Q & A: Parenting as a Partnership

Question: One thing that I need advice on is working better as a team with James. Because I spend the most time with Liam, I have ways that I do things, and I find when he is around that I tell him what to do a lot, and that makes him feel bad/inadequate/judged/not appreciated. I certainly don’t mean for him to feel that way, but I feel that unless he has a specific reason or particularly strong feeling for doing something a different way, he should respect that I have developed strong routines based on research and much time and…

Why The Sims Ruined My Career But Made Me A Better Parent

It was the year 2001 and (as Mum had told me a THOUSAND times) it was time to “knuckle down and get focussed” on my HSC exams so I could become a Doctor or the like. After 11 years of tomfoolery I decided I could probably go several months of taking school seriously. Until The Sims came along. Suddenly my 20 minute study break turned into “just one more Sims day and I’m back to the books..” and those few times Mum found me hunched over the computer at 1am it was only because I was one promotion off my “Lifetime Wish”!…

(Don’t) Stay Positive

I wasn’t sure if I would write this week as I have a talk to prepare for and didn’t have a topic burning until I glanced a magazine cover with the quote “When times are tough, stay positive” and it REALLY annoyed me! This message was EVERYWHERE when I was growing up. “Think Positive” “The Power of Positive Thinking” “How to be happy” “The Art of Happiness” There was a constant barrage of resources and messages telling me that I need to be happy and how to be happy. Do you know how I finally became happier than I had…

Little People, Big Feelings

Today (due to reasons known to me) I am experiencing an overload of anxiety. I am not generally an anxious person, well at least I don’t think I am but the reality is I only just discovered what anxiety was a few years ago. Until then, I had all these weird feelings that I didn’t get. Sometimes I thought I was sick when I got an odd flutter or sharpness in my throat, I definitely thought I was sick when my stomach churned or I felt like I had to throw up. Other times I thought I might be experiencing…

Roughhousing

Hmm… you know the old “Do as I say, not as I do?”… I can be a bit guilty of that one! See, it’s been a long time since I was introduced to and began to fully understand the value of roughhousing. Since then I have been a strong advocate and it’s one of the first tools I recommend to parents asking for help with behavioural issues (particularly aggression) but recently I stopped focusing on it in my own home. I had excuses (don’t we always) – “Not enough time!”, “My son does this in his Special Time, anyway!”, “Not…

Kids These Days!

I was recently privy to a conversation about “Kids these days…” and I found myself frozen and unable to sort my thoughts into that fine line between sounding judgmental and being a good advocate for little people. So instead I said nothing and felt rather crappy afterwards. It’s something we’ve heard a million times, right? That admonishing of “Kids these days!” Maybe some of you have even said it yourself. The implication is, of course, that parents these days are too permissive and too lenient and now we have these disrespectful, rude, uncontrollable little brats bound for a life of…

Peaceful Parenting for Non-Peaceful People

I am quite a volatile person. I used to take a lot of pride in this but now it’s a daily tide I have to swim against. I am only 5’2’’ so perhaps it’s a mixture of small person syndrome and having a fierce and wonderful firecracker as my greatest heroine and role model (also known as my Mum) but I always wanted to leave that “Oh, don’t mess with her!” impression. I have always been great with kids and had a very strong connection to them so when I came across Peaceful Parenting, it sat beautifully with me and…

What is Staylistening?

“Sshh” “Don’t cry!” “You’re alright, buddy!” “That’s enough now!” “Come on… it’s not THAT bad!” “Chin up!” “Where’s that big smile?” “I’ll give you something to cry about!” Have you ever heard any of these? Ever said any of these? That’s OK… but I’m going to ask you now to try and stop. It turns out that crying is actually a good way of healing ourselves and that the people who know best what they need in terms of emotional offloading and stress-relief are our children. They come into this world with a very simple mechanism for offloading their stress…

What Does Progress Look Like?

It’s really important to remember that children are always going to be led off-track. There are dysregulating experiences they face every day even if (and this is incredibly unlikely) both you and them have healed every earlier trauma/hurt you’ve experienced. Any activities outside the home (especially day care or school) will most likely cause them to experience social strain, witness or be privy to name calling or physical hurts, as well as any number of small confusions or painful interactions which add to a larger sense of uneasiness. I’m by no means suggesting we bubble-wrap our kids, I am just…

Attention Seeking Behaviour

One of those things you hear so often is “They’re just doing it for attention!” So what should you do with attention seeking behaviour as a parent? Well, this will be a really short article because the answer is to simply give it to them! AND be glad your child is so efficient in communicating their need. It may feel frustrating but it is actually incredibly helpful and emotionally intelligent of your child to send a clear signal that they are feeling off-track. Off-track behaviour is always a signal and as you become more and more of an empathic parent,…