3 Reasons You're Struggling with Your Children

04/17/2014

Mom-frustrated-yellThere could be a million little reasons (hormones, anyone?) that you and your children don't seem to be on the same page, but here are three possible (and common) explanations for parent/child strugglesSee if they resonate with you.

  1)  Your child has matured and grown, however you have not changed your parenting expectations.  Your child has done what he is supposed to do (mature, grow, individuate), and you keep treating him like he is younger.  The child will fight back, as he should!   He is saying, “Hey!  Mom and Dad, I am bigger and more skilled!  Pay attention!”  As he grows and changes, it is appropriate to give more and more power.  Not all of it, mind you. You are always in charge. Rather, look at this as this as an opportunity for your child to try on more responsibility.

 2)  On the flip side, your parenting expectations are not in line with her maturity.  One of the biggest parenting myths is that age dictates maturity.  Not so!  You can probably think of many adults, right now, who are not emotionally mature!  In that vein, you think your child should not be crying so much, should be getting dressed by herself, should be sitting through dinner at two years of age, etc.  Well, guess what?  Your child may not be mature or skilled enough for these activities, even though you think so.  So, lay off for a while.  Yes, that is the advice.  Lay off.  Give the relationship a little bit of breathing space and time.  This way you can see what it is that your beautiful child can actually do.

 3)  You are not enjoying your child very much.  This means that parenting has become a pretty big grind, and your smile and the delight you have in your child is temporarily disabled.  Between work and the dishes and the schedules and the events and the lessons and soccer games, it is easy to forget that your children are people.  They are people who like to be liked.  Your children are desperate to see you happy with them, and they don’t know how to make you happy.  So, instead of having them work for it, just give it to them.  Get excited to see them, smile big in their presence, and ignore some of the shenanigans in favor of the peace.  Yes, you read that right again.  Choose peace over discipline.  It is okay.  Promise.

More on Parenting:

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4 Ways to Stop BOSSING Your Kids Around!

03/09/2014

Shocking-family-secrets-michele-295x165Let’s all agree on one simple precept: Every human on Earth loathes being bossed around.  Every.  Single.  One. 

We are programmed to do the opposite of what we are commanded to do.

That is what a healthy human does!  We are not meant to obey rude and brusque commands and demands. We like doing things our way.

How would we ever become a freethinking, creative, and inspired people if we blindly followed commands?

The same goes for kids, too. So, how can we, as parents, stop all that bossing around?

1)   Think before you speak.  Ask yourself:  “How can I say this in a way that is more respectful?  More kind?” 

2)   Check your own stress.  The more we stressed we are, the bossier we become.  We need to simply pause and, unless someone is in danger, decide that our request is best left for later.

3)   Establish a routine.  If the table always needs to be set, why do we demand it every single evening?  Set up a routine where the kids can manage themselves.

4)   Ask yourself if it is developmentally appropriate (your bossing as well as your request).  This is not necessarily by age; this is also about your child!  We are commanding and demanding our children to do things, but sometimes they are either not ready, mentally or physically. Before you ask your child to do something, be sure that they can handle the task.

More on Parenting:

New Ideas for Time Outs

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6 Ways to Curb Stress at Mealtime

02/05/2014

After asking my readers to give their ideas for making mealtime less stressful, I was flooded with ideas, both practical and positive.

Here are the best of the best and why they work!

1) Call a meeting and set the expectations.  If the children are 3.5 and older, have them provide some ideas about the foods they would like to eat, and put them on the menu for the week. And then let your kids help with the preparation -- this will get them excited about the meal and also teach them basic nutrition, too!

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Tips to keep your family's mealtime tantrum-free!

2) Have some conversation ready. Children love to be silly, they love family stories, and they love being in charge of the conversation. Develop your own “Table Topics” for your family and never worry about having something to talk about again!

