teaching the art of gratefulness

Having little Jane give auntie Sue a hug for giving her a present is teaching your child good manners on saying thank you.

But having little Jane learn how to be a grateful child is a long learning process that begins with mom and dad’s grateful heart. You must teach gratefulness by showing little Jane that you notice blessings in daily occurrences. You must show her and explain why.

Little children, like little Jane, are natural marvelers. They notice lots more things than adults who often loose their wonder because they are governed by time and more serious things. But Little Jane is noticing because everything is new to her. She is hardwired to learn about everything and why not begin with the dot on the sidewalk, right then.

But little Jane does not understand how to be grateful for the little dot until you tell her why it is so special. If you ignore wonderful things, or blessings, or amazing occurrences she will not know to be grateful for them. They will just be there as an entitlement with no connection.

A simple example at lunchtime: When my mother would make us sandwiches she would always make it from the inside pieces and then purposely chose the end pieces for her sandwich; even though there were other “good” pieces left. We all know the end of the bread are the two pieces no one wants. They are usually thrown out. But my mother grew up in a home with 12 mouths to feed and a very meager income. She and her brother would go to the back doors of the bakery’s pulling a red wagon and receive the day old or two day old bread that was usually fifty percent off. I did not ever have to worry about eating a piece of bread when I was a child. But my mother’s gratefulness for that end piece of bread was taught to me in a sweet way making sandwiches. She told me how she would wait for all of her siblings to chose their piece of bread and then she would chose, and most often it would still be a middle piece. But she would always notice that her mother would  take the end piece no matter if there were still good ones left. I asked her why. She replied, “My mother was always grateful for that bread to feed her little babies. No one wants the end pieces but they will eat the middles so she would take the ends so there will be middles left for everyone when they wanted them.” My mom said, “I want my family to eat the best parts of the bread and I am grateful I have bread to eat.” For some reason I always take the end when I make sandwiches. Just like my mom and grandma I learned the art of gratefulness. 

You are the ones who teach your children to be grateful human beings by noticing and telling them why our daily little tiny and big wonderful blessings are so special to us…

If you ignore your blessings around you so will they, and they will grow up ignoring them too. Gratefulness is not absorbed it is practiced and then taught.

Advertisements

Officially Designated Protector of Monsters

If you think your trick or treat-er is not affected by the scaries of Halloween you are a parent that has forgotten your own childhood. Be soul-sensitive at this time!

DSC_0638

Children perceive scary things far different than adults with their “animistic thinking” (they perceive everything with real tendencies and cannot differentiate) and active imaginations. Something you think is not scary or can be dismissed in your adult mind as pretend can stick in their minds for years if not a lifetime.

Many adults think that they are toughing up their children or helping them work through fears by exposing them to terror that their immature minds are too young to handle developmentally. 

But silly you–       

In that little head of there’s they are making all sorts of frightening connective pictures and anxious dreams that WILL come out in other areas.

Protect your child’s soul and honor their childhood!

They need you to…

There is a difference between this:

DSC_0636

and this:

DSC_0716

A great beat-the-scare solution:

If you have one that is extra sensitive and find that you have got some monsters lurking around before bedtime, don’t dismay! A good mixture of potent monster spray, boiled up in one of your cauldrons, is guaranteed to rid creepy things under beds, in dark closets, in hallways or even to remove pesty brothers. Just pour the potion in a clean spray bottle and put it where you can grab it fast! Parents can help children even do a prevention pre-spray before bedtime or even take it with them in the car, just in case…

That stuff works wonders especially during this time of year.

You just never know when you will encounter a monster that you don’t like.

DSC_0666

The Battles Begin!

Wait, what happened!

This tiny little human has a mind of its own!

And very soon the battles begin….

