Positive Parenting in Action, Rebecca Eanes And Laura Ling {Book Review}


Positive Parenting in ActionHave you ever found yourself agreeing whole heartedly with an idea, but having no clue how to actually put it into practice? For example, the whole idea of positive parenting sounds just fab, doesn’t it? But when your four year old is making you want to tear your hair out and your one year old won’t stop whining and crying, how on earth do you parent them calmly, positively and with no regrets? Or does that only happen in my house? Say it isn’t so!

Well, I’ve read a lot of books on parenting over the years, but when the food I’ve just made at great pains is flung down with a ‘Yuk! I don’t like it!’… it can be very hard to stop and remember steps, or practice previously rehearsed mantras.

That’s where one of the first sentences I highlighted in Positive Parenting in Action, by Rebecca Eanes and Laura Ling comes in:

The first step in successful positive parenting is changing your mindset.

And that involves rewiring your brain from the way most of us were raised, and understanding the difference between the different parenting ‘styles’ (authoritarian, permissive and authoritative) and understanding the vast differences in what each of them means, looks like, and results in.

One of the first thing people always say to me when I say that we don’t hit, or we try to parent gently, is that children ‘have to learn’, and that is incredibly true. Of course we don’t want either rebellious teens fighting against strict parents, or brats, used to getting their own way – but there is a middle ground, and that is the ground that this book covers, lays out, explains and then helps the reader to really get to grips with, and relate to their own child and parenting.

PPiA2This book is not going to change your child’s behaviour. It’s not going to work a miracle in what they do, but it will, if you let it, equip you with tools to really change the dynamic and atmosphere in your home.  I absolutely love one of the lines in this book, where it talks about parenting in a way where “all emotions are allowed, but not all behaviours; one where love is unconditional.”

Positive Parenting in Action starts with a bit of background about the theory of positive parenting and dispelling the idea that ‘positive’ equals no discipline.

Then it goes into 15 sections of the types of things parents deal with: exploring (dealing specifically with potentially dangerous situations like trying to cross a road), tantrums, whining, lying (oh, this was eye opening for me! especially the explanation of lying because they are trying to manipulate, or lying because they wish things already were as they say they are! and with understanding, it makes so very much sense now!), meal times, potty learning, and more.

PPiAEach section offers scenarios. This is so useful! It has given me the opportunity to relate it to my child, and to her behaviours. I already want to reread all the scenarios, so that they will become part of my thinking – a shift in my expectation and paradigms! – and help me parent more consciously. 

This really is my  heart’s desire, and I’m very grateful to the authors of this book for laying it out so nicely and taking it from the vagaries of ‘well, we don’t hit but … we kind of muddle through‘ to using our words with purpose, and understanding our children’s perceptions of the world and lowering our expectations too, realising they are actually only four and one! It’s already had an impact on our home, and with it our harmony as a family.

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PPiA4Positive Parenting In Action is part of the Essential Parenting Collection, offered by my affiliate partner, Mindful Nurturing. You can get this lovely eBook, paired with 34 other quality eProducts for only $49.97/£30.45/AU$55.78.


Alternatively, you can get the module on Mindful Guidance  for $19.97/£12.17/AU$22.29, giving you:

  • Positive Parenting in Action
  • Setting Limits with Young Children
  • The ABCs of Conscious Parenting
  • Raising Mindful Kids
  • Parenting Softly
  • A Survival Guide. Positive Parenting for Children with ASD
  • Keep Your Cool – How to Stop Yelling, Spanking and Punishing: What to Do InsteadBuy the Bundlebutton (4)

Positive Parenting in Action

 

 

 

 

Love Bombing With A Three Year Old

There’s been a distinct disconnect between my almost four year old, Ameli, and myself lately. We just aren’t working well together. We’re not cooperating. I’m shouting at her, she’s shouting at me. She ignores me. She tells me I’m not her best friend anymore. She doesn’t listen to me… and the number of times I’ve said the words ‘you’re  not listening to me’ made me realise that maybe, just maybe, the disconnect is because I’m not listening to her, either.

By listening to her, I don’t mean paying attention when she talks, or doing what her three year old demands insist. I mean really, deeply, listening to her, to what her words are not saying.

This post has moved. Read the rest HERE

A Look At Each Item In The Mindful Nurturing eBundle

On Tuesday I told you about the Mindful Nurturing eBundle, and what was in it, but I thought I might go through the bundle and tell you more about each of the 22 items. Hopefully a description of what’s in it will show you how fabulous a resource it is!

