Tag: parenting

Uncovering the Links Between Emotional Trauma and Feeling Triggered

This is why it’s so important A) to do your own healing work before becoming parents, B) to be aware of the current research into attachment and children’s brain development, and the parenting practices that both contribute to it and can harm it, and C) learn how to help your children express their emotions so their own issues don’t remain ‘unresolved’ ❤


“NICABM and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy are at the cutting edge of uncovering the links between trauma reactions embedded in the limbic system and inappropriate, uncontrolled reactive behaviours being triggered by outward stimuli.

These defensive reactions – fight, flight, freeze, attachment seeking (sometimes inappropriate), submission/folding/giving up – are evolutionary survival strategies embedded and embodied. They are at the root of attacking others and ourselves. They lie at the heart of the human condition.

Any form of trauma that is unresolved remains “watchfully” nascent within parts of the brain, ready to trigger the defensive reactions whenever resonant circumstances arise in our day to day life.

Early trauma… especially failures in development due to repeated absence of bodily and physiological safety needs along with failures to belong, to be loved, to be esteemed (see Maslow) leave us “chained” to our defences rather than “free to Be” in the world.”

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


Discover 13 New Alternatives to Nagging

Nagging is ineffective and puts a strain on your relationships. Instead, try some of these ways to get what you want. Some are so easy you can start doing them immediately while you build up to the more advanced strategies.

Simple Alternatives to Nagging

    1. Do the maths! If you still need to convince yourself that nagging fails to get results, try counting how many times you repeat the same request. The tenth time is likely to turn out the same as the first nine attempts. You have everything to gain by trying a new approach, and remember the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results!
    2. Focus on the positive. Keep your eye on the big picture. When you think about how your family, friends and colleagues enrich your life, it’s easier to cut them some slack on the less pleasant details of your interactions.
    3. Do it yourself. It may be faster and more satisfying to complete a task yourself rather than waiting for someone else to do it. Learn to replace the air filter in your car. Sweep the stairs or wash the dishes even when your spouse was going to do those jobs this week.
    4. Become more flexible. Let your kids know that you appreciate their willingness to help out even if their methods are different from your own. Smoothing out the bedspread makes the room look tidier even if you have to give up on hospital corners.
    5. Let others experience the consequences of their decisions/forgetfulness. Maybe your children surprise you with a major craft project due the next morning on the same evening when you usually go grocery shopping. Eating cheese on toast for a week may help them understand the importance of giving you enough notice next time!
    6. Engage outside help. Consider paying professionals for chores that cause ongoing conflicts. A weekly housecleaning service may be worth the investment, especially if it saves your relationship. Find another parent at your child’s school who wants to take turns driving them to swimming lessons.
    7. Re-evaluate your priorities. Irritability is often a sign that you’re trying to do too much. Figure out which responsibilities are most important and which you can leave/delegate.
    8. Embrace technology. Brief text messages and automated calendar reminders deliver the same information with less risk of putting people on the defensive. Remind your partner that you have a dinner party tonight without saying a word.
    9. Take a time out. Deal with sensitive subjects when you’re feeling calm and collected. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a walk until you settle down.


More Advanced Alternatives to Nagging

  1. Address the root issues. Probe more deeply to see if nagging is a symptom of deeper issues in your relationships. Marital counselling or parenting classes may help you get to the bottom of what’s going on.
  2. Ask for what you want directly. Work up the courage to state what you need clearly and tactfully. One skillful message beats years of beating around the bush.
  3. Listen well. Practice attentive listening. Concentrate on what the other person is saying and confirm that you understand. It’s easier to cooperate with each other when we feel validated and cared for.
  4. Nurture your self esteem. Some studies suggest that women are more prone to nagging because they feel like they have less power. Encourage yourself with positive self talk and pursue meaningful goals. Feeling strong and secure makes you less vulnerable to finding faults in others.

If you’re tired of repeating the same requests without getting the results you desire, it’s time to try some alternatives to nagging. Change your expectations and improve your communication skills. You may wind up with a happier family life and a cleaner house.


Life After Birth; He Wants Sex, She Doesn’t…

Recently, someone asked the following question:

“My husband is a being a complete nightmare. My baby is 8 months old and I’m breastfeeding. I really can’t think of anything I want to do less than have sex. He’s now acting like a toddler, stomping around the house and having a tantrum because we have only had sex three times since our baby was born. He told me he’s going to stay in a bad mood until I put out, lol! I just want to know if after 8 months my sex drive should be back or whether I’m still normal!! Men, eh?”

My response to this is:
Both of your feelings are perfectly valid 🙂 The problem comes from each of you viewing the other person’s feelings as unacceptable, which creates disconnects in your relationship. Men tend to view sex differently to women; to them, we show our love for them through our sexual interest in them, so that very valid feeling we have of feeling touched-out, in pain, exhausted etc, is interpreted by them as “My partner doesn’t love me any more”, the thought of which would create sadness and a sense of rejection in anyone, regardless of gender.

