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#1 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been doing a lot of personal growing and parent growing lately. In an effort to understand more about my kids developmental stages and get suggestions/techniques for improving some particular issues we were having, I sought out a family therapist. Well, now I'm not so sure the therapist and I are on the same page. So I am turning to the online community of like-minded parents for input. This will be a book. Please only read if you are interested in sharing your ideas, insights, techniques, successes and failures. Otherwise, it might be rather boring.

This therapist, R, helped me understand and process my unexpected cesarean with my first child. It was a great experience for me and helped me grow in so many ways. I felt like I had someone on my side, someone who listened to me, who allowed me to vent and didn't judge me. This time, however, I do not feel like she is listening. I feel like she is assuming what I am saying instead of actually listening to what I am saying. I also feel like she (unintentionally) suggests that I change certain parenting ideals for a more mainstream technique. But I am unsure about that. Maybe the technique will work, maybe not. But will I feel like a good parent if I change a parenting belief?

Ex. 1: Weaning my 15 mos. old daughter, E. She nurses maybe 5 times a day but quite a bit at night. We co-sleep but I want to start transitioning her to a bed in the kids' room. I nurse E to sleep at nap time and bedtime. There are some days that E is so worked up that I cannot transfer her to her bed after she falls off the breast. She wakes up screaming within minutes and I can either nurse her to sleep again or allow her to stay awake. I usually nurse her back to sleep so she gets at least 30 minutes of nap time but this means that I do not get any alone time during the day (my 3 yr. old, G, has quiet time in his room during her nap time). I am a much calmer, happier mommy when I've had time to myself during the day.

R has suggested weaning during the day and allowing E to learn to self-soothe to sleep. I don't disagree that E needs to learn to self-soothe but I don't know how to teach her that. I did not get any suggestions from R on how to teach this. My son, G, was rocked to sleep every night until the week after his 1st birthday. He then decided he didn't want to be rocked and has fallen asleep on his own ever since. I thought/assumed E would also decide one day to fall asleep on her own and have just been waiting.

Ex. 2: R suggested putting G and E in some sort of daycare/Mother's Day Out program a few times a week so the kids get socialization and I get a break. I like the idea but cannot afford the idea. I tried to join a playgroup but the events were not timed well to work with our schedule/routine. Plus there wouldn't be a break for me as I would have to be there. I also am not sure how much socialization the kids need. I know humans used to live in communities and all the kids probably formed one large group that played/learned together. But I am so isolated, as are so many other parents these days, that I don't know how much is too little, how much is too much, how much is just enough. I don't want to be in a car all the time driving from one event to the next. I don't want to start managing my 3 yr. old's social calendar, especially when I don't even have one!

I am really unsure if I want/need to continue seeing the therapist right now. I do not feel like I am getting what I think I need out of the sessions. However, I do not like butting my head against my kids' day in/day out either. I dislike the place we are in right now but maybe that's due to their ages more than anything else.

I can say that the Supernanny Naughty Step Technique has helped my son a lot (that was suggested by R). He does so much better when there are firm boundaries, firm rules, firm routine in place. He still pushes but he is a much more secure, happy, agreeable child when I am a calm, firm parent. I'm not sure what will work with my daughter. She is too young for time-out but she is starting to throw these awesome, high-volume temper tantrums. Redirection is not in her vocabulary.

Am I all over the place? Is this understandable? I would like input/advice/suggestions on whether I should continue seeing R, whether I should day-wean my daughter to somehow teach self-soothing, what techniques I can use to teach self-soothing (if possible), how to make time for myself during the day, how to socialize my kids, anything else you might think useful.

I am super-insecure about being a parent. I feel sometimes that any mistake I make will screw up my kids for ever. Dramatic, I know, but a real, deep emotion within. My logical mind knows that I am too hard on myself, that I didn't go to parenting school but I have yet to incorporate that into my being. It is also late at night and I think I've quit making any sense at all. I appreciate anything!

A + B = G 6/07 & E 2/09 & brokenheart.gif 11/28/10 & F 1/12 & due 8/14
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#2 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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If you do try any day-weaning, she's probably the most attached to that naptime nursing....many moms find those are the *last* to go.

