Tag Archives: Discipline

Supporting a Child Through Rage

Rage is something many of us have experienced on more than one occasion. It is more than just anger, it normally comes from a feeling of gross injustice; a feeling that boils our blood and we literally feeling like inflicting pain on someone or something in order to satisfy that raw emotion that threatens to undermine our normally level-headed composure.

Children experience the same sense of rage that adults do. In fact, their emotional and social immaturity makes them even more susceptible to experiencing this strong emotion as they lose reasoning and logic in their interactions with others. They come from a self-centred view point and therefore genuinely feel great injustices on an almost daily basis.

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Being a Confident Leader: Setting Limits With Empathy

Being a confident leader is vital for our children if we are wanting to use discipline to guide them to develop their own self-control. When we think of confident leaders in our own lives, someone who flies off the handle at every misdemeanor is not an image we would typically conjure nor is someone who shies away from conflict, lest we hurt someone’s feelings. A confident leader is a balance between these two images and is something that, as an emerging respectful parent, has taken me some time to get my head around.

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Sibling Rivalry: 5 Common Mistakes Parents Make

It is completely natural for parents to want their children to get along. Who wouldn’t want their children to be best friends and to look out for each other when we are not there to do so? Sibling relationships are unique and special. They are unlike any other relationship we will have in our lives; however, by its very nature it is not always going to be the idyllic vision we had hoped. Sibling Rivalry, is always going to play a prominent part of most childhoods.

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How to (Respectfully) Encourage Children to Tidy up After Themselves

Children create mess, that we can be sure of. But how much mess is too much? Should  children take more responsibility and tidy up after themselves? It obviously comes down to the ages of our children and our own tolerance levels but when children upend baskets of toys, take their art work to the wall, pull towels out of the linen cupboard as props for their play and empty the clothes out of their drawers to make jumping castles, there comes a time when it is ok to say ENOUGH!

How to Encourage Children to Tidy Up After Themselves ~ Peaceful parents, Confident Kids
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Why Teenagers Don’t Talk to Their Parents

Why teenagers don’t talk to their parents…

I once read that the teenage years can be likened to the toddler years. Both stages of life are a time of significant developmental change. Toddlers and teens alike experience significant body and mind development that can have them behaving in ways you have never seen. Just as they are figuring out who they are, we, as parents, struggle to understand the child we once thought we knew inside out.

But the thing is, that is what they need from us most of all; to understand. The way we interact with our young children, the words we use, the intonation in our voice and even our body language can have a huge impact on whether they will feel comfortable talking to us about the big issues they will inevitably face as teens. If we are not empathetic and understanding to the ‘little things’ they face in their early years (which are actually big things to them) then the chances are they will have a hard time opening up about the big things when they grow.

If Your Daughter Had an Abortion Would You Want to Know? ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids Continue reading

How I’m Setting My Daughter up to Fail

I have written previously about how fervently my daughter tests limits. She seeks out mischief. She enjoys the challenge and the excitement of finding new ways to keep us on our toes.

Whether she empties out all the tissues from the tissue box and scatters them all over the floor, pulls the petals off the bunch of flowers I have been given as a birthday gift or removes 18 towels from the linen cupboard, and places them in a bath tub full of water, everyday, we are discovering all the ways our so called child-proof house is not actually our-child-proof.

It is sometimes hard to keep our cool when it seems like everything she touches, she finds a way to mess up or destroy. When we come across her pulling every item of clothing hanging in my wardrobe onto the floor or smearing my lip balm all over my bedside table even though she has been frequently reminded she is not to do these things, keeping anger out of our voices can be difficult.

But who is ultimately responsible for these occurances? Is it really reasonable to expect a three year old to refrain from this mischief, to curb her impulses? I don’t believe so. She needs our help.

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Testing Toddlers Crave Limits

Over the past couple of weeks my usually placid, youngest toddler has become more assertive, more demanding and generally more testing. Coincidentally we celebrated her second birthday last week. Does this mean we are in for a healthy dose of the terrible twos? Funnily enough, I don’t think so. I have written extensively on my eldest daughter’s testing behaviours over the past year here, here and here. We have certainly been put through our paces with her and have come a long way as a family and as parents since these early days.

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Easing the Stress of Day Care Pick Ups

day care pick upsBalancing work with family life is a challenge many families deal with at some stage or another. We have been juggling this reality in our house for just over a year now and it hasn’t been easy.

Returning to work was not something I was comfortable with after the birth of my children but unfortunately we have been unable to make the budget stretch for me to be a full time, Stay-At-Home Mum. So we made the decision for me to resume working as a teacher on a part time, casual basis and to enroll our children into day care for three days a week.

We did our background checks on some local day care providers and finally settled on a centre we felt would look after the needs of our children whilst my husband and I worked. We knew there would be a few changes in our daily lives but what we hadn’t banked on was how hard this transition would be for our children and how much it would cost us in emotional turmoil.