3) Serve the food family style.  Children enjoy making their own choices, sometimes they just need to be talked into it. Keep the focus on the family – not the food, and use this as a great opportunity to teach your children portion control.

4) Don’t promote a “clean the plate” mentality. Nutritionists have been fighting this for a while, saying it promotes overeating and lack of hunger and self-awareness. From a parenting perspective, it also makes you into the wretched “food police”. Instead of arguing over how much food your child has eaten, try encouraging them to eat their veggies first and stop when they’re full.

5) Keep your boundaries. If you say the kitchen is closed at 7 PM or that the food stops after dinner, then stick to your word! Yes, there will be some yelling. Yes, there will be crying and whining. If you can withstand the storm of the transition, the child will adapt. As the parent, you have to stay strong.

6) Keep the sweets as celebrations, not rewards. Go ahead, have some fun! If it has been a tough week of holding boundaries and the children have done well, have a “Sundaes on Sunday” night. Show your kids that they can be rewarded for being well-behaved.

How to Deal with a Child Who is Hitting

12/18/2013

Your lovely and beautiful child is hitting…and hitting often.

When your child is hitting, ask yourself some of these questions:

1) How old is my child? A two year old can hit A LOT. It's pretty normal. In fact, it is the most violent and aggressive time in a human's life [Source: New York Times]!

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An eight year old, typically, hits far less, therefore requiring a very different response in behavior from YOU, Mom.

2) What frustration is causing the hitting? Is it that the language is not there and the frustration erupts and becomes physical? Has the child been trying to make their point, and no one is listening? Have they been interrupted?

3) How can I help the child adapt to this frustration? This means that there is often nothing any of us can do about life’s frustrations, but that doesn't mean we cannot remain emotionally open and kind to our child. The child will have tears and you can allow that. Those tears are a sign of their expectations meeting with the reality of the world. There is not one more cookie. It is time for bed. The i-device is going away. UGH! This SUCKS. And then, after some tears…they feel better.

Children who are easily frustrated and aggressive need to be eased into frustration and taught how to cope in a healthier, more effective way. As the child becomes more experienced at adapting to frustration, he or she will be more capable of handling stress and frustration.

Regular frustrations? How can the family get through it? For instance, my three year old hits me, and then throws herself on the ground during dinner. Well, this is not totally unusual. We give her some love, give her some time, and welcome her back to the table when she comes back.

When my ten year old hits and yells, this signals me that something is wrong. Hunger? Fatigue? School? Friend stuff? Homework? Worries? I give her space and stay close, don't take it personally, ask open-ended questions...wait for her to open up. Sometimes it is a problem, sometimes it is hormonal.  It is my job to be steady and non-punitive, in both cases. This requires patience, self-care, a solid marriage, and good friends.

For more support, contact me at positivelyparenting.com or via Twitter or Facebook!

4 Tips for Surviving the Terrible Two's

11/19/2013

So, your sweet little one is turning two!

You have been through the ringer with feeding and crawling and learning to walk...CONGRATS! You have a sweet two year old now. Everyone says, "terrible two's," and many parents can dread this stage, but I think it is an amazing time of growth, excitement, sweetness, and fun!

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No, you are not crazy. Yes, it is normal to sometimes find that your kids can drive you NUTS.

Here are four tips to surviving the two’s:

#1 – SOCIALIZING YOUR CHILD TAKES TIME. Your child thinks you are the sun and the moon. And if you have a great caregiver, your child will think that that person is the sun and the moon, too! You can never have too many people lovin' on your two year old! Your child may openly prefer you, and that is normal. Don't force your child to hug and say hi to people he or she does not know. If you are friendly, that will rub off on your child! Give it time.

#2 - DISTRACTDISTRACTDISTRACT. The number one technique that works with a two year old is distraction! Notice something colorful. Look at the birds. Point out the changing leaves. Sing a favorite song. Jump like a frog. The attention span of a two year is old is so very short, so this will be tiring for you. Don't worry too much, it will pass, I promise.

