Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

The Story of Writing a Book

I had it in me all along.
Of course.
But I didn’t know.
Didn’t admit it.

Modesty,
sometimes very real,
sometimes really phony,
fell away.
Realization came in flash:
I would write a book.

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Imbued with insight
from an experienced author-coach,
Supported in camaraderie
by a circle of  writers,
I stripped bare
revealing, repeatedly, my Self.

Though I prefer the safety of caves and shadows,
silence deep in the forest,
stillness of night,
though exposure felt odd and new,
writing felt right.
I wrote.

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On October 22, 2012, the paperback edition of Swan Mothers was published.

On October 31, 2012, the Kindle edition was released into the world.

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Publications was . . . anticlimactic. The road to holding the book in my hands had been long, winding, and interspersed with reroutings. And yet, there was a feeling of having arrived. I had accomplished something Big. I had written and published a (really awesome) book. I knew my book would heal mothers and improve the lives of children. I know it will transform the world.

The knowing is ephemeral, slippery.
One day, I know,
KNOW for sure.
The next,
I know nothing at all.

A reviewer writes:
someone has put into words and clarified for me what my soul knows to be true
and my soul sings.

No books sell for a month,
and I wonder why I wrote at all.
Why did You lead me to believe this work was Divinely inspired?
Why did You make me think taking myself and my family public was acceptable?
Why, oh, why, am I here?

One year later:
Exposed.
Stripped.
Exhibited.
Wondering
where to go, now that I’ve arrived,
what to do, now that this work is done.

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Editing to say, you can buy Swan Mothers from Amazon.com.

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Homeopathy for Children Who Can’t Even Look at Food without Gagging

Eating.  Most parents don’t even think about it.  They give their children whatever they’ve always eaten and the children eat.  Other parents seek out organic foods, prepare meals from scratch, and avoid fast food.  They worry about what their children eat, but their children do eat.

And then there are children who can’t eat anything lumpy, smelly, gritty, chewy, or colored.  They subsist on chicken nuggets and French fries or all white and smooth foods.  No matter how we prepare or hide the fruit and vegetables, our children can’t even look at them without gagging. Putting them in their mouths is unthinkable.

Eating difficulties are among the most common concerns of mothers who contact me and participate in my groups.  Parents are deeply concerned about nutritional deficits, growth, and digestion.

A Case of Gagging and Regurgitating Food

During my homeopathy internship, a 13 year old boy named “Cedric” was brought to our clinic by his mother.  He had been seen for years by various physicians, including numerous visits to a top-ten university’s medical department.

Cedric’s primary complaint was very severe gagging and regurgitation of food.  He suffered from headaches and said that his mouth and tongue itched when eating fresh fruit and vegetables. These kinds of unusual symptoms are very useful to a homeopath.  When I looked them up in the reperatory (a book which list symptoms and the substances that have been found to cause and cure them), the remedy that appeared was alumina.

Homeopathic alumina was prescribed and when he returned a month later he reported that the gagging was greatly reduced.  He was feeling good and had experienced no incidents of regurgitating food.

Investigating Alumina

Thinking about Cedric, my own children, and the many others who find eating difficult, I began to wonder about alumina.  I discovered it has these uses:

  • filler for plastics
  • common ingredient in sunscreen
  • catalyst in the process of converting hydrogen sulfide waste gases into elemental sulfur in refineries
  • used to remove water from gas streams
  • in toothpaste
  • in dentistry, it is used as a polishing agent to remove stains
  • in hip replacements
  • in vaccines (see also Is Aluminum the New Thimerosal?)

Homeopathy 102

Homeopaths learn what conditions a homeopathic medicine will cure through the use of experiments called drug provings.  During a drug proving, healthy individuals take the remedy being tested.  They report all physical, mental and emotional symptoms that occur.

This in-depth reporting of a remedy’s action reveals the full scope of a substance’s healing capabilities.  The symptoms experienced by the provers are the very symptoms that the remedy will be used to heal.

Proving Alumina

When healthy individuals proved alumina, these signs and symptoms were noted.

