Friday, February 27, 2015

Love Courageously Challenge Results - Day 28

For the past 27 days, we've talked about what courageous love is and how to give it even through difficult circumstances.

Now that we are at the end of our challenge, think on the following questions and record your answers in your journals.

What did loving courageously do for you and your family this month?

Did you notice that loving courageously caused more or less misbehavior? 

How did loving courageously affect your connection to your family?

How did loving courageously affect the atmosphere of your home?

Do you want to continue to love courageously? What kind of support do you need in order to make that happen?

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Loving Courageously Through Sensory Challenges (Love Courageously Challenge - Day 27)

I'm honored to welcome Dayna to my website today to talk about loving courageously through sensory challenges. Dayna is the author at Lemon Lime Adventures and owner of Project Sensory.


When you become a parent, you see images of happy families everywhere. You see mothers hugging their children and children smiling. You can't help but notice the happy families in the park, the children laughing at restaurants and you start to form an image of what your family will look like. However sometimes things don't turn out picture perfect. In fact, sometimes parenting can throw you for a loop and you have to learn how to love courageously through special needs such as sensory challenges.

All parenting has its struggles, that is for sure. This series is a great example of struggles that parents face everyday in their quest to love unconditionally. Today I would like to share a few ways that we have learned to love unconditionally through our son's sensory challenges.

What are Sensory Challenges?

While all children have some sensory preferences and dislikes, some children have more difficulty processing the world around them. In this case, their brains and sensory systems have a hard time integrating all of the input they are receiving and making sense of that input. This can result in a variety of sensory challenges and even a child who is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
Every day things that most children and parents take for granted can become a struggle. Getting out the door with socks that feel "right", finding a food your child will actually eat, having a child who constantly pushes and jumps... these are just a few of the challenges that your child might face.

Love Courageously Though Sensory Challenges

Educate Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community | When you are starting on your journey to parent a child with sensory challenges, you might find that you feel lost and you feel like a terrible parent. Its important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can on both positive parenting strategies and sensory processing needs.

Recognize Sensory Needs | This is the tricky part. Its important to remember that children everywhere have needs and wants that are the root cause of their misbehavior and their frustrations. When your child has sensory challenges it can be very hard to determine the what is sensory and what is misbehavior. Learning to recognize your child's triggers (such as loud spaces, new people, certain textures, etc) can help you and your child feel more connected and positive.

Be Consistent | As with any good positive parenting routine, you want to start with consistency and clear expectations. A child with sensory challenges may have difficulty flying by the seat of their pants or making changes on a whim. They might even have meltdowns that are a result of unclear expectations.

Acceptance | As you learn more and more about your child's sensory needs, you will learn that many of their behaviors and attitudes come with the territory. This doesn't mean you are making excuses for them or allowing them to get away with things. Instead, you are learning to accept the things your child struggles with and what they are successful at. It will allow you to let go of some of the behaviors that bother you the most. A good example, is "look at me". While you might have grown up learning that this is the only acceptable form of respect from a child, you might have to accept and adjust your expectations if your child is unable to hold appropriate eye contact.

Let it Go | Parenting a child with sensory challenges might mean you get yelled at, deal with meltdowns frequently, and feel like a rotten parent. One of the best things I have learned to do while parenting my child with big emotions is to let it go, not take it personally and realize that my child is having a hard time not giving me one. It is important to let go of the blame, the guilt and the frustrations so that you are able to show your child the love they deserve (even on the hard days).

Today's Challenge : Do you know your child's sensory triggers? Can you recognize them and help your child cope through these challenges? Over the next few days, take quick notes on your child's meltdowns or frustrations. What happened before, during and after? Do you notice any patterns that you can try to adjust so that you and your child are happier and able to love courageously together?

