screaming

When your child misbehaves

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Have you ever been yelled at, screamed at, punched, or kicked by a child? I have! Have you gotten the awful  “I hate you” while they're kicking you? It's exhausting, infuriating and sometimes even painful. So as a parent, how do you find any empathy with a child who acts that way? It's quite simple. 


Understand that this is the only way your child knows how to communicate. Think about it: as adults, we have had years of training to be able to articulate our feelings in a calm manner even if we're upset (and many of us still aren't there yet). I'm sure many of us have acted in ways we wouldn't want our own children to act. Yet, we expect our little people to be perfect at clearly communicating their needs. Cmon...when you say it out loud it sounds ridiculous, right? There is no way you can expect a tiny person with only a few years of life behind them to do it better than adults. 

So the next time your little one screams hideous things at you, remember he's just tying to explain his feelings. Give him the tools to explain and identify what he is feeling. Even better, next time you are mad as hell at them, model exactly the way you would want to be treated. Don't yell or scream. That just reiterates that this is effective communication. And don't take it so personally, they don't really know how to say in a calm voice: "Mommy, you hurt my feelings. I wasn't finished at my play date. Making me leave made me feel insignificant!" Yeah right, call me when your child says that and you can start hosting some of my webinars :) 

Be kind to the little ones, they are just trying to figure out what works, just like we are. 

Till next time, 

Elise

Nighttime Routines

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Think about the way you put your child to sleep. Do you throw them in the bed and then leave? 

Now let’s think about your own nighttime routine. Do you go straight to sleep when you get into bed or do you read or watch TV to unwind?  Of course you do.  We all need to unwind before bed… and kids are no different.  I feel so strongly that connecting with your kids every day is important even for just 15 minutes/day per child.  I have found the best time to do this is at night. I split my nighttime routine into 3 distinct parts: 

  1. Doing something goofy: my daughter and I play with the snapchat filters for about 5 minutes. We laugh, we record ourselves the funny voices, we act silly. You could also read a book (funny voices encouraged). Whatever you can do to engage with them on their level is awesome!

  2. Lights out: this is the perfect time for them to start talking. As soon as the lights go out, kids will always start to talk. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO GO TO SLEEP. You know how when you pick them up from school and ask them how their day was, they have nothing to say? They don’t talk because they are tired. But nighttime is when they DON’T want to go to sleep so they will tell you everything you ever wanted to know. This is a wonderful time to connect. These conversations often times bring about many teachable moments. Seize these opportunities. Open a judgment free zone and listen intently. Gently guide them with your input.

  3. No more talking: lay quietly for just a few minutes. Let them feel the security of you with them and then leave before they fall asleep.

Happy sleeping!

Elise  

5 Steps for back to school success

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As summer is winding down and we are preparing our kids for back to school, I think about how I geared up for a new school year.  I DID NOTHING!!  I was not the most stellar student, so going back to school did not appeal to me in any way shape or form.  As a single working mother of 2, I have to make sure my after school schedule is run like a mean fighting machine.  Here are my tips to an afternoon of easy homework, happy kids and no arguments
 

  1. Assess your child. Should they come home and go straight to work after being in school all day or do they need a break? Only you will know after trial and error which is right for your children. One day have them come home and go straight to work. If they seem like they are distracted and unable to settle down, let them run around for about an hour, then get back to homework. If they come home and play for an hour and can't seem to make the transition back into school mode, then they will need to do their work first.

  2. Have a neat work space area for each child to do their own homework. Make sure they have all the necessary supplies to do their work.

  3. Be available for SOME assistance. Save phone calls to friends for another time.

  4. As many of children’s teachers have taught me, the parent is not the student. DO NOT DO THE WORK FOR THEM. You are not helping them by doing the work for them. Teachers always say: be a guide on the side. If your child does not understand the concepts of the homework, you should not be the one to explain. Chances are, you are not a teacher, you are a parent. Your job is to parent them, not teach them Algebra! This is great news, you are off the hook! No more fighting about doing homework. In addition to creating an adversarial relationship between you and your child, doing their work does not alert the teacher that your child needs extra attention with the subject.

