defiant

As very young children get older, they start to become more independent.  But there are two things working against that independence.

1) They don’t fully understand all the implications of independence, (i.e. responsibility, safety and sometimes independence is scary)


2) We aren’t always ready to give them independence because they are still our babies.


Because of these two obstacles, independence often takes the form of defiance. 


My two-year old (almost three-year old) boys are dabbling in defiance.  I am slowly giving them more independence-

  • They can get in and out of bed by themselves
  • They can wash their hands by themselves
  • They can get dressed by themselves
  • They can prepare some of their food by themselves

But really, they don’t have that much independence yet and as they grow older, they will request more.

How do they do this?

By asserting themselves.


This comes across as being defiant.  But a child who has opportunities throughout the day to be independent will be less defiant.


How does this work?  Well, this goes hand in hand with the “giving-children-more-opportunities-for-risk” post.  


It is hard to allow children to fail, fall, hurt, cry, or fumble but we need to give our children those opportunities and it will help with the defiance we see in young children as well as the defiance we see in teenagers. 


We have scares, and like many parents, we have them often.  But instead of shielding and sheltering my children more, I love feeling the confidence of a child who just learned that it is not OK to play behind a truck.  So that if he ever finds himself in a place behind a truck that is starting, he will get out of there and not wait for someone to come get him.

A child who is acting defiant is a child who needs more independence.

What does this look like and what can parents do?

Let’s say you are getting ready for bed and your child starts acting up.

“NOooo!”

or

“I don’t like those pajamas!”

or however it manifests in your household.

These are all signs of defiance that could be turned into independence.

Your child can take control over what pajamas they want to wear.  They can have control over who brushes their teeth.  And of course they have the independence to choose what book to read.

These are all easy ways to give our children more independence that they are craving.

They are asserting themselves as individuals and we need to give them that opportunity.

Here’s another thought:

If we give children more opportunities to assert their Independence throughout the day, will they ultimately be less defiant?

Try it tomorrow and see what happens.

 

emotion

My favorite word is “overwhelmed” and I use it all the time.

I think it does two things:

It really sums up parenthood

It teaches kids about emotions and empathy

I see parents trying to hide their emotions all the time.  I see mom’s apologizing for crying when there is nothing wrong for using tears as an outlet.  And I am overjoyed that moms do cry in front of each other all the time so that they create solidarity and a support system.

Parenting is hard and even though we try to keep up our appearances that it is easy, it doesn’t work and we need to allow our emotions to show so that we can be there to support each other.

If you are overwhelmed, you are allowed to show it.

When my day feels so long and my children are driving me crazy and one more thing happens the throws me over the edge, I say, “I’m really overwhelmed.”  And then I either try to take some deep breaths or I walk away and take some space (usually in my room for just a minute or two).

Kids then learn all about emotions and empathy when moms show their emotions. 

If you can name what you are feeling and even give some ideas on how to deal with it, then so much the better for everyone.  But don’t hide the feeling.  Don’t apologize for it. Just feel it.

You are allowed to cry.  You are allowed to yell.  You are allowed to feel all of the emotions and in fact, everyone benefits from moms showing emotions so let it all out!

 

 

little-tree

Oh my goodness. If you haven’t seen this book yet, go check it out.

The Little Tree by Loren Long is about a tree that wants to hold on to its leaves.

There are a lot of things that we want to hold on to and it shows up in our bodies in a not great way.

The word that Loren Long uses over and over again is, “tight,”

That’s how it feels.  Your back? tight.  Your neck? tight.  Your body? tight.

We know that it isn’t healthy for us to hold on to this and to create this tension so teaching this idea at a young age is genius. We can show our kids how tight feels and how letting go feels.

When you get to the part where little tree lets go, watch your child.  Watch how things float away.  Watch their body and watch how it melts.

It’s magical.

Get this book and read it.  It will help you as well!

 

some-days

It happens, our children are driving us up the wall and to be totally honest, we don’t want to be around them.  We don’t want to hear their voices.  (We don’t really like them) and it feels horrible.

We react differently when we feel this way and we want to get out of this cycle but they are just so annoying.

So practice gratitude around your child.

We know this makes a difference.  In another one of my favorite articles in the New York Times, the author talks about how a bad situation is flipped upside down when he invokes gratitude.  It can work with your kids too.  When you add in gratitude, your whole perspective will change. 

