Parenting | Kay Trotter

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All Posts in Category: Parenting

Did you know that blowing bubbles can help you reduce anxiety and stress…and it’s fun.

bubbles, reduce stress and anxiety

It’s true, when you blow bubbles your breathing in and out which is the equivalent of taking deep breath’s. Did you know it only takes 3-deep breaths to change your brain chemistry? Yep it’s true. I like to give clients a bottle of miniature bubbles that they can carry in their pocket, and use any time when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. Blowing bubbles also gives them cover as their friends will not think them strange or weird, just playful.

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Help Children Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Help children reduce anxiety and stress

A common thread in today’s world is anxious children and parents who are pulled in too many directions—stressed out. One way to help children and parents simultaneously reduce anxiety and stress in their lives is through the use of relaxation, and visualization techniques.

Visualization is one of my favorite techniques to help clients achieve a sense of relaxation and well-being. Visualization is a form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. It is a way of focusing your imagination to create calm, peaceful images in your mind; thereby creating an imaginary haven or “safe place” that can be revisited anytime.

I find that adding parents in the process is a powerful. Helping both child and parent both embrace and internalize the power of a mindful way of being. Awareness of this kind can have a virtually immediate effect on health and well-being.

Here is one of my favorite Anxiety Reduction Techniques

In my office markers, colored pencils, crayons and drawing paper is laid out on the coffee table and there is calm, meditative music playing in the background. This sends a non-verbal message to my client that “today is going to be different.” I briefly describe what we will be doing today and get their approval. To alleviate all fears that they may have, I explain that the visualization will tell them anything that they need to do.

To give a little background, visualization uses a script that is read out loud using a sing-song-style of voice. It is designed to put the listener into a relaxed, meditative state where they use their imagination to relax and feel peace. For example, one of the scripts I use is called “Cozy Castle” and it describes a magical cozy castle high in the clouds where dreams come true and we can relax and enjoy peace and comfort.

The combination of calm, meditative music with the slow, sing-song-style of voice has a powerful impact on the listener’s subconscious state. The use of a melodic and sing-song tone also allows information to be processed easier and the meditative music has the ability to quickly shift our mood, affecting our subconscious mind where pesky negative thoughts feed on our fears and fuel the fires of stress.

Before we start, I read a list of visualization scripts to my child and ask them which one they would like to start with (I like to do at least two). I also explain that I have some visualization scripts especially designed to be used at bedtime, which I will send home with them for their parent to read. (For me it’s important that the child be included in the decision process, it also models for the parent how to incorporate visualization scripts at home.)

After they choose the visualization script they want to use, I read the visualization to the child and, at the end of the script, I add the sentences, “When you’re ready to come back, open your eyes and draw your Cozy Castle [if that was the name of visualization used]. When you’re finished, I will ask you to share your drawing with me.”

I like to use visualization because it accesses the emotional world of the child in a non-verbal format, thus allowing the child and counselor/parent to understand the experience of the child. Art also allows the child and counselor/parent to connect through images rather than words alone. Expressive therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. The therapist uses the child’s artistic production as a springboard for further elaboration of the clients emotions and their causes.

After the child and I have processed their drawing, I say, “Let’s go get your parent and together the two of you can do the next visualization together.” Once the parent is with us, I explain what her child and I did in session and share the bedtime visualization scripts that I will be sending home. I then invite the parent to “join us” in a visualization journey. At this point, I again ask the child to choose a visualization script and for everyone to sit back and get comfortable. At the end of the visualization, I again ask the child and their parent to draw their experience.

Parents love this way of being involving in their child’s life journey. It’s powerful because the parent gets to experience first-hand the emotional impact of the session and they also are able to hear how I read the visualization  and understand the importance of reading in a sing-song manner with frequent pauses.

Resources:

Guided Relaxation – free Guided Imagery scripts

The Power of Music To Reduce Stress

Helping children learn how to relax and de-stress

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You can help prevent suicide

prevent suicideShow You Care: Let the person know you really care. Talk about your feelings and ask about his or hers. Listen carefully to what they have to say.