#3 – GET SUPPORT. This is a physically and emotionally draining time in a parent’s life. Mother's Helpers, mother's groups, church groups, gyms with childcare, babysitters, family, and friends can all serve to help you through it. Do whatever it takes to get the help that you deserve and need.

#4 – HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR. You will need to laugh to keep yourself sane, you will need to laugh to stop from crying or screaming, and you will need to laugh to keep your relationship with your partner strong. Having a sense of humor will help you through this wonderful phase and keep you sane until the three's! For a good laugh right now watch this.

For more support, contact me at positivelyparenting.com or via Twitter or Facebook!

Smartphones and Preteens: What's the effect?

09/27/2013

Recently, I have read more and more studies about technology, gaming and smart phones and how they affect young people.

As parents who did not grow up with this kind of technology, it is difficult to know how to navigate these choppy waters.

I decided to turn to a friend whom I know from my days at Johns Hopkins.  Laren Anderson, LCPC, has been a middle school counselor for eight years.  She is also the mother of three young children, and has watched the school climate and students change through the digital age. Thinkstock

How is the influence of smartphones playing out in the school setting?

For starters they’re in everyone’s pockets.

Two to three years ago, only several students had phones. Now almost every student has a phone in his or her pocket. Socio-economic status doesn’t matter. Every student from the lowest of the low income to the highest of the high has a phone in his or her pocket. 

What have been some of the surprising impacts of all of these phones?      

Ask a student their parent’s numbers. They don’t know them. They don’t know their friend’s contact information. They don’t know addresses. They can’t tell you birthdays. Students rely on their phones for everything. I have students that still look in their phones for their locker combinations. It is a good idea, sure. Is it changing how their brains retain information? I think it is. I had a student tell me the other day that Facebook reminded them that it was her parent’s birthday!

What about the effects of the Internet use on the smartphone?

Students have access to everything on their smart phones. I have had a surge in parents contacting me about their child’s exposure to adult websites, especially pornography. Kids can get around parent controls, and what might seem like a harmless Google search could actually traumatize your child. The child will rarely discuss these feelings because they are afraid they’ll get into trouble for being on a pornography site and they’re ashamed and feel embarrassed by what they saw.

We often read how social media can take over our home lives…how have you seen it affect these young teens? 

There is an increase in social media use that is not approved by the parent or monitored. Since the child is not at a computer that’s central in the home they can access MULTIPLE social networks with their phone while the parent is not aware of the usage. I’m not saying that social media is a negative thing, but everything in moderation! Not every kid on these sites is doing bad things or bullying people, but they are spending their time on a device. That takes away from the human contact they should be having. 

What are some troublesome issues you have noticed that do not seem to be on the radar of the students or the parents?

Parents should try to stay ahead of the trends…or at least jump on them when you can. Make sure you know who has access to your child, and do your homework so you can sit with your child and fill them in on the pros and cons of sites they use.

Make sure your child knows that what they’re posting can be captured in a screen shot…INCLUDING snap-chat. Indecent or pornographic photos are captured and sent around school buildings, via text, multiple times a year. The students sending those photos say the same thing “I didn’t know you could save it.” You can and people will. There’s no such thing as deleting what you’ve posted.

What are phrases that you find yourself saying over and over, as a counselor to these preteens?

 I find myself saying (to the student), “would you have sent/posted that to your parent?” This is the conversation parents need to have with their child. Say “If you wouldn’t send it to me, DON’T send it”, “if you wouldn’t watch it with me, DON’T search for it on the phone”.

I suggest limiting access to their phones. For example, children don’t need their phones in their rooms overnight.

What are your final recommendations for parents of preteens today, who are feeling very pressured to give their children smart phones?

Parents should understand the technology their children are using. Also, parents have to practice what they preach. Please don’t ask your child to be responsible online and then post videos or content that isn’t appropriate, especially when they have access to your online profiles.  This is too much of a mixed message for them to manage.

