Category Archives for "Child Behaviour Blogs"

Are you okay? I wasn’t. I was struggling!

By now, many people know about my meltdown. I was completely immersed in the cycle of anger, yelling, crying (me and the kids) and feeling like the worst parent in the world, which ultimately led me to my breakdown in order to get my break through.

It was ‘the knife incident’. The day I got so angry I slammed a knife on the bench so hard that it almost hit my (then) two year old. Then I proceeded to run to my room screaming how much I hated my life, all with my (then) 6 month old on my hip.

Was I okay?

No I wasn’t. But would anyone else but my husband, have known that? Absolutely not!

Why?

Because I was meant to be that perfect mum. I was meant to love being at home with my children, wasn’t I? I was meant to be the achiever who got life right. I was great at so many things before kids. Why was I struggling with this? As a woman, this was meant to be my forte. Didn’t having children mean that I automatically knew what I was doing and that it would come naturally?

What sort of mother throws knives at her child? What sort of mother gets this angry at her children, screams at them and completely loses it, scaring them and making them cry? The one person who is ‘supposed’ to be the one who makes her child feel safe and loved and nurtured. What sort of parent does that?

You are definitely NOT alone

Well, as it turns out, there are quite a few of us, as we continue to discover every couple of months when hundreds of parents join our online 28 Day Tame your Temper Parenting Challenge, which was born out of my own struggles with anger.

But sadly, as hard as we are trying to let people know about our programs, just like I was, too many parents are still sitting behind closed doors, hating themselves, trying to change and feeling like a failure because they can’t.

I have written this blog to let you know that I was at that point where I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t coping with being a mum and I was stuck in the mindset that it was just too confronting to let anyone else know this was how I was feeling. I honestly believed that I must have been the only parent out there who felt this way on a daily basis.

But the statistics are stating otherwise. Currently 14% of parents experience postnatal depression. Countless more deal with parental stress to varying degrees. We are on the front line of speaking to those very parents who are coming out in our groups to speak about the realities of parenting.

I cannot stress to you enough, how important it is to find your safe place to talk about what’s going on for you and to share with people who you can trust, what you are feeling (and sometimes that might be among strangers who are going through what you are).

We know from speaking with hundreds of parents every day, that what you are feeling and thinking is going through the minds of parents everywhere. You are nowhere near as alone as you think you are and you don’t need to travel this road alone either.

The lonely road of stress behind closed doors

How far down this road are you already?

Firstly, you experience the various challenges of being a parent and start thinking about how annoying, frustrating, or difficult this moment is. You start to think that because the moment is not the way you expected it to be, it’s stopping you from being able to do something else (achieve something, get things right, enjoy parenting, stopping you from having a bond with your child).

You start to look for why you are finding this so hard and you start to blame. You blame yourself for not doing something right. You blame your kids because they ‘should know better’, or your partner for not supporting you enough. Once the mind is on this bandwagon, you start to look for what it all means about you. I’m a bad parent. I’m hopeless. I’m never going to get this right. This is ruining my life. What’s wrong with me?!

But it doesn’t just stop there. The brain is geared to look for evidence of where you have your attention, so now you start looking for evidence outside of this moment to support the belief that things are going wrong.

You start to compare how others seem to be getting it right or doing it better than you. Then you start to think about other areas of your life with this same viewpoint. You look for evidence to support the belief that ‘life is going wrong’ and how it’s stopping you from feeling happy about your life.

You begin to see this viewpoint in other parts of the day with your kids, your work, your relationship, your friendships, your finances. With the evidence mounting you begin to draw conclusions about your life and settle on one major assumption that explains it all – EVERYTHING is GOING WRONG. I am such a failure!

Your brain is now starting to get used to this concept and you are now finding evidence everywhere, all the while making you feel worse and worse. Your self-perception continues to head south and life becomes more and more painful.

Now it’s time to react to your perception of life and how you feel about it. You get angry when you can’t control it. You cry because you feel so helpless, useless and can’t see a way out of it, and your enthusiasm to keep trying to change, is starting to diminish. “Why bother. Every time I try, I just keep getting it wrong.”