  • So while you are making breakfast, think about one thing that you love about your child.
  • Before you go to bed, write down one thing that you enjoyed about your child during the day
  • Your children may be pain in the necks, but remember what you do have, food on the table, a safe place to sleep, clean clothes to wear.  When we put things into perspective, it is easier to practice gratitude.
  • Volunteer at your local homeless shelter or a group that works with refugees.  When you give, you are also practicing gratitude and if your kids are old enough, have them participate too.

This is real.

When our kids are complete pains, we can really turn things around by practicing daily gratitude.

 

 

 

days-of-lives

This is a quote from Annie Dillard and it really speaks to me on the first day of the new year.


Are our days rushed, stressed and unfulfilled?

Or are we able to breathe and enjoy our days?

The negative moments in our lives are just a moment, but strung together, they are our lives.

There are many days that I still can’t believe that I’m a parent.  I keep thinking that one day I will actually feel like a parent and will know and understand what that feeling is, but it may end up that I’ll be lying on my death bed and finally realize that I was a parent this whole time.  

So what does that mean?

  • It means making conscious decisions about parenting.  
  • It means deciding that we will all eat together at least once per week.  
  • It means that there will be no devices at the table.  
  • It means that I will take a deep breath in front of my children as they are losing it and I’m about to lose it as well.
  • It means that the majority of my interactions with my children will be positive.  So if I find that I have three snippety utterances, then the next nine things I say will have to be positive!
  • It means that I will be clear about my expectations with my children rather than assuming that they know what I am asking of them. 

Because the way that I parent today is the parent that I am.   

Seriously, I still don’t feel like a parent.  What does that truly feel like?

If you want your 2014 to be calmer, your children to listen better, your family to be more connected, contact me today and we will get you started on a parenting plan.  The initial consultation is free

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perfect

If you are a parent, chances are that you have looked something up on the internet to see if it is “normal” or if there anything you can do about what ever is happening, or just to commiserate.  

During your journey on the internet, you probably came across something that made you feel guilty.  For some reason, there is a ton of “mompetition” on the internet and I don’t believe it should be that way.

Just today, I was reading some article about parenting and the comments afterwards to each other were very biting and angry.  

There are no perfect kids, and there are no perfect parents and that’s OK.

I wanted to be the perfect parent.  I read all the books, I have a background working with young children and families and I figured, if anyone can do it, I can do it.

One of the philosophies I wanted to follow was attachment parenting because of all the research supporting it, and because it matched my beliefs.

Then I had twins and realized that carrying both of my children into toddlerhood wasn’t going to happen.  And the guilt that I suffered from this was not fun.  I tried carrying one child and putting the other one in the stroller or bouncy chair.  I tried carrying both of them some of the time.  

Then I would give it up for a while due to the exhaustion of trying to carry two babies.  But lo and behold, after a week of not holding them all day, I would read another article online about how children who aren’t carried through infancy will have more emotional problems and the guilt would come down like a ton of baby books on my head.

I struggled with this for my first year of being a mother and one day I realized that it didn’t matter.  My boys were going to be fine.  I’m not the perfect mother and I’m ok with that.  We need to accept where we are as parents and not buy into the guilt that we aren’t good enough.

Parent coaching isn’t out there to make you a perfect parent, because what you are doing is already good enough.  We are just here to support you as you are and keep your head above water. 

Parenting is rough and we need to support each other as much as we can.

most important tool

I have written about this before and I will write about it again.  Not only because it is wonderful, but also because I need reminders.

Breathing is the most important parenting tool.

I read a while back about mediating and parenting and I almost looked it over since I couldn’t medicate before I had kids, much less afterwards.

But this is brilliant.  It is easy.  It is a lifesaver. 

Do this once a day:

Breathe in to the count of seven.  Hold for the count of seven.  Breathe out to the count of seven.
Do this seven times. 

I haven’t been able to hold my breath, but even without that part, I feel a huge difference. 

Soon, I may be able to master even that.

Breathe.

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Nate-s-Remodel-144

I am amazed at how many support groups and resources there are for Boulder Parents.  Each day, I come across a new one.  

Here is my list so far, and I’m sure there are others that I haven’t found.

Check them all out and then let me know if there’s one I forgot!

