Sunday, March 9, 2014

Still Not Meditating Daily? Here’s Why And How To Start

It took me a long time to develop a meditation practice that I would – and could – do consistently. I have a fast, active mind and have always liked to be ‘on the go’ so sitting down and getting quiet was quite the challenge.
Ironically, we often resist what benefits us the most! After years of on-again, off-again practice, meditation has now become a non-negotiable practice in my day, as routine as brushing my teeth.
Here are the top five reasons why I wouldn’t even consider missing my daily meditations (and why I recommend you develop a daily practice of your own that works for you!):
1. It sets the tone for your entire day. It’s super simple: the days I start with meditation consistently unfold totally differently than the days I don’t. The practice centers and calms me, and since my energy affects everything and everyone around me, the calmer and more centered I am, the smoother the day flows – and, of course, vice versa.
2. It helps you make better decisions. Meditation quiets my incessantly chattering mind. That chatter obscures the deeper awareness of what feels right good and in alignment for me. Given that we all make large and small decisions all day long, having a higher level of discernment makes a direct and tangible difference in my quality of life.
3. It reduces your stress levels. The peace and calm I feel in meditation allows my body to rest and relax deeply on a daily basis, unraveling some of the built-up tension that accumulates as part of modern living. Science has shown that meditation has similar benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. It’s in these states that the natural self-healing ability of the body can then kick in –  something that’s hard for it to do when in go-go-go mode all the time.
4. It makes you happier. Science has proven that meditation produces higher levels of ‘good feeling’ chemicals like serotonin and endorphins. I definitely notice my mood is enhanced by my mediation practice (an effect that’s magnified by combining meditation with the practice of gratitude!).
5. It builds your self-esteem. Every time I do something that I know is good for me, I feel better about myself. Since I know the amazing power and benefit of meditation to my health, happiness, and quality of life, I get a big boost of self-esteem every time I do it.
Ok, great, so you KNOW it would benefit you, but you’ve had a hard time sticking with it. What do you do?
It took me a long time to develop a regular practice so I really understand! Here are five simple ways to short-cut things for you, and help you make it a daily habit that sticks:
1. Meditate first, before anything else in your day. Get up, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, drink a nice glass of water to hydrate yourself, then sit yourself down. Do nothing else (especially not looking at email)! Just sit down. If you let the activity of the day get in the way, you will drastically reduce the likelihood that you’ll do it.
2. Start with just five minutes. Anyone can do five minutes! Keep it simple and simply observe your breath and your thoughts without ‘doing’ anything with them. Five minutes may eventually become longer, but just start with five and feel great about that accomplishment. It will build your confidence, and increase the good vibes for continuing.
3. Choose one spot to meditate. It helps to have a peaceful place that feels good to you. I sit in a particular spot on my couch. It’s comfortable, and it’s like there’s a ‘memory’ there that’s been built over time that makes it welcoming for me to sit there and meditate. Some people advocate sitting up in bed (lying down is not recommended, too easy to fall asleep). Find that spot for you, and it will help you get into your meditation more quickly and deeply each time you go there.
4. Know that it’s ok for your mind to be busy. You are not going to stop the mind so don’t even try! Be ok with recognizing just how busy and loud the mind actually is. What you’re developing is your higher mind, that ability to stand back from the mind and observe it neutrally. With time, this practice will lead to your ability to stand back from whatever happens in your day and observe it so you can respond rather than react.
5. Commit to a 21-day experiment. Science shows that a new habit is built in 21 days. Don’t think about meditating daily for the rest of your life, just focus on building a simply practice for the next 21 days and notice the difference it makes.
You may have already come across a meditation technique or a guided meditation that you like but that you haven’t been using consistently. If so, you may want to use that in your 21-day experiment (even if it’s longer than 5 minutes).
One resource I find really useful is the Omvana app which has a huge variety of guided meditations on different subjects from different teachers (including some by me!). Simply pick the one(s) you like best.
I’d love to hear about your experience. What’s worked for you? Where have you gotten stuck? Did you take on the 21 day experiment, and if so, how did it go?
- See more at:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

3 Tips to Avoid Invalidating Your Childs Feelings

3 Tips to Avoid Invalidating Your Childs Feelings...

(guest post by Tangee Veloso-Pueblos)

Before my son was born, I had been doing a lot of research.

