Tag Archives: Child Development

Sunday Morning Shout Out


Ah summer! -The sights and sounds of happy children and their families laughing, playing, and enjoying one another’s company, a virtual Rockwell picture is conjured up in your mind.  Ugh, summer! –Whining, fighting, bickering, too much together time.  While we all want a Norman Rockwell summer, perhaps the reality is somewhere in the middle.

Just in time to save the sanity of parents everywhere, but perhaps more importantly help us connect with and understand our children’s needs more, may I offer you a great article that is insightful and a good reminder to all of us parents.  In her article, “The Cure for Whining,” Dr. Laura Markham discusses why children whine and what can be done to stop it or even prevent it in its tracks.  She discusses how whining often occurs because children do not have the internal resources to cope with that is being asked of them.  Often, especially for younger children, this boils down to the fact that basic needs aren’t being met, such as: food, rest, down time, run-around time, and connection with a parent.  If you think of the typical situation where a child is whining while you are errand running, these contextual reasons make a whole lot of sense!

In fact, she stresses that “preemptive” connecting can do a great, great deal to ward off whining and other behavior issues in general.  Children need attention, connection, and support!  As the saying or experience goes, any attention good or bad is better than none at all.  If we meet our children’s connection, support, and attention needs positively, we will prevent or offset the “naughties” later.

She also underlines the power of empathizing to get to the bottom of whininess.  Children often whine because they feel powerless and do not know how to get their needs met. If we start with empathy and kind of deescalate the situation, that can also work to unplug whininess’ cord.  For example, if two siblings are bickering over a toy and your youngest comes in whining, complaining about his older brother.  Some sincere empathy and understanding over how unfair it can feel when someone has something we want, can dispel the whining.  It can also lead the child to the pathway of appropriately stating their feelings and needs , rather than whining about it.

Back to the example, whining for a turn can be replaced by a child identifying they would like a turn to play with the superhero figure ,and that they need to ask nicely , or that they need their parent to help them negotiate proper turn taking for their child.  So perhaps Joey gets the toy for five minutes and then he switched with Scottie.  That is a fair scenario for both parties. It is all modeling that starts with true empathizing.  Markham discusses how it is just counterintuitive to scold them for whining or refuse to listen to them, as it just makes them feel more powerless.  Read more about this at the website and try the other techniques instead.

Markham goes on to discuss how excessive whining may also indicate the need for a good cry.  Life is full of hurts for young and old. Having a good cry can release these feelings and help us move on.  She suggests gently offering you’re the child the chance, support, and time for a good cry ,to allow them to move onward.  Lastly, she describes how whining triggers instinctual feelings of rushing in and responding for parents.  She reminds us all to pause, take a step back, and calmly assess the situation for what it is.  Instead of rushing in to scold our children, she encourages parents to rush in to hug them instead.  This may just nip it then!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Health, Parenting

Sunday Morning Shout Out


Sometimes we are granted the gift of great clarity.  And there it was for me within the dazzling sunlight, as I drove back from dropping the girls off at school on a fine, summerlike May morning.  I was choked up watching them walk into the school.  They were so alike in their resolve and confident stride, and yet are so wonderfully, at times almost magically different from one another. –Our oldest, so serious, focused, thoughtful and ready for her day, our youngest girl -calm, kind, bubbly sunshine energized for her day.   Like small flowers blooming, they grow in childhood.

There was our youngest, our son.  Like dew drops touching little buds and little plants, our boy sat eager faced and excited about next year’s prospect of preschool, as we sat outside the school doors.  Later that day, his preschool registration would occur.  As I sat overwhelmed by my feelings, it abundantly hit me that here I am in the prime of life.

On this clear morning, I realized that yes it’s true.  There would be a day when I longed for this-this, that was right before me.  I would long for the days where state projects, Girl Scout meetings, homework, baseball nights, and entry into preschool occupied my days and thoughts with them.  I would miss the bedtime struggles of reluctant sleepers, who want millions of cuddles and reassurances before they go to bed at night, while all mama wants is some stillness and quiet.  I would even miss the bickering and meltdowns- okay maybe not.  All too soon, this phase would be done-this phase of young boyhood/girlhood and lovely innocence.  Right now, they seem content for the most part in the now, and in doing, being where they are at in life.  In this beautiful becoming, they are like Eric Carles’ caterpillars, turning into butterflies.

All too often, my vision is foggy.  I am dazed by the dizzying activities, antics, and energy of young children in middle life.   We are rushed as a society. As parents, we are collectively pushed, prodded, and left feeling almost bullied by the demands of everyday.  Yet, every now and then (and man do I wish it was more) we can see all we have in front of us.  We are graced by its touching beauty, as we realize life’s fragility and rapid passage of time.  This is a place I would like to linger and a feeling I will remind myself of more often. Children are a gift; the gift is now….

