Are you a monster?

Do you scare your child? Perhaps  not even realizing you do it?

Let’s face it the monster in us comes out in parenting no matter how great we are at it.

Which monster do you turn into most often?

1. Dracula-This is when we quietly watch our child do childish annoying things, but we are too weary, bored, or self absorbed to stop them but we accumulate the frustration like tiny droplets of blood, then in a furious frenzy that one thing tips our meter and we jump in for the bite completely unexpected. That kid never knew what bit him until it was too late–Scary!

2. The flipping Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde. This is when we are happy happy happy with our child then in an instant we turn “mad” or we are angry angry angry with our child then in an instant turn happy.  The child is constantly jittery not knowing when the monster will pop out for the scare.

3. The werewolf: When we howl and howl and howl and bear our ugly teeth and spit fowl breath over our children we think our children are getting our fierce message but if we keep making constant “noise” they tune out. But constant anger-yelping is just as bad as the bite and our kids stay in a constant state of overbearance and tension before they trasform into werewolves themselves on a full moon.

4. Godzilla: This is when we grab things out of hands, kick toys out of the way, and use our strength and size to show who is superior. We are so angry we use force to thrash around while yelling and breaking things up. Our children look up with horror just waiting for the Lego towers to come crashing down or Hot wheel cars to go flying, and for them to be next.

5.  The Zombie: This is when our child has broken us to near death, but not quite. We don’t want to smile cute anymore. We don’t want to hear the little laugh or wipe another bottom. We shuffle along in a stupor, moaning and dragging,  wishing to be dead instead of hearing another version of a Silly song or picture book. If we see one more big eyed stuffed animal or step on one more action figure we will rip it to shreds.  This is when we snap and grab our child to get them to stop acting  so human…It’s usually the most dangerous parenting monster to become. It’s when we “react” with any number of surprise scares for our child. And they don’t know when it is coming.

Halloween comes once a year and we allow monsters to get loose. But parent monsters, BEWARE! WE often are the very things that create the jitters for our own little beasts.

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You’re the expert

 

You may not feel it is true but you are an expert for your child.

All parents compare parenting skills.

All parents compare childhood milestones.

That chatter is everywhere and often makes us feel guilty.

Whether you are an Australian bush parent, a parent carrying a baby in the rice paddies, or a millennial parent juggling time…non of that really matters. As long as the child is safe, clean, healthy, loved, and thriving; your way is the best way to make that happen. There are as many unique parenting strategies as there are different parents.

You get your expertise in parenting with a  crash course on your first child. By the second child you are a pro. Each child comes with a whole new set of ingredients but you do have one thing– you know you can do this.

Choose the course that fits who you are as a parent and live with your way. It may not be the way parents do it in Australia or in China or even next door, but it doesn’t matter as long as your child is loved and thriving.

You are the expert parent, exactly right for your child. Be proud of yourself!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet Fireworks

Fourth of July fireworks is a beautiful celebration except for those who are afraid of loud noises with hearing sensitivity; which is most little kids.

Here is a cool and fun alternative for your little ones to be “in control” of their own tiny firework’s show. It is a win win project for adults too because the cleanup cleans for you.

Supplies:

  • White household vinegar

  • baking soda

  • cake pan or cookie sheet with sides

  • cupcake tin or bowls

  • Inexpensive grocery store food coloring (red and blue if you only want to stay with the Americana theme)

  • small spoon

  • Extra: paper towels, small bowl of clean water if you have a child with sensory issues.

  • counter and stool or chair for your child/children to stand on

  • a ready camera on video mode!

Directions:

Bring your child to the counter and allow them to help you pour a thin layer of baking soda to cover the entire bottom of a cake pan. It looks like snow so have your child bring their cars to drive in it, or water resistant dolls or animals to play in the dry snow. While your child is doing that pour some vinegar into the cupcake tins or bowls. Have your child help you squirt food coloring in each receptacle of the cupcake tin or bowls. Have ready a bowl of clean water where you child can access it if they feel they need to stay clean and have paper towels ready if they desire to dry their hands.

Do NOT demonstrate. Allow them to discover the firework show themselves. Have them spoon some “vinegar paint” into the snow to make their own sizzling colorful fireworks. Allow the child to do it over their toys and play in it. I guarantee you will want to do it too!!!

I found that even if they pour one of their full bowls of vinegar paint in the pan with a huge sizzle, that it will continue to make little tiny sizzles for as long as the baking soda is activated while they continue to spoon another color.

It is great fun and a more gentle quiet way to celebrate the 4th of JULY for little ears.

It‘s a blast!

When done dump the entire thing down your kitchen drain and it will refresh and clean it. Rinse off the pans and spoons and wah-lah..done!

(Food coloring sometimes takes a bit of scrubbing off counters or even fingers, but it is not permanent!)

Have fun with it!

 

How to bubble wrap your child

Don’t you wish

you could swathe bubble wrap

completely around your children

to protect them

from the world?

bubble wrap

It’s so easy to sensibly reason why life has owies, ickies, and scaries until you get a baby completely dependent on your care and then all that rationale flies out the  window. You begin to really wish it was as easy as bubble wrapping for a defensive shield besides all that love your planning on giving.

There IS an actual sort of bubble wrap that you can do,

and it works, but best when done every single day for their protection.

It is called prayer.

‘Oh golly, that’s too easy, that won’t do it,’ You say.

Prayer has power and prayer empowers. Prayer teaches your child, from the very start, that he/she is valued by the parent who, from the beginning prays for them. When they get a tiny bit older teaches them how to pray. As they learn how, prayer becomes a together time. Then gradually, praying together teaches who sent them to us in the first place; a loving God who they belong to first. And who loves them, if it is possible, even more than we do.

This is a power

that wraps around your baby

like a shield

and empowers your child

when they are not with you.

Is not this the very best bubble wrap of all?

Directions:

  1. Protect in the morning by praying with your child; especially before they leave the house for daycare, camp, or school. (One mother of teenage boys said this is an every day ritual that she cannot afford to give up as a connect to her boys who now are seeking independence).

  2. Protect in the night by praying before you tuck in, kiss and say ‘I love you.” When the day goes to night the world feels vulnerable and scary. Prayer is that shield of protection that even the Boogy-man or monsters under the bed cannot penetrate. And bless those scary things in your prayer so your child can feel stronger then nightmares that come. In life when real tough challenges, monsters, or Boogy men come, they will know they are empowered by God through prayer! And also know you are still praying for them, too.

Bubble wrapping is as simple as that!

Snap Snap!!

Wrapped up in Love!

…Amen

The Giggle Box

It’s in the bag of goodies that comes with babies.

Did you check?

It’s right next to “The Mother Book.”

Oh, well, that’s okay. I’m sure you will find it.

It just has those bullet point reminders how and when to laugh with childhood,

not at it.

Because having a child is so hard and silly and stressful you just have to fall down laughing at all the things you will experience.

Nothing will bring you more stomach aches with worry

but also more joy

than living with that little thing

called your very own child;

and the instructions inside that giggle box.

Laugh together in love…your whole life!

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