Tag Archive | motherhood

Planning Parenthood

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This week I struggled with writer’s block. So, I spontaneously asked my daughter, “Alicia, what should Mom blog about? She suggested that I write about planning to be a parent.

Are you in a season of planning parenthood? I tell you the truth. I discovered planning my family was more challenging than first thought.

Conception–  at age 35 I married Randy and I “planned” to have a honeymoon baby. Well, one month went by; no baby. Another month went by; no baby. When I spoke to friends, they informed me it could take up to a year to conceive. What? I surrendered it to the Lord and we conceived the next month. We welcomed our son Austin the following July.

Healthy pregnancy – at 36 I “planned” to have our second child. We conceived and unfortunately we lost our fetus at five weeks. Again, I surrendered our second child to God. We conceived again. Yet, during my first trimester, my OBGYN discovered cancer. You can read more about it at My Miracle. Praise God we welcomed our daughter Alicia the following September.

Give birth to a healthy baby – I “planned” to have healthy babies. Because I was over the age of 35, the doctors tested for potential genetic issues such as Spina Bifida,  Downs Syndrome, etc. I’ll be honest, these tests spurred a sense of fear in me. But I know fear doesn’t come from God. It is a tactic of the enemy. Again, I gave it to Him and thankfully we have two healthy children.

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Recover quickly – I “planned” to quickly recover from delivering my babies. It turns out, it took longer than expected to recover from my second delivery. I experienced more abdominal pain after my C – Section and I was exhausted raising a toddler and newborn.

Raise your child(ren) into adulthood – I remember thinking how fun it would be to have a baby…Their cute little toes and hand, smell so good, outfits are adorable, chubby cheeks, etc. BUT, I realized I was a Mom the first time I stayed up late one night nursing my sick infant back to health. It was difficult trying to sooth him while he struggles with fever, vomit and diarrhea at 2:00am. Walking my kids through life’s ups and down is challenging and yet so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for anthying.

In sum, we make plans, but they don’t always come to fruition. However, we can believe that God works all things out for good.

And we know that in all things God works for

the good of those who love him, who have been called

according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

 

Feel free to share your parenting planning with us.

Blessings, Rebecca

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Working Mom

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Do you ever struggle balancing working with motherhood? I think a lot of moms find it difficult to balance career and parenting.

When I was fresh out of college, a 60 hour work week was the semiconductor industry standard. Initially, I found my manufacturing management position rewarding. Down the road, I dreamed of having a family of my own. Most of my friends were married and had children. In fact, one day a co-worker of plopped in my office chair and said, “Rebecca, why aren’t you married yet?” I sat stunned, “I’m not sure. I just haven’t met the right guy yet.”

Fast forward a few years, my focus became my marriage and family life. Now, I enjoy watching my kids grow. My new challenge is balancing work, taking care of our household, and helping with homework.

One way that helps me balance my day is starting out with some quiet time with the Lord, praying and reading God’s word. Carving this time out of my busy schedule always helps me keep focused and makes my day go smooth.

Can you relate? If so, what tips have you found successful?

Student Driver

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My Freshman Austin

This week I allowed my teenage son behind the wheel of our car to prepare for his upcoming student driver training. It was a surreal moment watching him navigate the instruments. He now stands five inches taller than me and wears his Dad’s size shoes. As a result, he had to adjust the mirrors and seat settings.

While I guided him, I reflected back to holding him in my arms at a mere six-weeks-old. I remember his coo and smile as if it were yesterday. Now, look at him! Man, where does the time go?

Blessings, Rebecca

Have you encountered any milestones in your family’s life? I love to hear about them. Please share with us.

Children Speak

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This week I thought I would ask my children what are the top three things they look for in a mother. In my mind, I thought something like fun to be with or cool. However, some of what they wrote down on a sheet of paper took me by surprise.

My 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, wrote:

  1. Covering – “a thing used to cover something else, typically in order to protect or conceal it.” Alicia looks to me as her protection. Come to think of it, I see her point. Especially in middle school, there are some not so kind girls on campus pestering students. Often at the end of the day, she shares her concerns and we discuss what’s her part in avoiding the drama and how to protect herself.
  2. Loving – “feeling or showing love or great care.” This topic I expected to see, because everyone wants to be loved. My parents didn’t grow up in an era of expressive emotions. As a result, they didn’t outwardly express love to me or my brother. I purposefully tell my kids I love them, hug em’ and kiss em’ frequently to ensure they know they are loved.
  3. Faithful – ” constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion.” Interestingly, she selected faithfulness as a top priority. I believe security is important to her. Perhaps it is due to her growing up in a world where terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. are ever increasing. It must be settling to be able to come home to stability.