  • Can swallow only small morsels
  • Sense of constriction from the esophagus down to the stomach every time he swallows a morsel of food
  • Violent, pressing pain, as if a portion of the esophagus were contracted or compressed in the middle of the chest
  • Spasmodic pain in middle of chest, on swallowing food and drink
  • Constipation (no desire for stool, even after a week or two)
  • Great difficulty evacuating, even soft stools
  • Craves indigestible things (chalk, pencils, earth, etc.)
  • Food aversions
    • Meat
    • Potatoes
    • Onions
  • Greatly affected by tobacco smoke
  • Rabid hunger OR aversion to food with no desire to eat
  • Itching tongue
  • Fear of knives, needles and sharp objects

Alumina is particularly indicated for delicate children, especially those who have been artificial baby foods.

Homeopathic Remedies for Eating Challenges

If you are wondering if homeopathic alumina is the remedy that will help your child swallow food, please keep in mind that homeopathic remedies are most effective when they are prescribed for individuals rather than single symptoms.

The homeopathic literature is filled with information on remedies for children who refuse to eat.  Specific foods that are desired and refused appear in long lists.  Effects on the mouth, tongue, stomach and disposition are noted.  Times of day when food is wanted or rejected are relevant.  In short, everything matters when selecting a homeopathic remedy.

To read more tips about feeding children with eating challenges, please see When Your Child Won’t Eat.

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Mothers of Unique Children: Let the World Hear Your Roar

There is an old Zen story about a young lioness that was lost on a mountainside. She is found by a ewe who nurses her and cares for her.

As the lioness grows, all of the sheep can see that she is very different. Her fur is the color of a autumn leaves rather than the white of clouds. Her face is broad and her teeth sharp.

Still, she eats the same grass and drinks the same water as all of the other sheep and is tolerated in the group.

One day, an old lion approaches the herd. The sheep run, but the golden one gazes upon him. He leads her to a pond were she sees that her reflection matches his. Still, she wants to stay with those she knows, in the place where she is safe and comfortable.

The old lion roars, “Don’t run away from who you are. You may have grown up with a herd of sheep, but you have grown into a beautiful lioness. Lions are strong, independent and brave. There are many more things that you can do and places you can go.”

The ewe approaches her golden child with a blessing and, with an expression of gratitude, the lioness turns and leaves the herd.

Breaking Out of What You’ve Been Conditioned to Believe About Yourself

What do you see when  you look in the pond? Many of us have spend a lifetime learning how to be sheep. We may be convinced that we are sheep because we eat the same grass and drink the same water.

But what would happen if we let go of our conditioning and stepped on a path of adventure? What if we went forth assured of only one thing:  growth.

What could we see if we looked with new eyes?

Led by Our Children

If you are reading this, you probably have children that are quite confidently not sheep. They may be challenging to parent and difficult to live with. Could this be because they know who they are? Could they be showing us that we too are not sheep — for lionesses birth lion cubs, not lambs.

My children have certainly led me away from the herd.  The road is sometimes lonely, sometimes scary, and sometimes painful. At other times it is exciting and fun and wondrous beyond anything I could have imagined.  Always, it teaches me something new.

This post was inspired by the cards of the Osho Zen Tarot Set (Ozt99) #

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Autism Awareness Flight (2)

This is a continuation of the post Autism Awareness Flight (1).

More Farms

The miles of farmland stretch on and on and on. I look upon our Planet from this vantage point and see a vast expanse shaped and raped to meet our “needs.”  I ask myself: Is the Earth really ours to change so severely? Are our children ours to bend to our will?

Immediately the “but they have tos” begin. But they have to learn to live in society. But they have to fit in. Have to read, write, eat, socialize, hold a pencil like this, hold a fork like that, look people in the eye when they talk to them.

Or maybe they don’t. Maybe we don’t.

Maybe we can move into more harmonious relationships with the Earth. Maybe we don’t need to (figuratively) beat our children into submission. Maybe we can let them grow and blossom naturally. Maybe we will be surprised to discover that who and how they are is just fine.

And Still More Farms

I am waiting for the terrain to change. I am waiting for an elegant way to end this post which became so long that it became two.

But there is no change. The neat grid stretches on.

Chicago, Lake Michigan

Houses. Buildings. Roads.

A world of concrete and rooftops covers the land now. The land has been so utterly transformed by people that whatever was there before can no longer be found.