Research on home births, co-sleeping, breast-feeding, attachment parenting, cloth diapering, organic bedding, you name it.

My husband and I wanted to create the most conscious, sustainable, natural and non-toxic way to bring our son into the world.  And then before we knew it, our son was born at home with our midwives, Elizabeth Bachner and Callie Clark, my mom, my sister, our dog and two cats.

My husband delivered our son and it was the most amazing experience (it’s no wonder that my husband now has a birth tub rental business for families)!

So now that our son was born, the next natural step to me was to find tools and resources on how to guide our son in the most loving and nurturing way that encouraged connection.

After all, there is no handbook that is given to new parents on how to become one!  Plus, living next door to a mother that used yelling as a way to communicate to her children activated me into motion to find something close enough to a manual.

And that’s when I discovered the infamous book that I have mentioned in previous articles called “Connection Parenting – Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear” by Pam Leo.  I continue to highlight and share my gratitude towards this book because this was the seedling that planted the concept of Family Love Gathering that soon sprouted into what Family Love Village is today.

One of the topics that was discussed in the book was how invalidating your child’s feelings can create disconnection.

It is not only mentioned in this book but such philosophies as, Emotional Intelligence (the understanding of one’s feelings which enable a person to not only succeed in life, but to have self-awareness, empathy, self-confidence, and self-control).

Both resources share how invalidation can not only cause disconnection between the parent and the child but can cause the child to detach from how they process their feelings which can unfortunately continue on into adulthood.

What inspired me to write about this topic was a recent conversation that my son had with his nanny about him seeing ghosts.  I wasn’t alarmed at the least.  In fact, when I heard the story, I was very touched.

It was in deed quite the charming conversation that went as follows:

Son: You know ghosts only come out in the dark? They don’t like light.
Nanny: Who told you about ghosts?
Son: My spirit within me.
Nanny: Are the spirits kind to you?
Son: Yeah
Nanny: Do they visit you?
Son: Yeah Lolo and Rhonda

Lolo is my husband’s dad who passed away back in 1994 and Rhonda was a friend of ours that had just recently passed away last year. I have always suspected that my son could see ghosts (actually I feel that most children can have that ability but can sometimes lose it as they get older).  My son even talks about an older brother that he dreamt about that he now “pretends” to play with.

For me, I believe in spirits. I believe that we are all of the same energy and that once we leave the body, we transition into another form of energy. But this is just my take on life.

The whole point of bringing up this conversation is because in most cases, parents would most likely feel uncomfortable with the the thought of their child talking to ghosts. And in most cases would even say what they are experiencing is ridiculous or silly – that ghosts aren’t real and possibly even go as far as getting upset with their child for talking about that nonsense.

Well ghosts aren’t the only things that can make a parent want to undermine a child’s experiences.  And unfortunately it usually happens in the day-to-day emotions that a child feels.

Some examples can be:

1. When a child cries.
From the time a baby is born, the normal reaction to when an infant  cries is to gently shush them.  I think as adults we are uncomfortable  with the general emotion of crying, especially when we hear a baby  cry.  What  tends to be the normal reaction is to try and calm them  down.

Well as the child continues to grow and continues to  explore their world, emotions and reactions can get more intense and  unfortunately some adults may tend to think the child is overreacting  and want to say “Calm down.  There’s nothing to cry about”.

Have  you noticed that even as an adult, when people try to soothe you, you  hear them say “Don’t cry.  It’s ok.”? Yet crying is a healthy release and  is very much needed in order to self-regulate the brain.

2. When a child gets injured.
The first initial reaction for most parents is to want to reassure the  child and make the pain go away.  A common phrase that most adults  say when they see a child fall down or scrape their knee is “Oh you’re  ok.” This can confuse the child though because what they are feeling IS pain yet they’re being told otherwise which teaches the child to ignore their feelings, to basically numb the pain.

3. When a child is scared.
Whether a child is scared of the dark because of a “monster  underneath the bed” or even scared when an adult is pretending to be  a monster, a lot of times adults tend to discredit the child’s fear by  saying things like “There’s nothing to be afraid of” or “I was just playing.  Stop being such a scaredy cat!”