Have you seen any parents handle this smart phone transition well?

I’ve seen parents handle this extremely well. They gauged their child’s maturity, his or her need, and his or her ability to manage a responsibility.

They’ve laid out the expectations WITH a contract stating the clearly defined rules and consequences, and they have used the phone to add another layer to their relationship with their child. They text with them and get involved in social media with them.  They keep communication open with their child about the daily changes in technology and their access to it.

 

Should Young Girls be Allowed in Nail Salons?

09/03/2013

I recently posted on my Facebook Page that I didn't think little girls should be getting manicures and pedicures in salons.

Recently I had been in a nail salon and there were a slew of young girls in there. Most of them were whining, some of them were sitting happily with their mothers, a couple were starring into iPhones, playing a game while their mother stole a couple of quiet moments.  Little-girl-manicure-300x400

I glanced down at my Us Weekly, acutely aware that the cover was embarrassing and the content was even worse. It is, I confess, a guilty pleasure, and I could feel the seven year-old next to me stealing glances at it. I sighed and felt annoyed. I had hired a babysitter, taken the time off to get my nails done, and I felt as if I were in a little girls’ daycare.

I hate starting thoughts with, "When I was younger..." I know that it is a lazy way to make people feel badly, but I had the thought:

"When I was younger, going to the salon was a special experience and often a turning point for young women becoming teens. Why are these mothers bringing four, five, and six years-olds here? How is anything special? Earned? Appreciated? And what about the chemicals? The importance placed on beauty?"

Some moms on my Facebook page felt attacked by my assertion that little girls should not be getting their nails done in salons. I get it. They do this special thing with their daughters and were feeling good about it. They were having a nice afternoon, sharing a moment, and I come along and pooh-poohed it. They felt defensive; defensive of their hard work during the week, their decisions to do the best they can, their decisions to have fun and connect to their girls.

I get it. I do. I love making my girls happy.

But, that said, it is my opinion that little girls should not regularly be in salons, getting manicures and pedicures. Fully acknowledging that I don't think you are a bad mom if you do this, allow me to offer some reasons why I think little girls should stay out of the salons:

1) CONNECTION. When it comes to little girls, you don't need strangers and salons to connect. Setting up a mini-salon at home, giving each other hand and foot massages, picking from some colors at home, chatting, listening to music, having a bit of tea, some snacks...this is more connective for little girls. Why? Young children want and crave your undivided attention.

When you spend time with your child the brain releases oxytocin (the love chemical); this chemical helps to bond you and your daughter closer together.

This love chemical helps your daughter feel physically and emotionally close to you, which also affects her behaviors.  Your daughter feels safe and wanted by you, so her behavior becomes more relaxed, easier, calmer, more settled.

Her brain does not release oxytocin with the nail technician.  Why?  Your daughter is not attached to her, nor does she want to be attached to her. Your young daughter wants you.

This brings me to my second point:

2) SELF-CARE. I think mothers should have an hour to themselves to get their nails done, for Pete's sake. I don't buy this, "It's relaxing for me and fun for her!" bit. Fun for your daughter, yes. Relaxing for you? No. Mothers deserve and need to sit alone, be taken of, and have their darn feet rubbed! ALONE.

So, your child wants to be with you? Of course she does. So, go do something with her and then take care of yourself.

I am watching mothers cram it all in, and it is not fair to these mothers. It is too much. If you want your nails done, go get them done. If you feel guilty, ask yourself why and begin there. If, though, you cannot allow yourself a moment of relaxation, you have to take a look at that. And if you say, "I have no time, I don't have help, I have to bring her," take a look at your excuses and say, "Why am I okay with putting myself last?"