I've nursed my two youngest in my bed and just left them there to nap. There's a guardrail on one side. They weren't movers, so I didn't worry much about the other side. I am now moving DS to the bottom bunk of his brother's bunkbed, a full bed. (NOT both siblings at the same time! )

I tend to avoid people whose solutions go against my thoughts on things I don't see as a huge problem. (Ex. bedsharing, breastfeeding, weaning) So I guess I'd base my decision on whether or not to leave the therapist on how you feel about that...do you feel like she's totally ignoring what is working for you and trying to get you to change it? Or ignoring things that are important to you, like maybe not using CIO? if she's worth talking to, I think she'd have some alternatives that would work for you?

I think we all have times we're not confident, I'm going on my 4th and I'm only now beginning to see that doing the best I can is perfectly all right, and better than a lot of people get.

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#3 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:26 AM
 
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Are you looking for a parenting coach? Or a real therapist for YOU (to work on your anxiety)?

Honestly, it seems like you might do better with the latter.

I was raised in an abusive home. I thought I'd worked through it, but frankly becoming a parent resurrected a great many issues for me. I saw a therapist for about a year after the birth of my twins (my youngest kids) and she helped me work through my feelings and anxiety and decision making processes..but we NEVER discussed parenting style nor did she EVER give me parenting suggestions. It was inappropriate, since I wasn't asking her to give me parenting advice but to help ME work through MY issues. It did in fact help in my parenting a great deal (IMO more than a parenting coach would have).

So what is it specifically that you need to work through? What do you really want? If it's a parenting coach, that's fine, but you're going to have to shop around to find a coach that shares your parenting values. If you're looking for therapy for yourself so that you can remove obstacles that get in the way of your parenting like you want to (anxiety, grief, attachment, ect.) then you are probably going to need to be specific that THAT is what you want and you don't want to be coached in parenting--that might mean you need to shop around for a different therapist too if she won't respect that boundary.
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#4 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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Re: 2, it actually is surprisingly restful to have your LO in a group of kids in a space away from your home, especially if there are other people to talk with.
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#5 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:31 AM
 
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I think you made perfect sense, in that kind of stream-of-consciousness, full-of-worries way that I think things through, anyway!

So what issues are you asking R to work on? It seems like she's giving more logistical/parent-hack advice than help working through stuff. I am no therapist, and have only seen one for a short time many years ago, but it seems like suggestions to get more time for oneself or something more general would be better than a laundry list of weaning baby, using specific discipline technique, go to outing X times a week, etc. Does that make sense?

As far as your other questions, you might have better luck asking them in the individual forums. For example, you could ask about bfing and sleep in the Family Bed forum, and the discipline issue in the GD forum (but be forewarned, there will probably be some opposition to the idea of a "naughty step)

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#6 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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Tigerchild, X-posted w/you and you said what I was trying to, only more eloquently, of course!

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#7 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 01:39 AM
 
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hm.. someone once said something about getting parenting advises from doctors

I think the same thing goes to the therapists..

Simply said.. therapists are not experts on parenting. Unless they are parents... besides there is so many parenting styles that you would first have to know what is general parenting style that your therapist is following herself, otheriwse you might be following footsteps of someone who is heading in totally different direction. where is shie coming from.. where is she going with her advises and are your parenting ideas the same as her?
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#8 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I think her bfeeding advice is weird. Usually you nightwean not day wean and night weaning would help with the sleeping issues more than day weaning. I would take advice from the bfeeding forum here over that of any therapist/doctor. Go ask them.

(Also, self soothing requires a lovey. If your child doesn't have a lovey, then that is what you really need to work on.)

Play groups, Mom's day out stuff is great, but if you can't make it work, then let it go. Unless your therapist is offering to pay for it???

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#9 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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I think you've had good responses about the therapist, and I have no idea about the napping thing since my 27 month old still nurses to nap , but I will say that play groups and mom's groups have saved my sanity. They are awesome. Being with your kids when there are a bunch of other moms around to talk to, at someone else's house or a different environment, is worlds away from being home alone with your kids, IMO. I imagine that one morning a week of regularly being around other moms and kids might feel like a real break for you, even though you'd still be right there with them. It certainly feels that way for me.

But yeah, I don't think there's any point in getting parenting advice from a therapist unless she 100% agrees with your philosophy of parenting.

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#10 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you very much for the input you have given, ladies! I have been really questioning whether or not I should take my therapist's advice when it just feels so wrong, at least against what I have decided in my heart is the right path. I hadn't thought about what her parenting style/choice might be compared to mine. I just jumped in because she had helped before, maybe she could help now, you know?

