There and Back Again

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 7 comments


I'm glad The Hobbit decided against using this title. It's a good blog post title, don't you think?

When I first became a mother 8 years ago, it was all about the love. 

Just love.

As I held my baby close, rocked him, looked at his sleeping baby face and marveled at this little human being I had brought into this world, there was this fierce, wild, amazing love. And that's where we started. Right there in that beautiful place where love is all we needed. Where love was enough.

But you know all the things they say about children. Those things - those wild accusations - they had a way of changing how I looked at my little love.

"He'll walk all over you if you let him by with things." As though this beautiful, small child had come here with bad intentions. As though he had it out for me. As though he was plotting against his own mother. 

"Kids need discipline!" Yeah, well who doesn't? I mean, what is discipline, anyway? Basically the ability to control oneself. I got cussed out many, many times in my decade-long banking career by grown people who had overdrawn their accounts or had to stand in line a little too long.They needed discipline. Like that time I had just about had it up to my eyeballs with the person on the other end of the phone, so I hung up and then threw it against the wall. I needed discipline, too. Or take the person in front of me yelling at the cashier because there aren't enough lanes open. Needs discipline. So yes, kids sure do need discipline. And so do adults. I  needed it when my face turned red and my voice got too loud while locked in the struggle for power with a three year old child. Yet, he's the one who went to the corner. Not the grown up. Not me.

"He'll be a disrespectful, self-centered brat!" Oh no! Not the ever-dreaded brat. Better not let that happen. Gotta keep control. Reign him in. After all, he's out to get me. He's plotting my demise this very moment, this 36 month old child. Plotting, I tell you! Better make sure I have the upper hand.

And so, suddenly love couldn't possibly be enough anymore. I had to show him who's boss, goshdarnit! So, I did. How dare he try to step over my many boundaries! This was clearly part of his plot. I didn't let him by with it, though. No, sir. I wasn't going to raise a brat. Off to time-out he went. You sit there for 3 minutes, mister, and think about what you've done. 

42 put-back-in-the-chairs later, he'd finally served his 3 minutes. VICTORY! I sure showed him.

I showed him again. And again. And again. Multiple times a day, every single day. Keeping a tyrant in line is exhausting. 

Then, there's that day I realized that maybe, just maybe, I was looking at him all wrong. 

What if he didn't cry to manipulate me, but he cried because he was just plain sad? 

What if he didn't go straight to bed because he had missed me that day and wanted to be with me?

Maybe my sweet little love wasn't plotting to overthrow me. Maybe he was just trying to find that fierce, wild, amazing love again.

I think he missed it as much as I did. 

Finally, when the days were miserable and the nights were filled with regrets, I decided enough was enough. 

Five years of intensive research led me on a long, winding road. I learned an incredible amount of information from some of the greatest minds out there. In a passionate attempt to free all children from the misconceptions surrounding them, I raised my fist in the air and spoke out against the injustices that children have to suffer daily because of our fearful delusions.

Eventually I realized I wasn't really the fist in the air type. It made me anxious and kept me up at night. I'm grateful for those who stand against the injustices because somebody needs to, but I wasn't made for that. I took a bit of time away to think about what I really wanted to say to my growing readership. What is it that parents need to hear?

I think we need to hear that's it's okay to listen to our hearts. It's okay to let go of control and embrace love.

Unconditional love. Radical love. Courageous love. 

I learned I could correct with love. I learned I could lead with love. I learned I could teach with love.

As I traveled down that long road, I had to re-learn love. It's easy to give a baby unconditional love. They haven't yet been dragged into the negative muck. They're still "innocent." Unconditionally loving someone now more than half my size who sometimes has a bad mood or rolls his eyes at me or argues with his brother, that takes something more. I like to call that courageous love. It's courageous to put away all those negative perceptions and open my heart completely, without fear that he'll walk all over me and turn into a disrespectful brat. 

The most amazing thing happened, though. The more I loved courageously, the less problems we had. What a freeing revelation. 

So, after 5 years of traveling that winding road, I've ended up right back where I started. Right here in that beautiful place where love is all we need. Where love is enough.

