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I love you Mum/Dad!

I love you

Emma and I had a tough start to our mother/daughter relationship as I suffered sever Postnatal Depression.  Up to the age of 2, I did not feel we had a lot of connection and I was extremely worried that we would not have much of a relationship.

The first sign that our bond was starting to grow was when she used to press her forehead really hard against my head.  She did not do this to anyone but me.  But I saw this as a sign of a building relationship.

I am very big on telling the girls that I love them.  It was not something that was said regularly as a child but if I felt the need to tell them I would.

For individuals with Autism is can be a challenge to get them to say I love you.  But I didn’t mind as no matter what I wanted them to know how much I love them.  Emma now comes up to me all the time and says Mum/Dad, I love you.  She can tell me 50 times and I still would feel the warmth and glow that I feel within my heart when I hear those words.  She is also giving me kisses which is an extra bonus.

Telling your child that you love them can be challenging if you grew up in a family who did not express their love for ach other.  Nevertheless, this is something you can change in your own family.  Your child may not express to you often that they love you but if you make the effort to keep telling them that you love them you may never know, one day they will come to you out of the blue and say Mum/Dad I love you.

For those children who are non verbal, you will need to look at other ways your child is telling you that they love you.  It could be through cuddles, a smile, a look or even getting you to be interested in what they are doing.


Creating Rituals Improves Relationship With Your Child

Do you have a set routine that your family?  Do you have rituals? Creating rituals improves relationship with your child.  In Becky Bailey’s book I Love You Rituals she explains the difference between routines and rituals and why we need to create rituals to improve relationship with your child.

Rituals are not routines. There is a difference between the two. The goal of routines is continuity. The goal of rituals is connection. Rituals create sacred space designated for togetherness and unity. Holiday rituals typify this point. Many families gather on Thanksgiving to bond in gratitude, and birthday rituals, such as having one’s favourite meal prepared, are a form of honouring a family member. Rituals are the glue that holds the mosaic of love together. Street gangs create rituals to fill the emptiness their members feel as a result of the lack of connection in their lives. We can create healthy rituals with our children, or they will form them with others as best they can. Just as in the earlier example of greeting your spouse, we can greet our children with an I Love You Ritual, or we can arrive at the day care center and say, “Where are your things? Hurry; we have to stop at the store on the way home.” The choice is ours. Loving, healthy rituals foster the development of loving, emotionally healthy children.

Bailey, Becky A. (2009-10-13). I Love You Rituals (Kindle Locations 215-223). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The four goals to I love you Rituals are:

  1. Optimise your child’s brain for success and in life – Ritual activities aims to increase your child’s attention span and cooperation. It provides daily tune ups through which attention span improves and cooperation increases.
  2. Increases your learning potential and effectiveness through touch – Brain research confirms the critical role of touch in our mental and emotional health. When we touch one another, a hormone is released called the nerve growth factor. This hormone is essential to neural function and learning. The brain and the skin develop from the same embryonic tissue. The skin, in essence, is the outside layer of the brain. If we want smart, happy children, we must consciously touch them. It is time to relearn appropriate, caring touch and move past our fear of inappropriate touch. We must embrace touch for its value and function in development and learning. By understanding caring touch, children develop compassion for themselves and others. Hitting becomes hugging, snatching becomes asking, and the difference between caring touch and unwanted, uncomfortable touch is learned. Touch is the keystone of each of the I Love You Rituals.
  3. Create loving rituals that hold families together even through the roughest time – All cultures across time have created rituals. Rituals are a central part of life, whether they involve how meals are shared or how major events and holidays are marked. Rituals surround us, from the common birthday ritual of making a wish before you blow out the candles to bedtime routines that may include, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Rituals create time to be playful, to explore the meaning of our lives, and to rework and rebuild relationships. Think of the pleasant rituals from your childhood. What feelings are evoked as you allow yourself to reminisce? Generally, they are feelings of love, warmth, and safety. For these moments, “all is well” with yourself, your family, and the world.
  4. Strengthen the bond between children and adults that insulates children from drugs, violence, and peer pressure, laying the foundation for mental and emotional health – The bond between parent and child is the child’s primary source of emotional health. It gives your child the capacity to have satisfying relationships the rest of his or her life. A weak or anxious bond could reverberate through your child’s entire life in the form of low self-esteem, impaired relationships, and the inability to seek help or ask for it in effective ways. Research indicates that over one-third of the children in middle-class families suffer from anxious attachments to their parents. This insecure attachment tends to be transmitted from one generation to another. Every parent wants to know what early experiences enable a child to feel that the world is a positive place.

