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Archive for June, 2009

It’s not always equal, but it is always fair!  This is the phrase that I just know my kids are swearing to themselves that they will never EVER repeat to their own kids. . . but most adults I know hear it and adopt it quickly.  OK, so there are lots of kids out there who are cursing me under their breath.

This has been an oft repeated motto in our home since my children were little.  If you have even one child you are bound to hear the words, “but that’s not fair” at some point in their young life as they  plead their case for the childhood version of equality.

Even if you are not the kind of parent who indulges you child’s every whim, you have likely grappled internally with the concept of how to make things fair — especially if you have multiple children.  We never want to seem injudicious in our parenting, but trying to even the childhood playing fields does a dis-service to our children and wreaks havoc on our parental psyche.  I have had clients who sit in my office twisting themselves inside out because they are trying to figure out how to arrange play-dates so that each child has one at the same time or are spending outside of the budget to even out awards and gifts.  The story that wretched my heart the most was from a  mom who was trying to create a vacation for her oldest child that equaled the character cruise vacation that the youngest went on with another family — the other family footed the entire bill and this mom didn’t have the financial means to do the same.

As parents, we can make ourselves crazy chasing equality, and in that, we miss an opportunity to help our children determine their own personal needs and desires independent of the collective consciousness.  When we are willing to offer what each child needs, and yes, even within the same family each child is an individual with unique needs, “it’s not always equal, but it is always fair” becomes a point of reference for resetting our values.  If we are seeking out and receiving what we want/need from a heart place, then we are always getting exactly what we need.

Here’s how to employ your own version of this at home.  Say, for example, your child wants two pieces of candy just like Sally consumed moments earlier.   You are reluctant to point out the comparison to lemmings jumping off of a cliff that your own parents used (let’s face it, that was just silly–sort of).  To say,”It’s not always equal, but it’s always fair” to your child is not enough.  Help them understand what you are implying.

“I know that Sally just had two pieces of candy, but you had a piece that was the perfect size for you.  I know what you had for lunch and your body needs some more nutrients in it.”

Your child may not comprehend all of what you are saying, but like all good parenting, which lies in the depths of repetition, they will eventually adopt this process of searching for what ‘s best for them on their own.  One day they will revel in making their own choices in spite of what friends are doing without your prodding.  My children dislike this phrase, but they can now see for themselves that life is an experience unique to each individual and what works for one person may not work for another.  They are more willing to seek their own hearts for guidance when they move away from the idea that everything has to be fair.

As parents, it is helpful if we adopt a similar line of thinking.  In other words, if we feel like the Universe is unfair because we don’t have everything our neighbors, co-workers or siblings do then we will promote this concept of unfairness subconsciously to our children.  Check your motivation when you feel that life is being unfair.  Chances are, you will actually glean the perfection of the circumstance(s).

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To all of you dad’s and women who fill that roll to a child, Little Soul Productions wishes you a very Happy Father’s Day!

Sometimes when these days of acknowledgement come around we spend a great deal of time fretting about the perfect gift, the best way to spend the day, how to acknowledge dad, etc.   I believe that the spirit of the day is meant to be one of appreciation and acknowledgement — by both the child and the parent.  And in truth, we don’t need gifts or fancy dinners to get that point across.

So while you are eating breakfast in bed, preparing for a hike or  sitting by the pool with the BBQ heating up, take a moment:

Dad’s appreciate the kids that you are inspiring.  Acknowledge all that they add to your life.

Kids (both young and adult) appreciate all that dad has done to help you get to where you are.  Acknowledge the space he holds in his heart for you.

This is really all it takes to have a great day.  The tie, the cake, the burned hot dogs. . . that’s just bonus!  Enjoy!!

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There is a lot of energy behind the concept, “thoughts create.”  But that’s fuel for another topic.  I only bring it up because I shy away from the term “recession” as an identifier for our current times.  It’s not that I’m sticking my head in the sand, and it’s not that my family has been unaffected by the economic events of the last couple of years.  In fact, my experiences are on par with the average American.  What is different, is that I believe we are not in a downward spiral of economic disaster. Instead, I believe we are going through a period of re-balancing

During this re-balancing period I believe all of us are learning to adjust to a simpler way of life.  It is rarely disputed that we had become a rather gluttonous society.  Let me clarify, I’m all about creature comforts, spa treatments, retail therapy etc. But I have found that many parents had been over-indulgingtheir children’s every wish.  And not because their child was deprived in any way, but because parents tend to look at their child’s life and apply adult needs and desires.

