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My Challenge, My Love - Page 35

post #681 of 913
Oh darling... please forgive and try like all of us to do better tomorrow. All children push our buttons, and all of us have less than our best days. The larger fabric of our relationship with our children is not ruined by one errant thread.

I hit mine today... really the first time. Joey is 4. I was driving 6 hours home from my mom's alone with three kids and the fighting just got to me. I smacked his hand. And boy was he shocked.

That isn't that weird... I lose it every once and a while... although I am a zen mamma saint in my 40's compared to my early mom years.

The part that I am struggling with is that I just had rough email bash-out with a "natural mothering" group that seems to strongly support spanking and boy did I puff myself up about my gentle, peaceful, nonviolent parenting.

Is it better that I swear I never hit, when in fact occasionally I do or is it better to say I think it is ok to use violence rarely as circumstances dictate? Would it be more honest to say that I believe that an occasional smack is good parenting? I mean I kind of told Joey it was both of our fault... of course I know how stupid I say saying I hit you because you aren't supposed to hit Zach.

All I can say is that my mother hardly ever hit me and supports my not spanking but she also did get me to see that I set the bar awfully low with them... one might even say permissive. Perhaps this is due to my awful history with Nate or my own "Oh, she's such a good girl" sh*t.

Boy am I rabling.

Welcome lurkers and new mommas. This thread is a Godsend and some of the best parenting advice on the planet... Welcome all.

Maureen
post #682 of 913
Ok, I am missing the search feature because Sledg has an appropriate thread about "Yelling" in the GD forum which discusses Self-care as the precursor (and prerequisite) to being a calm and centered mama. It seems so obvious, but so difficult. As a mama on another list I'm on posted, we need to analyze the *patterns* of losing it to see what were our underlying needs and how can we meet those proactively? To keep doing the same action (self-neglect) and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity, they say.

Not to say that having ONE child doesn't put me on the border of insanity regularly. : But, recognizing my hot buttons and working to address those from a position of awareness and choice of alternative reactions is key for me. It helps me to have practiced reactions so that my initial re-action is to stop myself to consider 'what was I going to do?' instead of automatically acting on the habituated voice in my head (my mother's "Listen to me young lady, I am talking to you! Didn't you hear me?! I TOLD you to do blah, blah, blah.) By practicing 'I want to help, what do you need? I need xyz. How can we work this out?' type interactions these alternative *relational* interactions become closer to the surface, even when I am this close to YELLING!

My practice does NOT make perfect however. And I, too, am humbled by reality as fast as I post about 'what to do instead', lol. <sigh> (holding my breath and knocking on wood!)

I try to remember that "Children teach us what we most need to learn". Our son is my own Zen master. He continues to show me exactly what I need to learn. Daily, sometimes hourly, he provokes me to practice!!

Pat
post #683 of 913
Thread Starter 
Mommy&Will-Mama, just many, many to you tonight. Just keep reading here, keep checking in, you will realize you are not alone. And you will get inspired & comforted by the mama wisdom here. I'm happy you found this spot.

I have this magnet on my fridge that says: Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".

Maureen- to you tonight. I'm sorry you had such a hard time today. I really like this: The larger fabric of our relationship with our children is not ruined by one errant thread.

Humility, non-judgment, etc., these seem to be the big lessons that I keep learning over and over and over again. I guess I must need to learn these BIGTIME. And I think I need to apply these lessons to my biggest kid: ME!

You know, I feel very strongly about a few things still-I am a strong breastfeeding advocate, for one. But literally short of abuse, I really have mostly compassion for every mama and dad. Every single one of us.

And scuba-Another great post. Self-care is key, I think. But like you elaborate on, sometimes, our reactions seem to come out of nowhere. Even a well-rested, well-intentioned mama can lash out and not know where in the heck it's coming from. I am realizing that maximizing the good times, doing what I do well more and more and more, really helps, if that makes any sense. Maximizing the good and fun, minimizing the anger/not-so-great moments. That's all I can do, really. Being aware of it is key. Which really does help lesson some of the crazy moments, at least sometimes.

