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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nina Alviar  |  January 23, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I can’t get my son to leave the house without crying! I tried making it a game, having him bring whatever he wants from the house (and I mean anything!) giving him 5 minute warnings that we will be leaving (4,3,2,1) giving him choices about when to go (before or after we read his book,) what to wear when we go, you name it. I hate carrying a crying boy to the car and fastening him in. I finally just explain that “sometimes we all have to do something we don’t want to do.” and site examples from my own life (waiting in line, going to the store, being on hold.)
    I am stumped, and in need of fresh ideas. Got anything?

    • 2. klaroche  |  January 24, 2009 at 4:36 am

      Hi Nina:
      Thanks for your question. Here are some ponderings for you.
      1. What is your son needing? What is your sense about what is going on for him? Every behaviour is an attempt to meet a need, so get curious and see what you can learn about his sweet being and see if there is a way you can meet that need.
      2. Stop going out as much. This can be tricky, but what I find is that often our children “guide” us in some ways to what is supposed to be happening. Are you busier than you need to be? Can you let more of your “doings” go to stay home more? (We end up staying home every 2nd or 3rd day ALL day because my 3.5year old really craves it.)
      3. Sometimes you will leave the house and he may cry. EMPATHY is essential..really allowing yourself to be with his feelings. You can either communicate your heart-felt connection silently or you could say “You are really sad because we are going out and you want to be at home. You love being at home and you don’t like leaving the house. Are you disappointed when I say we are leaving? I wish Papa was here so you could stay home, but he’s not” etc. Often just fully accepting and embracing a child’s feelings can create a connection with you which may be what he is actually wanting, and that feeling of being understood, even when nothing changes in the situation, is very powerful.
      4. Re-consider saying “sometimes we just have to…” because it communicates helplessness and may encourage him to push down his feelings. We actually always have choices AND we manifest our reality. I want my children to KNOW that. So, give him information about why you are making the choice to leave the house, how it meets your needs and how he is helping by coming along (that way he knows he is contributing to something bigger.).

      Phew..that’s a lot. Write back if you have questions or want more detail, Nina. With love to all of you!

  • 3. Nina Alviar  |  January 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you!
    I forgot to mention that I have expressed my empathy to him, that I know it’s hard for him and I love him. I have tried to give him his wishes in fantasy, or just be silly (if we don’t go to pick up Llwyn at school, he might try to ice skate all the way home!) Sometimes I get a laugh.
    We have to leave for my work once a day and that’s all there is besides his music school. I set aside one day a week as “no leaving the house day” and it is a lovely day. I have four jobs that I do from home (and a little outside of the home) so it’s hard to give more than that one day of full playtime attention, unless it’s a weekend. I think he needs more one on one playtime with me undistracted. I have noticed that there is strong truth in the philosophy “More connection, less correction.” Even when we play for ten minutes, it seems that I can get more cooperation from him, plus I really enjoy it and find myself calmed by the break.
    I will drop that “sometimes we have to” bit immediately. Funny how we project our own stuff onto our kids. I choose to go to work so that we can have the money we need to live well. If I feel put upon by my responsibilities, he will feel that and see his life that way. What Little Mirrors our children are!
    Thanks again, good to know you’re there!

    • 4. klaroche  |  January 26, 2009 at 12:38 am

      HI Nina: Yes, empathy and play are so essential for connection and well-being for both our kids and ourselves. I am moved by your awareness that you are making a choice about your work and the of how we project out deep, often unconscious beliefs onto our kids.
      When Elliott was 10 months I started back to my previous job and it was so painful for me to leave him, even though it was only two 4 hour sessions a week. I was acutely aware with that every single dollar I spent meant time away from him. I quit my job, we had a lean year, and now I am more fulfilled professionally than every before in my life AND I get to be with them all day, every day. For me, that is ideal. You CAN give your children what they long for and be deeply fulfilled yourself in so doing.
      I’m curious about “I can get more cooperation from him”. Cooperation can be a word we use which actually means ‘getting them to do what we want’, when it could mean each of you contributing to the well-being of the other. Equally. I’m also wondering about connection, purely for its own sake, rather than as a means to an end.
      It seems that you are busy. How is that for you? My opinion is that in our culture, almost everyone is more busy than needed. Is it possible that what our children long for is actually what our own souls need most? Less schedule, less doing, more freedom to BE.
      I’m wondering if there are possibilities that you haven’t considered that could meet everyone’s needs.

