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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Blurry eyes, hair in a pony tail, coffee in hand and pj bottoms on as you drive the kids to school– Sound familiar?  These are not signs of a lazy parent, these are indicators of a parent who is so busy that self-care has fallen behind (way behind) caring for the family, relatives, work, school, friends…have I missed anyone?  Oh yeah, the family pets too.

When 24 hours just doesn’t seem like enough time to accomplish everything on the daily to-do list, most parents sacrifice self-care in order to meet the needs of everyone around them.  We know we are not SuperMom or SuperDad, but we look at those around us and if we have a little more time, energy, health or assets, we tend to feel obligated to lend a helping hand.  And we have trained one another to work until we drop.  How many times have you found yourself saying to a friend, “I really don’t have time to bake cookies for the preschool bake sale, but they really need the funds and I would feel guilty if I didn’t do my part.”  Where’s the sign that reads, IF YOU’VE TAKEN CARE OF YOU TODAY THEN WE’D LOVE TO HAVE 2 DOZEN CUPCAKES.  IF NOT, GO AHEAD AND EAT A CUPCAKE, WE’LL CATCH YOU NEXT TIME. ?

Helping and giving are HIGHLY encouraged, but as with all things we have to find balance.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue and Hormone Imbalances are on the rise, and all of these illnesses are heavily influence by stress, nutrition and sleep.  For many parents I know, a balanced meal is eating the leftovers off each child’s plate, adequate sleep is a an uninterrupted nap while peeing and stress management includes enough chocolate consumption to fuel a neighborhood Halloween party for decades.  I will never forget the moment I realized I was not getting enough sleep:  the 20 minutes I was under anesthesia for a routine test were so sound and peaceful that I yelled “YOU’RE SO LOUD,” at the anesthesiologist as he was trying to wake me!

We all know when we are burning the candle at both ends, but what we don’t always realize is that sibling squabbles, cranky children, poor behaviors and obstinate actions in our children are often caused by the over-committing we do as parents.  When we are tired or cranky or always rushing to get to the next thing, our children serve as early warning systems trying to alert us to the damage our actions are causing.  The trouble is, just like the warning to change smoke alarm batteries every month, we usually ignore them.  Oftentimes, if we make subtle shifts towards our own self-care, our children will respond and the family balance returns to a peaceful roar?

What could you give up today?  What actions could you leave to another person?  What could you do for yourself each day that would bring you comfort, joy or satisfaction?

Next week we will offer some tips on how to make easy shifts towards self-care.  Stay tuned….

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The Role of Daddy

by Dr. Frances P. Walfish, Guest Blogger

www.drfranwalfish.com

There are many different ways to be a wonderful father, but for some, it can be a challenge.  For others, it comes easily and naturally.  There are two things that need to be present and in balanced for a man to feel like a successful father: being loving and nurturing and being comfortable setting boundaries and sticking to them.

I find that many fathers are at ease with the first step or the second, but find it a challenge to balance both at the same time.  A great deal of what determines which is more comfortable has to do with the model set by our own fathers and mothers.  For example, a dad in my practice who lacks patience with his children shared that his own father flew off the handle with him.  It was only through gentle exploration that this father was able to take a painful, honest look at his own behavior.  This awareness is the key to breaking the cycle of repetition.

For most dads, loving their child comes easily.  They want to create fun in the relationship so they find ways to engage through play, sports, talking, and wrestling.  But also important to fathering is to setting boundaries, placing limits, saying no, setting up targets.  Many dads are not comfortable with this because it stirs anger, tears, and a little bit of rebellion in the child.  This is where knowing your own history is so vital.  For example, if a father had a harsh disciplinarian father of his own, he may feel that setting limits implies a need to scream at or beat the child.  He may fear repeating the hurt and humiliation he felt with the implementation of rules and boundaries so he instead chooses a loose set of rules.