Man, I just keep going back to what Maureen said at the top of her post about the fabric of our relationship with our kids. That has helped me tremendously tonight. And I'm hoping it's helping all of you tonight, too.
post #684 of 913
Hi all,
About 6 months ago I was lurking here, in tears, of course, over the vast difficulty involved in raising my little guy. I read a blurb written by you, Bearsmama, about how our children are sent to us to teach us a particular life lesson, and our job was to be open to receiving and learning it. Around that same time, I read Alfie Kohn's "Unconditional Parenting", and re-read "Hold on To Your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld.

The lesson I've learned (well, one of them) is that parenting challenging children isn't about the minute-by-minute strategies for discipline, but rather, seeing the big picture, and how our attitudes about our children and our own childhoods come into play in creating this disfunction. I'm certainly not claiming to know whether or not any of the children described here have "actual mental health issues" but as a mother who has asked for referrals for professional help on more than one occasion, I know the fear, and the feeling of *knowing* that something isn't right. Sometimes, though, I think it seems easier to accept a diagnosis and then manage a condition, than to just recognize where we have failed as parents. I see so many people get down on themselves, blame themselves for their kid's challenges, and I don't think that's helpful. BUT! For us, recognizing how we had been screwing up (or, more accurately, not parenting our extremely emotionally sensitive kid in a way that was good for him) was the first step in solving the problem.

After reading Unconditional Parenting, I cried and cried, raged (silently, of course) at my parents for parenting me the way they did, forgave them, and forgave myself. Then I totally changed my attitude about trying to control my kids, and immersed myself fully in HELPING them get through life, minute by minute. This was best acheived by not worrying AT ALL about mental health issues -- I decided that my maddeningly quirky 4 year old just needed to know that I was on his side, and I hadn't conveyed that to him well enough. We've never done punishments at all, but he HATES feeling like anyone is at all disappointed in him, and often the tactic is to push the envelope further to convince himself that he had done it intentionally and seal the deal, so to speak. He also had all kinds of rituals we had to go through every single day, and the more we tried to control them, the more embedded they became. It was hard to know when to just go along with something and when we were reinforcing his belief that a particular ritual was necessary. He'd lose it over a friend not handing him something the right way -- 20 times a day we'd have to "start over" and redo getting out of the car, etc. I think this was his way of exerting control, testing how far he could go before I cracked (and I've cracked a couple of times and swatted his bum, which breaks all of our hearts, of course).

Anyway, Gordon Neufeld (Hold on to your kids) has been monumental in helping me to see that ALL of this was a result of the breakdown of our relationship. I saw him speak at the BC homeschoolers convention, and one thing he said that really resonated with me was something to the effect of "we have a generation of little ducks leading their mama duck around, when little ducks NEED to have a mama duck to follow." Basically, that lack of confidence that you mentioned earlier is so destructive to your role as a parent, and kids sense that and flounder. It really strikes me when I hear many of you feeling worried about your kids having time off from school -- relax!! have fun!! just go out and do silly, crazy things with your kids, and if they have a meltdown, who cares? You can't skip life because you *might* have a bad experience!! And uh, if I may plug for the homeschooling life, for those of you with school issues, you might find that the extra time you have to connect makes your relationship more solid, rather than less.

I don't want to come in here and seem judgemental at all -- I really do know where you are coming from. But what has helped me the most has been to shift my whole mindset about raising kids, and reading Unconditional Parenting, Hold on To Your Kids, and various other books, has really helped me a lot. Maturity helps a lot too, both mine and my son's. He's been a basket case for about 3 years now, but here we sit, two months shy of his 5th b-day, and I can safely say that he's not mentally ill (and lots of people feared that he was, from reading what I wrote about him) he just needed a stronger mama duck. A lot of our problem stemmed from the fact that our philosophy was one of respect for the child, but in the heat of the moment, our backgrounds as repressed children came spewing forth, and we often felt that we "couldn't let him get away with this", and tried to control him rather than help him through it. It takes great strength to not give a rat's a$$ what people think of you and just really listen and help your kid.