3) LITTLE GIRLS and BEAUTY. I don't think one manicure in a salon, one make-up experience, (one of anything!) creates a parenting problem. My own daughters have celebrated birthdays in salons, gotten their nails done for wedding parties, prettied-up and modeled in the mirror. I don't think that that experience forces them to grow up too fast, nor does it make them overly aware of their bodies, ruins their self-esteem, etc. I do think that regular exposure to this type to activity could lend itself to a lifestyle that grows children up, too quickly.

Coffee drinks, being given expensive technology, clothing, watching movies and shows that are developmentally inappropriate -- it is easy to allow our young daughters to become in charge and take the "lead" when it comes to beauty and appearance. Mothers are important role models when it comes to health and beauty, and there is an unhealthy balance of equality when everyone is sitting in the pedicure chairs. I think it is our job to set the expectations and keep our eye on the larger picture. Again, one manicure does not a brat make, but mothers need to be watchful of who is leading the way and setting the beauty bar in the relationship.

4) EARNING THE REWARD. As unpopular as this may sound, my daughters have not earned the treat of getting their nails done. My daughters can learn that there are places that just belong to hard-working women. A place where we can open our US Weekly, our novels, surf the net, close our eyes, and let go. My young daughters should not be there. One day, they will.

For more about Meghan check out her personal website, like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!

 

 

6 Steps to Curb Misbehavoir

07/19/2013

I have a good friend, Chrisy. She was my first parent educator at PEP (the Parent Encouragement Program), and it is not hyperbole to say that she changed my life. Not only is she an excellent parent educator, she is also a loving and great mom to three children. And since two of her children are older than mine, I often look to her for guidance and reassurance.

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The moment every mother dreads

She has given me so many valuable nuggets of wisdom over the years, and one of the most valuable pieces of advice she ever gave me, came at a crucial time.

My eldest child was six and a half, and the eye-rolling, sighing, and outright sassiness was beginning to pick up speed. My formerly respectful, sweet, even-tempered, and compliant girl was turning into a teenager before my eyes.

I was telling Chrisy about the burgeoning sassiness with exasperation and fatigue. She looked me in the eye and told me "Nip it in the bud."

"What does mean?" I asked her. 

"Don't wait and chalk it up to normal developmental stuff. She is not four years old anymore." 

“Huh?”

was allowing it to slide and I was trying to wait it out. I was hopefully (and lazily) thinking it would get better. What was happening was a habit of her disrespectful behavior and my anger....the cycle was going round and round. 

So, what exactly does "nip it in the bud" mean when a parent educator says it to another parent educator?

Here are a couple of steps to consider:

1) Everything must be grounded in love and empathy.  This is an attitude switch from "this child is trying to make me angry," to "this child wants my attention and her misbehavior is working." Love and empathy are the foundations that allow you to do this hard work. If you are too angry, you cannot complete these steps. It will turn into punishment and shame, hence making everything worse.

2) You call a meeting with your older child. In this meeting, you let him know that you have noticed these behaviors and that they are increasing in frequency and duration. You emphasize that this is not okay in your family; this is not how people speak to one another. You say, "From the now on, if you speak to me like this, we will leave wherever we are. I will not warn you or lecture you. We will simply leave."

3) When rudeness occurs, you must stick to your word and leave. If you do not leave, you are teaching your child that your words and intentions have no meaning behind them. The child will be left feeling in charge. 

4) It is equally important when leaving that you do it kindly and quietly. No whisper-yelling, no spanking, no "what did I tell you was going to happen?" No: "You are embarrassing me and this whole family!" Just usher the child away, looking straight ahead.

The child will beg for another chance...stay silent. The child may try to hit you...keep yourself safe and keep going. The child may cry and really start to scream...keep going. Don't negotiate. Don't give in and don't shame the child. As the parent, remember to breath and keep your focus. This will be extraordinarily difficult at first, but repetition will bring ease.

5) Finally, after the child calms down and you feel relaxed and positive, hug them. Tell them you love them. DO NOT LECTURE THEM. If the child cries or says sorry, say, "I forgive you and I know it will be better next time." You may not feel confident when you say this, but say it anyway. You have to be the person who believes that it can be better; your child needs you to do this. 