The Joy Collective A Boulder gem with everything for birth, post-partum and parenting

Moxie Moms They offer discounts on everything in town!

Boulder Rockin’ Moms A group of Boulder moms that talk about anything and everything.

Boulder Meet-Up Groups Find a group of moms with similar interests for social activities.

Boulder Families A weekly update of things to do in Boulder

Jeff and Paige Great local children’s band with music all about the outdoors

Raising Little Heroes  A children’s volunteering group here in Boulder

Bundle Baby Shop This is the one stop shop for cloth diapering.  They will help you with everything.

Boulder County Kids A resource for everything kid-related in Boulder plus information on child care. 


That’s the list for now.

 Let me know if I forgot anyone!

intuitive

Parenting was intuitive many many years ago.  In fact, the word parenting didn’t exist because it wasn’t a “thing”; it just happened.  People didn’t have discussions about it or whether what they were doing was right or wrong.  They just did.

 
Nowadays, parenting is no longer intuitive, although many people will argue against that.  But times have changed and what came naturally when our grandparents were growing up doesn’t exist now.  Parents have a different job now with the way our world is changing.
  • Is managing your child’s screen time intuitive? no.
  • Is deciding what school your child is going to go to or if you should home-school or un-school intuitive? no
  • Is dealing with temper tantrums at the library story time intuitive? no
  • Is loving your child intuitive? YES (thank goodness!)
Parenting was intuitive when things had to get done.  So if you are growing up on a farm and the cows have to be milked, and the hay has to be harvested, and the eggs have to be collected, then your communication with your children is intuitive.  They help out, end of story.  
 
If your family was traveling across the country in a covered wagon to find work, then children had to help and be part of the working equation.  End of story.  
I’m not at all nostalgic for that time because I could not imagine for the life of me traveling across the country in a wagon with young children.  But people did it because they had to. 
 
What we deal with today is cleaning up our toys after play time, taking a bath, eating a nice meal even though we just had one a couple of hours ago, getting to music class on time.  None of these things have to happen for the sake of survival.   This is where parenting loses its intuitiveness. 
 
This is where parents struggle everyday.  This is where coaching helps because this is where parents are getting “stuck”.
 
In order to bring back some of the intuitiveness to parenting, the first step is to realize what is essential and what isn’t.  A great example of this is feeding children.  A lot of parents feel that a child must eat three balanced meals a day to be healthy.  But young children often don’t want to eat.  Their teeth may be hurting, they may not be growing that much for a short period, they may not feel well.  Parenting becomes intuitive when you know that they will not wither away if they decide not to eat.  They will eat when they are hungry.   
 
The times have changed and by accepting that things are different now and that parenting isn’t intuitive,  you are actually giving yourself a break.  You may not know how to deal with this.  It is ok that your stomach gives a little flutter and you feel nervous that you may be in over your head.  You are just acknowledging that this journey is big and that parenting isn’t what it used to be. 
 
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parent coaching boulder

 

This question has come up a lot lately, and although I have touched on it briefly, it deserves a whole post. 
These days, we reach out to professionals in just about every aspect of our lives.  If we need help with our car, or if we just want it to work better, we go to a mechanic.   If we’re not sure about how to deal with a pest problem, we call an exterminator.
However, with the accessibility of the internet, we often solve a lot of our problems by researching on the web.  Instead of going to the mechanic or the exterminator, we may look up some options on the internet for taking care of it ourselves.
This is even more common with parenting.  A lot of questions can be answered by googling the problem and seeing what other parents have done.  And for a lot of situations, that does work. 
But many times, it only clouds your judgement.  You will most likely hear differing opinions on the same topic and although both will have good ideas behind them, second guessing yourself as a parent will only worsen the problem.
Thankfully, our relationships with our cars and spiders aren’t everlasting and intertwined.  But our relationships with our children are.   It is important that we understand the consequences (good or bad) of our everyday actions and this is where a parent coach can help.
You already know what you want for your child and you may even know how to get there.  But something is standing in the way and a parent coach can guide you to be the best parent you can be.
Similar to a sports coach who helps runners have a more efficient stride, or helps bike riders improve their lung capacity; a parent coach fine tunes your parenting skills and brings you to the next level of parenting.
Call me today to take your parenting to the next level!
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