The situation you described of your son being locked outside raging while you and your dh were locked inside broke my heart. I'm not casting blame, because it's often so hard to know what to do when things escalate to that point, but that poor kid was really trying to tell you something, and you shut him out, literally. I'm not saying that what you did was wrong, necessarily, but if you look at it from his perspective for a minute, it changes everything. Instead of feeling like he has to regain control before he can be let in the house, maybe you needed to firmly grab him by the shoulders, tell him he needed to stop, and restrain him. Maybe he needs a figurative "padded room" so to speak, or just to feel like when he's out of control, you can help him regain control, instead of being left to his own devices. I'm just throwing out ideas, because at some point, something that someone says will stick, right? A few weeks ago, my son was flipping out over not being able to have another turn at a computer game he and his sister and a neighbor were playing (it was the neighbor's turn). He was flipping out, so I picked him up and took him to the bedroom, trying to talk calmly, but he was freaking like he hasn't freaked in months. So I eventually wrapped his body in a blanket to keep him from hitting me and kicking me until I could see in his eyes that THAT was possibly a little, uh...damaging to him . I just kept him from leaving the room (he was trying to get back to the computer to enforce his turn) kept him from hurting me by using my most FIRM (and a little scary, I think) voice to tell him that he was NOT going to hit me, and he backed down. Eventually, after going through this for about 20 minutes, I sat on the floor and reached out to him and he accepted my snuggle, and we just sat for a bit. I had already said my piece about taking turns, and there was nothing else to say. I weathered the storm, but without abandoning him, without engaging him, without ignoring him, being there for him but not abused by him. I was a strong mama duck, and he eventually followed my lead. The main problem, really, was that because he had been playing that computer game for about 30 minutes, he wasn't connected to me at all (or the real world, really!!), so when it wasn't his turn anymore, it was really jarring for him, and because of our lack of connectedness he wasn't up for cooperation. That one was fairly easy, because we had nowhere else we needed to be, no food burning on the stove, no other child needing attention, etc. But, he hasn't had a fit since then, and I do think a clear boundary was set that day that has had a lasting impression. I've stopped catering to his every whim, and he's learning to accept that -- both with age and with a growing awareness that he can't push me around, but MOSTLY, with his realization that I'm here to help him, and I'm on his side. I've always known that, but he is just figuring it out. One important "Neufeldianism" is that it doesn't matter how much love you have for the child, but how much love the child has for you. A good relationship with your child is based on how the child feels about you, and whether he wants to cooperate with you or not. I agree with what other people have said here about not taking things away or punishing in any way, because that's totally disrespectful, not at all helpful, and really just a way for us to exert power and control over our kids, which never makes them love us or trust us. It was a hard lesson for me to face, but it has made all the difference in the world.

I liked the quote: "the larger fabric of our relationship with our children is not ruined by one errant thread". But I would argue that we've come, in our society, to accept a less durable fabric as the norm, and that what seems like one errant thread to us may be more like a run in your nylons to a kid. Am I making any sense? It's hard to accept that after all our hard work and devotion we still may be screwing up, but facing up to our shortcomings and seeing them through the eyes of our kids (and remembering what it's like to be a kid!) is the only way to really help them through life. We all screw up, but how we deal with those screw-ups says so much!!

post #685 of 913
Julie, We understand. No one here is going to beat you up. If I've learned nothing else of importance, I've learned that parents make mistakes (sometimes huge ones) and that forgiving myself is very important-if I can't forgive, I can't move on to grow as a parent. I'd like to say more but suddenly the natives are very restless.
post #686 of 913
Julie-
post #687 of 913
Julie,
someone once told me (after I confessed one of my dark moments as a parent) that what makes a good parent is *caring* that you'd effed up and reflecting and moving on, able to do better next time. This is very very hard journey, and one that doesn't get much support. Hang in there.
post #688 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
I have this magnet on my fridge that says: Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".
This is true courage. One face of it, anyway.

I cannot figure out how to say what I'm about to say without sounding holier-than-thou, so I'm just going to do my best. **ETA that this is not directed at a particular person, but is just my own ramblings which were stirred by the sentence I quoted.** And I am going to say it because I think it's very relevant to the discussion of caring for ourselves, compassion for ourselves and how that enables us to grow as parents and do better "next time.":
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
But literally short of abuse, I really have mostly compassion for every mama and dad. Every single one of us.
I think that it's extremely important that compassion for my fellow parents not end when abuse begins. I had to look up the word "compassion" to make sure I'm using the right word, and I think I am. Compassion, according to my dictionary is "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress along with a desire to alleviate it." That has always been my sense of the word. Compassion is not synonymous with approval.

