Monthly Archives: February 2010

Guilt-free

I ‘ve always  tried to remember my own personal experiences as a parent and have true empathy for the many parents out there who are getting up at all hours, listening carefully for different sounds in the night,  keeping track of when the last “poop” was,  hoping they’re doing everything right, checking to see if their child is sleeping, only to peek in and up goes the head.

Yesterday, we brought our very “fetching” as my husband says (in more ways than one) 8-week- old puppy home.  She couldn’t be cuter, sweeter, more wanted … and we are definitely doing all of the above, as well as being reminded of and feeling the fatigue that all “new parents” feel.

So this weekend, the dust will remain where it is, the clutter picked up and quickly stuffed out of sight, meals kept simple, cat naps sneaked in, playtime – definitely.

Things will settle down, routines will get set and the dust and chores will be there waiting.  But now is the time to attend to our connections.

If this is the stage you’re at with your baby, or an older child or children who just need some extra attention at this very moment, I hope you will join me in a guilt-free, this-is-what-I-need-to-do-right-now- time, and enjoy it.

You won’t regret it!

P.S.  The new puppy’s name is Rosie.

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Change the frame

Recently I spoke to a mom who was reading The Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. This particular mom has a spirited young child that is adored by everyone who knows her.   However, this same little girl’s behavior can, at times, be a challenge even with her parents’ best efforts.

One of the main parenting techniques presented in Kurcinka’s book is to change the way we think about and how we describe our child’s behaviors – from a totally negative, fearful label to a completely positive, hopeful potential.

Instead of describing our child as so whiny, uncooperative, wild, demanding, pesky, why not reframe and be happy about our child who is assertive, persistent, passionate, determined, committed, focused, sensitive, enthusiastic, vigorous, funny?

Don’t these positive words just lift your spirits, give you hope and appreciation of your child?  Wouldn’t you just love having a child like that?

This is the happy frame of mind I found this mom to be in after recognizing and relabeling her daughter’s sometimes frustrating behaviors into gifts.

As parents, it is often difficult to go beyond the labels we’ve given our children out of frustration and fear that they’re true,  and sense the beauty and encourage the growth of their true strengths.

Try it.  Reframe the words you use to describe your child’s most frustrating behavior.

Focusing on the positive fills us with energy, optimism, pride and hope.  Approaching our children in this state of mind and heart will keep us on a joyful path in bringing out the power and appreciating the  potential that lies within.

Happy Parenting!

For more information, check out The Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka at Family Resources Resource Library. Also look for Your Spirited Child Workshops based on this book presented frequently at Family Resources.

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Love is in the air

I have always loved Valentines Day.  I think of it as another time to extend affection and caring to family and friends and to feel connected to others.

There are some simple, memorable ways to celebrate this “lovely” day in your home.  The fun begins with the preparation – gathering the supplies for valentine making.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.   Hearts can be cut out from construction paper, newspaper ( sports -page hearts are perfect for sports enthusiasts), funny pages, cereal boxes, cardboard, doilies, tissue paper, foil.  Dig out stickers, glue, glitter( if you’re brave), buttons, lace, tinsel – whatever sparkles and gleams.

Put the decorations all together in a big basket and let the kids choose what they want to use.  You will love the way these kid-made valentines burst with love and originality.  Guaranteed there will be no two alike!

One of my favorite ideas is a  valentine tree.  Going out to find the perfect branch can be a fun outing for your child.  Bringing a piece of nature indoors is always a special treat.   Look for one that has lots of places for the children to hang the hearts. Find a way to support the branch in a vase or jar, perhaps by stuffing  newspaper around it.  If you’re lucky enough to find a really tall limb, you might use your Christmas tree stand, also using some stuffing to hold it tall.

Cut out some  simple hearts with the names of family and friends, near and far, to remind your family that they belong to a circle of caring and connection.  If available, include pictures, especially of those far away.   Hole punch the hearts and hang with yarn from the branches.   Ask your child for names he or she wants to include.  You may be surprised.    Read the names on the tree often to your child.   Talk about how these special people play a role in your family.  Place the tree in a central, visible spot so it becomes a focus.  This tree may well become a requested tradition.   Watch the number of hearts on your tree grow as your circle widens over the years.

Pancakes, cookies, sandwiches, pizza in the shape of hearts all magically taste extra delicious.  Hiding hearts around the house is always exciting ( as is hiding almost anything around the house) and once all retrieved, you can bet the request will come to hide them again.

Anytime love is in the air, I say grab it.  Everyday we express our love by the things we do for our families, for each other.  But we don’t always take the time to say it.  Valentine’s Day is the perfect time.

I believe there’s no better season for Valentines Day to come than the middle of February when the winter may seem drab and endless.  You can count on the glitter and sparkle of a valentine given to someone you care about to warm and brighten the day and the corner where you are.

Happy Valentines Day, my friends.  Enjoy!

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Enough

How many times a day do we use the word enough?  Even when we do, we probably aren’t realizing that we are actually teaching one of the most important skills a parent can give to a child.

We don’t need to buy milk today.  We have enough at home.  We have enough time to stop at the park before picking up Dad. There are enough cupcakes for everyone to have one.  No thanks.  I’ve had enough. Come sit with us.  We have enough room here.  Look, you have enough cars for both of you to be able to play. That’s enough chips to eat for now.  Do you have enough glue to make that project stick?  There isn’t enough snow to go sledding.

Learning about the concept of enough  is passed on naturally in casual interactions,  through hundreds of repetitions.  These conversations provide our children with a yardstick – a gentle, subtle measure of what enough in our lives feels like.

Think of the concept of enough on a continuum.  At one end there is too little,  not enough,  insufficiency.  At the other end there is too much, over-indulgence. In the middle lies enough,  sufficiency.

So why does understanding how much is enough even matter?

It matters because the ability to appreciate those occasions when we have extra, when we have more than enough, when we have abundance, absolutely depends upon our awareness, recognition, and knowledge of how much is really sufficient.

Abundance is different than over-indulgence.  Abundance means having those extras that make life more fun, exciting and interesting.  It is having extra to share with friends and family.  It is being able to enjoy something that you want in addition to what you need.

Spending one day at the fair with treats galore is an example of abundance.  But without this understanding  of how much is already enough, this special day might go unrecognized and unappreciated.  Rather than feeling delighted and satisfied, it may leave a child disappointed, still looking and expecting more.

Enough for now.

But if this perks your interest, look for Family Resources 2-hour class coming in the Spring, based on the book, How Much is Enough? by Jean Illsley Clark.

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