Monthly Archives: July 2015

emotional connections

I overheard a co-worker talking to her upset pre-teenage daughter on the phone at the end of the day.   “I’ll be right there”, she said.

“I’ll be right there.”  Something about those words kept floating around in my head.  I even jotted them down.  They seemed to be so simple, so ordinary, yet felt so significant in the moment.

I think those words mean that ” I matter”, that “I’m cared for”, that “I’m safe”.  I think those words translate love, security, trust.  I think they mean we’re in touch.

I think that’s what this young girl probably felt.

For as parents, the most significant gift we can give our children is our presence.

But when we can’t, we can still convey the strength of our caring.

Our adult daughter lives out East so we talk a lot on the phone.  When she is mulling over things and ideas, decisions in her life, I’m often an ear and means for her to sort things out.  Many times when we are saying good bye, I tell her, remind her, “Well, I’m here” – in case she wants to talk more.

One night I got an e-mail, a one-liner, saying “Thanks for always saying “I’m here”.

“I’ll be right there” – “I’m here” – emotional presence, emotional connections.

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I am all about making emotional connections when it comes to our interactions with our children.  I always encourage parents to consider first what’s going on with a child, why is he acting out – what her needs might be – to refrain from taking the behavior personally – to respond instead of react – to be empathic – to be there for him.

But being emotionally connected with your child does not mean never setting limits, or carrying through with the limits you set.  And when we do this, a child might be very upset.  Yet as parents, we often do need to take charge, to stay calm, yet get the job done, in spite of mighty protests and tears.

For there is, of course, plenty of time for discussions, choices, listening, explanations – until there’s not – and then children need us to lead them, to help them feel safe,  to be their security, their guide, to follow through, gently but firmly.

In fact, often a child’s behavior is “asking” us to do just that – to help them stop, to tell them no, to be the grown-up.

I observed two examples of parents doing just that as Play Shoppe came to an end this week.

I watched as these moms understood it was up to them to be in charge, to show the way, and they did.

And their talking will continue, and their connection is still strong, and I believe their children feel the security, the strength and the caring of their parent’s love even more.


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take care

I watched a mom change her young baby’s diaper the other day and was once again so aware of the power of this shared moment between parent and baby.

For diaper changing is not only about keeping babies clean and comfortable, but also about the personal exchange that takes place.  For diapering offers both parent and child the perfect few moments to emotionally connect.

Who hasn’t  made up our own silly songs as we “do the dipe, do the dipe”, repeat the last little piggy running “wee, wee, wee, all the way home” , done a diaper dance, shared a peekaboo moment with the clean diaper before putting it on, or made a diaper talk to a run-away 18-month -old?

Then, of course there’s often the familiar banter, deals made  between partners of whose turn it is to take care of the big job this time.

Take care – those are the two operative words here for me.  I love that expression “take care”.

Because as parents, that is our job, our purpose.

We take care of keeping our children clean and comfortable.  We take care when we do this most intimate task in conveying joy and love through our actions.

As parents, we mostly take this everyday task of diapering for granted. Yet there are families who are struggling financially – where the expense of diapers is a stressful burden they face everyday and often find too challenging to keep up with.

And so the banter, the exchange, the ability to “take care” is limited, and this lack is heavy in the hearts and minds of these loving parents, and as research has found,  in the very well-being of the family.

That’s why The Parenting Place is holding a Diaper Drive during the month of July to gather diapers we can offer to families in need – so they can have the peace of mind and feel the relief and the joy in being able to take care of their child’s needs.

If you are interested in participating in The Parenting Place July Diaper Drive, we are accepting  all sizes, (partial packs included) as well as diaper wipes also.  The most requested size is 4’s and 5’s.  You can drop them off at The Parenting Place.  We will see that families receive them.

Take Care.

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a selfie

When I was growing up, we had a side porch right off the kitchen, enclosed, with simple but comfortable chairs and many windows to look out.

This is where I remember my mom going to sit, to take a short break. She’d sit in her chair, put her feet up on the hassock and be still, lost in thought it seemed – resting, refreshing herself.

This kind of “self time” is often neglected when we are busy with children.  But it is very necessary.  With so many demands and emotions coming at us continually, we need to empty our minds for even a short time, and relax – by giving ourselves this intentional break.

A mom came into The Parenting Place last week with her two busy young boys.  She had a quick question so I went into the Children’s Room with them so the children could play while we talked.  After about twenty minutes, we had finished talking.

Mom had been over in the corner on the floor picking up Lego pieces and putting them back in the bin, while the boys had zipped off to the other side of the room, out of sight of mom, playing with some cars and trucks.

I saw the boys and wondered where their mom had gone.   I looked over to see if she was still where I had left her.

She was.

The Lego pieces  were all put away and mom was just sitting there, alone – on the floor – quietly relishing this precious moment to herself – to just be still, to be quiet, to breathe, to hide.

She laughed when I saw her and said it felt too good to get up. I appreciated that moment for her so much.

So this is something you can try at home.

Somewhere, somehow, in your day, find that spot, take that time, find the quiet within.

Try this different kind of “selfie” – steal a snapshot of time for yourself.

It will make you smile.

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