My 14-year-old son, Austin, wrote:

  1. Loving –  “feeling or showing love or great care.” So, for him, love is number one. There is an unique bond between son and mother. I purposely love on him and pray that he will love the women in his life.
  2. Supportive – “providing encouragement or emotional help.” As a mom, I support both of my children in all their activities such as academics, sports, friendships, etc. One thing I enjoy is helping him with his homework. It’s quiet one on one time of teaching and learning.
  3. Positive – “a good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute.” This characteristic surprised me. It’s a good reminder about the importance of affirmation to our children. I am purposeful to congratulate my kids on accomplishments such as good grades or basketball game, etc.

So, I’ve shared three important motherly characteristics with you. I encourage you to ask your child(ren) “What top 3 things do you want in a Mother?” If you do, and would like to share with us, please do!

 

My Miracle

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As I prepare for the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference this week I thought I would update a story I shared with you two years ago.  I hope you enjoy.

Blessings, Rebecca

My Miracle

It’s been a few years since I talked about this very personal story, because my eyes still fill with water when I think about it. However, I wanted to share my trial and blessing with you this week to possibly encourage someone who may be struggling with a similar issue.

In 2007, my husband and I desperately wanted to have a second child so our son would have a sibling to play with. We were nearly forty-years-old and the physicians test you for everything under the sun once you’re over the age of 35. It’s scary how they tell you the risk of Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, Gestational Diabetes, etc.  But, we were trusting the Lord in all aspects of this pregnancy, “Children are a gift from God.” -Psalm 127:3

In the Fall, we conceived only to lose our fetus just five weeks into our pregnacy to a miscarriage. We were devastated, and prayed we’d get pregnant again very soon. And, we did!

During my first trimester, my OBGYN found a spot during a routine exam. Three long days later, he called to say it was cancer and would require immediate chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After hanging up the phone, I slid to the floor and wailed. This can’t be happening to me…I’m pregnant!

After careful research, I discovered the dosage necessary to kill the cancer cells would cause my body to reject our child. Distraught is an understatement on how I felt.

Later that night, Randy and I read in our Bible “If anyone among you is sick, let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”- James 5:14

The next day, we took our then eighteen-month-old son, Austin, and met with our pastors at church. One anointed my head with Holy Oil from Jerusalem while five others knelt at my feet. They prayed I would be cured and that we could keep our baby.

We waited two tortuous weeks for an update from my Specialist. Unbeknownst to me, each night Randy would grab his pillow and hit the couch unable to sleep. He prayed for God to allow him to keep his wife and child.

The call finally came. My Oncologist announced he collaborated with seven other colleagues, and they decided to surgically remove my tumor. I could then begin treatment after our baby was born. Yeah, we get to keep our baby!

I underwent two surgeries; one in March to remove the cancer spot and one in May to verify “clear area.” When they went in the second time, to their amazement, it was all gone. My doctor told me it was a “miracle,” and I was cancer free. In fact, he was so pleased with the lab results, he canceled my post-delivery chemo and radiation treatment. Glory to God!

In September 2004, we welcomed a healthy baby girl named Alicia Lee Krusee to our family!

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Fast forward twelve years, I am happy to report that I’m still cancer-free, and our daughter Alicia is thriving 7th grader. She is attends honor language art as well as leadership classes.  Praise God for answered prayer!

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Guest Blog by Jeanette Hanscome

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I invited Jeanette Hanscome to guest blog this week. She is the author of six books, including Suddenly Single Mom: 52 Messages of Hope, Grace, and Promise, published by Worthy Inspired. Jeanette has also contributed to Kathy Ide’s Fiction Lover’s Devotionals, 21 Days of Grace and 21 Days of Love. Jeanette lives in the Bay Area where she sings at her church and enjoys being the mom of two amazing sons. Please welcome Jeanette!