It turns out he never did try to walk all over me. Neither one of them. 

Tender love doesn't open the door for a child to walk all over you. It opens the door for him to walk alongside you. And when he's walking alongside you, it's easier to hear him and to guide him.

My oldest son gave his little brother a big chunk of his birthday money. He said, "I have enough stuff. I just want my brother to be happy." So self-centered is this gently parented boy.

This past Christmas, upon seeing that I had filled all their stockings but mine was empty, they secretly stuffed it full of love notes and left-over Halloween candy and brought me downstairs to show me that they couldn't let mine go unfilled. I mean, how disrespectful was that? 



The big question isn't whether or not you should use time out. The big question isn't if you should take away the iPad or make a get-along shirt or a ransom box. The big question is this - did you love them enough today?

When you lay your head on your pillow at night, ask yourself this one simple question – did my people go to sleep tonight feeling loved and valued? If the answer is no, get up and do something about it. Or at least resolve to make tomorrow night a different story. If the answer is yes –
yes my people went to sleep tonight feeling loved and valued – then rest easy, sweet parent. You're doing all right.

********************************

If you'd like a daily wearable reminder to love courageously, order this reminder band and get free shipping. 

Get my best-selling book, The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting, for more tips on letting go of control and embracing courageous love.


How to Be the Positive Leader Your Child Needs

Monday, January 26, 2015 No comments


Our children naturally look to us for leadership. As a proponent for positive parenting, I have been asked how we can hold authority without ruling with an iron fist. How can we be the gentle, positive, effective leaders our children need?

Here are 10 Tips:

1. Set clear boundaries. Helping children to understand and stay within the boundaries we set makes them feel safe and secure - like the yellow lines on the road. Without those yellow lines, driving would be scary. Without boundaries, life is scary. Boundaries are necessary; it's the way we enforce those boundaries that determine whether we are being positive leaders. Make sure the boundaries are fair and age-appropriate, and hold them lovingly, providing empathy and understanding when children get upset about the rules. Be consistent and kind.

2. Be intentional. Effective leaders know what they want to accomplish, and they keep their eyes on the goal. Make a detailed plan of action, and renew your mind to your goal constantly.

3. Learn how to communicate well. Using positive communication skills elicits cooperation while negative communication invites rebellion. Learn positive communication and teach it to everyone in the home.

4. Be empowering. Remember the goal is ultimately to raise competent, confident human beings, and that is done in millions of small, empowering moments over childhood. From trusting them enough to take off the training wheels to handing them the keys to get behind the wheel, positive leaders help their children to feel capable.

5. Be inspiring. Leaders foster a positive environment which allows their children to flourish. They look for the light in each of their children and reflect that light back to them so that they see it, too. Positive leaders know how to bring out the best in everyone.

6. Have integrity. Positive leaders practice what they preach. Rulers tell others what to do. Leaders show others what to do by example. True authority is not gained through an iron fist but through excellent character.

7. Show support. Good leaders are supportive and encouraging. They understand that people make mistakes, and these are opportunities to learn.





Own Your Feelings and Actions

Sunday, January 25, 2015 No comments

The following is adapted from a chapter in The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition, available here.


Own Your Feelings and Actions

"Learning to effectively manage our own emotions and actions is crucial. We simply cannot guide our children to self-discipline if we do not possess self-discipline ourselves. If we cannot control our anger outbursts, our anxiety, our fearfulness, and our reactivity, how are we going to teach our children how to do these things?

Many of us never learned how to properly manage our own emotions. As children, we were taught to either stuff them down or blame them on someone else, or probably both. As a result, few parents take ownership of their feelings and actions.

When we say, “You're going to make me spank you if you keep acting like this!” or “you're making me so angry right now! Go to your room!” we are admitting that we don't have control over our own feelings and actions, that our child has control over us. This is a double-edged sword. First, this makes children feel responsible for our emotions, and that is a big burden to bear for a child. Second, we're teaching them to play the blame game and not take ownership of their emotions and behaviors as well. “She made me do it!” “I didn't want to get in a fight at school, but he made me so mad!” This is a cycle that needs to end with us.


