Holding hands

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't You Want Some Attention Too ?

You know how hard it is to stop what you’re doing and calm down for a minute? It’s like there’s always something you have to do – even more at this time of year!
I’ll be brief.
I bet you tend to take care of everyone else before yourself, right? Then, it’s really hard for there to be anything left by the end of the day for you. Ask me how I know! 

What if taking care of yourself and nourishing your spirit is the BEST way to take care of everyone else – like putting the mask on first in an airplane?
I know it may be almost impossible for you to imagine making time for yourself right now, and that’s OK. You don’t have to!
But what if takes less than 7 minutes: the same time it takes for one commercial break, waiting on line in the bank or for your coffee to brew?
Don't you deserve 7 minutes devoted to YOU?
It may not seem like much, when you crave so much more but actually taking a baby step will go a lot further than doing nothing because it doesn’t feel like enough. Remember, without your baby’s first step they wouldn’t be running.

Your special gift this week is an audio that’s less than 7 minutes to nourish your spirit and help you feel calmer. Use the amazing, creative, problem solving skills everyone else counts on you for to find a quiet, comfortable place to be alone. It really will help and may be the best gift you give your family this season.

Download your audio here: http://tinyurl.com/27ymnqm

Practicing self-care is probably THE most important action you can take for the health and happiness of your children - to make them feel safe and help them feel good about themselves. That's why I’m totally committed to you having that in the coming year. Stay tuned…

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Can I give you a KISS?

You know those special holiday activities you want to have fun doing with your kids? Maybe it’s baking cookies, seeing holiday lights or a performance, or skating.

It doesn’t always go as you imagined, does it? You really have the best intentions and want so much to enjoy the experience with your child…but it’s TOO MUCH!

And when it gets to be too much, then no one’s having fun!

This week’s tip is to KISS – Keep It Super Simple!

Take whatever activity you want to do. Cut it in half! And then in half again! As a matter of fact, cut the whole to do list down while you’re at it.

Then, remember that the activity is the WHOLE time you spend with your child. What if the time waiting on line to see Santa, or the show, etc. was the best part of the whole experience for your child - the time they looked back on and always remembered? Imagine…

Want to bake cookies with your child? No, no not all those fancy cookies you have in mind! That never goes well. It’s not really about the cookies. Did you know that eating comfort food with your child releases Oxytocin, (the anti-stress hormone,) in your brain, allowing you and your child to feel a greater sense of connection and wellbeing?

So Keep It Super Simple and make comfort cookies – Rice Krispies Treats!

Here's a link to the classic recipe! http://www.ricekrispies.com


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why I'm NOT wishing you happy holidays...

Right after Thanksgiving, I asked my friend with young kids how she was doing. “I’m doing my best to survive the holidays!” she responded.

Can you relate?

Never mind visions of sugar plum fairies in your head…more likely it’s visions of the kids off school fighting with each other, or visions of your 6 year old having a tantrum when it’s time to sit down to dinner with your parents who flew in to spend the holidays enjoying their grandchildren.

I figured you didn’t need one more person telling you to be happy!

When you’re fighting daily battles with your kids, even the thought of the holidays can be overwhelming. You may not know how to solve the problems at home yet, but you CAN do one thing right now…BREATHE.

That’s right.If nothing else…BREATHE.

And what if it was enough… for now?

I know breathing alone won’t solve all your problems. It CAN, however, have a profound effect on how calm you feel. A calm parent is more present and effective no matter what the problems.

Want to learn how to become 50% -100% calmer with just a few breaths done right? Your own breath can be your best parenting ally. Watch my short video here.

To receive an amazingly simple tip to make the holidays easier AND a special little gift from me to you every week this month, put your name and email in the boxes at the top right.

Here’s to the possibility of more fun this season!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Freedom & Safety - Part 2

Did you know that stress and fear cause your thinking to become confused and distorted and make you forget what you know? If your anxiety and worry about your child seem out of proportion to the current situation, it could be because you are being triggered by a past experience, perhaps even in childhood. In this state of stress, you are not going to be able to think clearly enough to make the best decision you could.

Let's say you are trying to decide whether to give your child freedom in a certain area like going to school by him or her self, staying alone for a given time, or going to the corner store or a friend’s house alone. Naturally, the answer depends on many factors; your child’s age, their temperament, where you live, etc. All the factors need to be assessed from a reasonable, rational place in order to create a safe environment for your child.

The Secret is: Your brain needs to be calm to access that reasonable rational place. What that means is that taking care of your own stress is probably the best thing you can do for your child. As parents, it's easy to think of taking care of ourselves as selfish, therefore, bad. The thing is, your children learn to take care of them selves from how we treat ourselves, not how we treat them! So go ahead and do something you've been meaning to do just for you. You'll feel better and so will your child!

Next week, I'll talk about how what you feel can be even more important than what you say or do!