I had a session yesterday and I really wanted to talk about my mother (of course!) and the idea of becoming a La Leche League leader (I was asked to consider it at my last meeting). However, I wasn't able to get a word in about those things. It all devolved into her discussing the kids schedule, getting time for myself, making my husband understand my frustrations so we can get on the same page, blah, blah, blah. I realize those are important things but I thought I had already discussed those at the last two sessions. I had new things I wanted to talk about and get input on. After her thoughts on breastfeeding being about my daughter's manipulation of my emotions rather than a nutritional need for her, I may be glad that I didn't mention the LLL leader idea to her.

I think I definitely need to reevaluate why I wanted a therapist's input in my parenting, why I felt the need to talk to a 'professional' about my kids, and how this person may not be the right fit for me at this time. Maybe my true intent was to look at MY issues, rather than my KIDS issues. I over-think so many things and my anxiety is sky-high because of that.

I have this deep fear that any one thing I do may be THE thing that screws my kid up for life, makes him/her/both into evil over-lords seeking to destroy the earth as it was destroyed for him/her/them. Perhaps I just watch too many bad movies....

I have some deep thinking, without over-thinking, to do right now. After that, if I need to, I am grateful to have a supportive community that I can turn to for input should I want it. Thank you again!

A + B = G 6/07 & E 2/09 & brokenheart.gif 11/28/10 & F 1/12 & due 8/14
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#11 of 28 Old 06-09-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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I've been in therapy on and off for 25 years. Wow. I really am crazy. If a therapist starting giving me advice like that about parenting I would flat tell her that she is going outside the scope of her training and she needs to back off. There are as many different schools of thought on parenting as there are parents. If you feel like her advice isn't stuff that will work for your family, totally ignore it.

That said, my daughter basically had to get old enough to not nap at all before she was ok with napping without my boob in her mouth. Night time sleep she is fine with going to bed with Daddy and not nursing, but for some reason during the day she just really needs it. I really understand that this period of early childhood feels like FOREVER (uhm, I'm still in it) but in the long run this will be a very short period. To me I would rather continue meeting my daughter's copious nursing needs right now and worry about helping her be independent once she's not a baby anymore. (You did ask for opinions. Not that I'm all that experienced. I'm just sayin'.)

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#12 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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Egads, i hate it when a therapist is so intent on pushing their agenda on you that they don't bother to ask you what's going on with you. that's not the way it should be IMO. The list of changes sounds way to abrupt. IMO. Maybe you do need some time to yourself. Does that mean you need to drop your lo off three days a week in daycare? can't you just get a friend to watch her once and in while while you do something for yourself? Maybe you do need to set limits on nursing(i'm not really saying you did. I didn't even limit day nursies until 16 months), but do you really need to make so many changes to the nursing schedule that fast?
Personally, I'd be really annoyed if someone tried to come in and dictate my life in that way.
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#13 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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For the going to sleep/self soothing, I would just start by sitting with her. Or have your DH sit with her, so that she understands that there won't be nursing. Rub her back, talk softly to her, stroke her face, but don't pick her up or take her out of the bed. If she's got a lovey, encourage her to cuddle that. Maybe sing a soft song with her, tell a quiet story.

For the weaning, maybe just try focusing on one at a time, either the night weaning or the nap weaning. I think all at once is probably too much for her.

It won't work right away, it will take time, and it may be harder for you because you are the carrier of the nursies, so just stick with it. Be gentle and firm. Just remind yourself that she won't be a nursing teenager, that it has to end sometime, and keep trying.

As for establishing boundaries, I would just keep with the redirection. At that age, they don't really understand consequences. Get playful with it, get the obnoxious high pitched excited voice "Lets go play with your BLOCKS!! Wanna help mommy build blocks??" Redirection works, but sometimes you have to do it over and over and over and over and over and over again.

I would try out a playgroup or two, but they don't have to be set in stone. Go some days, don't go others. A lot of kids thrive on routine, though, so I'd just pick one day and go, and maybe spend extra time at the park during the week as well. Socialization comes in many forms, not just playdates or playgroups.

You are a great mom, don't let this get you down.
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#14 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 03:28 AM
 
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I work part time for a therapist and while I think she's an amazing human being and I have heard raves from her clients, I would personally NOT take any parenting advice from her. For one, she's never been a parent and she has no real world experience. There is only so much you can learn from a book. When we talk about our lives and what's going on, it's clear to me that she has absolutely no idea what it's really like to be a parent. And her experience/knowledge about extended breastfeeding/family bed/etc is nil except what I've discussed with her over the years.

