follow this blog! Thank you.

Anger - Broken Glass

Monday, January 31, 2011

Some children may experience anger as ‘broken glass’ – shattered and broken, perhaps a visual representation of anger related to a grief situation or a disappointment. 

Anger - Fireworks

Some children may experience anger that can be depicted as fireworks.
A few small outbursts and then a ‘big bang’ or as ongoing small outbursts constantly.

Anger - The Volcano

Some children experience anger that builds up and then erupts, like a volcano. 

Children may experience this type of anger if they build up anger about one specific issue over time or perhaps build up several smaller issues over time that eventually are expressed in ONE big 'explosive' tantrum. 

Anger - The Secondary Emotion

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anger is an emotion that children experience to varying degrees and very differently. I use the term secondary emotion in this case only because I will be discussing anger as an emotion that has been triggered by another feeling or circumstance. That means that to understand or solve an anger issue it is necessary to work with children to understand what is happening before they become or ‘feel’ angry. This is a slow process and requires children to be on an age where they can be ‘self aware’. Some feelings before anger may include feeling afraid, disrespected, offended, pressured, humiliated, embarrassed or trapped. See our follow up posts and upcoming resources for some examples of how children may experience anger. Ie. Volcano, Fireworks or Broken Glass.
Getting a child to identify what anger looks or perhaps feels like for them is a step in identifying cause and finding solutions that work (more on that in upcoming resources).

My personal experience is that both my children respond differently when they are angry. This is because of their personality differences. Children may respond actively to anger, that is some children attack the target or someone or something else verbally or physically when they feel angry. Some children may respond more passively, sulking, feeling hostility or building up tension.

My 9yo - a social, active, outgoing child has always when getting angry said “I can’t control myself, my brain made me do it” at times I have heard from other children with similar personalities say “ I’m afraid, I can’t control it” or “I feel out of control”.

My 8yo - a more black and white child, who is cautious and diligent and when angry ‘sulks’ or retreats or becomes quiet or cries, drew this picture last year (out of his own he’d been working on it for a while at bed time).

He showed me this feeling chart and I found it interesting and asked him what does angry 'look' like and he clenched his jaw and let out a throaty clenched jaw grumble ”grrr”. Amazing, all that tension and no outburst, no tantrum or shouting – just a closed clenched jaw and a groan. Still anger but who would know? and often not something I would have to ‘treat’ or ‘process’? Compare this reaction to the child who throws items of furniture or hits and kicks or screams loudly. It has made me more aware that perhaps this ‘unprocessed’ anger could be contributing to his nightmares or night terrors?

So how does anger l'ook' for you or your child? Do you notice when your ‘calmer’ child is angry? What does your child do when they get angry?

Opportunity + Possibility

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Every year I come up with a theme for the year – a motto – that statement that will sum up my intentions, my hopes and thinking for the year.

Sitting at my desk these two words came to mind and they are my motto for this year – Opportunity + Possibility. I thought about these words and thought they really encapsulate all that a Parent with Potential is. It is someone who believes in possibility or something being possible. I looked into the meaning of opportunity, thinking it was something that comes by chance, which it is but also a little more. According to the Collins English Dictionary (2003) “opportunity” can also mean a favourable, appropriate, or advantageous combination of circumstances.
So that is my statement for this year to look out for Opportunity and believe in Possibility to fully live in my potential this year.

Parent with Potential is for every parent. Parents who want to work from home, parents returning to a workplace, Whether your parenting journey is difficult or easy. May this year be a year where opportunity and possibility come together to make you a Parent with Potential!

Do you have a motto this year? Do you have something you believe is possible? What opportunity would you like to see?

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