If you’re like me, you’ve had to make choices about whether or not to send your children to school when they are not feeling well or are just having an “off” day. For the most part, I have let my children make the decision on when they don’t feel well enough to go to school. We’ve had many conversations about honoring their own body, no one else knowing more about how they feel than they do, as well as letting them know that sometimes you push ahead and do what’s challenging, and other times you give yourself a break and take a down day. That’s a lot of internal processing and balancing for a child. However, when in tune with their core, it becomes second nature. If we start this in the young years, they will be great at tapping into their “knowing” place. If we make the decisions for our children for years and years while they are young, they don’t get the practice time to be able to make those decisions for themselves later.
This morning my daughter (11 y/o) asked if she could stay home from school. I could tell she was struggling, and yet my mother’s intuition kicked in and it was one of those times when I said, “Not today honey.” I knew she wasn’t physically ill (by her own admission), and I also knew it was one of those days where she needed to push through it. That being said, I sat on the bed with her and actually took the time to explain that there are times in life when we need to do what we need to do, and it’s best not to give in to emotions, moods, fears, fatigue, etc. And I told her that there are also times when a down day is totally the best option; we need both. Today, while it would have been easier to say, “Okay, stay home,” I supported her in getting ready and out the door. It was hard and she moved like a snail, but she didn’t fight me. I think she knew it was a growth opportunity as well.
After school we will definitely chat more about it. She’s in 6th grade and about to turn 12. It’s a time in life when things are a little topsy turvy anyway.
Remember that conversation, connection and understanding are KEY to building a trusting and respectful relationship with your children.
[Traci Carman is the Founder of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Get her monthly newsletter: www.alovingway.com. Feel free to drop a quick email to find out about upcoming classes on Boundaries, Trust, Connection, Sibling Rivalry, and many more topics, including a class Just for Dads! firstname.lastname@example.org / 800-647-1171]
I have three children. Two of them are three years apart (now 11 and 15 y/o). They sometimes get into battles. Most of the time, since they were tiny, they’ve gotten along quite well, and tend to watch out for each other. In those battle moments, though, when they are not so fond of each other, I’ve learned to use the “opportunity.” I’ve been using this strategy since they were toddlers, and it’s worked incredibly well at giving them relationship skills:
- Invite your children to sit on the floor with you.
- Ask them if they are enjoying not getting along. (Usually they will be in agreement with a big fat No.)
- Ask for a volunteer to share first (Child A). If they both want to, perhaps choose the youngest, or use your best judgment.
- Ask Child A to share what he thinks Child B needs to know about what he was trying to do.
- Be sure Child B understands not to interrupt.
- Once Child A is finished sharing, ask Child B if she knew that. (Most of the time, the answer is No.)
- Do the same thing with Child B, invite her to share what she wants Child A to know.
- Ask Child A if he knew that. (Again, most of the time, No.)
- Go back and forth between the two children, allowing each one to share, and having the other listen, taking a moment in between to check in with each child. You can talk about what each one was trying to accomplish, how each one felt, what hurt their feelings, what they want for the other, and the list goes on. Use your intuition.
- Once you feel they are complete – there will be a new understanding between them - thank them for sitting with you, tell them they did an awesome job, and have a group hug.
What you will find is that your children will learn compassion, empathy, patience, understanding, and so much more through this process.
I believe Sibling Rivalry is where we learn how to be with friends, co-workers, spouses, and extended family. If we just send our children to their room “until they can get along,” we’ve taught them nothing constructive.
(Traci Carman, Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes A Difference / www.alovingway.com / email@example.com / 800-647-1171)
I must admit that I’m one of those moms who isn’t excitedly awaiting the “back to school” routine. I enjoy late nights, sleep-in mornings, and the flow and calm of summer days. However, as they say, “All good things must come to an end.” Now we’ll just create more good things … in the context of school.
As your kids start heading back to the classroom, I wanted to share this “Who I Am” card with you:
Enjoy your peaceful hours, and make sure you use some of that time to fill your tank so you have the capacity to be there for your kids after their full day.
