Parenting Principles

December 10th, 2009 by S F

To help M’s self image, self worth, self esteem.

For her to feel good about herself as a person

To be physically fit, to understand the value of excersize, to have excersize as part of her life,  this will help with self confidence, body image and self worth. I want to do a lot of role modelling here.

To learn good eating habits, and to understand food. This will help to understand that your body is important, and to be looked after.

To help make M learn to make good  choices, to learn about consequences, and develop her own wisdom.\

I want to help M understand relationships and family. And have that form a good part of her life. Relationships with relatives and family is a controlled safe environment to learn how to interact.

I understand 0-2 is a lot about learning to trust. To trust the people around you will take care of you. To trust the world is a good place.

Its from 2-6 that this self image is mostly built. So the focus needs to be now, to help M grow into the best person she can.

Especially as they head to school, the influences are much heavier, peer pressure/bullying all come up. Issues of fashion and trends etc. So we need a strong base to start to work on these.

By the time she is a teenager, its really too hard for a parent to help mould their child, as other influences become more dominant.

I want to help M build her skills with emotions and communication. I want M to feel I am available to her, to talk, and discuss what she is going through.

A lot of parenting is focussed on the right foundation, so she makes her own right choices for herself. As opposed to making them because that’s what her parents told her. When she becomes a teenager, she will start making her own choices. I need to innoculate her against poor choices, and the evils of the word before she is a teenager. She needs to respect her mind/body/herself enough to choose for herself on things life friends, lifestyle, drugs, etc.She needs to believe in the good things in life, and that she is deserving. When poor choices are presented, her good self needs to assert itself, understand there is a choice, and make the choice that best fits her self.

I want to have strict rules, this protect kids, and makes them feel safe and loved. At the same time, I want M to enjoy choices and freedom within those bounds.

I need to continue to develop the PPP concept of quality time, being small burst of attention when M requests it. And then allow her to let my attention go. But so she knows she can get it when she needs.

I want to be available , approachable, and understanding. I want to employ active listening. This all leads to a relationship where I can share and engage with M when she needs me in her life.

I want to end up ‘on the right side’ of every issue. This means I wont have any overly strong messages, and that she can always come talk to me, even about the worst things.

Building up a body of family values and traditions. This helps a lot with a feeling of a place in life, and connectdeness, and continuity.

PPP outcomes and learnings

December 10th, 2009 by S F

I just concluded my PPP aka triplep course.

The most prominent things I learned included:

- not to focus on the child as wrong/bad, but their actions. So the message is ‘i love you, but you just did a bad thing, you shouldnt do that thing’

- the use of logical consequences, swift, direct, consistent

- if the child is acting wrongly, look first at the parenting, not the child for solutions

- flexibility in thinking. alternative strategies. avoiding and planning for high risk situations.

- focus on rewarding the positive. This was difficult to grasp at first, but I get it now.

Positive Rewards

Say your child is getting upset, and hitting back at the other child.

You can off course punish them everytime it happens. But that is only a partial solution. And the child will need to learn themselves what to do.

The better solution is active listening, and find out why the hitting is occurring. Understand the emotion behind it. And give your child an  alternative strategy when they feel that emotion. Like walk away, telling the other child they don’t like that, telling their parents, getting another toy, deep breathing, etc etc. And when you see that alternative behaviour, reward that achievement.

effects of post natal depression on the baby

December 4th, 2009 by S F

I am just watching a program on ABC “Help Me Lover My Baby”.

Its about a mum with post natal depression. I thought post natal depression was only about the mum, and perhaps the dad trying to support the mum.

But this program shows how much the baby needs the mum’s appropriate interaction. The baby needs the smiles. The mum in the program was ill with post natal depression early on, so the baby looks away from her mum. And the mother has trouble comforting the baby. They said the baby is really good at picking up on emotion queues – the baby in the show looks about 6-9 months old.

This really scares and upsets me. As I am pretty my daughter’s mother had post natal depression. Iwas always the one that went and helped M at night. The mother’s only way to comfort M was breast feeding. M just wants smiles, and being held close, and physical comfort and safety. Breast feeding isn’t really an appropriate response.

I am even more upset thinking about how formative the first 2 years of a babies life is, and how much the mother restricted me seeing M, and how artificial the environment was. M really needed me in those first 2 years, and I wasn’t there for her. I am so sorry M, I know I can never make it up to you, I know I can probably never fix it for you. All I can do is really really focus on being a support for you, helping you develop a feeling of being safe and supported. The time I do have with you we really need to help you to bond better with me.

It was really important that I balance the time with the mother, to help support M and her development, her feeling of comfort and safety. Even more important if the mother wasn’t providing the right queues and emotional support.

M already shows some signs of being insecure, and unsure. One of the words she knows is scared. I have encouraged her to talk to me about when she is scared, so that is working well. But there is no real reason 2 year old should be able to know fear.