 Headshot-family-150x150Dayna is a National Board Certified teacher, with over 12 years of experience in early childhood education, who now homeschools her 3 children, one of which struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder. She is the author at Lemon Lime Adventures and owner of Project Sensory, where she is dedicated to sharing real life stories with parents and educators about the pretty and the not so pretty days involved in raising children. You can connect with Dayna over on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and G+!


Read the post that inspired the Love Courageously challenge.

The "I CHOOSE LOVE" bracelets you requested have been ordered! You can preorder yours now in red or purple, debossed with white lettering (available in the US only, free shipping).

Order my bestselling book for more ways to embrace love.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Loving Courageously Through Back Talk (Love Courageously Challenge - Day 26)

Today, I am pleased to welcome Ariadne Brill of Positive Parenting Connection to my blog. Ariadne is speaking to us about loving courageously through back talk.


For many parents, "back talk" can be a big button pushing moment. When you have made a nice request and receive "back talk" like whatever, no way and you can’t make me in return it can feel extra hard to respond calmly and kindly. Being a loving presence when a child back talks may seem wrong, but really it is what a child needs in that moment: loving guidance.
One of the principles behind positive parenting is the idea that behavior is communication. Back talk or any time when behavior and communication is off, is a good clue that our children are trying to tell us something. They just happen to be having a hard time doing so, with words we wish to hear.
While back talk may be a trigger for reacting to our children, back talk really can be an opportunity to step back. We can use this moment of miscommunication as an opportunity to offer guidance, model respectful language and give unconditional love.
Offering guidance and love when a child uses back talk isn't an excuse to allow disrespectful exchanges. Instead it is an opportunity to help your child learn to express himself in a clear yet respectful manner.
"I hear you are upset" is a loving and kind alternative to "don't you talk to me that way young lady!"
"I'd like to hear your side of the story. I find it hard to do so if you if you say whateves and i dont care. Let’s start over."  is a loving way to make your values clear and still invite communication.
When we change our own responses to back talk we are actively modeling the type of language we wish to hear. We also reassure our children that we are confident in their abilities to be respectful and that our parenting boundaries can be kind and clear at the same time.
How does this work in practice?
Lets say your child offers you some back talk like this: "I'm not setting the table and you cant make me!"
A loving yet confident response can be: "I hear you don't want to set the table, you are right that I cant make you. I also trust you to complete your job, even if it’s not what you really want to do right now. There are still about 10 minutes before dinner is served, you can play for five minutes and then help, or help and then play until dinner is ready."
Back talk can be a sign a child needs more choice, more power, encouragement or more loving guidance. Sometimes it can also just be a reflection of how they are being treated.
"Go to your room. Pick up those toys. Get moving! How many times...." Sound familiar?
Whenever I let stress seep into my life, communication might get rushed with my children and I’ll  hear more of those unhelpful phrases coming out. The minute I Infuse my interactions with more kindness and connectedness, I see my children begin doing the same!
So, to erase "you cant make me," "no way," "whatever," and "you go do it" I encourage you to look at back talk as an invitation for more connection with your child. Validate their feelings “I hear you wish you didn’t have to...” and “You don’t think you can do this? Did I get that right?”  Then see it as a chance to model respectful requests. "I cant make you AND i value your help. What do you say we work together?"
Back talk is not effective or polite, so the best way to help our children to communicate in a better way, is to show them how, with loving, kind words.  

Peace & Be Well,

Ariadne Brill is the mother to three children. She has a B.S. in Communication, is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator, and continues to advance her studies in child development, psychology and family counseling. Ariadne is also the founder of the Positive Parenting Connection and the author of Twelve Alternatives to Time Out: Connected Discipline Tools for Raising Cooperative Children.

Join me tomorrow for Loving Courageously Through Sensory Challenges.


Read the post that inspired the Love Courageously challenge.

The "I CHOOSE LOVE" bracelets you requested have been ordered! You can preorder yours now in red or purple, debossed with white lettering (available in the US only, free shipping).

Order my bestselling book for more ways to embrace love.

Pin It Now!