Happy Mother’s Day…Everyday!

 

1 Comment

Filed under My Experiences, Parenting

Sunday Morning Shout Out


Some moments of parenting you really have to work hard to keep your straight face.  Reflecting on these special moments with our three children always brings a warmth to my heart and smile to my face.  One of the funniest was when I had sent our three and half year old son to sit on his bed after a particular “naughty” incident or another.  He was calmly sitting on his bed “ working through his consequence,” – so I thought, while eating a sucker he found somewhere in his sister’s room.  He was the definition of swallowing the canary when I found him.

Then there are the moments when our effervescent youngest daughter tries very hard to put on her “mean” face.  Underneath it, those big, beaming baby blues just come shining through.  Tough girl isn’t going to work!  Or there are the moments when our sweet, albeit solicitor like when angry oldest daughter tries to talk herself out of the crime and punishment.  You just have to laugh, but not let them catch you if you know what I mean.

As any parent does, I have my moments where I am anything but laughing.  You want to scream and sometimes I have certainly raised my voice.  Yet usually by the end of the day, I come back to there’s got to be a better way.  Certainly we all go wrong at times, while we have the best intentions.

The folks at “Positive Parenting Solutions Blog” offer some great ideas for parents to help them in all their parenting efforts and needs.  I found their column “Ten Tips for Better Behavior” particularly helpful and useful as a reminder lately as we deal with this oppressive winter.  With its first edifying reminders to emphasize connection with your child to prevent and circumvent bad behavior and focusing on the all reassuring and reliable routine, to projecting a positive attitude and encouraging a team like spirit within your household, there are some great tips here that can really help to prevent bad behavior and promote familial peace.  Remember you can ‘hold it together’ and there will come a day when you can reflect and cherish the growth and development of your children into adults and know you did a fine job!

2 Comments

Filed under Education, Health, Parenting

Monday “Think About It”


Being a parent is rewarding but it certainly is not easy.  It is tough enough helping them learn about death and loss; alcohol and drug abuse but probably one of the most difficult aspects is assisting your child’s learning and understanding about reproduction and their own sexual development.  Part of learning about normal sexual development is an understanding of sexual behavior rules.   There is probably no ‘perfect’ way to do this and discussions can certainly feel odd.

It is also worth noting that perhaps the best discussions will be unplanned and happen based upon a comment or action often during car rides.  Even songs on the radio can initiate the conversation(s).  So how do you prepare and plan?  There are a variety of good resources that help parents understand this process, including online articles such as “When Does Sex Education Begin?,” and “Is Your Child’s Sexual Behavior Normal“, published in Psychology Today.

A recent conversation we had with our 7-year-old was is sex or sexy a bad word?  We didn’t come to a conclusion about good or bad but we did determine that there is a time and place and that it is not acceptable to everyone.

Know that it is not always a comfortable dialogue and lesson but it is necessary.  It is a parents responsibility to help their child through most of their sex education not a schools.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, My Experiences, Parenting

Monday “Think About It”


summerSummer break is rapidly approaching.  What are you going to do to help your child(ren) continue their physical, emotional and academic development?

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Health, Parenting

Monday “Think About It”


lilyI just attended a funeral for a 19-year-old who died in an automobile accident.  Thinking about what the family is going through at this time made me wonder ‘is there anyway to prepare for such a tragedy?’  How do you make sense of it?  How do you move on?  What can people who attend the wake, funeral or memorial do or say to help ease the pain of such a loss?

Leave a comment

Filed under Parenting

Monday “Think About It”


Hemingway Measure of Adolescent Connectedness.  Image Source:  http://adolescentconnectedness.com/

Hemingway Measure of Adolescent Connectedness. Image Source: http://adolescentconnectedness.com/

In the last three months I have lost my Mom and Step-Dad.  The loss brings about a whirlwind of emotions and memories.  Both were in their late 70’s, led decent lives and did what they could for their children and yet they maintained a certain distance from us as they did their ‘own thing’.  Today I don’t see such a separation as my world revolves around my daughter  and I see this with many other families that I have contact with. A study published in 2003 by the Pew Research Center found that “The amount of time parents spend with their children continues to go up. Fathers have nearly tripled their time with children since 1965. Mothers’ time with children has also increased, and today’s mothers spend more time with their children than mothers did in the 1960s.

I might summarize it as a ‘I define myself’ versus what seems to be happening today where I feel as if  ‘I’m defined by my children’.  My current pondering is what is the correct balance here or is it not about balance but instead what amount of connectedness is ideal?

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Parenting