Blessings, Rebecca

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The Cure for Advice Overload
Five years ago I became a single mom. Along with great support, I got lots of parenting advice. Some was helpful; other times it left me feeling like a failure. Often, one friend’s “You need to…” contradicted another’s “Whatever you do, don’t…” All of this was compounded by my tendency to believe the strongest opinion in the room.
After one upsetting encounter, I had a bold thought: Wait, Christian and Nathan are my sons! I’m the one who really knows them. Maybe it was time to shut some of those voices out. I was doing my best in a unique situation. My sons didn’t have every recommended chore, but they certainly contributed. I’m visually impaired and can’t drive; that came with extra helpfulness requirements (like lugging bags home after walking to the store). I called on Christian to babysit Nathan (they’re 11 ½ years apart). Christian had a job and paid rent; not a lot, but enough considering that he cooked dinner weekly and occasionally bought groceries. Nathan was getting through this crisis with good grades and a good attitude. If he misbehaved, there were consequences; not always the same as his friends, and I didn’t feel the need to share details at the next luncheon, but they were still consequences. I probably could be firmer, but my sons’ world had been rocked. I needed to be sensitive to that.
If I wanted to thrive as a single mom, I needed to stop allowing opinions to override my instincts and good judgement.
Maybe you’re suffering from advice overload. Here are a few things I learned to consider:
How God parents – Does God set limits and expect everyone to contribute? Yes. Does He discipline His kids? The Bible is clear that He does. He also created each of us uniquely and deals with us according to our needs, which only He fully knows.
“In my house . . .” A friend reprimanded Nathan for reacting to a disappointment with “Aw, man.” She didn’t allow that in her house. Did it mean I needed to forbid, “Aw, man” too? Probably not, considering how often I said it. I held onto this memory as a reminder that every household has its own rules and mine were just as valid as the next parent’s.
The source – Is the advice coming from someone I trust? Did she take time to understand the situation? Do I admire her parenting skills? Are the suggestions based on truly-biblical wisdom and common sense, the latest trend, “When I was a kid,” or “In our house…”? Did I ask for the advice or did it come out of nowhere? Was it given gently and respectfully, or in a way that left me feeling stupid?
I should warn you that the above limits your pool of advice, but it also reduces resentment. Sometimes our only advice comes from God in a moment of “Help me know what to do.” What could be better than that?

Website: http://jeanettehanscome.com/
Amazon page for SSM: http://www.amazon.com/Suddenly-Single-Mom-Messages-Promise/dp/1617956678

 

 

 

 

 

A New Year

Staircase at Manresa Beach, California

Staircase at Manresa Beach, California

It’s a New Year! May it be a happy one! It’s a time of reflection of 2015 and to plan for 2016.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions; never have. Is that weird? Altough, this year, I’ve decided to give it a try. I am resolved to explore and play more with my family.

During our holiday break, we took the kids to visit some local attractions for which I’ve shared some photos today. For instance, the staircase at Manresa Beach (above) is only 30 minutes from our home, but I haven’t walked them since I was a little girl. It was fun to visit with my now thirteen-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter, and share some of my childhood experiences with them.

Just a few miles down the road, the topography changes rocky cliffs to sandy dunes at Sunset Beach (below) where we walked one mile + to gather sand dollars and seashells. Simple pleasures!

Walkway at Sunset Beach, California

Walkway at Sunset Beach, California

The stairs are a visual reminder that life is like a path; sometimes steep, sometimes leading upwards and sometimes down. Although, we don’t always see where it may lead, our walk is filled with adventures along the way.

Through it all, the journey is worth every step when you get a glimpse of God’s gifts in your life such as the approaching sunset (below).

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I love the Bible verse in Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

My hope is that our family’s exploration and yours this year will create lasting memories…

Blessings, Rebecca

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions you’d like to share with us? If so, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to comment below.

Tough Times

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This past week has been tough! My life seemed like a roller coaster with its ups and downs; twists and turns. First, we were blessed with a new place to live. The kids were excited to unpack their boxes, and I was thrilled to move in before winter hit.

Yesterday, we explored our new surroundings, and hiked to Eagles Landing observation deck. I marveled at the amazing vista of Scotts Valley, California!

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Second, my friend Dianna Cornell passed away of kidney complications. I miss her smile, hugs and encouraging words. She was an awesome friend, and taught me how to blog using WordPress. I featured her Guest Blog on February 23, 2015.

Dianna loved the Lord. The good new is she’s now present with Him and pain-free. Although, it is a sad time for her family and friends, it’s also a hopeful time in that one day we will see her again in Heaven.

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During this topsy turvy time, I’ve learned four things that have helped me cope.

  1. Focus on God – I find that when I start my days reading my Bible and praying to God, it always goes smoother. His peace helps me through my hectic day.
  2. Prioritize Activities – I know I can’t possibly do everything all the time. So, I write what needs to be done down and determine what needs to be done first. Once I complete it I cross it off my “To Do” list and move on to the next task.
  3. Persevere – When I feel overwhelmed, I remember to press through and keep going. Otherwise, if I stop or slow down, work piles up and I feel worse. So, I do what I can without compromising my sanity or healthy.
  4. Ask for Help – I’m extremely independent. So, this is next item is definitely a learned behavior for me. If I need assistance, I now ask my husband, son, daughter, other family or friends for help. They are always eager to help in time of need.

