What example are you to your kids?

Parenting-quote-unconditional-love

The last few weeks have been an emotional, roller coaster ride with my sweet daughter who entered middle school this year. Every Monday she would wake up in tears, with a face terrified of what lie ahead of her day. After the 4th week of tears, I decided to give her the day, to listen to her, to try and understand where she was and what she needed as a little person. The day consisted of touring another nearby, smaller school,  talking to one of my sisters who through her middle school years begged our mom to home school her, looking online for schooling from home options, and just taking the time to listen and try to understand her feelings.

My daughter has suffered with different anxieties her entire childhood, which led to different ticks, nail biting, lip chewing, text anxiety, social anxiety…I have been a mother trying to find ways to help her cope all through her schooling.   I think I just could not bare to see her suffer any longer and I wanted to try and understand, to respect the needs of this little person.

The conclusion: I pulled her out of her school within three days and signed her up for an online academy that we are testing out until December. Then, in January she has to attend 2 classes in the public school for social interaction while still working her online academy. I would not suggest this to everyone, but I knew my daughter might be a great fit for a program that she could work at her own pace, communicate on a daily basis with her teachers and just feel personal responsibility for herself. So far, it has been a great experience.

My personal pain: My husband has struggled since day one and is having a hard time understanding or seeing the logic in the situation. It has been numerous, intense conversations. My family also has had their opinions and feelings. It has been a tough few weeks.

My faith: As her mother I decided to try and give this little person a voice, to respect her feelings, to try and understand where she is at during this difficult age. I see a little girl that is torn between feeling younger and being thrown into a world where little girls are wearing make-up, flirting with boys, not caring about school or respecting their teachers and she is scared.

Now, I have heard it from everyone!!—we all had to go through this tough age, to be scared, to go any way. But, my heart wanted to listen and respect where this little person was and stand up for her. I did not want to let the world bully away her feelings. I did not want to toss aside respecting another soul and just tell her to tough it out.

We are parents!! If we do not listen and try to see and understand where our children are coming from. Who will they turn to in times of need? If we do not respect their feelings of need and nurture, who will?

Now, I know some of you out there will not agree with me, but you are not my daughter’s mother. You each have your own children to raise. Each child is different, each child has their own strengths, weaknesses, potential…I know my daughters strengths—she is self-motivated, driven, school focused and works so hard. She was feeling lost in a sea of faces, no connection to her teachers, feeling overwhelmed by the kids around her who did not care about school or who used her because “she was smart & could do the work.”

We need to do all we can to protect these little people and lift them up & believe in them & what they are capable of. They need to feel that we listen, that we care, that we are trying to guide them to our best ability. That is what I am trying to do.

I am trying to be an example to her to listen to her inner guidance, to follow her feelings, to step out of the norm if you need to so that you can find yourself a little more clearly. If we cannot respect and be an example to our kids, who will?

tara-whitney-quote1(pp_w540_h321)Here is a great quote to exemplify my thoughts…

Every child is a soul with a different growth rate and with a potential that is varied and vast. Respecting the needs of our little ones from a very early age, listening to their unique voices, hearing their wants will assure them that no matter how tiny they are somebody will kneel down to listen. Respecting the potential that his hidden within each child.

Practicing conscious parenting you allow your children to develop without forcing down their throats the magic of competition, expectations, exam fevers. Do not push, press or force them into unnecessary ‘speedy’ growth, unnecessary sufferings and pressures. Let the children’s emotional body develop at its own pace, let their physical body stay strong and fear-less, let their mental growth be inspired and full of wonder.  -Nuit

20130420-iyanla-ep117-quotes-8-600x411 Good-parenting-quotes

I hope you look at your children a little more closely today & try to see one need they may have. Follow your heart and give them an extra hug, take them on a mommy/missy date, sit down and just talk, go on a walk together, tell jokes, learn something new together, just listen, just look at them closely and ask them—what do you need?? what can I do for you?

Have a beautiful day. Peace to you.  -H

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Ways to share the LOVE a little more

I LOVE YOU MORE is a big phrase in our house, so seeing that February is THIS week, I thought I would post some ideas on ways to LOVE a little more in your life. Whether it is your spouse or kids, here are some great ideas. Enjoy!!

YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARTNER:

beauty-couple-dance-dress-friends-girl-Favim.com-49574tumblr_m5lc17b0jM1qdblieo1_500I was recently reading an Oprah post and I loved this visual–“Drop your story about who your partner is and see him/her with a “fresh-start mind.” Decide that today you are going to learn three new things about them, or you’re going to really listen when you have dinner together. As Someone once told me, if you’re dancing with someone and aren’t paying close attention to the way they are moving, you step all over each other. And then you don’t want to dance anymore.”