I am relieved as we fly over Lake Michigan. Though I know Her waters have been polluted, I imagine that She has looked this way, at least from my vantage point in the sky, for a long time.

Reflections During the Decent

My flight today took me 1690 miles across the country. It was only in Her most inhospitable spots, Her highest mountains, deepest gorges, and driest deserts that the Earth managed to remain mostly unmodified. Is this Her way of keeping a part of Herself pure and true?

Are the so-called walls of autistic children a defense against being altered against their will, their way to remain pure, a means for retaining their true essence?

MORE Farms and Detroit

As I continue to survey the acres of Earth distorted by us, I realize that we will never know Earth in these spots. We have changed her too thoroughly.

Yesterday, I hiked in a canyon which was carved thousands of feet into an enormous expanse of rock that was once the bottom of the ocean. The Earth? She will cleanse Herself. She will reshape Herself. She will survive this time with us for she has survived billions of years and will survive billions more.

But we are determining our legacy now with each thought and word and deed.

What we have already done to our Planet and what we have already done to our children is done. What we do now, what we say tomorrow, and the actions we take next week and next year, these remain in our power to control.

Final Thoughts

Though my flight took me across many state lines, I did not see markings demarcating state boundaries drawn upon the Earth. There are no lines between states or countries other than those we set down. There are no walls between people other than those we define.

I look forward to the day when there are no lines drawn between us.  I invite a time when there is no autistic, no divergent, and no normal.  I welcome a time when there is an honoring of all diversity as an essential component of the whole.

Namaste.

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Autism Awareness Flight (1)

This post is brought to you from 30,000 feet in the air, from Phoenix to Detroit. As I look at my fellow passengers, I see people napping, reading, chatting, working. In three hours, we will have traversed most of the country.  Yet no one seems astounded by the magic that we are experiencing, sitting in cushioned seats flying through the air. Just as few seem to perceive the magic that is present in today’s children.

Mountains and Red Earth

We’ve been in the air less than 20 minutes. Already the landscape has changed from mountains to green valleys to flat red Earth. In the distance, I see smoke as some part of the Earth transforms from wooded to charred. Below me, I see vast spans of almost-untouched Earth.  Narrow roads wind through the red plain, but there are no farms, few buildings. Newly alert after my time in Sedona, I take in the majesty of our Planet. And I wonder what I missed all those times I boarded a plane and fell asleep before the plane even took off. I wonder too what I missed while I was worrying about labels and growth charts and milestones. What miracles were unfolding while I was analyzing child development charts and evaluating information from books?

Gorges, Canyons and More Mountains

Out my airplane window, I see deep gouges in the Earth. There was a time when I would have wanted to know the name of these formations and what geological events were responsible for this dramatic design on the Earth. Now, I am content to gasp in wonder, to look. There was a time when I wanted a name for what was going on with my children. Now I am content to be dazzled by their brilliance without understanding every reason for how and why they are the way they are.

My Version of Autism Awareness

I don’t need to label what I see out my window. I don’t need to label children or people. My practice of autism awareness is to honor magnificently unique people in all their expressions.

Clouds

We are flying over a thick layer of clouds. Of course, there are countless creations of Nature and Humanity below, even though I do not see them. There is much talk in some parts of the autism world of children in shells, children to be recovered. This is not my perception. Perhaps there are simply clouds obstructing our view. Clouds have purpose, function, and beauty. Clouds move and change. Some of the clouds are in our eyes.

Farms between the Clouds

There is space between the clouds. The ground below me is divided into astonishingly precise squares. Every inch, as far as I can see has been conquered by humans. Some of my family’s food is probably grown here. For this I am grateful. Yet as I gaze at the grid below, I find myself overcome with sadness as I consider: What have we done? What are we doing? Is the world ours to conquer, to plow and poison and fertilize into submission? Are our children ours, to bend to our wills and our visions for them? This post has gotten long, so I will tell you about the remainder of this flight in Autism Awareness Flight (2).

 

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The Amazingness of Atypicalness in the Age of Half-Bloods, Wizards and Magical Creatures

All around the world, influenced by brilliant stories from gifted authors, children who thought they were different in a bad way are discovering that they are, in fact, different in a magnificent way.