I think if your therapist is saying something that feels wrong to you (not uncomfortable to hear or something new to think about but wrong) then that's a big warning sign. Also, if she's dictating the focus of your session, then there's another warning sign. You're the client and you're (most likely) paying really good money to be there and it's your time to be spent how you choose.

I have found that being in a parent group/play group has been at times challenging but also very rewarding for me. The key for me was creating one for myself that had like minded parents so that I felt supported when my baby was up all night nursing. It's not so helpful if you're hanging out with mothers who think you should CIO and have weaned already.

I also think it's a very mainstream and misguided idea that kids that age need socialization. YOU probably need more socialization with supportive parents, but not your kids.

You sound very loving and thoughtful and respectful of your kids; there really isn't one thing that you're going to do to mess them up! Really! Be gentle with yourself, it sounds like you're doing a great job. No parent is perfect!
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#15 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 04:57 AM
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It really sounds like your therapist is no longer listening to you, so she's unable to help you anymore. It doesn't sound like your therapist agrees with AP parenting or a natural parenting style. So she's now trying to convert you to a mainstream parenting point of view instead of providing individual therapy. So instead of supporting you in your choices she's making you feel less confident.

I've found that meeting all my DDs needs without any limiting seemed to make those needs lessen with time. I think the whole idea of AP parenting is to have a secure well nurtured infant and toddler who can go on to more independent behavior because they feel secure. I don't think a 15 month old can self soothe. We're biologically dependent at that age. It's only been a small part of human history that a 15 month old was safe out of their parents arms. You don't teach a child to self soothe. One day they just do it, when they are ready. They also day wean themselves when they're ready. A play based preschool may be good for your 3 year old but your baby just needs her family at this point in her life. Tantrums are how LOs learn to deal with big emotions. You shouldn't punish for overwhelming emotion tantrums. That can hinder healthy emotional development. Just comfort or sympathize. At 15 months, nursing my DD often prevented tantrums. She'd ask for milk before the meltdown. I can't imagine having a 15 month old and a 3 year old at the same time. My 4.5 year old DD was so intense a couple of years ago, there's no way I'd have had energy for two LOs. I do think that the stress you have right now is due to your kids ages more than anything else. I think you should do the LLL leader thing. It will put you in contact with some like minded moms. And helping and supporting other moms will help you feel confident.

One book that may make you feel more secure about your parenting could be The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. Here's a link http://www.amazon.com/Science-Parent...der_0756618800 to some excerpts. The book tells how our parenting effects our child's neurological and emotional development. I already had a nurturing parenting style and the book gave me more confidence and understanding about my choices. It helped me stopped second guessing myself. It's written by a children's mental health expert and based on hard research.
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#16 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
g After her thoughts on breastfeeding being about my daughter's manipulation of my emotions rather than a nutritional need for her, I may be glad that I didn't mention the LLL leader idea to her.


I have this deep fear that any one thing I do may be THE thing that screws my kid up for life, makes him/her/both into evil over-lords seeking to destroy the earth as it was destroyed for him/her/them. Perhaps I just watch too many bad movies....
As someone involved in LLL you probably know the health and emotional benefits of extended nursing. The idea that a childs breastfeeding is in any way a child manipulating a mothers emotions is disgusting and debases the naturalness and beauty of the nursing relationship. How very rude and ignorant of your therapist. As for your fear of messing up your kids, your therapist is adding to those fears by undermining your confidence in your parental instincts. As long as you are nurturing and respectful your kids will be fine.

You on the other hand probably have at least one exhausting year ahead before things calm down.
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#17 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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I've been in therapy on and off for 25 years. Wow. I really am crazy.
Nah, I once saw a therapist who said that those in therapy were the healthiest people because they recognized they had issues and were actively working on them unlike people who refused to acknowledge they even had problems and needed help.
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#18 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After thinking about it a lot last night, I've decided to wait a few weeks before arranging another therapy session, if I feel I still need to see someone at that time. I disagree so passionately with what she has said about breastfeeding. I honestly cannot remember how I parented my son at this age without it (he was formula-fed).

I think I must go in cycles (maybe hormonal? ) because I'll have a few weeks where I feel pretty confident in my parenting, the kids and I are on the same page and everything is peachy. Then it goes downhill. This whole week has been....not awesome. I've been using time-out left and right for my son and it hasn't seemed to make much of a difference. It worked well (or at least seemed to) when we first started it about 6 weeks ago. Then I didn't put him in time-out for almost two weeks - because he didn't do anything to warrant it! Now, it's every hour, I think. I got really mad and frustrated today and popped him. I cannot even describe how much I hate that I did that. I have apologized to him and in no way advocate any parent ever doing that (please don't lock this thread!).

