Do you ever feel like you say the same thing over and over to your kids? Do things come out of your mouth that your mom said to you? If so, you should enjoy this. Happy Friday!!!
Motherhood. What does that word really mean? According to the dictionary, it has several meanings:
Blah, blah, blah. I don't think whoever wrote this definition was a mother. Qualities or spirit of a mother? Well for most of us, that would depend on the day, week, month, etc. I was talking with an overwhelmed mom today about motherhood prompting this post.
I remember as a young social work student learning about role theory. Being newly married and without kids, I though "Huh, more gobbledygook. Whatever." I didn't get it then, but boy do I get it now. I understand how all the different roles that we have in life are intertwined and how quickly problems in one area can start affecting the other. Consider for a moment all the different roles that you have in your life. Here are some examples:
The list could go on and on. Is it any wonder that we feel so overwhelmed?!! Now granted, we had many of these roles before we got married and had kids, however, all of that was on a much smaller scale. There are other people that are affected directly by the decisions and way that we handle these different roles. A modern day mother is the CEO of the household which is no small feat considering all that the people in our organization are not motivated by a paycheck to perform well.
Take another look at that list for a moment. Maybe some of you have noticed that the list is incomplete? What could missing...hmmmm.
I'm gonna give you a second to ponder that one...
Still not sure? Keep thinking...
Okay, okay, how about ME! Is there any reason that this should not be on the list as well? I don't think that it was a coincidence that as I was typing this list that "me" never popped into my head. It was an afterthought. Isn't that sad? You all know that it is true. We regularly put ourselves last on the list and when we do put ourselves first, we often feel guilty!
I often tell parents that we must nurture ourselves in order to nurture our children. We can't give what we don't have, so if our emotional well is dry how can we interact in the truly loving and caring ways that we desire? Care for the caretaker is a must. We must be good role models about taking care of ourselves, handling stress and having appropriate boundaries (e.g., saying no to those things that we really don't want to do, turning down invites when you really just feel like a quiet evening at home, etc.). Don't we all want our kids to grow up with these skills?!
Of course, doing this is easier said than done. Are you feeling lost in the shuffle? Not sure? Here's a challenge for you:
We'll talk next time about the results of this little exercise and how to get our priorities back in a healthy balance :)
Dear Mentor Mom,
I have a huge problem. My son gets into trouble at school. When a teacher tells him to do something, he will turn around and do the exact opposite as what the teacher requests. The teacher punishes him at school and I normally just talk to him at home. I don't really punish him nor do I reward him because here is how I see the situation -- my child is under the care of a babysitter and he bites her, she in returns bites him back. Then she brings the child back to me am I supposed to bite him too since he bit the babysitter? I just need to know if I should engage in double punishment or if it is even appropriate. Thank you. Jill
Yikes! Problems at school are difficult for all involved, i.e., parents, student and teacher. I would have to agree with you in this situation. If a child is acting out at school and the school is providing a natural consequence for the behavior, e.g., extra work, detention, etc., I would not give any additional punishments at home. It is most beneficial if the child understands that his behavior at school affects HIM and those in his classroom making that the most effective place for discipline to take place. As a parent, you can and should express that while it is disappointing to hear that he is making poor choices at school, you respect the fact that it is up to him to decide how easy or hard he wants to make his life.
I remember when my son was in third grade and he was getting a bit lazy about turning in his homework. It was distressing to us because of course we wanted him to do well at school. Rather than hounding and reminding him to take care of it (which by the way did NOT work), we took a more laid back approach, collaborated with the teacher and made sure he experienced some natural consequences at school, e.g., no free play, having to turn it in along with another nights assignment the following day, etc. When he got upset or complained, we would use some of those Love and Logic one liners like "How sad for you. Just so you know we are going to love you no matter how many times you go through the third grade." When he figured out that it was his problem to solve, he modified his behavior. Getting homework done hasn't been an issue since.
