If Mondays aren't hard enough, today is a Monday AND it is the day after a holiday! Double Whammy!
Even if your holiday was wonderful and even if your weekend was wonderful and especially when your weekend wasn't wonderful, transitioning back into the pressures of the week can be hard on all of us - especially our kiddos! After a few days out of the routine, it can feel jarring and overwhelming to jump back into the regular routine. If you stay home with your kids full time, Mondays can feel easier, or not, depending on what your days are like.
In creating smoother transitions, there seems to be a common point among families: the importance of intentionally parenting your child. If you are aware of the fact that schedule, triggers and deficit pose a particular success challenge, and why, you can take steps to improve them. What triggers your child? How can you meet YOUR child right where he is at? Pay attention to your WHOLE child.
1. Our children learn to trust by experiencing the fact that the same thing will happen over and over in the same way, without fail. The ins and outs of a constantly changing schedule wreaks havoc with this basic trust building our children work on for many years. As Intentional Parents, we can make choices to create a schedule that stays mostly predictable and one that is based on our child's abilities not necessarily our desires - then he will be successful.
2. Keeping something(s) predictable on the weekends is highly effective in helping your child be successful. For example, the time you eat, your morning and/or bed time routine, or the emotional and physical boundaries you hold for your child. To battle possible triggers and increased anxiety, it is important that our children don't misinterpret the transition into or out of the weekend as us unplugging from them.
3. Just as we will be more successful in life if we know ourselves and how we deal in situations, we must also know our whole child so that we can help create moments in which they will succeed and not fail. Understand that losing your primary attachment figure has life-changing impacts on an individual and results in deficits in the areas of trust, memory, cause and effect thinking, reading your non-verbal cues, understanding nuances, abstract thinking, feeling safe, applying yesterday to today, and SO much more. Having clarity on what is deficit vs. defiance allows you to meet your child right where he is at...there is where he can be the most successful!
The reality is, transitions are hard for all of us and can be really challenging for our children. Intentionally meeting them right where they are at is the key to helping them be as successful as possible. When they are successful, healing happens and our entire family is better for it!
Have you ever looked at another family and thought, "Wow, how do they do it? They are the PERFECT family"?
What if I told you there is no such thing as the perfect family? Every family has their STUFF. Whether they let the world in on it or not, they have their struggles and challenges just like the rest of us. Fear of being judged, lack of support or a high tolerance for deviant behavior may be the reason the perfect families in our midst are not asking for help or sharing their struggles and that is okay, but it is time we talk about it. Honestly, I get really ticked when parents are NOT REAL about the ups and downs of their lives - they are really doing a disservice to their children, to themselves as parents, much less the community at large. Get real...family is messy, raising children is messy, raising hurt children is REALLY messy and getting through life is MESSY!
There is no way our children could ever feel like they are good enough if we are looking to be the perfect family. When we stay stuck in this kind of thinking, we create expectations that include having a perfect child. (Well now that is a set up if I've ever heard one.) We compare and question...why is my child still doing that? When will my child change? The quality of our life cannot be dependent on our children being perfect (or anything near); that just isn't fair! Our call is to meet them right where THEY are at. To teach them they are good enough. To hold them accountable. To keep them safe and healthy. To remind them over and over again that we will be there for them NO MATTER WHAT and for as LONG as it takes!
What an exhausting nightmare it must be to have to be the perfect parent. Seriously. It must be a lonely place. Never able to let your guard down, vent to a friend, or just break down and cry. Not able to ask for support. Never knowing that you are not alone - that other families are sharing the same path. Ugh...it makes me tired just thinking about it. I have to tell you...being perfect won't make your child love you any more. It wont help them heal any faster. As a matter of fact, it might be the opposite...what if they don't feel like they measure up? What if some day they just stop trying? Be Real...surround yourselves with others that get it. Use tools and techniques that work for YOUR child. Open yourself to being honest about the hard stuff.
As a parent who is not perfect - not anywhere near -I want to share a few secrets with you. It is okay to wonder if you are the right person for the job some days. What if I told you that in adoptive and foster families it is common for parents to admit to having a hard time liking their child. Feeling stuck or in a bind as a parent is not an uncommon feeling. Worrying about your child's future is shared by many. Not knowing what to do in the moment is happening to millions of parents at any given moment. You are not alone! You don't have to pretend that everything is great all of the time...you can just BE REAL!