Because you believe it’s only you who has these disgraceful, embarrassing and unforgivable flaws, you try to hide how you’re feeling. “What would they think of me if they found out how bad I really am?” So you keep it quiet. Only the thinking/feeling loop and the evidence finding missions continue, and you sink lower and lower and lower.

But what you don’t know, is that you are certainly NOT the only person out there feeling challenged by parenting. You are not the only one who experiences stress, anger, sadness and loneliness, and those safe places to share your thoughts and feelings without judgement do exists.

But knowing this is only the beginning. There’s more work that needs to be done to alleviate this level of stress altogether.

Making the important Shift towards Freedom from Parental Stress

It’s great to find like-minded parents – friends who keep it real and tell you honestly what’s going on for them, but here’s another problem I see parents running into. We do what I call ‘rolling in the mud’ and you don’t get clean from rolling in the mud.

Now that we’ve found that safe place to vent, what now? Has it changed how you feel? No. What often happens next, is we become friends with our stress. We subscribe to it being a natural part of our existence that we just have to put up with.

We find security in the knowing that we are not alone. We continue to find evidence of our ‘sucky’ day so we can tell our friends, our partners, our loved ones, and we can feel momentarily better because we are sharing our experiences with someone who understands and it temporarily lifts us from its emotional grasp.

But behind closed doors, you’re still thinking with the same mindset! The same feelings are still bubbling within, bringing us down and making us miserable, regardless of finding our new allies. It’s still effecting your relationship with your kids, your partner, yourself and how you feel about your life.

The only thing that’s changed, is that now you don’t feel so alone.

There’s another step you need to take – Changing your mindset.

We need to find a balance of finding a group of parents who do keep it real, but who are also working towards changing that mindset and working on themselves to create a different way of thinking and feeling about parenthood and building connections with their children.

After that defining moment of my meltdown, it occurred to me that no one else was going to change how I felt about my life. No one else was going to suddenly wave their magic wand and miraculously change my day to day responsibilities. I knew that it wasn’t the kids, or life that was causing my stress, it was how I was perceiving that life.

As parents, we are often making our children a priority. We put them before ourselves in a pursuit to be ‘a good parent’. But what parents don’t often realise, is that the more you make yourself a priority, particularly in terms of your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, the closer you actually get to that ‘good parent’ goal you are seeking to obtain.

We need to make a shift in the parenting community because right now we are seeing quite a significant shift between parental stress being ‘taboo’ to parental stress being celebrated, accepted and embraced, like a badge of honour we wear having to experience the woes of parenting. We are starting to adopt perceptions of parenthood where we expect that it will be hard. We expect that we will feel stressed and the only way to deal with that stress is to laugh about it or complain about it with those who ‘know what it’s like’.

But remember, the brain looks for evidence of what you have your attention on. If you continue to see parenting in this way, you will continue to experience parenting this way.

What if you can change how you feel about the challenges of parenting?

But what if you could train yourself to become like that ‘born to be parent’ you see at school or at daycare. You know the one that does it all with ease and genuinely loves it. That could be you. That parent is not better or worse than you. She just thinks differently. She perceives what she’s doing with a different mindset.

What if we go beyond the struggle, beyond the stress and beyond sharing our parenting woes, and what if we turned that struggle into CHANGE?

What if you could learn a way of dealing with life’s challenges with a mindset that could draw the value and the learning from these experiences instead of seeing them as wrong. What if you could teach yourself to be present, stop personalising your unwanted events, find your sense of self-worth, learn to be solution focussed and NOT get bogged down with life?

What sort of flow on effect do you think this would have on your relationships with your children and the type of adults they turn into. Do you think that would be moving towards your ideal of a good parent or away from it? It doesn’t seem like such a selfish endeavour to prioritise yourself now does it?

The pathway to change

We started this story with struggles, painful emotions, being bogged down with the challenges of parenting and connecting you to the emotions we all feel to varying levels, behind closed doors. We started with a mindset that argued with our reality and blamed events, ourselves and others for our ‘wrong life’.

We then elevated those emotions with a sense of connection, togetherness and being part of a sameness, rather than isolation. We showed you how to make friends with your stress, laugh at it even and accept it as part of you life.

But what if we took another step? What if we used this connection with other parents, banded together and helped each other to learn and continue to CHANGE the way we perceive life as a parent, and thus how we feel about it.

