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.

Yes, Parents Need to Parent. Yes, Schools need to Address Mean Kids.

After writing the post I wrote yesterday and listening to readers commentary, it dawned on me that maybe my opinion on the whole matters discussed weren’t really being heard. Today I take a moment to explain where I stand, as a whole, regarding parents needing to parent their children and schools handling what they should handle.

Number One – I agree wholeheartedly that parents need to be parenting their children, parents need to be held accountable to handle their mean children and parent them to be well rounded, compassionate, respectful little human beings. I agree 100%.

With that being said, sadly we live in the day in age where many parents feel it’s the outsiders responsibility to raise their children. I am not lying when I say that about half a year ago I heard my fiance tell me  story of this Mom who basically cited that the “police can raise my son, I am done trying” or something like that. I in no way feel it’s our public service officials job to raise our children, that includes the school systems. What you will find, though, is that most of these mean and cruel kids have been “raised” {term used lightly} by mean and cruel parents. So what is the school to do about that? Sure the school can go and discuss matters with the parents, but that child will probably get beat at home, be treated poorly and never really be sent the right message that they cannot be cruel and mean to others. Instead, the children will be filled with more rage, negative emotions and come back to school being more mean and cruel.

It’s a sad cycle of today’s youth.

Number Two – I agree that some of the articles cited online and in my article yesterday pertain to private school systems. I also have seen articles about some religious schools decisions. Whether we agree or disagree on the proper way to handle it, reality is that those type of schools are out of our hands in control. Many choose those type of schools for that strict structure and balance for their children.

Rules are rules. Sure as adults we realize there are some rules we can bend here and there, but overall with the youth being the way they are today -  most raising themselves and their siblings. The elders in our school systems have to be strict on rules because the parents are not. Again, it’s not the schools responsibility to raise our youth. I totally agree. It is however, the schools responsibility to hold those who have broken rules accountable, such as a bully. To tell the child who was using a My Little Pony lunchbox that he can’t bring it simply because other children were picking on him, is wrong. The children that were picking on him needed to be handled and have a note sent home to their parents. The wrong message with that story, I firmly feel, was that a child who was doing no wrong gets punished while the mean and cruel kids get no or less of a punishment than what they deserve.

It’s a sad cycle of not wanting to offend parents in our society today.

Number Three – The school systems wouldn’t get as much flack if the parents were raising their children instead of having children raise themselves or being their children’s friend. Parents are to raise kids, we are not here to befriend our children. NO way is that EVER a good idea.

You don’t even know how many “party moms or dads” I ran into back in my partying days. Those parents were the “cool” parents, the ones everyone went to because you could get free beer. It was great from a teens perspective, but as a parent? I realize just how wrong that is. Today’s youth do not need anymore friends, they don’t need to think an elder is a friend. We are suppose to teach our children that elders who try to befriend them have something wrong with them. How on Earth can an elder have something in common with a teenager? They can’t. I am noticing that the school systems are sadly left to handle these troubled youth on their own because the parents are not willing to parent their children. So it’s no wonder the school systems are left juggling and trying to find that balance when handling mean and cruel kids. I will be honest, I firmly believe that a majority of mean and cruel kids either have mean and cruel parents or live in a very negative environment. Negative breeds negative. Positive breeds positive.

It’s a sad cycle of parents becoming parents before they are willing to be selfless and put their kids needs first.

 In all honesty I think I covered my thoughts based on comments from readers yesterday, but just in case you are not sure where I am coming from …. here’s my point in a short version;

Parents need to parent their children. Schools need to be able to trust parents to do their jobs so that the school can do theirs. Schools need to hold students accountable for bad behavior, instead of making good kids pay for the ill behaved children. Parents are responsible for those youth that they bring into this world and parents are the ones to teach life lessons; not the schools.

Do Parents Give Themselves a Harder Time Than Necessary?

Parenthood brings joy like no other and sadness like no other. I firmly believe parenthood is a method to test our sanity, and if we come out on top after raising children with a brain that still works, a smile upon our face and children that survived to become well rounded adults – that we mastered it. It’s the path along the way that gets use shook up.