Here's the thing...our world will never be able to support any of us (our children or us parents) if the story isn't consistent. How do we expect others (family, friends, teachers, doctors, etc) to get it if one family is FINE while another in the same situation is NOT? When we are all honest about the struggle, share what IS working and hold each other up, we empower others to support our work. Whether they live it or not, they will see the truth!
We have to BE REAL, life is messy and it is okay to need help and support, and it is REALLY OKAY to not be perfect!
A day in the life of a parent can be SO crazy! Demands come from every direction; work, school, relatives, home maintenance, keeping your car up and running (much less clean and smelling good), along with getting our kids where they need to be, feeding them right and hopefully teaching them to be good people. When all that is said and done there is still one more person to take care of...YOU!
It is so important to be as kind to yourself as you are to others. Give yourself time and patience. Tell yourself the truths about you - not always the inaccurate messages you get from the world. Find the good about YOU and celebrate it. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. Remind yourself that you are enough and deserve the best!
That's it...I just wanted to take a minute today to be sure that you add YOU to your list! You deserve a dash of kindness everyday...you are doing great!
Our world is full of immediate gratification. We have fast food, fast coffee and immediate books on our devices. Heck, we can even start our car from inside a building. We can ask Siri and she can give us any answer; we don't even need to use the internet anymore. Oh and speaking of the internet, we can look up anything we want, buy anything we want, whenever we want - day or night.
We have been conditioned to think everything can be achieved instantly; so much so, that parents even think their hurt child should be bonded within weeks or months of joining their family. They think their child's hurtful behaviors and words should stop, they should just curl up in their beds and drift off to sleep peacefully, and that they should understand the rules of the house and the consequences of not following them within a short period of time - like a few months.
I think of what happened to hurting children like remodeling a home. We re-did the entire main level of our home recently. It involved tearing off wall paper, mudding and sanding, ripping up floors, pulling down cabinets, and lots more. I have to say the deconstruction was quick and really not that difficult (many hands make light work). However, the rebuilding process took a LONG time. It was detailed, involved, time-consuming, and very stressful.
For some children, the tearing down process didn’t take long; even infants are greatly affected in a short amount of time by neglect, abuse, and trauma. Children are even affected in-utero by what the birth mother does or doesn’t do. Just as a house demolition doesn’t take long, neither did it take long for our children to be broken down. And, just as the building up process takes a long time when creating a new structure, so does the building up of our children. It takes work, intentional parenting, compassion, understanding and a "No Matter What and for as long as it takes" attitude.
None of us want to face a battle and know it won’t end tomorrow. I find it helpful to consider your whole child - their history, culture, deficits, and losses. Their trauma affected them beyond what we can see. So, we are called to see the good in each day, seek guidance and support so we can continue to move forward and hang onto HOPE so that we can stay in it for as long as it takes.
You can do this!
Remember, you are not alone.
I came upon a concept recently that has really challenged me yet added to my quality of life - isn't that just the way it goes the hardest things we do make the most difference! Anyway, the concept is to Communicate Bravely. Even the words are beautiful. I have to say most of us would say we are pretty good at communicating, but it is the BRAVELY part that may be the challenge.
I don't think communicating bravely means saying all those nasty, hurtful things you always think. Instead, I think it challenges us to speak from our heart and not have fear about whether what WE say is valid or not. Most of us don't communicate our true needs and desires and in doing so we devalue ourselves.
Instead of assuming others don't care or they don't get you, ask yourself whether you have really communicated with them about what you need. The reality is that communicating bravely allows others the opportunity to honor you and to meet you right where you are at - which is a great foundation for a healthy relationship. By the same token, when you use this technique you can encourage others to do the same so that you might have the chance to really honor them as well...what a refreshing way to relate to one another. No guessing. No misinterpretations or misunderstandings. No one feeling alone!
To communicate bravely doesn't mean to blame or be blamed, to demand or be demanded, to be selfish or selfess or to speak and not listen. It IS deeply rooted in your belief that you MATTER! That your goals and your dreams are valuable. You are meant to do great things and when you communicate that to others through brave actions and words, you will receive a leg-up and you will inspire the same in them!
Let the concept roll around in your head for a bit. Pick apart your belief about yourself and what you really communicate to others. Do you communicate your deepest needs and desires or just the ones you think others would consider acceptable? Do you settle or put yourself second...or third, or fourth? Are you pursuing all that you are meant to be or letting those things you need help with stop you? Now just start small...go past just communicating, be BRAVE and ask for what you need. Go after your dreams. Ultimately, you will be better in every relationship because you will feel fulfilled and valued. Communicate Bravely!
Remember…you are NOT alone!
Stacy Manning .