Category Archives: Feelings and emotions
As weird as it may sound, our children need to experience adversity to grow resilience. The sense of mastery that grows within a child having overcome challenges is one of their biggest sources of resilience.
As parents we interrupt many of the opportunities our children have to develop mastery because we lose the distinction between danger (where it is our job to secure safety) and pain (where there is an opportunity for learning.) The drawers in my family medical office were fun to play with because they felt so good when they moved in and out. My young patients loved that feel so much I made sure that there was one drawer that held things that would not harm a child. Even though I okayed drawer play, parents often reacted quickly when their toddlers started pulling and pushing on the drawers for fear that their child might pinch some fingers. Continue reading
This special time business is as much for us as it is for them. It allows parenting to be joyful and loving, provides space for us all to be our best. Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline says, “Children do better when they feel better.” I think this goes for grown ups too – we all do better when we feel better. Continue reading
The most challenging parenting moments for me are keeping my own emotional triggers in check when I am confronted with conflict involving my kids. Before I even realize I am acting from a place of emotion I am acting like the mother I so desperately do not want to be. I feel hot and tingly all over my body and, well, out of control. Guess what follows these mommy meltdowns? Shame. Shame that I can’t hold it together, that I am treating a person I love more than life itself in a way that makes them feel bad. Shame that I work to teach parents the principles of Positive Discipline and that I have failed, yet again, to embody those principles. Ick! Continue reading
What makes events like the shootings in Newtown so terrifying is that is impossible to make sense of them. It is even worse when it seems like it should be preventable. It is hard for all of us. It is harder for children and adults who have been exposed to trauma. Continue reading
Life is fragile. The call to notice this is always there, but in a way that we can ignore. And we do. It is easier to move through life without always being aware of its tenuousness; that it could disappear at any moment. Continue reading
There is a Native American parable about an elder talking to his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is full of hatred, envy, jealousy, greed, criticism and arrogance. The other is full of peace, love, hope, gratitude, humility, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about this for a while and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” To which Grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In this, the season when our North American communities tend to rev themselves up into a flurry of holiday preparations how can we keep our compass and grow our ability to be compassionate, loving? How can we create what we long for: a family that is connected, generous and loving?
As we enter the time of year when the days get shorter and nights get longer one of the traditions that many of us share in the United States is Halloween. Ghosts, goblins, witches (and now zombies) are part of the ambience and excitement of the tradition. This is the night when goblins roam the streets, we go out to look for scary things and explore “haunted” places as part of the ritual. We dress up, look fearful things in the eye and make it fun. (Yes, candy is part of the routine too.)
The following day we figure out how to deal with children who’ve over indulged on sweet things and put the costumes, the pumpkins, witches and ghosts back in the closet. At least the ones we can see. Many of us however have closets that are pretty full with different kinds of ghosts. We are haunted – not just on Halloween by challenging experiences from our own childhood. Continue reading
It turns out that how you interpret the mistakes you make is a very big deal. When we make a mistake and see it as that, just a mistake, we may feel guilt – but mostly we can talk about it and fix that mistake. On the other hand, if we have an inner voice that implies that we are the mistake, that somehow we are defective or bad (I’m so stupid, I’m a bad kid/parent, I can never get it right, etc.) we feel a sense of shame: that almost unspeakable icky sticky feeling. Continue reading
The real question for all of us is: What invites us to respond in drastic ways to our childrens’ misbehavior and mistakes? My hunch is that is fear. Many of the parents I work with are afraid when their children lie, steal, are mean to their siblings, swear, wear sexually provocative clothing, investigate pornography online, start cutting, text or sext at all hours of day or night, smoke pot…etc. Continue reading
The events of the last week in Seattle have been tragic and heart-breaking. There are too many innocent victims of violence that carries no easy explanation. As parents it reminds us of something we prefer not to notice most of the time: we cannot guarantee the safety of the people we love most. We can do our best. We can worry, we can be anxious, we can teach our children life skills that will be helpful – and things happen. People get sick, crazy things happen and we are reminded of how love holds us together even in the face of great loss. Continue reading