  • Harry Potter thinks there is something wrong with him because his family forces him to live in the cupboard under the stairs.  Plus, he “makes things happen” and can talk to snakes.
  • Percy Jackson has profound ADHD and dyslexia.  He’s so “bad” that he has never been able to attend the same school two years in a row.
  • Elissa is being raised by an old woman as a servant in a castle and knows only that her mother is dead.  Yet, she is the daughter of a king and deeply connected to the Earth by her magical powers.
  • Aang is the last of his kind.  He is the only person left on the planet with the ability to bend air.

At the heart of every myth and legend lies a grain of truth.

Grain:  The smallest possible amount of anything, a small, hard seed – the essence, crux, heart, significance, or soul of the matter.

How do the stories of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Elissa and Aang reflect what is going on with our real, uniquely magnificent children?

It is neither surprising nor coincidence that there so many hugely popular books and movies about magical children have been produced in the past two decades.  This is the same time span during which magical children began appearing on Earth in large numbers.

Many of today’s children are called indigo, crysal or rainbow, autistic, ADHD, atypical or neurodivergent. They probably arrived via quite-ordinary birth.  But those who are paying attention see clearly that there is something different about our children.  Some want to call the differentness disorder or disability. I call it magic.

Learning from the Magical Heroes

Each of the characters mentioned above must find his or her own way for the old ways no longer work.  The premises have changed.  Their perceptions of themselves have been turned upside down.

Harry must shift his perspective from the Muggle to the Magical World.  Percy has to embrace his god-nature.  Elissa, a humble girl who knew her own mind even if she did not always choose to speak it, embraces her mission and taps into powers she had not realized she possessed.  Aang, at only 11 years old, must restore balance in the world.

As our heroes become attuned to their powers, they realize that with great power comes great responsibility.  This can be a heavy burden for a child or teenager to carry.  Our heroes waver, err, and complain, but they stay true to their calling.

In each of the books of the Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson Series, the Phoenix Rising Trilogy (Elissa’s story) and the Avatar:  The Last Airbender Saga (Aang’s story), it is not only the hero who is magical.  Friends and enemies have magical powers too.  Our heroes do not possess unique gifts.  They possess gifts that are available to many.

As we notice our children’s gifts and talents, it is useful to consider:

  • What are my gifts and talents?
  • What can I do differently than I have always done it until now?
  • Am I working from an obscured premise?

Parenting the Heroes

In many fictional accounts, the heroes’ parents are conveniently missing. Harry’s parents are dead.  Percy’s mother, fully human, is not allowed at Camp Halfblood and his father, a god, does not have time for his half-human children.  Elissa’s mother is dead and her father is missing.  Aang’s parents have been dead for almost a century.

For those of us parenting magical children, there is no hint in these books of what the children might need from us.  We are left with a bit of insight into the children, but with no new information on what is required of us.

You must get used to the fact that there are many things in magic which are not and never will be explained. God decided to do certain things in a certain way and why He did this is a secret known only to Him.”  (Paulo Coelho in Brida.)

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

“May your path be one of peace in times of peace, and of combat in times of combat.  Never confuse one with the other.”  (Paulo Coelho in Brida.)

Again and again we are presented the lesson that there is nothing to do but carry on, taking one step and one second at a time, learning what we can when we can, being willing to walk in the dark.  Without a roadmap or a manual, we learn to listen and watch our children and our hearts.  We figure out a way to make it through each day.

I love listening to podcasts. Here’s a good one about being your true self.

 

In Autistic Hermione Thoughts, autistic blogger Alyssa of Yes, That Too, writes about reading Hermione as an autistic person.

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Magic for Muggles: Change the Way You See and Experience EVERYTHING

Sometimes, muggles get really lucky and stumble upon some magic.  Magic we can actually do.  Easily, consistently.

I had such an experience when I attended a Matrix Reimprinting seminar with Karl Dawson.  (The photo shows me, Karl and my friend Linda Friedman Jones at the seminar.)  Even though I have known about EFT for many years, even though I had finally figured out how to use if effectively, I had no idea about the amazingly transformative power of meridian  tapping.

What is Matrix Reimprinting?