  • “It sounds like you’re angry (or jealous or something else), and it’s okay to be angry.”
  •  “I’m worried about you, about how you feel.”
  •  ”You mean a lot to me. I want to help.”
  •  ”I’m here, if you need someone to talk to.”

Ask The Question: Talking with people about suicide won’t put the idea in their heads. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way. Get the conversation started.

Challenge their Thinking; It’s also about helping them see that death won’t solve their problem

  • ‘It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to kill yourself.’
  • ‘I care about you, but I can’t give in to you when you act this way, so now I have to call someone here to keep you safe.’
  • ‘How are you going to feel the respect and attention you’re looking for if you are dead? You’ll be gone forever.’
  • ‘Do you really want to go away forever? You’ll leave a big hole of pain in your family and friends, who love you very much.’

Create Time-to-talk: The goal is to keep the person safe long enough to get to a time and place where there can be some good talking.

  • Go for a drive. Take them to a place where they might calm down.
  •  ‘Go for a walk or drive him ‘round the community. Only drop him back home when he’s really tired. But still watch over him.’
  • ‘Take him away from the thing that was making him angry.’
  • ‘Go to a coffee shop.’ (laughter)
  • ‘Or the beach.’ (more laughter)
  •  ‘Go to a place that’s safe for them but doesn’t facilitate their suicide fantasy, or give in to what they’re asking for.’
  • ‘Sometimes the safest place might be the emergency room.’

After they calm down and get some slept, you can make connections, like with family or support workers. Then you can talk about it more.

  • ‘Do something that makes him happy. Just ask them gently. You can listen to them. Get their story.’
  •  ‘Remind them about their family. People they care about. You can ask them, “What are the troubles in your life?”’
  • ‘Ask them simple questions. Get them to think about what they are doing. Like, “How are you feeling when you     say you want to kill yourself?” or “What are the things that make you feel this way?’
  • Help them break it down, so they can see the process of when they do this, identifying emotional     states and suicidal triggers.’
  •  ‘You can help them think about other things they can do when they feel this way again.’

Get Help: Never talk of suicide as a secret.

  • “I know where we can get some help.”
  • ”Let’s talk to someone who can help.”
  • “I can go with you to get some help.”
  • “Let’s call the crisis line, now.”

Sometimes you can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with professional skills such as:

  • Someone the person already has connections with.
  • Trustworthy family member. Someone the young person has respect for Support working together with the family member. “Family is important to provide support. It’s a partnership: support working with family and vice versa.”
  • Someone who can help build coping mechanisms and help them talk about their strengths.
  • Connect with a mental health professional or someone who can follow-up separately with the person making the threat.
  •  Someone who can talk to the whole community about suicide.
  • Anyone SAFE –  “Sometimes, to keep them safe, there might be no one left to call but the police.”

What NOT to say

  • ‘Go for it’
  • ‘Make my day.’
  •  ‘Go ahead.’
  •  ‘I dare you.’
  • ‘Here’s the rope.’
  • Giving them a challenge so they feel they have to prove it, like, ‘You don’t really mean it’ or ‘I don’t believe you.’
  • Saying something dismissive, like, ‘It can’t be that bad’ or ‘You always say that.’
  • Saying something that might make them feel more angry or alone, like, ‘Who’s it going to hurt?’ or ‘No one cares.’

SUMMARY

Do something now: Don’t assume that they will get better without help or that they will seek help on their own.

Acknowledge your reaction: It’s natural to feel panic and shock, but take time to listen and think before you act.

Be there for them: Spend time with the person and express your care and concern.

Ask if they are thinking of suicide: Asking can sometimes be very hard but it shows that you have noticed things, been listening, that you care and that they’re not alone.

Check out their safety: If a person is considering suicide it is important to know how much they have thought about it. Do they have a plan?