  • 5. Nina Alviar  |  January 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Wow, I really have to take a look at my language!
    I mean that we live in a cooperating household, everyone doing their thing to support each other. Sometimes when young members of the house and the older ones have different needs, compromises must be creatively sought. Most of the time, this works out great, we sit and discuss the problem and come to an agreed upon solution that is comfortable for each of us. We are always working together around here.
    I mentioned in the thread that undistracted playtime soothes his need for me to slow down and his need to steer the direction of the daily activities. I also mentioned that I really enjoy this time, too. And not as a means to an end, but because he won’t be two-and three-quarters old forever and I love just being with him. What I meant was that when, very consciously on my part, I drop everything mentally and physically and get down and follow his lead, I notice that he is in the mood to join the flow of the day when it is then my need that we have before us.
    As far as more time, I can’t really do that now, we need the money and I have pieced together four small jobs that I can do mostly at home. I am working to narrow it down to one job by next Fall (I plan to homeschool;) I mentioned that Tuesday is our “no work day,” I also call it a “Yes!” day, inasmuch as I say “Yes!” to him as much as I can. I also find pockets throughout work days to just be. I take lots of deep breaths and wear or hold one or the other boy (sometimes both!) as much as possible when I do housework.

    I often remind myself that his (and his brother’s) needs are not just more plates I have spinning, but the most important job that I have. On busy days, when we nurse (I tandem nurse them) and go to bed (we share a bed) I know that we are connecting. Even though I am sometimes focused on other things, they are always near me and I will stop what I am doing to focus on them if they need me.
    I am glad I asked you about the “leaving the house” part of our days. It opened up a lot more (no surprise!) Thanks to your advice, I will try some new things, observe and change my language and continue to see “negative” reactions as a call for me to look beneath the behavior to what he could need, and try to meet that need the best I can.
    Thanks again!
    Phew, this is a long winded thread!

    • 6. klaroche  |  January 28, 2009 at 3:49 am

      oh Nina: I am adoring what you are sharing and what I’m learning from you. I have known that you tandem nurse and want to tell you that I have pretty much worshiped you since I found that out! I am so curious about the language we use, and I’m grateful to you for allowing me to dig around within your words. Know that it is with the intention of learning and loving and with such gratitude as we share this parenting journey. Were you offended or bothered by my response?

  • 7. Nina Alviar  |  January 28, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Kris,thank you so much for asking!
    I was initially a little hurt, but that can sometimes be my gut reaction when I have been asked to grow! I don’t like how busy I am and I wish I had more time to be. (My mother with severe memory loss just came to live with us for a while, adding to my spinning plates. Deeeeeep Breath.) I feel like I have been doing the best I can to maintain our values of attachment parenting, Continuum Concept, unconditional parenting. But I sometimes get pulled under and this feels like a good push for me to get past the swirling chaos and into the space of centeredness that I look for. Plus I feel like getting into the car is not as overwhelming for me as it did when I first wrote to you! No longer a moment of frustration, I now see it as part of the flow of other learning moments in our lives and an opportunity for me to demonstrate and practice empathy and connect to Marquez.
    I thought about it and realized that, of course since we are communicating through written word and not eye contact and speech, I needed to clarify, let you get to know my family a little more.
    I took the opportunity to consciously observe my language, what I meant, and really look at how our household functions. I decided to give you more of a detailed picture of what our life is like and touch upon the concerns that you had. Also, I realize that it is not with negative intentions that you are having me explore my communication and parenting habits! That is your job, and I have opened myself to the process by asking for ideas. I am grateful, and I am not offended. I am just being honest about my initial reaction and sharing my observations.
    Thank you, and thank you for asking how I felt about your response.

    • 8. klaroche  |  January 30, 2009 at 6:05 am

      HI Nina.
      Wow…you are so articulate. I am touched by your beautiful expressing of yourself. Thank YOU for this connection. I have grown from it also and I so appreciate your openness. YOu are a gift to your children and to our world. I’m so so glad that getting to the car is now another opportunity for connection for you both. That is truly what it is all about. With love, kris