I'm not sure what is different. Maybe nothing is different. Perhaps it was just time for a few bad days in a row - tomorrow could be a total change from the early part of the week. I think this is why I sought a therapist's input in the first place. I cannot understand why I am like this (anger being the first and sometimes only response). I cannot understand why there is no consistency in my daily life - I'm on a routine, pretty strict about the timing of meals and sleep, same errands on the same days, etc. I guess my kids are just not consistent because they are 3 and 1 - I overestimate their abilities sometimes.

I have no idea where this post is going. I think I've had a little too much chocolate and not enough exercise today.


ETA: I just went in to check on the 'napping' children. My son pulled his nap diaper off, peed on his pillow and put his diaper back on. Exactly how do I deal with that in a rational manner? I am so livid right now, I called my husband to come home so I can leave the house, which will take about 30 minutes.

A + B = G 6/07 & E 2/09 & brokenheart.gif 11/28/10 & F 1/12 & due 8/14
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#19 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Ugh-I can so relate, especially to the last post.

Let's see, my Pl'd almost 4 year old decided last week that it was a good idea to pee on the floor in the living room. I was extremely mad, livid as you said. I have a sweet baby boy who rarely lets me put him down, I have a little girl who seems at times to be a demon-I don't think you really need counseling as much as you are just a mom who has 2 young children and life is sometimes sucky as a mom to small children, believe me I know, I could have written much of your last post.

Is your therapist and older woman? Or is she the same age(or around) as you? I only ask because sometimes I've seen that people who are transfixed on only one solution, like you need more time away, you need to wean your DD, etc-may be transposing their own feelings onto you. Maybe she needs to get out more or something, who knows

I personally think that A LOT of therapists are more screwy than those who they are trying to help. I was a hairstylist for years and one of the completely nuttiest women I ever had to deal with was a therapist, gosh she was so hard to figure out. Gosh my own mom is a therapist and honestly she has some serious issues that she's not working out well, but yet she can tell everyone else what is wrong with them

I also go in waves, I do think it's hormones, for breastfeeding makes me really wonky, especially since I get my period back immediately after my babies are born. That is with nursing round the clock, with my DD she and I weaned at 18 months. She was basically done and I had such horrid migraines from nursing and hormones that it was a blessing. It still took a few more months to get back to normal.

This time with DS I am having an easier time, but I am also doing some things that I know help, like taking fish oil. It helps keep my brain healthy.

I'd be bugged if it was me getting more of a lecture than the help I truly needed, it sounds to me like that's what she's doing.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#20 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
Ex. 1: Weaning my 15 mos. old daughter,
R has suggested weaning during the day and allowing E to learn to self-soothe to sleep.

read "the no-cry sleep solution" do not wean. she needs that. that is how you are teaching her to self soothe by doing it for her. when you rock her, when you hum to her when you hold her etc. she will eventually need you less. reading that book will help.

Ex. 2: R suggested putting G and E in some sort of daycare/Mother's Day

you can get a ymca membership. they will watch your kids for 2 hours while you take a yoga class. you can apply for a low cost mem. i pay $16 a mo and the reg price is $80 a mo. the class is free and so is the day care. they will only watch them for 2 hours. so you get time to yourself, they get socialization, and it isnt too much time out of your day. class here is once a week. i am loving it. yoga is real good for emotional issues. i have severe anxiety and depression and it helps me.

I am really unsure if I want/need to continue seeing the therapist right now. I do not feel like I am getting what I think I need out of the sessions.

i would def find a therapist who fits you. you wont hurt their feelings.

I am super-insecure about being a parent. I feel sometimes that any mistake I make will screw up my kids for ever. Dramatic, I know, but a real, deep emotion within. My logical mind knows that I am too hard on myself, that I didn't go to parenting school but I have yet to incorporate that into my being. It is also late at night and I think I've quit making any sense at all. I appreciate anything!

my fears are all laid aside by mdc. i research every thing here, and then i feel better about how i am doing it. there are so many different ways to parent. you have to keep reading and looking to figure out what works for you and your kids. a therapist is not who i would ask for parenting advice. (and i have been seeing a therapist for 15 years).

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#21 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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This will probably be rambling too...

First, it sounds to me like she's not meeting your needs. You don't seem to need to talk to someone about your parenting as you do about your anxiety. Now part of your anxiety is related to your parenting, but if you weren't a parent, I guarantee it'd be about something else (guess how I know?).