Decide what to do: What you decide to do needs to take into account the safety concerns that you have. Don’t agree to keep it a secret.

Take action: The person can get help from a range of professional and supportive people
Ask for a promise: if thoughts of suicide return, it is important for the person to again reach out and tell someone.

Look after yourself: It is difficult and emotionally draining to support someone who is suicidal, especially over an extended period.

FOR IMMEDIATE HELP CALL
2-1-1 – Local Suicide Intervention
800-435-7609 – National Teen Suicide Hotline

 

 

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Signs of self harming behavior

Adolescents often engage in self-harming behaviors alone, parents may not be aware that this problem exists.

Being observant can often uncover early signs of self-injury such as:

  • An abnormal number of cuts/burns on the wrists, arms, legs, hips or stomach
  • Wearing of long sleeves and pants even in warm weather to cover the marks
  • Frequent ‘accidents’ that cause physical injury
  • Evidence that your teenager’s friends are self-mutilating
  • Finding razors or knives in strange locations
  • Your teen locking themselves away for long periods of time in their bedroom or bathroom
  • Reluctance to be part of a social circle or social event

If you suspect a teen you know is struggle with self-harm – reach out to them and let them know that you know and that you’re there for them.

If you, or your child need additional support to manage self-harming behaviors, we can help.
Get to know our therapists and their specialty areas.

Children and teens engaging in self-harming behaviors – Help!

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

 

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Childhood Development Ages 8 to 11

childhood development ages 8-11“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

My childhood development blog series will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, andsocial influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans

Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Late Childhood Development 8-11″

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

Next blog of the Childhood Development series will be  “Early Adolescents ages 11-14”

Download the complete ages 8-18  “Task of Childhood” 

Additional Resource:

Ages and Stages A Parent’s Guide to Normal Childhood Development Written by a fellow play therapist Charles E. Schaefer‘s Ages and Stages this book is great for sorting through what’s normal age appropriate behavior and what’s not.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Power Parenting

Power-Parenting-1

Power Parenting  • By Dore Quinn LPC

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the “Parenting University” for the Lewisville Independent School District.  The topic I presented was one that is near and dear to my heart entitled, “Power Parenting.”

I became acutely aware early on in my parenting career of the importance of parents having the power in a family.  Though most kids won’t admit it, parents having control in a family allows for the whole family to feel more secure.  I have worked with many teens that admitted they wished their parents were more in control of the family and that there were more rules and consistency.  The big question is, how do parents assume power in the family?

The main goal in assuming power in parenting is to stop arguing with the children.  There is a huge difference between discussing and arguing.  Discussion is okay; arguing is not.  An example of arguing is a parent instructing a child to clean his room and the charming child giving ten reasons why he shouldn’t have to clean his room.  Often we parents take the argument bait and try to logic the child into obedience. I might choose to try one argument of logic (because there is an innate part of me that really wants them to understand that I’m not trying to make their lives difficult for the fun of it), but then I’m done.  If the child is arguing, then the  child doesn’t really want to understand why he should have to comply; he simply hopes he can argue his way out of doing the job.  Rather than give reasons why he should do as I ask, I will simply repeat the request.

Here is an example: 

MOM:  If you want to go to your friend’s house, you’ll have your room clean by 5:00.

SON:  Why do I have to clean my room? Who is coming over? (Sound familiar??)

Fight the urge to take the bait… you are the parent and it isn’t necessary to justify your request. Instead, just repeat the request:

MOM:  Nevertheless, if you want to go to your friend’s house, you’ll have your room clean by 5:00.

SON: (becoming agitated): Why? It’s not my house… Who put that room in this house anyways??

Fight the urge again to take the bait (arguing often leads to escalation of a fight) and just repeat the request again.

Keep up this pattern until the child becomes frustrated with his repeated attempts to draw you into an argument and will often sigh in frustration and hopefully comply because his efforts are futile. 