Click on the Buy Now buttons throughout to buy the whole bundle for US$24.95/£16.49/AUS$25.90.

The total value of these, if you bought them all individually would be US$236/ £155.95/ AUS$245.05.

This whole bundle is for sale between 28 May and 10 June 2013

relaxation meditation

Relaxation Meditation

AUDIO – Amy Phoenix (Presence Parenting), value $50 USD/lifetime access

Relaxation Meditation helps you access inner awareness and resolve, cultivating the space for true, lasting transformation. Relax into parenting as you enhance your relationship with yourself, your child, and life at the same time.

 

Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting

Becky Eanes (Positive Parents), 30 pages, Value $4.99 USD

The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting is an introduction to the philosophy of Newbie Guide to Positive Parentingpositive parenting. It addresses what positive parenting is, and what it is not (permissive parenting). It discusses how to change your mindset from the traditional paradigm of control and fear to the positive parenting paradigm of connection and love. It gives you teaching tools and discusses the differences between consequences, punishments, and problem-solving. Finally, it goes over enforcing limits without punishments and 10 alternatives to punishments as well as 10 things that are more important than discipline.

This eBook will give you clarity on positive parenting and offer you tools and skills that will strengthen your relationship with your child while teaching values and instilling the self-discipline that will benefit your child for a lifetime. The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting provides several scenarios so you can see how positive parenting principles are applied in everyday situations.

 

play grow learn - cover imagePlay Grow Learn

(Childhood 101)55 pages, value $4 USD

Bursting with ideas for playing inside and outside, with activities for moving, talking, cooking, creating, thinking, singing, imagining and constructing, Play Grow Learn is a downloadable e-zine that provides both inspiration and information for parents and educators of children from birth to 5 years. Issue 3 includes over 100 playful activities including play suggestions for toddlers, an outdoor math hunt, ideas for exploring science in the kitchen, woodwork activities perfect for kids, an exclusive full colour set of printable puppets to get you singing with your kids PLUS art projects, book reviews, toy suggestions, playful parenting ideas, tips for making pack away time fun…and more!

Getting Back on Track! – Why We Explode and What We Can Do About It

natural phenomena

AUDIO – Genevieve Simperingham (Peaceful Parent Institute), value $7.58 USD

Listen to this audio to gain lots of insights into the tendency to meltdown, why it happens, how to see it coming and what to do instead of yelling or otherwise acting from a place of overwhelm and frustration. You’ll gain reassurance that it’s much more common than you thought, that it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. You’ll learn that there are psychological triggers going back to childhood at the core of your tendency to lose your cool. And most importantly you’ll gain lots of great tips and strategies from Genevieve and Patty that will make it so much easier to be the peaceful parent that you know that you really can be.

Stress Relief for Parents

AUDIO – Genevieve Simperingham  (Peaceful Parent Institute), value $4.05 USD

stress relief for parentsWhen you’re at your wits end and need to rest and recuperate, this CD is a fantastic resource ~ Grab yourself fifteen minutes or so, choose your track and let Genevieve’s calming voice and supportive words guide you back to your self … back to your centre … back to balance … back to you at your best … back to peaceful parenting!

The track “Bliss” takes the listener through a 15 minute deep body relaxation. Genevieve’s soft Irish lilt backed by the celtic harp offers a soothing balm to their feelings and played at night next to their bed will ease their transition into a deep and restful sleep. Other tracks offer guided exercises that guide and teach the listener to centre and return to a calm balanced state and a warm connection with their child.

 

Creative Play Workshop

EMAIL COURSE – Gina Kimmel & Katherine Lockett (Connecting Family and Seoul and Creative Playhouse), value $25 USD
creative play workshop

Mindset for Moms

mindset for moms - cover imageJaimie Martin (Mindset for Moms), value $4.99 USD

Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 Days is a guide for better thinking and increased happiness in parenting and in life. Lessons about positivity that took Jamie years to learn, you can learn in days–30 days, to be exact. She’s consolidated the concepts in this e-book into short entries–perfect for busy moms to read and apply for immediate results.

Moods of Motherhood

Lucy Pearce (Dreaming Aloud), value $9.99 USD

1-cover of moods of motherhoodA compilation of her best-loved posts on motherhood from her popular blog, Dreaming Aloud, columns from JUNO magazine and many new pieces, never before published. According to one reader, “This book puts the mother, back in motherhood”. “It is no ordinary parenting book” but full of her trademark searing honesty and raw emotions. It will make you laugh, cry and feel deeply accepted – wherever on your mothering journey you may be.