I LOVE that visual of dancing, being present, moving in the moment, together. Can you see it? Can you visualize dancing and not being present—stepping all wrong, getting frustrated, not enjoying the dance. Who enjoys getting stepped on, both emotionally and physically–no one!! So, work on the dance within your relationship. Begin to get present, truly listen, find things you both enjoy together, hold each other and begin again.

heart-shapeMORE TIPS:
Here are a number of tips, I will probably do another post on this same topic because there is a lot to cover about Sharing the Love.  Look for my additional LOVE posts. 

According to PsychologyToday you should have a ‘pet name’ for each other because calling your partner by an affectionate name brings a positive response.

Share the housework is another thing they suggest, because it makes you feel like you are working together & that not one person carries the brunt of the work.    My husband has always been a great example of this. He is always working so hard and then is always looking for opportunities to help where he can. Amazing!!

Play, get out and do things together that are new.  I can definitely say that getting out and trying new things together helps you feel alive, it makes you look around and enjoy where you are—together. It is a fun way to connect.

Share a Surprise: Everyone loves a good surprise, so throughout this month do fun little things that will surprise the ones you love.  My Dad gives my mom a ‘Love Mantel’ where each day he puts something new on the mantel each morning. He puts cheesy plush animals that move, giant love cards, poems he writes, etc. It has been a fun tradition that my Mom looks forward to.  You could also plan a special date that is full of surprise locations, a special dinner, a walk on the beach, a fun activity, a stroll through a museum, a night under the stars, etc. You create it and Surprise!! A great gift for everyone.

Personalize something: A great gift is something from the heart, so pull out your guitar and write a song, make a delicious dinner, write a note that shares your feelings, plan a trip somewhere they have always wanted to go or is a favorite destination, send their favorite flowers, change their phone background to a picture of the two of you, Copy and paste the lyrics from one of their favorite songs with a sweet note, get a card deck & write things you love about each other on each card & then share them with each other

Pray together (as a family/as a couple): This is one thing that brings you together, solidifies, helps you listen to matters of the heart—what you are all grateful for, the highlights from the day, things to think about, matters to ponder. It brings everyone to a place of quiet listening.

Share something positive: Send a sweet text, share a quote you come across, a fun pic from the weekend, something that will inspire. Just send!! Just be careful who you send it to. smile. I know this sounds funny, but my husband was up in our kitchen working and I wanted to send him some love. I typed up a little note and texted it to him. I smiled as I heard the ding, only 20 feet away. I listened to him type up something & then I smiled again as I heard the jet plane noise go off. I waited for my text from him. He was waiting for my response. After a few minutes, he finally said, didn’t you get my text? Puzzled, I replied, No! He instantly looked at his computer and started to laugh out loud, with a little bit of shear panic. He realized he had sent the note to our brother-in-law. Luckily, it was just a sweet note full of…You truly mean the world to me and I would walk to the ends of the earth for you. I would swim the deepest ocean for you & I would climb the tallest mountain for just one kiss. Our brother-in-law responded….That was perfect!! You are pretty okay too!  It was very funny. Lesson learned—be careful who you send stuff to. smile. smile.

Say something positive: Researchers have found that happy couples have a ratio of five positive comments to each negative comment (urtango).  This only makes sense, relationships have a better foundation when the people involved are building!! Build a positive foundation with good things…compliments, things you enjoy about each other, things you admire in one another. Build! Build! Build! Don’t tear each other down, don’t tear down the beautiful things you have built together.

Do something small: Write a little note & stick it on the car dash before work. I like this one, use a toothpick to write “I Love You” on the outside of an unpeeled banana (I am going to try this right now!)–urtango. Write a note and leave it on the bathroom mirror, grab their robe when they get out of the shower, put their favorite treat with a note on the car seat, record a memo message on their phone, write a love note on their calendar, get them a new audiobook to listen to on their way to work, get their favorite bath gel & leave it in the shower with a little note, buy a magazine subscription they like…

state-of-the-nation-children-390x285YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILDREN

Share the Love: By saying I Love You, Giving hugs (at least 15 a day), Sharing highlights from the day with each other, Wrapping up in a big blanket and sharing a good movie or reading a chapter in a book together, Having special back scratches or ways you paint their face with your fingers, Having a special song you put them to bed by, A special story book you read out of, By letting them help cook something in the kitchen & then licking the spoon, By walking home from school together, By having Mommy Missy or Mommy son dates that are one-on-ones especially for them, Sharing a sweet smile, Lovingly hold their hands when you walk together, Sharing your time and being present.