If I have a particularly stubborn child, I may end up repeating the request four or five times at which time I will decide for the child that he doesn’t want to go to his friend’s house after all and then I will come up with a particularly distasteful consequence (phone disappearing, etc.) if he chooses not to comply.

The main goal in maintaining power is to keep from escalating with the child in his or her anger.  When we choose to argue with the child, then our position as the one in power diminishes as our anger escalates.

If you have a child who is argumentative, try using your hand held up in a “Stop” signal to give visual sight to your child that you expect him or her to stop.

Sometimes your child may have a particularly frustrating behavior pattern established that you may want to change.  The following is a behavior plan that I often use in private practice to help parents take control and end verbal arguing. There are a few premises that this plan works on.

  • It needs to be explained to the child thoroughly before implementation.
  • One behavior needs to be identified and worked on at a time.  More than one behavior becomes overwhelming to the child.
  • Once the plan is established, the parent DOES NOT argue with the child or even worse…LECTURE.  The parent simply marks the sheet.  If the child genuinely doesn’t understand then the parent may choose to explain once why the sheet was marked (but NOT argue!!!).  If the child argues, then another check is marked on the sheet.
  • Papers need to be taped onto the front of the fridge.  If you are one of those families with fifty gazillion magnets on the fridge, this is a good time to clear them out and give the behavior plan a special place front and center on the fridge.
  • Handwrite the plan (don’t use the one I’m posting…it needs to be customized to your child).  The one I’m posting is just an example.
  • Don’t post the paper about catching them being good.

Begin by identifying the behavior you wish to target. Be VERY detailed on the specific behaviors your child engages in that fall under the category. This is an example. This gets posted on the fridge.

Disrespect

  1. Eye rolling.
  2. Telling Mom or Dad, “NO!”
  3. “I hate you!”
  4. Telling mom or dad, “You can’t tell me what to do!”
  5. Sighing after I ask you to do something.
  6. Groaning after I ask/tell you do something.
  7. Making faces while I am speaking to you.
  8. Saying, “Whatever…” to me
  9. Covering up your ears while I am speaking with you.
  10. Double asking (asking me then asking Dad after I’ve told you no)
  11. Saying, “That’s not fair!”
  12. Telling me I’m mean.
  13. Growling in my ear-shot
  14. Continuing to speak after I’ve put my hand in the air signing, “Stop!”
  15. Yelling at Dad or me.
  16. Swearing at me.

* Door slamming will result in me assuming you need practice closing doors quietly, thus you will open and close the door quietly 15x.

*Stomping up or down stairs will result in me assuming you need practice going up and down stairs quietly, thus you will have the opportunity to practice going up and down quietly 10x with me watching and counting (one trip up and down = 1x).

I tell my kids that they are more than welcome to think anything in their head that they want, but I better not hear it or I will consider it disrespect.  Also, be sure to teach them how to have a discussion with you about something they don’t like/something they are concerned about rather than engaging in disrespectful behaviors. Your list will look different than this one because you will be targeting specific behaviors your child uses.

Child’s Name

________        ________       ________       ________       ________

*The spaces above are “freebies.”  Consequences start when they go through their freebies.

*Each consequence gets progressively worse.

*These consequences are just examples.

*Use whatever your child values as leverage

*I’ve been known to take away make-up, clothes, phones, etc.

________1.  No TV for an hour.

 

________2.  ½ hour in your room.

 

________3.   1 hour in your room.

 

________4.  No TV/Computer for the rest of the day.

 

________5.  Bedtime at 6 pm (or 7…)-I usually always use this as the final consequence because if they have engaged in the behavior 10 times in one day, then I am pretty much out of patience and want them out of my sight by then.

 

*All behavior charts are for a daily basis. All consequences need to be daily consequences (grounding for an entire week results in kid not caring for rest of week-counter productive to changing behavior)

*When child gets savvy enough to go through all freebies and no consequences (as smart kids do), then it is time to knock off freebies to maybe two or three.

*It takes at least three weeks to change a habit…this is no different

*They will go through all consequences at least 2-3 days in the first week, so be prepared! This is normal.

