Posts Tagged ‘state of mind’

10/07/09
Amy

(Parenting) Completely Present


It is so easy to get lost in our to-do lists, whether they are written or mental. And it isn’t even always that we are accomplishing so much, but more about how our minds and spirits become completely wrapped up in what we need to do or what we are failing to do. When this happens, we slip into a highly task-oriented mindset and often neglect relational interactions, especially with our children.

Now, tasks need to be accomplished. That is just a fact of life. Phone calls need to be made, the house needs to be cleaned, bills have to be paid. Our days are full. However, when we are interacting with our children, we need to turn our full attention onto them whenever possible. When they ask you a question, make an intentional effort to turn and look them in the eye. Or in the moment when you sit down to read or play with them, be completely present in that moment. Enjoy the interaction, answer their questions, squeeze them a little bit tighter, tickle their toes, or simply absorb the moment. This doesn’t take any more time from your day. It is simply a state of mind.

Frustrations occur when there is a conflict in goals, whether it is between people or within yourself. In the moments when you are able to be completely present, you will find so many of your frustrations with your kids melt away. In that moment, you have one focus, one goal: to be interact with and love your child. You can focus on being completely present and intentional about your to-do list in then next moment.

In whatever you do today, be completely present. Absorb the moment and apply yourself. Life is so much more than a to-do list.

08/29/09
Amy

(Parenting) Grumpiness


You woke up on the wrong side of the bed and are having a bad day. You were up too late the night before, greeted by too many demands first thing in the morning, and are just plain grumpy. Is it any wonder you have narrow margins with the kids, don’t feel like being social, or snap at your husband? If somebody demands a lot of you or jumps on your case for your bad attitude, does that magically motivate you to change your tune? Usually it just pushes you further into your grumpiness.

On days like this, sometimes you need a restart button. Or at least 15 minutes of quiet time by yourself to reset your attitude. Sometimes a hug, a few understanding words, or a listening ear is all that is needed to turn your day around.

Our kids have these days too. Sometimes there is an obvious reason for it and other times there isn’t. Yet instead of showing them compassion on these rough days and teaching them how they can effectively change their attitudes, we often become extra stern in our demand for obedience. The next time you see that they are having a rough day, don’t combat it with a harsh word. Gently pull them aside, give them a hug and say something like, “I see that you are having a rough day today. Do you want to spend a few minutes cuddling on the couch with me or spend some time by yourself until you are ready to try again?” Reflect their feelings back to them and show them that you are on their side. This gives them a chance to open up with you and, even more importantly, figure out for themselves what is bother them.

When you walk them through an attitude adjustment like that, you do much more than just avoid an unproductive confrontation. You equip them for life.

08/08/09
Amy

(Parenting) Repetition


Have you discovered yet that parenting is all about repetition? Whether it is in the form of a reminder or a consistent, yet every-changing, way of guiding the child’s behavior, a lot of the parenting challenges we face day in and day out are the same. This can be so frustrating! It can cause us to question whether or not we are making an impact on our child, and if they are learning or listening at all.

But then have you noticed that on repetition #50, then #71, #86, #90, #92, and #93, they get it?

If you embrace this fundamental function of parenting, it will change your world. I challenge you to put aside thoughts that begin with, “They should know….” Maybe they do know. But if they display behavior that contradicts it, that simply means that they still need you to teach and guide them. Your work is not done when the child simply gains head-knowledge. You finally start gaining ground when you see that knowledge changing their actions, and then when  you see that knowledge changing their actions on a consistent basis.

So next time you have to repeat yourself….again….take heart and don’t give up. You are making a huge impact on the life of your child and the repetition is just a reminder that they still need you to walk with them.

07/31/09
Amy

(Parenting) Setting the Tone for the Day


The first hour that everybody is awake often sets the tone for the rest of the day. For many of us parents, it is also one of the most difficult times of the day to try to match the energy level of our children. They bound out of bed bursting with energy, creativity, and chatter. We just try to survive until we can get through that first cup of coffee.

Yet don’t underestimate the significance of that first hour of the day. Dare to be the one to set the tone for the hours to come. Here are some ideas to help you do that.

1) Greet them affectionately and with a positive tone when they wake up. I sometimes find myself complaining about how some days begin with whining, fusing, and arguing, but then I often hear the same tone reflected in my own voice. Break the cycle.

2) Spend some time participating in intentional interactions with your kids. Children are always looking for ways to interact with their parents and to explore some of their independence. Tension between us and our children often happens when we underestimate the significance of either of those childhood needs. Spend a little bit of time reading with them, doing a small craft, or playing a game. By meeting this need, even in a small way, at the beginning of the day will help free them to focus on free play and exploration instead of attempting to gain your attention.

3) Keep all forms of media turned off. The best that you can, refrain from turning on the TV or computer during the first hour or two of the day. We have all experienced the dulling of the mind that can result from too much time in front of a screen. Don’t let that set the tone for your day. You are much more likely to return to an active state if you are active initially and then have only short media interactions.

We can’t make attitude decisions for the other members of the family, but we do have the power to set the tone in our own home. Keep your attitute positive, remain active, and provide opporunities for interactions and exploration. It is hard to remain grumpy for too long when you are immersed in a positive environment.