If you want to strengthen and improve your relationship, you must take action and participate in one of my favourite programs Connect with Your Child. 



Postnatal Depression Effects on Relationships

Steve and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary this week and I thought I would take the time to reflect on postnatal depression effects on relationships.  It is tough!  But it does not have to destroy your relationship.

We often hear women/men saying why doesn’t my partner understand?  It is virtually impossible for a partner to truly understand what you are going through if they have never had a bout of depression.  You can not imagine how hard the black cloud is to get out of.  The suffocation it feels.

You and your partner also had dreams of being a parent and no one dreams that they would have PND.  No one expects this illness as part of their transition into parenthood.  But it does happen and PND can happen to anyone. No one chooses it to happen.

Nevertheless, it is very hard on relationships and once you really get on the road to recovery from your illness, you can start strengthening your relationship.  For me, I was extremely lucky that I had an extremely supportive husband and family.  He did not understand it but he supported me all the way.  I said some horrible things to him along the way and he just couldn’t understand how I could feel little love for both of the girls.

So, how did we get through it?

  • Although he may not have wanted to hear my feelings, I was honest with him.
  • I held his hand a lot to keep me grounded.
  • We told each other that we loved each other.
  • I kept getting help and I did whatever I had to do for the love of my family.
  • I worked really hard to put strategies in place to keep me well.
  • We worked on our friendship which is the base of all relationships.
  • I kept trying and trying.
  • I started to get better and became more affectionate.
  • He listened and didn’t always try to fix things.  You need someone to listen.

Steve and I have always had a strong sense of friendship which one of the most important aspects of relationships.  When Steve was diagnosed with depression as a result of everything we have been through, it was easier because at least I knew what he was going through.

A visualisation that helps me through the tough times of his depression is that I picture an invisible bubble around me that no matter what it can not be penetrated.

If you are looking for help to get your relationship back on track, look at my coaching program Reinvigorate Your Relationship and sign up for a free Reinvigorate Your Relationship Coaching Session.

We Need To Celebrate Foster Care Parents

As a community, we should celebrate all that foster care parents do for children at risk.  As a child, I grew up watching my cousin become foster carers of a child with special needs but of course I never fully understood what that actually meant.  All I knew was this child was passed around until he came into the lives of my cousins and who in the end adopted him.

Over the last couple of years, we have gotten to know an amazing foster care parent who is simply amazing.  She has had over 10 foster care children and at present she has three beautiful children who are receiving the love that sadly the biological parents do not provide.

Someone once said to me there must be more of foster care situations where we live rather than where they live.  On reflection of this comment it made me realise that no there are so many foster care families out there but they look like everyone else providing the love and support that so many children are not provided by biological parents.

We should all appreciate what these special groups of people do for those children who are these children.  Foster care parents open their homes, hearts and lives for these children and I want to take this moment to thank you for all that you do.

Show Yourself Some Love

As mums and dads we all want to be a good parent however we all have our good and bad days.  You might have over reacted to a situation, you may have yelled at your child.  I know being a mum with two children with autism, it can be extremely frustrating when they are loosing emotional control.  None of us are perfect but the important thing to remember is to:


Show Yourself Some Love!

It is ok to wrap your arms around yourself and remind yourself that we all have bad days and you are still a great mum and dad.

Is it Normal To Not Have an Overwhelming Sense of Love for Your Child the Instant They are Born?