Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
*oh, I accidentally skipped this. It was meant to be 41 and Mayzee's was 42.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Monday, February 4, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
I am a good mother. No, scratch that. I am a great mother. Some of the things I put on my intake describing my strengths are I am dedicated, goal oriented, hard worker, active with my family, faithful, helpful, a good family member and friend, creative, funny, and happy. Some of our strengths I put as a family are we are kind to others, we are happy, we enjoy spending time together,we are active, we are spiritual, we work hard, and we love one another. These are things before my coaching that I knew about myself and my family, however, they are not the things I focused on. I focused on my weaknesses as a parent and the negatives that happened in my day. I also put in my intake that many days end in frustration like I have failed as a mother that day. I did not specify why my days ended like this but I will tell you here. A lot of yelling went on in our house. Especially with my sweet boy Ryker, everyday was a battle and a struggle. I lost my cool plenty of times and my ability to handle his tantrums and disobedience felt almost beyond my control. I had moments like this with my other children as well but not to the same extent. I used to use the punishment method of time out but I learned when he was 3 that it wasn't the proper way to discipline him (which I was grateful for because getting him to sit in time out was a struggle that lasted over 30 minutes most of the time). I learned that when I did that, my poor sweet Ryker felt ashamed. It brings me to tears when I think about that. I remember crying when I heard that what I had been doing, which I thought was "proper" and the right parent-thing to do, was actually doing him a lot of harm. But, I wasn't really given a whole lot of direction after that. Getting rid of time out was nice but things were still hard. I prayed so many nights to try and understand my son. I would promise myself each night that the next day would be better. I would magically change into a better more loving mother. I was tired of feeling so defeated. Finally, one day, my prayers were answered! My mom called me and asked if I would like some parent coaching from a friend of ours who was working on getting certified as a parent coach. Are you kidding me!?!? I told her YES!!! Soon, my parent coaching began and I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea how much it would impact my family. I feel a transformation within my soul that brings me such peace that I no longer go to bed mad at myself each night. Even outsiders notice a change within our family and the behavior difference in my kids. I will just give a brief (and I mean brief) summary of some of the things I have learned that have helped the most.
1. I need to take care of myself. I need to be kind to myself. I need to appreciate myself. I need to love myself. You can't give what you don't have. So I can only love my kids as much as I love myself. Now, I make it a priority to give me some ME time. I was also bad at saying "no". It made me "feel bad" and I didn't want to hurt feelings. I've learned how important it is to set your boundaries and more than that, I've learned setting those boundaries doesn't hurt feelings at all. How silly it is that we worry so much about what other people may be thinking. The first time I said no to someone during my coaching felt so empowering. Now I almost enjoy it. :)
2. My behavior as a parent and the behavior of my kids is learned behavior, not a hereditary gene we are stuck with. They aren't who we are and anything learned can be unlearned. For instance, I react very similarly to my kids as my parents did to me. "How is that?" you may ask. Well, I get frustrated and stressed easily and instead of calmly working it out, I yell, sometimes cry or storm off. Guess what? I was seeing this same pattern with my kids as they react to each other or to me even. Here is another for instance- if I burned dinner or put too much salt in it, I would probably scream something negative to myself, cry because the dinner took a lot of time and cost a lot of money, and in my anger, make something new and grumble about it the whole rest of the night. Okay, I may have over exaggerated a bit but I probably did at least one of those things. So now, what have I taught my innocent sweet little spectators who I want nothing more than for them to love themselves and be happy even when they make a mistake. I just taught them it's not okay to make mistakes. GASP! My heart ached when I realized this. Along the same lines, when something negative happens in my life and I respond equally, that also teaches my kids when you are dealt lemons, you make a sour face and throw up. This basic concept, teaching my kids by example, was probably my favorite thing I learned. Now when I mess up, I say "oh, silly mommy. I'll have to be more careful next time". Seriously, this distributed down to my children so fast. They are learning to be completely okay with mistakes. You see how this also goes in hand with #1 up there? Not beating myself up. Quite amazing.