A family therapist is going to look to change family dynamics. She might not be comfortable doing personal stuff. Is she the right therapist for you right now? You need your therapist to be a good fit. A perfectly competent therapist who's not addressing your needs isn't a good one for you now.


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Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I am super-insecure about being a parent. I feel sometimes that any mistake I make will screw up my kids for ever. Dramatic, I know, but a real, deep emotion within. My logical mind knows that I am too hard on myself, that I didn't go to parenting school but I have yet to incorporate that into my being. It is also late at night and I think I've quit making any sense at all. I appreciate anything!
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Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I have this deep fear that any one thing I do may be THE thing that screws my kid up for life, makes him/her/both into evil over-lords seeking to destroy the earth as it was destroyed for him/her/them. Perhaps I just watch too many bad movies....
You've said this twice, so I can tell it's a really big fear of yours.

A couple of thoughts about this. First, humans are designed to be resilient. We're actually designed to learn a lot by trial and error. We do not imprint like geese. Thus, any one mistake you make is unlikely to be remembered by your child, let alone turn them into Sauron.

Second, my kids are 6 and 9 now, and I've made far more mistakes than I care to admit. I've lost my temper and spanked both of them at times. I'm truly ashamed of that. We went through a brief period with both kids where we tried the "lock them in the room" kind of time out. (It failed miserably and I felt horrible about it, so we abandoned it pretty quickly - we still do 'go to your room and cool off' time outs, but it's different.)

I still yell more than I like. I'm sometimes just too tired to give dd the attention she needs. Last night, for example, she wanted to play Clue Jr. 10 minutes before bed. I was too tired to do that with her and we didn't have time. Poor child, she sobbed madly. (We eventually compromised on reading a book.)

Despite all of my failures, my kids think that I'm a good mom. They love me, they're attached to me and they forgive me.

Third, mistakes give you an opportunity to model for your children how you recover from making a mistake or being wrong. Some of the most anxious people I know are people whose parents were never 'wrong' and who never tolerated mistakes. Learning that the world does not end, even when you screw up royally, is a powerful message that your children can take into the future with them. Learning that you deserve an apology when someone else, especially someone more powerful than you, screws up, will give your children a great sense of their own worth. Learning that you can make amends when you screw up will give your children power over the mistakes, rather than learning to be controlled by them.

Two anecdotes to illustrate my point:
Last night, dd was dancing around (literally) instead of taking stuff out of the bathroom so we could wash the floor during chore time. After the 2nd or 3rd reminder for her to stay on task, I lost it and yelled at her. Her response? "You shouldn't yell at me! That scared me!" I apologized. I could never have stuck up for myself with my parents like she did with me. I'm amazed at the strength of spirit she has (she was born with this), and pleased that my parenting has at least allowed her to feel comfortable defending herself. I'm by no means a perfect parent, but she can deal with this.

Second anecdote: Several months ago, I ran into a pedestrian while turning left. There were lots of mitigating factors (an unfamiliar neighborhood, a left turn signal that didn't go on), but the truth of the matter was: I screwed up. Luckily I was going about 5 mph and didn't hurt her badly (though I knocked her down). I felt terrible. Horrible. Awful. I had to explain to dd what had happened (she wasn't in the car, but I had to have dh come pick her up from daycare because I was in no shape to do so).

We talked about the consequences of what I did - I hurt someone, and I got a ticket, and that I felt really bad. Dd learned that even this really big mistake was not too big to talk about. She learned that the consequences of this really big mistake weren't too awful.

Dd, bless her, did everything she could to help me feel better. She gave me a big hug on the day it happened. When we were talking about it the next day, she said "Well, at least you didn't ruin 3 cars like Aunt M did with her accident!" (My sister, when first learning to drive, drove into a line of parked cars and totaled them.) My screwing up allowed my daughter to demonstrate and employ her skills in empathy. If I were a perfect parent, she'd never be able to do that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I think I must go in cycles (maybe hormonal? ) because I'll have a few weeks where I feel pretty confident in my parenting, the kids and I are on the same page and everything is peachy. Then it goes downhill. This whole week has been....not awesome.
I would recommend the book "Women's Moods" - it's a really good description of how our moods can be influenced by hormones. It's also got a nice plan for self-care that you can implement when you know that you're coming up on a hard time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I think this is why I sought a therapist's input in the first place. I cannot understand why I am like this (anger being the first and sometimes only response). I cannot understand why there is no consistency in my daily life - I'm on a routine, pretty strict about the timing of meals and sleep, same errands on the same days, etc. I guess my kids are just not consistent because they are 3 and 1 - I overestimate their abilities sometimes.

