At one time or another, we’ll all probably experience something big in our lives, whether it is a hurricane, another natural disaster, or something else that wasn’t expected. We don’t have to wait until our children show signs of distress to try to help them. There’s so much we can do as things are happening and immediately after to lessen the impact of those experiences.
I took the time to do our morning connection rituals with both my daughters. I stopped hurrying us about and took the time to admire their choices of clothing. And by the time we got into the car, we were back to being our calm selves and plugged into one another. We arrived, late, yet in time with one another.
How can you include individual perspectives, personalities, learning styles, preferences, and aptitudes in open and respectful family discussions about learning environments? Begin with trust – in yourself and your intuition, in your children and their uniqueness, in your relationship, and in the wide array of learning options you can uncover if you keep an open mind.
When we recognize that our children have reasons for those upsets (even if we don’t really get it), it gives us the opportunity to connect and actually help make it better this time, and the next time, too. Learning the skills to regulate and create more connection in the moment helps everyone to feel better, no matter how old we are and no matter what we call it.
When you have little ones, there is a lot of talk about how “it’s just a phase” and “this too shall pass,” whether it’s about picky eating, tantrums, or some other behavior deemed inappropriate in our society. While it is true that many of those behaviors do pass with time, I definitely wasn’t expecting to still witness full toddler-style tantrums with my child at 8 years old.
I’m traveling with my boys today by myself, flying to the Midwest from chilly Florida in search of snow and to spend time with the grandparents. Amazing how it gets so much easier as they grow older and I grow wiser, more conscious about what I’m doing and the assumptions I make as a parent.
The essence of attachment is beyond our physiological needs (food, water,
warmth) and is about thriving, not just surviving. Join Rebecca Thompson Hitt and Tracy Cassels as they begin this podcast series on Attachment and Healthy Development.
Everywhere we look nowadays, children are being diagnosed and labeled with disorders based on their behavior, with acronyms being placed near their names. “Johnny has ADD, that’s why he can’t sit still.” “Sherry has RAD and that’s why she can’t attach to us.” “Vinny is on the (autism) spectrum.” But how does it help to label our children?
America seems full of finger-pointing and, in general, we like to blame someone else for our problems. People sued McDonald’s when their coffee was too hot and won. It wasn’t their fault that the coffee was hot, after all, and they burned themselves. If the problem exists outside of ourselves, then it really isn’t about us. We don’t need to make a change. But if we can recognize that there is probably a small part that is our responsibility, that means that we can make it different.
I kept pulling and yanking against him like those darned Chinese Handcuffs, for nearly half an hour. And my fingers were clearly still stuck inside. The child wasn’t dressed, lunches weren’t packed, and we were at a stalemate.
Finally, I had a moment of clarity. I let go of the outcome in that second- let go of all that needed to be done. I stopped struggling. We were probably going to be late anyway. I shifted from what I needed to something that was important and fun for him, connecting with him rather than my own agenda.
May you find deep healing for yourself through the challenges of your life, rather than in spite of them. The gifts will rise out of the ashes of your old life, your old worldview, and you will find a new and deeper wholeness. Just know it is there for you to claim after the flames have subsided.
When we start to connect with our children’s stories- both through the telling and by listening in a different way to what they’re sharing about their stories- we open up to a new kind of relationship with our children. Sometimes the storytelling really helps a child to sleep more soundly. Sometimes transitions during the daytime get easier. But, new possibilities for understanding and changing behavior patterns almost always begin to emerge.
One hundred years ago, I wrote a poem entitled “I Am.” You know the one, where you start listing all the things that make up you in a list to create personal poetry. It’s a great exercise to get people out of their preconceived poetry notions, but it is also a great exercise in perspective.
When our children are little, we know we must model for them, so we show them how to pick up their toys and sing clean-up songs to make it more enjoyable. We sit with them and do it together, showing that teamwork makes the job go faster and that we can help each other. But for some reason, when they are older, we seem to expect them to just do things on their own, without direction or help. And often parents aren’t even kind about it. “Go clean your room!” “If you can’t take care of your things, maybe you don’t deserve to have them!”
She paused for a moment. This pause was for her. She centered herself around the realization that her child was distressed and this was how he was expressing it in this moment. She wasn’t going to do what he was demanding. That would not be healthy for either of them. But she stopped what she was doing and gave him her full attention. She ignored his behavior in this moment and focused on him, her child, who was clearly having a rough time.