Okay, having said all that about natural consequences, I have a few thoughts additional thoughts about your situation. Lets talk a bit more about what is going on in the classroom. I would suggest working closely with the teacher to try to figure out the root of the behaviors. There are a number of factors that can lead to disruptive behaviors:
Working for a school system, I know how overwhelming behavioral problems can be for teachers. It is easy to begin focusing on the behavior rather than the child. For example, I have worked with many young children in our preschool program who have difficulty sitting still, short attention spans, etc. These kids need to be moving more frequently than the others. The teachers knowing and respecting this have EVERYONE stand up and move around when these kids start to get the wiggles. I've known wonderful teachers as well who have made these students their helpers, e.g., passing out papers, putting things in mailboxes, etc. While negative behaviors must be dealt with, parents, teachers and caretakers must challenge themselves to try to see if there is a way to put a more positive spin on the situation rather than always being punitive.
Communication and a collaborative spirit are key in these types of situations. Set up a meeting with the teacher if you have not already done so to discuss a plan of action. Let them know that you want to be a support in this process and that you both have the same goal -- a happy, healthy child with a thirst for knowledge that enjoys school.
I hope this is helpful, Jill! Thank you so much for the question and for being a Mentor Mom reader.
I am doing research for my cousin and her son who is 15 months old. I am trying to rule out the possibility of him having some disabilities. What are the signs for sensory integration disorder? He does not have good control of his head, doesn't talk, walk and does not have any balance. He can hold his drinks, crawl... Hope to hear from you.
How wonderful that you are checking into this for your cousin! If I am understanding correctly, it sounds like your cousin's 15-month-old is not yet walking or talking and has difficulty with balance, but is able to crawl and hold a cup. Is this correct?
You requested information on SID or Sensory Integration Disorder. Here are some of the symptoms of SID:
(Source: Sensory Integration International)
Whenever I get questions or request from readers, I try to answer them as if I were in that person's shoes knowing what I know. Having said that, if I were in your cousin's shoes, I would discuss my concerns with his pediatrician. If the pediatrician said not to worry but I was still concerned (which unfortunately happens occasionally), I would contact my local early intervention agency and request a developmental assessment.
Given the limited amount of developmental information you have shared regarding your cousin's child, it is hard to say where he is developmentally. If you or your cousin want more information on her child's current level of functioning, you can check out this developmental checklist from www.sensory-processing-disorder.com
As an Early Childhood Interventionist, I truly believe it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to possible developmental delays. An assessment by an early intervention team can adequately determine if her child has any developmental delays. It could be that he is just fine and wouldn't it be great for her to hear this if this is the case! Worst case scenario would be that he does have some delays, however, wouldn't it be better to know and get the necessary services to help him catch up?
Either way, I hope that I have answered your question. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions and thanks for being a Mentor Mom reader!
Today's post is about a new and alarming disorder that affects hundreds of thousands of children across the country -- icantfindititis or ICFI. This unfortunate affliction interferes with a child's ability to adequately search and find items on request, e.g., backpacks, shoes, milk, etc. Although there have been few studies on this disorder, it appears to be genetic and is most prominent in males.
Perhaps you have a child, friend or family member who suffers from icantfindititis? Here are some signs and symptoms:
Individuals with icantfindititis often become dependent on others. They are sometimes enabled by well intentioned, albeit highly frustrated, loved ones who are tricked into feeling that it would be easier for them to find said object rather than having to endure any more the aforementioned undesirable symptoms.
So what can the loved ones of those who suffer from this affliction do? There are a few known interventions that can help to diminish the symptomatology. Please be aware that these strategies require strength, determination and much patience on the part of the caretaker:
The power in this approach is that the child learns over time that he will have to find the object on his own so it is in his best interest to invest more energy and visual skills in the search. A valuable lesson to learn early on.
Another approach that has been used with some success is to accompany the child back to the location where the item is located. This needs to be done EVERY time so the child learns that no matter what, THEY are going to have to find the object with or without their parent and that it would be in their best interest to find it on their own rather than to waste valuable time which could be used say playing Bionicles instead.
Unfortunately, until some large pharmaceutical company develops another unnecessary pill (don't laugh -- I bet there is someone in a white lab coat somewhere watching rats who can't find their favorite toy), the only interventions are behavioral and require a great deal of effort and energy on the part of the parent.
Do you know someone suffering from ICFI? If so, what symptoms have you observed and better yet, do you found any successful treatment? Please share any tips, suggestions or stories!