Catch ‘em being good

 

This third part to the behavior chart is very important.  Because difficult behavior usually results in strained relationships (yes, it is possible to not like your own child…), it is essential to build the relationship back up between parent and child.  When a child is difficult, the child often feels as though he/she can never do anything right and the only thing noticed is when he/she screws up. The third element to the behavior plan is catching them being good.

  • Go to the store and buy about 10 candy bars that you know your child will like (full-sized, not fun-sized).
  • Explain to your child that you are going to work at catching him/her being good, and when you do, you may toss a candy bar to him/her.
  • Explain that if he/she tells the other siblings, then the whole deal is off…this is just between you and the child (helps him/her feel special and keeps the others from feeling like there is favoritism).
  • Really notice when he/she does something right…toss him/her a candy bar privately with a one sentence explanation (VERY IMPORTANT it is only one sentence to avoid child/teen “click off”) and LEAVE THE SCENE!!! In the beginning you may be tossing one or two a day, then lengthen it out.  A week or two of candy bars isn’t going to kill him/her or permanently ruin teeth. Candy works much better than stickers, etc. In the beginning, the child may act as though he/she doesn’t care, but THEY DO!!! Do it anyway!

Examples:

(Toss candy bar) “Thanks for not yelling at me when you were angry earlier… I really appreciate it!” Then leave…don’t discuss, don’t give detail, don’t go on and on…you get the picture.

(Toss candy bar) ”Thanks for not knocking your brother one when he used your stereo… You’re awesome!”

(Toss candy bar) ”Thanks for taking out the trash without arguing… I really appreciate it!”

By ending the pattern of arguing with our children, we as parents will maintain our position of being in charge in the home. Parents having the power in the home helps maintain stability in the family and greater feelings of security. Besides, it makes our home a happy place to be!

If you would like Dore Quinn to talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Kaleidoscope Counseling also post regularly on our Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for screen time

Last week The American Academy of Pediatrics released updated media (screen time) guidelines for children and adolescents.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARENTS

  • Limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to <1 to 2 hours per day.
  • Discourage screen media exposure for children <2 years of age.
  • Keep the TV set and Internet- connected electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom.
  • Monitor what media their children are using and accessing, including any Web sites they are visiting and social media sites they may be using.
  • Co-view TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers, and use this as a way of discussing important family values.
  • Model active parenting by establishing a family home use plan for all media. As part of the plan, enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices, including cell phones. Establish reasonable but firm rules about cell phones, texting.
Kaleidoscope Counseling

Co-view TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOLS

  • Educate school boards and school administrators about evidence-based health risks associated with unsupervised, unlimited media access and use by children and adolescents, as well as ways to mitigate those risks, such as violence prevention, sex education, and drug use-prevention programs.
  • Encourage the continuation and expansion of media education programs, or initiate implementation of media education programs in settings where they are currently lacking.
  • Encourage innovative use of technology where it is not already being used, such as online education programs for children with extended but medically justified school absences.
  • Work collaboratively with parent- teacher associations to encourage parental guidance in limiting or monitoring age-appropriate screen times. In addition, schools that do use new technology like iPods need to have strict rules about what students can access.

To read the full report from the American Academy of Pediatrics titled: “Children, Adolescents, and the Media”

It’s hard to limit screen time, though, when “all the other kids” are spending so much of their free time in front of one screen or another. Dr Trotter’s blog titled: “Earning Screen Time” offers practical guild lines for your family.

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A Promise For My Daughter

Tears ran down my face as I read this today. Maybe it’s because I am mom and cherish every moment of the gift of motherhood. And maybe it’s because I have been preparing to speak about our abused and neglected children, and how “humanity’ has turned it’s backs on these precious little souls.

“A Promise To My Daughter” is a call to reclaim our humanity and say no more neglect, because                        “yes I will come, I will always come.”

 

A Promise For My Daughter

I’m tired and she’s tired. And she’s been weeping with frustration, her face a smudge of red cheeks and snotty trails.

