Wow, I haven’t done a weekly wrap-up in so long! For some reason today I feel compelled to do one, so here we go.
Friday is a great day to pause and reflect on the week. How was yours? Mine was filled with ups and downs, joy and laughter and some lows and exhaustion, too.
These are the words and images that inspired me to be the best person I can be this week. I’m so thankful for this online community. You all encourage me so much!
“All babies are always good babies, great babies, beautiful babies, precious little people – no matter what. Do you find (or used to find at that stage) that the question “is he/she a good baby?” dumbfounds you, confuses you, makes you sad, brings up feelings of wanting to defend yours and all babies? I don’t think people mean to ask if a baby is good as opposed to “bad”, but perhaps as opposed to a “difficult baby”, which is an unfortunate label for a beautiful little person whose new to the world.
It’s so important to remember that when a parent is finding their baby difficult, it’s because the baby is having a difficult time or the parent is having a difficult time or both, or the family is having a difficult time adjusting. It’s indiciative of challenges and unmet needs.
I really liked it when someone asked me how my baby was doing or just “how is she?” or how were we both doing, that was the kind of question that I could answer and that felt caring and supportive.” ~Genevieve
Rethinking Tattling ~ Tattling – it’s one of the most “annoying” things that kids do, right? This article is excellent and gives a great perspective on tattling – why kids do it, what it means and how to respond.
Mom’s Rules ~ Jennifer responds to a popular facebook post about “Mom’s Rules,” writes her own rules and experiences some backlash. I don’t know if my rules would be exactly the same as hers – but I love the heart, respect and compassion behind them. And I love her courage to challenge the status quo.
Gregarious Peach made this delightful photo. I love the movements and joy of her daughter in this series. So inspiring. Let joy be unconfined!
“We cannot decide, once and for all, whether it is parents, teachers, counselors, psychologists, family courts, judges, or whatever, who know what is best for children. In important matters, nobody can know better than the child himself. You don’t have to be very old or very smart to know your friends from your enemies, to know when people dislike you, are cruel to you, and hurt you. Any five-year-old knows the difference between a mean teacher and a nice one and is smart enough to want to get away from the mean one.
“It is only adults who … think that the mean teacher is somehow doing the child some good. Not that the adults themselves willingly stick around people who are contemptuous and cruel to them. Not for a minute. It is only to other people, above all young people, that we say that pain doesn’t really hurt, it really does you good. But a child should have the same right as anyone else to move away from whoever or whatever is hurting him and toward whatever he feels may help him.”
- John Holt, Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children via Natural Child Project
While I Nurse You to Sleep ~ I’m not nursing anymore, but I remember those feelings. And even though I don’t nurse my kids to sleep, I do still snuggle them to sleep. It can be frustrating sometimes when I have things I want to do. But when I finally make myself relax and just rest with them – tune in to the moment – it turns into a time of peace and even inspiration.
25 Rules for Mothers of Sons ~ Another post about “rules!” Seems to be a theme this week! This one is very inspiring to help us get our perspective in the right place.
Yep, almost cried watching this. So sweet. I know you’ll enjoy it.
Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you. -Robert Fulghum via I am a Human Being Too
“The details of our days do make a difference in our lives, no experience is ever just for drill, everything can be a springboard for inspiration if we are willing to be open to the goodness of life.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
Childhood Sexual Abuse and Attachment Parenting ~ This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read. This mama has a powerful, honest voice and what she shares is something we all need to hear.
Dad Takes Crazy Photos of Daughters ~ This just made me smile. The photos are so creative, but the best part to me is the way the daughters just seem to be loving it and having so much fun with their silly dad. Great way to bond!
When you’re Happy for No Reason, you bring happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them.
You don’t need to manipulate the world around you to try to make yourself happy.
You live from happiness, rather than for happiness.
~ Marci Shimoff via Happy and Free to be Me
Sometimes I just need to remember this. Things may not be perfect. The circumstances of my life may not be ideal. But that doesn’t have to determine my happiness.
When your child hits, pushes, bites, grabs, lashes out in anger telling him/her to be gentle and to be nice doesn’t help him/her a lot in that your child of any age is still trying to find out “what CAN I do with all this frustration?” A child’s anger can really take them over, especially when they lose their sense of connection and safety.
She needs to know that you’re not just trying to make her stop feeling angry, she can’t do that and trying to do it causes a lot of inner conflict and even more frustration. Show him that you can see, can cope with and can help him with his frustration. Show her what she *is* allowed to do and when you can be present to really listen as they cry, complain, roar like a lion, stamp their feet, jump up and down, push against your hands as you kneel in front of her, have a pillow fight with you to give an outlet to that need to push and be vigorous, scream into a cushion as you tell her it’s safe to do so and you’re looking after her. The biggest need is always acceptance and empathy!
To keep everyone safe, keep your limits simple, clear and confident – aim to avoid pleading or being aggressive in saying no. Let him know that you won’t let him lash out, that you’re keeping everyone safe and helping him with those big feelings of frustration. She needs to see that you see her big feelings not just her behaviour which is only the outward symptom, that you can care about and empathize with her frustration “I see this is really hard for you, I can help”, “I care about *all* your feelings, I’m going to stay here and care for you until you feel better.”
Avoid isolating or otherwise giving your child the message that you don’t want to interact with her when she’s angry as this can instill shame. He especially needs your loving care and guidance when he’s angry, anger is a tough emotion and deserves empathy. Separating out her feelings of anger from acts of aggression will help her to do the same. Avoid shaming him when he lashes out, he’s already struggling with difficult feelings and needs help in coming back to peace with himself and his world. Kids act well when they feel well.
Prevent the aggressive behaviour that hurts her or others (as non-aggressively as possible), but be with, accept and empathize with the feelings of anger and frustration and your child will resolve their frustrations and learn to not only not be afraid of their own feelings but to really trust that their feelings are always important and deserving of self-compassion. ~ Genevieve, The Way of the Peaceful Parent
And from Real Child Development this week:
Building Emotional Intelligence in our Children ~ This article just talks about daily conversations we can have with our kids and learning to understand intentions behind often hurtful words.
Easter Meltdown Moment ~ This is more about being in tune and knowing what’s going on underneath behavior. And being willing to admit that you might be the cause of it or at least contributing to it.
I made these photos this week to express some things about myself. My life’s work is with children at risk. Sometimes that involves very mundane things, but it’s about knowing that these seemingly small interactions – like pushing a little girl on a swing – doing these things over and over again consistently over time, can add up to a big impact.
This photo, to me, is like a declaration – an embracing – of who I am and what my life is about.
And if you’re interested in knowing more about my life, here’s my family’s monthly update: The joy of life…