I have no idea where this post is going. I think I've had a little too much chocolate and not enough exercise today.
I know that cycle well!

One thing that I know makes a huge difference to my parenting is self care. When I'm worn down, I do not have the reserves to deal with needy kids. The last 2-3 weeks have been really hard at our house because we've all been super busy. It's the end of the school year, we're all busy, we're down to a single car, we're out of sync with schedules, the kids are growing like weeds (seriously, dd has grown 1 1/2" in 3 weeks, ds has gone up 2 shoe sizes about an 1" in a month), and parenting has been hard. Not so much because my kids are any 'worse' than usual (they're really good kids), but because my reserves are so low.

Thus, I do think that the idea of a Moms Day Out or a playgroup or something is a good idea. Not so much to socialize your kids, but because moms need socialization. Remember, much of human civilization evolved in small nomadic bands and later villages. We were not designed to raise 2.5 kids with one parent. We were designed, as humans, to live in a group and have the full resources of a community to rely on.

I think your idea of becoming a LLL Leader is a great one. If it's something you love and think you can do, what better way to get out a bit, socialize and take care of some of your needs!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
ETA: I just went in to check on the 'napping' children. My son pulled his nap diaper off, peed on his pillow and put his diaper back on. Exactly how do I deal with that in a rational manner? I am so livid right now, I called my husband to come home so I can leave the house, which will take about 30 minutes.
Sounds to me like you handled it well and rationally. You're overwhelmed you need a break. good for you for calling for help.

Time for potty training? It sounds like he didn't want to feel wet? Can you make lemonade out of this lemon?

I conclude my novel here by saying that your kids are at the ages I found very difficult. I know some people love babies and toddlers, but give me older kids any day of the week! They're at an age where you have to be constantly vigilant, they have little or no impulse control and iffy to no ability to articulate what they're thinking.

You sound like you're a loving, caring parent who's doing the best she can. The fact that you're looking to improve your skills and understanding bodes well for the future.

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#22 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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Sorry, I didn't have time to read all of the posts...

It doesn't sound like your therapist is on the same page as you re. parenting, and so I don't think she is someone you should be asking for advice on that front.

You mentioned in a later post that time-outs are no longer working with your 3 yr old. I suggest posting in the Gentle Discipline forum here. There is such a wealth of knowledge and ideas that can be gleaned from the mamas who post there. And I'm sure you would be able to get tons of good book suggestions if that would interest you. A lot of mamas here do time-outs and a lot don't. There is no right answer, but there are a lot of creative ideas floating out there that you might not have come across yet (I can't begin to number all of the amazing ideas I've gained from my years on MDC).

As for nursing... well, it sounds like nursing is working well for you guys. You dd is still very young, and the amount she is nursing is not in the least abnormal. I repeat: her needing to nurse for naps, nighttime, etc, etc is perfectly normal. Please don't take breastfeeding advice from your therapist as it sounds like on this she has very different ideals from you (I'm assuming since you mention wanting to become a LLL leader).

Playgroups... those can be a lifesaver. Like another pp mentioned it is surprising how relaxing it can be having a group of other kids for yours to play with while you sit and chat with other moms. Alternately you can always see if a friend wants to organize babysitting exchanges with you. As for the socialization aspect I wouldn't worry too much about that. Your kids get "socialization" every time they leave the house and interact with other humans - be it at the playground, the store, the library, the dr's office etc. It's not necessary for young toddlers and preschoolers to be in formal daycare, IMO. (But of course if this is something you're interested in pursuing there's no harm in it either).

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#23 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 05:23 PM
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I don't think time outs work well for preschoolers. I don't really think punishment works well in the long run. I think you have more misbehavior because the relationship becomes adversarial. Also it gives more attention to misbehavior. So when the child wants attention they misbehave. I do like using time ins. The difference is you have your DC come be with you instead of sitting in a naughty chair or corner. It can be a simple as 'you're not playing safe with xyz, come help me make soup/do laundry ....etc.

Is your DS using the potty or toilet at all? Little kids often pee in weird places when learning to go without diapers. Your 3 year old DS isn't rational yet. His higher level reasoning skills aren't in place because of his neurological development. He probably just didn't want to wear a wet diaper. The consequences are the pillow has to be washed and maybe your DS should try to pee before his nap if he doesn't want to wear a wet diaper. The thing with little kids is they change often, so if something works this week it might not next week. One thing that helps is to remember that most really annoying behavior is just a phase and will go away with maturity and patience. Anger is probably your first response because you don't understand why the misbehavior is happening and you are overwhelmed with two LOs.