I’ll make sure you never see anger on my face, or in my voice.

I am going to make sure I protect you, both physically and emotionally.

They finished saying the relationship with her mum, will help her the baby lay down an emotional blueprint. I want to help M with that emotional blueprint. I simply need more than a fleeting hour of time with her twice a week.

tried some of the love and logic magic today

November 24th, 2009 by S F

It worked better than expected.

I gave M the choice of cups, organge or blue, and she dithered, eventually choosing blue.

I gave her a choice of chicken or sausages for lunch whilst in coles. I used the packet of chicken legs and packet of sausages. And M got upset, and choice neither. I said ‘Uh Oh, that’s sad, Daddy will choose sausages’. She complained, and sooked, and we just walked away together holding the basket.

I showed M the slightly low fruit bowl, it has 1 peach and 1 apples, and no bananas. She quickly worked out there wasn’t any bananas, and we headed of to coles.

M and I cooked the snags on the bbq, she loves to be held up, and look and talk about the snags cooking.

Funny thing though, she wouldn’t eat the snag. So I said ‘Oh oh, that’s sad, the sausage is going away’. And I put it on the bench out of site. I continued to eat mine, and she asked for it back. Cool …. I gave it back, and she ate the whole thing. Ask for a banana, played with it, and didn’t eat any. I said ‘oh oo, that’s sad, the banana is goign away’, and it went to the bench and back in no time, and she ate most of a HUGE banana.

I gave her other choices, when playing, where to stick the photo on the fridge (but I always gave her that choice).

I even remembered to comment on that she likes drawing, and there was something else (I can’t remember just now).

I also used some of the PPP quality time, 30 second stuff. When M came to me a few times, I stopped what I was doing, and attended to her instantly, she seemed happy, and went on to play.

Noticing without judging

November 23rd, 2009 by S F

This was an interesting thing (chapter 3)

Notice some of the things your child really likes, and no ‘that’s great’ on the end.

“wow, I noticed you really like to eat chicken legs.”

“I noticed you really like drawing.”

Its simple, even though I notice all these things, and perhaps I talk about them to the parents around, I don’t generally say it to M. I’ll try to start that tomorrow.

I am also going to try to start some choices tomorrow. Perhaps sausages or chicken. Or blue cup or green cup.

Trust Cycle

November 23rd, 2009 by S F

Chapter 3 talks about the trust cycle.

Its about meeting kids basic needs in their first 2 years, feeding, changing nappy, cuddling, smiling, holding etc.

When they get these things, they feel good about themselves, and the people around them. They learn they are good, the people around them are good, and the world is good. They learn to trust their carers, people and the world.

I guess my daughter is at the edge of this. I hope her mother and I did a good job of this. I really only had 9 months to help my daughter like that. But my memory of it was I was always right onto things. I changed her every morning. I got up to her every night if she cried. I talked to her, cuddled her, tickled her. I really love her.

Love and Logic Magic

November 22nd, 2009 by S F

Just sarted reading ‘Love and Logic Magic’ by Fay and Fay.

Its it a fascinating, engaging and insightful read. The forward even says its written to be fun to read, and it really is a joy.

It focusses in on the concept of self, and trying to help develop your child’s concept of self.

We are trying to invest in M’s self. We want to make small deposits everyday for her self.

Scalding, or degrading comments, or raised voices close down your child, so they can’t learn and don’t listen, as its all about the anger. We can’t really you this approach to help M.

We want to maintain the firm limits, and reinforce them, without raised voices.

The idea is to give choices, and control over to M when we can. This builds self for M. ‘Do you want bannana or no bannana ?’, ‘do you want a hug, or no hug ?’, ‘do you want to play with your doll or read a book?’. Lot’s of choices that give control over, in situations that don’t overly effect me.

When occasionally we need control back, we make a ‘withdrawal’ from our investment and say, ‘you have had a lots of choices today, not its my turn, its time for bed.’.

The other concept is learning. Let them  make the mistakes, and learn. Don’t save M all the time. If she makes small mistakes now, and can learn from them, its great at building self and wisdom.

The book says on page 20, that this image of self is mostly built before they are 6. So its NOW that is important to M that I help her, not in 5 years, its NOW, between 2 & 6. Page 20 talks about the evils of the world, and how to help protect teenagers (drugs, alcohol, sex ). It isn’t strict rules, it building up their self early on, so they can make their own good choices. I am there, I am all for building up a foundation of values and self. M needs to love herself, he health, her body, her mind. She needs to believe in the good things in life, and that she is deserving. When poor choices are presented, her good self needs to assert itself, understand there is a choice, and make the choice that best fits her self.

Its NOW that I help her to inoculate against the harsh realities and poor choices in life.