Share Stories: Share with them memories of their childhood, the day they were born, the way their name came about, stories about your childhood, things about you, share your likes, your dislikes, share stories that connect you.

Write a letter: I write a special letter to my daughter every six months. I write about what she is like, what she is doing in school, her friendships, her likes and dislikes, funny moments, her favorite things, and then I am collecting them to give to her when she is 18. I occasionally read bits and pieces of them with her to make her smile. It’s a great tradition.

Ask Questions: Ask your child what they are thinking about, What they wonder about, What is magical to them, What they love about their life, What they love about you as their parent, What was their favorite part of the day, What they wish for, What they want to be when they grow up, What it means to be a good friend, What they like you to do as their parent, What they struggle with, What they enjoy about the different holidays throughout the year, What they love about the seasons…

Give special gifts: Find something special, that is especially made for your child. Put some thought into it & create a memory when giving gifts. Write a note that accompanies the gift. i.e.: my daughter loves Orangutans & wants to be a zoologist one day. She also dances, so when I found a small orangutan doll, dressed in a tutu, I knew I had to have it. My daughter fell in love with it–the message with the doll…be You, Shine, Be an original. It was perfect. When you take the time and put thought into gift giving=great memories and gifts that will be cherished.

Give them a gift of a memory with you: Teach your child something special—teach them to make homemade pumpkin cookies, how to peel potatoes, how to fold laundry, how to shuffle cards, how to play HORSE or Around the World, how to play ping pong or mini golf, how to knit, how to take a photo, how to write a thank you card, how to draw or doodle, how to set a table properly…

Hope these ideas get you thinking about ways to share the love a little more.  Enjoy the month of LOVE!!

A great gift for Mother’s Day…

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I read this beautiful parable and was so touched by the beautiful images and emotion that it holds. This would be a wonderful gift to share with your Mom this Mother’s Day. Blessings to you and your family.

Parable of Motherhood

By
Temple Bailey

this was originally published in Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1933

The young mother set her foot on the path of life.  “Is the way long?” she asked.  And her guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard.  And you will be old before you reach the end of it.  But the end will be better than the beginning.”  But the young mother was happy and she would not believe that anything could be better than those years.  So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them along the way and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them and life was good, and the young mother cried, “Nothing will never be lovelier than this.”

Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle and the children said, “Oh Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come,” and the mother said, “This is better than the brightness of day, for I have taught my children courage.”

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children,  “A little patience and we are there.”  So the children climbed and when they reached the top, they said, “We could not have done it without you, Mother.”  And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness.  Yesterday I gave them courage, today I have given then strength.”

And with the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil–and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said, “Look up.  Lift your eyes to the light.”  And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.  And that night the mother said,  “This is the best day of all for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old, and she was little and bent.  And her children were tall and strong and walked with courage.  And when the way was rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.  And the mother said, “I have reached the end of my journey.  And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone and their children after them.”  And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her.  And they said, “We cannot see her, but she is with us still.  A mother like ours is more than a memory.  She is a Living Presence.”

What do your kids REALLY NEED?

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Lately my husband and I have been back and forth on our concern about moving our ten-year-old daughter from a home she loves and the close proximity to her cousins and family for an out-of-state job position.  We are in the middle of making the decision to keep a steady income with the possibility of moving or taking a less paying job and staying. It has been a roller coaster of pros and cons. So I thought I would do some research on what children really need…their REAL needs vs COMFORT needs. So, here are some of my findings, mixed in with my own thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these ideas will help encourage you to invest a little more in the children within your life.

CONVERSATION: I strongly believe kids need to be heard and when you truly listen there is a stronger investment in the relationships. Talk to your kids regularly, don’t be too quick to fix their problems or tell them what you would do. Listen and allow them to get out their feelings, to see that you are truly engaging in their needs and concerns. This will help them to always open up and talk.      Try and see yourself in their childlike shoes. What may seem like a small problem, to them may be a big experience—listen and empathize. Help love them through.

Tips & Tricks: Have a highlight moment of the day & ask your kids what were the highlights of their day.  Play a get to know you even better game in the car & have fun questions for one another. Have fun family questions on the dinner table to pick and choose from when you have a quiet moment together.