THIS is the mission of the Parental Stress Centre of Australia. This is why we exist. When you join our programs you become part of a group of parents on this exact mission too.

No longer are parents happy to just feel like ‘every other parent’ and make friends with their stress. they are committed to eliminating it and they are all working together (even after the programs are finished, via our past participants group), to help each other to keep it real, but elevate their emotions to align with a new way of thinking. They want what the ‘born mother’ has and they have realised that it all starts with changing their mindset, not rolling in the mud.

Are you ready to challenge your mindset and lift your parenting approach to a whole new experience?

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

A Self-Harmer Taught Me An Important Lesson

I was working with a young 17 year old girl with depression and a history of self-harming and she taught me such a valuable lesson in parenting that I want to share with as many parents as possible.

She said:

“My mum just doesn’t get it.  She always wants to fix me and tell me what to do to fix my problems. But sometimes she can’t fix them. I just need to work them out from myself. Sometimes I don’t need her to try and fix me or tell me what I am doing wrong. Sometimes I just want her to love me, cuddle me, sit on the bed together and watch a movie and say nothing….But she just doesn’t get it.”

WOW! What an eye opener that was for me. Now I don’t have girls, but I certainly remember being a teenage girl and I remember my mum doing the same thing.

This is because as parents, we take on this ‘fixer’ role with our kids. We want to take away their pain. We want to help them and get them to the other side of our struggles. But sometimes we need to recognise that helping them to work through things themselves by just being there is just as valuable to them.

Sometimes they just need their soft place to fall and maybe even the place where they can get away from their problems.

How frustrating is it for women when they often try talking to a male and they don’t listen. They just try and fix things. Women often feel unheard, not validated and unloved. This is often what parents unknowingly do for their kids too.

Teenagers are naturally trying to find their independence, so perhaps begin to ask your teenager what they need from you when they’re experiencing something difficult. Perhaps ask them if they want your help to find the solution?  That way you are giving them exactly what they need.

Remember that their problems do not mean their life is going wrong. It is simply an experience they are learning from and sometimes the experience is exactly what they need for their personal development.

Work WITH your child, not FOR them.

Letting your children find their wings…

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Children Want To Have An Opinion. Don’t You?

Today’s society is not like when you or I were growing up. The “children should be seen and not heard” rule doesn’t really seem to apply in today’s society. Or if it does, it seems to be to the detriment of the connection between the parent and the child.

This is because children are growing up in society that encourages them to speak up, be honest about their feelings, and that it’s okay to have an opinion.

On one hand, we encourage them to be this way, but on the other, if it doesn’t match what we believe is right we can get all riled up at times.

So are we giving our children mixed messages? Do you want them to have an opinion or not?

I think for most of us, we want to raise confident, happy children who feel free to express themselves. We just want them to do it in a respectful way.

The other day, I said to my 8 year old son Ryan:

“Ryan, you are getting to an age where you won’t always agree with me or like what I’m telling you to do. That’s completely fine and I’m open to talking to you about our differences but I won’t be spoken to rudely, nor will I speak to you when you are yelling, throwing yourself on the ground or whingeing about the problem. We need to discuss things calmly.  

It doesn’t always mean that you will get your own way, but I will explain why you can’t have your own way and why it’s in your best interests. But on the other hand, you might have an idea that I haven’t thought of and maybe you can get what you want by doing it differently. The point is that we can discuss the problem and focus on a solution, rather than fighting with each other.”

He was pretty happy with that and it set the platform for future discussions, rather than arguments. It makes him feel empowered over his life, rather than feeling like his life is being controlled and dictated.

Think about what you want in your life. Don’t you want to have your opinion heard? Don’t you want to discuss how your life is going to be run? Wouldn’t you want to know why you can’t do something you really want to do?

We need to treat our children as equals because the superior/inferior trends of the olden day parent/child relationship doesn’t suit today’s societal messages.

If you try to stick to the ‘old school’ way, it won’t be a wrong way to parent, so there’s no judgment. But it is possible that your children may not be as close to you as you would like, because they grow up to feel unheard or that their opinion doesn’t matter to you.