  5. Make a list of tasks that need to be completed after they have done their work but before they do their preferred activity. For example, I have my kids each make their lunches, put away laundry, complete their household chores, complete a fun physical activity and take a shower. Only after that list is complete and all homework is finished, then you can lose them to the abyss of electronics.

Your kids may give you some resistance about doing homework.  The key is to stay calm, don’t yell and don’t show any fear.  You are the parent.  If at any point your child does not comply with this schedule, they simply don’t get to perform their chosen activity (basketball, youtube, xbox etc).  Do not threaten to punish them by taking things away, but rather give it back to them when they have completed all necessary tasks.
 
Good luck and have a great school year.


Elise 

Setting the tone for the year

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Is it really time to start buying school supplies?

In the blink of an eye summer seems to have come and gone. I hope you've taken the opportunity to recharge your battery to get ready for the upcoming school year.

Remember to embrace the new year! Your children are always watching you so if you are excited, they will be too. New school years are a symbol of new beginnings. This brings about chances to start fresh with friends, grades and study habits. Start the year with routines in place to encourage great study and homework habits. And if any of your kids are expressing anxiety about the upcoming school year, encourage them to talk through their fears.

 A strategy I use for this kind of anxiety is called "take it the worst possible place.” For example, if your child is nervous about the upcoming school year ask them why?  Perhaps, they will answer, "all of the homework." Take this to the worst possible place. Ask them what is the absolute worst thing that can happen to them if they do not finish their homework. Doing this exercise makes them realize whatever their anxieties are, it is not going to be the end of the world. Remind them of their blessings. 

As always, feel free to reply to this email with any questions or thoughts! I love hearing from you… 

Elise

"Are you really listening"

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"Mom (or dad) are you listening?"

How many times have our children been talking to us and we just nod our heads and say, “ yea, yea no problem". Then, later, we find out that we have absolutely no idea what our darling child just said!

 I am totally guilty of this. My daughter actually called me out on it this past week. She must have seen the glazed look in my eyes when she said to me, "mom are you listening?"  I instantly snapped out of my wandering thoughts and zeroed in on Paytons urgent monologue about her pet fish.  I realized in that moment that if I wanted my daughter to talk to me when she gets older, I needed to  be present and interested right now. So I immediately added to the banter with my own insight about the fish. I knew I had made the conscious decision to be present now so she would allow me to be present later. 

Today, I want you to really be present. Put down the phone for a bit and really listen to your kids, your spouse, and your friends. You’ll be amazed at how far a little mindfulness can go… 

Have a fantastic weekend,

Elise

Saying yes to the right things

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Do you ever feel like you say “yes” to the wrong things? 

A few days ago, I went to Target with Payton. While passing the toy aisle, she asked — yet again — for another box of Pokémon cards. Seriously, how many cards does one child need? Anyway, I explained that, in our house, we get presents for Chanukah and birthdays… not every time we go to Target.

The night before, as I was putting Payton to bed, she asked if we could work on one of our night time projects. Immediately, in my head, I was thinking "I really don't want to start this now," but instead I decided to say yes. We began our ritual of discussing new laws for our make believe city, Everything World. We write them down in a book and sign each new law into our constitution…very serious business. Payton is President and I am her VP. When she asked to work on the constitution, it was probably the last thing I felt like doing. What I really wanted was to lie down like a slug and have her read to me but my angel asked for my attention, so I obliged. 

The point of this story? Our instincts are to say yes to the easy, quick things (like buying the 100th box of Pokeman cards) and say no to the important things like being present for our children. The next time your children ask you to buy them something, resist the urge for the quick fix and opt for the meaningful one, the one's that are planting the seeds for your future relationship. Trust me, it'll be worth it. 

Love, 

Elise

Laugh all weekend long

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Is there anything better than a child's laugh?

My kids and I were sitting at the dinner table last week and I must have said something funny because both of them started hysterically laughing. So then I started to laugh uncontrollably; the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt. What better medicine, right? 