I really do think you would find The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland helpful, also Kids, Parents and Power Struggles would probably be useful too. The more you know about normal behavior and development the less annoyed you will be when age appropriate annoying behavior happens. And both books have practical discipline strategies. The first book goes more into why misbehavior happens.
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#24 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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I wanted to come back and post again because I was just struck by the title of your thread. You are looking for advice from experienced parents, but realize that YOU are an experienced parent too! Trust yourself mama, trust your instinct, trust your experience, trust that you are a wonderful mama to your kids. By all means look for advice from other mamas (most of us here on MDC look for advice at one time or another, that's a big reason why this forum exists!), but don't forget that you can trust you gut - you're doing a good job!

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#25 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I feel like crying now, you are all such wonderful, sweet, caring moms.

RE: Toilet Training/Peeing on the pillow - he is toilet trained as much as a 3 year old can be (he actually won't be 3 until the 26th but I find it more descriptive to his stage than saying he's 2, you know?). He wears underwear at all times except nap and night. He still wears a nap diaper because I haven't been able to convince him that getting out of bed to pee will not be the end of the world. In the past month, he has gotten out of bed to poop on his potty - this is the biggest step forward for toilet training yet for us! He does so well otherwise and usually only has accidents now in the car if he waits too long to tell us so we can pull over. I think this incident was on purpose to get an explosive reaction out of me - he took his pillow, put it on his sister's bed(!) and then peed on it. So he managed to get out of bed for that pee but he is unwilling to get out to use the potty when he just needs to pee.

I talked to my husband when he came home just a while ago. He thinks G is seeking a big, explosive, emotional reaction. With me, it is anger; with my husband, it is laughter. G will work and work and work on my husband until he gets a huge burst of laughter but my son's actions get more and more aggressive or exuberant as he tries harder and harder. I guess with me, he works hard at breaking as many rules as he can, getting as many time-outs as he can until I am so worn down, he gets the big, explosive anger response out of me. My husband's theory is that it gives him control. He feels in control because he caused the reaction. It doesn't matter to him what type of reaction it is or what he has to do to get it as long as in the end, he controls the fact that he got a big response. Make sense? Is this normal/something every other toddler/preschooler does?

Sometimes I think my husband is the best therapist ever - he is so calm and rational about everything. Irritating sometimes but also exactly what I need - the water to my fire, so to speak.

I will be heading out to the library to check out the book recommendations. I will keep searching until I find the techniques that work for us and that I am comfortable using. New mantra: I am only human and so are my kids.

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#26 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
New mantra: I am only human and so are my kids.
excellent!

Me,DH,DS1'95, '98,DSD'03,DD1'07,DD2'09,DS2'12 Living with Fructose Malabsorption Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3-Hypermobility.)o( and sometimes I get toif I am lucky.
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#27 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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New mantra: I am only human and so are my kids.
Love it!

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#28 of 28 Old 06-10-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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I think it's great that you're seeing someone and that this person has helped in some areas. That probably means you have a fairly strong relationship with each other. As such it is not only appropriate but also responsible to call her out on her "agenda". that should not be the role of a therapist in my opinion. the therapist should help you work though whatever is going on so that YOU can create the list of options and make the decision that best fits you and your family. the therapist role is to support that in spite of personal beliefs. if the therapists beliefs prevent them from supporting the client in this way, the thherapist needs to seek guidance themselves.

i would want to know that this is how you feel--bring it into the session even if you just print your original post. all relationships have struggles; is it possible that this conflict can be reconciled in a way that you both can learn from? i hope so...being able to resolve a tricky/touchy subject without running away or being passive aggressive is very healthy. and very difficult. but it can also be very rewarding and lead to immense growth. it's a risk but also an opportunity. therapists are human too, and make mistakes and sometimes need others help to see them.

also, there is no way that therapists know what's right for you better than you. when you can be real with your therapist, and speak from a voice that is all you no matter how weak, that act knocks at the wall of insecurity. that seems to me to be where the real work is, in the relationship, not in the problem solving of bf or sleep or socialization.

i say don't give up. Speak your truth and if it isn't heard then decide whether to walk away. it will be difficult, but there's nothing to lose and a ton to gain.

jmo
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