Let me share an example of a father who, with hard work, changed his own parenting style from that of his parents and grandparents.  This man married late in life and had children at an older age for fear of repeating the mistakes his own parents made with him and his siblings.  His father mishandled the children; he was rough and tough and quick to use the belt.  His mother, who knew no better in raising children, did not intervene and protect her children.  She was busy with her charity and fundraising activities and not very available.  This father decided in his 30’s to invest whatever time, energy, courage, and money it took to turn things around.  He immersed himself in a long term psychotherapy experience.  By the time he married,  had children  and consulted me he knew a great deal about himself.  He came to me when his first child was 9 months old to “prevent” problems.  Because he was open, he took my suggestions, put them into action, and became an exemplary father.  His two school-age children are thriving and doing well.  He has learned how to talk with his children about feelings and behavior rather than responding impulsively.  He is empathic, not reactive.

Tips for dads who have trouble setting.  Remember that each time you set a limit you are giving your child an opportunity to grow.  Meeting the child’s resistance and allowing your child to wrestle with not always getting what she wants builds your child’s strength and character.  Also, when you are able to set a boundary and stick to it without getting angry, you are teaching your child to inhibit aggressive impulses that she would alternatively learn if you screamed and yelled at her.   You are not being mean if you say no.   Your job is to protect your child and to socialize him.

Fun is great!  Disciplining can be a drag.  Fathers must find a way to do both.

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Have you ever noticed that children state something they want/desire/need and within a very short period of time it seems to be in their experience?  It’s because children haven’t forgotten that they are powerful creators!  Children stay so present moment and heart-based that they believe anything is possible.  When my daughter was four she really wanted to go camping.  I could not think of anything less appealing since my idea of “roughing it” is having to stay in a 2 star hotel.  My inclination was to tell her, “No, honey, we don’t camp and I don’t want to.”  Instead, I thought I would cleverly encourage her to create what she wanted — I was underestimating her ability to manifest.  I told her, “If you really want to go camping then you have to create it.”  Two days later my nanny said, “Maggie told me she wants to go camping and you know, my boyfriend has a tent you guys can borrow.  Just pitch it in the backyard and do a camp out.”

I was in the unique situation of wanting to ring my nanny’s neck, torch the canvas tent and congratulate my daughter on her manifesting abilities.  That little four year old just knew what she wanted and brought it into her experience.

It’s only as we become hardened to our environment that we slow down this process of manifesting our heart’s desires.  Having children in our life  helps us remember that anything IS possible!

Sometimes we think the best thing we can do as parents is to prepare our children for disappointment, let downs and rejection.  Have you ever found yourself saying some version of , “Life isn’t fair,” or “You don’t always get what you want”?  Because this is what we have experienced we convince ourselves that we would rather be the bearer of that bad news than some uncaring stranger (like a future boss, teacher or bully).  As Conscious Parents we want to help our children hold on to that beautiful sense of hope and the ability to manifest.  What if you lead your child through a process of staying so in touch with his or her heart that life was filled with the experience of truly creating the life they imagined?  And, on your way through that parenting journey, you will find that you are manifesting more and more of what your heart desires too!

Now for the How To:

1) Set aside time every few months to do Vision Boards.  Using magazines, words, pictures, markers, crayons and your imagination, let every person in the house create a poster (of any size) that includes the things they would like to experience.  Hang the posters in bedrooms or on a common wall and look at the boards everyday letting your heart and mind join in the fantasy of imagining how you will feel to experience what is on the board.  Once you feel complete because you have either manifested most of the experiences or because you have other ones that are more important to your heart, it’s time to do it again.  Doing this exercise as a family helps you support each other’s aspirations.

2)  Talk regularly with your children about what they would like to experience.  Just because it seems out of touch with reality to you doesn’t mean it’s truly unattainable.  It’s important that instead of telling your child, “That’s a nice aspiration but I don’t know that it will ever happen,” say things like, “How do think it will feel to do that?”  “How do you imagine it will be to experience that?” 

3)  Support one another’s dreams.  Talk as a family about what each member wants to experience and dream the dream with them, no matter how silly it seems.  This is one of our favorite things to do on long car trips or while we are waiting for food at a restaurant. 

Manifesting your heart’s desires does not have to take a lot of time or energy and it should always feel light and fun.  The key to manifestation is remembering that the only limitations we have are what our mind can conceive.  So take your mind out of the equation and dream with your heart. 

Oh, and my daughter’s camping experience…we did pitch that tent, but my manifestation was to sleep in a warm, cozy bed with the A/C running and access to indoor plumbing without having to dodge midnight spider-webs.  My husband slept in the tent with her!

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