Parenting toddlers has a bit of a bad rap, but I love this age and stage! For all its frustrations dealing with a pint-sized dictator, it can be a fun and hilarious time. The headshaking moments of trying to decipher what on earth is going in that little head or what compelled that action makes life interesting. I think, despite the nonsensical presentations, there is some Seuss-like truths buried in the bizarre.
There are lessons to be learned from the Tao of Toddlers:
I know, I know, you aren't the playing parent. You might get anxious even thinking about playing for any extended periods with dinosaurs or baby dolls. Perhaps your other half is the more fun parent, the one that gets out there and gets dirty. My husband is always helping construct forts, sand castles or toboggan runs. But someone has to get dinner ready, am I right?
I get it. I am kind of that parent too, except I am not. I am fun. I like fun. I just don't allow myself to prioritize it enough.
Being the adultier adult has some pretty un-fun bits to it, and it is important to find the fun. When the negative outweighs the positive in your life, something has to change. Perhaps your interactions with your husband are at an unfortunate ratio of 40 negative interactions to 15 positive ones; this is not a happy balance. I can feel it when my ratio is off with my husband, children, or even life in general. These are times when there is too much work and too little play.
It certainly comes in with a bang, but for many, January can be a difficult time. And despite the party that kicks it off, many of us, parents especially, can barely keep our eyes open to ring it in. January can be a let down.
With holidays and school breaks approaching, many families will load up the car, catch the train or board a flight. The excitement of the time away is tempered only by the actual journey which can be long, involve a lot of togetherness and can make everyone a little stir crazy. I recently moved back to Canada after living in the Caribbean for the last seven years.
My daughter has decided, at seven years-old, that she wants to be a professional climber when she grows up. She saw a makeshift climbing wall once in a bachelor friends living room and had a good time traversing it. The majority of her experience, however, has been more of a free climb—of everything and anything.
I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a silly heart. And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. —Uncle Buck
My daughter acts like a seven year-old.
She often asserts her will, day dreams, and acts silly. And you know what? It is perfect —she's seven. Developmentally this is exactly how she should be. There are amazing things that happen at each age and stage and also some challenges which can sometimes drive a parent crazy.
I was hanging out with some friends one night and the question was raised... Are you happily married? It was a real question for a real conversation. And so I answered, but there was this pause. I knew a little about the group I was in and a bit about their relationships, and I decided I was in a safe place to answer, and so I did. I told the truth, and the truth was, yes.
Family relationships can be tricky even when everyone gets along — and when you marry, you add in another family, their norms, values, culture and history. It's no wonder issues can arise. Miscommunication, cross purposes, assumptions, well-meaning acts — they all cause strain on family bonds. So what do you do when an issue comes up? And how do you keep the peace without relationships falling to pieces?
I recently read a post by Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat Pray Love about the lessons she struggled to learn regarding being nice over telling people a needed truth. She explains in withholding truth you are demeaning or infantilizing people and keeping them from important growth.
We live in a busy society. I know I am not alone when I feel guilty for having down time. I think I should be doing something. This fear of sitting still can also be projected onto our kids, and not enough value is placed on having a true break. Homework over the break is used as a measure to ward off idle hands, brains, etc. However, hammering the books is the last thing my teacher friends suggest over the summer. They want the kids in their classes to enjoy and experience a break and the experts agree with so many cautions being written about the over-scheduled child.
I want summer to slow down and it has barely started.There are a lot of "shoulds" in my head right now. Day camp sign ups, dates to coordinate with friends, and I am struggling. Partly because of all the decisions. I am tired, we are moving, and I am wrapping up from the school year; but part of it is also the fear of the summer plans taking over causing me to miss out on lazy mornings, giggles in the pool, and the spontaneous. Summer itself brings anticipation.
My daughter had a request. I didn't say no, and I didn't say yes. I said these four words: I would love to. Right away her seven year-old eyes sparkled. You see, my no to yes ratio has been really uneven lately with the no's tipping the balance. There is nothing wrong with the word no. As a therapist I often help people use it and I regularly work with my clients on establishing boundaries.
When a child dies, the shock is often great and we don’t know how to respond when such a tragedy befalls our community. Thinking through such a devastating situation is almost unimaginable and we put such thoughts out of our minds. Unfortunately, there are times when we are faced with these darkest of hours. We feel pain and wonder what the parents must be going through. And for a moment we can’t help but put ourselves in their shoes, hug our children a little tighter, and cry for their unbearable loss. We wonder how we can help. What do we do? What do we say?
Lice is horrible but worms? Far worse. I remember having lice in grade seven. I was so very, very itchy that even typing the word inspires a scratch. The removal involves some checking, which I loved to receive as a child. In fact, to my mother's chagrin, my fourth grade teacher brought up her concern at a parent teaching meeting that I was constantly asking when the health unit would be coming in for a lice check. This scalp massaging, oops, checking is followed by the washing, combing x100, and lots of laundry.
March 8th is International Women's Day — a day to celebrate social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The theme this year is #pushforparity. Since the time of suffragettes there have been massive advances in the world, however, in many places progress remains slow and the gender gap is not predicted to be closing any time soon — currently predicted in 2015 at 2133, and sadly up from the 2014 prediction of 2095.
Date night... important, enjoyable and so hard to schedule with those ever multiplying demands of work parenting and more. One of the first things to go under the weight of it all is quality time in our primary relationship and we simply hope it will hang on for a less chaotic time in our life.
Lately there has been more popularity in using animal metaphors to describe the modern day parenting styles. Tiger parents are known to be the ones in control, like helicopter parents, and are often keen for their child's success. Dolphin parents want to nurture and guide their children with a nice balance of expectations and some flexibility. You might see yourself in one or more of these categories, depending on the situation, your comfort level, culture and how you were raised.
Self-control helps us lead healthy and productive lives, but is often the first to go under the weight of mounting pressures. As parents it is even more important for us to model self-control for our kids - our children are among a generation where self-regulation is becoming a real problem.