When we don’t allow children the opportunity to express their emotions, we are disabling them to truly feel.  As a result, what a child is really hearing from us is that they are not valid, not worthy and perhaps not even lovable.  Unfortunately what ends up happening is that the child learns to hide their feelings.

Children learn that they can no longer trust in your ability to keep them safe, to be heard and understood.  This not only causes disconnection from you but from their own innate ability to feel which can later cause them to numb their feelings as an adult.

So what are some examples of ways that we can show our children that they can trust in us to support them through challenging moments?

Here are a few tips on what you can say:

1. “Let it all out.” My husband and I have been saying this to our son since he was very young.  By allowing him the space to let out his feelings, he feels safe knowing that he is being supported and comforted through the tears.

2. “That must’ve hurt.  I can see that you’re sad.  What can we do to make you feel better?” This allows the child to know that you understand she’s hurting and by asking them how they can make it feel better, gives them a chance to find ways to heal and self-soothe while you’re still there to comfort them instead of you trying to always fix it (which adults sometimes tend to do when they see a child in the throes of emotions, is fix it themselves before allowing the child the chance to develop problem-solving skills).

3. “It must’ve been scary seeing me act like a monster.  I see that it upset you.  What other games would you like to play?”  This lets the child know that you are empathetic to his feelings and by asking him what he would rather do brings child-led play into affect.

Here’s a great excerpt about validation from an article by Naomi Aldort, “Helping Children Resolve Emotional Hurts”:

“When validated and listened to, children unload emotional upsets in their own creative ways. It is important to allow crying to take its  full course (while giving the child our full attention) and to develop attentiveness to tantrums and rage expressions…

When we face behavior in our children that is upsetting to us, we  have two choices. We can respond from our own fear (which may lead to words and acts that invalidate) or we can empathize with the child (which is a response of love)”.

So whether it’s being supportive and developing trust as our children go through their emotions or perhaps even sharing about a strange topic (such as ghosts), when we are able to come from a genuine place of compassion and understanding towards our children’s needs, upsets and fears, the more we are able to fill their love cup.

Through our observations, by asking questions and with authentic listening, it is in this space where we are able to create more connection with our children. Thus, embedding more harmony within the home while raising emotionally healthy, compassionate, and confident adults.


Ashley & the Gang @ Life Balance Community...

Alternative to Punishment #8: The Freedom to Choose

Alternative to Punishment #8: The Freedom to Choose

Last week's alternative was about "self-relecting" and gaining awareness
into our upbringing to discover how our own parents have heavily influenced our
own parenting with our child.

This week's alternative is about taking the awareness one step
further with "choice".

As we discussed last week, many of us never reflect on our actions, nor on our
parenting habits and instead we run on autopilot, reacting to our children and
making decisions based upon how our own parents treated us, without even
realizing it.

We either repeat what our parents did to us, or we rebel, and do the exact
opposite, in both instances, we really have no "choice" in the matter. Because
when we run on autopilot, there's no space for choice, right? You're just
reacting impulsively to whatever happens - reacting is not choosing.

For example; smoking, indulging in unhealthy foods, and biting your nails...
If you had a choice, would you do these unhealthy habits? No, of course not,
but you do them because you've submitted your will power to the "habit" of them,
and without independent will power, there's no choice.

Choice begins with actually choosing a different action.

So after you've discovered the reasons for reactive parenting
habits through "Self-Reflection", it's now time to take your power back
and ACTUALLY choose.

How to Reclaim Your Power to Choose ?

The first step is to become AWARE of your habits and reactions when it
comes to parenting, which is accomplished through “Self-Reflection”.
Most importantly you want to discover where these habits and tendencies
originated from. Then the next step is simple, but not always easy....

Choose differently.

Let's use some examples...

If you put your daughter to bed every night in her own room,
and she doesn't want to go to bed by herself, it's a good idea to
reflect on the situation. She may be afraid of sleeping in the
dark or afraid of being alone.

These are both natural fears for a young child under six years old.
Many young children are afraid to sleep by themselves. young children
are afraid to sleep by themselves.

