All of us carry with us a little suitcase from the past. Whether we remember our childhood fondly or painfully, we each bring our experiences as a young child into our parenting. And we do it more than we think.
No matter how blissful or painful our childhoods, we all have little pockets of sensitivities and hurts from our early experiences. Our little 4-year-old self hangs out inside of us, protected by our stronger grown-up self. But the pain, joy, desire, vulnerability, fear, and earnestness of our little self informs all we do…. especially our parenting.
Try on the idea that most of the time we are parenting our children how we wanted to be parented. We compensate for pain, fear, and disappointment we experienced as a child.
Take a look at how you might be over-compensating in your parenting to avoid passing on these old hurts to your little ones.
A little slow to say “no” because you felt too restricted and controlled as a kid?
Find it hard to ask for personal space from your kids because you felt isolated and alone as a child?
Experience your child’s crying as painful and unbearable because you cried alone too many times?
Find yourself being overly controlling because you longed for more structure and predictibility as a child?
By reflecting on our childhoods and asking ourselves…
“What would I like to do differently?”
“What would I like to do the same?”
…..we can design our own personal parenting style. We take what we liked from our parents and leave the rest behind. This is an important step in our growth and learning as parents. Read More
What begins as amusing quickly moves to aggravating as parents become very familiar with their child’s newly discovered defiant streak.
Kids LOVE to say no. It is their first really powerful verbal communication in life. And the truth is, kids have a real and genuine need for power. Not in an evil-genius, world domination kind of way….but simply in a “I may be little, but I’m a person too” kind of way.
As a toddler discovers that he is a separate individual from his beloved parent and an independent agent in his world, it is his job to now figure out how to operate as such. A simple and effective way to get this information is to check out how much control he has…..hence, the emergence of “no.”
So, if kids deserve to experience power and control in their lives does that mean we should give it to them all the time? Now it’s my turn…. “NO!”
Giving kids too much “No”-Power will create many challenges…both in your family and in your child’s development. Too many choices can feel scary for a kid. Regardless of how certain they are that they should be able to make all of their own decisions, the truth is that they need you to guide them and create a safe path for them through this big world….. Read More
The endless chauffeuring and shopping, cooking and cleaning, bills to pay, noses to wipe, calls to return….it can be overwhelming.
Most of us deal with this reality by setting our knob to “auto-pilot” and living within our checklist. We’re either busy checking off tasks or obsessing endlessly about the things that didn’t receive that beloved checkmark.
In our parenting this puts us in firefighter mode. We handle the sibling conflict when it becomes intolerable, we soothe the upset when it becomes ear-shattering, we solve the problem when it becomes completely unworkable. And usually by the time it has gotten to the “unbearable” stage, all we are capable of as parents is grabbing the hose and putting that fire out.
There isn’t anything wrong with this strategy. It gets the job done. It gives us checkmarks on our list, gets the kids to dance and soccer, makes the dinner.
But what about the possibility of wetting the earth so that fires don’t occur as easily? How about creating a foundation that is rich and damp with loving intention and purposeful parenting so that when sparks occur the earth doesn’t ignite? Imagine a day where you spend less time putting out fires and more time enjoying each other…..
It is a radical idea, but easier than you might think….. Read More
Spring is a kid’s paradise. Before the mosquitoes arrive and the mandatory-swimming heat sets in we have our blissful Spring afternoons here in Austin.
It is the perfect time to let your little ones explore the world the way they love best…as life comes squishing through their little toes, sticking to their little tiny fingers, splashing and squirting and smushing with glee.
As grown-ups it is our job to get over our mess-a-phobia and find ways for our kids to fully explore their sensory needs in a way that works for us.
These tactile adventures are more than meets the eye. We see jumping in a mud puddle or squishing clay; they experience sensory stimulation, refinement of motor skills, processing of emotion, imagination, creative thinking, cause and effect, and feeling powerful in a big world where they’re used to feeling quite small.
Here are a few ideas for messy fun….. Read More