I looked at my kids and wanted to savor the moment. I wanted to savor their innocence and their ability to laugh anything. 

I thought back to the different ways I used to make my kids: talking in a goofy voice, making fun of myself, and — the most fun —  dancing around the kitchen with whisks as our microphones. We serenaded our pretend audiences to our favorite LIVE song.  

It's so important to have laughter and fun in the house. We get crazy running our kids around from activity to activity, making sure they are eating correctly and getting their homework finished. So often, we lose sight of just having a good laugh. I want my home to always be the place that brings my kids joy, comfort and laughter. 

So when things get just a bit too hectic in your house, step back and have a good laugh. It will work wonders. 

Till next time, 

Elise

Have you ever felt misunderstood?

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Have you ever been in an argument with your spouse, sibling, or a friend where you felt utterly misunderstood? 
 

Think about how you felt.


Frustrated, alone, confused? In most cases, these arguments are on an even playing field. We often yell until you are understood. We fight until our feelings becomes validated. 

Now think about how it feels to be a child and not feel understood. Think about how it feels to be punished for yelling and being disrespectful. They, too, have opinions, wants, and needs; but if it doesn't align with their parents', then often times they are dismissed. Think about how you would feel if your spouse dismissed your feelings? Your reaction may be to do something to get their attention to make your point.

Children feel the same way!


Next time your child starts acting out or "fighting back” to a request, just ask “why?”. Give them the validation they want through listening and making them feel respected and worthy. This automatically diffuses the situation and makes them feel less defensive. This opens up a discussion instead of an argument. Validating feelings doesn't mean you agree, it just means you hear them and are offering empathy. 

The next time you find yourself in an argument. Step back, listen to the other person, validate and then come together to come up with a plan. It will work wonders. 

Elise 

Do you always say what you mean?

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What I say is what I mean and what I mean is what I say! 
 

I was on the phone with a friend of mine who happens to be a famous boxing coach. He promised me tickets to one of his most prized fighter’s next match. I thanked him profusely and he said,“what I say is what I mean and what I mean is what I say!”

 

It got me thinking….how often do people actually do that?  We are taught to be kind to others and we teach our children to be kind to others but how often do we forget to put in in to practice? Why don’t we actually say what we mean and mean what we say?  Often times we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings and, in turn, we keep our thoughts to ourselves.

 But at what price? We get angry and bitter towards the people that we’ve suppressed emotions towards. 

But guess what? With just one shift in your thinking, you can learn how to truly say what you mean and mean what you say!

 

Is the other person more important than you? Are they more worthy of peace and understanding? NO. So why shouldn’t you tell them how you feel? Remember no one is going to take care of you if you don’t take care of yourself…

 

I’ve never had the problem of keeping my feelings to myself. If anything I am a bit too transparent (if you have ever seen my weekly Facebook lives you would know what I mean). However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that life is not so black and white and I would like to think that I found a way to express my feelings with conviction without hurting anyone in my line of fire. For those that suffer from oversharing their feelings, I have a couple tips for you.

  1. Take a step back and put yourself in the other persons position.It sounds so simple but it’s incredibly effective. How would they feel receiving the information with your delivery?

  2. Take a moment to understand what your goal is in communicating. Do you want to feel understood? No one will understand what you are saying when you say it in an inflammatory way, so take the emotion out of the conversation and stick with facts about yourself. For example, recently on facebook a women misread a comment I made and came back to me with a bit of a zinger. I could have responded in an inflammatory way but what does that achieve? Nothing…it just starts a fight. What I really wanted her to know is that she misread the comment so that was all I said and ya know what? She ended up apologizing without my starting a Facebook fight (life’s just too short for that!).

  3. Finally: you never know what someone is going through. Don’t say something you don’t mean in the heat of the moment in response to a person who may be rude to youIt never solves anything. Express the same compassion you desire as well.

 

Now it’s YOUR turn, hit “reply” and let me know one thing thing that would help you stay true to your word. 
 

Have a wonderful weekend, 


Elise