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Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

One message I have constantly for parent’s is “Don’t beat yourself up!”  Parenting has its ups and downs for everyone. No parent is perfect no matter what they put up on social media.   There will be days where you have it all going perfectly.  There will be other days where everything is going wrong.  Who hasn’t had those days.

I had one of those days the other day.  I was not connecting with the children.  I was not looking at their triggers and focused on their behaviours.  By the end of the day, I just wanted to crawl into bed.  We all have those days.

Don’t beat yourself up!

Principles such as validating feelings first before correcting their behaviours, focusing on the positive while minimizing attention to the negative, and staying calm and collected in the heat of the moment are all what we strive for, not what we can expect all the time.

I have parents who feel guilty, even horrible, when they lose their cool, yell, threaten, or react before thinking.  These moments will happen occasionally.  If your goals are to focus on the positive, understand and validate, set clear boundaries, and minimize emotional responses to negative behaviour, then this is what you need to keep focused on.

Don’t beat yourself up!

Relax, take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back for what you are doing right. Nevertheless, always remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

How Can We Include Partners in Therapy?

griefAre you both at odds in regards to the behaviour management of your child with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder?

 

Do you keep thinking to yourself that you wish your partner would come to a therapy session?

I hear this comment a lot within Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder communities, with clients and shhhhh I have heard myself say this as well.  So believe me it is a common feeling amongst families.

HOW CAN WE INCLUDE PARTNERS IN THERAPY?

I know my partner would love to make it to every appointment but this is not realistic.  However he has to bring in the money to pay for these appointments.  Also as much as his boss is really accommodating, reality is he still needs to be at work.

Having a child with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder can challenge us as parents in regards with behaviour management.  We all come into parenthood with preconceived rules in regards to discipline.  Where do we learn our parenting skills from?  Our parents……….who learnt from their parents………..who learnt it from their parents.

Have you ever thought yourself saying “I will not discipline my children like my parent’s did?”.  It is fairly normal for individuals to think about what kind of relationship you would like to have that you may not have had as a child and what you would never do.  However I am sure we all have heard ourselves sound like our parents.

Nevertheless, when your child is diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and a lot of other disabilities, all that we thought we knew goes out the window.  We are forced to look at our parenting skills and adapt these to suit their needs.  I know for me that was and can still be a challenge as we are not perfect all the time.

How can we include partners in therapy?

  • See if your partner can go to a therapy appointment every few months to see how things are going.

A few clients have approached their bosses and asked them for a couple of hours, once every three months to go to a therapy appointment and it has been amazing how accommodating as it is only every few months.

  • Video tape the sessions

If your therapist does not mind, video tape the session, only as a means of showing your partner.  Even if you are sitting at the other side of the room, your partner will get the main idea of what is occurring in the session.

  • Take notes

There is nothing stopping you for taking notes that you may be able to share with your partner.  If your partner is not involved at all for their own reasons, maybe just have them there in a spot for them to read or not read.  As they say you can draw a horse to water but you can not make them drink.

  • Have no conflict discussions about behaviours and how to meet them

We want children to be as independent and confident as possible so it is important to talk about what behaviours your child is demonstrating and work out the meaning behind them.  If your child wants more independence we should be encouraging them as this will improve their future outcome.  We all want less emotional eruptions and so we need to make adjustments and be flexible on how we are going to meet their needs.

There are parent’s out there who struggle to change their parenting and it can be extremely challenging on all parts because majority of the time it leads to fights and resentments.  If you need help in this area send me an email on info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au and we can arrange a time so that I can help your family come together.

 

 

Great Tip For Children Who Read!

My eldest is six months into prep and she is doing well with her reading.  I am lucky to have a child who has always enjoyed looking at books.  However just like every other child she too goes through stages where she is not motivated when reading. Her posture is slumped, she is pretty much mumbling and as a parent this can be frustrating to say the least.

What I get Grace to do when she is in one of these moods is get up and do 10 star jumps, 10 frog jumps and anything to get her moving.  The outcome is always a bit of a laugh but there is definitely an improvement in her reading.

This is also a great way to keep learning to a maximum if they are studying etc.

boy reading book at the library

When Life Gets Out of Control!

That pretty much sums up the last few weeks in my household.  We have decided to build a bigger pergola outside, get the garage fixed, fix the roof and it is all happening at the same time.  There has been many hours spent outside knocking down walls (which was great fun), bringing down the old pergola and then painting all the beams (even at night at 3 degrees).  Plus normal life also had to happen at the same time.  I became quite good to listening to Grace’s reading whilst painting.  I also had to deal with my mum’s first year anniversary which was far from easy.

It got to mid last week and I was tired, grumpy, irritable and was not a lot of fun. Plus we were not spending quality time with the girls.  The girls helped us outside but it was not the same.  The girl’s behaviour became challenging and it increased their anxiety with all the changes that were happening. Steve and I were stuck in a hard spot because we couldn’t work out if it would be better to get it done so it is done or slow it down to spend time with the girls.  But I knew with everything going on at the same time I was going to crash.  I put my training on hold (but I could say I was doing a lot of strength work), my eating was not regular and generally I was not looking after myself.

I made the decision to stop it and get back into my exercise with a 16km walk and I have been making sure I have had some down time to relax a bit.  When life gets crazy and your feeling your about to fall off the track, you need to take a deep breath and re-establish some old routine to get you through it. I know that I became a better mum once I started exercising as I was laughing and bouncing around more.  I hate the out of control Bec.

 

The Magic of I Love You

  • How many times in a day do you say “I Love You”?
  • Can you say “I love you” too much?
  • When you say “I love you” is it coming from the heart or are you simply just saying it because that is what you want people to hear?

love2  I am a person who says “I Love You” when I feel it in my heart and I could say it 10 times a day. I am also known for calling my husband and simply telling him that I love him and then I hang up.

