Shopping for my Tween Daughter

The time has come, that time when your child no longer accepts and adores your clothing selections for her. Yes, I firmly believe it happens to all of us. We all have been at that stage where the clothing choices our parents made for us would make us cringe and argue the fact that we are now too old to have our Mommy or Daddy buy us clothing. I remember being that age and I was a nightmare, I am sure, now I get to relive that stage with my oldest, which is nearing middle school age and is ready to show her true personality through clothing choices.

There are some limits you can place, as the parent, on your tweens or teens clothing choices and here are some that I have placed with my own daughter:

  • Halter tops are unacceptable as they show off too much skin for every day wear outside of the beach or pool.
  • Be appropriate in your choice of graphic tees that spread a message, make sure the messages on graphic tees are age appropriate and school acceptable.
  • Choose a variety of clothing so that you can dress appropriately for the weather.

My daughter’s current obsession is with printed leggings, she just adores leggings with a matching graphic tee shirt on top. I have recently noticed that rue21.com has a wide range of tween and teen clothing options for any picky dresser. There is a LOVE graphic tee that I know my daughter would totally wear, unless I bought it that is. Parenting gets more difficult as you head into the age of teens picking their own clothing, you must ensure that they are allotted their independence to choose high waisted jeans if they so desire but limit their clothing to age appropriate messages and ensure they cover their body fully. My rule is, the less skin showing, the better.

Shopping for tweens or teens really can give one a headache, it’s no easy task, but if you set rules and boundaries from the beginning; yes that means dressing them appropriately when you are the one choosing clothing from day one, then you will find their clothing choices will continue to be appropriate well into their teen years. Support your tween and teen in their individuality and remember; life is far too short to spend it arguing about matching clothes; let your child’s clothing be their artwork.

Such Wonderful Progress and Gold Star Person

I am a human that thrives on seeing results from any of my actions. Meaning I am that “gold star” type personality more often than not. I don’t need praise, but I do like to see that anything I am doing is helping someone, somewhere, somehow. I feel blessed to know that in the parenting world of my life, I am constantly rewarded for my decisions and parenting style. My kids are such amazing children, they make it easy to love and adore them, while they make mistakes, they are always somewhat ready to accept that mistake as a learning experience and move forward. With each step in parenting I get to see a positive result.

Case in Point … my middle child, Aj.

Positive Parenting Rewards

I have shared a lot about my son Aj and well he has come so far in such little time. I recall sitting in his counselors office and being led to feel that the counselor wasn’t really thinking that Aj is high functioning autistic {even though I have a paper that cites he was diagnosed this by someone who does have qualifications to be a valid person to dx people}. I feel this was a misunderstanding based loosely on the fact that few seem to realize the bond my three kids and I have. Few seem to really validate the real connection I have and power I have as an influence in their lives. With Aj, specifically, I have been able to work hard to teach him to understand some jokes, some social ques and have a level of tolerance for sharing {thinking of his siblings first} and being less agitated with sarcasm. For all of Aj’s life, the world was about him. Only him. This is totally natural for most high functioning spectrum children, from what I have heard and read. The fact that Aj can step back and take a moment to be more tolerable of scenarios he doesn’t care for and work harder to know how he works, doesn’t mean that he isn’t on the spectrum. This simply means, I have worked hard and continue to work hard as a parent.

And it’s paying off!

Working with Autism

Without medications to blur Aj’s mind and me helping to show him better ways to accept his world around him, by working with how he thinks and how his brain works, has shown to be a true blessing for Aj, his siblings and anyone a part of his world. Aj is now better able to handle sharing, taking turns, accepting my snide/sarcastic responses from time to time. Aj has come a long way but I have to be conscious of how his brain works every single day. This isn’t something that Aj does on his own completely yet, he is only 7 after all. It will take time, many years probably, for him to nail a method that works best for him as an individual. For now, I am working hard as  parent, so hard that by the end of the day I can barely speak, never-mind walk. It’s exhausting but to see my children, all 3 of them, benefit from my hard work in parenting makes the long days and tired brain worth every single moment.