The first step to learning how to manage ourselves is to take ownership for our own emotional reactions. Instead of, “You're making me so angry,” try “I'm feeling angry right now, and I need to calm down.” Don't blame your feelings on anyone else; they are your own. Your child is not responsible for your triggers. You are responsible for understanding why certain things trigger you and then disabling that trigger." -excerpt from The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition 

Learning to own my own feelings and actions has been the most difficult thing I've encountered in my journey of self-growth to be a better parent and person. I am still a work in progress, but I'm certainly better than I used to be.

Here are the steps I took in dealing with my own triggers and learning to control my actions. I hope they help you, too.

1. Journal about your triggers. I find writing to be extremely therapeutic, and journaling helps me to unravel my jumbled thoughts and make sense of them. Whenever I would get angry or fearful or frustrated, I would write it down, describing the events that surrounded my emotion. Then, I would think about why those particular events brought up that emotion in me. Most often, my children were not to blame at all, but rather some ridiculous ideal of perfection I was holding or some skewed perception. 

2. Avoid the things that trigger you. If you know rushed mornings make you upset, change the morning routine. Once you know what typically triggers heavy emotion for you by journaling them, you can learn to avoid a lot of frustration.

3. Not everything can be avoided, however, and so it's important to learn self-discipline. There is a space between every action and reaction. Usually, it is a small space because we react quickly, but if we can learn to harness that space and expand it, we then have time to make a thoughtful choice on how to respond. I used to place my hand over my heart, close my eyes, take several deep breaths, and acknowledge the space. Mantras are helpful to repeat when you are in this space, such as "I have a choice" or "This is not an emergency."

4. When you are emotionally charged, get physical to release the energy. Jumping jacks, push ups, running in place - these all release that built up energy that make you want to scream. Bonus: You'll be in better shape!

5. When you react too quickly and get it wrong, offer self-compassion, apologize to your child, reconnect, and move on. You don't have to be perfect. You're showing up and trying your best, and that's good enough.



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Calling all Bloggers and Reviewers

Saturday, January 24, 2015 No comments
I just released The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition!


Happily, the book is already on the bestseller list and is #1 in the Hot New Releases in 2 categories! Yay!

I'm looking for 20 bloggers who would like to read a FREE PDF copy of my book to review on your blog and on Amazon/Goodreads. If you're an interested blogger, please send me an email to admin@positive-parents.org with the subject line "BLOG REVIEW."

I'm also looking for 10 people who are willing to read a FREE PDF copy of my book and leave honest Amazon/Goodreads reviews. If you would like to receive a free PDF in exchange for leaving a review, please email me at admin@positive-parents.org with the subject line "REVIEWER."

I also have a giveaway going! Read a free chapter of my book HERE and leave a comment on that blog post to be entered to win a free gifted Kindle version of the book!

As always, I appreciate your support! You can help me spread the word by sharing from my Facebook page, tweeting with me on Twitter, following me on Pinterest, and telling your friends.

You may buy this Hot New Release and instant bestseller at these locations:

Buy The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting in paperback or on Kindle on Amazon.

Buy the paperback in the Createspace eStore here.

Purchase the NOOK version here.

Purchase the PDF version of this book here.


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FREE Chapter of The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition

Friday, January 23, 2015 18 comments

The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition is now available on Createspace, Amazon, Kindle, and Nook.


I'm reading a free chapter of The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition by Rebecca Eanes! [tweet this].

Introduction

Allow me to begin my writings to you by telling you a short tale. This particular tale is my own, but I suspect that it may feel quite familiar to the eyes reading this page. It is a tale of excitement, love, heartache, trials, and adventure. I can't tell you how the story ends because, well, I'm still in the middle of the book. I'm making it up as I go along - filling in a fresh blank page every day. Then, I turn the page and wait to see what tomorrow brings. These pages will one day be my legacy. This is how it began...