It's not easy, though, to cultivate compassion for those who do things we find shocking or abhorrent. But the way I see it (when I stop to consider), there but for the grace of g-d go I. Most parents who abuse do not do so because they were simply born evil and born with a fetish for causing pain in small children. They abuse their kids for many of the same reasons that I screw up and yell at my kids, plus others. That can be hard to see, to imagine, to understand. And it's scary in a way, too. What if I'd never found MDC? What if I'd never come across a gentle discipline book? What if I had no understanding about child development? What if I lacked all that information and came from an abusive home, or were under unimaginable stress? What leads a parent to substance abuse that tends to end in child abuse? What if I had no support in my quest to better my parenting? What if I had continued to blame myself for my child's difficulties, and if everyone around me blamed me, as each and every gentle parenting method failed to change her behavior-could I have become abusive in an attempt to control her? I can see so many factors that can lead to a parent's abusing their child. Really, there but for the grace go I. I can see it. And I wonder if some of the things I've said and done were abusive. But what most helps me change and learn and grow? It's not the shame, or the guilt, or the blame. It's the compassion, the compassion I receive from others and (maybe mostly) the compassion I can give to myself. And also the compassion I extend to others. It's also the understanding that helps, the understanding of not just my kids but also of myself. I think this is what we all need, as human parents. This is not only a gift we can give to others, but a gift we can give ourselves as well.

Okay, so I've been really working at this post and it still sounds soapbox-ish. I don't mean it to be, I just can't convey it any better. Compassion and understanding have for me become so vital-and in seeing how vital it is to me and my kids, I wish to extend it to all parents and children. If I can't extend it to everyone, it becomes more difficult for me to extend it to myself. And if I can't extend compassion and understanding to myself, then I have a much harder time growing and learning as a parent. It's a circle.

On the subject of "where did this alien personality of mine come from?": I have found that while sometimes my reactions seem to come out of nowhere, they always come from somewhere-some unmet need, some feeling, some habit of mind, something. Sometimes I'm just unaware of where it's coming from, sometimes it takes a long period of practicing becoming aware to really understand where it's coming from. Not digging, not theorizing, not psychoanalyzing myself-just being aware. Awareness is a tremendously difficult thing to cultivate.

Have I shared this story here?: There was a time when I read that the first step to ending a habit was to simply become aware of what's behind the urge to engage in it. Not to try to stop it, but simply to listen to oneself and become aware of where the urge comes from. And I wanted to apply this to my habit of yelling, but I was so afraid to do it because of the idea of not trying to stop myself. I realized that I thought that if I didn't try to stop myself, I would be in essence giving myself permission to yell and that in turn would lead to my becoming an even worse parent and maybe eventually horribly abusive. It sounds silly, but this was one of those ways of thinking that was really ingrained in me and that is really ingrained in our culture: that people are inherently "bad" and that without some kind of intimidation or punishment or reward people will always automatically choose the worst possible path, that if we offer compassion when someone has been "bad" they will in turn become even "worse". Once I recognized this in myself, I thought it was a little silly to assume that and found the courage to try. And truly, letting go of always trying to stop myself and instead focusing my energy on cultivating awareness was the most wonderful thing I ever did-it was the key, the beginning of actually making progress and changing. It was the beginning of seeing myself not as a bad parent, but as a person with needs and feelings who is worthy of compassion and understanding. It was the beginning of understanding that I cannot be a good parent without taking good care of myself. It was so amazing, too, in the way it freed me to really see my kids and find those responses that were gentle and effective-in the way it freed me from just reacting.

So now that it has taken me more than an hour to write this in stolen moments while the kids are busy, I'm done and I hope it made sense. It's hard for me to keep a train of thought going with interruptions.

Oh, and I too love what Maureen said: "The larger fabric of our relationship with our children is not ruined by one errant thread."
post #689 of 913
Sledg, thank you for your beautiful words. I don't think you sound too soapbox-y at all. I agree with you about the importance of compassion, of having compassion for every living being, actually, as difficult as that is to achieve.
Thank you, thank you.
post #690 of 913
I posted this great long post a few days ago and then lost it and didn't have the energy to return until today so here goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffani
I liked the quote: "the larger fabric of our relationship with our children is not ruined by one errant thread". But I would argue that we've come, in our society, to accept a less durable fabric as the norm, and that what seems like one errant thread to us may be more like a run in your nylons to a kid.
I very strongly believe that children have it much better today than they ever have in the history of the world. Certainly we have a long way to go and some things have gotten much worse as we have worked to repair other things. There are no good old days of parenting. Those dreams of Leave it to Beaver lifes were full of sexual abuse, physical abuse, shame, guilt, domestic abuse, racism, and sexism. We have more choices in how we create families, when we have children, the number of children we have. We understand brain development and nutrition and mental health and learning so much better than we ever have.