So that is how I explain my “gold star” definition, I don’t need praise from the children, but when I see results … that makes me feel warm, happy and confident in the future days as a parent!

 

Let’s Get Real Honest Here. #parenthood #relationships

There is a lot in my brain these days. As the warm sun shines down and I feel my head start to clear up from the gloom Winter casts upon my soul. Spring has sprung they say, but here in New Hampshire we had a few days of 70′s then Mother Nature decided to have a hormonal swing and dumped a few inches of snow on our green grass. I won’t let a little bit of snow hold me down though, I am thankful for my mind to be more at ease. I say it’s my praying that has opened my eyes but it could also be the strength from the sunshine beaming down upon me, warming my soul and allowing my thoughts to flow more wholeheartedly.

Sunshine Warms My Soul: Thoughts from a Mom

My honesty today, all starts with parenthood; I am a Mom first and foremost, that is my job that will be mine forever. I like to say until my children are 18 years old that they are my 100% priority, but in all reality, I am sure they will be my priority long after age 18. It just sounds better to know at age 18, I may get a break from my Mom job. For now, my children are 11, 7 and 5 years of age. My 7 year old is on the spectrum, my 5 year old could be labeled as ADHD if you must place a label, and my 11 year old is my only girl who is battling the hormones that Mother Nature gave us females to deal with. It’s a juggle. Every. Single. Day.

I can honestly say I adore being a mother, it’s something that I do naturally, I was apparently blessed with a very huge maternal instinct and while no parent is perfect, I think this Mom Job has to be the most rewarding one yet and I am proud to say my three children get great grades, think for their own self, know what makes them tick and they have a heart of gold. To me, I’ve done my job and will continue to do my job. I lead by example and if I am not at my full capacity of happiness, neither are my children. All day I work to raise my children, it is my job to be their parent { and their Dad’s too, of course}. I am not one of those parents who wants anyone else to determine what’s best for my children, I am the one who spends the most time with them and I am constantly observing them to see how I can work to better them and teach them how to be well rounded individuals.

My Mom job makes it so that at the end of the night, when the children lay asleep in their beds, all I want to do is one of two things; write my little heart out on my websites OR put my feet up on the recliner watching a funny show to laugh the day away. What I don’t want to do is; have another adult around me. I will be honest with you and with myself, at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is have another responsibility placed on my shoulders to please another human being. I don’t mind having company on occasion, I don’t mind engaging in adult conversations but reality is that I spend a predominant amount of my time working from home to make money and raising my kids; the last thing I have time for is a relationship.

I am finding this to be the truth, this lack of wanting or having time for a relationship, more and more as each day comes. My middle child has not been on any medications since January 20, 2014. He is excelling. My son has come so far and it’s taken a lot of hard work on my part as well as on his father’s part. We have worked so hard to ensure that our son doesn’t need medications, it’s a challenge raising children and if you are choosing to be with someone, then it should be someone who can help balance out the juggling with you. This isn’t easy to find. I am told far too often the level of parenting I do is something few see anymore. People commend me for my hard work as a Mom and honestly that makes me more happy than anyone commending me about a relationship status.

At the end of the day I find that I just, in all honesty, do not have time for another human being nor do I want that pressure placed upon me; even if that other adult isn’t placing pressure upon me himself, it’s his presence and the title of being in a relationship that can get me down. I feel weighted and the only area that is weighing me down is a relationship status. This is crazy to some, this isn’t me saying “oh my gosh I am with a total jerk”, it’s me saying at the end of the day, I am starting to see the Light …. I am simply someone who is too focused, driven and motivated in the areas of Parenthood and Running a Business to add to that. I have always been a hard worker, never been a hard relationship worker, while I feel I worked hard to try to keep my prior marriage to the father of my son’s together, it comes down to this – I am far too busy working on my children and myself to try to work on someone else being part of that. Not right now. It just weighs me down. The fact that this weighs me down, makes things a lot more clear to me, there’s nothing wrong with the relationship per say or the other person, it’s just me. I don’t do well with relationships when I am so focused on things I find more important; my children and my work. That may be selfish, but I am so unselfish with my children that I deserve a little selfishness in ensuring I am at my best!