It was the day after Christmas in the year 2006. Standing in my little bathroom, in a home tucked away by the mountainside, I stood with my hands shaking. My heart was pounding out of my chest. The tile floor was ice cold beneath my bare feet, my reflection showed hope and anticipation in tired-looking eyes, and never had two minutes lasted longer. My mind was swirling with a dozen thoughts as I watched the hourglass turn over and over and over again. It stopped.

PREGNANT.

I picked up the test with my shaky hands just to make sure I had read it right. I had seen so many not pregnants before that I thought perhaps I just wasn't seeing the not in that particular light. I held it up right in front of my eyes. They had not deceived me. It did, indeed, say pregnant.

Nine months (or so) later, I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful child ever in the history of ever. (What, you too?) A baby boy. A baby boy whose very existence changed the entire world for me in one breath, one cry, one single moment. Oh, how I loved this boy with a fierce and wild love like I'd never felt before in my life. I wanted to hold him in my arms forever and ever, and I never wanted that moment to end.

But all moments end. And new moments begin.

I scribbled magnificent stories of first roll-overs, milestones, baby food mishaps, and peek-a-boo as the pages of time turned ever so quickly. First smiles, crawling, first words, standing, first steps, songs, giggles, and delightful squeals told the captivating tale of the happiest mother in the world and the smallest love of her life.


Eighteen months later, I stood once more on a cold tile floor with shaking hands, though in a different house tucked away by a different mountain. My heart doubled in size that day. My tummy quadrupled in size over the next several months, and once again, I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful child ever in the history of ever. A baby boy. A baby boy whose very existence changed the entire world for me in one breath, one cry, one single moment. Oh, how I loved this little boy with a fierce, wild, but familiar love. I wanted to hold him in my arms forever and ever, and I never wanted that moment to end.

But as I said...

I quickly scrawled more exquisite stories on my blank pages - a story of brothers meeting for the first time, two souls orchestrated by God to share childhoods together, and it was breathtaking to watch the story unfold. A story of a mother falling head over heels for a second smiling, giggling, rolling little love whose dark brown eyes made her melt into a puddle of ridiculous adoration was written in those pages.

Then, the stories began to change. My love stories were sprinkled with stories of frustration and desperation, and little by little, those stories became more and more until one sad day, when I looked back through the book, most of the pages I saw were marked up with disappointment and regret.

What happened to my wonderful story? This story was filled with tears and time-outs. This story was filled with disappointment and disconnection. I didn't like it. This was not my story. I refused to continue to fill the pages of our lives with weeping and woe.

Brokenhearted and desperately wanting back the bond I once shared with my little loves, I set out on a journey to reclaim what was lost. And that is how I discovered positive parenting.



1
What is Positive Parenting?


Positive parenting isn't a method, a set of rules, or a style. Positive parenting is a philosophy, a way of relating to children and to ourselves. Positive parenting – sometimes referred to as positive discipline, gentle guidance, or love-based parenting – is guidance offered in a positive way, keeping in mind the dignity of the parent and child and preserving the parent-child relationship.


Positive parenting is about believing in the altruism of our children, believing that they want to do what is good. It is about believing that behavior is a form of communication and clues us in to what is going on inside the child. Positive parenting is also about being firm and kind, consistent and empathetic, and viewing disagreements between parents and children as opportunities to develop problem-solving skills and learn how to navigate relationships.

There are 5 principles from which positive parenting actions derive:

    1. Attachment. According to English psychiatrist, John Bowlby, and American psychologist, Mary Ainsworth, who pioneered the attachment theory, the mother-child bond is the primary force in infant development. Scientific evidence has proven that children are hardwired to connect, and if that connection isn't there, then the brain may not develop properly.

    The attachment bond theory states that the bond between infants and primary caregivers is responsible for:

  • shaping all of our future relationships
  • strengthening or damaging our abilities to focus, be conscious of our feelings, and calm ourselves
  • the ability to bounce back from misfortune”1

    When a secure attachment is made, the child feels safe and understood. Insecure attachment occurs when the infant does not have consistent, nurturing care. Having a trusted caregiver who consistently provides care, affection, and support to the child in infancy and early childhood is important for a child to reach his or her full potential.

