Monthly Archives: March 2015

happy anniversary

Today when I opened up my WordPress site to write my blog – I was surprised to find a Happy Anniversary card from WordPress to me.  Five years ago today, I wrote my first Parent Pulse blog for The Parenting Place.

Wow! Who knew?

It’s hard to believe so many Mondays have gone by that I’ve sat down to share some thoughts with all of you. And it’s all of you who follow, read and share  that makes having this blog so rewarding and fun for me.

So really –  this anniversary is an anniversary for all of us today.

Because it is your stories, your challenges, your celebrations, your funny, smart children that give me the ideas to write about.

As we go along from day to day, we don’t often stop to consider the milestones in our daily lives.  Parents, especially, have so much to recognize, so much to feel they have accomplished.  For every stage of childhood passed through is also a stage of parenting – that we grow through together.

And these passages are significant.

Remember to take the time to recognize where you started and what you’ve learned.

Take the time to recognize your growth as a parent.

Take the time to celebrate.

 

 

 

 

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bloom

Spring is here – and yet we awoke to a virtual winter wonderland.

Two steps forward – one step back.

As parents, we see that a lot in a child’s development.  Everything seems to be going well when,  “oops”, we  encounter some short-lived regression along the way.  This can be frustrating to parents, as their child  perhaps begins to wake up repeatedly in the night, pee their pants, whine and want to be carried, become afraid of the bath – all after months of independent practice.

But take heed – just as we accept the vagaries of nature – the cold front slipping down from the north causing this spring storm, we need to expect and accept these setbacks in development when they occur, and meet your child where he/she is right at that moment.

Usually a regression in a child reflects a developmental leap, some  stress, or change in his life that is troubling him.  It could be a nightmare that he had, a scary video he watched at a cousin’s house, not enough sleep, a new house, a new bed, an ear infection, traveling, sibling issues, or just needing some more and deeper connection with you.

It’s best to meet this in a positive way.  Ignore focusing on the regression and, instead, give the extra love, patience, and attention to your little one.

And just as the snow will melt, the sun will come out and the daffodils sprout in our neighborhoods after this little detour toward spring,  your children will feel your warmth and acceptance,  and bloom  –  once again –  in their own way and time.

Happy Spring!

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fly-test

On Friday at Play Shoppe many of the children decorated kites.  Perfect timing, don’t you think?  “The March winds doth blow and we shall”  … fly kites!

As the morning drew to an end, Henry, a little guy with kite in hand hurried his mom to get going.  “I want to ‘fly-test’ my kite” he repeated excitedly several times on his way out the door.

“Fly-test” – I really like Henry’s personal word for trying out his kite.

It stuck with me all weekend – “fly-test”.

I came to realize that’s  actually what we do as parents on a pretty regular basis.  We fly-test our approaches to parenting – especially the bigger issues – from the time they’re babies figuring out sleep and feeding schedules and why this baby is crying,  right through toilet learning, school issues, temperaments, extracurricular activities, bedtimes, expectations, sibling rivalry – the list goes on.

We fly-test our strategies to see what works well.

We fly-test our strategies, hoping to make our family’s lives be the best it can be – to make things fly.

But parenting is not a perfect science – and sometimes they don’t.

So we reconsider – what didn’t work, what do we need to do instead.  And we learn, just as with keeping a kite aloft, that parenting takes much energy, positive thinking, balance, thrust, passion, resilience, determination, a whole lot of faith and a dream – like Henry had – that his kite  will soar.

If any of you are in the middle of “fly-testing” a solution to a parenting concern and would like some insight, give us a warmline call at The Parenting Place – 784-8125 and ask to speak to one of the Parent Educators.

 

 

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stick to it

“Drop it – put it down – Now!” that’s what the three children walking ahead of us on our Sunday walk heard, as one after another discovered a stick of their choosing.

Obediently they did as they were told.  The oldest child of about 8 years of age took the longest to comply – but did.  He had the most special stick – a sturdy 4-footer with twists and turns.  He recognized its specialness I could tell – the way he held it, the care he was taking in carrying it.  He hoped it could be a “keeper”.

After all, a stick like that doesn’t come along everyday.

What is it about sticks and children anyway?

When I was growing up, my sisters and I would hunt  for “walking sticks” – not the type you see people using as a support when walking or hiking.  No – these sticks were going to walk along with us.  They were not easy to find. They had to be tall and strong but not thick – just thin enough on the bottom to hop along as you walked it – being careful to hold it off to your side, as occasionally it would miss a step and get stuck on a crack,  and you could get jabbed in the stomach.

A walking stick was magical – a stick companion that appeared to come alive as you walked it along.

Sticks offer children an immediate connection with nature.  Just the feel of the rough or smooth bark in ones hands, the different shapes, lengths, curves and hooks can conjure up any myriad uses for this new-found treasure. And a treasure it is – not picked off the boys’ aisle or the girls’ aisle in the toy department of some big box store – but discovered – in nature – by one’s self – the perfect stick for you.

I realize I’m not addressing the concerns this particular mom and other adults might have about the dangers of playing with sticks.  That’s a blog for someone else to write.

This is about keeping the  adventure alive.

It’s about make-believe,  risk-taking , connecting to nature,  imagination, freedom, treasure – and also, yes, self-regulation and discipline.   For only by playing with sticks can we learn and experience just what it takes to be careful with our sticks, to be mindful of others while we play with our sticks.

And in doing so, keep our spirits and imaginations growing and strong.

 

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trust

Sometimes do we try too hard?

As parents, we often walk on tiptoes around our children trying to be so careful with our responses to them.  We practice ultra patience, empathy and understanding, perhaps to a fault – when  sometimes a child’s actions may actually be begging for that final decisive moment when his parent says “enough”.

Phew!  Often we find the air cleared, our child calm, settled and loving.  Maybe there were tears at first, maybe a good cry.   But as Dr. Laura Markham from Aha Parenting believes –  tears are necessary, considered to be healthy to rid the body of the stresses that build up inside, creating the overwhelming feelings and the behaviors that accompany them.

Often parents will tell me how persistent a child’s behavior can be – no matter how many choices are given, no matter how many feelings discussed and shared, the nagging behavior goes on.  That’s when we can believe and trust our child is looking to us to be the final word – to say what needs to be said – “not now”, “no thank you”, “it is time”, “I won’t let you..” to stop them with kind firmness, to let them feel the reassurance that their loving and confident parents are in charge and can keep them safe.

This is not about” might making right” or” your way or no way”.  This is understanding when your child is stuck and needs your help.  This is sometimes initiating and following through with the very thing your child is opposing – because you understand what he needs, what will help her.

Parenting is all about trusting our children – while also trusting ourselves.

 

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