But because WE slept alone as children, it's common practice to
put babies and children to sleep alone. We also may be putting
our children to bed by themselves because we're tired and
want some "me" time. There could be multiple reasons...

It's important to see if your child has a need for closeness
and protection that you're not seeing because you're simply doing
to your child what was done to you.

As we discussed earlier, doing something because it's what was
done to us isn't always the best idea. However when you become
aware of the many misconceptions and assumptions that we inherent
from our own parents, and once you become aware of what your
child really needs, only then do you have the clarity and power to
choose another option for your family.

Making different choices than the ones your parents made isn't
always easy to do. And making a new choice usually means
"giving something up" in the process.

What do I mean by giving something up?

I mean you may have to give up:

• Being right - I like to be right, but I've learned that "being right" can
sometimes be at the expense of my happiness and good relationships
with those around me.

• Old ideas - I have inherited from my parents, or culture, about parenting.

• Pride - I always want to know best, maybe I have to give up thinking
I know it all in order to open my mind to learning something that could
actually be better for me, and my family.

• Ego - My ego likes to be in control and run the show, maybe I have to
give that up too?

There are many different reasons why change is sometimes
uncomfortable. But the bottom line is that in growth and moving
forward, sometimes the road is bumpy along the way.

Just know that signs of discomfort don't mean you're doing the
wrong thing, on the contrary, they often mean that you're growing!

Let's use another example...

My son is sometimes quite bossy. Just last week he ordered me
to do something. What he said really triggered me and I started to
get furious. I was fuming, thinking;

"Who does he think he is? I'm in charge here!
I need to teach this brat some respect, blah, blah, blah..."

But the truth is that I felt proud and my ego was hurt, so I reacted.

I know if I would have let myself act on these thoughts, it would
have been comfortable. But upon further inspection, I realized that
I wasn't meeting one of my son's needs, so there was no use in reacting.
So I didn't. Believe me, it was hard to bite my tongue but I realized it
was in everyone's best interests not to react with harsh discipline.


Make choices with your children based on the moment, not on the
past. Whether the past is your own childhood, the stress from the past
week at work, or from the past hour of your listening to your child's
constant nagging...

Sometimes in order to find the wherewithal to deal with all the demands
of being a parent and still respond in these new ways with your child, you
may have to take time to reflect about your parenting. And even talk to
a friend (See lesson 5 in Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting
to learn more about this). But it's well worth it.

Try this over the next week...

1. Look at the parenting practices you use which you learned from your
own parents. Things that your parents said or did that you now do or say to
your child.

For example; rules and punishments, soothing methods, and more.

2. Write down all the different ways you do this.

3. After writing them down, reflect on them for a while

4. Then, decide whether or not they are working for you. Consciously choose
for yourself whether or not you want to use these practices with your own child.
If they work and you feel good about them, choose to keep them. But if they aren't
working as well as you like and you don't feel great about them, choose to throw
them away, and replace them with something else.

I hope, over these last 8 weeks you've gained a deeper insight into yourself and
are feeling closer to your child.

Remember, talk is cheap. If you truly want to reap the benefits of this e-report,
try out these alternatives yourself and put the tools into action. If you haven't tried
any of the alternatives yet, then start today. Like we just discussed, humans are
creatures of habit, so if you haven't done anything over the last 7 weeks, now is the
time to start.


Busy Mom Ashley
Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting
An Essential 7 Week Course for Busy Moms!

Alternative to Punishment #7: Self-Reflection

Alternative to Punishment #7: Self-Reflection
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- =-=-=-=-=-=-=


Parenting is a journey of endless learning. Which is why we
created a community for parents who are actively learning to be
better parents: Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting

In order to learn, we need to take a fresh look at many of the outdated
parenting tactics and methods that we may have been raised with or tend
to use more reactionary.

As parents who are learning to raise healthier and happier kids,
we also need to reflect on our actions in order to clearly see the
effectiveness of our own parenting tactics. In order to gain perspective
on how these tactics are affecting our child's emotional, mental and physical
health, for good and bad.

Ask yourself: "Is what I'm doing now based on what is actually
happening in this moment or am I reacting to a memory from
my own childhood; or something that more recently happened?"

Or ask yourself...