  • 9. klaroche  |  April 4, 2009 at 4:19 am

    From mama Annie via email:
    Grocery shopping… one of those things we all have to do, and now it is becoming something unpleasant. My daughter is 21 months old and we are having a really challenging time making grocery shopping work well in our family. We typically have one “big” shopping day where both parents are involved and then there are the small task shops where we need only one or two items. Both are difficult. Especially the small shops because only one parent is involved and there is no one there to baby wrangle (walk around the store with her while she walks up and down every aisle many many times) To preface, he father works at our grocery store, so many evenings she sees him there. So there are times when we go to the store and before we go in we discuss how “papa is not here today. He is at work at the farm.” She seems to understand this and doesn’t ask for him once inside. But once inside it seems like listening/hearing ceases to function. She likes to sit in the cart for awhile and when she asks to get down I ask her if she can stay with momma so momma can finish shopping. The moment I put her down she is running through the store giggling loudy until she usually falls or i pick her up. Before I pick her up I try again explaining that I would like her to help me shop and we aren’t there to run through the store. I let her know it’s a business and it isnt safe to run through the store, and I try distraction. (usually something like a pear or someone else in the store.. we always run into someone we know at the store) These don’t seem to work. So I pick her up after a bit and tell her that if she can’t hear what I am asking I need to hold her. Then screaming begins. I ask her why she’s screaming, how I can help her, and ask her if she would like me to explain anything again but the listening has stopped. I tell her I will wait and I am here when she needs me. When she’s done screaming I ask her if it made her feel better and she says no. I suggest other ways for her to communicate through her words or sign language. The other store issue is grabbing things off shelves and throwing them. Once again, her father works here so she has seen him playing with the shelves, so I try to explain why we don’t pull things off shelves at stores. I tried explaining once that it made more work for papa is she throws things off shelves. I have tried talking about it being unsanitary to touch other people’s food in the bulk aisles. I even have tried simple sentences. “we can’t touch that. It’s breakable” And that doesn’t work. When she continues after repeated requests I let her know I am going to pick her up if she can’t listen and the screaming scenario starts again. The one piece I should include is that sometimes I realize that I am rushing her in the store (not always, but it has happened before) and I know that is really hard on a person, but sometimes there are not ways around it. I try to give her ample time and preparation.
    Aila is generally a very even tempered child. This screaming for communication is fairly new to our family and we aren’t sure of how to deal with it. We are both very clear it’s really important to react appropriately because it’s a really formative time for her and her emotional processing. Advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • 10. klaroche  |  April 13, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Hi Annie:
    Thanks for asking for insights on this topic. You are certainly not alone and it sounds like you are working at being present and patient with Aila, and at the same time you are perhaps feeling frustrated and concerned and wanting to find new strategies to meet everyone’s needs.
    What do you think is going on for Aila? What is she needing? How is the strategy of taking things off the shelf meeting needs for her? Can you embrace her perspective fully and see if there are some new insights for you there?

    My sense is that she is wanting to do real work, like her Papa. As I’m sure you are aware, children have a reason for doing everything they do, a reason that is valid and worthy to them. Also, they usually want to be part of the world they see around them. My take is that her listening does not cease to function, but that her need for something (connection with papa? contribute to working at store? meaningful participation? “helping” you?) is greater than her ability to listen. Children at that age are actually INCAPABLE of stopping themselves from engaging with the world around them, even when you ask them not to. This doesn’t make it easy for you, when you are trying to get a few groceries for the family, and working so hard to communicate with her clearly and compassionately.

    Is it possible to not go with her? Can papa pick up the needed items instead of you and Aila? Can Aila go at the end of his shift, or sometime that works, and do what she wants to do (take things off shelf) somewhere safe and unobtrusive, to satisfy whatever her need is? If you think of it in terms of it being impossible for her not to do what she is doing, how can you change the situation to meet everyone’s needs? Can you have a friend pick up groceries?

    You see where I am going with this. There is not going to be a magic thing to say that will change what she wants to do there, not without coercion and control, which it sounds like you are uncomfortable with. I’m concerned about saying things like…”i’m going to pick you up if you can’t listen” because that is a threat. As I mentioned, she is biologically hardwired to explore and cannot actually listen to what you are asking her.

    If you do need to go with her, and she does want to explore, and you really cannot safely let her do that, then you can at least phrase it differently, ensuring that your intention is to connect with her, rather than control her…
    “I’m going to pick you up now because I want to keep you safe. I want everything on the shelf to stay together for other people in the store. I also want you to have fun, so let’s go see what else we can find for you.”
    You can sense the difference, I’m sure. Threats, bribes, etc. are harmful for children and must be avoided.

    Regarding screaming for communication…now is the time to step up the empathy considerably:

    ARe you feeling frustrated because you want to play?
    Are you mad?
    Are you needing understanding?
    Can I hold you?
    ARe you needing play and fun?
    Let’s find a way for you to get what you need.
    Are you screaming because you want me to knwo how you feel and help you?

    etc etc. You also get the chance to practice becoming comfortable with extreme emotions. Your ability to simply BE with whatever she is feeling, without needing to fix or stifle or change it, without worrying about other shoppers (that’s a tough one!), is HUGE. That alone may be the most impactful thing we can do as parents to ensure our children become emotionally strong and healthy.

