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It's all your fault

My mother’s favourite expression is ‘A mother’s place is in the wrong’

 It makes me smile and it is so easy to slip into guilt around motherhood and be tempted to fix things when they’ve gone wrong.

 I has certainly felt like that for me.

 I remember my daughter Scarlett left favourite dolls china tea set right in the middle of the playroom floor and went off in search of something else to do.

 A rule in our house was that if you’ve finished playing with something, it has to be put away before you play with something else. I’m not saying I always succeeded with this one but it was a clear rule.

 Shortly after she wandered off her brothers chased each other across the playroom and trod on the plates and cups.

 She was devastated and said  ‘It wasn’t my fault mummy. Now my tea set is broken and you need to get me a new one’

 Woah – doesn’t that press some...

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But I wanted chocolate ice cream

I remember my parenting coach telling me that it wasn't my job to make my child happy and I felt really shocked by that.

What's the point in having kids if we don't want them to have a happy life?

If you want to raise a well-rounded, emotionally well-balanced child then you’ll want to read on.

Actually as a mother of small children there were many times I didn't feel happy at all, but that was mostly when I found myself nagging and often shouting because I didn't have the right parenting tools at the time.

So happiness - why shouldn't we want our kids to be really happy, as much as we possibly can?

Of course we want them to be happy but we also need our kids to be able to cope with disappointment and be able to bounce back.

So that’s why I had the courage to stick to my guns when my three year old changed her mind about the ice cream.

So here is the scene.

‘What kind of ice cream would you like darling?’

‘Mint’

‘Are you positive you...

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I made a big mistake

When my eldest son Nico was 9 we made the decision to move him from his cosy primary school to an all boy’s school that we felt would suit him better academically.

He was the kind of child who sucked up information like a sponge.

He would inform us of the most amazing facts.

He poured over books

He stayed up late into the night aged 7 to read a book about the Rubik’s cube and figured it out by the morning.

Let’s move him to somewhere that will stretch him more academically’ we thought.

All done in the best intentions of course – as are all our parenting decisions like that.

Except it was a really bad idea. 

He was very cheerful, self-contained child, who hardly complained.

It turned out that the new school was a cold environment, he was subtly bullied and he didn’t make any friends there.

When he had more bouts of misbehaviour I started to connect it with what was going on at school, and I'm grateful that I had the tools to help him...

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Helping a child calm down

I was listening to a great podcast today - I highly recommend it - by Erin Royer and is called Your Village, Parenting Beyond Discipline.

I wanted to tell you about something Erin suggested - it's especially helpful if you have a child who is prone to emotional outburst but it could be lovely for any child.

I so wish I'd known about this when my children. I think they would have all benefitted from it at some point.

So she recommends having a 'cosy space' or 'calm corner' that you can gently take your child to if they are becoming overwhelmed and starting to lose it. Here are some ways to make your space

  • · When your child is NOT having a tantrum or in a bad mood, have a chat with them about the fact they sometimes struggle 'Sometimes you find it really hard when you get angry. I've got an idea... We could make a special place with some things that help you feel calm, what do you think you'd like there?'
  • It might be that they don’t understand the concept and you have...
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Kids who speak up for themselves

I felt a tap on the shoulder at school pick up

'Can I have a word Mrs McGill?'

My heart sank.

In these situations you know it can only be bad news and you immediately start to doubt your parenting abilities and blame yourself for whatever your child has got up to.

My son Nico's teacher told me he had been rude and spoken back to her when he was being reprimanded for 'bullying' a boy in his class.

I was mortified and really upset with Nico.

On the way home he refused to talk to me about it.

He was sullen and bolshy.

He pushed past me when we got to the front door.

He then refused to do his homework and picked on his siblings.

My patience was really being tried by this point until I remembered my mantra

‘Look behind the misbehaviour’

At bedtime I lay beside him on his bed whilst we stared into the darkness.

I breathed slowly and said simply

“It sounds like you feel blamed for something you didn’t mean to do…”

He started off with a rant...

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Raising strong kids

One day on the way back from nursery when my daughter was little, I sensed something wasn't right. We stopped to sit on a park bench and her eyes welled up with tears.

'Nobody would play with me today, they said I was a baby and couldn't join in their games'.

I felt a terrible stab in my heart and an urge to run into my daughter's school and demand what was going on.

I wanted to shake the mean girls and tell them they needed to include Scarlett.

I felt like calling up the parents to 'have a word'

It is devastating to think of our children being in pain.

We want to 'make it all better'

To take the pain away.

But all my research told me that to build resilience in a child, we need to allow them to experience tough times and not rush to protect them.

If you haven't had this kind of experience, be prepared as it will happen.

If it isn't 'nobody wants to play with me' it could be:

'I wasn't invited to the party',

'I didn't get picked for the team',

'I'm in the bottom reading group',...

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Creating Rules that Work

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...

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