"Is it really necessary for me to respond this way?
Will what I'm doing effect my child positively or negatively?"

The aim of this alternative is to first put things in perspective. After all,
we can't expect to make clear and just decisions when we are reacting
impulsively from things that happened to us in our past.

That's why it's critical to take a moment and ask ourselves important clarifying questions.

Let's face it, when we're parenting on auto-pilot (without self-reflection)
we tend to treat our kids the same way we were treated by our own parents.
We often use parenting practices without questioning them.

While these parenting tips and tricks may have been necessary for our parents
to cope with all the demands in their lives, if you're reading this, then you now have
a chance to assess whether or not there may be a healthier way to raise your own child.

Try this Self-Reflection Exercise, and see how it works...

Get a piece of paper and a pen, and, throughout the day, while observing
your interactions with your child, ask yourself these questions, and write
your answers on the paper:

- How did your parents talk to you? Is it how you want to talk with your child?
- Are you doing to your child, what was done to you, out of habit?
- If you're tempted to react or punish, question your motives first, and have a
look at your own childhood.
- Were you punished as a child?
- Did your parents threaten you? make you feel guilty? did they be-little you?
- What did you feel you needed most from your parents that they didn't give
you enough of?
- What did you love most about your parents?
- Can you remember a time that you felt really connected with your mother?
and with your father?
- Was there a game that you played with your parents that you were fond of?
- What kind of physical affection did you receive from your parents?
- What things did your parents do that you don't want to do to your child?
- What things did you learn from your parents that you would like to pass
on to your children?

We can only change things we're aware of.
The first step to become aware of this is to
question what we're doing NOW and get
clarity on our first lessons in parenting from
our own upbringing.

In summary, follow these simple steps:

1. Notice how your parent parented you.
2. Ask yourself if what you say to your child is REALLY coming from you, or
if it's the same things that were told to you as a child.
3. Think about your upbringing and answer the above listed questions.

Just noticing for now is enough. You don't have to take action.

Remember, awareness is the first step. Nothing can be effectively "fixed,"
"changed" or "improved," until you are clear and aware.

Alternative to Punishment #6: Use a Physical Example

Alternative to Punishment #6: Use a Physical Example

Have you noticed small or large changes in your child?

Do they seem to have more respect for you, and in turn behaving

Keep up the good work! And if you haven't started implementing
these tools, get moving! They work! If they didn't we wouldn't
keep using them!

It's also helpful to have other moms practicing the same principles.
So you can invite a friend to send them to
so they can get their own copy of this e-report, free of cost. This
way you can support each other in a new way of being.

Also, don't forget that if you haven't already:

Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting
An Essential 7 Week Course for Busy Moms!
That's the best place to get more information.

On that note, let's get to the next alternative to punishment:

Children learn well with physical examples instead of always using words.
So if your three-year-old is dumping sugar on the table. First, find out
what their legitimate need is by asking a question, then offer an alternative
with words AS WELL AS a physical demonstration.

Here's a real-life example of how we used this once with our son, when
he started dumping sugar on the table...

"Oh, what a great idea, I see that you're interested in the sugar.
Here's some flour that we can use in the sink."

I then scooped up my son and carried him to the sink to continue
with flour. By lifting him lovingly and carrying him to the sink, I am
showing him at the same time as using words.

Another example...

Your child is tracking their muddy boots on the floor. You can assess
the situation and express your feelings about it: "Oh my goodness,
I just cleaned the floor and I don't want mud on it, why don't
we take off your boots together." Then you would warmly scoop
your child into your arms and bring them to the door in your arms.
You can even run quickly, and bounce them on the way, to make it fun.
Then you can take his boots off together. Remember, have fun!


Children learn more with physical actions than with words. So
if you're explaining something to your little one and you can add
action, it will be more effective. Move them from a chair to the
floor, from the playroom to the potty.

Do what you need to do in order to demonstrate what you're talking about.


When your child is doing something you don't want her to do, offer
an alternative, and show her physically.

For example, if your young child is going to pull another child's hair,
you can say something like;

"Mommy doesn't want you to pull on Lindsey's hair because it will
hurt her, you can play with this instead (offering her a toy)".