6) Congratulate yourself for doing this hard work.  You will be emotionally and physically exhausted, but you held your boundary kindly and firmly.  This is the work of parenting, and you will be rewarded (just not when you think!)

Plan something fun and kind for yourself while you are doing this kind of work -- you've earned it!

 

Stop Telling Yourself That You are "Good Enough"

07/02/2013

Mom-frustrated-yellLately, I have been reading a lot of parenting blogs that are focused on being “good enough.”

You yell at your kids, all of the time?  Well, that’s okay.  That’s good enough.

You feed your kids frozen pizza five out of seven days of the week?  That’s OK!  That’s good enough.

You sit and stare into your iPhone while your kids play at the park, day in and day out?  No worries, that’s good enough.

Your child does four hundred activities, twelve months out of the year, leaving him exhausted and you half-crazed with the driving:  good enough!

You go to bed exhausted, angry, lonely, and anxious about your parenting?  That’s cool.  It’s just good enough. 

The more I read, the more my head spins. It spins from this idea:

 “I am telling the world how I think I suck as a parent, but don’t judge me...it is good enough.”

I'm not one to judge something as as “good enough.”  Heck, I've done a good bit of what I just listed above, in the just the last week!  Everyone is likely damage their kid’s psyche somehow, so beyond beating and shaming him or her, I withhold judgment about much else you do as a parent.

What I care about is this strange pride in shouting out your suffering, like a bizarre badge of dishonor.  

Do moms really care about serving frozen pizza, four nights in a row?  I don’t. And if you really do care, then stop telling people you are good enough and cook some real food.

Do moms really care if they yelled in the parking lot once this week?  I don’t think you are a bad mom.  Or do you yell until you are hoarse, every single night?  You know that this life of constant yelling, well, it is not good enough.

And do you really care that you are too tired to fake the smile at the 15th red circle drawn by your four-year-old?  Or are you so tired that everything is drudgery, but you are labeling it as good enough.

I don’t feel badly for working when I am in the park with my kids.  I tell them I need to work and I answer e-mails.  And when I consciously spend time with them, I don’t look at my phone.  That is not good enough.  That is good.  That is fine.

And when, two months ago, my husband and I had lost it one too many times with one of our children, we called our parent coach and said, “Help!”  That yelling, that fighting, that anger, it was not good enough.  We needed to work on it.

So, how about we (me included) stop flying our fake flags of failure and, instead, adopt three categories: “good,” “needs work" and "well, I didn't see that coming..."  (As in, your child stubs his toe on the way into the restaurant, spends the rest of the meal whining and being generally wretched.  Upon leaving, you see that the toe is the size of a boulder, hence explaining the child's behavior.  The whole evening, well, you didn't see that coming.)

Personally, I am all “good” with setting boundaries.  I “need work” with celebrating and remembering to smile.  Boom.  Done.  I know I need to smile more.  I am not going to continue to grimace and tell you it is good enough.

I really don’t think you have to call yourself good enough anymore.  Frankly, I think that is a crappy way to parent and live.  It minimizes the good you do.  Additionally, it gives you a free pass to be a miserable parent when you know you need to take responsibility for your behavior and take action.

If being a “good enough” parent means a faux acceptance of poor parenting behaviors and a disavowal of your good parenting choices, than that is not good enough.  That is treading water.

And another thing (she hollers from her soap box)!  I don’t hear dads referring to themselves as good enough.  My husband virtually sends himself flowers for dressing all three of the kids.  Men seem to be generally good.  Maybe they could stand a parenting tune-up here and there, but I want moms to stop it with the good enough.  It’s enough already.

More on Parenting:

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Anxious Child? Check the mirror.

