Monthly Archives: April 2014

Boredom

“I know it is wet

and the sun is not sunny,

But we can have lots of good fun

that is funny!”   – The Cat in the Hat

Really?  Is that true?

I know with such a prolonged prediction of rainy weather this week, many of us are feeling kind of gloomy and lacking in inspiration.  But we have to believe The Cat in the Hat knows what he’s talking about. Right?

But I’m going to be downright honest.  I am trying really hard today to be creative and it’s been slow going.

I do believe, however, that creativity springs from boredom.  So – if you are thinking – four more days? – just let the boredom come – don’t wonder what to do – don’t try to fix it – just see what happens.

And then … let me know how it turns out!  :}

 

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moment of strength

Making some reminder phone calls to parents who had registered for the upcoming Bunny Hop last week, I happened to reach one mom in her car with a tantruming toddler.  I could tell by the mom’s voice, above the hullabaloo, that she was dealing with a very determined child who apparently had been thwarted in her efforts to run loose in the parking lot.

As parents, we’ve all been faced with similar situations.  As much as we’d like it if our children accepted the necessary limits we set to keep them safe (our job), our children need to express their frustration and determination to do what they want  ( their developmental job).

I’ve talked before about exercising a child’s disappointment muscles.  For sometimes children do need to wait, or to stop, or to start – because they must – and they are not happy about it.  Carrying on with confidence and a convincing dose of empathy toward your child’s dismay is all a parent can do.

And so, I suggested to this mom to continue on her way home and when they get there, to tell her young daughter “now here is a safe place for us to run, run, run.”

This mom was joking a few days later that she “got caught by Fran” in a weak parenting moment.

Oh, no, on the contrary!

This was a parenting moment of strength.

 

 

 

 

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Spring will come

What is going on?  One day we are in shirtsleeves soaking up the near 70 degree sunshine , ever hopeful that winter is over, and then we wake up to a cover of snow  – a light cover, but snow, none-the-less.

How often do we feel the same way about our child’s behavior/stages/moods?  Just when we think that the bedtime routine is working, we spend an evening answering calls of “distress” and repeating our mantra, “It’s time for you to be in bed.”  Or  “my children have reached a point where they play so well together” – when suddenly – they don’t.

In nature there is always an explanation – some cold front moving down from Canada, some low pressure causing storms and tornadoes, two fronts meeting and creating nature’s fireworks.

Oh, if it was only so scientific in predicting and understanding our children’s behavior.  As parents, we just don’t understand” why she’s so bossy”, “when will he stop being so clingy?”, or  “Help! Why is my child out of control?”

Well, we don’t have the instruments that meteorologists use to forecast and explain weather conditions.  But we can do what people have done for centuries way before the weather channel moved into our homes.

We can observe.

Yes, observe – look, feel, pay attention to the atmospheric changes in our homes.  What brings the dark clouds, the bright sunshine?  What does this child need?

That might sound far too simplistic. “I can tell you what this child needs” a parent may say in frustration.  But if you are dealing with an on-going behavior problem, take the time to observe.  Really pay attention to that particular child.  What is happening before the “downpour” occurs.

Is she getting enough sleep?  Is he getting the physical activity he needs to release the energy within him?  What’s happening before to trigger the behavior?  What seems to help?  And of course, check on our own pressures at home.  Are we stressed out with too much going on – rushing here and there – resulting in cloudy moods for everyone?

Okay –  even as I write this, the sun has appeared.  And we know, Spring will come and summer will follow – for sure. And it is this same faith and trust that can serve us well as parents.

Embrace it all – the stormy, unpredictable moods of childhood as well as their warm and sunny dispositions.

And trust in your heart that spring will come.

If you are looking for sunnier days in your child’s behavior, take advantage of our Warmline program.  It’s as easy as  giving me a call at The Parenting Place – 784-8125 or e-mailing me your question at franswift@theparentingplace.net .  Together we’ll figure things out.

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our real house

I’ve been thinking a lot about families moving.  As a family, we’ve moved quite often – sometimes across the country and sometimes across town.

It is almost always bittersweet – the anticipation of a new place, a new adventure along with the pangs of leaving behind all that is so familiar, all that has been garnered.

A little girl blurted out to me recently, “On Sunday, we’re going to look at a new house to see if we like it.  But, then, we’ll come back to our “real house.”

Our “real house” .  For that little girl, the other house, no matter how special,  was not her “real house” – at least not yet.

For most families involved in the moving process, it’s  the change in routines, maybe even family rituals, that get short-changed, that are so upsetting.  The pace of life increases,  parents are often distracted and stressed.  Things are being boxed up, sold, given away.   As adults we expect these things, but for children, sometimes their biggest concern is that they will be left behind – or even given away. They often feel powerless in participating or comprehending the changes taking place.

In any kind of significant upheavals in a child’s life, the biggest concern is always “what will happen to me?” Creating a family “moving story” can be exactly what children need to inform and assure them just what is and will be taking place, and that they are safe.

By telling a child in an age-appropriate way what’s going to occur, what the child can expect,  his/her very own “moving story” including the special details as to what will happen to friends, toys and all his/her family’s things, you will notice your child’s anxiety going down.

Don’t think, however,  the “moving story” is a one-shot deal.  One mom just told me how she  took the time and shared a pretty elaborate story with her little girl, about their upcoming move to a new house.  Immediately her daughter said, “tell me again“.

Plan on sharing the” moving story” daily.  Your children will want to hear it –  a litany of love that will comfort and quell their imagined fears and insecurities and make them feel included.

Information is powerful.  Your personal “moving story” will provide children with the answers,  understanding  and acceptance for when it is time for the new house to become your family’s “real house”.

In a few days, one of our  families involved at The Parenting Place will be moving from La Crosse to Spokane, WA.  We wish all of the Aldreds –  Alison, Jason, Sophie, Will, Beatrice and Elliot all the best.  It has been so much fun “playing” with you at Play Shoppe and getting to know and appreciate the love, energy and spirit that makes your family so special.  We hope you take with you warm memories of your friends here.  You will definitely be missed. 

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