Let me explain. . .there is a magic that children possess, that as adults we lose for a period of time, and that magic is the ability to  see wonderment and awe in everything.  When we are constantly indulging our kids, they quickly give up this ability to be inspired, in favor of instant gratification and placating their own egos. If this were to continue, we create a society of children who stop listening to their heart and only honor their egos.  There is more than one reason that drug abuse and teen pregnancy have been on the rise in the last few decades. 

Last my family attended a friend’s high school graduation–it was amazing what my children took note of.  At the end of the ceremony, 600 royal blue mortar boards flying into the air literally took my 10 -year old’s breath away.  For one moment in time I got to see an event that I have come to anticipate with little excitement as one of the most wonderful and awe-inspiring gifts because I got to see it with the “site” my son possesses.

Kids even as old as 13 and 14 can see wonder and amazement in everyday life simply because they have not experienced all of the things that ultimately jade us as adults.  But what I have noticed in my practice, is that more and more children are coming in with adult concerns and LOTS of entitlement issues but very little ability to be inspired by everyday events.  This is because overworked parents see their child struggling in some way, stressed out with friends or school, and they then apply their adult perspective and immediately indulge the child the way they, as an adult, might want to be indulged.  Remember that a walk around the neighborhood, a trip to the park, dinner in front of the child’s favorite movie, or even toasting marshmallows are all events that would be as rewarding and significant to a child as a trip to Princessland.  After all, there is real magic in these moments, not something fabricated with light shows and joysticks.

As society re-balances and we make more conscious decisions about where to spend our money, let’s celebrate.  Let’s celebrate the magical moments everyday.  And when we as adults take time to see the world through our children’s eyes, we remember that what we need to be happy and content is generally right in front of us and costs little to nothing to experience.

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More and more these days, I hear moms say, “Well, I guess I lost my mother of the year vote today.”  I have to admit. . . even I have fallen into this verbal trap. Usually we say this because we forgot to pack a lunch leaving our child to “rough it” in the school lunch line, or we lost our temper wading through a sea of toys that we had been told were cleaned up prior to our issuing a treat.

When this, or a similar thought, enters your mind, you lessen the full loving impact that you have on your child(ren).  You set the example ever day for how to be self-loving, and if you are berating yourself for minor parenting infractions, then what you are really doing is teaching your child(ren) that they need to be hypercritical of themselves too.

When my children were 3 years old and 6 months old, I had many friends in the same boat.  A preschooler and a new baby.  That was the first time in my life that I remember going several days without a shower because someone always needed me, and I know my peers were experiencing the same thing.  The two days I could shower were Tuesdays and Thursdays when the oldest was at preschool in the basement of a local church with two loving teachers and her friend from down the street.  My friend and I took turns carpooling with one of us lugging 3 or more car seats in our mini vans and corralling the children British Army style across the parking lot.  In our free hand was the dangling car seat with a tiny, hungry sibling just along for the ride.  On one morning my friend dropped the girls in the classroom and after setting the portable baby carrier down to next to her to talk with a teacher, left the classroom and her 5 months old baby behind.  The child was safe, surrounded by love, and in truth, my friend got no further than the driver seat of her car before realizing the precious cargo left inside the church.  This “oopsy” moment tortured her for days.  I’m not advocating leaving your children mind you, but this is the kind of honest mistake that we parents beat ourselves up over.  However, when we step back and gain perspective, we realize it  is not the end of the world, leaves no scars and actually helps us to be better parents in the future.  I’m happy to report that this child and his sister have no lasting scars or abandonment issues from mom’s absentminded-ness.

I’m encourging all parents, caregivers, teachers and grandparents, to stop the self-judgments!  If you fall in the category of even thinking that you are less than as a loving support to your child(ren) then give yourself a hug, smile at a good parenting choice you’ve made today and remember that parenting is a lot like sculpting –as the creator, we will always see the flaws, but when others look at our works of art all they see is the beautiful job that we’ve done!

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