I tell my girls all the time that I love them because no matter what happens I want them to always remember that I love them.  I do not remember hearing that a lot when growing up so I want to make sure that they know that I love them.

Sadly we do not know what our future holds and it can be gone in a second but I never want the people I love to doubt if I love them.

Fractured By Dawn Barker | Book Review

Recently I picked up the book titled Fractured By Dawn Barker.  After reading the back of the book, I thought it might be an interesting read because it dealt with the topic of postnatal psychosis.  I have to admit I was worried about opening this book because of my own experience as a survivor of postnatal depression.

The book is about Tony and Anna who has just welcomed into the family a baby called Jack.  The book goes into the events leading up to “the event” and also the aftermath of the event.  What is outstanding about this book is that it is mainly focuses on the effects this event has on the husband and the family.

This book is extremely confronting to people who have gone through similar journeys and it will be confronting to those who do not “believe” in postnatal psychosis/postnatal depression.  The main question is always how could a mother/father kill a child?  The saddest part is that it is a very real illness and unless you have been through personally, it is very hard to understand.  I have also had ECT and it really did save my life.  The Dr had to cold turkey me off an anti depressant that is known to be hard to come off in a slow way and it helped me to adjust to a new anti depressant.  I was also put into a psych ward for 4 months and it saved my life.

This book also highlights what the partner goes through which is extremely important as the partner can be “forgotten” as the focus is mainly on this other partner and getting them well.  It is really important that partners are not forgotten and given as much help as possible.

This book can not be seen as given an excuse to those people who kill children out of revenge but some understanding to those who suffer from the horrible illness.  No one chooses postnatal psychosis or postnatal depression and it can happen to anyone.

I would not recommend this book to anyone who is in the midst of their journey due to how confronting this book is.  But I do recommend this book to those who are unaware of the illness so that they gain more understanding as well as those individuals who may be suffering in silence to seek some help.  You are not alone.

I do recommend a box of tissues.

Listen to your Gut As Parents Know Their Child Best | Talking Thursday

Fourth April 2013 talking topic is:

When have you as a parent listened to your gut about something with your child and found out your gut was right?

I recent example for my own family is that Em has only been fully toilet since January and over the last couple of months we noticed that she was having trouble urinating.  It came to head with a case of acute fluid retention and we were about to be rushed to an emergency department but thank god Em managed to urinate to ease the pain.  The GP ran tests and no infection was found.  So The GP did another follow up test to make sure it was still clear.

But the trouble did not finish there and she gave us a lot of behavioural issues of not wanting to go to the toilet and also looking very strained when trying to urinate.  I brought the issue up with the OT and she felt there was an issue.  I ended up making another appointment with the GP and he ran an ultrasound because I was concerned and just wanted to make sure that it was not behavioural issues (Emma has autism and severe sensory processing disorder).  The did find something mild and we are in the process of follow up appointments.

As a parent you know your child best and if something is not right especially over time it is important to get the right help.  It is really hard because Drs can make you feel like an idiot but honestly when you get the right one you might get the right answers.  Just do not give up!

I would love you to share your examples of when your gut instinct has been right when it comes to your children.

Motivational Monday

Every Monday I am going to put up a motivational picture that will resonate with mums and dads and how to develop their bond as a family, give you confidence as a parent and how to build a fantastic strong and loving family.

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The “Pros and Cons” About Becoming a Parent

I can hear people right now stomping their feet to my front door and coming with pitch forks screaming “You are lucky to be able to have children”, “You chose to have children” and all the rest of it.  I am hoping that some of you might actually read the rest of this article and may find this activity really beneficial.

Once you have little one in your arms, have you ever told your partner what you love about being a parent and what you do not look about becoming a parent?

Research shows that simply acknowledging the good and bad things about becoming a parent is actually a very healthy activity for parent’s to do.  By being able to talk about our thoughts in a constructive and safe environment, mums and dads can feel that they are being heard in regards to their thoughts of becoming a parent.

I remember thinking I was prepared for the change and that I will not be able to simply go out and catch up with friends and accepting the new journey I was about to embark on.  But honestly and I would love to hear from other mums and dads if they were truly prepared as much as you thought you were.  But be acknowledging the differences can be extremely therapeutic as you can let it out of your head and also let it go.

Is it a crime to do this?  Hell no.  If every parent did this activity, we might see a trend of people transitioning to parenthood a lot easier than what a lot of parent’s are at this stage.

I did not do this activity until I did volunteer training at PANDA and it really stuck with me that it is OK to say what we love and may be what we are still learning to adjust to. On my list were:

What I love:

  • That they were created out of love
  • Their little hands and toes
  • That we got through the birth process
  • Their little noises

What I Did Not Like:

  • PND (Postnatal depression)
  • My older child’s constant crying (boy does she have a set of lungs)
  • Breastfeeding (I had trouble with supply but was not confident who to call for help and Grace never attached)
  • Not being able to work
  • Not catching up with people as much as I used to.

Maybe my next post should be a follow up to the pros and cons and see how much things have changed.  I have attached below a sheet that mums and dads can use to do this activity at home.  Do not judge or analyse what people put on their list as it needs to be done in a safe environment so those thoughts can be acknowledged and then put aside.

Good and Bad stuff chart (Printable)

 

 

When Your Day Is Tough

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours  as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old,  and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the  donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a  shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to  everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally  looked down the well, and was astonished at what he saw.

With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.  He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to  shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon,  everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and  trotted off! Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is  to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can  get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and  keep going!

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