Is screen time and television at the end of the day a challenge for you and your family?
In this family, my friend and her son arrive home. They’ve been out all day, and everyone is a little spent and disconnected after separate days out in the world.
Ben (who is 8): dumps his bag down by the door and jumps on his screen, logging into his favourite streaming platform to watch cartoons.
Mum (my friend), asks: “How was school today?”
Ben (now engrossed in cartoons), replies: “fine.”
Mum (a flash of irritation), thinks: “I wish he wouldn’t get stuck on the computer so fast. Anyway, I’ve got better things to do than try to extract anything from him now.”
In the perfect world, it would be great to do some Special Time at this point. It’s a great way to reconnect, and (with younger kids at least) much more effective than asking questions (-; But most of us find it hard at that time of day to be organised enough to manage Special Time.
Here’s a story of a mother and her daughter at the beginning of their long summer break. She’s trying to get through the holidays by doing Special Time early in the day with her 8 year old daughter, to get things set the right way at the beginning of the day.
As some of you may be aware, I run a Facebook page. It’s kinda interesting, though I can’t say that it’s where my energy is. I’m old, and wasn’t really born to embrace social media. But it’s forced me to learn a little about how it works, and allowed me to notice both what’s bad and tedious about it, and also what’s good.
Several of you are followers of my page, I am sure. But I have one very loyal follower. I think she has liked, or generously commented, on nearly every post I’ve made. Continue reading
Listening Partnerships have been my parenting saviour. They have meant that I have had somewhere to take my feelings, work through confusions, and think through my parenting challenges without fear of being judged, given “helpful” advice, or have it taken personally or brought up again by my listener.
However, it can sometimes be a challenge to find someone to form a Listening Partnership with, and it can be an option to ask a friend, relative or your parenting partner if they are interested. This may have the advantage of convenience, but there a few things to be careful about when you are setting up a Listening Partnership with someone so close to home.
Our kids were playing happily in the pool, but suddenly things get nasty and one child is hitting another. In Part 1, we talked about why this happens: for some reason, feelings have taken over the play and your child has lost their sense of connection.
How can you prevent this from happening, and what can you do to help your children get along with one another?
In Part 1 we were pool side on holiday, and three siblings were happily playing, until suddenly, without much warning, the bigger boy was pushing the younger into the pool. They have lost their sense of connection (for whatever reason) and their behaviour is now driven by difficult feelings which are not “thoughtful”, caring or workable.
For the holiday to go well, you’ll need to develop a Connection Plan. This will help keep your children in good shape, and will give you room to step in, when necessary, to set limits to help resolve unworkable behaviour. Continue reading
Family holidays can be a special challenge for us parents. It’s good to spend time together. But often getting to the holiday destination can be stressful, and by definition, everyone is tired and worn out to begin with. We parents are often really, badly, in need of some down-time. And at times like these, things don’t always go well between our children. Happy play quickly turns to trouble. What can you do? Continue reading
Dear parents, wishing you the best for this time of year.
I doubt you’ll be altogether happy – we’d be disappointed if we undertook this venture in pursuit of happiness. That may come, on occasion. But deeper is the worthiness of this work, is our integrity as we work through the barriers that get in the way of connecting with our children.
This is where we discover our own goodness in the face of a task almost impossible. And in reaching for our children, we discover the goodness of the little people we once were, and reach for ourselves, rather than leave our own little ones behind. Because we need company.
So my wish for you in this journey, over which, in the end, we don’t have much control, is company. Strong, solid, wise, generous company. Thankyou for accompanying me this year. Here’s to more company, whatever this next year brings.
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©2021 by Madeleine Winter.
The featured image above is “Christmas in the Heat” by Ivan Diaz
Starting school – for the first time, or at a new school, or even after the long summer break, can be a challenge for both our children and ourselves. We carefully pack their school bag with the things that will help them through their day – a nutritious lunch, a spare pair of pants and pencils. But it’s easy to forget our children carry an emotional backpack as well. Our special role, as parents and carers, is to help them pack and unpack that bag. It’s at least as important as a healthy lunch or a good night’s sleep. Continue reading