Topics include: pregnancy and birth, happy days, anger and fierceness, sleep, playfulness, grief, love, patience, tenderness, homemaking… it is illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white photographs.

 

42 Rules for Divorcing with Children (Doing it With Dignity and Grace While Raising Happy, Healthy, Well-Adjusted Children)

Melinda Robertsvalue $10.29 USD
42 rules for divorcing with kids42 Rules for Divorcing With Children offers practical ways to manage a healthy divorce, build a better team in two houses, minimize stress and anxiety on all fronts, and construct relationships with open and consistent communication. In this book you will learn:

  1. What putting the children first really means.
  2. How to preserve marital assets for you and your children.
  3. How to set reasonable ground rules for the divorce and going forward.
  4. How to set a respectful communication example so that you can divorce with dignity.

Use this book as objective advice, refer to it often, share it with others, use it as a reality check, and realize that divorce is not linear and that damage is not permanent or irreparable. If you do this well, the other parent will always be in your life. Find a way to make that tolerable for everyone, because no matter where you go or what you do, your children are tethered to both of you in an incredibly delicate and important way. Learn to accommodate each other as a gift to your children while they grow. Share others’ success stories for simple, practical advice and insights. See how taking care of yourself will help you take care of your family and prevent divorce remorse and divided loyalties. Set good examples that will help them make their own relationship choices wisely by drawing on your positive experience. And for you, know that someday, somewhere, you will almost certainly find a partner with whom you can have a mutually respectful, loving, and responsible relationship.

 

nurturing creativityNurturing Creativity, Guide for Busy Parents

Renee Tougas (Tougas Café), value $3 USD

Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms is a book to help you growcreatively.Nurturing Creativity is about embracing the seasons of motherhood and appreciating where you are while helping you to make creativity a priority in your life.

It will encourage you to let go of perfection, to start small, and to find inspiration in everyday living. This little book will challenge you to make the most of the time you do have. Time you can spend creating beauty and meaning – with your head, heart, and hands.

the playful family - coverThe Playful Family

Shawn Ledington Fink (Awesomely Awake), value $4.99 USD

The Playful Family encourages and challenges busy parents to slow down and spend quality time together with their children, regardless of their age. With nearly 100 ways to connect, engage and play together this easy-to-read e-book is a must-have resource for any parent interested in becoming more playful and happy while raising children. Each chapter includes dozens of ideas as well as a challenge to motivate families to put their own ideas to work in real life.

 

Poetry of a Hobo Mama, The First Three Years

Lauren Wayne (Hobo Mama), value $9.37 USD

Poetry of a Hobo Mama -front-cover-kindlePoetry of a Hobo Mama is a collection of poems by Lauren Wayne, inspired by the initial three years of parenting her firstborn son, Mikko.

I sling my baby like a bindle on my back,
tramping along the tracks
countless feet have worn before.

Poetry of a Hobo Mama contains three years’ worth of parenting poetry, written from the time Lauren and her husband, Sam, were preparing for Mikko, through watching him grow to three years old. She has included poems that speak of their natural parenting journey — breastfeeding, the family bed, elimination communication, and natural birth among them.

The book is a combination of free verse and more traditional poetry forms, and the topics and tone run through all the variations the poet felt when writing them: the grief of miscarriage, the anticipation of trying to conceive, the upheaval of the newborn months, the joy of parenting, and the balance of motherhood and personal passion.

 

Parenting for Social Change

Teresa Graham Brett (Parenting for Social Change), value $8.97 USD

parenting for social change - coverParenting for Social Change: Transform Childhood, Transform the World(2011, Social Change Press) is a powerful parenting book that isn’t about children, but about the harmful cultural messages we, as parents, perpetuate in our relationships with children. It addresses the work we as parents must do to free ourselves, the children who share our lives, and our world from those harmful messages.

The author, Teresa Graham Brett, uses current social science research to debunk the myth that controlling children is necessary to ensure they grow up to be healthy and responsible adults. She demonstrates how changing our parent-child relationships plays a critical role in creating social change. More importantly, it gives parents strategies and tools for letting go of harmful control of children.

  • read a review of this book

 

encouraging words for kids - cover

Encouraging Words for Kids

Kelly Bartlett (Parenting From Scratch), value $2.99 USD

Encouraging Words for Kids gives parents over 150 examples of phrases to say that inspire a child’s confidence and self-motivation. Encouragement is about drawing forth a child’s own drive to work hard and do what’s right without being told; this book shows you how to get there. It is a guide that parents can turn to again and again whenever they need a dose of inspiration in creating positive communication with their kids.

