Parenting in the Early Days!

Parenting Baby B is a little like taking a 10lb + weight and fixing it permanently to your nipple!!! Your boobs are out more than Kim Kardashian’s butt! But your OWN ass is almost constantly welded to a chair, surrounded by everything you might need for the next 12 hours within grab range – snacks, water bottle, phone, breast pump, laptop, books etc.

Because you’re not going ANYWHERE!! Because whenever you try to unattach the 10lb + weight to do, oh I don’t know, trivial things like go to the loo or grab some more snacks, it gives off an instant loud klaxon noise, to alert the world that horrific child abuse is taking place 😉 And hearing that noise, and seeing that little face so unhappy, hurts my heart more than sitting in one position for hours on end hurts my body, even with my joints seizing up so that when I finally move, I’m like a cripple until I can stretch them out and gently ease them into moving again!

So it’s a good job that 10lb + weight occasionally opens its beautiful blue eyes, looks up at me from beneath long, beautiful eyelashes, and beams the most angelic smiles that would make even Emperor Palpatine turn away from the Dark Side 🙂 And is why, despite the challenges, I wake up every morning, feel my heart burst with pride and joy when I see that little 10 + weight, and attach it to me again, for another day of the same… Heart3.2 copy

Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong

This idea also takes us right back to the importance of attachment and connection between babies and their caregivers 🙂   I don’t know why it seems so hard for modern society to grasp but we are a species that NEEDS attachments and social connections to thrive, and when we don’t get those, it creates social challenges, the consequences of which then spread out and affect many of us. Connection is key to solving a fair amount of societies ‘problems’, from what I’ve seen and researched over the years… Heart3.2 copy

How To Handle it When Your Young Child Tells Lies

Someone recently asked the following question on children telling lies.

“Anyone got any advice in dealing with kids lying to you? My 5.5 yr old keeps telling lies, blaming her sister for things she did etc. I’ve tried talking to her about it and asking why she feels the need to lie and it’s because she thinks she’s going to get told off. I’m more upset by the lying than any of the things she’s done, some of which weren’t even naughty!!”

One of the things I read quite early on in the gentle parenting movement was to make it ‘safe’ for children to always tell the truth. They need your approval and acceptance, so telling them you feel disappointed in them takes that sense of approval and acceptance away from them, if you see what I mean, making them more likely to need to avoid that happening in the future, to preserve their sense of themselves as worthy of your love.

I really KNOW how hard it can be to not react when they’ve done something you DON’T approve of, so I appreciate how difficult this can be 🙂  I learned that changing ones mindset from one of “This child has been naughty and will only learn by being punished” to one of “My child is learning and growing, and sometimes makes mistakes; what they need is more patient guidance and support from me to help them understand that” can really help them trust you enough to tell you the truth, ALWAYS 🙂 They need to feel that, no matter what, their parent knows they are lovable and worthy, even (and perhaps, ESPECIALLY!) when they screw up!

We then look at ways to make amends, rather than punishing as such. So I might say something calmly and firmly, but with a smile (even though I might feel like yelling!) like “Throwing your plate of dinner on the floor in anger has made a mess. It needs cleaning up now. Do you need a hug to help calm you down BEFORE you clean it up, or shall we have one afterwards when you’re done?”

They might still say no and yell, and if that’s the case, they still have adrenaline from the anger running through their body. So then I might direct them to something energetic to work off the anger energy (and I would say something like “Sounds like you have a lot of anger energy in you still. How about jumping on the trampoline to get that out, or playing the pushing game with me?”

The pushing game is when I stand firmly with my hands outstretched, palms flat facing my child and allow him to put his hands against mine and try to push me over (of course, they can’t because I’m the firm boundary they are feeling the need to push against!). My boys loved it when they felt anger as it maintained our connection, it showed I was on their side in helping them deal with their powerful (and frankly, sometimes quite scary!) emotions, and in a way that used up the excess energy that adrenaline gives us.

Usually, after a couple of minutes, we’d both frequently end up giggling, as the adrenaline dissipated and they wobbled, maybe fell over, looked into my face as they were pushing and I’d pull a silly face at them or something 😉

Once the adrenaline was reduced enough (and you can tell that from how much calmer or happier they seem – keep going with reducing adrenaline if they’re not there yet!), they were usually able to accept the consequence and then do what I’ve asked to make amends quite happily without any argument.

If they ARE still arguing, the situation that provoked the incident in the first place still needs to be dealt with, as there are still angry feelings, usually down to them not feeling heard, validated etc, so I give them the opportunity to speak how they feel about it, vent, rant etc.

My boys are 11 and 9 now, and my 9 year old, when he feels angry, (sometimes with me for imposing limits on him) still comes to me and says “I need to play the pushing game” when he feels overwhelmed with adrenaline. I love it that even when it’s ME he’s feeling angry with, he still feels he can turn to me to help him cope with his feelings… Heart3.2 copy

Hope all that helps and remember to be gentle with YOURSELF on this path too, as you’re learning and growing as well 🙂

Listen to the SOS….

I’ve just been reading an ebook by Dr Robert Anthony, and in it was a lesson about the Titanic, which I’m going to paraphrase as I think it holds an important message.  

As you probably know, the Titanic was the largest ship of her time and sank in the Atlantic whilst on her maiden voyage, with the loss of many lives.  At the time she sank, there was another ship just 30 miles away, the California.  Radio communication was in its infancy during this time and the only radio operator on board the California has closed down for the night and gone to bed.  An hour later, the Titanic was sending out desperate SOS pleas. But the nearest ship, which could have arrived quickly and saved many lives, just did not hear those pleas and carried on, oblivious to the distress close by.

As we sail on the sea of life, people around us are going to hit proverbial icebergs too and cry out for help.  But humans don’t shout out ‘SOS’ or ‘Help me’.  Instead, they behave in angry ways, or are sarcastic, or sulky, or in any way that may be considered ‘attention-seeking’.  You even hear people saying “Just ignore him; he’s just looking for attention”.  

If someone is looking for attention, they have a need to be seen, for someone to notice them.  Their behaviour is their way of sending out an SOS.  

So MY plea to you today, and every day, is to not hear “I hate you”, but to hear the SOS behind it that says “Please love me; I’m hurt, I’m lost, I’m lonely”.  Don’t hear “Mind your own business” but “Help me; I’m lonely and need love”  Please see the Titanics all around us that need our help and offer it with love.  Because we’ve probably ALL been Titanics at some point in our lives….