His behaviour, whilst seeming ‘childish’ to you, IS a cry for attention, but not perhaps in the way you might think. He needs to feel still loved by you, which for men, as I said, is more about sexual interest in them, and also respect and appreciation. The huge changes we go through during pregnancy and birth, and parenting afterwards, affects both partners, but in different ways, and both parents need to still feel they are getting some of their needs met.

Can you show sexual interest in him again, even without the actual act of full sex, if that is painful/uncomfortable for you? Even something like giving admiring compliments of his body again, or trying to make a point of kissing him more passionately when he gets in from work, could give him a sense of “She DOES still love me” and start healing that disconnection in your relationship that you both feel is starting to happen.

The key is to rebuild that connection between you, IF you want the relationship to last, by trying to understand what is going on for the other person at a deep level, rather than just surface behaviour. I’m sure you equally feel unheard by him and that is causing some of your exasperation, but if the long-term goal is to stay together, it’s important to start connecting again by attempting to start meeting some of his needs, in a small way that isn’t compromising your needs either.

I recommend The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts as a great resource for helping identify each others needs and working towards meeting them, something you could do together and rebuild your sense of yourselves as a team working together rather than both at different ends of a spectrum, pulling against each other…

“But not all men act in this manner and behave so childishly when they don’t get their needs met…?”

No, people don’t all act the same way in certain circumstances. But since you are asking about your OWN husband’s behaviour, and since I’ve studied relationship psychology, counselling, and communication skills, I was attempting to understand what underlying thoughts and feelings might be driving his outward behaviour from a point of rebuilding connection in their relationship, because calling someone names usually creates MORE tension, negative feeling and disconnection, rather than rebuilding connection.

If you had said you’d had enough and wanted to leave, my response would have been very different, but my sense is that you want to stay with him rather than feeling more conflict with him. If I’ve misinterpreted your intentions, then, just like everything else on the Internet, you can take what resonates with you and ignore anything that doesn’t 🙂

I have a view that it’s better to have access to a full tappas bar of perspectives to listen to and choose from, and even between a couple that have been together for a long time, each individual can have their own views/beliefs/values that drives their outward behaviour, often without them even realising it. Attempting to interpret this man’s behaviour in the context of his sense of rejection (something research shows occurs a lot after the birth of a child) wasn’t an attempt to justify his behaviour, but to explain it in a way that might help you view it from a more connecting perspective rather than getting into a more “him versus me”, he’s selfish etc etc mindset. There are other perspectives that offer that view; I just offer an alternative that may or may not be correct, so you can take what I’ve written and decide for yourself if that could be what’s going on with him from the context of what you know about him as a man already. If he’s always behaving in this manner, even before the pregnancy, it’s up to you to weigh up if this behaviour is something you are not prepared to tolerate. But if he’s a generally decent man who normally is kind and considerate, what I’ve said could allow you to view him as just having a ‘blip’ and even save your marriage….

The point here is about intimacy. Things have changed, of course, with the arrival of a little one, but if you both try to make sex/intimacy one of life’s priorities, not as a chore or to please him, but as something that could bring you closer together on all levels, you may find things shifting for the better between you again. It can be such a powerful ‘connector’ for couples and it’s so easy to put off, but it’s another way of ‘connecting’ with each other and I can imagine he just wants to feel close and intimate with you again after the arrival of a new baby has brought such a steep learning curve and drastic change of lifestyle into both your lives.

You have all that rush of the love hormone oxytocin that helps with bonding with your new baby, something which happens physiologically with every feed naturally. But he doesn’t have that at all as men obviously can’t breastfeed, so his only source of hugs and kisses (and that delicious feeling of being loved) is now only interested in someone else, even if that someone else is his child. For men, when a new baby comes along and his partner falls totally in love with them, it can feel like she’s having an affair on an emotional and physical level, even if logically he knows it’s his own child that is taking all her attention away. But emotions are rarely logical!

So I offer this perspective to any new parents struggling with this issue, and strongly suggest that you recognise the need to keep intimacy alive in your relationship, prioritising it in ways that strengthen your connection. Heart3.2 copy

Further Resources:



The Reason Why Children Can Often Behave at School, but Not at Home…

I think this is an experience many parents might have had, not just parents of a child on the autistic spectrum. Introverted children also might have a challenging time dealing with all the ‘social interaction’ of a normal school day and then need to unload the pressure when they get home too. Our job as parents is to try not to take that personally and see it as a failure of ourselves as parents, but, as this Mum recognises, be their safe place where they can ‘crash’ knowing they are unconditionally supported. Which also means making sure we as parents have support too, to help us stay grounded and calm.  My philosophy on parenting is to seek first to understand the world from my child’s perspective, and THEN I can help them deal with their challenges… Heart3.2 copy


A Startling Fact about Where Babies Should Sleep

“Sixteen infants were monitored while they slept next to their mum’s chest and again when they slept alone in a cot next to her bed.

And the study revealed their hearts to be under three times as much stress when they slept alone compared to when they were bed-sharing.

Also, while in the cot, their sleep was disrupted and their brains were less likely to “cycle” or successfully switch from active sleep to quiet sleep.”



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 🙂