Would you like help de-activating your triggers? Just email me at kwhithamrn@gmail.com or schedule a complimentary strategy session.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How Much Freedom is Safe For Your Child?

As parents, we want more than anything for our children to be safe. Our worst nightmare is that something may happen to our child. None of us would question our responsibility to keep our children safe. At the same time, however, we also want our children to become responsible and independent. The problem is, “How do you find the right balance between safety and freedom for your child?”

The solution is to be able to accurately assess what is and isn’t safe for your child by sorting out your own fearfulness, and then to do what’s best for your child from a place of calm clarity. This will develop in your child the self-confidence, good judgment, and ability to trust that he or she needs to safely and successfully navigate the outside world.

Over the next three weekly posts, I’m going to share why it is crucial to sort out whether you are being overly fearful or just using good judgment and reasonable caution. I’ll also let you in on 3 secrets you need to know to successfully find the safety-freedom balance that’s right for you and your child.

Sneak Preview: Did you know that STRESS causes confused and distorted thinking and makes you forget what you know?

Stay tuned...

In the meantime for support in ending the constant worry and developing the calm confidence that will help you find that balance between freedom and safety for your child, apply for a complimentary strategy session today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Your Child Is In Charge

When our children talk back, have an attitude or act like they are in charge by being demanding or defiant, it is easy as a parent to want to prove we are the adult and to demand respect by attempting to control our child’s behavior. Often we resort to threatening, punishing or demanding that our child may not speak to us “like that!” It’s an “I’ll show you who’s boss” approach.

It’s ironic then, that in our attempt to be the adult from this authoritarian place, we are in a strange way actually giving more power to our child. We are reacting to the situation as if it’s a battle between us and our child. The only option that leaves us is to WIN.

A key misunderstanding in this approach is our interpretation that our child's behavior is something they are doing TO us. Taking this a step further, it defines our "adultness" by our ability to control our child and makes the child our reference point.

I agree that we need to be the adult with our children, and that children need to learn respect. The real question is HOW we are to be the adult. Sometimes we attribute to young children a deliberate desire to be in charge, as if that could actually feel secure to them. If you think about that rationally it’s a little crazy, isn’t it? What I am asking you to try on is this idea: We, as parents, step into our adultness by modeling leadership rather than needing to win. We step into being the adult when we take responsibility as the adult for our children by understanding that when our children are trying to be in charge, what they are craving and what they need is leadership, not control.

We begin to model leadership by learning to manage our own reactivity when our children push our buttons: to pause, breath, notice how we feel and then respond with presence and lead our children to the feeling of safety and connection they need and can't get to on their own in that moment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"You're Not Listening!"

Last week I was grocery shopping in my local coop. While waiting to check out in the tiny, crowded aisle, I saw a young mom winding her way through the crowd with her young son in tow. He was protesting about having to hold her hand. She seemed understandably frazzled trying to shop and manage a small child at the same time. The aisle was packed with people, shopping carts and boxes being unloaded, not to mention shelves at a child's eye level full of distractions. It was an over-stimulating and overwhelming environment even for me as an adult by myself!

I overheard mom say, “You have to hold my hand because you’re not listening.” The child whined through tears, “I’ll listen!" I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. I know that could have easily been me when my kids were small!

As I listened to this interaction, it struck me that the unintentional, underlying message to the child was something like, "It's your responsibility to deal with all this stress. Since you can't, I'm going to have to punish you by holding my hand!" Whoa! I had never thought of it like that! It was like a light bulb. It just wasn't possible in this environment for this young child to “listen” (which means stay focused and do what mom says without getting distracted.) It was an unrealistic expectation.

So what can you do as parents to make these necessary experiences less frustrating and more enjoyable?

1. Anticipate the situations you know are stressful for you and your child.

2. Prepare ahead of time. Tell your child, “We’re going to go into the store now and it’s very crowded. I really love you and it’s my job to keep you safe, so while we’re in the store I’m going to need to hold your hand. I know you might not always like that, but it’s the best way for me to keep you safe.” That just shifts the whole thing off the child so he is no longer responsible for stress and overwhelm that is beyond his capacity to handle.

3. Have realistic expectations.

4. Learn to see your child's behavior as a stress barometer.

5. Try to interrupt the stress with a joke, a few deep breaths, a hug or maybe even a quick break outside or in the bathroom where there is less stimulation.

I wouldn’t have thought like this back when my kids were small. With the perspective I have now, though, it seems to make a lot of sense and I wonder if it makes sense to you. Please share your thoughts and opinions. I'd love to hear them and also know what’s worked for you in similar situations.

PS: With the new year, I have 4 spots left for private clients. If you would like a complimentary consultation to explore your unique challenges with your child and find out whether Parenting Beyond Words coaching is right for you go to: www.parentingbeyondwords.com/coachingsystem.htm