    2. Respect. Respect isn't a privilege, it's an emotional need. Children need to be treated in a thoughtful, attentive, civil, and courteous manner. As individuals and as human beings, they deserve the same consideration as others. The best way children learn about respect is to feel what it's like to be treated respectfully by those around them.

    3. Proactive parenting. Proactive parents respond instead of react. Responding quite simply means there is a planned action, a forethought into how you will respond to your child and to certain behaviors. Reactive parents act impulsively. Being proactive also means addressing a potential problem behavior at the first sign, before it snowballs into a real problem.

    4. Empathetic leadership. Empathy is the oil that keeps relationships running smoothly. Not to be confused with permissive parents, positive parents are still in a leadership role. Being empathetic means we understand the needs of our children, and that helps us to develop a closer relationship with them.

    5. Positive discipline. Punishment is distinct from discipline. The goal of punishment is to make someone suffer enough to cause them to want to avoid that particular behavior (and therefore punishment) again in the future. The goal of discipline is to teach someone to control impulses and behavior, to learn new skills, and to fix mistakes and find solutions. Positive discipline isn't about making a child pay for his mistake but rather learn from it.

Why Choose Positive Parenting?

There are many benefits of positive parenting. Most important is the secure attachment between parent and child, which encourages healthy development. Secure attachment builds resilience2, paves the way for how well your child will function as an adult in a relationship, and has a positive impact on brain development.

Positive parenting encourages children to develop self-discipline and offers more benefits compared to punishments, time-outs, and scolding. Some of these benefits include:

    1. A stronger parent-child relationship in which the child wants to behave because of the strong bond formed with the parent. This involves setting the child up for success and recognizing good behaviors. While punishments can damage the relationship and make the child focus on getting even or on his anger with the parent rather than on the behavior, loving guidance allows the relationship to remain intact so the child can focus on improving behavior.

    2. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is recognizing, validating, and teaching children about their emotions and how to navigate them. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Laura Markham of Ahaparenting.com says that the core components of a high EQ3 are emotional self-knowledge and self-acceptance, sensitivity to the cues of others, empathy (which can be defined as the ability to see and feel something from the other’s point of view), and the ability to regulate one’s own anxiety in order to talk about emotionally charged issues in a constructive way.

    3. Reduction in power struggles and misbehavior. Limits set and enforced with empathy help the child to better accept these limits. As our children feel more connected to us, cooperation naturally follows.

Understanding basic brain development is a big factor in why I chose positive parenting. This is a very simplistic model of a very complex organ, but think of the brain in terms of two parts – an upper brain and a lower brain. The lower brain is fully developed at birth and regulates functions like breathing, digestion, reflexes, and heart rate. The upper brain is developing in infancy and continues to develop throughout childhood, not reaching maturation until the mid 20's! The upstairs brain is responsible for emotions control, empathy, and complex thinking.

This information is key to understanding behaviors such as tantrums and aggression, because when you realize that a toddler simply does not have the cognitive capability to pause and reflect (a function of the underdeveloped upstairs brain), suddenly you understand that this isn't poor behavior but purely an issue of brain development. This knowledge helps us provide empathy and understanding in situations which would otherwise cause us a lot of frustration.

Right about now, you may have one eyebrow raised in skepticism. Believe me, I understand. I, too, was quite skeptical when I first began exploring this philosophy. To me, it sounded positively marvelous but not at all practical – much like riding my unicorn through a field of rainbow tulips.

I wish I could tell you that my journey from fear-based to love-based parenting was an easy straight shot, but that wouldn't be the truth. The truth is that my road to positive parenting was more of a long, winding road with lots of zigzags, roadblocks, and crazy loops on which I got lost more than a few times. It takes no small leap of faith to push aside everything you've been told about raising children and about what it means to be a child.

I suppose, like many of you, I had the hardest time understanding what I was supposed to do in lieu of punishment. What was the point of having rules if there were no punishments for breaking them? What was I supposed to do when my child misbehaved or stepped out of the boundaries I had established? (I will help you solve this mystery in the later chapters of this book.)