  • read a review of this book

 

Raising a Creative Kid, Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing That Creative Spark

Raising a Creative Kid - cover imageJilian Riley (A Mom With A Lesson Plan), value $7.99

Raising a Creative Kid:  Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing that Creative Spark  is just what you need to transform your environment into a creativity growth center. With creative exercises following each of the  sections I have made moving into a creative lifestyle as easy as possible. Just like I do with everything else on amomwithalessonplan.com, I use and recommend materials that are inexpensive or free.

 

Children and Food

Tara Wagner (The Organic Sister), 72min audio + 39 page workbook, value $25 USD currently only available as part of The Organic Sisterhood

children and food - cover

This mini-toolkit helps you recreate the whole family’s experience with food. No more fighting at dinnertime. No more forcing or bribing. No more worrying about your child’s ability to make good choices. You’ll have the tools necessary to begin to release control, lean into Trust, and make mealtime a joyful and fun experience. But it starts with your own relationship with food. It includes:

  • 72 min audio: Describes the most important principles in raising healthy children and how to begin practicing them (Value: $200)
  • 39 page workbook: Packed full of exercises to help you DIG IN and put new traditions and experiences into place (Value: $40)
  • Covers everything from: how your experience with food affects your children and how to change that, how to meet the varying needs and tastes of the whole family without feeling like a “short order cook”, as well as tips, ideas, strategies, recipes, and more from me and other mindful mamas.

 

Coming Of Age: How To Stop Worrying About ‘The Talk’, and Start talking with Your Girl! (audio)

DeAnna L’am, 41 min. audio, value $27 USDtalk to her

  • Remember “The Talk” you received from your Mom, or your school’s nurse?
  • Remember how awkward you felt listening?
  • Wonder how you can do a better job with your girl?

If you would you like to feel relaxed, confident, and at ease when speaking with your girl about becoming a woman – this is for you!
You will experience a sense of CALM and PEACE within yourself; An INNER EASE about the girl YOU once were; A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of what your girl is feeling; SELF-TRUST going into any conversation with your girl; And a growing EASE in your relationship with her.
This down-loadable recording will deepen trust between you and your girl, and lay a foundation for lifelong openness between you!

 

The parenting primerThe Parenting Primer: A Guide to Positive Parenting in the First Six Years

Michelle Carchrae (The Parent Vortex), value $6.99 USD

The Parenting Primer is a guide to the main ideas and strategies used in gentle discipline. It will show you how attachment works to create harmony in families, empowering you to parent in a positive, creative way.

The Parenting Primer begins by looking at how love and limits influence our parenting, then explores other topics that affect our relationships with our children, such as information on brain development or personality, communication skills, lifestyle choices, creativity and self-discipline.

 

 

Mommy Overwhelm, A Holistic Approach to Parental Stress and Depression

Mommy overwhelm

Laura Schuerwegen (Authentic Parenting), 27 pages, value $2.99 USD, first-time opportunity, launch sale!

Mommy Overwhelm is a step-stone guide for parents who want to overcome daily overwhelm, stress and depression.

In this book, Laura draws from her own experience overcoming a longstanding depression to hand you the tools to heal. From strengthening foods and herbs to exercises and activities, this guide will kickstart your journey to happier, balanced parenting.

 

Unique Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking Set

Marcy Axnessvalue $13.95 USD

sleep talking

This set includes the Dr. Marcy Audio Coaching Session “Speaking to Your Child’s Subconscious” and companion eBooklet, A Unique 7-Step Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking.

Throughout my recent talks all over the world, what were SO many people interested in learning about? After hearing about the power of prenatal imprints, they wanted to know what parents could do when things didn’t go so smoothly in pregnancy, birth or around conception. I make it clear that repair & healing are ALWAYS possible at ANY age, and mentioned an somewhat out-of-the-box approach I’ve developed over my years of coaching parents — which includes talking to your child in his or her sleep.

They were so keen to learn, that I put together this primer in the power of the subconscious mind — and how to use it to create healing change. This 75-minute presentation includes a powerful guided imagery to use the power of imagination in making positive changes to parents’ own inner lives and childhood history. (It is an excerpt from / preview of the “Calm Authority for Parents” series.)

 

Mindful Mother CoverSpecial Bonus Freebie

The Mindful Mothering Challenge

Jennifer Saleem (Hybrid Rasta Mama)

This 57 page eBook takes mothers through 20 small steps designed to help them become more mindful mothers. Follow along with Jennifer’s journey as you begin your own. The Mindful Mothering Challenge will awaken your mothering, push you beyond your comfort zone, and deepen your connection with your children.