“You love your child and value your child’s progress. That’s wonderful and important. And I know that sometimes its easy to get single-mindedly caught up in achieving a particular milestone with your child. In your pursuit of your child’s progress, though, it is essential to temporarily relinquish any goal as soon as it causes a control battle with your child. In fact, control battles are one of the most disabling dealings you can have with your child. You want to avoid them whenever possible (except when safety is involved, of course.)” (Kaufman pg.133)

“WAIT! STOP RIGHT THERE! I’M THE BOSS AND IF I GIVE IN WHEN MY CHILD WANTS HIS OWN WAY AND TURNS TO MONSTER MODE, I RELINQUISH MY AUTHORITY AND CONTROL AS A PARENT! THAT IS NOT ONLY SCARY, BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! “

But what you do not understand is that when you are controlling you GIVE UP your control automatically anyway. 

Think about this…in your own life:

“When people…are in the throes of an experience where they don’t have control, don’t have understanding, and have too much input to process, [as all humans feel] they react in very particular ways. They put everything they have into gaining a sense of control. They seek out situations where they can exert their own autonomy, rather than having their experience dictated to them. And they powerfully resist any efforts to impose control upon them.” pg. 134

It is amazing that children have an innate fighting instinct to recognize when they feel threatened and out of control in a given situation and FIGHT to regain it no matter how big and powerful the opponent is. Even when we are taking about a tiny being who may not  walk or even talk yet,  and do not have a mature understanding of what they are doing.

“Think of a rope with a knot in it. I am holding fast to one end and you to the other. The harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets—’cause I ain’t letting go. You can never release the knot by pulling harder. The only way to release the knot is to let the rope go so that there is enough slack in it for the knot to loosen.”

“The key to understand is this: if you want your child to be less controlling (and thus more flexible and able to learn more, grow more, and ultimately achieve more goals), you have to give your child as much control as possible.”

“Most people’s first response when dealing with a controlling child is to try to “break” the child of his controlling behavior by wresting [forcing] control back from him.

Example: “YOU WILL EAT THIS OR ELSE! SIT THERE UNTIL IT IS ALL EATEN! I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT!” (And the child sits there and won’t eat…because you forced them to sit there.)

“Some of you might think: To function in the world, my child has to get used to doing things the right way, so I have to get him to do this particular thing the correct way now.”

“For others of you, the situation may be more in-the-moment  pragmatic. You might think: I just have to get my child to brush his teeth (for example), and we’ll be done. I know he’s fighting me now, but soon it will be over, and it will be worth it because he’ll have clean teeth.”

“If either of these scenarios resonates with you, it’s not only normal, it is totally understandable. You love your child,….but you have a million things you are juggling at once, and sometimes you may just be trying to get through your day.”

The problem is that going down this road with your child will end up being highly counterproductive. Asserting control over someone who is controlling leads to the person becoming more controlling, not less. You see, when your child’s control is challenged, he will feel compelled to dig his heels in and fight to reestablish control and personal autonomy.

But you see what happens is that “as you address the issue…you compromise interaction and learning long-term because you get a child who is not only more controlling but also associates learning or doing something that you want with coercion and unpleasantness.” pg. 136

The interaction between you and your child in this situation now loses harmony and the action you are both trying to control becomes contentious and negative. And when it happens over and over the control anger-meter rises, creating negative energy and unproductive growth. 

Oh they can be forced because you are bigger and stronger. But you will teach them by fear not trust and your actions will give them a very loud message. That they do not have control. Then other symptoms will appear…

anxiety

withdrawal

tantrums

delays

refusing even if they want something

This is not about allowing your child free reign without boundaries. This is not about not having them brush their teeth or sit at the table to eat. But it is about learning how to evaluate yourself as an adult and as a parent and to be the one who raises the white flag when the battle begins, because you are the more wiser of the opponents. It is about being attentive to why your child is trying to be in control because it is usually about being afraid, not understanding, not developmentally ready, or simply wanting more time. They are not trying to oppose you just to make you mad. They are telling you messages constantly with and without their words. Listen, look, empathize and give in or shape a situation to dissolve impending battles. Battles are counter productive in childhood. 

I promise you…

you will get better eaters-

better sleepers-

better and kinder players-

potty trained children-

better talkers-

children who do not bully or withdraw-

 a happier family atmosphere-

children who feel safe to grow and make decisions-

Don’t take my words or the words from the book quotes…

Try it and see for yourself….

Your life will change but mostly the life of your child who wants to feel she has control of her life too.