I wanted easy answers to these questions. I wanted step-by-step instructions on what to do when my child did X, Y, and Z, but you see, I was missing the point of positive parenting entirely. Positive parenting isn't about telling you what you should and shouldn't do but rather about helping you and me tune out the clamor of the world and tune in to the whispers of our hearts. Everything you need to know about loving, correcting, and guiding your child is already within you, but it often gets buried underneath all the rubble of shoulds and should nots that culture has infiltrated our minds with.

Therefore, the ideas for problem-solving and alternatives to punishment I offer to you within these pages are simply to help you understand what it may look like to implement this philosophy in your home. These are the tools that I have used in my own family that helped us. However, you are the expert on your child, and your unique relationship will determine how you parent. There is no rule book. Let your heart be your guide.

It took me about a year to wrap my head around this and embrace it wholeheartedly, and I am forever glad that I stayed the course because my own family has been transformed.


I don't want to falsely paint a picture of perfection. This is by no means an easy path to take. It takes a great deal of dedication and work to gently and lovingly tend to the garden of a child's character. It can take time for the seeds you plant to bear fruit, and in that time, when you can't see what's growing just beneath the surface, you may think this isn't working at all. It takes courage to persist when you do not see immediate change, but I encourage you to have courage, dear parent. You will reap what you sow.

Get the book to keep reading!
**************************************************************************************


The Second Edition features a new introduction, 5 brand new chapters, 4 brand new appendices, and many of the original chapters were revised and/or expanded. You're getting an extra 70+ pages of content in this second edition!

TOC for Second Edition:

 Introduction....................................................................7

1. What is Positive Parenting?....................................11
2. This is Not Permissive Parenting...........................19
3. Changing Your Mindset.........................................29
4. Embrace the Seasons..............................................36
5. Peace Starts With You............................................42
6. Own Your Feelings and Actions.............................48
7. Quell the Yell..........................................................53
8. The Gentle Leader..................................................58 
9. The Playful Parent..................................................63 
10. Self-Concept Directs Behavior...............................66 
11. The Power of Your Words......................................70 
12. Teaching Tools........................................................77
13. Consequences and Problem-Solving.....................84 
14. Enforcing Limits Versus Punishment....................90
15. Restore and Reconnect..........................................98 
16. Ten Alternatives to Punishment...........................102
17. Twenty-One Days..................................................108 
18. You're Changing the World...................................114
Works Cited.................................................................117
Appendices
A: Popular Blog Posts.............................................120
 A1 Ten Things More Important Than           Discipline....................................................................120
A2 Healthy Responses to Children's Emotions..........125
A3 Ignoring Their Cries.....................................130
A4 How to Respect Your Child Through
                Challenging Behavior........................134
A5 Consequences That Teach............................140
A6 Dangling Love...............................................144     
B: 365 Days of Play.................................................147
C: Recipes for Homemade Fun..............................173 
D: Resources for Positive Parents..........................178 


Consequences That Teach

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 No comments


There is a disturbing new parenting trend for "creative consequences" which usually involves shaming the child publicly in some way. But is shaming children really the way to go? Is it effective?

BrenĂ© Brown, PhD, LMSW, has spent the last 12 years researching shame, guilt, and vulnerability. She says, "Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows." She goes on to say, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

These "creative consequences" may work, but at what cost. Consequences should only be given to teach a child, not to shame him.

Guide to Giving Consequences That Teach:

1. Watch intent. Intention is important because the intention you have will influence the language and tone you use when you deliver the consequence. If your intent is to punish, that will be evident in your child. If your intent is to teach, you will be softer and more empathetic when delivering the consequence. Empathy calms the brain, removes the threat, and allows a child to take responsibility for this own behavior.

2. Let natural consequences happen where appropriate. Often we try to either rescue our child from the natural consequences of her actions OR we compound it by adding additional punishments on top of it. Let's say your child left her toy in the driveway and it got ran over. Rescuing would be buying her a new toy immediately. Adding additional punishment would be grounding her for leaving it outside. The natural consequence, however, is simply that now her toy is broken. That's a pretty good teacher.