CONNECTION: I have heard time and time again that kids who feel closely connected to their parents that they want to cooperate. There are many things to consider when talking about connection like play, hugs and affection, getting rid of outside distractions, etc.      It is easier to ask your child to get out of bed in the morning if you spend a few minutes snuggling in bed with them or read them something inspirational before sleep. My daughter loves it when I tickle and rub her arms, we also have personal back scratches that create waterfalls, rainbows, rose petals, raindrops…that help soothe and relax her. Its a good way to connect and help her feel safe.          Be present with your child. Focus on being with them then and there. You only have so much time with your child until they are all grown up and move on, so be with them, listen to them, connect with them on any and every level.

Tips & Tricks: According to many sources—people needs 8 hugs a day. So think about, plan it out and give those hugs to those you love…morning, noon and night, just because & always to say “I Love you.” I came across a good quote to remember Focus on CONNECTING, not just CORRECTING. 

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.                We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  -Virginia Satir

PRAISE & APPRECIATE: Notice the little details in moments of greatness. When you as a parent are awarded a piece of art done by your little one, take a moment and look at the details, comment on the great use of colors, the pattern, the background. Don’t just respond with “great drawing.”      Always try to point out the good moments in any situation. My daughter is constantly at odds with cousins touching her stuff and playing with things without asking. I have to talk her through those moments & point out how well she handled the little kids with kindness and patience.      Make sure you take special moments to praise your little ones in front of your spouse. Since my husband travels a lot it is fun to sit down together and talk about all the highlights he missed while he was gone.       Be silly & make some noise–kids really do LOVE the attention when you yell their name as they jump out of the car and run to the school or when they are performing and you whistle loud and scream their name.      Create moments of celebration–whether you have a special dinner in honor of entering reflections, or give a gold coin for good behavior, honor your child for being the special person they are.

Tips & Tricks: Have a special spot (fridge, personal bulletin board, special shelf) to allow children to shine and share their artwork or a outstanding test.  Make a special book each year that you include their artwork and special tests, write a special letter & make it a cherished keepsake.

PLAY:  have nicknames, special handshakes & songs you make up together. Play creates moments of rituals and tradition. We have special songs we sing for Halloween that we made up together, we have recently created a special “Fairy Day” for the first of May, because fairies have been a special addition to our whimsical world of imagination. My daughter comes home with fun handshakes and teaches them to me & our nicknames go on and on depending on the mood of the day.

Tips & Tricks: Take time to create moments of play together—make fairy houses out of sticks and acorns, tickle each other for the television remote, put puzzles together and make candy bets during card games. Have fun and PLAY!

QUIET TIME: Have some special quiet time as a family. Take 15-30 minutes or more and sit down together–read, write in your journals, meditate, go on a walk, do something that takes you away from the noise of the day. Children need your undivided attention, but they also need quiet spaces.     Your time and attention is so vital to the relationship between you and your child. Taking this time together will be able to mend wounds, heal hurts, create moments that will open up conversations and will ultimately take care of any need that arises.

Tips & Tricks: Give your child a special place in their room that is a good reading corner. Have a great chair or pillow where they can read, write, be still. My daughter has just began to write in her journal each night before bed. Yeah!!      Create opportunities of quality time with your child. Have a special day each week where you go out together. Have daily quiet time where you just talk or read together.

Additional Tips & Tricks from an Expert: According to Dr. Harley Rotbart, author of No Regrets Parenting–Turning Long Days and Short years into Cherished Moments for your Kids, he said this…

What do kids really need from their parents?

1. Security–Kids must feel safe and sound. This means providing them with basic survival needs (shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm)

2. Stability–Stability comes from family and community.

3. Consistency–Parents must synchronize their parenting. No “good cop, bad cop.” Consistency also means that important values should not be changed casually or for convenience.

4. Emotional Support–Parents words and actions should facilitate kids trust, respect, self-esteem, and independence.

5. Love–Saying and showing you love your kids can overcome almost any parenting “mistake” you might make. Even when kids have disobeyed, angered, frustrated, and rebelled against you, they must know that you love them and that you’ll always love them.

6. Education–Make sure your kids get the best possible education for their future. This, of course, includes school. But it also includes the valuable lessons about life that you provide during the time you spend together.

7. Positive role models–Parents are their kids first and most important role models. Be the kind of person you want them to become.

8. Structure–Rules, boundaries, and limited: Without them, kids are forced to be adults before they are ready, and they lose respect for you and other adults.

Well, I hope these ideas will spark some motivations to do more with your little ones. Happy Parenting.  Happy Day.   -Heather