A few summary boxes from Chapter 1:

Build High Self

* empathy, understanding, and unconditional love
* allow M to struggle, and make her own decisions
* encourage M to learn to succeed through personal thinking and learning

Share the Control

* small deposits, many times a day

Empathy and consequences

* relate to M with empathy
* let M learn through consequences

Share the thinking

Four Powerful Actions

1. raise M to feel good about herself
2. develop a strong bond of love and trust
3. allow M to make plenty of mistakes and learn from them
4. give M plenty of practice thinking and solving problems.

Just finished reading Dad’s place – a new guide for Fathers after Divorce

November 22nd, 2009 by S F

Its by Jill Burret.

Its a little fatalistic in terms of a father’s role after divorce. Saying the mother is bringing up the child, and giving the values and lessons. And the father is more of a taker, and has little influence.

I think in some regards its reality. I has good ideas about adjusting to that reality. Not trying to change the mother’s mind on topics. Not even trying to make your point, as it wont be listened too.

It focusses a lot on what your motives really are.

It also focusses a lot on the kids, and not putting them in the middle. It has a interesting chapter about not jumping to conclusions about what kids say. Like ‘the new boy friend is mean’ – can really mean a lot of things. Questions the kids isnt going to help. It could be the kids testing your integrity. Even if you say something to the mother, its not going to be acted on. The answer the book proposes is to just listen, and try to pick up on future clues.

The book isn’t clued into the possibility of 50/50 time. So I am not quite so sure of the need to be fatalistic. I am still confident of the court’s support of 50/50 time. But this gives me a livable solution if 50/50 time isn’t granted.

Muddling through feelings and things

November 2nd, 2009 by S F

I just bought a gift set for M (my 2 yr old daughter).

It by Tracey Moroney, it has 4 books and a CD of stories and songs. The books are ‘When I’m Feeling … ” jealous, loved, kind, Angry.

I want to get books that help M to learn about herself, and others around her. It’s easier to buy wiggles books, but they don’t teach as much. Sure the wiggles promote good eating.

But teaching about communication, and how to understand your feelings, and how to communicate them, and how to interact with others around you, now that is the stuff of life.

I went past ‘constant reader’ book shop on the way back from the bank. It’s a lovely shop, with a ‘Kids Corner’. I saw the box set of ‘winnie the pooh’ – and it brought me to tears. I dont think I had this box set, but it seemed sweet, and I could imagine M liking the box, the books, and the stories. I could imagine sitting with her and just taking out a pooh bear book to read.

I saw another ‘dad’ book, it was lovely. It was ‘I spy my dad’ or something similar. I can see a dad mowing, etc etc, and I wonder if I can spy a dad specially for me ….. that really tugged at the heart strings. I miss my daughter and step son ssssooo much ….. I wonder if they miss me ?

I saw a nice little miffy book, she looks at a tree, a beehive, and a house. I guess its developmental helping to talk about the pictures etc.

Hooray its my daughter’s 2nd birthday today

October 24th, 2009 by S F

We didn’t really celebrate as such, but we had a nice 2 hours together.

It was one of the best visits yet. M ate well. She played with lots of things, including toys in and out of her new toy box.

Nana skyped us video style. M was a busy bee showing Nana toys. And M got out her bear book to read to Nana (its the only book she seems to enjoy). Nana had a few toys. Its good to have a hip nana that can video skype.

She practiced a bit laying down in her bed. She was so cute, and asked to take her shoes and sox off. Layed down for about 3 seconds, and asked to get up. I wasnt acutally putting her to sleep, but it was good practice for a few weeks time when I move to 4 hours contact.

We glued up a few more photos onto the fridge. This is a blast, M loves looking at the photos on the floor, and pointing to people. She looks for the E photos, she must really love her big brother. Then she points to different photos on the fridge.

M did a drawing and said there was to ‘nanas’ (banana’s). We pretend to eat the bananas, she thought that was hilarious. She actually knows most colours now, so her Mum must be working on that, great work mum.  Then M asked ‘wall ?’ – so we put it on the wall. She has 2 other paintings on the wall, and loves to show visitors both her paintings. If your about to have kids, dont buy paintings to decorate your place, your kids will make plenty.

M sat on me to read a fire engine book. Its a rather odd book, lots of flames, and you seeing the water going onto the fire. But there is no page that shows the fire is out. odd !!

She ate her head off with water melon. Oh does she love that sweet waterynous ? I took quite a few snaps of her eating water melon, and pointing at the photos on the fridge. And a few snaps of her drawing.

No tantrums, no playing up. I said once in the car to ‘not hit the car with stick’. I was even toned and quiet. Didn’t make it a question or request. Made no room for it being misunderstood as a request or a game. I did have to ask twice, but that is her job, to test boundaries, and my job to set them firmly and fairly.

I am organising a party for her in a few weeks, when we have 4 hours. I have pooh bear, plates, cups, hats, horns and invites. I am going to ask on the invite for for 1-2 6″x4″ photos for our fridge.