My hope is these simple steps can help you during a stressful season of life. I’d love to hear how you have successfully navigated through tough times. Fee free to share your insight with us.

Guest Blog by Eileen Turay

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I’d like to introduce Eileen Turay. She has a Masters of Science in Counseling with a school specialization. She’s worked with children with Autism for a few years using ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), and taught at both preschool and elementary levels. She’s married, has a three-year-old daughter, two dogs, and they live in South Florida.

She shares some great free and cheap ideas to do with children. Please welcome Eileen Turay!

Blessings, Rebecca

Our top 8 fave FREE and CHEAP things to do with Kids

Since I currently work full time, I am always looking for new fun things for Olivia and I to do on the weekends. Though going to get Bagels and Starbucks are among our top two faves, they get old quickly; so, I thought I would make a list of some of our favorite inexpensive and free things that Olivia and I like to do together.

1. Make breakfast together. Pancakes are not only pretty simple to make, they are easy for a three-year-old to help make. Liv loves nothing more than to stir up the batter. I know, it can get messy, but it is worth it. When she feels helpful, it makes us both happy. Then we sit on the couch in our jammies and yell at the dogs together for trying to eat our food.

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Eating breakfast together. parenting fun

 2. Go to a new park. HYPE IT UP! When I ask if Olivia wants to go to the park, I never know what she is going to say; but if I ask her if she wants to try a BRAND NEW AMAZING SUPER AWESOME park, she is IN! Google parks in a 30 mile radius from your house. If you see graffiti, gang signs, and broken glass you may want to try another one… but that’s the fun in the adventure right?

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Fun at the Park

3. Festivals. Greek, music, dog, school, asparagus (yep.. that’s a real one in Stockton, CA lol) Look them up and go!! You may have to argue with your child a bit about why $5 a ticket for the bounce house is not happening… but you can probably distract her with a sweet swag bag compliments of the local Bank Branch booth.

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Fun and Free Festivals

 4. FORTS. I cannot stress how amazing forts are. From ages 2-34 (my husband as proof), forts can be lots of fun. You have to be willing to just say goodbye to any chance of having decent couch cushions ever again; but honestly, if you have a three-year-old, you’ve already had the sofa funeral.

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Fort Fun. Making a Mess

5. Anything wet. If you have the space for it, a tiny pool or water table. If you live in an apartment like us, find the nearest spray ground/beach/lake/pool. This one is a given. Olivia almost always says she doesn’t want to go; then she always has a blast. Here is the trick: you need to get wet too. I don’t know why I am sharing this or why it is such a stand out memory to me: but as a child, my mom never wanted to swim with us. We swam at my grandparents’ pool all the time and she NEVER got into a bathing suit to swim with us. Dad? always down… but mom was never a fan of water/swimming. I STILL remember like yesterday when one of the other adults pushed her into the pool one time with all of us with all her clothes on. I know she was mad at first but she ended up laughing. I thought it was the MOST FUN swim day we ever had as kids. It is such a simple thing, but your kid does NOT care what you look like in a bathing suit. She just wants you to be part of the fun. So be a part of it. She will remember. I still do.

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Free and Fun Things to do, Water Fountain 

6. Picnics. Eating a PBJ in your house=lame. Eating a PBJ on a blanket or picnic table anywhere else=awesome. For some reason, doing things like eating sandwiches at novel locations always seems to be a good time.

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Fun, Free Picnic.

 

7. Crafting. We live in FL so we are not short of Coconuts to paint. If you live somewhere where pinecones or large rocks inhabit, paint those. If big leaves are all you have to work with, use those. Its innate in children to pick up/collect/borderline hoard things they find in nature every day. If I had a rock for every time Olivia collected a stick…. oh yah, I do… and there are a lot. If you don’t want to buy paint, use what you have. Glue and ripped paper is a great time 🙂

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8. READ. People are amazed at Olivia’s vocabulary everywhere we go. I can honestly say that her intelligence is highly attributed to the amount of books we read together. We have read to her at night time since she was a tiny baby. She barely sat still for the longest time. At some point, however, she began to go from “fidgety toddler who barely made it through one story” to “mommy you skipped a page” (I swear I didn’t mean to… ok I did… but now she catches me so I had to stop). If you don’t always remember to read to your child, it’s ok! If you don’t have the time to do it at night, make it. I promise you, the bonding that comes from routine reading time is immeasurable. It is one of our favorite things to do.

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Reading to your Kids

 Spend time not money.

Visit our website at www.livandleen.com for more parenting tips and tricks, and learn from my mistakes before you make your own.

