Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 Things That Keep Us From Fully Enjoying Our Young Children by Erin Leyba

Today, I welcome Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD of parenthappy.org to share her post with us.

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Children are naturally full of innocence, joy, exuberance, and wonder. Just spending time with them can be tremendously healing. They can help us recover the playful parts of ourselves, enjoy the moment, and see the world through fresh eyes. However, there are certain things that keep us from fully enjoying our children.
Trying to pack in too much
In today’s super-stretched culture of achievement, we sometimes pack in too much and end up getting annoyed when our children can’t keep up the pace. Too many work hours, house projects, parties, preschools, basketball classes, ballet recitals, hockey games, and piano lessons can leave us wilted or high-strung. We might take children to Target, the park, and their sister’s play at school in a single morning, which invites power struggles and not-so-perfect behaviors. The slower we go and the fewer transitions we have with children, the more we tend to enjoy them.
Not feeling happy ourselves
After having a baby, lives of both mothers and fathers change completely. Free time, work, and friendships look vastly different. There tends to be a crisis period in which parents grieve the loss of their “old life” and search for new ways to make themselves happy. Research suggests that having a baby can also significantly stress a partnership. As parents negotiate changes in chores, workloads, childcare, and recreation, conflicts arise. If we take proactive steps, such as journaling, going to counseling, talking to friends, engaging in self-care, and communicating, we can move toward wellness. It’s hard to enjoy children when we’re in a funk ourselves.
Lack of awareness of developmental issues
Children’s developmental phases might include: it’s all about me; I’m trying to be my own person so don’t tell me what to do; I’m going to test out my powerful self; mine!; I’m going to determine the boundaries of this place; and I want to do things on my own terms. Children have developmental difficulty sharing until at least age 2 or 2 ½ but really until 5, and true empathy does not mature in children until age 6. It’s great to condition and encourage children to share and be empathic before then, but we may not always be completely successful. When we shift our expectations of how children “should be” behaving, we can create room to be more understanding, patient, and content with them.
Smart distractions
The invention of the smart phone and other intelligent devices has made it easier to bring our work, email, social media, news, grocery shopping, weather forecast, job search, sports videos, and exercise software to the park, playroom, rocking chair, dinner table, and bleachers on the sides of kids’ sports games. Distractions like a smart phone can pull us away from our kids, and they can also cause us to not enjoy our kids as much. With an itchy beeping, tinkling, jiggling, tweeting, dinging, alarming device glued to our fingertips, it can be hard to throw the football around at the park, build with Legos, or cover our eyes for a game of peekaboo. With the world in our pockets, it can be hard to focus on or appreciate the people in front of us.
Not honoring the first five years as a unique, temporary time in life
It’s likely that never again will you be as needed and as in demand by your family as you are when your kids are 0 to 5 years old. As you give baths, change diapers, feed the baby, toilet train, wake up all night, play, read books, and give children more attention than you’ve ever given anyone, you may feel like your family life is pulling you away from the rest of your life. Your house may be messy, your grass long, and your emails unanswered. Remembering that this is a very temporary, very unique time in life can alleviate some of the unsettling feelings associated with changes regarding work, friends, family, or leisure pursuits.
In the blink of an eye, children grow up. Consciously savoring adorable, happy, and playful moments ensures we won’t regret our children’s early, most formative years.
All rights reserved.


Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD, mom to three, is an individual and marriage counselor for new parents in Chicago’s western suburbs. Follow her blog at www.parenthappy.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/www.parenthappy.org
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Top 5 Behaviors that Cause Parents to Lose Their Cool





I have just finished a 5-part series for Creative Child Magazine titled The Top 5 Behaviors that Cause Parents to Lose Their Cool (and what to do about them).

Here are the links to view them on the Creative Child Magazine website.

#5 Back Talk
#4 Tantrums
#3 Not Listening
#2 Whining
#1 Aggression




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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mother's Time Out - Free Telesummit for YOU

Calling all Mothers!


Are you having a hard time finding downtime for yourself and your children?

Do you sometimes feel a disconnection to your kids and wonder why mothering is not how you imagined?

YOU'RE INVITED to take a Mother's Time Out!

It is time.  For Mother’s to take a Time Out.  Gather, share, learn, reflect, and make some small simple changes to transform your relationship with yourself and your children.

REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/1oGRdN6

15 speakers offer powerful insights to help you become the mother you want to be.

FREE ONLINE EVENT – SEPT. 15TH-OCT. 3RD


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