Matrix Reimprinting is a new meridian tapping technique developed by EFT Master Karl Dawson.  Like EFT, Matrix Reimprinting often resolves long-standing emotional and physical issues.

By changing

  1. how you perceive old events

  2. how ingrained ideas shape your words and actions

Matrix Reimprinting can be used to create a life you love by creating better energy flow in your body

During a Matrix Reimprinting session, we tap on points that have been used in acupuncture for thousands of years.  Most of the points we use are at the ends of meridians.

Meridians are channels for energy flow just as blood vessels and arteries are channels for blood flow.  Emotional, chemical and physical trauma can disrupt the flow of energy in the meridians.  When the energy is obstructed, disease may result.

We can correct the flow of energy by stimulating the meridian points.  In EFT and Matrix Reimprinting, we do this by tapping on them.

How is Matrix Reimprinting different from EFT?

In conventional EFT, tapping on meridian end points is used to take the emotional intensity out of a past memory. When an issue is resolved with EFT, you are able to recall your most traumatic and stressful life memories without any emotional disruption or stress.  This is a useful healing strategy since most disease results from stress.

When an issue is resolved using Matrix Reimprinting, the memories associated with it are actually transformed.

During the Matrix session, the practitioner will guide you as you go into a past memory.

There, you may say and do what you wished you had said and done.  You will be shown how to bring in people or tools to support you in any way that you need.  You will recreate the recorded picture in your memory. This will transform your reflexive reactions in situations that were triggering an unwanted response.

But these things did happen!  No one can change that.

In Matrix work, we never deny that an event occurred.  We do not use distraction techniques. In fact, we recognize that the best way to transform a situation is to be fully present in it.  You will not relive the situation.  Matrix Reimprinting is a very gentle technique – easier to demonstrate than to explain.

Experience Matrix Magic

Matrix Reimprinting is an essential part of all of my group sessions.

Physically, mentally and emotionally healthy parents, family members and caregivers create a healthy life for autistic, ADHD, and other children with special needs.

Want to know much more about Matrix Reimprinting?  You can read all about it in Matrix Reimprinting Using EFT:  Rewrite Your Past, Transform Your Future by Karl Dawson and Sasha Allenby.

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A New Kind of Time Out

Most of us are rather enlightened parents these days.  When our children hit or scream or take another child’s toy, we don’t spank them.  We put them in time out.

There they sit, one minute for every year old, contemplating their transgressions and regrouping.  They take a break from out-of-control emotions and behaviors and call on inner resources and external support systems to return to a harmonious state.

As I walk through our modern world, watching adults running like hamsters on treadmills and children getting exercise from wii and x-box games, I wonder:

If children had more time out(side) and time off, would they still need time outs?

We live in an age of over-stimulation and overwhelm.  For all of our time-saving devices, we work more and sleep and relax less than humans of times past.

Children need time off from school and from schedules. They need to have time to do nothing and time to do whatever they want.

There are studies that validate the importance of play in the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.  But we don’t need studies.  Be observing our children at play, we can see this natural development in action.

IMG_20110808_111243When my children were 13, 11 and 8, they often played in our yard with the neighbors (12 and 10). They figured out how to play kick-ball and other games in a way that was fair. They made adjustments for ages, special needs or extra skills (my middle child is autistic), number of children out playing that day.

“Sarah and I get only two outs and the boys get three,” my daughter informed me one day.  The next day, if three or four of them wanted to play, they found another solution.  No adults mediated or suggested anything.  When they are red-cheeked and sweaty, they reach for water and flop on the grass to rest.

Implementing the New Time Out

Amidst school or homeschool activities, sports, music, and dance schedules, and work obligations of parents, it can be challenging to find a way to, as my children say, chillax.  Here are some ideas to get started:

1.      Take a Mental Health Day away from school.

Let the kids stay home and do nothing once in a while.  This may keep them balanced and healthy so they don’t have to get sick to get a break.

2.      Schedule at least one day per week with no planned activities.

For us, this is Sunday.  We all look forward to it.

3.      Encourage free play.

Let the children fill their own time.  Save your boxes and paper towel rolls and see what happens, even if your children are in middle school or high school.