The early days of day care drop offs were uneventful and the children seemed accepting of this change in their lives. It was always a puzzle to me, however, when my children would break down in full sobbing tears the moment they set eyes on me at pick up at the end of the day.

Initially I thought it was because they didn’t want to leave but then I wondered if they were unhappy at their day care. I was always reassured by their teachers that they had had a lovely day and whenever I arrived I would take a moment to observe them in play before announcing my presence. They always seemed settled and engaged.

As the months went on, these post care tears diminished and in their place came post care tantrums and extremely testing behaviours. It got to the point where just leaving the day care centre was a huge ordeal. I used to dread the drop offs but now the pick ups were ten times worse! As I gathered up the girls and their belongings I was met with opposition and defiance all the way to the car. Running through doors and shutting them behind themselves to block me from getting through and then screaming when I finally made it through. Climbing onto the rocking horse in the foyer and refusing to get off and then the other wanting to do the same. Screaming because I walked down the steps and not the ramp and then another tantrum after I back-tracked to the ramp but wouldn’t do it a second time over. Climbing into the car and diving over into the boot before I could strap them in and flatly refusing to move back into the seat area. These were just a few of the hurdles I faced every single time I picked them up.

Making matters worse was the fact that I too was tired after working all day and the pressure was on to get the children home, bathed and fed so they could be put to bed at a reasonable hour before full blown over tiredness caused them to stay up well past the time their little bodies needed to close down for the evening. The girls sensed my anxiety and ensured that my patience was completely tested by digging their heels in at every opportunity.

I started using snacks and offers of treats as a form of coercion just to get them into their seats. This worked but was clearly not getting to the root of the problem because as soon as we arrived home, more testing behaviour ensued and by this stage it had kicked into a higher gear. Furthermore, it got to the point where they would demand a treat before getting in. I didn’t want it to be this way, I didn’t want to have to bribe my children into the car.

So, as I usually try to do when I am met with a challenge in my parenting journey, I spent some time trying to determine the underlying cause of the problem rather than trying to smooth it over with a band aid treatment.

I did some self-analysis and personal reflection. What I knew was that I had two children charged full of emotion, tired, hungry and vying for my attention. Cooperation was off the agenda and defiance and limit testing on. From all accounts, I was fairly confident that my children’s time at care was enjoyable, emotionally supportive and had met all their basic needs.

The only thing they did not have during the day was me (or Dad). We are our children’s safe place. We are their rock. We have been since the day they were born. We have seen the best of them and the worst of them and our love for them has never wavered. They know this and are therefore comfortable in letting us in on the strong emotions that bubble up inside them.

When they are in the care of others, however, they have learnt to suppress their emotions and save them up. They never tantrum for their carers. They don’t show them the raw anger and frustrations that we have the privilege of witnessing on a regular basis. Our children trust us and so, when they are back in the safety of our arms at the end of their day in care, they slowly let it all out.

All those genuine feelings they have so valiantly suppressed throughout the day need to be heard, validated and understood. It is a sign that we are doing something right as parents for them to trust us so implicitly that they let us experience the worst of them, confident in our love for them.

So, to help make day care pick ups less stressful for all of us my approach has changed in three ways.

1. Better preparation

To make the afternoons at home less rushed and chaotic, I have begun cooking the week’s meals on a Sunday. This way I am not under so much pressure to get home and get things moving, giving me the time to slow right down and connect properly with the children at the point of pick up.

I usually make two large batches of something and have these on alternating nights for four nights. Friday nights is usually a whatever goes night or takeaway. The girls aren’t in care on a Friday so my husband looks after them during the day and is there when I get home from work, giving me time to prepare dinner if needed.

2. Setting stronger limits

My children are sending me fairly clear messages that they want to release some negative emotions. Setting the limits they need in the afternoon is certainly difficult for all of us and results in some pretty ferocious meltdowns but it also gives them that much needed opportunity, in my loving presence, to be comforted and understood whilst they express the emotions they have saved up.

3. Acknowledging feelings

I have found it hugely helpful to talk to my children about their emotions if I can see they are heading over the edge or even after they have already gone over. I let them know how hard it can be being away from home and us all day. I tell them it is normal to feel sad/mad/frustrated and generally emotional when we come to collect them. I let them know that I want to help them and will be strong for them when they need me to be.

Day care pick ups have become a lot less stressful over the past few weeks since I have been able to slow down and give the the time and space to express. They sense my agenda has disappeared and are digging their heels in less and less.

You may also enjoy reading:

5 Steps to a Peaceful Day Care Drop off ~ Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids)

Bonding With Our Children Through Conflict ~ Janet Lansbury (Janet Lansbury – Elevating Childcare)

How Do Children Learn to Regulate Their Emotion ~ Kenneth Barish, Ph. D (The Huffington Post)

Car Seat Tantrums  – Handled With Respect ~ Janet Lansbury  (Janet Lansbury – Elevating Childcare)