A special thanks to Rebecca for letting us into your community. It’s always better when we Liv and Leen totegher J

Eileen Turay

Liv&Leen

Here are some other ideas for fun stuff to do with your kids:  Fun Stuff

PS. Benjamin Bunnie’s Big Adventure is now available in paperback!

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Guest Blog from Catherine McMullen

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Catherin hales from Davison, Michigan. She’s worked in early childhood education for 16 years; the last 9 at  Head Start agency. She worked her way up from a Lead Teacher to a Home Visitor and now an Education Coordinator. She enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. She has a three -year-old Boston Terrier named Jagger. She is also an avid runner! She’s included some helpful parenting links for you at the end of her blog. Please welcome Catherine McMullen!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Parent/Child insight-Catherine McMullen

First I think it is important to note that parental insight differs, sometimes greatly from child insight. Naturally parents see or internalize situations from a different perspective than children. So, that makes it easy to understand why these two parties are usually at opposite ends. However, closing this gap as much as we can will strengthen the parent-child relationship, further supporting a positive bond between the two.

This subject was a topic of conversation for me this past weekend. Over a lunch with a good friend of mine who also works in the field of education with me. We discussed a recent child’s birthday party that I attended.

I recalled how much fun it was. I mean the parent’s had it on a sunny and hot Saturday in July. It was perfect! It was so beautiful outside. They had the pool open and clean, filled with toys and kids! We grilled out with yummy food. Everybody seemed happy visiting and socializing. I remember thinking, Wow this mom and dad really put a lot of thought, energy, and work into making this a great day.  This is an act of love for sure. The birthday boy was turning nine He had a blast playing with his friends in his pool! He seemed to be having a great day, a spectacular birthday party filled with love and excitement.

Keep this in mind: when I first arrived a young boy who was already in the pool sprayed unsuspecting victims with a squirt gun. This is unsurprising child play, right?!! Yes, but to those who did not want to get wet, it was not seen as fun nor welcoming.

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So back to the party. It was now toward the end of my venture at this wild and crazy party. I was standing outside of the pool area preparing to say, “Goodbye” When out of the pool came that little trigger happy boy. He was tattling on the birthday boy. It seemed has if he was having a change of heart about that fun pool play. Now, I am not exact on what he tattled or what the birthday boy may or may not have done. It doesn’t matter.

This is where parental insight needs to try all it’s might and match the child’s insight.

The mom, like many, walked over to the pool. I’m sure had a discussion with him about the accusations, and met with opposition. Not surprising! He’s a 9 year-old boy, who was surrounded by friends and fun.

I am not sure how he displayed his opposition. That doesn’t matter either.

What does matter is to know and keep in the forefront of our minds that parental reaction or “insight” into a situation, is so much more advanced. We, as adults, have the luxury of being able to use our developed brain and think through problems and situations before we respond.

This doesn’t happen enough.

Instead of taking the time to fully and appropriately understand the birthday boy’s perspective on the situation, his mom engaged in the infamous power struggle. She pulled him out of the water, forcefully pushed him to sit in an outlying lawn chair, and continued to yell her frustrations at him.

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This is a classic example of how the gap between parent and child insight can directly lead to the malfuncion and deterioration of discipline and other strategies are used. This is what my point was while discussing this over lunch. The differing of insights on this particular situation allowed for an ineffective discipline method.

The child’s brain is not as mature as adult’s. They are emotional creatures meaning, and tend to be run by their feelings. They cannot easily detach as we can from an emotional situation and gain logical perspective. We, as adults, are more able to know if we are heading into a power struggle we can make choices to step away from the situation to gain some distance to allow our rational thinking to kick in.

In my line of work I see many parents unable to do this or simply not taking the time to process situations this way to gain the proper insight. Which leads to ineffective strategies and frustrations on all parenting fronts.

So, she saw this as removing him from a situation where he was misbehaving (or was he defending himself?) by taking him to a secluded place to get her point across.

However, a further differing insight of this situation was, she pulled him out of the pool in front of all his friends, grabbed his arm pushing him across the yard further humiliating him for everybody to see, and then continued to disrespect him by yelling her words at him.

I’m sure in the heat of the moment, she didn’t see it at all this way. In her mind, she’s solving a problem. But,in the birthday boy’s mind, further problems were being made.

These different perspectives are not conducive for parent-child relationships. Children do not learn anything from this situation, because they stay in the emotional part of their brain, which does not allow for proper and successful processing to further allow meaningful learning from the situation.

This shows us how important it is for us as adults to detach from emotional power struggles with children, in order to close the gap between the two insights to progress in positive and meaningful relationships.

http://consciousdiscipline.com/about/conscious-discipline-for-parents.asp

http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/family/docs/parent-child-relationships.pdf

http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/erickson/

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