When we talk about being mindful, we start with the breath and move on from there; towards eating mindfully, walking mindfully or driving with intention; listening to our hearts.
When we are parenting children, our hearts are often intertwined with the hearts of our kids as well as our spouses’ heart. Having different interests, needs and priorities gets amplified with the number of personalities that constitute ones family.
My first step towards being a connected parent is being sure that some of my desires are met. Yes, some not all. Since some of my needs are not aligned with the needs of my children or my spouse, I listen to my heart to find the ways that I can balance our needs daily, therefore simplifying our lives.
Hard to do? Yes but possible!
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Tagged budhism, childbirth, coaching, community, consultation, counseling, creativity, culture, education, family, Home, intention, mother, parent, parenthood, parenting, peace, perspective, single family, spiritual, support, Support Groups, yoga
Most adults, at one point in their lives, have struggled with trying to figure out the purpose of their lives or have at least been conflicted about what they should do in certain situations.
Let uniqueness shine through!
Babies are all about exploration and no experience is censored; spreading their legs apart, sucking on their toes and farting with abandon! They are just trying to figure out what their bodies can and cannot do. As they grow older they are more aware of what they do as well as that they can consciously control their body movements and what they want to accomplish. Then we adults come in and qualify their movement, tell them what is good or bad or disgusting, “You should think this,” and “This is how you should handle yourself.”
We want to have civilized children and productive members of society, but we as parents often qualify our children’s action so much that they forget how to just be, be themselves, and have fun learning.
Next time, before you add your wisdom after witnessing a child do something:
- Take a breath.
- Look around you.
- Think about what the child was trying to accomplish.
- If you need to, say something like:” I love seeing you dance like that” or “that is very creative.”
Letting our kids discover who they are without external judgment is a great way to make sure that the child will grow into a more self-assured adult.
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Tagged art, Child, Child Health, Children Youth and Family, creative, dance, education, family, health, Home, movement, parent, personality, physical, sports, unique
Language is a difficult topic to cover when thinking about parenting. There are so many different ways our culture uses language, and many families have unique ways of communicating. Most of us know to stay clear of sarcasm, condescending statements, and hurtful tones of voice, but how many of us have thought about the conflicting messages that we can send to our children?
What if we tell our children that they are unique and beautiful on the inside, yet we insist on having our kids leave the house looking a certain way each day?
Or if we talk about loving the planet, saving money, and recycling, but our favorite pastime is shopping?
Growing up so fast, no need to speed things up!
A friend of mine has the wonderful ability of talking slowly and deliberately. It is beautiful to watch. Yes, at times you want her to get to the point but each of her sentences are intentional and reflect her true thoughts. I, on the other hand, talk and talk until I figure out my point while I talk. I was named the ‘non-stop talker’ in Tibetan by a monk I was visiting in Spain.
Parents refer to their children as their babies. Then soon after they might say something like : “Be a big girl and go potty,” or “Be helpful to your mom,” or “Be a big boy and set this on the table.” Then the same child will be told they are not old enough to do something or told: “You’re too little to stay up late.”
I found that it was helpful to look into my speech habits to see if I was contradicting myself. I have worked hard to teach my daughter to step away and calm herself before reacting by breathing and thinking of a way she can be positive towards an unexpected situation. Yet I often react instantly to her actions or sibling disagreements. I’m working on taking my own advice to her, and trying to calm myself when my children present me with unexpected situations.
Does your language follow the values you instill in your children?
Do your values reflect the actions your children see you do everyday?
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Slowly becoming apparent.
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Tagged Child, coaching, community, creativity, culture, discipline, Home, intention, monk, Mothers, opinion, parenting, politics, power, pregnancy, society, support, tibet
Once a week I am a dorm parent to eighteen teenage boys; it is a totally fascinating experience. I watch them navigate space with their bodies and their interactions are so awkward – full of uncertainty, strength and confusion.
When I feed my daughters everything is homemade, organic and nutritious. The boys know this (I think) since when I am in their space I read books like Mindful Birthing, The Birth Partner or I sit and crochet. They usually stay clear of me; just the way my brothers stay clear of me when I drink nursing tea.
Looking up to teenage spontaneity
A few weeks ago the boys were studying for exams, so I prepared 40 of those Pillsbury instant croissants and biscuits that come out of pop out tubes. I also had carrots, almonds and juice.
Well, Pillsbury doughy goodness brought all the boys to my feet. They congregated around the table, eating with abandon and joy. Seeing this level of sheer bliss reminded me that as parents we try to control everything. I wanted to feel this freedom they were experiencing from biting into something without thinking anything. I wanted to be able to just mindfully enjoying the flavor, texture and moment of filling my stomach without thinking about nutrition or the corporation that brought me the product.
So a week later I took a big step, I bought one of those Pillsbury croissant tubes and let it sit in my refrigerator. Then a week after that, once the girls were asleep, I baked the 8 croissants, sat in my bed and ate 4 of them. It was divine! I left the other 4 for my husband who was returning late from hockey and he agreed; they were divine.
Being around these boys on a weekly basis often teaches me about letting go, about just being our awkward selves. For the most part each one of these boys are very different from each other, yet they cohabitate at such a young age and are still accepting of each other (sort of!). I often want to scoop them up and bring them home. Make them my pet sons. I know this is not a possibility but at least I get to learn from them every Sunday evening.
Becoming a Parent-Heidi Ahrens
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Tagged children, coaching, cook, counseling, creativity, family, food, growing up, health, Home, nutrition, parent, parenthood, parenting, perspective, pregnancy, relationship, support, teenagers
Surrounding Yourself with Decent people
If you are concerned that your child develops strong and positive relationships then it is important that you model this kind of dynamic. Your kids learn from you. If you go out with friends and return talking about crazy stories, unhappiness, and gossiping, your kids will think that this is a key part of friendship and time away from family. Instead, cultivate positive friendships and make sure that you are having good conversations about, as well as around, your children and your spouse.
Follow your path and bring your friends and children along
Sometimes we hold on to friends because they remind us of our crazy past, they bring drama to our lives or they uplift our seemingly boring life because their life is so much more complicated than ours; be careful! Having decent people in your life is rewarding because they will support you and remind you of your values when the going gets tough.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to dump your close long-time friends because they are dramatic or have ‘unhealthy’ lives. The main part of friendship is to be compassionate and giving. Just make sure you don’t feed their bad habits or condone their lifestyle.
Decent people, at times, may seem hard to find or slightly boring (compare to your ex-boyfriends, best girlfriend, who lives out of a shoe box, and sells macaroni necklaces for a living and is a professional pole dancer) but strong friends that support you will be the ones to lean on and be an examples to your children.
Aligning your friends with your values may take time, but stick to your commitment because if you do then you will truly feel like a part of a community that you can look at and see your own values reflecting within.
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Tagged children, coach, coaching, community, family, Friendship, Home, parent, pregnancy, relationship, rituals, Services, support