[Traci Carman is the Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes A Difference. To receive her free monthly newsletter, simply go to www.alovingway.com and put in your first name and email. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Tags: back to school
, fill your tank
, late nights
, sleep in
, summer days
One of the greatest joys for me in teaching parenting is that my 11-year-old daughter enjoys sitting by my side for events like this. This is our parenting booth at our school’s Family Fun Day in June. Since then, we’ve taught Family Day Camp together, and are currently co-facilitating Self-Esteem Camp 4 Kids. Much fun!
[Traci Carman is the Founder of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Join her free monthly Q&A calls and get your parenting questions answered. We all have them. (www.alovingway.com)]
, family day camp
, monthly Q&A
Today our yard care guys came. I just love them! The smell of fresh cut grass, a perfectly pruned yard, and I don’t have to do anything. Love it!
To help out, Alexis (11 y/o) and I went over to the swingset to take apart one of her “creations” that was hooked to one of the swingset’s legs. It would make it easier to trim around the unit.
We were working really well together until … Alexis barked at me. Ouch!
Now I could have yelled at her. I could have put her on time-out. I could even have ignored her, and just taken it. But, I didn’t. What did I do? I simply looked at her and let her know that was NOT an acceptable tone to use with me. We completed our job and went in the house. She seemed unaffected by our interaction, yet I was left feeling hurt. So, I said, “I’m going to need an apology for that.”
I could tell she was embarassed, and that an apology would not be coming in the next minute. I knew, however, that she heard me, and would come around when she was ready. And she did.
When we were alone, maybe 20 minutes later, she approached me and apologized. I let her know that it hurt my feelings, and I didn’t deserve that. We were complete. We had a quick chat about it … what was going on for me and what was going on for her, and we moved on.
The important part, for me, was that SHE felt the need to come and apologize. I planted the seed, and she realized she hurt my feelings, and came back to clean it up. Everything in life is a process, including raising children. It’s little things like this, giving them space to come around on their own (handled differently in different situations and with different ages), that allows them to grow without being shamed.
Let your kids know when they hurt your feelings. Let them know what happened when you were a kid, and that this reminds you of that time of your life (or whatever the story is). You’re basically asking them to care about how their actions affect another person. And you’re allowing them to develop the internal muscle that cares about cleaning it up. It’s a great life lesson. Play with it.
[Traci Carman is the Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Join her free monthly Q&A calls by registering at www.alovingway.com/monthlycall, and get your parenting questions answered.)
, conscious parenting
, hurt feelings
I just had a great first session with a new client. This mom’s biggest frustration right now is that her two children (11 and 9) “do not listen.” Once she shared that her daughter has an auditory processing disorder, and realized that most of her instructions are in spoken word only, she had an ah-ha moment. Love it! It never dawned on her that her daughter was simply not processing the information the way it was being delivered. Now she is going to be using eye contact on a regular basis, ensuring that the communication is getting through, and that they are connecting. Yay!
With her son, he has ADHD, and is unable to handle more than one task at a time. The task she gave him was “clearing his plate from the table.” In reality, because she wanted him to clear off the food and put it in the dishwasher, she was asking him to do four tasks: (1) pick up the plate, (2) go to the sink, (3) clear off the food, and (4) put it in the dishwasher. He never got to the dishwasher, and was always in trouble for that. She is now going to work with him on truly making it one thing at a time. She can build from there.
There are so many reasons your kids may not be listening. Assume the best. Assume they would “if they could.” Is the message getting through? Are they understanding what you want? Do they hear you? Are they able to do the task at hand? Those are some great questions to start with. Come from a place of curiosity, of wanting to understand. It makes a huge difference.
Enjoy your day!
[Traci Carman is the Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Join our free monthly Q&A calls. To get more information and to register, visit us at www.alovingway.com/monthlycall.]
, auditory processing disorder
, conscious parenting
, not listening
I’ve been really working on balance this summer, so we get things done that need to be done, AND we have a real sense of down time, flow and freedom this summer. We are enjoying sleeping in every single day (one of our favorites!) and a slower pace overall.
