Archive for March, 2010

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Parent…

March 31, 2010

Let’s talk for a moment about the ever elusive “perfect parent.” I think that many of us (especially we adoptive parents) feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to be mistake free parents, perfect parents, super parents with a capital S on our shirts and a red cape flowing behind us!

It doesn’t surprise me that so many adoptive parents feel this way. (more…)


Teachable Moments

March 29, 2010

HALF of the eggs were boiled.

Okay, I admit that it’s a little weird for the social worker (me!) to be writing on this topic instead of Julie (who is a “real” teacher) but in some ways it makes even better sense because if I can do this, anyone can!  Of course, I am the daughter of a kindergarten teacher and Julie and I have worked together for something like 14 years now, so I’ve probably absorbed a lot of good stuff by osmosis.

Anyway, O. and I were in the process of dyeing Easter eggs this weekend and all of a sudden I realized that I needed to grab my camera and take some shots to try to illustrate how easy it can be to teach in the course of everyday parenting.  It started something like this:

Mom:  Let’s boil half of these eggs.
O.  How many is half?
Mom:  Oh, well, find the middle and make an invisible line.  (shows her) This is one half and this is the other.
We go on to count 9 spaces where she took the eggs out and 9 eggs still left in the carton. (more…)

Making a Parent Plan

March 25, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about planning lately.   We plan a lot of things in our lives.  Here are a few that have been on my mind just over the past couple of weeks:

  • Planning high school courses for my oldest child who will be a freshman next year.  They encourage not just planning for high school, but for after high school and to start planning now!
  • Strategic planning for Heart of the Matter Seminars–I have to say that this isn’t something I would normally be all into, but  I attended a really great workshop on this topic at the Joint Council on International Children’s Services conference last week that motivated me.
  • Planning meals–blah!  One of my least favorite chores, but better than going to the store every night.
  • Planning by the calendar… isn’t it amazing how quickly the weeks and weekends fill up?
  • Planning my garden and flower beds.

About a dozen years ago, when Julie and I were in the beginning stages of Heart of the Matter Seminars, she wanted to be sure to talk about making a plan regarding how you intend to parent.  Honestly, my initial reaction (being “the Science Girl”) was to go yeah, yeah, nice touchy feely stuff, but let’s really talk about the issues and what to do about them.   However, I soon came to realize how right she really was about how important making a parenting plan is.

Our Because They Waited system helps parents make a parenting plan that is based on research and science.  Just like strategic planning for business, it is less about specific techniques or how to get something done, but really deciding where you want to go and then choosing how you are going to get there.   Here’s an example: (more…)

Teenage Brain–YIKES!

March 23, 2010

Just read an interesting article called Teenage Brain Changes Dramatically by Dr. Randy Simmonds.  The article speaks about how much we are learning about the teenage brain and in turn, sheds light on how much work there is in brain development throughout a person’s teens and even early 20’s. 

This is both hopeful (the window of opportunity in which we can impact brain development is open wider than previously known) and scary (greater independence and responsibilities laid upon them while their brains are still only partly finished!!!) 

What do you think?  More hopeful or more scary?  What does it make you think about in terms of your own teen years, thought processes and experiences?

Out of Town–(Almost) Out of Patience

March 16, 2010

Julie and I are getting ready to go to Baltimore to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services annual conference. We’ll be presenting on Friday but won’t leave until Thursday. Additionally, my family has a wedding to attend as well as the rehearsal on Friday night since my 4-year-old O. is the flower girl. As you can imagine, I have a lot on my plate this week and O. is almost out of patience with me and I with her! (more…)

Thank you, Infertility!

March 15, 2010

This weekend in a group of friends another mom caught me off guard with an unexpected compliment.  She said, “Julie, I just love to watch you watch your kids.  I mean we all love our kids but when you look at your kids I can just see that love all over your face.” 

My initial response was sheepish embarrassment.  I felt like I had been “caught.”  The truth is that I had been gazing at my 14 year old daughter as she chatted with a bunch of her swim team buddies and I was indeed marveling at her as only a mom can do.  But after I recovered from that sheepish embarrassment I admitted to this mom that this obvious delight I display while looking at my kids is really a beautiful left over gift of infertility. 

Yes, I am actually grateful for my nightmarish 6+ year bout with infertility.   While there were certainly negatives that came from it (many of you know those only too well so I won’t belabor them here), I cannot deny the positives.  Sixteen years into our parenting experience my husband and I truly still marvel at the fact that we have three kids.  Yes they drive us crazy!  Yes, we have many moments that parenting makes us want to tear our hair out.  Yes, we have been faced with some parenting challenges that have been daunting to say the least; but we spent just a long enough time in our life waiting to be parents and thinking that we might not that I can still accidentally get caught  gazing at our kids and thinking-  “Wow—I’m their mom!”    And for that–I really am grateful! 

Heart of the Matter Seminars Home

Ordinary as Extraordinary

March 13, 2010

One of the best things about my job is that it makes me especially conscious of my own parenting.  Doesn’t mean I always get it right or that I always like what I see, but I think I do think about daily things more than I might otherwise.  This morning when my 4-year-old O. woke up, it made me think about how ordinary events or habits can become extraordinary.   (more…)

Remind me! A Recap of our Power Struggles Discussion Group

March 10, 2010

It is challenging to manage any child’s bid for power, but for those of us dealing with a child who has limited trust and therefore a heightened need to control, that challenge can be exhausting.  

A few weeks ago a group of parents got together with us online to discuss power struggles and managing bids for power with kids who have a strong need to control.   We talked about positive parenting strategies for managing kids’ bids for power and even brainstormed ideas for specific issues our group was struggling with at the time.  

Our participants on that day shared with us some things they wanted to be reminded of a few weeks down the road.  I was looking over the list today and decided that most of us could use reminding about most of these things so I decided to share the list via blog so we could all benefit.     For those of you who participated I hope that seeing the list reminds you of what you’re working on and inspires you to make today a purposeful parenting day.  Thanks for all your great input!  

Remind me: 

  • to give clear directions instead of making requests when dealing with my control seeking child
  • to maintain my competency even if it means an issue might lasts a bit longer
  • to maintain a nurturing attitude and tone while managing my child’s bid for power
  • to be on top of my game (parenting with purpose and using what I know)
  • to use actions not words when dealing with a bid for power
  • not to banter because banter can turn a bid for power into a power struggle
  • to stay on top of positive parenting now to set my child up for success now and later
  • to parent from my feet not my seat
  • that what I am doing really can make a positive difference even as I struggle through

If you weren’t part of the group but want to learn more about managing your child’s bid for power check out our recorded course.

Heart of the Matter Seminars Home

Different Perspective on International Adoptions

March 8, 2010

“The primary consideration should be the welfare of the children in question. Where will they have the best chance at happy, fulfilling lives? How best can the global community ensure their health and safety?” Jeneen Interlandi, The Benefits of International Adoption, Newsweek.

A well-written article that discusses the positives in international adoption–something not often heard in the media these days, it seems.  Why is this?  Is there really that much bad news about international adoptions?  Or, is it a function of bad news selling quicker than good news?  Or is there another reason?

Re-Parenting Thoughts

March 5, 2010

I intended to post a follow up from Monday’s  webinar much sooner, but O.’s germs caught up with me and I succumbed to “the crud” that afternoon and all week long.  Anyway, it did give me time to think about one of the examples we didn’t have time to discuss:  re-parenting during times of illness.

We all get sick once in awhile and many children being adopted internationally have special medical needs.  Although no one wants their child to be sick, it is one of those negatives that can be used for good (more…)

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