It is for you to decide though, how you wish to handle your child’s relationship. I’m just here to present some ideas for contemplation.

Open the communication channels…

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Are You Part Of The Problem With Your Child?

 

The reality of any relationship is that two individuals, with two individual belief systems are integrating together to create a result. That result becomes the dynamic between you and the other person.

So when you look at the dynamic between your child and you, BOTH of you have contributed to the current reality of what you’re experiencing.

If you’re looking to solve a problem you’re having with your child, not only do you need to look at their behaviour, you may also have to look at your own.

Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • How did this behaviour begin? Did you say anything when it first started? Did you let them get away with it?  Were there any consequences for their behaviour when it first began?
  • Are you always trying to be right without allowing them to have an opinion or a voice?
  • How are you reacting to their behaviour?  Are you treating them the way you want to be treated?
  • What is their/your payoff for behaving this way over and over again? What do they get from it? Every human being operates with a ‘what in it for me’ factor – how do I pursue pleasure (get something to feel good) or avoid pain (avoid something bad)? So what’s going on for both of you behind the behaviour?
  • Do you give in when the going gets tough, teaching your child that all they have to do is up the anti and they’ll get their own way?

The reality is that BOTH of you will be contributing to the problem, but someone has to break the pattern between you.

So how can you break the cycle?  If you stop playing the game, the dynamic HAS to change!

Stopping the trend…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Is This Harder Than It Needs To Be?

The other day I was observing a 2-year-old who stopped at a vending machine with curiosity and watched his mother’s reaction to him.

She spent at least 2-3 minutes trying to coerce him into continuing on, getting more annoyed and starting up on the threats. She didn’t get angry, to her credit, but she was taking quite a bit of time to get him to co-operate, to no avail.

I resonated with this incident from over the years, but found myself wondering (which was easy to from my objective position of observation, rather than being in it), do we really make this harder than it needs to be?

Reality:  The boy was inquisitive and found it amazing that there were buttons to press.

What if the mother had recognised what the boy wanted, walked back to the vending machine and shared his fascination, “It’s so cool isn’t it?” I wonder what would happen if we pressed the button?  [get him to press button].  Uh-oh, nothing happened, but that was fun wasn’t it?  Oh well, let’s keep moving on and see what other fascinating things we can find.”

Would this have moved him along quicker without the fight?  Would it have empowered him and made him feel like his wants/needs were important?

Are we unnecessarily trying to get our way, when acknowledging what our child wants and ‘negotiating’ with them gets us what we want quicker and leaves us with less fights and happier children / parents?

Food for thought…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Government Website Keeps Solutions Flowing

I’m a big advocate of reality parenting so I love it when I find some reality-based strategies for dealing with child behaviour.

The Parental Stress Centre focuses specifically on the ‘thinking’ behind yours and your child’s behaviour, which is what fundamentally causes stress, and how we can teach our children a reality-based perspective of life.

That said, we also still need to deal with the behaviour itself, and I have come across a FANTASTIC government website (so this isn’t a plug that earns me any dollars), that deals with the reality of your child’s development and solutions do deal with their developmental stages.

Whether your child is newborn, about to leave the next, or anything in between, I absolutely LOVE this website for giving you a reality-based understanding of what’s likely to be going on for your child and how to deal with it.

Check it out:  www.raisingchildren.net.au 

Find Solutions, not problems!

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Why Your Child’s Emotions Won’t Be Rational

“Your child’s behaviour is not rational….”
Quote from a website (can’t remember where, sorry)

I read this quote in an article on child behaviour and I remember thinking, “That is so true!”

Before the age of about 5/6 years of age, all the information our child is getting is going straight into the subconscious for processing, catogerising and understanding life. They are creating filters to enable them to interpret life. Basically, they’re trying to figure out how life even works.

Children need to create these filters before they can learn to get to the point of being able to judge, reason and use logic to determine their responses (behaviour).

Your child’s behaviour won’t be rational because rationale is a function of the conscious brain, and before the age of 5/6 years of age, that ability hasn’t even really come into full swing.

We need to be patient with the reality of where our child’s behaviour is at and stop expecting them to live through our 20/30/40 something years of logic and reasoning skills (heck, even we aren’t entirely logical about our reactions – drinking, smoking, chocolate habits…ring any bells?)