Alternative to Punishment #5: Express How You Feel - And Offer an Alternative

Alternative to Punishment #5: Express How You Feel - And Offer an Alternative

If you have any questions you can post them
on our popular Facebook Page.

Do you remember the story about when our son was scratching the paint
off the wall with a spoon and instead of reacting I applied the 2nd, 3rd and 4th
alternative to punishment? I evaluated the situation and asked him a question
about what he was doing. He then told me he was taking snow off of his

Well, after he told me that and in order to really engage his cooperation, I used
another communication technique that helps your child develop a healthy
empathy and respect for you. This is "Expressing how you feel."
By doing this, you will teach your child how their are connected to
the whole family's well-being. Which will make them be more considerate.

So the next step is to express how you feel and offer an alternative.

So in this case I said:

"I don't want paint to come off the wall because
then someone will have to repaint it. And I'm
feeling a bit tired when I think about re-painting.

But I have a great idea of something we could do
together that would be the same amount of fun..."

See how I expressed my feelings  without applying
any sense of blame or guilt onto my child for being
responsible for my feelings? It's important that we
don't blame our child, or our child's actions, for
our feelings.

The key is to communicate neutrally about your feelings.

Here's another example...

Your child leaves their clothes on the floor.
Instead of yelling you can offer an explanation such as...

"When you leave your clothes on the floor,
I have to clean them up, and right now I feel
a little tense about the possibility of picking
them up, so could you please pick them up?"

In this example you're actually making a request instead
of offering an alternative.

Making a request allows your child the opportunity to
learn from finding their own suitable win-win alternative.

It's okay to be honest and sincere about your feelings,
but if you have a threatening tone of blame then your
child will respond with fear and be less likely to actually
learn to "think" about their behaviour and their actions.

To understand how this really works,
join our 7 week transformative parenting course:

Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting
An Essential 7 Week Course for Busy Moms!

Here's another example...

Your child is tracking muddy shoes into the house, instead of
yelling at your child or getting upset, you can simply reach
out with your hand and physically stop your child in a loving
and gentle way, while also saying;

"Oh my! It looks like the floor is getting dirty,
let's take off your boots at the door so mommy
doesn't have to mop the floor again. - Thanks sweetie!"

When expressing how you feel you can use 2 types of statements:

1. 'I' Statements:

"I really don't want you to get hurt by walking into
the street, because the cars move very fast and they can hit you."

2. Third-person Statements:

"Mommy doesn't want to spend more time
cleaning tonight, I'd much rather just play with you."

The real key is to make them feel that you're not upset at them.

Rather than reacting to what is happening, express how you feel
and offer an alternative or make a request that allows them the
 to solve the problem by finding their own alternative.

Do your best to keep the conversation neutral and avoid blame.

Sometimes distinguishing between blame and neutral communication
can be a blurry line. So it's best to keep in mind that your child wants
nothing more than to feel connected with you and share in the safe,
connected love that your child yearn from you.

If you tell your child that he or she is hurting you or causing you
to be angry, that's very traumatizing for a child who deeply and
instinctively strives to get his or her mother's approval. Because
they want nothing more than to feel safe and connected with you.

What's a 'Blame Phrase'?

---Blame Phrase:
"When you pinch me it hurts me and makes me feel bad."

:Neutral Communication---
"When you pinched my arm I felt pain because it startled me
and hurt the skin on my arm."

---Blame Phrase:
"I'm so mad when you leave your clothes on the floor."

:Neutral Communication---
"When I see your clothes on the floor it brings up strong
emotions for me."

---Blame Phrase:
"You're a bad boy when you push your brother."

:Neutral Communication---
"When you push your brother it can hurt him, we don't push
each other here, please don't do that Sweetie."

Your child needs to know that feelings are okay. By teaching your
child that they can express their feelings appropriately — then they can
develop the skill of resolving all kinds of problems that come up in life.
Allowing them to problem solve with advanced social skills.

Children do not need to take on the reactive emotions of adults,
but they often do because of our lack of attention to their true needs.

Children need to feel safe to explore and learn about their world,
through play and other activities. This is how they learn about themselves,
and how they belong as a part of the whole.

By giving them the freedom and safety to explore their own potential
in ways that benefit the whole family, you teach them how it can be
more fun to cooperate and work with you instead of against you.