3. Being more go with the flow! I always lived by a schedule and if it was tinkered with, don't even try messing with me. How unrealistic is this fantasy of having a regimen when you have small children? This was a hard thing for me to conquer. Before when a grocery store trip didn't go so well because Harlee cried the whole time and I had to yell for Ryker while I was checking out because he was hiding from me and I walked out the door and realized I forgot the most important thing I needed, that by the time I got home, all the fun activities I had planned for the day I threw out the window. I was going to punish my kids and myself and this wretched day by cleaning and yelling at my kids to help me. NOW, I've learned that things are going to happen. I can still turn the day around and find SOME positive from it. I can still make SOME memory with my kids. Just because it started off bad, didn't mean it had to end that way. And then when my kid spills his glass of milk on the floor and doesn't do all that great of job cleaning it, OH WELL! I tell myself. That milk stain will not hurt and I will get rid of it next time I mop. This concept was one I wished I learned a LONG time ago. I still have to work hard at it but I'm getting there.
*okay, this is wayyyy longer than I intended and I am out of time. It's hard to cram all my hours of coaching and months of experiences into one post. Speeding up...
4. When my kids misbehave or seem to be having a hard time I talk to them and try to figure out the core issue instead of getting frustrated with them or throwing them in a room when they are throwing a tantrum for what appears to be no reason. For instance, I have discovered with Ryker that he acts out when he is tired or hungry. So when I see him pestering his siblings I say "Ryker, I see you are bothering your brother and awful lot. Is there something you need?" At first he wasn't able to communicate a response so I would ask "are you hungry?" or "you seem tired, do you need a nap?" It seriously works people. My problems are solved when I do this. The other day he was acting up because he had asked me for something I said I would get but then forgot. He was able to verbalize that he was waiting for me. ooooops, thanks for reminding me buddy!
5. Recognize feelings. I let my kids feel now and I acknowledge them. "I see that you're upset that I wouldn't let you have ice cream but dinner is ready and we are going to eat first". This is good to do because sometimes you're wrong. I acknowledged Ryker's anger one day and I discovered he wasn't angry for the reason I thought. This helps our children learn to express and deal with their emotions verbally. This has prevented MANY tantrums shockingly enough.
6. Grace! This is the hardest one for me! I learned one day after getting frustrated with Ryker when I caught him pooping outside (which I surprisingly handled very well, so I thought). I was asked if I approached him and the situation with Grace. Well, I did handle it better than I normally do but no, there was no Grace involved. I was asked how my Heavenly Father would speak to me if I had done something wrong. WOW! Face palm. He would hold me and show his love for me then explain what I did was wrong and why. I get it. I understand it. But it is really hard for me. The human in me feels when I come to a situation like that, I must be ANGRY! I learned that I have to choose how I react. What? Oh crap. I have a choice. Okay. I choose to show grace. This I work hard at and still fail most the time but there are times I succeed and if I keep focusing on those times, they will grow more frequent.
7. Praise! For real, this works miracles! If I give immense attention to the things my kids to well and no attention to the things they don't do so well, I promise they will yearn to do good. If I start my day immediately doing this, it trickles to each child for the rest of the day. It almost can be more exhausting and sometimes you're like "ya, okay, you kissed your sister for the umpteenth time today and are looking for recognition once again" but you still give it to them. I also have a reward system. I don't have a punishment system if they do wrong-that's not necessary. When they get a certain amount of smiley faces on their chart, they turn them in for a reward in the treasure box. Praise, praise, praise. Your home will be happier and it will have major long lasting effects on them.
8. No TV. Very difficult, I know but it is so bad for them. I have articles. Please parents. I beg you. Get rid of the TV. It's killing our kids. I know, I know. I don't mean altogether. Moderation in everything. Limit to a few hours a week and keep it off when you're not watching. It distracts children and their little brains program in a way that hinders their ability to focus. If you do watch it, watch it with them.
Whew! Honestly, I see myself finishing up but there are like a million other things running through my head that I learned. Her name is Niki and she not only changed my life, and my kids lives but think of all the future generations that will be affected. I truly feel every parent should speak with her and get at least a little parent coaching. Is our family perfect now? No and still far from it. Each of these things I've learned I at least know now. I have the tools! And for the most part I do them and work on them daily but I still have to work very hard at it and I don't always succeed. My life with my Ryker is no longer a daily, hourly, minute-ly, power struggle. He has learned to communicate his feelings and even work them out on his own. I love him dearly and I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity I was given to be a better parent for him. All my children deserved it.