3. Imposed consequences should be related to the incident.

TRU Calm Parent Relaxation and Self-Renewal Series Review


Parenthood, especially in those early years, doesn't provide much in the way of relaxation and self-renewal, yet it's critical to our physical and mental health to re-prioritize our time and make a space for it.

Andy Smithson of TRU Parenting knows how busy we are, so he's put together this series for busy parents to center themselves in under 15 minutes a day.

I've struggled with meditation in the past. When I sit and try to focus on my breaths, my mind wanders into a thousand different places. That's why I love the guided meditations offered in this series! I put my headphones on first thing in the morning or after I put the kids to bed at night, and I choose one of these relaxing audios to renew my mind and spirit.

TRU Calm offers mindful meditation, progressive relaxation, deep relaxation, and guided imagery. It is such a replenishing series - great for beginners and beyond.

Here is your link to listen to a free sample and find out more! 

The TRU Calm Parent relaxation and Self Renewal Series is a series of 8 audio tracks that teach you the ins and outs of using relaxation and meditation to finally get the kind of personal calm you need and want with your kids. These relaxation and meditation techniques have helped parents and clients for years to calm personal anxiety, frustration and anger and become more mindful in their responses toward their children and others.

TRU Calm will help you Teach and discipline more effectively, build a beautiful and bulletproof Relationship with your child and Upgrade yourself and your own emotional intelligence and ability to decrease daily stress, feel more relaxed and model healthy self-regulation skills to your children.

When Young Children Tell Lies

Monday, January 19, 2015 3 comments

One of the biggest pet peeves of parents is when they catch their children lying. It makes us feel betrayed and deceived by the ones we love most. It is a strong trigger for many parents that can cause us to react irrationally with harsh consequences. Children lie for all sorts of reasons but the truth about lying may surprise you.

Because of how the brain develops, young children (under about age 7) do not generally have the cognitive ability for deceitful lying, which requires that that they recognize the truth, can intellectually conceive of an alternate reality, and then sell that reality to someone else. Those are functions of the upstairs brain which is still very underdeveloped in young children. So, when your 3 year old says he washed his hands but didn't, he isn't trying to deceive you. He's actually trying to please you. He probably wishes he had washed his hands. He may be afraid that you'll be disappointed because he forgot again, and more than anything, he wants your approval. So, he says, “Yeah, I washed them.”

Still, we want children to value the truth. It's important we teach them to be honest. Here are some tips on curbing lies in young children.

1. Don't punish children for lying. This only makes them feel like they're bad and leads to sneaky behavior as they fear telling you the truth will get them punished again.

2. Talk to your child about the value of honesty and that the truth makes you happy. This challenges her original thought that hearing good news rather than the truth is what you want. When the threat of punishment is removed and she knows you value honesty, she's much more likely to tell you the truth.

3. Don't shame him or call him a liar. Remember, you're influencing how he sees himself right now, and you don't want “liar” to become part of his self-concept. Instead, state the facts, such as “I know you wish you would have washed your hands, but I see they are still dry. Please go back and wash them.” This acknowledges his good intention – the fact that he wishes he would have remembered – but also separates that wish from reality.

4. Don't try to set a child up for a lie.

Love Courageously



The infant is crying. She's up again, just 45 minutes after her last feeding. She's hungry. She didn't eat enough last time. And she misses mama's skin. It's 3 am. "Just let her cry," you're told. "She has to learn to sleep. She'll stop eventually." She cries until she's exhausted and falls back to sleep.

The toddler is overwhelmed to the point of a tantrum. His emotions are out of control, and he doesn't know how to handle all of these strange and tough feelings. "Ignore him," they say. "If you pay attention to him, he'll think he can throw a tantrum for attention all the time." He wonders why no one will look at him. He needs his loving parent right now. Why won't anyone look at him?

The preschooler was feeling really jealous of the new baby who has been taking a lot of his mommy's attention. He's used to having her all to himself, and so much has changed since the baby came. In a moment of frustration, he smacks the baby on the head. "Give him a spanking so that he knows how much it hurts to be hit, then send him to his room!" He feels the sting of the slap and then is sent off to process his pain alone. He wishes the baby had never came and made him bad.