I wish we had universal health care coverage, longer maternity/paternity leaves, a higher breastfeeding rate, lower c-sect rate. I wish fewer parents spanked. I wish more parents felt they could trust the school system. I wish more of us could count on our children's fathers to be fathers and patners.

But I don't think we need higher expectations for moms. I don't think we need to feel guilty for our mistakes, our shortcomings. If people took the world as seriously as mothers take their children, we could end all the worlds troubles.

Ok-am I making any sense? Blessings to all.

Maureen
post #691 of 913
Maureen,
post #692 of 913
Thread Starter 
Okay, admittedly, I couldn't find the clapping hands smiley, so the peace guy is gonna have to suffice. Ditto sledg's clapping hands, Maureen.
post #693 of 913
I totally 100% agree with you, Maureen, and guilt was certainly never my intention -- if anything, for me, it was about getting over the guilt, the "shoulds", the idea that my kid needs to be anyone other than who he is, and fully accept and come to that place with him, that seems to be slowly inching us toward a less chaotic exsistence.

When I said that we've come to accept a less durable fabric as the norm, I mean that mainstream society (and not necessarily those here on this thread) accepts that kids "act out" or "try to get our attention" as if that were a negative thing that needs to be controlled. I think that kids "misbehave" for lack of a better word, or flip out or whatever your kid does to get under your skin, to tell us that they need our love and aren't feeling the connection. I feel that our lives are so busy and hectic a lot of the time that we do neglect the things that kids need, which is just a little bit of present, worry-free, 'let's enjoy each other time'. I'm obviously speaking for myself here, but I've really been trying to carry that feeling over into all areas of our lives together, because my kid needs desperately to be enjoyed, and the real trouble starts when he knows he's not. As long as he knows not only that we love him, but that we like him, he can more easily accept guidance from us.
post #694 of 913
More applause here for Maureen.

Edited to say: tiffani, we posted at the same time. You're right about how much my dd needs to feel that I enjoy her.

I, as usual, never seem to have much time to post, (and I suck at nak-ing) but I still visit this thread as often as possible. You are all so amazing. I have also realized just how easy I have it in so many ways. We are going on 8 months of a good phase. Yes, there are days like today when TEAK is so sensitive it's like she has no skin at all, but somehow the connection between us seems to have mended. I owe all of you so much for that. You've helped me learn what it really means to accept her and love her for who she is, how to start forgiving myself when things go wrong, and how to just survive the storms little more intact.

Mind you, this is not to say that I'm now Siddartha-Mama or anything. I am, however, better that when we started.

Thank you!
k
post #695 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffani
I totally 100% agree with you, Maureen, and guilt was certainly never my intention -- if anything, for me, it was about getting over the guilt, the "shoulds", the idea that my kid needs to be anyone other than who he is, and fully accept and come to that place with him, that seems to be slowly inching us toward a less chaotic exsistence.
I agree with this. I would add that getting over the guilt and the shoulds involves accepting and loving myself just as I am, not asking myself to be anyone other than who I am. This is as important as accepting and loving my kids as they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffani
When I said that we've come to accept a less durable fabric as the norm, I mean that mainstream society (and not necessarily those here on this thread) accepts that kids "act out" or "try to get our attention" as if that were a negative thing that needs to be controlled.
I agree here, I think. I think our culture as a whole tends to not consider the reasons children (or adults) act out, and instead of viewing them with compassion and trying to understand the behavior and trying to meet the unmet needs that lead to that behavior, our culture just labels it "misbehavior" and urges us to control it. This does need to change in the culture at large, and I do believe those of us here have made that change in our thinking and know that there are reasons our children behave as they do even if we don't understand all the reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffani
I think that kids "misbehave" for lack of a better word, or flip out or whatever your kid does to get under your skin, to tell us that they need our love and aren't feeling the connection. I feel that our lives are so busy and hectic a lot of the time that we do neglect the things that kids need, which is just a little bit of present, worry-free, 'let's enjoy each other time'.
I think this is greatly oversimplifying the reasons for "misbehavior" (I, too, dislike the term "misbehavior" but for lack of a better term right now I'm going to go with it). Now, I do think that at times the need for greater connection and time spent together is the unmet need behind the behavior. That certainly does happen, and it's an important thing for parents to attend to. But this is not the only potential reason, IMHO, for "misbehavior." I think we make a big mistake, and do a disservice to parents and children, when we oversimplify and turn to thinking of just one thing as the cause for all problems. Looking only at lack of connection (or limits or consistency or what have you) as the sole cause of behavioral problems actually has the potential to limit the effectiveness of a family's problem-solving wrt discipline. Applying a single cause is limiting. I believe that humans have many more needs than just the need for connection, and any unmet need can give rise to behavioral problems. So can a lack of skills, or chemical reactions in our bodies (as when foods impact behavior), or fatigue and so one. When we tell parents "all you need to do is connect more" or "all kids need is more time with us" or and "all you need to do/all kids need" statement, we fail to accurately examine the humanity, circumstances and experiences of the individuals involved. Those blanket statements of "all parents need to do is....to have a healthy, well-behaved kid" are so much a part of the problem of mother-guilt.