I go down on my knees beside her little, chubby legs. They’re curving over the edge of her green froggy potty stool and she is glaring hot blue eyes into my face. I reach for her and she swats at me and doesn’t want the comfort I know she wants.

I gently take her hands and pull her up. Her tender self all frustration and sweat and nakedness melting into me. I cup her with my arms and my words and slowly stroke those damp curls back from her cheeks.

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I’ve got deadlines and to-do lists and no clue what to make for dinner. There is one quiet window before the boys come home and Pete has made it back early and we’re hoping for a snatched ten minute nap. But she’s inconsolable for reasons she can’t put into two-year-old words yet and I’m on my knees reaching for her.

I will always come, baby.

She’s in my arms and slowly beginning the ritual of stroking my right arm. Her curls are warm and sweaty and that pudgy baby cheek fits just under my chin.

I will always come.

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I dance with her slowly – the rock and roll of motherhood – and I know this is a promise I can stake my life on.

I will always come.

When you forget your lunch. When you are sheep number 5 in the Christmas play. When you take up the recorder and bleat all the way through the Easter service. When you get that bad hair cut. When you think you want to be a beauty queen, when you swear off fashion altogether.

I will come.

When the mean girls make you want to shrivel inside your skin. When a teacher intimidates you. When you intimidate the teachers. When you think you can sing and try out for a musical, when you get laughed at and people point fingers at your hair and your shoes and your too bony hips.

My darling, I will come.

When that boy breaks your heart and you’re stranded at a college miles away, I will come. When the internship you thought was part of your calling falls through. When a friend gets sick. When the car crashes. When you have more long distance charges than you thought possible. When you run out of gas, chocolate chip cookies and faith.

I will be there.

When you say your “I dos,” when you you start your happily ever afters, when none of it quite feels like you thought it would. When you don’t know how to pick a mattress, when the sofa is in the wrong place, when you regret what feels like signing your life away to someone else. When you keep on keeping on. When you remember how to say sorry. When you need a safe place to say how cliche you feel all “barefoot and pregnant” I will so be there.

When the baby won’t sleep and the world’s on fire with sleep exhaustion.

Sweetheart, I will come.

When your husband’s out of work. When you’re down to one car and have moved in with his in-laws. When your job threatens to break your heart. When toddlers make you question your sanity. When you realize that you’ve made the worst mistake a woman can make. When you’ve run out of tears and still the tears keeping coming.

I will come.

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When you move and move and relocate again. When you pack boxes and dreams and hope. When your life is a world of duct tape and questions. I will still come.

And when your home is warm and your heart is full. When you’re at peace. When you need someone to share the joy, to watch the kids, to admire the dimples. When you want to remember that old recipe for melktert, when you still can’t pick a sofa, when you wish you’d never said yes to the dog.

When you don’t know where you’re going. When you’re the most sure of yourself you’ve ever been. When you’re holding onto faith with just your fingernails. When you’re singing, “Jesus loves me this I know” and you mean it with every tiny, beautiful, miraculous part of your DNA –

Zoe, always I will come. One hundred different ways I will come when you call.

I will rock and roll you with my love and the promise that I will help you get back on your feet. I will hold your hand. I will rejoice. I will babysit. I will pass the tissues. I will wash the dishes.

I will come.

Tonight.

Tomorrow.

And the day after. And after.

And then some.

lisa-jo-3Guest Blogger Lisa-Jo Baker: First and faremost Lisa-Jo is a mom. A mom who sincerely believe motherhood should come with its own super hero cape. And on most days she can’t find her car keys, her cell phone or her mind. Most nights she think her heart will burst wide open from all the messy love stuffed inside it for those sweetly snoring kids And many mornings I want to quit motherhood before I’ve even served the first bowl of Cheerios of the day. A mother who absolutely maintain that motherhood is the hardest and most transformative role we’ll ever had.

Yep Lisa-Jo is just like you and I.