As a kid, I remember fondly watching television together as a family. Favorite shows included Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, etc. Now mind you, we didn't watch TONS of television. My parents usually watched the news and then the TV was turned off until the good stuff came on, you know, Welcome Back Kotter, Joni Loves Chachi, etc. (Am I aging myself?!).
What I don't remember are commercials about sexual enhancement drugs, scantily clad people modeling skimpy underwear, movie trailers designed to scare the bejesus out of you and people rubbing, sucking and humping each other sucking faces. I'll be honest, I never really noticed this stuff before. But then we had kids. Even after having our son, we remained oblivious to the crap on television until he got to be around the age of two. That's when we noticed him glancing at the TV amidst bouts of play. We started noticing what was catching his attention, e.g., music, bright images, etc. It was then that we started noticing the deterioration of family friendly television.
Lest any of you think that I am a prude, I am not. If you were to see me on a Friday out with the girls, you would see that I can cuss and get down and dirty with the best of them (and with my friends, that is saying a lot). As a parent, it is my job to make sure that what my children watch is appropriate. That can be tough in this day and age!
Oh and lest we forget about the V Chip. Great idea, but when are they going to rate commercials? I want a V Chip that blocks sexual or violent ads? I would be all over that one! But if we as parents and consumers were able to block these type of ads, how would networks pay for programming. Hmmmm...not my problem.
Let's not even get started on the programming between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Crap, crap, crap and more crap. I'm sorry, but my family doesn't enjoy watching game shows. We detest reality TV as well. That pretty much leaves a whole lot of nothing except for sitcoms that have run their course or that show unhealthy family relationships.
So where am I going with all this? Well, I just read about a study by Parents Television Council. They studied broadcast programming during three separate two week periods on six major broadcast networks including the big three. What did they find? Instances of violence are up 52.4% during the family hour since their last study in 2001. Instances of sexual content have increased 22.1%
Some of you out there may be saying "What's the big deal?" Besides the fact that kids are watching way too much television nowadays, there has been some interesting research on the effects of modern television programming. Check out this link that gives a concise overview of some of the most recent research.
Okay, okay, it's time for me to get down off my soapbox. If you are interested in the current study, you can check out the full story here. So what do you think about the state of modern television programming? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Post your comments below.
Autumn. The turning of the leaves. The briskness in the air. Carving pumpkins and fresh apple pie. Most of us traditionally think of New Year's Day as the time for new beginnings, but some (myself included) find autumn to be a time of renewal as well. Reviewing progress on personal and family goals and thinking brushing off the "to do" list of things that didn't get completed as a result of the lazy days of summer.
Perhaps some of us consider autumn a time of renewal because of the start of the school year. Buying all those school supplies, new shoes and trendy clothes (or uniforms in my families case) for the kids and their excitement the days before school starts motivates me to want a fresh start.
So this being only the second day of September, I thought I would pose a challenge to my readers: What are your goals for the remainder of the year? Start by reviewing any goals you may have set earlier in the year. How did you do on them? Be honest with yourself. Nobody's going to be checking up on you! Do you need to tweak any of the goals? Are there some you can cross off?
The next step is to look at what you want to accomplish over the remainder of the year. Maybe you want to break your list down into personal goals, family and work goals for those of you who work outside the home. Personal goals might include getting in shape or preparing healthier meals for your family. Maybe you want to get more organized at work or take some night classes related to your profession.
Not many do it, but it is important to develop goals for your family. For example, maybe you want to spend more quality time with the kids or improve communication with your teenager. The start of the new school year makes it a perfect time to get back on track with family meetings. Regular readers know that I am a huge supporter of family meetings. With the start of school, homework, sports and the like, it can be tough finding time to connect with our kids. A family meeting once a month or once a week is a great way to find out what is going on at school and strengthen relationships with your kids. It can also provide you with a way to monitor your success on your family goals.
So, what things are you going to work on? I know I am going to work on getting some freezer meals prepared, get back on track with our chore schedule and family meetings and sign up at our local YMCA as a way to get in shape and spend some fun time together as a family and that isn't even the tip of the iceberg of my list!
So let's get started! Get out your calendar and schedule some alone time. Take a long bath, light a candle and get your planner, journal or notepad and start jotting down your goals. Make sure you plan alone time AT LEAST once per month to revisit and monitor your progress. Feel free to post your goals!