06/10/2013

My early years with my first daughter were shrouded in a veil of anxiety.  Convinced she was "highly anxious" and needed special treatment, I went down a path of parenting that not only misrepresented my beliefs, but began to accelerate my own anxiety and depression.  In fact, my relationship with my daughter soon represented the old "chicken and the egg" story: whose anxiety came first?

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Anxious parents could mean anxious kids.

The more distance I get from that time in my life, the more clarity I gain. 

Firstly, my daughter was and is a sensitive child.  She is highly attuned to others suffering and anguish.  From an early age, rather than enjoy developmentally normal imaginative games, my daughter wanted to learn about childbirth, death, and natural disasters.  She would stay up at night and worry worry worry; her concerns centered around issues that were highly unlikely (tsunamis, earthquakes, etc). 

And whereas many children can be fearful of natural disasters, my then four year old would become teary-eyed watching an elderly, and severely stooped, man try to cross at a red light.  She would cry, "Why is life so hard for some people?"

When she would ask these questions, I would glance anxiously, our eyes meeting in the rear view mirror.  The message in my eyes was clear:  "Oh, God.  What is wrong with her?  Why isn't she like other little girls?"  And my worries were off to the races.  Like a dark rain cloud, I took a beautiful, sensitive moment and colored it with disorder, comparison, and fear.

Until I awoke to my own fears, my anxiety about my daughter controlled me and the parenting decisions I made on her behalf.  The fears told me to choose Suzuki violin (disaster), persist with soccer (when she clearly hated it), apply her to schools whose ethos I didn't believe in, and worst of all?  The absolute worst?  I did not see my daughter for who she was.  I tried to dim her light.  "Oh," you think, "that is extreme Meghan."  Yes, it is.  Did it show up as shame, abuse, and neglect?  No...it was far more subtle than that, but damaging nonetheless.  It took the form of messages based in doubt and fear and worry.  How soul-cripplingly exhausting!  How depressing.  How ego-driven.  It is the parent's main purpose to fully accept and love the child the universe has given them.  But my anxiety told me, "No.  You are not good enough, and neither is your daughter.  You should worry excessively about her."

What is the point of me sharing this? 

The parents who call me about their anxious children are often anxious themselves, and I am right back there.  I don't harshly judge them, how could I? 

Some of them don't know how anxious they are: "I hear what you are saying about connection, but how are you going to fix my child?" 

Some of them are completely marinated in their anxiety: "I have tried every tip, trick, and way of getting my child to clean/listen/be happy/do homework and nothing works.  Nothing will ever work."

Some parents are on the brink of losing hope.  "I have failed my child and myself.  This is not how this was supposed to go.  My marriage is on the rocks, I don't want to see my kids, and I hate myself."

I am most grateful when the last group calls me.  They scare the crap out of me because I know that feeling the best.  *Almost* total hopelessness.  Yet....the parent has called.  She or he threw out a lifeline.

How did I go from an anxious pregnant woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown...to a parent coach? 

Like every other person who perseveres: one step at a time.

I am not any different than any other anxious parent who calls me...I am just somewhere else on my journey. 

And if I can find peace, joy, confidence, and quiet in this world...any parent can.  

So, if you worry worry worry about your child who worries worries worries, please!  Sit down.  Pour yourself a cup of tea, and start making some calls for help.  Therapists, coaches, counselors, groups, books, pyschiatrists, faith, religious leaders, spiritual leaders, a shaman, witches, I don't care.  

Get some help.  Your child doesn't know how to tell you this, but he or she desperately wants you to fully love and accept yourself...so that you can fully love and accept him or her.  That is the only order it can work.  The rest is faking it.  And the kids know that from a mile away.

For more info on anxiety, click here and here.

And for more about me, check out my website, like Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter!


A mother of three young children and a parent coach, Meghan Leahy teaches parenting techniques to both individuals and groups in the Washington D.C. area, as well as all over the country. Meghan is a frequent contributor to The Washington Post parenting blog "On Parenting." To find out more, please visit Positively Parenting.
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