Offering a neutral explanation about how their behaviour or actions are
affecting you is a form of respect and a form of education.
This helps give your child more information about life, by showing them
how their actions are connected to you, the family, the home, the community,
the environment, and the world.

Using Neutral Communication is a good way to demonstrate to your child
how to express feelings intelligently, instead of repressing them, only to have
them blow up later.

What if you're really upset?

Usually if you find yourself reacting strongly to something your child does
or says. It may be because you're child is acting out. But, recognize also
that the main reason you're unable to practice non-reaction is because
of other stresses in your life, or day, or just from pure exhaustion from
a lack of support.

When you don't find yourself able to practice non-reaction,
then just be authentic, and say something like;

"Honey, mommy is really upset right now,
it's not your fault and I'm not upset at you,
but I'm feeling angry because of something else."

Be authentic about your feelings instead of taking it out on your child,
or pretending everything is fine when you don't feel that way.

But Wait...

Once you've expressed your feelings, offered an alternative, or
made a request, please don't expect your child to instantly do
what you requested, or go along with an alternative you offer...

Sometimes they will, and sometimes they won't.

Because we respect our son, he's usually very cooperative and
genuinely helpful , but he doesn't do EVERYTHING I ask. And I
wouldn't want him to. Most children who are ultra-obedient are
usually motivated by fear of punishment and consequently often
develop low self-esteem and approval issues (which make them
vulnerable to peer pressure)..

Children who are dominated by their parents through punishments,
rewards and threats have less capacity for creative problem solving.
Because instead of learning how they can think of ways to play and
explore that are in harmony with the world around them, they are
"forced" into doing things just because the authority "says so".

That's why there are so many peer pressure issues with teens and
youth. Teens who have low self-esteem usually weren't allowed to
safely and freely express and assert themselves while growing up.
Instead they were always told what to do and how to do it.

Children who aren't allowed to say "no" to their parents, will more
likely succumb to peer pressure as teenagers, and allow themselves
to be dominated and manipulated as adults.

While children must be allowed to freely say "no", there are sometimes
certain rules that they simply must follow — and that's where you want
to set a limit. See lesson 3 of Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting

The key is in choosing your battles...

Don't get into a power struggle with your child. This just sets you up
for defiance and rebellion. It's much better to work WITH your child
to help them go along with a better course of action than to do something
that causes you stress, like a mess.

And above all ...

Let your child know that "you love them no matter what."
They need to know that they don't have to agree with you in order for
you to love them.

I play a game with my son which he loves... I say silly things to
him and also throw in more serious topics.

For example I will say "I love you even if you ate a moldy apple."
He laughs. "I love you even if you have a bath in the sprinkler."
"I love you even when you are angry."
"I love you even when you are sad."

He always wants to play this game because it addresses important
subjects but in a fun way. And allows him to to relax any tension
with Natural Giggles, which is explained in detail in lesson 4 of
Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting 7 Week E-Course.

Wouldn't it be nice to know that someone loves you no matter what?
No matter what you did, they still care and are there for you. This is
important and critical for healthy self-esteem. If your child feels accepted
in who he in his family, he'll be less likely to seek that acceptance from
peer pressure groups.

Try this the next time your child does something that's less than desirable...

1. First, tell them how you feel in an appropriate way.
2. Use "'I' Statements"
3. Make your feelings simple, and don't bring adult topics into the
conversation. Keep it child friendly
4. Offer an alternative or make your request.

As an example...

"Mommy is making dinner for you and Daddy,
so she doesn't feel like she has the time to vacuum
sand off the carpet, maybe we could play outside instead."


"I have a sore foot and won't be able to play soccer; I hurt it
last week at the pool. How about we go to Jim's house instead,
maybe he will want to play."

Another example...

"I feel uneasy inside when you pull the dog's ear like that,
I think it may hurt him. What do you think?"

Carefully notice how your child acts differently when you respond
instead of punishing. You will be pleasantly surprised.


As you've discovered, the first alternative is to prevent the
"misbehavior" all together. The other alternative is to take a moment
and evaluate the situation. Asking a question, in order to understand
your child will allow you to effectively express how you feel then offer
a solution or make a request.