Monday, June 27, 2016

Essential Parenting Skills

I love to tell the story of when my little boy was a young toddler and he kept throwing his toy cars toward the television. My husband repeatedly asked him to stop throwing his toys. My son ignored him. My husband even raised his voice a bit, which her rarely ever does. My son continued to ignore him. After a few minutes my husband called over to me while I was about 20 feet away in the kitchen and asked if I thought he had our little boy had a hearing issue. I stopped for a brief second and then said softly, "Who's mommy's sweet little boy?" My son then jumped up, looked at me and said "Me, mommy, me!"
Parenting is tough. That story always makes me smile and reminds me how challenging communicating with children can be for adults. 

As a therapist and since writing Lose That Mommy Guilt I was asked to share my thoughts on parenting skills for When it comes to parenting skills, there is so much information out there to talk about. For example I am a certified trainer in a program called Strengthening Families as well as what I learned in a class by Parent Coach, Lisa of Parenting Matters. (I highly recommend Lisa's class if anyone is interested!)

After some thought I decided to provide the info on skills that are more about parents themselves than actually about what to do or say with their children. Below are my three tips for the article  momoandme Essential Parenting Skills Part 1:

1. Essential Parenting Skills – Mindfulness 
As parents our patience is tested all the time. Being able to bring a sense of patience and awareness to situations can make all the difference between “reacting” to our kids and “responding” to them. Being able to be self-aware and able to stop and pause before responding can help us make better choices in parenting. 
2. Essential Parenting Skills – Forgiveness 
This is about not only forgiving other people but also ourselves. Recognizing that we are all human and that making mistakes is part of life. Being forgiving with your children can help them increase their self-compassion as they grow up. For ourselves, we also need to let go of the idea that things need to be perfect and forgive ourselves for mistakes we make in parenting. If you blow up unnecessarily at your children and feel guilty, tell them you are sorry. Teach forgiveness by modeling it and asking for it. Set an example you want to see. Don’t force your children to apologize because they will not fully learn and the apology most likely will not be sincere. Teach them by modeling behaviors by apologizing to them when appropriate. Not only showing them forgiveness but also teaches them compassion. 
3. Essential Parenting Skills – Self-Care 
As parents, we put our families and often our jobs ahead of ourselves. Taking time to do something for ourselves can be seen as selfish or inappropriate. A skill that is important for parents is to take care of their needs as well as everyone else's. Take time to exercise, read a book, go out with friends, meditate or do whatever you need to do to take care of your health and happiness. When parents learn to have a healthy balance of caring for themselves and others, they are better able to parent. It teaches children a valuable lesson that self-care is important as well.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

10 Things I Learned about Nut Allergies...

  1. “Safe” is not always the same
  2. People with allergies don’t get time off from being diligent.
  3. Be prepared.
  4. Other people will most likely not get it.
  5. What you don’t see can still hurt you.
  6. Socialization will revolve around food.
  7. Stay informed.
  8. Use caution eating out.
  9. Allergies don’t need to define you.
  10. There is always something to be grateful for.

Go to Today Parenting Team for the full article! 

Feel Free to  "Vote Up"  if you liked it!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Defend Against Negativity!

How to protect yourself from the negativity in your life....It is so easy to get caught up in a "Debbie Downer" moment. Negativity surrounds us in many forms. It could be the breaking news about a tragic event scrolling across the television, co-workers complaining about a project, or even the guy with road rage ruining your morning drive.

Negativity is everywhere.

But there’s good news:

Positivity is everywhere too,you just may need to look a bit harder to find it. 

Learn 5 ways to defend against negativity here...

Click HERE to go to EVERYDAY POWER  and learn 5 ways to Defend Yourself Against Negativity!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What happened to empathy and compassion for fellow human beings?

My news feed has been bombarded with angry mom-shamers relentlessly unloading on the parents of the little boy who fell into the Gorilla exhibit.

401,215 people signed a petition against this family last I checked.

Over four hundred thousand people are able to express empathy for Harambe but not for a fellow parent who took her eyes off her toddler for a brief moment in time. 
That's a lot of perfect parents out there.

Yes, I admit that there are neglectful and harmful parents in this world and we have an obligation to protect those that need protecting, however the outrage and violent verbal assaults to this family without adequate information is so disturbing to me. Here's how I feel:
  • I am saddened by the death of such a beautiful and endangered animal.
  • I am grateful that the boy is safe and home with his family.
  • I am feeling empathy and compassion for that family who clearly suffered a terrible ordeal only to be vilified in social media. 
What happened to empathy and compassion for fellow human beings?

Parenting is never perfect and most of us are trying our best and sometimes mistakes are made. Mom-shaming does not solve problems; it only alienates and divides us when we need support the most.

How many people reading this can say they have never lost sight of their toddler for even a second?  

I know I can’t.

Frankly that story is so frightening because I believe it could have happened to me or to almost any mom I know. I remember being with a dear friend, who is a wonderful mom when her two year old got lost at a crowded zoo. My friend and I were there with 5 children in total and the toddler just disappeared. We were franticly searching for what seemed like an eternity (maybe 15 minutes) when with the help of kind strangers my 10-year-old daughter found the baby and brought her back to safety.

No, I never had a child fall into a zoo exhibit however I have…
  • Locked my self in the bathroom in a panic while my husband sat with my 18month old baby crying covered in head to toe hives from a food allergy reaction while on vacation with no Benadryl or emergency medication.
  • Turned my back for a second to have my toddler fall head first off of a kitchen stool onto the tile floor.
  • Allowed my 4 year old to push her infant brother in an umbrella stroller on the sidewalk without being properly buckled and as she lifted the back of the stroller to go over a bump he fell on his forehead onto the sidewalk.
  • Lost track of my 2-year-old girl in a Target superstore for several minutes.
  • Missed the fact that my daughter had a fever (more than once) and dropped her off at school only to get a call from the school nurse that she had a high fever and wound up positive for strep.
  • Woke up one morning to find my toddler had been trying to open a jar of fruit snacks with a kitchen knife while the rest of the family was sound asleep.
  • Forgot to pick up my 9 year old from school while I  was in the middle of new client psychiatric intake evaluation that had gone over time and realized when the school called me 20 minutes after dismissal with my little boy worried something happened to his mommy.

We all have moments we regret despite our best intentions. 
I believe I am a good parent. I am trying my best each and every day. Just like most moms and dads out there, including the parents of the little boy who fell into the Gorilla exhibit, as well as the thousands of people who signed that petition.
I don't know if the incident at the zoo was the fault of the family, or of the zoo, of someone else or just an unfortunate accident. Without being there and having all the information I can't say. What I can say is that I believe most of us are trying our best each and every day.
Let’s try and remember that we are all human and none of us are perfect and next time you find yourself ready to vilify another human being, take a minute to stop and put yourself in their shoes before you take to your keyboard.

From Lose That Mommy Guilt
Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC

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