Just Added: API Live! Attachment Parenting International Teleseminar Series: “8 Principles of Attachment Parenting”

Teleseminar – (Attachment Parenting International), 2 hour teleseminar; value $38 USD

261656_4987606051246_1652354271_nAttachment Parenting isn’t new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for areas that are key to the optimal development of children, summarized in API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. Enjoy the exchange among the world’s leading experts in AP discussing API’s 8 Principles of Parenting, listen to their responses to questions of our time, and hear their answers to questions from the audience.

Panel experts include:

  • Dr. William Sears
  • Martha Sears
  • Dr. James McKenna
  • Ina May Gaskin
  • Dr. Isabelle Fox
  • Mary Ann Cahill
  • Barbara Nicholson
  • Lysa Parker

“AP is learning to read the cues of your child and responding appropriately. Open your heart and mind to the individual needs of your child. Let your knowledge of your child be your guide.”

~Dr. Bill Sears

— I will receive an affiliate fee if you purchase through my buy now buttons. You will not pay any more, but will be helping me maintain the website. Thank you for your support!

Benefits Of Baby Massage On Different Regions Of The Body

Baby massage is a hugely beneficial tool for parents and carers to use as a natural and instinctive way of relieving tension, pain or discomfort.  Have you ever sat with someone crying, and rubbed their back? This is natural and instinctive comforting. Have you ever had a child in pain from constipation and rubbed their back or belly? That’s instinctively trying to provide pain relief.

In a typical baby massage course, we follow a pattern or sequence which flows nicely, but isn’t compulsory. It is, however, the most natural way of working through the body.

We start by connecting with the baby through hands on contact and a few deep breaths and full body strokes.

We then focus on the chest area, performing various ‘moves’ in clockwise and anticlockwise directions and pitter pattering on the chest to loosen mucous and help with congestion in lungs.

We move down to the stomach and with a series of nine clockwise strokes, help move the wind along the digestive tract. I particularly love this part of the session, especially when parents have signed up specifically for problems with colic or constipation. Sometimes a baby will actually have a great big bowel movement in the session. Other times they’ll be really farty – which at that age is very cute!

A series of leg massages are wonderful, especially for newborns who still need to unfold from the fetal position, as well as toddlers experiencing growing pains. The leg massage movements encourage circulation in the legs, which also encourages muscle development.  They can also help increase general strength and elasticity of muscle fibres as well as proving deeply relaxing for babies.

The foot massage is a simplified form of reflexology, which stimulates all the internal organs. Depending on which parts of the foot are worked on, the massage is calming and settling, especially in an overtired or over stimulated baby. Other strokes are used for helping with feeding discomforts, as well as head, sinus and teething issues. This image has made its way around Pinterest and Facebook a few times, and I have no idea where it originated, but it’s pretty good for giving you a basic overview of what works where on feet.

Massaging the arms and hands in newborn babies encourages the opening of the arms, and increases circulation and blood flow. It also introduces babies to the concept of rolling and stretching and in newborns, encourages the opening of their hands.

Back massage is as useful in the treatment of colic and constipation as belly massage is. Not only does the act of resting their weight on the belly help shift trapped wind, and strengthening the neck muscles if they raise their heads, but it also stimulates the muscles on either side of the spine, encouraging vitalnerve development.

The final body part to be massaged, the face and scalp, is again a relaxing and sleep inducing treatment. It is also useful during times of teething which can also lead little ones to being highly congested.

So, overall, there are a number of areas that can be massaged in specific strokes and actions to bring relief to your baby  in some of the most common infant discomforts.

Talking To Children About Death

Six months ago, my mother was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma and told that without treatment she would have four weeks to live. Our visas were taking longer than that to be granted – my mother lives in Australia, I live in England, and the Australian government had no sympathy or compassion and made it as hard as was legally possible for us to get the visas for reasons I’ll never understand. My mother decided to have chemotherapy so that we’d make it to her, to say goodbye, and we arrived in Australia the day before her second round of chemotherapy, a treatment that nearly killed her.

Between my mothers diagnosis and our leaving, I wasn’t very emotional about it.

That’s what I do. I go into ‘how can we solve this’ mode, and I need time to process what I’m feeling. People who know me well know that the things I’m talking about I’ve normally dealt with. It’s when I go quiet that I’m not really coping. When I don’t know what to say I haven’t processed it yet. Really, it’s when I go quiet on a topic that those closest to me know to start worrying about it.