I read Hold on To Your Kids also, and I'm a huge fan of Connection Parenting (which also holds that the cause of misbehavior is lack of connection), and I believe in the huge importance of connection. Kids do need to know we enjoy them and love them as they are. Connection can really help a parent understand a child's behavior and needs, yes (but not all the time). Connection can be the balm that helps a child even when there's another reason for their "misbehavior". Eta that connection helps our children learn, also, and is in many ways a foundation that allows our children to grow and learn and to behave in effective, appropriate ways. It's so important, so fundamental. But in no way do I consider lack of connection to be the root of all "misbehavior", nor do I consider connection/reconnection to be the cure-all for a child's behavior. There are so many other potential reasons for the behavior of any human being.
post #696 of 913
Hello mamas ... wanted to check in with everyone. We're doing good over here at the present time.

Cole did get a postcard from his teacher a couple days ago so now we know what class he's in for the upcoming year. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, to be honest. From what I've been able to discern from other parents, this teacher, as one mom put it, "doesn't tolerate any clowning around". Another told me I wouldn't have to worry about the recess issue much as this teacher isn't known for taking her class out as often as some of the others. *sigh* After talking with DH, he thinks I need to go ahead and have Cole tested. I think if I'm not gonna be able to home school him, and I'm not ... I don't feel capable of that right now, that it's probably a wise choice. I've come to terms that he will just always be "more", but that's not conducive to a school setting and they need something concrete. Else, I fear I'll always be met with the "he has to learn to behave" line.

So that's where I am right now. As always, I hope the absence of activity on this thread is a good thing. Hugs to all!
post #697 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom
but somehow the connection between us seems to have mended. I owe all of you so much for that. You've helped me learn what it really means to accept her and love her for who she is, how to start forgiving myself when things go wrong, and how to just survive the storms little more intact.

Mind you, this is not to say that I'm now Siddartha-Mama or anything. I am, however, better that when we started.

Thank you!
k
This is my exact sentiments. We have had a really, really great week here.

I attribute this to many factors:

1. We've slowed down our schedule.
2. I have been diligent on taking my vitamins.
3. I've forgiven myself and have found the joy of a 4 year old.
4. I'm reading Non-Violent Communicatin by Marshall Rosenberg.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/189...095343?ie=UTF8

I can't believe how just the first chapter of this book helped me. The biggest thing was understanding the importance of separating my OBSERVATIONS with my EVALUATIONS. When something nuts happened this week - and we had some CRAZY situations (jumping in his brother's poop, throwing our lunch soup bowls out the back door onto the deck, and literally climbing up the windows at our Waldorf toddler program), I handled it all so much better. I was able to follow the NVC rules of 1) Observing the situation without evaluating it 2) Trying to understand the real need of my ds, AND my own need 3) Stating my feelings and 4) Stating my request.

Its just helped so much, so that I am not internalizing every "misbehavior" as a reflection of some kind of failure on my part.

I'm happy. I want to keep these good times going, so I'll be checking in here frequently.
post #698 of 913
I need to read the NVC book. I have an amazon gift cert, I think I'll order it.