4.      Spend time outdoors that is not in organized sports.

Children love to make up their own games or explore.  You don’t have to do anything (beyond ensuring safety).  They will create worlds, climb trees, and make their own fun.

2805_70655739737_5197931_n5.      Be Silly.

I’m not good at silly, but the children love it.  So Daddy takes over and they giggle and scare each other and tell jokes.  If you need help, share your children with an adult who knows how to have fun.

6.      Go All the Way:  Take a Year Off

Consider how you can take a Really Big Time Out.  Take a vacation.  Homeschool.  Travel.  Enjoy.

Check out these families who did it.

One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children by David Elliot Cohen

The Family Sabbatical Handbook: The Budget Guide To Living Abroad With Your Family by Elisa Bernick

Benefits of the New Time Out

There is a Sufi tale that tells of a scholar being ferried by Nasrudin across a body of water.

“Have you learned mathematics?” he asks the ferry-man.

“No,” Nasrudin replies.

“Do you understand the sciences?” he continued.

“No,” Nasrudin answered.

Next, the scholar chided Nasrudin for his ungrammatical language, and, hearing that the boat-man never went to school exclaimed, “Half of your life has been wasted!”

Shortly afterwards, Nasrudin asked him: “Did you learn to swim?”

“No, I did not,” replied the scholar.

“Well, in this case it seems all your life has been wasted.  We are sinking,” said Nasrudin.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are useful skills.  Proficiency in sports, music, and arts can bring much enjoyment.  But over-planning and over-scheduling may produce an ignorance of how to live.

After I post this, I will go and enjoy my own time out(side).  I hope that after your read, you will too.

Want to believe this is possible but don’t?  Join me starting January 2014 and shift to joyful thinking and easier living. More information coming soon.

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Lazy Parenting: Doing Things for Our Children

Daniel was working on his homework on morning while I fried eggs for breakfast.  Not understanding a math problem, he became frustrated.  As he gritted his teeth and whined, I turned around and quickly solved the equation for him.  “There you go!” I said turning back to the stove.  Instead of politely thanking me, he cried,“No, no!  Don’t do it for me.  Teach me!”

Later that day, I saw this exchange on Facebook:

Talisman Camps and Programs When is it appropriate and helpful to be a “helicopter parent” for your special needs child? When does it become unhelpful?

Natalia When our children are in distress, it is time to step in and support them. We don’t need to facilitate every event and interaction because they are not doing it the way we think is best.

Talisman Camps and Programs Natalia, we like how you say “Support” but do not equate that with “do for”

Ouch!  There was my post from just a few days before along with a compliment on not “doing for” our children when that is exactly what I had done that very morning.

How humbling.

I completely and totally believe that, as parents, we should support and facilitate our children’s endeavors, be they social interactions or math problems.  Yet, in my haste, I had taken the lazy way out. I did the problem for him instead of making a suggestion that may have given him the information he needed to do the problem himself.

I could have facilitated a moment of learning and confidence.  Instead, my actions said, “You’re too slow.  Here.  I’ll do it for you.  You probably couldn’t do it anyway.”

Reading the Talisman posts that evening, I realized:

When I am lazy or hurried, I “do for” rather than support.

In general, I have no objection to laziness.  I am a big fan of down time, reading, lounging around, and just being.

In this situation though, my laziness and doing what was easiest in the moment, did not serve my child.  Ultimately, it will not serve me.

We want our children to slow down and pay attentionI am committing to slowing down and paying attention myself.  I will pay attention to my children and how I can best serve them.

When my children are struggling, I will take a deep breath and ask:  “How can I help?”  I will listen to what they say and provide the support they need.  Instead of parenting by reflex, I will pay attention to the habits that are driving my actions and change them when needed.

It is infinitely more important to me that my children become confident and self-sufficient – including asking for what they need – than that they get perfect grades on homework assignments or act “right” according to some unspoken rules.

Allowing Success, Building Confidence

When children do things on their own, they learn:

  • I can do hard things.

  • I’m good at figuring stuff out.

  • Mama trusts me.  She believes I can do it.

When parents constantly jump in and do things for them, they learn:

  • I can’t do anything right.

  • Mom and Dad do everything better for me.

  • Mom never let’s me do anything.  She must think I’m stupid.