So, between those two dates, I was given a copy of the Mother Magazine, which had the article A sacred transition: children and the death of a loved one by Starr Meneely, of Gentle Mothering. Her mother had recently succumbed to cancer, and she had flown half way across the world with her children to be by her side.

Her words wrenched at my heart, and my emotions broke. I sat in the corner of the room at our mother’s circle and sobbed. It was the release I needed, and it provided the gateway to being able to talk about it.

I guess, then, the first lesson I learned about talking to children about death – specifically a long, protracted, pending death, rather than an accidental or sudden passing, is having at least in part dealt with some of the emotions yourself.

If I had broken down that way in front of Ameli, I fear that she would have looked at death as something to fear, something painful. (Of course, it is these things, but it also isn’t, and I think the best thing under the circumstances is to introduce death as something not to be feared.)

Telling Ameli that Nana is dying was interesting in itself. How do you convey meaning in a word that has no context? Hot you can explain by providing low heat. Run you can explain by demonstrating. How do you explain ‘say goodbye, because we are going away for a while?’ And how do you explain going away for ever? How long is for ever?

These are vague concepts, mere words, to a child.

I told her Nana was going to die and we wouldn’t see her here on earth again. She said she didn’t want Nana to die. I said none of us want Nana to die, but we all die eventually, and it’s okay.

She tried to rationalise it in her mind.

“I have a good idea! Maybe we can go visit Nana when she’s died.”

“I’m afraid we can’t visit where Nana is going. We’ll miss her sometimes though, and that’s why Mama’s a little sad.”

“It’s okay. We can just look at photos of her. That will make us feel better.”

“That’s a very good idea, I think.”

“Can I have some juice now?”

While she hasn’t been able to experience the finality of it, and doesn’t have the apprehension of the longing, it’s impossible to explain.

In fact, I’m 30 years older than her, and I find myself trying to imagine what life without my mother will be like, and I can’t really imagine it. It’s the closest I’ve come to imagining what life with a child will be like, versus what life with a child is really like. It’s oddly the same process. Simliar to our five stages of grief, Ameli seems to have traversed the stages too, but without the sense of fear or loss. She’s faced:

  1. Denial – “no, she’s not dying” – I’m afraid she is, darling, even though we don’t want her to. 
  2. Anger – “I don’t want her to die!” – None of us do, but sometimes things happen, even if we don’t want them to. 
  3. Bargaining – “I know! We can just take her to the hospital. Then she’ll get better” – Not this time. This isn’t something the doctors can fix.
  4. Depression – “I don’t want Nana to die {with tears this time}”. I know darling. Neither do I. It’s okay to be sad. 
  5. Acceptance – “When Nana dies, we won’t be able to see her anymore, but that’s okay, because one day we will be with her again and till then, we can just watch our videos of her.” – That’s a good idea girlie. Do you want to watch one now?

Something that has been helpful has been allowing her to ask questions, make {crazy} suggestions, and at times be almost hurtful in her throwaway comments – I wont miss Nana. I don’t mind if Nana dies. I don’t want to see Nana.

Separating her child behavior from my loss has been essential in gently explaining death to her. You can’t fear loss if you’ve never felt loss, so expecting an adult level of saying the right thing at the right time from a child only sets you up for pain.

I remember when my dad’s grandmother died. I didn’t really know her, and I didn’t have a relationship with her. I was really upset that I had to cancel my 13th birthday party. I saw it only in light of it’s impact on me, but having never known the loss of a loved one, I didn’t understand.

I asked a group of friends one day how you deal with this type of death, and how you explain it to a child. Most of them agreed that the children tend to accept death as another part of life. It’s just something that happens, and while they may have vague fond memories of the person, and might even ask for them, for the most part, life goes on. (Assuming it’s not a direct care giver, I think!)

Of course, in our situation, despite the terminal diagnosis my mother is still going strong, making the concept even harder to explain, but when we arrived in Australia, and the chemotherapy was eeking the life out of her faster than the cancer was, it was simply a matter of reinforcing, explaining, reminding what was going on.

Now that she is on so-called alternative therapies and thriving, getting stronger and even thinking of returning to work, it all seems a bit confusing, but, with the true resilience of childhood, Ameli carries on.