We are okay, not bad, really, except my dd is turning two next week and she (unlike ds, who didn't get really challenging until 3) is going through the typical two year old devlopmental stuff, which I think over all is a good thing, but it is exhausting!
My ds is set to begin swim lessons next week and he is anxious about that and thus trying to dig his feet in about not doing them. I'd like to honor that, except, deep down, I think he actually does want to "be brave" and learn to swim, he likes the pool with floaties and all of his friends either swim or are in lessons. I checked it out thoroughly and we've done the slow prep work that he always needs, but he's still working it through. I guess we'll see what happens Monday.
Oh, on another note, both kids are now falling asleep in their own beds! Of course, by morning they are in my bed, but just having that little bit of space is a sanity saver for me.
post #699 of 913
emblm, I think there are advantages to testing when a child doesn't fit the school mold. It's a tough decision though, sometimes.

Julie, I love NVC. That book has helped me (and thus, my kids) so very much. Just that little bit about separating evaluations from observations and seeing behavior as an attempt at meeting a need alone makes a huge difference for me.

dalai mama, two is such a wonderful and exhausting age. I can relate to the situation with your son's swimming lessons. My oldest (my challenging one) has been doing swimming lessons for a few months now, and at first she was excited. Then she got there and cried and didn't want to get in the pool. We encouraged her, did the empathy thing, and she got in. And she loved the lesson. We knew she would, because she has always loved to swim (but never learned to more than dog-paddle up till that point). For that whole session she was all smiles, loving it. There are two weeks between sessions (each session is 6-8 weeks, lessons 1x/week), though, and when it came time for the next one she didn't want to go (after we talked about signing up, which she wanted, and went ahead and did it). We encouraged her, because we know her well enough to know that this is something she really enjoys but it's her *nerves* that get the best of her. So she started the next session, and she's loving it. She gets nervous, and that's what leads her to say she doesn't want to go. She needs help getting through that nervousness, and each time we help her through it she grows more confident. Last week she started martial arts lessons (Hapkido). She went the first night to just try it out, LOVED it, and right then wanted to sign up. The second day we went to lessons (she can go up to 4 times/week) it was a different teacher and class didn't start right away after we got there, there was a delay of like 10 minutes where the kids just warmed up and they waited for everyone to arrive. It was too long, she got really nervous, she came off the mat area and started crying and saying she didn't want to do it. I hugged her and encouraged her to relax and try, reminded her she'd been asking for it all week (she'd been asking every day when she could go next). The teacher came to encourage her, and after a moment just said "well, I guess I have to start without you." At that point I asked her if she wanted some water, and while she was drinking the teacher started class. She finished her drink, took a breath, wiped her eyes, gave me a kiss, and went out onto the mat to join in. All in all, it took her waaaaay less time to work through it than it would have in the past. The whole crying/don't want to episode lasted probably only two minutes, and it wasn't a big freak-out. She loved the class that day, practices at home all the time, and has gone to 4 classes this week. All smiles. So I think sometimes it's about knowing your child well enough to honor that deep-down desire to do whatever it is, to help them work through their nervousness so they can give it a try, rather than to just say "okay, we won't do it." And then if it still isn't working, you can always stop.
post #700 of 913
Thanks for the story about your dd and lessons. We've had a rough go of attempting classes and it all stems from anxiety over something unfamiliar. I am feeling pretty positive about how we've handled the upcoming swim lessons. We hired a college student to come and play with us at the pool 4 times when we were visiting my parents and she snuck in a few lesson type things. I've been talking about lessons, my experience with them, and my fears. we identified butterflies in the stomach and shortness of breath as fear and talked about how that's okay, and how its okay to watch how the other kids handle water in their eyes and how they move their arms and legs. The lessons are small, 4 kids to a group, and short, 25 min, and the pool is small, so I think we're all set for sucess. And if it doesn't work to overcome the anxiety, then we'll try next summer. Ds spoke to my mom on the phone thismorning and told her all on his ownthat he was scared about swimlessons, and she was encouraging and supportive as well. I was proud of him for being able to identify and articulate his fear, and felt good about his relationship to my mom, that he shared it with her.

I am exhuasted, but enjoying my 2 yo's spunk. I honestly think her manipulative tantrums now will mean an easier 3, 4, and 5 than we've had with ds, but who knows, she comes from two headstrong and spirited parents, so I'm sure she'll find ways to challenge us
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