This morning, I said to my 11-year-old daughter, “Could you pick up the pillows and put the couches back together for me, please?” (She had a friend sleep over last night and they camped in the living room.) Instantly (yes, instantly) she walked over and started picking up pillows and putting everything back together. Now, you might think, “Of course. That’s what you asked her to do.” However, it doesn’t always happen so fast. I was jazzed! What did I do? I thanked her and appreciated her for doing that, and for doing it the first time I asked. (Positive reinforcement.)
Then, I asked my son (14) if he would please pick up the Blokus game off the floor. We had played it the night before. He too was right on it. No questions. No pause. Just action. Yahoo! I love it!
When I asked them what caused them to move so quickly, they looked at me like I was an alien. Of course, this is how they behave always. Ha!
Well, I’m going to credit it to less stress, more rest, and flow time happiness.
The moral of this story?
1) Simple things make a difference. Thank them EVERY TIME they do something you like. (This is part of our Moms Making a Difference program.)
2) Make sure you and your kids have plenty of down time and rest time. Take advantage of lazy summer days.
3) Plan activities too, so there is balance.
Parenting can be a joyful experience. When you hit speed bumps, slow down and pay attention. The information you learn in those speed bumps will come back to serve you later. It has many times for me.
[Traci Carman is the Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference.]
, down time
If your kids are already out of school, like ours, you are making some quick adjustments to your schedule right about now.
It’s interesting because every year our children are older, our lives are different with regard to working or not working, being home with the kids, or having a new baby, etc.
For us, it’s really important that we create balance. I can get lost in my work, and we can also get lost in play. How do we accomplish both? This is the simple format we’re using this summer:
1) We came up with mom’s ”work” days.
2) We picked one day that is our “gallavant” day, and we are coming up with ideas of fun things to do on that day.
3) The other days are “flow” days. I will fit some work in, and we will fit some play in. We may create play dates with friends, or just hang out watching movies.
It’s nice to create some amount of structure AND some amount of free time and free expression.
See what works for your family. Have FUN!
[Traci Carman is the Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Join our free monthly Q&A calls: www.alovingway.com/monthlycall.]
, conscious parenting
Today my 11-year-old daughter said, “We make a good team.” We actually do. We work well together. We talk. We bond. Best of all is the openness and honesty of our conversations. Obviously they are age appropriate. What I like about them, and she even commented, is that we can say whatever is true for us, and have real girl talk. I feel like the fruits of my labor are paying off. We have been conversing about life for 11+ years now, and rather than moving away from me as she heads into the tween/teen journey, she’s leaning in to me. Yes! Even my 14-year-old son … I’m noticing a depth of connection really taking place. He’s spreading his wings, being who he is, and yet coming in for connection, feedback and love. My secret? Authentic connection. I feel them, and they feel me. Period.
[Traci Carman is the Founder of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Join our free monthly Q&A calls by registering at www.alovingway.com/monthlycall.]
, moving away
My oldest son is 22 years old and going through some challenges in his life. As a mom, I sure wish he was little and I could just grab him under my wing and make it all good again. However, as our kids grow up, it becomes their responsibility to make choices and live their life, while going through lessons, challenges and triumphs.
What I shared with my son is that I am his mom, I will stand by his side, and I love him. I shared that we all make choices, some not the best, and we do our best to move forward, hopefully making better choices as we go.
What I also shared is that as I was learning and growing in my life, I was making my share of mistakes along the way. We all do. Because I was a mom at the time, I know some of those mistakes have impacted him, and that I am really sorry for that.
All parents will come to a point in life where we realize we have done some pretty amazing things for our kids … and we have done some pretty hurtful things too. My kids know that while I don’t have all the answers, my heart is 200% for them every time a decision is made. And, I’ve gotten support along the way, whether it’s been a listening ear, a coach, mentor, books, classes, etc. If you need some help on your parenting journey, be sure to get it. It’s too important of a job to give it to chance. It really does take a village to raise a child. Who is in your village?
[Traci Carman is the Founder of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. For information about coaching and other services and programs: 800-647-1171, tracicarman@alovingway.]
Tags: adult children
, conscious parenting
, i love you