How to talk to children about death:

  • Talk to them when you are calm and relatively controlled in your grief
  • Talk to them at a good time, when there aren’t distractions and they aren’t tired or hungry
  • Explain in age appropriate terms, and according to your beliefs. We believe in heaven, so we were able to explain that we will see her in heaven again one day, once we’ve died too. 
  • Allow for questions generally based on the stages of grief – this is a good measure of their understanding too
  • Don’t take hurtful or insensitive comments personally. 
  • Be led by your child. Don’t put your feelings and emotions on them, and don’t expect them to have an adult understanding or response to your grief.

How do you talk to children about difficult situations? Do you remember when you first lost someone? How was it dealt with and how do you think it could have been handled differently?

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

 

Retaking The Joys Of Motherhood

I read a paragraph from Carlos Gonzalez’s book Kiss Me! (US Link)*recently that has stayed with me all week and has gone round and round in my head. Speaking about taboos in modern society, he talks of how the subjects of sex and promiscuity or homosexuality are no longer taboo as they were when our parents were children, but modern taboos focus a lot on mothers and children. He then divides that topic into three categories: picking up a crying child, where that child sleeps and how that child is fed, especially if said child is over around 6 months of age.

Gonzalez points out what many mothers already know: When you have close physical contact with your child, they tend to cry less. However, society tells us that if we respond to our children too readily, we’ll be spoiling them. A breastfeeding mother will tell you the ‘easiest’ way to comfort, calm and otherwise have a peaceful life with a baby is to nurse her, whether for nutrition or comfort. Yet society puts such a negative on the idea of comfort nursing – how often haven’t I been asked ‘is she actually feeding, or just sucking for comfort?’ as if it’s a bad thing?

When those things that encourage physical proximity, says Gonzalez, are removed from a mother, she has very little left in her arsenal to help her through her ‘job’ of mothering, and it suddenly becomes really hard work.

Perhaps that is why raising children is such a strain for some mothers. It entails less work than before (we have running water, washing machines, disposable nappies…), yet there are fewer compensations. In a normal situation, where a mother is at liberty to look after her child as she sees fit, the baby cries very little and when he does it pains her and she feels compassion (“Poor little thing, what’s the matter?”). However, when they prohibit you from picking him up, sleeping with him, breastfeeding him or comforting him, the child cries even more, and the mother is helpless in the face of this crying, and her response becomes angry and aggressive (“What’s the matter with him now!”)

One of the rewards of motherhood: closeness

I have heard so many mothers talk so lovingly and happily about the 3am feed with their new baby. There’s something beautiful about that middle of the night feed, when there’s no one else awake, other than the child at your breast (even if you’re bottle feeding, putting the child to your chest, skin to skin, offers an amazing oxytocin release) staring in your eyes.  (Did you know that relationship councilors will often recommend that a couple kiss each other with their eyes open, looking at each other?)

But getting back to the 3am feed. No one in their right mind wants to be woken at that time of day, least of all to do something for someone who depends on them so wholly, but the rewards of falling asleep cuddled up next to a squishy baby,  suckling at your breast, are exquisite.  It’s definitely compensation for being woken up.

On this, Gonzalez says:

Although some try to justify such recommendations by insisting they are ‘to help mothers to rest’, the fact is they never prohibit tiring activities. NO one ever says: “Don’t do too much housework or he’ll get into the bad habit of having a clean house”, or “you’ll have to go with him to do his washing when he leaves home.” In fact, it is usually the most pleasurable part of motherhood that is prohibited: letting your child fall asleep in your arms, singing to him, enjoying him.

But this here is the paragraph that’s rung in my ears all week:

Almost all of these taboos have one thing in common: they prohibit physical contact between mother and child.

Is it any wonder then, that motherhood is so wholly under rated? Is it any wonder that it is difficult, and referred to as the hardest job?

Don’t get me wrong. I cosleep, breastfeed and babywear. I respond to my crying child, and I am with my children most hours of every day, and it is no magic bullet or secret recipe. There are hard days. There are days so hard, all I want to do is sit down and cry, especially during this period of solo parenting, but , and it’s a big but… the rewards of feeling my child go limp as she falls asleep in my arms, the beautiful peace as her breathing deepens and she drifts off in the darkness of night, the serenity of seeing a crying child’s tears turn into a toothy grin when you pick them upthose rewards are what differentiate between simply having children, and actually enjoying motherhood. 

*At the current price of this book I will earn about 20p if you buy through this link, however this is a personal, unsponsored recommendation – I bought the book myself too.

Praise Vs Encouragement – Encouraging Words For Kids

A new Facebook follower,Kelly Bartlett , recently caught my attention when I saw her title as ‘writer’. I followed her profile till I found a book she’d written, Encouraging Words For Kids. I then found it on Amazon for Kindle and read it and it was so good, I want to share it with you. (Click here to find it on Amazon UK and here for Amazon US*)

First, let me explain why I’m awestruck by this book.

