Archive for December, 2010

Estimating Intentions and Resolutions

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!  This holiday makes me think of resolutions, intentions and how we estimate what we can do with these two things.   I think we tend to over-estimate or under-estimate what we can realistically accomplish.  Here are a few examples:

Money:  We usually over-estimate how much we will earn and under-estimate what we will spend.  This leaves us with far less savings that we originally intended.

Weight:  We usually over-estimate how much weight we plan to lose.  When buying clothes, how many people buy pants that are a bit snug with the idea that it will provide motivation to shed a few pounds?  I bet more people err on the smaller size rather than the larger!

Time and Family:  We tend to over-estimate how many activities and opportunities we can commit to.  Many families fill their schedules full to bursting with school, church, work and the like.   Children participate in music, dance, sports and other enriching activities.

All of these things are worth activities, but when something unexpected comes up it usually cuts into unstructured family time.  I think as a society we under-estimate the value of just being together as a family without chores, tasks, planned activities or agendas.   There is value in just being together whether it’s hanging around in the backyard or even just watching TV as a family!  There’s value in just relaxing, kicking back and goofing off together and yet we often feel guilty like we have to be producing something or working on a skill each and every minute.

And, there’s more to just being together than that.  Unstructured together time is important to helping our child unwind from whatever pressures they may be facing.  For older children, this is an important part of helping them learn to self-regulate their emotions–to find a level, center place.   It’s attachment building and good for our own ability to self-regulate our emotions!

This new year, think about your time.  How are you spending it?  When something unexpected occurs, what gets eliminated?  How much unstructured time is in your life?  Are you teaching your children the value of just “being” as well as the value of learning, creating or doing?

On a final note, check out what Deborah at Brain Insights has to say about unstructured time.

Heart of the Matter Seminars

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“Pull Close Parenting” Your Teenager

December 30, 2010

Experiencing each age and stage of my three children’s lives teaches me something new each time about parenting.   It proves that parenting is not an exact science and that, at least for most of us, we are “building the ship as we sail it.”  I know I am.  Oh don’t get me wrong.   You have to have a plan.  (You know I love parenting plans!)  But part of the parenting learning curve is experiential.  During the last few months my 15 year old accidentally taught me more about pull close parenting for teenagers. (more…)

More on “Cry it Out” and Doctors Giving Parenting Advice

December 13, 2010

This weekend, while Christmas shopping,  I overheard a young mother’s cell phone conversation.  As she talked this mom was pushing a darling little boy in a stroller.  The cutie looked to be about 8 or 9  months old.  He had a giant smile that caught my attention immediately.   I keyed into the Mom’s side of the phone conversation because I thought she was so cute too.   She was gushing about all the amazing things her baby was able to do, bragging on him quite shamelessly (probably to a close friend or relative on the other end of the phone).  It warmed my heart to hear her revel in the miracle of her child and I smiled to myself and started to move on.

But just before I exited the aisle I heard her say, ”But now the bad news….we just saw the pediatrician yesterday and he says we’re not going to grow out of this sleeping problem.   He said it was time to let him cry it out so I did it for the first time today for his nap.  He cried for about 35 minutes.  It was horrible but I survived.” (more…)

Santa Stress

December 9, 2010

Santa can be stressful and I don’t mean being Santa with a long list and even longer checkout line in front of you.  Santa can be stressful for some kids!   As usual, children adopted at older ages (or really, any child who had a hard start in life) are sometimes more sensitive to Santa Stress, although I think it can happen to any child.

Don’t get me wrong.  I not only like Santa, I love Santa!  I do think we need to be thoughtful about how we present him and be sensitive to how he comes across to our child and what messages we send.

Let me give you some examples of some Santa pitfalls I’ve seen: (more…)

Adoptive Parents Beware: Dr. Phil Doesn’t Know Everything!

December 7, 2010

Since last Thursday I have been stewing about the Dr. Phil episode I happened to catch.  It appears that my  disappointment and concern about the show is  not going to just melt away so I guess it’s time to blog.

Just the title of the show, Brat Proof Your Child, had me angry before it began.  Truth be told I stopped watching Dr. Phil long ago because I think he gives one size fits all  (and sometimes scary) parenting advice.  But when I heard this title on the commercial teaser I responded like a highway accident gawker.  I knew I would be disappointed and inflamed but I just couldn’t look away. (more…)


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