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Guide your children to a better way of behaving

At some point, children will misbehave to the point of having a consequence as a result. Depending on the problem at hand and the family belief of proper action, discipline for your child can take a variety of forms. However, what happens when your child doesn’t care about the consequences and performs these actions anyway? What happens when he or she cares nothing or is not impacted by the disciplinary action of choice?

Lurking Negativity – Taking an item away from a child when he or she misbehaves is a common practice by many parents. For the most part, it can be an effective solution to quell a specific problem. However, some children care nothing of objects and seem to be unaffected by this manner of discipline. If your child doesn’t seem to be affected by his or her actions, there may be a deeper underlying problem that isn’t being addressed.

Keep Communications Open – Depending on the severity of the action from the child that prompted the discipline, keeping your composure may be difficult. Obviously your child wasn’t thinking rationally, but you need to do so in order to deal with the situation. Instead of instantly jumping to conclusions as to why the child did what he or she did, you need to get to the root of the problem. There could be a deeper problem that he or she is trying to work out and is unable. While it may be difficult to get to the heart of the problem as your child can be quite tight-lipped, you still need to show that you are there for them. You can’t force a child to unload his or her problems on you, but you can reassure them that you are there regardless of how bad it may seem.

Repeated Actions – If a deeper problem does persist, the actions that cause you to enforce discipline could repeat themselves. It’s not that your child is purposely trying to enact punishment, although it may seem that way sometimes. He or she is demonstrating there is something wrong and are unable to deal with the circumstance. While disciplinary action can still play a role in how your family functions, you should still concentrate on why he or she did what they did. You would be amazed at how well future problems can be solved with communication and dealing with problems as they arise.

Never Belittle One’s Stress – One thing many parents do is assume that the child’s problem is “silly.” This is especially seen with families that have teenaged members. The problem may be simplistic to you, but it could be dire to an individual who has never experienced it before. You have decades worth of experience in contrast to a child who may be experiencing certain frustrations or heartaches for the first time. While we know that specific problems are not the end of the world, some children could think otherwise. Unless you deal with the underlying problems that cause misbehavior, some circumstances could feel routine. Every problem has a solution, and it’s up to the parent to help the child find the one that fits. You don’t have to solely rely on spanking or grounding your children. Get to the root of the problem before it escalates into something far worse.

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Be involved in your child’s life and guide them to a better way of thinking and behaving

Resources:

In-Home Parenting Coach | One of  Dr. Kay’s professional counselor comes to your home and observes the areas you may be feeling unsuccessful in your parenting and then offers personalized strategies and mentoring to help reduce stress and increase joy. DON’T WAIT, call us at 214-499-0396. SPECIAL OFFER EXPIRES JULY 31.

The Center for Parenting Education | A resource to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children. This link is to their Library of Parenting Articles for parents who are looking for answers right now.

One Trough Job | An online resource for real-live parents has articles to download on Positive Parenting tools that address behaviors and disciple by your child’s age from 6 to teenagers.  

The Task of Childhood Development ages 8 to 18 | 1st blog post of a 4 blog series where Dr Kay talks about childhood development in a way parents can understand and put into practical everyday use. You can also download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure on Dr Kay’s web page, at bottom of page under “Parenting.”

Dr Kay on Pintrest | The Child & Family Counseling Resources: Community Board is a group board of mental health therapists and specialists dedicated to providing therapeutic resources for children, adolescents, adults, families, and care givers. The Raising Healthy Children Board is full of tips to help parents raise a healthy child by providing unconditional love, plus ways to encourage children to express and explore their emotions.

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Guest blogger – Christine Maddox


Author Bio: This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for 4 nannies . She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.

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Ban iPhone Use From 4-8 pm

Your addiction to e-mail and social media is hurting your children. Please set an e-mail and Internet ban from 4 to 8 pm, “your children will yell with glee.” You can’t really do both, if you’re at all connected, it’s too tempting. You need to make a distinct choice.

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