I’ve never understood the point of people who don’t praise their children. I’ve always thought it a bit cold, and mean-spirited, and to be honest, quite damaging. Encouraging Words for Kids explains the whole ‘no praise’ philosophy so incredibly well, and rather than being a difficult study in human development, it offers alternatives and is so practical in it’s presentation, I find myself quite taken aback by it. Honestly, if all things parenting could be laid out so clearly, there would be a whole lot less unhappiness between parents!

The book consists of about 35 pages, and is super easy to read, so it won’t take long, doesn’t include a lot of unnecessary waffle, but is straight to the point and informative. Each chapter explains the why, and then it offers suggestions of phrases you could use, and finally, a real life example of an actual interaction between a parent and child, which I found really helpful.

Encouraging Words For Kids

The amazing thing for me is that while I was reading it, I started putting it into practice with three year old Ameli, and guess what? It really worked! Ameli often starts things – craft projects, playing games and so on, and just as often ends abruptly, a few minutes into playing: especially if I comment on how good she’s being and how well she’s playing on her own. I thought that it was the fact that I was drawing attention to my not engaging with her at that time that made her stop, but now I realise that’s not the case. In this particular example – similar to one in the book – Ameli was busy drawing a train. She drew the wheels and showed me her picture. Rather than my usual “that’s good darling”, cueing the end of her drawing I said something like, “Those are enough wheels for a very big train. What else do you think a train needs?”

As I understand it, she saw that I was interested, she saw that I had noticed what she’d done well, and she was able to think for herself what else the train needed. She came back each time after adding something to the train, but she eventually was talking to herself, saying things like – I think the train needs a whistle, and I think it needs a chimney.

I was awestruck how well it had worked and how much my first attempt had gotten out of her. And she was so proud of her train in the end too, and when she believed she was finished with it I was able to say how much I liked her train (rather than just ‘that’s nice’ or ‘well done’ to an unfinished set of wheels.)

Encouraging Words For Kids points out one of the problems with praise being temporary, short lived and that it creates in a child the need for constant affirmation, rather than being able to find approval of their actions within themselves.

“Simple praise feels good in the moment, but to have a long lasting effect, it must be constantly provided”

In contrast, encouragement communicates “unconditional acceptance between parents and children and have long lasting value.

As I’ve said before, I’ve never understood why you wouldn’t want to praise your child’s actions, but I realised in reading Encouraging Words For Kids that it’s not about that at all! Rather, its about making the praise have longer term effects.

 “After all, that’s why he’s showing you his achievements. It’s not because he needs an evaluation of his work, it’s because he’s proud of himself. So focus on his pride – not yours”

I think Bartlett allays all my fears about not praising my children, and sums the whole crux of why encouragement over praise is so important up in two paragraphs:

“By opting for encouragement over praise, you’re not ignoring your children’s accomplishments or communicating that they don’t matter. Encouragement is simply about keeping your responses focused on a child’s efforts and feelings as opposed to the outcomes of the behavior.

Encouraging words not only reassure kids during times of success, but also in times of disappointment. Instead of looking to a parent for affirmation, kids are able to decide how they feel about themselves and what they need to do. Their failures and successes, as they should be, are about them and not anyone else.”

There are so many paragraphs from this book that I could share with you, but I think I’ll leave it there for now. What I will tell you is that it has entirely changed my perceptions on praise, and has explained an entire theory in a very easy to read, 35-ish page book, and halfway through reading I’ve been able to identify changes to make, implement those changes, and immediately see results in my three year old.

The only negative I can point to with Encouraging Words For Kids is that it’s only available for Kindle at the moment. It really needs to be available in print form too because in my view, it really deserves a wider audience. ( You can download Free Kindle reader Apps for your phone etc though)

If you’re able to read it via Kindle or any of the Kindle Apps, I’m pretty confident, even though we’re all different parents with different views and different circumstances, that it’s among the best £2 /$3 you’ll spend in your parenting journey.

*At the current price of this book I will earn about 9p if you buy through this link, however this is a personal, unsponsored recommendation – I bought the book myself too.

Forging A Village In The Absence Of One

I loved packing my bags and boarding the plane for England. My family weren’t there to see me off, since they were living in Malaysia. When they left Malaysia and eventually immigrated to Australia, via a few years back in South Africa, I was already married and living in England.Read more: Forging A Village In The Absence Of One