    Let me know how all this sits with you. With love

  • 11. Annie  |  April 16, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Hi Kris. thanks for the ideas.
    i really appreciate the piece about bribes. it’s fairly easy to recognize those basic and obvious bribes, but sometimes we think that consequences and bribes are one and the same. and they aren’t. consequences aren’t even neccesarily a negative thing. they just are a result of an action. i don’t want aila to feel cornered or forced into “behaving” i want her to be able to be Aila. and at this point it includes throwing things off of shelves. i agree there is not going to be one thing to change this behavior in the store. and the tricky part is that she isn’t always in an unsafe place. sometimes it’s pulling a box of crackers off the shelf. but when she is trying to pull down wine bottles it’s another story. we are mulling over setting up a store front in her bedroom for her and papa to stock and reshelf. taking her to the store when no one else is around would be after hours and that would be hard. but a store in the house? very possible. i also want to steer clear of not bringing her to the store because we usually walk to the store or ride bikes so it ends up being a destination of sorts for our outings. and now that i am working a bit i don’t like giving any of my time up with her during our days. as i am writing this i and thinking of the store as a destination i am thinking about how she probably is wanting more time in the store. she wants to explore the corners, the shelves, the bathrooms, and every piece of fruit. i see it so often i forget the beauty of a ripe banana in contrast to a green one. the crunch and crumble of bags of chips sounds pretty intriguing. there is lots to explore even if we are there daily. i might just need to cut out those fast in and out shops for now. one ingredient won’t make or break a meal in most cases. and the cupboard is never really empty. i’m pretty known for packing alot of things into a day so it’s important for me to remember to let some of them go and slow it down. alot. even if that means our one destination of the day doesn’t happen. we will see where this takes us. thanks for processing with me!

    • 12. klaroche  |  April 17, 2009 at 3:13 am

      Annie…I love hearing your expanding ideas…store in house-fun! longer trips to explore and play?-oh yeah! and then your willingness to look at yourself, your tendency to DO so much in a day. That may be where the greatest transformation will happen, when you are willing to make that shift. To BE more..slower, less, wondering at the small things, letting Aila direct the flow and you being the willing follower. Ahhh. yes. Thanks for sharing yourself here, Annie. I’m so honoured. Every day I realize that my children are showing me where I’m stuck and where I have so much room to grow.

  • 13. Hope  |  April 28, 2009 at 4:48 am

    My husband and daughter speak to my two and a half year old grandson in an angry voice when he has done things they do not like. I am thinking that modeling an angry voice in response to the actions of other people is not something I want to do. Would you agree that speaking in an angry tone to children is not a good idea?

    • 14. klaroche  |  April 29, 2009 at 12:45 am

      HI Hope.
      Ah, what an important question. I think that being authentic is important, so if we are having a feeling, to be honest about it with children, without any kind of blame or holding them responsible. Every emotion is a choice, so we do need to look at ourselves, not at our children, when we get angry and work consciosly to transform our triggers. And, we are human, we are going to have feelings, and its ok for children to see this. If we are perfectly calm all of the time, what will they think of themselves when they feel emotions other than calm? I do believe that becoming a less angry person for real is the ideal so that we can authentically be that. Talking to such a young child in angry voice when he does certain things is not necessarily helpful for anyone, in my opinion. It sounds like a form of punishment, to me. I think your instincts are right on, Hope. Thanks so much for writing.

  • 15. Jen  |  May 8, 2009 at 1:21 am

    We cosleep, I breastfeed on demand, have always and still do carry, and find ourselves with a 2 1/4 yearold who still wakes every 1-3 hours at night, and has been able to settle herself back to sleep perhaps a half dozen times since day 1. To say that I’m exhausted is a complete understatement. My partner has tried to rub her back and walk her when possible, so he’s working FT outisde the home and exhausted too. We’re still very happy, generally, and love our family, love her to pieces and she is the center of everything because that’s how we want to parent. Alongside, we’ve worked with Bach Remedies, homeopathy, bodywork, cranialsacral, a shaman who said that her air energy was very unbalanced, creating expansiveness and inability to wind down/relax/chill/sleep without her brain constantly going. She surprises us with complicated stories and new ideas in the middle of the night – we intuitively feel her brain cannot shut down, it’s not nightmares or fears or bad karma between her/I or anything like that.
    So…. that leaves us EXHAUSTED. We also feel very alone, as in the subsection of people we know who also cosleep, BF on demand, etc. children of this age are all comfortably sleeping, waking 1 or 2 times to nurse.

    ANY IDEAS? I’d love to know if others have had this experience too, and if it might change with time or what we can do to help her. ANd then, ourselves.