Keeping it real.

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

How to get my two year old to sit still

Parent: How can I get a 2 yr old to sit and eat his dinner

Jackie Hall: This is a tough one because the reality is that you may not be able to.

At this age, she doesn’t understand enough to know why she needs to sit still and you may be at the mercy of repeating the instruction over and over until she gets it.

If she is continually getting up from the table, keep bringing her back and reinforcing the rule that you have to sit at the table. Model the behaviour and show her that the rest of the family is doing it too. Try to find a reason why your 2 year old would WANT to stay up at the table, perhaps by making it fun or funny to be at the table.

I know it’s difficult, but she is at a learning stage and sometimes we have to battle with our adult minds which thinks our children should know what to do and how to do, because that’s what we would do.

But we’ve had years of practicing these skills. They are still learning how to DO life.

Just keep repeating to yourself, “This too, shall pass.”

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Five year old doesn’t like homework….

Parent: “How do I get my five year old (prep) to practice her writing with me each night when she fights with me and disputes what I say?”

Jackie Hall: A great way to get kids to do anything is to make it fun.

The question, “What’s in it for me?” is always the determining factor that makes anybody WANT to do anything.

Find out what she thinks about homework and why she doesn’t want to do it so you can gain some insight into what’s happening for her and what you might be able to do to turn it around.

Also, do some self-checking as to whether you are being patient with where she is at in her learning. Sometimes we can expect them to understand it at the level that we do but we have to remember that we’ve had lots of practice.

I know it can be a laborious task to teach (goodness knows I’d never have the patience to be a teacher), however if you can find a way to make it more interesting or fun for her, then she is more likely to comply.

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

The ‘live like an ethiopian child’ day

I have just ordered a book about conscious parenting, as I always like to keep learning and growing and seeking out new information to help me do so.

It got me thinking as to the way I’ve been parenting lately and the effects it’s been having on my children.

You see I’ve been a little distracted lately.  With the launch of my new The Be the Change Program and also signing a distribution contract to get The Happy Mum Handbook into all major Australian bookstores, it’s meant that there is a very large workload on my shoulders to juggle with the many family demands I have as well.

With all this has come limited sleep and a lot of stress.  Needless to say that my parenting has been a far cry from what I’d like it to be.

This happens every once in a while, I think, to every parent, but then you get triggered back into being conscious and aware of what you are doing and the consequences of that.

This has been highlighted by the incessant whingeing, complaining and general unappreciation for anything that has come from my six year old (and increasingly from my five year old too).

What I realised is that in the mix of all the tasks I had to do, I was not giving enough attention to how my children were perceiving life and what they were learning, and now that I’ve been snapped back into awareness about this, just from ordering this book about conscious parenting, I have realised just how much I’ve been relying on DS games, Wii games and Foxtel to help me raise my children, and it’s not good enough!

So it’s time to teach my children a few lessons about appreciation (and probably myself too) and with the school holidays coming up at the end of this week, I’ve decided that we are going to have a ‘live like an ethiopian child’ day.  I am going to add a few things into this day to teach my kids that what they have are privileges that they need to appreciate.

I have received some good ideas from my facebook page on how to do this, but one that stood out to me was having my kids go without food for as long as possible (hours, not days of course) so that they can feel what it feels like be hungry and contemplate what it would be like if they couldn’t just go to the cupboard/fridge and grab what they want to eat.

I am, of course going to take it further and ban the TV, Wii Games, DS Games and all inside toys.  We will have our ‘lunch’ which will be very basic, out on the back deck where it is likely to be cold and place mats on the wooden back deck.  I am also going to show them a video of how less fortunate kids in ethiopia live, so that we can have a discussion about it.

Although my attempt at simulating the life of an ethiopian child will not even come close to the conditions that these poor children have to live in, I am hoping that this small example will be enough to help my children appreciate their lives a little more and become more aware of how good they have it.

I anticipate a lot of arguing, complaining and backchat on the day, but I’m going to just have to deal with it and you know what, just from screening youtube video after youtube video to see which one is appropriate to show the kids, I am remembering this appreciation and gratitude for myself.

It will be an interesting day and I look forward to seeing my children grow from the experience. 

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again