Pain is only Thoughts

I blamed myself for my son Aj having issues. After all, I wasn’t prepared to be a mom for a second time when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want to have another baby just yet, my life was simple as a mom of one and I enjoyed having my daughter getting to that fun age of doing more. I wasn’t ready. When Aj was born, I only nursed him for 8 weeks because he was a big eater and I had a little girl to raise as well as this new baby, so bottle feeding formula was the way I went after 8 weeks of breast feeding. Aj wasn’t ever really snuggled a lot as a baby, he wasn’t kissed, hugged and shown affection in the way my first born and last born child was during those baby years. I always wondered if maybe that was partially why Aj has been struggling with moods and other symptoms. I had to have a counselor tell me multiple times that I need to stop blaming myself, what’s going on with my son is not something I did or did not do. It’s how his brain is wired, that’s out of my control.

As a parent, I sometimes raise my voice unnecessarily. It’s sometimes raised to get the kids attention because they have run a muck for far too long and I need to get them to hear me above their own chatter, then other times it’s simply because I am overtired and happen to yell instead of talk at a normal decibel to them. I hate doing that. I watch as Aj goes into full blown tears, Aj doesn’t like loud noises from anyone or anything – it puts him into frustrated mode or tearful mode. When that happens, I blame myself for making the mistake of yelling and handling a situation poorly.

I look back at all of these mistakes I make here and there in parenthood and I realize something…

Every single parent in the whole wide world has these moments, those moments when you do something and hang onto the fact that you wish you hadn’t. Parents seem to hang onto these little mistakes we make while our children happily go along with their world, easily forgiving you before you have forgiven yourself.

Kids are resilient, they truly are. I love how sweet, kind and innocent kids are. Kids are simple. It’s easy, you say sorry, you mean sorry and you do better next time – your kids know you will try to do better next time. Our kids seem to have more faith in us as parents than we sometimes have in our own selves. So the next time you want to sit and sulk, and be upset with yourself for handling a situation wrong, as it pertains to parenthood, remember that your kids are fine. The kids have moved on from that scenario and so should you!

Try to cut yourself some slack, we all make mistakes and yes, we sometimes make the same ones twice as it pertains to parenthood, but one thing is for sure YOUR KIDS THINK YOU ROCK THE PARENTING THING so go on and prove them right.

My Plain and Simple View on What Co-Parenting Is

Co-parenting to me is what I refer to when two parents are no longer residing in the same household, they have separated, divorced or just broke up having never been married, but they have children who bind them forever.

That is co-parenting. Two parents who have children who bind them forever. Plain -n- Simple.

All About Co-parenting, What is It?

I tend to look at co-parenting in very simple terms because after all, I have already been through 11 years of co-parenting my daughter and now about a couple years or so of co-parenting my boys. My ex husband and I resided in same household off and on after our divorce, but we aren’t here to talk about that.

So I have co-parenting for a lot of years and have already had the experiences that occur when one is attempting to share a child, remember a child is a human being, your child does not belong to you nor to the other parent.

A child is an individual with their own thoughts, their own feelings and should be felt as if those feelings are valid at all times.

Maybe the fact that I have more experience in the area of co-parenting leads me to have less tolerance for those who just cannot seem to get it right. One would think it’s not a difficult concept but then I remember back to the drama filled years of my daughter’s baby days and realize, well it takes time to get it just right. When there are hurt feelings between the ex’s that makes it more difficult to co-parent as well.

It takes a big person to be able to separate feelings of hurt from a failed relationship in order to focus on what matters after the fact; parenting your children together.

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to co-parent with someone who makes personal jabs at you based on mistakes made during a relationship that is no longer a relationship. Once you two people become co-parents, all that matters is the children & raising them. A business-like arrangement will work best to allow the children to flourish in both parents homes now and into the future.

Co-parenting is all about agreeing to disagree, letting go of control; neither parent can control the rules or scenarios that occur at one household over the other, but each co-parent should encourage the children to respect both parents and respect the rules set forth in both homes.

Co-parenting is all about letting go …. being able to realize that your children may, at times, wish to see one parent over the other and that is okay. Children change almost daily and sometimes they feel the need for one parent over the other during various stages in their lives.

Co-parenting is about communication, the ability to stay on focus with kid-only topics and to work together to ensure both households, regardless of how you feel about the structure or rules set forth, are safe for the children and that if something does go wrong, both parents can discuss it without throwing personal jabs or having a screaming match over who is the better parent.

Co-parenting is about loving your children. Letting go of how the other parent may have hurt you or upset you and focusing strictly on the children.

Co-parenting isn’t easy, neither is parenting. Life isn’t easy, if it were, then there would be no real adventure, now would there be?

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