    • 16. klaroche  |  May 8, 2009 at 4:50 am

      Hi Jen:
      How great to hear from you and how difficult this sounds for all of you! Exhaustion and sleep deprivation is an amazing thing. My sense is that you are doing just fine, with respect to how you are parenting this remarkable child. It will change, and, you can take care of all of you without fighting the way that it is.
      Are you able to take naps? Are you willing to go to bed at the same time as her most nights? How can you nurture yourself without asking her to change?

      Notice your thoughts through all of this, too. I notice that when I wake up from a night with less sleep, if I tell myself “i’m so tired” over and over, it just makes it worse! I realize that I’m not tired every single minute, and I also see how much I have to learn about myself when I am tired…what do I try to control? What am I willing to let go of? What mental demons show up (old patterns from childhood like being hard on yourself)? Does any of this resonate with you?

      Who do you want to be for this child? Who do you want to be for yourself? When you look back in twenty years, what do you want to look back on?

      Some children don’t sleep. It can be incredibly challenging and also a gift. You sound like someone who is deeply tuned in, open, receptive, bright, positive, and able to see possibilities, in spite of challenge. I sense that you are exactly who she needs you to be, both of you. Exhausted, and yet still able to love with a wide open heart. What more is there?

      And being gentle on yourself. Realizing that you are not going to be able to operate in the world the way that others do. Accepting this, and making the adjustments necessary. Surround yourself with people who support you. Being lonely can make it so much harder, and this path can be lonely, indeed.

      There are a zillion people who will tell you techniques to train your child to sleep. I say…don’t listen to them! There is NO FIX for sleep issues with children. Be there for her, love her, accept her, allow your life to flow with what is actually happening. and one day, you will look back and realize that you’ve been sleeping more, and that it has changed.

      I do know others who are in the same position as are not alone. YOu and your daughter and husband are exceptional people…
      thank you so much for allowing me to respond to you. will you let me know how this was for you? With so much love and appreciation of you

      • 17. Jen  |  May 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm

        Thanks for your response. We know we don’t want to fight it but do want to help her – this can’t be fun for her either, sleep has become so hard for her/scary for her because she struggles a lot at night to find it. Even with our help, it’s not peaceful or sweet for her in the least. That’s what I would like help with – what we’ve been unable to find. Many things you said resonated with us – that this path can and is lonely. It sure is. WE are committed to comforting/not “breaking her” in any way, yet we also want to help her, and help ourselves. She is on her way to 2 1/2 so we are not sure when change will occur… and how it will occur without any intervention (therapy, something) from outside…. is it just no ingrained now? Couild this be as a result of her being exceptionally perceptive/bright in her mind? Have you ever read anything on this? (I’m thinking of some adults who need less sleep than most, even as adults)? Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

  • 18. heidi may  |  June 5, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Essentially it comes to this… how do we raise peaceful sons [and daughters] in a world that craves action movies, super heros, and bad guys. At what point does gunplay or sword fighting fit into a peaceful or necessary approach?

    I have asked this question many places, and most parents seem to be ok with the stereotype of letting boys be boys. Others have told me it’s how a child figures something out… and yet I don’t let the kids going around hitting one another so why would I need to let them pretend to kill or shoot one another? And another mom commented that boys do have more aggression, and that we don’t want them to be girls… I’m frustrated because I think some of this is my own need to understand this transition, and I think some of this is me being forced to succumb to mainstream media influences.

    • 19. klaroche  |  June 8, 2009 at 4:18 am

      HI Heidi:
      OH you sound frustrated and confused, wanting clarity. It’s so challenging to separate out mainstream media influences from the ‘advice’ that you are given. What do you trust? Who do you trust? It sounds like your intuition is being shut down in many places where you are asking this question, that you have not yet found a path to raising peaceful boys that resonates with you.
      Is that so?
      What does your heart say?
      It sounds like you are not ok with the habitual responses of ‘let boys be boys’.
      You have a need to understand what all this is about in your son. I sense that you want to honour your son’s TRUE needs, but it’s so hard to know what those are given all of the influences in our society. How do you strip away all that to know what he really needs and to offer that? And how do you honour your own desire for peace on this planet and in his heart?

      And how do you talk to him about it? and his friends?
      It’s a big question, isn’t it?

      If you peel away what everyone else has said, what do YOU believe? You actually get to believe what you want to believe. If you are called to redirect gun play, then do it. If you are called to facilitate something different from anything else you’ve ever seen or heard anywhere, do it.

      What would that look like?
      If you are wanting more than this, if you are wanting our opinions and some resources for gathering more information, let me know. My sense is that you might simply be needing permission to follow your own heart.
      With love


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