The young child had a really bad day at school. Some kids were teasing her. She thought they were her friends, but she wasn't allowed to play with any of them at recess. They called her names and told her to go away. The sadness was too hard for her, so she covered it up with anger. When she gets home, she's snappy and in a bad mood. "Make her go to her room," you're told. "Don't let her sass you like that. If you take away her iPad, she'll think twice before sassing you again! Imagine how she'll be when she's a teenager if you let her by with that behavior!" She finds no solace at home. She's being pushed out of the circle here, too.

The teenager gets pressured into making a bad decision. "Shame him! And if you do it publicly, you'll score extra points. If he gets embarrassed on social media, he'll think twice before he pulls a stunt like that again. All his friends will think he's a joke." He wonders if there is anyone in the world he can really trust.

*****


We've always been told to love conditionally- to offer love, affection, and kindness only when children are doing what we like.

What would our world look like if we parents became the givers of unconditional love at all times? We worry that, if we soothe the crying baby, she'll never learn to sleep. We worry if we give attention to a tantruming child, he'll learn to throw fits for attention. We worry if we don't punish the child who hits, he'll end up violent. We worry if we don't squash that bad attitude, she'll get out of control. We worry if we don't come down hard on his bad decisions, he'll end up behind bars.

Worry is based in fear. And where there is fear, love cannot thrive.

*****

The infant is crying. She's up again just 45 minutes after her last feeding. She's hungry. She didn't eat enough last time. Exhausted, you go to her You pick her up and hold her close. You feed her, brush her head softly, and hum. She feels loved and secure. Her belly feels full now. She drifts off to sleep happy.

The toddler is overwhelmed to the point of a tantrum. His emotions are out of control, and he doesn't know how to handle all of these strange and tough feelings. His father goes to him and holds out his arms. "Come here, my son. I'll help you to calm down." The boy crawls in his father's lap and sobs. "You're feeling very upset. I hear you. I am right here to help you through this." The boy relaxes all of his weight into those loving arms. He begins to feel the emotions subside. He trusts that his dad will always be there when he needs him.

The preschooler was feeling really jealous of the new baby who has been taking a lot of his mommy's attention. He's used to having her all to himself, and so much has changed since the baby came. In a moment of frustration, he smacks the baby on the head. His mother comforts the baby and asks the preschooler to sit beside her. "Come here and sit with me. I know you don't want to hurt the baby. Hitting hurts. I'll keep you and the baby safe." The child begins to drop his defenses. "I know I've been spending a lot of time taking care of the baby. I promise at nap time, you and I will do something special together. What can you do to make the baby feel better? How about you give her a cuddle?" He cuddles his sister. He does feel sorry for hitting her. He's looking forward to special time with mom.

The young child had a really bad day at school. Some kids were teasing her. She thought they were her friends, but she wasn't allowed to play with any of them at recess. They called her names and told her to go away. The sadness was too hard for her, so she covered it up with anger. When she gets home, she's snappy and in a bad mood. "Did something happen today to upset you, love? I'm here if you want to talk." She tells her parents about her friends at school. "Wow, that must really hurt. I had something happen like that when I was a kid. I was in the 5th grade and ........" It's nice to be heard and understood.

The teenager gets pressured into making a bad decision. "Let's talk about what happened, son. We've taught you to make good choices. We all make mistakes sometimes, and still it's important that we learn to do better. I know you can learn from this. Let's figure out a solution to this problem." He feels bad that he let his parents down, but he understands that mistakes are an opportunity to learn. He's grateful for loving guidance.

*****

It takes courage to love unconditionally.
It takes courage to get up again and soothe a crying baby.
It takes courage to hold a tantruming toddler.
It takes courage to help an aggressive preschooler.
It takes courage to soothe a hurting child.
It takes courage to teach a wayward teen.

It takes courage because it goes against the grain.
It takes courage because it's a leap of faith.
It takes courage because you face your past.
It takes courage to break old patterns.

The world needs courageous parents.

Love unconditionally.

Love courageously.

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