One of the questions I get asked the most frequently is 'Why won't my child just the simple things like brushing her teeth or getting in the bath?'
Do you have these frustrations?
As many of you know, when Nico my eldest was 2 ½ we got help with our parenting as he was such a challenging child. It was suggested that we have some clearer rules around the house.
I didn’t like the idea of having rules as it felt too much like school and I wanted him to feel ‘free’ at home and for us to have some 'spontaneity' and anyway, I thought he should just know what's expected.
After all, we asked the same thing of him every day 'get dressed, eat breakfast, stay in bed at bedtime...' so shouldn't he just do it?
What I realised through the coaching we got was that we had an expectation that he would do what we asked without a fuss, and when he didn’t we’d ask 5 times or more, each time getting more and more frustrated until we’d wind up...
I don’t know about you but I never planned to be the kind of parent that shouted at my children.
I planned to be chilled, calm, patient and kind.
Yet I found that my anger and impatience would boil up like a pressure cooker.
And I’d wind up shouting.
It would usually be after I’d asked the kids what felt like 10 times to do something routine and they’d ignored me.
Or maybe it was in response to incessant whining when they had to so something they didn’t want to do.
Does this sound familiar?
I felt that shouting was my only option - "what choice do I have if they only respond when I shout?"
I was walking along the street one day with Alice, my youngest when she was 3.
We witnessed a little boy banging his bike into his mother who screamed at him ‘Look what you are doing, why are you so clumsy!!!’
It seemed like an over-reaction to me, so I said in passing ‘I think that mum is having a bad day’
Alice stopped and looked up at me...
We are going through hugely stressful situations.
The worst many of us will have ever experienced and yet we still have a choice.
We can get into a vicious cycle of feeling negative, irritated by our children and then snapping at them for the tiniest thing.
They then feel unloved and judged and will often react by behaving badly.
Or we can choose to respond more positively. It makes the whole family feel so much better.
Not only is negativity bad for the family but there is a huge amount of evidence to show that stress depletes the immune system and we all need strong immune systems at the moment so it is vital to try to change our mindset.
What parents typically do is try to do too much
We strive for perfection
We set ourselves an impossible standards to meet and then feel like failures when we don't meet them
The result is so often we crack.
Is this familiar to you? You try to juggle so many balls at once – compare yourselves to...
If you are worried about disappointing your children on Christmas day - read on for inspiration for rituals that don't cost you anything
Remember, a month or two after Christmas you’ll find that your children barely ever remember what they have been given. What they do remember is the feeling of being together and the rituals you have created. This is why I will always say - buy less and spend as much time creating family moments as you can.
You might be in a panic that you missed the shops and you don’t have enough. If that’s you. Please don’t beat yourself up. Even if your kids are disappointed on Christmas day – they will be ok. Focus on some of the things below and you’ll find that is what they remember.
So here is a list of 10 family rituals, I hope that you might get some inspiration for some of them and take them on as your own.
It is unrealistic to expect our kids not to get excited about we might give them at this time of year, rather than what they might give us. They are so often asked what they want or what they are getting, they are bombarded with advertisements showing them happy children receiving gifts and they are encouraged to write lists to ask for what they want.
There are actually quite a few things you can do to help create a culture of giving. It is good to start early with these things to really embed the right values.
‘How DARE you speak to me like that?’
Have you said this to your child?
When children are rude to us it lights a touch paper and makes our blood boil.
How can someone so small have the audacity to speak to an adult like that – namely their parents?
Often we don’t see what happens in other people’s houses so we assume no one else’s children are behaving this way (they usually are).
If our child is are rude in front of others it is excruciating. Especially if it is in front of grandparents or other relations. Have you had that?
So what I mean by rude is that they;
Scream or shout in your face that they want something
Interrupt when you are trying to speak on the phone
Say ‘shut up’
Call you dumb or stupid
Use swear words
Demand that you give them what they want
Shout at you while banging your arm or leg
Tell you your food is disgusting
And all the time you are thinking – 'I’d never have spoken to my parents like...
We were really happy when Felix, our second child came along. Nico was so sweet with him.
He wanted to hold him, stroke him, show him off.
We felt like we’d done it all right.
That we'd produced a lovely playmate for him.
We felt that because we’d been so positive about the baby’s arrival that we’d avoided the kind of jealousy that we had heard about.
Felix was about 7 or 8 months old and Nico seemed to sprout horns.
This loving brother would snatch away the baby’s rattle. He’d say ‘That’s mine you can’t have it'
He’d shout in his face ‘Be quiet baby Felix’
He’d pinch his arm or hit him and say ‘He’s stupid’
We were mortified and so worried that our sweet kind toddler was turning into a really nasty little boy.
So how do you deal with all this? Here are the lessons I learned and some of them I wish I’d known at the time so I could...
“No one else’s child behaves as badly as mine”
Have you ever felt that?
You imagine other households and think that their children sit at the table and eat their food without a fuss.
- They don’t run in the opposite direction when it is time to wash their hands.
- They don’t refuse to get dressed in the morning.
I have certainly felt this way on many occasions throughout my years as a parent.
Comparing myself or my kids unfavourably to others has always been a sure-fired way to undermine myself. We all do it but I recommend you steer yourself away from it as it is just so unhelpful.
So I wanted to talk about some tools that have really helped me along the way.
I created rules and routines for the ‘hot spots’
The hot spots are typically getting dressed, leaving the house, mealtimes, tidying up, screen time, bath time and bedtime.
Today’s blog is all about how to have rules and routines that help.
When I first got support with my...
So is ‘Time-out’ any better than the ‘Naughty step’?
Firstly, I am against the naughty step for a number of reasons –
It gives the child the label ‘naughty’ and kids live up to a negative label. Even if you describe it as ‘naughty behaviour’ what they hear is ‘I’m a naughty girl/boy’ which you don’t want them to feel about themselves.
The vast majority of kids won’t actually stay on the step when you leave them there, so then you’ve got an extra problem. Not only are you trying to make them repent about what they’ve done but you have to try and force them to stay on the step as well.
When children misbehave it is driven by an emotion (you may not understand what that emotion is and it can be so dumbfounding. Why do they seem, out of the blue, to do the opposite to what they’ve been asked? But an emotion will be there. So if you don’t address the...
It is so easy to get into petty squabbles that turn into full blown fights and before we know it, it can get nasty.
My husband Paul and I have been married 24 years – I know, that seems like a lifetime!
We’ve navigated four children through years of breastfeeding, nappy changing, broken nights, tantrums (actually teenagers are capable of a few tantrums so we aren’t through that yet!), sibling squabbles, long dreary weekends..
That's not to mention over the years.. house renovations, redundancy, moving home, financial stress and we’ve made it so far and are still together – it amazes me sometimes.
Have we felt moments of utter loathing for each other? Yes!
Have we had humdingers of arguments? You bet.
Do we bitch at each other and blame the other one for our children’s poor behaviour? Absolutely.
So this week’s blog is about how to stick it out, not kill or punch each other and how to maintain a (mostly) harmonious relationship which,...