It’s difficult to be this honest with someone, because I have had these conversations privately. They seem to go no where. It seems I walk alone on my path of ensuring my true inner happiness is always there. Few can relate to that, for society doesn’t condone us to be individuals and listen to our souls. Society wants to push us to be with someone, we can’t make it on our own, we must bow down to the powers of having that person beside us. I don’t believe that everyone is ready for a relationship when they happen into one, but they take the risk and hope it works out. Now, I am not condoning walking away from a relationship just because of a hard day or a week long funk between the two of you; relationships take work. Love takes work. I know this. I am simply saying; I don’t have the energy, time nor desire to put forth that type of energy towards a relationship right now. I am pretty sure that’s why I said yes to the ring but opted to push the wedding date out another year; something inside of me knows I am no good with relationships while raising my children right now.

My children need me at my best, that is the one gift I can make a choice to give them, even if no one understands it right away, including my children. I do my best to be honest with others and myself and this is me pouring my clear mind and warm soul out to the world.

5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers

Raising children is no piece of cake, each day you are forced to adapt to a new challenge. I firmly believe my two sons, specifically, were put on this planet to lighten me up and keep me on my toes. Little do my boys realize, I have zero balance on my toes. It’s a constant juggling act around here to keep things steady. The easiest way for me to explain my parenting techniques is to share with you my personal favorite 5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers. These are tried and true techniques that worked for me, but let it be known, these are techniques I have done since DAY ONE. If you are just coming into this and trying it for the first time, understand it won’t be something that works in a couple of days; keep on it Mama and Daddy, things do get better!

5 Tips to Raising Positive Children

ONE - The ever so obvious first step is to lead by example; start living your life in the positive. Bills have you hanging your head low? Kids stressing you out? Learn to find that happy place, the one thing you can do for just one minute that will allow you to breath and come back swinging with a smile! For me, it’s music. Each night I decompress in the kitchen while cooking dinner and doing dishes over music, Pandora app is the chosen musical player and the genre depends on what type of day I had.

TWO – Never underestimate the power of your words; if you want your children to be positive thinkers, then you must learn to be a positive thinker. Homework a challenge? Kids ready to run and toss that homework in the trash? Total meltdown central? Allow your children, through your example, to step back from their homework. Provide your children a way to evaluate their own reasons for a meltdown, think about it, know the emotion they feel and work towards a solution that will allow them to complete what they have to in a way that is less stressful. This teaches your child to use their mind and words to solve an emotional problem with a positive outlook.

THREE – One can never have too many hugs; a simple hug as often as possible through out your child’s day never hurt anyone. A 20 second hug has also been shown to release the happy hormones in every one; whether a child or adult. So take time to hug more often because that is one way to show love and affection to your child with minimal effort. A 20 second hug can do far more to teach your children to be positive thinkers than any words you speak. Remember, actions speak louder than words, correct?!

FOUR – Teach your child how to brainstorm; we live in a very technologically driven world, social media makes it so that we don’t have to use our brains as often, please do not underestimate the power of teaching your child to use their mind. A great way to teach your child to be a positive thinker is to teach them pros versus cons lists, written with a pencil and a piece of paper. You know that old school; make a column with pros on one side and cons on the other to help you  make a valid decision based on your scenario. This old school method will teach your child to focus on the pros vs cons and in turn will allow them to eventually realize more often than not the pros aka the positives of a situation may be more beneficial than the cons aka the negative.

FIVE -  Use your words effectively; your kids have you all stressed out, ready to scream! You want so badly just to run away because your “what I can handle” meter has reached a near overload. This is okay, it happens to the best of us. We are human, remember? It is how you handle that meter about to explode that can teach your child to be positive or negative. Knowing who we are as an individual can benefit your child in so many ways, learn to use your words, learn that it is okay to tell your child that you are at your limit and need a moment to go breath. This teaches your child to use their words when feeling overwhelmed with negativity and to be able to think wisely about the words they say next. Time can make a difference in the words we use.

Well there you have it, my five tips, of course I am sure you may have some more and I would love to hear them. Please leave one comment below with a tip of positive parenting that will enable children to be positive thinkers, I will be happy to hear your tips & suggestions!

Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!

 

You Need to Separate From your Son

Prior to the diagnosis of Autism this past week, we met with Aj’s counselor. I say Aj’s counselor but really he helps my ex husband and I to move forward with Aj and occasionally he does play a game to interact with Aj, overall he is more there to ensure we are keeping up with the parenting techniques that work for Aj. While I will tell you that I would highly recommend Aj’s counselor, I was left feeling jaw dropped at an appointment we had about a month ago.

Here’s what happened…

On this particular visit the emotional connection between Aj and I was very prevalent in the room. The counselor noticed it, my ex husband noticed it and of course I noticed it. Aj was having a rough time this visit and needed to have a time out, a time out with Aj usually means to-be-restrained, because usually he will not handle sitting in a time out without the basketball hold restraint. It took everything out of me emotionally to watch as my ex husband restrained our son, I don’t like it. I always feel there has to be another solution to working through Aj’s frustrations with communication or redirection.  Yet I do realize restraining had become the only option up until that point because of the medications messing with our son.

This restraining situation is what pushed the next topic in the session …

The counselor told me that I had to separate that emotional connection I have with my son, because as I spoke about Aj tears began to form in my eyes, my heart was breaking for my son as I spoke to the counselor. Mind you, this was before the autism diagnosis and I was simply starting to feel lost, as if we would never find a good solution for my son to thrive. I understood what the counselor meant, but I don’t think he realized what I meant. You see, emotionally connected to Aj, means that we have this energy about us, we have this connection much unlike the connection I have with my other two children. While I love and connect with all three of my children, this particular connection between Aj and I is different, it feels almost spiritual.  I left that appointment feeling upset, angry and frustrated. I was upset that the counselor wasn’t really seeing that my emotional connection with Aj is more beneficial than harmful for my son.

Here’s what I’ve now realized about that emotional connection …

For one, I am the primary parental unit for my children, specifically with Aj I have been the one constant, meaning while he does have a relationship with his father and my fiance, I am the one who works from home, is here for all appointments and takes him to the appointments, goes to all events and is home 24/7 so it’s only natural that Aj has formed more of a connection or bond with me versus the type of bond he has with others he loves. Once I felt in my heart that Aj was on the spectrum, which happened within the past couple of months that he’s been medication-free, something changed in me. I started having more patience and I started being more aware of what works for Aj and I started to work with and for Aj versus trying to get him to adapt into what I felt he should be. While I am not that parent that pushes a child to be a certain way, I simply mean that Aj couldn’t adapt to the parenting ways that his siblings can, so I stepped back and started to adapt my parenting techniques to him. This decision to adapt to my son has made Aj thrive in ways he never has. In this past month I was able to convince Aj to attend THREE functions; Family Math Night, Family Literacy Night and The Library Arts Center Elementary Art Exhibit Show.

I would have never in a million years been able to convince Aj to go to any events. Aj has always been that kid who thrives on a rigid routine, when we arrive home from school there is no leaving the house again, without a fit. For me to use the emotional connection that I have with Aj as a way to gain trust in him to go outside of his comfort zone tells me that there is nothing wrong with the emotional connection Aj and I have. Aj is on the spectrum and he is going to be that connected to those who he has a bond with, plain and simple. If one were to try to separate that connection we have, it would be detrimental to his growth. Our emotional connection has allowed me to get Aj to go outside of his comfort zone, to try a few new things, to be open to the idea of small changes. While this is a lot of work using my words and tones to get him to come around and take part in extra events, I am willing to do that work if it means he is showing signs of advancement socially.

Aj didn’t last more than 30 minutes at Math Night, he only lasted 45 minutes at literacy night and the art show; but he wouldn’t have even gone into the van to leave just a few months ago without a fit of rage and me having to drag him to the van. To me, that is what our emotional connection has done for Aj. My emotional connection with my son and patient, loving, nurturing personality is what has allowed my son to thrive in more ways than he ever has in the past on medications. The gift of Mama’s love and encouragement has shown me that medicine isn’t always about popping a pill.

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