What are you teaching your children?  Will you join me in slowing down and paying attention?

We can learn from what we say and write and think.  We have all the wisdom we need inside ourselves.

I will be taking my own advice.  When my children are deeply frustrated, I will support them.  I will encourage, give a hint, teach.  I will still do things for them of course.  It is one of the ways I show my love.  But when I do for them, it will be from a place of love – not because it is more convenient for me.

Next time they are tying their shoes or clearing the table too slowly, I will let them be. Except, when I slip and interfere and forget or neglect to be the mother I want to be. But I already wrote about that.

Getting to This Place

By gathering with other mothers and supporting them as they support us, we move along in our parenting journey.  Support groups for mothers starting soon.

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Tools and Words for Reducing Anxiety in Children (Part 2: Verbal First Aid)

In the Part 1:  Changing Old Stories, I wrote about using Matrix Reimprinting to change how your child sees old events.   When old traumas continue to affect our children, Matrix Reimprinting is the tool to use.

In this post, I offer suggestions for speaking gently and minimizing the effects of trauma on the scene and in the moment.

When our children get hurt, the words we say can initiate healing or exacerbate the trauma.

Consider these three possible responses when a child falls and scrapes a knee.  (The examples for this article are taken from the outstanding book, Verbal First Aid by Judith Simon Prager, PhD and Judith Acosta, LISW, CHT.)

Response 1

“Oh, no! Look at you! You’re bleeding, oh, my poor, poor baby! Are you okay? Does it hurt a lot?”

Response 2

“You’re all right. Buck up, buddy. It’s not that bad.”

Response 3

“Oh, you’ve fallen and your knee is bleeding.  See what a good job your blood is doing cleaning out that cut.  Now you can even use your mind to stop your bleeding.  We’ll wash it off and put a bandage on, and you’ll be surprised at how fast it will start to feel better.”

What are your words teaching your child?

We cannot know definitively what a particular child will learn from each of those responses since each child is different.  Each already has a bank of experiences and his own temperament.    Here are some possible learnings:

  • Response 1 teaches the child that seeing blood is cause for alarm. His body will respond by creating chemicals that impede healing.

  • Response 2 teaches the child that his feelings are not valid and that he should not cry or express pain.

  • Response 3 teaches self-confidence and initiates the healing process.

The words we say in those first moments can set the course for both physical and emotional recovery.

When children are injured, they are particulariy susceptible to influence.

What We Think = How We Feel = How We Heal

Science has demonstrated that words, thoughts, images and memories generate an instantaneous cascade of chemicals, causing a physiological reaction within us.  This reaction is most pronounced when we are scared or in pain.  Our breathing gets faster, our hearts race, we sweat or freeze or run.

What we think can throw us into this flight-flight-freeze response – or initiate healing.  Since we cannot hold two thoughts simultaneously, presenting our children with a positive scenario can pull them out of the panic place to a place of peace.

Building Rapport:  Believability and Credibility

Using words that are honest and authentic will build credibility with our children.  We want our children to recognize the truth.

Saying, “Everything is fine” when neither you nor your child believe it can be damaging.  Instead, state what you see and use the knowledge and wisdom you possess to uplift and support your child.

For example, if your child is seriously injured and you don’t know what to do, try this:

Take a deep breath to calm yourself.  Use a gentle tone and say, “I’m right here.  You can relax now.  Let’s figure out what we need to do next . . .”

For extensive scripts and protocols for burns, cuts, bruises, getting stitches and much more please read the book, “Verbal First Aid.”

Verbal First Aid for Non-Verbal Children

Even if your child is non-verbal, using words in the way described in this article will be helpful.  By changing how we speak, we shift our feelings.  Children will respond to our tone and energy and gain confidence.

Super-Easy Homeopathic First Aid

Like Verbal First Aid, homeopathic remedies support the body in healing itself emotionally and physically.  I always carry the remedies described in this article.  Having homeopathic remedies with me has saved the day for my family many times.  If you don’t want to buy them all, buy arnica and prepare to be amazed at the rate of healing.

Reference

Highly recommended!

Verbal First Aid: Help Your Kids Heal from Fear and Pain–and Come Out Strong

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