 

Raun K. Kaufmans. (2014)...The Groundbreaking Method that has Helped Families All Over the World. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so glad I do it wrong!

Self soothing is the newest fad for hipster and millennial parents’ bedtime rituals.

You read ‘how’ on your electronic device you surfed, “How to get my child to sleep before I go crazy!” from child sleep experts who have completed long term child studies.

You put your baby/child in a bed.

You hug and kiss them, close the door in the dark room,

and then…

they eventually go to sleep all by themselves.

They teach themselves self soothing strategies all by themselves! Millennial babies are intelligent.

No night light,

no timing to check on them after they have cried for 45 minutes..or was it 30 minutes? I can’t seem to remember the older text books…,

…no long drives to relax them or stop them from crying so loud,

absolutely no rocking chairs…no way!

Twenty first century new age children self soothe and that is the up-to-date parenting fad.

Mommies and daddies must get on to important grown up evening time.

I am a witness!! It’s incredible…

Parents have the evening for quiet relaxation, work, sex, and even chocolate.

Journal Entry: June 2017

Last night Luke covered his little eyes with his blue, brown and white soft blankets, letting me quietly whisper while massaging his fingers and counting them; one, two, three, four, five…then circling his palm and dot it in the middle… with a boop! I could feel his little body relax. To stay awake he would silently try to count his fingers on his own but then would hand me his hand. He plops his leg over my waist to scratch, but also to make sure I am still on the bed next to him; like a sort of seat belt to keep me strapped close. As he quiets, he holds my hand just to know I won’t leave and then he finally closes his eyes and succumbs to the sand man’s spell. I sing quietly while I listen to his breath in rhythm. It calms me as I lay still while next to him with his hand still holding mine tightly. Every single night and nap time, while mommy and daddy have been away, I have laid next to this three year old little man just as I did with every single one of my own babies, scratching their legs and arms while quietly talking about the day  or telling them stories as it changes to night. It was cozy time then and now. Time to create peace for them. Time to show them that calm can be part of their day. Time to show them that when night time comes, I am still close; still here.

This is not proper anymore. It is not teaching them how to fall asleep on their own. How to self soothe. I have done it wrong all these years. My babies don’t even remember, but I do! And, oh, as I now do it with my grandchildren, I think to myself,

‘I would not trade this moment for all the jewels in the world.’

Bless your self-soothed baby’s heart, who sits in a huge dark room in a bed cuddling a lovey for security all alone figuring out strategies to self soothe. They are champs.

I may be more tired than you as you make passionate love in the early evening, or eat your secret ice cream stash watching your favorite show earlier than me, but I am creating cozy with a child I adore. I am filling up a soul. And when I do it I not only give, but I get more back in return.

I’m so glad I do it wrong!

Oh my dears…I’m going to stay old fashioned forever.

 

 

I love number Five

Five is my favorite number.

I was born on a number five.

I have five treasures as my children.

In August I will have five grandchildren.

And my first grandchild turned five yesterday.

I love my number five!

This post is to honor my Trevor James.

A jewel was born in our family five years ago. He was the most beautiful baby; so quiet and content.  But we soon discovered that he was not reaching milestones that were “typical.” As he grew we noticed he separated himself in his mind and voice from our world and his actions often seemed like he was an island, but he is not. He actually longs for us to join him. He has unique gifts. He is a professional spinner and is a marvel.

IMG_0246

 

He communicates through energy or actions but not with words. His spirit is powerful and strong even though it sits inside a frail little body. God made him exactly right for a purpose. I believe he is a spiritual icon; a sort of earth angel, which gives a message to us as offered to either tap into or pass by. Many rush past or ignore. It takes an effort to be with him but the time is a gift. When I am with him I feel at home from a place deep inside. When I am away, I miss him and the spiritual energy that flows from him that seems to quench a thirst that I can’t get filled anywhere else. I have learned a great deal over the past five years from this little boy. He makes me better.  Life gives us wonderful surprises and I never realized how rich learning and growing with an autist could be.

Happy Birthday Trev Man.

Grammy is  your best buddy forever!

I know you know I love  you and that you love me back…

Version 2