Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Interruptions are one of my triggers.
We're driving home from the store. I'm getting hangry. Bug asks me a question. I'm answering, and Josh interrupts me.
I fume, "I was just in the middle of answering Bug's question. I don't like being interrupted."
"Oh, sorry", said Josh.
In my head I'm running through what else to say. " So rude! " "Every time!" "Seriously?!" "How many times do I have to tell you?" I'm really huffing and puffing up there, stomping my foot and everything.
We turn a corner and Bug's book falls to the floor. "Ugh! I can't reach my book!" he grumbles.
"Where is it?" Josh kindly asks. Bug points and Josh gets it for him.
We've all seen the quote "We can't make kids behave better by making them feel worse." (Paraphrased) These 4 years working on parenting peacefully and I just now really understand that phrase.
Josh is a kind, considerate, helpful person. One interruption doesn't change that. My berating him for one interruption certainly doesn't set an example of kindness for him to follow.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Trust and Consequences

I was listening to TED Radio Hour- Trust and Consequences and this part of the interview hit home SO HARD.
Interview with Simon Sinek. He's speaking in reference to companies, but think of it in terms of family leadership.
"What's the connection between feeling safe and trust?
They're inextricably linked. The sense of feeling safe comes first, so when we feel safe trust will emerge, and this is what the foundations of leadership really are. The reason we call someone leader is because they choose to go first. They choose to extend trust first, even before, maybe, any signs have been offered that they should. It's the willingness to express empathy before anyone else.
And presumably that feeling changes behavior?
Absolutely. And when we assess that someone would do that and we see that they have that integrity, they would willingly sacrifice their interests for our lives, we cannot help ourselves. The natural human response is trust. And this is the point, which is, as human beings if those in, especially, leadership positions express empathy for our well being, we reward them with our trust and our loyalty and our love to see that their vision of the company [family] is advanced."
Our kids need this type of leadership.

Reflecting on My Scrapbook

Healing from our own childhoods can be so hard. Making parenting choices vastly different than those our parents made is really, really, difficult if we haven't prepared ourselves in advance.
I'm thinking about this lately because over the weekend I cleaned out a ton of photo albums from my closet. One of the albums was a childhood scrapbook my mom gave me when I turned 19. Each year had a bullet point list of memorable moments from the year. Papa and I were reading through it and laughing hysterically because things like "Had teeth cleaned" and "Drank lots of water" made the lists of highlights. It was really funny. At first.
As I continued reading through (I started at age 18 and worked my way backward) I got progressively more sad. The trend of non-events continued to be the highlights of my scrapbook, with sprinklings of outright negativity thrown in. My parents' divorce, being suspended from school for swearing in a note to a friend, being forced to go to counseling for suspected drug use (suspected by my parents, I wasn't using drugs though).
It hurt to see how vastly differently my mom experienced my childhood from the way I did. None of my cherished memories were in that book. None of my ambitions or interests were recorded. It drove home that my mom didn't, and still doesn't, really know *ME*. My heart aches for that relationship which I don't have.
But the beauty of it is the reminder to stop some of the things I'm doing and go sit with my children, to just *be* with them. To ask them what they think about the world and really listen. To be involved with their interests. To cherish the joy the feel in their accomplishments. To heal my hurt by nourishing my relationship with them. To do all I can to create a legacy of love and connection.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gardeners Don't Tell Flowers To Grow

I saw this yesterday and it made me think of the idea that a gardener doesn't tell a flower how to grow, or even to grow, they just provide the environment needed for the flower to flourish.
We humans are biologically evolved to be social creatures. Like a flower doesn't need to be forced to grow, our children don't need to be forced to learn social cues. It is in their biology. They are made to get along with their group, to read people, to empathize, to make amends. We simply need to provide the right environment for them to flourish, then watch the beauty of it all unfold.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making Positive Changes

All of our children's behavior is a direct result of our behavior. They are a reflection of our actions, and they cannot, repeat CANNOT- are completely incapable of- making any positive changes until WE change our behavior and outlook. Maybe that means we do some reading and self-reflection, maybe that means we go to see a counselor, but whatever it is, the focus needs to be on changing ourselves instead of changing our children.
Yes, as parents we do have a responsibility to help our kids become the best adults they can be, but we do that by being a living example to them. Not by trying to manipulate them into being something we're not. (Example, we can't reasonably expect a child to learn patience and respect if we're not modeling that for them every day.)
Inevitably, when we start making positive changes in ourselves there comes the time when we will think, "I've been so positive and worked so hard for so long; why is my child still behaving the way they did before?"
To understand that we need to understand the parent-child relationship is involuntary on the child's part. They are completely trapped in this relationship with us. If they feels unhappy, neglected, abused, etc, they are helpless to leave and too immature to know how to effectively change the dynamic of the relationship. It makes trust a very delicate thing. Try to put ourselves in their shoes. If we were literally trapped in a bad marriage, how would you feel if our partner treated us the way we treat our children and we had no autonomy? For our entire lives this is all we've known.
Now imagine our partner became more respectful, patient, loving, etc. How long would it take to rebuild that trust? How long would they have to continue to act that way before we really believed it was permanent? That is why when we make positive changes to our behavior it will always take much longer for our children to follow suit.