Monthly Archives: June 2016

high expectations

Am I expecting too much?

I hear that from parents of children of all ages.  And sometimes the answer is clearly “yes” and sometimes the expectations just need some tweaking.

Parents explain “I just want her to…”  “why can’t he do …” why is she so negative?” … “I know she can do this…” “why   won’t he listen?”

I think the measure for ourselves as parents is to recognize that new skills and changes in behavior take time.  When our expectations for our children become too high, too soon, too insistent -too important to us – our children will react, with behavior that says “no”, “I won’t”, “You can’t make me.”

Little children – big emotions.

And that’s your gauge, your time to slow down, take a break.

For young children have radar and they recognize and react to the stress in a parent – that pressure from us as parents, caught up in our own agenda.  So easy to do – sometimes so difficult to recognize. But as Polly Berrien Berends, author of Whole Child/Whole Parent tells us, “What governs a parent governs a child.”

So when we feel resistance, negativity, stress in our children, we need to take a break, and reflect on our own intentions, stress and behavior.

Slow down a bit and check on our connections.

There might be a loose one that an extra hug, a cozy lap, a listening ear, or some playful giggles shared might fix.

Love trumps all.


















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While on my recent trek to my childhood hometown, Sag Harbor, on the very eastern shore of Long Island, New York, I visited the lovely beach I went to as a child.

To my delight, it remained unchanged – and the years peeled away as I waded in the water and collected sea shells on the beach.

This past weekend I finally got around to sorting out my collected shells.  As I reached in and took each shell out of my bag, I realized it wasn’t that every shell was a different kind of shell, but that each shell was unique – in size, shape, feel and hue – each one very special.

And as I sorted through, my thoughts wandered to the horrific scenes of the recent shooting in Orlando – young people in the prime of their life –  also unique in size, shape,feel and hue –gone.

As parents, our children need us to nurture and value these differences in them – the personalities that flavor our families, that make our world exceptional.

As parents, we need to deliver that message of love and support to our children – loud and clear – to our friends, to our community, that we welcome and appreciate diversity in our lives.

For like my sea shells, each of us is beautiful in our own uniqueness.

               Remembering those who died and all who suffered in Orlando.

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your day

I can’t say enough about how significant routine is in a child’s life – how predictability and secure connections enable a child to understand and appreciate his/her day.

As parents, we pretty much know what we plan to do for the day – at least what we hope to do for the day.   But, how about our children?  The busier our day, usually the less time we have to inform our little ones and the faster we move.

And so as we adults soothe ourselves by checking our phones and watches and schedules, we zoom through the day, feeling on task, yet often unaware of our sometimes bewildered children tagging behind.

Letting a child in on the plan for his/her day, most especially when not a routine day, gives these young ones a sense of security – that all is right with the world – their world.

Granted infants and young children will not understand all the words –   but the sound of your voice, the assurance of your voice, is their assurance that all is okay, all will be well.

At this time of year, especially, when routines are in transit, vacations planned, company coming, this simple exchange a parent offers can help relieve tensions and fears and even behaviors that often the anxiety of not knowing can bring on.

And bonus – by doing this with your child(ren), by speaking the words aloud, it can also benefit you, provide you with a sense of order of the day ahead – one that can be faced and welcomed – together.

So…what’s your day like today?

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This past weekend I gathered together with my sisters and brothers and families to recognize and celebrate our eldest brother’s milestone birthday.

It was a sharing of love, caring, respect, and humor that flowed throughout the evening in this “teasing, laughing, all-talking-at one-time” family.

And the warmth of it resonates with me even now as I sit here writing this at home in La Crosse.

As parents, recognizing the benchmarks and the milestones in our families’ lives, even the simplest ones, is so significant as we weave the tapestry of our lives together.  It offers us connection, a sense of history, of growth, of love, of community.

It enriches our soul.

On Saturday, June 11th, The Parenting Place is holding their dedication of  The Parenting Place Pacifier Tree in The Parenting Place’s backyard play space.

For those families with young children who cherish their pacifiers, it is often a difficult transition when the time comes to give them up.

So The Parenting Place is borrowing a custom from  Scandinavian countries, where in many children’s parks, there is a Pacifier Tree.  When a child comes to the age when he/she is ready to give up their pacifier, the child and his/her family go to one of these trees and hangs his/her pacifier(s), bedecked in ribbons, from one of the branches.

Then often the family continues on to celebrate this rite-of -passage with a delicious treat to further commemorate the occasion.

This simple gesture, this simple milestone can provide a sense of completion, of accomplishment, of growth, of pride, support, and recognition in this young child’s life.

The Parenting Place likes this idea and so The Pacifier Tree will be available to families and their children to come and hang their treasured “binky” from its branches when the time is right for them.


Celebrating milestones.

The Dedication of The Parenting Place Pacifier Tree, Saturday June 11th from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM at The Parenting Place backyard play area, 1500 Green Bay St.

Come join us and enjoy simple Springtime activities and treats!




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